Power Rankings: No. 26 Buccaneers

A weekly examination of the Buccaneers' ESPN.com Power Ranking:

Preseason: 19 | Last week: 27 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost 27-6 to Carolina on Sunday. Yet they still managed to climb one spot in the weekly ESPN.com Power Rankings.

I don't think that's meant to be a tribute to the Bucs, who played one of their worst games of the season. Instead, I think it's more a reflection of how the voters view teams like the Browns, Vikings, Falcons and Redskins, who finished immediately behind the Bucs.

No. 26 is about right for a 3-9 team that had been on a three-game winning streak prior to the Carolina game. But the Bucs might have a chance to climb a few spots in next week’s rankings. Sunday's opponent is Buffalo, which is ranked No. 24.