Jordan’s Week 7 NFL Power Rankings: Who’s Rising & Falling?

October 18, 2017 • Jordan Foote • Features, Front Page, Lists

Another crazy week in the NFL. On Thursday, we saw a thrilling matchup between the Eagles and Panthers that told us a lot about each team.

On Sunday, the craziness of the season was in full effect when the Bears beat the Ravens, Minnesota defeated Green Bay, Miami squeaked by Atlanta, New Orleans hung 52 on the Lions, Pittsburgh dominated Kansas City and finally the Giants beat Denver on Sunday evening.

What a week.

Let’s see where each team ranks in The Best Foote Foward’s Week 7 Power Rankings!

32: Cleveland Browns (LW: 32) 0

Quarterback Kevin Hogan didn’t look like much of an upgrade over DeShone Kizer on Sunday. How does a stat line of 140 yards, 1 touchdown and 3 interceptions sound? Horrific. Things don’t get better for the NFL’s worst team when it hosts the resurgent Tennessee Titans on Sunday.

31: San Francisco 49ers (LW: 31) 0

Things got a bit better for San Francisco on Sunday. A loss is a loss, but it was refreshing to see non-terrible QB play out of the team. Rookie C.J. Beathard completed just 53 percent of his passes, but managed to throw for 245 yards and a touchdown. The one interception was expected out of a young signal caller, but the Niners might as well give this kid a look. The next winnable game for San Francisco won’t come until November 12 against the Giants. 0-9 should be here before we know it. Hang in there, 49ers fans.

30: Indianapolis Colts (LW: 29) -1

19-15 at the beginning of the 4th quarter was shocking to see from this team. After the 4th began, Tennesee took over like we figured they would. Jacoby Brissett continued to not lose this team games – but he didn’t go out and win Monday night, either. The young QB completed 57 percent of his passes, totaled 212 yards through the air and also tossed a touchdown. This team needs Andrew Luck… bad.

29: New York Giants (LW: 30) +1

The Giants dominated Denver for most of Sunday night, but I can only move them up one spot in the rankings. Eli Manning didn’t throw an interception in this game, which is a plus. If it weren’t for a pick-six in the second quarter, this game would have been 10-3 Giants going into the half, much less daunting than 17-3 looked to Denver. Don’t expect this defense to put points on the board every week – especially on Sunday against the Seahawks.

28: Baltimore Ravens (LW: 18) -10

Four touchdown passes in 6 games is unacceptable for Joe Flacco and the Ravens. Eight interceptions in six games is even worse. Until Flacco plays like even an average quarterback, this team is going nowhere. Baltimore might be the 3rd best team in the AFC North at this point.

27: Oakland Raiders (LW 22) -5

Derek Carr returned on Sunday, but didn’t really change anything for this offense. The Raiders’ offense currently ranks 30th in yards per game. Keep in mind this team scored 71 points in its first two games this year. Until the offense figures itself out, this team will perform very poorly. Things don’t get easier as the Raiders play the Chiefs this Thursday night.

26: New York Jets (LW: 24) -2

Props to the Jets for a well-played, close game against the Patriots. They may have even emerged victorious if it weren’t for this play:

It turns out, the Jets ended up losing by a touchdown. I have to bump them down a couple spots due to the nature of a loss, but it was a quality loss. Are the Jets legit? No, not at all. Are they capable of stealing a win this week against Miami. Yes.

25: Chicago Bears (LW: 25) 0

Mitchell Trubisky is a winner! Well, not exactly. His 1-1 record provides hope for Bears fans, but the stats don’t. 8/16 for 113 yards and a touchdown is not what you want from your starting quarterback. If your guy is completing 50 percent of his passes, there’s an issue. Growth should come with experience but for now, the Bears are going to need luck in order to win games, especially with the Panthers in town this week.

24: Cincinnati Bengals (LW: 23) -1

The Bengals move down a spot without playing a game last week due to the nature of how crazy this season has been so far. There had to be someone sliding down a spot; the Bengals are that team. A win over the Steelers this week would be a huge boost for a team that still has hope to turn the season around.

23: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (LW: 19) -4

Tampa Bay looked bad on Sunday. Ryan Fitzpatrick filled in for an injured Jameis Winston and the team somehow scored 27 points in the 4th quarter to make it an interesting game but in reality, it was anything but interesting. Winston should be able to play this week, but it’s not like the Bucs were world-beaters even with him in the lineup. Here’s a list of teams Tampa Bay has beat this year: Bears. Giants.

That’s not convincing. There’s still hope for Tampa to turn it around, but it’s not looking too good.

22: Los Angeles Chargers (LW: 27) +5

The Los Angeles (I’m finally used to referring to them as LA) Chargers are winners of two games in a row. Both wins have been close ones against struggling teams, but wins are wins nonetheless. The Bolts will look to make it three games in a row and back-to-back divisional wins this week when hosting the Broncos. LA plays teams very close and Trevor Siemian didn’t look good for Denver last week – maybe LA can pull off the upset.

