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2017 NFL power rankings: week 7

2017 NFL power rankings: week 7

The NFL has the least predictable league in the country. Even with the countless injuries to the game’s biggest stars, it is hard to determine who is good, who is average and who is going to be picking in the top 10. Unless you’re the Browns, Giants or 49ers, we know those teams flat out stink. Still, the Giants upset the Broncos proving that in the NFL, any given Sunday is a truly viable slogan. With all the craziness and unpredictability happening in the NFL this season, it is difficult to rank the teams. Nobody ever agrees with power rankings as it is so this week’s rankings may cause an even bigger stir. Here are the 2017 NFL power rankings: week 7 edition.

32. Cleveland Browns (0-6)

Last week: 31 (-1)

Next game: home vs. Tennessee

Cleveland got a first-hand look at DeShaun Watson last week. They are kicking themselves seeing a guy they passed on leading the NFL in touchdown passes as a rookie. Cleveland may never find a guy to succeed at quarterback for them, there has to be some kind of a curse. Per usual, the Browns are terrible and the number one overall pick is a realistic possibility. The only question is how will they mess it up when it comes time to make the pick?

31. San Francisco 49ers (0-6)

Last week: 30 (-1)

Next game: home vs. Dallas

The 49ers are struggling through their rebuild but there is still a lot to be optimistic about looking toward the future. Their defense is going to be elite because John Lynch will continue to build the defense in upcoming drafts. The offense needs to build around Carlos Hyde who can be a workhorse for this offense. Until Lynch has two or three more drafts the Niners are going to be bottom feeders. If done right the wait will be worth it.

30. New York Giants (1-5)

Last week: 30 (+2)

Next game: home vs. Seattle

New York finally got a win, surprisingly against the Denver Broncos. The defense played lights out forcing two interceptions, returning one of them for touchdowns. The Giants also only allowed the Broncos to score 10 points. This was the defense many were expecting to see in the beginning of the season. New York was able to run the ball successfully too, which took pressure off Eli Manning. It was an unexpected win but it doesn’t change their season much. The Giants will still end up with a top 10 pick.

29. Los Angeles Chargers (2-4)

Last week: 29

Next game: home vs. Denver

The Chargers are a few plays away from being 4-2 but until they find a way to win more games they will remain low in these power rankings. They got a big win against Oakland but the Raiders seem to be trending the wrong way. If they find a way to beat Denver they will earn a ton of respect but that is a big if.

28. Indianapolis Colts (2-4)

Last week: 28 (no change)

Next game: home vs. Jacksonville

The Colts blew a lead against the Titans to fall to 2-4. There is little the Colts are doing well this season and though it sounds like a broken record, they won’t go anywhere without Andrew Luck. The positive note is that despite their struggles they are only one game back from first place. If Luck can return soon they can still find a way to win the division but as of now, they look like a team that will be picking top five come April.

27. Baltimore Ravens (3-3)

Last week: 20 (-7)

Next game: away vs. Minnesota

The Ravens lost to Jacksonville 44-7 but this loss to the Bears is a season-low for them. Baltimore is only scoring 19 points per game and the offense can’t pass the ball. The Ravens rank 31st in passing yards per game with 159.7. Opposing teams can load the box to stop the run and fear nothing else. The deeper the Ravens go into the season, the harder it will be to run and get wins behind a defense that will be on the field often.

26. New York Jets (3-3)

Last week: 26 (no change)

Next game: away vs. Miami

The Jets are playing better than many could have predicted and exceeded all expectations. It looked like the tank was in, but they are somehow 3-3. Most of what the Jets do, they do is relatively average. They rank 13th in points allowed (21.7 per game), 15th in passing yards allowed (219.2 per game), 18th in rushing offense (105.2), 22nd in passing yards (213.5 per game) and 21st in total offense (318.7 yards per game). New York isn’t the laughing stock we predicted They are an average team but they still aren’t a playoff team either.

25. Chicago Bears (2-4)

2017 NFL power rankings
(Photo Credit: http://www.sportingnews.com)

Last week: 25 (no change)

Next game: home vs. Carolina

Chicago got a huge road win in Baltimore in Mitchell Trubisky’s first ever road start in his second career start. It wasn’t pretty but the Bears played solid defense and ran for 231 yards to make life easy for their rookie quarterback. This is the formula for success in Chicago. Following this model will notch the Bears a couple of wins but they won’t be a player this season. This week the host Carolina and shutting down Cam Newton will be difficult. A win is possible but very unlikely.

