Week 7 NFL Power Rankings

Vikings Win over Carolina
Oct 17, 2021; Charlotte, North Carolina, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver K.J. Osborn (17) catches a touchdown pass to win the game in overtime as Carolina Panthers safety Sean Chandler (34) defemds at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

In the first week of the season without a 16 game slate, Sunday was still the longest day of NFL football that we’ve seen all year. Unfortunately, the Sunday night game dragged on and was not nearly as entertaining as weeks past, but the Monday night game more than made up for it. As for rankings this week, we have a new number one that has never held pole position in the history of these power rankings. In addition, a familiar face re-enters the top five, while multiple others tumble.

1. Arizona Cardinals

        Last Week: 37-14 win @ CLE

        Trending: +2

        This Week: 10/24 vs HOU

The Cardinals remained undefeated by dominating a tough, albeit banged up, Cleveland Browns squad. Kyler Murray tore apart the Browns secondary, and they got a nice showing from the duo of James Conner and Chase Edmonds out of the backfield. The defense that was a hindrance in 2020 has been fabulous as well, allowing 20 or fewer points for the fourth consecutive week. The fact that they pulled this off without their head coach is even more impressive. 

2. Baltimore Ravens

        Last Week: 34-6 win vs LAC

        Trending: +3

        This Week: 10/24 vs CIN

After a couple games against non-playoff teams that were a little closer than they needed to be, it seemed fair to doubt how legitimate Baltimore was. That is not the case anymore. This week, Lamar Jackson grabbed the lead for the MVP race, and the Ravens defense swarmed a Chargers offense that has been dominant to start the year.

3. Los Angeles Rams

        Last Week: 38-11 win @ NYG

        Trending: +4

        This Week: 10/24 vs DET

It was an ugly day in New York, but the beneficiary of some Giant struggles were the LA Rams. After ending the first quarter down 3-0, Matthew Stafford’s offense scored 38 consecutive points. Helping the cause, the Rams defense forced four Daniel Jones turnovers. 

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

        Last Week: 28-22 win @ PHI

        Trending: -2

        This Week: 10/24 vs CHI

Ultimately, the Buccaneers did enough this week, but they just didn’t dominate the Eagles in the way that other teams dominated opponents this week. Tom Brady continues to look 10 years younger than he actually is, and the defense had Jalen Hurts in fits for much of the game. 

5. Green Bay Packers

        Last Week: 24-14 win @ CHI

        Trending: -1

        This Week: 10/24 vs WSH

Despite a slow start, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers had to make one thing clear: they still own Chicago. Rodgers didn’t have a terrific day overall, throwing for just 195 yards, but he totaled three touchdowns, and the Packers relied on their running game to make things happen against a stout defense. 

6. Dallas Cowboys

        Last Week: 35-29 win @ NE

        Trending: +2

        This Week: Bye

Trevon Diggs got another interception, and the Cowboys managed to escape New England with their fifth consecutive victory. The team heads into their bye 5-1 ready to rest up for the Minnesota Vikings on Halloween. 

7. Buffalo Bills

        Last Week: 31-34 loss @ TEN

        Trending: -6

        This Week: Bye

Buffalo was a Josh Allen QB sneak away from potentially winning this game, but the Titan defense held strong for just long enough at the goal line. Other than that, Allen was very good for much of the game, but it just wasn’t enough when Derrick Henry was stiff-arming linemen on the other side. 

8. Kansas City Chiefs

        Last Week: 31-13 win @ WSH

        Trending: +2

        This Week: 10/24 @ TEN

Once again, Patrick Mahomes had some frustrating interceptions, but luckily for the Chiefs, they didn’t end up having a lasting effect on the game. Their defense finally stepped up and made a few plays in this game, and Kansas City returned to .500. 

9. Los Angeles Chargers

        Last Week: 6-34 loss @ BAL

        Trending: -3

        This Week: Bye

Well, that was rough. There wasn’t really anything that went right for the Chargers this week, but sometimes that just happens. LA got virtually nothing out of Austin Ekeler on the ground which can’t happen again, but it’s doubtful that it will. LA has a week to regroup. 

10. San Francisco 49ers

        Last Week: Bye

        Trending: +1

        This Week: 10/24 vs IND

Just like last year, the Niners have been one of the teams most heavily affected by injury. Hopefully they had a chance to get right during their bye ahead of a matchup with Indy on Sunday night. 

