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NFL Power Rankings, Week 7: Perfect No Longer

Congratulations, National Football League. Parity reigns supreme in 2023. With the final unbeaten juggernauts in San Francisco and Philadelphia falling to two teams starting backup QBs on the same day, the gap between the league’s best and worst teams seems smaller than ever.

In reality, there are around 22 teams who I believe can still make a legitimate run at a playoff spot this season. More than maybe ever, the old addage “any given Sunday” applies heavily to the 2023 NFL campaign. With that in mind, let’s dive into my Week 7 Power Rankings.


Analysis: Niners rookie kicker Jake Moody missed two field goals in what turned into a frustrating 2-point loss to the Browns.The well-being of star players Christian McCaffery (oblique), Deebo Samuel (shoulder), and Trent Williams (ankle), though, are the bigger concerns, especially given QB Brock Purdy’s struggles after their departures. Getting these players back to 100% for the 2nd half of the season has to be priority for this Championship-minded squad.


One game. One dud against the Buffalo Bills is the only thing tempering the excitement around this team. This is the best offense in the NFL, and maybe even in NFL history. And the thing is, it feels really sustainable with the way they are running the football and taking advantage of big play opportunities on the outside. If you have this team on your schedule in 2023, be prepared to score a ton of points if you want to have a chance.


The Eagles beat themselves in their loss to the Jets with 4 turnovers, 2 of which came at critical junctures in the 2nd half. Philly still has arguably the best overall roster, top to bottom, in the league, so I wouldn’t be to worried, Eagles fans. Also, you get Kelly Green uni’s back this week. Don’t be mad.


Dare I say the Chiefs defense has been the driving force behind this team’s success in 2023? Steve Spagnuolo’s unit is crushing opponents in both phases, and allowing a stuttering offense to find it’s footing without doing so at the expense of winning. I trust Mahomes and co. to figure it out, but the concerns on that side of the ball are legitimate.


Are we all done pretending like the Lions don’t deserve to be mentioned with this upper tier of NFL elites in 2023? I am. This is one of the most well-coached, physical, and smart teams in the league, with playmakers on both sides of the ball executing some of the best schemes in football. These Lions are for real, and they’re here to stay.


Dallas eeked out a win against a good Chargers team on Sunday night, and Dak Prescott, for his part, outplayed NFL darling Justin Herbert in the process. It’s hard to see this team on the same level with the more well-oiled operations in the NFC ahead of them on this list, but the roster talent is there. If this squad can ever put it all together, they still have a shot to be the best team in the league.


The Jaguars last three performances have established them in my mind as legitmate Super Bowl contenders in the AFC. The win over the Falcons showed the Jags can handle the spunky upstarts, while big wins over the Buffalo Bills and division rival Colts showed a team cementing its status as an elite squad. There are holes, especially on defense, but overall this team is playing complementary, winning football on both sides of the ball.


Buffalo got caught sleeping for 3 quarters against a mess of a Giants team that had them on the ropes until the final whistle. Many, including myself, feel that final whistle should’ve been accompanied by a flag for Pass Interference on Buffalo and given the Giants another chance to steal one on Sunday Night. It didn’t play out that way, though, and the Bills still boast one of the league’s best all-round rosters despite some injuries to significant starters on defense.


The Ravens play an uglier brand of football than the teams above them on this list, as evidenced by their head-scratching losses to Indianapolis and Pittsburgh this season. However, there’s a lot to like about this team, starting with QB Lamar Jackson who is playing really solid football overall. This supposedly fixed wide receiver room is starting to scare Ravens fans, with rookie Zay Flowers operating as the team’s only consistent outside threat in the passing game. Lamar needs more from his other playmakers to keep the Ravens atop the AFC North.


I know the Chargers have a losing record, but a closer look shows a team with tons of upside still just scratching the surface of their potential. They have one head-scratching loss to Minnesota, but their other two L’s came at the hands of the Dolphins and Cowboys, both by 3 points or less. Week 7 brings with it another elite opponent in division rival KC, but I expect this Chargers squad to be very much in the mix all season long.


The Seahawks could easily be a top 10 team on this list if they would get out of their own way. A sure win over the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 6 turned into an ugly loss after the Seahawks came away with 0 points on 3 separate trips inside the Bengals’ 15 yard line on Sunday. The secondary is looking sharp, and they’ve found some solid pass-rush production in recent weeks. It’s on Geno Smith and company to pick up some of the slack in high-pressure moments moving forward.


