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NFL Power Rankings: Big Risers In The Sunshine State After Week 7

Week 7 saw little change at the top of the league, thanks to three of the five remaining undefeated teams being on a bye; but ther

Week 7 saw little change at the top of the league, thanks to three of the five remaining undefeated teams being on a bye; but there were some big changes elsewhere in our power rankings. After two dominant victories under interim head coach Dan Campbell, the Dolphins have jumped from #30 two weeks ago to #17 today; while the Eagles, Chargers, Browns and 49ers all dropped four or more places following Week 7 losses. Check out how the rest of the league did in our power rankings below!

(Panel = Gur Samuel; David Venables; Edd Hodsdon; Remy Cabache; Toby Durant; Pete Hallifax; George Noble; Brandon Hamme)

1. New England Patriots (6-0)

Last week: #1

(GS = 1, DV = 1, EH = 1, RC = 1, TD = 1, PH = 1, GN = 1, BH = 1)

Tom Brady led the Patriots on a comeback drive against the Jets, being clutch once again against one of the league’s best defenses. The Patriots can tailor their game plan to any opponent in the league and win in several different ways. New England has one of the league’s most complete teams, and perhaps the greatest quarterback of all time. Can anyone stop them? (EH)  

2. Cincinnati Bengals (6-0)

Last week: =#2

(GS = 2, DV = 3, EH = 2, RC = 2, TD = 2, PH = 2, GN = 4, BH = 4)

While the rest of the AFC North crumbled on Sunday (see Pittsburgh and Cleveland), the Bengals may have not even noticed their rivals falter, such is the gulf between them. (DV)

3. Green Bay Packers (6-0)

Last week: =#2

(GS = 3, DV = 2, EH = 3, RC = 3, TD = 3, PH = 3, GN = 3, BH = 3)

This year’s Packers side is different from previous seasons – it’s not] longer just about Aaron Rodgers. Yes, he’s still arguably the most dynamic QB in the league, but even on days when he’s struggling, we’ve seen this team be able to win games on the back of their defense and run game. Next week’s matchup, against the similarly undefeated Denver Broncos, will be must-see football of the highest order. (GS)

4. Carolina Panthers (6-0)

Last week: #4

(GS = 4, DV = 5, EH = 5, RC = 4, TD = 4, PH = 4, GN = 2, BH = 2)

The Panthers, behind Cam Newton’s stellar season, are rolling. The defense is a force and the offense is managing just fine despite a lack of receivers. The Panthers are yet to really be considered in the upper echelon of teams, but they are forcing their way in. (RC)

5. Denver Broncos (6-0)

Last week: #5

(GS = 8, DV = 4, EH = 7, RC = 6, TD = 8, PH = 5, GN = 5, BH = 5)

Even last year, mentioning Peyton Manning and Tim Tebow in the same sentence would have been a ridiculous notion; but for all intents and purposes, the Broncos are having to rely on the same script this season as they did in 2011 – elite defense covering for a QB without an arm. While this surely must be Manning’s last season – if he won’t ride off into the sunset himself, he may find himself going through the humiliation of being handed a pink slip – the D might just be good enough to carry this team to the postseason. Next week’s matchup against the Packers may be the most important game this team has for the rest of the season. (GS)

6. Arizona Cardinals (4-2)

Last week: =#6

(GS = 6, DV = 6, EH = 6, RC = 5, TD = 5, PH = 8, GN = 7, BH = 7)

When both offense and defense clicks, the Cardinals are a joy to watch. For three quarters against the Ravens, that was the case as the Cardinals assumed dominance after a fumble on a punt return by the Ravens’ Jeremy Ross. Tyrann Mathieu and Calais Campbell were outstanding, while John Brown stretched the field creating space for Larry Fitzgerald and company. Chris Johnson looks like the 2008 version of himself, giving the offense balance. The Cardinals will be concerned with their spluttering red zone offense, and with the way they let the Ravens back in the game late in the fourth. (DV)

7. New York Jets (4-2)

Last week: =#6

(GS = 5, DV = 8, EH = 4, RC = 7, TD = 6, PH = 6, GN = 10, BH = 8)

