RADIO.COM NFL Week 7 Power Rankings: Texans Soar Into Top 5

Tim Kelly
October 15, 2019 - 12:32 pm

Spoiler alert: As they've been for every week this season, the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, who have yet to lose in 2019, will top this week's RADIO.COM NFL Power Rankings.

After the Patriots, though, there's a new No. 2 for the second time in as many weeks, and quite a bit of turnover:

1. New England Patriots (Last Week: No. 1)

The combined records of the six teams that the Patriots have defeated is 10-23. That’s worth noting, but so too is the fact that the three teams that appeared to be the most difficult on their schedule - the Kansas City Chiefs, Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles - have scuffled of late. 16-0 isn’t out of the question in New England, and if not, they’ll likely have to “settle” for 14-2 or 15-1.

2. New Orleans Saints (Last Week: No. 4)

It feels increasingly possible that the NFC playoffs will run through New Orleans, which would have seemed impossible when Drew Brees broke his thumb in a Week 2 loss to the Los Angeles Rams. But the Saints have won four consecutive games with Teddy Bridgewater under center, thanks in large part to a defense that’s allowed less than 17 points per game over the last month.

3. Kansas City Chiefs (Last Week: No. 3)

After a scorching-hot start to the 2019 season, the Chiefs offense has cooled off over the past two weeks, and they’ve lost consecutive games. While there’s little reason to think that an Andy Reid coached offense quarterbacked by Patrick Mahomes won’t heat back up, though it is very concerning that a team that fancies itself a Super Bowl contender has allowed 27 points-per-game over the last four weeks.

4. Green Bay Packers (Last Week: No. 2)

Though the refs may have had some assistance in it, the Packers pulled out a 23-22 win over the division-rival Detroit Lions on Monday Night Football. They have a possible trap game against the upstart Oakland Raiders this Sunday, before a showdown against Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday Night Football in Week 8.

Deshaun Watson and the Texans won in Kansas City in Week 6.
Deshaun Watson and the Texans won in Kansas City in Week 6. Photo credit (Jay Biggerstaff/USA Today)

5. Houston Texans (Last Week: No. 10)

The only two games that the Texans have lost in 2019 were a 30-28 loss to the New Orleans Saints in the SuperDome in Week 1, and a 16-10 loss to the suddenly-hot Carolina Panthers in Week 4. After upsetting the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 6, Deshaun Watson is pushing himself into a crowded NFL MVP race.

6. San Francisco 49ers (Last Week: No. 9)

As noted in this week’s NFL takeaways, it’s time to start taking the 5-0 49ers seriously. They actually have a top five offense through the first six weeks of the season. While that may prove to be unsustainable, their defense is arguably the best unit in the sport, as they’ve limited opponents to just 12.8 points per game.

7. Seattle Seahawks (Last Week: No. 8)

Pete Carroll’s squad has won five of their first six games, and shown an ability to pull out tight wins - their average margin of defeat is just five points. Russell Wilson is having the finest season of his career, as he’s tossed 14 touchdowns and is yet to throw an interception.

8. Los Angeles Rams (Last Week: No. 6)

Since starting 3-0, the defending NFC Champions have struggled mightily. They allowed 55 points to Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 4, lost because of a missed field goal attempt by the usually sure-legged Greg Zuerlein a week later and were limited to just 78 passing yards by the division-rival 49ers in Week 6. Luckily for Sean McVay’s squad, they’ve reached a softer stretch on their schedule, as their next three games will be against the Atlanta Falcons, Cincinnati Bengals and Pittsburgh Steelers.

9. Philadelphia Eagles (Last Week: No. 5)

It feels as though this week’s Sunday Night Football matchup with the division-rival Dallas Cowboys could determine the direction of the Eagles' 2019 season. They’ve been devastated by injuries, but a win would move them to 4-3 and into sole possession of first place in the NFC East. Doug Pederson has already predicted that the Eagles will defeat their division rivals.

Dak Prescott and the Cowboys have lose three consecutive games.
Dak Prescott and the Cowboys have lose three consecutive games. Photo credit (Robert Deutsch/USA Today)

10. Dallas Cowboys (Last Week: No. 7)

In the matter of three weeks, Jason Garrett has gone from presiding over a 3-0 team and being a candidate for NFL Coach of the Year to being on the hot seat. Following a rather shocking loss to the previously winless New York Jets, the Cowboys need a win over the division-rival Philadelphia Eagles at home this weekend.

