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2021 NFL Power Rankings: Dallas Cowboys

Throughout the 2021 NFL season, we will compile a consensus NFL Power Rankings that averages the rankings of all 32 NFL teams.

Here is where the Dallas Cowboys rank in terms of average, best and worst:

Below you will find a Week 14 roundup for the Cowboys in our consensus 2021 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 7

Player who must step up: QB Dak Prescott

It's not that Prescott has played poorly, but he has not been as effective as he was in the first seven games of the season, before suffering a calf strain against New England. In his past five games, he has seven touchdown passes and four interceptions. He would be helped by a better running game and protection that has not been as good lately, but this is why the Cowboys made a $160 million investment in Prescott in March. Dallas is in position to win the NFC East for the third time with Prescott, but for this team to again be seen as one of the best in the NFL, it needs more from Prescott. -- Todd Archer

NFL.com -- Rank: 6

It wasn't a work of art, but the Cowboys got the job done on Thursday night in New Orleans. The defense did the heavy lifting, icing the game with three fourth-quarter interceptions -- including a Carlos Watkins pick-six -- in a 27-17 win that snapped a two-game losing streak. Now Dallas gets a much needed "half-bye" to rest up and recover before making a push for the top seed in the NFC. The ongoing slump of Dak Prescott remains a situation worth tracking: The quarterback made some elite throws against the Saints, but he has not been as consistent a force since his return from the calf strain that cost him a game.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 10

They got back on track winning at New Orleans, but now face what is now a big division game against Washington on the road. That won't be easy.

USA Today -- Rank: 6

RB Tony Pollard averages 6.2 yards per touch, a full yard-and-a-half better than limping starter Ezekiel Elliott. Despite Zeke's salary, you have to wonder if Dallas would be better if he and Pollard switched roles.

The Athletic -- Rank: 6

Best-case scenario: It's been a wild week for the Cowboys, who won in New Orleans without their head coach after Mike McCarthy tested positive for COVID-19. McCarthy is expected back this week, and will try to continue his record of success (39-19) in December. Dallas' best-case scenario is to go 4-1 in its final five games, including four against NFC East rivals -- none of which has a winning record. McCarthy's history of being cautious with injuries helped his Packers teams get healthy down the stretch, and the Cowboys should get defensive linemen Randy Gregory and Neville Gallimore back this week after edge rusher DeMarcus Lawrence returned last week.

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