We are inching closer and closer to the halfway point of the 2021 NFL season and now have an extremely clear idea on who some teams are and who some teams are not. In looking at the top 10 units in the NFL, there has been little turnover in each of the last few weeks, but it is a league of parity which means that every now and then teams will stumble.
This week we have a new king atop our power rankings (some would argue they should have been here all along as the only undefeated squad left) and an All-NFC presence in the top three (although number four has an incredibly strong case). As always, we have also collected where the Cowboys rank from power rankings across the world for you.
You can visit our rankings from last week right here. Let’s begin.
1 - Arizona Cardinals (LW: 3)
They are proving to be very much for real and are back in the top spot. J.J. Watt and DeAndre Hopkins will enjoy this week’s matchup against Houston, but their game against Green Bay in Week 8 will be interesting.
2 - Tampa Bay Buccaneers (LW: 2)
They continue to find ways to win. For stretches it seems like teams might be in it with them, but they are experienced and talented enough to pull ahead in the end.
3 - Dallas Cowboys (LW: 4)
Welcome to a reality where the Dallas Cowboys are one of the three best teams in the NFL.
4 - Baltimore Ravens (LW: 9)
That drubbing of the Chargers was impressive. Baltimore is among the top favorites in the AFC.
5 - Los Angeles Rams (LW: 6)
The Giants are one of those teams that elite squads take care of handily. That is exactly what the Rams did.
6 - Green Bay Packers (LW: 7)
Aaron Rodgers owns the Chicago Bears and a lot of other teams, too. It sucks.
7 - Buffalo Bills (LW: 1)
Sean McDermott made the right call at the end, but sometimes the margin for error is just that thin in the NFL.
8 - Los Angeles Chargers (LW: 5)
They still seem like one of the best teams in the NFL, but Sunday opened the door for a lot of questions.
9 - Las Vegas Raiders (LW: 13)
What an impressive win given everything they dealt with as an organization last week. Good for Rich Bisaccia.
10 - Cincinnati Bengals (LW: 10)
I’ve taken a while to come around on this team, but they appear to be somewhat legit. A matchup against Baltimore this week will tell us a lot.
11 - Tennessee Titans (LW: 11)
When the Titans are on they are a difficult team to stop. If there is an exception at the running back position it is clearly (and has been for some time) Derrick Henry.
12 - Kansas City Chiefs (LW: 12)
They steadied the ship and got a win to get back on track. Let’s see if that sticks.
13 - Cleveland Browns (LW: 8)
Injuries have devastated this roster and unfortunately a short week is here for them.
14 - New England Patriots (LW: 18)
It is hard to climb after a loss, but the Patriots were impressive on Sunday evening. Mac Jones looks like he has a bright future.
15 - Seattle Seahawks (LW: 14)
They badly miss Russell Wilson. It’s a shame they couldn’t get it done in Pittsburgh.
16 - New Orleans Saints (LW: 15)
Back from the bye!
17 - Minnesota Vikings (LW: 22)
This is who the Cowboys play next and they both enter a bye week after walk-off overtime touchdowns to win their respective games. Neat!
18 - Indianapolis Colts (LW: 24)
We are all officially rooting for Carson Wentz, right? Push that first-round pick as far back as possible.
19 - Pittsburgh Steelers (LW: 25)
They are .500 and on a much-needed bye, but this team still looks extremely questionable on offense. They are difficult to trust.
20 - Carolina Panthers (LW: 16)
A 3-0 start had a lot of people wondering whether or not the Panthers were for real. Missing Christian McCaffrey obviously hurts, but they are just not very good right now.
21 - Chicago Bears (LW: 17)
It would have been nice to see them get it done against Green Bay, but Justin Fields just isn’t there yet. The Bears are stuck between kind of good and not good at all.
22 - San Francisco 49ers (LW: 19)
Will Kyle Shanahan actually return to Jimmy Garoppolo?
23 - Washington Football Team (LW: 20)
The offense has its moments, but the defense is terrible. They are one of the worst teams in the NFL, but Taylor Heinicke is at least mildly intriguing. The rest of their season should be devoted to learning who he is and can be for them.
