Ken's Note: These rankings are the views of the author, and may/do not reflect the views of any other Windy City Gridiron contributor.
Welcome to the Week 7 Power Rankings.
Power rankings are kind of silly and entirely meaningless, and they are also completely subjective... what one person sees as a strength another might see as a weakness. I get that. My reason for doing this feature isn't "I think I know better," but rather to entertain, hopefully amuse and also to generate friendly discussion and debate (within the site rules, of course).
My feature comes out later in the week than pretty much everybody else's on the web because I actually watch every single game I talk about BEFORE posted my rankings (as far as I know, I am the ONLY person doing this in the online media). Gamepass condensed games are the greatest tool ever made for the NFL football junkie. By doing this instead of just watching the highlights (if that) or browsing the box score, I suspect my list looks significantly different than most.
Here's how I have the league shaking out after Week 7:
1) Vikings - (Last week's rating #1) The Vikings were on their bye week this week, but nothing I saw makes me want to dethrone them from the top of the rankings. Another week atop the pile for Barney's friends.
2) Patriots - (Last week's rating #3 ) Tom Brady cures all ills, and the defense didn't play as horrible as it has been known to do this week. Rob Gronkowski did a bunch of Gronk-like things, and The Black Unicorn stepped up as well. Cincy is a good team, but the Patriots are a better one.
3) Cowboys - (Last week's rating #8 ) Well, them 'Boys just kicked the everloving snot out of the Packers, so up the ladder they go. The Dallas defense is still very, very iffy but the offense is keeping the defense off the field, with Ezekiel Elliot behind that outstanding offensive line piling up both yards and time of possession. Aaron Rodgers missing his mark a lot (even on many of his completions) also helped the Dallas defense.
4) Falcons - (Last week's rating #7 ) Atlanta beat Seattle in Seattle. Well, OK, they were set up to beat Seattle in Seattle with a short field goal try in the final two minutes. Then... NFL officiating happened. I don't care one bit about either team, or the outcome of the game, doesn't matter to me. Julio Jones and the Falcons were jobbed, plain and simple. For power ranking purposes, I'm calling this a Falcons win.
5) Seahawks - (Last week's rating #6 ) Yeah, I know, they should be higher. Everybody else has them higher. But... that offensive line is so far beyond bad that words fail. Sowell, Glowinski, Britt, Ifedi & Gilliam. In Bears speak that would be J' Nation, Gate 68 Omiyale, Gabe Carimi at center, Chilo Rachal and Chris Williams. Honestly, that Bears line might be better. Seattle lost at home to Atlanta (yes, technically they won but anybody who watched that game who isn't a Seahawks fan knows Atlanta was jobbed) but Seattle's horrible offensive line wasn't quite as bad this week as it has been (perhaps saying more about Atlanta's lack of a quality front 7 than Seattle's talent).
6) Bills - (Last week's rating #12 ) I love me some Tyrod Taylor. This Bills team is for real... except, of course, for their coaching staff which is still a bit of a zoo, but... setting that aside, they are scoring points and allowing less points, so I'm on the bandwagon for now.
7) Broncos - (Last week's rating #4 ) Remember when Trevor Siemian looked like the second coming of John Elway?When CJ Anderson looked like the next Terrell Davis? When the offensive line looked... well... at least average? Those memories are starting to fade after two very, very "iffy" losses. It's not that the Chargers scored 21 points... they do that, San Diego can REALLY light up the scoreboard... it's that Denver only managed 13 points on a very suspect Charger's defense. That's the REAL issue.
8) Packers - (Last week's rating #5 ) There are several fundamental problems with this Packers team. This is a team that is built on having a Quarterback God at the helm, without having a God level QB they are actually not very good. They can run the ball a bit, but unless Aaron Rodgers is playing lights out, the offense sputters. Rodgers, more often than not over the last two seasons, has been "average" instead of "Godlike". The Aaron has been throwing in the occasional "God-awful" game to boot. While his numbers from this last week looked "pretty good" go watch the game, his throws were by-and-large off. Rodgers threw a hideous "Rex Grossman" style pick. Even many of the completions were off the mark. On defense, Clay Matthews has disappeared. Mathews and Rodgers may return to "God level football", but consistently? Until then, down the list they go.
9) Cardinals - (Last week's rating #16 ) Well, the Cardinals looked like a playoff team for the first time in a while this week. Inconsistency? Look it up in the dictionary and it will have a picture of a Cardinal next to the word. They really beat the tar out of a very bad Jets team, so... yeah, there's that. Still, up they go because they are only one game out of first on the win side, Seattle isn't impressing me, and they play the Seahawks this weekend. That game will go a long way towards determining the course of the West this season.
