Last week in this same space we asked whether the Cowboys were a Top Ten team. The answer came yesterday and was abundantly clear. So perhaps we should rephrase that question and ask whether the Cowboys are still a Top 20 team in the league? While many might argue that they are not, the Cowboys' 7-6 record would suggest that they are, despite a multitude of other metrics that suggest otherwise.
Most of the power rankings published today still have the Cowboys in the Top 20. Enjoy the collection of scorching, scornful and sometimes downright sulfurous comments accompanying the rankings today:
|Major Media Networks & Affiliates
Week 15 Rankings (previous rankings in parenthesis)
ESPN: 15th (11th): "DeMarco Murray rushed for 111 yards before contact Monday night, his second most this season and the third most in his career. Imagine if Dallas actually committed to the run."
CBSSports (Kirwan): 16th (10th): "That defense is going to prevent the Cowboys from making the playoffs. Tony Romo isn't the problem, but he will take the brunt of the blame."
Foxsports: 16th (12th): "This defense is just awful -- and it shouldn't be."
NFL.com: 16th (12th). "Can't you just see Rob Ryan on Monday night, downing a plate of chicken nachos at the Cluck 'n' Chuck, belly-laughing at the TV in the corner? Against Ryan's old Cowboys defense, Bears quarterback Josh McCown threw it around the park like Warren Moon circa 1990. At least when Chicago's receivers caught the ball 25 yards downfield, a Dallas defensive back was there to make the tackle."
CBSSports.com (Prisco): 17th (11th): "If they don't fix the defense, they have no chance to make the playoffs. Boy, was that ugly in Chicago."
|Blogs & Other Media|
ProFootballTalk: 13th (9th): "The Cowboys remain right on track to lose their third straight Week 17 NFC East championship game."
Newsday.com: 14th (9th). "More of the same from the Cowboys. Just when you think they’re about to go on a run, they stumble. Another inept defensive performance means dropping out of first place once again."
Drafttek: 14th (11th). "Monsters of the Midway? Doomsday Defense? These defensive units are an embarassment to these once-proud franchises. Dallas needs to fire their offensive coaches, as they got away from an outstanding running game, outsmarting themselves yet again!"
M-Live: 17th (11th): "The Cowboys defense struggled in the frigid temperatures at Solider Field, allowing Chicago to rack up 500 yards in offense."
Shutdown Corner: 17th (13th): "You're telling me that hiring 73-year-old Monte Kiffin as defensive coordinator, after Kiffin had a terrible stretch at USC, was a bad idea? Get outta here."
|NFC East blogs
Bleeding Green Nation ( ): 14th (11th). "Oof, that Dallas defense. Their Monday night loss marked the sixth time this year their defense has surrended more than 475 yards in a game. Also consider there have been three games this year where a team didn't have to punt. Dallas was involved in two of them."
Big Blue View ( ): 15th (12th). "This kind of defense doesn't belong in the playoffs."
Blogging The Boys (Your favorite blog): 16th (11th). "We've lost track of the number of NFL records set against this defense."
|Statistics, Computer & Vegas rankings|
Massey-Peabody: 8th (8th). 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.
BeatGraphs.com: 11th (7th). BeatGraphs provide rankings that cannot be defeated by a chain of A beat B beat C scenarios. In the end, when all ambiguity is removed, if A has beaten B, A will be ranked above B.
Covers.com: 12th (9th). "There have been three games in the NFL this year when one team hasn't forced a single punt. Two of those three games involved Monte Kiffin's miserable defense."
Sagarin NFL rankings: 12th (10th). These are rankings based on W/L record, points differential and schedule strength.
Teamrankings.com: 15th (9th). This site measures the relative strength of all teams using team performance, home/away status, margin of victory and other factors.
Pro Football Reference: 15th (12th). PFRs Simple Rating System (SRS) takes only two factors into account: strength of schedule and adjusted margin of victory.
Numberfire: 16th (12th). These rankings are based on expected point differential against a league average team. If the team's rating is 10, they would be expected to win by 10 points against a league-average opponent. This week, the Cowboys would be expected to lose by 1.4 points to such a league-average team.
ColdHardFootballFacts: 18th (15th). This indicator ranks teams based on their average ranking across a range of CHFF's Quality Stats.
Oddsshark: 22nd (16th). Oddsshark use a multitude of stats to establish an offensive and defensive power ranking, which they then adjust for the strength of schedule.
The table below summarizes the power rankings for the four NFC East teams plus the Cowboys' next opponent. As usual, we'll update the remaining rankings once they're available.
|Wk 15||Wk 14||Wk 15||Wk 14||Wk 15||Wk 14||Wk 15||Wk 14||Week 15|
|Pro Football Talk||13||9||9||10||24||22||31||31||15|
|Pro Football Talk||13||9||9||10||24||22||31||31||15|
|WEEI||- -||10||- -||11||- -||21||- -||28||- -|
|Pro Football Reference||15||12||14||14||25||25||31||30||21|
|Cold Hard Football Facts||18||16||8||10||30||28||28||26||19|