NFL Power Rankings Poll Week 7: Unbeaten 49ers at the Top; Eagles, Rams, Cowboys Sliding

Based on our Week 7 Power Poll voting, it’s very clear as to which teams are the best right now (New England, San Francisco, Green Bay) and who are the worst (Atlanta, Cincinnati, Washington, Miami). How do the rankings unfold for the other 25 teams?
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Publish date:
San Francisco 49ers

This week’s voters:

Andrew Brandt, Business of Football Columnist
Albert Breer, Senior NFL Reporter
Mitch Goldich, Producer/Writer
Gary Gramling, Senior Editor
Kalyn Kahler, Writer/Producer
Bette Marston, Associate Editor
Jenny Vrentas, Senior Writer

Skinnies for each team written by Jake May.

1. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (6-0)

Previous rank: 1
Points in poll: 224
Highest-place vote: 1 (7 voters)
Lowest-place vote: N/A
Last week’s result: Beat N.Y. Giants, 35-14 (Thurs.)
This week: at N.Y. Jets (Mon.)

Far from business as usual, the Patriots scored 28 of their 35 points via a blocked punt return, a fumble return and two Tom Brady rushes. But the defense continued to stifle and, led by Stephon Gilmore (1 INT, 5 passes defended), forced four turnovers.

2. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (5-0)

Previous rank: 5
Points in poll: 214
Highest-place vote: 2 (5 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 4 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat L.A. Rams, 20-7
This week: at Washington

The Niners made easy work of their division foes and should cruise to 6-0 against the Redskins next week. The defense–whose oldest player is 31-year-old Richard Sherman–has only surrendered 65 first downs this season.  

3. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (5-1)

Previous rank: 2
Points in poll: 239
Highest-place vote: 2 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 5 (2 voters)
Last week’s result: Beat Jacksonville, 13-6
This week: at Chicago

New Orleans’ defense saved the day against the Jaguars, continuing a streak of three consecutive games holding their opponent under 300 total yards as the Saints move to 4-0 without Drew Brees.

4. GREEN BAY PACKERS (4-1)

Previous rank: 3
Points in poll: 204
Highest-place vote: 2 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 6 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat Detroit 23-22 (Mon.)
This week: vs. Oakland

Green Bay escaped what could have been a defining divisional loss (with the help of some questionable officiating calls) against Detroit on Monday night. 

5. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (5-1)

Previous rank: 6
Points in poll: 192
Highest-place vote: 3 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 12 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat Cleveland, 32-28
This week: vs. Baltimore

Russell Wilson continued a strong MVP campaign with two crucial late-game drives to help Seattle erase a 20-6 deficit. He leads the league in quarterback rating (124.7), is tied for second in TD passes (14) and still has not thrown an interception.

6. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (4-2)

Previous rank: 4
Points in poll: 184
Highest-place vote: 4 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 8 (2 voters)
Last week’s result: Lost to Houston, 31-24
This week: at Denver (Thurs.)

Kansas City’s defense needs to do a better job getting off the field, as the Texans nearly doubled the Chiefs’ time of possession and logged 15 more first downs. Mahomes and the offense should be fine, but they can’t do much from the sidelines.

7. HOUSTON TEXANS (4-2)

Previous rank: 13
Points in poll: 180
Highest-place vote: 6 (4 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 11 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat Kansas City, 31-24
This week: at Indianapolis

Though not as sharp as he was last week, Deshaun Watson’s fourth-and-three conversion to ice the game was a pivotal moment for him, Bill O’Brien and the Texans. Next week’s AFC South showdown with the Colts is a big one.

8. MINNESOTA VIKINGS (4-2)

Previous rank: 14
Points in poll: 166
Highest-place vote: 5 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 12 (2 voters)
Last week’s result: Beat Philadelphia, 38-20
This week: at Detroit

The Vikings needed a big game, and they got it thanks to Stefon Diggs’s seven catches on 11 targets for 167 yards and three touchdowns. The Eagles’ secondary is shambolic at best, but sometimes all you need is a slump-buster to get back on track.

9. BALTIMORE RAVENS (4-2)

Previous rank: 15
Points in poll: 158
Highest-place vote: 7 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 16 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat Cincinnati, 23-17
This week: at Seattle

A historic week for Lamar Jackson and another win for the Ravens against a team they should beat leaves them at the top of the heap in the AFC North with room to spare after the Browns lost to Baltimore’s next opponent—Seattle.

10. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (3-2)

Previous rank: 9
Points in poll: 157
Highest-place vote: 7 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 15 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Bye
This week: vs. Houston

With the Jaguars and Titans losing this weekend, it appears to be a duel between the Colts and the Texans in the AFC South. Big matchup in Indy this weekend for both teams.

11. BUFFALO BILLS (4-1)

Previous rank: 11
Points in poll: 153
Highest-place vote: 8 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 13 (4 voters)
Last week’s result: Bye
This week: vs. Miami

The Bills continue their push for the Wild Card with a presumed layup against the doormat Dolphins in Buffalo this weekend.

12. DETROIT LIONS (2-2-1)

Previous rank: 10
Points in poll: 152
Highest-place vote: 9 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 15 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Lost to Green Bay, 23-22
This week: vs. Vikings

A crushing divisional loss for the Lions on Monday Night Football, marred by bad officiating. Detroit remains one of the toughest teams to figure out this season, but next week’s matchup against Minnesota will be crucial.

13. CAROLINA PANTHERS (4-2)

Previous rank: 17
Points in poll: 141
Highest-place vote: 10 (2 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 17 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat Tampa Bay, 37-26
This week: Bye

Kyle Allen caps an impressive 4-0 run as starter with another clean outing (20-of-32, 227 yards, 2 TDs). Now, the fun begins: who will be breaking the huddle for the Panthers in two weeks?

14. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (3-3)

Previous rank: 7
Points in poll: 137
Highest-place vote: 7 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 16 (2 voters)
Last week’s result: Lost to Minnesota, 38-20
This week: at Cowboys

Philly’s patchwork secondary finally got ripped to shreds by old friend Kirk Cousins, and the book is out on how to beat the Birds. Seems like an odd time for Doug Pederson to be predicting a road win over a division rival with first place on the line.

15. LOS ANGELES RAMS (3-3)

Previous rank: 8
Points in poll: 135
Highest-place vote: 9 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 17 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Lost to San Francisco, 20-7
This week: at Atlanta

The first three game losing streak of the Sean McVay era prompted questions about Jared Goff’s disappearing act (13-of-24, 78 yards on Sunday) and dropped the Rams to third in the NFC West. A struggling Falcons team may be the perfect antidote.

16. DALLAS COWBOYS (3-3)

Previous rank: 12
Points in poll: 127
Highest-place vote: 8 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 17 (3 voters)
Last week’s result: Lost to N.Y. Jets, 24-22
This week: vs. Philadelphia

Jason Garrett returned to the hot seat, Dak Prescott got outdueled by a 22-year-old recovering from mono and the 3-0 start seems a lifetime ago for the ‘Boys. Still, Sunday’s matchup with the Eagles will decide who takes control of the NFC East.

17. CHICAGO BEARS (3-2)

Previous rank: 16
Points in poll: 123
Highest-place vote: 12 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 18 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Bye
This week: vs. New Orleans

A Vikings win this week and strong starts from the Lions and Packers suddenly raises the stake Sunday’s game against the Saints. Unfortunately, New Orleans has a similarly great defense and a much better offense than the Bears.

18. OAKLAND RAIDERS (3-2)

Previous rank: 20
Points in poll: 100
Highest-place vote: 16 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 22 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Bye
This week: at Green Bay

A nice bye week for the Raiders, as the Chiefs and Chargers both lost their second in a row while the Broncos won, re-opening the race for the AFC West.

19. CLEVELAND BROWNS (2-4)

Previous rank: 18
Points in poll: 93
Highest-place vote: 18 (2 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 23 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Lost to Seattle, 32-28
This week: Bye

Better from Baker, OBJ and the Browns, but still not enough. The offensive line is leaky and got exposed by a great Seattle front. The bye should be a good opportunity to recalibrate expectations that were too high to start the season.

20. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (2-4)

Previous rank: 19
Points in poll: 82
Highest-place vote: 18 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 26 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Lost to Pittsburgh, 24-17
This week: at Tennessee

The weight of circumstance may have finally broken the Chargers. Going down 21-0 before halftime and losing a “home” game to a 1-4 team on their third string QB in a soccer stadium full of Pittsburgh fans is just the latest entry in the misery diary. Next week’s game in Tennessee will send one of these reeling franchises off the rails.

21. PITTSBURGH STEELERS (2-4)

Previous rank: 25
Points in poll: 77
Highest-place vote: 20 (2 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 24 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat L.A. Chargers, 24-17
This week: Bye

The Steelers youth movement (yes, youth movement) did enough as Devlin Hodges turned in a clean performance (15-of-20, 200 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT) and the defense, led by Devin Bush, held off the Chargers for a solid, much-needed road win.

