NFL Power Rankings Packers Buccontinue to slide; CowboyGiant


From Justin (Fields) to Kyler (Murray), Week 7 of the NFL season was a reminder that what doesnt kill you makes you stronger. Nine of the 14 winners this week came from behind, while two teams that started 0-2 (CincinnatiandTennessee) now have the best record in their divisions (tied, in the Bengals case).

Football, our lives would suck without you.

You ever think about how musical the Bills defensive line is? Youve got Carlos Basham, who goes by Boogie. Theres Ed Oliver Twist. AJ the girl from Epenesa and Tim pani Settle might be stretches, but thats why theyre backups. DaQuan and Mister are both two syllables, so you can force a strained Adam Duritz impression with DaQuan Jones and me. AndGreg Rousseau? Its like Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote once upon a time:

Anyway, theBillshad the week off and are still the best team in football.

Up next: vs.Green Bay, Sunday 8:20 p.m. ET

If youre looking for reasons theEaglesmight regress from their hot start, two are glaring. The first is turnover differential. Philadelphia leads the league with a plus-12 turnover differential, having given the ball away just twice and taken it away 14 times. That differential is twice as good as the No. 2 team in the league (Dallas, which has 12 takeaways and six giveaways). Even if Jalen Hurts and Co. continue protecting the football with care, its unlikely the defense will continue at its current pace.

The second elephant in the room for the Eagles is their injury luck so far. They have a league-low two players on injured reserve, one of whom is reserve defensive endJanarius Robinson, who was a healthy inactive Weeks 2-5. Knock on wood, Philadelphia, while youre not dancing on your own.

Up next: vs.Pittsburgh, Sunday 1 p.m. ET

All theChiefsdid in bouncing back from last weeks loss to the Bills was go into San Francisco against the No. 3 defense by DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average) and put up one of the best offensive performances by any team this season. Excluding their final possession of running out the clock, the Chiefs scored 44 points on nine drives, good for 4.9 points per drive, the highest mark for any team in a game this season. Their EPA (expected points added) per drive (2.87) ranked third, behind only the Seahawks Week 4 win in Detroit and the Chiefs own performance againstArizonain Week 1.

Mecole Hardmanalso ran his way into the No. 2 spot on an esoteric leaderboard. He rushed for 28 yards on two carries, both touchdowns. Among players in NFL history with a two-carry, two-touchdown game, thats the second-most rushing yards behind onlyBrandon Boldens 60 for theDolphinsagainst thePatriotsin 2018.

Dak Prescottdid not exactly light the world on fire in his first game back from a thumb injury that kept him out five weeks. He attempted just 25 passes and the Cowboys offense only scored 10 points on its first eight offensive possessions until pulling away from theLionslate.As Mike Sando writes, right now it looks like the Cowboys are giving Prescott just a slightly more pass-heavy game plan than they had withCooper Rush: For the first time this season, the Cowboys passed more than they ran on early downs in the games first 28 minutes, albeit narrowly (12 passes, 10 runs). Run-pass ratios in those situations, before time remaining and score differential tend to influence play calling, can signal how aggressively teams feel comfortable playing.Buffaloleads the league at 70 percent pass in those situations. The Cowboys are 30th at 42 percent, down from 53 percent last season. They were back in that 2021 range Sunday.

Up next: vs.Chicago, Sunday 1 p.m. ET

If good coaching is about helping players improve their weaknesses and finding ways to emphasize their strengths, the 2022 version ofDaniel Jonesis a textbook example. Jones was a turnover machine through his first three seasons in the league. From 2019 to 2021, he had 65 combined fumbles and interceptions, tied for the most in the NFL (withJosh Allen) over that timeframe. His 1.7 turnovers per game trailed onlyJameis Winston. Through seven games in 2022, he has just two fumbles and two interceptions. Maybe well see the old Daniel Jones as the season goes on, but for now, Brian Daboll and crew have helped ease some of Jones worst habits.

Meanwhile, theyve also built his rushing ability into the offense. He ran for a career-high 107 yards on 11 carries in Sundays 23-17 win over theJaguars, and hes averaging a career-high 49 rushing yards per game after averaging 26.3 over his first three seasons. If all of that sounds like New York is sort of trying to hide Jones as a passer, well, maybe thats good coaching, too.

