Carter's NFL Power Rankings Entering Week 7: AFC Dominates Top 5

David CarterCorrespondent IOctober 22, 2010

JACKSONVILLE, FL - OCTOBER 18:  Running back Chris Johnson #28 of the Tennessee Titans warms up prior to the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on October 18, 2010 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
J. Meric/Getty Images

1. Tennessee Titans (4-2) Last Week: No. 3
Four wins with three blowout victories. No other team has impressed me more. As long as they have Chris Johnson and the underrated wide receivers, they will be in the mix for a first-round playoff bye.

2. New York Jets (5-1) Last Week: No. 1
Rex Ryan wanted to lead the league in wins. Entering the bye week, it’s so-far-so-good.

3. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-1) Last Week: No. 4
If Ben Roethlisberger can be that good in his first game, just imagine what he could be like the rest of the year. If he plays this good, and if the defense continues to play the way they have been playing, this team will literally be impossible to beat.

4. New England Patriots (4-1) Last Week: No. 5
It seems as if the Deion Branch/Tom Brady combination hasn’t skipped a beat.

5. Indianapolis Colts (4-2) Last Week: No. 6
Whose one-handed catch was better: Aaron Francisco’s or Pierre Garcon’s?

6. Philadelphia Eagles (4-2) Last Week: No. 11
The scariest team in the NFC with LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson (when healthy) and (insert name of starting quarterback here) in the mix. Don’t sleep on the Eagles.

7. San Diego Chargers (2-4) Last Week: No. 7
Despite the slow start, I still think they are the strongest team in the AFC West. But you don’t really have to be amazingly strong if you play in that division. They do a great job at defending the pass.

8. Atlanta Falcons (4-2) Last Week: No. 2
Good teams lose tough road games too. I’d be shocked if they didn’t make the playoffs this year.

9. Green Bay Packers (3-3) Last Week: No. 8
With all the injuries piling up on them, the Bears and Vikings are now in the mix to compete for the division crown.

10. New Orleans Saints (4-2) Last Week: No. 17
A little overrated, but they will still be in the playoffs. I guarantee it.

11. Baltimore Ravens (4-2) Last Week: No. 9
This team still had a few more things to work out. They will still be in the playoff mix once the last few weeks of the season come around.

12. New York Giants (4-2) Last Week: No. 14
I haven’t heard very many people talk about Eli Manning much this year. He’s had a pretty good season and is main reason for the Giants’ four wins to this point. His 1,479 passing yards and 10 touchdown passes have helped this team become a favorite to win the NFC East.

13. Kansas City Chiefs (3-2) Last Week: No. 10
Anytime you have two running backs with starting potential and a nice defense, you got a chance at making some noise. And that’s exactly the situation the Chiefs are in.

14. Chicago Bears (4-2) Last Week: No. 12
If you listen closely, with no noise in the room your in, you could possibly hear Jay Cutler get sacked again.

15. Detroit Lions (1-5) Last Week: No. 13
Could we have another QB controversy on our hands? Matthew Stafford is a good young quarterback and all, but when he got injured Shaun Hill took over and played reasonably well (1,309 passing yards, nine touchdown passes).

16. Seattle Seahawks (3-2) Last Week: No. 15
As I predicted in the preseason, the Seahawks could be a legitimate contender for the NFC West Championship. They do a great job at defending the run game.

17. Minnesota Vikings (2-3) Last Week: No. 19
A win over the Packers will put the Vikings back into the NFC North race.

18. Cincinnati Bengals (2-3) Last Week: No. 16
How many of you are actually buying into Terrell Owens’ hot start to the season?

19. Washington Redskins (3-3) Last Week: No. 18
An important game coming for Donovan McNabb and company against the Bears. This game could answer the question if the Redskins are true contenders in the NFC.

20. Dallas Cowboys (1-4) Last Week: No. 21
I predicted that the loser of that Cowboys/Vikings game would not make the playoffs. And now it is official: the Cowboys will not make the playoffs this season.

21. St. Louis Rams (3-3) Last Week: No. 23
Call me crazy, but this is true: the Rams have a legit shot at winning the NFC West championship this year.

22. Houston Texans (4-2) Last Week: No. 24
Wow! I think I just saw an opposing quarterback throw another 30-yard pass over the heads of the Texans’ secondary.

23. Denver Broncos (2-4) Last Week: No. 22
No other wide receiver has impressed me more so far into the season than Brandon Lloyd (663 receiving yards, three touchdown catches).

