Jason Garrett: Plotting a course back to respectability.
The NFL power rankings for week 11 are about what you would expect. Nobody is jumping on the Cowboys bandwagon just yet, and the Cowboys are grudgingly moved up an average of about three spots to 27th. The Giants tumble out of the top five while the Eagles are closing in on the top five. The Redskins drop back into the low twenties again and the Lions, our next opponent, are ranked even lower than the Cowboys.
Could the Lions be angling for a top three draft pick yet again? They've had five top three picks in the last nine seasons. Making it a full half dozen in 10 seasons has a nice kind of symmetry to it. For now, the Cowboys appear to be out of the hunt for a top three pick: the consensus ranking has the Cowboys with the sixth pick in the 2011 draft.
The long climb back to respectability has just started for the Cowboys, and it will take a while yet.
[Note: 20 of 20 power rankings are now in.]
1. Major Media Networks & Affiliates
National Football Post: 23rd (+6). "The Cowboys looked like a different team under Jason Garrett in the win over the Giants."
CBSSports.com: 24th (+5). "So maybe it was Wade Phillips after all? How else can you explain how well they played against the Giants?"
[updated] SI.com: 25th (+7). "The greatest story never told would have been to watch the Cowboys-Giants game with Wade Phillips last week, writing a first-person piece about what his day on the couch was like. Somehow I don't think he would have gone for the idea."
NFL.com's Brain Trust of Experts: 26th (+4). Giants tumble 8 spots from 2nd to 10th.
Fox Sports: 26th (+4). "It wasn't that much of a surprise that the Cowboys played well on the road against the Giants. Teams typically have a renewed sense of urgency after a coaching change. The key for Dallas will be sustaining that energy and urgency against the lowly Lions this week."
USAToday.com: 27th (+4).
ESPN: 29th (+1). "The combination of Jason Garrett's discipline and Dez Bryant's incredible ability stole the show against the Giants. (Clayton) "
2. Blogs & Other Media
SB Nation.com: 27th (+4). "The Jason Garrett era starts off right with a 13-point victory over the Giants, one of the NFC's best teams. It's too late for the Cowboys to make any noise in the division but maybe Garrett can keep this job for next year."
ProFootballTalk.com: 25th (+7). "In lieu of enjoying an impressive win, Cowboys fans already are thinking that their team can run the table. Hell, maybe they can." Keep your hands off my draft pick, Florio.
Weii.com: 27th (+3). "In Dallas, change is good. The Cowboys looked like a completely different team under new head coach Jason Garrett. We finally saw a Cowboys team that played with energy and a sense of urgency. Garrett made his team prepare a lot differently this week and it showed."
Fanhouse.com: 28th (+4). "Jerry Jones gave Jason Garrett the game ball after the win against New York, and Garrett deserved it. In his first game since taking over for Wade Phillips, the Cowboys looked, well, how the Cowboys were supposed to look from the beginning. At 2-7, it's too late for Dallas this season, but Garrett will have time to compile a compelling case for losing the interim tag in Big D in 2011 and beyond."
ColdHardFootballFacts.com: 29th (+1). "Jason Garrett has the best winning percentage of any head coach in NFL history."
ProFootballWeekly: 29th (+1). "Well-dressed 'Boys carried over sartorial excellence onto field."
3. Statistics, Computer & Vegas rankings
[updated] AdvancedNFLstats: 19th (+2). Offense ranked No. 6 (+3), defense ranked No. 26 (n.c.). This ranking model includes offensive and defensive passing and running efficiency, offensive turnover rates, defensive interception rates, and team penalty rates.
WhatIFsports: 24th (+6). These guys simulate every possible match-up in the NFL 100 times, and use the winning percentages from those nearly 50,000 games to evaluate every team, with updated rosters and depth charts.
FootballOutsiders.com: 27th (n.c.). Offense ranked No. 20 (+2), Defense No. 27 (+1), Special Teams No. 26 (-5).
Betus.com: 28th (+3). "Needs to be asked – anyone think Jason Garrett harpooned the offense just to get the head coaching job in Dallas? C’mon. There has to be at least one conspiracy theorist that thought this! Next Game: Detroit vs. Dallas -7.0 "
Jeff Sagarin's NFL rankings: 29th (+1). These are rankings based on W/L record, points differential and schedule strength.
Covers.com: 30th (n.c.). "All it took was for the Cowboys to play for someone other than Wade Philips [sic]. That was a completely different team on the field but the move came a few weeks too late."
Below is how the rest of the East fared and how the pundits see the Lions, our next opponent.