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Mason's Week 7 Power Rankings: Broncos down; Saints, Vikings rising

1. KANSAS CITY (5-1) Last week: 1

Even after struggling last week, the Chiefs still lead the league in net points per possession (2.53) and yards per play.

2. PHILADELPHIA (5-1) Last week: 3

A big reason for the Eagles' success: third-down dominance. They rank first on offense and third on defense in third-down conversion percentage.

3. NEW ENGLAND (4-2) Last week: 7

The Patriots still rank last in total yards allowed on a per-game and per-possession basis.


  1. PITTSBURGH (4-2) Last week: 8 **

The Steel Curtain defense is back; Pittsburgh ranks third in total defense and second in net yards allowed per possession.

5. CAROLINA (4-2) Last week: 6

The last time the Panthers faced former coach John Fox, they fell 36-14. But Fox was the Broncos' coach then, and his quarterback that sunny November day five years ago was Peyton Manning. The Panthers travel to Chicago this weekend.

6. MINNESOTA (4-2) Last week: 17

Minnesota is one of just two teams (Atlanta is the other) to rank in the NFL's top 10 in total offense and defense.


  1. DENVER (3-2) Last week: 2 **

After ranking fifth in the league in net points per possession on offense after Week 2, the Broncos have fallen to 19th following outputs of 16, 16 and 10 points with a pick-6 against them on Sunday night.

Also of note: The Broncos' first five opponents have a collective 10-18 record. Their next five foes are a combined 18-11.

8. ATLANTA (3-2) Last week: 4

The Falcons have the league's best first-half scoring margin (plus-44) and its third-worst second-half margin (minus-32).

9. L.A. RAMS (4-2) Last week: 14

The Rams rank 24th in total yards allowed on a per-game basis, but are 13th in net yards permitted on a per-possession basis.

10. NEW ORLEANS (3-2) Last week: 15

The Saints' defense ranks 26th in net yards allowed per possession, but it is 10th in net points allowed. If their defense is average, they're good enough to contend.

11. SEATTLE (3-2) Last week: 9

After this week's game against the Giants, the Seahawks don't face another team that currently has a losing record until after Thanksgiving.


  1. HOUSTON (3-3) Last week: 12 **

The Texans already have more games with at least 30 points (four) through six games than they amassed in all but three entire seasons in franchise history.

13. WASHINGTON (3-2) Last week: 16

Monday's game at Philadelphia will likely determine whether the Redskins challenge for the division or spend the rest of the season fighting for a wild-card spot.

14. GREEN BAY (4-2) Last week: 5

Since the start of the 1992 season, the Packers have played just 12 games without Brett Favre or Aaron Rodgers as the starting quarterback. They are 266-150 when Favre or Rodgers starts. They are 4-7-1 when they don't.

15. BUFFALO (3-2) Last week: 11

To maintain their winning record, the Bills must sustain their turnover margin, which is plus-8 and makes up for an offense that is 31st in total yardage.

16. JACKSONVILLE (3-3) Last week: 13

In odd-numbered weeks, the Jaguars' average point differential is plus-27. In even-numbered weeks, it's minus-11. Fortunately for the Jaguars, their bye is in an even-numbered week (8).

Also of note: Jacksonville's remaining opponents have an average winning percentage of .350, the lowest in the league.

17. DETROIT (3-3) Last week: 10

Don't be fooled by the Lions' 38-point output in New Orleans; they had a special-teams touchdown, a defensive touchdown and were victimized by three Saints defensive touchdowns. That left Detroit's offense with a meager three net points for the day.


  1. MIAMI (3-2) Last week: 26 **

The Dolphins' passing game is still clunky, but Jay Ajayi returned to his 2016 form, rushing for 130 yards on 26 carries. Miami didn't have any plays longer than 18 yards, but four of Ajayi's runs were between 15 and 18 yards as the Dolphins used jabs, rather than haymakers, to weaken the Falcons' resistance in their comeback from a 17-0 halftime deficit.

19. ARIZONA (3-3) Last week: 25

Arizona's rushing offense is still the league's worst on a per-game and per-carry basis, but if Adrian Peterson has more games like he did against the Bucs (134 yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries), that will change, along with the Cardinals' playoff hopes. Still, the pass defense is a concern; decimated by free-agency losses, it hasn't come close to matching its 2015-16 form and was a sieve against Ryan Fitzpatrick.

20. CINCINNATI (2-3) Last week: 19

This Sunday's game in Pittsburgh will reveal whether their revival is for real.

21. TAMPA BAY (2-3) Last week: 20

The Bucs' remaining foes have an average winning percentage of .600, giving them the toughest schedule the rest of the way based on current records. They're also second-best in the league in average per pass play, and second-worst in average allowed per pass play.

22. DALLAS (2-3) Last week: 22

The Cowboys' defense has accounted for 35 points allowed in three of their last four games.

23. L.A. CHARGERS (2-4) Last week: 23

Since 2013, no team has played in more games decided by seven points or fewer. Sunday's 17-16 win over the Raiders was the 41st game in the last four-plus seasons to fall into that category -- a whopping 58.6 percent.


  1. BALTIMORE (3-3) Last week: 18 **

It took two special-teams touchdowns just to force overtime against the lowly Bears, and they can't rely on those to happen each week.

25. N.Y. JETS (3-3) Last week: 21

Their production has been consistent; they've scored between 17 and 23 points in their last five games.

26. TENNESSEE (3-3) Last week: 26

The Titans have just one game against a team that currently has a winning record before Christmas Eve.

27. CHICAGO (2-4) Last week: 28

Their win at Baltimore snapped a 10-game road losing streak.

28. N.Y. GIANTS (1-5) Last week: 29

The Giants rank 25th in the league in rushing offense and rushing defense, but you never would have known that from last Sunday's performance.


  1. OAKLAND (2-4) Last week: 24 **

The Raiders are the only team to rank in the league's bottom five in net yards per possession on offense (28th, 29.7 yards) and defense (28th, 35.4 yards allowed).

30. INDIANAPOLIS (2-4) Last week: 30

Many things are going askew for the Colts, but the worst is their fourth-quarter performance, reflected in a league-worst minus-63 fourth-quarter scoring margin.

31. SAN FRANCISCO (0-6) Last week: 31

The true test for C.J. Beathard will come as teams accumulate film on him, but his debut provided a jolt. Unfortunately for the 49ers, they lost another close game, and already have more losses by three or fewer points (five) than all but eight teams in a single season since 1940, according to

32. CLEVELAND (0-6) Last week: 32

The Browns are averaging a league-worst 7.3 points in the first three quarters of games.

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