Power Rankings: No. 14 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, who didn't play last week, moved up a spot in the ESPN.com Power Ranking. That was about the only good thing from the bye, because they are no longer in first place in the NFC East.

Mike Sando gave the Cowboys the highest grade at No. 13. John Clayton docked the Cowboys two spots to No. 14. Kevin Seifert had the lowest ranking at No. 16. The Cowboys are the ninth-rated team in the NFC, which is more of a sign why they must win the division to make the playoffs.

Sunday’s opponent, the New York Giants, check in at No. 22 even in the middle of a four-game winning streak. It seems as if history cannot override weak competition in the eyes of the voters for the Giants.

Jason Garrett would never use the term -- and most players would publicly avoid it as well -- but this is a must-win for the Cowboys. Technically they would remain in the NFC East race with a loss because of the sad state of the division, but realistically they would need to overcome mounting evidence that the season is spiraling downward. A loss would be the Cowboys' third in four games. A win would move the Cowboys to 4-0 in the division and all but eliminate the Giants.

The Oakland Raiders visit AT&T Stadium on Thanksgiving, giving the Cowboys a chance to reclaim the NFC East lead before the Eagles would play their next game.