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Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Power rankings: The Beast Report

By Dan Graziano
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley

So you thought the Cowboys' gut-check win at the Linc would improve their standing in the power rankings? Well think again!

In their infinite wisdom, our four fearless voters left the Cowboys in the No. 8 spot. The Broncos were summarily dismissed by the Steelers in Denver, but they only dropped three spots to No. 7. I think voters are still remembering the Broncos' win over the Cowboys, although none of them have told me that. NFC West blogger Mike Sando does a wonderful job each week of breaking down our mysterious voting process. Here's how the Beast teams finished in the power rankings this week:

8. Cowboys: Sando and AFC South blogger Paul Kuharsky both rewarded the Cowboys by voting them No. 7. But budding TV star Jeff Chadiha and the Professor himself, John Clayton, kept the Cowboys eighth overall. Honestly, that's probably about right. You could make the argument that the Cowboys are playing better than the Broncos, but the head-to-head thing holds some water.

11. Eagles: It's impossible to know what to make of this team. The blowout win over the Giants doesn't look quite as good now that the Giants are 5-4. They were beaten by the horrendous Raiders a few weeks ago. I think the voters are leaving them at this position based more on potential than anything else. Sando had the Eagles at No. 13 but Clayton checked him into the boards by ranking Philly No. 9, ahead of both the Falcons and Cardinals. Kuharsky dropped the Eagles four spots in the rankings -- and I don't have a huge problem with that.

15. Giants: It's amazing that we still have this much respect for the Giants, and I don't necessarily think it's wrong. Even after four consecutive losses, you keep expecting Tom Coughlin to flip a switch and get this thing going again. Clayton believed in the Giants the most, putting them at No. 14. Chadiha and Sando reportedly laughed out loud as they dropped the Giants to No. 16. And here's something I'm sure Giants fans will love seeing: Sando has the Panthers a spot ahead of you on his ballot. Ouch!

26. Redskins: Every voter had them in this exact spot. It's almost like the voters have made a secret pact with Jim Zorn to keep him in front of Tom Cable. This is a really bad football team. You could put them at No. 26 or you could put them at No. 30. Really doesn't matter.

The Beast has now fallen behind both the AFC North (understandable) and the AFC South (what?!). Clayton loves the NFC East (14.25) and the AFC South (14!). It basically comes down to the fact that the AFC South's worst teams (Jags and Titans) are outperforming the NFC East's worst team, the Redskins. Oh, and it helps that the Colts are No. 1 overall. The Beast doesn't show up until you get to the No. 8 Cowboys.

I hope this has been as fun for you as it was for me. Please feel free to reach out to our panelists with constructive criticism.