NFL Power Rankings: Week 7
By David Barbour
Posted October 25th, 2006

Chicago Bears (6-0)
Last Week:  1st

After barely beating an Arizona Cardinals team that went on to lose to the hapless Oakland Raiders, the Bears probably needed an extra week to recover and to prepare for the juggernaut that is the San Francisco 49ers.

Denver Broncos (5-1)
Last Week:  4th

Denver’s defense continues to play impressively, this time basically shutting down the Cleveland’s offense.  The defense only allowed the Browns to convert one third-down opportunity and held the Browns to 3.2 yards per offensive play.  As for Jake Plummer, even though he threw two interceptions, one of which led to a Browns touchdown, he’s only cost the Broncos one game this season so there’s no reason to take him out of the starting lineup yet.

New England Patriots (5-1)
Last Week:  5th

Even though the Patriots only out-gained the Bills by 9 yards, they won the field position battle, had a higher third-down conversion rate, and scored on all three of their red zone possessions.  And in most games, that’s all you’ll need for a victory.

Indianapolis Colts (6-0)
Last Week:  3rd

Well, the Colts passing game certainly got back on track against the Redskins.  Peyton Manning threw for 342 passing yards and four touchdowns, averaging 9.8 yards per pass play.  Also, Joseph Addai continues to outperform Dominic Rhodes even though he still has to split carries almost evenly, the fact of which is becoming incomprehensible.

San Diego Chargers (4-2)
Last Week:  2nd

Entering the season, linebacker depth was a strength of the Chargers, but now with the injury to Shaun Phillips and the suspension of Shawne Merriman, it looks like they didn’t have quite enough depth at the position.  Giving up 132 rushing yards to Larry Johnson can’t help the defense feel too confident, either.

New Orleans Saints (5-1)
Last Week:  6th

Only atop the NFC South by one game, keeping their success going against the Baltimore Ravens this Sunday will be very important.  Of course, with both teams coming off a bye, the edge will go to the best-coached team and right now I’m thinking that is the one coached by Sean Payton.

St. Louis Rams (4-2)
Last Week:  9th

Yes, the Rams have lost two intra-division games already, but with the injury to Matt Hasselbeck who will be out anywhere from 2-4 weeks, the chance for the Rams to take over the NFC West division certainly looks promising.

New York Giants (4-2)
Last Week:  12th

Thank goodness for the Cowboys miscues be it by interception or on downs or allowing themselves to be tackled in the end zone.  Of the 36 points the Giants scored, 26 were a result of the Cowboys being careless when they did have the ball.
Baltimore Ravens (4-2)
Last Week:  14th

Jim Fassel has been fired, Steve McNair may play against the Saints, and Brian Billick will be calling all of the plays.  The question should be asked, though.  If Billick is such an offensive genius, why wasn’t he doing the play-calling already?  On the bright side, he still has a great defense he can rely on for when his offense inevitably fails to produce substantial results, but will it be enough against the surprisingly good Saints?

Atlanta Falcons (4-2)
Last Week:  16th

In a game where turnovers played such an important part of the game, the Falcons came out on top of that battle.  Not only did the Falcons score 21 points off of three Pittsburgh fumbles, but each of those three fumbles occurred deep in Pittsburgh’s territory.  Of course, winning the overtime coin toss helped in the victory, too.

Minnesota Vikings (4-2)
Last Week:  18th

Knocking Seattle’s starting quarterback certainly did hurt the Vikings in their quest for a victory.  Neither did the 5.8 yards per rushing play and the touchdown pass from a running back or the fumble recovery in the end zone for a touchdown.  All in a day’s work for the Vikings, who win in the oddest ways

Cincinnati Bengals (4-2)
Last Week:  15th

Maybe we became too excited about the Bengals on the offensive side of the ball last year because they have certainly not been amazing this year.  Their 4.8 yard per offensive play against the Panthers as evidence of this, even though they did manage to win the game in the end, thanks to picking off a Delhomme pass in the end zone.

Philadelphia Eagles (4-3)
Last Week:  8th

Funny how things work out sometimes.  The Eagles offense was infinitely more productive than the Buccaneers, but when two interceptions led directly to two touchdowns, it doesn’t really matter how poorly the opponent plays.  One has to wonder how losing three games all on the last possession of the game will weigh on the players’ minds in the future.

Jacksonville Jaguars (3-3)
Last Week:  10th

I certainly underestimated the Houston Texans.  Maybe the Jaguars did, too.  That would explain why they only averaged 4.1 yards per offensive play and fumbled the ball twice, leading to two Texans touchdowns.  At least, they scored a touchdown on their one red zone possession.

Dallas Cowboys (3-3)
Last Week:  13th

Tony Romo did not have a stellar game in the second half, but at least he is something new.  With Bledsoe, you know what you are getting and it’s not a great quarterback, but with Romo at least there is a mystery to him that is alluring.  Also, not too much can be read into Romo’s interceptions since he was playing from behind and was probably forcing throws to lead the Cowboys back quickly.  He should at least get another game to see what he can do.

