Bleacher Report writers come together each week for the NFL season and decide on who belongs where for the “Bleacher Report NFL Power Rankings.” Writers vote teams up or down to come up with an unbiased, no-bull, to-the-point ranking system.
The four-digit numbers beside each team are computed based on votes and show readers just how strong each team’s position is. Want to know how close your team was to being ranked in the top five, or how far ahead they are of the next guy? Simply look at the difference in the numbers to find out.
One thing that we have learned so far in 2008 is that talented rosters do not necessarily translate to wins. Take the San Diego Chargers, Minnesota Vikings, New Orleans Saints, and Cleveland Browns for example. They combine for a 7-12 record.
The teams that are reaching or exceeding expectations are the ones with the coaches who stress preparation and team unity more than others.
Look at Tom Coughlin, who suspended his star wideout when he behaved inappropriately. Look at Jim Zorn and how Santana Moss didn't complain once about his zero catches against Philadelphia. Instead, he was making critical blocks in the second half to help Clinton Portis break through the Eagles' defense.
Mike Tomlin had his injured Steelers win in Jacksonville on Monday night without their top two running backs. Mike Shanahan challenged his defense to keep pace with the offense; the result was a low-scoring victory over a tough Tampa Bay squad.
Teams that are putting individuality aside and working towards a common goal are separating themselves from the pack. Expect many of the top 12 teams to remain as such while the more "talented" teams struggle to win or even accumulate sexy fantasy stats. (That's a shot at you Braylon Edwards and Chad Johnson).
On with the rankings...
1 (1) New York Giants (.9583) – The Giants were as dominant as can be against the lowly Seahawks, but let’s be clear about one thing: The Giants are better WITH Plaxico Burress on the field. Let’s not forget how important he is on the field just because he’s a jackass off of it. (Shaun Ahmad)
2 (2) Tennessee Titans (.9241) – Kerry Collins has been sacked only once this season and the defense is absolutely scary. They very well could be the best team in football if they just had a chance to prove it against a quality opponent. (Craig Garrison Sr.)
3 (3) Washington Redskins (.8997) – The Redskins have been underdogs in each of their first five games. They are favorites (13.5 points) against the Rams this week. Be careful 'Skins fans. Too much of this “7-1” talk could come back to bite you. (Shaun Ahmad)
4 (4) Dallas Cowboys (.8694) – Jerry Jones is to Wade Phillips as Dick Cheney is to George Bush. For God’s sakes, grow a pair and stop letting the owner dictate to the media who will be getting the ball more and who won’t. That’s just ridiculous. Be a head coach. (Shaun Ahmad)
6 (7) Carolina Panthers (.8095) – The offense is hot and the defense just pitched a shutout. Confidence is the highest it’s been since 2003 in Carolina. (David Arreola)
7 (5) Buffalo Bills (.7953) – The Bills hoped to continue their stampede through Arizona, but it all stopped when Trent Edwards went down early against a team looking to rebound from an embarrassment. With the bye week coming up, Edwards should be back on his feet in no time. (Angel Navedo)
8 (8) Denver Broncos (.7153) – Dangerous offense and a progressing defense. They could put it together in time to make a serious run in the playoffs. (Shaun Ahmad)
9 (16) Chicago Bears (.6700) – Kyle Orton might not be frightening anyone with an 88.4 quarterback rating, but he’s been just steady enough to keep the Bears’ offense afloat. They’re averaging almost 26 points a game. (Eric Gomez)
10 (14) New England Patriots (.6348) – This is the longest they’ve been out of the spotlight since pre-2001! (Alex McVeigh)
11 (10) Tampa Bay Bucs (.6318) – Jeff Garcia will look to impress Gruden enough to consider making him the starter again. With Gruden's fondness for switching quarterbacks, anything is possible. (Shaun Ahmad)
12 (9) Philadelphia Eagles (.6154) – Does everyone now know how crucial Westbrook is to this offense? (Angel Navedo)
13 (17) Indianapolis Colts (.5900) – Do you think Tony Dungy’s new strategy is to give the opponent three quarters to do their best, and then turn it on? (Alex McVeigh)
14 (12) Baltimore Ravens (.5700) – This defense is making plays. Ray Lewis has the energy of a rookie but the leadership of the veteran that he is. If only Joe Flacco could get this team moving, they’d have a number of wins. (David Arreola)
15 (20) Arizona Cardinals (.5377) – I’ve never really been interested in Kurt Warner, but it says a lot about a guy who considered retirement because he felt guilty about the Boldin injury. Warner supposedly texted his wife after the game in New York feeling horrible for throwing the pass to Boldin higher than it should have been. I may not know much, but few athletes would consider hanging it up based on a situation like that. (Shaun Ahmad)
16 (19) New York Jets (.5033) – It’s hard to know what to expect from the Jets. However, if Mangini lets Favre play his style of football, the Jets will have a much better chance of success the rest of the season. (Shaun Ahmad)
17 (22) Atlanta Falcons (.4935) – The “formula” is working pretty damn well, isn’t it? (Craig Garrison Sr.)
