2014 NFL Power Rankings - Week 7
Here are my Week 7 NFL power rankings:
1. Denver Broncos - Record: 4-1, Last Update: No. 2
Now only three touchdowns away from breaking Brett Favre's all-time passing touchdowns record (508), Peyton Manning has thrown multiple touchdowns in all five games and three-plus in four of five games this season. Of the 15 touchdowns than Manning has thrown this year, tight end Julius Thomas has caught nine of them with at least one in each game. In the history of the NFL, only Calvin Johnson has as many receiving touchdowns threw the first five games of a season (2011).
2. San Diego Chargers - Record: 5-1, Last Update: No. 3
Following up last year's bounce-back season, Philip Rivers is having an even better year this season — 117.6 passer rating, 8.8 yards per attempt and 69.3 completion percentage, all of which lead the NFL, and a 15:2 TD-to-INT ratio. Yet despite injuries and Rivers' success, the Chargers remain committed to the run. They rank last in the league in yards per carry (2.9) yet third in the league in rush attempts (190).
3. Dallas Cowboys - Record: 5-1, Last Update: No. 8
Anytime there is a list of two running backs and the other is Jim Brown, you know it's a good list to be on. While there is some obvious concern about the volume of work and his past durability, DeMarco Murray now has six consecutive 100-yard rushing games to start the season. The team's commitment to the run really masks some of their other issues by keeping their defense off the field and fresh.
4. Philadelphia Eagles - Record: 5-1, Last Update: No. 7
In his first five games, LeSean McCoy averaged less than four yards per carry in all of them. In Week 6, however, McCoy gained 149 yards on 22 carries for an average of 6.77 YPC. Not only did McCoy come up big, but their defense pitched a 27-0 shutout against division rivals to hit their bye week on a high.
5. San Francisco 49ers - Record: 4-2, Last Update: No. 6
Even though they are missing several key contributors on the defensive side of the ball, the 49ers rank second in the NFL in total defense and rank fifth against the run and second against the pass. They will have their toughest test of the season as they face the high-powered Broncos offense on the road in Week 7.
6. Green Bay Packers - Record: 4-2, Last Update: No. 5
Although he's averaging just 236.5 passing yards per game, which would be a career low as a starter, Aaron Rodgers has now thrown 14 touchdowns with no interceptions in his past five games. On the season, nobody has thrown a higher percentage of touchdown passes than Rodgers, who has connected for a touchdown on 7.9 percent of his pass attempts.
7. Seattle Seahawks - Record: 3-2, Last Update: No. 1
The Cowboys came into Seattle's house and pushed them around, something that nobody expected including me. That said, you could easily argue that the Seahawks should have been pushed down this far in this week's power rankings. Based on current Vegas odds, the Seahawks are still the favorites among all NFC teams to win the Super Bowl and only the Broncos have lower odds to win it all.
8. Indianapolis Colts - Record: 4-2, Last Update: No. 9
With a (regular-season) career-high 223 yards and a touchdown against the Texans last week, Colts receiver T.Y. Hilton continues to create trouble for Houston's secondary. In five career games against the Texans, Hilton has 31 catches for 611 yards and six touchdowns. In fact, his touchdown ended a 13-game regular-season drought without a touchdown. (His previous touchdown was against the Texans when he scored three times.)
9. Arizona Cardinals - Record: 4-1, Last Update: No. 10
Although they sit atop the NFC West in the standings, they are the third NFC West team in these rankings. With the return of Carson Palmer on Sunday, both Michael Floyd and Larry Fitzgerald caught their first touchdowns of the season last week.
10. New England Patriots - Record: 4-2, Last Update: No. 11
What a difference with Tom Brady and the offense over the past couple of weeks! After four consecutive games with 249 passing yards (or less) and only one touchdown, Brady has thrown for 653 yards and six touchdowns in his past two games combined. Unfortunately, they lost Stevan Ridley, their leading rusher, and Jerod Mayo, the "Tom Brady of the defense," to season-ending injuries last week.
11. Baltimore Ravens - Record: 4-2, Last Update: No. 12
Throwing five touchdowns in all, Joe Flacco threw four first-quarter touchdowns against the Bucs in Week 6. Once again, Steve Smith went over 100 yards and he now has three touchdowns of 56 yards or more. His longest reception last year was 44 yards.
12. Detroit Lions - Record: 4-2, Last Update: No. 14
One of the biggest surprises this year has been how well the Lions defense has played. Through six games, they rank first in the NFL in scoring defense (13.7 PPG), total defense (270.7 YPG) and sacks (20.0). In addition, they rank first in pass defense (197.2 YPG) and second in run defense (73.5 YPG).
13. Cincinnati Bengals - Record: 3-1-1, Last Update: No. 4
The Bengals had the league's top-ranked scoring defense after their first three wins, but they have now allowed 80 points in their past two games to the Patriots and Panthers. Unfortunately, it will difficult for the Bengals to get back on track defensively as they face Andrew Luck and the Colts, who own the league's top-ranked offense.
14. Cleveland Browns - Record: 3-2, Last Update: No. 20
The Browns have one of the league's top rushing attacks — 146.4 yards per game, third-best in NFL — and rank seventh in the NFL in first downs per game (22.2). Along with Aaron Rodgers, Brian Hoyer is the only quarterback to have started all of his team's games and throw just one interception. That said, the Browns have the seventh-worst time of possession (28:12) in the NFL largely due to their 29th-ranked defense (409.2 YPG allowed).
15. Carolina Panthers - Record: 3-2-1, Last Update: No. 16
Not only did Cam Newton throw for a season-high 284 yards and sling it 46 times, which ties a career high, he ran the ball a career-high 17 times for 107 yards and a touchdown. It was his second 100-yard rushing game of his career.
16. Houston Texans - Record: 3-3, Last Update: No. 15
In five games this season, Arian Foster has four games with 20-plus carries and 100-plus rushing yards. Although he has missed one game, if he plays the remaining 10 games on their schedule and maintains his current pace, Foster will finish with just shy of 2,000 yards from scrimmage (1,932 pace).
-> Continue to Teams 17-32
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