Power Rankings: No. 31 Washington

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

Preseason: 10 | Last Week: 31 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002

The Washington Redskins opened the season with a high ranking and realistic expectations of playoff success. They ended it one spot away from the bottom of the league and in need of a new coach.

It’s hard to argue with the No. 31 ranking for Washington in ESPN.com’s Power Rankings considering the Redskins had lost eight straight. The only thing that kept them from the bottom was a 14-game losing streak by Houston.

Then again, the only time it matters whether you’re 31 or 32 is when you’re drafting -- because, as you may recall from many years ago, the last spot is for the Super Bowl champion. In the rankings? It really doesn’t matter because 31 doesn’t exactly scream, "good season."

In all my years on the Redskins’ beat, this has to qualify as the most surprising when adding up the parties involved, the expectations, the collapse and the leaked stories. Anyone who was around the team this summer would not have foreseen such a mess. They looked good during the preseason, for whatever that’s worth. They practiced the same as the previous year when they were 10-6 and players such as Barry Cofield looked better.

Yes, Robert Griffin III’s knee was an issue, and he was not consistent in camp. But you figured that with more time practicing and playing he would improve. Instead, he remained inconsistent all season.

The foundation of the organization was not solid enough to prevent this sort of collapse. It led to Mike Shanahan’s firing on Monday.

Philadelphia ended the regular season ranked 11th; that was a surprise given the preseason expectations. The Cowboys were 17th, which sums up their last several years under coach Jason Garrett. ("Seinfeld" fans: The Cowboys are like Jerry; they’re Even Steven. If Jason Garrett found a $20 bill, it’s a lock he’d lose one later.) And the Giants were 23rd -- another surprise, but considering they were 0-6 at one point, their 7-3 finish wasn’t bad at all.