2011 NFL Power Rankings – Week 7

NFL Power Rankings 2011 Pre 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 Playoffs

Our rankings heading into Week 7:

Rank Team Comment
1 Green Bay Packers The Packers basically took the second half off against the Rams, but the Rams have taken the season off so it didn’t matter. Aaron Rodgers is putting on weekly clinics and the problems that often plague Super Bowl teams the following season aren’t affecting the Packers right now.
2 New England Patriots The Patriots reclaimed first place in the AFC East heading into their bye week with a come-from-behind 20-16 win over Dallas. A Week 8 battle against the Steelers in Pittsburgh awaits New England once their break is over.
3 Baltimore Ravens The Ravens took care of business against the Texans, outscoring them 19 to 7 in the 2nd half. They should win their next two games against Jacksonville and Arizona and be in good shape moving forward.
4 San Diego Chargers San Diego’s bye week saw little change to the AFC West landscape beneath them; they face a tough test going cross-country to play the Jets in an early game next Sunday.
5 New Orleans Saints Was losing to the Bucs a changing of the guards? Maybe not, but the division lead now lies in Tampa Bay. The Saints now face two winless teams (Indy and StL) back to back and will hope the Bucs drop a game in the meantime.
6 Detroit Lions The Lions suffered their first loss of the season in a game we can call “handshake-gate”. There’s no shame in losing to the 49ers this year but considering how hot Green Bay is, the Lions can’t afford to fall too far behind them.
7 San Francisco 49ers The 49ers are winning big games and devastating opposing coaches with vigorous handshakes and backslaps. Maybe they can use the bye week to focus on their passing game, which ranks 30th in the NFL right now.
8 Pittsburgh Steelers The Steelers beat the Jaguars, as they should, though the total lack of second half scoring should be a concern.
9 Buffalo Bills On the road, Buffalo fell 27-24 to the New York Giants on a late field goal; the loss drops them into second place in the AFC East for their bye week. They will host the Redskins in Week 8.
10 Oakland Raiders The Raiders handled a Cleveland team coming off of their bye week, emerging victorious 24-17. With a win next week hosting the Chiefs, Oakland could make a legitimate move in the AFC West.
11 Tampa Bay Bucs Tampa Bay came through with a huge win against the Saints, a game that should prove to be a big confidence booster. They aren’t a flashy team, but when your only losses are to a pair of 5-1 teams, your doing things right.
12 Houston Texans An injury-plagued Houston team was easily handled by the Ravens, 29-14. With the loss, the Texans fall behind Tennessee in the AFC South with a road game against the Titans up next.
13 New York Giants The Giants got a late field goal to beat the Bills, and continue to be the favorite in the NFC East. The real test for them will come in the second half of the season, when they face a very tough schedule.
14 Tennessee Titans While Tennessee was on their bye week, Houston’s loss vaulted the Titans into first place in the AFC South. Those Texans are next up for Matt Hasselbeck and Chris Johnson as they attempt to assert dominance of the Manning-less division.
15 New York Jets The Jets ended their three-game losing streak almost by default on Monday Night Football against the Dolphins. Next week will be a much tougher task as the Chargers come to town.
16 Atlanta Falcons The Falcons handled the Panthers better than anyone else has so far this year and moved to 3-3 on the season. A win at Detroit this week would go a long way towards salvaging what has been a brutal start.
17 Chicago Bears The Bears destroyed the Vikings to improve to 3-3 which helps keep them in the playoff hunt in a very competitive NFC North. Devin Hester returned a kick for a TD and also had a long reception TD. If he could bring his return game explosiveness to the WR position, Cutler would be a happy man.
18 Cincinnati Bengals Cincinnati beat the lowly Colts on Sunday. More importantly, they got one (and possibly two) first round picks in a trade for idle QB Carson Palmer. A franchise that has mostly struggled in recent years, looks to be turning it around.
19 Washington Redskins The Redskins look to be holding on for dear life after a 3-1 start gave way to a quarterback controversy. They’ll have to do better in their division games if they want to be a playoff team.
20 Philadelphia Eagles It took a horrendous 4 interception game from Rex Grossman for the Eagles to sneak by the Redskins. They’re still not looking as impressive as many thought they would.
21 Dallas Cowboys The Cowboys put up a nice effort against the Patriots, but fell short after a late New England touchdown. The confidence or lack there of in Tony Romo remains a huge issue.
22 Seattle Seahawks Seattle is coming off the bye week to face Cleveland. If you predicted before the season that the winner of this game would be sitting at 3-3, you should probably be betting money on the NFL regularly.
23 Cleveland Browns The Browns got beat worse than the 24-17 score showed this weekend in Oakland. They still have a long way to go.
24 Carolina Panthers Carolina had kept most games close this season, but fell by 14 points to the Falcons. They have two winnable games (Wash & Min) coming up before their bye week and although this isn’t a playoff team, Carolina fans have to be encouraged by the progress of the team.
25 Kansas City Chiefs With their bye week in the books, next up for the Chiefs is a road game against division rival Oakland. If the season is going to be memorable at all for Kansas City, a win will be necessary.
26 Arizona Cardinals The Cardinals get a bye week to try to figure out how to attempt to compete against Pittsburgh then Baltimore back to back. Has Larry Fitzgerald regretted his huge contract extension yet?
27 Denver Broncos Denver’s bye week has mostly been spent entertaining trade rumors and installing Tim Tebow as the starting quarterback. Time will tell if enough is done for the Broncos to put forth a winning effort at Miami.
28 Minnesota Vikings Some are surprised it took almost 6 full games for the Vikings to put rookie QB Christian Ponder in, but he’s now the scheduled starter moving forward. Sure, the Vikings problems run deeper than McNabb, but at 1-5 in a division featuring GB and Detroit, their odds to make a playoff run are basically gone.
29 Jacksonville Jaguars Despite being outmanned, the Jaguars put up a solid effort to only lose 17-13 to the Steelers. Jacksonville will be featured on Monday Night Football next week as they host the Ravens.
30 Miami Dolphins At this point, Miami seems dedicated to a “Suck for Luck” campaign; hard to explain the team’s performance otherwise, especially after an uninspired Monday Night Football loss to the rival Jets. Tim Tebow leads the Broncos into town next week as the Dolphins celebrate his Florida Gators National Championship team; what a disgrace.
31 St. Louis Rams They have Sam Bradford so I’m sure they aren’t purposely participating in the “Suck fo Luck” campaign, but at this point in their winless season having a chance at the top pick, even to just trade it for players, has to be on the minds of the Rams.
32 Indianapolis Colts Despite a comeback engineered by Curtis Painter against Cincinnati, it was not meant to be as the Colts lost yet another game in their Manning-less 2011 season. The prospects of win #1 are even worse next week with a visit to the Saints waiting.

