Power Rankings: No. 15 Dallas Cowboys

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

Preseason: 20 | Last week: 18 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002

A 51-48 loss to the Denver Broncos was enough to bump the Cowboys up three spots in this week's ESPN.com Power Rankings, from No. 18 to No. 15.

Imagine what a victory would have done for the Cowboys.

There are major issues with the defense that need to be fixed, but if the offense can produce like it did against Denver, there's no reason to think the Cowboys can't climb up the poll in the next four games. They play the Washington Redskins (No. 27) at AT&T Stadium this week, followed by back-to-back road games against the Philadelphia Eagles (No. 21) and Detroit Lions (No. 12). The Minnesota Vikings (No. 28) visit Nov. 3.

Dan Graziano was the biggest believer in the Cowboys last week, putting them at No. 14, but he dropped them to No. 17 in his rankings this week, which was the lowest grade among the voters. Mike Sando gave the Cowboys the highest grade at No. 14.

At 2-3, the Cowboys are ranked just about right. They have been too up and down, and it's difficult to predict what they will do one week to the next. With four of their next six games away from home, this is a telling stretch for a team that has lost both of its road games so far.