Looking at NFL Power rankings after a win is a much more gratifying experience. Our roundup of the weekly power rankings heading into week four sees the Dallas Cowboys rise like Phoenix out of the ashes - well, almost.
And although it's a week early, I'm including the Cowboys next opponent, the Titans, in the overview. Apologies for the late post today, but work is keeping me extremely busy.
1. Major Media Networks & Affiliates
SportingNews.com: 12th (+1). "They're probably itching to get out there and get more wins after tasting that elusive victory in Houston. They must get physical with the Titans and Vikings after the bye."
The Cowboys re-enter Peter King's Fine Fifteen ranked 12th. "I still have no idea what to make of the Cowboys, but they won all phases of a game they had to have at Houston, a team we all thought was top tier."
National Football Post: 13th (+4). "A much more balanced game plan for Jason Garrett and it shows in the win column for the Cowboys."
USAToday.com: 14th (14th).
ESPN: 16th (+1). "If you include the two losses and five preseason games, the Cowboys had the league's longest training camp. (Clayton)"
Pete Prisco at CBSSports.com: 16th (+3). "That was a season-saver at Houston. That's the type of game we expect to see from the Cowboys. There's too much talent for that not to be happening more regularly."
SI.com: 16th (+4). "The last two seasons have taught us the Cowboys know how to play with a sense of desperation, when their backs are pressed firmly to the wall. But they're not so good at knowing how to handle big expectations. Dallas gets a bye this week, and then the Titans at home next week. The Cowboys owe their fans a better showing against Tennessee than the sloppy home-opener against the Bears in Week 2."
Fox Sports: 16th (+6). "The performance last week at the Texans was the kind of performance that you expect from Dallas, but don't get consistently. However, they are still not getting enough out of their running game. In a game where they had the lead the entire way, why did they pass the ball more than they ran it? It should be the other way around."
NFL.com's Brain Trust of Experts: 16th (+4). The universally respected football guru and man of great insight Michael Lombardi has the Cowboys 10th, while Vic Carucci, a man of ill repute in knowledgeable football circles, ranks the 'Boys 22nd.
2. Blogs & Other Media
SB Nation.com: 13th (-2). "We'll call this correcting a mistake: The Cowboys won but at 1-2, 13 is a better spot for them than the 11 last week."
Weii.com: 14th (+5). "Finally the Cowboys get into the win column. Dallas beat a strong Houston team and played well in all phases of the game. Tony Romo and the offense was in complete control all game and the Cowboys defense had four sacks along with three turnovers."
ColdHardFootballFacts.com: 14th (+9). "Over his last 16 regular season games, Miles Austin has 101 catches for 1,548 yards and 12 TDs. That’s Jerry Rice territory, folks."
ProFootballWeekly: 16th (-1). "Running game made small strides, but the run defense — yeesh."
Fanhouse.com: 18th (+4). "Rumor has it that the guy wearing No. 11, catching touchdowns and flashing the Hook 'Em Horns was once considered a decent wide receiver. We'll see if Roy Williams is actually going to build off this or if it was a one week tease."
Mike Florio at ProFootballTalk.com: 19th (+3). "Desperation quickly will return if they lose to the Titans and Vikings."
3. Statistics, Computer & Vegas rankings
WhatIFsports: 3rd (+1). 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. Don't look too closely, but their machine may be a little out of whack. They have the NFC East ranked 3rd through 6th.
FootballOutsiders.com: 8th (+8). Offense ranked No. 6 (+4), Defense No. 22 (+1), Special Teams No. 11 (+3).
Covers.com: 14th (+10). "Dallas looked like it finally cared as it picked up a must-win over Houston heading into its bye week. The week off may have come at a bad time following the first win."
Teamrankings.com: 15th (+11). Their rankings are based on a proprietary algorithm, "smart math and 100% objective data".
Betus.com: 16th (n.c.). "The Cowboys finally hit the ground running, pumping in 27 rushes for 101-yards and steamrolled Houston. Temper your enthusiasm about this defense though. Houston’s left-tackle was busy flushing all his steroids down the toilet."
Jeff Sagarin's NFL rankings: 16th (- -). These are rankings based on W/L record, points differential and schedule strength.
Here's how the NFC East and our next opponent, the Titans, fared: