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Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Redskins soar in Power Rankings

By Dan Graziano
ESPN.com

The Washington Redskins are knocking on the top-10 door in ESPN.com's Week 6 Power Rankings. Coach Mike Shanahan has restored hope to a fallen fanbase, and he's being buoyed by the voting habits of one John "The Professor" Clayton. As usual, NFC West blogger Mike Sando has pulled back the curtain on ESPN.com's secretive voting process. Let's take a quick look at what three wins did for the so-called Beast:

No. 11 Washington Redskins: This might be the highest ranking since the first Gibbs administration. I believe George Grande was the only voter at that point. The aforementioned Clayton recorded a shocking "No. 7" vote for the Redskins after watching them upset the Green Bay Packers. AFC South blogger Paul Kuharsky wasn't quite as impressed, ranking the Skins 14th on his ballot, which is being reviewed for possible discrepancies as we speak. The Skins moved up five spots from Week 5. Only the Titans and Bucs had bigger leaps at seven spots apiece.

14. Philadelphia Eagles: This team's been all over the map on the ballots. Kuharsky has believed in the Eagles with all his heart throughout the season and had them 10th on his ballot. But freshman panelist James Walker recorded a harsh "17" vote for the Eagles.

15. New York Giants: The panel seemed to find some common ground with the Giants, who also moved up five spots this week. Clayton had them at "12" while Kuharsky wasn't quite as impressed with his "No. 16" vote. Kuharsky believes strongly in Andy Reid, but he doesn't have much respect for the rest of the division. And I can't fault him too much for that stance.

19. Dallas Cowboys: The only reason Dallas stayed in the top 20 is because of Mike Sando's "15" vote. Perhaps Sando buys Wade Phillips argument that the Cowboys are playing much better than their record indicates. Clayton gave the Cowboys their lowest vote at "21." And I have no problem with that. Clayton only has room in his heart for one Beast team, and that's obviously the Redskins.

The Beast made a huge move from sixth to third in the overall division rankings. I can't remember a division making this big a move in one week. If you enjoy Power Rankings history (and who doesn't?), check out these charts that show where teams have ranked each week dating back to the 2002 season. I've tried to memorize the charts and have found this information useful during dinner parties and restless sleep.

All my best.