10) Redskins - (Last week's rating #13 ) The Redskins are quietly putting together a decent season in East, one game behind Dallas and one ahead (on the win side) of the Eagles and New York. Washington has the tiebreakers over both Philadelphia and the Giants, but lost to the Cowboys. Still, they are in the hunt for the division and are certainly a wild-card contender. The only reason I don't put them higher is because there's not much separation between any of those East teams and I expect the next round of games between the four to be a beat-down.
11) Steelers - (Last week's rating #2 ) Not only did the Steelers lose, they lost to a bad Miami team, and they lost Ben Roethlisberger for several weeks at least. The Steelers are great with Ben, but without him? We shall see. Miami embarrassed the men in black, and Miami just isn't very good. Give up 204 yards to Jay Ajayi? Really? A guy that had 187 yards the entire SEASON last year? Wow.
12) Eagles - (Last week's rating #10 ) Well, the Eagles are 3-2, quarterback Carson Wentz is promising, the defense has been "pretty good" and all... but... except for their impressive win against the Steelers (becoming less impressive as the Steelers implode), the other two wins were against us & Cleveland. They are 1-1 against good teams (Pittsburgh and Washington) and 2-1 against bad teams (they lost to Detroit). Additionally, the Eagles only scored 13 points on offense this last week, that last TD to make it close was of the "are you kidding me?" variety, a gift penalty followed by a kickoff return... it may make the game closer, but it is not power ranking friendly.
13) Giants - (Last week's rating #19 ) New York is one of my "meh" teams, They aren't really very good, they aren't really very bad. Just like the Ravens they just played (and almost lost to). I'm switching them and the Ravens around because the Giants won the game, but all of these "middle of the road" teams are about equal, give or take injuries.
14) Chiefs - (Last week's rating #17 ) How bad was the weather in Oakland? This is how bad:
Rain Floods Oakland Coliseum On Raider Game Day (LINK) - CBS San Francisco - Flooding once again plagued the Oakland Coliseum on game day before the Raiders took to the field Sunday.
The weather was miserable, but Kansas City didn't seem to mind. The Chiefs busted out a can of whoop-ass on the Raiders, running over them in a strong division road win. When this Kansas City team is good, they are REALLY good. Having said that, they've thrown some real stinkers out there this year as well. We shall see.
15) Texans - (Last week's rating #15 ) When JJ Watt went out for (probably) the season, I figured the Texans would be in trouble. What I (and the rest of the league) have found out is "Oh, yeah... that Jadeveon Clowney can really tear things up!" With Clowney emerging and Whitney Mercilus wreaking his usual havoc, Texas hasn't missed a beat on defense. Brock Oesweiler has been spotty (to say the least) but he came through big-time with the game on the line this week. We have to remember the guy has very limited playing time, he's essentially a rookie out there. Still, until they really get it together, welcome to the middle of the group.
16) Lions - (Last week's rating #25 ) On the one hand, the Lions have two quality wins in a row. Well, sorta. On the other hand, their defense is still bad, their coaching staff is still bad, and they are in a division with 2 better teams... and they lost to us. SO... yeah, still unimpressed.
17) Raiders - (Last week's rating #9 ) The good news for the Raiders organization is that it looks like their move to a new stadium in Las Vegas is a lot closer to happening. The bad news is that they got their butts handed to them by their arch rivals, Kansas City, in a stadium flooding with rain water. I don't care who you are, if you have to walk from the locker rooms in ankle deep water because your stadium is that bad (and it's been that bad for YEARS), you deserve to lose.
18) Chargers - (Last week's rating #27 ) San Diego makes a huge jump for several reasons, not the least of which is they have actually started stopping people (a bit at least) on defense. Here's the thing, several of the losses have been of the "you gotta be kidding me" variety, but that curse was broken this week (or so my thesis goes). I admit, I was about to bash my monitor at the thought they were going to give up the win to Denver, but all ended up for the boys in blue (BTW outstanding uniform this week, my lightning-bolted friends). This is probably too high, but San Diego is making a move and I'm riding the train. (Besides, all of these mid-level teams are "any given Sunday" away from beating any team in the league).
19) Bengals - (Last week's rating #18 ) Talk about a tough start to the season, without a doubt the Bengals are the best 2-4 team in the league, They are a lot better than a lot of 3-2 and 4-2 teams, talent wise. A tough schedule has done them no favors. Cincy can still win the division, but their conference record (losses to 3 conference and 1 division team) hurts the tiebreakers). It's early, and with Big Ben out in Steeler-land and a very beatable Ravens team one game in front of them, the Bengals still control their own destiny).
