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WEEI NFL Power Rankings, Week 8: Colts leap to No. 2 after edging Broncos 10.23.13 at 11:12 am ET
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A major shakeup is the result of a thrilling and somewhat shocking Week 7. The Broncos relinquished the No. 1 spot, with the Seahawks retaking the crown. Storming all the way up to No. 2 are the Colts. Behind Andrew Luck, Indy knocked off what looked to be an unbeatable Broncos team that falls to No. 3.

The Saints (6), Bengals (7) and Packers (8) all dropped a few spots despite winning or being on a bye. The spectacular Indy win along with the Chiefs (5) improving to 7-0 is the reason why. This goes to show how close the top teams are. Parity is king in the NFL.

Coming off an exciting overtime victory over the Patriots (9), the Jets make a dramatic leap five spots to No. 14. Meanwhile, the Bears (15) continue to plunge, having lost three of their last four and Jay Cutler for an extended period of time.

Three teams have claimed the top spot in the WEEI NFL Power Rankings through seven weeks. Can the undefeated Chiefs be the fourth? Week 8 awaits …

1. (2) Seahawks (6-1) — Percy Harvin‘s imminent return should instill fear throughout the NFC. If the Seahawks get home-field advantage in the playoffs, it will take a perfect game to knock them off.

2. (9) Colts (5-2) — Forget the six fourth-quarter comebacks and nine game-winning drives, Luck’s signature game was this past Sunday when he outdueled future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning. The Colts have another special QB in Indianapolis. 

3. (1) Broncos (6-1) — Turnovers at the running back position is a reason for concern in Denver. This team doesn’t have many weaknesses, but running back is one of them.

 4. (4) 49ers (5-2) — That’s four straight for the red-hot Niners. The run game has been a major factor for the offense. Frank Gore spoke out about his lack of carries following a Week 3 loss to the Colts and has seen his workload increase dramatically ever since.

5. (7) Chiefs (7-0) — The Chiefs have the makeup of a Super Bowl contender. They win close games, don’t turn the ball over and have a ferocious defense. It’s not the Seahawks but the Chiefs who are allowing the fewest points per game in the league (11.6).

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Read More: aaron rodgers, Andrew Luck, NFL Power Rankings, Peyton Manning
WEEI NFL Power Rankings, Week 7: Patriots bump up a spot to No. 8 10.15.13 at 11:17 am ET
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Week after week the NFL proves to be as unpredictable as the weather in New England. Who would’ve thought at the start of the season that the Giants would open the season 0-6? Or that the Chiefs, who won just two games last year, would be 6-0? The defending NFC South champion Falcons started the season in the top five of the WEEI NFL Power Rankings. Now they’ve plunged all the way to No. 20.

One thing about which there’s no doubt is the Broncos‘ stranglehold on the top spot. Denver has rolled through its first six games and now is seeing Pro Bowlers Von Miller and Champ Bailey return to its defense. Behind the Broncos, no team has separated itself to become a clear second best in the league. With the Saints’ last-second loss to the Patriots, the Seahawks jump a spot to No. 2.

The much-anticipated Week 7 is near. Peyton Manning makes his first trip back to Indianapolis to play the Colts, who slipped to ninth after their Monday night loss to the Chargers. It should be another fun and wild week in the NFL.

 1. (1) Broncos (6-0) — The undefeated Broncos didn’t even notice that Miller, the All-Pro linebacker, was missing for six weeks. Miller will just make the powerhouse even better with his return.

2. (3) Seahawks (5-1) — The imminent return of Percy Harvin and Zach Miller will help this offense greatly in the red zone. Russell Wilson and Co. have struggled to punch the ball in the end zone.

3. (2) Saints (5-1) — It’s never easy going into New England. The Saints were delivered their first loss, but they could have easily won that game with better coaching and clock management from Sean Payton. Great coaches make mistakes, too (just ask Bill Belichick). The Saints will be fine.

 4. (4) 49ers (4-2) — Since back-to-back losses, the Niners have gone back to the ground game on offense. Running back Frank Gore had a total of 20 carries in Week 2 and 3. In the last three San Francisco victories, Gore is averaging 20 carries per game.

5. (6) Bengals (4-2) — With wins against the Steelers, Packers and Patriots, the Bengals are sitting pretty atop the AFC North.

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Read More: Aqib Talib, Champ Bailey, NFL Power Rankings, Peyton Manning
WEEI NFL Power Rankings, Week 6: Patriots plummet to No. 9 10.08.13 at 1:04 pm ET
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The Broncos steamroll their way to the No. 1 spot after another dominant performance from Peyton Manning and the offense. John Elway‘s undefeated team has looked unstoppable and is a lock for the top spot again next week as the No. 32 Jaguars travel to Denver in Week 6.

Only three undefeated teams remain. The Saints (2) and Chiefs (8) both missed the playoffs last year but look primed to return after starting 5-0. Meanwhile, the Jaguars (32) and Giants (30) continue to search for a win. The two teams have a combined 31 turnovers.

