Week 7 Power Rankings
Upon the completion of last week, the NFL boasted two undefeated teams, and four one-loss teams. Then week 6 happened leaving lingering questions in it's wake. What does the loss to the Giants mean for the 49ers? How did New England slip in Seattle? Is Aaron Rodgers back to being Aaron Rodgers? Most of the top teams have show signs of both greatness and weakness thus far this season. So to alleviate your stress of deciphering the NFL's hierarchy, here are the Week 6 power rankings.
# 10 Minnesota Vikings
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Let me preface selecting the Minnesota Vikings as the tenth best team by revealing that if Kevin Kolb was healthy, Arizona would be in this slot. However, Kolb is hurt and the 4-2 Vikings and their eighth ranked rushing attack led by Adrian Peterson and his cyborg knee are the tenth best team after week 6.
The Viking's resume boasts a home victory against San Francisco, however, their other three wins came at the mercy of teams with a combined 5-11 record.
Their two losses came to Indianapolis (2-3) and Washington (3-3). Worse yet for the Vikings, their closing schedule is: @Seattle, Detroit, @Chicago, @Green Bay, Chicago, @St. Louis, @Houston, Green Bay.
Vikings fans should feel good about their improvements on both sides of the ball, but the Vikings stay in the NFL's top ten will not be a lengthy one.
#9 Seattle Seahawks
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Hollywood writers need to get to work. The 2012 Seattle Seahawks are the perfect candidate for a football version of 'Angels in the Outfield.'
You got the underdog protagonist, Russell Wilson, who was pegged to be too short to play professionally. You have the perfect movie-coach in Pete Carrol, who is unabashed with his celebrations and charisma. Skittles will fund half the production costs with product placement opportunities with the ferocious Marshawn Lynch.
Then, most importantly, you have the supernatural at work. You have the 'angels' raising up the replacement ref's arms to signal touchdown against the Packers. Their remote-control direction of Russell Wilson's fade route to Sidney Rice against New England.
You have everything you need for a Hollywood movie.
The Seahawks simply find ways to win. At 4-2, Seattle are in playoff contention for the long haul.
I expect commission when the film is green-lit.
#8 Baltimore Ravens
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Placing the 5-1 Ravens as the eighth best team in the NFL came with great turmoil for me. However, the injuries in combination with the eye-test forced my hand.
One of the more underrated corners in the NFL, Ladarius Webb tore his ACL Sunday.
Ray Lewis and Haloti Ngata were unable to finish, not too mention Terrell Suggs future remains cloudy.
Joe Flacco has been inconsistent. He'll dazzle us like he did against Cincinnati, then he'll come right back and not post an offensive touchdown against Kansas City.
The Dallas Cowboys ran, yes you read that right, all over the Ravens. With the substantial injuries to their defense, the Ravens offense will have to lead them if they're going to contend in 2012, which is not impossible if Flacco can perform consistently.
#7 Chicago Bears
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In their four wins, the Chicago Bears have looked dominant. The Bears are averaging 29.89 points per game, second only to New England, and have outscored opponents 149-71.
So how does a team with the second highest scoring offense, and highest ranked defense rank seventh?
Brandon Marshall and Jay Cutler are a dangerous duo, but I can't remove the memory of the Green Bay Packers assault on Jay Cutler in week 2. At any moment the Bears offensive line is prone to detonate.
If the Bears can protect Cutler, we will see them as a major contender. I need more than a five game sample to believe in the Bears bi-polar offense.
At this time you just can't put the Bears over the Packers and the 49ers, but time will tell.
#6 Green Bay Packers
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I know that everyone else will overreact to what we saw last night, which was nothing short of spectacular, but I refuse to ignore the previous five games of this season.
The 2012 Packers could be 5-1 very easily, however, the official record is 3-3.
Both sides of the ball have been inconsistent. Aaron Rodgers has been a force all season, but the lack of a running game makes him vulnerable to a pass rush.
The Packers have handed Chicago and Houston their only losses, and have completed the tough portion of their schedule already.
The Packers will continue to rise on this list as the season unravels, but for now at 3-3, with a dangerous alchemy of being able to beat anyone and lose to anyone, they're number six.
#5 San Francisco 49ers
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This selection is going to anger some people but bear with me. The 49ers, at times, have looked dominant this season. Then there is the two losses.
Like many teams thus far in 2012, the 49ers have some glaring omissions on their report card, but they have 10 games to patch things up.
As a seven point home favorite, the 49ers got run out of Candlestick Park yesterday by the New York Giants. Alex Smith looked uncomfortable throughout and the offensive line was abused by the Giants front.
Lets not over analyze this one game.
When the wheels are churning for the 49er's, they're nearly unbeatable, just ask the Green bay Packers. But when you pressure Alex Smith and force him to beat you, they display some vulnerabilities.
#4 New England Patriots
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Yes, the Patriots are 3-3, but their three losses have been by a combined four points. For the very reason that statistic can be a positive it can be construed as a negative.
The Patriots have to learn to put lesser teams away. The newly found run game of the Patriots will be invaluable once weather conditions decline later this season.
Yesterdays return of Aaron Hernandez makes the NFL's top ranked offense even stronger. Despite their record, the Patriots are still the fourth best team in the league.
#3 Houston Texans
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Like in the case with the Green Bay Packers, last night was just one game. When Rodgers and the Packers get on a roll, they're almost unbeatable.
The Texans were on a short week and reeling from the season-ending injury of Brian Cushing.
The other five games this season the Texans have been exceptional. Their balanced offensive attack makes them a tough matchup.
Yes, Cushing is gone, but Wade Phillips has shown time after time that he can reload his defense. Factor in that the Texans play in the NFL's worst division and Houston will be in the fast-lane for home field advantage come playoff time.
By no means should you write of the Texans based on last night's lopsided loss to the Packers.
#2 New York Giants
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The defending Super Bowl champions left San Francisco with an exclamation point.
Their front seven hound opposing quarterbacks and Eli Manning and his revolving door of weapons are never out of a game.
They have all the tools to win plus the experience. Just look at the other teams on this list, and stack them up against the Giants and you will see that New York is a match-up problem for each of them.
It's not an easy feat, but repeat should be in the minds of the Giants.
#1 Atlanta Falcons
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You can try to knock them for how they've let bad teams hang around (Oakland and Carolina), but the Falcons are 6-0 and in the NFL that can't be under appreciated.
Matt Ryan boasts three pro-bowl weapons in Julio Jones, Roddy White and the age defying Tony Gonzalez, not too mention Michael Turner and his powerful running style. The defense makes plays when they have to.
They have the beautiful combination of a clutch quarterback and kicker. It's impossible to talk about Matt Ryan and the Falcons without mentioning the goose-egg playoff record, but right now, six weeks into the 2012 campaign, the Falcons have been the best team.