NFL Power Rankings: Week Seven

1 – Los Angeles Rams (6-0) (–) — After six weeks, the high-flying Rams sit perched atop the Power Rankings for the third straight week as the last remaining undefeated team, slipping by the Broncos 23-20 in frigid Mile High temperatures. The Rams, despite their 6-0 record, are not as invincible as we all thought however: after winning their first three games by double-digit margins, they’ve barely pulled out victories over the past three weeks, winning by seven points or less in each of those games. Cooper Kupp, one third of the LA Snag Squad, has been diagnosed with an MCL sprain and will likely miss the Rams’ Week Seven matchup with the Niners. Nonetheless, the Rams have shown an ability to win in different ways, often using the Snag Squad for dubs, but against the Broncos porous rushing defence it was touchdown-sniffing dog Todd Gurley who carried the team on his shoulders. The MVP candidate found the end zone twice more and steamrolled his way to a career-high 208 yards on the ground. The Rams can surely be beaten, but which team will put it all together for a whole 60 minutes to take them down?

2 – New England Patriots (4-2) (↑2) — The Patriots are at full strength on offence for the first time all season and the word impressive doesn’t even begin to describe the showing Tom Brady‘s crew gave us on SNF against arguably the best offence in the NFL. Tommy Gun was there shot for shot against the Human Rocket Launcher and the Chiefs’ potent attack: the game was predictably decided on the last possession with the last offence to possess the ball winning the game. Brady completed at least three passes to five different receivers, showing a great rapport with his offensive weapons from A-to-Z. On the ground, rookie Sony Michel has been pounding the opposition into smitherines to the tune of 105 yards per contest over the past three games (all wins), giving the Patriots an extra dimension they’ve sorely missed since LeGarrette Blount’s departure a couple years ago. The Bears have a great defence and New England will have to go into Soldier Field, but as they mentioned about 47 times during the SNF broadcast: Brady has been near flawless against opposing QBs under the age of 25 throughout his career.

3 – New Orleans Saints (4-1) (–) — The Saints took a week off as All-Time passer Drew Brees was able to bask in the glory of his achievements from Week Five for an extra few days before getting back to work. I can’t even imagine how much fun last week must’ve been for him, especially in New Orleans. Actually on second though, knowing what kind of guy Drew is, it’s more than likely he didn’t even have a full send or even one wild night all week: it’s always work time for Brees. I guess that’s why he’s the best passing passer of all-time (what do you call him now? He’s not the GOAT obviously so until we think of a moniker we’re going with ‘best passing passer’). He’ll need the extra preparation time this week as he’s looking down the barrel at a Ravens team that just pitched a shutout in 2018 (a relatively impressive feat) and forced their way to a whopping 11 sacks, one off the single-game NFL record. I hope that Saints o-line is ready.

4 – Kansas City Chiefs (5-1) (↓2) — Well the fun had to stop some time, and the Chiefs made it last until the very last moment, responding to a seemingly game-winning drive by Tom Brady late in the Chiefs’ SNF matchup against the Patriots with a 75-yard touchdown chuck to fastest-man-on-earth candidate Tyreek Hill. Unfortunately the efficiency of that score left way too much time on the clock for Brady, who calmly and coolly led his boys into position for the actual game-winning field goal. The Chiefs have lost for the first time this season, but it was the most admirable of efforts in a loss that I’ve witnessed in some time. Patty Mahomes and friends will look to get back in shape this week when a Bengals team that lost in similarly heart-breaking fashion comes to town for a tilt.

5 – Los Angeles Chargers (4-2) (↑1) — The Chargers walloped the young Browns 38-14 at home on Sunday, one of the few times this Chargers team has performed up to expectations against an inferior opponent. Needless to say, Philip Rivers and the gang are very susceptible to the so-called ‘trap game’. But not this time. This time they rode their workhorse RB and scorer of nine touchdowns in six games, Melvin Gordon III, while Bolo tie Phil tossed three sweet dimes to Tyrell Williams that totalled 118 yards and a pair of scores, nearly enough to sink the Browns all by themselves. The Chargers defence is also hitting its stride, picking off two passes and racking up a season-high-tying five sacks, which bodes well for a defensive front that will be up against a Titans o-line that just gave up 11 sacks.. in one game. Have a day Melvin Ingram!

