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2023 NFL Week 18 Power Rankings: Dallas Cowboys near top as playoffs approach

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

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NFL: Detroit Lions at Dallas Cowboys Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

We blinked and the 2023 NFL regular season has just about passed by. Soon enough the season will formally end for 18 teams, thankfully the Dallas Cowboys are not one of them. As we get set for the regular-season finale some things look exactly the way we thought that they would at season’s beginning, while other things have been a surprise.

For one last time we have gathered all 32 teams and ranked them how we see fit. We have also collected outlets across the internet in terms of how they view the Dallas Cowboys.

You can see last week’s rankings right here.

1. Baltimore Ravens, 13-3 (LW: 1)

At present time they appear to be the most unstoppable team in the NFL.

2. San Francisco 49ers, 12-4 (LW: 2)

But these guys exist so don’t hold your breath too long on that.

3. Buffalo Bills, 10-6 (LW: 3)

It is so strange that they feel so dangerous yet it is conceivable that they miss the playoffs entirely. That would be a good thing for the field, clearly.

4. Dallas Cowboys, 11-5 (LW: 8)

Things can change quickly. Win and the #2 seed is ours. What a dream.

5. Detroit Lions, 11-5 (LW: 5)

Certainly fair to believe that their fans are upset about not having the #2 seed available to them.

6. Cleveland Browns, 11-5 (LW: 6)

What a wild and weird story this is. To be clear they are in incredible form and I know that they have stayed at the same ranking despite an amazing win, but part of this week’s ranking is faith level as the playoffs begin next week.

7. Kansas City Chiefs, 10-6 (LW: 9)

It still feels so difficult on offense. But even then a down year for the Chiefs finds them winning the AFC West for the eighth straight year.

8. Miami Dolphins, 11-5 (LW: 4)

Kind of interesting how little talk there is about them coming up so small in a huge spot.

9. Philadelphia Eagles, 11-5 (LW: 7)

You really, really, really hate to see their downfall.

10. Los Angeles Rams, 9-7 (LW: 11)

Sunday was definitely not easy, but they remain dangerous entering the playoffs. Assuming Dallas does wind up as the #2 it would be great if LA was above the #7 spot.

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

But a playoff game at AT&T Stadium against the Green Bay Packers hardly makes any of us feel good.

12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 8-8 (LW: 10)

There is no way they blow the division, right?

13. Seattle Seahawks, 8-8 (LW: 12)

This might be the best possible situation for Dallas in terms of #7 opponents.

14. Jacksonville Jaguars, 9-7 (LW: 14)

Winning without your starting quarterback is always difficult, even against a lowly team like the Panthers.

15. Pittsburgh Steelers, 9-7 (LW: 15)

They finally look legitimate on offense. Perhaps Mason Rudolph was the answer all along.

16. Houston Texans, 9-7 (LW: 18)

We deserve to see C.J. Stroud in the playoffs.

17. Indianapolis Colts, 9-7 (LW: 20)

Which means he has to earn it against them.

18. Cincinnati Bengals, 8-8 (LW: 13)

All told the season just dealt too much Cincinnati’s way. Heads held high for fighting until the very end.

19. Las Vegas Raiders, 7-9 (LW: 16)

Surely they will be the first team to announce a new head coach once the offseason begins for non-playoff teams.

20. New Orleans Saints, 8-8 (LW: 21)

It still feels unlikely that they get in the tournament.

21. Chicago Bears, 7-9 (LW: 25)

What an impressive surge down the stretch from this group. Having the number one pick on top of it all surely makes for an exciting next few months in Chicago.

22. Atlanta Falcons, 7-9 (LW: 19)

This team is so boring.

23. Denver Broncos, 8-8 (LW: 22)

There is not much more excitement here. But they won without Russell Wilson which was apparently... the goal?

24. Minnesota Vikings, 7-9 (LW: 23)

Bring Kirk Cousins back.

25. Arizona Cardinals, 4-12 (LW: 30)


26. Tennessee Titans, 5-11 (LW: 24)

Like other teams it is going to be very interesting to see the offseason here. Tennessee is on the verge of needing to change a whole lot.

27. New York Giants, 5-11 (LW: 28)

That was a gut-wrenching way to lose. Maybe they should take it out on Philly in Week 18!

28. New England Patriots, 4-12 (LW: 26)

It will never not feel strange to see them flounder so much.

29. New York Jets, 6-10 (LW: 27)

The absolute most boring team that there is.

30. Washington Commanders, 4-12 (LW: 31)

You know you want the second overall pick. Let’s do this together.

31. Los Angeles Chargers, 5-11 (LW: 29)


32. Carolina Panthers, 2-14 (LW: 32)

Not the best week to be David Tepper. 3 (LW: 6)

Behind only Baltimore and San Francisco.

They largely played a good game against the Lions, which was important to see, even if it came down to a controversial penalty on Detroit’s late two-point conversation. The Cowboys didn’t look quite as invulnerable at home as they had for most games at AT&T Stadium the past few years, letting things start to slip away late on Saturday. The tables certainly turned the following day with the Eagles’ loss to the Cardinals, which suddenly made Dallas the massive favorite to clinch the NFC East title in Week 18. Setting aside Philly’s loss, this win was significant for the Cowboys, who otherwise would have extended a three-game losing streak. Maybe it’s a bunch of phooey, but that just sounds a heck of a lot worse than the alternative this late in the season.

ESPN: 3 (LW: 6)

Same story. They also included a biggest contract situation to watch in the offseason. This one is obvious.

Biggest offseason contract to watch: QB Dak Prescott

The Cowboys have several contract situations to solve in the offseason, but the biggest is Prescott’s deal. He is set to count $59.4 million against the salary cap as he enters the final year of his deal. The Cowboys have said they want to sign him to a long-term deal and they don’t have the leverage of using the franchise tag in 2025. While they want to get long-term deals done with CeeDee Lamb and Micah Parsons as well, getting their quarterback locked up after his best season is a must and will be costly. But Jerry and Stephen Jones look at it as the cost of doing business when it comes to that position. — Todd Archer

USA Today: 5a (LW: 10)

No that is not a typo. They broke spot number five down into two spots with Dallas taking 5a and Detroit taking 5b.

Did they really win Saturday? Regardless, this is a team capable of doing serious damage in the postseason … if it plays at AT&T Stadium.

Yahoo: 4 (LW: 5)

Like our own rankings they also have Buffalo ahead of Dallas.

The officiating controversy on Saturday night has massive ramifications. If the referee acknowledged Taylor Decker reporting as eligible and the Lions still get that 2-point conversion (that’s no sure thing if the Cowboys knew Decker was eligible), then the Cowboys aren’t looking at an NFC East title simply by beating the Commanders in the finale. Considering how much better the Cowboys are at home, it’s not outrageous to wonder if that report/didn’t report fiasco ultimately ends up changing who wins the Super Bowl.

CBS Sports: 3 (LW: 9)

Up in front of the Bills here. Dallas made the biggest jump of any team at this outlet.

They needed some controversial help late to beat the Lions, but they did it. With the Eagles losing, they need to beat Washington to lock up the No. 2 seed.

The Athletic: 5 (LW: 6)

They included a lesson to learn for each team.

The lesson: Throw the ball to your best players

Dallas has lost only once this season when CeeDee Lamb gets more than 10 targets in a game. Lamb averaged seven targets and 5.7 catches per game through Week 6, and the Cowboys were 4-2. Since then, he has averaged 12.6 targets and 8.8 catches per game, and Dallas is 7-3 in that span. Saturday night, he had a career-high 227 yards on 13 catches against the Lions

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