20) Ravens - (Last week's rating #14 ) Firing the Trest-Coast Offense guru didn't translate into a win this week, although the Ravens did get close. This team is very, very "middle of the road", almost painfully so. When it comes time to watch their game to do this article, I'm always "well, yeah, it's the Ravens. I've gotta watch them, I guess" about it
21) Jaguars - (Last week's rating #21 ) Well, they beat us. Lots of people thought I had these guys too high last week, but I don't think so. I think they are better than many people give them credit for. Beating us won't move them up any higher though, because... well... we not good.
22) Saints - (Last week's rating #22 ) Same song, different verse. The good news? The offense can score eight bazillion points per game. The bad news? It has to score eight bazillion points per game to have any chance of winning. New Orleans only gave up 38 to the Panthers, so I guess that's something, right? Only giving up 38 this week? Right?
23) Buccaneers - (Last week's rating #20 ) Even though they had a bye this week, I'm moving them down just because their uniforms are ugly. OK, not really... but you gotta admit, those Bucs outfits look more like something that the Elmhurst Pirates semi-pro team might wear.
24) Titans - (Last week's rating #24 ) I'd move them up more, but I had already pre-bumped them last week. Tennessee is ascending, and frankly this may be a playoffs team this year, because of that bad division they play in. They should compete for the division title, and may be in play for a wildcard. I just can't justify moving them ahead of Tampa Bay, because Tennessee's uniforms are also hideous, and we all know it's fashion that matters, right?
25) Rams - (Last week's rating #11 ) And then they lose to a team like the Lions, and I watch it and keep seeing that the Rams are still coached by Jeff Fisher, that Case Keenum (who was doing his best Joe Montana impersonation for much of the game) actually is Case Keenum, and that the vaunted Rams defense has a lot more trouble shutting down Detroit than our crappy defense full of third stringers did... yeah, that's when I move them to the bottom half of the league again where they belong.
26) Dolphins - (Last week's rating #31 ) Jay Ajayi went bazonkers on the Steelers, and Miami looked not nearly as sucky as they have been. I'm not convinced it wasn't a one-off, so they get to repeat this before I start moving them up.
27) Colts - (Last week's rating #23 ) Yeah, I've got nothing on these guys. 2-4 with one of those wins barely beating us, and the other over San Diego. They gave up 26 points and a late win to Brock Oesweiler. Division loss, they are now 0-2 in the division, and that's a "bad thing" for them, because their only hope of the playoffs is to win that thing. 1-3 in the conference isn't tiebreaker friendly either.
28) Panthers - (Last week's rating #26 ) I don't know who, but SOMEBODY needs to be fired. This is far too talented of a team to be playing the way they are playing. It's just that they are 1-5, but right now they aren't even playing to a 1-5 level with a ton of All Pro's and last year's league MVP. Outrageous.
29) Bears - (Last week's rating #29 ) The Bears lose another close game to a mediocre (at best) team. There were bad things and there were good things. The 29th spot in the rankings shows that the bad things are far outweighing the good things.
30) 49ers -(Last week's rating #30 ) Colin Kaepernick started over Blaine Gabbert, and the result? Same old same old. This Niner's team is just fundamentally not good, and quarterback isn't the only problem by a LONG shot.
31) Jets - (Last week's rating #28 ) Yes, the Jets have had a much tougher schedule than many of the teams above them, but they are about to "let's give Geno yet another chance". It's one thing to have a QB controversy where you think two guys can both have success, it's another to have one that involves Geno Smith as possibly the best option.
32) Browns - (Last week's rating #32 ) Cleveland city of light city of magic. Cleveland city of light you're calling me; Cleveland, even now I can remember, cause the Cuyahoga River goes smokin' through my dreams. Same old Cleveland? No. Cody Kessler had a nice game, and Cleveland gave the ascending Titans all they wanted this week. Cleveland has been moving the ball and scoring a lot of points. With a good coach (which they now have), a ton of draft picks, a new front office, if this Brown's team can fix the defense, this is a team that can go from last place to playoff contention in a heartbeat. Seriously, if an 0-6 team could ever be considered "ascending" this one is. They are young, there's a lot of talent and obvious holes to fill, but this is a team with both the draft picks and cap space to fill them.
So what do you think? Am I close? Am I entirely wrong? Spill the beans, let us know what you think.