24. Oakland Raiders (2-4)

Last week: 24 (no change)

Next game: home vs. Kansas City

Who are these imposters that have been wearing Raider jerseys since week three? After an impressive 2-0 start the Raiders have lost four straight games and are falling into a dangerous zone in the NFL. If they don’t right the ship soon they will not make the playoffs. Last year’s prolific offense is missing in action and there needs to be a missing person report filed for Amari Cooper. Cooper has 18 receptions for 146 yards and one touchdown. If the offense doesn’t find their groove then this team has no shot.

23. Cincinnati Bengals (2-3)

Last week: 21 (-3)

Next game: away vs. Pittsburgh

The Bengals are coming off a bye and their next task is the Pittsburgh Steelers who beat the last undefeated team in the NFL. Cincy is eighth in the NFL in time of possession and that is going to be key this week in their game. If they can keep the Pittsburgh offense off the field there will be less opportunity for the triple B’s to hurt them. A win against the Steelers on the road could propel the Bengals to new heights.

22. Miami Dolphins (3-2)

Last week: 23 (-1)

Next game: home vs. New York Jets

The Dolphins are one of the most confusing teams in the NFL. They open the season in week two after a hurricane to beat the Chargers 19-17. They then lose consecutive games scoring a total of six points and got shut out by the Saints. Everyone knows the Saints don’t have a defense capable of great things. After those two atrocious weeks, they win against Tennessee and on the road in Atlanta. It remains to be seen if the Dolphins are pretenders or contenders.

21. Green Bay Packers (4-2)

Last week: 4 (-17)

Next game: home vs. New Orleans

The Packers’ season is done, put a fork in them now. Aaron Rodgers covered up a lot of the Packers deficiencies with his greatness. Without Rodgers, the Packers wouldn’t have beaten Dallas or Cincinnati. Rodgers led epic comeback drives to win those games that very few men in this world could lead. That is the difference from 4-2 and 2-4 for Green Bay. Moving forward the running game and defense are going to need to step up. Green Bay only averages 88.3 yards per game on the ground. The defense ranks 14th in the NFL in total yards. It is unlikely the Packers improve in these areas well enough to keep the season alive.

20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3)

Last week: 18 (-2)

Next game: away vs. Buffalo

Tampa Bay had high expectations for this season but have fallen to 2-3 after their loss to Arizona. They couldn’t slow down Adrian Peterson who ran for 134 yards. This team will continue to struggle as long as they give up 403.4 yards per game. Their secondary deserves most of the blame for giving up 301.6 yards per game. They don’t have to worry about a dangerous passing attack against Buffalo but going into Buffalo is still going to be difficult.

19. Denver Broncos (3-2)

Last week: 5 (-14)

Next game: away vs. Los Angeles Chargers

Denver looked horrendous against the winless New York Giants. They couldn’t stop the run against a team that had only been averaging 77.8 yards per game. The defense needs to get back to stopping the run to force teams into passing situations so that their deadly pass rush can be effectively. Offensively Trevor Siemian is proving to be an average quarterback. Denver needs to find someone who teams are scared of or they will continue to struggle offensively.

18. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-3)

Last week: 10 (-8)

Next game: away vs. Indianapolis

Jacksonville seems to be in the beginning stages of greatness. They are still learning how to win. The defense is on its way to becoming Super Bowl elite thanks to their awesome secondary. Jacksonville has the third ranked passing defense in the NFL giving up just 166 yards per game through the air. To become a truly dominant defense the front seven need to stop the run. That is their biggest issue as they give up 145.7 yards per game. They also need to continue feeding the beast in the backfield. If they do that they can find a way into the playoffs.

17. Arizona Cardinals (3-3)

2017 NFL power rankings: week 7
(Photo Credit:https://www.si.com)

Last week: 27 (+10)

Next game: away vs. Los Angeles Rams

It would be an understatement to say that Adrian Peterson sparked this team. He flat out ignited the offense and it led to a win against Tampa Bay who was a very popular pick to make the playoffs. Peterson had 27 carries in his first four games this season but got 26 this week for the Cardinals. He ran for 134 yards and two touchdowns as well. If he maintains this type of production he will end up in the M.V.P race. Let’s see if he can keep this up this week against the Rams weak run defense which ranks 29th in the league.

