The Cowboys are still in business in the NFC East, but did yesterday's win just put off the inevitable for a few more weeks? Was that too little, too late?
That depends on what the rest of the NFC East does over the last quarter of the season, which is why today we look at where all four NFC East teams are ranked, and sneak a peek at the Packers too.
This week's power rankings for your delectation.
Newsday - No. 20 (+6)
Matt Cassel sets up Dan Bailey with the winning 54-yard field goal, and the Cowboys are still in business in the NFC East. Strange but true.
Washington Post - No. 21 (+6)
They at last won a game without Tony Romo at QB and WR Dez Bryant made some contributions in crunch time Monday after being unproductive most the night. But the Cowboys had to overcome their own clock mismanagement to finally prevail on Dan Bailey’s clutch FG.
Shutdown Corner - No. 22 (+4)
Here's why the strategy to not put Tony Romo on injured reserve was smart, and not because that awful win Monday night leaves them one game out in the NFC East. If there's even a 1 percent chance that the Cowboys make the playoffs and Romo is healthy by then, that provides infinitely more value than whoever would get Dallas' 53rd spot on the roster. It's amazing when you see teams screw this up. Having an extra player who will be inactive each week until season's end is not more valuable than the chance of having your starting quarterback return for the playoffs, however small that chance is.
ESPN - No. 23 (+6)
At 4-8, the Cowboys are just a game back of the NFC East lead. However, Dallas has the second-hardest remaining strength of schedule in the NFL.
Foxsports - No. 23 (-2)
NFL.com - No. 26 (+-0)
Stop if you've heard this before: The Cowboys only have to ________ to win the NFC East. Unreal that this team, after losing Tony Romo, prematurely firing Brandon Weeden (in the minds of some), tossing Matt Cassel into the fire, getting Romo back for seven quarters, then turning back to Cassel, still has a chance to take the division. Dallas, at 4-8, has as much business being in a division race as Ryan Mallet does keynoting a team leadership conference.
Bleacher Report - No. 26 (+2)
But despite all that awfulness from two teams riding sewage-level quarterbacks, there's now an all-too real chance one of them will be hosting a playoff game. At 4-8 the Cowboys are just one game back of the NFC East division lead. Truly haunting stuff.
MLive.com - No. 27 (+3).
Lose the turnover battle, score just one touchdown in four trips to the red zone and still win on the road. Somehow, the Cowboys are one game out of first in the NFC East.
USA Today - No. 28 (+2)
Just when you thought they'd flatlined, a heartbeat. But tough tests loom next two weeks at Green Bay and home vs. Jets.
FiveThirtyEight - No. 17 (+1). 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. 20 (+4). These are rankings based on W/L record, points differential and schedule strength.
Teamrankings.com - No. 21 (+9). This site measures the relative strength of all teams using team performance, home/away status, margin of victory and other factors.
Aikman Efficiency Ratings - No. 22 (+2) 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 - No. 24 (+3). This indicator ranks teams based on their average ranking across a range of CHFF's Quality Stats.
BeatGraphs.com: No. 25 (+-0). 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.
Numberfire - No. 25 (+1) 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.
Oddsshark: No. 26 (-2). 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 as well as the Week 14 opponent, the Packers.