Power Rankings: No. 23 Washington

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

Preseason: 10 | Last Week: 22 | ESPN.com Power Ranking since 2002

When I saw where the Washington Redskins were ranked this week, I did a double take. Wondered if it was the polling from last week. Wondered if it was right.

The Redskins lose to a banged-up, 1-7 team and blow a 13-point second-half lead and they only drop one spot? OK, then. There must be a lot of bad teams this season (actually, we all know there are).

I guess they couldn’t rank Pittsburgh ahead of Washington; the teams have the same 3-6 record, though the Steelers are coming off a 23-10 win against Buffalo. But the Steelers had lost two straight and did move up three spots this week.

The New York Giants have now won three straight games and are 3-6, but remain two spots behind Washington. They’ve beaten the Vikings (hmmm), Eagles and Raiders in consecutive games (with a bye before last week). The Redskins have yet to win in consecutive weeks. As poorly as New York played for six straight weeks, their winning streak eclipses any work done by the Redskins this season. But the Giants ranked 29th last week and jumped four spots. A home win over Oakland doesn’t lend itself toward a bigger leap forward. But three in a row is three in a row and the Redskins in the past three weeks are 1-2.

And yet the Redskins remain alive in the NFC East, mainly (only?) because the division remains bad. A win Sunday and they could be a game out of first place. The Eagles (14th) and Cowboys (15th) are hardly secure at the top of the division. Dallas’ injuries defensively leaves it ripe for a tumble. It’s still hard to believe in Philadelphia. The Redskins, at least, can point to the run game and Alfred Morris and quarterback Robert Griffin III's improved play the past two weeks. But at some point the Redskins have to provide more hope with their own team play. Now would be a good time to start.