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NFL Power Rankings Week 10: Are Romo-Less Cowboys A Top Ten Team?

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Some power rankings are dropping the Cowboys like a hot potato, others hold out hope for the quick return of Tony Romo. Which will it be for you?

Wesley Hitt

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 other NFC East teams

Opinion-based rankings

Week 10 Rankings (previous rankings in parenthesis)

CBSSports (Prisco): 5th (4th): "They found out the hard way that Tony Romo is their MVP, and not DeMarco Murray. They head to London to play Jacksonville hoping like heck he's back."

Bleeding Green Nation: 5th (4th): "Two straight losses in a row for Dallas. Last week I wondered aloud if their Week 8 loss was just the beginning of more struggles to come. Getting quarterback Tony Romo back this week should help, however."

USA Today: 6th (5th): "So maybe they should've tried a little harder to work things out with Kyle Orton, who's now 3-1 as Buffalo's emergency QB. "

Newsday: 6th (5th): "The Cowboys got a glimpse of life without Tony Romo, and it wasn’t pretty. Brandon Weeden looked like he did during his ill-fated run in Cleveland, and the Cowboys paid with their second straight loss. Dallas is optimistic Romo will be available for Sunday’s game against the Jaguars in London. "

Bleacher Report: 7th (4th): "The Cowboys are still talented enough to win the NFC East and even the NFC, but a healthy Romo is the key to it all. For now, it's just a three-spot drop, but the longer Romo is out, the more they'll plummet in the rankings."

NFL.com: 7th (5th): "Fans in Dallas who've been calling for Tony Romo to be replaced over the years got a glimpse of what that would look like Sunday afternoon. Get excited. Thought Brandon Weeden might thrive, given that little was expected. Instead, he just matched expectations."

Shutdown Corner: 7th (5th): "Here's what we learned about the Cowboys on Sunday: When they lose a top 10 quarterback they can't beat a team like the Cardinals. So they're like every other team. *shrugs*"

Foxsports.com: 7th (5th): "It turns out the offense did skip a beat or five with Brandon Weeden starting, and this game should be a statement to all those who have doubted Tony Romo. The good news is that Romo is expected back this week."

Penn-Live: 8th (4th): "Tony Romo was relegated to wearing the headset Sunday against Arizona. Maybe Jerry Jones was on the other end imploring his QB to get healthy -- fast. Under the guidance of Brandon Weeden, the offense produced just 10 points and 266 yards while DeMarco Murray (19 carries, 79 yards) had his streak of eight 100-yard games snapped as the Pokes fell out of first place in the NFC East."

ESPN.com: 9th (4th): "The Cowboys were 6-1 at one point this season with back-to-back home games coming up. They are now 6-3 and still have four games left against division rivals."

M-Live: 10th (6th): "Brandon Weeden vs. the blitz-happy Cardinals was a recipe for disaster. The Cowboys can't afford to be without Tony Romo for too long."

CBSSports (Kirwan): 11th (3rd): "A two-game losing streak and a QB on the sidelines will push a team down the poll. The defense is being exposed right now and finding out that great effort and loyalty to the scheme can only get you so far. They need playmakers."

SB Nation: 11th (5th): "Arizona has been getting things done the old fashioned way this season. That was the case Sunday as they knocked off the Brandon Weeden-led Cowboys by stuffing the Cowboys' greatest strength -- their run game. The Cardinals limited DeMarco Murray to 79 yards on 19 carries when Dallas needed him the most without Tony Romo."

SI.com (Peter King): 13th (2nd): "Why are the Cowboys below Seattle now? Because this isn’t the same Dallas team (no Tony Romo right now, too many defensive injuries) that beat Seattle three weeks ago."

Washington Post: 15th (8th): "Tony Romo’s back is an issue again, and so is the Cowboys’ backup QB situation after Brandon Weeden’s performance in Sunday’s loss to the Cardinals. The winning formula from earlier this season unravels if the QB can’t deliver. That allows opposing defenses to stack the line of scrimmage to stop RB DeMarco Murray. It shortens drives and puts more pressure on the Dallas defense. It’s not high-alert time yet, even after two straight losses. But a defeat Sunday to the lowly Jaguars in London wouldn’t be a good sign. Romo is to be on the trip. But shouldn’t the Cowboys be able to beat Jacksonville with Weeden and allow Romo to heal?"

Stat-based rankings

Numberfire: 6th (4th). 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.

Oddsshark: 9th (9th). Oddsshark use a multitude of stats to establish an offensive and defensive power ranking, which they then adjust for the strength of schedule.

Massey-Peabody: 11th (11th). 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: 12th (3rd): 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: 12th (12th). This indicator ranks teams based on their average ranking across a range of CHFF's Quality Stats.

Teamrankings.com: 14th (9th). This site measures the relative strength of all teams using team performance, home/away status, margin of victory and other factors.

WhatIfSports.com: 15th (11th). 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.

Football Outsiders: 15th (11th). FO have the Cowboys with the 8th-ranked offense, the 22nd-ranked defense and the 22nd-ranked special teams.

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

Covers.com: 16th (15th). "Dallas heads to London with Tony Romo present and the likely starter against Jacksonville. 7-19 ATS L26 games against teams with a losing record."

Star_medium

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

Dal_medium Phi_medium Nyg_medium Was_medium Jac_medium
Week9 Week8 Week9 Week8 Week9 Week8 Week9 Week8 Week9
CBSSports 5 4 4 5 21 15 26 25 30
Pro Football Talk 6 3 3 4 25 23 26 24 29
USA Today 6 5 4 4 24 23 27 24 31
Newsday 6 5 5 7 25 23 24 22 29
NFL.com 7 5 4 4 22 21 26 22 30
Foxsports 7 5 5 3 22 19 26 25 31
Shutdown Corner 7 5 4 4 25 23 26 24 29
ESPN 9 4 4 5 24 22 26 24 31
M-live 10 6 4 4 25 21 26 23 29
SBNation 11 5 6 6 23 21 26 22 31
Avg.Opinion-based 7.4 4.7 4.3 4.6 23.6 21.1 25.9 23.5 30
Numberfire 6 4 9 7 18 17 17 20 32
Oddsshark 7 9 3 4 20 21 21 19 31
Massey Peabody 10 10 11 11 24 24 17 20 32
Aikman Ratings 12 3 20 24 21 22 24 20 29
Team Rankings 14 9 5 5 23 17 24 20 27
Whatifsports 15 11 16 8 20 21 21 24 29
Football Outsiders 15 11 6 6 23 21 22 23 31
Sagarin 16 15 5 7 21 20 26 24 32
Covers 16 15 8 10 21 19 27 24 32
Cold Hard Football Facts 18 12 17 18 21 21 23 22 29
Avg. Stat-based 12.9 9.9 10 10 21.2 20.3 22.2 21.6 30.4
Total 10.1 7.3 7.1 7.3 22.4 20.7 24 22.5 30.2

On many opinion-based rankings, the Cowboys remain a top ten team. But that has more to do with their season record than with their recent play. Obviously, the Cowboys are two very different teams with and without Romo, but should the Romo-less Cowboys be ranked this high?