6 – Minnesota Vikings (3-2-1) (↑1) — There’s no doubt that the Kirk Cousins fumble returned for a touchdown by the Cardinals in the first half brought back some very bad memories for the Vikings. Could the mighty Vikings lose to both the Bills AND Cardinals? Thankfully for Minnesota they got an NFL-record sixth straight 100-yard effort by wideout Adam Thielen to start the season while backup running back Latavius Murray busted out to for his best game in recent memory. Uncle Latavius took 24 carries (three of which went for 20+ yards) for a season-high 155 yards, including a 21-yard touchdown rumble capped off with a gnarly stiff-arm. With the running game on the map and the defence playing well again the Vikings are coming in hot to the Meadowlands to play the Jets this week.

7 – Philadelphia Eagles (3-3) (↑2) —  The Eagles had no answer for the Giants’ rookie phenom Saquon Barkley on Thursday night, but it didn’t matter, because they had the answers for everything else the Giants threw at them. The Eagles absolutely dominated every other aspect and Giants player in a 34-13 divisional win to bring them back up to .500. Carson Wentz didn’t lose a fumble for the first time in four weeks and tossed two or more touchdowns for the third straight week. Philly’s running back committee without Jay Ajayi didn’t look great, but they seem like they’ll be enough to keep that Eagles offence humming. Killa Cam and the Panthers await the Eagles this week in a matchup at Lincoln Financial.

8 – Green Bay Packers (3-2-1) (–) — The Packers like to make it interesting don’t they? Aaron Rodgers found himself in a shootout with some guy named CJ Beathard, but eventually—and might I say, inevitably—the One-Legged Wonder led his team to a win in the dying moments of the game. Rodgers has found a special relationship with wideout Davante Adams, averaging nine connections for 118 yards and a score with number 17 over the past three contests. Rodgers did seem to re-injure his sprained knee during the contest, but followed that scare up with a first-down scramble, so the Hobbler is still doing fine. The Packers will take their bye this week as the Bionicle will continue to heal back up to full strength.

Life comes at you fast don’t Jalen.

9 – Jacksonville Jaguars (3-3) (↓4) — Your guess is as good as mine as to what’s happened to the Jaguars defence, but I think the answer is simple, if a bit mysterious: this is 2018. In 2018 the best defences can’t hope to stop even decent offences, all they can hope for is to slow the opposition down. Last year’s best, most menacing unit has followed the Vikings into irrelevance after allowing 70 points over the past two games. Dak freaking Prescott put up 40 on Sacksonville. That’s pretty damn embarrassing if you ask me. Was Jalen Ramsey’s mouth too big? Did he bite off more than he could chew with all that smack talk before the season? He’ll try to start walking the walk along with the rest of the team when the Texans come to town this week.

10 – Baltimore Ravens (4-2) (↑4) — The Ravens have yet to allow a touchdown in the second half of a game this season, and decided last week that they’d do it in the first half as well, shutting out the Titans 21-0 in Week Six. They nearly broke the NFL single-game record with 11 sacks on Sunday, giving up a total of just 106 yards to Marcus Mariota and co. It was truly a tour de force, but expect the game script to change greatly when the Saints’ high-flying, record-breaking offence marches into town after a relaxing bye week in the Big Easy.

11 – Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2-1) (↑6) — When is Le’Veon Bell back? Can the Steelers contend without him? Will he be traded? Will he ever wear a Steelers uniform again? The Steelers have one answer to all of these questions: who gives a flying f***. The Steelers haven’t been perfect this season, but they have strung together three wins in their last four games, including this past week’s heart-pumping 28-21 divisional win over the Bengals. Antonio Brown has been having a rough season by his standards—6.7 grabs for just under 80 yards per game—and was having another ho-hum day before he found space on a slant and darted like Road Runner up the middle for the game-winning 31-yard score. Bell’s replacement James Conner (who put up his second straight 100+-yard, two touchdown game against Cincy) has also coupled a solid rushing effort this season with 26 receptions, good for sixth among running backs. Le’Veon who?

