With Week 1 of the 2012 NFL season in the books, it's time to do what we'll do on Tuesdays for the next 16 weeks: review the NFL power rankings for the Cowboys and the other teams in the NFC East.
In power ranking parlance the 15th-ranked Cowboys beat the Giants, a team most pundits ranked in the top three. The win naturally opens up a lot of space on the Cowboys bandwagon, and the Cowboys predictably crack the top ten of the power rankings.
The Week 1 results are bound to shake up many pre-conceived notions about where teams stand, especially as these notions were largely based on last year's performance, not this year's. Was the Redskins' dismantling of the Saints a fluke or are the Skins for real this year; will the Giants get lucky again this year, or are they the team that is now 10-10 over their last 20 regular season games; after barely eking out a win against a QB whose passer rating was smaller than his shoe size, will we see another year of nothing but hot air coming out of Philadelphia?
We won't have the answers to these questions for quite a while, but the power rankings give us a first indication of where the popular opinion places each of the NFC East teams. The summary of this week's power rankings after the break.
We'll kick off this week's power rankings with an SBNation video with a rundown of the week 2 rankings.
Week 2 (previous rankings in parenthesis)
Peter King: 6th (n.a.). "I'm not sure the offensive line is going to hold up, but I know one thing about one of the 2011 weaknesses that killed last year's team: These Cowboys can cover."
Fox Sports: 6th (13th). "I'm always slow to jump on the Cowboys bandwagon each year, but they looked like the clear frontrunner in the NFC East -- quite possibly the best division in football. Tony Romo was consistent on offense and DeMarcus Ware's two sacks kicked off his DPOY campaign"
CBSsports.com: 6th (14th). "One thing that stood out about the Cowboys in beating the Giants: They are faster on both sides of the ball."
[Update] Drafttek.com: 7th (12th). Draftniks are going to love Drafttek's power rankings because Drafttek don't just rank teams, they also identify three players who might be under consideration by each team for the 2013 NFL Draft. Here's what they say about the Cowboys:
"Boys move from #12 to #7 after big opening day win on the road vs Super Bowl champs. Improved play in the secondary allows Dallas pass rush to inflict even more damage."
They have the Cowboys picking either FS T.J. McDonald from USC, TE Tyler Eifert from Notre Dame or OT Chris Faulk from LSU.
WEEI.com: 8th (14th). "Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne did a great job at shutting down the Giants’ dynamic receivers. The Cowboys could turn into the favorite in the NFC East if their defense can consistently perform like they did on opening night."
Walter Football: 8th (20th). Walter uses a favorite troll argument. When the Cowboys win, it can't have been a big game: "I need to see the Cowboys win when it counts before I can finally become a believer, but the defense finally matches the offense, thanks to the additions of Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne."
NFL.com's Brain Trust of Experts: 9th (14th). Comments are courtesy of Elliot Harrison: "For all the love Peyton Manning received this weekend -- and RG3, for that matter -- the Week 1 MVP has to be Tony Romo. What he managed to do with that offensive line, tossing touchdowns to Kevin Ogletree (of all people), on the road against the defending Super Bowl Champs, was inspiring."
reddit.com: 9th (15th). "For many, Romo has been the scapegoat for the Cowboy’s failures. While he’s not without blame, the true culprit, the defense, looked as if it may have finally turned a corner. Both units will need to maintain an impressive consistency to compete in a stacked NFC East."
ESPN: 10th (14th). "Opening win showed evidence they really may have fixed that defense. (Graziano)."
Pro Football Weekly: 10th (17th). "Is Ogletree this year’s Laurent Robinson? Dallas sure hopes so."
ProFootballTalk.com: 10th (13th). "Tony Romo returns to Seattle for the first time since the time he had popcorn right before a game-winning field goal try."
National Football Post: 12th (17th). "Tony Romo quieted plenty of critics (for at least one week) after his production in New York vs., the Giants."
SB Nation: 12th (15th). Something was wrong with Joel Thorman's cereal this morning. "Big time W for Big D in Week 1. The NFC East is so, so wide open. You can make an easy case for any of the four teams to take it, including the Cowboys."
His SBNation colleagues show him how it's done:
Jason Brewer for SB Nation Philly: 9th (n.a.). "If the 49ers had the best win of the weekend, Dallas probably had the second best. Beating the champs in their house on the night they got their rings? That's impressive."
Randy Fields for Revenge of the Birds: 8th (n.a.). "Some may say the Cowboys are ranked too high here, but played incredibly well behind a porous offensive line. The Cowboys rank 3rd in offense and 7th in defense. These Cowboys are going to make a run in the NFC East and started early by taking down the returning Superbowl champs. The defense was able to hurry Manning and limited the success until the final four minutes of the game. (Trend = Up)"
Teamrankings.com: 1st (16th). This site measures the relative strength of all teams using team performance, home/away status, margin of victory and other factors.
Sagarin NFL rankings: 5th. These are rankings based on W/L record, points differential and schedule strength. Cowboys enter these ratings ranked fifth.
Oddsshark: 7th (9th). Oddsshark use a multitude of stats to establish an offensive and defensive power ranking, which they then adjust for the remaining strength of schedule.
[Update] Football Outsiders: 9th (n.a.). FO have the Cowboys with the 7th-ranked offense, the 14th-ranked defense and the 20th ranked special teams.
[Update] Covers.com: 10th (14th). "The Cowboys came into the season with a boatload of questions about their offensive line, but Tony Romo mostly stayed upright against the powerful Giants pass rushers."
[Update] WhatIFsports: 10th (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.
Today's summary of power rankings is brought to you by BTB member Jose Salas. Jose's cousin, Eliana, sent me a mail asking for a shout out to Jose ("Jose Salas .. 24/7 Blogging The Boys. He's been a fan of BTB for so long .. Please OCC?"). How can I refuse a damsel in distress?
Below is how the NFC East fared in this week's power rankings, with next week's opponent, the Seahawks, added for good measure:
The missing rankings will be updated as they become available