NFL Power Rankings: 2008 Week 13 Edition
As expected, changes occurred near the top in the latest edition of ESPN.com's NFL Power Rankings.
But the Week 12 outcomes might not have yielded the expected results for the Week 13 balloting. Yes, the New York Jets went to Nashville and handed the Tennessee Titans their first loss. As expected, the Titans' six-week reign atop our rankings ended. But the poll of our experts did not necessarily reward the Jets.
The New York Giants, who, like the Titans, are 10-1, move up one place to reassume the Power Rankings' summit. But the Titans fall only one rung to No. 2. The AFC East-leading Jets, who are 8-3, rank third. They vaulted three spots after their 34-13 rout of the Titans.
The Pittsburgh Steelers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers round out the top five, holding on to their Week 12 slottings. The Steelers will face a test for their top-five status when they visit the New England Patriots, who rank eighth. The Bucs' mettle also will be tested when they welcome NFC South rival the New Orleans Saints, who moved up four places to No. 16 on the strength of their "Monday Night Football" rout of the Green Bay Packers.
The Giants, whose two-week reign atop our rankings had been blunted by a Week 6 road loss to the Cleveland Browns, face another challenge to their supremacy when they visit the Washington Redskins. In the poll of our experts, the Redskins apparently can't gain ground just by winning. Although Washington beat the host Seattle Seahawks in Week 12, it was demoted three places to No. 12.
The big climber this week is the Oakland Raiders, who avenged an embarrassing season-opening loss on MNF to the Denver Broncos. The Raiders delivered payback in Denver and scored a 31-10 stunner. Accordingly, our voters rewarded the Raiders with a five-rung spring to No. 26 this week.
This week's great descenders each fell four spots: the Carolina Panthers (from No. 3 to No. 7), the Arizona Cardinals (No. 7 to No. 11), the Broncos (No. 15 to No. 19), the Packers (No. 16 to No. 20) and the Philadelphia Eagles (No. 17 to No. 21).
There were no ties in the balloting this week, and we assume Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb did not know that.
(Editor's note: LW indicates each team's ranking last week.)