For six weeks the Denver Broncos had no challengers for the top spot in the Power Rankings. Then, the Colts defense took care of Denver’s undefeated record and its spot at the summit.
Some see Kansas City as just a placeholder right now, still not worthy of their undefeated record or the Rankings’ top spot. That line of thinking is off, though. This isn’t a run of the mill team having success with an opportunistic defense and and efficient offense. This is a classic Baltimore Ravens style team where the defense is dominant and the offense takes advantage of what the other unit gives it.
Will KC stay at the top? That would surprise me. But are they a top five team? I have little doubt of that.
Biggest Rise: Jets +8
Biggest Fall: Dolphins -7
1. Kansas City Chiefs (7-0, LW: 2): The Stat: 17. There’s little argument as to what got the Chiefs the number one spot and the only remaining undefeated record. It’s that tough defense. Kansas City is the first team since the 2006 Ravens to allow 17 or less points every game for the season’s first seven games. They also increased their league best sack total to 35, ten more than any other team.
2. Indianapolis Colts (5-2, LW: 7): The Stat: 10.7. Of Indy’s five wins this season, three came over the No. 3, 5, and 6 teams in this poll. Not only did they win those games. They have excelled to the tune of a 10.7 point margin of victory. By the way: Andrew Luck in those three wins: 616 passing yards, 5 TD, 0 INT, 62 rushing yards, 2 TD.
3. Denver Broncos (6-1, Last Week: 1): The Stat: 6. What’s one of the big reasons why the Broncos lost Sunday night? The Colts forced six three-and-out possessions for Denver. Through the first six games, the Broncos had a total of 10 three-and-outs.
4. New Orleans Saints (5-1, LW: 4): The Stat: 4-0. The Saints come off the Bye this week, and if you’re their opponent (in this case Buffalo) that’s not a good thing. New Orleans has won four straight games coming off their Bye week, and the really impressive thing is how they’ve done it. In those four games, Drew Brees has averaged 373 passing yards, 4 touchdowns and 0.75 INT. His favorite targets? Marques Colston and Lance Moore, combining for 12.25 receptions, 181.5 yds, 1.75 TD.
5. Seattle Seahawks (6-1, LW: 5): The Stat: 5,3. No team in the NFL is more consistent across the board than the Seahawks. Seattle has the league’s 5th ranked offense and 3rd ranked defense, edging out New Orleans for the distinction of most well-rounded team. (The Saints are 6th and 4th; the Colts are 7th and 6th).
6. San Francisco 49ers (5-2, LW: 6): The Stat: 49. It had been 49 straight regular season starts without a two touchdown game for Frank Gore, that is, until Sunday. Gore finished with just 70 yards on the ground, but he got in the end zone twice for the first time since Week 17 of 2009 against St. Louis. It hasn’t actually been that long overall. He scored twice in last year’s NFC Championship game at Atlanta.
7. Green Bay Packers (4-2, LW: 8): The Stat: 29.5. The Packers figure to be a big favorite against the Vikings this week, but one place where Minnesota might be able to hurt them is in the return game. Green Bay gives up a league worst 29.5 yards per kick off return, and the Vikings just happen to have Cordarrelle Patterson, one of two men with a kick off return touchdown this season. And if that’s not enough for you, Adrian Peterson’s averaged 120 yards per game against them in his career, his best number against any team he’s played more than twice.
8. New England Patriots (5-2, LW: 3): The Stat: 3. Tom Brady completed 22-of-46 passes in the loss at New York, the third time in seven games this season the future Hall-of-Famer has been under 50% passing. He’s never done that three times in an entire season, let alone seven games. A big reason for the struggles in this game: the deep ball. Brady was 4-of-20 on passes 10-or-more yards downfield.
9. Cincinnati Bengals (5-2, LW: 9): The Stat: 3-1. Regardless of his onfield stats, there’s one big improvement that’s happened in the Andy Dalton era so far. Cincinnati is getting better at beating good teams. In 2013, the Bengals are 3-1 against teams with a winning record. Last year, they were 3-3 against the same group and 7-4 otherwise. His rookie year they went 1-7 against winning teams and 8-1 against all others.
