2014 NFL Power Rankings: Week 7

Was AFK for pretty much the entire week last week, so missed posting my power rankings. Making up for it with a rare Tuesday edition of my power rankings. Number in parenthesis were rankings for last week's unpublished list.


1. San Diego Chargers (1) (4-1). Even after a 28 point effort by the Raiders, the Chargers have still outscored their opponents by an average of 27.3 to 15.2. The Chargers have scored between 30 and 33 points in four of their last five games. We should get the best Thursday night game of the year in two weeks as San Diego will travel to Denver.

2. Denver Broncos (3) (4-1). The Chargers will have to prove that they, not the Broncos, are the class of the AFC. Denver continues to roll behind Peyton Manning and a solid defense. Manning will not put up otherworldly numbers like last season, but is still one of the favorites for MVP.

3. Dallas Cowboys (10) (5-1). The Cowboys are rolling right now thanks to a simple philosophy that is working. Run the ball and control the clock. Dallas held the ball for an amazing 37 minutes against the Seahawks, and DeMarco Murray had his sixth straight 100 yard rushing game. The best way to keep a weak defense fresh and productive is to keep it off the field.

4. Indianapolis Colts (8) (4-2). It is hard to believe Andrew Luck is only in his third season. He has lived up to the hype and then some. Luck leads the NFL in yards and touchdown passes. He has thrown for at least 300 yards in all but one game. He needs to cut down on the interceptions, but has thrown the ball 23 times more than any quarterback in the league.

5. Seattle Seahawks (2) (3-2). I still think the Seahawks are the best team in the NFC and they will not fall out of my top ten unless they face plant. It was puzzling how the coaching staff went away from Marshawn Lynch, but it is hard to get into any type of a rhythm when you only have the ball 22 minutes in the entire game.

6. Philadelphia Eagles (5) (5-1). The Eagles defense had been struggling pretty bad, but pitched a shocking shutout on Sunday Night Football. I still don't buy the Eagles long term but they are winning despite playing their best football.

7. San Francisco 49ers (9) (4-2). The sky seemed to be falling following a 1-2 start, but three straight wins have put the Niners right back into the first round bye picture. Since his stinker in a loss to the Bears, Colin Kaepernick has thrown 7 touchdowns against 1 interception. He will never be the most accurate quarterback, but has played solid football.

8. Baltimore Ravens (6) (4-2). Thanks to demolishing the lowly Buccaneers, Baltimore is second in the NFL with +67 net scoring. When Joe Flacco is on he is really on. He threw five touchdowns and no interceptions against the Buccaneers and 3 touchdowns against zero picks against the Panthers. The Ravens have a pretty easy schedule. The Bengals and Chargers are the only teams with a winning record Baltimore will face for the remainder of the season.

9. Detroit Lions (7) (4-2). The most interesting story of the season thus far for me has been the Lions transforming to the best defense in football. The defensive line has been unstoppable, as Detroit leads the NFL in points allowed, rushing yards allowed and sacks. In the high flying NFL, the Lions are a throwback to the late 90's, allowing 13.7 points per game and scoring only 19.3. Detroit shut down the Packers, and have games against the explosive Saints and Falcons coming up, so we will see how legit this defense really is.

10. Cincinnati Bengals (4) (3-1-1). Cincinnati allowed 33 points during their first three victories. They have allowed more than double that total the past two weeks. The Bengals have used plenty of early draft picks on the secondary, but still haven't been able to stop anyone through the air. With increased pressure by the Ravens and Browns, the Bengals will have to shore up that defense if they expect to return to the playoffs.

11. Green Bay Packers (12) (4-2). The Packers have no running game, a terrible defense and a head coach who has gotten by on reputation for too long. The one constant is Aaron Rodgers, who would be MVP if the Chargers weren't playing so well. The All Pro has thrown 15 touchdowns against 1 interception on the season, and 10:0 during Green Bay's three game winning streak.

12. New England Patriots (13) (4-2). Tom Brady must have taken offense to the talk that he was washed up and the Bills and Dolphins might be better than the Patriots. All he has done the past two weeks is thrown for 653 yards, 6 TD, zero interceptions and led the Patriots to 80 points against two of the better defenses in the league.

13. Arizona Cardinals (10) (4-1). I am not sure how the Cardinals are 4-1. They have suffered a plethora of injuries and suspensions. They can't move the ball. They have six sacks on the year. Yet, they are on top of what might be the best division in football. I have a hard time believing the success will last, but I cannot heap enough praise upon Bruce Arians, who is my favorite coach in the NFL. He is 15-6 with the Cardinals.

