If you like offensive football, I hope you didn’t watch too much of Week 7. The Seahawks lost in a game where they held their opponent to two field goals. The Jaguars won a game where they only scored four field goals. The Raiders didn’t score at all. Still, all of the ugliness had a huge impact on the rankings, so keep reading to see where your favorite team landed. And as always, leave your thoughts in the comments below!
NFL Power Rankings
Last Week: 1
Green Bay Packers (7-0)There’s no denying the offensive fireworks show Aaron Rodgers puts up every week, but the defense is no slouch in Green Bay. The Packers lead the league in interceptions. The team clearly has the ability to make big plays on both sides of the ball.
Last Week: 2
New England Patriots (5-1)Coming off the bye, the Pats head to Pittsburgh before back-to-back games against New York’s two teams (vs. NYG, @ NYJ). This rough stretch will let us know if Tom Brady and the offense can carry the underperforming defense to wins over playoff-caliber competition.
Last Week: 6
Pittsburgh Steelers (5-2)If you happen to catch a Steelers game, keep your eye on wideout Mike Wallace. The third-year speedster is a threat to score from anywhere on the field, as evidenced by his 95-yard scoring catch against the Cards last Sunday, and he brings an exciting element to the Steelers offense that hasn’t been present in Pittsburgh since the days of legendary receiver Lynn Swann.
Last Week: 8
New Orleans Saints (5-2)I don’t care who you play, when you hang 62 points on a team, you are one dangerous offensive unit. The Saints clearly enjoyed having their coach, offensive guru Sean Payton, back calling the plays after he had to miss the second half of the Saints road loss to Tampa in Week 6 with a knee injury.
Last Week: 4
San Francisco 49ers (5-1)The Niners shocked the NFL world by streaking out to their 5-1 record. Now comes the hard part: maintaining their winning ways with the rest of the league on alert that San Fran is no longer a chump. A home date with the Browns should help this young team continue to learn how to win.
Last Week: 11
Buffalo Bills (4-2)Here’s another upstart coming off a bye looking to keep their hot start going. After a home game against the Redskins, the Bills enter a four-game stretch that could determine their wild-card fate. (vs. NYJ, @DAL, @MIA, @NYJ).
Last Week: 14
New York Jets (4-3)The Jets won their second game in a row, but the really good news is that Shonn Greene might have finally found his stride, topping 100 yards (112 yards) for the first time in over a year.
Last Week: 15
Atlanta Falcons (4-3)Anyone who saw that ankle injury Matt Ryan suffered on Sunday can no longer doubt his toughness. Ryan’s foot looked to be bent in the completely wrong direction (I had to look away after the first replay) and yet he still came right back and led his team to a big-time victory over the Lions. Don’t count the Falcons out of the NFC playoff race just yet.
Last Week: 5
San Diego Chargers (4-2)I'm worried the Chargers are going in reverse this season. Usually, they start out extremely slow before turning it on and making a playoff push. This year, they kicked off the year with four wins in five games, but they suffered a loss out of their bye and Philip Rivers continues to struggle. Rivers has at least two interceptions in four out of his six games this season.
Last Week: 10
New York Giants (4-2)It looks like we’re finally going to find out what this Giants team will be like this season now that they can get some starters back out of the bye. They’ll need them. After an easy match-up at home against the disoriented Dolphins, the G Men have this murderer’s row to look forward to on the schedule: @NE, @SF, vs. PHI, @NO, vs. GB, @ DAL. YIKES.
Last Week: 3
Baltimore Ravens (4-2)PPPEEEEEEEEOOOOOWWWWWWW! That was a STINKY performance for the Ravens on Monday night. Ray Rice couldn’t hold onto the ball while Joe Flacco couldn’t throw the ball. The defense played decently, but this team needs to really get its offense together – they’re ranked in the bottom half of the NFL in total offensive yards, passing yards and rushing yards – if they want to keep up with the contenders.
Last Week: 9
Detroit Lions (5-2)All of the sudden, that 5-0 start feels like a distant memory. The Lions are on a two-game losing streak, their quarterback is in a walking boot and three of their next five games are on the road. It’s gut-check time in Detroit.
Last Week: 18
Dallas Cowboys (3-3)Welcome to the record books, Demarco Murray. Murray set the single-game franchise rushing record for America’s Team with his 253 yard performance in Week 7 against the Rams. After years of waiting for Felix Jones to get healthy, the Cowboys may have finally found their feature back.
Last Week: 12
Cincinnati Bengals (4-2)Can the Bengals keep the momentum coming out of the bye? Seattle may look like a gimme on the schedule, but the Seahawks are a tough team to take on at noisy CenturyLink Field.
Last Week: 16
Chicago Bears (4-3)After a win across the pond over the Bucs, Chicago heads into its bye week with the same record they had last year at the bye. In 2010, they went 7-2 after the week off and stormed all the way to the NFC Championship game. What awaits this year?
