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The latest round of NFL power rankings have the Cowboys inching closer to the top as the playoffs approach. 

After back-to-back wins on the road against the Bears and the Eagles, the Cowboys have found themselves in charge of their own destiny.  Win out and they win the division.  Lose one along the way and you have to have help from other places.  It just wouldn’t be Cowboys football if the season didn’t end this way would it?

Here’s where the latest power rankings have the Cowboys positioned.

NFL.com has the Cowboys moving up two spots and leapfrogging over the Colts and Cardinals who both won on Sunday to land at No. 5.  Here’s what their Elliot Harrison had to say.

“No, apparently these are not the "same ol' Cowboys." Every time this franchise has been in position to win the NFC East in recent years, it has faltered in games like this. And after Dallas blew a 21-0 lead, it looked like that would be the case yet again. But not this time -- not this team. While Sunday night's triumph didn't decide the division, it certainly put Dallas in the driver's seat. Improving to 7-0 on the road certainly says something about the Cowboys -- and makes 25-year-old Mel Gibson proud. Tony Romo could use a 25-year-old body, though. He still looks a wee bit healthier than Gollum to me.”

ESPN.com has the Cowboys moving up two spots to No. 6 this week, moving one spot ahead of the Colts but one spot behind the Cardinals.  Here’s what they had to say.

“Pay that man his money. Dez Bryant had three touchdown catches, bringing his league-leading total to 13 receiving touchdowns. Thirty-seven wide receivers had a higher cap hit this year than Bryant.”

Both polls had the Patriots, Broncos, Seahawks and Packers in the top four spots. 

What do you think about the rankings?  Tweet me at @Shannon_PG and I’ll include some of the best responses in this article.

https://twitter.com/RyanNas0n/status/545252799895044097

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The Dallas Cowboys have a fan base that spans the country.  We see it on display every place the team plays, local fans wearing Cowboys gear in the streets of opposing cities, dedicated fans at the team hotels when the Cowboys arrive, and sometimes louder cheers in the stadium for the Cowboys than the home team. 

The reach of the Cowboys was on display again Sunday night as the Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, was present in Philadelphia when the Cowboys took on the Eagles. 

Governor Christie has never made his love for the Cowboys a secret.  He’s been seen on the sidelines before a number of Cowboys games, including earlier this year when the Cowboys traveled to New York to take on the Giants. 

After Christie was spotted Sunday night high-fiving Jerry Jones in a luxury suite, Twitter erupted.

https://twitter.com/RobTornoe/status/544336868050206720

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https://twitter.com/MJ_Baumann/status/544336422527062016

 

Christie called in to WPG talk radio 1450 in New Jersey on Monday morning to defend his fandom. 

“I’m an enthusiastic Dallas Cowboys fan, I’ve never made a secret of it from the time I entered public life.  I was there rooting for my favorite team in the NFL last night,” he said.

Christie went on to say he understood why fans would be angry and react the way they did but he wasn’t going to change his sports team loyalties just to score political points.  You can hear the interview here http://youtu.be/oLkpDRs5fO0

Christie also took to Twitter to respond to fans Monday morning.

https://twitter.com/GovChristie/status/544543745824526336

https://twitter.com/GovChristie/status/544543308694183936

One thing you can guarantee when you are the Dallas Cowboys and you travel to Philly, there is always going to be something interesting that happens off the field with Eagles fans.  Here are a few stories from our trip to the City of Brotherly Love.

Several members of our digital team attended the Philadelphia 76ers game on Friday night.  We were in the lower level and about half way through the second quarter we heard a loud showering of boos coming from our left.  It was weird as the home team had the ball and no action was really occurring on the court.  We looked in that direction and a fan was sitting in the middle of a section wearing a Dez Bryant jersey with a 76ers cap on and a Cowboys cap over it.  As the boos got louder he turned around and did what Dez would do, Threw Up The X.  We were so impressed with his bravery that DallasCowboys.com’s Nick Eatman and Chase Williams walked over and took a photo with him.  Nick had on Cowboys gear and was shortly kicked out of the section.  Shout out to the brave sole that showed his support for the Cowboys in such a hostile environment.

As is the case in every city the Cowboys visit, fans show up outside the team hotel to cheer them on as they board the busses to the stadium.  What makes Philadelphia different is Eagles fans show up to the busses to heckle the players as they board.  I can’t recall another city we’ve been to this season that’s happened.

 

More love was experienced as the buses made their way through the parking lots at Lincoln Financial Field.  A barrage of eggs nailed the second bus in our caravan as it made its arrival to the stadium.  There were also more middle fingers than you could count and a full moon was seen, not in the sky.

A neat backstory to last night’s game, Brad Sham, The Voice of the Dallas Cowboys, called his 750th Cowboys game.  Before the game Al Michaels from Sunday Night Football’s crew, came over and called Brad “Mr. 750” and congratulated him.  They visited on the sideline for a few minutes before heading up to their perches overhead where each called the game for their networks. 

 

If the playoffs started right now, the Dallas Cowboys would be watching at home on their couches.  If you want to know what the playoff picture looks like as of today, you can see who’s in and who’s out, check out NFL.com

Fortunately the playoffs don’t start for a few more weeks and the team controls their own destiny.  Win out and you are automatically in.  No bowl committee to worry about, no power rankings, just keep winning and you go to the dance. 

With the season quickly drawing to a close, let’s take a look at where the national media have the Cowboys ranked in this week’s power rankings. 

NFL.com has the Cowboys listed at No 8, the same spot they had them last week.  Here’s what they had to say:  “Dallas got a much-needed road win in Chicago on Thursday, dispelling those stupid December stats we'd been hearing about ad nauseam -- as if some kind of monumental shift actually happens on Dec. 1 every year. DeMarco Murray continued his on-field brilliance with yet another 100-yard day. That's all I'm gonna say about that.”

ESPN.com also has the Cowboys at No 8 and also the same place they had them last week before they beat Chicago.  Here’s what they had to say about your Dallas Cowboys: “DeMarco Murray keeps rolling along. Murray rushed for 166 yards between the tackles in Thursday's win over Chicago, the third most in a game by any player this season.”

If you’ve been a Cowboys fan the last few years, you almost expect the playoff picture to not be decided until the last game of the year.  That’s just the way Cowboys football usually shakes out.  

For years in soccer there has been a tradition after games where players exchange jerseys with players they respect or know after games.  They meet on the “pitch” after the game, take their jerseys off and exchange it with players from the other team.  It gives them a keepsake to remember the game by and also something from a friend or rival to hang on to.

 

This season the trend has arrived in the NFL.  Each week when games end players meet at mid field to shake hands, hug, catch up or just say hi.  After each game there are usually one or two players that know each other from college or high school, or just respect each other that have started this trend.  Last night the trend continued as Dez Bryant swapped jerseys with Alshon Jefferey and Henry Melton exchanged his with former teammate Stephen Paea. 

https://twitter.com/dallascowboys/status/540727964045152256

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Here’s a look at a few more jersey swaps from this season.

https://twitter.com/dallascowboys/status/523980287709966337

https://twitter.com/dallascowboys/status/523980986288070656

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