The bye week has come and gone for the Dallas Cowboys and even though they were off, the rest of the NFL kept right on going.
Football operations will return for America’s Team this week, and when they do their overall standing in the NFL figures to be a bit different. Some contending teams slipped up in Week 7 which threw our usual power rankings discussion for quite the loop.
The time has come to rank all 32 teams and note where outlets across the internet have the Cowboys ranked. Let’s begin.
1. Kansas City Chiefs, 6-1 (LW: 1)
Kings stay kings.
2. Philadelphia Eagles, 6-1 (LW: 5)
They have played some really weird football so far this season but have a 6-1 record to show for it. Not to mention that Howie Roseman did it again with the Kevin Byard trade. Sigh.
3. Baltimore Ravens, 5-2 (LW: 7)
Lamar Jackson is not getting enough love for MVP.
4. San Francisco 49ers, 5-2 (LW: 3)
They are winless since demolishing our team a few weeks back. Next up for them are the Cincinnati Bengals which could make things rather interesting.
5. Dallas Cowboys, 4-2 (LW: 8)
Time to get back to work.
6. Miami Dolphins, 5-2 (LW: 2)
Their stay outside of the top 5 will probably be short-lived, but right now it is hard to slow the “they haven’t beat any legitimate” teams discussion. Miami has come out on top against the Chargers, Patriots, Broncos, Giants and Panthers while losing to the Bills and Eagles. We need to see more.
7. Detroit Lions, 5-2 (LW: 4)
Sunday in Baltimore was much like Dallas’ trip to San Francisco. The Lions remain legitimate, but when you get beat like that you fall down a peg or two.
8. Jacksonville Jaguars, 5-2 (LW: 9)
They are really starting to live up to hype and are a road trip in Pittsburgh away from a 6-2 record at the bye. I believe.
9. Cincinnati Bengals, 3-3 (LW: 10)
Hopefully the bye provided a chance for a breath and to get healthy. They remain ready. Let’s see it.
10. Buffalo Bills, 4-3 (LW: 6)
I’ve long said that the Bills loss in Kansas City in the Divisional Round two years ago gave them all sorts of credit as this wonder team given how tight of a loss it really was. Buffalo is in fact very good, but they are also very flawed. They are not among the AFC’s elite right now.
11. Cleveland Browns, 4-2 (LW: 13)
We have seen enough of a season to say that this is indeed the best defense in the NFL.
12. Seattle Seahawks, 4-2 (LW: 11)
Keep stacking those wins and see what happens at the end of them. They’ll host the Browns this week and I cannot wait to see it.
13. Minnesota Vikings, 3-4 (LW: 21)
I’ve tried to hold just a bit of Vikings stock while selling off a ton of it. What a win!
14. Los Angeles Rams, 3-4 (LW: 12)
Sunday was a tough one, but hopefully it was who they will be this week.
15. Houston Texans, 3-3 (LW: 14)
Truly cannot recall the last time that the Texans were this relevant near the end of October.
16. Atlanta Falcons, 4-3 (LW: 25)
Are they going to win the NFC South? Would anyone enjoy that?
17. Pittsburgh Steelers, 4-2 (LW: 24)
It is amazing that they are 4-2. They are so boring on offense.
18. New Orleans Saints, 3-4 (LW: 16)
Speaking of boring on offense... gross.
19. Indianapolis Colts, 3-4 (LW: 23)
Losses like their most recent one are really tough to take. The Colts appear to be finding legitimate pieces that will be interesting in the future.
20. Tennessee Titans, 2-4 (LW: 18)
It appears they are fast-forwarding to their future by trading Byard. The soft rebuild has begun.
21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 3-3 (LW: 19)
What a boring football team. But they might host a playoff game. Again!
22. Los Angeles Chargers, 2-4 (LW: 20)
It appears that the national media is coming around to the idea that the Chargers are actually not a serious team. Up next for them is a Bears team on Sunday Night Football. Do we trust them to any degree? The answer should be no, but it is the Bears!
23. New York Jets, 3-3 (LW: 22)
The MetLife Bowl has arrived. Beat the Giants!
