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: The Houston Texans maintained their hold on first place, but just barely. Breathing down the Texans’ necks are the Atlanta Falcons, who once again captured the most first-place votes (5). Also receiving first-place votes this week were the Green Bay Packers, the New York Football Giants and the San Francisco 49ers, the first time that our panel of 10 came up with five different No. 1 teams.
The Jacksonville Jaguars missed escaping last place by the slim margin of one point (the Kansas City Chiefs are nervous).
Carolina was ranked No. 30 on seven of 10 ballots (at last we seemingly agree on something).
THE STEELERS’ STATUS: Pittsburgh got Top-10 recognition from seven of 10 panelists and moved into the Top 10 overall for the first time at No. 10.
Gosselin remains unimpressed with the Steelers’ sense of style.
“Let’s hop the Steelers retire the throwback uniforms they wore last Sunday,” he observed. “Those were throw-away uniforms, a poor use of stripes.”
Sorry, Goose, they’re coming back on Nov. 18 against the Ravens.
POSITION-TEAM (FIRST-PLACE VOTES)-POINTS
No. 1-Houston Texans (2)-19
No. 2-Atlanta Falcons (5)-21
No. 3-San Francisco 49ers (1)-34
No. 4-New York Football Giants (1)-39
No. 5-Green Bay Packers (1)-56
No. 6-Chicago Bears-58
No. 7-New England Patriots-61
No. 8-Denver Broncos-85
No. 10-PITTSBURGH STEELERS-108
No. 11-Minnesota Vikings-117
No. 12-Seattle Seahawks-134
No. 13-Miami Dolphins-144
No. 14-Detroit Lions-162
No. 15-Philadelphia Eagles-170
No. 16-Dallas Cowboys-171
No. 17-Arizona Cardinals-172
No. 18-Cincinnati Bengals-175
No. 19-Indianapolis Colts-177
No. 20-Washington Redskins-179
No. 21-Tampa Bay Buccaneers-212
No. 22-San Diego Chargers-221
No. 23-Buffalo Bills-232
No. 24-St. Louis Rams-233
No. 25-New Orleans Saints-242
No. 26-New York Jets-254
No. 27-Oakland Raiders-261
No. 28-Tennessee Titans-262
No. 29-Cleveland Browns-267
No. 30-Carolina Panthers 299
No. 31-Kansas City Chiefs-314
No. 32-Jacksonville Jaguars-315