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2023 NFL Week 16 Power Rankings: Dallas Cowboys fall after Buffalo embarrassment

Our latest NFL power rankings, including where outlets across the internet have the Dallas Cowboys.

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Dallas Cowboys v Buffalo Bills Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images

There are only three weeks left in the regular season and that is pretty unbelievable. It is the week of Christmas and the NFL is making sure that there are plenty of games on for background noise while we argue with our families about what the true ceiling is for this year’s Dallas Cowboys.

Where do those Cowboys rank across the league at this point in the season, though? The loss in Buffalo obviously dropped them, but how far specifically?

As always we have put together our weekly power rankings and curated where outlets across the internet have America’s Team ranked.

You can see last week’s rankings right here.


1. San Francisco 49ers, 11-3 (LW: 1)

It is really difficult to see a world where they do not win the Super Bowl.

2. Baltimore Ravens, 11-3 (LW: 3)

But these dudes will stand in their way. Christmas night will offer a potential preview.

3. Buffalo Bills, 8-6 (LW: 5)

They are clearly ready for big-time football at this point in the year. That does not make Sunday any less frustrating, though.

4. Miami Dolphins, 10-4 (LW: 6)

Dallas will have to go through them to avoid back to back losses for the first time in over two years.

5. Dallas Cowboys, 10-4 (LW: 2)

Sunday was frustrating. The season is far from over, but it will take a bit for that feeling to fade.

6. Detroit Lions, 10-4 (LW: 9)

They appear to be finding their own form as of late. We will see them soon.

7. Cleveland Browns, 9-5 (LW: 7)

How about Joe Flacco? This is a weirdly fun ride.

8. Kansas City Chiefs, 9-5 (LW: 10)

They bounced back but still do not seem like the version of themselves we have known for so long.

9. Philadelphia Eagles, 10-4 (LW: 4)

Their offense looks completely broken. It is literally either Hurts scrambling or trying to hit a deep shot. Oh well!

10. Cincinnati Bengals, 8-6 (LW: 12)

What an impressive football team. They never, ever quit. Watch out for them in the playoffs, even without the mighty Joe Burrow. Obviously they are not the same but they can still make some noise.

11. Jacksonville Jaguars, 8-6 (LW: 8)

It appears to be getting late a little early here.

12. Los Angeles Rams, 7-7 (LW: 11)

The Bills offer this opportunity in the AFC, but I would not be shocked if the Rams win a playoff game as the #7 seed. Their offense can show up and make an impact in many different ways.

13. Seattle Seahawks, 6-7 (LW: 18)

Monday night was a really impressive win, especially with Drew Lock under center (all credit in the world to him). If they get it together there is a world where Dallas hosts them in the Wild Card Round.

14. Houston Texans, 8-6 (LW: 13)

Sunday was not only a huge win but likely a satisfying one as they knocked the Titans, wearing Oilers throwbacks, out of playoff contention officially. With C.J. Stroud on the way back in all likelihood, Houston might take their division.

15. Indianapolis Colts, 8-6 (LW: 15)

Unless the Colts do something about it.

16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 7-7 (LW: 16)

We all likely feel confident in a Dallas game in Tampa in the Wild Card Round, but the Buccaneers are no longer looking like a bad team in a worse division. They are more than just competent. Baker Mayfield was outstanding last week.

17. New Orleans Saints, 7-7 (LW: 20)

Perhaps they can pry the NFC South away?

18. Denver Broncos, 7-7 (LW: 14)

Maybe they will not be making the playoffs after all.

19. Green Bay Packers, 6-8 (LW: 17)

There is no real shame that should be felt here. They are an incredibly young team and this season was always about building for the future.

20. Atlanta Falcons, 6-8 (LW: 19)

They are so bad. So very bad.

21. Pittsburgh Steelers, 7-7 (LW: 21)

Are we confident that they finish about .500 at this point?

22. Las Vegas Raiders, 6-8 (LW: 28)

63 points!

23. Tennessee Titans, 5-9 (LW: 22)

Boring.

24. Minnesota Vikings, 7-7 (LW: 23)

They currently hold the #6 seed in the NFC, but with two games left against Detroit they may find themselves on the outside looking in.

25. New York Giants, 5-9 (LW: 24)

Please find a way over the next three weeks.

26. Chicago Bears, 5-9 (LW: 25)

That was such a bummer of a loss for Matt Eberflus’ squad.

