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Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Week 12 power rankings: The Beast

By Dan Graziano
ESPN.com

The NFC East came roaring back last Sunday and that was reflected in the ESPN.com Week 12 Power Rankings. The voters apparently were waiting for a reason to fall in love with the Giants again -- and an overtime win over the Falcons was good enough to vault them five spots in the rankings.

Thanks to the magic of Mike Sando's database, we know exactly where all the votes came from. Now let's take a team-by-team look at how things went down:

8. Dallas Cowboys: Not totally sure I understand why a 7-6 win over the Skins allows a team to move up two spots, but that's what happened. John Clayton had the Cowboys at No. 7 and the other three voters had them at No. 8. The panelists have the Cowboys in front of the Steelers and the Packers, a team the Pokes lost to recently.

10. Philadelphia Eagles: The Eagles also moved up two spots after their win in Chicago. I'll give the Eagles more credit for their win than I give the Cowboys for the win over the Skins. Sando, who's anti-Beast votes are the stuff of legend, actually gave the Eagles their highest ranking at No. 9. Jeff Chadiha, a cross-over star at ESPN and ESPN.com, had the Eagles with their lowest ranking at 11.

11. New York Giants: I guess this group of voters believes in the power of Tom Coughlin because the Giants made the biggest leap of any team in the rankings. And they barely escaped against the Falcons. I'm not sure what caused the huge jump. Maybe it was simply that some teams in front of them fell apart -- like the Broncos and Falcons for instance. AFC South blogger Paul Kuharsky and Chadiha weren't as impressed as Sando and Clayton, ranking the Giants 13th. That's about where I'd put them. But it was quite odd to see Kuharsky put the Falcons ahead of the Giants.

24. Washington Redskins: You can't dock the Skins for going on the road and almost pulling the upset over the Cowboys. They were one made field goal from getting it done. Sando and Clayton gave the Skins their highest marks with a pair of 24s.

The Beast climbed back into second place in the overall division rankings with an average of 13.6. The AFC South came in at a 12.8. But if the three teams at the top of the NFC East keep climbing, they'll eventually overtake Kuharsky's beloved division. The Texans don't have what it takes and the Titans simply waited too late to change quarterbacks. I thought Vince Young was superb last night. An absolute pleasure to watch. He just never looked stressed out at all.