If every team's NFL schedule was the same, power rankings would be an easier exercise.
What about when a 5-2 team has beaten Seattle, San Francisco and Denver, compared to a 7-0 team whose best win is by one point at home against a slightly above average Dallas team? Or that 7-0 team compared to a 4-2 team whose losses were close and on the road to Cincinnati and San Francisco – both of which are far better than anyone the 7-0 team has faced.
This is why the Chiefs, the NFL's last undefeated team, are hard to evaluate.
Kansas City has played well. The defense, especially the pass rush, is very good. The offense is one-dimensional, with Jamaal Charles carrying it. Just because the Chiefs have beat up on a bad schedule (Jacksonville, Dallas, Philadelphia, Giants, Tennessee, Oakland and Houston ... the Cowboys have the only winning record in that group, and they're 1-3 outside of the terrible NFC East), does that mean they could beat the Seahawks, 49ers and Broncos, like the Colts did? Or go better than 4-2 against a tough schedule like Green Bay has faced?
The answer is, probably not.
The Chiefs barely beat a 2-5 Texans team with quarterback Case Keenum making his NFL debut, and Arian Foster and Brian Cushing knocked out with injuries. The win is all that counts in the standings. But looking at teams objectively, it matters who you play and how well you play. There's a good chance the Chiefs would have lost to a better quarterback and team on Sunday.
There are a lot of contenders in the AFC. The Chiefs might be one of them. They're definitely going to the playoffs. But the competition will be a lot tougher in the playoffs than they've faced so far.
The Chiefs are good. It would be fun to see them play somebody good.
Here are this week's power rankings after Week 7:
32. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-7, last week: 32)
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-6, LW: 31)
That offense without Doug Martin? It could get really ugly. Well, uglier. Ugly arrived a few weeks ago.
30. Minnesota Vikings (1-5, LW: 29)
I can never erase from my mind the horror I witnessed from Josh Freeman on Monday night.
29. New York Giants (1-6, LW: 30)
That game on Monday night was one of the worst we'll see in the NFL this season. Or in many seasons.
In these power rankings a big factor is, "Would Team A beat Team B?" And if Team A has Kellen Clemens at quarterback, they're likely going to lose to whatever Team B you can find.
27. Washington Redskins (2-4, LW: 28)
An angry Peyton Manning goes against one of the worst secondaries in the NFL in recent years this week. Hide the children, it's gonna get ugly on Sunday.
26. Arizona Cardinals (3-4, LW: 23)
Why, oh why, does this team continue to waste plays by giving Rashard Mendenhall the ball? Please stop.
25. Oakland Raiders (2-4, LW: 25)
A bye week, and an interesting game against fellow 2-4 Steelers on tap this week.
24. Philadelphia Eagles (3-4, LW: 18)
Remember how I said the Eagles had no reason to go back from Nick Foles to Michael Vick? Yeah, well, forget that.
23. Houston Texans (2-5, LW: 24)
I'll give them credit for the effort on Sunday. At this point, what's the downside in giving Keenum another start at quarterback?
22. Buffalo Bills (3-4, LW: 27)
Quarterback Thad Lewis has now played two good games in a row. EJ Manuel will get his job back when he returns (right?), but Lewis could make things really interesting.
21. Baltimore Ravens (3-4, LW: 15)
You'll always have last season, Ravens fans.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-4, LW: 26)
There's still nothing this team does particularly well. But nobody in Pittsburgh is complaining about two straight wins.
19. Tennessee Titans (3-4, LW: 17)
Thoroughly outplayed by San Francisco at home on Sunday. Maybe that says something about the 49ers, but it was still very disappointing for the Titans.
Sometimes you don't realize what a player can do in an expanded role until he's forced into one. It's seems like that's what happened with receiver Harry Douglas (149 yards, TD) on Sunday.
16. Chicago Bears (4-3, LW: 11)
Lost in the Jay Cutler injury news is that the defense has now been completely exposed. Without Cutler or linebacker Lance Briggs for at least the next four weeks, the Bears might slip fast.
15. Miami Dolphins (3-3, LW: 13)
The offensive line is ruining the Dolphins' chance to be a good team. The coaches have zero confidence in the running game because there are no holes and the line can't protect quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who is dropping back way too often.
14. New York Jets (4-3, LW: 20)
Their four wins have come by 13 combined points. They're living on the edge, but they seem comfortable with it.
13. Carolina Panthers (3-3, LW: 19)
They've handled business the last couple weeks. But why do I have this feeling they're going to lay an egg on Thursday night at Tampa Bay?
12. Detroit Lions (4-3, LW: 10)
Why has it been so hard for them to find a competent second receiver? Did you see the Calvin Johnson touchdown against Cincinnati when he had three guys on him? You're never double covered opposite Megatron.
11. Dallas Cowboys (4-3, LW: 12)
The Cowboys can get comfortable, because they're the best team in the NFC East and that won't change. They don't seem like the 11th best team, but who behind them looks much better?
10. San Diego Chargers (4-3, LW: 14)
Coach Mike McCoy is getting everything he can out of his roster. Redesigning the pass offense to hide a poor offensive line is so obvious, you have to wonder why Norv Turner never did it.
9. New England Patriots (5-2, LW: 3)
If they don't get called for a first-of-its-kind penalty in overtime, they probably beat the Jets and improve to 6-1. The defensive injuries are a real concern though.
The defense is good, and quarterback Andy Dalton has 709 passing yards the last two weeks. They got a nice win at Detroit on Sunday, and could move up the list fast.
7. San Francisco 49ers (5-2, LW: 7)
Great win on Sunday. Colin Kaepernick finally seems to be settling in, and being more aggressive with his running too. That game made you think the 49ers are starting to get it going.
6. Kansas City Chiefs (7-0, LW: 5)
This might be too high, because among AFC contenders ranked lower I think New England or Cincinnati would beat them on a neutral field. But they deserve this spot because of their record, no matter the strength of schedule.
5. Green Bay Packers (4-2, LW: 6)
Like the Patriots, at some point the injuries will take their toll. But they easily dispatched the Browns despite being very thin. They're heating up.
4. Denver Broncos (6-1, LW: 1)
I don't like moving teams down too much for a road loss. But they have played an easy schedule, and their defense is just not playing well.
3. Indianapolis Colts (5-2, LW: 8)
There are still some issues. The Reggie Wayne injury is a bad one. But if that defense can bottle up what it did for about two-and-a-half quarters against Denver, that puts them at a new level.
2. New Orleans Saints (5-1, LW: 4)
Their Dec. 2 game at Seattle might decide the NFC title. I can't see either team losing in the playoffs at home, and whoever wins on Dec. 2 will probably get the No. 1 seed.
1. Seattle Seahawks (6-1, LW: 2)
Here's a little secret: Unless Denver emphatically beat Indianapolis, Seattle was going to get this top spot back. The Seahawks look like the most balanced, best team in football.
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