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NFL Advanced Power Rankings: Cowboys Actually Ranked No. 1

According to the Week 5 team rankings over at Advanced NFL Stats, the Dallas Cowboys are the No. 1 team in all the land.

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No, that's not a typo. Despite the 2-2 record, and two particularly awful fourth quarter meltdowns, the statistics say that the Cowboys are the top team in the NFL -- for now.

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Zach Sanders over at Advanced NFL Stats explains the ranking.

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I know what you're thinking: "how can a 2-2 team with a negative point differential be the top team in the league?" While both of those facts are true, the Cowboys have also had an unfavorable schedule, as they have faced three top-12 clubs. Early in the season, this model will heavily weigh "strength of schedule," so there you go. Also, Dallas feels like one of those teams that can put up good numbers on a regular basis without winning many games. A paper team, if you will. The 'Boys get a break this week to prepare for the Patriots offensive attack.    

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As awful as Cowboys fans must feel after blowing the game against Detroit, this might give some comfort. The Cowboys have looked much better in their two losses than their two wins this year. If it were possible to subtract two boneheaded plays away, Dallas could very easily be 4-0 right now.

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As it stands, the Cowboys are 2-2, despite having battled injuries to Tony Romo, Miles Austin, Phil Costa, Felix Jones and Dez Bryant. The manner in which Dallas lost those two games is rough, but, expecting Dallas to be 3-1 or 4-0 with the early schedule they've had, plus the injuries, is simply asking too much. 

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Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.