These are difficult times for the NFC East in the Power Rankings. A look at where our teams placed in this week's poll:
10. New York Giants (Last week: 5). A five-spot drop, the biggest of any team this week. I personally dropped the Giants four spots, from No. 4 to No. 8. As good a weekend as the AFC had against the NFC, I still couldn't justify believing the Ravens and Patriots have better teams. And perhaps I'm still giving the Giants the benefit of the doubt based on the way they played at the end of last year and the beginning of this one. Everybody slumps. But they didn't play like a top-10 team in Sunday's loss to the Bengals, and that's why they're barely hanging on to that top-10 ranking. Only John Clayton (6) ranked them higher than I did. Everybody else had them 10th or 11th.
15. Dallas Cowboys (18). Dallas made the third-biggest jump of any team in our poll this week, moving up three spots from 18 to 15. I also ranked them 15th on my ballot, up two spots from No. 17. John and Ashley Fox agreed, Mike Sando had them 16th and Jamison Hensley has them at No. 19. The Cowboys looked great in Sunday's fourth quarter, and as we've discussed they have a ripe-looking schedule the rest of the way. But I don't think they've done anything to prove they belong anywhere else besides right in the middle of this year's NFL pack, which is where the Power Rankings have them.
21. Washington Redskins (19). You know things aren't going well when you drop two spots in a week in which you don't even play. The Saints and Bengals are the two teams that jumped the Redskins in the rankings this week, and yes, the Redskins did beat the Saints (but lost to the Bengals!). I can't answer for other people. I had them 18th last week, have them 18th this week. I did move the Saints ahead of them after New Orleans knocked off the poll's previously unbeaten No. 1 team, but I dropped the Dolphins behind them, so the Redskins stayed the same. I continue to be the highest on the Redskins of any of our voters. Sando is the lowest, putting them 24th.
24. Philadelphia Eagles (21). And finally, the Eagles. No team has fallen more dramatically from their Week 1 ranking than have the Eagles, who began this season at No. 7 in the poll, held that same ranking in Week 5 and have dropped 17 spots during their five-game losing streak. Only the Colts, who began the season at No. 32 and are currently No. 11, have made a larger swing in either direction. The Eagles are in a free-fall and set to start rookie quarterback Nick Foles this week in place of a concussed Michael Vick. This might not be as low as they can get. I have them at 23, down two spots from last week and (ahem) 20 from where I had them to start the season.