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: That overtime escape against the Jacksonville Jaguars hasn’t scared our panel off the Houston Texans as the NFL’s best team.

They showed they can scramble when they have to,” Legwold said of the Texans.

Houston took seven of 10 first-place votes, with the Green Bay Packers (two) and San Francisco 49ers (one) also receiving best-in-the-business recognition.

There are ties this week at No. 4 (New England and Green Bay) and at No. 14 (Indianapolis and Tampa Bay).

THE STEELERS’ STATUS: Pittsburgh dropped back to No. 10 after losing at home to the Baltimore Ravens minus quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.


No. 1-Houston Texans (7)-16

No. 2-Atlanta Falcons (1)-26

No. 3-San Francisco 49ers (1)-33

No. 4-New England Patriots-48

-Green Bay Packers (2)-48

No. 6-Baltimore Ravens-56

No. 7-Denver Broncos-58

No. 8-Chicago Bears-78

No. 9-New York Giants-99


No. 11-Seattle Seahawks-121

No. 12-Minnesota Vikings-122

No. 13-New Orleans Saints-137

No. 14.-Indianapolis Colts-142

-Tampa Bay Buccaneers-142

No. 16-Cincinnati Bengakls-155

No. 17-Detroit Lions-176

-Dallas Cowboys-176

No. 19-Washington Redskins-191

No. 20-San Diego Chargers-194

No. 21-New York Jets-217

No. 22-Miami Dolphins-222

No. 23-Tennessee Titans-232

No. 24-Arizona Cardinals-237

No. 25-Buffalo Bills-241

No. 26-St. Louis Rams-252

No. 27-Oakland Raiders-269

No. 28-Philadelphia Eagles-270

No. 29-Cleveland Browns-281

No. 30-Carolina Panthers-296

No. 31-Kansas City Chiefs-313

No. 32-Jacksonville Jaguars-317