• ESPN.com's Marc Stein has the Trail Blazers at No. 4 (up from No. 9):
When they lost Oden and looked so shaky on the opening-night stage against the Lakers, how many of you had these kids closing November with a road win in Detroit and one of the last two unbeaten home records?(By the way, nice pic of Brandon Roy on ESPN's NBA page.)
• John Hollinger's laptop ranks the Trail Blazers at No. 3. Hollinger's formula LOVES margin of victory, so the fact that we've beaten Detroit by 11, New Orleans by 16, Miami by 38, Sacramento by 21 and Chicago by 42 over the last two weeks goes a long ways in explaining why Portland is ahead of teams like the Celtics and Jazz.
• Marty Burns of SI.com puts Portland at No. 4, up four spots from last week:
They just keep passing their exams with flying colors. They won at Detroit on Sunday to kick off a five-game Eastern trip and improve on the franchise's best start since 2000-01. Greg Oden, recently inserted into the starting lineup, recorded his second double-double in three games with 10 points and a career-high 13 boards.
• John Shuhumann back at the NBA.com headquarters in New Jersey has the Red and Black at No. 6:
The Blazers got two big wins this weekend, at home over the Hornets on Friday and in Detroit on Sunday. Their offense has been sharp all season, but the defense has improved dramatically (99.9 rating) as they've won six of their last seven.
• Yahoo! Sports finishes off this week's rankings, placing Portland (again) at No. 4:
I don't quit. Greg Oden (8.1 points and 7.7 boards with two combined blocks/steals, just 1.8 turns in 21 minutes, and an assist?) is worth sticking around for. 18.4 PER, too, and Portland’s climbed to 18th defensively after starting the season in the low 20s.
Looking over these rankings, it's becoming apparent that the most have started considering the Trail Blazers a notch just below the championship contenders. That seems about right, for now.