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What to make of the Cowboys this year? Nobody really has an answer for that, least of all this week's power rankings, which rank the Cowboys anywhere between the 6th and the 25th spot. But collectively, those wildly divergent assessments paint a remarkably accurate picture of the 2012 Cowboys as a consistently inconsistent team.
The Cowboys' .400 winning record ranks them joint a 21st in the league and last in the NFC East. Those rankings are undisputed.
But there is nothing undisputed in our review of this week's power rankings. The Cowboys are ranked anywhere from 10th (Brian Billick) to 25th (Pro Football Talk) by the power ranking pundits, an indication that - apart from some pretty obvious biases - nobody really knows what to make of the Cowboys. And the stat-based rankings don't provide any clarity either, ranking the Cowboys between the 6th and 20th spot.
But collectively, those wildly divergent assessments paint a remarkably accurate picture of the 2012 Cowboys: Consistently inconsistent, that's what the Cowboys have been so far this season, and it's reflected in the power rankings.
Elsewhere in the NFC East, the Giants move into the top five, while the Eagles plummet to somewhere in the middle of the rankings where they are joined by the ascending Redskins.
We kick off our Power Rankings summary with a video from the folks at SBNation:
Week 7 (previous rankings in parenthesis)
Fox Sports: 10th (15th). "What the Cowboys did in a loss to the Ravens was more impressive than what the Redskins did to the Vikings in a win. The Cowboys have too much talent on both sides of the ball for that to go unrecognized. "
WEEI.com: 14th (14th). "It seems like the Cowboys continue to have the same problems week after week. When it comes to playing situational football, Jason Garrett‘s team is one of the worst. The offensive players on the field don’t seem to have a firm grasp of clock management and how to handle key situations."
reddit.com: 17th (17th). "The Cowboys outplayed the Ravens in the week 6 matchup, topping them in most statistical categories - except the one that matters, points. Critical errors marred what would otherwise be an impressive showing, landing them at the bottom of the NFC East."
Newsday.com: 17th (17th). "Another botched comeback attempt, although you can’t blame Tony Romo this time. The ball was right there for Dez Bryant on a two-point conversion that would have tied it against Baltimore. Another drop for the troubled receiver, and another loss for a troubled team. "
ESPN: 18th (13th). "They looked as good in Baltimore as they have all year. Tough. Physical. And still managed to lose. (Graziano)"
NFL.com's Brain Trust of Experts: 20th (14th). Comments are courtesy of Elliot Harrison, who ranks the Cowboys 18th: "Jason Garrett discovered a new facet of NFL football on Sunday. A very intricate, little-known thing called "the run." Not to mention -- but we're mentioning it -- terrible clock management at the end of the game in Baltimore. Dez Bryant was tackled with 11 seconds to go. The Dallas Cowboys wasted five seconds before calling a timeout to attempt a 51-yard field goal. The kick was very close -- but no good. Be decisive, and try to give your kicker a couple extra yards. "
CBSsports.com: 19th (18th). "They played well enough to win in Baltimore, but they look sloppy at times and a kickoff return for a score doesn't help. At 2-3, they need to get it going."
Shutdown Corner: 22nd (21st). "I'd like to thank the Cowboys for going ahead and finishing that game in traditional Cowboy fashion, so no one has to continue to be confused about who they are. They might be the offense that tuned up the Ravens defense for 481 yards, and they might be the defense that held Ray Rice to under four yards a carry. But they're also the team that had 13 penalties and had to settle for a 51-yard field-goal attempt to win because they couldn't get off more than one play in 34 seconds. With a timeout."
SB Nation: 22nd (16th). "What do the Cowboys do well?"
Pro Football Weekly: 22nd (17th). "Poor clock management, big Dez drop: Lather, rinse and repeat."
ProFootballTalk.com: 25th (19th). "If they want to make things interesting, they’ve got to beat the Panthers on Sunday."
Oddsshark: 6th (15th). Oddsshark use a multitude of stats to establish an offensive and defensive power ranking, which they then adjust for the strength of schedule.
Advanced NFL Stats: 9th (12th). The Cowboys are ranked 8th on offense and 13th on defense.
Massey-Peabody Power Rankings: 9th (10th). These guys generate their predictions by working up from play-by-play data to calculate a performance figure for rushing, passing, scoring and play success.
Sagarin NFL rankings: 15th (18th). These are rankings based on W/L record, points differential and schedule strength.
Teamrankings.com: 15th (19th). This site measures the relative strength of all teams using team performance, home/away status, margin of victory and other factors.
WhatIFsports: 20th (10th). 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.