The NFC East went 1-3 last weekend, which clarified a few things. The Eagles and Redskins aren't mathematically eliminated from playoff contention yet, but in terms of the power rankings being put out this week, they are both effectively done. The Eagles find themselves dropping almost into the 20s, and the Redskins are closing in on the 30s.
For now, that leaves the Giants and Cowboys contending for the division. And since most power rankings are mind-numbingly based on the win percentage of each team, the Giants rank ahead of the Cowboys in most power rankings. The Giants are just inside the top ten, the Cowboys just outside.
The Cowboys now need to start looking outside their division, as the fight for a wildcard starts heating up. Today we include the 5-4 Falcons in our power rankings overview and find that 15 out of 19 power rankings have the Cowboys ahead of the Falcons.
The summary of this week's power rankings after the break.
The Cowboys Are The Best Team In The NFC East
Oddsshark: 3rd (7th). Oddshark use a multitude of stats to establish an offensive and defensive power ranking, which they then adjust for the remaining strength of schedule.
Advanced NFL Stats: 4th (6th). The Cowboys move up two spots as the offense moves up to fourth (+3) and jumps one spot to eleventh.
WhatIFsports: 4th (7th). 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.
Sagarin NFL rankings: 11th (15th). These are rankings based on W/L record, points differential and schedule strength. Cowboys jump ahead of the Gaints on the strength of the Buffalo Beatdown.
The Cowboys Are Second In The NFC East But Ahead Of The Falcons
Football Outsiders: 10th (16th). FO have the Cowboys with the 10th-ranked offense (+1), the 10th-ranked defense (+2) and the 19th ranked special teams (+4). FO have an extensive write-up on Romo that is well worth reading, and conclude their quick reads with the following observation:
The Cowboys sit a game behind the New York Giants in the NFC East standings, but with two games left between the two teams, they still control their own destiny. How does Romo match up with the New York defense? Entering this weekend, the Giants ranked 11th in pass defense DVOA. Romo, remember, ranks third among quarterbacks in the same category, so this is a slight mismatch in Dallas' favor. There's another key here, though, that the Cowboys need to exploit. The Giants play well enough against starting wideouts – they rank 12th in DVOA against No. 1 receivers, and 11th against No. 2s – but their thin defensive backfield has been helpless against all other wide receivers, ranking 28th in DVOA in this category. The Giants are giving up 68 yards a game to opposing No. 3 and No. 4 receivers. Only Denver and Arizona are worse.
Fortunately for the Cowboys, they have one of the league's top third receivers in Laurent Robinson.
National Football Post: 10th (16th). "Don’t forget about Romo and the Cowboys in the NFC East race." No kidding.
Sporting News: 11th (16th). "Top receiver: TE Jason Witten Miles Austin is injured, and Dez Bryant is going through more growing pains. So it's no wonder that Tony Romo is back in a groove with his good friend."
Dallas tied the Bengals for 11th in this week's rankings but lost the tiebreaker due to Cincinnati's better overall record. Still, a three-spot jump based on a dominating victory over the Bills has the Cowboys knocking on the door of the top 10. And given their upcoming schedule -- games against the Redskins, Dolphins and Cardinals -- they have the opportunity to make a big move in these rankings over the next three weeks. If they slip up, their ranking will deservedly be punished for it. But if they can keep their roll going against those lesser teams, they have a chance to move into elite company here pretty soon.
ProFootballTalk.com: 12th (15th). "With two cracks at the Giants still to come, the NFC East title remains a real possibility."
SB Nation: 12th (16th). "The Cowboys are knocking on the Giants door in that division. We know they have the talent to go on a run. It's just a matter of doing it consistently."
Pro Football Weekly: 12th (16th). "Schedule is favorable — could be 8-4 for Week 14 game vs. Giants."
Drafttek.com: 12th (18th). As we near draft season, we may find that the guys at Drafttek can talk. For now, they remain silent but move the Cowboys up six spots.
Covers.com: 13th (17th). "Easiest stretch on the schedule has begun with two wins by a combined score of 67-20. Continues in Week 11 at lowly Washington."
The Cowboys Are Second In The NFC East AND Behind Of The Falcons
Fox Sports: 14th (16th). Brian Billick: "When Demarco Murray can run for 135 yards and Tony Romo can go 23-of-26 with 3 TDs ... the Cowboys won't be beat. Throw in a healthy Dez Bryant with a season-high six receptions and the Cowboys are riding high. The Cowboys only punted once and scored on their first four possessions for the first time since 1991."
WEEI.com: 12th (15th). "The Cowboys are on the rise with the emergence of rookie running back DeMarco Murray. The running game was usually a non-factor in the Cowboys offense but has been a valuable asset since Felix Jones went down with an injury. Another encouraging sign coming from the win against the Bills was the way the defense played. The Cowboys were prepared for Ryan Fitzpatrick and forced him to have his worst game of the season. Dallas is quietly gaining ground in the NFC East and is now just one game behind the Giants."
CBSsports.com: 12th (15th). "They showed against the Bills that they are capable of being a good team. Tony Romo had a big day."
Teamrankings.com: 13th (17th). This site measures the relative strength of all teams using team performance, home/away status, margin of victory and other factors.
Below is how the NFC East fared in this week's power rankings. For good measure, I've added the Falcons. At 5-4 they are a direct competitor for a playoff spot at this point in time.
The missing rankings will be updated as they become available