2011 NFL Power Rankings: Week 7
Having a rough year? You're not alone.
Many NFL teams can relate.
The Colts, Rams and Dolphins are still winless. The Jaguars and Cardinals haven't won since opening day, both prevailing in squeakers. The Vikings, Panthers and Broncos are also stuck on one victory.
Is there hope for the unfortunate ones? Maybe, but it's hard to envision any of these teams skyrocketing up our rankings. Rookie QB Cam Newton has done a lot for the Panthers in terms of excitement and marketability -- just not victories. The Broncos are about to hand the quarterback reins to fan favorite Tim Tebow. Can he provide enough of a spark to lift Denver from its current doldrums -- the No. 27 spot?
Our voters (ESPN.com's John Clayton, ESPN.com's Ashley Fox, AFC South blogger Paul Kuharsky, NFC West blogger Mike Sando and AFC East blogger James Walker) see the least amount of upside in the Colts, who are at the very bottom for the second straight week.
So why are we focusing on the bottom-feeders? Well, besides the 49ers' steady rise (their victory at Detroit has them up five spots to No. 4), little has changed at the top. The Packers and Patriots still head the list, and the Ravens, winners of three straight, have solidified their status as a top-five entity.
Will Week 7 shake things up? Possibly. If anyone in the top 10 slips, the Bears (No. 14)- Buccaneers (No. 12) winner will be poised to move up. A road win over the Lions would likely allow Atlanta, No. 19 for the fourth straight week, to finally gain some significant ground. The same goes for the Jets (No. 16), who host 4-1 San Diego (No. 7).
Editor's note: "LW" indicates each team's ranking in the Week 6 edition of the 2011 Power Rankings.