NFL Week 7 Energy Rankings 2022


It’s Week 7 of the NFL regular season.

Our power panel — a group of more than 80 writers, editors and TV personalities — evaluated how teams are stacking up through six weeks.

From the unexpected dominance of the NFC East to the 4-2 New York Jets, it has been hard to predict what will happen week to week. These Power Rankings reflect that. But we (again) have a new No. 1 team after the Buffalo Bills defeated the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, and there are officially three teams from the state of New York in the top 10.

In addition to our updated rankings, we checked in with NFL Nation reporters across the league and asked them to name one thing that we, and the general public, got wrong about each team. They explore expectations that have been exceeded and expectations that have not been met through these six weeks of the season.

Let’s get to it.

Jump to a team:
ARI | ATL | BAL | BUF | CAR | CHI | CIN
CLE | DAL | DEN | DET | GB | HOU | IND
JAX | KC | LV | LAC | LAR | MIA | MIN
NE | NO | NYG | NYJ | PHI | PIT | SF
SEA | TB | TEN | WSH

Week 6 ranking: 2

The highest of expectations were set for the Buffalo Bills, and they have shown why many thought this team could be the best in the league. Quarterback Josh Allen is playing at an MVP-type level, and pass rusher Von Miller is performing as the team hoped with six sacks. I’m not sure many thought the Bills would keep winning despite missing key players. Buffalo has dealt with injuries to several starters, including safety Micah Hyde suffering a season-ending neck injury. The team is getting healthier, but backups have largely been up to the task, showing just how well-rounded of a roster GM Brandon Beane has built. — Alaina Getzenberg


Week 6 ranking: 3

I thought quarterback Jalen Hurts would improve in his second full season as the starter, but wasn’t expecting him to be in the early MVP conversation. His strides in the passing game have been particularly notable. He ranks ninth in completion percentage through six games (66.8%) compared to 26th last year (61.3%). He is third in yards per attempt (8.23) and has only committed two turnovers while dropping back 221 times and running it 77 times. Hurts is a primary reason why the Eagles are undefeated. — Tim McManus


Week 6 ranking: 1

The pass rush, with 14 sacks through five games, is improved. Last season, the Chiefs had 31 sacks over 17 games, leaving them 29th in the league. The Chiefs need to improve their pass rush with their front four other than Chris Jones when they don’t blitz. The Chiefs have eight sacks with their down linemen, including three from Jones. Linebackers or defensive backs have the other six. — Adam Teicher

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Stephen A. Smith highlights the Chiefs’ need for a star WR if they want to top the Bills this year.


Week 6 ranking: 4

There was widespread skepticism that coach Kevin O’Connell would have the team physically ready for the start of the season after a unique summer driven by sports performance theories. Key players saw little to no preseason action, despite a schematic overhaul, and there were only a handful of intensely physical practices periods. But not only were the Vikings ready to open 5-1, but 21 of their 22 starters have made every start. The only exception was safety Harrison Smith, who missed one game because of a concussion. — Kevin Seifert


Week 6 ranking: 11

The Giants weren’t expected to win many games this season (my projection was six). You blame me? They hadn’t topped six wins in any of the previous five seasons. But all they’ve done so far is find ways to win, whether it’s by going for two in the opener, shutting out Aaron Rodgers in the second half or getting their first interception of the season to win them the game against Lamar Jackson and the Ravens. It doesn’t matter that the Giants are 23rd in total offense and 15th in defense. Coach Brian Daboll has this team believing and finishing. They’ve outscored opponents 87-49 in the second half of games. — Jordan Raanan


Week 6 ranking: 5

First, I didn’t get anything wrong. I thought the defense would be the strength. I thought the run game would be better than people thought. I didn’t know they would win four straight games without Dak Prescott, and neither did anybody else not related to the franchise. Cooper Rush deserves a ton of credit for what he was able to do in Prescott’s absence. He has earned a job as a backup in the NFL for however long somebody wants him to be a backup. He kept the season alive because there was nothing but doom and gloom after Prescott suffered a fractured thumb in the season opener. The Cowboys play Detroit and Chicago before heading into the bye week. If Prescott plays as expected, the Cowboys will be in the thick of the playoff chase. — Todd Archer


Week 6 ranking: 7

Coming in, it was thought that the Ravens would have the NFL’s best secondary. But, Baltimore ranks 28th against the pass, giving up an average 267.7 yards through the air. The real problem has been in the fourth quarter, where the Ravens have allowed 552 yards passing and six touchdown passes. This is a surprise given that Baltimore has three first-round picks (cornerbacks Marlon Humphrey and Marcus Peters along with Kyle Hamilton) and a top free-agent signing (safety Marcus Williams) in the secondary. It won’t get any easier without Williams, who is out for an extended period after dislocating his wrist in Week 5. — Jamison Hensley


Week 6 ranking: 10

After ranking among the worst units in the NFL (No. 29 overall) allowing an average of 27 points per game in 2021, it was widely thought that the Bolts defense would catapult up the rankings after significant offseason upgrades in personnel. However, despite the additions of All Pro edge rusher Khalil Mack, Pro Bowl cornerback J.C. Jackson and defensive lineman Sebastian Joseph-Day, the Chargers remain ranked among the league’s worst defenses (No. 26 overall), allowing an average of 25.3 points per game. And a lack of improvement and performance cannot solely be blamed on the loss of Pro Bowl edge rusher Joey Bosa, who was placed on injured reserve after Week 3 after undergoing groin surgery. — Lindsey Thiry


