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Editor's note: Rick Gosselin is in his 49th season reporting on the NFL in 2021. He has covered the Lions, Giants, Chiefs and Cowboys in his career plus 38 Super Bowls. He has served on the Hall of Fame selection committee and is a member of both the senior and contributor sub-committees. Gosselin also is one of the 12 voters for the AP 32, the weekly ranking of NFL teams conducted by the Associated Press. Here is his seventh week ballot:

1. Arizona. Zach Ertz has now caught touchdown passes in back-to-back games for two different franchises. He caught a 5-yarder for the Philadelphia Eagles against Tampa Bay in Week 6, then caught a 47-yarder for the Cardinals in a rout of Houston in Week 7. The Cardinals lost their starting tight end Maxx Williams with a season-ending knee injury in Week 5 and now replace him with a three-time Pro Bowler. And the best team in the NFL just got better. Last week: 1

2. LA Rams. WR Cooper Kupp has caught nine TD passes from Matthew Stafford in the first seven games of the season. His career-high is nine from Jared Goff in 2019. The franchise record is 17 by Hall of Famer Elroy “Crazylegs” Hirsch in 1951. That was in a 12-game season – a season that produced the Rams’ first NFL: championship. Last week: 2

3. Tampa Bay. Mike Evans has caught seven touchdown passes from Tom Brady this season—all at home in Tampa’s four games at Raymond James. He has yet to catch a TD pass in his three road games. The Buccaneers play three of the next four on the road. Last week: 3

4. Dallas. The Cowboys lead the NFL in both offense and scoring, averaging 34.1 points per game. That puts the Cowboys on pace for the first 500-point season in franchise history. The club record is 479 points in 1983, an average of 29.9 points per game, by an offense that featured Danny White, Tony Hill and Hall of Famers Tony Dorsett and Drew Pearson. The 2021 Cowboys are on track for 547 points. Last week: 4

5. Green Bay. The Packers have won six in a row and it hasn’t been all Aaron Rodgers. The defense has stepped up since that season-opening 38-3 debacle at New Orleans. Green Bay has held four of its last six opponents under 20 points and now ranks seventh in the NFL in defense. The pass defense has been particularly stout. The Packers are one of only five teams that has not allowed a 300-yard passer yet. Last week: 7

6. Tennessee. Derrick Henry leads the NFL with 10 touchdowns. But only three of them have come in Tennessee’s four home games. QB Ryan Tannehill has as many rushing touchdowns at home for the 5-2 Titans as Henry. The legs are just part of Tannehill’s package – he rushed for a career-high seven TDs last season. Last week: 8

7. Cincinnati. Joe Burrow provides better long-distance service than Verizon or T-Mobile. His 17 touchdown passes this season are averaging a staggering 31.3 yards. Only three quarterbacks have thrown more TD passes – Tom Brady (21), Matthew Stafford (19) and Patrick Mahomes (18). Brady’s scores average 17 yards, Stafford’s 18.8 and Mahomes 18.3. Last week: 13

8. Buffalo. The Bills lead the AFC East with a 4-2 record but a division title isn’t the height that Buffalo aspires. Buffalo reached the AFC title game in 2020 but that was on the road in KC. The Bills aspire to be the top seed in the AFC this season and can make some headway in that direction over the next month. The next four opponents – the Dolphins, Jaguars, Jets and Colts -- are a combined 6-20 on the season. Last week: 5

9. Las Vegas. The Raiders are 2-0 post-Jon Gruden to storm into first place in the AFC West with a 5-2 record. But the NFL schedule-maker slows down that Las Vegas Express this weekend by assigning the Raiders their bye. The Baltimore Ravens also are off this week. Last week: 11

10. Baltimore. There have been 10 400-yard passing games in the NFL this season. The Ravens have allowed three of them – by Derek Carr (435), Carson Wentz (402) and Joe Burrow (416). No other NFL defense has allowed more than one 400-yard game this season. Last week: 6

11. LA Chargers. QB Justin Herbert goes to Pro Bowl WR Keenan Allen to move the chains for the 4-2 Chargers but goes to Mike Williams to finish drives. Allen ranks eighth in the NFL with 12 third-down receptions averaging 13.9 yards. But he has scored only one touchdown reception on the season. Williams has only seven third-down receptions but has caught a team-leading six TD passes. Last week: 9

