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NFL 2018 SQ NFL Power Rankings: Week 7

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After last week’s clash of the titans on Sunday Night Football, how does the top five shake out?

And then there was one. One unblemished team. One team who has taken on all challengers and come out victorious. The Los Angeles Rams. LA has done it with offense and has done it with defense. The Rams have done it on the ground and through the air. They deserve the top spot in our rankings. But after a big showdown in Foxborough where two great teams played more or less to a draw, how will our writers rank the rest of the NFL’s top teams? Find out below.

   Ranking (Change)

1 (-)

Los Angeles Rams (6-0)

Los Angeles Rams (6-0)

Wins are becoming much less easy to come by for the NFC powerhouse Los Angeles Rams, as their last two victories have come by a combined five points. Luckily for the Rams—as they displayed on Sunday—they have unlimited weapons on both sides of the ball, especially offense. In a game where Jared Goff finally struggled, completing only 50 percent of his passes for 201 yards and an interception, Todd Gurley came to the rescue. Gurley was impressive to watch in this one, as he rushed for a career-high 208 yards, as well as two touchdowns, on 28 carries. Simply dominant. Moreover, after Cooper Kupp was forced out of the game with what appeared to be a serious leg injury, Robert Woods continued his successful season, recording seven catches for 109 yards. The good news is that Kupp is okay, and so are the Rams, as they remain atop the NFC West, as well as our power rankings, at 6-0 (Ryan Grube)

2 (+2)

New England Patriots (4-2)

New England Patriots (4-2)

“The Pats are back!” No. They never left. Nearly every September, New England drops one or two games that they were supposed to win, and it’s supposedly the end of the dynasty. But every October, they’ve sorted out their personnel, thrown away experimental packages that didn’t work, and the wins stack up. If you’re surprised by New England’s victory over the 5-0 Chiefs, you haven’t been paying attention. (Hunter Bonge )

3 (-1)

Kansas City Chiefs (5-1)

Kansas City Chiefs (5-1)

Though they came up just short to the Patriots on Sunday night, there is no reason to be any less excited about this Chiefs team. Pat Mahomes led the team to 31 second half points after a shaky start, but he won’t be Kansas City’s downfall. The defense is bottom five against both the run and pass, and defensive coordinator Bob Sutton’s days may be numbered if he can’t turn it around quickly. (Nick Cardozo)

4 (-1)

New Orleans Saints (4-1)

New Orleans Saints (4-1)

The Saints’ high-flying offense has led them to four straight wins. The team has scored 40-plus points in three of its games  already. The Saints have a good shot to earn a first-round bye in the playoffs if they can go 3-2 or better against their nightmare of a schedule these next five weeks: Ravens, Vikings, Rams, Bengals, and Eagles. (Hunter Bonge )

5 (+4)

Philadelphia Eagles (3-3)

Philadelphia Eagles (3-3)

The Eagles got back on track against the Giants, returning to form in the process. Wentz and Jeffery are playing great football, while the defense played well on the road for the first time in a long time. Everyone should pump the breaks as teams have proven defeating the Giants isn’t a tall task. But the signs this team showed on Thursday bode well for optimism going forward. (Matt Fowler)

6 (-)

Minnesota Vikings (3-2-1)

Minnesota Vikings (3-2-1)

The Vikings handled the Bills with ease last week, but if these rankings weren’t strictly about performance, I’d have Minnesota ranked 32. They deserve it for that terrible touchdown celebration they did MULTIPLE TIMES on Sunday. Luckily for them, Adam Thielen and the rest of the team are playing great football right now and changing the SQ Power Ranking rules is above my pay grade. Expect Minnesota’s success to continue against the Jets. (Matt Fowler)

7 (-2)

Cincinnati Bengals (4-2)

Cincinnati Bengals (4-2)

The Bengals lost a heartbreaker at home to the Steelers last week, but there’s still reason to be high on this team. The weapons are there and the emergence of Tyler Boyd just adds to that group. The defense held its own against arguably the best offensive group in the league and they’re still atop the division with a game in hand against the Ravens. The Bengals should fall, but not too far in these rankings. (Matt Fowler)

8 (+2)

Baltimore Ravens (4-2)

Baltimore Ravens (4-2)

Eleven sacks. Eleven times the Ravens powered through Tennessee’s offensive line and got to Marcus Mariota, ultimately setting a new franchise record for team sacks in one game. It was an all-around dominant defensive effort for Baltimore, as they held the Titans to a measly 106 total yards en route to a 21-0 shutout victory. This was the kind of bounce-back win John Harbaugh and company needed following their disappointing 12-9 loss in Cleveland. Joe Flacco looked sharp—aside from one interception—completing 25 of 37 passes for 238 yards and a touchdown. Meanwhile, in the rushing department, Alex Collins appears to be getting things going, as he finished with 54 yards and two rushing touchdowns on 19 carries. Nothing to write home about on the offensive side, but if Baltimore can deliver more defensive performances like the one we saw Sunday, they won’t need much offense to generate success. (Ryan Grube)