12 – Cincinnati Bengals (4-2) (↓2) — The Bengals lost a heart-breaker on what was essentially a buzzer-beater by Antonio Brown in Cincy’s 28-21 loss to the Steelers. They now sit tied with the Ravens atop the NFC North and will have to head into Arrowhead to take on a Chiefs team that will no doubt be antsy to get back into the win column after a tough loss of their own. Also, Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict is a literal criminal, targeting Antonio Brown’s head again and proceeding to yell at Juju Smith-Schuster, another Pittsburgh wideout, that he was ‘next’. And none of it was called. Yikes. In any event, expect the Bengals to begin their slide to irrelevancy next week, but don’t expect Andy Dalton and the Bungles to get blown out of the water: they will keep up with KC, they just won’t beat them.

13 – Miami Dolphins (4-2) (–) — The Dolphins just keep finding strange ways to win games. This past week it was Bears stud RB Jordan Howard fumbling on the goal line to send it to OT, where the only disappointment of this exciting Dolphins season—Kenyan Drake—fumbled on the goal line as well. The Fins still pulled out the win, as they do, watching a Bears game-winning field goal sail wide before they watched their own new kicker nail their subsequent try. Did you guys realize it was the Wizard of Oz, Brock Osweiler leading the Fins to victory by the way? Guy threw for nearly 400 yards and three scores. Have a day bud. Not to mention the ageless wonder, the inconvenient truth; Frank Gore, went for over 100 yards on the day. Amazing to see who comes up big for Miami these days, they’re most definitely one of the feel good stories of the season so far.

14 -Chicago Bears (3-2) (↓3) — The Bears will tell the opposite story this week as instead of overcoming a goal line fumble to win in over time, they were forced into an overtime that they lost, because of a goal line fumble. Tarik Cohen has fit much better in Mitchy Trubisky’s offence so far this season, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that game-losing fumble from Jordan Howard keeps him off the field for a few extra snaps per game going forward. Mitchy Boy will face a much tougher test when Tommy Gun and a finally fully stocked arsenal of Patriot weapons come to town this week.

15 – Carolina Panthers (3-2) (↓3) — Killa Cam Newton and the Panthers could not have started this game in a worse way, punting twice and turning the ball over two other times over Carolina’s first four possessions. Cam and his cats love to play from in front and have historically struggled to complete comeback victories because of their potent running offence and comparatively forgettable passing offence. The Panthers will look to jump out to an early lead when they head to Lincoln Financial to take on the defending champs, who have really started to gel as a unit over the past few games, far from the case in Carolina right now.

16 – Houston Texans (3-3) (↑2) — Boy, did the Texans get lucky on this one. Bills rookie Josh Allen was having a solid game before being chased with an elbow injury that might end up needing a pitcher’s worst nightmare: Tommy John surgery. This left the Texans defence salivating and slobbering all over themselves as Nate Peterman came into the game. Peterman was essentially a billy goat chained to a pole in the eyes of that predatorial Texans defence. They made quick work of the little guy, pouncing on his second toss, which was returned for the game-winning pick six. They would pick off the poor kid again about four passes later. It was definitely good practice for when Blakey B and the Jags welcome the Texans to swampy Jacksonville: Blakey B loves to toss a good pick and right now the QB is cold as DeAngelo Russell’s veins.

17 – Atlanta Falcons (2-4) (↑2) — The Falcons finally got another win, taking down the Bucs 34-29 in a too-close-for-comfort shootout. The Bucs actually could have easily won this game if DeSean Jackson hadn’t let the final lateral skip between his legs : he was looking at a clear path to the end zone.. and glory. He couldn’t corrall it though, and Matt Ryan led his team to another home win, finally leaning on Julio Jones to do so, the latter of which had 125 yards on the day. ATL lost injury-riddled star running back Devonta Freeman for at least eight games however. Freeman has been dealing with a litany of issues, the most pressing of which was a groin problem that he will get surgery to fix. It’s a big loss, but the Falcons have pretty much been playing without him for most of the season already. Ryan and his birds will look to make it two straight for the first time this year when the wandering New York Football Giants come to town on Monday night.

