NFL Power Rankings Week 7: Ranking The NFC Teams Thus Far With Video
So after taking seven weeks off, I felt like I should bring back the NFC power rankings I did in the preseason and make it a weekly thing.
It is funny how much heat I took from that article I published when I placed the Carolina Panthers at No. 14 in the NFC, all the Panthers fans ripped me and called me crazy and claimed Matt Moore was a fine starting caliber QB. I actually ranked them too high that day.
Unfortunately that goes both ways as I ranked the Cowboys as the No. 2 team in the NFC. Boy was I wrong. They are a mess at 1-4 and Jerry Jones keeps putting on his best poker face claiming he won't fire Wade Philips midseason. I'll believe that if they go 1-6 and he sticks around.
The NFC is almost impossible to figure out at the moment, as five teams are tied for first with 4-2 records, two are behind them at 3-2, and three are 3-3. For those counting, that means over half the conference is either .500 or better.
1. New York Giants (4-2)
Just so you know, I'm ready for all of the heat I'm about to take by placing the Giants at No. 1 in the NFC, especially since I'm a Giants FC.
It was just so hard to get a handle on all of the 4-2 teams in the NFC, and the Giants are lucky that they not only played one of the other 4-2 teams and destroyed them, but they also took care of the Lions by eight points, while the Eagles only beat them by three.
The Eagles had a great win this weekend against the Atlanta Falcons and easily could be the No. 1 team in the conference, but the way their defense has played at times made it hard.
The justification circle I went through to get to the Giants at No. 1 is not complicated. The Eagles beat the Falcons, who beat the Saints, but the Eagles also only beat the Lions by three, while the Giants beat them by eight, and beat the Bears by 14.
Not only that, but the Giants have the second best offense in the conference along with the best defense, and no other team comes close to having that type of production by both units, besides maybe New Orleans.
2. Philadelphia (4-2)
The Eagles hadn't really proved anything until this weekend. With a great home victory over the Atlanta Falcons, they showed the rest of the conference they have the tools to be a successful team.
However, with DeSean Jackson getting rocked by Dunta Robinson on Sunday, he might miss the next few weeks with a major concussion. Reports indicated he had memory loss; this is Jackson's second concussion so the Eagles will be very mindful of his return.
On the bright side, Kevin Kolb is showing the team why they named him the starter before the season. He had two very good weeks getting to start the last two games, so head coach Andy Reid is going to have a tough decision when Michael Vick is healthy.
He stuck with Vick even though Kolb got healthy because of Vick's fantastic play, let's see if he allows Kolb the same luxury when he gets healthy.
3. Atlanta Falcons (4-2)
The Atlanta Falcons have had a very tough road schedule to open the season. They played at Pittsburgh, New Orleans, and Philadelphia.
I think most teams would be OK with a 1-2 record against those power houses.
The Falcons have looked very solid on both sides of the ball, but struggled offensively against the Eagles questionable defense. However, if I was a Falcons fan, I'd be very excited about the rest of the season with the way they have played since dropping the opener to Pittsburgh.
4. New Orleans Saints (4-2)
The Saints got back to doing what they do best on Sunday with a very balanced demolishing of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Chris Ivory ran all over the Bucs, piling up 158 rushes on 15 carries.Drew Brees and Lance Moore seemed to have developed even more of a chemistry than last season, and the two hooked up for a big 41-yard score early.
The Saints are top 15 in defense and top 10 in offense, and when Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas get back, they will be able to start putting up the type of points they did last season.
5. Washington Redskins (3-3)
The Redskins had a tough road loss against the Colts on Sunday Night Football, but their defense is playing so well that they will be in every game they play despite the offensive struggles.
They have two solid road victories against the Eagles and Packers, and if they can somehow get the offense improved they are a very dangerous team.
6. Chicago Bears (4-2)
After the Bears impressive 3-0 start, they've lost two of their last three games, with the one win coming against the winless Panthers.
Their offense has been atrocious and they won't get very far if their offensive line cannot protect their QB. Jay Cutler missed the Panthers game, but against the Giants and Seahawks he was running for his life and on the ground more than he was upright.
If the Bears offense doesn't turn it around, they won be able to keep the division lead.
7. Green Bay Packers (3-3)
The Packers have two very tough losses in a row in overtime, and are probably dealing with the most injuries in the league at the moment. They have two safeties and four linebackers out with injuries right now, not to mention Ryan Grant and Jermichael Finley out for the year with foot and knee injuries, respectively.
Next week's Sunday Night Football matchup with the Minnesota Vikings will be their chance to prove they can overcome those injuries.