12. Cleveland. The 4-3 Browns lead the NFL in rushing and it doesn’t seem to matter who lines up at tailback. Nick Chubb is the back of choice. He’s coming off back-to-back Pro Bowl and 1,000-yard seasons. He rushed for four touchdowns on the season with a pair of 100-yard games in his last two outings. But he suffered a calf injury in the fifth game that’s sidelined him the last two weekends. So former AFC rushing champion Kareem Hunt stepped in against Arizona in Week 6 and rushed for 66 yards before suffering a calf injury of his own and heading to the sideline. The next man up was D’Ernest Johnson, who turned in the first 100-yard game of his career in Week 7 against Denver. Last week: 10

13. Minnesota. Six teams return from their byes this weekend – Buffalo, Dallas, Jacksonville, the Los Angeles Chargers, Minnesota and Pittsburgh. Four of them are lights out after byes. The Cowboys are 22-10, the Bills 21-11 and the Steelers and Vikings both 20-12. The Cowboys and Vikings play each other in Minnesota. Last week: 15

14. New Orleans. The Saints have struggled on offense in their first season post-Drew Brees but help could be on the way. Three-time Pro Bowler and two-time NFL receiving champion Michael Thomas was back at practice last week after spending the first seven weeks on injured reserve following summer ankle surgery. He could be back this week against Tampa Bay. Last week: 14

15. Pittsburgh. Ben Roethlisberger has not thrown an interception in Pittsburgh’s three victories this season. But he has thrown four interceptions in the three losses. Roethlisberger has not thrown a pick in his last two games, covering 65 passes, and the Steelers have won both to get back to .500. His ability to avoid those turnovers this weekend in Cleveland against a Top 10 pass defense might determine if the Steelers can extend their winning streak. Last week: 26

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16. Kansas City. The Chiefs committed 15 turnovers in 2019 on the way to their first NFL championship in 50 years. They committed 16 turnovers in 2020 on the way to a second consecutive AFC championship. But the Chiefs have already committed an NFL-high 17 turnovers through seven games this season. Kansas City lost four games in 2019 and two in 2020. The Chiefs have already lost four games this season and, at 3-4, are speeding toward their first non-playoff finish since 2014. Last week: 12

17. Atlanta. The Falcons have the chance to get above .500 for the first time since the 2017 season when they host the Carolina Panthers Sunday. Not since finishing 9-7 in 2017 have the Falcons been above water in the standings. Atlanta has won two in a row on the arm of Matt Ryan to get back to .500 this season at 3-3. He has passed for more than 335 yards with two touchdowns in each of those victories. Last week: 24

18. New England. Tom Brady passed for 300 yards for the first time in his third NFL start. It took rookie Mac Jones seven games this season to record his first 300-yard passing game. Jones now has thrown nine TD passes on the season – but eight have come at home. The Patriots play the next two games and two of the next three on the road. Last week: 20

19. Indianapolis. The resurrection of the Colts is tied to the resurrection of RB Jonathan Taylor. An 1,100-yard rusher last season as a rookie, Taylor failed to rush for 100 yards or score a touchdown in any of Indy’s first three games, all losses. But in his last four games he has rushed for 100 yards three times and scored six touchdowns. The Colts have won three of them to improve to 3-4. Indianapolis plays its next three games at home with a chance to resurrect itself as a playoff contender. Last week: 21

20. Denver. The Broncos have had a tough go of late in the AFC, losing four in a row to Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Las Vegas and Cleveland. So Denver will now try its hand in the NFC with three consecutive games against the East -- Washington, Dallas and Philadelphia. The Broncos are 1-0 against the East, having whipped the New York Giants in the season opener. Last week: 17

21. Carolina. The Panthers have offset their 3-0 start with four consecutive losses. The problem has been too many empty possessions. Carolina has punted a league-high 36 times. Punting is not necessarily a bad thing. It can dramatically flip field position in favor of the kicking team. But that hasn’t been the case in Carolina. The Panthers are averaging 37.9 yards per punt – the only NFL team in the 30s. The league average is 46.0 yards. Carolina placed Joseph Charlton with his 39.1-yard average on injured reserve after five games with a bad back. His replacement, Ryan Winslow, is averaging 38.6 yards in his two weeks on the job. Last week: 18

