Six weeks are in the book for this NFL season, and there are a few obvious truths that almost nobody can deny: Russell Wilson is an MVP candidate, the New York Jets are the team to beat in the Trevor Lawrence sweepstakes, and shipping DeAndre Hopkins off was murderous for the Texans chances at competing for a Super Bowl this year. There are also still plenty of questions left to be answered: Are the Colts for real, after fighting back against a 21-0 deficit and winning against that (albeit, bad) Bengals team? Where does a blowout loss to the Buccaneers place the Packers?
In case you missed our power rankings roundup, you can go back and read through where the national media ranks the Bears headed into week 7. Power rankings are subjective and account for 0% of a team’s actual value, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worth doing. As teams win and lose throughout the rest of the season, we’ll reference back to the previous week’s rankings and show you why any given team rises and falls. Even more important, we’ll put the Bears into our rankings and you can compare that with our weekly power rankings roundup to compare ours with the national opinions.
The way we’ll do this is by introducing you to our three newest alter egos.
Optimistic Bear (Patti): This Bears ranking is too hot.
Pessimistic Bear (Jack): This Bears ranking is too cold.
Realistic Bear (Jeff): This Bears ranking is just right.
We’ll average the combined rankings for the Bears and fit them into our list of the rest of the NFL, providing reasons why we believe the Bears deserve to be ranked accordingly. If the Chicago climbs to #1 on Sunday, February 7, 2021 you can go back and read through the rise and fall of your beloved Bears through these power rankings.
Week 7 NFL Power Rankings:
32. New York Jets (0-6): We could pile on, but suffice to say Sam Darnold needs to get the H-E-double hockey sticks out of Jersey.
31. Washington Football Team (1-5): After a 5-game losing streak, the only way they could go lower would be to hire Adam Gase. Oops I piled onto New York.
30. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-5): Speaking of 5-game losing streaks...
29. Atlanta Falcons (1-5): That “Just fired your coach” energy is real. The Falcons are not.
28. Detroit Lions (2-3): A surprising number of teams with good quarterbacks on bad rosters are in the bottom half of these rankings. Usually a quarterback can mask those defects early in the season.
27. New York Giants (1-5): At .571, the Giants are tied for 8th toughest strength of schedule according to ESPN. If only they had a superstar receiver...
26. Minnesota Vikings (1-5): The Vikings are playing bad football. Does that make them a bad football team? Yes. Yes it does.
25. Houston Texans (1-5): Deshaun Watson’s reaction to losing the OT coin toss pretty much sums up this entire team right now.
24. Philadelphia Eagles (1-4-1): Hey this team has a tie! That makes them better than the teams with 5 losses! With Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott injured, the Eagles could very well win the NFC East if they can approach .500.
23. Los Angeles Chargers (1-4): The Chargers keep losing by a touchdown or less, and their rookie quarterback took the Chiefs to OT. They may just put the pieces together.
22. Denver Broncos (2-3): The Broncos are ranked #6 in DVOA, and their star quarterback just came back from injury and threw...0 TD 2 INT. Really Elway? They won, though.
21. Cincinnati Bengals (1-4-1): What happens when you put a superstar quarterback on a lousy team? Inability to hang onto leads, that’s what.
20. Miami Dolphins (3-3): Two wins in a row for a team pegged to compete for Trevor Lawrence. Fitzmagic always runs out halfway through the year, but they’re fun to watch right now. May Tua changes things for the Fins.
19. New England Patriots (2-3): The other quarterback in that Denver-New England game threw 2 interceptions without a touchdown as well. Cam Newton now has an 81.5 QBR this year. Chicago may have dodged a bullet.
18. Carolina Panthers (3-3): They’ll fall because of the loss, but they looked good against Chicago. If Teddy Bridgewater doesn’t throw that early interception, this game could have been a nail-biter. When McCaffery returns from injury they’ll be better.
17. Dallas Cowboys (2-4): They’ll get boosted a bit here because they’re leading their division and will make playoffs if they hold said lead. The loss of Dak Prescott cannot be understated, though.
16. Los Angeles Rams (4-2): A bit of a fall after losing to a 49ers squad which looked to be in near-panic mode. The NFC West division is stacked and one of these teams will be the unfortunate loser.