11. Minnesota Vikings (Last Week: No. 14)

You get the sense that the Vikings, for the second consecutive season, will find themselves in position to make the playoffs if they win Week 17. In the meantime, Kirk Cousins has heated up, as he tossed four touchdowns in the team’s Week 6 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. They’ll need Cousins to stay hot, as they have two games in the next 10 days, this Sunday in Detroit and next Thursday against the Washington Redskins.

12. Detroit Lions (Last Week: No. 11)

The Lions have lost two games in a row, but the two losses have come to the Kansas City Chiefs and Green Bay Packers with a combined margin of five points. That said, in a highly-competitive NFC North, the Lions need a win over the division-rival Minnesota Vikings this week.

13. Indianapolis Colts (Last Week: No. 13)

Jacoby Brissett and the Colts will return from a bye week, having defeated the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday Night Football prior to their bye week. Despite their Hall of Fame-caliber quarterback retiring suddenly in the preseason, the 3-2 Colts are very much in the mix in the AFC South.

14. Buffalo Bills (Last Week: No. 16)

Sean McDermott’s Bills are 4-1, and don’t exactly have a difficult schedule coming out of their bye week. Over the next six weeks, they’ll play the winless Miami Dolphins twice, along with the Washington Redskins and Denver Broncos at home. Don’t sleep on them as an AFC Wild Card contender.

Christian McCaffrey and the Panthers have won four straight games.
Christian McCaffrey and the Panthers have won four straight games. Photo credit (Kirby Lee/USA Today)

15. Carolina Panthers (Last Week: No. 15)

The discussion as the Panthers head into their bye week should be about their standing in the NFC playoff picture, as they’ve won four consecutive games after starting 0-2. Instead of focusing on that or the NFL MVP candidacy of Christian McCaffrey, the bye week will offer an opportunity to speculate on the team’s short and long-term future under center, and whether it will be with Kyle Allen or former NFL MVP Cam Newton.

16. Baltimore Ravens (Last Week: No. 12)

After losing in Week 3 and Week 4, Lamar Jackson and the Ravens have pulled out consecutive close wins over two division rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cincinnati Bengals. They’re in the driver’s seat of perhaps football’s easiest division, but we’ll be tested in the coming weeks, as their next two games are against the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots.

17. Chicago Bears (Last Week: No. 19)

The Bears return from their bye week with an unenviable five-game stretch. Their next five games are against the New Orleans Saints, Los Angeles Chargers, Philadelphia Eagles, Detroit Lions and Los Angeles Rams. In perhaps the most competitive division in football, it’s hard to see the Bears path to returning to the postseason in 2019.

18. Cleveland Browns (Last Week: No. 17)

Baker Mayfield and the Browns are a disappointing 2-4 at the bye week, though they've played one of the toughest schedules in the NFL - the combined record of the team's they've already faced off with is 20-14. And things won't get easier after the bye week, as they have a Week 8 date in New England against the undefeated Patriots. The second-half of the Browns schedule looks significantly easier, but if they fall to 2-5, that would be quite the hole to attempt to have to crawl out of.

19. Oakland Raiders (Last Week: No. 21)

Frankly, it would have been rather shocking to imagine the Raiders being this high in the power rankings after perhaps the most tumultuous preseason in NFL history. But they’re 3-2, and after the Chiefs lost during the Raiders bye week, they find themselves just a half game back in the AFC West. Jon Gruden is an early NFL Coach of the Year candidate.

Philip Rivers and the Chargers have disappointed in 2019.
Philip Rivers and the Chargers have disappointed in 2019. Photo credit (Jake Roth/USA Today)

20. Los Angeles Chargers (Last Week: No. 18)

After going 12-4 and winning a playoff game a year ago, the Chargers entered the season with Super Bowl aspirations. They’ve responded to being a dark-horse Super Bowl pick in the preseason by starting 2-4. Not only is running back Melvin Gordon unlikely to be back in 2020, it’s fair to begin to wonder about the future of 37-year-old Philip Rivers. While the future Hall of Famer has thrown for nine touchdowns and 1,785 yards in six games, he’s also thrown six interceptions and fumbled four times.