24 - Atlanta Falcons (LW: 21)
Another bye week returnee.
25 - Philadelphia Eagles (LW: 23)
They played the Buccaneers tougher than most thought they would, but the game really wasn’t as close as things made it seem. Zach Ertz is gone which suggests they have a direction that they want to go in. What is it exactly?
26 - Denver Broncos (LW: 26)
Nobody bought their 3-0 record and for good reason. They are 0-3 since then as they’ve finally had to play a few real teams.
27 - Jacksonville Jaguars (LW: 32)
The end of their game in London was entertaining and they finally got a win! Ultimately, though, the Jaguars seem destined for disaster.
28 - Detroit Lions (LW: 27)
Early on this season the Lions have shown a lot of resiliency and fight. That wore thin on Sunday though as the Bengals had their way with them. Jared Goff just isn’t it.
29 - New York Jets (LW: 31)
No game this past week, but they are still somehow not as bad as the next three teams.
30 - New York Giants (LW: 28)
Bad. Awful. Boring.
31 - Houston Texans (LW: 29)
Worse. Terrible. Dysfunctional.
32 - Miami Dolphins (LW: 30)
They lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
NFL.com: 4 (LW: 4)
No movement here, but ranked among the very best.
Dak Prescott would not be denied. He helped keep the Cowboys in business with a clutch 24-yard completion to CeeDee Lamb in the final seconds of regulation, then connected with Lamb again on the 35-yard touchdown in overtime to seal a 35-29 win over the Patriots in Foxborough. Prescott limped to the locker room with a strained calf that will get plenty of treatment during Dallas’ bye week. Prior to the heroics from Prescott and Lamb, Trevon Diggs continued the incredible start to his season with his seventh interception, a pick-six of Mac Jones late in the fourth quarter. The Cowboys are a big-play team.
ESPN: 5 (LW: 6)
The worldwide leader compared things to their Week 1 “confidence” rankings as well.
Week 1 confidence rating: 7.5
How it’s going now: 9.1
Maybe the confidence rating should have been higher coming off the closer-than-expected loss to Tampa Bay in the opener. The Cowboys have not lost since and have a three-game lead in the NFC East. Dak Prescott’s health comes into question with a calf strain. But if he is healthy, who wouldn’t the Cowboys be favored to beat in their final 11 games? Maybe at Kansas City? Arizona? This team can put itself in a favorable playoff position and run away with the division. — Todd Archer
USA Today: 4 (LW: 4)
Another lack of movement.
The Dallas defense may only rank 24th overall, even after surrendering season-low 335 yards to New England, but it leads NFC with 14 takeaways – with at least two in 10 consecutive games for the first time since 1976-77. Coordinator Dan Quinn and Co. are getting it done.
Yahoo: 4 (LW: 6)
On the rise.
CeeDee Lamb hadn’t had a big impact the past few weeks, mostly because the Cowboys were running the ball and winning easily. But we saw when Lamb put up a 9-149-2 line against the Patriots that he’s a true No. 1 receiver and Dallas can use him as such whenever it’s needed.
CBS Sports: 5 (LW: 7)
Not as high as others.
They dominated the Patriots for much of the game, yet still had to win in overtime. The offense was special, but they turned the ball over in key spots. Dak Prescott is in the MVP conversation.
Sports Illustrated: 10 (LW: 6)
...they dropped the Dallas Cowboys four spots.
There’s something to be said for a team that wins a game, on the road, on a day when a lot of things go horribly wrong (goal-line fumbles, penalties, failed fourth downs, etc.). The bigger worry regarding the Cowboys is that they won’t continue taking the ball away at this rate (14 through six games), and what happens to the defense when the takeaways dry up?
Sporting News: 6 (LW: 6)
Sometimes it is difficult to move.
The Cowboys didn’t just escape the Patriots with a fifth-straight victory. They made a statement in the type of game they have tended to lose in the past, overcoming major penalties, red zone turnovers and one big coverage mistake. Dak Prescott is a hard man to beat and the Bucs were lucky to do so in Week 1.
Updated to reflect all rankings from around the internet.