NFL Power Rankings Week 7: Jets Flying High, Steelers Surging Behind Big Ben

Elliott Pohnl@@ElliottPohnl_BRFeatured ColumnistOctober 19, 2010

NFL Power Rankings Week 7: Jets Flying High, Steelers Surging Behind Big Ben

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    The NFL Power Rankings for Week 7 are here and features plenty of movement at the top.

    The Ravens blew a 10-point lead midway through the fourth quarter before falling to the Patriots in overtime, while the Jets used a late penalty call to beat the Broncos.

    Elsewhere, the Cowboys continued to slide further down in the rankings, and the Packers find themselves hanging on for dear life.

    Here's a look at the complete NFL Power Rankings for Week 7.

The Bottom of the Pack

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    No. 32 Buffalo Bills: The Bills really needed a bye, but don't expect the time off to yield much improvement.

    No. 31 Carolina Panthers: First Matt Moore, then Jimmy Clausen, then back to Matt Moore...uncertainty reigns in Carolina.

    No. 30 Detroit Lions: Yes, the Lions are more competitive than usual.  But at 1-5, they are still who we thought they were.

    No. 29 Cleveland Browns: Colt McCoy put up decent numbers against the Steelers, but the Browns had little chance Sunday and are really banged up.

    No. 28 Oakland Raiders: Those people still trying to understand why Bruce Gradkowski took over for Jason Campbell probably figured it out after watching the Raiders lose to the 49ers in Week 6.

    No. 27 Denver Broncos: Not even a cameo from the great and powerful Tebow could help the Broncos overcome mistakes and hang on against the Patriots.

    No. 26 Arizona Cardinals: Even after beating the World Champs in Week 5, Max Hall still needs to show what he can actually do for the Cardinals

    No. 25 San Diego Chargers: Norv Turner is used to slow starts, but this is a bit much.

    No. 24 San Francisco 49ers: The 49ers finally won a game and Michael Crabtree finally caught a touchdown.  Even after a win, there are still plenty of questions surrounding Mike Singletary's team.

    No. 23 Jacksonville Jaguars: An dreadful home loss against the Titans could be a sign of things to come with a brutal schedule down the stretch this season.

    No. 22 Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Bucs are likely to start trending downward in the weeks ahead, but Josh Freeman will only continue to get better.

    No. 21 Seattle Seahawks: The Seahawks are a tough team to figure out and could make the picture much clearer by beating Arizona in Week 7.

No. 20 Dallas Cowboys

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    Dallas can't seem to do anything right and just keeps committing stupid penalties at the wrong times.

    The talent is clearly there, but the results haven't been.

    A loss at home in Week 7 would knock the Cowboys would be likely be enough to knock them out of the top 20 for good.

    What's Next: Vs. New York Giants

No. 19: St. Louis Rams

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    The Rams are riding high again after erasing the memory of the Week 5 loss to the Lions with a stirring win over the Chargers Sunday.

    Sam Bradford is having success with a patchwork receiving corps, and Steven Jackson is playing through pain to produce.

    The Rams belong in the top 20 this week, and they could stay put with a win over the Bucs in Week 7.

    What's Next: At Tampa Bay

No. 18: Cincinnati Bengals

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    The Bengals needed a bye week after back-to-back losses to the Browns and the Bucs.

    Much like the underachieving Cowboys, Carson Palmer and the Bengals have made critical mistakes at crucial moments so far this season.

    The defense has been a disappointment this season, meaning Cincy might have to lean heavily on Cedric Benson and the running game in the weeks ahead.

    What's Next: At Atlanta

No. 17: Green Bay Packers

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    With the possible exception of the Eagles, no team has been hit harder by injuries this season than the Packers.

    Aaron Rodgers played through his concussion and had another solid game in Week 6, but attrition clearly took a big toll as Green Bay suffered a home loss to the Dolphins.

    With the Vikings coming to town Sunday night, getting Clay Matthews back on the field becomes a huge priority for the Pack.

    What's Next: vs. Minnesota

No. 16: Chicago Bears

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    The Bears have two big problems: The offensive line is atrocious and the offensive coordinator is incredibly stubborn.

    Jay Cutler returned Sunday against the Seahawks, prompting Mike Martz to forget about running the ball and opening the door for Seattle to tee off on the quarterback.

    Cutler was sacked six times in the game and has now been sacked 16 times in the last six quarters.

    Unless Chicago creates a new identity on offense, the struggles are only going to increase.

    What's Next: vs. Washington

No. 15: Tennessee Titans

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    The Titans are still a bit of a mystery, but Chris Johnson should make them a mainstay in the top 20 for the remainder of the season.

    Tennessee's defense has been fairly solid, and in the end, the fortunes of Jeff Fisher's team will likely depend on the diagnosis of Vince Young's sprained knee.

    What's Next: Vs. Philadelphia

No. 14: Kansas City Chiefs

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    The Chiefs appeared to have another unlikely win all wrapped up until the Texans stormed back late in the fourth quarter.

