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2021 NFL Week 9 power rankings: Dallas Cowboys take over number one spot as best team in the league

The Dallas Cowboys continue to look like one of the best teams in the NFL.

Dallas Cowboys v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

This past week was an interesting one in the NFL as the final undefeated team fell and the NFC continued to look like the superior conference.

Of course the Dallas Cowboys are among the NFC elites and had arguably the most impressive win of their season all things considered. Where do the Cowboys rank this week given their continued success and teams ahead of them falling just a bit with losses?

As we do every week we have put together our power rankings for the National Football League and collected how people around the national media feel about America’s Team.

You can visit our rankings from last week right here.


1 - Dallas Cowboys (LW: 3)

Winning the way that the Cowboys did on Sunday night was something that we haven’t seen from this team in a LONG time. If they can battle adversity without Dak Prescott, they can do anything. Welcome to the top.

2 - Los Angeles Rams (LW: 4)

Adding Von Miller is going to make them that much better (here is how that trade impacts the Cowboys by the way). The top of the NFC is loaded and the Rams are doing everything that they can to finish at the top of it.

3 - Green Bay Packers (LW: 5)

We were all wondering how they would fare in Arizona without their top options. Unfortunately, Aaron Rodgers remains inevitable.

4 - Arizona Cardinals (LW: 1)

It always made sense for their undefeated streak to come to an end. There is no doubt that Arizona is a very good team, but can they hold on to win the NFC West? A light schedule through the bye will help them pile wins up.

5 - Tampa Bay Buccaneers (LW: 2)

There are very few teams who can challenge them when things are going their way, but the New Orleans Saints found a way to do it. Some teams just have certain types of kryptonite.

6 - Buffalo Bills (LW: 6)

Things were a bit too close for a lot of their game on Sunday against the Miami Dolphins, but sometimes you have to win ugly. The Bills feel like the favorite in the AFC although things seem to change there week to week.

7 - Tennessee Titans (LW: 10)

Losing Derrick Henry for what looks like at least the rest of the regular season is going to be tough, but like the Cowboys the Titans have their division on cruise control. They have a lot of time to figure out who they are going to be deep into January and have earned the benefit of the doubt.

8 - Las Vegas Raiders (LW: 9)

They’re back from the bye and will be at AT&T Stadium on Thanksgiving Day.

9 - New England Patriots (LW: 13)

Are the Patriots starting to figure things out? Sunday was impressive against the Chargers and Mac Jones looks every bit like a franchise quarterback. Don’t count them out in the AFC playoff picture.

10 - Cincinnati Bengals (LW: 7)

Just when the world started to believe, the Bengals found a way to let us all down. How do you lose to the Jets? That badly? Led by Mike White!

Halloween 2021 will always be remembered as the day of Cowboys backup quarterbacks with White and Cooper Rush.

11 - Los Angeles Chargers (LW: 8)

The last few weeks have been tough for the Chargers as they got blown out by the Baltimore Ravens and lost to the Patriots with a bye week to prepare. Are they losing steam?

12 - New Orleans Saints (LW: 14)

Sean Payton usually finds a way to get things done and now has his work cut out for him with Jameis Winston out for the rest of the year with a torn ACL. The Saints are a playoff team, but their ceiling is still difficult to figure out.

13 - Baltimore Ravens (LW: 11)

Welcome back from the bye.

14 - Pittsburgh Steelers (LW: 20)

It doesn’t make sense how their offense doesn’t doom them week to week, but all credit in the world to Mike Tomlin as he always finds a way to get it done. Somehow the Steelers also carry a level of inevitability and the Browns should be embarrassed.

15 - Cleveland Browns (LW: 12)

Coming off of the mini-bye this had to be a game that the Browns won. We are supposed to be in a new era where they are a team that is reliable, but that was certainly not the case What a horrible offensive outing from Baker Mayfield and the rest.

16 - Kansas City Chiefs (LW: 17)

They won, but that win felt like a loss. Barely beating the New York Giants is not exactly something to be proud of. It is a very different season for Kansas City.

17 - Minnesota Vikings (LW: 15)

How can they possibly feel comfortable with Mike Zimmer as their head coach?

18 - Indianapolis Colts (LW: 16)

If they are not having serious conversations about benching Carson Wentz in order to preserve their first-round pick next year then they are not doing the right thing. This season is over for Indianapolis.

19 - Seattle Seahawks (LW: 18)

Geno Smith got them a win! Now it’s time to rest up and see if Russell Wilson will be ready after the bye for the Green Bay Packers.

20 - San Francisco 49ers (LW: 23)

Beating the Chicago Bears hardly feels deserving of a ton of praise, but the 49ers got it done. Will Kyle Shanahan ever fully move on from Jimmy Garoppolo?

