Power Rankings, Week 7
Musical chairs in the Top 10 as the Colts push their way in, the Bears find their way out, and the Patriots hang on.
Down the list, the Steelers, Redskins, and Giants find good news when they check in.
Here’s how our analysts see the league after seven weeks, and the cumulative rank (below) that comes of their ballots.
With the votes tallied, here’s how the list looks after Week 7: (last week’s rank and change in rank in parentheses)
The Top 10
1. Denver Broncos (1, 0)
Manning back in Indy and Miller back in the lineup, what could go wrong? Denver falls for the first time but doesn’t quite lose grip of the top spot as our team still feels they’re the team to be targeted.
2. Seattle Seahawks (3, +1)
On the strength of Wilson’s play under pressure and a top-to-bottom defensive effort, Seattle takes the Thursday Night win in Arizona, moves to 6-1, and returns to the No. 2 spot by hopping over the idle Saints.
3. New Orleans Saints (2, -1)
Fresh from their week away, the Saints will get the never-boring Bills as they look to regain ground lost as they watched. With the Denver loss, New Orleans did earn one first place vote.
4. Kansas City Chiefs (5, +1)
Another week, another win, and another strong defensive showing with some of the usual suspects, Dontari Poe and Tamba Hali, providing the juice. The league’s lone undefeated team climbs for the sixth time in seven weeks, and has Cleveland and Buffalo to focus on before Denver comes calling.
5. Green Bay Packers (4, -1)
After falling twice in the season’s first three weeks, the Packers have collected three wins on the bounce since their week off and handled the Browns rather easily in Week 7. They lose a rank with KC moving past, but hang on to a seat in the Top 5.
6. San Francisco 49ers (7, +1)
Their fourth straight win making consecutive losses early in the year a fading memory, the 49ers flashed moments of their best football, enough to suggest they are truly finding form and on their way back to expected levels.
7. Indianapolis Colts (11, +4)
That’s how you crack the Top 10. Taking out the top-seeded Broncos on Sunday Night marks the third win over a Top-10 opponent for the upward-bound Colts, and makes them the week’s biggest jumpers with a four-spot leap.
8. Cincinnati Bengals (8, 0)
Now holding a two-game advantage in the division, the Bengals got a gift of a game from Andy Dalton in their Week 7 win over Detroit and return home winners of three straight. They hold still at No. 8 to watch the Colts and Patriots dance past in opposite directions.
9. New England Patriots (6, -3)
The tough-to-read Patriots have been playing win one, lose one ball for a month now and, though still atop the East after their Week 7 overtime defeat, their 5-2 record may be looking a little light. In a sign that faith is fleeting, they give up three spots in the rankings.
10. Dallas Cowboys (9, -1)
A convincing division win kept the Cowboys in the Top 10 as they continue to build on the near surprise against Denver three weeks ago. Jason Hatcher and Sean Lee are running the show from the middle of the Dallas defense.
11. Detroit Lions (12, +1)
Coming up a last-minute field goal short against Cincinnati, Matt Stafford and the Lions couldn’t get it going in Week 7. They remain in the thick of things in the tight NFC North, gain a spot here as division-mates Chicago tumble down, and welcome the surging Cowboys next week.
12. San Diego Chargers (15, +3)
A methodical win over Jacksonville that featured a more balanced offensive plan to support Rivers’ impressive accuracy takes San Diego into their bye on a two-game run and a three-spot jump.
13. Baltimore Ravens (13, 0)
Losing their third in four weeks – all four decided by a field goal or less – the Ravens hold at No. 13 and will happily take the next week off buoyed by the thought that their offensive line might be coming around.
14t. Chicago Bears (10, -4)
The Bears limp into the bye after being outpaced by the Redskins 45-41 and losing Lance Briggs to injury. Losers of three of their last four as well, they’ll have Green Bay and Detroit waiting on the other side to set up the North for the season’s second half.
14t. Miami Dolphins (14, 0)
Back to even after mirrored three-game stretches, the Dolphins fell to a game-winning field goal for the second week in a row. Looking to stop the slide by traveling to New England, Miami has to hope they can find a way to buy Tannehill some time, perhaps McKinnie will help.
