NFL Power Rankings (Week 3): Kerplunk! NFC East Drops Like A Stone

Ron Antonelli

Tough week for the NFC East in power ranking terms as all four teams see their stock decline.

Power Rankings are so much more enjoyable when your team won the last game. Well, the Cowboys didn't, so it's a good time to remind ourselves that power rankings don't mean diddly-squat.

But as it is, I find myself with the task of chronicling the Cowboys' fall from grace. Last week, the Cowboys were ranked 13th in the league on average. This week, they drop to 15th - and that's the smallest decline of any of the NFC East teams, as the Giants, Eagles and Redskins all drop more than the Cowboys did.

Here's a look at the Dallas Cowboys and NFC East power rankings heading into week three of the 2013 NFL season.

Opinion-based Rankings

Week 3 (previous rankings in parenthesis)

Shutdown Corner: 13th (14th): "Didn't think they played that well despite a close road loss at Kansas City, but they are probably the NFC East's best team."

WEEI.com: 15th (10th): " Dallas’ success is dependent on if it can get production from the run game. So far, it hasn’t looked good. Starter DeMarco Murray averaged just 2.1 yards per carry during Sunday’s loss to the Chiefs."

CBSSports.com: 13th (10th): "The defense did its part in Kansas City, but the offense just couldn't get it going. The good news is the rest of the division lost Sunday, too."

NFL.com's Elliott Harrison: 14th (12th). "If the Dallas Cowboys are going to avoid a third straight 8-8 finish to their season, Tony Romo and Bill Callahan will have to call something besides none-yard outs and 2-yard ins. Too many times at Arrowhead on Sunday, Romo responded to second- and third-and-long situations by dinking his way to a long field-goal attempt or punt.

Of course, the Cowboys were in those long-yardage situations in the first place because they completely lacked a running game; DeMarco Murray carried the rock 12 times for 25 yards. Cowboys fans are getting accustomed to Dallas backs averaging 2 and 3 yards per carry.
"

Foxsports: 14th (13th): "Dez Bryant made nine catches on Sunday, many in spectacular fashion, but it was the one he dropped that cost them the game."

ProFootballTalk: 14th (14th): "In Week Two, Tony Romo performed exactly like Peyton Manning. In the playoffs."

Drafttek: 15th (12th). "A sideline screen at the 5 when Dez has single coverage? And what happened to the emphasis on the running game? The Chiefs are for real, the Cowboys "be what they be" and Ol' Long Ball needs to lecture zebras on what constitutes pass interference!"

SB Nation: 15th (13th): "Bill Callahan's calling the plays now. You never would've know that during Sunday's game, because it was the same confused Cowboys offense. Dallas ran the ball just 16 times. When they did pass, they aren't throwing it very far. Tony Romo is averaging 6.2 yards per attempt. That number would be a career low, by more than a yard, if it holds. When Tim Ryan's criticizing Dallas' offense, there's a problem."

ESPN: 15th (13th): "Tony Romo was 3-of-8 targeting Jason Witten in Sunday's loss to the Chiefs, the duo's second-worst single-game completion percentage in a game over the past five years."

Newsday.com: 15th (13th). "New and improved offense? Not this time, as Tony Romo comes up with a measley two field goals in the second half after torching the Giants' defense the week before. "

Stat-based Rankings

Covers.com: 9th (9th). "The Cowboys rank No. 25 in the NFL in total defense through the first two games, showing no dramatic improvement under coordinator Monte Kiffin's new Cover 2 schemes."Teamrankings.com: 24th (13th). This site measures the relative strength of all teams using team performance, home/away status, margin of victory and other factors.

WhatIfSports.com: 15th (15th). 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.

Massey-Peabody: 17th (16th). 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.

Football Outsiders: 21st (22nd). FO have the Cowboys with the 25th-ranked offense, the 17th-ranked defense and the 3rd-ranked special teams.

Teamrankings.com: 24th (13th). This site measures the relative strength of all teams using team performance, home/away status, margin of victory and other factors.

Star_medium

The table below summarizes the power rankings for the four NFC East teams, as well as the Cowboys' next opponent, the St. Louis Rams.

Dal_medium Phi_medium Nyg_medium Was_medium Stl_medium
Weeks wk3 wk2 wk3 wk2 wk3 wk2 wk3 wk2 wk3
CBSSports.com 13 10 18 15 22 10 27 22 16
Shutdown Corner 13 14 18 12 24 18 27 19 19
NFL.com 14 12 17 15 25 16 24 18 18
Drafttek 14 12 15 13 17 16 25 20 18
Foxsports 14 13 19 16 24 20 26 18 18
WEEI 15 10 17 16 18 14 20 17 19
Newsday 15 13 17 14 19 17 18 16 21
ESPN 15 13 19 14 20 16 24 19 17
SBNation 15 13 18 17 24 21 19 15 20
Pro Football Talk 16 14 15 5 22 16 26 20 20
Avg.Opinion-based 14.4 12.4 17.3 13.7 21.5 16.4 23.6 18.4 18.6
Covers.com 9 9 17 17 14 10 23 18 22
Whatifsports 14 15 21 25 23 20 18 17 15
Massey Peabody 17 16 24 25 10 6 25 18 20
Football Outsiders 21 22 6 8 30 24 31 29 14
Team Rankings 24 13 27 19 26 21 31 24 13
Avg. Stat-based 17.0 15.0 19.0 18.8 20.6 16.2 25.6 21.2 16.8
Total 15.2 13.2 17.8 15.4 21.2 16.3 24.2 19.3 18.0
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