|WEEI NFL Power Rankings: Week 7||10.19.10 at 12:02 pm ET|
The Pittsburgh Steelers claim the throne in this week’s edition of the WEEI NFL Power Rankings. Led by Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers finally can improve their pass game and complement a defense that is allowing just 12 points per game. Moving on up into the top five are Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. After a thrilling overtime win at home against the Ravens, the Patriots proved they can win against the NFL’s best.
Making a big leap to No. 7 are the Philadelphia Eagles. Despite a looming quarterback controversy, the Eagles showed how dynamic their offense can be with either Kevin Kolb or Michael Vick behind center.
Falling out of the top 10 are the Green Bay Packers (No. 11) and Chicago Bears (No. 13). Injuries are piling up over at Lambeau Field and the Bears’ offensive line struggles continue to be a major problem.
Week 7 will feature some exciting NFC matchups that promise to cause some major ripple effects in the rankings. The Vikings are at Green Bay and the Giants are at Dallas.
1. (Last week, 3) 4-1 The Steelers are one of the most complete teams in the NFL right now. Ben Roethlisberger showed some rust in his return but also made some outstanding throws. Now, Pittsburgh has a passing offense to go along with their great run game and defense.
2. (2) 5-1 The Jets will go into their bye week after rattling off a very impressive five-game winning streak. Cornerback Darrelle Revis obviously isn’t healthy and could benefit greatly from the time off. One of the main keys to New York’s success through six games has been the play of a rejuvenated LaDainian Tomlinson. The 31-year-old running back leads a Jets running attack that ranks second in the NFL.
3. (6) 4-1 The Patriots defense was very impressive down the stretch in the fourth quarter and overtime. New England’s D was able to stop the Ravens on their final five drives. Bill Belichick said it was the best game his outside linebackers have played all year. Their win over the Ravens should definitely be a confidence booster going forward.
4. (1) 4-2 The Ravens just finished a tough stretch of games where they played New York, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and New England, all on the road. Now the Ravens can enjoy some games at home and should be able to bounce back from their loss to the Patriots. After the game, Ray Lewis was already looking forward to the next game when they take on the Bills at home saying, “It’s going to be rough on Buffalo.”
5. (5) 4-2 Plagued with injuries, it seems the Colts can overcome anything as long as they have No. 18 under center. Peyton Manning has been playing outstanding as usual. Indy is also able to rush the passer and is able to force mistakes with Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis on the ends.
6. (7) 4-2 The Saints got just what they needed Sunday against the Bucs. Rookie running back Chris Ivory ran for 158 yards, opening up the field to help QB Drew Brees complete passes to 10 different receivers. Hopefully for Saints fans, this win will be a momentum builder going forward.
7. (15) 4-2 Impressive win for the Eagles Sunday over the Falcons. Philly’s D stepped up and held Michael Turner to just 45 yards on the ground. Meanwhile, Kevin Kolb played like a man who wants to keep his starting job. Kolb had a 133.3 passer rating in the win.
9. (4) 4-2 The Falcons had their opportunity to prove they were the best team in the NFC but were beaten badly in Philadelphia. Michael Turner needs to be more consistent in the running game. Matt Ryan threw the ball over 40 times in the team’s loss to the Eagles.
10. (13) 3-2 The Dolphins remain unbeaten on the road, improving to 3-0 when away from Miami. There isn’t enough that can be said about Cameron Wake. The former CFL star had three sacks against the Packers and has been making big plays all year.
11. (10) 3-3 Injuries are obviously catching up with the Packers. Highlighted by Clay Matthews, Ryan Grant, Jermichael Finley and Nick Barnett, Green Bay’s injury report seems to be swelling each week.
12. (14) 4-2 Kerry Collins’ stepped up when Vince Young went down and turned in a great performance. The 37-year-old quarterback threw a touchdown and had a QB rating over 100 during Monday night’s win over the Jaguars. Oh, and having running back Chris Johnson run for over 100 yards once again helped out as well.
13. (8) 4-2 It should come as no surprise that Jay Cutler has been sacked more than any other quarterback in the league. He’s been taken down 23 times behind the line of scrimmage. The Bears can’t seem to solve their issues on their offensive line and that makes the Bears a very mediocre team.