21: Arizona Cardinals (LW: 28) +7

Adrian Peterson is back! Although it was one good game out of 6 this season, last week was huge in proving the doubters wrong. The Cardinals put up 38 points and got a big win over the Bucs on Sunday. Here are some highlights from Peterson’s great game:

20: Miami Dolphins (LW: 26) +6

The Falcons blew a 17-0 lead. That’s what the headline of this game will be.

I’ll give Miami a bit of credit for coming back, though. The two guys named Jay on the ‘Fins offense were totally different players in terms of production. Jay Ajayi ran for 130 yards and averaged 5 yards per carry, leading the offense to a win. Jay Cutler threw for 151 yards and two touchdowns, continuing his theme of mediocrity for the season. Cutler just looks like he doesn’t care – and he doesn’t. As long as the Dolphins’ defense plays well, this team will win some games. A matchup with the Jets this weekend can go a long way in terms of creating some momentum.

19: Jacksonville Jaguars (LW: 14) -5

A 10-point loss to the Rams was expected from this team. If you take away a kickoff return and a blocked punt, however, the final score of this game is 17-13 Jaguars. Blake Bortles wasn’t bad and Leonard Fournette continued to run wild, but the Jags still found a way to lose. On the bright side, the offense wasn’t the primary reason for the loss. This team has a big opportunity to get back on track this week with a trip to Indianapolis on the horizon.

18: Dallas Cowboys (LW: 17) -1

The Ezekiel Elliot saga continues.

Who knows when and if Zeke will be allowed to eat again. Your guess is as good as mine. The Cowboys fall a spot in the rankings due to (insert random probability) losing one of the best players in the NFL for the next 6 weeks. The ‘Boys should have no problem handling the 49ers without Elliot but things will get serious when they face the Redskins and Chiefs in the coming weeks.

17: Green Bay Packers (LW: 3) -14

Colin Cowherd sums it up well. The Packers’ season is over without Aaron Rodgers, who broke his collarbone on Sunday against the Vikings. Unless third year QB Brett Hundley can turn into something resembling Rodgers and discount double check his way to a respectable record for when (or if) Rodgers is ready to come back, it’s a wrap. 14 spots may not have been harsh enough. This roster is terrible if you take Rodgers off it. Back-to-back games against the Saints and Lions (two high-scoring offenses) doesn’t bode well for the Pack.

16: Tennessee Titans (LW: 21) +5

Marcus Mariota means a lot to this team. He was clearly not 100% healthy on Monday night, but he played well nonetheless (23/32, 306 yards and a TD). Not bad for a guy who isn’t used to being stuck in the pocket. Derrick Henry and DeMarco Murray totaled 171 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns and made the offense look very explosive. This team will be just fine, especially once Mariota begins running again.

15: Buffalo Bills (LW: 13) -2

Much like the Bengals, the Bills will have to fall due to the rest of the NFL shaking it up again this week. Nonetheless, the Bills are set up for success with three winnable games in a row on the docket (Buccaneers, Raiders, Jets). If they can manage to win all three of those, a 6-2 record will be hard to ignore. This stretch will show whether or not this is a legit team.

14: Denver Broncos (LW: 8) -6

Denver simply looked bad on Sunday night against the Giants. The defense wasn’t bad, holding the Giants to a touchdown and 3 field goals. The offense, on the other hand, was bad. Trevor Siemian was injured in the game and came back in to finish it, but was mainly ineffective (50 passing attempts, 376 yards, 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions). Jamaal Charles was the team’s leading rusher with a whopping total of 19 yards. Until this offense can perform at a consistent level, Denver will bounce in and out of the top ten spots in the rankings.

13: Minnesota Vikings (LW: 16) +3

The Vikings are big winners after beating the Packers 23-10. Aaron Rodgers is injured and the Lions were beat down by the Saints, so things are looking up for Minnesota. The defense is going to be great but the offense has a big opportunity to take a step forward if Teddy Bridgewater is able to return this year. No one knows when Sam Bradford will be healthy and since Bridgewater is coming off a major injury, this team will win based on average QB play from Case Keenum and elite defense. There’s nothing wrong with that, but we’ll see how far it gets them.

12: Washington Redskins (LW: 11) -1

Washington struggled to beat the 49ers. They did end up winning, but they’re moving down a spot for allowing 24 points and having to play a close game well into the 4th quarter against a terrible opponent. Until the Redskins can get consistency out of the defense, they will be stuck in the good-but-not-great tier of the NFL. A key divisional matchup against the Eagles this week will show just how good the ‘Skins are.

11: Detroit Lions (LW: 6) -5

Ugly loss for the Lions against the Saints. At one point, the score was 45-10. Detroit was able to bring the score to 45-38 but in the fourth quarter, Cameron Jordan’s interception in the end zone led to a Saints’ touchdown.

The 0-yard INT return sums up the game pretty well. The Lions have a lot to work on going into their bye week. A match-up in Pittsburgh in two weeks doesn’t look promising.

