Print and Go Back ESPN.com: NFL Nation [Print without images]

Tuesday, October 18, 2011
NFL Power Rankings: Bucs on the rise

By Pat Yasinskas

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers finally got a victory worthy of respect, at least according to the voters in the ESPN.com Power Rankings.

Tampa Bay, which seemed to be stuck in the middle of the pack no matter what happened most of the season, took a big jump up in this week’s rankings. The Bucs climbed four spots to No. 12 after defeating the New Orleans Saints. A win against Chicago in London on Sunday could lift the Bucs into the top 10.

The loss to Tampa Bay dropped the Saints two spots to No. 5. And they’re lucky Ashley Fox put them at No. 3 or the ranking could have been worse. John Clayton had the Saints at No. 8.

The Atlanta Falcons got a much-needed win against Carolina, but it didn’t matter in the rankings. The Falcons are at No. 19 for the fourth consecutive week.

The Panthers did what they usually do against Atlanta. They stayed with the Falcons much of the game, but weren’t able to win. That caused only a slight drop as Carolina went from No. 24 to No. 25.