If the season were to end today, the Cowboys would be the fifth seed in the NFC playoffs, because the Eagles lead the NFC East by virtue of a better win percentage in division games.
But all of that goes out the window on Thanksgiving, when the Cowboys and Eagles play for the division lead. The Cowboys will look to Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, DeMarco Murray, and the O-line to continue their stellar play, the Eagles will look to Mark Sanchez not to lose them the game.
Until then, we can only review today's power rankings to find out in where they slot the Cowboys and how this compares to the remaining field of NFC playoff contenders.
|Opinion-based rankings: Cowboys ranked ahead of the Eagles
Week 13 Rankings (previous rankings in parenthesis)
Foxsports.com: 3rd (4th): "The Cowboys’ recipe for success has largely remained the same -- dominate the line of scrimmage on offense while making timely defensive plays generated by the pass rush. This season, the Cowboys are leaving the close games with victories and not losses."
Newsday: 3rd (7th): "Terrific performance by Tony Romo, whose four touchdowns get the best of the upset-minded Giants on the road. TD pass to Dez Bryant in the final minutes gives Dallas the comeback win."
CBSSports (Prisco): 4th (4th): "They face a huge challenge for the division lead this week with the Eagles. Tony Romo has been on fire since the back injury."
ProFootballTalk: 4th (4th): "If Jerry Jones gets the bigger piece of the wishbone, we know what he’ll be asking for."
NFL.com: 5th (5th): "Didn't you get the feeling that, if Tony Romo didn't deliver, a bunch of "Tony Chokemo" tweets would come to pass, but if he did, the offensive line would get all the credit? Of course, the Dallas quarterback did receive enough time to scan the field, decide between Ginger and Mary Ann and learn how to say "single-high safety" in Spanish thanks to Rosetta Stone ... but still. Romo made pinpoint throws and avoided the happy feet that often come when a quarterback sits in the pocket for extended periods of time. "
USA Today: 5th (6th): "Ground-and-pound offense continues to get job done. But allowing 5.9 yards per play isn't an Achilles' heel. It's an Achilles' leg. "
CBSSports (Kirwan): 5th (6th): "The Cowboys started out slowly in New York but, when it counted, the offensive line shut down the pass rush and Tony Romo led his group down the field for the winning score. Now they have a Thanksgiving Day game vs. the Eagles with the division lead on the line."
ESPN: 5th (6th): "Dez Bryant caught his 49th and 50th career touchdowns Sunday night. According to Elias, only six players needed fewer games to reach 50 career receiving touchdowns than Bryant (70)."
Washington Post: 5th (8th): "They struggled Sunday night at the Meadowlands but found a way to win. Now it’s time to get serious about deciding the NFC East winner. The Cowboys and Eagles play twice in the next three games, beginning with Thursday’s Thanksgiving matchup at Dallas."
Bleacher Report: 6th (7th): "The play from Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, DeMarco Murray and especially the offensive line was brilliant in the win. The defense was up-and-down, with rookie wideout Odell Beckham Jr. having quite the game against the secondary—but they held in the fourth quarter when it mattered. Now the Cowboys are ready for a showdown with the Philadelphia Eagles on Thanksgiving. Winner takes the lead in the division and in the power rankings."
|Opinion-based rankings: Cowboys ranked behind the Eagles
Bleeding Green Nation: 6th (8th): "The Cowboys escaped New York with a win but didn't look overly impressive in doing so. That Dallas defense is highly suspect."
SB Nation: 6th (8th): "Sitting at No. 6 are the , who returned off of a bye week and played the brand of football that now has them at 8-3 this season. They combined a smashmouth run game with an explosive passing attack to knock off the pesky (who were aided by Odell Beckham Jr.'s absurdly awesome catch) in the Meadowlands. As long as Tony Romo's back is healthy, the Cowboys remain a contender."
M-Live: 6th (8th): "It wasn't a good defensive performance for the Cowboys, but Tony Romo hung tough, rallying Dallas past the Giants behind four touchdown passes without an interception."
SI.com (Peter King): 6th (9h): "Survived The Odell Experience. Finished off the Giants for good. Now comes the harder part: Landing in Dallas at 4 a.m. Central Time today and prepping for two showdowns against the co-division leaders in the next three weeks."
Shutdown Corner: 7th (8th): " since fracturing the transverse process in his back: 38-of-53 for 521 yards, seven touchdowns, zero interceptions and one last-minute game-winning touchdown drive. Someday more people will appreciate how good he is."
Beatgraphs: 8th (11th). 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.
Massey-Peabody: 9th (9th). 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.
Numberfire: 10th (9th). 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 3.12 points against such a league-average team.
Oddsshark: 10th (9th). Oddsshark use a multitude of stats to establish an offensive and defensive power ranking, which they then adjust for the strength of schedule.
Football Outsiders: 10th (13th). FO have the Cowboys with the 5th-ranked offense, the 25th-ranked defense and the 13th-ranked special teams.
WhatIfSports.com: 12th (12th). 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.
Aikman Efficiency Ratings: 7th (7th): 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.
ColdHardFootballFacts: 13th (13th). This indicator ranks teams based on their average ranking across a range of CHFF's Quality Stats.
Sagarin NFL rankings: 13th (14th). These are rankings based on W/L record, points differential and schedule strength.
Teamrankings.com: 17th (15th). This site measures the relative strength of all teams using team performance, home/away status, margin of victory and other factors - and manages to rank the Cowboys behind such powerhouses as the 4-7 Rams.
The table below summarizes the power rankings for the NFC playoff contenders minus the ridiculousness that is the NFC South division leader. The teams are sorted by where they stand in the current playoff seedings, not by where they are slotted according to the power rankings. As usual, we'll update the data as it becomes available.