Up next: at Seattle, Sunday 4:25 p.m. ET

It really looked like theRavenswere about to do it again. Up 23-13 in the fourth quarter, they let theBrownspull within three points and then fumbled the ball away deep in Browns territory with just over three minutes left. It tooka series of odd eventsfor the Ravens to keep from blowing another late lead, but somehow they pulled through.

How about some love for Ravens special teams coordinator Chris Horton? Baltimore ranks No. 1 in special teams DVOA after finishing first a season ago. In 2020, the Ravens were all the way down at No. 2 in special teams DVOA and were No. 9 in 2019, Hortons first year in charge. Hes no Dave Toub just yet, but lets get this man on the head-coaching interview circuit, please.

Up next: at Tampa Bay, Thursday 8:15 p.m. ET

By DVOA, the Bengals are one of only four teams with an above-average offense and defense, joining the Bills, Eagles and Ravens. They look like a team figuring things out after an early-season post-Super Bowl lull, even if its fair to argue they should have figured out sooner to lean more intoJoe Burrowin the shotgun. Burrows 481 passing yards in Sundays win over theFalconsare the most for any quarterback this season. He also had the two highest passing yard games last season.

Here are the game-high leaders for each of the past 10 seasons.

With theVikingsoff in Week 7, an update on which receivers, tandems and trios lead the league in how much of their respective teams passing offense theyve accounted for.

1.Justin Jefferson(MIN), 42.5 percent

1. Hill andJaylen Waddle(MIA), 67.3 percent

2. Jefferson andAdam Thielen(MIN), 61 percent

3.CeeDee LambandNoah Brown(DAL), 60.1 percent

1.A.J. BrownDeVonta SmithandDallas Goedert(PHI), 83 percent

2. Hill, Waddle andMike Gesicki(MIA), 76.8 percent

3.Amari CooperDavid Njokuand Donovan Peoples-Jones (CLE), 74.2 percent

Up next: vs. Arizona, Sunday 1 p.m. ET

In the four games Tua Tagovailoa has started and finished, the Dolphins are averaging 0.66 EPA per drive, which would be good for No. 4 in the league (just behind the Bills) on the full-season leaderboard. In the other three games, they averaged -0.59 EPA per drive, the same mark as the 29th-rankedBroncos. Tagovailoa got lucky with some dropped interceptions against the Steelers Sunday night, and the offense really slowed as the game went on, but if hes healthy, the Dolphins are dynamic.

Up next: at Detroit, Sunday 1 p.m. ET

You can understand the instinct for the Niners to make their big move onChristian McCaffrey. Even if Kyle Shanahans superpower in the past has been making an effective running game out of scraps,San Franciscoentered Monday ranked 23rd in rushing DVOA. In Shanahans first five seasons as head coach, the 49ers only finished in the bottom half of rushing DVOA once (30th in 2018). And its not as if a healthyTrey Lancewas available on the trade market, so John Lynch pushed his chips in for who he and Shanahan viewed as the most impactful player available. Its also true that the NFC might be there for the taking.

But man, thats a heavy price to pay for a player at a fungible position who hasnt played a full season in three years. The jokes highlighting how much capital Shanahan and the Niners have used on running backs are worthwhile (two third-round picks, a fourth-round pick, a sixth-round pick and over-market deals for players likeJerick McKinnon). It feels like the kind of shiny-light move made by a team unserious enough to hire a broadcaster with no coaching experience as the quarterbacks coach for a second-year quarterback with less experience than any young quarterback in recent history.

Up next: at Los Angeles Rams, Sunday 4:25 p.m. ET

Heres a small sample size breakdown that might not surprise the Titans fans who have watched their offense seemingly deteriorate over the course of games this season. By EPA per dropback,Ryan Tannehillis the best quarterback in the league in the first quarter of games this year. It rolls quickly downhill from there.

Up next: at Houston, Sunday 4:05 p.m. ET

What a gut-punch of a win for theJets, who scraped by the Brett Rypien-led Broncos 16-9 butlost star rookie running back Breece Hall and their best offensive lineman, Alijah Vera-Tucker, in the process. Hall had a blazing 62-yard touchdown run before suffering a season-ending ACL tear and was leading an offense ranked 11th in rushing DVOA. General manager Joe Douglas acted quickly to replace Hall,trading a Day 3 pick for Jaguars running back James Robinson. Itll be harder to replace Vera-Tucker, and the pressure is now onZach Wilsonif the Jets are going to keep their cinderella season going. They rank 23rd in passing DVOA and Wilson ranks 33rd of 35 qualifying quarterbacks in EPA per dropback, ahead of onlyMitch Trubiskyand Baker Mayfield, per TruMedia.