16. Washington Redskins (3-2)

Last week: 19 (+3)

Next game: away vs. Philadelphia

The Redskins are coming off a bye week and their next opponent is the red-hot Philadelphia Eagles. These two teams already met this season once in Washington and it didn’t go well for the Redskins. Philly won the game 30-17 by scoring 11 points in the fourth quarter. Washington is going to try and run the ball to control the clock and win this game but it is unlikely. The Redskins are not going to stay this high unless they find a way to win in Philadelphia.

15. Dallas Cowboys (2-3)

Last week: 8 (-7)

Next game: away vs. San Francisco

Some may think it is unfair for the Cowboys to fall so far after a bye week but there are reasons for it. First off, there are teams that had a chance to show they were better and some teams, like the Vikings, Saints and Rams, look like better teams. The second reason is that the Ezekiel Elliot drama is ongoing. They should still win against San Francisco but catching Philly is going to be a season long challenge.

14. Detroit Lions (3-3)

Last week: 8 (-8)

Next game: Bye

The Lions couldn’t ask for their bye at a better time. It is time for them to regroup. Detroit has a very good shot at winning the NFC North after the Vikings knocked out Aaron Rodgers for the season. The Lions have also already beaten the Vikings in Minnesota. After this break they need to come out firing. There are points where this defense looks great. There are also times the offense looks great but they need to get it all clicking together. Detroit can still prove to be a playoff team but they better end this losing streak after the bye week.

13. Tennessee Titans (3-3)

Last week: 15 (+2)

Next game: away vs. Cleveland

It took a while but the Titans finally started rolling in the second half against Indianapolis. Marcus Mariota shook off the rust to throw for over 300 yards. Mariota connected with Taiwan Taylor on a 53 yard touchdown with 5:29 remaining in the game to give the Titans the lead before Derek Henry sealed the game with a 72 yard touchdown run. This team got a big win before they head to Cleveland. This is the point in the season where they start the train towards the playoffs.

12. Atlanta Falcons (3-2)

Last week: 7 (-5)

Next game: away vs. New England

I tried to tell people Atlanta wouldn’t make the playoffs this season because of their epic collapse in the Super Bowl. At some point they were going to be in a situation where their palms would get sweaty and those horrible memories would creep back into the front of their mind. That happened when they got a 17-0 lead at home against Miami. The Falcons blew a 17-0 lead and lost 20-17. Now maybe they were looking ahead to their matchup against New England but either way the loss was painful. They can’t afford games like that solely due to the psychological effect it will have. Hopefully they don’t blow a huge lead in New England because if they do this team will never recover.

11. Seattle Seahawks (3-2)

Last week: 11 (no change)

Next game: away vs. New York Giants

Seattle is also coming off a bye week and no matter what they did during that time, it isn’t going to fix their offensive line. Until that happens the Seahawks are a fringe top 10 team. The defense is still doing great things like only allowing 17.4 points per game which currently ranks sixth. The Legion of Boom is still the team’s identity. This week they face a Giants team coming off their first win of the season. It will be tough for Seattle to fly across the county and get a win despite the how bad the Giants are. They can’t take them lightly or they will lose and fall greatly in the rankings.

10. New Orleans Saints (3-2)

Last week: 22 (+12)

Next game: away vs. Green Bay

New Orleans is a completely different team than the one that started out 0-2. The defense has looked somewhat better but the offense seems to be rolling. Drew Brees is leading the offense to 29 points per game behind his 258.4 passing yards per game. This week they get to face Green Bay who’s secondary is decimated by injury. It should create a huge advantage for the Saints and they can continue their winning streak.

9. Houston Texans (3-3)

Last week: 17 (+8)

Next game: Bye

Deshaun Watson is slowly becoming a superstar. It is clear the man is going to be an electrifying player for years to come. Without him, this team would barely be competitive. The defense has suffered major injuries and is giving up 24.5 points per game. Watson is doing magical work with a bad offensive line. The Texans get a week off and once they return to playing they will be in the race for the AFC South crown.

