One of the reasons the NFL was hesitant to move the Eagles-Vikings game to Tuesday was its fear of disrupting the ESPN.com Power Rankings production schedule. Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell talked about the "wussification" of America and praised China for its willingness to compete in large amounts of snow, but he secretly told aides that he couldn't stand the thought of waiting a day to get his Power Rankings.
The Week 17 edition provided more bad news for the Beast. The Philadelphia Eagles had climbed all the way to third following their comeback win over the Giants, but they were swatted back to seventh in light of Tuesday night's meltdown. As he does every week, NFC West blogger Mike Sando, master of the database, has pulled back the curtain on the mysterious voting process. Let's take a peek inside the minds of these four brave men who spend countless hours trying to get this right:
7. Philadelphia Eagles: Three of our esteemed panelists agreed the Eagles should fall four spots to No. 7, but AFC North blogger James Walker was disgusted by that loss to the Vikings and had the Eagles at No. 8. Walker was the only voter who had the New York Jets ahead of the Eagles on his ballot.
12. New York Giants: I was a little surprised the Giants only dropped three spots after being blown out by the Green Bay Packers. AFC South stalwart Paul Kuharsky still believes in Tom Coughlin and had the Giants 10th on his ballot. Walker once again had the harshest vote with a "13." He had the Chiefs and Bucs ahead of the Giants, and that seems reasonable to me in light of how poorly the Giants played.
21. Washington Redskins: The voters were all over the place when it came to Mike Shanahan's team. Walker was over the moon about that win over the Jags and had the Skins at "19" on his ballot. But Kuharsky delivered an evil laugh as he wrote down a "28." Kuharsky received a phone call from Walker early this morning and a discussion about the "integrity of the ballot" ensued. Sando and John "The Professor" Clayton both had the Skins at No. 21.
22. Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys only fell four spots. I thought a loss to the lowly Arizona Cardinals would do more damage to them, but Kuharsky's benevolent "19" saved the day. Sando and Walker both had the Cowboys at 24 on their respective ballots. If the season ended today, the Cowboys would have the No. 6 overall pick in the draft. And who knows what can happen if they can find a way to lose to the Eagles' reserves Sunday.
It's with great embarrassment that I inform you that the NFC East has fallen to No. 5 in the division rankings. The "Beast" will have one more opportunity to roar, but I'm afraid the Eagles' loss sealed the division's fate as basically the NFC's answer to the AFC West.
Thanks for your continued support during these difficult days for the division.