NFL Week 16 Power Rankings: Cowboys on the rise after impressive win over Rams, 49ers drop four spots

The Philadelphia Eagles play host to the Dallas Cowboys this week, with the winner likely winning the NFC East. The Cowboys do win the division with a victory, while the Eagles would need to win the last two to lock up the division.

Let's just say Sunday's game is a big one for sure. 

For much of this season, neither team has had that playoff look, with inconsistency plaguing both teams, the highs often followed by too many lows for usual division winners.

But the divisions are there for a reason, even if many will complain about the NFC East champion this year. Yes, the Cowboys and Eagles lack the look of Super Bowl contenders as we head to Week 16, but things change quickly in this league.

The Cowboys looked dead heading into Sunday's game with Los Angeles Rams, but they had the look of a contender again in a dominant 44-21 victory over the Rams, all but ending Los Angeles' playoff hopes.

The Cowboys ran it. They threw it. And they played good defense for much of the day.

That's playoff-winning football. But now they have to go play an Eagles team on the road, a team that has squeaked out close games the past two weeks against two bad NFC East teams.

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If the Eagles are to beat the Cowboys this week, they need to be better – much better. Injuries have really crippled the Eagles, but now is not the time to wallow in pity. 

The Cowboys are up to 13th in my Power Rankings, while the Eagles are one spot behind in the 14th spot. The winner is bound to be higher next week, but more importantly they will likely be the division winner.

And no matter what the record says, the division winner might just get hot come playoff time. 

Biggest Movers
5 Falcons
5 Raiders
Rk
Teams
 
Chg
Rcrd
1 Ravens They have their eye on the top seed in the playoffs and the defense is improving and should get them there. --14-2-0
2 Packers They haven't looked great for much of this season, but don't you think it's coming? They better hope it's this week against the Vikings. 113-3-0
3 Chiefs They are getting better by the week on defense. That will make them a real Super Bowl threat. 112-4-0
4 Seahawks They are now the top seed in the NFC, which would make for a tough trip for any NFC playoff team. They bounced back nicely against the Panthers after losing to the Rams last week. 111-5-0
5 Patriots The defense had a big day against the Bengals to get the team back on track. Now they face a huge division game with the Bills. 112-4-0
6 49ers What happened against the Falcons? The once-dominant defense hasn't been as dominant the past few games. 413-3-0
7 Saints They bounced back in impressive fashion against the Colts. The defense needed to show better than it did against the 49ers, and it did. --13-3-0
8 Vikings That was an impressive road victory against the Chargers, doing so in dominant fashion. Now they face the game of the year against the Packers. --10-6-0
9 Bills They are in the playoffs, which not many saw coming. The defense has really impressed this season. Can they beat the Patriots in Foxboro with that unit playing well? --10-6-0
10 Texans Winning on the road against the Titans was impressive and a nice bounce-back from what happened against the Broncos. The defense rebounded nicely and one more victory gets them the division title. 210-6-0
11 Steelers They just don't have much offense, which means the defense has to win every game. That still might get them to the playoffs. --8-8-0
12 Titans That was a bad home loss to the Texans, which has them now scrambling down the stretch to make the playoffs. They need to win two and get help. 29-7-0
13 Cowboys That team we saw against the Rams could do some damage come playoff time - if they get in. That's a big IF. 48-8-0
14 Eagles They found a way at Washington, but it was an ugly win. They can't play that way against Dallas this week. --9-7-0
15 Rams So much for all that playoff talk and them making a run down the stretch. The defense was bad against Dallas. 29-7-0
16 Bears The playoff dreams ended with the loss to the Packers Sunday. This season has been a major fail. 18-8-0
17 Buccaneers Jameis Winston has been on fire. They need to make sue they keep him - even with all the turnovers. 27-9-0
18 Colts The playoffs are done for the Colts, but they competed all season without Andrew Luck, which is impressive. 27-9-0
19 Panthers The defense is pathetic, which has been a problem all season long. Now it's all about finding the right coach. 45-11-0
20 Cardinals The offense got back on track, which is a good sign for next season. Kyler Murray broke a two-game slump. 45-10-1
21 Falcons That was a big-time road victory against the 49ers, but it is enough to save Dan Quinn's job? They are certainly improved. 57-9-0
22 Jaguars Winning to break a bad losing streak seems like a good thing, but is it really? They are playing for the future. 56-10-0
23 Raiders They didn't exactly send the Oakland fans off with a nice showing in the loss to the Jaguars. This thing has gone bad in a big way. 57-9-0
24 Browns Losing the way they did to the Cardinals can't bode well for Freddie Kitchens. Nor should it. 46-10-0
25 Broncos Drew Lock came back to reality with his play against the Chiefs. But rookie quarterbacks will have days like that. 47-9-0
26 Chargers Is this the end for Philip Rivers? This team has been a major flop this season. 45-11-0
27 Jets That momentum from a few weeks ago is gone. They just don't have enough players right now. 27-9-0
28 Redskins They lost to the Eagles, but they have to be thrilled with how Dwayne Haskins played. It's all about 2020 and getting the right coach for him. --3-13-0
29 Giants They just don't have enough good players on defense. It's looking like Pat Shurmur is gone. 24-12-0
30 Dolphins They didn't even compete against the Giants, which was a big shock. They can't wait to get on with the offseason. 15-11-0
31 Lions The big question is whether Matt Patricia will get a pass with Matt Sttafford missing so much time. Should he? 13-12-1
32 Bengals Look at the bright side: Only a few more months until Joe Burrow is the Bengals quarterback. --2-14-0
CBS Sports Senior Writer

Pete Prisco has covered the NFL for three decades, including working as a beat reporter in Jacksonville for the Jaguars. When he's not watching game tape, you can find Pete on Twitter or dreaming of an... Full Bio

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