21. Pittsburgh Steelers (Last Week: No. 24)

Though they nearly blew a 24-point fourth-quarter lead, the Steelers held on to beat the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday Night Football in Week 6. Mike Tomlin’s team will be on the bye week in Week 7, and appears likely to get Mason Rudolph back when they face the lowly Miami Dolphins in Week 8.

22. Jacksonville Jaguars 

After two consecutive losses, the 2-4 Jaguars need a win to stay competitive in a winnable AFC South. Luckily for them, they have the Cincinnati Bengals and New York Jets as the next two games on their schedule before a crucial stretch of three straight divisional games.

23. Tennessee Titans (Last Week: No. 22)

Since a rather shocking blowout victory over the Cleveland Browns in Week 1, the Titans are 1-4. Marcus Mariota was benched in favor of Ryan Tannehill in the team's 16-0 loss in Denver Sunday. Whether Mariota is reinserted as starter for the rest of 2019 or not, the Titans appear likely to be quarterback shopping next offseason.

24. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Last Week: No. 23)

While Jameis Winston tossed nine touchdowns to just two interceptions between Week 2 and Week 5, sandwiched around those four games are two very ugly performances. Winston was picked off three times in a 31-17 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in Week 1. Then, this past weekend, he threw five interceptions in a 37-26 loss to the Carolina Panthers in London. Time may be running out for Winston, even if Bruce Arians says he isn’t considering benching the former No. 1 pick.

Kyler Murray and the Cardinals have won back-to-back games.
Kyler Murray and the Cardinals have won back-to-back games. Photo credit (Casey Sapio/USA Today)

25. Arizona Cardinals (Last Week: No. 27)

In consecutive weeks, the Cardinals have pulled out close wins over bad teams - the Cincinnati Bengals and Atlanta Falcons. Though the New York Giants may have reinforcements on the way, the Cardinals seemingly have another winnable matchup this weekend in northern New Jersey.

26. Atlanta Falcons (Last Week: No. 25)

Since defeating the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday Night Football in Week 2, the Falcons have lost four consecutive games. And..their next three games are against the Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks and New Orleans Saints. This may be the final year of the Dan Quinn era.

27. New York Jets (Last Week: No. 30)

The Jets held on for dear life in Week 6 to secure their first win of the season, defeating the Dallas Cowboys 24-22 in the return of quarterback Sam Darnold from mononucleosis. Unfortunately for them, they have a tough rebound as they look for their first winning streak of the year, as they’ll host the undefeated New England Patriots on Monday Night Football.

28. Denver Broncos (Last Week: No. 28)

Since an 0-4 start, the Broncos have won consecutive games. First year head coach Vic Fangio’s defense limited the Los Angeles Chargers to 13 points in Week 5, before shutting out the Tennessee Titans (and forcing Marcus Mariota to the bench) in Week 6.

29. New York Giants (Last Week: No. 26)

Since his electric debut in Tampa Bay in Week 3, rookie quarterback Daniel Jones has gone through some growing pains, throwing six interceptions over the team’s last three games. The good news for Jones and the Giants is that their two best offensive weapons - running back Saquon Barkley and tight end Evan Engram - seem close to returning from injuries.

Adrian Peterson and the Redskins won their first game in Week 6.
Adrian Peterson and the Redskins won their first game in Week 6. Photo credit (Steve Mitchell/USA Today)

30. Washington Redskins (Last Week: No. 31)

Against the tanking Miami Dolphins, the Redskins won their first game of the 2019 season, 17-16. It wouldn’t be shocking if that proves to be the only game they win this year. There have been a lot of lows during Daniel Snyder’s tenure as owner, but this feels about as bad as it’s been.

31. Cincinnati Bengals (Last Week: No. 30)

While the Miami Dolphins and Washington Redskins have stolen the spotlight, the Bengals are 0-6 and still looking for the first win of the Zac Taylor era. With losses to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Arizona Cardinals and Baltimore Ravens in the last three weeks, they’ve become a team that struggling teams get back on track against.

32. Miami Dolphins (Last Week: No. 32)

If the Dolphins’ goal as an organization is to assure that they land the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, Week 6 was fruitful. They lost 17-16 to the Washington Redskins, perhaps their biggest challenger for the top pick. What’s more, the New York Jets, who the Dolphins still have to play two more times, showed signs of life with Sam Darnold back under center, as they defeated the Dallas Cowboys.

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