14. Carolina Panthers (14) (3-2-1). Cam Newton was Cam Newton last Sunday, and the Panthers offense looked great. Newton is a different animal when allowed to run, and he was Carolina's whole offense. Injuries and free agent losses have really effected the Panthers defense, however. Carolina is still the favorite in a weak division, but Newton might have to carry these guys.

15. Cleveland Browns (20) (3-2). The running game still matters in the NFL. The top three rushing teams? Dallas, Seattle, Cleveland. The Browns have a trio of impressive running backs that have been able to take the pressure off the passing game. Brian Hoyer has done a great job of managing the game, with only one interception thrown. The Browns are a legit playoff team.

16. Chicago Bears (22) (3-3). When the big names (Jay Cutler, Alshon Jeffery, Brandon Marshall, Matt Forte, Martellus Bennett) all perform, the Bears are very tough to beat. Unfortunately, when the group is not all on top of their game, the defense usually lets them down.

17. Buffalo Bills (16) (3-3). The Bills have a legitimate defense, and perhaps the best defensive line in football. The coaching staff still has not figured out how to use CJ Spiller on offense, and Kyle Orton is unlikely to make much of a difference on offense.

18. Miami Dolphins (19) (2-3). The Dolphins have talent, but coaching has let them down time and time again, with the latest puzzling actions coming during a last minute loss to the Packers. Expect Stephen Ross to ditch Joe Philbin and throw the entire city of Miami at Jim Harbaugh this off season.

19. New York Giants (15) (3-3). The Giants are so tough to figure out. The offense was producing well during their three game winning streak, but put up a stinker on Sunday Night Football. New York has an absolutely brutal stretch coming up with games against the Cowboys, Colts, Seahawks, 49ers and Cowboys.

20. Kansas City Chiefs (17) (2-3). Bye.

21. Pittsburgh Steelers (18) (3-3). The Steelers will go as far as LeVeon Bell takes them. He has been tremendous all year, and is the one constant on a team that has struggled to play defense.

22. New Orleans Saints (21) (2-3). Bye.

23. Houston Texans (24) (3-3). It is a shame Jadeveon Clowney is hurt, because it would be a lot of fun to watch him and JJ Watt terrorize the offense together. Watt is clearly the best defensive player in the NFL, but the Texans will not be a threat until they get a real quarterback.

24. Atlanta Falcons (23) (2-4). Same story for the Falcons. They have a strong passing attack with weapons all over the place, but unless they score 30 points, chances are they will not win because the defense cannot stop anyone. The offense has only scored three touchdowns the past two games, and of course, it has resulted in two bad losses.

25. Minnesota Vikings (25) (2-4). The Vikings either score like crazy (34, 41 points) or get shut down (7, 9, 10, 3 points). Without Adrian Peterson, this is an extremely pedestrian offense that needs to find ways to get their most talented players, Cordarrelle Patterson and Jerick McKinnon, more involved in the offense.

26. Washington Redskins (26) (1-4). Looking up at two 5-1 and one 3-3 teams, it looks like the Redskins are destined for the cellar again. The secondary has been a major weak spot, especially with DeAngelo Hall down for the year.

27. Tennessee Titans (27) (2-4). Ken Whisenhunt, an offensive mind, has to be looking forward to the off season and a chance to upgrade the quarterback unit. There is quite a bit of talent on offense, and with Bishop Sankey and Justin Hunter seeing increased snaps, should perform better. I would like to see what Zach Mettenberger could do. He has the arm to fit Whisenhunt's scheme.

28. New York Jets (29) (1-5). The Jets showed a bit more heart against the Broncos but are just so over matched on offense, that they cannot win unless the defense produces big plays and touchdowns. Geno Smith led the Jets in rushing with....11 yards.

29. St. Louis Rams (30) (1-4). Austin Davis is about the only thing going well for the Rams. The coaching has been bad, the play calling even worse, the defense has been undisciplined and the pre season hyped "best defensive line in football" has mustered a pathetic single sack through five games.

30. Oakland Raiders (31) (0-5). The Raiders gave the NFL best Chargers their toughest test in over a month, but failed to notch their first win. Interim head coach Tony Sparano opened up the offense for David Carr, and he made some great throws. Carr sits with an 8:5 TD:INT ratio.

31. Jacksonville Jaguars (32) (0-6). Jacksonville's defense has improved the last two weeks, allowing 33 points total, but the offense just cannot get anything going. They will not score touchdowns until the offense is opened up for Blake Bortles, because there is no running game.

32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (28) (1-5). The Raiders and Jaguars have less talent, but at least they are trying. The Buccaneers look like they have already given up on Lovie Smith like they did with Raheem Morris and Greg Schiano. This team is last in the NFL giving up 34 points per game and 422 yards per game. So much for that free agent spending spree working out.

Jonathan Carrano

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