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,

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:  It’s still Houston at the top of the heap, as the Texans maintained a slim lead over the Atlanta Falcons even though both teams received four first-place votes.

Legwold has a theory as to why that’s still the case.
“The Texans’ defense is better than the Falcons’ and eventually that will matter,” he said.

There’s a tie at the bottom of the pile between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Kansas City Chiefs, and on this score our panel couldn’t be more in agreement. Each team received five votes for No. 31 and five for No. 32.

THE STEELERS’ STATUS: The Steelers will welcome Kansas City on Monday night as a Top-10 team for the second consecutive week. Although they stayed at No. 10, no one ranked the Steelers lower than No. 10 this time around. Todd punched them in higher than anyone else, at No. 6.

No. 1-Houston Texans (4)-17
No. 2-Atlanta Falcons (4)-21
No. 3-San Francisco 49ers (1)-34
No. 4-Chicago Bears-39
No. 5-Green Bay Packers (1)-51
No. 6-New England Patriots-66
No. 7-Denver Broncos-75
No. 8-New York Football Giants-81
No. 9-Baltimore Ravens-84
No. 11-Seattle Seahawks-119
No. 12-Indianapolis Colts-127
No. 13-Detroit Lions-139
No. 14-Miami Dolphins-154
No. 15-Minnesota Vikings-162
No. 16-New Orleans Saints-163
No. 17-San Diego Charers-167
No. 18-Tampa Bay Buccaneers-171
No. 19-Dallas Cowboys-188
No. 20-Cincinnati Bengals-206
No. 21-Philadelphia Eagles-216      
No. 22-St. Louis Rams-219
No. 23-Arizona Cardinals-227
No. 24-Washington Redskins-233
            -New York Jets-233
No. 26-Buffalo BVills-259
No. 27-Cleveland Browns-272
No. 28-Oakland Raiders-273
No. 29-Carolina Panthers-282
No. 30-Tennessee Titans-286
No. 31-Kansas City Chiefs-315
            -Jacksonville Jaguars-315