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2011 NFL Power Rankings, Week 7: Bucs Nearly Crack ESPN's Top 10

Behind a strong effort from quarterback Josh Freeman (303 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions) and a sound run defense (70 yards allowed), the Tampa Bay Buccaneers knocked off the New Orleans Saints, 26-20, on Sunday to tie New Orleans atop the NFC South.

Topping New Orleans, however impressive, still isn't enough to boost the Bucs into the top 10 of ESPN's NFL power rankings. The Worldwide Leader's panel of voters moved the Bucs up to No. 12, a four-spot improvement, but they're not quite in the league's top tier just yet. After all, there's still the matter of their losing by 45 points to the San Francisco 49ers just one week prior to consider.

Elsewhere in the NFC South, the Saints dropped from No. 3 to No. 5 as a result of their loss to Tampa Bay. The Atlanta Falcons held steady at No. 19 after defeating the Carolina Panthers, 31-17. Carolina dropped to No. 25.

Photographs by, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.