9 (+3)

Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2-1)

Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2-1)

The Steelers have found their groove after an impressive win in Cincinnati. The offense hasn’t skipped a beat with Connor at running back, and JuJu is building off of an impressive rookie season with a sophomore season to match it. Once Antonio Brown really hits his stride, it’ll be hard for anyone outside of Pittsburgh to win that division. (Matt Fowler)

10 (+4)

Los Angeles Chargers (4-2)

Los Angeles Chargers (4-2)

The Chargers are starting to look like the Super Bowl contenders we expected they would be. Their defense is still lacking a dominant pass rush, but if Joey Bosa can come back healthy, this team is as talented as any team in the league. If Philip Rivers and the offense can keep their current pace up, the Chargers could find themselves with one of the top records in the NFL. (Max Vukelich)

11 (+2)

Green Bay Packers (3-2-1)

Green Bay Packers (3-2-1)

Green Bay survived a close game at home over a beat-up San Francisco squad on the back of their star quarterback Aaron Rodgers. After seeing this team play now for six weeks, it’s safe to say that this is the same old Green Bay team. The offensive line is average and can have massive swings in performance from week to week and even play to play. There is no real run game to speak of and the receiving corps is composed of guys with last names that sound that they were randomly generated in Madden. The defense is inconsistent and will give up big plays at a moments notice. But Aaron Rodgers is so bleepin’ good. The question is, how far can he carry them this season on one healthy leg? (Adrian Nelson)

12 (-4)

Carolina Panthers (3-2)

Carolina Panthers (3-2)

The Panthers have to be disappointed in their effort last week in Washington. Two fumbles by rookie WR DJ Moore ultimately cost them the game. Even with the fumbles the Panthers had the ball in Redskins’ territory with a chance to take the lead, but came up short. The NFC seems to be a little worse than we expected, but a win in that spot would’ve gone a long way in securing a wild card spot at the end of the year. (Max Vukelich)

13 (-6)

Jacksonville Jaguars (3-3)

Jacksonville Jaguars (3-3)

Well, we finally figured out what will shut Jalen Ramsey up. Turns out, a 40-7 thumping at the hands of the less-than-impressive Dallas Cowboys will do just the trick. The Jaguars’ defense got flat-out beat in every respect on Sunday. Their secondary was picked apart by Dak Prescott to the tune of 183 yards and two touchdowns, while their front seven was gashed by Ezekiel Elliott, who powered his way to 106 rushing yards and a touchdown on 24 carries. For a team whose defense is looked upon as one of the best—if not the best—in the league, 70 points allowed in two weeks is not a comforting sight. The Jaguars need to figure out their defensive struggles, and quick, before a weak AFC South divisional race slips out of their hands. (Ryan Grube)

14 (-3)

Chicago Bears (3-2)

Chicago Bears (3-2)

We’re through Week 6, and the Bears find themselves in a three-way tie for first in the NFC North. We knew that adding linebackers Roquan Smith and Khalil Mack would shore up the Chicago defense, but Mitchell Trubisky and the offense have put up impressive numbers as well. The team lost in OT at Miami last week, but Chicago’s upcoming game against New England will show whether or not this team can be a contender for the playoffs. (Hunter Bonge)

15 (+3)

Washington Redskins (3-2)

Washington Redskins (3-2)

In a week where Washington needed a win following an abysmal Monday night performance against the Saints, Alex Smith and company delivered. Smith wasn’t anything special, completing 21 of 36 passes for 163 yards and two touchdowns, but he was efficient and conservative with the football, as he’s been known for doing his entire career. Moreover, Adrian Peterson—nursing several ailments (shoulder, knee, ankle)—was nothing short of magnificent, as he rushed for 97 yards on 17 carries against Carolina’s stingy run defense. It’s becoming clear that in games where Peterson has success, so do the Redskins. In Washington’s three wins, Peterson has averaged 104.3 rushing yards per game, compared to just 13.0 yards per game in their two losses. Jay Gruden is surely going to keep feeding AP the ball. The question is: can his 33-year-old legs lead the ‘Skins back to the playoffs this season? (Ryan Grube)

16 (+1)

Miami Dolphins (4-2)

Miami Dolphins (4-2)