18 (11) San Diego Chargers (.4903) – Bad luck? Sure. But when you can’t stop a college-style offense in the pros, it’s back to the drawing board. (Alex McVeigh)
19 (25) Miami Dolphins (.4850) – Their recent success might hinge on the gimmicky Wildcat offense, but consecutive wins against New England and San Diego are impressive nonetheless. (Eric Gomez)
20 (13) Green Bay Packers (.4595) – We’ll see how banged up the Packers are after they travel to Seattle this week and face a Seahawk team that would struggle to beat the Washington Huskies at this point. (Eric Gomez)
21 (25) Minnesota Vikings (.4404) – They won in a must-win situation on a Monday night, which is commendable. But please explain to me why you would punt to Reggie Bush after he already returned one punt for a touchdown? What’s the thought process? I’d really like to know. (Shaun Ahmad)
22 (18) New Orleans Saints (.4290) – Reggie Bush acts like he’s back at USC, only for the defense to forget that there’s a football game going on. (Angel Navedo)
23 (15) Jacksonville Jaguars (.3922) – I’ve been rating this team lower than everyone else for the past three weeks, and I’m glad people have finally realized that this isn’t a good football team. There was only one way the Steelers were going to win last week and that was through an injured Ben Roethlisberger. The Jags still couldn’t stop him. 23 is where this team belongs. (Shaun Ahmad)
24 (21) San Francisco 49ers (.3183) – Showing signs of life—which in the NFC West might mean enough for a playoff birth. (Alex McVeigh)
25 (29) Cleveland Browns (.2603) – I’d like to think this team is better than their record indicates, but when your only win is against Cincinnati, I can only shake my head. Where is the offensive powerhouse we were all expecting at the beginning of the season? (David Arreola)
26 (26) Oakland Raiders (.2332) – Al Davis is insane. (Angel Navedo)
27 (22) Seattle Seahawks (.2244) – What has happened to the perennial NFC West champs? (Shane Howard)
28 (27) Kansas City Chiefs (.1911) – The quarterback carousel continues in Kansas City. So will the losing. (Shaun Ahmad)
29 (28) Houston Texans (.1804) – Heartbreaking loss to the Colts. (Tiffany Davies)
30 (30) Cincinnati Bengals (.1735) – This team deserves to win a game but they probably won’t for quite some time. (Tiffany Davies)
31 (31) Detroit Lions (.1195) – So how long before Rod Marinelli calls George Bush for a bailout plan for Detroit? (Shane Howard)
32 (32) St. Louis Rams (.1097) – The Greatest Show on Turf is back! Well, if your team is playing the Rams anyway. (David Arreola)
Biggest Jump: Chicago Bears are UP seven spots (16th last week to ninth this week)
Biggest Drop: Jacksonville Jaguars are DOWN eight spots (15th last week to 23rd this week)
A special thanks to all those who participated, and will continue to participate in the future. Also, a sincere thank you to Angel Navedo for providing the picture used in this article.