NFL Power Rankings: 2008 Week 5 edition

Updated: October 1, 2008, 10:29 AM ET
ESPN.com
Week:

There's a new leader in the clubhouse in the Week 5 edition of ESPN.com's NFL power rankings, and some might say it's about time.

The New York Giants' distinction as defending Super Bowl champions and their 3-0 start this season never amounted to selection as the best in our 2008 rankings -- until now. Attrition in the very competitive NFC East catapulted the Giants to the top, even as they enjoyed a bye week.

Coach Tom Coughlin's G-men are the best team in the league according to the latest poll of experts. The Dallas Cowboys' Week 4 home loss to the Washington Redskins evicted the Cowboys from the top of the rankings and vaulted Washington nine spots to No. 6 overall. The Cowboys are now No. 3 after a three-week reign atop the rankings.

Those teams' NFC East brethren, the Philadelphia Eagles, tumbled six spots in our voting to No. 9 overall. Still, that gives the NFC East four teams in our top 10. More shakeups are on the horizon, however, because the Eagles play host to the Redskins on Sunday.

The Tennessee Titans and Buffalo Bills, each 4-0, are breaking up the NFC East block party. The No. 2 Titans have nicely weathered the transition from Vince Young to Kerry Collins as their starting quarterback, though they might have their most daunting test coming with a Week 5 visit to the No. 14 Baltimore Ravens.

ESPN.com's Power Rankings
The rankings were determined by a poll of ESPN.com's NFL staff: writers John Clayton, Jeffri Chadiha, Tim Graham, Matt Mosley, James Walker, Kevin Seifert, Paul Kuharsky, Pat Yasinskas, Bill Williamson and Mike Sando; and Scouts Inc. Insiders Jeremy Green and Matt Williamson.

• FB Today: Green's rankings

SportsNation: Rank 'em

• Watch: Countdown Daily

• How we voted

The No. 4 Bills survived a Week 4 road scrap with the team at the bottom of the heap, the No. 32 St. Louis Rams. The Pittsburgh Steelers, who overcame a sluggish start to beat the Ravens in overtime in Week 4, round out the top 5 again this week.

We've called upon some of our voting members to provide team-by-team commentary. Thus, for your reading pleasure, you'll have:

• Tim Graham on the AFC East
• James Walker on the AFC North
• Paul Kuharsky on the AFC South
• Bill Williamson on the AFC West

• Matt Mosley on the NFC East
• Kevin Seifert on the NFC North
• Pat Yasinskas on the NFC South
• Mike Sando on the NFC West

The Eagles did not take the biggest fall in this edition of the rankings. The Green Bay Packers find themselves No. 15 this week, seven spots down after losing on the road to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. And the Indianapolis Colts, one of six teams on a bye during Week 4, still tumbled five spots to No. 17 overall.

At the bottom of the rankings, changes are afoot. The Rams fired coach Scott Linehan a day after the loss to the Bills. This came about a week after the Detroit Lions, No. 31 this week, canned general manager Matt Millen. And on Tuesday the Oakland Raiders, 1-3 and ranked No. 28 overall, fired coach Lane Kiffin.

(Editor's note: LW indicates each team's ranking last week.)

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