Splash’s NFL Power Rankings: Week 7

NFL Power Rankings Week 7 2021

Welcome back to the futile exercise of ranking the 32 NFL teams. There are new faces at the top and the bottom after an eventful Week 7. As always, these will be updated weekly, so be sure to watch out as teams move up and down. If teams continue to win, they will rise. If teams continue to lose, they will fall. Similarly, a loss does not necessarily equate to a team being ranked lower than their opponent.

Numbers in parentheses refer to last week’s rankings.

No.32: Detroit Lions (+0)

Detroit has slipped to 0-7. Ouch. However, they played their most complete game of the season. For as much as the casual fan thinks the Lions were competitive for the first few weeks, they weren’t. In their first six games, the Lions did not run an offensive play while in possession of the lead. They finally did so in Week 7.

No.31: New York Jets (-3)

The Jets allowed 54 points and 551 total yards to the offensive juggernaut known as the New England Patriots on Sunday. To put that albatross in perspective, the Patriots had not scored 30 points in any game. They had also had not eclipsed 400 yards in any game. To make matters worse, Zach Wilson will miss the next few weeks. The Jets will either start Mike White or the newly acquired Joe Flacco.

No.30: Houston Texans (+1)

Houston is terrible with Davis Mills, but Tyrod Taylor is back this week. Coupled with the disgusting quarterback situation in East Rutherford, the Texans move back into the top 30. Houston did have a lead over the undefeated Cardinals at 5-0, but Arizona then outscored them 34-0. Houston is perhaps the least talented in the NFL, but they are not starting a bottom five quarterback anymore.

No.29: Washington Football Team (+1)

Washington has allowed the most points in the NFL. Additionally, they allow the most points per drive in the league. They have allowed 20 points in all seven games. Despite their 2-5 record, Washington has been outplayed in all seven games. Taylor Heinicke is a joke of a starting quarterback, and his stats are inflated by the weekly miracle connection to Terry McLaurin.

No.28: Philadelphia Eagles (-4)

The Eagles are an upgraded version of the Lions as they have successfully pulled off a fourth-quarter heist. In the last six weeks, the Eagles have been entirely uncompetitive, but they tend to make unrealistic comebacks in the fourth quarter. Philadelphia ranks 28th in point differential through three quarters. They rank sixth in fourth-quarter point differential.

No.27: Miami Dolphins (+2)

Tua Tagovailoa is the only redeemable aspect of this team. The coaching is terrible. There is no rushing attack. The receiving corps is consistently injured. A college offensive line would be better than the five turnstiles that the Dolphins send out each week. This team is a joke, but they happen to have a competent quarterback unlike the non-Texans teams below them. Yuck. What a disappointment.

No.26: Jacksonville Jaguars (+1)

The Jaguars enjoyed their bye week, taking a full week to soak in their first victory since Week 1 of 2020. While Jacksonville is quite poor at the whole football thing, they happen to play in a league with six worse teams. Jacksonville heads to Seattle next week, and they could pull the upset. Assuming Urban Meyer remembers James Robinson exists, Jacksonville can be competitive.

No.25: Carolina Panthers (-3)

Carolina has tried their best to keep their issues under wraps, but the football world recognizes the ghost-seeing Sam Darnold. In the first three weeks, Darnold was a legitimately solid NFL quarterback. In Week 4, he salvaged a terrible game with a pair of late passing touchdowns. In the last three weeks, Darnold has two total touchdowns, six total turnovers, and a 52.0 passer rating. The defense is getting worn out by the offense’s incompetence.

No.24: Denver Broncos (-1)

Denver has a better quarterback than Carolina, but it is not by much. Teddy Bridgewater, like Darnold, has fallen off in recent weeks, but he is not quite as bad as Darnold. Denver ranks in the top five in both scoring defense and total defense, but the facade is beginning to break. Alexander Johnson is sorely missed as his two replacements posted the worst two run defense PFF grades against the Browns.

No.23: Chicago Bears (-4)

The Bears are an inverted Dolphins. Chicago has a solid roster dragged down by abysmal quarterback play. Justin Fields might have a bright future, but his current play makes fans long for Mitchell Trubisky. In Week 7, Fields accounted for five total turnovers in one of the worst games of the season by any quarterback. Fields has 30% of the NFL’s sub-10.0 QBR games in 2021. No other quarterback has done that twice this season.