Last Week: 19
Houston Texans (4-3)This is a strange thing to say about a team that’s only 1.5 games in first place, but I think the Texans might’ve stamped their claim on the weak AFC South with their Week 7 trouncing of Tennessee. The Texans clearly have more offensive talent than anyone else in their division and should have just enough defense to get by. (Then again, this IS a franchise that has never made the playoffs before, so stay tuned.)
Last Week: 7
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-3)OK, Bucs fans, it’s time to start worrying about your franchise QB. Josh Freeman is moving in the wrong direction this season. After tossing only 6 picks all of last year, Freeman has nearly doubled that total (10 INTs) in only seven games this season. With Earnest Graham out for the season and LeGarrette Blount nursing a knee injury, the Bucs need Freeman to play like a superstar, and so far, he hasn’t delivered.
Last Week: 17
Philadelphia Eagles (2-4)All eyes are on Philly and whether or not they can make a move in the jumbled NFC East. Coming out of their bye, the Eagles have two primetime games in a row to show the world whether or not they’re going to make a run this year or not.
Last Week: 23
Kansas City Chiefs (3-3)What’s gotten into this spunky Chiefs teams? After that horrendous 0-3 start where they were outscored 109-27, the Chiefs have outscored their last three opponents 78-41 during a three-game winning streak that has them right back in the thick of the AFC West race.
Last Week: 13
Oakland Raiders (4-3)Oh boy, what’s left to be said about the Carson Palmer debacle? Let’s just hope Palmer can shake it off during the bye week and get this offense back on track. More importantly, the Raiders need Darren McFadden at full strength, or else opposing defenses will annihilate the immobile Palmer with blitzes.
Last Week: 27
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-5)The Chiefs aren’t the only team to pull a complete 180 degree turn early in the season. It might be time to take notice of what’s going on down in Jacksonville. In their last six quarters (the second half against Pittsburgh, full game against the Ravens), the Jags have outscored the two best teams in the AFC North by 25-7.
Last Week: 24
Cleveland Browns (3-3)I’ve said this before in the rankings, but they don’t hand out style points for wins, which is lucky for Colt McCoy and the Browns. Cleveland sits at .500 seven weeks into the season, but they’re averaging under 300 total yards of offense per win this season.
Last Week: 25
Carolina Panthers (2-5)Cam Newton has been a one-man band aid for the Panthers offense this year. After ranking dead-last in passing yards last season, the rookie QB has boosted Carolina into a top five passing unit in 2011.
Last Week: 26
Denver Broncos (2-4)Tim Tebow mania lives another week! Tebow didn’t look sharp for much of the game, but he delivered his team a much-needed win in the final quarter-plus-OT, which is all you can really ask for. But that was against the winless Dolphins. Let’s see what Tebow can do against an angry Detroit team that’s stuck in the middle of a two-game losing streak.
Last Week: 20
Washington Redskins (3-3)The change from Rex Grossman to John Beck didn’t seem to cure what ails the Redskins, but you can’t just point the finger at the QB. In its last three losses, Washington is averaging fewer than 70 rushing yards per game and three turnovers per game. It doesn’t matter if Joe Montana is your quarterback, you won’t win putting up those types of numbers.
Last Week: 21
Tennessee Titans (3-3)With a chance to make a real push for the AFC South crown, the Titans rolled over. They even succumbed to the QB carousel game that many other desperate teams have turned to, inserting rookie QB Jake Locker at the end of their blowout loss to Houston. Locker completed a 12-yard pass during a three and out series, but he’ll be back on the sidelines when the Titans try to recover against the Colts in Week 8.
Last Week: 22
Seattle Seahawks (2-4)Anyone who thinks back-up QB Charlie Whitehurst should start over Tarvaris Jackson should take a look at the 137 yards of total offense Whitehurst helped generate against the Browns in Week 7. Get well soon, Tarvaris – the Seahawks, and fans of offensive football everywhere, need you back ASAP.
Last Week: 28
Arizona Cardinals (1-5)Kevin Kolb is drawing all the heat, but when you look at the skill position players around him, it’s not all his fault on offense. Besides, the other side of the ball is where the real problems lie. The Cards are 28th in scoring defense and 26th in yard allowed.
Last Week: 31
Minnesota Vikings (1-6)All the Vikings fans seemed to be very happy with rookie QB Christian Ponder’s debut start. He went 13-for-32 with 2 INTs. Yes, that’s how low expectations have sunk in Minny this season.
Last Week: 29
Indianapolis Colts (0-7)Without Peyton Manning around the Colts passing offense has fallen to pieces. Somehow, the pass defense is even worse. Opponents are completing more than 72 percent of their passes against Indy, with 14 TDs against only 3 INTs.
Last Week: 30
St. Louis Rams (0-6)The Rams haven't scored more than 16 points all season. Albert Pujols and the St. Louis Cardinals scored 16 runs in one World Series game. I shouldn’t have to tell you that being outscored by the local baseball team is a bad thing.
Last Week: 32
Miami Dolphins (0-6)When you can’t hold a 15-0 lead for five minutes in your own stadium, you can’t get out of last place in the Professor’s rankings.