    Kansas City's defense has held up this season, and the offense has leaned on the running game with Jamaal Charles leading the way.

    Despite his three touchdown passes against the Texans, Matt Cassel still needs to show improvement in Todd Haley's offense.

    What's Next: vs. Jacksonville

No. 13: Washington Redskins

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    The Redskins can't keep giving up more than 400 yards of offense if they hope to win.

    Washington got torched by Peyton Manning on Sunday, yet amazingly still had a chance to tie the game before bogging down on the final drive.

    Donovan McNabb has looked good, but the Redskins must figure out if Ryan Torain has enough talent to become a featured back on a weekly basis.

    What's Next: At Chicago

No. 12: Minnesota Vikings

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    The Vikings were the only NFC North team to win in Week 6 and are right back in the mix.

    Even with Brett Favre looking very much his age, Minnesota's defense is good enough to keep things under control.

    The Vikings need Favre to get going, and more importantly need stronger play from the offensive line to capture a playoff berth.

    What's Next: At Green Bay

No. 11: Miami Dolphins

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    Miami recorded its third road win of the season Sunday in Green Bay, thanks to a strong effort by the defense and solid play by Chad Henne.

    The Dolphins must get the running game going in order to be a factor in the AFC race as the season continues.

    Watch out for an upset in Miami this week with the mighty Steelers coming to town.

    What's Next: vs. Pittsburgh

No. 10: Philadelphia Eagles

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    The Eagles are likely to be without both Michael Vick and DeSean Jackson in Week 7, providing a reminder that the bye week just can't get here soon enough for Philadelphia.

    Kevin Kolb is slated to get another start and could make things even more complicated for Andy Reid if he engineers a road win in Nashville.

    What's Next: At Tennessee

No. 9: Houston Texans

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    Houston's offense is among the best in the NFL, but its defense is among the league's worst.

    The Texans allowed Matt Cassel to throw three touchdowns in Week 6, and clearly have some issues to address in the defensive backfield.  Meanwhile, the loss of tackling-machine DeMeco Ryans will put added strain on the front seven.

    At least Houston has a bye to figure out the problems on the defensive side of the ball.

    What's Next: At Indianapolis (Week 8)

No. 8: Atlanta Falcons

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    The Falcons fell behind early and were never able to catch up Sunday in Philadelphia.

    Despite the loss in Week 6, Atlanta remains solid on both sides of the ball and looks like a playoff lock in the NFC this season.

    What's Next: vs. Cincinnati

No. 7: New York Giants

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    Ahmad Bradshaw has been running wild for the Giants in recent weeks, and Brandon Jacobs even made an impact Sunday, rushing for a pair of touchdowns.

    An improved running game should only make things easier for Eli Manning, who has plenty of weapons to work with at receiver

    New York's offense is looking good heading into Week 7.

    What's Next: At Dallas

No. 6: Indianapolis Colts

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    Indy outlasted the Washington Redskins Sunday night, continuing to excel on offense despite being forced to rely on Mike Hart at running back again down the stretch.

    The defense still can't stop the run, and injuries at the safety position threaten to hurt the Colts' chances as the season progresses.

    Joesph Addai will use the much-needed bye this week to recover from his neck and shoulder injuries.

    What's Next: vs. Houston (Week 8)

No. 5: Baltimore Ravens

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    The Ravens let one get away against the Patriots, and the loss is enough to drop them a few spots down to No. 5.

    Baltimore should be getting Ed Reed back soon, which will help what is an average secondary.

    If Ray Rice is able to get going, the Ravens shouldn't suffer many more losses moving forward this season.

    What's Next: vs. Buffalo

No. 4: New England Patriots

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    The Patriots circled the wagons without Randy Moss and scored 13 unanswered points to shock the Ravens.

    It could either be a sign of good things to come for Bill Belichick, or things could start to head in the other direction.

    The offense still needs more continuity and the young defense isn't likely to be consistent, making the Patriots a tough team to figure out.

    For the moment at least, New England is a lock for the top five.

    What's Next: At San Diego

No. 3: New Orleans Saints

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    The Saints have suffered two losses, but the emergence of Chris Ivory and the impending return of Pierre Thomas should spell success in the weeks ahead.

    New Orleans has played very well on the defensive side of the ball, and the offense is likely to come around.

    What's Next: vs. Cleveland

No. 2: Pittsburgh Steelers

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    The Steelers couldn't be happier to have Ben Roethlisberger back.

    His return in Week 6 injected some big-play potential into what had been one of the NFL's most vanilla offenses coming into the game.

    The best defense in football should help Pittsburgh stay near the top of the power rankings all season long.

    What's Next: At Miami

No. 1: New York Jets

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    Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good.  The Jets have been both in recent weeks.

    Mark Sanchez finally threw an interception and New York's offense struggled against Denver, but the Jets hung around and used a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns by LaDainian Tomlinson to win again.

    After months of talking the talk, Rex Ryan's team is walking the walk and might not slow down anytime soon.

    What's Next: vs. Green Bay (Week 8)