Week 7 NFL Power Rankings: 1-32 poll, plus every team's biggest weakness

ByNFL Nation ESPN logo
Tuesday, October 15, 2019

As we conduct another version of the NFL Power Rankings, we got to thinking -- what's the one thing that could hold each team back?

Some teams have a lot of flaws to choose from (sorry, Dolphins and Redskins fans). Pinpointing a weakness on other teams might seem a bit nitpicky -- it's kind of hard to take Patriots and 49ers complaints seriously at the moment. But every team has that little imperfection that could hold it back, and our NFL Nation reporters highlight them below. Our power panel -- a group of more than 80 writers, editors and TV personalities -- evaluates how teams stack up throughout the season.

Previous rankings:6 |5 | 4 | 3 | 2 | Preseason

1. New England Patriots (6-0)

Week 6 ranking: 1

Biggest weakness: The running game

Injuries to starting center David Andrews and left tackle Isaiah Wynn have had a trickle-down effect on the consistency with which lanes are open in the running game. With 175 rushes for 609 yards, the Patriots are averaging just 3.48 yards per carry in their 6-0 start, which has put more pressure on QB Tom Brady in the passing game. -- Mike Reiss

2. New Orleans Saints (5-1)

Week 6 ranking: 2

Biggest weakness: Scoring points

So far, this hasn't hurt the Saints because their defense is playing so well. They are a remarkable 4-0 since Drew Brees underwent thumb surgery but rank 25th in the NFL over the past five weeks in both yards per game (311.6) and offensive points per game (17.0). And it won't get any easier this week at Chicago. It's not as simple as just pointing to the switch at QB, where Teddy Bridgewater has been more efficient than electrifying. The Saints rank 27th in the league in red zone efficiency over that same span -- and first in offensive penalties. -- Mike Triplett

3. San Francisco 49ers (5-0)

Week 6 ranking: 6

Biggest weakness: Red zone efficiency

The 49ers finished last in the NFL a year ago when it came to turning red zone drives into touchdowns. They've made some progress this year (they're up to a 46% touchdown rate from 41% in 2018) but still have plenty of room to improve. Getting their starting offensive tackles and fullback back from injury should help, but if nothing else, they must cut down on turnovers when they get deep in opposing territory. They have three giveaways in the red zone in their first five games, second most in the NFL. -- Nick Wagoner

4. Seattle Seahawks (5-1)

Week 6 ranking: 5

Biggest weakness: The pass rush

The Seahawks have gotten impact plays out of Jadeveon Clowney andZiggy Ansah, but those two have combined for only two sacks and the Seahawks have just 10 sacks in six games after getting blanked the past two weeks. They've pressured opposing quarterbacks on 23.3% of their dropbacks, which ranks 25th in the NFL. It's a good thing for the Seahawks that Jarran Reed -- he of 10.5 sacks last season -- is back this week from a six-game suspension. They need him. -- Brady Henderson

5. Green Bay Packers (5-1)

Week 6 ranking: 4

Biggest weakness: Offensive weapons

Beyond Davante Adams and Aaron Jones, what does Aaron Rodgers really have at his disposal? The tight ends are old and the rest of the receivers are inexperienced and inconsistent. GM Brian Gutekunst rightly put his resources into fixing the defense, and his signings and draft picks have worked. You can't fix everything in one offseason, so he'll have to find more options for Rodgers next time around. -- Rob Demovsky

6. Kansas City Chiefs (4-2)

Week 6 ranking: 3

Biggest weakness: Run defense

The Chiefs have allowed at least 180 rushing yards for a staggering four straight games. They had 20:12 time of possession on Sunday against the Texans, their lowest total ever for a home game. The Texans had 83 plays compared to 47 for the Chiefs. Kansas City has to be perfect on offense to overcome these numbers and hasn't been anything close to that the past two weeks. -- Adam Teicher

7. Houston Texans (4-2)

Week 6 ranking: 12

Biggest weakness: Extra points

Kicker Ka'imi Fairbairn missed another extra point Sunday, his fourth miss in the past four games. He is now tied with the injured Stephen Gostkowski for the most in the NFL in 2019 after missing only two last season. Fairbairn also missed a 46-yard field goal in the third quarter. "We have to get that area improved," head coach Bill O'Brien said after the game. "I think we have to go back and look at the technique," he added. "Everybody is involved in that. It is the whole operation." -- Sarah Barshop