The Browns defense might be the best singular unit in football through 6 weeks outside of Miami’s record-setting offense. That said, the Browns had no business beating a San Francisco team that missed 2 field goal tries and was missing two of it’s top offensive playmakers for half of the game. Fortunately for Cleveland, there’s no excuses for winning in the National Football League, and if the offense can find some level of consistency with a healthy Deshaun Watson set to return before too long, they could be one of the more dangerous teams in the AFC.


Have to love what the Bengals defense accomplished in stopping the Seahawks in plus territory 3 straight drives to close out a narrow victory on Sunday. This is a more flawed team than they have been the last two seasons, but Burrow is really starting to look more like himself, despite an off second half against a really stingy pass defense. They’ll need more from Joe Mixon and this lackluster running game if they want to truly rise back to elite status.


The Rams offense is cooking with Sean McVay and Matt Stafford mind-melding in an efficient well-rounded offense. That said, the injury to breakout RB Kyren Williams could hurt the offense’s relatively smooth operations overall against Pittsburgh. You trust McVay, though, to put a scheme together for this week and beyond, and keep this team in playoff contention in a wild NFC.


The Texans are more than scrappy. They can be downright good on both sides of the ball. The offense is a little ahead of the defense with Rookie phenom CJ Stroud strengthening his OROY case with every snap. However, DeMeco Ryans’ defense is a fiesty group that comes to play every week. They may not be quite there yet in a tough AFC, but this young team is definitely knocking on the door.


Coming off the bye week, Steelers fans better hope Matt Canada and Kenny Pickett have figured out somehow, someway to get the ball moving more consistently. The return of Diontae Johnson and Pat Freiermuth should help some, but color this Steelers fan skeptical at best. The defense isn’t without issue, with a leaky secondary and inconsistent D-line letting offense’s move the football far too easily between the 20s. For this defense to take a step forward, it need to be less reliant on huge plays from TJ Watt and Alex Highsmith to rescue them in the 4th quarter.

17. NEW YORK JETS (3-3)

What’s happening in New York? The Jets just took down the undefeated Eagles in a rocking Meadowlands, and they’re doing it with incredible defense and just enough Zach Wilson, uh, “magic?” in critical moments to overcome their own issues. Sitting at .500 with the toughest part of their season behind them, the Jets are absolutely still in playoff contention.


I like what the Saints are doing on defense, with an old-school, “we’re bigger and meaner than you and we know it” way of shutting down offenses. Marcus Lattimore takes away half of the field on a weekly basis, and big-time play along the front 7 makes even the simple things difficult for the opposition. Derek Carr has been up-and-down at best, and needs to provide more consistency if the Saints want to hold up in a competitive, if heavily-flawed, NFC South.


The three NFC South squads with a shot at the division are bunched together here, and it’s because nobody wants to separate from the pack. Except the Panthers, that is, who are separating in the wrong direction at 0-6. The problem for Tampa is that they may have already reached their ceiling while the Saints and Falcons still appear to have significant room for improvement. However, it might be enough for the scrappy Bucs to win the South.


The Falcons offense is a strange enigma. The scheme is obviously predicated on a tough and explosive running game to really get going, but strangely enough it’s been the passing game keeping them in games every week. Bijan Robinson has been good, but it feels like there’s a lot left on the bone here. If the Dirty Birds figure it out, though, they are probably the best team in the division.


The loss of Anthony Richardson for the year is a big-time blow for a Colts team that was producing ahead of schedule early in the season. Gardner Minshew is a fine backup, but the fact that he is probably going to be the QB1 in Indy for the remainder of the season severely caps their upside. The good news is Jonathan Taylor is locked up long-term and the defense is playing well, especially up front. The building blocks are in place. They just need Richardson back and healthy. We’ll have to wait for 2024 to see the full picture.


Are the Packers bad? Probably not. Are they good? Also probably not. They’re still well within the playoff conversation (if there actually is one only 6 weeks in) in a muddy NFC middle class. If Aaron Jones is healthy coming off the bye and Christian Watson is finally fully back, Jordan Love has the horses to score points and the defense is decent. Don’t count out the Pack yet.


