The Cowboys finished their 2021 campaign with a 12-5 record and a wild-card round loss to San Francisco. They finished 2022 with a 12-5 record and a divisional-round loss to San Francisco.
And that’s exactly what the post-Super Bowl power rankings from ESPN and NFL.com reflect. Dallas comes in at the No. 6 spot on both countdowns following Sunday’s postseason wrap; they placed seventh on both lists at this time last year.
Summing up where the team stands entering this offseason, ESPN’s Todd Archer points out that there is now pressure on the Cowboys’ head coach in a way there hasn’t been before.
“Mike McCarthy enters a season in which he will call plays and have more say in the offense than he ever has. He will have a retooled offensive staff and potential changes in personnel on that side of the ball. He has won 24 games in the past two seasons and took the Cowboys a step further in the 2022 playoffs, but heading into the second-to-last year of his contract, McCarthy will need to have his best season, and that work starts in the offseason.”
NFL.com’s Dan Hanzus also notes the growing sense that the Cowboys could use an influx of talent- especially offensively- at a key position or two.
“CeeDee Lamb believes an infusion of talent is what the Cowboys really need to take the next step. ‘You gotta surround [the quarterback],’ Lamb told me and the Around The NFL guys last week. ‘You go look at the Eagles, and they’ve got three receivers, a great tight end group, they run the ball well, the O-line is very phenomenal. You look at San Fran, they surrounded their quarterback and you get success ultimately. I mean, we’ve got just as many weapons, but that extra player, all it takes is one. You can be so close to the Super Bowl and it can be a deciding factor.’ We see no lies.”
The two outlets may agree with each other on the Cowboys’ prognosis, but that obviously doesn’t mean the team is locked in at No. 6 for good. Both lists had the Eagles pegged in the mid- to low-teens last year, before their well-documented shopping spree turned them into NFC champions.
Here’s how the NFC East looks, according to both sets of rankings:
|New York Giants||15||14|