22. NEW YORK JETS (1-4)

Previous rank: 30
Points in poll: 75
Highest-place vote: 19 (2 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 28 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat Dallas, 24-22
This week: vs. New England (Mon.)

Sammy Spleen looked great in his return (as did Robby Anderson in his best game of the year) and Jamal Adams terrorized the Cowboys defense all afternoon, blowing up a two-point conversion attempt to polish off the biggest upset of the first six weeks.

23. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (2-4)

Previous rank: 22
Points in poll: 68
Highest-place vote: 20 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 28 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Lost to New Orleans, 13-6
This week: at Cincinnati

The first dud from Gardner Minshew II, albeit against an excellent defense. With the honeymoon over, a win over the Bengals suddenly becomes quite important.

24. DENVER BRONCOS (2-4)

Previous rank: 27
Points in poll: 65
Highest-place vote: 19 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 26 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat Tennessee, 16-0
This week: vs. Kansas City (Thurs.)

Pitching a shutout and forcing a starting QB benching means another great week for Denver’s rejuvenated defense, and the Broncos have now pulled within two games of first in the AFC West.

25. TENNESSEE TITANS (2-4)

Previous rank: 21
Points in poll: 58
Highest-place vote: 21 (1 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 28 (2 voters)
Last week’s result: Lost to Denver, 16-0
This week: vs. L.A. Chargers

Marcus Mariota’s judgement day is upon us as Mike Vrabel will make the call this week between the former No. 1 pick and Ryan Tannehill. Tough call given Tannehill was the better of the two on Sunday.

26. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (2-4)

Previous rank: 23
Points in poll: 53
Highest-place vote: 22 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 27 (3 voters)
Last week’s result: Lost to Carolina, 37-26
This week: Bye

Jameis Winston had the yardage (30-of-54, 400 yards, 1 TD) to keep the Bucs within reach, but the five interceptions created a few too many roadblocks for them to overcome. A tough weekend for the top two picks in the 2015 draft.

27. NEW YORK GIANTS (2-4)

Previous rank: 24
Points in poll: 50
Highest-place vote: 24 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 27 (2 voters)
Last week’s result: Lost to New England, 35-14
This week: vs. Arizona

Moral victories don’t count for much, but Giants fans with an eye to the future should be pleased with what they saw against New England, especially from the defense. Daniel Jones vs. Kyler Murray next week should be fun.

28. ARIZONA CARDINALS (2-3-1)

Previous rank: 28
Points in poll: 49
Highest-place vote: 21 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 29 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat Atlanta, 34-33
This week: at N.Y. Giants

Kyler Murray engineered his second late fourth quarter, go-ahead drive in as many weeks and was rewarded for his efforts with a missed PAT from the Falcons. Sometimes it’s best to be good and lucky.

29. ATLANTA FALCONS (1-5)

Previous rank: 26
Points in poll: 30
Highest-place vote: 27 (1 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 29 (6 voters)
Last week’s result: Lost to Arizona, 34-33
This week: vs. L.A. Rams

Easily the most confusingly bad team in the league this season, the Falcons lost on a rare missed PAT from Matt Bryant. Things don’t get any better with the Rams and the Seahawks on deck, and 1-7 seems like a strong possibility for this group.

30. CINCINNATI BENGALS (0-6)

Previous rank: 29
Points in poll: 21
Highest-place vote: 30 (7 voters)
Lowest-place vote: N/A
Last week’s result: Lost to Baltimore, 23-17
This week: vs. Jacksonville

Not only are they losing all their games, but the Bengals lose painfully. Only two of their defeats have been by more than a touchdown, and it might be time to listen to some of those voicemails about A.J. Green.

31. WASHINGTON REDSKINS (1-5)

Previous rank: 31
Points in poll: 14
Highest-place vote: 31 (7 voters)
Lowest-place vote: N/A
Last week’s result: Beat Miami, 17-16
This week: vs. San Francisco

A win is a win, and that was definitely Washington’s first of the season. Terry McLaurin (4 receptions, 100 yards, 2 TDs) looks great, but that’s about it.

32. MIAMI DOLPHINS (0-5)

Previous rank: 32
Points in poll: 7
Highest-place vote: 32 (7 voters)
Lowest-place vote: N/A
Last week’s result: Lost to Washington, 17-16
This week: at Buffalo

The Dolphins lost by their slimmest margin yet, scored more than 10 points and held an opponent under 30 (both for the first time all season)—so this was definitely a great week in Miami. And we just were a bad play call/hands of stone away from some vintage Fitzmagic. 

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