NFL Power Rankings, Week Seven

Can the Ravens survive without Ray Lewis?

Plenty of surprises and upsets this past week. Who is where now?

1. Atlanta Falcons (6-0) – The past few weeks haven’t been pretty, but the Falcons are the last undefeated team standing. How long can they keep playing with fire?

2. Chicago Bears (4-1) – The Bears have the best point differential in the league (+78) despite only playing five games. They also lead the league in rushing yards allowed and points allowed per game (65.8, 14.2 respectively).

3. Houston Texans (5-1) – It was an ugly loss, but let’s not overreact. Houston is in store for 12 or 13 wins.

4. Baltimore Ravens (5-1) - Can the defense hold up after losing Ray Lewis for the season? We’ll find out right away in a matchup against the Texans.

5. New York Giants (4-2) – The Giants never fail to get up for a big road game. The offense is flowing and more importantly, healthy.

6. New England Patriots (3-3) – The Patriots have three losses by a total of four points, so that’s nothing to worry about. The offense ranks in the top five in rushing and passing.

7. San Francisco 49ers (4-2) – I said it earlier in the year and I’ll say it again: The 49ers aren’t built to play from behind.

8. Green Bay Packers (3-3) – Six touchdowns for Aaron Rodgers? Glad to see things are back to normal.

Peyton Manning and the Broncos crack this week’s top ten.

9. Denver Broncos (3-3) – I know we’re only six weeks in, but the significance of the comeback win against San Diego cannot be overstated.

10. Philadelphia (3-3) - A loss to a desperate yet still talented Lions team was not that surprising. A change at defensive coordinator already though feels a bit like a panic move.

11. Dallas Cowboys (2-3) – The Cowboys three losses came to teams with a combined record of 14-4 and it’s encouraging how easy they were able to run the ball.

12. Seattle Seahawks (4-2) – Like the 49ers, I hate the idea of this team having to play from behind.

13. San Diego Chargers (3-3) – It’s realistic that the Chargers will be 6-3 the next time they match up against Peyton Manning (next three games: @Cle, KC, @TB)

14. Minnesota Vikings (4-2) – Christian Ponder has played well, but take the Vikings for what they are: a team good enough to beat teams they are better than and nothing more.

15. Miami Dolphins (3-3) – The Dolphins have shown the last two weeks that they can win even when Reggie Bush doesn’t have a great game.

16. Detroit Lions (2-3) – For as much as it seems like the Lions offense has struggled, they still rank second in passing yards per game. Detroit faces another must-win game this week against the Bears.

Can Ben and company win on the road this season?

17. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-3) – Losses to to Tennessee and Oakland have me scratching my head. The Steelers are 0-3 on the road.

18. Washington Redskins (3-3) – If it wasn’t for all of the injuries on the defensive side of the ball, the Redskins would be much more than a flashy offense.

19. Arizona Cardinals (4-2) – The Cardinals are probably more like the team we saw the last two weeks than the one we saw the first four.

20. St. Louis Rams (3-3) – You know what’s not getting enough attention? That Greg Zuerlein’s 66-yard field goal attempt to tie the game missed left.

21. New Orleans Saints (1-4) – Will the bye week and the return of Jonathan Vilma help the New Orleans defense get at least a little bit better?

22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3) – Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams have combined for 702 yards and seven touchdowns in five games.

23. New York Jets (3-3) – Mark Sanchez had a great game against the Colts, but it doesn’t hide the fact that the Jets still rank 30th in passing yards per game (184.3).

24. Carolina Panthers (1-4) – Cam Newton has nearly 500 less yards passing this year than he did five games into last season.

25. Indianapolis Colts (2-3) – Perhaps we (or at least I) overrated that victory against the Packers.

26. Buffalo Bills (3-3) – I know they don’t have a losing record, but the minus-55 point differential says it all.

27. Oakland Raiders (1-4) – The Raiders may have lost the game, but they outplayed the Atlanta Falcons.

28. Tennessee Titans (2-4) – The Titans have the worst point differential in the league (-90) so it’s difficult to put too much stock into the win over Pittsburgh.

29. Cincinnati Bengals (3-3) – A loss to the Browns? A.J. Green is the real deal but the Bengals aren’t.

30. Cleveland Browns (1-5) – A win! Is it too early to start thinking playoffs?

31. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-4) – The Jaguars have 65 points this year. That’s it. The Bears have a higher point differential (+78) than that.

32. Kansas City Chiefs (1-4) – Outside of the win against the Saints and the low-scoring affair against the Ravens, the Chiefs struggle to keep games competitive.