Seattle Seahawks (4-2)
Last Week:  7th

Seneca Wallace wanted to be an NFL quarterback, eschewing the chance to get more time on the field as a wide receiver where he would arguably be more effective.  Well, after watching him throw two interceptions, the Seahawks hope he will play better in the coming weeks or fall victim to the Super Bowl runner-up curse.

Kansas City Chiefs (3-3)
Last Week:  20th

The Chiefs are not exactly the most consistent team ever, but after getting blown out by the Steelers, they bounced back in a long way against the San Diego Chargers, besting the Chargers in average yards per offensive play and getting the only game-winning field goal in the contest.

New York Jets (4-3)
Last Week:  19th

Don’t look now, but the Jets might just have a rushing game to go along with their efficient quarterback named Chad Pennington.  However, even though the Jets were efficient on offense so were the Lions.  The only two advantages the Jets had were in third-down efficiency and red zone efficiency.  Maybe next week they will have a defense to go along with their rushing and pushing games.

Carolina Panthers (4-3)
Last Week:  11th

Despite scoring fourteen points, the Panthers only scored on one of their two red zone possessions.  The other possession ended with a Jake Delhomme interception, basically ending any chance of a Panthers victory or climbing up in the NFC South standings.  There must be some positive correlation between quarterbacks named Jake and interceptions.

Pittsburgh Steelers (2-4)
Last Week:  17th

Except for losing the turnover and field position battles, the Steelers played a game they can be proud of.  They averaged 7.4 yards per offensive play, even though their rushing game was non-existent, and also scored 4 touchdowns on their 5 red zone possessions.  I’m sure knowing that will make up for their 2-game deficit in the AFC North.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-4)
Last Week:  23rd

The Buccaneers keep squeaking by teams when they win.  This time it was thanks to an improbable 62-yard field goal by Matt Bryant.  They still need to, maybe, play better offense in the long run, though.  Averaging only 3.4 yards per offensive play won’t cut it every week.

Houston Texans (2-4)
Last Week:  30th

David Carr played impressively against a division foe, throwing for two touchdowns and 6.4 yards per pass play.  As long as the defense holds the opponent to 4.1 yards per offensive play, maybe the Texans will win some more games before the season is over.

Green Bay Packers (2-4)
Last Week:  31st

Millions of fans were let down as Brett Favre failed to throw an interception against the Dolphins.  Instead, he elected to throw two touchdowns and not wreck the Packers’ chances of winning the game.  How unfortunate for George Blanda, who is probably tied of being the NFL’s career interception leader.

Cleveland Browns (1-5)
Last Week:  22nd

Maybe the complaints of Kellen Winslow worked because Cleveland fired their offensive coordinator, Maurice Carthon.  Even so, there is no guarantee the Browns will actually improve much offensively this season.  Charlie Frye is still a young quarterback and the important offensive pieces of the team simply haven’t been together long enough.

Detroit Lions (1-6)
Last Week:  25th

The Lions can’t seem to buy a break.  They play horribly and they lose.  They don’t play horribly offensively and they still lose.  I wonder what would happen if they played defense while not playing horribly offensively.  It looks like we may never find out.

Miami Dolphins (1-6)
Last Week:  24th

Would it kill the Dolphins to play a quarterback who isn’t turnover-prone?  Such a quarterback has to be out there for the taking.  You know when Charles Woodson is returning interceptions for touchdowns, your days as an NFL quarterback are numbered.  I’m talking to you Joey Harrington.

Tennessee Titans (1-5)
Last Week:  27th

This week, Vince Young will be playing against his hometown team who passed him over in the NFL draft.  Not that that is really a very compelling reason to watch, but it’s the only one I can come up with.

Washington Redskins (2-5)
Last Week:  28th

Mark Brunell did not completely embarrass himself against the Colts, which I’m sure was a huge relief to Joe Gibbs.  Sadly, the same thing cannot be said about the Redskins secondary who let Peyton Manning pass all over them.

Buffalo Bills (2-5)
Last Week:  26th

The Bills offense should be forced to write on the blackboard 100 times that they will convert their third-down opportunities.  It probably won’t work, but at least it will give off the impression that they are working on it.

Oakland Raiders (1-5)
Last Week:  32nd

With their win, the Raiders ruined any chance of NFL viewers being able to see a team go 0-16 this year.  Thanks a lot, Oakland.  Way to actually play sort of like a real NFL franchise. 

Arizona Cardinals (1-6)
Last Week:  21st

These last two weeks for the Arizona Cardinals could be the epitome of a manic-depressive disorder.  On the one hand, they had to feel relatively high after barely losing to the best team in the league even though they should have won.  Then again, the team hit a new low against losing to the Oakland Raiders and may very well be thinking of committing suicide

San Francisco 49ers (2-4)
Last Week:  29th

Having to go to Soldier Field is probably not what the struggling 49ers need to get on the right track, but didn’t Alex Smith dissect them in preseason?  That has to count for something, right?

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