In spite of losing to the Patriots, the Jets put up an admirable performance and ran New England close. Ryan Fitzpatrick is playing as well as he ever has, and he has Decker and Marshall providing a good one-two punch at wide receiver. Combining that with the running of Chris Ivory and the elite defense gives New York the best chance of a wildcard of anyone in the AFC. (PH)

8. Atlanta Falcons (6-1)

Last week: #8

(GS = 7, DV = 7, EH = 12, RC = 8, TD = 7, PH = 7, GN = 6, BH = 6)

The last two games have not been overly encouraging for the Falcons offense. Matt Ryan has to play better to maintain this team’s run for the playoffs. He has missed open throws more than this season. Luckily, the defense is playing better than the last several years. (RC)

9. Minnesota Vikings (4-2)

Last week: #10

(GS = 10, DV = 10, EH = 8, RC = 9, TD = 10, PH = 9, GN = 9, BH = 10)

The Vikings are quietly putting together a solid season. A real candidate for a wildcard thanks to a well-balanced offense and decent looking defense. (PH)

10. New York Giants (4-3)

Last week: #12

(GS = 9, DV = 9, EH = 14, RC = 13, TD = 9, PH = 12, GN = 12, BH = 11)

After losing one divisional game against the Eagles, the Giants came back and battled past a banged-up Dallas Cowboys team to give them sole control of the NFC East. In such a topsy-turvy division, it will be interesting to see if the Giants can capture this momentum and push to make the division their own. (DV)

11. Seattle Seahawks (3-4)

Last week: #14

(GS = 15, DV = 15, EH = 9, RC = 10, TD = 12, PH = 11, GN = 11, BH = 9)

The Seahawks returned to their identity against the 49ers on Thursday Night Football, running the ball and playing great defense. Russell Wilson needs to take better care of the ball but the Seahawks clearly have the talent to repeat their 3 years of success – they just need to play like it. (RC)

12. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3)

Last week: #9

(GS = 13, DV = 13, EH = 18, RC = 11, TD = 11, PH = 10, GN = 8, BH = 15)

The shortcomings of Landry Jones and the Pittsburgh offense without Ben Roethlisberger was exposed against a poor Kansas City Chiefs team. Fortunately, the Steelers made it through the period without Big Ben at .500, leaving them still relevant in the AFC playoff hunt. However, their next game is against undefeated division rivals Cincinnati. That game will be defining for the hopes of both teams. (DV)

13. St Louis Rams (3-3)

Last week: #17

(GS = 11, DV = 14, EH = 11, RC = 12, TD = 13, PH = 17, GN = 19, BH = 17)

Despite their inconsistencies the Rams look very good when they play well. The defense can get after the quarterback and create turnovers – and points. Furthermore, the offense looks great with Todd Gurley getting the ball. It’s fair to assume that he is not yet fully fit following his ACL rehab, so it’s scary to think what he could do if he isn’t 100%. (RC)

14. Oakland Raiders (3-3)

Last week: #20

(GS = 14, DV = 11, EH = 13, RC = 16, TD = 14, PH = 14, GN = 25, BH = 14)

The Raiders took control of second in the AFC West with a road win against San Diego. Oakland and their offense dominated the game, taking a 27 point first half lead thanks to good play on both sides of the ball. The score looked close, but the Chargers were never competitive when it mattered. Things are looking up for the Raiders. (EH)

15. Buffalo Bills (3-4)

Last week: #13

(GS = 16, DV = 16, EH = 19, RC = 14, TD = 23, PH = 13, GN = 13, BH = 16)

The Bills’ performance in the final quarter at Wembley was too little too late. If they would be able to play like that throughout games, we would be talking about them as serious playoff contenders. As it is, Rex Ryan’s team have real problems with discipline and staying healthy. (PH)

16. Philadelphia Eagles (3-4)

Last week: #11

(GS = 12, DV = 18, EH = 23, RC = 18, TD = 15, PH = 16, GN = 16, BH = 13)