10. Dallas Cowboys (4-3, LW: 13): The Stat: 27,485. Tony Romo threw for 317 yards in the win at Philadelphia, giving him 27,485 through the air in his career. That gives him the most yards of any passer in NFL history through his first 100 starts. He’s still 44, 353 yards behind Brett Favre’s record for a career.
11. San Diego Chargers (4-3, LW: 14): The Stat: 14-of-14. It was target practice for Philip Rivers Sunday against the Jaguars. Rivers completed his first 14 passes, throwing his first incompletion with a minute until halftime. Rivers finished the game 22-of-26 for 285 yards and a touchdown.
12. Detroit Lions (4-3, LW: 10): The Stat: 44.1. How much of a difference has Reggie Bush made for this offense? He brings a balance the Lions haven’t seen in the Stafford era. Detroit’s running backs have touched the ball on 44.1% of offensive plays this year. Last year that number was 38.5% and in their playoff year of 2011 it was 38.4%. In the running game, the change is minimal, but the attempts Bush gets in the passing game really make the difference.
13. Chicago Bears (4-3, LW: 11): The Stat: 45. The Bears may have lost Jay Cutler to injury, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that the Chicago defense gave up 45 points in the loss. The last time they gave up that many was Week 7 of 2009, a streak of 66 games. Last year, the Bears only gave up 30 points once, let alone 45.
14. Baltimore Ravens (3-4, LW: 12): The Stat: 2.8. Coming into the season, many thought the combo platter of Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce represented the best running back duo (or at least one of) in the NFL. So far, not so good. Rice and Pierce are each averaging a league worst 2.8 yards per carry. The Ravens as a whole are also averaging 2.8 yards, which is also last in the NFL.
15. New York Jets (4-3, LW: 23): The Stat: 16-of-16. There are only six teams in the league that haven’t missed a field goal this season, and Nick Folk of the Jets is at the top of the list with a 16-of-16 mark. That includes two game winners, one of which came in overtime Sunday after the Special Teams penalty heard round the world.
16. Tennessee Titans (3-4, LW: 16): The Stat: 13.8. That’s the point differential between the Titans defensive play in their three wins opposed to their four losses. In the wins, they’re allowing only 13 points, and that includes a win over one of the league’s best offenses, San Diego. In the four losses, they give up 26.8 points.
17. Arizona Cardinals (3-4, LW: 19): The Stat: 5. Carson Palmer has thrown two or more interceptions in five straight games. Even for a quarterback that’s been known for his penchant for interceptions, that’s the longest streak of his nine year career. He did have a four-game stretch from September 16-October 14, 2007, but he’s never made it to five until now.
18. Carolina Panthers (3-3, LW: 25): The Stat: 88.2. Cam Newton has been up and down this year, but he’s definitely been up the last two weeks. At Minnesota last week he accounted for four touchdowns. This week it’s a Panthers record 88.2 completion percentage. Newton was 15-of-17 in the win.
19. Philadelphia Eagles (3-4, LW: 17): The Stat: Never. For the first time ever, a Chip Kelly offense was held without a touchdown for an entire game. Along with that, the first two quarters of Sunday’s game was the first time a Kelly team was shut out for a half. Another negative: the Eagle have lost nine straight home games, the worst run in franchise history.
20. Buffalo Bills (3-4, LW: 26): The Stat: 55.1, 12. Despite their record and inconsistency, the Bills are downright fierce against the pass this season. They lead the NFL with 12 interceptions, are 2nd with 55.1 completion percentage against, and are 4th with 23 sacks of opposing quarterbacks. Unfortunately for Buffalo, they’re 28th against the run.
21. Cleveland Browns (3-4, LW: 18): The Stat: 20. Jason Campbell was named this week’s starter at quarterback for the Browns, making him the 20th signal caller to start for Cleveland since they returned to the league in 1999. That’s 1.33 quarterbacks per season for the Browns. Meanwhile, the Packers saw three quarterbacks start games in that same span: Brett Favre, Aaron Rodgers and Matt Flynn.
22. Miami Dolphins (3-3, LW: 15): The Stat: Diminishing returns. This is a multi-stat deal. Starting with Quarterback Ryan Tannehill: in the team’s 3-0 start, Tannehill completed 66.4% of his passes for 825 yards. In the three game losing streak, his numbers are 57.9% and 750 yards. In both three game stretches he’s attempted 107 passes. The defense has slowed down too. After intercepting five balls in the 3-0 start, they’ve only picked off two passes in their three-game losing streak.
