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NFL Power Rankings Week 4: Too Early To Say How Good The Cowboys Are This Year?

The Cowboys have now won two games in a row, will that see their power rankings fortunes improve?

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Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

There are three undefeated teams in the league after week three, and 13 teams with a 2-1 record, meaning exactly half of the league's teams have a winning record, while the other half has a losing record.

Based purely on their record over the first three weeks, you'd expect the Cowboy to be ranked somewhere in the top half of the league in this week's power rankings, particularly considering that the Cowboys are one of only eight teams to have won their last two games.

But in the world of power rankings, thoughts like that are footnotes at best, as most power rankings place the Cowboys in the bottom half of the league. Looks like the Cowboys currently are the Rodney Dangerfield of the NFL: They get no respect.

But is it really that, or is it more like Pat Kirwan of CBSSports says below, that "the next two games -- at home vs. the Saints and Texans -- could provide defining moments" for the Cowboys and their season expectations?

You be the judge of that, and let us know where you stand in the comments section. But before you head there, here's a summary of where the Cowboys are ranked this week, and a little further down you can see how that compares to the rest of the NFC East.

Opinion-based rankings from major media networks

Week 4 Rankings (previous rankings in parenthesis)

CBSSports (Prisco): 17th (26th): "That was an impressive come-from-behind victory for Tony Romo and the Cowboys. They are 2-1. Can you believe it?"

ESPN: 18th (22nd): "The Cowboys finished the game with more designed rushing plays (28) than designed drop-backs (24), improving the team's record to 8-1 under Jason Garrett when more rushes than passes are called."

USA Today: 19th (22nd): "Rushing leader DeMarco Murray another early MVP candidate. Home date with Saints should reveal if Dallas' warts have been excised."

CBSSports (Kirwan): 19th (26th): "This defense is overachieving because of defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli. RB DeMarco Murray is on pace for a 2,000-yard season. If this solid O-line gives Tony Romo time, they could even move up these rankings. The next two games -- at home vs. the Saints and Texans -- could provide defining moments." 20th (21st). "It's ironic that back when the Cowboys were considered one of the most talented teams in the NFL -- from 2007 to 2009 or so -- no one thought they had the character to overcome adversity. Today, no one thinks Dallas has a Pomeranian's chance of doing anything -- and yet, there the Cowboys were, pulling a victory out of their pink-bowed fur Sunday. If only they could've come back from that same deficit in a certain playoff game 20 years ago."

Foxsports: 22nd (23rd): "After going down 21 points to QB Austin Davis and the Rams, the Cowboys battled back to steal a win. It’s risky to read too much into this game as the Rams inexplicably blew coverage on Dez Byrant’s long touchdown and Davis sealed the game by throwing a pick six. The Cowboys have a strong offensive line and running game, and a better defense than expected after hiring Rod Marinelli as defensive coordinator, but unfortunately they don’t get to play the Rams again."

Opinion-based rankings from blogs & other media

M-Live: 19th (23rd): "You have to like the fight Dallas showed on the road, coming back from 21-0 down. That said, no team should be falling behind 21 points to the Rams."

Newsday: 19th (24th): "The glass half full shows the Cowboys tying a team record with a comeback from a 21-point deficit. The glass half empty shows the Cowboys getting in that position in the first place against a third-string quarterback. Take your pick."

Shutdown Corner: 20th (26th): "One good half doesn't mean Tony Romo is all the way back, fully healthy. But at halftime on Sunday, there had to be a lot of concern about him in Dallas."

SB Nation: 21st (25th): No comments for the second straight week, which makes you wonder what the point of opinion-based rankings are, if they don't provide an opinion to explain their ranking.

ProFootballTalk: xxth (23rd): "This team is still a long way from glory."

Statistics-based rankings 12th (19th). 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. 13th (17th) This site measures the relative strength of all teams using team performance, home/away status, margin of victory and other factors.

Pro Football Reference: 17th (6th). PFRs Simple Rating System (SRS) takes only two factors into account: strength of schedule and adjusted margin of victory.

Sagarin NFL rankings: 19th (19th). These are rankings based on W/L record, points differential and schedule strength. 19th (17th). "Dallas rallied from 21-0 deficit to beat St. Louis despite getting outgained by 108 yards. Cowboys 2-10 ATS L12 at home vs. teams with losing road record."

Numberfire: 22nd (23rd). 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 lose by 1.4 points to such a league-average team.

Oddsshark: 22nd (22nd). Oddsshark use a multitude of stats to establish an offensive and defensive power ranking, which they then adjust for the strength of schedule.


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

Dal_medium Phi_medium Nyg_medium Was_medium No_medium
Wk 4 Wk 3 Wk 4 Wk 3 Wk 4 Wk 3 Wk 4 Wk 3 Week 4 17 26 4 6 25 28 26 25 18
ESPN 18 22 4 4 26 30 23 25 15
USA Today 19 22 4 5 25 30 22 23 16
M-live 19 23 5 3 28 31 25 24 15
Pro Football Talk 19 23 4 7 26 30 23 22 11
Newsday 19 24 4 4 24 29 22 21 7 20 21 2 3 21 30 26 27 14
Shutdown Corner 20 26 5 5 29 30 28 27 9
SBNation 21 25 5 6 27 29 25 27 15
Foxsports 22 23 6 5 20 28 27 27 19
Avg.Opinion-based 19.4 23.5 4.3 4.8 25.1 29.5 24.7 24.8 13.9
Beatgraphs 12 19 14 9 18 24 24 15 21
Team Rankings 13 17 9 12 20 27 28 28 17
Pro Football Reference 17 6 26 26 21 31 24 17 8 19 17 13 7 20 29 22 25 5
Sagarin 19 19 8 8 21 23 20 21 5
Oddsshark 22 22 5 3 24 26 25 27 9
Numberfire 22 23 6 5 26 28 12 11 4
Avg. Stat-based 17.7 17.5 11.5 10 21.4 26.8 22.1 20.5 9.8
Total 18.7 21 7.2 6.9 23.5 28.4 23.6 23 12.2

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