With more than six seasons of Power Rankings under our rather large belts, we've refined how we determine the order of these things every week to what we think is a pretty good science.
We use a formula to assign a score for each team based on results, play, schedule and recent form, and what the formula says is what we use.
So, forgive us, fans of New England, for an unprecedented midseason drop from No. 1 all the way down to No. 10. It's not personal, it's business.
Perhaps we spoke too soon when dismissing parity – when a team can legitimately fall from first to 10th in a week, there's definitely a power gap at the top of the league.
This week's No. 1, the Giants, does fit the profile of a top team, at least if you can ignore them getting trounced by the Colts and the Titans before turning things around.
1. N.Y. GIANTS (6-2)
Last week: 41-7 win at Seattle
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Giants ran the ball 47 times in playing nice vs. the pathetic Seahawks; they've only run it more times in a game 12 times since the expansion to 16 games in 1978. Ahmad Bradshaw is the ultimate finisher; he's averaging 6.9 yards in the fourth quarter, best in the league.
2. N.Y. JETS (6-2)
Last week: 23-20 win at Detroit
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The struggling LaDainian Tomlinson of the past couple of seasons seems to be returning; he's averaged 3.4, 3.4 and 3.7 yards per carry the last three games, and hasn't topped 20 yards on any of his 60 total touches.
3. GREEN BAY (6-3)
Last week: 45-7 win vs. Dallas
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Teams have gone for it on fourth down against the Packers 37 times since the start of the 2009 season, most in the league – and the Packers have stopped 67.6 percent of them, best in the league. In other words, punt.
4. PITTSBURGH (6-2)
Last week: 27-21 win at Cincinnati
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Mike Wallace has at least one catch of 40+ yards in seven of his last 11 games, and eight touchdowns.
5. INDIANAPOLIS (5-3)
Last week: 26-24 loss at Philadelphia
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Peyton Manning is on pace to throw an NFL-record 702 passes ... and just eight interceptions.
6. PHILADELPHIA (5-3)
Last week: 26-24 win vs. Indianapolis
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Michael Vick leads the NFL in passer rating at 105.3. No. 2 is Vince Young at 103.1. Remarkable that the league's two most highly regarded running QBs would also be the most highly rated passers.
7. BALTIMORE (6-2)
Last week: 26-10 win vs. Miami
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Ravens are a surprising 30th in yards per carry (3.6), and 29th in rushes of 10+ yards. However, their backs do lead the league in most spits landed on opponents (1), thanks to LeRon McClain (allegedly, of course).
8. ATLANTA (6-2)
Last week: 27-21 win vs. Tampa Bay
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Tony Gonzalez has played 13-and-a-half seasons, missed two games, caught 1,036 passes and scored 85 touchdowns. Since emerging in 1999, his "worst" offensive season was 63 catches for 773 yards and seven TDs. To put that in perspective, only 49 non-Gonzalez tight ends have ever had as many as 773 yards and seven TDs in a season.
9. NEW ORLEANS (6-3)
Last week: 34-3 win at Carolina
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Saints have only allowed three offensive touchdowns over the last five games, one of them a Levi Brown fumble recovery in the end zone after a two-yard drive by Arizona.
10. NEW ENGLAND (6-2)
Last week: 34-14 loss at Cleveland
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Patriots have faced a very average set of quarterbacks through eight games, but collectively they're playing just as well as Tom Brady (Brady passer rating, 95.7; Defensive Passer Rating, 93.9).
11. KANSAS CITY (5-3)
Last week: 23-20 loss at Oakland
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Yes, that was Thomas Jones getting 32 yards on 19 carries Sunday while Jamaal Charles had 53 on his 10 totes. For the season, Charles averages 6.4 YPA, Jones 4.2; they both have a single fumble. Does Todd Haley have access to the internet?
12. TENNESSEE (5-3)
Last week: Bye
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Randy Moss always makes a good first impression on his new teams. In four career debuts in new homes, he's got 22 catches, 489 yards, 22.2 YPC and five touchdowns.
13. SAN DIEGO (4-5)
Last week: 29-23 win at Houston
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Chargers have forced only one turnover over the last five weeks while giving it away 11 times – the fact that they've been dead even in points (126-126) is a tribute to ... well, it's a tribute to something, we're not sure what.
14. OAKLAND (5-4)
Last week: 23-20 win vs. Kansas City
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Why are the Raiders succeeding? Four of their top five draft picks this year are starters (T Jared Veldheer, DE Lamarr Houston, LB Rolando McClain, WR Jacoby Ford), and not out of desperation or obligation.
15. CHICAGO (5-3)
Last week: 22-19 win at Buffalo
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Julius Peppers has only two sacks, but his presence is being felt; he has five pass deflections and two forced fumbles, and is keying the run defense (3.53 YPA against, No. 4 in the NFL).
16. MINNESOTA (3-5)
Last week: 27-24 win vs. Arizona
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Vikings piled up 1,319 yards of offense the past three weeks, their most over a three-game span since a great three-week run of 1,460 from Week 8-10 last year. The difference is that they destroyed all three of their opponents in 2009, while this year they lost two and barely won the third.
