The book has closed on Week 12 in the National Football League and the next time that a game within the league is played, it will come in the month of December. Obviously this means that things are becoming more and more important with the playoffs now well in sight for a handful of teams. Consider that there are actually scenarios for both the Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings to clinch berths (the Vikings can actually clinch their division) that could play out this week.
The Dallas Cowboys remain our main focus and they are currently riding a two-game winning streak over two teams that are currently a part of the playoff picture including those Minnesota Vikings. Up next for them is a test against the Indianapolis Colts who do not appear as intimidating, but anything can happen in the NFL.
As is tradition, we have put together our weekly power rankings for how the entire league looks to this point, as well as collected how outlets across the internet view the Dallas Cowboys. It is safe to say that America’s Team has impressed up until this point.
You can visit last week’s rankings right here. Let’s begin.
1. Kansas City Chiefs (LW: 1)
Sunday was a bit of a struggle as far as their normal standards are concerned and up next is a huge matchup against Cincinnati. Odds are the Chiefs will be just fine.
2. Philadelphia Eagles (LW: 2)
Those of us waiting for the Eagles to stumble will have to wait at least another week. Despite things getting just a bit close late they managed to put away the Packers with an impressive outing on the ground.
3. Dallas Cowboys (LW: 3)
Five of the Cowboys’ eight wins to this point in the season have come against teams currently a part of the playoff field (Bengals, Giants, Commanders, Vikings, Giants). That doesn’t earn you any trophies but it is important context moving forward.
4. Miami Dolphins (LW: 4)
It is hard to take much away from their destruction of the Texans other than that the Texans are bad. They visit San Francisco this week and that will be fun.
5. Buffalo Bills (LW: 5)
Things were a little bit tight for them at the end of their Thanksgiving Day game in Detroit. They are currently in the middle of a stretch we know all too well as they prepare for the Thursday night game seven days later.
6. Minnesota Vikings (LW: 6)
Funny how all of a sudden the Vikings are good again through many people’s eyes but the Cowboys obliterating them was no big deal. Hmm.
7. San Francisco 49ers (LW: 7)
Not the most impressive win but they remain a bear we would like to not poke.
8. Cincinnati Bengals (LW: 9)
They might wind up winning the AFC North. That they are having the season they are after losing the Super Bowl and starting off 0-2 is extremely impressive. They have a chance to make a statement against the Chiefs this week.
9. Los Angeles Chargers (LW: 14)
So many people want to believe in the Chargers. With games against the Raiders, Dolphins, and Titans over the next three weeks, L.A. will have every opportunity to earn the praise that they are so often given.
10. Tennessee Titans (LW: 10)
Their four losses have come to the Giants, Bills, Chiefs (without Ryan Tannehill), and Bengals. They are hardly doing anything wrong.
Hopefully they continue to do all of the right things this week in Philadelphia.
11. Washington Commanders (LW: 15)
Not only have the Commanders joined the playoff teams for the moment, but they have an opportunity to leapfrog the Giants. Did you know Washington is about to play them back-to-back (with their bye sandwiched in between)? The ball is in their court.
12. New York Jets (LW: 19)
Mike White! Beat the Vikings for us, old friend!
13. Baltimore Ravens (LW: 8)
The fact that Baltimore struggled against the Panthers last week before losing to the Jaguars is really concerning. They are too good to be playing this poorly.
14. Seattle Seahawks (LW: 11)
Losing to the Raiders at home after coming off your bye is a tough scene.
With Seattle having lost to the Buccaneers before their break this means they have lost to both pirate-based teams in consecutive weeks. Argh you kidding me?!
15. Detroit Lions (LW: 17)
Lions fans are sick of almosts, but they really did almost have it against the Bills. Maybe their time is coming or maybe this is their ceiling. We will see.
16. New York Giants (LW: 13)
They are in very legitimate danger of falling out of the playoff picture entirely.
Their remaining games are the Commanders, Eagles, at Commanders, at Vikings, Colts, and at Eagles.
17. Cleveland Browns (LW: 22)
Amari Cooper had a clutch catch to set up the win. Sigh.
18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (LW: 12)
Who would have thought they would be the sub-.500 team that everyone would be upset about potentially winning a division and hosting a playoff game?!
19. Las Vegas Raiders (LW: 29)
Josh Jacobs is insane.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars (LW: 28)
Well done, Trevor Lawrence!
21. New England Patriots (LW: 16)
It was a catch. We feel you, Patriots fans.
