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Power rankings revisited: Week 1

9/13/2010

Four of the seven highest-ranked teams in the most recent ESPN.com NFL Power Rankings lost their regular-season openers.

The sixth-ranked Baltimore Ravens could join the list if the New York Jets beat them Monday night.

It's too early in the season to drastically change rankings, but it's also reasonable to acknowledge the only on-field evidence collected.

The New Orleans Saints, ranked second last week despite earning No. 1 votes from three of four panelists, should overtake Indianapolis for the top spot when the next rankings come out Tuesday. The Saints' victory against the fifth-ranked Minnesota Vikings wasn't convincing, but the top-ranked Indianapolis Colts lost by 10 points at Houston and that should drop them.

The chart shows how ESPN's four voters -- me, John Clayton, Paul Kuharsky and James Walker -- ranked teams last week. Red lettering reveals which teams lost in Week 1.

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

  • (30) Tampa Bay 17, (29) Cleveland 14. Wondering how many times Mike Holmgren looked at his watch during this one.

  • (26) Seattle 31 , (13) San Francisco 6. Niners have converted twice in their past 28 third-down chances at Seattle.

  • (25) Jacksonville 24, (22) Denver 17. Not much of an upset at all.

  • (18) Pittsburgh 15, (7) Atlanta 9. Every victory without Ben Roethlisberger a bonus for the Steelers.

  • (17) Washington 13, (4) Dallas 7. Alex Barron's third holding penalty was the killer -- and his 22nd since 2005.

  • (14) Houston 34, (1) Indianapolis 24. Colts had beaten Texans by total of 21 points in previous four meetings.

Still to play: "Monday Night Football" doubleheader featuring the Baltimore Ravens at the New York Jets, and the San Diego Chargers at the Kansas City Chiefs.

Injury alerts: Quarterbacks Matthew Stafford, Kevin Kolb and Matt Moore were among those suffering injuries Sunday.

My early favorite for the No. 1 spot: New Orleans. Let's see if the Saints get their offense going against the 49ers next week.