8. Buffalo Bills (4-1)

Week 6 ranking: 10

Biggest weakness: Turnovers

It's a fixable problem, but the Bills' 11 turnovers are tied for fifth in the NFL -- which is an obvious ball and chain for an offense ranked fifth in average time of possession, ninth in first downs per game and 11th in yards per game. If Buffalo takes better care of the ball, it will be a dangerous team given the strength of its defense. -- Marcel Louis-Jacques

9. Baltimore Ravens (4-2)

Week 6 ranking: 11

Biggest weakness: Pass rush

The Ravens have 11 sacks through six games and are on pace for their second-lowest sack total over the past two decades. Only Matthew Judon (four sacks) is getting consistent pressure. To make matters worse, two of Baltimore's biggest free-agent departures -- Terrell Suggs and Za'Darius Smith -- have nearly matched Baltimore's sack total, combining for nine. The lack of sacks is a big reason for Baltimore's No. 25 ranking in pass defense. The Ravens' next four games include matchups with Russell Wilson, Tom Brady and Deshaun Watson, and Baltimore has to put pressure on them if it expects to win. -- Jamison Hensley

10. Minnesota Vikings (4-2)

Week 6 ranking: 14

Biggest weakness: Tight end play

Many expected a tight end to assume the role of WR3 in the Vikings' offense given Gary Kubiak's history with the position. However, in Minnesota's first six games, Kyle Rudolph and Irv Smith Jr. have a combined 16 catches for 165 yards and no touchdowns while Tyler Conklin has yet to be targeted. The Vikings rank 27th in receiving yards, 26th in receptions and are one of three teams without a receiving TD by a tight end. The Vikings paid a pretty penny to bring back Rudolph this offseason and used a high draft pick on Smith but haven't utilized this position group all that much beyond run blocking. -- Courtney Cronin

11. Los Angeles Rams (3-3)

Week 6 ranking: 7

Biggest weakness: Consistency on offense

Too much passing? Too much running? Not enough of anything? Six games in, and through a 3-3 start, the Rams' offense is still in search of an identity, which is shocking given how efficient the unit has been since Sean McVay took over as coach in 2017. "We look like a good offense, sometimes, look like a bad offense," receiver Robert Woods said. "Just not being consistent." The Rams have been unable to find consistency in their running game and rank 21st in the league, averaging 98 yards per game. They've relied heavily on their passing attack, which ranks sixth in averaging 272 yards per game, though even that floundered against the 49ers. -- Lindsey Thiry

12. Dallas Cowboys (3-3)

Week 6 ranking: 8

Biggest weakness: Lack of takeaways

The Cowboys have five takeaways on the season (two interceptions, three fumbles). Rod Marinelli and Kris Richard have typically had defenses that can take the ball away, but this group just simply hasn't done it enough. The Cowboys are not pressuring the quarterback to create hurried throws. They don't poke the ball away. The last time a Cowboys defensive back had more than four interceptions was in 2010. As a result, the offense does not have many opportunities to work with a short field. Nothing is coming easy for this team at the moment. -- Todd Archer

13. Carolina Panthers (4-2)

Week 6 ranking: 17

Biggest weakness: Pass defense

This might sound crazy for a team that had five interceptions Sunday against Tampa Bay, but the Panthers have been vulnerable, particularly in the middle of the field. They have been sending extra pressure up front for a league-best 27 sacks, which means less help on the back end, so this might be nitpicking. But they have allowed seven touchdown passes. Again, nitpicking for a team that has won four straight. -- David Newton

14. Philadelphia Eagles (3-3)

Week 6 ranking: 9

Biggest weakness: Pass defense

The Eagles are tied with the Giants for most pass plays of 40-plus yards allowed (seven). Six receivers have had 100-plus-yard performances against them. Their injury-depleted cornerback group could get Jalen Mills (foot) and Ronald Darby (hamstring) back this week. Whether the duo's return makes an appreciable difference is unknown. -- Tim McManus

15. Indianapolis Colts (3-2)

Week 6 ranking: 15

Biggest weakness: Lack of takeaways

The Colts are 27th in the NFL in takeaways with just five. That's a significant drop-off from last season, when their 26 takeaways were good enough for 10th in the league. The returns of linebacker Darius Leonard and safety Malik Hooker, the team's two best defensive playmakers, should help in that area. Leonard, who forced four fumbles in 2018, was cleared to return after missing the previous three games with a concussion. Hooker, who has an interception this season, could return as early as this week after missing the past two games with a knee injury. -- Mike Wells

16. Chicago Bears (3-2)

Week 6 ranking: 13

Biggest weakness: Explosive plays on offense

The Bears don't have enough of them. Their vertical passing attack is limited with Mitchell Trubisky or Chase Daniel at quarterback. The offense has been equally ineffective on the ground. Chicago has gained eight or more rushing yards on just 10 running plays through five games. Head coach Matt Nagy cited the club's lack of explosive plays as the No. 1 offensive issue that needs to be corrected after the bye. -- Jeff Dickerson

