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NFL Power Rankings: Titans make statement heading into Week 7

Sportsnaut
Sportsnaut
 1 day ago

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The first 17-game season in NFL history is well underway. And while there are still plenty of games ahead to judge how we remember this season, we’ve already seen big changes in our NFL power rankings:

Following another exciting week of the 2021 NFL season, let’s dive into our latest power rankings.

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NFL power rankings: Worst teams in NFL

32. Detroit Lions (Last Week: 31)

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David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports

One winless team remains. The Detroit Lions have come close to tasting the sweet champagne that is victory, but opposing kickers have prevented that from happening. Of course, none of that mattered in Week 7 against Cincinnati. There is good news for Detroit, they are in pole position for the No. 1 pick. Sadly, the 2022 NFL Draft isn’t the year for franchise quarterbacks. See you in 2022, Jared Goff .

31. New York Jets (LW: 30)

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Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

All things considered, the New York Jets can’t be too displeased with the results in 2021. We knew this team is in the early stages of a transition, lacing enough impact players on both sides of the ball to make a real difference. The bottom of NFL power rankings is where New York belongs, but there is optimism in Robert Saleh and Zach Wilson .

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30. Miami Dolphins (LW: 28)

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

We’ll start with the good news for the Miami Dolphins . In his return from injured reserve, Tua Tagovailoa looked sharp (329 passing yards, 95.1 passer rating, two TDs) and rookie Jaylen Waddle erupted with a big day in London. We now drop the other shoe. The Dolphins lost to Urban Meyer and it’s beyond evident Miami has far more flaws than anyone expected before the season.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars (LW: 32)

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Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

Matthew Wright is the hero in Jacksonville, a sentence we never expected to write. After bouncing around NFL practice squads for two years, Wright made his second NFL start on Sunday in London. All he did is drill a game-tying kick from 54 yards out and blasted a game-winning, 53-yard field goal as time expired. Everything feels ‘wright’ in Jacksonville following the Jaguars’ first win in 21 games.

28. New York Giants (LW: 27)

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Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Heeeeeee’s back! The bad version of quarterback Daniel Jones , the player who can even make NFC East fans shield their eyes, returned on Sunday. Blame the Giants missing Saquon Barkley, Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney if you want. The truth is, the New York Giants , nor any NFL team, could ever feel comfortable making a long-term investment in a quarterback who gives the football away like it’s Christmas.

27. Houston Texans (LW: 29)

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Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Texans just don’t stand a chance against most NFL teams. Facing a previously one-win Indianapolis Colts team, Houston kept things close for two quarters before everything fell apart. If fans were hoping for a Deshaun Watson trade by the Nov. 2 deadline, it might be time to give up on that.

NFL power rankings: Outside the playoff picture

26. Atlanta Falcons (LW: 26)

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Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Coming out of the bye, there are a few reasons why the Atlanta Falcons should feel good. For one, wide receiver Calvin Ridley returns for Week 7 and he’ll join an offense that keeps getting better. More importantly, for this team’s future, rookie Kyle Pitts is starting to show the game-changing talent that made him the No. 4 pick. With the Dolphins on deck, Atlanta could be 3-3 entering a tough stretch in its November schedule.

25. Philadelphia Eagles (LW: 24)

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Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

It’s about time to start contemplating a discussion surrounding quarterback Jalen Hurts . Through six games, he has a 59.5 passer rating when throwing 20-plus yards downfield ( Pro Football Focus ) and ranks 27th in completion rate (72.8%) on short yards (0-9 yards). There’s always going to be a low ceiling on the Eagles’ passing attack with Hurts under center, raising long-term QB1 concerns.

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24. Washington Football Team (LW: 22)

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Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

At this point, the Washington Football Team defense is exactly what we’re witnessing. With the secondary unable to stop anyone, an injured Antonio Gibson and an inefficient offense, there’s just no path to Washington being a watchable team for the foreseeable future.

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23. New England Patriots (LW: 23)

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David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

It seems the New England Patriots play to their level of competition, putting up great fights against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Dallas Cowboys, but barely defeating the Houston Texans. If this trend continues, New England will beat the Jets in Week 7 on a game-winning drive and then put up an incredible Halloween fight against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 8. The volatile play will keep them low in our weekly NFL power rankings.