21 - Philadelphia Eagles (LW: 26)

Many of us thought that they were going to be the first win of the season for the Lions, but credit them for taking advantage of a terrible team. Things will not be as easy this week against the Los Angeles Chargers.

22 - Carolina Panthers (LW: 21)

They won on Sunday, but they are directionless.

23 - New York Jets (LW: 31)

MIKE WHITE! What a performance by the Jets and what a win for Robert Saleh. Time will tell as to whether or not this is the beginning of something bigger, but the Jets have every reason to hold their heads high this week. They also have a sort of easy schedule coming up to where they can pile up some wins.

24 - Chicago Bears (LW: 22)

Justin Fields came so close to having his moment as far as his NFL career is concerned, but the Bears found a way to ruin it. Sigh.

25 - Atlanta Falcons (LW: 19)

How do you lose to the Panthers? Atlanta’s season is so boring and unwatchable.

26 - Denver Broncos (LW: 28)

They won on Sunday like many others, but that was most to do with Washington not being all too great. They are now without Von Miller and clearly waving the white flag on the season. We’ll see you on Sunday!

27 - Washington Football Team (LW: 24)

Speaking of boring and unwatchable, it is hilarious that anyone legitimately thought that Washington would win the NFC East. They are one of the worst teams in the NFL.

28 - Miami Dolphins (LW: 30)

Interestingly they kept things somewhat close against the Bills, but this team is so bad. The process hasn’t taken hold and now they are drifting in no real direction.

29 - New York Giants (LW: 25)

In each of the last five seasons the New York Giants have either been 1-7 or 2-6 through the first eight games of a season. Joe Judge lost their Monday night game for them. Hopefully he sticks around for a while.

30 - Detroit Lions (LW: 27)

It is difficult not to like Dan Campbell, but the talent just isn’t there.

31 - Jacksonville Jaguars (LW: 29)

Awful.

32 - Houston Texans (LW: 32)

Super awful. But they covered at the end at the very least.


NFL.com: 2 (LW: 4)

Just outside of the top spot. Still, a high bit of respect for the Cowboys.

No matter what happens from this point forward, Cooper Rush will always have Sunday night. The backup QB stepped in for Dak Prescott and made a series of big throws in a 20-16 win over the Vikings in Minneapolis. Dallas’ sixth consecutive victory showed how the Cowboys can survive — in the short-term, anyway — without their star quarterback, while providing a showcase for just how much their defense has improved in Dan Quinn’s first year at the controls. Dallas made Kirk Cousins miserable all night and all but removed Justin Jefferson from the field. The Cowboys used to be a top-heavy operation comprised of stars and scrubs. Not anymore.

ESPN: 5 (LW: 6)

Sometimes it is a slow climb to the top.

Biggest Achilles’ heel: Big plays allowed

To a degree this feels like a nitpick because the Cowboys’ defense has outperformed expectations so far entering the season. But when they play better quarterbacks down the stretch — and potentially in the playoffs — they can’t have these types of lapses. They have allowed 31 plays of at least 20 yards in the first seven games. They allowed the same amount through the first seven games a season ago. The difference is this season they are getting takeaways and coming up with stops. This was a focus of the coaches during the bye week, but the Cowboys allowed four more big plays against the Vikings. It has not hurt them yet, but it could later. — Todd Archer

USA Today: 5 (LW: 4)

How you can drop the Cowboys after arguably their best overall “team” win seems interesting.

A burgeoning quarterback controversy threatens to tear this team ... kidding. Kidding. Dallas doesn’t face a team with a winning record until Week 12 (Las Vegas) and should be commended for conservatively managing QB Dak Prescott’s calf injury with the NFC East crown just about in the bag.

Yahoo: 2 (LW: 4)

Another just-missed-the-top ranking.

We thought the Cowboys had three top-end receivers, but we figured it was Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup. Gallup has been out with an injury, and Cedrick Wilson has filled his role very well. His 73-yard touchdown on Sunday night was the moment that allowed the Cowboys to start thinking about an upset win.

CBS Sports: 8 (LW: 5)

If you thought dropping the Cowboys at all was interesting consider that this outlet dropped them three spots.

Winning on the road with a backup quarterback against a good team is why they are a real Super Bowl threat. The defense is getting better by the week.

Sports Illustrated: 6 (LW: 7)

Little by little.

Make it five NFC teams in the top six! The Cowboys played it safe, holding Dak Prescott out of a primetime game and then survived without him. They’re a very good team in a very bad division, which means they have plenty of time to get right for the playoffs.

Sporting News: 4 (LW: 5)

The Cowboys are just about a consensus top-five team.

The Cowboys were rolling offensively until they had to err on the side of the caution with Dak Prescott’s latest injury (calf) coming out of the bye in Minnesota. They found another way to win a game with Cooper Rush, playing strong defense until Ezekiel Elliott and Amari Cooper could lift their backup QB to victory in the end. They are a complete team and true serious Super Bowl contenders.