By Don Banks
October 20, 2010

Highlighted by Miami's overtime upset at Green Bay, another six road teams won last Sunday, and I've always thought road wins were a pretty good indicator of a division's strength. So far this season, the road team has won 39 of 90 games, or 43.3 percent of the time. That's up just a tick from 2009's total road winning percentage (110-146, 43.0), and if the trend holds, would represent the fourth consecutive year that number rose.

No division is getting it done on the road more so than the AFC South, where Tennessee improved to 3-0 away from home by blowing out Jacksonville 30-3 on Monday night. The division is 8-3 on the road, with Houston (2-0), Indianapolis (2-2) and the Jaguars (1-1) all being .500 or better.

After the AFC South, it's the AFC East (7-3, with the Jets and Miami both at 3-0), NFC East (6-4, with Philly at 3-0) and NFC South (6-5, with Tampa Bay at 2-0) getting it done as visitors. That figures, because in some order, those are the four best divisions in the NFL.

To no surprise, the four divisions under .500 on the road are the AFC North (5-7, with Cleveland 0-3), NFC North (3-9, with Detroit 0-4), NFC West (2-9, with San Francisco 0-3) and AFC West (2-11, with San Diego 0-4).

See, there is some rhyme or reason to the NFL's curious 2010 season after all. Now on to this week's rankings...

NFL Power Rankings, Week 7
1 Pittsburgh Steelers
Last Week: 1
The streaking Jets are breathing down the Steelers' backs, but we're not budging the Pittsburghers out of our top spot until they prove fallible again. But this is the four-game stretch that should tell us if the Steelers really are who Peter King thinks they are: at Miami, at New Orleans, at Cincinnati, home against New England. (Well, you do have to give the Big Dog props so far. He did pick them to claim the shiny trophy).
2 New York Jets
Last Week: 3
Rex Ryan decided against going quietly into the bye week, saying his guys are clearly the best team in the NFL by virtue of their 5-1 record. Maybe it has been since Steve Spurrier was in his gloating, glory era in Gainesville that we've had a head football coach as ready to stir it up as Sexy Rexy. He might as well wear a white visor.
3 New England Patriots
Last Week: 5
I think what T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Deion Branch have taught us this year is this: If you're a big-time free-agent receiver, stay out of Seattle. Don't sign with the Seahawks. Their money might be greener, but the grass isn't. (And besides, their lawns are wet a lot of the time, because, you know, it rains pretty frequently).
4 Indianapolis Colts
Last Week: 6
If Ron Jaworski starts experiencing back pains in the coming days, the first thing his doctor should try to rule out is the possibility that Peyton Manning is sticking pins in a little voodoo doll of the ex-Eagles quarterback turned ESPN analyst. Not that No. 18 pays any attention to anything that anyone says about him. None whatsoever.
5 New Orleans Saints
Last Week: 7
With Saints rookie running back Chris Ivory rolling for 158 yards and more than 10 yards per carry against Tampa Bay, New Orleans is starting to remind me a little of what Denver used to be -- a team that could seemingly pull a running back out of its hat whenever it needed one. No Pierre Thomas? No Reggie Bush? No problem.
6 Baltimore Ravens
Last Week: 2
The Ravens vaunted defense let one slip away in the fourth quarter in Foxboro on Sunday, but I predict Baltimore is about to embark on a lengthy roll. The schedule has the Ravens either home or off five of the next seven weeks, with only one challenging road game (at Atlanta) between now and mid-December.
7 New York Giants
Last Week: 10
The first-place G-Men finally open division play with a trip to Dallas on Monday night, and the last time they visited Jerry World they spoiled the stadium-opening party for the talkative Cowboys owner. The Vikings pass rush had Tony Romo looking uncomfortable at times, and that's not going to change this week with Osi Umenyiora and New York's rejuvenated front four coming to Arlington.
8 Philadelphia Eagles
Last Week: 15
Sorry, but even after Andy Reid explained his thinking I still don't get the whole keep-Michael-Vick-in-the-locker-room story that unfolded last Sunday in Philly. You didn't want him getting hit while standing on the sideline holding a clipboard? Huh? Reid talked about it like it happens somewhere almost every week in the NFL, but I've never, ever heard of anyone allowing their third-team quarterback to arrive 45 minutes before the game and watch the action from the locker room. Have you? Strange is the only word that fits both the decision and the explanation.
9 Atlanta Falcons
Last Week: 4
The Falcons simply have got to stay out of Pennsylvania. They're 4-0 this season and look pretty good when they're not playing in the Keystone State. But now the good news: Atlanta plays three in a row and four of its next five at home in the friendly dome. In fact, with only a trip to St. Louis in Week 11, the Falcons don't play outside again until Dec. 5 at Tampa Bay.
10 Tennessee Titans
Last Week: 11
Just when you start to forget about Kerry Collins, he comes into a game and runs the Titans offense like he's Earl Morrall with the '72 Dolphins. He's just a pro quarterback and the guy knows what he's doing back there. With those gray whiskers Collins is sporting these days, my wife thought he looked a little like Brett Favre with pointier ears. I'm thinking there could be a Wrangler commercial in Collins' future if the company should need a new pitchman for any particular reason.
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