16t. Carolina Panthers (19, +3)
Doing it with defense and consistent QB play, the Panthers have to be happy with where they’ve come after a pair of frustrating losses to open the year. The win over St. Louis was their third in four games and gives them their third multi-spot move up in the same time.
16t. Tennessee Titans (15, -1)
Locker’s return wasn’t enough to fight off San Francisco and end the Tennessee slide, but the Titans only drop one spot and have a week to regroup before taking on the now quarterback-less Rams.
18. Atlanta Falcons (17, -1)
Despite entering the game with many of their offensive weapons on the shelf, Atlanta came away with a win over an overmatched Tampa team. They’ll zig-zag the country the next two weeks with road games in Arizona and Carolina. They lose a bit of ground here as the Panthers shoot past.
19. New York Jets (22, +3)
After falling 3 points short in their first encounter, the Jets returned the favor and handed New England its second loss on the season, much due to the play of the talented New York D-Line. Opening the year ranked No. 31, it’s already been quite a climb up.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers (23, +3)
The bye apparently did Pittsburgh some good as they’ve come out of it with back-to-back wins and Roethlisberger is looking rejuvenated. The Steelers head out to Oakland in Week 8 looking for their third in a row.
21. Houston Texans (20, -1)
Moral victories and promising moments aside, the Texans’ narrow loss to the Chiefs in Arrowhead puts them at five straight L’s and 16 spots fallen in the rankings. Losing Brian Cushing for the rest of the season only adds to the despair.
22. Cleveland Browns (21, -1)
With their loss to Green Bay, the Browns have now sandwiched their three-game win streak with a pair of losses on either end and will visit Kansas City in Week 8. Jason Campbell and Brandon Weeden are drawing straws for the opportunity to face that pass rush.
The Bottom 10
23t. Buffalo Bills (26, +3)
Again a single-score decision for the Bills, but in this one they’re the victors as their edge rush pairing produced 13 total pressures. In last place in the league’s tightest division top to bottom, they’re just two games off the lead and they see their first move up in the ranks since Week 2.
23t. Philadelphia Eagles (18, -5)
Ending their recent upswing, the Eagles dropped one to Dallas that could have meant the division lead. Instead, with QB play holding them down, Philadelphia never made it a contest and they suffer the week’s second-largest downgrade to move back into the Bottom 10.
25. Washington Redskins (29, +4)
Jumping up to bite the Bears, Washington won a shootout and saw some life from their second-year signal-caller in the option game. A four-rank rise pulls them out of the dreaded Bottom 5.
26. Arizona Cardinals (25, -1)
Dropping both games of their SF-Seattle double dip, the Cardinals fall to 3-4 and it seems they still haven’t found the answer at the quarterback position. Feels like there’s been a step back for each step forward.
27. New York Giants (30, +3)
The drought is over and New York finally has a ‘W’ thanks to their painful-to-watch display against Minnesota on Monday Night. At very least, it’s something to build on and, naturally, their first upward move of the year, jumping the failing Vikings and Rams, and the resting Raiders.
28. Oakland Raiders (28, 0)
Watching and waiting, the Raiders don’t move but see their next opponent, the Steelers, getting right and marching up a few more spots.
29. St. Louis Rams (23, -6)
Bradford stacks positive games and puts up the best grade of his career… and is lost for the season with a knee injury. So it goes for St. Louis, now 3-4 with Seattle on the horizon. The week’s most drastic drop tells the story.
30. Minnesota Vikings (27, -3)
An erratic debut in purple for Josh Freeman helped the Giants to their first win, and the Vikings to their fifth loss in six tries. Minnesota has gone flat and is now down six spots in two weeks.
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (31, 0)
Falling short against the ailing Falcons, the Bucs did turn to tinkering with how they use Revis and got a remarkable effort from Lavonte David. That’s where the positives end, though, as they return home carrying an 0-6 mark.
32. Jacksonville Jaguars (32, 0)
If playing ‘find the positives’, you’d have to point out Austin Pasztor’s effort in his third start filling in at right tackle. The 0-7 Jags will need a few things to go right next week against the 49ers as they take on their fifth Top-10 opponent of the season.