Despite Michael Vick's best efforts, the NFC East has taken a beating from our esteemed ESPN.com Power Rankings panelists. For years, the Beast sat atop the rankings and chuckled at the other divisions. But take a look at this week's rankings, which are published each Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET so that Trey Wingo will have something to discuss on ESPN's "NFL Live."
Let's take it team-by-team and try to figure out why the voters have so little respect for our division. NFC West blogger Mike Sando does a really nice job of pulling back the curtain on the once mysterious voting process:
14. Philadelphia Eagles -- The panel is taking a wait-and-see approach on the Eagles by only moving them up two spots after a blowout win at Jacksonville. I think everyone wants to see how Michael Vick performs against a good team that's had a week to prepare for him. AFC South blogger Paul Kuharsky gave the Eagles their highest vote at 12 while Sando left them at 16.
16. Dallas Cowboys -- That was a huge win in Houston, but it only moved the Cowboys up one spot in the rankings. Sando, John "The Professor" Clayton and James Walker all had the Cowboys at 15, but Kuharsky thwarted their efforts with a "16" on his ballot.
21. Washington Redskins -- The Redskins tied with the Texans for the biggest drop (6) in the rankings. Clayton tried to hang in there with a 19 but Sando sealed the Skins' awful fate with a No. 24 vote. When Sando decides he has it out for a division, watch out!
24. New York Giants -- The Giants joined the Chargers in falling five spots. Apparently the panel didn't appreciate those six personal fouls even though coach Tom Coughlin insisted the Giants were a better team than the Titans. I bet that annoyed Jeff Fisher to see all those comments. Clayton, who has championed the NFC East's cause for years, gave the Giants their highest ranking at 20. Kuharsky could be heard cackling all the way from Nashville, Tenn., as he recorded a "24" vote for my Super Bowl pick. How's that working out for me, by the way?
The NFC East is now ranked sixth among all the divisions. But hey, at least the Beast is ahead of the AFC West (7) and NFC West (8). There's always that.