18 – D.C. Football Team (3-2) (↑5)  — Washington returned from their bye last week only to be completely overwhelmed with the combo of haymakers, jabs and uppercuts that Drew Brees and the Saints had waiting for them in the ring. After regrouping, Alex Smith and his guys jumped out to a lead early on this week against the Panthers, and they never looked back. The defence once again looked solid, recording three takeaways and using the bend but don’t break philosophy to keep the Panthers at bay. Smith’s stats were actually kind of Dak-ian, only putting up 163 yards through the air, but he still tossed a pair of touchdowns for D.C. Adrian Peterson also emerged from a one-game nap and rumbled for another 97 yards, leaving him just 124 behind the 99-yard man himself, Tony Dorsett, for 9th on the all-time rushing list. Can he do it this week in a divisional matchup with the NPR of football teams, the Cowboys?

19 – Denver Broncos (2-4) (↓4) — It was almost a foregone conclusion that the Broncos would lose this matchup with the Rams, but the way they lost it was far from predictable. I mean, the Broncos can’t stop the run so I expected Todd Gurley to have a big game, but 208 yards? That’s a problem Denver really needs to address. The Broncos essentially abandoned their great running game early and leaned on Case Keenum, who actually had a solid game throwing for 322 yards and a pair of touchdown passes, unfortunately the potency of Gurley on the ground in that storm was too much to handle for the Broncos once-great defence. A much easier test comes this week when the Broncos stampede their way into the desert to take on the Cardinals on a spicy TNF matchup.

20 – New York Jets (3-3) (↑1) — I guess it wasn’t that far-fetched to think this Jets-Colts game would end up a shootout, but 42-34? That is quite the shootout indeed, the 76 total points good for second-most during Week Six. Sam Darnold was sparkling, missing on just six of his 30 passes while racking up 280 yards and a pair of touchdown tosses. The defence was also able to completely baffle Andrew Luck, who threw four touchdowns but was picked off thrice as well. The Jets will need to keep up the defensive trickery if they hope to stay with a potent Scandinavian offensive war machine up in Minnesota this week.

21 – Seattle Seahawks (3-3) (↑1) — Let’s just say the Seahawks had a good time across the pond. They dominated Oakland in every way you can dominate a football team, and came away with a much-needed 27-3 win to claw their way back to .500. With the upcoming bye week, the Seahawks could’ve stayed for a few extra days across the pond and enjoyed some proper European culture, but unfortunately they returned to America to learn that the co-founder of Microsoft and the Seahawks’ dedicated Chairman, Paul Allen, had passed away. A Seattle son to the core, Allen was born in Seattle, went to Washington State (before famously dropping out with Bill Gates) and passed away after a protracted battle with cancer in Seattle at the age of 65. The Seahawks will no doubt use their upcoming bye week to take part in honouring and remembering Allen.

22 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3) (↓6) —  The Bucaneers are losers of three straight as well as perpetrators of the vanishing of Fitzmagic. It looked like reality was beginning to hit Ryan Fitzpatrick in Weeks Three and Four, but I still would’ve preferred him to Jameis Winston. Winston to his credit had a big game for the Bucs, but couldn’t lead them to victory while failing to top 30 points against a defence who was averaging 40+ points against in its previous three games. If only they’d seen DeSean Jackson earlier on that final play.. (above). There’s no helping that defence though, so they’re only hope is an Uber driver’s worst nightmare: Famous Jameis. The former Seminole will look to steal (and eat) a W this week when the young Brownies come to town.

23 – Dallas Cowboys (3-3) (↑3) — I guess Dak Prescott got sick of all those 200 passing yard jokes, because he led the Cowboys to a tour de force 40-7 shellacking of the Jacksonville and their previously vaunted defence. Granted, Dak still only threw for 183, because Dak is Dak, but he did throw a pair of scores while running 11 times for 83 yards and his own trip to pay-dirt. The Cowboys had a great game but it is still mind-boggling, not to mention hilarious to me how hard it has been for Prescott to get over that 200-yard hump week in and week out. I guess all that matters is the win though right. Yawn. The Cowboys will look to grab a share of the division lead when they head to the nation’s capital for a divisional matchup with Washington.

