After all the teams have played five and six games (dependent on byes), the one thing that the NFL Power Rankings are showing is that there is parity in the League. Only three teams are left that have lost a single game — the New York Jets, the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the New England Patriots.
Fanhouse and the Bleacher Report put the Steelers and the Jets at the top. Only two teams have yet to win — the Carolina Panthers and the Buffalo Bills. There are 21 teams at .500 or better. There are no divisions where one team is walking away with the division lead. With 10 and 11 games to go on each team’s schedule, the power rankings could look much the same or completely reverse themselves in the coming weeks. Nothing is certain.
NFL, thy name is “Parity.”
Fanhouse puts the Jets in the #1 position in their Week 7 NFL Power Rankings. The Jets got their fifth win in a row on what appeared to be a gift interference call near game’s end that set them up for the win against the Denver Broncos. The Bleacher Report sets the Steelers on top. With Ben Roethlisberger back at quarterback and having only lost to the tough Ravens, the Steelers might just have the best team in the NFL. Regardless, AFC teams dominate the Top 10, placing six teams in the Fanhouse list and seven in the Bleacher Report’s (and, by extension, nine in each among the top half of the power rankings of all the NFL teams). The teams flip-flop in each list for the runner-up position.
Within the Top 10, both lists agree on the teams involved, just not placement. Except for one team. Fanhouse puts the New York Giants in at #9 (Bleacher Report sets them down at #14), while Bleacher Report puts the Houston Texans in their list at #7 (Fanhouse places them at #11).
Positions 3-5 are held down by the New England Patriots, the Baltimore Ravens, and the Indianapolis Colts — in that order for Fanhouse. Bleacher Report places them slightly differently — Colts, Patriots, Ravens. One thing to be said about the Patriots-Ravens match-up Sunday: The game could have went the other way, giving the Ravens the one-loss record instead of New England.
Both lists agree that the New Orleans Saints are the #6 most powerful team in the NFL.
As mentioned, the Texans get #7 for Bleacher Report, while Fanhouse slips in the Tennessee Titans, who get a #8 berth with BR. Fanhouse saved that spot for the Philadelphia Eagles, who get the #9 slot in the Bleacher Report NFL power rankings. The aforementioned Giants get #9 for Fanhouse.
Both lists also agree that the Atlanta Falcons are the team to anchor the Top 10 at its lowest slot.
So what have we learned from Week 7’s round of play? We’ve learned the Dallas Cowboys can consistently find ways to lose while crushing their opponents statistically (Vikings over Cowboys, 24-21). We also learned that either the Colts are far worse than they were last year, or the Redskins, with the addition of Donovan McNabb at quarterback (and let’s not forget the Super Bowl-winning coach — Mike Shanahan), are a much improved team over last season (Redskins lost to Colts 27-24). And we discovered that the Chicago Bears and the Kansas City Chiefs may not have been as good as they first appeared (Chiefs lost their second in a row; Bears dropped their second in three, but still retain division lead).
But the most telling thing learned this week is that every team’s chances for the playoffs are still in play and could possibly stretch to at least one or two more games for most teams in a disadvantageous position (like the Dallas Cowboys, who are now 1-4). Not one team seems to have shown itself to be especially dominant this season… so far. But the AFC, with all three of the one-loss teams, have shown themselves to be the dominant conference. And the NFL Power Rankings reflect that as well…
Parity by any other name…
Fanhouse NFL Power Rankings (Week 7)
1. New York Jets
2. Pittsburgh Steelers
3. New England Patriots
4. Baltimore Ravens
5. Indianapolis Colts
6. New Orleans Saints
7. Tennessee Titans
8. Philadelphia Eagles
9. New York Giants
10. Atlanta Falcons
Bleacher Report NFL Power Rankings (Week 7)
1. Pittsburgh Steelers
2. New York Jets
3. Indianapolis Colts
4. New England Patriots
5. Baltimore Ravens
6. New Orleans Saints
7. Houston Texans
8. Tennessee Titans
9. Philadelphia Eagles
10. Atlanta Falcons