Tuesday, December 13, 2011
NFL Power Rankings: NFC East edition
By Dan Graziano
Yeah, they're still ranking teams from our division in the weekly NFL Power Rankings here at ESPN.com. They have to rank all 32, no matter how mediocre. So let's take a look at how the NFC East's teams fared in this week's poll.
12. New York Giants (Last week: 16): Getting dangerously close to pineapple territory again, the Giants jump up four spots as a result of their stirring comeback victory Sunday night in Dallas. It has become clear that the Giants have an elite offense and a rotten defense that's been shredded by injuries, but that they have a knack for finding ways to win some games it doesn't appear they should win. That tough six-game stretch we talked about so much early in the season is over, and they went 2-4, winning the first in New England and the last in Dallas. Things ease up a little bit now, but not much. The Redskins are likely to give them a game. The Jets are rolling now and trying to get themselves in the playoffs. And then it's the Cowboys again in Week 17. If the Giants hold or improve this ranking, they'll have earned it.
14. Dallas Cowboys (9): What a difference a blocked kick can make. The Giants are this week's biggest riser and the Cowboys are this week's biggest faller. I can't help but wonder how dramatically different the rankings would have looked if that seesaw game had teetered the other way. But it did not, as we have discussed, and the defensively challenged Cowboys tumble and face the final three games without their starting running back. Dallas actually tied for 13th this week but lost the tiebreaker due to the Titans' having won more recently. So you could argue them ahead of Tennessee, sure, but then the next three teams ahead of them all beat them, so you kind of run out of argument a little bit there.
21. Philadelphia Eagles (24): A road win in Miami is a good win right now, the way the Dolphins have been playing, so the Eagles get the win and slide up three spots. Just 17 more gets them back to their preseason ranking! Again, as with Dallas, there are a bunch of teams right in front of them -- Seattle, Arizona, Chicago -- that all beat them head-to-head. So the ranking looks about right.
27. Washington Redskins (27): Unchanged after they played the Patriots to the wire and lost. The Redskins are 4-9, assured of a third straight losing season and currently lined up for the fifth pick in the draft. Hasn't gone great, though there are always those memories of Week 6, when they were ranked 10th in this poll. Do I think they're better than the Chiefs and the Jaguars, who are directly in front of them? Sure. But this is the neighborhood in which they belong at this point.