22. Denver Broncos (LW: 22)

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Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Broncos will be higher than this in consensus NFL power rankings, but it’s no longer deserved. This is a mediocre team, with a defense that is progressively getting worse, that beat up on some of the worst teams in the NFL. Losses are quickly piling up and another will likely come on Thursday Night Football .

21. Seattle Seahawks (LW: 18)

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Philip G. Pavely-USA TODAY Sports

The Seattle Seahawks struggled in competitive games with future Hall of Fame quarterback Russell Wilson . As we saw in Week 6, things get even worse without him. Consider Sunday’s loss a sign of things to come from this franchise, especially if Wilson is traded next offseason.

NFL power rankings: Most inconsistent NFL teams

20. Indianapolis Colts (LW: 25)

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Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

The Indianapolis Colts are back to playing the style of football that could put them back in the AFC South hunt. Jonathan Taylor dominated as the featured back, quarterback Carson Wentz avoided mistakes and this defense never broke down. We’ll see in Week 7 if any of this is legit or the Colts just beat up Houston. Ever so slowly, Indianapolis is climbing back up the NFL power rankings.

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19. Pittsburgh Steelers (LW: 20)

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Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Entering the bye week with a two-game win streak and a 3-3 record, the Pittsburgh Steelers will sell themselves on this team being turned around. In reality, they beat a Geno Smith-led Seahawks’ offense and a Broncos’ club that looks more like pretenders. After the Week 7 bye, the Steelers could be crushed by reality when they face the Cleveland Browns.

18. Chicago Bears (LW: 15)

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Dan Powers-USA TODAY Sports

While the Chicago Bears defense is worthy of a spot in the NFL Playoffs, it’s not happening this year. Rookie Justin Fields keeps showing flashes and his future is bright, but there are plenty of mistakes. This is also a Matt Nagy-led team and that’s all the reason you need to not buy into a franchise owned by Aaron Rodgers .

17. San Francisco 49ers (LW: 17)

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Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Injuries are the story of the San Francisco 49ers season once again. Coming out of the bye, it would be a surprise if Jimmy Garoppolo doesn’t return in Week 7. But he puts a ceiling on this offense and with George Kittle on injured reserve, San Francisco is just an average NFL team.

16. Carolina Panthers (LW: 14)

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Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Pour one out for those who believed a change of scenery magically fixed Sam Darnold . In his last three games, all losses, Darnold completed just 54.7% of his passes with a 62.1 passer rating, six interceptions and averaged 5.85 yards per attempt. With Christian McCaffrey on IR, the 3-3 Panthers better hope the defense beats the New York Giants next Sunday.

15. Minnesota Vikings (LW: 19)

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Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

It’s rarely pretty for the Minnesota Vikings, but they found a way to win once again. This team seems to be addicted to last-second victories, seemingly knowing how torturous it is to the heart of every fan. Minnesota will head into the bye with a 3-3 record, firmly in the NFC Wild Card hunt.

NFL power rankings: Playoff watch entering Week 7

14. Las Vegas Raiders (LW: 16)

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Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Even before Sunday’s victory over the rival Denver Broncos, Las Vegas Raiders seemed happy. Under interim head coach Rich Bisaccia, practices are better, more player-friendly changes are being made and Derek Carr is gaining more control of the offense. With the Eagles and Giants ahead, Las Vegas could be 5-3 in November.

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13. New Orleans Saints (13)

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Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Returning from the bye week, the New Orleans Saints should feel optimistic. The upcoming Week 7 matchup against the Seattle Seahawks now looks like a breeze and a victory would push them to 4-2. More importantly, impact starters like Michael Thomas, Marcus Davenport and David Onyemata are closing in on returns.

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12. Cincinnati Bengals (LW: 12)

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Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

There was never a doubt about the Cincinnati Bengals winning on Sunday. An offense rich with talent at the skill positions and a defense that is still flying under the radar made the Week 6 victory look easy. Sitting at 4-2, a road win against the Baltimore Ravens could change the dynamics of the AFC North.