Commentary breakdown: Alex (AFC North, NFC East), Brian (AFC East/South/West), Pat (NFC North/South/West).

Alex Chalupka - Originally from the Baltimore-Washington area, Alex is a huge Baltimore Ravens and Maryland Terrapins fan who currently resides in Little Rock, Arkansas. He’s also an Orioles fan and follows the NBA and other sports as objectively as possible. He enjoys writing about all sports and is the founder/editor of theSportsGeeks.com. - Follow him on Twitter here - Visit his personal website

Brian Parker - Born in Maine, a state with no professional sports team, Brian Parker is nonetheless a huge statistics nerd and fan of the NFL and NHL, with some passing interest in the MLB. Regional ties see him as a Patriots and Red Sox fan, though a childhood of watching Patrick Roy tend the net as a Montreal Canadien puts him on the opposite side of his fellow New Englanders for that NHL rivalry. Brian has both an M.A. and a B.A. in English with a concentration in Creative Writing from the University of Maine. - Follow him on Twitter here - Visit his personal website

Pat Lussenhop - Pat was born and raised in rural Minnesota and is currently living in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He graduated from St. John's University (MN) with a degree in psychology and went on to get his masters in school psychology at the University of Northern Iowa. He's a lifetime sports fan and follows basketball and football the most. His favorite teams include any team that has "Minnesota" in it's name and he enjoys sports statistics and any good sporting debates. - Follow him on Twitter here

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