We have reached the final week of the regular season and in many ways it feels like the season has both flown by and dragged on forever.
As strange as this Dallas Cowboys season has been, America’s Team remains alive in the battle for NFC East supremacy in 2020. Whether the Cowboys ultimately earn their fourth division title in seven years remains to be seen, but they are clearly a football team playing much better than they were earlier in the year.
Just how are the Cowboys being perceived throughout the national media? How good are they compared to the field? It’s power rankings time.
You can view last week’s right here.
1 - Green Bay Packers (LW: 2)
Obviously the Kansas City Chiefs have the best record in the NFL and are the only team that has clinched a conference’s number one seed. I also believe that comparatively they are a more talented team than the Green Bay Packers.
But Kansas City plays with fire far too much this season. Consider that while they are 14-1 that they are 7-8 ATS this season. Green Bay is dominating at a much more consistent level and appear to be a safer lock to make it to the Super Bowl.
2 - Kansas City Chiefs (LW: 1)
What’s more is that while these are clearly the top two teams in the NFL number three is clearly the Buffalo Bills. Kansas City is either bored or simply likes the thrill of close games.
They are amazing, but they are only amazing when they want to be (which is still wildly impressive).
3 - Buffalo Bills (LW: 3)
If the Cowboys cannot win the Super Bowl, how cool would it be to see the Bills do it? This team is awesome.
4 - New Orleans Saints (LW: 10)
A big-time win against the Vikings was impressive, but this still feels like a team that is going to stall when they face tougher competition.
5 - Seattle Seahawks (LW: 5)
Has any unit in the NFL transitioned more across the season than Seattle’s defense? They went from one of the worst in the league to a major reason why their team is winning.
6 - Baltimore Ravens (LW: 6)
Dez Bryant has caught touchdowns in back-to-back weeks. Right on.
7 - Tennessee Titans (LW: 7)
Losing in a snowy atmosphere at Lambeau Field doesn’t exactly mean that they are frauds. They can make some noise in the postseason.
8 - Tampa Bay Buccaneers (LW: 11)
Their peaks are so high, but their floors are so low. They entered Week 16 as the only team in the top five of both offensive and defensive DVOA... who will show up in January?
9 - Pittsburgh Steelers (LW: 12)
Pittsburgh is going to start Mason Rudolph in Week 17. Who they are in the wildcard round is going to be fascinating to see.
10 - Indianapolis Colts (LW: 4)
There was perhaps no more costly loss last week than Indy’s as they are currently on the outside looking in at the AFC playoff picture. Somebody is going to wind up with double-digit wins and miss out. What a bummer.
11 - Miami Dolphins (LW: 13)
12 - Cleveland Browns (LW: 8)
Count me among those that is willing to look past last week’s debacle. Their team got wrecked by COVID-19. I’m excited to see them at full force.
13 - Los Angeles Rams (LW: 9)
They appear to be quickly headed in the wrong direction. All the best to Jared Goff.
14 - Arizona Cardinals (LW: 14)
They will certainly benefit from Goff’s current health status.
15 - Chicago Bears (LW: 15)
Such a strange team to figure out. They are playing themselves out of contention for a quarterback and are going to be stuck with Mitchell Trubisky for another season potentially.
16 - Los Angeles Chargers (LW: 17)
Winners of three in a row! Nice!
17 - Las Vegas Raiders (LW: 18)
They are a solid team that cannot get out of their own way. Been there, done that.
18 - Dallas Cowboys (LW: 22)
They are the best team in the NFC East at the moment. This is a fact.
19 - Washington Football Team (LW: 16)
There is a lot going on there. But they do control their own destiny at the very least.
20 - Minnesota Vikings (LW: 19)
They have disappointed throughout this season, but I maintain that there is a lot of talent here and that they could be players in 2021.
21 - Carolina Panthers (LW: 20)
Thank you very much!
22 - San Francisco 49ers (LW: 24)
Who will be their quarterback next season?
23 - Atlanta Falcons (LW: 28)
It’s so hard to figure out this team’s future. Are they legitimate? Should they stick with Matt Ryan? Is it time for a full rebuild? Clearly they can contend, but the questions might be too many.
24 - New England Patriots (LW: 21)
We live in different times.
25 - New York Giants (LW: 23)
The fact that anyone thought this team could legitimately win the NFC East (I realize that they still can) is so silly.
26 - Philadelphia Eagles (LW: 25)
Good luck this week.
27 - Cincinnati Bengals (LW: 30)
Joe Burrow will have them contending next year.
28 - Denver Broncos (LW: 26)
29 - Houston Texans (LW: 27)
At least JJ Watt gets it.
30 - Detroit Lions (LW: 29)
The most blah.
31 - New York Jets (LW: 31)
Number two overall will be...?
32 - Jacksonville Jaguars (LW: 32)
Trevor Lawrence is going to love the golf scene in Duval County.
NFL.com: 18 (LW: 22)
Moving on up!
The Cowboys will enter the final week of the regular season with a chance to win the NFC East. It’s a testament to the righteous power of hope, even in the dark corner of professional football known as the NFC East. Sunday’s 37-17 win over the Eagles was another reminder of how smart Dallas was to sign Andy Dalton as an insurance policy this offseason. Dalton threw for 377 yards and three touchdowns against Philly, a performance that showed how explosive this offense remains when a competent passer is getting the ball to the playmakers. Michael Gallup has returned from the abyss to become a 1b option with Amari Cooper, while CeeDee Lamb continues to flash superstar ability in his rookie season. The Cowboys aren’t good ... but they may be good enough to host a playoff game in January.
ESPN: 22 (LW: 26)
The worldwide leader also added a New Year’s resolution for each team.
New Year’s resolution: Commit to the defense
OK, maybe after signing Dak Prescott long-term, but make sure the defense has the talent to run the scheme Mike McCarthy wants to run, whether Mike Nolan is the coordinator again or it’s somebody new. If a CeeDee Lamb-type offensive player falls to them again in the first round, have a discussion about it, but this draft and offseason needs to be about the defense. The Cowboys have major needs at all three levels, but especially in the secondary. — Todd Archer
USA Today: 23 (LW: 26)
Not too big of a climb, but up nonetheless.
With defense finally making plays and QB Andy Dalton in groove, you’d have to say they’re NFC East’s most dangerous team at this juncture.
Sporting News: 17 (LW: 20)
Almost in the top half!
How about them Cowboys with Andy Dalton? This is the kind of normal offense using the wide receivers and running game well that one expected after Dak Prescott went down. It just took a while.
Yahoo: 21 (LW: 26)
This is so much fun.
We’re going to see a lot of crazy stuff in Week 17. Maybe the craziest subplot of all is that the Cowboys are still alive for a playoff berth. If Dallas beats a slumping Giants team and Washington loses to Philadelphia, Dallas is in. That doesn’t make sense, considering how bad the Cowboys are.
CBS Sports: 22 (LW: 24)
Not too big of a bump.
They have a chance to be the division winner, but they need help from the Eagles. The offense has really played well lately with Andy Dalton.
Sports Illustrated: 22 (LW: 20)
The Cowboys... fell?
After all that, Mike McCarthy’s analytics calculator says all they have to do is win as field-goal favorites in East Rutherford and have the quarterback-less Football Team lose in Philly. I’m not sure I trust this defense against anyone except for maybe a hobbled Daniel Jones–led Giants team.