Seven weeks into the 2021-22 NFL season, we’re still learning new things about how the league’s 32 teams stack up againat each other.
While a 3-1 start from Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals have have seemed like a fluke at the time, the Bengals keep silencing the doubters. After stunning Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens 41-17 on the road, the Bengals rightfully take a leap forward in this week’s rankings with their 5-2 record.
The Tennessee Titans, once owners of a 2-2 record with a head-scratching loss to the New York Jets, are now flying high at 5-2 with back-to-back wins over the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs. Does this make Derrick Henry and the Titans the new team to beat in the AFC?
And with these two teams on the rise, where does that leave the Ravens and Chiefs? Kansas City is in a particularly tough hole, with a 3-4 record and legitimate concerns that they may not be the Chiefs team we’ve grown accustomed to over the past few seasons.
Read on for my full Power Rankings, and if you’d like to debate or discuss any rankings, join the conversation with @SakSports on Twitter.
Previous Predictions and Power Rankings
- Power Rankings: Post-Week 1, Post-Week 2, Post-Week 3, Post-Week 4, Post-Week 5, Post-Week 6
- Picks: Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, Week 5, Week 6, Week 7
- 2021-22 NFL Predictions: Playoffs and Super Bowl
- AFC East, AFC North, AFC South, AFC West
- NFC East, NFC North, NFC South, NFC West
Post-Week 7 Power Rankings
- Arizona Cardinals (7-0) [Last Week: 1]
- Honestly, I was a fool to ever remove Kyler Murray and the undefeated Arizona Cardinals from the top spot on this list. In my Post-Week 5 Power Rankings, I briefly crowned the Bills as the NFL’s best team after a dominant run, but Arizona hadn’t lost at that point and probably should’ve stayed on top. After Week 7, the decision is as easy as ever. The Cardinals have an NFL-best +111 point differential, as well as signature wins over the Titans, Rams, and Browns. Arizona rolled over the Texans 31-5 in Week 7 to improve to 7-0.
- Los Angeles Rams (6-1) [Last Week: 4]
- Matthew Stafford and the Los Angeles Rams took a hit in the Power Rankings when the Cardinals blew them out 37-20 in Week 4, but otherwise the Rams have been a powerhouse this season. While the Rams did allow former quarterback Jared Goff and the Lions to put up a good fight in Los Angeles, the team ultimately won 28-19 and improved to 6-1 behind three touchdown passes from Matthew Stafford.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-1) [Last Week: 7]
- For a few weeks, I had the one-loss Tampa Bay Buccaneers outside the Top Five, mostly due to games that were closer than thy should have been against inferior opponents. But when Tom Brady and Tampa Bay’s offense are clicking, there’s almost nothing you can do to stop them. Just ask the Bears, who were beat down 38-3 by the Buccaneers this week.
- Buffalo Bills (4-2) [Last Week: 3]
- Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills may have two losses, but they’re still right there with the best teams in the NFL. Buffalo was off in Week 7, last playing an extremely close game against the Titans in Week 6. Buffalo’s +105 point differential is the second-best mark in the league: despite playing just six games so far.
- Tennessee Titans (5-2) [Last Week: 10]
- With back-to-back wins over the Bills and Chiefs, last year’s AFC Championship participants, the Tennessee Titans stock is sky high. Derrick Henry continues to be an absolute monster, and the Titans won their third straight game this week with a shocking 27-3 win over Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. Strangely, the Titans two losses this season have come against the #1 and #32 teams in this week’s Power Rankings.
- Green Bay Packers (6-1) [Last Week: 5]
- The margin between the Rams at #2 and the Green Bay Packers at #6 is thin, and a case could definitely be made for the Packers to be a little higher on this list after winning six straight games. On the other hand, the Packers have just a +22 point differential, lower than the five teams ahead of them, and have only beaten one team (Cincinnati) with a record currently over .500. The next moth will be very telling for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, as they face the Cardinals, Chiefs, Seahawks, Vikings, and at the end of November, the Rams.
- Baltimore Ravens (5-2) [Last Week: 2]
- The Baltimore Ravens stock had been steadily rising, peaking last week after a 34-6 win over the Chargers. But as impressive as that win was, Lamar Jackson and the Ravens were immediately humbled with a 41-17 loss to the Bengals this week. Cincinnati shapes up to be a pretty good team, but failing to keep the game close at all cost Baltimore a few spots in this week’s rankings.
- Dallas Cowboys (5-1) [Last Week: 6]
- The Dallas Cowboys didn’t play this week, but were leap-frogged by the Titans and Buccaneers in the rankings. Dak Prescott and the Cowboys are still a very strong team, one of just five NFL teams with one loss or less through seven weeks.
