We’re seven weeks into the NFL season, and the top four teams in the NFC are starting to separate themselves from the rest of the pack. Other than that, it’s mostly chaos in the NFC, so let’s see how the top-10 shakes out this week.
1. New Orleans – Having a bye doesn’t hurt the Saints at all in the power rankings; they remain the most impressive team in the NFC. They should be able to handle the Bills and the Jets the next two weeks before a string of games against the other top competitors in the NFC.
2. Seattle – The Seahawks got their offense going a little bit against Arizona Thursday night, as Russell Wilson threw three touchdown passes and his wide receivers played a lot better than they have earlier in the season. Seattle still isn’t that close to overtaking the Saints for the top spot, and they don’t have any marquee game to prove themselves until their showdown with New Orleans in week 13.
3. San Francisco – Colin Kaepernick still isn’t blowing anyone away with his arm, throwing for just 199 yards this week, but beating the Titans by two touchdowns on the road is a rather impressive feat for the 49ers. If not for their early-season embarrassment against Seattle, they’d be closer to taking over the number two spot from the Seahawks.
4. Green Bay – The injuries keep piling up for the Packers, but Aaron Rodgers keeps plugging along and scoring enough points to win while running back Eddie Lacy is doing his part to help out. Green Bay is a far cry from moving up in the power rankings, but they do have a firm hold on the four spot in the NFC, and they should still be looked at as the favorites in the NFC North.
5. Detroit – The Lions are a distance fifth in the power rankings this week, as there’s clearly a dividing line between the top four and the rest of the pack. It’s tough to punish Detroit too much for losing a close game to a real good Cincinnati team, but the Lions should have found a way to pull out that game at home. Luckily, they have another chance to make a statement this week at home against the Cowboys.
6. Dallas – The Cowboys still don’t have a strong resume, but they held Philadelphia’s offense to just three points, which is impressive. On the other hand, they only scored 17 points against a defense that has struggled to stop anybody all season. The running game has been slow to get going the past few weeks, and if that continues, it’s going to hurt them against better competition.
7. Chicago – After losing three of their last four games and losing Jay Cutler for the next four weeks, the Bears don’t look so good. In addition to losing Cuter, the defense is a big concern, as they’ve failed to hold a team to less than 20 points all season and have allowed 40 or more in two of the last four weeks. With Cutler missing significant time and Chicago facing a difficult three-game stretch after their bye this week, the Bears could be in big trouble.
8. Washington – Moving the Redskins all the way up to eighth in the power rankings is a leap of faith, considering their defense hasn’t stopped anybody this season, but RG3 has looked a lot more dangerous the past two weeks following Washington’s bye week and that means there is still hope for them to get back on track. Even if they don’t win in Mike Shanahan’s return to Denver next week, if the Redskins play well and stay competitive, it’ll be a sign that they’re moving in the right direction.
9. Carolina – The Panthers still don’t have a win over a quality team, but they’re taking care of business against mediocre opponents with two straight wins. Cam Newton has been a lot more efficient the past two weeks while the defense continues to play well, and that moves Carolina back into the top 10 of the power rankings.
10. Atlanta – It was just a home win against the winless Bucs, but the Falcons managed to break their three-game losing streak, doing so without many of their top offensive playmakers. They have to play three of their next four on the road, and that will test whether or not they belong in the top 10 and can stay competitive this year, but right now, they deserve to sneak back into the top 10 power rankings in the NFC.