Somehow we have reached Week 17 of the 2022 NFL season, and with only two weeks left before the playoffs start, the postseason picture is starting to become clearer.
The Los Angeles Chargers became the latest team to punch their playoff ticket after they defeated the Indianapolis Colts on Monday night, and thankfully the Cowboys are already in themselves. With so little time left before it becomes win-or-go-home, we have a very concrete idea who everyone is, although in the NFL things can always change quickly.
There are nine teams who have already clinched playoff spots, some as division winners, which means there are only five tickets left to the proverbial dance. Who will get them? Who won’t?
As always we have put together how we see the rest of the league with our latest batch of power rankings. We have also collected the opinions of outlets around the internet as far as how they view the Cowboys specifically.
You can visit last week’s rankings right here. Let’s begin.
1. Kansas City Chiefs (LW: 2)
The Chiefs were in a somewhat tight game against the Seahawks on Christmas Eve, but ultimately found a way to pull through. They are just one Bills slip-up away from the AFC playoffs running through Arrowhead once again.
2. Philadelphia Eagles (LW: 1)
Contrary to popular belief, no team is perfect and the Eagles were out-worked on Saturday afternoon. Injuries are an unfortunate part of the game and they are starting to mount for Philly.
3. Buffalo Bills (LW: 3)
Next week’s game against the Bengals has the makings of a truly epic matchup.
4. San Francisco 49ers (LW: 4)
It is so impressive how they always find a way to be dominant. No matter what they power through. This is the team I fear the most, personally.
5. Dallas Cowboys (LW: 6)
They have proven over and over and over that they are among the very best teams in the NFL this season. The time to prove something truly special begins in two weeks.
6. Cincinnati Bengals (LW: 5)
It is rare to drop after winning a game but the Bengals flew very close to the sun (the one Jerry Jones won’t stop from shining into his home stadium by the way) against the Patriots. A win is a win, but they also trailed Tampa by 17 early on two weeks ago (again, they won that game).
7. Minnesota Vikings (LW: 7)
It is so weird how people refuse to respect this team and quarterback. They are very, very, very good. It is fine to admit that.
8. Los Angeles Chargers (LW: 8)
So many people have wanted to see Justin Herbert in the playoffs. We will finally get that chance.
9. Detroit Lions (LW: 9)
They really squandered quite the opportunity last week with all of the wild card contenders outside of Dallas losing. We will see just how costly that was.
10. Jacksonville Jaguars (LW: 12)
The Cowboys loss to them remains frustrating but they are proving that they are very worthy of a playoff spot.
11. New York Giants (LW: 11)
Like the Vikings, it is strange how people don’t want to give the Giants an ounce of credit. Their game against one another was an impressive outing for both squads. Unfortunately, New York was the team that had to lose.
12. Baltimore Ravens (LW: 13)
As noted a win is a win. Time to see Baltimore pick some up with some force, though.
13. Miami Dolphins (LW: 10)
Could they really fall out of the playoff picture?
14. Washington Commanders (LW: 15)
They probably won’t.
15. Seattle Seahawks (LW: 14)
They likely will.
16. Pittsburgh Steelers (LW: 20)
It was so cool to watch the Steelers win on Christmas Eve. There is no team that embraces their franchise’s history the way that they do. Rest in peace, Franco Harris.
17. Carolina Panthers (LW: 23)
They exploded on the ground last week. Do they have enough to win the NFC South and a Wild Card Round matchup against the Cowboys, though?
18. Green Bay Packers (LW: 21)
They just will not go away.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (LW: 24)
Are we nervous in any way aside from the Tom Brady factor if Tampa winds up taking the division?
20. Tennessee Titans (LW: 16)
They are so badly injured and have no incentive to play on Thursday night. Their season will come down to Week 18 which benefits the Cowboys.
21. New Orleans Saints (LW: 25)
Please find a way to win this week. For old times, Andy Dalton.
22. New York Jets (LW: 17)
Mike White should be back this week which gives them just a bit of hope.
23. Las Vegas Raiders (LW: 18)
They are so comically bad.
