2012 NFL Power Rankings: Week 6

Updated: October 9, 2012, 4:01 PM ET
ESPN.com
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Remember when the NFC West was easily the worst division in football (and an easy punch line)? Well, times have changed.

Not even two years removed from a 7-9 champion, the NFC West now boasts four above-.500 teams -- the only division in football that can make such a claim. It's also home to exceptional defense, as the Seahawks and 49ers rank first and second, respectively, in yards allowed per game. (The Cardinals and Rams rank 11th and 14th, respectively.)

Are our voters (ESPN.com's John Clayton, ESPN.com's Ashley Fox, NFC East blogger Dan Graziano, AFC North blogger Jamison Hensley and NFC West blogger Mike Sando) impressed? Yes and no. The 49ers remain a top-five staple, but the other NFC West teams are still trying to gain traction.

After getting a taste of the high life last week, the Cardinals fell four spots to No. 9. Why? Because they suffered their first loss of the season, which just so happened to come at the hands of division rival St. Louis.

That 17-3 home victory didn't exactly propel the Rams, though. They advanced only one spot to No. 18. The Seahawks also moved up one spot to No. 16.

So even though the NFC West appears to be rising as a whole, only San Francisco can truly be labled as elite. Still, it's clear the tide has turned for a division that not long ago was the subject of heavy ridicule.

• How they voted | Rank 'Em | Bloggers | Overrated, underrated Insider | Bettor's Poll Insider | Mike & Mike Listen | Team Power Rankings charts since 2002

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