- Los Angeles Chargers (4-2) [Last Week: 8]
- The Los Angeles Chargers also had a bye this week, as they attempt to regroup from an embarrassing 34-6 loss at the hands of the Ravens in Week 6.
- Cincinnati Bengals (5-2) [Last Week: 14]
- Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals continue to exceed expectations, and officially put the NFL on notice with a 41-17 victory over Lamar Jackson and the Ravens on the road in Baltimore. The Bengals have now beaten the Ravens, Steelers, and Vikings, and very nearly knocked off the Packers in overtime in Week 5. Cincinnati now boasts a +61 point differential, tied for the fourth-best mark in the league. 21-year-old rookie wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase hauled in eight catches for an insane 201 yards and his sixth score of the season in the win.
- Cleveland Browns (4-3) [Last Week: 11]
- Case Keenum was able to keep the ship afloat for a hurting Cleveland Browns team in a 17-14 Thursday Night Football win over the Broncos. If Cleveland can get healthy, they’re still a threat i the AFC, but they can only afford so many injuries before the ship starts sinking, especially if Baker Mayfield may not be 100% at any point this season.
- Las Vegas Raiders (5-2) [Last Week: 13]
- The Las Vegas Raiders have won back-to-back games since Jon Gruden’s resignation, downing the Eagles 33-22 at home this week. Derek Carr continues to shine, as he completed 31-of-34 passes for 323 yards and two touchdowns in the win.
- New Orleans Saints (4-2) [Last Week: 12]
- Jameis Winston and the New Orleans Saints improved to a respectable 4-2, even if their 13-10 Monday Night Football win over Geno Smith and the Seahawks wasn’t too impressive. Alvin Kamara had an incredible night however, catching 10 passes for 128 yards and a touchdown along with 51 yards on the ground.
- Kansas City Chiefs (3-4) [Last Week: 9]
- Don’t panic, don’t panic, don’t panic… okay how about now? The Kansas City Chiefs early season struggles had been mostly excusable, up until now. We already knew the Chiefs defense was inhibiting the team, but for what feels like the first time in the Patrick Mahomes-era, Kansas City’s offense produced crickets in a 27-3 loss to the Titans this week. Now under .500, and losing to practically every good team that they face, there is legitimate concern surrounding this year’s Chiefs.
- Minnesota Vikings (3-3) [Last Week: 16]
- Kirk Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings were off this week, but will enter Week 8 with three wins in their last four games. A 3-point loss to the Bengals in Week 1 and 1-point loss to the Cardinals in Week 2 suddenly don’t seem so bad for Minnesota.
- Indianapolis Colts (3-4) [Last Week: 21]
- Through an 0-3 start, I kept some faith in Carson Wentz and the Indianapolis Colts, recognizing the brutal schedule they faced to start the season. They’ve backed up my assumption, with three wins in the last four weeks, beating the 49ers 30-18 on Sunday Night Football.
- San Francisco 49ers (2-4) [Last Week: 15]
- After a 2-0 start, the San Francisco 49ers have dropped four straight games. The only thing keeping the 49ers from absolutely tumbling in these rankings is the close nature of some losses to good teams: a 2-point loss to Green Bay and 7-point loss to Arizona, namely.
- Pittsburgh Steelers (3-3) [Last Week: 17]
- The Pittsburgh Steelers beat the Bills in Week 1, lost three straight games, and then beat the Broncos and Seahawks at home over the past two weeks to get to 3-3. I’m not completely sure what to make of this Steelers team besides ne thing: they’re definitely not as good as they were last season.
- New England Patriots (3-4) [Last Week: 19]
- Since my Post-Week 4 Power Rankings, this is exactly where Mac Jones and the New England Patriots have ranked: #19. Close losses have prevented New England from trending down, while a narrow win over the Texans didn’t help New England’s case to move up. The Patriots dismantled the Jets 54-13 this week, beating New York for the second time this season, but therein lies the problem. If New England can only beat the Jets and Texans, are even as good as a 3-4 record might sound.
- Seattle Seahawks (2-5) [Last Week: 18]
- Geno Smith is far from the worst backup quarterback in the league, but the Seattle Seahawks’ problems run deeper than the absence of Russell Wilson. Seattle has dropped five of their last six matchups, but on the bright side, three of them came by a score or less and the last tree losses came with Wilson either out or unable to finish the game.
- Philadelphia Eagles (2-5) [Last Week: 24]
- The Philadelphia Eagles rising three spots is a bit of an anomaly, as they weren’t particularly impressive in a 33-22 loss to the Raiders this week. But with the Panthers and Bears falling out of favor, and the 3-3 Falcons being more a product of a soft schedule, I do see Jalen Hurts and the Eagles as the 21st-best team in the league right now.
