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NFL Power Rankings Week 14: Life Is Tough On The NFC Playoff Bubble

A review of the latest Power Rankings published today, with a special focus on the NFC playoff contenders.

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When you lose a game against a direct playoff competitor, the power rankings aren't going to be kind to you. The only thing standing between the Cowboys and a freefall in the rankings is their 8-4 record. And as disappointing as the loss against the Eagles was, it's worth keeping in mind that only five other teams have more wins.

Nevertheless, the playoff race in the NFC just got a lot tougher for the Cowboys heading into week 14. With whoever ends up on top of the NFC South locked into the fourth seed, seven teams remain who are competing for five playoff spots.

On Thursday, the Cowboys get a chance to add another win to their record and improve their playoff odds when they travel to Chicago. 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

Week 14 Rankings (previous rankings in parenthesis)

Newsday: 6th (3rd): "Major setback for the Cowboys in a home loss to the Eagles. Still a shot at the division with a month to play, but their Thanksgiving Day no-show might come back to haunt them."

CBSSports (Prisco): 6th (4th): "Losing to the Eagles on Thanksgiving really hurts their chances to win the division. The offensive line really struggled." 8th (3rd): "The only way to slow down this Cowboys offense is with an aggressive defensive game plan that sends extra blitzers to Tony Romo’s strong side where RT Doug Free has struggled. The pass defense has also looked vulnerable over the last two weeks."

ProFootballTalk: 8th (4th): "Death, taxes, and an 8-8 finish for the Cowboys. " 8th (5th): "Ample drop for the Cowboys, who got whooped up and down the field by the rival Eagles. Dallas' secondary was absolutely atrocious, partially because the pass rush never got home. That said, safety J.J. Wilcox made up for it by laying a big hit on LeSean McCoy and talking smack afterward. Never mind that McCoy was eight yards past the line of scrimmage and Philly was up three scores."

USA Today: 8th (5th): "Three of their final four games are on road. That's a good thing because they stink at home but haven't lost (5-0) away from it."

ESPN: 8th (5th): "Tony Romo was 3-of-12 (25 percent) with two interceptions on attempts more than 10 yards downfield Thursday, his worst completion percentage on such passes this season."

Bleeding Green Nation: 8th (6th): "The Cowboys are very good when they're running the ball well, but if that's not working for them, it all shuts down. Tony Romo looked like he was seeing ghosts against Philly's pass rush."

M-Live: 8th (6th): "The Cowboys had no answer for Philadelphia's high-octane attack, allowing the Eagles to drive at least 58 yards on six different scoring drives."

Shutdown Corner: 8th (7th): "I’ve preferred the Eagles all season so that Thanksgiving result didn’t surprise me, but was a bit of a concern how lopsided it was."

Bleacher Report: 9th (6th): "The Cowboys fall down a bit in this week's ranking, but with four weeks to go, they can still get back on top of the Eagles here and in the division rankings."

CBSSports (Kirwan): 10th (5th): "Not sure if the Thanksgiving loss to the Eagles was an indication of just how mediocre the defense is or that Tony Romo couldn't get his arm ready on a short week. They will tell all of us much more this week about their true identity."

Washington Post: 10th (5th): "Playing two games in a five-day span probably is too much for QB Tony Romo at this point. He wasn’t very good in the Thanksgiving defeat to the Eagles. But he had plenty of company in that. His offensive line certainly didn’t have its best day. The Cowboys play three of their final four regular season games on the road, beginning Thursday night at Chicago. They’re the league’s only undefeated team on the road this season, at 5-0."

SB Nation: 10th (6th): "Another team mired in the late-season doldrums is the Cowboys. The game this week against the Bears is no gimme, but the real test for Romo and Company is a Week 15 trip to Philadelphia." (Peter King): 11th (6h): "Dispiriting performance by the defense Thursday, and you’ve got to wonder if the D is just running out of impact players to make impact plays. Last two weeks: 61 points and 891 yards allowed."

Stat-based rankings 10th (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.

Massey-Peabody: 11th (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.

Aikman Efficiency Ratings: 13th (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.

Oddsshark: 14th (10th). Oddsshark use a multitude of stats to establish an offensive and defensive power ranking, which they then adjust for the strength of schedule.

Numberfire: 15th (10th). 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 1.13 points against such a league-average team.

Football Outsiders: 15th (10th). FO have the Cowboys with the 8th-ranked offense, the 24th-ranked defense and the 13th-ranked special teams.

Sagarin NFL rankings: 16th (13th). These are rankings based on W/L record, points differential and schedule strength.

Beatgraphs: 17th (8th). 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.

ColdHardFootballFacts: 17th (13th). This indicator ranks teams based on their average ranking across a range of CHFF's Quality Stats. 20th (17th). This site measures the relative strength of all teams using team performance, home/away status, margin of victory and other factors.


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 their playoff odds, not their playoff seeding. As usual, we'll update the data as it becomes available.

Gb_medium Phi_medium Ari_medium Sea_medium Det_medium Dal_medium Sf_medium
Record 9-3 9-3 9-3 8-4 8-4 8-4 7-5
Playoff Odds 95% 94% 86% 72% 72% 50% 30%
Newsday 1 4 7 5 8 6 12
Source 2 3 1 4 5 6 7
USA Today 1 5 7 4 8 8 12
Pro Football Talk 1 4 6 3 10 8 17 1 4 7 6 9 8 14
Shutdown Corner 2 4 7 5 9 8 15
Foxsports 1 4 9 5 6 8 18
M-live 1 4 9 6 10 8 18
ESPN 1 4 7 5 11 8 12
SBNation 1 2 7 5 11 10 16
Avg.Opinion-based 1.2 3.8 6.7 4.8 8.7 7.8 14.1
Whatifsports 1 5 13 7 12 10 17
Massey Peabody 3 9 22 6 18 11 14
Aikman Ratings 2 15 8 6 11 13 22
Oddsshark 1 7 18 8 15 14 20
Numberfire 3 9 11 4 8 15 16
Football Outsiders 3 7 18 5 11 15 12
Sagarin 3 8 9 4 13 16 15
Beatgraphs 5 13 2 4 6 17 12
Cold Hard Football Facts 2 10 16 3 12 17 14
Team Rankings 2 5 9 4 10 20 15
Avg. Stat-based 2.5 8.8 12.6 5.1 11.6 14.8 15.7
Total 1.8 6.3 9.6 4.9 10.1 11.3 14.9

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