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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 16 roundup for the Cowboys in our consensus 2021 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 4

How hot is Mike McCarthy's seat: 1. Cold seat

The campaign might not have started out that way after last season's 6-10 finish, but McCarthy has the Cowboys poised to clinch the NFC East title and perhaps the top seed in the playoffs. He has managed a team that has dealt with injuries and COVID-19. He has had some eyebrow-raising moments with his clock management, at times, but he has done a good job of making sure the players have been physically and emotionally ready to play a 17-game season. Ultimately, he will be judged by what the Cowboys do in the postseason, but there's no question about his status going into 2022. -- Todd Archer

NFL.com -- Rank: 8

The Cowboys have become the NFC version of what the Chiefs were in the AFC for much of this season: a team filled with high-profile stars on offense getting regularly carried by its defense. Dak Prescott and the Dallas attack continued to look pedestrian in a 21-6 win over the Giants, leaving it to the defense to do the heavy lifting. Dan Quinn's guys happily accepted the challenge, forcing four turnovers for the third consecutive week. The stats tell the story of an opportunistic unit: The Cowboys lead the league with 23 interceptions and are tied for first in takeaways with 31. The D will take Big D to an NFC East title, but there's no road back to the Lombardi unless the offense finds its groove.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 3

The offense still didn't click against the Giants, but the running game did. They still need to get Dak Prescott going.

USA Today -- Rank: 4

Who cares if QB Dak Prescott isn't firing on all cylinders? When you're the first defense in 14 years with a double-digit sack artist (LB Micah Parsons, 12) and ball thief (CB Trevon Diggs, 10 INTs), the offense enjoys some margin for error.

The Athletic -- Rank: 5

Our gift to you: A Defensive Player of the Year award for Micah Parsons. The rookie has been transformative for the Cowboys defense this season, and his versatility as a do-everything linebacker with pass-rushing ability immediately thrust him into elite company. Who would have thought the Cowboys would be a serious contender because of their defense? Parsons made it so.

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