22. Chicago. Oh, those growing pains. The 3-4 Bears have committed themselves to rookie QB Justin Fields, which is a commitment to struggle. Fields has started five games and has thrown for fewer than 200 yards in each of his last three outings. He threw for fewer than 100 yards in another of his starts. Fields has thrown only two TD passes and been sacked 22 times. Last week: 19

23. Seattle. The Seahawks are 0-2 without their franchise quarterback Russell Wilson. Seattle misses his arm – his replacement Geno Smith has thrown just two TD passes in his two starts. But the Seahawks may miss his legs even more…his escapability. Smith has been sacked five times in each of his starts. Last week: 22

24. Philadelphia. The coach may change but not the character of a team. The Eagles were penalized an NFL-runnerup 107 times under Doug Pederson last season for 853 yards. Under new coach Nick Sirianni this season, the Eagles lead the NFL in penalties with 58 for 419 yards. Those yellow flags in 2020 contributed to a 4-11-1 record that cost Pederson his job. The yellow flags in 2021 have contributed to a 2-5 start by the Eagles. Last week: 23

25. Washington. In its last Super Bowl season, Washington allowed only 224 points in 1991, an average of 14 per game. Washington has allowed an NFL-high 210 points through the first seven games of this season, an average of 30 per game. How far is Washington from Super Bowl contention? About 16 points per game. Last week: 25

26. San Francisco. The clock was ticking on Jimmy Garoppolo when the 49ers traded up for a quarterback with the third overall pick of the 2021 draft. The clock is starting to sound like Big Ben of late with Garoppolo having lost his last three starts. The 49ers have fallen to 2-4 and aren’t in the same divisional area code with the 7-0 Cardinals and 6-1 Rams. Garoppolo has turned the ball over five times in the three losses on four interceptions and a fumble. Trey Lance waits in the wings. Last week: 26

27. NY Giants. The 2-5 Giants have eight sacks in their last two games – this after collecting only eight sacks in their first five games. Defensive end Leonard Williams has led the charge with three of the sacks. Rookie edge rusher Azeez Ojulari has chipped in 2 ½. Last week: 31

28. Jacksonville. The better James Robinson plays, the better rookie QB Trevor Lawrence plays. Lawrence labored in his first three NFL games, throwing seven interceptions and losing two fumbles in Jacksonville’s 0-3 start. Robinson, a 1,000-yard rusher a year ago, also struggled those first three games with only one touchdown and fewer than 50 yards rushing in two of the outings. But Robinson has scored four touchdowns in the last three games and also rushed for more than 70 yards each time, including a 100-yard day against Tennessee. Lawrence has thrown only one interception in the last three games and the Jaguars won for the first time in their last outing against Miami. Last week: 27

29. NY Jets. The Jets suffered losses to both their ego and lineup in that 54-13 smackdown by the Patriots last weekend. New England knocked QB Zach Wilson out of the game with a knee injury – an injury that could sideline him for up to a month. The offense of the 1-5 Jets is now in the hands of Mike White, who will be making his first NFL start this weekend against Cincinnati. Last week: 28

30. Miami. Quarterbacks need help from their running game, especially young QBs like Tua Tagovailoa. But he isn’t getting it from the Miami backfield stable. The Dolphins rank 31st in the NFL in rushing, averaging just 3.9 yards per carry with an AFC-low three touchdowns. Tennessee’s Derrick Henry has rushed for 308 more yards individually than the Dolphins have collectively this season. Last week: 29

31. Houston. The Texans have lost six in a row and will be hard-pressed to end that skid this weekend with the 6-1 Los Angeles Rams coming to town. Rookie QB Davis Mills has not thrown a TD pass in the last two games and he faces a defense this weekend that has intercepted a league-runnerup 10 passes. Last week: 30

32. Detroit. With their 0-7 start, the Lions have now lost 11 games in a row. Their last victory came Dec. 6, 2021 against Chicago. Detroit has a chance at home against the 2-5 Eagles this weekend. But quarterback Jared Goff needs to stop throwing interceptions and start throwing touchdowns. He has tossed four interceptions against only one TD pass in the last three games. Last week: 32