Welcome back to the MikesPickz NFL Power Rankings. The New York Giants, the number 1 ranked team for the first 6 weeks of the NFL, lost their second straight game in week 7. They fell to the Cards, 24-17. Successful passing teams seem to be their weakness. The Bengals bounced back from a tough loss by blowing out the Bears. Cedric Benson had a monster game, rushing for 189 yards and a score. There are now 3 teams left undefeated in the NFL, week 7 saw the Vikings fall to the Steelers, leaving the Colts, Broncos and Saints as the only remaining undefeated teams. The Saints didn’t show up in the first half against the Dolphins, but they were able to come back from a 21-3 deficit with 22 unanswered points in the 4th quarter. They won the game by a score of 46-34. Let’s see how these headlines affected the rankings:
*As you probably know by now, teams are ranked into tiers, teams within a tier are teams I expect to finish with similar records and thus may be interchangeable in my opinion.
- —Saints– The Saints are the real deal, no question in my mind. After watching the performance that they put on against the Dolphins on Sunday night, I don’t know who will be able to beat the Saints. They were down 21-3, but were able to comeback and not only win the game, but win the game by double digits. The Saints quick score ability (22 unanswered points in the 4th quarter) is remarkable. The team is full of playmakers- Brees, Colston, Shockey, Sharper, and the human-plane Reggie Bush.
- —Colts– The Colts crushed the Rams, as they should have. They get a good defense this week against the 49ers, but the 49ers defensive weakness is the secondary and the Colts have Peyton Manning, so they should be 7-0 in the next rankings.
- Broncos– Josh McDaniels is looking like the easy choice for Coach of the Year. The Broncos lose a pro-bowl QB and have huge issues with Brandon Marshall in the off-season, and yet they are undefeated. As I have been saying since week 1, Kyle Orton is an underrated QB.
- Patriots– The Patriots are using the easy part of the schedule to find their offensive rhythm. They have outscored opponents 94-7 over the past two weeks (both opponents were win-less).Let’s see how they play against the Colts in 2 weeks.
- Vikings– No Favre magic last week, as the Vikings lost their first game of the season. The Steelers defense just proved to be too much for the Vikings. The Steelers were able to run a fumble back and an interception back for a TD in the 4th quarter and that was the difference in the game. Favre returns to Green Bay this week, in what will be a great match-up.
- Steelers– The Steelers are a much better team with Polamalu playing safety. The defense is back to its dominating self and Roethlisberger is having a great season. The lack of a running game may prove to be a significant weakness as the season comes to a close, but for now the Steelers are very solid team in the NFL.
- Packers– The Packers beat up on another bad opponent in week 7. They held the Browns to only 3 points and are coming into the match-up with the Vikings playing their best football. If they can protect Rodgers against the solid Vikings’ pass rush, they might be able to beat the Vikings.
- —Eagles– The Eagles rebounded from their terrible loss against the Raiders, by beating the Redskins on Monday Night Football. The Eagles didn’t look overly impressive in the win, but in the NFL a win is a win. It will be interesting to see how they handle the Giants this week.
- Giants– The Giants lost two games in a row. Maybe the Giants weren’t as good as I thought they were coming into the year. They were able to beat up on bad teams early in the year, but now that they are playing some competition they look confused.
- Bengals– The Bengals rebounded from the loss to the Texans by destroying the Bears 45-10. Cedric Benson got revenge on his former team, and Carson Palmer looked like his Heisman self connecting for 5 TDs.
- —Ravens– Hopefully the Ravens are rested and prepared coming into their week 8 match-up with the Broncos, if they don’t show up with all aspects of their game, they will have a 4 game losing streak.
- Chargers– The Chargers looked really good in their week 7 win against the Chiefs, granted it was the Chiefs. The Chargers have one of the most dynamic offenses in the league and if they are clicking they will be tough to beat, and it doesn’t hurt that LT is starting to play well.
- Cowboys– The Cowboys that everyone expected finally showed up last week against the Falcons. Romo was able to protect the ball and for the second straight week, Miles Austin was able to gain over 100 yards receiving. Austin’s play seems to be the catalyst of the success of the Cowboys. They should be able to continue their role against the Seahawks in week 8.
