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NFL Power Rankings Week 5: "Cowboys Could Be Scary With Tony Romo Under Center."

The rookie-led Cowboys have been very impressive to start the season, how good will they be when their veteran starters return?

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Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings, Broncos, and Eagles are the only undefeated teams left in the league. There are nine teams behind those three undefeated teams with a 3-1 record, but only three of those teams, the Falcons, Rams, and Cowboys have won their last three games.

Based purely on their record over the first four weeks and their play over the last three, you'd expect the Cowboy to be ranked somewhere in the top ten in this week's power rankings. But the world of power rankings is not a very rational place, so let's see where the Cowboys rank this week.

Here's a summary of where the Cowboys are ranked heading into Week 5, and a little further down you can see how that compares to the rest of the NFC East.

Power Rankings

Week 5 Rankings (previous rankings in parenthesis)

Washington Post - No. 6 (8)

The Dak Prescott-Tony Romo thing is not as complicated as everyone is making it out to be. The longer that Prescott keeps playing this way, the longer it will take for the Cowboys to declare Romo healthy enough to play.

Mile High Report - No. 6 (10)

I don't understand this team of rookies. (Prisco) - No. 8 (9)

Dak Prescott continues to play well and take care of the football. Does he keep the job when Tony Romo comes back? No. 8 (9)

With Ezekiel Elliott's second straight 100-yard game (and then some), and Dak Prescott winning his third straight start, it's easy to get excited about the Cowboys. Demarcus Lawrence comes back from suspension this week. Dez Bryant should return sooner than later. Tony Romo is getting healthier. Before we go, though, how about giving some props to a pair of overlooked dudes who are contributing? Consider Morris Claiborne Exhibit A of what playing with confidence will do for your career. Meanwhile, Alfred Morris only impresses with his quality spot play. What a smart runner. What a smart free-agent acquisition.

FOX Sports - No. 8 (10)

Dak Prescott improves each week, as does Ezekiel Elliott. Down Dez Bryant, Tyron Smith, Orlando Scandrick and La’el Collins, all the Cowboys did was go out and overcome an early 14-point deficit to beat the 49ers and move to 3-1. This team could be scary with Tony Romo under center.

Shutdown Corner - No. 9 (15)

I’d still go with Tony Romo when he’s healthy.

ESPN - No. 11 (11)

It might be time to start believing the hype on Dak Prescott. We've all heard he hasn't thrown an interception this season, but according to Elias Sports Bureau, his 131 attempts are tied with Warren Moon for second-most without a pick to start a career and trail only Tom Brady (162).

Chicago Tribune - No. 12 (16)

Ezekiel Elliott is going to be fun to watch in the second half of the season when he's more patient with zone-blocking scheme.

Bleacher Report - No. 14 (16)

It's tough to remember Dak Prescott is a rookie sometimes. The kid just doesn't make mistakes. He just posted another ho-hum two-touchdown, zero-pick day like he's not straight out of the SEC. He's made to play NFL quarterback. That's not to say this Cowboys offense was a passive attack. They still pushed the ball downfield and took what San Francisco gave them. And they did it without Dez Bryant.

Instead, Ezekiel Elliott and a bend-but-rarely-break defense (two early touchdowns, nothing after that) carried this team. Prescott just made sure everything ran on schedule.

USA Today - No. 15 (19)

Amazingly lost amid Prescott vs. Romo debate is fact that Ezekiel Elliott has been as advertised, on pace for league-high 1,600 rushing yards.


The table below summarizes the power rankings for the four NFC East teams and next week's opponent, the Bengals.

Dal_medium Phi_medium Nyg_medium Was_medium Cin_medium
Wk5 Wk 5 Wk 5 Wk 5 Wk 5
Washington Post 6 5 19 18 9
Mile High Report 6 3 18 20 10 8 6 20 18 9
CBS 8 5 15 18 13
Foxsports 8 5 19 20 10
Shutdown Corner 9 5 15 21 10
ESPN 11 7 12 19 10
Chicago Tribune 12 4 15 17 9
Bleacher Report 14 5 15 20 7
USA Today 15 4 17 20 13
Average 9.7 4.9 16.5 19.1 10.0
Std Deviation 3.2 1.1 2.5 1.3 1.8

A low standard deviation indicates that the data points tend to be close to the mean (also called the expected value) of the data set, while a high standard deviation indicates that the data points are spread out over a wider range of values.

In the specific case of the power rankings, we see that the Cowboys have a high standard deviation, while the four other teams have much lower deviations. This is an indication that the different rankings use other factors to rank the Cowboys than they do the other teams on this list, up to and including personal biases.

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