24. Cleveland Browns (LW: 19)
25. Los Angeles Rams (LW: 27)
It will be so interesting to see how they handle the offseason and the quarterback situation.
26. New England Patriots (LW: 22)
In the weirdest turn of events ever they keep losing because of poor discipline at simple things.
27. Houston Texans (LW: 28)
Thank you for making Thursday night meaningless for the Titans!
28. Chicago Bears (LW: 26)
Hopefully Justin Fields can win some of you your fantasy championship.
29. Arizona Cardinals (LW: 29)
An absolutely lost season.
30. Atlanta Falcons (LW: 30)
A similar story.
31. Indianapolis Colts (LW: 32)
They thought trading for Matt Ryan would fix everything.
32. Denver Broncos (LW: 31)
The worst part about their situation is that it is very difficult to see a path forward.
NFL.com: 6 (LW: 6)
The 49ers were number one here. They are very good.
The Cowboys fell behind by double-digits early on Saturday against the Eagles, but a relentless offense and opportunistic defense ensured the fight for the NFC East will continue for at least one more week. Dak Prescott shook off a first-quarter pick-six to put up a stellar performance (three touchdown passes and 9.9 yards per attempt), and CeeDee Lamb delivered a true No. 1 WR effort with 10 catches for 120 yards and two scores. One mystery to unlock: What has happened to the Dallas pass rush? The Micah Parsons-led unit has one sack in the past three weeks after being shut out by Philly’s offensive line.
ESPN: 5 (LW: 6)
They also picked a defining moment for each team over the course of the calendar year.
Defining moment: Going 4-1 without Dak Prescott.
Many thought the Cowboys’ season was over when Prescott suffered a fractured thumb in the season opener, but backup QB Cooper Rush saved everything. The Cowboys would not be in the playoffs without Rush. It’s not that his play was at a Pro Bowl level, but he was steady and largely avoided mistakes. Others helped raise his level of play, but when it was time to make a play, Rush mostly delivered. Even though there were major questions surrounding Rush in Week 2, he answered the call. In terms of most valuable to the Cowboys, he should not be overlooked. — Todd Archer
USA Today: 6 (LW: 6)
No movement here.
Not only does QB Dak Prescott continue to put the ball up for grabs (8 INTs in his past 5 starts), but a defense this team had been so reliant on has suddenly allowed nearly 1,000 yards over the past two weeks and is no longer providing pressure on enemy pockets.
Yahoo: 5 (LW: 5)
The Cowboys are probably going to get a Titans team resting starters in Week 17, then a winnable game at the Commanders to end the season. The Eagles are unlikely to lose to the Saints or Giants at home to end the season, but you never know. The light is still on, just a bit, for the Cowboys to steal the division.
CBS Sports: 7 (LW: 7)
And another. We are just at a point where it is difficult to make seismic changes.
They found a way against the Jalen Hurts-less Eagles, but it wasn’t always pretty for the defense. That unit has to be better.
The Athletic: 6 (LW: 6)
Another hold. For what it’s worth they dropped the Eagles to number four.
“Very confident,” Prescott said after the Cowboys’ 40-34 win over the Eagles when asked about the prospect of a playoff rematch. That seems like the collision course, so long as the Eagles wrap up the No. 1 seed, the Cowboys are able to topple the NFC South champion in the wild-card round and there are no upsets in the other two NFC games. It would be the fifth time the Eagles and Cowboys faced off in the playoffs, with Dallas holding a 3-1 advantage. It would also presumably be the first time this season (and only the second in three seasons) Prescott and Hurts faced off as opposing starting quarterbacks.
Sports Illustrated: 5 (LW: 6)
Finally some movement! And some great context on how Dallas played.
To put up 40 points on a night when the quarterback was sacked six times, the primary running back averaged fewer than 3.5 yards per carry and the defense didn’t get a single sack is impressive. Sure, the Eagles’ fumbling woes resurfaced, but Dallas has been in some difficult, season-defining situations down the stretch and has performed admirably.