Like clockwork, the ESPN.com Power Rankings arrive at 2 p.m. ET each Tuesday during the NFL season and at least 12 other times during the offseason. The Atlanta Falcons somehow held off the New England Patriots for the top spot in the Week 14 edition.
As he always does, NFC West blogger Mike Sando has boldly pulled back the curtain on the mysterious voting process. Let's take a look at how Sando and his three colleagues from ESPN.com arrived at their decisions in the NFC East. Sando was particularly tough on the Beast this week -- especially with three of the teams winning:
9. Philadelphia Eagles -- The Eagles had to come back to beat the Houston Texans in the fourth quarter last Thursday. If they'd won convincingly, the Eagles may have made a significant move. Instead, they stayed in the same spot. AFC North blogger James Walker has stuck with this team in 2010 and he had them at No. 7. But the other three voters kept the Eagles at No. 9 on their ballots -- and in their hearts. Coach Andy Reid was overheard saying, "What does it take to get The Professor's attention these days?"
10. New York Giants -- Every voter had the Giants in this spot, so it's hard to make fun of anyone. I think the Giants are better than the Packers and Bears -- two of the teams that are ranked ahead of them. I'd also like Tom Coughlin's chances against Rex Ryan's bunch after watching a few minutes of that mess last night.
24. Dallas Cowboys -- I'm not really sure why all four voters are so reluctant to show some love to Jason Garrett after his team has won three of four games on his watch. Paul Kuharsky of AFC South fame and Walker had the Cowboys at No. 23, but I think they should've been a little higher. Do our panelists really think the Dolphins, Texans, Seahawks, Browns, Titans and Vikings are all better than this Cowboys team right now? I think the Cowboys should be closer to No. 20 overall following their win over the Colts, who sit at No. 15 for no apparent reason. Maybe if Peyton Manning can get to 12 interceptions in three games Sunday, the Colts will drop a few spots.
25. Washington Redskins -- John Clayton had the Skins at No. 20, ahead of the Seahawks, Rams, Browns and Cowboys. Every one of those teams should file a protest with ESPN.com this afternoon. Sando had the Redskins at No. 26, which is probably about right.
The Beast moved up to No. 4 in the overall rankings. The NFC South, AFC East and AFC North are in the top three spots. Clayton gave the division its highest mark with a 15.75 average ranking. Sando was not in the holiday spirit with a stunning 17.25 average ranking. Not sure why the panel has been so slow to react to Garrett's work. Maybe I'll ask Kuharsky this afternoon if he's still talking to me.