17. CLEVELAND (3-5)
Last week: 34-14 win vs. New England
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: After a run of 17 losses in 18 games, the Browns are now 7-5 over their last 12 games.
18. ST. LOUIS (4-4)
Last week: Bye
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: You could have bet the Rams at 250-to-1 to win the Super Bowl in preseason. That's $25,000 on a $100 bet. It's a heck of a longshot, but the Rams are at least still at the mix in midseason.
19. MIAMI (4-4)
Last week: 26-10 loss at Baltimore
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: After seeing Chad Henne throw 24 interceptions to 20 TDs since taking the starting job in Miami, we might gently remind coach Tony Sparano that Chad Pennington is sitting on the bench with his career total of 102 TDs, 64 INTs, a 90.1 rating and the career record as the most accurate passer in history (66.1%).
20. HOUSTON (4-4)
Last week: 29-23 loss vs. San Diego
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Arian Foster's great season is being destroyed by the Texans' terrible D. He's on pace for 2,358 yards from scrimmage, which would be good enough for a fifth-place tie on the all-time list (Barry Sanders, 1997). He's been given the ball on third down 17 times and converted 14 times, easily the best ratio in the NFL.
21. WASHINGTON (4-4)
Last week: Bye
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Donovan McNabb was supposed to give us a good fact here, but he didn't have the stamina to make it to the computer. Rex Grossman tried to help, but he tripped over the cord. Tech services are being called to help out. Sorry. Try again next week.
22. TAMPA BAY (5-3)
Last week: 27-21 loss at Atlanta
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Cadillac Williams' feel-good story isn't feeling so great these days. Over the last four games, he's carried it 26 times for 53 yards.
23. DETROIT (2-6)
Last week: 23-20 loss vs. Jets
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Ndamukong Suh, 1958 called, and they want you back. Call Doc Brown and get the DeLorean charged up. If there's one regret we have about today's game, it's that defensive linemen don't handle the kicking chores like they did in the good old days. And, like Suh, they missed a lot – in 1958, the Rams' Paige Cothren led kickers with a 56-percent accuracy rate.
24. CINCINNATI (2-6)
Last week: 27-21 loss vs. Pittsburgh
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Carson Palmer has thrown 175 passes toward "T.Ocho" this year, only 16 fewer than the Steelers have thrown, period.
25. JACKSONVILLE (4-4)
Last week: Bye
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Somehow, the Jags are only a game out of first place in the AFC South despite a -61 point differential while being outgained by 1.2 yards per play.
26. DENVER (2-6)
Last week: Bye
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: An embarrassing Sunday for the Broncos' front office. This summer, they traded Peyton Hillis for Brady Quinn (advantage: Browns), which was only their second-worst move. A year after trading away a first-round pick to get CB Alphonso Smith in the draft, they gave up on Smith and dealt him to Detroit for backup TE Dan Gronkowski. Smith nabbed his fifth INT in six games for Detroit. Gronkowski has caught six passes for Denver.
27. SEATTLE (4-4)
Last week: 41-7 loss vs. N.Y. Giants
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Seahawks only ran 10 offensive plays in the second half Sunday, which is almost mathematically impossible. They had the ball for 5:31 while the Giants had it for 24:29. Amazing.
28. SAN FRANCISCO (2-6)
Last week: Bye
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The 49ers spent the bye watching their deficit in the division standings cut from 2.5 games to 2. Gotta love that NFC West.
29. ARIZONA (3-5)
Last week: 27-24 loss at Minnesota
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Cardinals allow 2.8 first downs per game by penalty and turn it over three times each game. Other than that, they're the tightest run unit since Themistocles led a fleet of the combined Greek city-states to victory over the Persian fleet at the battle of Salamis.
30. DALLAS (1-7)
Last week: 45-7 loss at Green Bay
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Any particular reason secondary coach Dave Campo didn't lose his job along with Wade Phillips? The Cowboys are dead last in Defensive Passer Rating at 109.1, which puts them on pace for the worst pass defense in NFL history. When Campo took over for the 2008 season, the Cowboys were coming off a No. 5 performance (75.1 DPR); they then slipped to 20th in 2008 (86.2), and 16th in 2009 (83.5) despite a devastating front seven.
31. CAROLINA (1-7)
Last week: 34-3 loss vs. New Orleans
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: The Panthers have 726 rushing yards and two rushing TDs through eight games; last year at this point they had 1,224 yards and 11 scores.
32. BUFFALO (0-8)
Last week: 22-19 loss vs. Chicago
The Cold, Hard Football Facts: Who is Steve Johnson? The third-year wide receiver came into the season with 12 catches over two seasons in Buffalo, but is sitting on star-like numbers (41 catches, 556 yards, 6 TD) after the first eight games. He will surely get Ryan Fitzpatrick something for Christmas, perhaps a nice sweater. A win would also be cool.