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Monday, December 22, 2014

LBS NFL Power Rankings Week 7

1. New York Jets (5-1, –)

The Jets continue to look very, very good. A win on the road against the Broncos in a tough environment improves their road record to 3-0. Road games are a good test of where a team’s at, and New York has aced that test thus far.

2. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-1, –)

Pittsburgh beat the Browns by 18 despite Ben Roethlisberger’s early red zone interception. Their defense is the best in the league and, once Roethlisberger gets back into rhythm, their offense could be as good as any with the way Rashard Mendenhall is running it.

3. New England Patriots (4-1, +2)

The Patriots scratched and clawed their way to an overtime victory against the Ravens, thanks in large part to the play of Deion Branch. How the Pats’ offense will fare without Randy Moss is still somewhat of a mystery, but if Sunday’s game is any indication they should be just fine.

4. Baltimore Ravens (4-2, -1)

We’re only dropping them one spot after the loss because New England rarely loses at home. The Ravens had plenty of chances to win and simply couldn’t get it done. They weren’t completely outplayed by any means and still remain among the AFC’s elite.

5. Philadelphia Eagles (4-2, +6)

We’re waiting for Philadelphia to stumble with the way they keep swapping quarterbacks and it hasn’t happened. Andy Reid claims Michael Vick is still the team’s starter, but I’m sure they’re in no rush to get him back. Kevin Kolb and the Eagles dominated a good Falcons team on Sunday.

6. New Orleans Saints (4-2, +3)

We said last week that we don’t think the Saints offense had clicked yet. Thanks in large part Chris Ivory’s strong play, it finally clicked on Sunday against the Bucs.  Plenty of people picked Tampa Bay to win this one and New Orleans answered the critics by slapping them around.

7. Indianapolis Colts (4-2, -1)

The Colts drop a spot despite the win in Washington over the weekend. They fumbled the ball three times and their offense just doesn’t look as good as it has in the past. As for Peyton Manning’s diminishing skill set — I don’t know if I’d go that far just yet.

8. Tennessee Titans (4-2, +2)

Their game against the Jaguars in Jacksonville looked like a coin flip heading in. It was hardly that, with the Titans dominating from the opening snap and reminding everyone that the Jags are not very good. Quarterback play remains Tennessee’s biggest wild card.

9. New York Giants (4-2, +4)

They struggled a bit against the Lions at home, but managed to pull out the win. The Giants have ripped off three straight wins since starting the year 1-2. A win in Dallas this Sunday would give them one less team to worry about in the NFC East.

10. Miami Dolphins (3-2, +5)

With the way the Patriots and Jets are playing, the Dolphins needed a win to stay alive in the AFC East. Green Bay is as tough a place as any to get a W, but they took advantage of a banged-up Packers team and got it done. Nice bounce back after the bye week.

11. Atlanta Falcons (4-2, -7)

With the exception of an OT win against the Saints, the Falcons have beaten up on very bad teams and lost to the good ones. It’s tough to tell if they are one of the top teams in the NFC or their record is a reflection of their schedule.

12. Washington Redskins (3-3, -4)

A win over Indianapolis at home would have been huge, but the Redskins came up short. Ryan Torain is running with a purpose, but they aren’t a good enough team to win when Donovan McNabb throws interceptions. He’ll need to do a better job of limiting mistakes.

13. Houston Texans (4-2, +4)

The early indication from Houston on Sunday was that the Chiefs were going to blow out the Texans. Houston somehow put together a 21-point fourth quarter and came away with the win. Stealing one like that could be huge for their confidence moving forward.

14. Green Bay Packers (3-3, -2)

The Packers lost a tough overtime game to the Dolphins and desperately need to get healthy. Jermichael Finley is done for the year, Clay Matthews is set to return this week, and Aaron Rodgers is playing through a concussion and still getting hit. They need to protect Rodgers at all cost.

15. Chicago Bears (4-2, -8)

The Bears are the most up-and-down team of the 2010 season thus far. Their defense led them to victory in Carolina week five without Jay Cutler, but they were back to letting Cutler take a beating on Sunday. That resulted in a tough loss to Seattle at home. They need to find some consistency.