Upsets were the theme in Week 5. The Seahawks (3), Patriots (9) and Falcons (20) all drop in the rankings after losing games in which they were favored. There could be more shakeup looming with the Packers (7) traveling to Baltimore (11) and the undefeated Saints heading to New England this Sunday.

1. (2) Broncos (5-0) — Not much more can be said about the Broncos offense. It’s not too early to start talking about an undefeated season. Unless you put up at least 40 points, you’re not beating Denver. The 46 points-per-game average is 16 points higher than the second-place Cowboys. 

2. (3) Saints (5-0) —  Drew Brees threw a career-high 19 interceptions last year. The Saints defense was historically bad. This is a completely different team. New Orleans is winning close games, protecting the football and playing great defense.

3. (1) Seahawks (4-1) — The Seahawks went 2-for-12 on third down Sunday against the Colts. There’s no reason for major panic in Seattle, however, as injured starting tight end Zach Miller should be ready to go next week and Percy Harvin‘s return is on the horizon. That will dramatically help the offense.

4. (4) 49ers (3-2) — Protect the football, dominate defensively and pound the ground game. That’s been the Niners’ formula for success the last couple of years.  Not many teams can win a game when the starting quarterback completes just six passes.

5. (6) Colts (4-1) —  Andrew Luck‘s resiliency and poise in big situations has been extremely impressive. He now has nine game-winning drives in his young career.

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Read More: Drew Brees, Geno Smith, NFL Power Rankings, Peyton Manning
WEEI NFL Power Rankings, Week 4: Seahawks, Broncos set themselves apart 09.24.13 at 10:13 am ET
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No argument here: The two best teams in the NFL through three weeks reside in Seattle and Denver. The Seahawks latch on to the top spot in the WEEI NFL Power Rankings once again while the Broncos hold a firm grasp on the No. 2 position.

Seven undefeated teams remain, and four of them are ranked in our top five. The Saints (3) and Bears (4) claw their way in after starting the season on the outside. The Patriots (7), Dolphins (10) and Chiefs (14) still have something to prove before they can climb into elite status.

Spiraling downward are the Giants (26), Bucs (30) and Redskins (23). The G-Men fall eight slots as they prepare for the undefeated Chiefs in Week 4.

Click here to listen to Mut, Merloni, and Zarbano discuss this edition of the WEEI NFL Power Rankings. 

1. (1) Seahawks (3-0) — Seattle has an early two-game lead over the 49ers in the battle for the NFC West. It’s just not fair to the other teams in the league when the Seahawks play at home.

2. (2) Broncos (3-0) — To figure out how dominant this Broncos offense really is, consider these statistical comparisons:

First 3 games        ’07 Patriots            ’13 Broncos

Points                              114                                127

Total yards                  1,323                            1,458

QB TDs                       Brady 10                   Manning 12

3. (6) Saints (3-0) —  The transformation on defense continues. The Saints are allowing just 12.4 points per game. Last year, the defense allowed 28.4.

4. (8) Bears (3-0) — An argument could be made that the Bears are the most improved team from last year. Marc Trestman‘s team has played with confidence, and it has translated on the field. There is only one starting quarterback in the league that has been sacked less than Jay Cutler. That’s a remarkable turnaround for a QB who has been sacked 148 times in the last four seasons.

5. (3) 49ers (1-2) —  It’s easy to see that the Niners offense is out of sync. The Seahawks defense can do that to a team. San Fran has to get back to what it does best on offense — pound the ball on the ground, have a high completion percentage and protect the football.

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Read More: aaron rodgers, NFL Power Rankings, Peyton Manning, Rex Ryan
WEEI NFL Power Rankings, Week 3: Seahawks soar, Pats plunge 09.17.13 at 10:08 am ET
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It’s the best rivalry in football, but the Seahawks made it look easy in Sunday’s 29-3 thrashing of the Niners. Seattle soars to the top of the WEEI NFL Power Rankings following the statement win while the divisional-rival Niners drop to No. 3. The Broncos (2), Falcons (4) and Packers (5) round out the top five for a second straight week.

Despite being 2-0, the Patriots fall three spots to No. 9. After facing two rookie quarterbacks and two teams that combined for 20 losses in 2012, New England barely edged out victories in both games.

We’re just two weeks into the season, but if history tells us anything, the eight 0-2 teams have an uphill battle to climb. Since 1990 only 11.5 percent of teams that started 0-2 went on to make the playoffs. The Giants (18), Redskins (20), Vikings (24), Steelers (25), Panthers (29), Browns (31) and Jaguars (32) all have staggered out of the gate.

1. (3) Seahawks (2-0) — Dominant. That’s the simple way to describe Seattle’s stifling defense. Pete Carroll‘s D already has forced seven turnovers, allowed just one touchdown, and given up a total of 10 points.

2. (2) Broncos (2-0) — This team is so talented offensively, it can afford to be flagged 13 times and still win by 18 points.