The good news is the Jets are in position to be the first team in the NFL to settle their preseason win-total over-under bet. Vegas set their number at 5.5, so all they need is one more win to cash that ticket for Jets die-hards. Three other teams are within two games of settling their scores: the 6-1Giants, who are two wins from topping their preseason mark of 7; the 4-3Seahawks, who are two wins from topping their preseason mark of 5.5; and the 3-4 Bucs, who are two losses away from clinching fewer wins than their preseason benchmark of 11.5.

Up next: vs. New England, Sunday 1 p.m. ET

Ramily remains the fetch of the leagues force-fed phrases.

Up next: vs. San Francisco, Sunday 4:25 p.m. ET

WhatGeno Smithis doing is wild. He ranks sixth in EPA per dropback for the NFC West-leading Seahawks and is directing an offense that ranks third in DVOA and fourth in passing DVOA. All of this while serving as the full-time starter for the first time in eight seasons! He leads the league with a 73.5 completion percentage, which has him on track for the highest completion percentage in a single season for a quarterback not named Drew Brees.

Come to think of it, maybe the similarities between Smith and Brees are more real than we knew. Both second-round picks finding success after being discarded by the team that drafted them. Both have four-letter first names and five-letter second names. Both have a history of making at least one of their teammates very mad at them. Only one, though, has ever been deemed less interesting than Jason Garrett.

Up next: vs. New York Giants, Sunday 4:25 p.m. ET

TheChargershave a litany of injuries and are coming off an embarrassing home loss.Its hard to call them a good team at the moment.

One example of how frustrating their limited offensive game plan is to fans of the team and the quarterback is how unaggressive they are on first and second down. In fact, 50 of their 131 first downs or touchdowns have come on third or fourth down. That 38.2 percent mark is the highest in the league.

Josh Jacobshas been the breakout player of the season for theRaiders. His 633 rushing yards rank third in theNFL, and he trails onlyNick Chubbin rushing yards per game. Hes the main reason the Raiders rank No. 1 in rushing DVOA.

This is also his chance to do something hes never done before lead all former Alabama running backs in rushing yards. He finished second toDerrick Henryin his first two seasons in the league (2019 and 2020) before dropping to fourth last season behind Najee Harris, Henry andDamien Harris.

How good would the all-Alabama team be this season? Definitely good enough to crack the top five in the power rankings.

Up next: at New Orleans, Sunday 1 p.m. ET

Feels like this space is used to poke fun atTom Bradyevery week, so lets give that a rest, even though he and the Bucs certainly deserve it after becoming the first double-digit favorite to lose a game this season. Instead, heres the list of players with more than 100 pass-rush snaps this season who have yet to register a quarterback hit, per TruMedia:

•Greg GainesRams(175 pass-rush snaps)

Up next: vs. Baltimore, Thursday 8:15 p.m. ET

Heres how lost the Packers offense is at the moment.Aaron Rodgerswas pressured on just 8.8 percent of his dropbacks against theCommandersSunday, the lowest pressure rate any quarterback has faced in a game this season, according to TruMedia. And still the Packers mustered only 14 points on offense (they also scored a defensive touchdown) against a mediocre Commanders defense, thanks in part to them going 0-for-6 on third down. As they march into certain defeat Sunday night, thePackers look thoroughly mediocre.

Up next: at Buffalo, Sunday 8:20 p.m. ET

After Bill Belichicks inspired homage to George Halas in trying to win a game by scoring 14 points, the eyes in New England turn to the quarterback controversy we never knew we needed between Dragon Bail-Z andMac Jones. For the record,Bailey Zappeis now at 0.06 EPA per dropback on the season, per TruMedia, to Jones -0.11. Jones was at 0.04 as a rookie in 2021. Obviously, its hard to imagine a first-round pick losing his job in Year 2, but that was a weird night!