The Titans feel like the cutoff for teams with at least a shot at earning a playoff bid in 2023. If Tannehill misses a lot of time, the offense is done. Even if he comes back healthy, this still isn’t a good unit. The defense has also been underwhelming, though not to the level of the offense. At 2-4 in a tough AFC, consider the Titans in “see what we have” mode for the rest of the season.


The Raiders currently hold 2nd place in the AFC West, but the eye test tells you they are at best a middling squad with fatal flaws on both sides of the ball. The defense, for its part, has been playing well of late and is the biggest reason Vegas is on a 2-game winning streak. It’s not a stretch to say that DE Maxx Crosby is the most underrated player, not just defender, in the entire NFL. His production is consistently off the charts despite little to no help from the supporting cast around him. Put out a hand, Maxx. Here’s your flowers.


The Vikings beat a bad Bears team that lost Justin Fields in the 2nd half and was missing their top 2 RBs to injury. To their credit, the Vikes did so with their own share of injuries, most notably Justin Jefferson, who faced his first of at least 4 games on IR for the contest. The Vikings are well-coached and have one of the best QBs in the game (yes Kirk Cousins is that), but the holes on defense and a severe regression in one-score games this season has the Purple and Gold reeling early. Their not out of the woods yet, but there are better middle-class teams in the NFC.


Sam Howell has looked the best of any of the 2nd year QBs east of Brock Purdy, and Howell is doing it behind a poor OL and with an inconsistent rushing attack that has forced Washington to put the ball in the air far more than they would probably like to. Still, Howell has several eyeball emoji-worthy throws every week. With more experience, the Commanders might have something in the young passer.


It’s sad but not super surprising that Tyrod Taylor looked more poised in his lone start against the Bills in Week 6 than Daniel Jones has looked all season to that point. It’s not all on Jones, as the Giants’ OL has been a virual turnstyle so far. The truth of the matter is that the Giants’ paying all that money to Jones looked bad at the time, but today it looks even worse.


The spunky Cardinals can’t stay spunky enough to close out games, although they often hang around for large portions of contests, even looking like the better team for stretches. Josh Dobbs is a great story and all, but the Cardinals are wise to open the practice window for Kyler Murray, even if its just to get a final look at what they have before hitting an offseason brimming with QB talent. If Murray balls out, it at least gives the Cards choices. Move on from Kyler and use him as high-end trade bait to draft a QB, or stick with him as “the guy” moving forward and spend your high picks elsewhere. A good problem to have? We’ll see.


If you want my opinion, I think Justin Fields can be the guy in Chicago. I’m not a huge fan of the Luke Getsy offense, and I think that Fields could benefit from a Greg Roman-style attack at this stage of his career while he gets more comfortable reading defenses and operating in the pocket. The weapons are decent with DJ Moore leading the way. Overall the Bears just had more holes than they could fix in one offseason. I think they have the right player at the most important position, though.


Go ahead and lock the Patriots in for a top 5 draft pick in April, 2024. Yes, Bill Belichick’s squad is that bad, and will remain that bad for the remainder of the season. It’s hard to believe what we’re seeing from this Belichick-coached team, but trust your eyes. They’re just a mess. QB is a huge need, but the biggest need might be a change of scenery for their Hall of Fame coach, and a fresh start for the stale “Patriot Way”.


Sean Payton’s offseason rants about poor coaching dooming the Broncos in 2022 was correct, but Payton is finding out the hard way that there were way more issues in Denver than just bad coaching. I’m never going to bash an NFL figure for giving us what we want in interviews like actual thoughts and feelings instead of the tired rhetoric of coach-speak (looking at you, Mike Tomlin), but Payton’s public condemnation of Nathaniel Hacket’s failures last season is giving off bad vibes in Denver. This team, nay this organization, feels lost in this moment.


The Panthers jumped out to a promising 14-0 start against the high-flying Dolphins on Sunday, with Rookie passer Bryce Young looking more poised and in command than he has all season. Then, predictably, the wheels fell off, and the Panthers reminded us why they’re the league’s only winless team after 6 contests. Frank Reich looks like a defeated man and the relationship with ownership appears to be rocky at best. This team needs a serious morale boost in the form of a winning performance, and soon. If that doesn’t happen, the breaking loose of all heck in Charlotte feels imminent.

Who’s too high and who’s too low? Let the discussion commence in the comment section below! And don’t forget to stay tuned to Fans First Sports Network for the biggest stories and analysis from around the NFL this season.


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