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NFL Power Rankings Week 12: Tony Romo-Propelled Cowboys Rocket Up The Rankings

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Tony Romo's return has made a significant impact for the Cowboys on the field and in the power rankings.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The Cowboys rocket up the power rankings this week, with some rankings moving them up by as much as 11 spots. Not bad for a 3-7 team.

But are the Cowboys really a 3-7 team, or are they, as ESPN notes, 3-0 this season when Romo starts and 0-7 with other starting quarterbacks?

In any case, Tony Romo's return has made a significant impact for the Cowboys on the field and in the power rankings. Here's a look at the Dallas Cowboys and NFC East power rankings heading into Week 12 of the 2015 NFL season.

Opinion-based rankings

Shutdown Corner - No. 16 (+6)

It just feels like if they can beat Carolina on Thanksgiving, it's game on in the NFC East race.

CBSSports - No. 17 (+11)

They are 3-7, which is why they are down this low. But with Tony Romo back, they are dangerous. They have a big one against the Panthers on Thursday.

Foxsports - No. 18 (+11)

With Tony Romo, the Cowboys are able to establish a balanced offense and keep the chains moving on third downs. Sean Lee made an immediate impact after returning to the lineup by leading the defense in tackles

USA Today - No. 19 (+9)

Let's hope rust has come off, Tony. Two INTs and backhanded, southpaw flips will likely be disastrous vs. Panthers.

Washington Post - No. 20 (+7)

The pattern is becoming familiar: When Romo plays, the Cowboys win. When he didn’t play, they lost. The Cowboys seem convinced that, with Romo back in the lineup, they still can make a late-season run at the playoffs. But their margin for error is small and they still have the Panthers and Packers left on the schedule.

NFL.com - No. 20 (+6)

Tony Romo, the Tom Berenger of the NFL -- sans the half-mullet and Jobu helping out his teammates. No voodoo needed in Miami, as the franchise QB led the Cowboys back into NFC East relevance with the win in Miami. No, Romo wasn't perfect, as evidenced by his two picks, but he didn't get much help in pass pro; Olivier Vernon routinely beat the Dallas offensive line. The unit compensated in the run game, though -- firing out for a steady, plodding ground attack that ran the clock out on the Dolphins.

ESPN - No. 21 (+6)

Tony Romo has returned and all is right again at Jerry World. The Cowboys are 3-0 this season when Romo starts (0-7 with other starting quarterbacks).

Newsday - No. 21 (+6)

It's Tony Romo to the rescue, and just in the nick of time. As woeful as the record remains after a solid win in Miami after Romo gets back from a broken collarbone, the Cowboys are just two games off the NFC East lead with six to play.

MLive.com - No. 21 (+10).

Tony Romo is back, but it's probably too little too late. Dallas still trails the Giants by two games with just six weeks to go.

Bleacher Report - No. 26 (+3)

The NFC East is still a flaming tire fire, but even in a weak division the Cowboys will need to get sizzling fast.

They're two games back of the New York Giants. That sounds encouraging, but they also need to hop over two other teams, and the Cowboys only have two divisional games left. The only grasping hope lies in going 5-1 to finish the season.

Stat-based rankings

Massey-Peabody - No. 12 (+10). 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.

FiveThirtyEight - No. 15 (+4). Elo ratings are a simple system that estimates each team’s skill level using only the final scores and locations of each game.

Sagarin Ratings: No. 19 (- -). These are rankings based on W/L record, points differential and schedule strength.

BeatGraphs.com: No. 22 (+6). 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.

Oddsshark: No. 22 (-3). Oddsshark use a multitude of stats to establish an offensive and defensive power ranking, which they then adjust for the strength of schedule.

Coldhardfootballfacts - No. 23 (+4). This indicator ranks teams based on their average ranking across a range of CHFF's Quality Stats.

Numberfire - No. 23 (- -) 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.

Teamrankings.com - No. 26 (+4). This site measures the relative strength of all teams using team performance, home/away status, margin of victory and other factors.

Star_medium

The table below summarizes the power rankings for the four NFC East teams as well as Sunday's opponent, the Panthers.

Dal_medium Phi_medium Nyg_medium Was_medium Car_medium
This Week Last Week This Week Last Week This Week Last Week This Week Last Week This Week
Shutdown Corner 16 22 21 16 14 15 24 21 2
CBS (Prisco) 17 28 23 20 12 14 24 22 2
Foxsports 18 29 26 23 10 10 19 14 2
USA Today 19 28 23 20 10 12 22 15 2
Washington Post 20 27 23 21 11 11 22 18 2
NFL.com 20 26 24 15 9 10 22 17 2
M-live 21 31 25 22 9 10 23 20 2
ESPN 21 27 25 19 15 10 20 20 2
Newsday 21 27 19 13 12 15 22 18 2
Bleacher Report 26 29 21 16 10 10 14 17 2
Avg.Opinion-based 19.9 27.4 23 18.5 11.2 11.7 21.2 18.2 2
Massey Peabody 12 22 9 13 18 15 24 26 5
FiveThirtyEight 15 19 17 11 13 13 28 28 2
Sagarin 19 - - 16 - - 12 - - 23 - - 5
Oddsshark 22 19 15 8 14 15 19 21 3
Beatgraphs 22 28 16 15 8 7 28 24 1
Cold Hard Football Facts 23 27 17 12 15 15 25 18 5
Numberfire 23 - - 17 - - 14 - - 20 - - 3
Team Rankings 26 30 23 19 14 17 19 18 1
Avg. Stat-based 20.2 24.1 16.2 13 13.5 13.6 23.2 22.5 3.1
Total 20.0 26.1 20.0 16.4 12.2 12.4 22.1 19.8 2.5