No.22: New York Giants (+4)

The Giants capitalize on other teams’ ineptitude. Daniel Jones seems to have recovered from his concussion, and he resumed his competent season. When Jones has been fully healthy, the Giants were competitive for most of 5.5 games. Outside of Jones, the Giants have been disappointing, but Jones has been enough of a bright spot to be here.

No.21: Seattle Seahawks (+0)

Seattle took another close loss this week, falling to the Saints on a late field goal. Seattle had an inept offense for most of the game, only capitalizing on Marshon Lattimore falling for a touchdown. The Seattle defense has played much better in the last few weeks, but without Russell Wilson, this team is quite irrelevant.

No.20: Atlanta Falcons (+5)

The Falcons have been the better team in each of their last four games, and they secured a trio of wins. They are now 3-3, and they have a winnable game against the Panthers this week. Kyle Pitts has turned from a relative disappointment to one of the best tight ends in just two weeks. Matt Ryan has been stellar in the last month. The defense has forced a turnover in four of the last five games.

No.19: Pittsburgh Steelers (+1)

Pittsburgh had their bye week in Week 7. They head into Cleveland on a two-game winning streak. The offense is limited as long as Ben Roethlisberger is at the helm, but it seems that Najee Harris is beginning to figure out the NFL. Defensively, the Steelers are still fairly stout despite a disappointing season from Minkah Fitzpatrick. Cameron Heyward is as good as any player in the NFL, and T.J. Watt is a game-changer.

No.18: San Francisco 49ers (-3)

Stats are not everything, but one stat is telling: Jimmy Garoppolo has one big-time throw in 157 dropbacks. For context, Blaine Gabbert and Jordan Love each have fewer than 10 drop backs, and they both have a big-time throw. Being a game manager is not the worst role a quarterback can be, but Garoppolo is not managing the game; he is throwing the game away. He has the highest turnover-worthy play rate of any quarterback with 50 drop backs. Beyond Garoppolo, this team is solid, but Garoppolo is quietly one of the NFL’s worst quarterbacks.

No.17: New England Patriots (+1)

The Patriots blasted the Jets by 41 in one of the biggest blowouts 2021 is likely to see. Mac Jones had another solid game, his second game in a row without a turnover-worthy play.  He eclipsed 300 yards for the first time in his young career. It seemed that the Patriots could do no wrong on offense as they waltzed to 551 total yards including 403 net passing yards. Is it sustainable? No, but they did take care of business.

No.16: Kansas City Chiefs (-8)

Patrick Mahomes is likely to play this week, but he continued his downward spiral in Week 7 before getting knocked out of the game. Mahomes has an interception in six consecutive games, and he does not have a 70.0-graded game in his last three. Defensively, Kansas City is as porous as ever, allowing 27 points in the first half. The defense was better in the second half, but Tennessee let off the gas offensively. The Chiefs are 3-4 and will be out of the playoffs until at least Week 9.

No.15: Indianapolis Colts (+2)

It was an ugly win, but the Colts have now won three of their last four games. They are sitting at 3-4 with a divisional clash against the Titans next on the docket. Even if they lose, they will likely enter Week 11 with a 5-5 record after the Jets and Jaguars come to Lucas Oil. Carson Wentz had a horrific grade against the 49ers, but much of that can be explained away by the rain. The Colts are back into somewhat serious playoff contention, and a win over Tennessee would open the division up.

No.14: Las Vegas Raiders (+2)

The Raiders took care of business for the second week in a row. The defense has forced six turnovers in two weeks, but the Broncos and Eagles are far from world-beaters. Derek Carr has been playing well in recent weeks, however. Las Vegas heads into their bye week with the best record in the AFC West.

No.13: New Orleans Saints (+1)

It took a while, but the Saints finally wrestled control of Monday Night Football away from the Seahawks. New Orleans is sitting at 4-2, securely in a playoff spot, but they have the Bucs looming. Jameis Winston played another clean game, and Alvin Kamara had an electric game as a receiver. New Orleans has allowed just 101 points in six games.

No.12: Minnesota Vikings (+1)

Minnesota enjoyed their bye week in Week 7. However, they are now staring down a gauntlet of top-10 teams. First, they welcome the Cowboys to town. They then make trips to Baltimore and Los Angeles (Chargers) before returning home to host the Packers. Minnesota might be lucky to end the stretch at 5-5. However, Kirk Cousins is playing at a high enough level that the Vikings could pull an extra upset.

