Power Rankings: No. 18 Dallas Cowboys

A weekly examination of the Cowboys' ESPN.com Power Ranking:

Preseason: 20 | Last Week: 15 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002

The Dallas Cowboys are officially in free-fall mode after their 37-36 loss to the Green Bay Packers.

They check in at No. 18 this week, their lowest ranking since they were No. 18 after their 51-48 loss to the Denver Broncos on Oct. 13 dropped them to 2-3. Two weeks ago they were at No. 11 after back-to-back wins against the New York Giants and Oakland Raiders.

Can the Cowboys recover?

Sure. The Washington Redskins, Sunday's foe, check in at No. 31 in the rankings. But if you think Washington will roll over against the Cowboys, despite its record and unhappiness from the fans, then you would be completely wrong.

The Cowboys have to win the game to remain alive in the playoff chase. If they don’t, then they could be eliminated by the time their team plane returns to Dallas with the Philadelphia Eagles playing the late game against the Chicago Bears. A Dallas loss and Philly win would end the Cowboys’ chances.

Mike Sando and Jamison Hensley gave the Cowboys their lowest ranking at No. 20. Dan Graziano, Kevin Seifert and John Clayton checked them in at No. 17 and Ashley Fox had them at No. 18. Curiously, the Eagles fell only two spots to No. 11 despite their embarrassing loss to the No. 27 Minnesota Vikings.

At the beginning of the year, we wondered if the Week 17 finale at AT&T Stadium against the Eagles would be for the division title. We’re one Cowboys win away from that happening.