Despite losing to two of the best teams in the AFC in consecutive weeks, many were quick to chalk up Miami’s early-season success as a flash in the plan. But after a thrilling overtime victory over the Bears, despite the absence of Ryan Tannehill, we may have to rethink that notion. Sure, 380 yards and three scores from Brock Osweiler and 119 total yard from Frank Gore is a bit fluky. But until this team falls below .500, consider me a believer. (Kyle Trapp)

17 (-2)

Tennessee Titans (3-3)

Tennessee Titans (3-3)

Ranking the Tennessee Titans from week to week may be one of the harder things I’ve ever had to do. A seemingly new team shows up for each game, and the one that took on the Ravens on Sunday looked like one of the worst teams in the NFL. In a 21-0 loss at home, the Titans managed just 106 yards of total offense, a truly unprecedented level of bad. To look at it from another perspective, Brett Kern, the Tennessee punter, racked up 375 yards on nine punts in the game—for the entire season, the Rams have punted 11 times for 497 yards. With that being said, because it’s the Titans, they’ll probably beat the Chargers this week. (Kyle Trapp)

18 (-2)

Atlanta Falcons (2-4)

Atlanta Falcons (2-4)

Two days after their shootout victory against the Bucs, the Falcons placed Devonta Freeman on IR, losing yet another key player in what could be a lost season. Tevin Coleman has been underwhelming in Freeman’s absence, while the defense continues to give up Madden-like numbers each week. Atlanta’s upcoming schedule isn’t daunting by any means, but without the heart of its defense along with a stark imbalance on offense, the team isn’t likely to make much noise the rest of the year. (Nick Cardozo)

19 (+3)

Houston Texans (3-3)

Houston Texans (3-3)

The Texans should all send “thank you,” cards to Nathan Peterman. It appeared as though we were at least heading for overtime—if not a Bills win—before Peterman threw two late fourth-quarter interceptions, including the eventual game-sealing pick-six to Texans’ corner Jonathan Joseph. It was a gift-wrapped victory for Houston, who amidst an underwhelming performance from quarterback Deshaun Watson, did just enough to escape a confusing Bills team. The Texans struggled mightily on the offensive side all day Sunday, as Watson threw for just 177 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions, while running back Lamar Miller managed just 46 yards on 15 carries on the ground. The good news for Houston is that the AFC South is completely up for grabs. With three teams currently tied at 3-3, this division race should be interesting to watch down the stretch. (Ryan Grube)

20 (+1)

Seattle Seahawks (3-3)

Seattle Seahawks (3-3)

Don’t look now, but over the past four games, the Seahawks are 3-1 while averaging more than 25 points per game. Their 27-3 victory over the Raiders in London was especially dominant; they out-gained Oakland 369-185 while only allowing a garbage time field goal. Many were quick to write Seattle off this season, especially after an 0-2 start. But Russell Wilson and company are firing on all cylinders heading into a bye this week. (Kyle Trapp)

21 (+4)

Dallas Cowboys (3-3)

Dallas Cowboys (3-3)

Who else didn’t think the Cowboys were capable of even 20, let alone 40 points against the Jacksonville defense? Dallas has yet to prove if they can move the ball away from home, but Sunday’s performance has to be encouraging looking ahead. The quality of the offensive play calling seems to vary wildly week to week, but with the defense playing like a top five unit, the Cowboys could string together wins if Scott Linehan can get it right like he did against the Jags. (Nick Cardozo)

22 (-3)

Denver Broncos (2-4)

Denver Broncos (2-4)

After starting the season off with two wins, the Broncos have lost four straight and would be at the bottom of the AFC if it wasn’t for the incompetence of the Raiders. The Broncos play much better with a lead. This isn’t groundbreaking, but for a team that is 10th in rushing and with career do-nothing Case Keenum at the helm, it is even more important for this team to get ahead early and then hand the ball to their trio of backs in Freeman, Lindsay, and Booker. The Broncos’ defense is not as good as it was years past and cannot carry the team, and with this offense that likely means more losing in Denver’s future. (Adrian Nelson)

23 (-3)

Cleveland Browns (2-3-1)

Cleveland Browns (2-3-1)

Those expecting Baker Mayfield to assume the starting role and immediately lead Cleveland to the promised land may have been a bit optimistic. The rookie has certainly had his moments, such as spearheading a Browns victory over the Ravens in Week 5, but this Sunday’s matchup against the Chargers resulted in another bland stat line. The long-term outlook in Cleveland still looks bright, and they have the playmakers to make some noise this season. But the 38-14 thumping they received at the hands of LA should slow the hype train down a bit. (Kyle Trapp)

24 (-)

Detroit Lions (2-3)