Their offseason is going to be fascinating to watch.

27. New York Jets, 5-9 (LW: 26)

They have had such a bad season. At least it is almost over.

28. Los Angeles Chargers, 5-9 (LW: 27)

So ends the Brandon Staley era.

29. Arizona Cardinals, 3-11 (LW: 29)

A Cardinals win in Philadelphia is all we ask for at this point.

30. New England Patriots, 3-11 (LW: 30)

Even though we know nothing lasts forever it is still jarring to see them play so poorly.

31. Washington Commanders, 4-10 (LW: 31)

What did Ron Rivera have to gain by benching Sam Howell? This regime is terrible.

32. Carolina Panthers, 2-12 (LW: 32)

They won!


NFL.com: 3 (LW: 3)

No movement here. San Francisco and Baltimore rank ahead of Dallas.

Prior to kickoff in Buffalo, the Cowboys secured a playoff spot. Unfortunately, that ended up being the high point of Sunday. Losing to the Bills was never going to kill the season and all the positive momentum of the past few months, but it was the way it happened that raised some serious concerns. Giving up 266 yards and three TDs on the ground to Buffalo revealed what could be the blueprint to beating Dallas in the playoffs. DT Johnathan Hankins was missing for this game, but it’s wild to think he was the difference. In the Cowboys’ four losses this season, they’ve allowed 767 rush yards on 153 carries (5.0 average) and nine TDs. In their 10 wins, opponents have run the ball 232 times for 877 yards (3.8 average) and only four TDs. This week’s opponent, Miami, can run it. So can Detroit, Dallas’ Week 17 assignment. These are critical games for a team that still is jockeying for the No. 1 seed, yet suddenly it faces a major issue that is threatening to challenge the whole operation. The Cowboys shouldn’t have lost Sunday’s game as one-sidedly as they did.

ESPN: 3 (LW: 2)

Same story here. They also included something each team is “number one” in.

We’re No. 1 ... in non-offensive touchdowns.

This is what happens when somebody sets an NFL record, like Cowboys cornerback DaRon Bland has by scoring five touchdowns on interceptions this season. But Bland isn’t the only one in on the act. Leighton Vander Esch returned a fumble for a touchdown and Noah Igbinoghene returned a blocked field goal for a touchdown. The Cowboys have seven on the season, followed by Indianapolis (five) and Miami (four). — Todd Archer

USA Today: 7 (LW: 2)

A bit of a further dip, but interestingly number 3 here is Philadelphia.

Good news for the NFC team known for beating up tomato cans but not quality opponents – Sunday will bring a test against the Dolphins … and hopefully the Cowboys offense will actually show up to play in South Florida.

Yahoo: 4 (LW: 2)

Add Buffalo to teams in front of Dallas here because... yea.

The Cowboys are 7-0 at home and 3-4 on the road. It’s not just the record; they look like an entirely different team on the road. That’s bad news because their whole playoff season is likely to be on the road. That might be their fatal flaw.

CBS Sports: 8 (LW: 2)

Lowest Cowboys ranking so far.

They were physically mauled by the Bills in the loss Sunday. That is not a good look heading to the playoffs or as they ready to play Miami.

The Athletic: 5 (LW: 2)

Good to see nobody is overly overreacting to the Cowboys loss. They also included a surprise for every team and Dallas’ road woes took the cake.

Surprise: How they play on the road

Dallas, which is 7-0 at home, is now below .500 on the road, dropping to 3-4 with Sunday’s loss. The Cowboys lead the league in scoring (39.86 ppg) and scoring margin (plus-171) at home but are 15th in scoring (21.71 ppg) and have a minus-4 scoring margin on the road. This is not good news for a team that probably is going to have to play at Philadelphia or at San Francisco to get to the Super Bowl. It has played in both of those stadiums this year and lost by a combined score of 70-33.

Sports Illustrated: 5 (LW: 4)

Another top 5 ranking.

This game was disconcerting in that Buffalo did little else than throw its weight into Dallas, and the Cowboys backed down. This is going to be a preview of many of Dallas’s winter games at this point. Be it San Francisco, Philadelphia or Detroit, Dallas’s road to a potential Super Bowl berth is going to go through a team that prefers a pugilistic style of football. The Cowboys are tough, but only if they can play a very specific brand of football.

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