We have reached the week of Thanksgiving in the NFL which means things are about to move very quickly for our Dallas Cowboys. Obviously Dallas will play on Thanksgiving Day itself and then again seven days later next week on Thursday Night Football.
This will provide a great opportunity to enjoy Sunday action across the rest of the league and assess the groups as the final stretch of the regular season gets set to begin. For now though as we look around the group it is easy to see that there is a group of high-level contenders, another of would-be ones and then everyone else.
As always we have put together our rankings of the league as a whole to this point in the season and collected how various outlets around the internet see the Cowboys.
1. Philadelphia Eagles, 9-1 (LW: 1)
They have an uncanny ability to hang around long enough to do the one thing that they need and then are able to do it. Very annoying, if you ask me.
2. Detroit Lions, 8-2 (LW: 3)
Good teams hang on when times get a little tough and the Lions did that on Sunday.
Is this not the most excited we have ever been to watch the game before Dallas on Thanksgiving?
3. San Francisco 49ers, 7-3 (LW: 4)
Unfortunately they are back and very scary. Sigh.
4. Dallas Cowboys, 7-3 (LW: 5)
They are currently taking care of business which is not as easy as it sounds.
5. Baltimore Ravens, 8-3 (LW: 6)
It appears that the AFC North will be theirs before it is all said and done.
6. Kansas City Chiefs, 7-3 (LW: 2)
Personally speaking I am never going to count out Patrick Mahomes, but it is hard to believe in the future of the 2023 version of Kansas City with the limited playmakers around him. He cannot throw and catch passes.
7. Cleveland Browns, 7-3 (LW: 7)
Unless they do something rather impressive. As in something else that is impressive because their defense is on fire.
8. Miami Dolphins, 7-3 (LW: 9)
Back in the win column after a long time away from it.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars, 7-3 (LW: 11)
It feels like people want to believe in them so much, but will they really hang on to win the division?
10. Houston Texans, 6-4 (LW: 12)
Because these dudes are coming and doing so rather quickly.
11. Buffalo Bills, 6-5 (LW: 14)
It had been a long little bit for Buffalo so surely a win feels good.
Hopefully they get another one next week in Philadelphia.
12. Minnesota Vikings, 6-5 (LW: 13)
If I had to guess I’d say they still wind up winning the third Wildcard, but Sunday was definitely frustrating. Getting Justin Jefferson back is a must.
13. Seattle Seahawks, 6-4 (LW: 10)
Their loss was huge for Dallas’ standings in the Wildcard race and it also felt like it showed the ceiling that Seattle has. Nevertheless we will see them soon enough.
14. Los Angeles Chargers, 4-6 (LW: 15)
It is amazing how they always manage to be mediocre.
15. Cincinnati Bengals, 5-5 (LW: 8)
The Joe Burrow injury is devastating for the NFL. Best to Bengals fans.
16. Indianapolis Colts, 5-5 (LW: 16)
Who would have thought they would be squarely in the playoff hunt?
17. New Orleans Saints, 5-5 (LW: 21)
It appears this may be the NFC South winner which is obviously relevant to us.
18. Denver Broncos, 5-5 (LW: 22)
Three wins in a row! Including ones against the Chiefs and Bills!
19. Pittsburgh Steelers, 6-4 (LW: 17)
Kirk Cousins in this offense in 2024 is sort of absolutely necessary at this point.
20. Los Angeles Rams, 4-6 (LW: 26)
Perhaps they are better than many thought. But their hole might have been dug too deep already.
21. Las Vegas Raiders, 5-5 (LW: 18)
Another surprise playoff contender.
22. Washington Commanders, 4-7 (LW: 19)
Getting humiliated by Tommy DeVito is a new low, even for them.
23. Green Bay Packers, 4-6 (LW: 24)
The Jordan Love evaluation in the offseason will be fascinating.
24. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 4-6 (LW: 20)
Getting beaten by the 49ers is in no way embarrassing, but they were hardly competitive.
25. New York Jets, 4-6 (LW: 23)
Who is ready for Tim Boyle on Black Friday?!
26. New York Giants, 3-8 (LW: 32)
Keep dropping yourself out of top-tier draft position, please.
