11 games into the 2022 regular season the Dallas Cowboys have an 8-3 record. Dallas has a great chance to record double-digit wins in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 95-96, and make the playoffs back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2006-2007.
The Cowboys have six games remaining on their schedule, so today we took a stab at power ranking Dallas’ remaining opponents by the difficulty of the matchup.
6) Houston Texans
Current Record: 1-8-1
Playoff Odds: 0.0%
This one was pretty obvious. The Texans currently have the worst record in football, and looking at the rest of their schedule there is a decent chance they don’t win another game.
Houston just benched their starting quarterback Davis Mills, who led the league with 11 interceptions thrown, for journeymen Kyle Allen. Their offense has scored fewer than 18 points in a game six times this season and their defense has given up 350 or more yards of offense to their opponent in nine of their 10 games.
The Texans are pretty easily the worst team in football and the Cowboys should have no problem getting a victory when the two teams match up.
5) Indianapolis Colts
Current Record: 4-6-1
Playoff Odds: 4.4%
The Colts came into the 2022 season with high expectations, but to this point, it’s been an absolute mess. After losing three-straight games from Week 7 to Week 9, Indy fired their head coach Frank Reich and hired Jeff Saturday to take over.
The Colts got plenty of criticism for the Saturday hire, but they actually have played much better since he took over. They won his first game against the Raiders in Oakland, and last week nearly defeated the 9-1 Eagles.
The Colts do have a decent run game headlined by All-Pro running back Jonathan Taylor, but their offense’s biggest weakness is protecting their quarterback. Indy is tied with the Chicago Bears for the most sacks allowed this season (40), and their offensive line is the fourth-worst pass-blocking line in football, according to Pro Football Focus.
Having potentially the least mobile starting quarterback in football and an offensive line that can’t protect him is a recipe for disaster against the Cowboys. Dallas’ defense should have a field day getting after Matt Ryan and be able to control the game from the opening snap.
4) Jacksonville Jaguars
Current Record: 3-7
Playoff Odds: 2.3%
The Jaguars may not be an overall better team than the Colts, but the mobility of their quarterback has the opportunity to create more problems for Dallas’ defense. Trevor Lawrence has had a pretty decent second year in the league, completing 65% of his passes, throwing 13 touchdown passes to just six interceptions, and recording an EPA+CPOE of 0.087.
Lawrence also has had some success on the ground, running the ball 37 times for 178 yards, averaging 4.8 Y/A, and scoring three rushing touchdowns.
Jacksonville’s defense has played much better of late, holding opponents under 24 points in three of their last four games. The Jags’ defense has also recorded five takeaways in their last three games.
Overall, the Cowboys still should win this game easily, but Lawrence’s mobility and the Jaguars’ defense could cause some issues.
3) Washington Commanders
Current Record: 6-5
Playoff Odds: 44.2%
The Washington Commanders are one of the hottest teams in all of football. Washington has won five of their last six games and is 4-1 since Taylor Heinicke took over as the starter.
Heinicke isn't lighting the world on fire, as shown by his -0.032 EPA/Play and 0.050 EPA+CPOE since taking over as the starter, but their defense is getting healthier and playing better and they are leaning on their run game.
Washington has rushed for 135 or more yards as a team in four of their last five games and is averaging 140 yards per game since Week 7. We’ve seen the Cowboys struggle to stop the run at times this season, so that could be something to look out for when the two teams match up.
With this game set to be played in Week 18, you’d hope the Cowboys have locked up the division, or at least the highest wild card seed, by this game so you can get your starters some rest. If not, the Cowboys still will be favored and should win the game at home. Dallas has won six of the last eight games between the two teams and Taylor Heinicke has really struggled against the Cowboys in his career.
2) Tennesee Titans
Current Record: 7-3
Playoff Odds: 98.2%
No team in football is rolling at the current moment like the Tennessee Titans. Mike Vrabel’s squad has won seven of their last eight games and their only loss came on the road against the Kansas City Chiefs in overtime with their backup quarterback playing.
The Titans haven’t beaten a team with a winning record since Week 7, but no matter who you are playing winning seven of eight in the NFL is pretty impressive.
Superstar running back Derrick Henry is having another fantastic year, leading the league with 1,010 rushing yards to go with 10 rushing touchdowns. Since Week 4, Henry has carried the ball 176 times for 818 yards, an average of 4.65 Y/A and 116 Y/G.
Just like Henry, Ryan Tannehill has been very good since Week 4. The 34-year-old quarterback has completed 67% of his throws and thrown seven touchdown passes to just one interception over his last five games.
Tennessee also has probably the best run defense in football. The Titans have given up the fewest rushing touchdowns in football and the second-fewest rushing yards. They also have held their opponent under 80 total rushing yards in their last seven games. It should come as no surprise that they are 6-1 in these games.
Dallas has to face the Titans on the road, so this will be an extremely difficult matchup. The game likely will come down to if the Cowboys are able to slow down Derrick Henry enough to force Ryan Tannehill and the Titans’ offense into passing situations.
1) Philadelphia Eagles
Current Record: 9-1
Playoff Odds: 99.9%
As much as this hurts to say, the Eagles have clearly been the best team in the NFC 10 games into the season. Jalen Hurts has played like an MVP candidate, their receiving duo has been dynamic, and their defense is tied for the league lead with 20 takeaways.
If the Cowboys want any shot of winning the division they obviously absolutely must win this game. If the Eagles are to lose just one game before this matchup and the Cowboys are able to enter it sitting with an 11-3 record, they have a legitimate shot to win this division.
Overall this will be one of the better remaining games in the regular season across all of football and will be Dallas’ biggest test the rest of the way.