11. Cleveland Browns

        Last Week: 14-37 loss vs ARI

        Trending: -2

        This Week: 10/21 vs DEN

Cleveland looked like a real contender this year to start the season, but some major injuries have hampered that in a big way. Both Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb are now gone, and the lack of Greg Newsome at CB has eliminated their CB depth. They are going to have to rely heavily on Baker Mayfield this week versus Denver. 

12. Minnesota VIkings

        Last Week: 34-28 win @ CAR

        Trending: +2

        This Week: Bye

The Vikings simply refuse to play a normal game of football, but they managed to win their second consecutive game. This time it was an overtime victory in Carolina, and Kirk Cousins was fabulous once again. The Vikings defense has been much improved in recent weeks as well, and that unit now leads the NFL in sacks. 

13. New Orleans Saints

        Last Week: Bye

        Trending: —

        This Week: 10/25 @ SEA

It’s possible that Michael Thomas could return this week against Seattle, and that would be massive for a team that needs a reliable receiver on a weekly basis. As long as the team is healthy, they should be able to handle Seattle. 

14. Pittsburgh Steelers

        Last Week: 23-20 win vs SEA

        Trending: +3

        This Week: Bye

Pittsburgh may be limping offensively, but it’s better than whatever they were doing early in the season. Ben Roethlisberger has made mistakes, but his arm has looked much better in recent weeks. Najee Harris is a massive luxury to have as a check down option too. The Steelers have been banged up on the defensive side of the ball, so this bye couldn’t come at a better time. 

15. Cincinnati Bengals

        Last Week: 34-11 win @ DET

        Trending: +1

        This Week: 10/24 @ BAL

Cincy showed a lot of character by brushing off the wounds of losing an overtime game against Green Bay and coming back to demolish the Lions in Detroit. Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase remain a dynamic duo, and Joe Mixon had a terrific game as well. The Bengals are another big win or two away from being a legitimate playoff contender. 

16. New England Patriots

        Last Week: 29-35 loss vs DAL

        Trending: -1

        This Week: 10/24 vs NYJ

The Patriots got another moral victory this week, but unfortunately, those don’t go down in the win column. Forcing overtime against this Cowboys team is impressive, but the inability to close out the win pushes the Patriots out of the AFC playoff picture for now.

17. Las Vegas Raiders

        Last Week: 34-24 win @ DEN

        Trending: +3

        This Week: 10/24 vs PHI

It was a tumultuous week for the Raiders to say the least, but Derek Carr stepped up big time for his team. Despite letting their head coach walk after his scandal, the offense didn’t miss a beat, running Denver off the field for much of the game. 

18. Tennessee Titans

        Last Week: 34-31 win vs BUF

        Trending: +4

        This Week: 10/24 vs KC

The Titans needed a big win to prove they were going to be legit contenders this year, and they certainly got that win on the massive shoulders of Derrick Henry. The Titans defense is still very bad, and it got worse with the loss of Caleb Farley, but this is a earth shattering win in the NFL universe. 

19. Seattle Seahawks

        Last Week: 20-23 loss @ PIT

        Trending: -7

        This Week: 10/25 vs NO

Geno Smith may have woken some people up down the stretch of last week’s game, but they’re dozing off again following this loss to Pittsburgh. Smith did very little on Sunday night despite having multiple opportunities to win the game, and the Seahawks offense largely ran through backup RB Alex Collins. 

20. Denver Broncos

        Last Week: 24-34 loss vs LV

        Trending: -2

        This Week: 10/21 @ CLE

Denver’s defense did not stand up to Vegas at all this week, and because of that, they have fallen to third in the AFC West, tied with the Chiefs who are building some momentum. On top of the defensive struggles, Teddy Bridgewater’s three interceptions didn’t help much, either. 

21. Chicago Bears

        Last Week: 14-24 loss vs GB

        Trending: -2

        This Week: 10/24 @ TB

Chicago tried their best to be frisky in this game against Green Bay, but with both Akiem Hicks and Khalil Mack hampered with injuries, and both of their top two RBs out, they just couldn’t get that last defensive stop. If nothing else, Khalil Herbert looks fabulous in the backfield. 

