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Power Rankings revisited: Week 3

9/27/2010

The Green Bay Packers haven't held the top spot in ESPN.com's NFL Power Rankings since the 10th and 11th weeks of the 2002 season.

They started 8-1 that season.

The top spot appears within the Packers' grasp heading into their "Monday Night Football" game against the Chicago Bears (ESPN, 8 p.m. ET). The No. 1 team last week, New Orleans, lost for the first time this season, falling in overtime to the 10th-ranked Atlanta Falcons. The third-ranked Houston Texans also lost.

The Packers, ranked second last week, can get to 3-0 for the first time since 2007 by beating the Bears.

The chart shows how ESPN.com's four voters -- me, John Clayton, Paul Kuharsky and James Walker -- ranked teams last week. Red lettering reveals which teams lost in Week 2. These are not new rankings. Those come out Tuesday.

Would you leave the Saints in the top spot even if the Packers won impressively? And how far should the St. Louis Rams rise after pretty much dominating the Washington Redskins?

The reckoning: Four games featured lower-ranked teams beating higher-ranked teams:

  • (31) St. Louis 30, (14) Washington 16: This victory was no fluke. The Rams held the important statistical advantages. They held the Redskins to one third-down conversion in 10 tries.

  • (26) Seattle 27, (13) San Diego 20: Two return touchdowns from Leon Washington allowed Pete Carroll to shrug off the blunder Seattle made in running out of time at the San Diego 1 before halftime.

  • (17) Dallas (27, (3) Houston 13: This was the Texans' big chance against the team they hear too much about. A trip to Oakland and two home games should help from here.

  • (10) Atlanta 27, (1) New Orleans 24: So much fun when one division has two upper-tier teams. This marks two rough games for the Saints' Garrett Hartley, however.

Still to play: "Monday Night Football" featuring the Bears and Packers.

My early favorite for the No. 1 spot: Green Bay, but let's see how that game plays out at Soldier Field.