NFL Power Rankings: Rising Teams That Need a Week 7 Victory

Steven Gerwel@Steve_GerFeatured Columnist IVOctober 21, 2012

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 14: Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions throws a pass while under pressure against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on October 14, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Lions won 26-23 in overtime. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The 2012 NFL season has been particularly unique in that there very few elite teams that stand out above the rest. 

There are 17 teams, over half the league, with three losses and at least two wins. And only two teams in the AFC have winning records, while only nine total teams are above the .500 mark. 

There's a lot of mediocrity in the NFL this season, but it has also been interesting since several unexpected teams are still well in the hunt for their divisions. 

At this point, few teams are taking advantage of their wide-open divisions, and the playoff picture is anyone's guess. 

But even though few teams are excelling at this point, there have been some teams who have improved in recent weeks, and a Week 7 victory could give them a clear edge. 

And with that, here is the power rankings entering Week 7. 

1. Atlanta Falcons (6-0)

The Houston Texans suffered their first loss of the season to Green Bay, leaving the impressive Falcons as the only unbeaten team. 

2. Houston Texans (5-1)

The Texans may have suffered their first loss, but they still may very well be the most well-rounded team in the NFL.

3. Baltimore Ravens (5-1)

The defense isn't what it used to be, but the Ravens have been getting it done regardless. 

4. San Francisco 49ers (4-2)

Thought of as possibly the best team in the NFL, the 49ers have surprisingly managed to lose two games already this season. 

5. Chicago Bears (5-1)

Few people thought the Bears would be 5-1 at this point, especially after they were embarrassed by Green Bay on prime time. The loss to the Packers remains their only loss on the season, and a Week 7 win against Detroit would put them in the NFC North driver's seat for the remainder of the season.

If the Packers lose a few more games, they'll have a hard time digging themselves out of the hole. 

6. New York Giants (4-2)

The Week 1 loss to Dallas was bad, but the Giants have been getting it done otherwise. 

7. Minnesota Vikings (4-2)

After a 4-1 start to the season, the Vikings were handed their second loss against Washington. For the Vikings, who were considered long shots entering the season, it's important that they respond to that loss in a productive way. 

A Week 7 loss against Arizona could force the Vikings to lose control, but a victory will show that they have resilience and will give them confidence moving forward. 

8. New England Patriots (3-3)

The Patriots aren't the powerhouse some thought they would be, but they still have an offense that strikes fear into their opponents. 

9. Green Bay Packers (3-3)

Green Bay is finally putting it together after a rough start, but now they have to show consistency. 

10. San Diego Chargers (3-3)

With back-to-back losses against New Orleans and Denver, the Chargers are about to sink like a rock if they don't respond quickly. 

11. Seattle Seahawks (4-3)

The Seahawks have an anemic offense, but their defense has kept them in games and has them competing for the NFC West. 

12. Cincinnati Bengals (3-3)

With Pittsburgh, Denver and the Giants coming up, the Bengals need to show more consistency. 

13. Denver Broncos (3-3)

The loss to New England was disappointing, but they were able to beat San Diego the following week in an impressive AFC West showdown. 

14. Philadelphia Eagles (3-3)

With back-to-back losses to Pittsburgh and Detroit, it's time for the Eagles to either sink or swim. 

15. Miami Dolphins (3-3)

The Dolphins faced the Rams last week, and despite being outperformed on offense 462 yards to 192, Miami was still able to find a way to win. 

16. St. Louis Rams (3-3)

The Rams are sitting with a 3-3 record, like many teams, but what separates them is the fact that they've been highly competitive in every game. 

Week 7 against the Packers is going to be vital for the Rams, because it's the beginning of a tough three-game stretch that also includes New England and San Francisco. 

If the Rams win against Green Bay, they'll have confidence moving forward. If not, it could be the beginning of their downward spiral. 

17. Arizona Cardinals (4-2)

The Cardinals were generating a lot of buzz after starting the year 4-0, but consecutive losses to the Rams and Bills have exposed their true colors. 

18. Washington Redskins (3-3)

RGIII has been fun to watch, but it will likely be another year or two before they can take the NFC East. 

19. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-3)

The Steelers were able to beat the Eagles, but then they lost to the Titans. It's hard to peg them at this point, but we certainly know they're not the same old championship-caliber Steelers. 

20. New York Jets (3-3)

The Jets have taken a lot of heat and unnecessary criticism, but they've managed to remain competitive.

21. Buffalo Bills (3-3)

The Bills need to show consistency or they'll never be taken seriously. 

22. Dallas Cowboys (2-3)

Dallas looked great in the opener against the Giants, but they've lost control. The bye week may have them back on track, but don't count on it. 

23. Detroit Lions (2-3)

Detroit was supposed to be an offensive juggernaut entering the season, and even though their offense is still solid at times, they have failed to meet expectations. 

Week 7 is vital for the Lions because they are going against the Bears on prime time. The Bears are 5-1 and have been in control of the NFC North thus far. 

This is a perfect opportunity for the Lions to make a statement and turn their season around. However, a loss makes it doubtful that they'll ever turn it around this season. 

24. Indianapolis Colts (2-3)

Andrew Luck and the Colts still have work to do, but they've been better than advertised in 2012. 

25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3)

The Bucs were such a young and promising team in 2010, but now they're still trying to recover from their drastic 2011 decline. 

26. New Orleans Saints (1-4)

The Saints were able to snap their losing streak against the Chargers on prime time, but they will continue to struggle without their head coach present. 

27. Carolina Panthers (1-4)

Cam Newton and the Panthers generated a lot of buzz in 2011, but they struggled to produce wins. Once again, they are struggling to produce wins, only this time the buzz is gone. 

28. Tennessee Titans (2-4)

The Titans are the best of the bottom dwellers, but still among the bottom dwellers nonetheless.

29. Oakland Raiders (1-4)

Every time the Raiders begin to show promise, they inexplicably fire their head coach. With such idiotic leadership, it's no wonder why they have only one win. 

30. Kansas City Chiefs (1-5)

Not only are the Chiefs losing frequently, but they are being handed landslide defeats. 

31. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-4)

There's not a lot to look forward to with this franchise. 

32. Cleveland Browns (1-5)

Trent Richardson is a beast and Brandon Weeden has been decent at times, but the Browns are awful. 


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