NFL power rankings are a fantastic way to gauge how your favorite team is performing, especially in this topsy-turvy 2010 season.
No season in recent memory has had so few elite teams. Last year's Super Bowl champions, the New Orleans Saints, fell to the hapless Cleveland Browns by 20 points last week.
Even the Baltimore Ravens and their vaunted defense took it on the chin in Week 7, giving up 34 points to a Ryan Fitzpatrick-led Buffalo Bills team.
So, who is the best team in the NFL at this point? Let's find out...
Despite Lee Evans' brilliant three-touchdown day (he's one of the least appreciated talents in the league), the Bills lost to the Ravens on a day when they had every opportunity to win.
Of course, bad teams find ways to lose: an OT fumble and a Billy Cundiff field goal kept the Bills winless.
While their offense looks improved under Ryan Fitzpatrick, they'll struggle to win a game all season.
The most talented roster in the NFC West has grossly under-performed all season.
No showing was more disheartening than in Week 7 when the Niners lost to the previously winless Carolina Panthers.
Their secondary made mediocre Matt Moore look like Tom Brady and a rookie wide receiver like Randy Moss.
For all intents and purposes, the 2010 season is over for the 49ers.
Matt Moore finally showed the moxie that John Fox and company expected when they named him the starter in the offseason, leading the Panthers to their first win over the visiting 49ers.
The offense finally looked in sync, even without a consistent running game.
John Fox may be a lame-duck coach the rest of the season, but the Panthers should be able to win a few more games if they can maintain this momentum.
The Lions are probably the spunkiest of the 1-5 teams (including the Cowboys), and should give playoff contenders tough games down the stretch.
The fact remains, however, that they've still won just one game and have no gimmes on their schedule.
They could finish anywhere from 6-10 to 2-14. A healthy Matthew Stafford should help them get closer to the former.
Despite having two wins on the season, the Denver Broncos are in as much disarray as any team in the NFL.
A 59-14 home loss to the Oakland Raiders will put even the most confident coach on ice.
The local Denver media is already hinting that Josh McDaniels has lost the team, and a loss to the 49ers in London could cement his fate.
It doesn't feel right putting the Cowboys this low, but let's look at the facts: their starting QB is now Jon Kitna, their defense is last in the league in takeaways, and their coach is probably on his way out the door.
The team still has more talent than the majority of the league, and you'd like to think they'll eventually string some victories together, regardless of who is under center.
For now, however, they're one of the six worst teams in the NFL.
The Browns shocked everyone (possibly including themselves), when they blew out the Saints in New Orleans.
A bevy of fake plays broke the game open, including the longest run by a punter since the NFL-AFL merger.
This team won't make much noise in the AFC North, but they are certainly improved from last year. And Colt McCoy looks poised to keep his starting job.
Sure, Carson Palmer threw for 400+ yards and three touchdowns. He looked every bit the 2006 Carson Palmer who was one of the top five QBs in the NFL.
The fact remains, the Bengals secondary can't defend and unless Mike Zimmer fixes this defense quickly, the hole they've begun digging for themselves will get too deep.
Things don't get easier next week as the Dolphins come to town. 2-5 may be a death sentence for the Bengals' 2010 season.
Norv Turner's team is again under-performing, losing a heart-breaker to the Patriots in Week 7.
It's hard to figure out exactly why this team isn't winning games. They have the highest scoring offense in the NFL and the league's best scoring defense.
It's hard to imagine that Murphy's Law will continue to doom the Chargers, but for now the Bolts are stuck near the bottom of our power rankings.
What do we make of this Raiders team?
One week they're losing to the worst team in the NFC West, the next dropping 59 on the Broncos at home.
The truth lies somewhere in between, but there is little doubt that these Raiders are playing with some confidence, and we may finally be seeing the Darren McFadden everyone was promised.
Don't count them out in the AFC West.
When your team is desperate to get David Garrard back, you're in bad shape.
Another enigma of a team, the Jags have proven they can beat anyone and lose to just about anyone. Last week's blowout loss to the Chiefs did nothing to aid the confidence of the Jaguar faithful (if they exist).
The upstart Rams have been one of the surprises of the 2010 season, and Sam Bradford has validated his number one overall selection.
Believe it or not, the Rams are in a position to challenge for the NFC West title this season. With the 49ers out of it, and the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals far from elite, the Rams control their own playoff destiny.
Who woulda thunk it?
The muddled NFC West picture got a little bit clearer in Week 7, as the horrible Cardinals offense couldn't get much going against the Seahawks in a 22-10 loss.
As gritty and likable as Max Hall may be, he is probably not a playoff caliber QB. Neither is Derek Anderson.
Without at least average QB play, the Cardinals playoff hopes are sunk.
I'm not ready to give up on this Vikings team just yet.
They still have two of the top offensive players in the league in Adrian Peterson and Randy Moss and a playmaking defense.
Having Brett Favre back this season may be hurting the team more than helping them. He's throwing picks at a ridiculously high rate, and the distractions he brings (Chilly feud, Sterger) can't be helping team morale.
I didn't think I'd ever say it, but it might be time to give Tarvaris Jackson a shot.
The Bears offense is in shambles.
Jay Cutler's mechanics and decision-making are equally horrendous right now, completely derailing the offense's ability to move the ball.
