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NFL Power Rankings Week 7: Cowboys Climb Into Top Five

In this week's summary of NFL power rankings, we look at how far the Cowboys rise after the win in Seattle and take a look at where the other NFC East teams are ranked.

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Steve Dykes

Here's a rundown of the many power rankings published today and their take on where the Cowboys rank this week. A little further down you can see how that compares to the rest of the NFC East.

Opinion-based rankings

Week 7 Rankings (previous rankings in parenthesis) (Peter King): 1st (4th): "In Fine Fifteen history, I have to say this is one of the biggest surprises I ever recall: the Dallas Cowboys being number one. Many reasons why on Sunday, but the biggest may have been the fact that the Cowboys weren’t supposed to be able to run on the best run defense in football. Thirty-seven carries and 162 yards later, Seattle has to believe."

Bleacher Report: 1st (7th): "It is supposed to be impossible to travel to Seattle and beat the Seahawks. At least that's what NFL mythology tells us. But the Dallas Cowboys did that on Sunday, running their win streak to five games and establishing themselves as the team to beat in the NFC. A move from No. 7 all the way to No. 1 requires a huge win, and the Cowboys got that in Week 6."

USA Today: 2nd (7th): "When you beat up the bully in his own backyard, you're clearly a contender to be the new king of the block."

SB Nation2nd (7th): "No one in the right mind thought the Dallas Cowboys - yes, the Cowboys - would be sitting at No. 2 with a 5-1 record, but here we are, as Dallas took down Seattle. How long will the good times roll for the Cowboys? After Sunday's upset win, they're proving that their defense is truly revitalized, so they could be here to stay."

ProFootballTalk: 2nd (9th): "Jimmy Johnson eventually will try to find a way to claim I/me credit for this, too."

CBSSports (Kirwan): 3rd (4th): "Riding a five-game streak, Dallas looks like a team to beat after a huge win at Seattle. Help finally has arrived for Tony Romo in the form of an excellent ground game with a solid O-line and DeMarco Murray running the ball. The Cowboys are 3-0 on the road, in large part because of an improved defense." 3rd (6th): "DeMarco Murray is the second player in NFL history to begin a season with six straight games of at least 100 rushing yards. His offensive line has been awesome this season."

Bleeding Green Nation: 3rd (9th): "How 'bout them Cowboys? There's no doubt that Dallas had the best quality win of the weekend. They marched into Seattle and came out victory. Not too many teams can say that. The Cowboys are doing a great job of playing to their strengths right now. DeMarco Murray is a force to be reckoned with."

Newsday: 3rd (10th): "The surprise team of the season pulls off yet another shocker, beating the defending champs at CenturyLink and doing it with another big dose of DeMarco Murray, who’s on pace for a 2,000-yard season."

Washington Post: 4th (6th): "There is no denying now that this team is a legitimate contender, not after Sunday’s performance in Seattle. The offense can win a game in different ways and the defense held Russell Wilson and the Seahawks totally in check. Clearly this is a two-team race in the NFC East, with the Eagles also off to a 5-1 start. The Cowboys lost their season finale the previous three seasons with trips to the playoffs at stake. The way they’re playing now, they could avoid such a scenario and have a postseason berth wrapped up well before Week 17."

CBSSports (Prisco): 4th (7th): "Going into Seattle and pushing around the Seahawks was impressive. Where did they find that defense?"

Foxsports: 4th (7th): "The Cowboys nearly beat themselves with stupid mistakes, but winning a close battle at the end may actually work in their favor. There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that this is the best offensive line in football after they manhandled a top defensive line on the road."

Penn Live: 4th (8th): "It is one thing to be 5-1 and it is quite another to validate the team's best six-game mark in seven years by defeating the defending champs on the road, as Dallas did in Seattle. Given that the next three games are at home, the momentum may only continue to roll downhill much like the running of the league's leading rusher, DeMarco Murray."