- Cardinals- The Cards look like they are back as the favorite to win the NFC West. They traveled to the Meadowlands and beat the Giants by 7. I am still concerned about their lack of a rushing game, but they should be able to keep their winning ways against the Panthers this weekend.
- Falcons– The Falcons had a bad game against the Cowboys in week 7, and unfortunately for them, many teams had statement games at the same time causing the Falcons to drop 9 spots in the rankings. Michael Turner will need to start rushing the ball better for the Falcons to return to contention for the NFC South title (although, it will be unattainable [Saints will win it]). Turner has 7 TDs this season, which puts him among league leaders, but he is only averaging a little over 3 yards per carry which is not good enough.
- —Dolphins– The Dolphins played extremely well for 3 quarters against the Saints, but they fell apart when the game mattered most. The Dolphins are better than their 2-4 record indicates.
- Jets– OK, the Jets showed up against the Raiders in week 7. They shut the Raiders out, in the 38 point rout. They lost Leon Washington in the process, but Shonn Greene filled in nicely, rushing for over 100 yards. I think the loss of Washington will hurt the team in the long run (he is out for the year). I am still not a believer in Mark Sanchez, yet.
- 49ers– The 49ers offense was anemic once again last week, until the second half that is. The 49ers trailed the Texans 21-0 at halftime and it was looking like they would be blown out again for the second straight week, but Singletary decided to bench Shaun Hill in favor of Alex Smith. This was probably going to be Smith’s last chance to shed his draft bust label, and he did not disappoint. He threw for over 200 yards and 3 TDs in the 2nd half. He did throw a costly interception on the 49ers last drive of the game, which left the 49ers just short of pulling off the comeback win. Smith’s play was encouraging, and if they are able to finally open up a passing game, it should free up Gore in the rushing game. They will need everything to work against the Colts, if they want any chance at winning the game.
- Texans– The Texans have a small 2 game winning streak going, but they are still way to inconsistent for me to think about ranking in the top 15 of the NFL. Matt Schaub is definitely underrated by mainstream fans, but it is not the offense that the Texans need to work on- they need some defensive consistency.
- Bears– In week 6 the Bears couldn’t capitalize in the red-zone, in week 7 they fixed that problem by not getting in the red-zone very often. The Bengals had their way with the Bears. Cutler will need to perform better on the road for the Bears to have a chance in the toughest division in the NFC.
- —Seahawks– The Seahawks had a BYE in week 7 and have a tough game against the Cowboys in week 8.
- —Jaguars– The Jaguars also had a BYE in week 7, and should be able to win against the Titans in week 8, but then again the Jaguars are terribly inconsistent.
- Bills– The Bills were able to capitalize on 3 INTs by Delhomme in week 7. I am not sold on the Bills, despite their 3 wins. The Bills had 167 total yards against the Panthers and they allowed 425 total yards, the fact that they won the game 20-9 shows more of how bad the Panthers are, then how good the Bills are.
- Panthers– Delhomme… they need a change… but they have no-one else… long season… see Bills (above)
- —Chiefs– The Chiefs played bad against the Chargers and I don’t see them winning many games this year.
- —Raiders– They Raiders were back to being the Raiders last week. Finally, Russell was benched. He plays so uninspired, it’s just sad that he got such a large contract.
- —Lions– Get ready Detroit, I think this week is the week for the 2nd win of the season.
- —Redskins– The Redskins are bad, how do you outsource play calling to a guy in a booth that hasn’t even been with the team all season? Jim Zorn will be the first coach fired this year.
- —Titans– The Titans have a shot at a win this week against the Jaguars, let’s see if they were able to regroup over the BYE week. We should see some more Vince Young this week (finally).
- —Browns– Traveling into Soldier Field the week after the Bears got embarrassed is not promising for the Browns.
- —Bucs– The remaining schedule for the Bucs is: BYE, Packers, @Dolphins, Saints, @Falcons, @Panthers, Jets, @Seahawks, @Saints, Falcons. If you see a win in there, let me know.
- —Rams– The Rams will have their best chance for a win this week against the Lions, but I don’t expect them to get it, especially with Stafford and Calvin Johnson returning for the Lions.
That will do it for this week’s power rankings, be sure to check back next week for another ranking. Any questions or comments? Post them in the comment section below or send me a tweet @MikesPickz.