3. (1) 49ers (1-1) —  Some red flags were raised after the lopsided loss to Seattle. Colin Kaepernick already has matched his total number of interceptions all of last year with three on Sunday. Jim Harbaugh‘s team has been penalized 23 times in its first two games. Turnovers and penalties usually are something the defending NFC champs are used to seeing from their opponents.

4. (4) Falcons (1-1) — The defending NFC South champs will limp into Week 3 after losing several key players to injury. Starters Kroy Biermann and Bradie Ewing are done for the season. Asante Samuel, Sean Weatherspoon and Steven Jackson also were hurt in Sunday’s win.

5. (5) Packers (1-1) — It’s amazing the Packers have been able to win so many games over the last few years without having a productive run game. It’s goes to show how explosive their offense has been. On Sunday, James Starks rushed for over 100 yards, the first time a Green Bay running back has accomplished that since 2010.

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Read More: Colin Kaepernick, NFL Power Rankings, Peyton Manning, Robert Kraft
WEEI NFL Power Rankings, Week 2: Niners have hold on No. 1 heading into showdown with Seahawks 09.10.13 at 11:56 am ET
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The 2013 season is underway, and naturally the overreactions from the first week of games are prevalent across the league. Four playoff teams from last season lost to non-playoff teams in Week 1. Some of these upsets had serious implications in this week’s WEEI NFL Power Rankings. For example, the Bengals dropped out of the top 10 to No. 12, and the Redskins fell all the way to No. 17.

The top five teams remained the same as last week, however there was some movement in the group. The Broncos jumped to No. 2 after a record-breaking night, and the Falcons dropped to No. 4 after falling to the Saints. The Patriots (6) and Texans (7) remain on the cusp waiting for one of the top five teams to falter.

Week 2 is all about the divisional showdowns. The most intriguing game to watch is the top-ranked 49ers at the third-ranked Seahawks, as the bitter rivals clash for the first time this year. Stay tuned to see how that game and the rest of the Week 2 matchups affect the rankings.

1. (1) 49ers (1-0) — The Niners are a flat-out scary, well-balanced team. They pressure the quarterback and can beat you in many different ways offensively. Is it too early to say the addition of Anquan Boldin is the offseason move of the year? 

2. (4) Broncos (1-0) — If the Broncos can muster a relatively productive run game, their offense will be unstoppable. The amount of weapons Peyton Manning has at his disposal should be illegal. The one area of weakness for Denver is its pass rush. However, that can’t be too much of a concern with an offense that will average over 30 points per game.

3. (2) Seahawks (1-0) — The offensive line must do a better job protecting Russell Wilson if the Seahawks want to accomplish their goal of winning the division and playing at home throughout the playoffs. The team standing in their way, the 49ers, thrives at pressuring the quarterback. Seattle has a major test in Week 2.

4. (3) Falcons (0-1) — Matt Ryan may have many weapons, but his line has to protect him better if the Falcons offense is going to be successful.

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Read More: NFL Power Rankings, Peyton Manning, Rex Ryan, Tom Brady
WEEI NFL Power Rankings, Week 1: NFC dominates top spots 09.05.13 at 8:47 am ET
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The “Boys of Fall” are back for another year, as the NFL season is ready to kick off. There are many storylines surrounding the 2013 season. Coaches are on the hot seat, rookie QBs are set to start, and divisional rivalries are as nasty as ever.

The NFC West was the joke of the NFL just a few years ago. Now that division dominates the WEEI NFL Power Rankings with the two top spots. The Niners begin the year at No. 1, while the second-ranked Seahawks smell blood and are committed to winning the division behind their ferocious defense. The Falcons, Broncos and Packers round out the top five, while the Patriots (6) are on the outside looking in.

We could see a shakeup as early as next week when the Niners put their lofty ranking on the line against the Packers.

And so it begins, the first edition of the NFL Power Rankings for the 2013 season. Be sure to check back here every Tuesday to see the latest version, and feel free to leave comments at the bottom to eviscerate me because you’re unhappy your team was left out of the top 10.

 1. 49ers (11-4-1) — The 49ers win games because of their style of play. It’s hard to find a faster, more physical defense in the league. Offensively, they run the ball down their opponent’s throat and complement the run game with a calculated passing attack. Oh yeah, they don’t turn the ball over, either.

2. Seahawks (11-5) — It’s all about securing home-field advantage in Seattle, because we saw last year what a difference it made when the Seahawks played at home. There’s no reason why this team can’t be a Super Bowl contender. Pete Carroll‘s club plays the game well in all phases.

3. Falcons (13-3) — The Falcons don’t have many weaknesses. They can beat you through the air and on the ground with a balanced offensive attack. They’re also strong defensively and are well-coached. Anything less than a return to the NFC championship should be considered a disappointment in Atlanta.

4. Broncos (13-3) — This Broncos offense is capable of putting up similar numbers to the Patriots’ 2007 squad. The defense may struggle at times, especially with Von Miller out for six games, but Peyton Manning and friends will simply outscore their opponents week after week.

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Read More: Bill Belichick, NFL Power Rankings, Rex Ryan, Tom Brady
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