Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley
Power Rankings: Preseason: 17. This week: 8.
Where they stand: After a 2-2 start, the Cowboys have won four straight games to get to 6-2 and take sole possession of first place in the NFC East. It started with a wild overtime win over the Chiefs. Since then, the Cowboys have beaten two quality opponents in the Falcons and Eagles. Of course, December still looms. But if the Cowboys can keep stacking wins in November, they could survive a loss or two in December. This looks like a playoff team. Can they win a playoff game? That's a different story.
Disappointments: Obviously, the Cowboys expected more out of Roy Williams. For much of the season, he hasn't had good chemistry with quarterback Tony Romo and he leads the team in drops. But he came out against the Eagles and caught five passes for 75 yards. He probably would've added a touchdown but Eagles cornerback Asante Samuel grabbed his jersey on what should've been a pass interference call late in the first half. Despite what you may have read elsewhere, Williams has had a good attitude even while being widely criticized. He may be on the verge of breaking out of his slump.
Surprises: Miles Austin is the huge surprise. He's cooled off just a bit after his two-game stretch of 421 yards and four touchdowns, but he's certainly a viable threat. The Eagles used double coverage against Austin at least 11 times in Week 9. That tells you about the amount of respect Austin has gained in a very short period of time. He was nearly shut out against the Eagles, but then he broke free for the game-winning 49-yard touchdown. He's a very dangerous player right now.
Outlook: There's no reason the Cowboys can't win at least 11 games. After a trip to Green Bay, they come home to play the Redskins and Raiders. The worst they'll do in that stretch is 2-1, and I think they have a great chance to come out of this stretch 9-2. I think 11 wins will seal the division race -- and the Cowboys are headed in that direction. Will they win a playoff game? Yes, I think they'll finally break through and get a win. I'm very interested in that game in the Meadowlands in early December. I have a sneaking suspicion that the Giants will have turned it around by then.