22. Pittsburgh Steelers (LW: 24)
This has been a strange season for Mike Tomlin’s group.
23. Arizona Cardinals (LW: 18)
The Cardinals are such a boring mess which is the worst kind. Not only are they not a good football team but they are not even entertaining in the process.
24. Carolina Panthers (LW: 30)
The future is their focus and wins like the one they picked up on Sunday afternoon are good bits of wind for those sails.
25. Green Bay Packers (LW: 20)
It is very possible that Aaron Rodgers’ last career win in the NFL will have come against the Dallas Cowboys. Because of course.
26. Chicago Bears (LW: 21)
We miss Justin Fields.
27. Atlanta Falcons (LW: 23)
Nobody knows how to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory like they do.
28. Indianapolis Colts (LW: 27)
See you on Sunday.
29. New Orleans Saints (LW: 25)
How did anybody think they were going to be legitimate this season? It has all felt off.
30. Los Angeles Rams (LW: 26)
At what point do people start to hold Sean McVay accountable? The Rams have all sorts of injury issues but they are also broken offensively and that is his specialty.
31. Denver Broncos (LW: 31)
The only thing keeping them from being the worst team in the NFL is the Houston Texans.
32. Houston Texans (LW: 32)
NFL.com: 4 (LW: 3)
Dan Hanzus raised the 49ers (who beat the Saints by a score of 13-0 on Sunday) over the Cowboys.
There’s been an avalanche of speculation connecting Odell Beckham Jr. to the Cowboys, but perhaps America’s Team would be better off without the famous wideout (and that’s excluding factors connected to his recent air-travel misadventure). Michael Gallup made several difficult contested catches in last Thursday’s 28-20 win over the Giants, the surest sign yet he’s rounding into form after offseason knee surgery. CeeDee Lamb continues to play the role of a bona fide No. 1 (logging two 100-yard efforts in the past three weeks), and a healthy Gallup profiles as a highly capable Robin to Lamb’s Batman. Why mess with a good thing?
ESPN: 4 (LW: 5)
There were also realistic expectations set for each team here and the Cowboys one is certainly ambitious in addition to being, well, realistic.
Realistic expectation: Getting to the Super Bowl.
Why not? The Cowboys are 8-3. They beat both of last year’s Super Bowl teams. They won at Minnesota. They get a chance to show how good they can be with a Christmas Eve meeting against the Eagles. They have a top defense. They have a running game that can control the tempo of a game. They have a passing game that has improved. What they don’t have is a history of rising to the occasion. That doesn’t mean they can’t. There is no reason to fear any of the heavy hitters in the NFC. — Todd Archer
USA Today: 3 (LW: 4)
Nate Davis raised Dallas over the Buffalo Bills which is how they got into the top three.
A team that’s won eight of 10 should only continue trending up with its next three games against the dregs of the AFC South. (And who needs OBJ when you can deploy a three-headed tight end monster?)
Yahoo: 3 (LW: 3)
No change here. Still behind the Eagles and Chiefs.
Ezekiel Elliott gets too much criticism. Is Tony Pollard better? Probably. Is Elliott’s salary too high? Yes. Does Jerry Jones say some ridiculous things about Elliott’s importance to the team? Without a doubt. But some people seem to think the Cowboys would be better off if Pollard got 30 carries and Elliott was sent packing. Elliott had 92 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries against the Giants. He’s still a good NFL back. Put the contract, the Pollard love (perhaps fueled by fantasy football hopes) and Jones’ nonsense aside and give Elliott credit for being a key part of a good Cowboys team.
CBS Sports: 5 (LW: 6)
A small bump.
After losing to the Packers, they’ve bounced back with two straight victories to show they can be a deep playoff team. They are good on both lines.
The Athletic: 4 (LW: 4)
This was their write-up for the Cowboys. Every other team had a more standard assessment.
Dallas Cowboys with the most Cowboy movie names:
5. Rico Dowdle
4. Cooper Rush
3. Michael Gallup
2. Luke Gifford
1. Peyton Hendershot
Sports Illustrated: 3 (LW: 2)
Last week Conor Orr had Dallas over Philadelphia but swapped them out here.
A late Giants touchdown made the Cowboys’ Thanksgiving victory seem a little more narrow than it actually was. The truth: They’ve twice disposed of one of the NFL’s stickiest teams and won a critical divisional matchup when they needed to. Their Christmas Eve tilt against the Eagles could be a conference title game preview (we hope). They are No. 3 this week because I see few flaws, especially with the run defense improving.