Seven weeks into the season, only one undefeated team remains. However, the Pittsburgh Steelers aren’t the best team in the NFL. After a short stint off the podium, the Kansas City Chiefs and Patrick Mahomes are back in the top spot. Meanwhile, the Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots were big-time losers from this past weekend, and both suffered giant slides on the power rankings.
1. Kansas City Chiefs (6-1)
Mahomes isn’t putting up MVP numbers because Clyde Edwards-Helaire and the defense are putting in work. Edwards-Helaire is averaging over 100 yards from scrimmage per game while the defense has held Kansas City’s opponents below 21 points six times this season. The one outlier was the loss to Las Vegas, when the Raiders scored 40 points.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-0)
The Steelers jumped on Tennessee early in Week 7 and barely held onto the lead in the fourth quarter. Ben Roethlisberger and Mike Tomlin are 6-0 for the first time in their careers, but questions about inconsistent play remain. Luckily, the Steelers have one of the easiest remaining schedules in the NFL, minus two games against Baltimore.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-2)
It’s scary when Tom Brady and all of his weapons are healthy. The Buccaneers have the best defensive front in football, and their future Hall of Fame quarterback is finding his rhythm in Bruce Arians’ system.
4. Tennessee Titans (5-1)
The Titans nearly pulled off a comeback against the Steelers, but special teams cost Tennessee down the stretch. Mike Vrabel’s team is still one of the NFL’s best, but they have some proven weaknesses. The defense isn’t as strong as Vrabel wants it to be, and grinding down the clock the way Pittsburgh did neutralizes Tennessee’s methodical offense. The Steelers won the time of possession battle, holding the ball for 36:37 to Tennessee’s 23:23.
5. Green Bay Packers (5-1)
Aaron Rodgers rebounded from a bad game against Tampa Bay with four touchdowns against Houston. The Packers are the best team in the NFC North and should compete for the No. 1 seed in the NFC.
6. Seattle Seahawks (5-1)
The Seahawks have an elite offense headlined by Tyler Lockett, D.K. Metcalf, and Russell Wilson, but the defense is atrocious. Seattle can’t expect Wilson to have a perfect game and score 40 points every week.
7. Baltimore Ravens (5-1)
Lamar Jackson has looked shaky this season, but Baltimore’s defense is one of the league’s best. The team even recently added defensive end Yannick Ngakoue, reuniting him with Calais Campbell. The Ravens face Pittsburgh in Week 8.
8. New Orleans Saints (4-2)
If the Saints can beat the Carolina Panthers and Drew Brees can perform at a Pro Bowl level without Emmanuel Sanders and Michael Thomas, this could be a top-five team when all of its players are healthy.
9. Buffalo Bills (5-2)
The Bills stopped their two-game skid with a shaky win over the New York Jets. They still have to face the Seahawks, Cardinals, 49ers, and Steelers before the year ends.
10. Los Angeles Rams (5-2)
The Rams put up a convincing performance against the Chicago Bears on Monday Night Football. Los Angeles possesses arguably the NFC West’s best defense and just enough offensively to challenge Seattle for the division title.
11. San Francisco 49ers (4-3)
With Jimmy Garoppolo and George Kittle back in the fold, San Francisco looks like a playoff team again. They should also get Raheem Mostert and Richard Sherman back before the season ends.
However, the 49ers face Seattle, Green Bay, New Orleans, Los Angeles (Rams), and Buffalo in their next five games. This is the make-or-break stretch of their season.
12. Indianapolis Colts (4-2)
Losing Marlon Mack took some bite out of Indy’s offense, but the offensive line is good enough to dominate the trenches. The defense is also playing well. However, the Colts haven’t faced the toughest stretch of their schedule yet. From Week 9 through Week 12, Indianapolis faces Baltimore, Green Bay, and Tennessee (twice).
13. Chicago Bears (5-2)
Nick Foles has thrown an interception in every game he’s played this season. The Bears have a top-ten defense, but the offense may be even worse than we originally thought.
14. Carolina Panthers (3-4)
Teddy Bridgewater is proving last season wasn’t a fluke and that he deserves to be an NFL starter. Matt Rhule’s reconstructed defense is game-changing, but it might be one year too early for this team to make the playoffs.
15. Arizona Cardinals (5-2)
Kyler Murray has shown flashes of dominance, including a well-rounded performance against the Seahawks on Sunday night. However, most of the team’s wins have come against injured or low-ranking opponents. Arizona doesn’t have an established identity yet.
16. Cleveland Browns (5-2)
The Browns can’t wait to get Nick Chubb back, and I don’t think losing Odell Beckham makes this team significantly worse in the long run. My biggest concern is this team, Baker Mayfield, and the coaching staff getting in their own ways.
17. Las Vegas Raiders (3-3)
Jon Gruden’s team is hunting for a Wild Card bid, but offensive inconsistencies could hurt Las Vegas down the stretch. They don’t have a true No. 1 option at wide receiver, and Josh Jacobs isn’t performing as well as he did last year.
18. Miami Dolphins (3-3)
Brian Flores has his team playing inspired football. However, Miami’s season hinges on the transition from Ryan Fitzpatrick to Tua Tagovailoa.
19. Los Angeles Chargers (2-4)
Joey Bosa and Justin Herbert are the future in Los Angeles. If Austin Ekeler and Derwin James weren’t hurt, maybe the Chargers have three or four wins instead of two.
20. Philadelphia Eagles (2-4-1)
Doug Pederson and Carson Wentz are winning the NFC East, even if that means finishing with a 6-9-1 record.
21. Detroit Lions (3-3)
With three wins in the past four weeks, Matt Patricia is coaching for his job. Short of at least going 8-8, I don’t see the former defensive coordinator returning in 2021.
22. Houston Texans (1-6)
Deshaun Watson is a one-man army for Houston. Short of J.J. Watt turning back time to 2012 or Kliff Kingsbury giving DeAndre Hopkins back, the Texans aren’t bailing out this sinking ship.
23. Washington Football Team (2-5)
After his collapse in Carolina last year, most fans expected Kyle Allen to turn into a career backup. The fact that he’s starting in Washington says a lot about this team.
24. Atlanta Falcons (1-6)
Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, and Matt Ryan give the Falcons a high-powered offense. Too bad this team can’t hold onto leads.
25. Minnesota Vikings (1-5)
The Vikings are more talented and better coached than their record suggests. After years of falling short of the Super Bowl, everything finally caved in for Minnesota.
26. Cincinatti Bengals (1-5-1)
Joe Burrow is already one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks, but his offensive line and defense can’t stop anyone.
27. New England Patriots (2-4)
Bill Belichick is the greatest coach of all-time, but even he is struggling with Cam Newton and an undermanned roster.
28. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-6)
Gardner Minshew is going to battle for Jacksonville until they commit to losing and bench him. James Robinson and Laviska Shenault Jr. give the Jaguars some building blocks on offense.
29. Dallas Cowboys (2-5)
The Cowboys looked lifeless against Washington. No one went to bat for Andy Dalton after he took a blatantly illegal hit that resulted in a concussion, which tells me that this team is disinterested in playing for Mike McCarthy.
30. Denver Broncos (2-4)
Drew Lock hasn’t taken the steps many people expected him to make this season. The Broncos need a new head coach and quarterback.
31. New York Giants (1-6)
Without Saquon Barkley or a stable offensive line, the Giants have no offense. The defense is reliable, holding opponents below 21 points four times this season, but that doesn’t make this team good.
32. New York Jets (0-7)
Adam Gase has ruined Sam Darnold. Outside of Marcus Maye and Quinnen Williams, there isn’t much talent on this Jets roster.