Eagles rise league-high seven spots in ESPN Rankings

PHILADELPHIA -- There are two ways to look at the Philadelphia Eagles' seven-place climb in the weekly ESPN NFL Power Rankings.

The Eagles went from No. 22 last week to No. 15 after their 39-17 victory Sunday over the New Orleans Saints. That seems like an oversized reaction to a home victory against a pretty bad New Orleans team.

That could mean that the voters were still clinging to their preseason expectations about the Eagles. After dropping them in the rankings due to their 1-3 start, the voters were quick to boost them back to where they really believed the Eagles should be.

Or it could simply be that the rest of the NFL isn't exactly taking care of its own business. The Eagles improved to 2-3 with their win over the Saints. That put them in a three-way tie for second place in the NFC East, with only the New York Giants at 3-2.

Only eight NFL teams are more than one game over .500. A total of 14 teams are lumped together with 3-2, 2-3 or 2-2 records -- at .500 or within one game of .500.

Once you recognize that, there is a lot of gray area that allows voters to make their own interpretations. Washington and Dallas both beat the Eagles and are at 2-3. Somehow, the Eagles are ranked above both teams. The Dallas Cowboys are at No. 18 after losing Tony Romo and Dez Bryant to injuries. Washington is at No. 21, six places behind an Eagles team it defeated a week ago.

The Eagles can bring clarity to the situation when they play the New York Giants on Monday night. The Giants are 3-2 and ranked at No. 12 in this week's poll. If the Eagles can beat them, they will affirm the belief of many voters that they are a good team that got off to a rough start.

If the Eagles lose Monday night, it won't be surprising if they drop as far in next week's poll as they climbed this week.