23. Atlanta Falcons (2-4, LW: 24): The Stat: 105.9. The Falcons simply aren’t good right now, but it shouldn’t be pinned on the quarterback. Matt Ryan is 3rd in the NFL in both QB Rating and passing yards per contest at 105.9 and 320.3, respectively. Also, his 13-3 touchdown-to-interception ratio is the best of his career so far.
24. Washington Redskins (2-4, LW: 27): The Stat: 84. Up to this point, Robert Griffin III has looked timid running the football. What made the Redskins offense special last year was the threat of both RGIII and Alfred Morris to run out of the zone read. It was back this week. Griffin ran 11 times for 84 yards, his highest rushing total in 11 games, and the 3rd highest total of his career.
25. Oakland Raiders (2-4, LW: 20): The Stat: 28. The Raiders think they might have their quarterback of the future in Terrelle Pryor, but if they want him to last they might want to protect him a little better. Oakland has given up 28 sacks this season, and Pryor has already missed a game with a concussion. Part of that is no doubt Pryor’s inexperience in knowing when to get rid of the ball, but his line needs to do a much better job.
26. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-4, LW: 28): The Stat: 10-4. Say what you want about Ben Roethlisberger, but the Ravens and Steelers have consistently been the two best teams in the AFC North during his career, and he has dominated Baltimore. Roethlisberger is 10-4 against the Ravens in his career, including an 8-0 stretch from 2006-2011.
27. St. Louis Rams (3-4, LW: 21): The Stat: 0. This stat is a retread, but it’s worth noting because it gets more impressive (or unimpressive) every week. The Rams, seven games into the season, still don’t have a single rushing touchdown. When breaking down the team’s plays in the redzone, it’s alarming. Jeff Fisher’s team has thrown 38 passes inside the 20 for 12 touchdowns and has run 20 times without a score.
28. Houston Texans (2-5, LW: 22): The Stat: 1. Arian Foster tweaked his hamstring Sunday, putting his immediate future with Houston in doubt, but even while on the field he hasn’t had his normal worth this season. Foster has scored just one rushing touchdown in seven games. This comes on the heels of a 15-touchdown campaign just last year. And it’s not like Ben Tate’s vulturing the goal line scores. He’s punched it in just once too.
29. New York Giants (1-6, LW: 31): The Stat: 14. This might be the first time this season the stat has been a good one for Big Blue, and even this one is somewhat of a backhanded compliment. The Giants completed 14 drives Monday night without an Eli Manning interception. That’s the first time all season Eli’s even gone 10 drives without a pick.
30. Minnesota Vikings (1-5, LW: 29): The Stat: 16. The stat has only been tracked for eight years, but in his Minnesota debut Josh Freeman threw an NFL record 16 overthrown passes. The shocking thing is that, in his awful 20-of-53 performance, only 16 of the 33 incomplete throws were overthrown. To put the 16 in perspective even more, Peyton Manning has 16 overthrows for the SEASON.
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-6, LW: 30): The Stat: Mike Glennon’s consistency. Okay, that’s not a number, but I didn’t know how to put it in one succinct stat. Glennon’s started three times for the Bucs, and it seems they know pretty much to get from him so far. Look at his lines: Week 4: 24-43, 193 yd, TD, 2 INT; Week 6: 26-43, 273 yd, 2 TD, INT; Week 7: 26-44, 276 yd, 2 TD. With gradual improvements in yardage and TD-INT ratio each game with basically the same completion percentage and total attempts, Tampa Bay should be pleased with his progress so far.
32. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-7, LW: 32): The Stat: 17.6. Everyone knows the Jaguars’ offense has been putrid this season. It has improved since Justin Blackmon returned from suspension and Chad Henne took over under center, but the team is scoring on only 17.6% of its drives. At that rate, Buffalo leads the NFL with 13.8 possessions per game. If the Jags had that many possessions, they’d score on just 2.4 of those. So, at the most, they’re going to average 17 or so points per game. That’s just not cutting it.