10: Pittsburgh Steelers (LW: 20) +10

That’s part of how the Steelers beat the Chiefs. The first half defense for Pittsburgh was amazing: 6 total yards allowed (yes, 6). Kansas City came back and made it an entertaining game, but the offense for Pittsburgh did just enough to get out of KC with another victory over the Chiefs. Ben Roethlisberger didn’t wow anyone with his stats (252 yards, 1 touchdown and 1 interception), but running back Le’Veon Bell continued to terrorize the Chiefs as he usually does (179 rushing yards and a touchdown). Pittsburgh needs just a couple more games like this to enter the top-5 in the rankings.

9: New Orleans Saints (LW: 15) +6

The Saints made a statement with their win against the Lions on Sunday. The defense allowed 38 points to the Lions, but let’s keep in mind that Detroit abandoned the running game and was playing comeback football for the entire second half. Three defensive scores is no joke for this squad. If the defense can play at anywhere near an average level, this team might be a pleasant surprise in the NFC.

8: Houston Texans (LW: 12) +4

DeShaun Watson is legit. It wasn’t a flashy game for him, but the rookie QB was able to complete 59 percent of his passes, throw for 225 yards and 3 touchdowns. It was more than enough to get the job done. The Texans head into the bye week in a three-way tie for first place in the AFC South. The Texans have a big game against the Seahawks after the bye that can help or hurt their case as a legit team.

7: Los Angeles Rams (LW: 9) +2

The Rams won on Sunday. That’s about all I can say. It wasn’t a pretty performance from Jared Goff (124 yards and a touchdown) but the special teams unit and defense did their jobs well. Todd Gurley rushed for 116 yards. This team will be fine, but Goff’s production (or lack thereof) is something to keep an eye on these next few weeks.

6: Atlanta Falcons (LW 4) -2

Tough loss for the Falcons. They have a problem with blowing leads.

How you allow 20 points in a half to Jay Cutler is beyond me, but the Falcons did a pretty good job doing so. Don’t get me wrong, Atlanta is still a great team. The only problem here is the Falcons are sitting at 3-2 and have lost back-to-back games. Let’s see what they manage to do this week against the Patriots.

5: Carolina Panthers (LW: 5) 0

It’s truly amazing that the Panthers only lost by 5 points on Thursday night in spite of a terrible performance from Cam Newton, who threw 3 interceptions and was only able to complete 54 percent of his passes. That goes to show just how talented this team is on all sides of the ball. Newton has a prime opportunity to get back on track this week against the lowly Chicago Bears; let’s see if he takes advantage of it.

4: New England Patriots (LW: 10) +6

New England spent too much time outside of the top 5. It was a lot closer than many expected, but the Pats emerged victorious against the Jets on Sunday. Touchdown-turned-fumble aside, it was a win. The defense didn’t look terrible and Tom Brady led the offense to a win despite having an off day (QB rating of 80.7). A Super Bowl rematch with the Falcons this week should bring out the best in this offense – it’ll be interesting to see if the defense is up to the challenge of shutting down Matt Ryan and company.

3: Seattle Seahawks (LW: 7) +4

The Seahawks are big risers in this week’s rankings despite not having played a game last week. The top-10 has had such a shakeup with the many upsets last week that the ‘Hawks get bumped up four spots simply for not losing. A convincing win against the Giants this week can solidify this ranking, otherwise Seattle could drop back down to the 6-9 range in next week’s list.

2: Philadelphia Eagles (LW: 2) 0

The Wentz Wagon is legit. In his past two games, Carson Wentz has totaled 526 passing yards, 7 touchdowns and only 1 interception. Oh yeah, his quarterback rating is 119.5 on average during this stretch. He’s growing up before everyone’s eyes, and so is the team around him. The front seven continues to strike fear into opposing QB’s and now opponents have to game plan for one of the better-performing signal callers in the NFL. I really wanted to put Philly in the #1 spot in the rankings, but I didn’t forget the matchup with Kansas City earlier in the year, one the Eagles weren’t able to win.

1: Kansas City Chiefs (LW: 1) 0

Very, very bad game for Kansas City on Sunday and they still almost won. If Andy Reid kicks a field goal instead of going for it on 4th and 2 in the third quarter, the Chiefs might win the game. If Phillip Gaines learns how to bat the ball down instead of letting it bounce off his helmet, the Chiefs possibly win the game. If Reid makes any type of adjustments in the first half to get his team going offensively, the Chiefs probably win the game. The fact that they were in it until their last drive just goes to show how good this team is. Looking back on the season, Andy Reid may be able to pick this game out and say it was his team’s worst performance of the year. Kansas City only lost by 6. That says a lot. A bad game against Oakland on Thursday might change Kansas City’s spot in the week 8 rankings, though.

That’s it for this week’s Power Rankings.

Last week was arguably the craziest of the season thus far. Maybe things will get back to normal this week? Whether they do or not, expect a much-different list a week from today.

Photo: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

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