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Monday, July 26, 2010
Power rankings: How the voters voted

By Mike Sando
ESPN.com

The Miami Dolphins are rising fast and the San Diego Chargers are falling hard -- without playing a game or even putting on pads.

The Super Bowl-champion New Orleans Saints fell from the top five in one analyst's unforgiving eyes.

ESPN's NFL Power Rankings changed considerably since April in some cases when John Clayton, Paul Kuharsky and James Walker joined me in voting. The main chart shows how each of us voted.

Let's take a look inside the latest rankings ...

Rising: The Dolphins' public-relations staff might need a raise. The team jumped nine spots since the postdraft rankings. The Dolphins are 13th, up from 22nd. The San Francisco 49ers and Washington Redskins each jumped three spots. The Redskins have now jumped nine spots since the final 2009 rankings. They can thank Mike Shanahan and Donovan McNabb. The Baltimore Ravens, Detroit Lions, Atlanta Falcons and Kansas City Chiefs each rose two spots. The Dallas Cowboys, Indianapolis Colts, New York Giants, New York Jets and Seattle Seahawks rose one place apiece.

Falling: The San Diego Chargers fell six places to No. 10 amid continuing troubles with unsigned receiver Vincent Jackson and offensive lineman Marcus McNeill. The Philadelphia Eagles and Carolina Panthers each fell four spots. The Denver Broncos, Buffalo Bills and Arizona Cardinals dropped three places apiece. The Tennessee Titans fell two spots. The Saints, Jacksonville Jaguars and Cleveland Browns each fell one place.

Unchanged: Rankings for the Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, Oakland Raiders, Pittsburgh Steelers, St. Louis Rams and Tampa Bay Bucs did not change.

Deadlocked: We broke no ties this time.

Groupthink: Three of four panelists ranked the Saints first, the Colts second and the Vikings third. Three ranked the Texans 14th and the Rams 32nd.

Agree to disagree: The Eagles generated the largest gap between high and low votes. Kuharsky had them 12th. Clayton had them 22nd. Six other teams produced gaps of at least six places: Power rankings histories: These colorful layered graphs show where each NFL team has ranked every week since the 2002 season.

Ranking the divisions: Teams from the NFC East ranked highest on average at 13.8 overall. AFC South teams had ranked highest on average in April and to close last season. Teams from the NFC West ranked 21.4 on average, lower than teams from any other division.


A voter-by-voter look at changes of at least four spots since the April rankings: For download: An Excel file -- available here -- showing how each voter voted this week and in past weeks.

The file includes a "powerflaws" sheet pointing out potential flaws in voters' thinking by showing how many higher-ranked opponents each team defeated last season.

A quick primer on the "powerflaws" sheet: