2015 NFL Power Rankings Week 7

Wild Card Playoffs - San Diego Chargers v Cincinnati BengalsFew would have predicted that the Cincinnati Bengals and Carolina Panthers would still be among the unbeatens through six weeks of NFL action. But here we are and their records remain unblemished. See where Cincy and Carolina sit in our NFL Week 7 power rankings. Also, check out our rankings from Week 6.

1. New England Patriots (5-0); beat Indianapolis Colts 34-27, same spot – Through five games, New England has scored one more point (183) than they did in their 2007 undefeated season (182).

2. Green Bay Packers (6-0); beat San Diego 27-20, same spot – Green Bay’s undefeated record will face a serious test after their bye week; they meet Denver then Carolina.

3. Cincinnati Bengals (6-0); beat Buffalo Bills 34-21, same spot – Cincinnati looks poised to blow open what looked to be an extremely tough AFC North at the outset.

4. Denver Broncos (6-0); beat Cleveland Browns 26-23, same spot – Peyton Manning has 10 interceptions, his most at this point since his rookie season (14).

Cam Newton5. Carolina Panthers (5-0); beat Seattle 27-23, up 2 spots – Cam Newton has been masterful in the fourth quarter (94.1 QBR); but he’s been terrible in the first three quarters (37.1 QBR).

6. Arizona Cardinals (4-2); lost to Pittsburgh 25-13, down 1 spot – Arizona has lost the battle of turnovers in their two losses (-6 differential).

7. New York Jets (4-1); beat Washington 34-20, up 1 spot – Chris Ivory is having a career year so far, averaging 115.0 rushing yards per game.

8. Atlanta Falcons (5-1); lost to New Orleans 31-21, down 1 spot – The Falcons finally lost one of the four games that they’ve trailed entering the fourth quarter.

9. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-2); beat Arizona 25-13, up 1 spot  – Despite trotting out three quarterbacks so far, Pittsburgh only has 3 turnovers – best in the NFL.

10. Philadelphia Eagles (3-3); beat New York Giants, up 4 spots  – Philly finally has that vaunted rushing attack going; they’re averaging 154.7 rushing yards in their three wins.

11. Buffalo Bills (3-3); lost to Cincinnati 34-21, same spot – Will Mario William’s complaints about the defense spark this team’s feared front four?

12. Indianapolis Colts (3-3); lost to New England 34-27, same spot – The Colts have yet to win a game outside their division, but the good news is that they only play AFC South opponents until Week 14.

kam-chancellor-seattle13. Seattle Seahawks (2-4); lost to Carolina 27-23, down 4 spots – Seattle has been really bad at holding leads; their -28 point differential in the fourth quarter is second worst in the league.

14. Minnesota Vikings (3-2); beat Kansas City 16-10, up 3 spots – Adrian Peterson managed just 60 rushing yards, his fewest in a Minnesota win since 2011.

15. New York Giants (3-3); lost to Philadelphia 27-7, down 2 spots – New York looked hot on their opening drive, then just fizzled the rest of the game.

16. Dallas Cowboys (2-3); bye week, down 1 spot – Dallas gets to debut their changes at various positions coming out of their bye week.

17. St. Louis Rams (2-3); bye week, up 1 spot – Todd Gurley could have his best game yet as he faces Cleveland, the worst rushing defense in the league.

18. San Diego Chargers (2-4); lost to Green Bay 27-20, up 1 spot – San Diego has been competitive all season, it just hasn’t resulted in wins.

19. New Orleans Saints (2-4); beat Atlanta 31-21, up 5 spots – The winning formula for New Orleans: don’t turn the ball over. They’re 2-0 when they do so.

20. Miami Dolphins (2-3); beat Tennessee 38-10, up 6 spots – Miami’s pass rush finally generated the pressure it was supposed to, tallying 6 sacks (4 from Cameron Jordan).

21. Cleveland Browns (2-4); lost to Denver 26-23, down 1 spot – Cleveland has to improve on the fact that they’re giving up an NFL-worst 149.8 rushing yards per game.

calvin-johnson-lions22. Detroit Lions (1-5); beat Chicago 37-34, up 5 spots – Calvin Johnson hadn’t caught a 30+ yard pass since last season, but that’s exactly what he did to give Detroit a win.

23. Chicago Bears (2-4); lost to Detroit 37-34, down 1 spot – If nothing else, Chicago is competitive. They’ve played three straight games that were decided by 3 or fewer points.

24. San Francisco (2-4); beat Baltimore 25-20, up 7 spots – The Niners have been playing some better offense, averaging 26 points and committing no turnovers in the past 2 contests.

25. Oakland Raiders (2-3); bye week, down 2 spots – If there’s some solace for the Raiders, two of their losses have come to Denver and Cincy.

26. Houston Texans (2-4); beat Jacksonville 31-20, up 2 spots – Houston will look to go 3-0 against Florida this week as they face Miami.

27. Kansas City Chiefs (1-5); lost to Minnesota 16-10, down 11 spots – No Jamaal Charles…Jeremy Maclin concussed, things are not going good for the Chiefs.

28. Washington Redskins (2-4); lost to NY Jets 34-20, down 3 spots – After leading the NFL in rushing through the first four games, Washington has only averaged 42.5 rushing yards per game.

29. Baltimore Ravens (1-5); lost to San Francisco 25-20, down 7 spots – While all of Baltimore’s games have been within a touchdown, they’ve been on the losing end too many times.

30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3); bye week, down 1 spot – Tampa Bay will look to even up their record against a tough Washington defense.

31. Tennessee Titans (1-4); lost to Miami 38-10, down 1 spot – After winning their first game by 28 against Tampa Bay, Tennessee has lost four games by a combined 45 points.

32. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-5); lost to Houston 31-20, same spot – Jacksonville still has yet to score a rushing touchdown this season.

Michael Vick is starting for the Eagles – Now What?

michael-vickLast year was definitely a season to forget for Michael Vick. He missed several games due to a concussion, and failed to immediately regain his starting job from rookie Nick Foles upon returning from his head injury. Thanks to the missed time, he tallied his lowest stats since returning to the NFL in 2009, following a two-year prison stint. Vick threw for 2,362 yards, had 332 rushing yards, and threw for 12 TD’s against 10 INT’s.

What’s worse is that the normally-competitive Philadelphia Eagles suffered through a dismal season after going 4-12. All of this being said, nothing was guaranteed heading into the 2013-14 season – especially Vick’s starting job.

But after battling with Foles for the lead QB role, Chip Kelly has already named Vick the starter for the September 9th Week 1 game against Washington. Now that he’s entering this year as the top signal caller again, the question will be if Vick can regain his 2010 form, when he threw for 3,018 yards and 21 TD’s, ran for 676 yards and 9 TD’s, and tossed just 6 INT’s.

michael-vickThe 10-year veteran will be hard-pressed to repeat what he did back then. However, he stands a great chance of improving, thanks to Kelly’s new offensive system. This is especially true when you consider that this offense will utilize Vick’s mobility more than what was seen in Andy Reid’s system last year.

Now this doesn’t mean that Vick will be equaling his 2010 rushing total of 676 yards. After all, Kelly’s offense doesn’t call for a running back who can throw, but rather a passer who can run. But Vick has the legs to create plays on all of the zone reads in Kelly’s offense. Even at 33, he’s quite possibly the fastest quarterback in the league. So even if Vick only runs a few times every game, that threat is going to keep linebackers and safeties at home.

The big thing for No. 7 will be avoiding sacks and turnovers, which plagued him last season. Even more so than other coaches, Chip Kelly hates his QB getting sacked and turning the ball over. So if these problems start to creep back into Vick’s play, look for Foles to get another shot at the starting job.

michael-vick-1It’s also worth mentioning that Vick has only played a full season once. His hard-running style isn’t exactly a recipe for longevity throughout the year, so you can bet that he’ll miss 2-3 games in 2013.

One more thing worth covering is that Vick will start the season without his biggest weapon in Jeremy Maclin. Maclin will miss the entire year with a torn ACL, which definitely hurts because he was expected to be Philadelphia’s top wideout.

Despite all of the adversity facing him, Michael Vick is likely to have a much better season than last year’s nightmare. Chip Kelly’s system will compliment him well, and he’ll also be playing for a new deal. It wouldn’t be a total surprise if he leads the Eagles to at least a .500 record and maybe even a Wild Card playoff spot.

Michael Vick takes $5.5m Paycut to stay with Eagles and Chip Kelly

San Francisco 49ers v Philadelphia EaglesDespite suffering through one of the worst seasons of his career, Michael Vick still had plenty of suitors in the early NFL offseason. The 32-year-old drew heavy interest from Arizona, Buffalo and Cleveland as all three teams are looking to upgrade their QB position. However, Vick decided to stay put in Philadelphia – even if it meant taking a $5.5 million paycut.

He signed a one-year, $10 million restructured deal to come back to the Eagles for a fourth year. And what’s interesting about this is that Vick probably could have earned more money by going to one of the aforementioned teams. However, he chose to stay in Philly for one big reason – Chip Kelly and his new offense.

The Perfect Situation

Over the past four years, Chip Kelly built a reputation as an offensive mastermind at the University of Oregon. His Ducks were regularly among the nation’s top scoring teams, and this helped him compile a 46-7 record at Oregon. Taking all of this into account, it’s no surprise that Vick was excited about returning to the Eagles – despite suffering through an injury-plagued season where he threw for just 2,362 yards, 12 TD’s and 10 INT’s.

chip-kelly-oregonVick discussed the matter by saying, “I feel like this is the perfect situation for me. After talking with Chip and looking at the offense, I wanted to be here.” He added, “This is about making it work. Whatever I had to do, I wanted to make this work.”

When considering what Kelly’s offense can do for a quarterback, it’s easy to see why Vick would want to return. The large number of option plays and emphasis on quarterback speed is great for Michael, who, even at 32, is one of the NFL’s faster players.

Chance of Success?

The Eagles have invested $10 million into Michael Vick while hoping that he can regain the same form he had in 2010 – which saw him throw for 3,018 yards, 21 TD’s and 6 INT’s, and rush for 676 yards and 9 more touchdowns. However, Vick is far from a sure thing since Nick Foles will provide competition for the starting QB role; Foles threw for 1,699 yards, 6 TD’s and 5 INT’s in his seven rookie appearances.

michael-vickHowever, Michael thinks that he can put the injuries and struggles of the past two years behind him as he said, “Physically, I think I’m right there as good as the 23-year-old me I was way back when I got started. I’ve been training hard already with Tom Anderson and he’s going to have me ready to play in this offense by next season.”

Plus the offensive weapons are all there, which is something that isn’t completely true with Cleveland, Buffalo and Arizona. Vick has a star running back (LeSean McCoy), two strong wide receivers (Jeremy Maclin, DeSean Jackson) and a very solid tight end (Brent Celek) in Philadelphia.

The right pieces and offensive scheme are certainly there for Vick this coming season. Now it’s up to him to stay healthy and prove that his skills haven’t diminished with age.