Next week, the Patriots play the Jets, against whom theyve won a whopping 12 in a row. Here are the best head-to-head records in division matchups over the past five seasons:

• 8-0 Patriots over Jets, Chiefs over Broncos

• 8-1 Rams over Cardinals, Packers over Bears, Vikings over Lions, Cowboys over Giants

Up next: at New York Jets, Sunday 1 p.m. ET

PoorAndy Dalton. His career is all but over afterlast Thursday night. At least his longtime paramourA.J. Greenwas in the building to help send him off with heart.

The Cardinals rank 28th in overall DVOA (26th on offense, 20th on defense) and the biggest question mark about their season so far is which one ofKyler Murrayand Kliff Kingsbury is Adam Driver, and which one is Scarlett Johansson. MaybeDeAndre Hopkinswill be the one who keeps them together.

Up next: at Minnesota, Sunday 1 p.m. ET

You know those challenges on Top Chef when one person preps the meal and then another steps in to cook the dish, but the teammates arent allowed to talk to each other? I like to imagine thats whats going on with the Falcons. General manager Terry Fontenot and head coach Arthur Smith arent allowed to communicate with each other all season. One day in the spring, Fontenot drafts the ingredients he wants Smith to cook with and then spends the whole season watching in horror as Chef Smith uses the white truffles and Kobe beef as a garnish.

Sure, Smiths run-heavy offense ranks No. 9 in offensive DVOA and No. 4 in rushing DVOA. Maybe thats their identity, even after spending top-10 picks in back-to-back seasons on pass catchers. But even when the game situation dictates otherwise, the Falcons refuse to throw the ball. The league-wide average for pass rate when teams are trailing by 10 points or more this season is 66.2 percent. Only five teams have passed on fewer than half of their offensive snaps when trailing by double digits. Look at the company Atlanta is keeping.

Up next: vs.Carolina, Sunday 1 p.m. ET

Four of the Browns five losses have been by three points or fewer. Only two teams (Denver and Cincinnati) have as many as three losses this season of three points or fewer. But Cleveland is probably tired of hearing its better than its record at this point. Monday nights AFC North showdown with the Bengals shapes up as something of a make-or-break game for the Browns before their Week 9 bye. The 2020 Washington Football Team which won the NFC East with a 7-9 record is the only team to make the playoffs since 1990 after starting the season 2-6.

Up next: vs. Cincinnati, Monday 8:15 p.m. ET

Whoa! In a season that seems hell-bent on ushering out the old quarterback guard, Frank Reichs announcement thatMatt Ryanis being benched in favor ofSam Ehlinger, seemingly for the rest of the season, is maybe the most surprising turn of events yet. TheColtsoffense could certainly use a spark it ranks 30th in offensive DVOA and 32nd in passing DVOA but Ehlinger is a 2021 sixth-round pick who was not exactly waiting in the wings. The bet here is Indianapolis wants to lean all the way into a quarterback run-inclusive offense to help unlockJonathan Taylor. Ehlinger ran a 4.84-second 40-yard dash at the combine and rushed for 1,903 yards in his four seasons at Texas.

Up next: vs. Washington, Sunday 4:25 p.m. ET

The Jaguars came up one yard short of victory against the Giants, asChristian Kirkwas tackled at the 1-yard line down six points as time expired. A touchdown there would have completed one of the least aesthetically pleasing game-winning possessions in recent memory, asTrevor Lawrencecompleted just three of his nine passes on the drive. The Giants defense had a sack and an interception both called off for penalty on back-to-back plays, and the Jaguars ran a bizarre double-pass screen that actually looked like it might have been a big play had Travis Etienne been able to haul in Kirks pass. It was emblematic of the state of Jacksonvilles team at the moment so close to being interesting, if it could just get out of its own way. Meanwhile, Etiennes red zone fumble when the Jaguars were on the cusp of taking an 18-10 lead will chafe more than the final drive.

Up next: vs. Denver (in London), Sunday 9:30 a.m. ET

The Broncos defense has a case for being the best in the league. It ranks No. 3 in defensive DVOA (No. 3 against the pass, No. 18 against the run) despite forcing only seven turnovers. Thats the fewest takeaways for any top-10 defense. Thats part of the reason why, according to TruMedia, they have the best defensive success rate in the league (62.4 percent). If the turnovers come, they might not even need an offense. Which would be nice, because that offense is Trashida Jones.

