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NFL Power Rankings Week 15: Cowboys Preparing For Showdown In Philly

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

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Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Pat Kirwan of CBSSports notes that the last seven teams to play Seattle lost the following week. Is such a largely random stat enough to carry the Cowboys over the Eagles on Sunday?

Who cares, as long as they win.

On to this week's power rankings.

Opinion-based rankings: Cowboys move up or stay put

Week 15 Rankings (previous rankings in parenthesis) (Peter King): 6th (11th): "Speaking of a division being there to win, Dallas is in this position: For the fourth consecutive December, the Cowboys will play to win the division; in the previous three years, that has come in Week 17. This year it’s in Week 15, assuming, of course, that if the Cowboys can beat Philly on Sunday night they finish the job against Indy and Washington."

M-Live: 7th (8th): "If the Cowboys played the Bears every week, DeMarco Murray might run for 2,500 yards." 7th (8th): "When the Cowboys are clicking they can mitigate the pressure coming at Tony Romo but controlling the line of scrimmage via the run game. The defense has its holes, but the Cowboys have proven that they can win by limiting opponents’ possessions."

CBSSports (Kirwan): 7th (10th): "The Cowboys easily beat the Bears last Thursday and will have 10 days to prepare for the game with the Eagles. The Eagles not only lost to the Seahawks, but the last seven teams to play Seattle lost the following week. The Dallas defense wil be under the microscope after giving up 33 points to the Eagles a few weeks ago."

Washington Post: 7th (10th): "The Cowboys have another chance at the Eagles with the NFC East lead at stake, this time in Philadelphia. They have to hope that QB Tony Romo plays far better than he did in the lopsided Thanksgiving loss in Dallas. It stands to reason that he would, with 10 days between games this time. Romo doesn’t seem able at this point to withstand playing two games in a five-day span, as he was doing in the last matchup with the Eagles."

USA Today: 8th (8th): "They're riding DeMarco Murray (41 touches Thursday) like a man they don't have to preserve beyond this season. Oh, wait ... "

Shutdown Corner: 8th (8th): "Tony Romo should be better than he was in the first Eagles meeting, with a week and a few extra days of rest. He'll need to be better." 8th (8th): "Dallas got a much-needed road win in Chicago on Thursday, dispelling those stupid December stats we'd been hearing about ad nauseam -- as if some kind of monumental shift actually happens on Dec. 1 every year. DeMarco Murray continued his on-field brilliance Thursday with yet another 100-yard day. That's all I'm gonna say about that."

SB Nation: 8th (10th): "The Cowboys stuck to their identity on offense and had no trouble taking out the Bears, setting themselves up nicely for a rematch with the Eagles this week. "

Bleacher Report: 9th (9th): "The Cowboys—win or lose—are one of the league's most dangerous offenses, and as long as the defense is passable, they can win plenty of games."

Opinion-based rankings: Cowboys win and move down

CBSSports (Prisco): 7th (6th): "The Bears proved to be a nice tonic for the Thanksgiving Day loss to the Eagles. Now comes the big one for first place."

Newsday: 7th (6th): "At last, something other than an eight-win season. Cowboys get the best of an awful Bears team to break Jason Garrett’s streak of three straight 8-8 records. Still a ways to go before giving Garrett a long-awaited playoff berth."

Bleeding Green Nation: 9th (8th): "Dallas rebounded in Week 14 after being dominated by Philadelphia in Week 13. The Cowboys relied heavily on DeMarco Murray (surprise). After the game Tony Romo revealed he has been dealing with a broken rib along with his back injury. He also noted he didn't receive a pain-killer shot prior to the Eagles-Cowboys game due to the short week."

Stat-based rankings

Oddsshark: 12th (14th). Oddsshark use a multitude of stats to establish an offensive and defensive power ranking, which they then adjust for the strength of schedule.

Beatgraphs: 13th (17th). 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.

Sagarin NFL rankings: 14th (16th). These are rankings based on W/L record, points differential and schedule strength.

Numberfire: 15th (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. 15th (20th). This site measures the relative strength of all teams using team performance, home/away status, margin of victory and other factors.

ColdHardFootballFacts: 17th (17th). This indicator ranks teams based on their average ranking across a range of CHFF's Quality Stats.


The table below summarizes the power rankings for the NFC playoff contenders. With the 49ers all but eliminated from contention, we're including the ridiculousness that is the NFC South division leader in this table. The teams are sorted by their playoff odds, not their playoff seeding. As usual, we'll update the missing rankings as they become available.

Gb_medium Ari_medium Sea_medium Det_medium Phi_medium Dal_medium Atl_medium
Record 10-3 10-3 9-4 9-4 9-4 9-4 4-8
Playoff Odds 98% 97% 87% 84% 80% 51% 50%
CBSSports 1 4 5 10 6 7 21
Pro Football Talk 1 5 3 9 6 7 24
Foxsports 1 9 4 5 6 7 20
Newsday 1 5 3 8 6 7 22
M-live 1 8 3 9 5 7 22
Shutdown Corner 2 6 3 9 7 8 23 1 6 4 9 7 8 22
ESPN 1 5 4 9 7 8 21
USA Today 1 7 3 9 6 8 22
SBNation 1 7 3 9 5 8 22
Avg.Opinion-based 1.1 6.2 3.5 8.6 6.1 7.5 21.9
Massey Peabody 3 23 4 16 10 9 19
Aikman Ratings 2 11 5 7 19 10 18
Whatifsports 1 10 3 7 6 11 22
Oddsshark 2 17 6 14 8 12 23
Beatgraphs 8 2 5 9 11 13 26
Football Outsiders 4 20 3 9 7 13 19
Sagarin 4 6 3 11 9 14 23
Numberfire 3 8 5 6 12 15 16
Team Rankings 2 5 4 10 7 15 21
Cold Hard Football Facts 2 16 4 11 11 17 21
Avg. Stat-based 3.1 11.8 4.2 10.0 10.0 12.9 20.8
Total 2.1 9.0 3.8 9.3 8.0 10.2 21.3

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