By Bryan Dietzler
With seven weeks left to go in the season, it’s easy to see who the top teams in the NFL are. But there is always a chance that a dark horse team could come up and take the league by surprise. If so, which team could that be? Could the Carolina Panthers, Buffalo Bills or even the Los Angeles Rams do something to not only get to the playoffs but possibly get to the Super Bowl. Will they be able to unset the top teams in this poll? We will soon find out.
This has been an interesting football season as we have watched teams that were close to being basement dwellers in 2016 come up and play better this year. Buffalo and Los Angeles have impressed many. But, there are other teams that we have seen collapse and not do near as well as we thought they would. Those teams include the New York Giants and the Los Angeles Chargers.
This shows that it’s hard to predict anything in the NFL from one season to the next.
Let’s look at this week’s power poll and see where your favorite team is at. Where do they rank and why? Feedback is welcome.
- Philadelphia Eagles-(LW 1, 8-1) There is no doubt this is the number one team in the NFL. How will they do in the playoffs which they are sure to make?
- New England Patriots-(LW 2, 6-2) The Patriots were on a bye and therefore do not move up or down.
- Pittsburgh Steelers-(LW 3, 6-2) The Steelers were on a bye and therefore do not move up or down.
- New Orleans Saints-(LW 9, 6-2) The Saints keep marching on and are winning big. They just might win the division if they can keep the Panthers off their backs.
- Kansas City Chiefs-(LW 4, 6-3) The Chiefs don’t look like the powerhouse that once beat the New England Patriots to start the season. They are looking weaker and continue to fall in this poll.
- Minnesota Vikings-(LW 6, 6-2) The Vikings were on a bye and therefore do not move up or down.
- Seattle Seahawks-(LW 5, 5-3) Seattle put up a huge number of points and yards the week before against Houston but couldn’t do much against Washington. This team needs to find out who it is and play like it.
- Carolina Panthers-(LW 10, 6-3) The Panthers got a win over last year’s NFC Champs and looked ok doing it. Can they continue this type of play and contend with the Saints for the lead in the NFC South? Keep an eye on this as it will be interesting.
- Los Angeles Rams-(LW 12, 6-2) This team is for real. They are playoff contenders and will compete with the Seattle Seahawks for the NFC West. What a turnaround this team has seen.
- Dallas Cowboys-(LW 13, 5-3) The Cowboys won a good game against a good opponent and are starting to look better. Just how much longer can they keep this up and can they contend with the Philadelphia Eagles?
- Atlanta Falcons-(LW 7, 4-4) This team is nowhere near where they were at last year. They are just a shadow of themselves. Can they get better?
- Tennessee Titans-(LW 15, 5-3) The Titans held off the Ravens for a win and aren’t looking that bad. Granted, they aren’t looking that great either, but they are one of the better teams in the league. Will they get to the playoffs?
- Buffalo Bills-(LW 11, 5-3) I may have jumped on the Bills bandwagon too soon. The Jets beat them and proved there is still some work they need to do. Will they get better in time for the playoffs?
- Detroit Lions-(LW 16, 4-4) The Lions should be able to contend with the Vikings for the NFC North. After beating the Packers, it goes to prove that they are the second-best team in the division.
- Green Bay Packers-(LW 8, 4-4) The Packers are on their way down. They just don’t have the magic they would typically have if Aaron Rogers were in the lineup. He makes that team what it is.
- Washington Redskins-(LW 19, 4-4) Despite all the injuries and inefficiencies, the Redskins were able to pull out a last-second win over the powerful Seattle Seahawks. They did a great job keeping them from scoring a lot of points. Can they continue that kind of play?
- Jacksonville Jaguars-(LW 22, 5-3) I must move these guys up a bit. They are winning games. You can’t deny that this team is talented especially on defense. If their offense could ever get to be on point, this could be a strong playoff contender.
- Oakland Raiders-(LW 18, 4-5) The Raiders finally managed to earn a win and looked a little better doing it. Maybe this team will get back to finding the magic they had last season.
- Houston Texans-(LW 14, 3-5) Following the loss of DeShaun Watson who is out for the season, this team lost to the lowly Colts proving the Watson made a big difference. Unfortunately, this team has suffered so many injuries; it’s hard to imagine them doing any better. There’s always next year.
- Denver Broncos-(LW 17, 3-5) This team is a shadow of what it was when it won the Super Bowl not that long ago. The defense isn’t keeping anyone out of the end zone and the offense isn’t good by any means. Can GM John Elway pull a rabbit out of his hat and get them right for 2018?
- Arizona Cardinals-(LW 23, 4-4) A win is a win in this league even if it’s beating the second worst team in this poll. The Cardinals won’t do much else now but tune up for the future. At least they are .500.
- Miami Dolphins-(LW 20, 4-4) The Dolphins played a close game against the Raiders but came out on the losing end. With quarterback Jay Cutler back in the lineup they looked much better but how far will go?
- New York Jets-(LW 28, 4-5) The Jets continue to surprise me. They are better than we thought they would be. This team could even be a playoff contender in a season or two.
- Baltimore Ravens-(LW 24, 4-5) The Ravens fell once again and showed us that they struggle on offense. This team has some work to do and may show up better next year with some additional work in the offseason.
- Cincinnati Bengals-(LW 25, 3-5) The Bengals are quietly still one of the worst teams in the league and are really having an off year. The biggest question with them is whether or not this signals the end of Marvin Lewis’ long tenure there. We will not know until the end of the season.
- Los Angeles Chargers-(LW 26, 3-5) The Chargers were on a bye and therefore do not move up or down.
- Chicago Bears-(LW 27, 3-5) The Bears were on a bye and therefore do not move up or down.
- Indianapolis Colts-(LW 29, 3-6) The Colts got a gift beating a team with nothing good going on at quarterback right now. Andrew Luck is on IR the rest of the season so it’s up to Jacoby Brissett to run the show like he has been doing.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers-(LW 21, 2-6) This team hit a new low last week and it wasn’t because of a loss. Jameis Winston and Mike Evans’ actions have not gone unpunished. And for all the talent this team has, they cannot get much going. Maybe next year these guys will do some good?
- New York Giants-(LW 30, 1-7) The Giants got smashed proving they aren’t just messed up on offense. Their defense has a lot of work to do as well. Changes are needed in New York, desperately.
- San Francisco 49ers-(LW 31, 0-9) I predict the 49ers will win their first game of the year next week. They have to win sometime, right?
- Cleveland Browns-(LW 32, 0-8) The Browns were on a bye and therefore do not move up or down.