The Cowboys lost a game, bringing to an end what was a highly improbable winning streak to begin with. The 11 consecutive games won were three more than the previous franchise record, which further underlines just what an unlikely achievement 11 straight wins are in the NFL.
Yet they remain the team with the best record in the NFL. And while the offense has struggled mightily over the last two games - as some of the power rankings below point out - the defense has quietly stepped up and is now ranked 5th overall in points allowed, which ranks one spot ahead of the offense, which ranks sixth overall in points scored.
On to this week's power rankings.
Week 15 Rankings (previous rankings in parenthesis)
Shutdown Corner - No. 1 (1)
There’s no reason to panic, or drop them a spot yet. Sure there are flaws, but every team has them. The Cowboys kicked off Sunday night’s game, on the road and in the cold, with three fewer losses than anyone else in the NFC. There probably wasn’t a ton of urgency and it wasn’t a huge shock they lost.
FOX Sports - No. 2 (1)
The Cowboys played their worst game of the season behind two interceptions by Dak Prescott. The defense, on the other hand, played its best game, which is promising for Dallas going forward. It’s hard to knock this team down too much considering its 11-2 and had one bad game, but Prescott’s play over the past two weeks is a trend that he needs to bring to a halt.
CBS Sports - No. 2 (1)
They have to be encouraged by the improved play of the defense. The pass rush will be key going forward.
NFL.com: No. 2 (1)
The defense, bless Rod Marinelli's heart, has been playing over its head. Ezekiel Elliott delivered the quietest 100-yard game since any of Troy Hambrick's 100-yard outbursts. Meanwhile, the passing game has been mostly absent for three weeks now. Dak Prescott has thrown for 195, 139 and 165 yards, with just three touchdown passes against three giveaways. Here's the deal: Dak has enjoyed a fantastic rookie campaign, far exceeding what anyone expected. But use the eye test. The Giants went conservative on offense late because they didn't think Prescott could beat their defense. Now he'll have to rebound against the hottest defense in the league, with Tampa Bay coming to Dallas for "Sunday Night Football."
Bleacher Report - No. 2 (1)
Is the book out on how to beat Dallas? If so, Minnesota wrote it a few weeks ago in a near-miss loss. And the rival New York Giants read it cover-to-cover before serving America's Team its second loss. I'm concerned this team can't win if Dak Prescott is asked to do it all himself. I'm concerned the defense can be in the right place for big plays but not make them. But for now, I'll take Dallas' resume as a whole as a sign that dominant play can return.
USA Today - No. 2 (1)
Perhaps most concerning stat regarding offense's sudden struggles -- Dallas has converted two of 24 third downs in last two games.
ESPN - No. 2 (1)
The past two weeks the Cowboys have averaged 12.0 points per game, committed five turnovers and converted two of their 24 third-down plays (8.3 percent). Is this just a blip on the radar or is it cause for concern? We'll get a better idea this week when the Boys play the Bucs.
New York Daily News - No. 3 (2)
America's Team will have to wait at least another week to pop the champagne after losing to the Giants for the second time this year. Dak Prescott is looking more and more like a rookie. Should Jerry Jones go to the bullpen and dust off Tony Romo? Let's dig up Wonder Woman and lasso the truth out of Jerrah.
Washington Post - No. 3 (1)
The Cowboys say it wasn’t time to bench Dak Prescott in favor of Tony Romo at QB during Sunday night’s defeat at the Meadowlands, and it’s not time to do so now. But the fact that owner Jerry Jones and Coach Jason Garrett even are being asked about that scenario after just one loss speaks to how unique this situation is. It’s not Romo time, no. But the offense has struggled for two games and it will be fascinating to see what Jones, Garrett and the Cowboys will do if that continues.
The table below summarizes the power rankings for the NFC East teams and the Cowboys' opponent on Sunday, the Buccaneers.