- Atlanta Falcons (3-3) [Last Week: 25]
- After an 0-2 start and being the worst-ranked team in the league to start the season, Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons have won three of four games. Granted, those teams, the Giants, Jets, and Dolphins, populate the bottom of these rankings, but Atlanta has still risen from the bottom of the league to a slightly more respectable position.
- Denver Broncos (3-4) [Last Week: 23]
- The Denver Broncos fell for the fourth straight time after a 3-0 start, but at least kept it close at least in a 17-14 Thursday Night Football loss to the a Baker Mayfield-less Browns.
- Carolina Panthers (3-4) [Last Week: 22]
- The Carolina Panthers tumble continued with their fourth straight loss, this one the worst yet: a 25-3 loss in Sam Darnold’s first game back at MetLife Stadium. Carolina needs Christian McCaffrey back ASAP.
- Chicago Bears (3-4) [Last Week: 20]
- Up and down play continued for the Chicago Bears, with Justin Fields turning the ball over five times in a 38-3 loss to Brady and the Buccaneers. Chicago is downright bad some weeks, yet still maintains a not horrible 3-4 record through seven weeks.
- New York Giants (2-5) [Last Week: 28]
- Daniel Jones and the New York Giants bounced back with a 25-3 victory over the Panthers for their second win of the season. As well-rounded as the win was, as well as impressive with some key offensive players out, the Giants still have a lot to prove if they wish to move up in these rankings.
- Washington Football Team (2-5) [Last Week: 26]
- Taylor Heincke can pump out some highlights, but Washington Football Team hasn’t been able to stop a nosebleed on defense. The offense wasn’t great either in a 24-10 loss to the Packers, Washington’s third straight loss. If you want to sugarcoat things, four of Washington’s five losses have come against playoff teams from last season.
- Detroit Lions (0-7) [Last Week: 29]
- The Detroit Lions may be the NFL’s only winless team, but they’re not the worst team in the league and not even in the bottom four right now. Besides taking a 19-17 lead in to the fourth quarter against the Rams this week, Jared Goff and the Lions have lost on last-second field goals against the Ravens and Vikings. Detroit is a feisty team and winning a few games this season is inevitable.
- Miami Dolphins (1-6) [Last Week: 32]
- The Miami Dolphins lost again this week, 30-28 on a last-second field goal despite taking the lead against the Falcons with 2:27 remaining. I ranked the Dolphins dead-last after their London loss to the Jaguars, but even in their sixth straight loss, Miami was much more competitive in Week 7.
- Jacksonville Jaguars (1-5) [Last Week: 30]
- The Jacksonville Jaguars enjoyed a bye week after beating the Dolphins in London last week, their first win since Week 1 of last season.
- Houston Texans (1-6) [Last Week: 31]
- Davis Mills and the Houston Texans took an early 5-0 lead over the undefeated Cardinals but didn’t score again in a 31-5 loss, failing to cover a massive 20.0-point spread.
- New York Jets (1-5) [Last Week: 27]
- After a few weeks out of the basement, the New York Jets are back on the bottom as the worst team in the league. As if losing 54-13 to the Patriots wasn’t enough, New York will now be without rookie quarterback Zach Wilson for 2-4 weeks.
- 2021-22 NFL Power Rankings: Post-Week 1, Post-Week 2, Post-Week 3, Post-Week 4, Post-Week 5, Post-Week 6
- 2021-22 NFL Picks: Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4, Week 5, Week 6, Week 7, Week 8
- 2021-22 NFL Predictions: Playoffs and Super Bowl
- New York Giants Recaps: Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, Week 4
- 7+ Landing Spots for Cam Newton After Being Cut by Patriots
- 2021-22 NFL Predictions: NFC West
- 2021-22 NFL Predictions: NFC South
- 2021-22 NFL Predictions: NFC North
- 2021-22 NFL Predictions: NFC East
- 2021-22 NFL Predictions: AFC West
- 2021-22 NFL Predictions: AFC South
- 2021-22 NFL Predictions: AFC North
- 2021-22 NFL Predictions: AFC East
- One-Year Prediction: Top Ten Super Bowl 56 Contenders
- Eli Manning is a Sure-Fire Hall of Famer
- Top Ten Players Heading Into the 2021-22 NBA Season
- 2021-22 NBA Predictions: Playoffs and NBA Finals
- 2021-22 NBA Predictions: Western Conference
- 2021-22 NBA Predictions: Eastern Conference
- BREAKING: Carmelo Anthony Joins LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers on 1-Year Deal
- Grading the Lakers-Wizards Russell Westbrook Trade
- Five Trade Destinations for 76ers Guard Ben Simmons
- 2021 NBA Finals Prediction: Phoenix Suns vs. Milwaukee Bucks
- 2020-21 NBA Standings, Playoffs, NBA Finals Predictions
- Top Ten Players Heading Into the 2020-21 NBA Season
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Header Photo: Via Sharp Football Analysis