2019 NFL Power Rankings: Week 7

Despite not even playing in Week 6, the Chicago Bears jumped six spots into the top 10. What other movements took place in our Power Rankings?

We're seven weeks into the NFL season, and we're starting to see more teams stick within one of our three power ranking tiers below. Based on our Week 6 NFL Power Rankings, we had 11 teams rank in the same spot this week as they did last week.

It was the Chicago Bears and Denver Broncos who took the biggest leap forward in this week’s rankings, while the Tennessee Titans and Kansas City Chiefs took the biggest step back.

Here are our Week 7 NFL Power Rankings:

Teams Ranked 32nd to 23rd

Rank Team nERD Rec Playoff Odds Off. NEP Rank Def. NEP Rank Change
32 Miami Dolphins -18.82 0-5 0.0% 32 32 0
31 Washington Redskins -10.99 1-5 0.1% 28 29 -1
30 New York Jets -6.97 1-4 4.0% 31 10 1
29 Arizona Cardinals -6.87 2-3-1 0.5% 17 27 0
28 Cincinnati Bengals -5.63 0-6 0.8% 24 25 0
27 Cleveland Browns -5.14 2-4 23.0% 26 24 0
26 Atlanta Falcons -3.94 1-5 0.5% 3 31 -1
25 New York Giants -3.48 2-4 12.3% 19 21 1
24 Los Angeles Chargers -3.08 2-4 7.9% 21 26 -1
23 Detroit Lions -2.25 2-2-1 15.2% 27 12 -2

After starting the season with a new head coach and starting quarterback, the Arizona Cardinals got off to a slow start to the 2019 season. They opened their season with a tie against the Detroit Lions, but lost three straight games following that. They’ve since found some rhythm in their game, winning their last two matchups against the Cincinnati Bengals and Atlanta Falcons.

Since their win over the Bengals, the Cardinals offense has moved up seven spots in terms of Offensive Net Expected Points (NEP) rank. Per Football Outsiders, the Cardinals are currently the fastest team in terms of pace of play. They’re averaging 24.16 seconds per play, which is 3.76 seconds faster than the league average. In return, that has led to the Cardinals running the fourth-most plays per game in the NFL (67.5). While they struggled to succeed in the early part of the season with that amount of opportunity, they’ve started to find success in their past two games.

The Detroit Lions took a bad beat in their Monday Night game against the Green Bay Packers last week, losing a close one on the road against their division rival. The Lions now find themselves in the bottom tier of our rankings for the first time this season.

The Lions have really struggled running the ball this season. They currently are tied for last with the Miami Dolphins in terms of Adjusted Rushing NEP per play (-0.16). In return, Lions running back Kerryon Johnson has rushed the ball for an average of 3.3 yards per rushing attempt (YPRA) this season. Per TeamRankings, that ranks him 43rd of 46 players across the league in YPRA.

Unfortunately for the Lions, fighting back towards the top is not going to be easy for them.

As you can see, Detroit has one of the toughest schedules to finish the 2019 season. Their six remaining games versus top-12 opponents is tied for third-most in the league.

Teams Ranked 22nd to 13th

Rank Team nERD Rec Playoff Odds Off. NEP Rank Def. NEP Rank Change
22 Philadelphia Eagles -1.81 3-3 59.8% 23 20 0
21 Oakland Raiders -1.67 3-2 34.3% 6 19 3
20 Indianapolis Colts -1.43 3-2 37.3% 16 22 -2
19 Jacksonville Jaguars -1.23 2-4 15.8% 18 18 -2
18 Baltimore Ravens -0.74 4-2 56.3% 9 28 2
17 Tennessee Titans -0.46 2-4 9.9% 30 3 -4
16 Dallas Cowboys 0.11 3-3 32.6% 1 30 -1
15 Denver Broncos 1.26 2-4 9.9% 20 9 4
14 Seattle Seahawks 1.34 5-1 65.4% 8 23 0
13 Buffalo Bills 1.52 4-1 85.4% 12 13 -1

After a convincing win in their home opener against the Cleveland Browns, the Tennessee Titans have been trending downwards. They’ve won one of their past five games, and opted to make a change at the quarterback position mid-game last week against the Denver Broncos. Marcus Mariota was benched for Ryan Tannehill in that game after completing just 38.8% of his 18 pass attempts and throwing 2 interceptions.