Created three turnovers but still failed to capitalise on the Panthers’ mistakes. The offense just lacks any real firepower, though the rushing attack has improved considerably. Ryan Mathews is a great change of pace running back, but with Sam Bradford and drops by receivers (I’m looking at you, Miles Austin) holding the Eagles back, they are running out of time to secure the NFC East. (DV)

17. Miami Dolphins (3-3)

Last week: #24

(GS = 21, DV = 12, EH = 10, RC = 20, TD = 22, PH = 18, GN = 21, BH = 12)

Back-to-back blowouts showcase a turnaround in South Beach. The Dolphins are now back in the thick of the AFC East race as the players look more fired up than they did under the limp Joe Philbin. Dan Campbell has made Lamar Miller the focal point of the offense, which makes Tannehill play better; he broke the NFL record for consecutive completions with 25 straight completions in his last two games. But the real test comes Thursday night against the Patriots, which will show us whether the resurgent Dolphins are legitimate. (EH)

18. Indianapolis Colts (3-4)

Last week: #15

(GS = 22, DV = 19, EH = 22, RC = 15, TD = 18, PH = 15, GN = 14, BH = 19)

The less said about Sunday’s home defeat to New Orleans, the better. There’s something not quite right in Indianapolis, after owner Jim Irsay and General Manager Ryan Grigson were supposedly spotted in a heated discussion after the game. It’s highly probable that the Colts will make the playoffs, simply by virtue of being the best of a bad bunch. (PH)

19. New Orleans Saints (3-4)

Last week: #21

(GS = 17, DV = 17, EH = 16, RC = 23, TD = 16, PH = 25, GN = 15, BH = 18)

So, the Saints have started showing up to games a little too late, but they put the Indianapolis Colts to the sword on Sunday. A defense that looked shaky for the most part of the season refused to concede a single point to the Colts’ offense, before almost allowing them to claw their way back into the game in the fourth quarter. I feel it’s too late for the Saints to make up ground to the Panthers and Falcons in the NFC South though. (DV)

20. San Diego Chargers (2-5)

Last week: #16

(GS = 19, DV = 26, EH = 15, RC = 17, TD = 20, PH = 22, GN = 17, BH = 20)

Having nearly beaten the Packers in Lambeau last week, the Chargers crumbled in the first half and gave up an insurmountable lead to the Raiders. They cannot get their running game going so there offense is predictable and the defense is giving up far too many points. (RC)

21. Washington Redskins (3-4)

Last week: #22

(GS = 23, DV = 20, EH = 21, RC = 22, TD = 21, PH = 19, GN = 27, BH = 21)

The Redskins fell into a 24 point hole against a bad Buccaneers team, but Kirk Cousins dug them out and led them to the biggest comeback in franchise history. When Cousins is consistent and the Redskins get healthy, they could make a push in the lacklustre NFC East. (EH)

22. Dallas Cowboys (2-4)

Last week: #19

(GS = 18, DV = 23, EH = 28, RC = 19, TD = 27, PH = 20, GN = 18, BH = 22)

The Cowboys are lucky the teams above them in the NFC East are slipping up otherwise they would be out of the playoff hunt. They are not good on offense without Romo and Byrant and their defense isn’t much better. Greg Hardy needs to sort himself out before he gets himself in more trouble. (RC)

23. Kansas City Chiefs (2-5)

Last week: #29

(GS = 25, DV = 22, EH = 20, RC = 21, TD = 19, PH = 30, GN = 20, BH = 23)

Got a surprising win against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and did so without Jeremy Maclin. Face the Detroit Lions at Wembley on Sunday in a battle of two teams reeling from lofty preseason expectations going unfulfilled. (DV)

24. Cleveland Browns (2-5)

Last week: #18

(GS = 20, DV = 27, EH = 29, RC = 25, TD = 17, PH = 21, GN = 23, BH = 26)

The Browns reverted back to the Browns we are used to seeing; their defense was suspect and their offense was worse. McCown looked to be back to his normal self before he left the game late in the 4th quarter with a shoulder injury. If this continues, it’s only a matter of time until the fans are calling for Manziel again. (RC)

25. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-5)

Last week: #25

(GS = 24, DV = 21, EH = 17, RC = 26, TD = 28, PH = 28, GN = 29, BH = 25)

