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NFL power rankings: Welcome to the top, Cowboys

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A pair of rookies refuse to let Dallas lose a game.

Dallas Cowboys v Pittsburgh Steelers Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

Dominant, blowout wins are the best way to spike up power rankings, but there’s something to be said about a team that can find a way to win close games. That’s especially the case when it’s young players getting the job done against teams filled with veterans.

The Pittsburgh Steelers outgained the Dallas Cowboys, forced a turnover, and avoided turning the ball over themselves. But the pair of Dallas rookies taking the NFL by storm — Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott — led the Cowboys down the field on a touchdown drive that only took seconds to recapture the lead with just nine seconds left in the game.

It wasn’t the 35-10 demolition job of Week 9, but the Cowboys just keep winning, and that’s something the New England Patriots couldn’t quite pull off against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday night.

Over the course of the season, the Patriots likely have the better résumé when compared to the Seahawks. But power rankings are a reflection of right this second and Seattle might be catching its stride.

Kam Chancellor is back in action and Thomas Rawls expects to be in the lineup again soon, and the Seahawks suddenly look like a legitimate threat to go on a serious run.

Deep falls

It feels like a safe time to bid the Minnesota Vikings adieu. Even after three straight losses, the Vikings were still atop the NFC North and the defensive rankings. But after yet another loss, the Detroit Lions have officially passed them in the division and it’s hard to imagine things getting figured out.

With Jake Long now done with an Achilles tear, the Vikings are back to shuffling the offensive line and there isn’t much of a light at the end of the tunnel for the offense.

The Atlanta Falcons also went in the wrong direction with a 24-15 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles 10 days after a destruction of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Big jumps

When the Miami Dolphins fell to 1-4, they landed at No. 29 in our power rankings. Everything seemed bad. Ryan Tannehill was playing so poorly that fans were chanting for Matt Moore and the Dolphins even had horribly unlucky things happening like Laremy Tunsil getting injured by slipping in the shower.

One month later, the Dolphins are one of the hottest teams in the NFL. After turning the ball over 11 times in a four-game span, the Dolphins have just one turnover in their last four games and are the first team on the outside looking in in the AFC playoff race.

Just behind them are the Tennessee Titans after a 47-25 drumming of the Green Bay Packers. Marcus Mariota’s career has featured plenty of losses and a few injuries so far, but he has been nothing short of fantastic in the last six weeks with 17 touchdown passes and just three interceptions.

Bottom of the trash heap

Shoutout to the trash heap for making things easy every week. The Cleveland Browns haven’t won all season, the San Francisco 49ers haven’t won since Week 1 and the Jacksonville Jaguars haven’t won since Week 6.

The Chicago Bears looked like a candidate to climb out and piece together a few wins after a 20-10 win over the Minnesota Vikings. But they followed the bye week with a blowout loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and a suspension for one of the only dangerous players on offense. So ... trash heap it is, Chicago.

Week 11 Team Last week
1 Dallas Cowboys 2
2 Seattle Seahawks 5
3 New England Patriots 1
4 Oakland Raiders 4
5 Kansas City Chiefs 6
6 New York Giants 7
7 Atlanta Falcons 3
8 Denver Broncos 8
9 Washington 9
10 Philadelphia Eagles 11
11 Miami Dolphins 17
12 Baltimore Ravens 15
13 Pittsburgh Steelers 12
14 Cincinnati Bengals 10
15 Arizona Cardinals 14
16 New Orleans Saints 16
17 Minnesota Vikings 13
18 Buffalo Bills 18
19 Detroit Lions 19
20 Houston Texans 21
21 Tennessee Titans 25
22 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 26
23 San Diego Chargers 20
24 Indianapolis Colts 24
25 Carolina Panthers 23
26 Green Bay Packers 22
27 Los Angeles Rams 29
28 New York Jets 28
29 Chicago Bears 27
30 Jacksonville Jaguars 30
31 San Francisco 49ers 31
32 Cleveland Browns 32

Seahawks beat Pats on controversial no-call