Tuesday, September 27, 2011
NFL Power Rankings: East in the middle
By Dan Graziano
It's Power Rankings day, and we've got plenty of movement among our division's teams in this week's rankings -- all of it toward and around the middle of the pack. As ever, we list our teams in the order in which they appear in this week's Power Rankings poll:
11. Dallas Cowboys (Last week's rank: 13): Moving on up thanks to Monday night's comeback victory over the Redskins, the Cowboys got a ninth-place vote from Ashley Fox and a 10th-place vote from John Clayton. They certainly have the talent to rank among the top teams in the league, when everyone is healthy, and they're showing an ability to win games in the face of adversity. You could make a case for them over the two AFC teams directly in front of them -- the Steelers and Chargers -- but they're at their highest ranking of the year so far and moving in the right direction.
12. New York Giants (18): Big jump for the G-men after Sunday's big road win in Philadelphia. The defense, led by Justin Tuck, Jason Pierre-Paul and Michael Boley, has been the key to the Giants in spite of the injuries they've suffered in the secondary and the linebacking corps. And if they can continue to commit to the run with Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs the way they did Sunday, they might just be able to weather their problems. You know I'm not a believer in the Giants' ability to sustain success over the course of this full season, but based on the way they've played so far, they've earned this ranking.
16. Washington Redskins (15): Think what a win Monday night could have done. It would have made the Redskins 3-0 and possibly vaulted them into the top six along with undefeated surprises Buffalo and Detroit. But they couldn't hold on, so they sink back toward the middle. Clayton's the biggest Skins booster among the voters, as he has them 11th, while Ashley has them 18th. I might have slid them ahead of any or all of the four teams in front of them, including the Giants, whom they beat Week 1. But I can understand the lingering skepticism.
17. Philadelphia Eagles (6): The Eagles are tied for the biggest drop of the week with the Atlanta Falcons, who fell from No. 8 to No. 19. The Michael Vick injury, the loss to the Giants, the concerns over the linebackers and the offensive line and the general bad vibes going on around the so-far disappointing Eagles all likely contributed to the drop. Paul Kuharsky, never their biggest believer in the first place, has them 18th, and James Walker ranked them the highest at No. 13. Obviously, I think they'll be better in the long run than the Redskins, Titans, Buccaneers, Raiders, Giants and probably Cowboys, but we're getting to the point where you have to be judged on your record, and the Eagles are 1-2. Can't fault the ranking as of now.