15. San Francisco 49ers (3-3): George Kittle is back and so is the 49ers offense.
14. Cleveland Browns (4-2): They’ve been exposed by the Ravens and now the Steelers and I’m tried of Baker Mayfield commercials.
13. Arizona Cardinals (4-2): Matchups against the Jets and the Dak-less Cowboys were just what the doctor ordered for the Cards to recover. Kyler Murray is the real deal and they have a top-10 defense in DVOA. Don’t sleep on them.
12. Buffalo Bills (4-2): Josh Allen has cooled off a bit after his lethal start to the season. The main concern for Buffalo has to be their defense, though. They’re simply allowing too many points.
11. Green Bay Packers (4-1): Everybody knew Rodgers & co. were due for a rough game. I could sarcastically say “Rodgers bad games are other guys’ career games, right?” but in the end all that matters is how Green Bay responds. Historically, well...watch out.
10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-2): Tampa now has the #1 defensive DVOA ranking after a thrashing of Green Bay. They’re in the middle of a tough stretch of games, and how they come out the other side will determine where they truly belong in the rankings.
9. Chicago Bears (5-1):
Optimistic Bear: 2nd
I may be optimistic, but I’m not unreasonable. So there’s no way I can put the Bears below the Seahawks. An osprey by any other name is still a trashy pigeon and their defense is leakier than the garbage bags they surely use to carry it between games. This puts the Bears at number 2, which seems fair since I guess they still have some work to do on the offense.
Pessimistic Bear: 15th
The Bears are going into a brutal stretch of their season, with 4 of the next 5 games against teams over .500, including the Rams, Saints, Titans, and Packers, the latter 3 being playoff teams in 2019. This offense is abysmal, ranked 26th in offensive DVOA even after the switch to Nick Foles. Last year the team was ruined when injuries took a few starters out of this superstar defense. Once that happens again this year, the Bears will fall back to Earth.
Reality Bear: 10th
This Bears team slides in right below the Bucs, who they just beat, ahead of the Packers, who just got dismantled by the Bucs. I understand the argument for wanting to put the Bears ahead of the Bucs given the head to head result, but right now, on a neutral field with a full week of prep, I think the Bucs are the more complete team. Are the Bears really better than the Packers? Again, the Packers just got destroyed by TB with a defensive performance that I believe the Bears can replicate.
8. Las Vegas Raiders (3-2): Vegas took a win over the Chiefs into their week 6 bye, and until they lose another game, they belong in everybody’s top 10.
7. Indianapolis Colts (4-2): For all the teams at the bottom of these rankings who have a good quarterback on a bad roster, here’s the opposite. Colts may be the most “complete” team, but they’re still playing Weekend at Bernie’s with Philip Rivers.
6. New Orleans Saints (3-2): Top-10 defense, only losses are to good teams, hall of fame quarterback, one of the best running backs in football, and Michael Thomas is back next week. The Saints regularly start slow and then go on streaks in November and December. Watch out.
5. Baltimore Ravens (5-1): Their 1 loss is to a fellow top-5 team, and besides that they’ve been smoking the competition. The Eagles gave them a fight, but this team is looking beyond the regular season at this point.
4. Kansas City Chiefs (5-1): See what happens when this defense decides to show up? Give Patrick Mahomes a chance and you can get sized up for another ring this year.
3. Tennessee Titans (5-0): Mismanagement of the positive COVID-19 cases aside, this team is built very well. The defense needs to be better before we can talk about Super Bowl aspirations, as shown in their OT win over Houston, but Derrick Henry makes run heavy offenses sexy again.
2. Seattle Seahawks (5-0): I can’t add anything substantial to the Russell Wilson conversation, because it’s all already been said and it’s all correct. #LetRussCook. This team is far and away the best in the NFC.
1. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-0): Big Ben is back, and he looks 10 years younger. Chase Claypool is a viable fantasy starter over JuJu. Also, they have JuJu. They still have a top-10 offensive line. They’re extremely well-coached. I could go on. You know what matters more than any of that, though? They have the #2 defense in DVOA (compare to Seattle #26). This team will chew you up and spit you out. Make sure you tune into Steelers-Titans this Sunday, the winner will be atop these rankings next week.