Thursday, September 9, 2021

Dallas Cowboys 2021 NFL Power Rankings Roundup: Week 1

Throughout the 2021 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: 14.8 (15th)
  • Best ranking: 12th (ESPN)
  • Worst ranking: 19th (

Below you will find a Week 1 roundup for the Cowboys in our consensus 2021 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 19

Person on the hot seat: LB Jaylon Smith

Smith led the Cowboys in tackles the past two seasons but didn't make many impactful plays. His $7.2 million base salary is guaranteed for this season, but his playing time is not. The Cowboys know they need to get 2021 No. 12 overall pick Micah Parsons on the field a ton. Leighton Vander Esch has had a productive training camp and is back at his preferred weakside spot. Free-agent pickup Keanu Neal has performed well, too. All of it could leave Smith out in the cold. If Smith does not regain his form of a few seasons ago, this could be his last year with the Cowboys. -- Todd Archer -- Rank: 12

Slowing down the Tom Brady-led Bucs attack will be a huge challenge, but Cowboys fans should be excited to see first-round pick Micah Parsons in a showcase game in front of Al, Cris, Michele and the world. Summer reports on Parsons have been positively glowing, and a big performance in the opener will get his Defensive Rookie of the Year candidacy off to a blazing start. Dallas desperately needs to develop a new star on that side of the ball. Parsons has all the tools to make it happen.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 19

Dak Prescott is back, the offensive line is healthy again and the defense has added some key players. This is the year Mike McCarthy has to get this team a division title.

USA Today -- Rank: 14.8

The spotlight has understandably been on rehabbing/enriched/newly injured QB Dak Prescott for months. But an offensive line that crumbled in 2020 is stumbling into Week 1 with All-Pro G Zack Martin having tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend, and RT La'el Collins laboring to get back into the lineup.

The Athletic -- Rank: 12

Why they're ranked here: The Cowboys tied the Colts and Saints for the most volatile teams in our voting. Dallas was picked as high as No. 7 and as low as No. 26. From a positive perspective, it's easy to see this offense playing well with Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Amari Cooper, CeeDee Lamb and Michael Gallup. On the other hand, Prescott's preseason shoulder injury is worrisome and that makes no mention of his return from an ankle injury. And while rookie Micah Parsons should help, Dallas' defense still gave up the fifth-most points a year ago.

One big question: Can the offense fulfill its potential? The Cowboys boast some of the best skill position players in the league and their offensive line is still pretty good. If its players can stay healthy, there's no reason Dallas can't have a fringe top-five offense.

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