24 – Detroit Lions (2-3) (–) — After Packers K Mason Crosby placed a W carefully and politely on the Lions’ doorstep (perhaps as an early Christmas gift?), the Lions took their bye, no doubt going over what should have been a loss to the Packers and finding areas they need to work on. Hopefully they fixed some things because they’ll take their talents to South Beach this week to take on a 4-win Dolphins team that continues to find peculiar but valid ways to win nearly every week.

25 – Tennessee Titans (3-3) (↓5) —  After two impressive victories over the Jags and Eagles in consecutive weeks, forcing us to take them seriously, the Titans once again made us all look like fools, following up a rough 13-12 loss to the Bills with an absolutely embarrassing effort against the Ravens in a 21-0 defeat. Not only did they not score, but they gave up an NFL season-high 11 sacks and thanks to all of that negative yardage, managed a majorly meagre total of 106 offensive yards on the day. Yikes. Mariota and the gang will look to bust out of this touchdown-less slumber, which will stretch from their touchdown in OT against Philly in Week Four. I’m sure they’ll score a touchdown in LA against the Chargers, but don’t expect them to keep up with the Chargers, who are on a roll.

26 – Cleveland Browns (2-3-1)(↓1) — The Browns looked like the Browns of old in a 38-14 loss to the Chargers, but at the same time they didn’t. The big loss wasn’t due simply to ineptitude as Browns fans have become accustomed to, instead it was the Browns’ youth and inexperience that led them to such an embarrassing effort. They allowed the same receiver to gain 89 yards on back-to-back deep fade routes (the second of which was a touchdown) and gave up touchdowns to the second-leading scorer in the league, Melvin Gordon III, on the same exact fake inside run-pitch out play on two separate occasions. These young Browns have yet to learn how to learn from their mistakes, but they will get a much easier go of it next week when they head to Florida to take on the defensively dreadful Bucs in Week Seven. And don’t worry about Baker’s ankle, he’s a tough young fella.

27 – San Francisco 49ers (1-5) (–) — CJ Beathard was going blow for blow with the great One-Legged Wonder, slinging touchdowns of 67 and 30 yards to Marquise Goodwin, who showed off that rare Olympic speed to get behind and around the defence on his pair of scores. The Niners also took advantage of the Packers on the ground, with young up-and-coming runners Matt Breida and Raheem Mostert combining for 26 touches for 148 yards and a score. Unfortunately Beathard couldn’t go the distance with the Bionicle Aaron Rodgers, as young CJ’s late fourth-quarter pick was sandwiched by two scoring drives from the Packers, one which tied the game, and one that won it for Green Bay. This 33-30 defeat in frigid Lambeau was one San Francisco really would’ve liked to win, a truly heartbreaking defeat coming at the boot of Week Five’s pariah, Packers kicker Mason Crosby. I doubt Beathard and co. will have nearly this much success against the Rams in Week Seven.

28 – Buffalo Bills (2-4) (↑1) — What a roller coaster that was. Josh Allen had led the Bills to a solid performance and had a chance to win, only for Allen to get chased from the game with an elbow injury. In comes Nate Peterman, whose name by itself can set a dedicated NFL fan to giggling. That giggle will now be a full-out knee-slapping cackle after Peterman threw two picks, including the game-winning pick six, in the fourth quarter to lose the Bills their Week Six matchup with the Texans, 20-13. Adam Schefter is now reporting that Allen may need the ever-ominous Tommy John surgery, which would leave the Bills with Peterman as their only QB (they traded AJ McCarron in the offseason, a move they surely regret now). Colin Kaepernick anyone? Just kidding.. sorta. Peterman will get a chance to finally prove himself worthy of an NFL pay-check next week when he heads to Lucas Oil for a duel with Andrew Luck and his sorry supporting cast.