14. (17) 2-3 Led by a 41-year-old QB and a rousing speech from WR Randy Moss, the Vikings won a “must-win” game in October over the Cowboys. Mistakes and turnovers have plagued the Vikings all year but in Sunday’s win they were able to play mistake-free football for the most part. Minnesota only turned the ball over once and committed just five penalties.
15. (16) 4-2 Houston’s offense with Matt Schaub, Andre Johnson and Arian Foster is one of the most dynamic in the league. However, the Texans pass defense is still an area of concern. They allowed one of the worst passing teams in the league to throw for three touchdowns in the air.
16. (11) 3-2 Despite blowing a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter, the Chiefs can take some positives out of their loss to the Texans. Kansas City finally enjoyed a strong passing performance from QB Matt Cassel. If the Chiefs pass game can continue to be effective and complement the team’s strong rushing game, this offense can do some damage.
17. (12) 3-3 The Redskins need a few more playmakers on both sides of the ball to compete for a playoff spot, but they have been strong in their first six games. This team refuses to give up and is keeping games close — a lot of the credit has to go to head coach Mike Shanahan.
18. (21) 2-4 Looking at the box score, you would think the Broncos beat the Jets on Sunday. Denver had more first downs, more passing and rushing yards, fewer penalties and won the turnover battle but still found a way to lose. The Broncos should be able to come away from this loss with some added confidence after playing a very good game against one of the best in the league.
19. (18) 3-2 The Bucs have issues with the run game. Tampa Bay can’t seem to gain yards on the ground on offense and can’t stop the run on defense.
20. (20) 1-4 Since 1990, only five teams have made the playoffs after starting the season 1-4. Unless the Cowboys make a remarkable recovery, they won’t be the sixth team. The Wade Phillips-led Cowboys committed another 11 penalties on Sunday, making them the third most-penalized team in the league.
21. (25) 3-2 The Seahawks finally had a solid running attack Sunday and it was against a pretty good run defense. On the other side of the ball, they were able pressure the passer and sack Jay Cutler six times. However, it seems like that is the norm for any defense facing the Bears. If the Seahawks can be consistent in their run game and pass rush, they can win the NFC West.
22. (19) 2-4 San Diego has now lost all four of its road games. The Chargers’ special teams unit has been awful all year and the injury to Antonio Gates makes matters worse. Historically known for their slow starts, this Chargers team looks a lot different than the past teams who eventually heated up towards the end of the year.
23. (28) 3-3 Seven sacks for the Rams defense on Sunday and some great performances on offense from Sam Bradford and Steven Jackson gave St. Louis its third win of the season. That’s two more wins than all of last year.
24. (27) 1-5 It comes as no surprise that the first 49ers win of the season came on a day when Alex Smith played his first game of the season without throwing an interception. I wouldn’t call Jed York completely crazy for saying that his team is going to win the division. The NFC West is so mediocre, anything could happen.
25. (22) 3-2 The Cardinals’ 3-2 record is very deceiving. This is a team that ranks at the bottom of the league in many offensive and defensive statistical categories.
26. (24) 2-3 The Bengals face a tough matchup coming off their bye week Sunday, when they travel to Atlanta to take on the Falcons. Let’s see if they can generate a pass rush and avoid making mistakes on offense after having a week off.
27. (23) 3-2 The Jaguars didn’t bother to show up Monday night and got embarrassed on a national stage. This team lacks leadership and consistency at the quarterback position.
28. (26) 2-4 Before the season began, Raiders fans thought Jason Campbell would be the solution. Now, after losing his starting job, he could be losing his backup role as well. Campbell finished Sunday’s loss with an appalling 10.7 passer rating. Kyle Boller seems to be in line to start Sunday until starter Bruce Gradkowski is healthy enough to return.
29. (29) 1-5 The NFL’s most-penalized team will more than likely welcome their young-franchise QB back after their upcoming bye week. Matthew Stafford should be set to go when the Lions take on the Redskins on Oct. 31st. It’s time for Stafford to prove he was worth the No. 1 selection in ’09.
30. (30) 1-5 Overall, a solid performance from rookie QB Colt McCoy in his first career start. McCoy’s game is definitely one he can build on.
31. (31) 0-5 The Panthers will turn their hopes of securing their first victory of the year back to Matt Moore. Hopefully, for John Fox’ sake, this move will help the Panthers zoom past their average of a measly 10 points a game.
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