22. Indianapolis Colts

        Last Week: 31-3 win vs HOU

        Trending: +1

        This Week: 10/24 @ ARI

Widely considered as a playoff team going into this season, Indy’s 1-4 start has been disappointing to say the least. However, as the team begins to heal up and get some practices together, it seemed that Sunday could be a turning point for this group. The Colts absolutely destroyed Houston in all aspects of the game, and there should be great momentum going into their game against San Francisco. 

23. Washington Football Team

        Last Week: 13-31 vs KC

        Trending: -2

        This Week: 10/24 @ GB

The game got off to a great start for Washington, but after forcing three turnovers in the first half, they couldn’t get a single takeaway in the second half. Instead, Kansas City began forcing turnovers, and they ran away with it. 

24. Philadelphia Eagles

        Last Week: 22-28 loss vs TB

        Trending: —

        This Week: 10/24 @ LV

The Jalen Hurts concerns are coming in more and more often after another underwhelming game against Tampa Bay. The game was not as close as it ended up, but I guess losing by one possession to the defending champs isn’t terrible. 

25. Carolina Panthers

        Last Week: 28-34 loss vs MIN

        Trending: —

        This Week: 10/24 @ NYG

Robby Anderson’s struggles continue with multiple drops against Minnesota. On top of that, Chuba Hubbard is not quite the threat that Christian McCaffrey is out of the backfield, making things more reliant on Sam Darnold. Darnold has been decent for much of the year, but he struggled against a good Vikings defense. This week should bring an easier matchup with New York.

26. Atlanta Falcons

        Last Week: Bye

        Trending: +1

        This Week: 10/24 @ MIA

Atlanta bounced up the rankings a tad during their bye week, and now that they’re rested up, they get a chance to earn a second straight victory against Miami who is coming off a defeat in London. 

27. Jacksonville Jaguars

        Last Week: 23-20 win vs MIA

        Trending: +5

        This Week: Bye

The streak is officially over. Before it could become of age, the Jaguars won a game, ending their 20 game losing streak. This team still isn’t very good, but Trevor Lawrence has grown by leaps and bounds over the past couple weeks, and it’s exciting to see him figure out the NFL game.

28. Miami Dolphins

        Last Week: 20-23 loss @ JAX

        Trending: -2

        This Week: 10/24 vs ATL

This was an ugly loss for the Dolphins, but it was nothing more than just the latest of such losses. After beating New England in week 1, they now are on a five game losing streak, and questions abound surrounding Tua Tagovailoa’s abilities as a starting QB. 

29. New York Jets

        Last Week: Bye

        Trending: +1

        This Week: 10/24 @ NE

Usually, I try to keep team’s coming off bye weeks in the same position as the previous week. However, the criteria that the Jets met to warrant this jump is quite simple: they didn’t get blown out by damn near 30 points. That might change when they go to New England this weekend.

30. New York Giants

        Last Week: 11-38 loss vs LAR

        Trending: +1

        This Week: 10/24 vs CAR

I suppose congratulations are in order for the Giants this week on not having the most embarrassing blowout. The Giants were a short-handed team with the loss of Saquon Barkley, and Kadarius Toney left in the first quarter. When an inferior team is going to have any shot at competing with a Super Bowl contender, they need to be in top form. New York was anything but that this week. So, congratulations to the Giants on not being quite as bad as the last two teams, or I guess, having more of a reason to be bad. 

31. Detroit Lions

        Last Week: 11-34 loss vs CIN

        Trending: -3

        This Week: 10/24 @ LAR

In the battle of the wild cats, the Lions found themselves severely outmatched. Jared Goff was bad, the defense did nothing to contain the Bengals offense, and Dan Campbell just didn’t look like he was having a good time. This upcoming Rams matchup certainly won’t be a walk in the park either. 

32. Houston Texans

        Last Week: 3-31 loss @ IND

        Trending: -3

        This Week: 10/24 @ ARI

After almost shocking the world in a near upset of the New England Patriots last week, Davis Mills and the Texans turned right back into the team everyone thought they were this week. Jonathan Taylor had his way on the ground, and Carson Wentz looked very much like his old self against this secondary. Houston certainly has a problem, and it’s not going away anytime soon as they now head to the desert to take on the Cardinals.