27. Tennessee Titans, 3-7 (LW: 25)
One of the more gross teams to watch right now.
28. Arizona Cardinals, 2-9 (LW: 27)
At least Kyler Murray makes things somewhat interesting.
29. Atlanta Falcons, 4-6 (LW: 28)
There is nothing going on here that is interesting.
30. Chicago Bears, 3-8 (LW: 29)
A win in Detroit would have been so much fun, but the Bears are who we thought they were.
31. New England Patriots, 2-8 (LW: 30)
It has been late early for a while here.
32. Carolina Panthers, 1-9 (LW: 31)
Thanks for the good times.
NFL.com: 7 (LW: 7)
No movement here.
This was a businesslike win over Carolina, and two home games await before the big rematch with Philadelphia (which is also at Jerry World). The trick, obviously, is to avoid a Cardinals type of loss. But the Cowboys have been so dominant in Dallas this season, they figure to have the edge over both the Commanders on Thanksgiving and the suddenly-slumping Seahawks coming in on a short week, with Geno Smith and Kenneth Walker III currently ailing. Dak Prescott is playing his best football. The pass-catching group is dangerous. Tony Pollard is humming again. The defensive front seven’s had too many games with poor run fits, but the group’s pressuring and covering well. There are times this looks like a Super Bowl team. We might not find out until Philly: Round 2, with the ‘Boys likely needing to win that massive showdown if they want to steal the division.
ESPN: 6 (LW: 7)
Up one spot.
They also went with someone who was on the hot seat in the preseason and assessed the temperature of the seat in question at this point. Todd Archer went with Mike McCarthy.
Preseason hot seat: Coach Mike McCarthy
Current temperature of hot seat: Cold
McCarthy has the Cowboys poised to make the playoffs for a third straight year, something that has not happened since the mid-1990s. But his spot on the hot seat had nothing to do with the regular season, short of a disastrous record no one would have seen coming. His seat becomes the centerpiece in the offseason. The Cowboys have gone to the wild-card and divisional rounds each of the past two seasons, but does he need to make at least a conference title game? Only Jerry Jones knows the answer to that one. After Thanksgiving, five of the Cowboys’ final six opponents have winning records. McCarthy’s seat could change temperature by January. — Todd Archer
USA Today: 5 (LW: 7)
First person to put the Cowboys in the top 5.
CB DaRon Bland’s next pick-six will give him the NFL’s single-season record, which is great. However WR CeeDee Lamb is the only Dallas player with more TDs (6) than Bland’s four … which is not as great.
Yahoo: 7 (LW: 7)
Not so much here. Also I’d imagine they mean Sunday and not Thursday.
Thursday was one of the more ho-hum 23-point wins you’ll find. The Cowboys did what they had to do to beat a bad Panthers team, and that’s fine. They have to play again Thursday against the similarly undermanned Commanders, and if they win that they’re in good shape heading into December.
CBS Sports: 3 (LW: 4)
Trailing only the Eagles and Lions, respectively, who are both on the schedule in December.
They are getting better by the week. The defense was dominant against a bad Carolina offense, getting DaRon Bland’s fourth pick six of the season to seal it.
The Athletic: 7 (LW: 12)
Last week’s ranking here was a bit questionable. At least this one makes more sense.
Are they good? Yes
Yes, they have feasted on lesser opponents. Like the Dolphins, the Cowboys haven’t beaten a team with a winning record, but there aren’t many teams scarier than Dallas when it’s hitting on all cylinders. Sunday brought two unlikely milestones. First, owner Jerry Jones and former coach Jimmy Johnson officially buried the hatchet as Johnson was welcomed to the Cowboys Ring of Honor. Then cornerback DaRon Bland tied the NFL single-season record with his fourth interception return for a touchdown.
Sports Illustrated: 6 (LW: 7)
And there you have it.
A clinical offensive performance for the Cowboys, who, aside from facing the Cardinals, are excellent at disposing of poor competition. If Dallas is able to get ahead in a game of actual import, they are going to be difficult to contend with, especially if the rush is taken away. I did see some puzzling moments of vulnerability on that front again versus Carolina on Sunday.