Thursday, September 24, 2020

Dallas Cowboys Week 3 NFL Power Rankings Roundup

Throughout the 2020 NFL season, we will compile a consensus NFL Power Rankings that averages the rankings of all 32 NFL teams.

Here is where the Dallas Cowboys rank in terms of average, best and worst:

  • Average ranking: 13.6 (15th)
  • Best ranking: 11th (
  • Worst ranking: 16th (USA Today)

Below you will find a Week 3 roundup for the Cowboys in our consensus 2020 NFL Power Rankings.

The Athletic -- Rank: 13

What we learned: Mike McCarthy did the right thing going for two when he did. There are probably 700 different angles we could cover from the Cowboys' win over the Falcons, but let's focus on one that's generated a lot of discussion this week. The Cowboys were down 39-24 with the offense driving in the fourth quarter. Trailing by 15, they knew they needed two touchdowns, one extra point and one two-point conversion to tie the game. So the question is: When you score the first touchdown, do you kick the extra point to cut the lead to eight, or do you go for two? The answer is the latter. Why? Because it gives you more information about what you need the rest of the game. If you make the two-point conversion, you're down by seven. You know you need one possession to tie the game. If you don't make the two-point conversion, you're down by nine and can make decisions based on the fact that you need two possessions to win the game. Kicking the extra point after the first touchdown gives you no new information. It puts you down eight. Then if you miss the two-point conversion after the second touchdown, it's later in the game, and you don't get the benefit of making decisions knowing you still need an extra score. Mike McCarthy explained it well after the game.

"I think it's the wrong call to take the extra point," McCarthy said, via The Athletic's Jon Machota. "The decision to go for two there is simple mathematics where you'd rather know if it's a two-score game at the earliest time instead of taking all the way it down to the end and playing for two points at the end. I can't tell you how many conversations I've been involved in about this particular situation. To go for two there is just to make it clear with a little over four minutes left if we were going to be in a one-score game or a two-score game was the thinking."

The Cowboys' two-point conversion failed, so they were down nine and knew they had to go fast on their next possession to score a touchdown and then attempt an onside kick. Had they kicked the extra point to go down eight, maybe they would've approached the second possession as if they needed just one score. Then if they missed the two-point conversion, they might not have had enough time for the onside kick, ensuing drive and game-winning field goal. McCarthy absolutely made the right call.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 14

Dak Prescott was sensational in rallying the Cowboys past the Falcons. Now comes a tough one on the road at Seattle, where he has to prove he can do the same type of thing away from home.

USA Today -- Rank: 16

How good was QB Dak Prescott in Sunday's epic comeback, when he became the first player to ever pass for 400 yards while also rushing for three TDs? Suffice it to say even Skip Bayless was impressed.

ESPN -- Rank: 14

Under-the-radar fantasy standout: TE Dalton Schultz

Schultz caught nine passes for 88 yards and a touchdown against the Falcons. He had 14 career receptions entering the game. Dak Prescott wasn't afraid to look his way, even in key situations, including on his 10-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter. Schultz will benefit from the attention Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, CeeDee Lamb and Ezekiel Elliott receive, but he should not be viewed as another Jason Witten. If Schultz can be steady -- he had a fumble versus the Falcons after two drops against the Rams -- he can be an asset, but more as an outlet option than a main target. -- Todd Archer -- Rank: 11

Down 39-30 with 2:57 to play and no timeouts, the Cowboys pulled off the unthinkable on Sunday, going TD-onside recovery-FG to obliterate the souls of the Falcons. It's the type of game you win one out of 1,000 times -- Dallas' probability of victory was as low as 2 percent in the fourth quarter, per Next Gen Stats, and a finish like that has a way of covering up all the blemishes that led up to those final two minutes. To put it another way: The Cowboys should be proud of their accomplishment against the Falcons, but they'll need to be a much better, much cleaner team if we're to take them seriously as contenders in the NFC.

Previous update: Dallas Cowboys Week 2 NFL Power Rankings Roundup

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