Updated QB Power Rankings After NFL Week 7

Matt Stein@MatthewJSteinCorrespondent IIOctober 23, 2012

Updated QB Power Rankings After NFL Week 7

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    As we approach the midway point of the 2012 NFL season, our quarterback rankings have begun to get a little more consistency.

    For example, we know that quarterbacks like Carson Palmer and Mark Sanchez are going to remain in the lower half of these rankings. We also know that Tom Brady, Eli Manning and Drew Brees are going to be fighting for the elite spots on this list.

    While there were some big movers up and down this list this week (I'm looking at you, Russell Wilson and Josh Freeman), the majority of the quarterbacks remained close to their rankings last week. Here are the updated quarterback rankings after Week 7.

    You can view Week 6's quarterback rankings here.

32. Matt Cassel, Kansas City Chiefs

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    Last Week Ranking: 32

    Week 7 Statistics: N/A (Kansas City Chiefs had a bye this week)

    Matt Cassel got a much-needed rest in Week 7 after struggling mightily through the first portion of the season. He's coming off a concussion that kept him out in Week 6, and according to Adam Teicher of the Kansas City Star, he won't be playing in Week 8.

    That'll keep Cassel at the bottom of the rankings for another week, or until he officially gets benched for Brady Quinn.

31. John Skelton, Arizona Cardinals

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    Last Week Ranking: N/A

    Week 7 Statistics: 25-of-36, 262 yards, one touchdown, one interception, one fumble lost

    I've replaced Kevin Kolb with John Skelton due to Kolb's horrid play in the previous two weeks and Skelton not looking too awful this week against the Minnesota Vikings.

    Unfortunately, Skelton still looks like one of the worst quarterbacks in the league, and the Arizona Cardinals finally look like the team everyone pegged them to be at the start of the season. Whether Kolb or Skelton leads this team in the future, they'll both likely remain at the bottom of these rankings for the foreseeable future.

30. Blaine Gabbert, Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Last Week Ranking: 31

    Week 7 Statistics: 8-of-12, 110 yards, one touchdown, zero interceptions

    Had Blaine Gabbert stayed in Sunday's game and kept up his pace, he likely would have moved up a few more spots this week.

    However, Gabbert did get injured, and the Jacksonville Jaguars completely stalled under Chad Henne. While that may appear to make Gabbert a valuable quarterback, it only makes him more valuable to the worst team in the NFL.

29. Jake Locker, Tennessee Titans

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    Last Week Ranking: 28 

    Week 7 Statistics: N/A (Jake Locker sat out Week 7 with a shoulder injury)

    I'm sure the Tennessee Titans are feeling good about their second straight victory in a close game. However, you have to wonder if Locker can't play again next week and the Titans win, will they be able to turn back to the second-year player?

    My gut tells me the job is Locker's when he returns, which is why we're keeping him in these rankings despite not playing.

28. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

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    Last Week Ranking: 23

    Week 7 Statistics: 9-of-23, 122 yards, zero touchdowns, one interception

    We might have gotten a little too high on Russell Wilson after last week's dramatic win over the New England Patriots. Against an elite defense on Thursday night, Wilson struggled as the San Francisco 49ers kept him from doing any damage.

    There have been times this season when Wilson has looked like the best rookie quarterback. However, there have also been times when he's looked like the worst of the bunch.

    Until Wilson can string together more than one solid performance in a row, he'll be ranked this low in these rankings.

27. Brandon Weeden, Cleveland Browns

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    Last Week Ranking: 29

    Week 7 Statistics: 25-of-41, 264 yards, two touchdowns, zero interceptions

    Brandon Weeden is being overshadowed by the fact that the Cleveland Browns are 1-6, but he has strung together some quality games these past few weeks. In fact, Weeden actually outplayed his rookie counterpart Andrew Luck this week.

    With each game that passes, Weeden looks more and more like the franchise quarterback that Cleveland hoped he would quickly become. He'll continue to move up these rankings as long as he can keep progressing in a positive direction.

26. Carson Palmer, Oakland Raiders

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    Last Week Ranking: 27

    Week 7 Statistics: 26-of-46, 298 yards, one touchdown, one interception, one fumble lost

    It seems as if Carson Palmer has settled into a groove with the Oakland Raiders. While that groove certainly hasn't been spectacular, it has certainly been better than many expected heading into the season.

    Palmer has the Raiders playing competitive football and winning some games. It is unlikely that we'll see much movement up or down from Palmer, as mediocre seems to be the level where Palmer is content to play.

25. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo Bills

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    Last Week Ranking: 26

    Week 7 Statistics: 27-of-35, 225 yards, three touchdowns, one interception, one fumble lost

    Despite losing on Sunday, Ryan Fitzpatrick played a solid game for the Buffalo Bills. He kept his team close against the Tennessee Titans all game but came up just short of a much-needed victory.

    While it will be difficult for Buffalo to move forward with Fitzpatrick if it continues to lose games, at least Fitzpatrick is showing some fight. If he can continue to play tough football for the remainder of the season, I'm sure that some team will be happy to have him on its roster.

24. Mark Sanchez, New York Jets

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    Last Week Ranking: 25

    Week 7 Statistics: 28-of-41, 328 yards, one touchdown, one interception, one fumble lost

    You can blame the New York Jets' loss to the New England Patriots on Mark Sanchez if you want, but the truth is that Sanchez played another solid game on Sunday.

    Sure, Sanchez's fumble in overtime ultimately lost his team the game, but had he not played so well for the first 60 minutes, the Jets wouldn't have even had a chance to win. The best news for New York from this game is that Sanchez has been playing well enough to keep Tim Tebow away from the quarterback position for another week.

    The Jets need to come to grips with the fact that Sanchez is a decent quarterback and nothing more. He likely won't be making any big movements for the rest of the year in these rankings.

23. Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles

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    Last Week Ranking: 24

    Week 7 Statistics: N/A (Philadelphia Eagles had a bye this week)

    Michael Vick moves up one spot because of the poor game from Russell Wilson, but that might be the last time we see Vick move up in these rankings his year.

    He's had as difficult a time as any quarterback this year, and a few more poor performances could ultimately land him on the sidelines for the remainder of the season.

22. Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins

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    Last Week Ranking: 22

    Week 7 Statistics: N/A (Miami Dolphins had a bye this week)

    Ryan Tannehill is also coming off a bye heading into Week 8, and it will be interesting to see how he responds to having a week off.

    He has looked extremely good in past weeks, and if he can continue to improve, he'll continue to pass quarterbacks as he climbs up these rankings.

21. Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams

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    Last Week Ranking: 21

    Week 7 Statistics: 21-of-34, 255 yards, one touchdown, one interception

    While it looks like Sam Bradford had a solid statistical game on Sunday, his lone touchdown pass came late in the game after the Green Bay Packers had already sealed the victory.

    The biggest issue with Bradford this year has been his decision-making. On his interception, he simply threw to a receiver who was beautifully covered by Casey Hayward.

    Bradford ultimately needs a better offensive line and better receivers to reach his full potential, and until that happens, both Bradford and the St. Louis Rams will be considered middle-of-the-pack.

20. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals

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    Last Week Ranking: 17

    Week 7 Statistics: 14-of-28, 105 yards, one touchdown, one interception

    Andy Dalton continues his slide down the quarterback rankings this week with another poor performance against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night.

    While completing only 50 percent of his passes is certainly an issue, the fact that A.J. Green only finished the game with one reception is an even bigger issue. If Green isn't getting a handful of receptions each game, then Dalton isn't doing his job.

    Dalton had a great start to the season but has since struggled to put together a decent game for the Cincinnati Bengals. He'll need to turn his play around if the Bengals want a chance to make the playoffs.

19. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers

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    Last Week Ranking: 18

    Week 7 Statistics: 21-of-37, 233 yards, one touchdown, one interception, 64 rushing yards, one fumble lost

    Another week and another unimpressive performance in a loss for Cam Newton. He continues to regress as a quarterback, and that is terrible news for the Carolina Panthers.

    Many predicted the Panthers to take that next step forward and fight for a playoff spot this year, but Newton hasn't made the strides that he was expected to. Now Carolina looks poised for another high draft pick, and a big reason why is the play of Newton.

    There is no doubting the talent and potential of Newton, but he needs to learn to consistently show those qualities on the field.

18. Christian Ponder, Minnesota Vikings

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    Last Week Ranking: 16

    Week 7 Statistics: 8-of-17, 58 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions

    I'm not really sure what happened to Christian Ponder on Sunday. He had been playing very well in his sophomore season for the Minnesota Vikings, but then he had a truly awful performance against the Arizona Cardinals.

    Of course, you don't have to do much when Adrian Peterson is running like he was on Sunday. However, if the Vikings want to to be considered a legitimate threat in the NFC, Ponder can't have another game like he did in Week 7.

17. Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens

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    Last Week Ranking: 12

    Week 7 Statistics: 21-of-43, 147 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions

    I'm not really sure what to make of Joe Flacco this season. At times he's looked like one of the best quarterbacks in the league, but at other times he looks like a high school quarterback.

    One of those times was on Sunday against the Houston Texans, where Flacco was just overmatched all game long. This was extremely surprising since Aaron Rodgers just threw for six touchdown passes on the same defense a week ago.

    I guess that shows just how far Flacco is from being considered a truly elite quarterback in this league.

16. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts

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    Last Week Ranking: 20

    Week 7 Statistics: 16-of-29, 186 yards, zero touchdowns, zero interceptions, two rushing touchdowns, one fumble lost

    Despite being outplayed by Brandon Weeden on Sunday, Andrew Luck came away with the most important thing: a victory.

    While Luck struggled moving the ball through the air, he showed his athleticism with his two touchdown runs. The one thing that is becoming clearer each week is the competitive nature and "it" factor that Luck possesses.

    This kid is going to be an absolute star, and there is no doubt he'll finish the season much higher in these power rankings.

15. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions

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    Last Week Ranking: 14

    Week 7 Statistics: 28-of-46, 261 yards, one touchdown, one interception

    What in the world has happened to the 2011 version of Matthew Stafford? Is he ever going to make a comeback this season?

    Stafford has yet to have a great game this season, and it is beginning to make us wonder whether or not last year was a complete fluke. His biggest problem has been getting the ball into Calvin Johnson's hands, as Johnson finished Monday night's game with only three receptions for 34 yards.

    The Detroit Lions' season is quickly spiraling downward, and the only way they can get back to being a competitive team in the NFC North is if Stafford begins playing better football.

14. Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Last Week Ranking: 19

    Week 7 Statistics: 24-of-42, 420 yards, three touchdowns, zero interceptions

    This is the second straight week that Josh Freeman makes a big move up the power rankings, thanks to a phenomenal performance against the New Orleans Saints.

    Over the past two weeks, Freeman has thrown for 748 yards, six touchdowns and only one interception. If he can keep this type of production going, he'll continue to jump over other quarterbacks on this list.

13. Alex Smith, San Francisco 49ers

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    Last Week Ranking: 15

    Week 7 Statistics: 14-of-23, 140 yards, one touchdown, one interception

    It was an ugly game all over on Thursday night from both the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks, and Alex Smith wasn't immune to the poor play.

    The thing that worries me the most with the recent play of Smith is the fact that he isn't making any big plays. He's beginning to regress to the player he was early in his career, which doesn't bode well for the 49ers.

    This is a team that has enough talent at every other position to make it to the Super Bowl this year. However, it'll ultimately need Smith to make a play to get to that game, and I just don't see him being capable of doing that.

12. Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys

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    Last Week Ranking: 13

    Week 7 Statistics: 24-of-34, 227 yards, one touchdown, zero interceptions

    Nothing spectacular from Tony Romo on Sunday. Just a solid performance and a win for one of the most ridiculed quarterbacks in the league.

    At 3-3, Romo and the Dallas Cowboys are certainly still in the running for a playoff spot. With that said, they'll need Romo to play better than solid if they want to make any type of late-season run. 

11. Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins

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    Last Week Ranking: 11

    Week 7 Statistics: 20-of-28, 258 yards, two touchdowns, one interception, 89 rushing yards, one fumble lost

    This was the game that Robert Griffin III was supposed to play like a rookie in. He was going against one of the better teams in the league and a bitter division rival, and he was supposed to struggle.

    However, Griffin did the exact opposite of that on Sunday, as he nearly led the Washington Redskins to a huge win. In fact, had Eli Manning not found Victor Cruz for a 77-yard touchdown with time running out, Washington would have won.

    Griffin is knocking on the door of being considered a top-10 quarterback, and one slip-up from a quarterback ranked higher than him would push him into that group of quarterbacks.

10. Matt Schaub, Houston Texans

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    Last Week Ranking: 10

    Week 7 Statistics: 23-of-37, 256 yards, two touchdowns, zero interceptions

    This was the type of bounce-back performance that the Houston Texans and Matt Schaub needed after getting destroyed by the Green Bay Packers the previous week.

    Schaub came out and did what he does best by running an effective offense and moving the ball consistently down the field. When he can do that, there are few teams that can keep up with the offense that Houston brings to the field.

    The Texans look like the team to beat in the AFC, and when Schaub plays like he did on Sunday, they'll be a very difficult team to beat.

9. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers

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    Last Week Ranking: 9

    Week 7 Statistics: N/A (San Diego Chargers had a bye this week)

    This may seem a little high for Philip Rivers, especially after a complete meltdown in a Week 6 loss, but there simply isn't another quarterback quite ready to break into the top 10 of these rankings.

    Now, if Rivers has another poor performance in Week 8, it'll finally be time to move him down in the rankings.

8. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Last Week Ranking: 8

    Week 7 Statistics: 27-of-37, 278 yards, one touchdown, one interception, one fumble lost

    This is where the drop-off between the best quarterbacks in the league and the good quarterbacks in the league takes place.

    There is nothing wrong with the way that Ben Roethlisberger has played this year, but to say that he belongs in the same class as Drew Brees or Tom Brady is simply ludicrous. He's a quarterback that wins football games, but he is nowhere near being considered an elite quarterback in this league.

7. Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears

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    Last Week Ranking: 7

    Week 7 Statistics: 16-of-31, 150 yards, one touchdown, zero interceptions

    Don't let the poor statistics fool you into thinking Jay Cutler didn't play a great game on Monday. He received a bone-crushing hit from Ndamukong Suh late in the second quarter that would have sent most other quarterbacks to the hospital.

    Cutler was clearly hurting from that hit for the remainder of the game but stayed on the field and led his team to a close victory. Considering that the biggest knack on Cutler's game in the past has been his toughness, this performance should put all his critics to rest for a while.

6. Eli Manning, New York Giants

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    Last Week Ranking: 6

    Week 7 Statistics: 26-of-40, 337 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions

    If you take away Eli Manning's last-minute touchdown pass to Victor Cruz, you have a pretty pedestrian performance from the New York Giants quarterback.

    For the majority of the game he was outplayed by rookie Robert Griffin III. However, he showed up when his team needed him the most, and that is why he holds on to his ranking heading into Week 8.

    Eli has become one of the premier big-game quarterbacks in the league, and that fact alone makes him one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL right now.

5. Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos

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    Last Week Ranking: 4

    Week 7 Statistics: N/A (Denver Broncos had a bye this week)

    Peyton Manning moves down one spot this week because Drew Brees is playing like Superman right now.

    The top five quarterbacks in this league could shuffle a little from week to week, but it will take a truly terrible performance for Manning or any of the upcoming quarterbacks to fall too far down these rankings.

4. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons

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    Last Week Ranking: 3

    Week 7 Statistics: N/A (Atlanta Falcons had a bye this week)

    Matt Ryan is in the same boat as Peyton Manning, getting jumped by a ridiculously impressive Drew Brees.

    Ryan hadn't quite been as dominant the past two weeks heading into his bye, so it will be interesting to see if he can right his ship in Week 8.

3. Tom Brady, New England Patriots

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    Last Week Ranking: 2

    Week 7 Statistics: 26-of-42, 259 yards, two touchdowns, zero interceptions

    It's not that Tom Brady had a terrible performance that dropped him down the rankings. It's just that the two guys ahead of him have been playing at a completely different level for the past few weeks.

    Brady is still an elite quarterback, and his Week 7 performance against a bitter rival proves that he plays his best in the biggest games.

2. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

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    Last Week Ranking: 5

    Week 7 Statistics: 27-of-37, 377 yards, four touchdowns, one interception

    Over the past three games, Drew Brees has thrown for nearly 1,200 yards, 11 touchdowns and only two interceptions. He's won two of those three games and only lost by a point on the road in his lone loss.

    The New Orleans Saints are beginning to turn their season around, and the play of Brees is the biggest reason why. He's playing elite football, and when he plays as well as he has in the past three weeks, the Saints are nearly impossible to beat.

    Look for Brees to continue his strong play and get the Saints back in the playoff picture within the next few weeks.

1. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

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    Last Week Ranking: 1

    Week 7 Statistics: 30-of-37, 342 yards, three touchdowns, zero interceptions

    Another week and another truly astounding performance from Aaron Rodgers. After putting up six touchdowns last week against the Houston Texans, Rodgers threw another three on Sunday against the St. Louis Rams.

    In back-to-back road games against quality secondaries, Rodgers has thrown nine touchdowns and not a single interception. However, the main reason why Rodgers holds down the No. 1 spot for another week is because he finally has the Green Bay Packers playing like an elite team.

    Rodgers is destroying every defense in his path, and if he continues to keep this pace up, he and the Packers will be an extremely difficult team to beat.