Power rankings in the NFL are just a measure of one person’s opinion, or sometimes a group of people’s opinion, on which teams they like and don’t like. Really, that’s what they are, more a popularity contest and than an objective listing. Still, they hold some interest because they can either confirm, or help dispel, what NFL fans are thinking about their team.
Last offseason, despite the Cowboys shipping out Amari Cooper, the team was typically in the top eight or so of the rankings and considered a valid Super Bowl contender. This week, post draft, we have a power ranking from veteran NFL observer Peter King, and the Cowboys have slipped down to tenth in his ranking.
10. Dallas. Know why this is a crucial year for the Cowboys? They’ve won 24 regular-season games in the last two years, then scored 36 points in eight quarters in two playoff losses to the Niners. Dak Prescott’s got to do something about that, now.
Whatever you think of the ranking, there is some interesting reasoning here about the Cowboys. Their offense can be on fire for long stretches, and along with a top-notch defense, they can rack up back-to-back 12-win seasons. But once they hit the playoffs against the 49ers, the offense fizzles.
So one might expect they would go offense-heavy in the draft. That’s mostly what we expected in the run up to the selection show. Instead, the Cowboys went the other way. They doubled-down on their defense, adding some strong pieces to stop the run. That may have been a response to the feeling that the 49ers kind of bullied them, especially in the playoff game two years ago. Of course, run defense was an issue all along, and one the Cowboys were determined to fix.
The other side of that thinking might have been about Dak Prescott. The Cowboys likely believe, and with some pretty solid history to back them up, that Prescott will not be so careless with the football as he was in 2022. Not all of those interceptions were his fault, but he put the ball in danger too many times. The Cowboys are counting on him not making that mistake a second year in a row.
Other things about this ranking of note. King has the Eagles as the solid number one in his rankings over their Super Bowl nemesis, the Chiefs. Interestingly, King has teams like the Lions at number six, and the Dolphins at number eight. Even the Aaron Rodgers-led Jets have jumped to number nine. All that seems pretty bullish on some teams who are just now entering the upper echelons of the league.