11. Kansas City Chiefs (LW: 10)

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Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

When the Kansas City Chiefs defense isn’t historically bad, quarterback Patrick Mahomes is more than talented enough to win most games. But a defensive unit that makes opposing quarterbacks look like the best player in NFL history isn’t the only problem. After committing just 16 turnovers in 16 games last year, Kansas City’s offense is already at 14 giveaways this season. Positive regression is coming for these unprecedented trends, but it’s going to take time.

10. Cleveland Browns (LW: 7)

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Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

One can certainly admire Baker Mayfield’s willingness to play through extreme pain, but this situation is getting worse. Both Kareem Hunt and Nick Chubb are in jeopardy of missing Thursday Night Football , meaning even more of the offensive weight will be on Mayfield’s shoulders. The Browns should still escape with a victory, but the 10-day break after is desperately needed.

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9. Tennessee Titans (LW: 12)

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Andrew Nelles / Tennessean.com / USA TODAY NETWORK

What an absolutely gritty Week 6 win for this Titans team. Taking on a red-hot Bills squad at home Monday night, Tennessee rode Derrick Henry (143 yards, three touchdowns) to a thrilling late-game win over Josh Allen and Co. It was a signature victory for the Titans and it vaults this squad into the top 10 heading into a huge outing against the two-time defending AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs.

8. Los Angeles Chargers (LW: 3)

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Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

When your MVP candidate quarterback has his worst game of the season, it puts immense pressure on everyone else to step up. With Justin Herbert unable to compensate for his team’s flaws, Baltimore walked all over the Chargers. This can be a great team but the run defense and bad offensive play-calling are troubling.

Week 7 NFL power rankings: Super Bowl contenders

7. Green Bay Packers (LW: 6)

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Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Aaron Rodgers is right, he owns the Bears . The reigning NFL MVP is leading the Green Bay Packers on a five-game winning streak, erasing any memories of that Week 1 debacle. But the thing that puts Green Bay behind other Super Bowl contenders right now in our latest NFL power rankings, the mounting injuries (Jaire Alexander, Za’Darius Smith, David Bakhtiari, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Darnell Savage).

6. Buffalo Bills (LW: 2)

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George Walker IV / Tennessean.com / USA TODAY NETWORK

We just can’t overlook Buffalo losing against two inferior teams in that of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans over the first six weeks of the season. Week 6 was a primary example of this with the Bills’ previously-vaunted defense giving up six consecutive scoring drives to Tennessee en route to Buffalo falling to 4-2 on the campaign . Talent-wise, this might be the best team in the NFL. But it needs to get up for every game, week in, week out.

5. Los Angeles Rams (LW: 8)

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Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Rams didn’t even need to break a sweat in Sunday’s victory over New York. hey dominated every single aspect of the game across four quarters. There will be a little extra meeting for the Rams-Lions Week 7 battle, but everyone should be prepared for a blowout.

4. Baltimore Ravens (LW: 9)

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Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Ravens made a statement on Sunday. If this version of the defense shows up, Baltimore can be the second-best team in the AFC. Keep in mind, Lamar Jackson didn’t even play to his usual standard. But steamrolling the Chargers and jumping out to a 5-1 record should get everyone in Baltimore excited.

3. Dallas Cowboys (LW: 5)

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David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The Cowboys’ celebration after a wild victory over the Patriots didn’t last long Sunday. Learning that game-winning touchdown pass also caused a calf strain for Dak Prescott creates some real concern. But Dallas is heading into its bye week and if this is a minor injury, he’ll return to a Super Bowl contender in Week 8.

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2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (LW: 4)

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Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Brady is winning at everything right now. Dominating on the field, living his best life in Tampa Bay and starring in fantastic commercials. We could put the spotlight on a depleted Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense that is a concern for this team moving forward. But Brady operating an offense with Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Antonio Browns, three No. 1 receivers on pace for 1,000-yard seasons, make this offense unstoppable.

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1. Arizona Cardinals (LW: 1)

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Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Erasing any doubt, the Arizona Cardinals once again proved why they hold the No. 1 spot in our NFL power rankings. Arizona led Cleveland 20-0 midway through the game and save for a Hail Mary touchdown before the half, this would have been a 30-point blowout. The Cardinals aren’t the perfect team, but that undefeated record isn’t going away with the Texans on deck in Week 7.

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