No.11: Cleveland Browns (+1)

Cleveland ended their losing streak by knocking off the Broncos on Thursday despite missing Baker Mayfield, Nick Chubb, and Kareem Hunt, among others. They have a pair of division games coming up, so they must answer the call. While they are currently the No.7 seed in the AFC, a loss to Pittsburgh on Halloween would end that for the time being.

No.10: Los Angeles Chargers (+1)

The Chargers move up one spot after their bye week, thanks to Kansas City’s ineptitude. Los Angeles has the Patriots and Eagles coming up, so there is no reason for the Chargers to not be 6-2 when they welcome the Vikings to town in Week 10. The division is up for grabs, and the Chargers could be in first place as early this upcoming Sunday if they beat the Patriots.

No.9: Baltimore Ravens (-3)

After displaying capable tackling against the Chargers in Week 6, the Ravens forgot how to tackle their opposition once again in Week 7. The offense played better than the 17 points they produced, but they were unable to convert on late-game fourth downs to score any points. Lamar Jackson had a mediocre game through the air, but he was the entire rushing offense. Defensively, Marlon Humphrey and the secondary played poorly enough for an 11-on-6 situation to be a better situation.

No.8: Tennessee Titans (+1)

In Week 4, the Titans lost to the Jets. In the last two weeks, Tennessee has knocked off both of the AFC’s preseason favorites. The NFL is weird, and the Titans are the best example of that weirdness. Derrick Henry was kept in check, but the Titans demolished the Chiefs regardless. Kevin Byard is back to All-Pro form, and Harold Landry is second in the NFL in pressures.

No.7: Dallas Cowboys (+0)

Dallas stays put after their bye week. Dak Prescott is an MVP candidate. Amari Cooper and CeeDee Lamb could be Pro Bowlers. Defensively, Randy Gregory has been unblockable, and Trevon Diggs has yet to have a game without an interception. Kellen Moore and Dan Quinn have been among the NFL’s best coordinators. Dallas is sitting at 5-1, and they have a slew of winnable games coming up. Dallas is a shoo-in for 12 wins.

No.6: Buffalo Bills (-1)

Buffalo falls a spot after their bye week. Their four blowout wins are impressive, but those teams are looking worse and worse with each passing week. Buffalo has had a tremendous defensive season, but they are also forcing turnovers at an unsustainable rate. However, the Bills should be heavy favorites in 10 of their last 11 games, and finishing worse than 13-4 would be a colossal disappointment at this rate.

No.5: Cincinnati Bengals (+5)

Cincinnati had one of the most impressive wins of the season, heading into Baltimore and whacking the Ravens by 24. Joe Burrow has joined the MVP race, and Ja’Marr Chase threw his hat into the ring for best receiver in the NFL. (No, that is not an overstatement). With the Jets and an injured Browns coming up, Cincinnati should enter the bye with a 7-2 record. They do not play another team in the Top 8 the rest of the season.

No.4: Los Angeles Rams (-1)

The Rams ended up winning by nine, but they did enter the fourth quarter trailing against Detroit. Detroit outgained the Rams. As a whole, the Rams had a goofy week, but at the end of the day, they are 6-1, and they have the Texans next week. They have games against Tennessee (Week 9), in Green Bay (Week 12), and in Glendale (Week 14) in their six games, so the Rams will need to play better than they did on Sunday.

No.3: Green Bay Packers (-1)

Speaking of the Packers, Green Bay is also 6-1. They will be without several players for a short turnaround game against the Cardinals, but those are not long-term absences. Green Bay has won six games in a row, scoring 24 or more points in all six. Aaron Rodgers is having a normal season, and De’Vondre Campbell is magically the NFL’s best linebacker.

No.2: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+1)

Tom Brady is playing at as high of a level that he has ever played at. Beyond Brady, the rushing offense has been productive in each of the last four games. Brady is throwing to a bevy of star players, and even the defense has awoken from its early-season slumber. Both Shaquil Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul have notched strong Octobers. Tampa Bay might not occupy the No.1 spot, but they would in most seasons.

No.1: Arizona Cardinals (+0)

Welcome to 7-0, Arizona. With COVID wrecking the Packers, Arizona is looking like a solid bet for 8-0. In Week 9, they will have the opportunity to hit the over on their season win total of 8.5. Kyler Murray is the MVP of the league through seven weeks, and the Cardinals are deserving No.1 spot holders.

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