Each Tuesday during the NFL regular-season our panel of experts boldly reveal the ESPN.com Power Rankings. In the Week 12 edition, the NFC East starts to regain its dignity. The Philadelphia Eagles held their ground at No. 6, but the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins each made significant progress toward relevance.
The shroud of secrecy that once enveloped the voting process is no more because of a brave man named Mike Sando, whose Excel spreadsheets have changed our lives forever. The NFC West blogger once again pulls back the curtain to reveal the names of the voters and their bias against our beloved division. Let no man put asunder what Jason Garrett has built in Dallas. And ye of little faith who doubted Mike Shanahan must repent based on his Skins' gutsy effort in Nashville. Now, let's get on with it:
6. Philadelphia Eagles -- Sando and AFC North blogger James Walker both had the Eagles at No. 5, but they were neutralized by John "The Professor" Clayton's harsh "7." Clayton had both the Steelers and Packers ahead of the Eagles. Walker shocked everyone with his eighth place vote for the New York Jets. Paul Kuharsky from the quaint AFC South division had the Jets No. 1 overall.
10. New York Giants -- This seems about right for a team that actually showed a lot of resolve in the second half against the Eagles. Everyone had the Giants at "10" except Walker, who recorded a "12" on his ballot. Walker's anti-New York/New Jersey stance is something we'll continue to track.
18. Washington Redskins -- Sando called this a "market correction." He felt like he was too hard on the Skins following their loss to the Eagles, so he had them at "17" on his ballot. Clayton, who hailed the Skins as the co-favorites in the NFC East following the Donovan McNabb trade, gave them their lowest vote at No. 20.
24. Dallas Cowboys -- The Cowboys tied for the biggest move of the week, vaulting five spots following a 35-19 win over the Detroit Lions. I think voters were waiting to see if this Jason Garrett thing was for real. Walker gave the Cowboys their highest vote at No. 23.
The division makes a big move: The Beast is now ranked third among all eight divisions. They've been in the fifth spot for much of the season, so the Cowboys and Redskins moving up a combined eight spots really helped. The Beast trails only the NFC South and AFC East in the rankings. And it looks like Sando gave the Beast its highest marks with an average ranking of "14." Clayton, who has supported the NFC East in the past, came in with a bruising 15.5 average. Thanks for spending some time with us today.