The Jags finally got a win at Wembley. The Jaguars managed as many points in the opening minutes of the second quarter against the Bills as they had done in their two previous International Series appearances. Jacksonville are the most exciting team in the AFC South, which says more about the terrible state of the division than it does of the Jaguars. (DV)

26. Chicago Bears (2-4)

Last week: #27

(GS = 27, DV = 24, EH = 24, RC = 24, TD = 29, PH = 24, GN = 22, BH = 27)

The Bears got the benefit of a bye week to try and sort themselves out. After looking like the worst team of the season through the first three weeks, they surprised everyone by nabbing a pair of back-to-back wins, before handing the Lions their first victory of the season heading into Chicago’s bye. If they can get a victory over the Vikings at Soldier Field this Sunday, they may have a shot at getting their season back on track. (GS)

27. Baltimore Ravens (1-5)

Last week: #25

(GS = 26, DV = 29, EH = 26, RC = 29, TD = 25, PH = 23, GN = 24, BH = 30)

Another game, another close loss for a Ravens team that surely has to change something fundamentally now. After starting brightly, and jumping to a 10-7 lead midway through the second quarter, the Ravens went into a malaise after Jeremy Ross inexcusably fumbled on a punt return after the defense forced a three-and-out. It was only when they blocked a Drew Butler punt late in the fourth did the team spring back into life, but by then, as has been the case all season, it was too little, too late. (DV)

28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-4)

Last week: #26

(GS = 29, DV = 30, EH = 27, RC = 30, TD = 24, PH = 26, GN = 26, BH = 24)

The Buccaneers started their game against the Redskins very well, offensively and defensively, but both sides of the ball slowed down as the game went on, eventually allowing the Redskins to take the lead very late. The Bucs need to stay consistent to avoid coming last in the NFC South for the fifth year running. (RC)

29. San Francisco 49ers (2-5)

Last week: #23

(GS = 31, DV = 28, EH = 32, RC = 28, TD = 26, PH = 29, GN = 28, BH = 28)

Colin Kaepernick, who was made to look like Joe Montana by the Ravens last week, looked more Blaine Gabbert against the Seahawks. When the 49ers are bad, no team looks worse. With Antoine Bethea on injured reserve, the 49ers, who were already thin on playmakers, just became even poorer. (DV)

30. Detroit Lions (1-6)

Last week: #31

(GS = 32, DV = 25, EH = 25, RC = 31, TD = 31, PH = 31, GN = 31, BH = 32)

Despite their fast start the Lions offense failed to get much going after the 1st quarter. The defense also isn’t doing much to help the struggling offense. They have looked better the last few weeks though so there is something to show signs of life in this team. (RC)

31. Tennessee Titans (1-5)

Last week: #30

(GS = 28, DV = 32, EH = 31, RC = 27, TD = 30, PH = 32, GN = 30, BH = 29)

This loss only justified the Titans decision to draft Marcus Mariota, as the gulf in class between him and his replacement on Sunday, Zach Mettenberger, was drastic. They will have the chance to get their first win since the opening weekend against the Texans next week, but you can’t envisage this team getting more than four more wins this season. (DV)

32. Houston Texans (2-5)

Last week: #28

(GS = 30, DV = 31, EH = 30, RC = 32, TD = 32, PH = 27, GN = 32, BH = 31)

The Texans were absolutely embarrassed by the Dolphins on Sunday. To make matters worse, they have now lost Arian Foster for the season to a torn Achilles. The Texans are legitimately facing a repeat of their 2013 season if they cannot turn things around soon. (RC)

Do you agree with our power rankings? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!


Gur Samuel

Hi! I'm Gur and I'm RealSport's Editor-in-Chief. I'm also currently the site's tennis editor, and contribute to our NFL, wrestling and Formula 1 coverage as well. I'm also an NFL analyst for CNN International and contributor to SB Nation, and have contributed to, or been interviewed by, various print, broadcast and online media, including the BBC, Mail Online, ABC, NBC, CBS, the Boston Globe, and Yahoo! Sports.

NFL Power Rankings: Big Risers In The Sunshine State After Week 7

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