Power Rankings are so much more enjoyable when your team won the last game. They still don't mean diddly-squat, but it sure is nice to continue basking in the warm afterglow of the Cowboys' win over the Redskins. Unless of course the media consensus doesn't value Sunday's win as much as you would expect.
Eight NFL teams remain undefeated, eight teams are winless. In theory, that means the 1-1 Cowboys could be ranked anywhere between the 9th and 24th spot. Let's see if that logic holds up in today's power rankings summary in which we also look at the NFC East teams.
At first glance, the NFC East looks good this week, the Giants and Eagles are both 2-0, the Cowboys just won their first game, on only the Redskins are winless. Yet of the five wins the division boasts, four came against winless teams
The Giants and Cowboys ganged up on the 0-2 Redskins, the Eagles beat the 0-2 Bears and the 0-2 Browns, and the Giants scored the only win against a team that has already won a game this season, narrowly edging the Cowboys in the season opener. Will any of that be reflected in this week's power rankings?
Week 3 Rankings (previous rankings in parenthesis)
Mile High Report - No. 12 (- -)
I am quietly boarding a "Cowboys are actually good" bandwagon. Dak Prescott is breaking records and that offensive line should win the battle most times. If their defense is just average then they might actually have a chance to take the NFC East. If not, I can always jump back on the "point and laugh at the stupid Cowboys" bandwagon again. I prefer that one anyway...
FOX Sports - No. 13 (15)
Dak Prescott has done an exceptional job protecting the football, but the offense is nowhere near as explosive as it should be – or as it will be with Tony Romo. The defense has been formidable by making key stops when needed most, which has kept Dallas in the first two games. The offense will need to score more than 23 points per game to win double-digit games, though.
CBSSports.com (Prisco) - No. 14 (14)
Dak Prescott is doing a heck of a job for Tony Romo. The best thing is that he's not turning it over.
Bleacher Report - No. 14 (19)
That rookie was impressive, though. Dak Prescott was the difference in his second career start, playing the brand of mistake-free football his team is built for. It's clear he can find a mismatch (like Dez Bryant on not Josh Norman) and exploit it.
Next opponent: Chicago Bears. Dak to Dez is the difference. The Bears can’t stop it.
Washington Post - No. 15 (19)
A 0-2 start would have meant time to panic in Dallas. The Cowboys avoided that, and they have rookie QB Dak Prescott to thank. He made smart throws and was poised in the pocket against the Redskins. He was calm with the game on the line. The defense also did its part at key moments in the second half, twice limiting the Redskins to field goals while facing short fields after a failed onside kick and a turnover. Rookie RB Ezekiel Elliott was productive, but his two fumbles concerned the coaching staff enough to go with Alfred Morris in crunch time.
Shutdown Corner - No. 16 (20)
Ezekiel Elliott is averaging just 3.3 yards per carry despite running behind an incredible line, and he was benched Sunday after his second fumble. Life in the NFL is hard, even when everything seems aligned for a rookie to come in and dominate right away. He’ll be fine, it’s just a good lesson.
NFL.com: No. 16 (19)
What to make of the Cowboys? Dak Prescott showed much composure for the second straight week -- and he threw the football a bit more accurately Sunday in Landover. Dez Bryant posted only his second 100-yard game since 2014. The defense? No bueno. The unit tightened up late, but with much assistance from an off-the-mark Kirk Cousins. The lack of a pass rush (sans Demarcus Lawrence, sans Randy Gregory) is palpable. Ezekiel Elliott can't be fumbling, especially considering the previous sentence. Protecting the football, given the shape of Rod Marinelli's unit, is a must-do for the rookie. Meanwhile, anyone else noticing how involved Cole Beasley has been? I miss the blonde Rambo look.
Chicago Tribune - No 17 (20)
Dallas won for just the second time in the last 16 games without Tony Romo and Dak Prescott looked pretty darn good.
ESPN - No 18. (18)
The Cowboys got themselves a win Sunday and now sit at 1-1, but there has to be a little concern over Ezekiel Elliott's slow start (3.3 yards per rush, two fumbles). A soft Bears rushing defense could get Elliott going in Week 3.
USA Today - No. 21 (25)
Dak Prescott took four sacks Sunday, too many for someone with his mobility, but he has yet to turn the ball over this season. (Uh oh, Tony Romo.)
The table below summarizes the power rankings for the four NFC East teams and next week's opponent, the Chicago Bears.