The Titans offense has a -0.06 Adjusted Passing NEP per play, which is the third-worst across the entire league. They haven’t been much better running the ball this season either, with an -0.09 Adjusted Rushing NEP per play, which is the seventh-worst in the NFL.

The Titans defense has been solid, however, keeping the Titans ranked as a mid-tier team. Per our Power Rankings, Tennessee's defense has the third-best overall Defensive NEP.

After two consecutive wins, the Denver Broncos are one team who significantly climbed up in our power rankings this week. The Broncos defense has been most impressive, improving in each game as the season has gone on. Prior to Week 3, we had the Broncos defense ranked as 27th overall, in terms of Defensive NEP. After Week 6, we have Denver's defense ranked ninth overall.

The Broncos rushing game has also been impressive during their two-game win streak. Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman have combined for 54 rushing attempts, 279 rushing yards, and 2 touchdowns during that streak. That has come hand in hand with their offensive line play. Per Football Outsiders, the Broncos offensive line currently ranks sixth overall in terms of run blocking. They've allowed just 13% of their runs to be stuffed this season – a percentage of runs where the running back is tackled at or behind the line of scrimmage.

Teams Ranked 12th to 1st

Rank Team nERD Rec Playoff Odds Off. NEP Rank Def. NEP Rank Change
12 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1.71 2-4 7.5% 10 17 -2
11 Carolina Panthers 2.10 4-2 38.5% 25 6 0
10 Chicago Bears 2.27 3-2 26.1% 29 4 6
9 New Orleans Saints 2.65 5-1 85.6% 14 16 0
8 Los Angeles Rams 3.54 3-3 27.0% 13 14 0
7 Pittsburgh Steelers 5.53 2-4 45.3% 11 8 -1
6 Houston Texans 5.73 4-2 85.4% 4 11 1
5 Kansas City Chiefs 6.68 4-2 84.9% 2 15 -3
4 Minnesota Vikings 7.36 4-2 54.4% 5 5 1
3 Green Bay Packers 7.46 5-1 85.1% 7 7 0
2 San Francisco 49ers 9.01 5-0 89.4% 15 2 2
1 New England Patriots 12.28 6-0 99.8% 22 1 0

One team who has probably caught most people by surprise as of late is the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs have lost each of their last two games to the Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans, both home games where they were favored to win. That, in turn, has led to them dropping three spots in our rankings this week. While the Chiefs still rank as a top-two offense in our power rankings, and have an 84.9% chance of making the playoffs -- their recent mini losing streak is a slight cause of concern.

The Chiefs rush defense, in particular, has been a big cause for concern. The last time the Chiefs didn’t allow an opposing running back to rush for over 100 yards was back in Week 2, where Oakland Raiders running back, Josh Jacobs, accumulated 99 rushing yards. Since then, they’ve allowed for Mark Ingram, Kerryon Johnson, Marlon Mack, and Carlos Hyde to combine for 476 rushing yards and 4 rushing touchdowns – which is an average of 119 rushing yards and 1 rushing touchdown per game.

Another team who continues to surprise us all is the San Francisco 49ers. They remain one of two teams currently undefeated this season, along with the New England Patriots. Thus far in 2019, they have the second-best nERD score across the league (9.01) – a metric that measures how many points above or below average a team is.

The Niners defense has been stout all season, ranking second in terms of Adjusted Defensive NEP per play. They’ve held the Cleveland Browns and Los Angeles Rams to a combined 10 points in their last two games – both teams who are currently averaging 20-plus points a game. Their defensive line has been great all season and currently has a 10.8% Adjusted Sack Rate – which ranks best across the entire league.