It seems Mike Martz tries to get the run game going early in each game without much luck. If the offensive line can't get a push going in the run game, the Bears' season could be over quickly.
I think the Dolphins are better than most people give them credit for.
They have a strong offensive nucleus with an underrated QB in Chad Henne (yeah, that's right) and a veteran backfield.
If not for a controversial call in favor of the Pittsburgh Steelers (what else is new), the Dolphins would be 4-2 and much higher in these rankings.
"The best team in the NFC," according to head coach Raheem Morris, is far from it, but still a spunky bunch who could cause some teams problems in the second half of the season.
Beating the Rams, Browns, Panthers, and Bengals does not scream "elite," Coach Morris, but the league's easiest schedule could land the Bucs in the playoffs. Beli'dat.
DeAngelo Hall picked off Jay Cutler four times in Week 7 and the Redskins still almost lost!
I'm far from sold on this team. Donovan McNabb hasn't impressed and their running game is sporadic.
However, given the state of the NFC East, the 'Skins have as good a chance as any to take the division at this point in the season.
The Eagles have a bye in Week 8, but will be returning key pieces of their offense in Week 9: Michael Vick and DeSean Jackson.
Adding two of the most explosive players in the league back to the offense could be the kick in the pants the Eagles need to make a run at the NFC East crown down the stretch.
This band of merry misfits (no, not the San Francisco Giants) is off to an early lead in the putrid NFC West race.
Their defense has been making big plays, and the addition of Marshawn Lynch is already paying dividends.
Heading into the season the Seahawks had one of the least talented rosters in the NFL. Now, they're looking at a potential playoff berth.
The Packers were my preseason pick to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl, and I'm not wavering.
Injuries have decimated this team and Aaron Rodgers has been uncharacteristically turning the ball over. Once they get some guys back in the lineup, shore up their run game, and stop giving away the ball, they should be in good shape.
The Patriots-Lite are playing well. No one can dispute that. But it remains to be seen whether they can maintain their momentum all season.
Matt Cassel hasn't gotten in his own way yet, a major reason the Chiefs have been winning. A rejuvenated Thomas Jones and a quality group of young skill players are why the Chiefs are playing so well.
It'll be interesting to see how they fare once they get into the meat of their schedule.
What is going on with the Super Bowl champions?
Turnovers and a defense susceptible to the big play have Saints fans reeling. Still, you have to trust that Drew Brees and Sean Payton are going to figure this thing out. Defending a championship is never easy, but that head coach-QB battery is too smart not to make this work.
It's hard to like a team with such a horrific defense, but in this year's NFL, an elite unit on one side of the ball is enough to get you into the top 10.
The Texans are coming off a bye and have a huge test in Week 8, facing their division rival Indianapolis Colts.
If the Texans can sweep the season series against the Colts, they should be the early favorite to win the South.
A disappointing victory (is there such a thing?) over the Buffalo Bills drops the Ravens a few spots this week.
Giving up 34 points to the worst offense in the NFL, when defense is your team's strength, is truly inexcusable.
But, there are many games left to be played, and a 5-2 record has the Ravens right in the thick of things. It'll come down to consistent play from Joe Flacco.
Another team coming off a bye week, the Colts are facing life after Dallas Clark heading into Week 8.
While the Colts are so well coached, and Peyton Manning is so good at what he does, losing Clark is a hefty blow to the Colts' offense.
The Titans continue to find ways to win, despite a revolving door at QB. When you have Chris Johnson to hand the ball to, QB play isn't as important as usual.
Still, Kerry Collins is probably the most able backup in the league, and Kenny Britt has proved he is an exciting young WR.
This team is blowout-proof and will be a scary test for any team come playoff time.
Is Roddy White the best WR in the league in 2010?
The numbers would say yes. Already, White has 54 catches for nearly 750 yards and five TDs. The team is still young, but as they mature over the course of the season, they could be a real contender coming out of the NFC South.
The Giants turned the ball over relentlessly on Monday night, and still managed to blow out the Cowboys.
Their defensive line is playing as well as any positional unit in the league, having knocked out five QBs through their first seven games.
Combine that with a surprisingly exciting and big playmaking WR corps, and there is no reason the Giants aren't as able a contender as anyone in the NFC.
It hasn't always been pretty, but the Patriots are winning games.
So far, the loss of Randy Moss hasn't hurt the team, as the offense has continued to move the ball thanks to their hodge-podge receiving corps.
The defense is also playing better each week, and if that unit can stay healthy, the Patriots should be favorites to win the AFC Wild Card.
The key to the Steelers season was the first four games. Would they be able to hold down the fort until Ben Roethlisberger returned?
They held down the fort and more, going 3-1 before their bye week.
With Big Ben back in the saddle, the offense is much improved, and their downright scary defense is tops in the NFL.
Much of the Jets season hinged on the play of Mark Sanchez.
After a horrible opener, the Jets QB has thrown nine TDs and just two picks, managing the offense efficiently and letting a rejuvenated LaDainian Tomlinson make big plays.
Darrelle Revis says his hamstring is 100 percent, and the Jets defense looks to be back to firing on all cylinders. In a year with so much parity in the NFL, that should be just enough for the top ranking in Week 8.