16. Minnesota Vikings (2-3, +6)

The Vikings were able to beat the Cowboys in the Panic Bowl to keep their season alive. Brett Favre also managed to prove Joe Namath wrong, who said he wouldn’t make it through the game. They have a tough one coming up on Sunday night in Green Bay.

17. Kansas City Chiefs (3-2, -3)

Kansas City has no excuse for losing a game in which they took a 10-point lead into the fourth quarter. After hanging tough with the Colts in Indy the previous game, this isn’t the type of loss the Chiefs needed. Lucky for them, they have Jacksonville this weekend.

18. Arizona Cardinals (3-2, –)

The Cardinals get to stay right where they are after enjoying their bye week. Max Hall has a tough task ahead of him this weekend in an extremely rowdy Qwest Field in Seattle.

19. Seattle Seahawks (3-2, +7)

The Seahawks pulled out a big win in Chicago last weekend. Their match-up with the Cardinals this weekend is an important one, considering how wide open the NFC West is. There’s no team that could surprise me by winning that division — even the Niners.

20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-2, -4)

Unfortunately for Tampa Bay, they ran into the champs when the champs finally decided to look like the champs. They play the Rams at home this weekend, who — thanks to Sam Bradford — are no longer an automatic win on anyone’s schedule.

21. St.Louis Rams (3-3, +7)

For some reason, I thought the Chargers would blow the Rams out. They proved me wrong. Steven Jackson looks as good as he’s looked all year and I’m a believer in Sam Bradford. A 3-3 start for the Rams is hugely unexpected with a rookie quarterback at the helm.

22. Dallas Cowboys (1-4, -1)

I know the Cowboys are 1-4, but I still feel like there’s a good team in there somewhere. They have a huge game at home against the Giants this weekend. I know we said the loser of the Vikings-Cowboys game was done for the season, but if the Cowboys lose this one they might as well forfeit the year.

23. Cincinnati Bengals (2-3, +1)

The Bengals lost to Tampa Bay and Cleveland before their bye week, so I guess you could say it was much-needed. They’re in Atlanta this weekend so we’ll get a chance to see if it did their offense any good.

24. Denver Broncos (2-4, –)

A stupid pass interference penalty probably cost the Broncos the game against a very good Jets team. It would have been nice to come away with a win, but at least they showed themselves they can hang with one of the best in the AFC. Getting Knowshon Moreno back should help.

25. San Diego Chargers (2-4, -6)

Losing to the Rams is definitely not what the Chargers needed when they’re already struggling mightily. A game against the Patriots without several key players is probably not what the Chargers need at this point, either.

26. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-3, -6)

What looked like a winnable game for the Jaguars at home against the Titans turned into an absolute gong show. Maurice Jones-Drew is useless without a quarterback who can throw the ball or a team who can establish a lead. I don’t understand how they’re 3-3.

27. Oakland Raiders (2-4, -2)

The 49ers had to win their first game at some point, so you had a feeling it would come against the Raiders. Still, it’s not like it was a convincing win and the Raiders still don’t look as terrible as they have in the past.

28. Detroit Lions (1-5, -1)

The Lions are still losing, but they’re rarely losing big. They kept the game close against a tough Giants team on the road and are clearly making strides in the right direction despite a 1-5 record. Shaun Hill is somehow keeping Detroit in games.

29. San Francisco 49ers (1-5, +1)

The Niners needed their first win and they were able to get it at home against the Raiders. They needed to come from behind to do it. Should we focus on Alex Smith leading a comeback, or the fact that San Francisco was almost 0-6?

30. Cleveland Browns (1-5, -1)

We all knew the Browns would get smoked by the Steelers, but I must admit it wasn’t half as bad as I thought. Despite two interceptions, I thought Colt McCoy played very well considering the task at hand.

31. Carolina Panthers (0-5, –)

The Panthers have a winnable game at home against San Francisco coming off the bye week. Whether or not they can turn it into their first win of the year remains to be seen.

32. Buffalo Bills (0-5, –)

The Ravens will welcome Buffalo to Baltimore this weekend following this Bills bye week. Good luck to them.



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