M-Live: 4th (9th): "Props to the Cowboys for doing something few expected, winning in Seattle. The win was more convincing than the final score suggests."

Shutdown Corner: 4th (9th): "I assume most non-Cowboys fans are waiting for them to turn into a pumpkin. But the truth is, they've played like a clear top five team so far this season." 4th (12th): "If Philip Rivers wasn't playing football this season, I would produce five MVP trophies and hand them to Nos. 77, 65, 72, 70 and 68. Yes, No. 29 has ball'd out, too. But, come on, what offensive line in the league is playing better than Dallas' unit? Unfortunately, it appears right tackle Doug Free will miss a few weeks with a foot injury, but still ... Some of those holes Sunday against the big, bad Seahawks were ... well ... big and bad."

Stat-based rankings 2nd (7th). This site measures the relative strength of all teams using team performance, home/away status, margin of victory and other factors.

Numberfire: 3rd (15th). 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 win by 5.2 points to such a league-average team.

Massey-Peabody: 4th (4th). 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.

Aikman Efficiency Ratings: 4th (6th): This metric combines seven stats into one number: yards per rush, yards per pass play, turnovers per game, first downs per game, third-down percentage, points per game (unit on field) and points per red zone possession. 6th (9th). These rankings are based on an ELO rating system.

ColdHardFootballFacts: 9th (11th). This indicator ranks teams based on their average ranking across a range of CHFF's Quality Stats.

Football Outsiders: 10th (12th). FO have the Cowboys with the 8th-ranked offense (n.c.), the 24th-ranked defense (+8) and the 10th-ranked special teams (-10). 13th (14th): "Dallas only moves up one spot despite upset in Seattle. Home game against the Giants is the first of three straight in Dallas. The 'Boys are 6-20 ATS L26 home favorites."

Oddsshark: 14th (15th). Oddsshark use a multitude of stats to establish an offensive and defensive power ranking, which they then adjust for the strength of schedule.

Sagarin NFL rankings: 15th (15th). These are rankings based on W/L record, points differential and schedule strength.


The table below summarizes the power rankings for the four NFC East teams. As usual, we'll update the remaining rankings once they're available.

Dal_medium Phi_medium Nyg_medium Was_medium
Week 7 Week 6 Week 7 Week 6 Week 7 Week 6 Week 7 Week 6
USA Today 2 7 4 5 20 16 26 26
SBNation 2 7 4 8 16 14 30 28
Pro Football Talk 2 9 5 5 22 19 30 29
ESPN 3 6 4 4 20 13 28 26
Newsday 3 10 6 6 18 12 27 26
CBSSports 4 7 5 6 14 11 30 29
Foxsports 4 7 3 6 19 14 28 28
Shutdown Corner 4 9 3 5 23 20 29 29
M-live 4 9 3 5 18 14 27 27 4 12 3 6 18 13 27 27
Avg.Opinion-based 3.2 8.3 4.0 5.6 18.8 14.6 28.2 27.5
Team Rankings 2 7 6 8 16 9 26 27
Numberfire 3 15 7 13 17 11 24 23
Massey Peabody 4 4 16 21 23 16 25 25
Aikman Ratings 4 6 24 28 16 9 22 21 6 9 9 10 19 17 30 30
Cold Hard Football Facts 9 11 15 19 21 12 25 25
Football Outsiders 10 12 6 13 21 8 23 23
Covers 13 14 12 15 20 16 25 27
Oddsshark 14 15 5 8 23 20 28 26
Sagarin 15 15 9 13 19 16 25 27
Avg. Stat-based 8.0 10.8 10.9 14.8 19.5 13.4 25.3 25.4
Total 5.6 9.7 7.4 10.5 19.1 14.2 26.7 26.4

Once again, the stat-based rankings lag behind the opinion-based rankings this week. What's your take, are the Cowboys a top five team like most of the opinion rankings suggest, or are they a borderline top team, as the stat-based rankings suggest?

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