Detroit News NFL Power Rankings: Week 7

Rod Beard
The Detroit News

1. Denver Broncos (4-1): Demaryius Thomas had another stellar week, with 10 catches for 124 yards and a touchdown, and the Broncos got by the Jets, 31-17. Aqib Talib's pick-six helped seal it in the final seconds. Last week: 2

2. San Diego Chargers (5-1): The Raiders gave the Chargers everything they could handle, until quarterback Philip Rivers pulled them out of a 10-point deficit in the final six minutes. Malcom Floyd had five catches for 103 yards and a touchdown. Last week: 3

3. Dallas Cowboys (5-1): Apparently, these Cowboys are for real, taking an impressive road win at Seattle, 30-23. They overcame a 10-point deficit behind running back DeMarco Murray's 115 yards and scored 10 points in the final four minutes to put it away. Last week: 8

4. Philadelphia Eagles (5-1): In handling the Giants easily in a 27-0 rout, they rolled up 203 rushing yards, led by LeSean McCoy's 149, his first 100-yard game of the season. It's the first shutout for the Eagles defense since 1996 — also against the Giants. Last week: 4

5. Seattle Seahawks (3-2): Losing to the Cowboys isn't necessarily a surprise — losing at home to the Cowboys is. Blowing an early lead is unusual for the Legion of Boom, and quarterback Russell Wilson was ineffective against the Dallas defense. Last week: 1

6. San Francisco 49ers (4-2): For the second straight week, they had to rally and find a way to win. The running game was OK, but Colin Kaepernick shined when it counted, tossing three touchdowns. This week is a showdown at Denver. Last week: 5

7. Indianapolis Colts (4-2): T.Y. Hilton had a career game, with 223 receiving yards and a 49-yard touchdown. Andrew Luck is distinguishing himself as one of the elite quarterbacks, with 370 yards and three scores. Last week: 6

8. Green Bay Packers (4-2): Behind Aaron Rodgers, they appear to be back on a roll, taking a last-minute road win at Miami, 27-24. Rodgers has control of the team in tough situations, shown best with his composure on the winning drive. Last week: 9

9. Arizona Cardinals (4-1): At home, they handled their business against Washington and still sit atop the NFC West, surprisingly. They'll likely be there for a while, as they have another winnable game this week, at Oakland. Last week: 10

10. Detroit Lions (4-2): The defense continues to dominate, with eight sacks and three interceptions in a 17-3 Minnesota stifling. Bigger tests await, including the Saints this week, so the offense needs to perk up, with or without receiver Calvin Johnson. Last week: 11

11. Cincinnati Bengals: (3-1-1): Normally, a missed last-second field goal means a loss, but Mike Nugent's 36-yard miss only went down as a tie. It's a critical tie, as the other top teams in the AFC North won, but the Bengals are still in the thick of it. Last week: 7

12. Baltimore Ravens (4-2): The offense exploded, behind Joe Flacco's five touchdown passes in the first half. With the big lead, they were able to put it in cruise control in the second half of a 48-17 rout of the Bucs. Last week: 13

13. New England Patriots (4-2): Tom Brady continued his mastery of the Bills, with 361 yards and four touchdowns in a 37-22 romp. Brady improved his career record to 23-2 against Buffalo and kept the Patriots offense humming. Last week: 12

14. Cleveland Browns (3-2): They got a critical home win over the Steelers, who had a 20-2 record in the last 23 games in the series. Brian Hoyer is growing into a solid quarterback tossing a TD pass and keeping the Browns in the division race. Last week: 20

15. Carolina Panthers (3-2-1): They were lucky to salvage a tie after the Bengals missed a 36-yard field goal on the final play of overtime. Cam Newton was excellent, throwing for 284 yards and two touchdowns and rushing for 107 yards and a score. Last week: 15

16. Buffalo Bills (3-3): The slump against the Patriots continues, but Kyle Orton was good, going for 299 yards and two touchdowns, including 105 to tight end Scott Chandler. Last week: 14

17. New Orleans Saints (2-3): Coming off the bye, they'll have a tough week to prepare for a road game against the Lions and their rugged defense. A tough gantlet follows, with the Packers, Panthers, 49ers, Bengals and Ravens. Last week: 21

18. New York Giants (3-3): As if the 27-0 shutout wasn't enough embarrassment, the Giants also lost receiver Victor Cruz (patellar tendon) for the rest of the season. This week is no easier, with a tough division game at Dallas. Last week: 16

19. Chicago Bears (3-3): Unlike their Week 5 loss to the Panthers, the defense was able to get stops late in Sunday's win over the Falcons. Jay Cutler looked like a dominant QB again, finding Alshon Jeffery (136 yards) and Brandon Marshall (113 yards). Last week: 23

20. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-3): After an early field goal, the offense stalled, until a late touchdown with less than three minutes left. By that point the game was well out of hand. They'll need to turn things around this week, hosting Houston. Last week: 17

21. Miami Dolphins (2-3): Playing the Packers tough for most of the game wasn't enough, as they succumbed in the final minute on a masterful drive by Aaron Rodgers. They're still alive in the division race, but that loss could come back to haunt them. Last week: 19

22. Houston Texans (3-3): J.J. Watt continues to amaze with his versatility on defense, scoring his third touchdown this season. The Texans battled back from a 24-0 deficit and threatened the Colts late in a 33-28 loss. Last week: 18

23. Kansas City Chiefs (2-3): Following the bye this week, they'll host Minnesota with a chance to get back to .500. Last week: 24

24. Atlanta Falcons (2-4): Following a nice opening win, the Falcons have dropped four of five, including a 27-13 home loss to the Bears on Sunday. The defense, ranked 29th against the pass, gave up 381 yards to Jay Cutler. Last week: 22

25. St. Louis Rams (1-4): They jumped to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter but couldn't hold on, being outscored 31-3 the rest of the way. Eight penalties hurt, but not being able to get any sacks was just as critical. Last week: 26

26. Minnesota Vikings (2-4): Against a stout Lions defense, the Vikes couldn't get anything going offensively and fell into an early deficit. Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater still is the focal point, but he can't make bad plays if he doesn't have an offense to back him up. Last week: 25

27. Tennessee Titans (2-4): Against most other teams, the Titans' effort wouldn't have been enough, but facing the Jags made things a little easier. QB Charlie Whitehurst was OK but he's not costing them games with bad mistakes. Last week: 30

28. Washington (1-5): Kirk Cousins was up and down, with 354 passing yards and two touchdowns, but the three interceptions were a major deflator in a 30-20 loss to the Cardinals. Last week: 27

29. New York Jets (1-5): After falling into a 24-7 hole against the Broncos, they battled back and had the ball in the final minute, but Geno Smith gave up a pick-six to put the game away. Getting just 31 total rushing yards doesn't help, either. Last week: 28

30. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-6): In a winnable game, the Jags couldn't mount any offense against the hapless Titans, but closed within two points in the final minute. Blake Bortles' 336 yards could become more commonplace. Last week: 31

31. Oakland Raiders (0-5): Coming off the bye, the Raiders had the Chargers in a hole in the fourth quarter but surrendered the go-ahead TD in the final two minutes. Derek Carr's 282 yards and 4 TDs are a big step forward. Last week: 32

32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-5): It seems illogical to put a team with a win below two winless squads, but the Bucs earned the cellar with their embarrassing 48-17 loss to the Ravens. After trailing by 38 at the half, they made the final score mildly respectable. Last week: 29

rod.beard@detroitnews.com

twitter.com/detnewsrodbeard