THE POINT: To rank each of the NFL’s 32 teams based on performance, perception and potential rather than merely by record.


THE PANEL: Our 10-man committee consists of:
Joe Bendel, 970 ESPN, Steelers Radio Network; Tim Benz, 105.9 The X, Steelers Radio Network; Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 970 ESPN, Steelers Radio Network; Rick Gosselin, Dallas Morning News; Jeff Legwold, Denver Post; Cole Pepper, Studio Host Jaguars Radio Network; Mike Prisuta, WDVE, 970 ESPN, Steelers Radio Network; Jon Saraceno, USA Today; David Todd, 970 ESPN, Steelers Nation Radio; Matt Williamson, ESPN.com.

THE PROCESS: Each panelist ranks the teams from No. 1 to No. 32. Teams receive one point for their spot in the rankings (the No. 15 team gets 15 points, etc.). An aggregate score is compiled from the 10 ballots and the teams are stacked in reverse order, with the lowest score achieving the No. 1 ranking and the highest score checking in at No. 32.

THIS WEEK’S POLL:  Houston remained No. 1 and picked up an additional first-place vote in the process. Bendel and Dulac remain committed to San Francisco as the NFL’s No. 1 team.

Says Dulac: “49ers better than SF’s Ghiardelli chocolate - Outscored opponents, 79-3, in past two.

Adds Gerry of the NFC West Division: “Just call it the NFC Best – No team worse than 3-2, only division in football with four winning teams, all four teams in my top 17.”

The Steelers moved up from No. 15 to No. 13, but there’s still a wide range of opinions as to how good they really are (No. 8 Prisuta, No. 19 Pepper).

POSITION-TEAM (FIRST-PLACE VOTES)-POINTS
No. 1- Houston Texans (8)-12
No. 2-San Francisco 49ers (2)-24
No. 3-Atlanta Falcons-28
No. 4-Baltimore Ravens-48
No. 5-New England Patriots-50
No. 6-Chicago Bears-69
No. 7-New York Football Giants-73
No. 8-Arizona Cardinals-88
No. 9-Minnesota Vikings-91
No. 10-Green Bay Packers-115
No. 11-Philadelphia Eagles-117
No. 12-San Diego Chargers-129
No. 13-PITTSBURGH STEELERS-130
No. 14-Cincinnati Bengals-141
No. 15-Denver Broncos-143
No. 16-Seattle Seahawks-147
No. 17-St. Louis Rams-163
No. 18-Dallas Cowboys-169
No. 19-Washington Redskins-189
No. 20-New Orleans Saints-214
No. 21-Miami Dolphins-219
No. 22-Detroit Lions-224
No. 23-Indianapolis Colts-229
No. 24-New York Jets-239
No. 25-Buffalo Bills-246
No. 26-Carolina Panthers-254
No. 27-Tampa Bay Buccaneers-259
No. 28-Oakland Raiders-281
No. 29-Tennessee Titans-287
No. 20-Kansas City Chiefs-294
No. 31-Jacksonville Jaguars-303
No. 32-Cleveland Browns-305