24. New England Patriots, 2-5 (LW: 31)
Congratulations to Bill Belichick on 300 career wins. Sunday was fun. They deserved it.
25. Green Bay Packers, 2-4 (LW: 26)
After two football generations of great quarterback play they are starting to see how the other half has lived for all of that time.
26. Washington Commanders, 3-4 (LW: 15)
Who do we think is coaching this team next year?
27. New York Giants, 2-5 (LW: 30)
They are bad, but winning with Tyrod Taylor in 2023 is a bit impressive. Kudos.
28. Denver Broncos, 2-5 (LW: 29)
The least two impressive wins of the season belong to the Broncos.
29. Chicago Bears, 2-5 (LW: 28)
Please win on Sunday night. It would be hilarious.
30. Arizona Cardinals, 1-6 (LW: 27)
They are (as Dennis Green said) who we thought they were.
31. Las Vegas Raiders, 3-4 (LW: 17)
32. Carolina Panthers, 0-6 (LW: 32)
At least they did not lose.
NFL.com: 8 (LW: 8)
This post was originally published without this outlet’s rankings because they were not out at the time, but we have since added them now that they are out.
Even with the defense showing some game-to-game inconsistency, the Cowboys can become a better team with Dak Prescott playing more like he did against the Chargers. Early this season, the Cowboys were lucky they didn’t need more out of the offense, but in big moments against Arizona and San Fran, that unit came up short. You’d like to see more from Brandin Cooks, Michael Gallup and the tight ends in the pass game and more ground production overall. There’s also the matter of Mike McCarthy trying to rediscover his play-caller vibe. Maybe the strides they took against the Chargers and a healthy Tyron Smith suggest more offensive flourish is coming. The good news is that they have more home games than road games remaining.
ESPN: 7 (LW: 7)
They also picked a “young riser” for every team.
Young riser: CB DaRon Bland
Let’s not get it twisted: the Cowboys miss Trevon Diggs, but Bland, 24, has done an excellent job in replacing the Pro Bowl cornerback. After leading the Cowboys in interceptions with five as a rookie last season, he leads them with three this season, including two he has returned for touchdowns. He nearly had two more takeaways against the Los Angeles Chargers. Bland has the size, speed and gift for finding the ball that can’t be taught, a lot like Diggs. — Todd Archer
USA Today: 7 (LW: 8)
Up one spot. Plus the use of the word “vexing”!
One interesting dichotomy of this vexing squad? While Dallas ranks near the bottom of the league in touchdowns converted in the red zone (39.1%), it’s top five when it comes to executing on third down (47.7%).
Yahoo: 7 (LW: 7)
No change here.
The Cowboys have been up and down this season, and there’s a little concern this weekend. They should beat the Rams, but will they overlook them with a game at Philadelphia on deck? We’ll see if Dallas can focus on the task at hand.
CBS Sports: 6 (LW: 6)
They went on the bye after beating the Chargers on the road, which had to give this team life. Is this the point when they really start to play well?
The Athletic: 9 (LW: 9)
They decided to ask one question about every team.
One question: Where are we on Dak Prescott?
In the last two weeks, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and star edge rusher Micah Parsons have felt the need to come to the defense of their eighth-year quarterback. It feels like a lot of angst about a quarterback who is 14th in the league in passer rating (91) and leading a team in the top 10 of these rankings. Are there quibbles? Sure. Prescott’s yards per attempt (7) are the second-lowest of his career, his air yards per attempt (6.9) are the lowest, and he’s throwing to wide receivers at the lowest rate of his career (58.1 percent). But that all seems like a product of Mike McCarthy’s offense, not Prescott’s play.
Sports Illustrated: 5 (LW: 8)
Someone else slid Dallas into the top 5.
The Cowboys emerge from the bye week at 4–2, the fifth-highest scoring football team in the NFL (though their defense deserves a lot of credit for that), and a team that is allowing the second least amount of first downs in the NFL. They have the look of a paper tiger some weeks, and a real, carnivorous tiger in other weeks. Their first Eagles matchup after Halloween should indicate whether they continue to belong here, or if—gasp—they have to drop out of the top eight.