Detroit Lions (2-3)

The Lions had a bye this week and now find themselves at the bottom of a very competitive NFC North division where the Bears, Packers, and Vikings all find themselves above .500. It will be a tough road to hoe for the Lions to make the playoffs given the strength of the NFC in general and the five remaining divisional games on their schedule. Once again, the Lions find themselves with a solid passing attack but not much in the run game. However, the issue for them is defense rather than offense. They give up the eighth-most points in the league, which just isn’t going to get it done most days. (Adrian Nelson)

25 (-2)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3)

They fought valiantly until the end, but the Buccaneers came up just short of pulling off an upset win on the road against their divisional rivals the Atlanta Falcons. The team is talented offensively whether it’s Winston or Fitzpatrick who are dropping back, reflected in their eighth-best points per game. The issue has been defense. They can’t stop anyone and give up the most yards in the league. The Bucs hoped that they could correct this by jettisoning defensive coordinator Mike Smith. For their sake, I hope they’re right. (Adrian Nelson)

26 (+1)

New York Jets (3-3)

New York Jets (3-3)

The Jets’ defense has done a great job of forcing turnovers and giving Sam Darnold and the offense multiple chances to put up points. This is a team that has come together the past two weeks and had back-to-back impressive victories. They probably won’t get enough wins to make the playoffs because of their offenses inconsistencies week-to-week, but the future is clearly very bright in the Darnold era. (Max Vukelich)

27 (-1)

Indianapolis Colts (1-5)

Indianapolis Colts (1-5)

Indianapolis has lost five of six to start off the year. The Colts already were not a very talented team, and they have been hit hard by the injury bug. They’ve lost key guys on both offense and defense, including names such as TY Hilton and Jack Doyle. The one name they can’t afford to lose though is Andrew Luck. Yet despite the fact that he is coming off a missed season due to a shoulder injury, the Colts have had Luck attempt a league-leading 288 passes this season (on pace for 768). If they continue at this rate the question won’t be how many games the Colts can luck into this season, but instead how many games Luck is in. (Adrian Nelson)

28 (+1)

San Francisco 49ers (1-5)

San Francisco 49ers (1-5)

San Francisco put together an excellent game on Monday night in Green Bay. They weren’t able to come away with the victory, but that was the best the offense has looked since Jimmy Garoppolo went down for the season. If they can play like that the rest of the season, they should be able to string together some victories with a majority of their games at home. (Max Vukelich)

29 (-1)

New York Giants (1-5)

New York Giants (1-5)

Confused why the Giants are 1-5? Don’t be. They took a running back with the number two pick. The Giants have put up fewer than 20 points in four of their six games. Wide receivers and running backs do not have as much of an impact on wins and losses as you think. The Giants have failed to perform where it counts: at quarterback and in the trenches. (Hunter Bonge )

30 (-)

Buffalo Bills (2-4)

Buffalo Bills (2-4)

Can you imagine a worse start to a career than the one Nathan Peterman has had? The guy just cannot catch a break. He tossed a pair of costly interceptions on back-to-back drives in the fourth quarter, all but sealing Buffalo’s fate in Houston as they fell, 20-13. On the positive side, the Bills’ defense is certainly doing their part of late, allowing just 15 points per game over the past four matchups. But the quarterback position is an absolute mess right now, especially with Josh Allen on the shelf for the foreseeable future. (Kyle Trapp)

31 (-)

Oakland Raiders (1-5)

Oakland Raiders (1-5)

The Raiders had by far their worst performance against Seattle in Week 6, and that’s no easy task. The team is an absolute mess on both sides of the ball, and now they are dealing with numerous off-the-field rumors, which will only exacerbate their issues. It’s become apparent that Derek Carr isn’t the long-term answer, and it feels like a matter of time before Gruden runs him out of town to build the team how he wants. That, however, would indicate Gruden has some sort of plan, which it doesn’t look like he has at all. (Nick Cardozo)

32 (-)

Arizona Cardinals (1-5)

Arizona Cardinals (1-5)

They are the least talented team in the NFL. The Arizona Cardinals once again find themselves at the bottom of our power rankings. They just haven’t impressed at all this year. On offense Josh Rosen has shone flashes but has a ways to go, David Johnson can’t do much of anything behind this terrible line, and Larry Fitzgerald seems to finally be on the decline. On defense, outside of Patrick Peterson, they really have nobody to speak of. It will be a long season for Arizona and the key for this franchise will be nailing their draft picks come season’s end. (Adrian Nelson)

Edited by Emily Berman.

How old is Rams head coach Sean Mcvay - 10/17/2018
Created 10/17/18
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