Despite neither team having a winning record, that game is going have some fireworks with Aaron Rogers and Brett Favre going at it again.
8. St. Louis Rams (3-3)
Bet you didn't see this one coming did you? After I had the Rams as the last team in my first edition, they have climbed all the way to No. 8.
This seems a bit high, but hear me out.
After two very close losses to the Cardinals and Raiders, they have pulled it together and are 3-1 in their last four games.
They beat the Redskins, Seahawks, and Chargers in that stretch. However, sandwiched in between those victories is a 44-6 loss to the Lions. With the way they are playing I am inclined to chalk that up as just a bump in the road.
9. Seattle Seahawks (3-2)
The Seahawks came out of their bye week and got a really impressive win on the road at Chicago, but I'm not ready to move them that far up in the rankings.
Before the bye, they were owned by the St. Louis Rams 20-3 and that win against San Diego is looking less and less impressive.
This is yet another team who we will need a couple more games to see who they really are.
10. Minnesota Vikings (2-3)
The Vikings have wins over two teams who seemingly beat themselves in every contest, but it is still looking good for the Vikings. Luckily for them, the Bears and Packers are losing games they should probably win.
They are only two games behind the division leading Bears and have a game against the Packers at Lambeau Field next Sunday. The Packers are reeling after two straight overtime losses and have a ton of injuries, I wouldn't be at all surprised to see the Vikings win.
Jared Allen owned the offensive line last season in both games against the Packers. Aaron Rogers will struggle to sleep this week.
11. Arizona Cardinals (3-2)
The Cardinals have an impressive win over the Saints and are 3-2, but are minus-50 in points differential. Talk about a team that's tough to get a handle on.
They are starting a rookie QB Max Hall, who started the season No. 3 on the depth chart. They are 31st in the league in yards per game on offense, and 27th in yards allowed. Their other two wins came against the St. Louis Rams and Oakland Raiders; both the Rams and Raiders had a chance to win the game late.
They have a chance to prove who they really are with a road game at Seattle next week, the winner taking the early lead in the divisional race.
12. Dallas Cowboys (1-4)
The Dallas Cowboys are a mess, and it mostly falls on the head coach. Their team is full of a bunch of ego maniacs who can't stop getting dumb penalties like excessive celebration.
Wade Phillips obviously has no pull with the players. He can't get them to stop committing these unnecessary penalties, but they also are struggling with turnovers.
The turnovers fall on the players, they are minus-five in the turnover differential and Tony Romo threw two interceptions on their own side of the field that set up Vikings touchdowns this past weekend.
If they lose to the Giants next week, you can consider them done for the year with no chance of making the playoffs; their schedule is just too difficult.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-2)
The Bucs have a very deceptive 3-2 record. They have wins against the Browns, Panthers, and Bengals. The Browns only victory came against the Bengals, and the three have a combined three wins.
I'm not sold on this team. They rank 23rd in yards per game on offense and 26th in yards per game allowed. The one thing that probably led to their three victories is their plus-five turnover differential.
Once they start facing tougher opponents they will be exposed for the bottom five team that they really are.
14. Detroit Lions (1-5)
The Lions have had their fair share of bad luck and tough games. In the opener against the Bears they had the winning touchdown taken away on a technicality; a rule the NFL has said they are going to review.
If you missed it, Calvin Johnson caught a pass in the end zone, but as he was falling—about three steps into the fall—Johnson let the ball hit the ground and it jarred the ball from his hand.
For some reason, if you are running the ball, as soon as the ball crosses the plane of the goal line it is a touchdown. However, if you catch it then you are not awarded that same luxury.
They also have some tough losses where they came close to mounting a comeback against the Eagles and Packers. They lost those games by a combined five points.
They seem to be close to turning the corner as a franchise, but they will have to cut down on the penalties. They lead the league with 59 penalties committed in six games—almost 10 per contests.
15. San Francisco 49ers (1-5)
The 49ers spent the offseason hearing all of the analysts and experts talk about how easy it was going to be to win the NFC West.
Unfortunately, they forgot they have Alex Smith at QB.
While Smith has looked great at times, he has turned the ball over 12 times and the 49ers are last in the NFL in turnover differential at minus-eight.
They finally got in the win column by beating the Oakland Raiders this weekend; maybe they can build on that and get some momentum.
16. Carolina Panthers (0-5)
The only thing the Panthers can hope for is that Jimmy Clausen evolves the rest of the season and learns from his mistakes. Their offensive line is not opening up the same type of holes for the running game and that is not helping the rookie whatsoever.
The silver lining is that the defense has played pretty well despite losing Julius Peppers to free agency.