Even good teams inexplicably have a bad game every so often.
Some teams have bad months.
The Arizona Cardinals have fallen from 4-0 to 4-5 while extending to 10 their streak of defeats in October games.
The New York Giants are 13-21 in November under coach Tom Coughlin after losing to Cincinnati and Pittsburgh the past two weeks. The Giants had gone 4-0 in October and scored at least 27 points in each of those games. They've totaled 33 points in their two-game skid this month.
The Cardinals and Giants are among the biggest losers recently, not just on the field but in ESPN's NFL Power Rankings. Arizona has fallen from fifth in Week 5 to 22nd entering Week 11. The Giants plummeted five spots from last week, settling at No. 10.
Philadelphia (minus-17) and Kansas City (minus-15) have fallen the greatest distances over the past 10 weeks. Buffalo (minus-8) is the only other team to fall more than seven spots in our rankings in that span. Indianapolis (plus-21), Minnesota (plus-16) and Tampa Bay (plus-12) are the only double-digit movers in a positive direction in that time.
The Houston Texans are back in the No. 1 spot after ranking lower for three weeks. They overtook Atlanta after the Falcons' first defeat of the season. The Falcons had held the top spot for four consecutive weeks. The Chicago Bears remain third and the San Francisco 49ers fourth heading into the teams' game Monday night. Baltimore moved up to fifth, replacing the Giants in the top five. The idle Green Bay Packers remained sixth.
And now, a closer look at the rankings for this week:
Falling (10): New York Giants (-5), Detroit Lions (-3), Miami Dolphins (-3), Philadelphia Eagles (-3), San Diego Chargers (-3), Arizona Cardinals (-2), Oakland Raiders (-2), Washington Redskins (-2), Atlanta Falcons (-1), New York Jets (-1).
Rising (12): New Orleans Saints (+6), Cincinnati Bengals (+4), Dallas Cowboys (+3), Baltimore Ravens (+2), Minnesota Vikings (+2), Tennessee Titans (+2), Buffalo Bills (+1), Denver Broncos (+1), Houston Texans (+1), New England Patriots (+1), Pittsburgh Steelers (+1), St. Louis Rams (+1).
Unchanged (10): Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Bucs.
Deadlocked: We broke no ties this week.
Like minds: All five voters ranked the Texans first, the Falcons second, the Jaguars 31st and the Chiefs 32nd.
Agree to disagree: The Lions and Cardinals each generated gaps of eight votes between high and low votes.
A look at all teams generating high-low gaps of at least six spots in the rankings:
Lions (8): Jamison Hensley 15th, Ashley Fox 23rd.
Cardinals (8): Hensley 18th, Sando 26th.
Titans (7): Sando 20th, Dan Graziano 27th.
Ravens (6): Fox third, Graziano ninth.
Patriots (6): Fox fifth, Sando 11th.
Chargers (6): Fox 17th, Hensley 23rd.
Redskins (6): Graziano 18th, Sando 24th.
Power Rankings histories: These colorful layered graphs show where each NFL team has ranked every week since the 2002 season.
Ranking the divisions: The NFC North remained the highest-ranked division on average, and by a wide margin. Teams from the NFC North were ranked 10.3 on average. The NFC West remained second, inching up from 15.0 last week to 14.8 this week. The NFC South (15.0) was next, followed by the AFC North (15.9), AFC South (16.9), NFC East (17.4), AFC East (20.1) and AFC West (21.7).
A voter-by-voter look at changes of at least five spots since last week:
Sando: Cardinals (-6), Raiders (-5), Buccaneers (+6), Saints (+7).
Graziano: Dolphins (-5).
Hensley: Eagles (-5), Chargers (-5), Bengals (+5), Saints (+8).
Fox: Giants (-7), Lions (-6), Eagles (-5), Cowboys (+5), Saints (+8).
For download: An Excel file -- available here -- showing how each voter voted this week and in past weeks.
The file includes a "powerflaws" sheet pointing out potential flaws in voters' thinking by showing how many higher-ranked opponents each team defeated this season.
For example, the Bears and Texans outrank the Packers even though Green Bay defeated both teams.
Washington is the highest-ranked team with more than two victories over teams currently ranked higher.
A quick primer on the "powerflaws" sheet:
Column Y features team rankings.
Column Z shows how many times a team has defeated higher-ranked teams.
Change the rankings in Column Y as you see fit.
Re-sort Column Y in ascending order (1 to 32) using the standard Excel pull-down menu atop the column.
The information in Column Z, which reflects potential ranking errors, will change (with the adjusted total highlighted in yellow atop the column).
The lower the figure in that yellow box, the fewer conflicts.