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

ESPN -- Rank: 5

Biggest Achilles' heel: Big plays allowed

To a degree this feels like nitpicking because the Cowboys' defense has outperformed expectations so far entering the season. But when they play better quarterbacks down the stretch -- and potentially in the playoffs -- they can't have these types of lapses. They have allowed 31 plays of at least 20 yards in the first seven games. They allowed the same amount through the first seven games a season ago. The difference is this season they are getting takeaways and coming up with stops. This was a focus of the coaches during the bye week, but the Cowboys allowed four more big plays against the Vikings. It has not hurt them yet, but it could later. -- Todd Archer

NFL.com -- Rank: 2

No matter what happens from this point forward, Cooper Rush will always have Sunday night. The backup QB stepped in for Dak Prescott and made a series of big throws in a 20-16 win over the Vikings in Minneapolis. Dallas' sixth consecutive victory showed how the Cowboys can survive -- in the short-term, anyway -- without their star quarterback, while providing a showcase for just how much their defense has improved in Dan Quinn's first year at the controls. Dallas made Kirk Cousins miserable all night and all but removed Justin Jefferson from the field. The Cowboys used to be a top-heavy operation comprised of stars and scrubs. Not anymore.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 8

Winning on the road with a backup quarterback against a good team is why they are a real Super Bowl threat. The defense is getting better by the week.

USA Today -- Rank: 5

A burgeoning quarterback controversy threatens to tear this team ... kidding. Kidding. Dallas doesn't face a team with a winning record until Week 12 (Las Vegas) and should be commended for conservatively managing QB Dak Prescott's calf injury with the NFC East crown just about in the bag.

The Athletic -- Rank: 6

How's the head coach? That the Cowboys managed to beat the Vikings without Dak Prescott is a major credit to Mike McCarthy and his staff (and yes, a bad sign for the Vikings and Mike Zimmer; more on that in a minute). But what does it say about McCarthy that as the Cowboys continue to win and climb up the rankings, his assistants are the coaches we're all talking about? Offensive coordinator Kellen Moore and defensive coordinator Dan Quinn should both be considered for head coaching jobs in the next hiring cycle.

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