Up next: vs. Jacksonville (in London), Sunday 9:30 a.m. ET

Maybe hes just the fall guy for a Jenga tower of roster construction that was bound to collapse eventually, but Dennis Allen sure has a dour record as a head coach. Hes now 10-33 through parts of four seasons. Among post-merger head coaches, the only head coaches with more than 40 games in charge and a worse winning percentage are Hue Jackson (11-44-1), Steve Spagnuolo (11-41) and Gus Bradley (14-48).

Up next: vs. Las Vegas, Sunday 1 p.m. ET

Somehow more humiliating forCarson Wentzthan last weeks dance over who pushed for his offseason acquisition was head coach Ron Rivera wishing after Sundays surprise win over the Packers that he couldFrankenstein a quarterback made of the disparate strengths of Wentz and Taylor Heinicke. The Commanders defense is improving, though. It ranks second in the league in success rate, per TruMedia, but is only 16th in defensive DVOA because of a relatively soft offensive schedule and a penchant for surrendering big plays in the passing game.

Up next: at Indianapolis, Sunday 4:25 p.m. ET

Filling in for the injured Carson Wentz, Taylor Heinicke led the Commanders to a victory over Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. (John McDonnell / The Washington Post via Getty Images)

What a good night for Bears general manager Ryan Poles. His two second-round rookies,Kyler GordonandJaquan Brisker, both recorded interceptions as the defense showcased what a difference-making secondary can do (albeit against a pair of quarterbacks with less than impressive arm strength). Poles was criticized for not bolstering the offensive weaponry or protection aroundJustin Fieldswith those picks, but he was probably right to divorce Fields from his long-term investments.

Meanwhile, the offensive staff developed a plan that let Fields do a little more of what hes good at. His 14 rushing attempts were a career high, as was his 0.40 EPA per pass attempt (though he did also fumble four times, none lost).

Up next: at Dallas, Sunday 1 p.m. ET

You can squint and see the reason for the Steelers optimism as the season goes on. By DVOA, theyve played the hardest schedule in the league through seven weeks. Theyll still play the ninth-hardest schedule the rest of the way, but thats an improvement at least. The defense is up to No. 13 in DVOA and could be among the leagues best if and whenT.J. Wattreturns. AndKenny Pickettlooks spicy! Hes playing in one of the leagues least creative offenses, but hes a quick decision-maker who trusts one of the more talented wide receiver trios in the league. Maybe Mike Tomlins fabled streak of non-losing seasons isnt over just yet.

Up next: at Philadelphia, Sunday 1 p.m. ET

Turns out McCaffrey was the problem all along. Carolina laid it on against what was supposed to be a good Bucs defense asDOnta ForemanandChuba Hubbardcombined for 181 rushing yards on 24 carries, whilePJ Walkercompleted 16 of 22 passes for 177 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. By TruMedias EPA per dropback, it was the best game by a Panthers quarterback since Week 11 of last season. Meanwhile, Steve Wilks defense held Tom Brady and the Bucs to a pathetic three points. Fun stuff.

Up next: at Atlanta, Sunday 1 p.m. ET

At least the Lions found a different way to lose Sunday, with their previously 32nd-ranked defense holding up against the Cowboys while their once-powerful offense faded. If at some point Roger Goodell spends a weekend at Joshua Tree with Aaron Rodgers and returns demanding every team to rename themselves with an anagram of their current name, the Loins would be one of the best. Some other options:

Up next: vs. Miami, Sunday 1 p.m. ET

The Texans led three separate times in their loss to the Raiders Sunday, including a 20-17 lead entering the fourth quarter. Then they were outscored 21-0 in the final period. On the season, they have been outscored by 41 points in the fourth quarter, trailing only the Ravens for the worst mark in the league. Dameon Pierce andDerek Stingley Jr.sure are fun, though.

Up next: vs. Tennessee, Sunday 4:05 p.m. ET

(Top illustration: John Bradford /The Athletic; photo: Mitchell Layton / Getty Images)

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Bo Wulfis a staff writer for The Athletic covering the Philadelphia Eagles and is a co-host of the Birds With Friends podcast. Previously, he was a senior content manager for Taylor Sports and a producer for the Philadelphia Eagles website.Follow Bo on Twitter@Bo_Wulf