24. Miami Dolphins (3-2) Last Week: No. 27
Despite the impressive overtime win over the depleted Packers, I still don’t see the Dolphins making the playoffs.
25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-2) Last Week: No. 20
The Buccaneers have shown signs of improvement, but they got crushed in their two games against “great” teams.
26. Oakland Raiders (2-4) Last Week: No. 26
The Raiders failed to keep momentum going against the 49ers. If you think about it, they’ve only had one horrible outing (first game against the Titans). Every other game they’ve won or lost by eight points or fewer.

27. Cleveland Browns (1-5) Last Week: No. 25
Ladies and gentleman of the “Dawg Pound,” I introduce to you the future of your football team: Mr. Daniel “Colt” McCoy. Um yeah, despite the loss to the Steelers, McCoy played pretty well.

28. San Francisco 49ers (1-5) Last Week: No. 30
Despite their five losses to this point, only three of them are by more than one possession.

29. Arizona Cardinals (3-2) Last Week: No. 29
Best performance of the year with their win over the Saints. Every other game they’ve played the Cardinals have either gotten crushed to pieces or barely won.

30. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-3) Last Week: No. 28
How does David Garrard respond to the concussion next week against the Chiefs?

31. Carolina Panthers (0-5) Last Week: No. 31
If you go through a starting quarterback change with two young players like the Panthers, you pretty much have no shot at the playoffs.

32. Buffalo Bills (0-5) Last Week: No. 32
One of the key reasons for them being so bad is that they've given up 912 rushing yards through the first five games. Only three other teams have given up at least 800 total rushing yards so far.

Top 10 Quarterbacks
1. Philip Rivers (Chargers) (MVP Candidate)
2. Peyton Manning (Colts) (MVP Candidate)
3. Drew Brees (Saints) (MVP Candidate)
4. Kyle Orton (Broncos) (MVP Candidate)
5. Tony Romo (Cowboys)
6. Aaron Rodgers (Packers)
7. Eli Manning (Giants)
8. Donovan McNabb (Redskins)
9. Matt Schaub (Texans)
10. Alex Smith (49ers)

Top 10 Running Backs:
1. Arian Foster (Texans) (MVP Candidate)
2. Chris Johnson (Titans) (MVP Candidate)
3. Ahmad Bradshaw (Giants) (MVP Candidate)
4. Adrian Peterson (Vikings) (MVP Candidate)
5. Rashard Mendenhall (Steelers)
6. LaDainian Tomlinson (Jets)
7. Steven Jackson (Rams)
8. Frank Gore (49ers)
9. Michael Turner (Falcons)
10. Maurice Jones-Drew (Jaguars)

Top 10 Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
1. Brandon Lloyd (Broncos) (MVP Candidate)
2. Roddy White (Falcons) (MVP Candidate)
3. Austin Collie (Colts) (MVP Candidate)
4. Antonio Gates (Chargers) (MVP Candidate)
5. Reggie Wayne (Colts)
6. Malcom Floyd (Chargers)
7. Andre Johnson (Texans)
8. Miles Austin (Cowboys)
9. Santana Moss (Redskins)
10. Terrell Owens (Bengals)

Top 10 Defensive Players
1. Clay Matthews (Packers) (MVP Candidate)
2. Osi Umenyiora (Giants) (MVP Candidate)
3. DeMarcus Ware (Cowboys) (MVP Candidate)
4. Cameron Wake (Dolphins)
5. LaRon Landry (Redskins)
6. Jerod Mayo (Patriots)
7. London Fletcher (Redskins)
8. Charles Godfrey (Panthers)
9. William Moore (Falcons)
10. Earl Thomas (Seahawks)

Top 15 MVP Candidates
1. Philip Rivers (QB, Chargers)
2. Arian Foster (RB, Texans)
3. Brandon Lloyd (WR, Broncos)
4. Clay Matthews (LB, Packers)
5. Peyton Manning (QB, Colts)
6. Chris Johnson (RB, Titans)
7. Roddy White (WR, Falcons)
8. Osi Umenyiora (DT, Giants)
9. Drew Brees (QB, Saints)
10. Ahmad Bradshaw (RB, Giants)
11. Austin Collie (WR, Colts)
12. DeMarcus Ware (LB, Cowboys)
13. Kyle Orton (QB, Broncos)
14. Adrian Peterson (RB, Vikings)
15. Antonio Gates (TE, Chargers)


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