8. Buffalo Bills (3-2)

Last week: 9 (+1)

Next game: home vs. Tampa Bay

Buffalo is coming off a bye and preparing to take on a Bucs team that cannot stop the run. Buffalo likes to run the ball but aren’t doing so as efficiently as they like averaging just 106.6 yards per game. This week LeSean McCoy will have a huge game. As the Bills try and control the clock the defense will have to defend for a fewer amount of plays making them fresher. They already have the number one scoring defense and with more rest, they could look even better. Buffalo is trending upwards and will fight for a playoff spot.

7. Los Angeles Rams (4-2)

Last week: 14 (+7)

Next game: home vs. Arizona

The Rams have the number one scoring offense in the NFL at 29.8 points per game. Todd Gurley is the engine of the offense and it is because of his play they have been successful on that side of the ball. Gurley has 521 yards on the ground and 245 yards receiving on the season. He puts a strain on opposing defenses, making the game easier for Jared Goff. Defensively, Wade Phillips has this team thriving in attacking the quarterback. Los Angeles is tied for second in the NFL in sacks. Next, they get Arizona in a divisional game. The Rams have the opportunity to stay ahead of the pack in the division if they can defend their home field.

6. Minnesota Vikings (4-2)

Last week: 13 (+7)

Next game: home vs. Baltimore

Minnesota just finds a way to keep the boat rowing. Despite constant injuries at the quarterback position, and other positions as well, the Vikings continue playing elite defense. Minnesota ranks fifth in points allowed per game (17.2), 14th in passing defense (216.8), third in rush defense (78.7) and fifth in total defense giving up 295.5 yards per game. With a defense this talented, the offense needs to just protect the ball and be average. Minnesota is doing more than that though averaging 356 yards per game which ranks 10th in the NFL. Now that Aaron Rodgers is out for the season the NFC North race is down to Minnesota and Detroit. The Vikings’ defense makes them the favorites to win it.

5. New England Patriots (4-2)

Last week: 6 (+1)

Next game: home vs. Atlanta

Don’t pay attention to New England and they will silently do what they always do. They will finish with 12 or more wins and be Super Bowl contenders. All paths to being a champion lead through the Patriots whether you’re in the AFC or NFC. This week they get another chance to play the Falcons in a Super Bowl rematch. The defense is really struggling ranking 30th or lower in points allowed, rush yards allowed, pass yards allowed and total yards allowed. It isn’t something to worry about because as proven in the past, the Patriots improve as the season progresses. They will be a top-five team for the rest of the season.

4. Carolina Panthers (4-2)

Last week: 3 (-1)

Next game: away vs. Chicago

The Panthers lost a tough game at home to the best team in the NFC. Carolina will use this as a learning experience to improve as a whole. They are in the top 10 in scoring defense giving up 20.3 points per game. This is helping the offense that is struggling to protect the ball. If the offense starts to protect the ball then the Panthers will become a scarier opponent. The Panthers should get an easy win this week in Chicago. If they lose this game then the panic may start on Carolina.

3. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-2)

Last week: 12 (+9)

Next game: home vs. Cincinnati

The Steelers are back after a huge road win in Arrowhead. Nobody is talking about it but the Pittsburgh defense is one of the best in the league right now. They give up just 17 points per game, fourth best in the NFL. The strength of the defense is the first ranked passing defense. The Steelers are only allowing 153.5 yards through the air. The offense will come around to complete this team as a true juggernaut.

2. Philadelphia Eagles (5-1)

Last week: 2 (no change)

Next game: home vs. Washington

The Eagles continue to roll on both sides of the ball. The offense has a prolific offense behind second-year quarterback Carson Wentz. Philly averages the third most yards in the NFL with 383.2 per game. The defense is also playing outstanding. They are the best run stuffing team allowing just 65.7 yards per game. If they continue dominating both sides of the ball then a Lombardi Trophy may be in the immediate future.

1. Kansas City Chiefs (5-1)

Last week: 1 (no change)

Next game: away vs. Oakland

There is no need to overact to the loss the Chiefs suffered this past week. They weren’t going to go undefeated and they lost to a team that will be contending for the Super Bowl. Kansas City also should have won that game. They have to get over the hump of beating the Steelers because there is a good chance they meet them in the playoffs. But again, no need to overreact, they still have a good defense and extremely explosive offense. The Chiefs are still the best team in the NFL.

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Featured image courtesy of http://sportsformulator.com/en/nfl-power-rankings-week-3-2016/

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