The case for/against Cowboys as NFL's best

IRVING, Texas -- Thanks to their five-game winning streak the Dallas Cowboys are up to No. 3 in the ESPN Power Rankings behind the Denver Broncos and San Diego Chargers. It is the highest they have been since topping the rankings in Week 4 of the 2008 season when they were 3-0.

It's all rather dizzying, especially considering they were No. 27 in the rankings this year after losing the season opener to the San Francisco 49ers.

The only other five-win teams in the NFL are the Chargers and the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles' opponents are a combined 12-22, while the Chargers' opponents are 11-22.

The Cowboys' opponents are 15-18.

So the question now is: Are the Cowboys the best team in the NFL?

The folks at ESPN Stats & Information put together the case for the Cowboys and the case against the Cowboys.


  • They are running at will: First in the NFL in rushing yards per game (160)

  • They move the ball on first down: DeMarco Murray has more rushing yards on first down (594) than any other running back has on all downs combined

  • They convert when they need to: first in third-down conversion percentage (56 percent); Tony Romo has the 2nd-best QBR on 3rd down (93)

  • They are closing out games: Romo ranks first in Total QBR in the second half and overtime in 2014 (93)

  • They protect the quarterback: third in pass protection percentage, controlling the line of scrimmage on 54 percent of pass plays


  • They have turned the ball over more than all but two teams with 12 turnovers in six games

  • They allow the fourth-most yards per play (6.1)

  • They allow the second-most yards per rush (5.1)

  • They allow the most yards before contact per rush (3.5)

  • They allow the sixth-most yards after contact per rush (1.9)

  • They rank 26th in sack percentage (sacks/dropbacks) at 3.4 percent

  • Their dominant offensive line is about to change for the first time all year. Right tackle Doug Free is expected to miss 3-4 weeks with a small fracture in his right foot. The Cowboys were one of two teams that entered Week 6 having used just one five-man offensive line combination (Cleveland Browns)