If power rankings were based solely on W/L records, the Cowboys should be ranked somewhere between 18th and 23rd - that's where their .429 winning record puts them in the league heading into Week 9.
But of the 16 power rankings we look at further down in this post, only two have the Cowboys ranked in that range. In fact, when you look at the various rankings, you'll see that the Cowboys have not moved at all versus last week, despite losing to the Giants on Sunday.
Waiting for the Cowboys on Sunday are the Atlanta Falcons, owner of the sole unbeaten record and easily the consensus number one in the power rankings this week.
Week 9 (previous rankings in parenthesis)
ESPN: 14th (15th). "The defense was outstanding Sunday despite being put in impossible circumstances repeatedly. (Graziano)"
NFL.com's Brain Trust of Experts: 14th (14th). Comments by Elliot Harrison, who ranks the Cowboys 15th: "The Dallas Cowboys stay put by virtue of losing by a fingertip (literally) and having beaten 16th-ranked Tampa Bay in the head-to-head meeting. In other news, Dez Bryant's brief NFL career seems tragically flawed, no? He had another fumble on a punt return, dropped another pass and looked for more flags. He almost made up for it by posting a 100-yard game and making the most unbelievable circus catch in Cowboys history. The young man was one third of a digit from dumping his flaws in the trash, at least for the immediate future. So close, and yet so far. "
reddit.com: 14th (14th). "Losing the game by half an inch only highlights the perennial issue that manages to rear its head each season; Jerry Jones is an absolute failure as a GM. The debacle of the OL, the lack of a third WR and the incapable backup RB are just a few constant reminders as to why many Cowboy fan's have taken to the Skyler White approach to fandom."
Peter King: 14th. "Yeah, they turn it over too much. Way too much. Something about the Cowboys, though, makes me think they're not done. I think they'll give the Falcons a good game this week."
Fox Sports: 15th (13th). "One fingertip! Well, that and six turnovers . . . "
Newsday.com: 15th (16th). "Cowboys have been alternately brilliant and awful, and sometimes in the same game. Look no further than hideous first half against the Giants and stirring second-half comeback that winds up just inches from a win over the Giants. Now it’s off to Atlanta and the unbeaten Falcons. "
CBSsports.com: 16th (15th). "They fell into a huge hole and then botched some things in the fourth quarter. It doesn't get any easier this week at Atlanta."
Drafttek.com: 16th (13). "Spot a team 23 points, throw in 6 turnovers, and how many games do you win? Answer: NONE . . . however, the Giants should not feel too comfortable as the Cowboys had not 1, not 2, not 3, but 4 opportunities to steal victory from the jaws of defeat."
Pro Football Weekly: 17th (18th). "Romo brought them back, but poor game management did them in."
SB Nation: 20th (17th). "The best part about covering the Cowboys is going to be what happens when the season ends. In a weird quirk of the stats, Dallas technically blew a fourth-quarter lead, adding to the indignity of total collapse."
National Football Post: 18th (19th). "Turnovers, coaching decisions, etc. They are wasting talent in Dallas."
Oddsshark: 7th (6th). 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: 8th (8th). The Cowboys are ranked 15th on offense and 9th on defense.
Sagarin NFL rankings: 12th (13th). These are rankings based on W/L record, points differential and schedule strength.
Football Outsiders: 14th (18th). FO have the Cowboys with the 26th-ranked offense (n.c.), the 12th-ranked defense (-5) and the 26th ranked special teams (n.c.).
Teamrankings.com: 15th (13th). This site measures the relative strength of all teams using team performance, home/away status, margin of victory and other factors.
WhatIFsports: 15th (17th). 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.
Below is how the NFC East fared in this week's power rankings, with next week's opponent, the Falcons, added for good measure: