Inside the rankings: Patriots unite, Panthers divide

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The Panthers were a tough team to figure in ESPN.com's latest power rankings, published today.
John Clayton ranked Carolina 11th, higher than any of the 10 panelists. James Walker ranked the Panthers 27th, lower than any panelist. No team in the league generated as large a disparity among panelists.

The Patriots generated near-unanimity. Eight voters ranked them first overall. No voter ranked them lower than third. No team produced a smaller disparity between high and low votes.

Seattle, Green Bay and the Giants produced the most disparate results among teams ranked in the top 10.

  • Seifert ranked the Seahawks sixth. Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. ranked them 17th.

  • Clayton ranked the Packers fifth. I ranked them 13th.

  • Bill Williamson ranked the Giants first. Clayton and Seifert ranked them eighth.

Panelists produced more consistent results for Baltimore than they did when ESPN.com released its first 2008 power rankings in May. The disparity shrunk from 15 spots, a league high, to 10 spots.

Voters pegged Baltimore between 16th (Walker) and 26th (Bill Williamson) this time. The earlier disparity reflected a No. 13 ranking (Matt Mosley) and a No. 28 ranking (Yasinskas). Mosley dropped the Ravens to 22nd. Yasinskas raised them to 21st.