17. Detroit Lions (2-2-1)

Week 6 ranking: 16

Biggest weakness: Run defense

The Lions have showed improvement in almost every area compared with a season ago, but they've struggled against the run. They are allowing 4.84 yards per carry (26th in the league) along with 124.8 yards per game. They allowed over 100 yards rushing in every game the first month of the season and had given up five rushing scores entering Monday night against Green Bay. -- Michael Rothstein

18. Oakland Raiders (3-2)

Week 6 ranking: 21

Biggest weakness: Lack of receiver depth

Or did you miss Jon Gruden, in praising Derek Carr, lamenting the constant turnover at wideout? "Well, he's completing a lot of passes to a lot of different players," Gruden said, "some he's never met before." Indeed. The Raiders are still trying to recover from the Antonio Brown Experience at the position and Carr has already completed passes to 14 players ... only five of whom were on the roster last season. Carr has been efficient of late, but he needs someone to step up as a deep threat too -- especially with Tyrell Williams nursing a sore foot. -- Paul Gutierrez

19. Cleveland Browns (2-4)

Week 6 ranking: 18

Biggest weakness: Does continually shooting oneself in the foot count?

The Browns top the league in penalties (57), penalty yardage (506) and interceptions (11). They are tied for second in red zone turnovers (3) and are fourth in drop rate (4.7%). With those numbers, it's actually rather remarkable that they even have two wins, with chances to win in two of their losses as well. The schedule gets easier for Cleveland after the upcoming bye, but the Browns are going nowhere unless they eradicate the bevy of self-inflicted mistakes first. -- Jake Trotter

20. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-4)

Week 6 ranking: 26

Biggest weakness: Passing game

It's crazy to say that a team with JuJu Smith-Schuster is struggling in the passing game, but that's been the case, as the Steelers rank 28th in passing yards per game. With the extra attention Smith-Schuster is receiving as a WR1, the Steelers desperately need a solid second option to draw attention away from him or capitalize on open opportunities. Smith-Schuster is coming off a game in which he had just one catch for 7 yards and was targeted four times -- the lowest regular-season output of his career when he has been targeted. The carousel of quarterbacks isn't helping, as Devlin Hodges is already starter No. 3. -- Brooke Pryor

21. Los Angeles Chargers (2-4)

Week 6 ranking: 19

Biggest weakness: Turnovers

The Chargers have 11 giveaways this season, including five in the red zone and three within their opponent's 2-yard line. Slow starts also have been an issue of late, as the Chargers have been outscored a combined 38-0 in the first half the past two games. The Bolts are struggling to score points, but at the heart of this team's 2-4 record is its inability to protect the football. -- Eric D. Williams

22. Tennessee Titans (2-4)

Week 6 ranking: 20

Biggest weakness: The offense

The blame can't be placed solely on any part of the group. There are times when the offensive line gave Marcus Mariota time to throw the ball, but the receivers didn't get open. Sometimes the receivers were open, but Mariota missed them or was pressured and didn't get a chance to scan the field. The Titans have scored only 38 points over the past four games. Entering Week 6, Tennessee averaged 290.5 yards on offense, 27th in the NFL. That number will get worse after the Titans gained a measly 204 yards in their 16-0 loss to Denver. A change at quarterback could be on the horizon, but the problems reach beyond that position. -- Turron Davenport

23. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-4)

Week 6 ranking: 23

Biggest weakness: Turnover margin

The Jaguars rank 27th in turnover margin (minus-5). Rookie QB Gardner Minshew II is responsible for six of the team's seven turnovers (four fumbles, two INTs) and opponents have scored 27 points off those miscues. While the offense (with the exception of Sunday's loss to New Orleans) has been better than expected after Nick Foles went down in the opener, there's still not much margin for error. The Jaguars have forced only two turnovers (one on defense), which is a bit surprising given their talented pass rush. Coach Doug Marrone has told his team he just wants the Jaguars to play even in terms of turnover margin each week. That would improve their chances of winning significantly. -- Mike DiRocco

24. Denver Broncos (2-4)

Week 6 ranking: 27

Biggest weakness: The inability to finish on offense

The Broncos can put drives together, but they don't get the payoff because they haven't found the right personnel groupings and haven't won enough one-on-one matchups in the red zone. They are 13th in the league in the number of plays run but are 26th in scoring (17.7 points per game) and 25th in yards per game. They've had 22 scoring drives this season -- 12 have been eight plays or more, eight have been 10 plays or more. So they have been able to grind it out at times, but they haven't shown the ability to flip the field quickly or strike fast. They have to find more consistency and efficiency. -- Jeff Legwold

