Putting together NFL power rankings can be a difficult and often futile task, as things can change so much from week to week. Nevertheless, seven weeks into the 2016 NFL season, we have some semblance of what teams belong at the top of the power rankings and what teams are too inconsistent to take seriously. Thus, here are the NFL power rankings after Week 7.
10. Kansas City
After a win over the Saints on Sunday, the Chiefs sneak ahead of the Steelers for the 10th spot in the power rankings. No one is calling Kansas City a Super Bowl contender just yet, but the Chiefs are solid, with a defense that’s better than most in the NFL and a balanced offense led by a quarterback in Alex Smith that knows how to take care of the football. The Chiefs are 2-0 in what looks like a competitive division, so they look like a team capable of earning a wild card spot.
9. Green Bay
At times, it’s tough to know what to make of the Packers, as something just looks off about them, particularly with quarterback Aaron Rodgers. That being said, Green Bay’s only losses this year are to the Vikings and Cowboys, and even with a slew of unfortunate injuries, the Packers have beat the teams they’re supposed to beat, which still counts for something in the NFL power rankings. We should learn more about them this week when they visit the Falcons.
Until losing last week in Detroit, the team in Washington had won four in a row, with a win over the Eagles starting to look a lot more impressive. Washington does have its flaws, but at this point, they’ve done enough to deserve a spot somewhere in the top 10 of the power rankings.
It’s tough to buy-in on the Raiders completely at this point in the season, but a 5-2 record can’t be ignored. Defensively, Oakland has had more bad days than good days this season, and that has to be a concern moving forward. The Raiders also don’t have a win over a team with a winning record, and for a franchise that has not had a track record of success in recent years, it could prevent them from climbing any further up the power rankings.
The Falcons have to be disappointed with back-to-back losses, but their place in the power rankings can’t fall too much, as those two losses were by a combined five points. Atlanta also has road wins over the Raiders, Saints, and Broncos. Most NFL teams would be pleased with three road wins on the season, but the Falcons have won three of their first four road contests, and that means something.
The Broncos were starting to slip in the NFL power rankings after two straight losses, but Monday night’s dominating performance over the Texans brings them back into the top five.
Remember, one of Denver’s losses was without starting quarterback Trevor Siemian, and the other was on a short week without head coach Gary Kubiak. If the Broncos can start to show more balance on offense, there’s no reason why they can’t be considered Super Bowl contenders.
After Sunday’s win over the Vikings, the NFL’s last remaining undefeated team, Philadelphia’s spot towards the top of the power rankings looks secure. Rookie quarterback Carson Wentz has had his struggles, but overall he’s been far better than anticipated. Meanwhile, the Eagles have been one of the best defensive teams in the NFL this year. The next step for Philadelphia is to beat a good team on the road, and if they can do that, they’ll be in the conversation for the top spot in the power rankings.
3. New England
The Patriots have looked good since Tom Brady’s return, but they’ve beaten up on mostly mediocre teams, including a Pittsburgh team that was without Ben Roethlisberger. If New England can avenge its only loss this season in Buffalo this week, the Patriots can make a strong argument for being the top team in the NFL power rankings.
Not everyone is sold on the Cowboys, and that’s fine. However, they have just one loss this season, and it was by a single point in Week 1 with a rookie quarterback making his first career start. With the best offensive line in football, the tandem of Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott should continue to thrive, making the Cowboys look more and more like a Super Bowl contender every week.
The NFL power rankings will not be fooled by one loss, especially on the road against a good team. The Vikings remain the best team in the NFL right now based on the play of their suffocating defense through the first seven weeks of the season. There will be ups and downs offensively, but Minnesota’s defense always gives them a chance to win and is the type of defense that can carry them throughout the season and has taken them to the top of the NFL power rankings.
[Featured Image by Joe Sargent/Getty Images]