This situation is why the expression ‘diamond in the rough’ was created.

29 – New York Giants (1-5) (↓1) — I have never seen in my life a running back dominate an entire game so thoroughly while losing by 21 points. It’s almost unconscionable. It’s unbelievable, astonishing, preposterous! I’m actually starting to feel bad for the prodigal son, Saquon Barkley, a Greek god of a man, because he has to play for the Giants. I mean sure, you’re in the Big Apple with all the cameras and media and celebs. But is that really worth it when your QB is Bad Eli and the next best player on your team is having regular mental breakdowns on the sideline? I mean, this rookie had to console a five-year veteran during a loss because said veteran (can you guess who?) couldn’t keep his emotions in check. Either way, what Barkley was able to do last Thursday was truly amazing, and becomes even more so when you look at the offensive line blocking for him and the passing game supposedly ‘distracting’ from him.

First of all, Barkley notched his sixth straight 100+-yard scrimmage day to start his career, which sits behind only 2017’s Cinderella Kareem Hunt. On Thursday his performance was something from another realm: he flashed his speed early on a 46-yard scamper, he put some sort of filthy hurdle-juke combo on Malcolm Jenkins early in the second quarter (above), then followed that up with a mind-boggling 55-yard gain on a screen pass during which he completely tossed a 250-lb linebacker off his back before reversing field and breaking a few more tackles, and topped it off with a 50-yard touchdown where his blazing, breakaway speed was truly on display. 229 yards and a touchdown later and his team had lost 34-13. That’s life with the Giants I guess, but don’t expect him to slow down at all this week when he heads down to the ATL to take on possibly the worst defence in the league.

30 – Indianapolis Colts (1-5) (–) — It’s a damn shame to see how long Andrew Luck had to stay out with injury just to come back to a Colts team without one legitimate and established weapon at his disposal. He usually has T.Y. Hilton, a home-run hitter that could mash with the best of them, but the slippery veteran has been out for a couple of weeks at this point. Behind them the Colts have no name receivers Ryan Grant, Zach Pascal and Chester Rogers. I mean, no offence to those guys, they’re NFL receivers.. but come on. This is 2018, the year of points and passing yards, and if the Colts want to win they need to have a better weapon than butter-fingers himself, Eric Ebron, who right now is the most prolific active receiver on Indy’s roster. Don’t even get me started on the running back situation. Luck will host Josh Allen and the Bills this week in a game where the Colts could even be the underdogs. That’s how bad it’s been.

31 – Arizona Cardinals (1-5) (–) — It seemed for a second that the Josh Rosen-led Cardinals could pull off an upset of the Vikings the way the Josh Allen-led Bills did in Week Three, but instead they were steamrolled by Latavius Murray, who awoke from a long slumber and terrorized the Cardinals to the tune of 155 yards and a touchdown. They were lucky to get a Kirk Cousins fumble returned for a touchdown because without that this game would’ve looked a lot more like what it was, a resounding defeat of the desert birds by the Scandinavian warriors. Rosen was forgettable as per usual, completely failing on third down during the contest, never once converting. He also contributed one of the Cardinals two turnovers, the other of which was a fumble fumbled by former All-Pro RB David Johnson, who seems to be sinking along with his ship. They’ll host the Broncos on TNF this week in what is sure to be another in a long line of bland and boring Thursday offerings.

 

32 – Oakland Raiders (1-5) (–) —  I was thinking maybe the Raiders could even win this game, what with the Seahawks’ shell of a once great defence and their most dubious of offences. The time change must have been too much for these little guys to handle however, as Seattle slapped the Raiders with a ‘Return to America Immediately’ stamp and a 27-3 loss out in London, England. Derek Carr had two fumbles and couldn’t even top 150 passing yards, putting forth quite a ‘Dakian’ performance across the pond. Beast Mode Marshawn Lynch couldn’t get anything going on the ground either, watching as Seattle piled up 150+ rushing yards. The Raiders will take their bye week and attempt to regroup, but it’s becoming clear that this will be a long and arduous season for Chuckie and friends.