Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Power Rankings: The Giants and the rest
By Dan Graziano
It is Power Rankings day here at ESPN.com. Here's a look at the way our division's teams landed in this week's poll, and the thinking behind my own personal ballot.
2. New York Giants (Last week: 2). Complain all you want about how shaky the offense looked and the inability to convert turnovers into touchdowns. The Giants' victory over the Cowboys was still a road win against a motivated division opponent with a very tough defense. I had them at No. 2 last week and again this week. Thought about Houston, but they're an AFC team and the AFC stinks. Thought about the 49ers, who looked great again Monday (from what I'm told by people whose electricity and cable were working), but we recently saw the Giants clobber them in San Francisco. So I feel fine about the Giants at No. 2 behind the league's only unbeaten team. Mike Sando and Ashley Fox agree. John Clayton and Jamison Hensley ranked the Giants third and the Texans second.
14. Dallas Cowboys (15). Dallas actually moved up a spot following a loss, and I'll take some credit for that, as I moved them up from No. 13 to No. 12. Thought they played really well except for the first-quarter turnovers. Thought the defense looked outstanding, under very difficult circumstances brought on by said turnovers, against one of the league's best offenses. Now, no one else has the Cowboys ranked as high as I do, and Jamison, who I think picked them to win the Super Bowl before the season started, is so mad about the extent to which they've let him down that he's dropped them all the way to No. 20. I didn't see too many teams behind them on my list that I felt good about sliding ahead of them, especially once I decided this would be the week to drop the Eagles a very long way. Miami, Washington, Detroit and Seattle are the first four teams behind Dallas on my ballot, and I feel fine putting the Cowboys ahead of each of them. Yes, the Seahawks beat them head-to-head. If the Seahawks never had to play a road game, I'd think much more highly of them. But I can't buy into a team that can only win at home.
18. Philadelphia Eagles (13). The poll's second-biggest faller of the week, behind only the Saints, is the Eagles after their third loss in a row. They looked flat and uninspired at home against the Falcons in a game they really needed, and I am at the point where I no longer believe their potential is as vast as I believed it to be before the season began. I had the Eagles ranked third in the preseason poll, ninth for much of the year, 11th last week and this week I dropped them to No. 19. Clayton's still got them up at 13, and maybe he's right. But I can't keep clinging to what I think they should be when what I see is garbage.
19. Washington Redskins (18). I kept them at 14, where I had them last week. Yeah, they looked bad. But I'm trying not to overreact too much to one game on these polls, and while Washington is a bottom-of-the-league defense, the offense is really quite good when the receivers catch the ball. And Detroit, Seattle, Arizona, Indianapolis and Philadelphia are the teams I rank immediately behind them. I think the Redskins make a fine case to be ranked ahead of each of those teams.