25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-4)

Week 6 ranking: 22

Biggest weakness: Wild inconsistency ... everywhere

At quarterback, Jameis Winston threw for seven touchdowns and two interceptions in Weeks 3-4 before throwing for one touchdown and five interceptions two weeks later. As a defense, the Bucs have gone from limiting teams to an average of just 14 points a game in Weeks 1-2 to allowing 33.5 in Weeks 3-6. They allowed opposing receivers to catch just 56.6% of their passes in Weeks 1-2 -- third-best in the league -- before that figure rose to 64.7% in Weeks 3-6. They gave up an average of 3.0 sacks a game in Weeks 1-2 and have given up nearly 5.0 per game the past four weeks. -- Jenna Laine

26. New York Giants (2-4)

Week 6 ranking: 24

Biggest weakness: Pass defense

The Giants haven't exactly faced many top-end quarterbacks and are 31st in the league against the pass, allowing 285.0 yards per game. It's a multifaceted, talent-centric problem. Opposing offenses have their choice of whether to attack the limited Giants linebackers, the young cornerbacks or the aging safety. While they have shown improvement at times in recent weeks, it's still the weakest part of a troubled defense. -- Jordan Raanan

27. Arizona Cardinals (2-3-1)

Week 6 ranking: 28

Biggest weakness: Defending tight ends

The Cardinals have given up a league-high 599 yards to tight ends this season and Falcons tight end Austin Hooper became the third tight end to record 100 yards receiving against the Cardinals in six games. For perspective, the next-worst team at defending tight ends is Tampa Bay, which has allowed 497 yards -- 102 fewer than Arizona. -- Josh Weinfuss

28. New York Jets (1-4)

Week 6 ranking: 30

Biggest weakness: Running game

It has been nonexistent, even with one of the best running backs in the league, Le'Veon Bell (3.0 yards per carry). The Jets have yet to crack the 100-yard mark in any game, largely due to inconsistent blocking. QB Sam Darnold provided a spark on Sunday, but he won't be able to carry them against the really good defenses, and they will face one Monday night against the Patriots. -- Rich Cimini

29. Atlanta Falcons (1-5)

Week 6 ranking: 25

Biggest weakness: The pass rush

The Falcons rank at the very bottom of the league in sacks per pass play at 2.6%. There are four teams over 10%, and the Falcons are the only team under 3.5%. The Falcons and Dolphins are tied for last in the league with five sacks each, and we know how folks have viewed the tanking Dolphins all year. Yes, the Falcons have faced some shifty quarterbacks and guys who have gotten the ball out quickly, but that's no excuse when you have Grady Jarrett creating havoc in the middle and a former sack champ in Vic Beasley Jr. -- Vaughn McClure

30. Cincinnati Bengals (0-6)

Week 6 ranking: 29

Biggest weakness: The offensive line

As expected, the line has struggled this season. With three new starters on the line and left tackle Cordy Glenn out indefinitely, it has been a long six games. The Bengals are fifth in the league in yards allowed, 29th in pass block win rate (according to ESPN Stats & Information) and are 30th in rushing. The line's problems are a major reason for the offense's overall lack of production under new coach Zac Taylor. -- Ben Baby

31. Washington Redskins (1-5)

Week 6 ranking: 31

Biggest weakness: Offense

Although the defense has struggled, it has played better of late -- even if the results aren't always there. But the offense has done it few favors. The Redskins are missing several key players, but they've hurt themselves with too many penalties. The quarterback play has been mediocre to bad, and the quarterbacks' passer rating (46.0) ranks 31st. Because of that -- and being tied for fifth with the most turnovers -- Washington can't control the ball (31st in this area, too). Rookie receiver Terry McLaurin has been a terrific bright spot, but with better quarterback play he'd be among the top 25 receivers in terms of catches. If the Redskins want to have any sort of strong finish to the season, they must improve in multiple areas offensively. -- John Keim

32. Miami Dolphins (0-5)

Week 6 ranking: 32

Biggest weakness: Offense

The Dolphins are averaging an NFL-low 8.4 points per game, more than four points fewer than the second-worst team (Jets). Their quarterbacks have an NFL-worst 55.2 quarterback rating. They also rank in the bottom five in total offense, passing offense, rushing offense and sacks allowed. So yeah, the Dolphins have a lot of work to do on offense. -- Cameron Wolfe

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