Week 6 ranking: 16

The rookie class is developing quicker than expected. Cornerback Sauce Gardner and running back Breece Hall, in particular, have made such an impact that they have to be considered candidates for Defensive and Offensive Rookie of the Year, respectively. Gardner has eight pass breakups, one interception and has allowed only one reception in man coverage, per NFL Next Gen Stats. Hall replaced Michael Carter as the RB1 and is ninth in the league with 609 yards from scrimmage. Growing pains? Not at all. — Rich Cimini


Week 6 ranking: 9

It seems the 2022 Bucs are not the same team that won the Super Bowl in 2020 or that put up 30 points on opponents last year. “I feel like everyone thinks we’re a team that we’re not,” right tackle Tristan Wirfs said Sunday. “We haven’t done anything yet. We’re 3-3. It ain’t good. That’s what we are. Your record is what you are. We’ve gotta be better.” They’re averaging just 20 points a game and scoring touchdowns on only 50% of their red zone drives — 21st in the NFL. Last season they were scoring touchdowns on 64.4% of their red zone drives. — Jenna Laine

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Dan Orlovsky and Mina Kimes react to the Cardinals trading for Robbie Anderson.


Week 6 ranking: 13

It was the hope that wide receiver Allen Robinson II would step in immediately and make an impact alongside Cooper Kupp. While Robinson is coming off his best game of the season for the Rams — five catches for 63 yards and a touchdown — for much of the season he has struggled to consistently connect with Matthew Stafford. The pair — and the Rams’ offense — took a step in the right direction on Sunday, but it remains to be seen whether they can keep up the production against tougher upcoming opponents. — Sarah Barshop


Week 6 ranking: 6

After investing in significant special teams resources in the offseason, we thought the unit would be vastly improved. The 49ers spent good money to bolster their coverage units and sign returner Ray-Ray McCloud. They even hired a new special teams coach in Brian Schneider to bring it all together. The results have been mixed as San Francisco still struggles on kickoff returns, has given up 23.2 yards per kick return (ninth worst in the NFL) and had two field goals blocked. The result is a unit with an expected points added of minus-3.5, which is 21st in the NFL. It’s better than last year at this time but it’s still not where the 49ers would like it to be. — Nick Wagoner


Week 6 ranking: 14

An improved offensive line didn’t immediately produce a better offense. Despite overhauling 80% of the starting five in the offseason, and with blocking rates slightly better, the Bengals still languished in several key metrics. One could attribute that to several factors, including QB Joe Burrow‘s emergency appendectomy before the start of the season. Cincinnati is still in the middle of the pack in expected yards per play, but a 30-26 win over the New Orleans Saints hinted that the unit could be trending upward.. — Ben Baby


Week 6 ranking: 8

Oh, if there were only one thing. On offense, the Packers have the lowest six-game point total in any six games of Aaron Rodgers‘ career. Even without Davante Adams, this was not the expectation because of guys like Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon. The defense, loaded with first-round picks and high-priced free agents that had everyone projecting them as a top-tier defense, still can’t stop the run. And even the special teams that looked vastly improved reverted Sunday and had both a field goal and a punt blocked. That’s how an overwhelming division favorite can recede to mediocrity so quickly. — Rob Demovsky


Week 6 ranking: 19

The hesitance at the start of the season was that the offense, led by coaches Matt Patricia and Joe Judge whose primary experience had been on defense and special teams, would be an Achilles’ heel. Instead, the coaches have been instrumental in getting rookie QB Bailey Zappe up to speed in an emergency situation. Zappe is 2-0 as a starter, and in just over 11 quarters is 51-of-70 for 596 yards, with four touchdowns and one interception. — Mike Reiss


Week 6 ranking: 15

Since taking over as Tennessee’s starter in 2019, 26 of Ryan Tannehill‘s 82 touchdown passes have gone to tight ends. Veteran free agent Austin Hooper seemed like a natural match to benefit from Tannehill’s willingness to get the tight ends involved. Hooper and Tannehill worked extensively to generate chemistry during training camp. Judging from how often the two players connected in practice, Hooper appeared to be on his way to a productive season back in July. But that hasn’t been the case. Hooper has only caught six passes for 55 yards through five games and is yet to score a touchdown. — Turron Davenport


Week 6 ranking: 12

There was a lot of outside skepticism whether or not Tua Tagovailoa could power an offense that featured Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. Instead, he led the NFL in QBR through the first three weeks of the season and ranked second in passing yards. Most importantly, the Dolphins started 3-0. He’s missed the past two and a half games and their offensive efficiency has plummeted; the Dolphins ranked second in the league in expected points added in Weeks 1-3 — in Weeks 4-6, that ranking has dropped to 28th. Contrary to popular belief entering the season, this team is quantifiably better with Tagovailoa under center. — Marcel Louis-Jacques

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Field Yates says he still doesn’t view Mike Gesicki as a reliable fantasy starter despite his big performance in Week 6.


Week 6 ranking: 20

The expectation was that Geno Smith would be a massive drop off from Russell Wilson. However, Smith has been one of the biggest surprises of the season — and far better than his predecessor has been during his rough start in Denver. Even with a quiet performance in Week 6, Smith ranks fourth in Total QBR (68.5%), first in completion percentage (73.4%) and third in touchdown-to-interception ratio (9-2). And it’s not as though he’s merely been a game manager. Smith has attempted the 14th-most passes and had to carry the Seahawks to their first two victories while their defense faltered. — Brady Henderson


Week 6 ranking: 24

The Falcons were supposed to be bad. Having a 3-3 record through six games with a clear plan is better than most could have expected. Contrary to my preseason thought, Atlanta has been able to run on any opponent it has faced with a multitude of backs, the league’s No. 3 rushing team. Its defense has been opportunistic and created pressure at key times. The cohesion of the entire roster, combined with a division void of a dominant team, should have Atlanta in the playoff conversation for many, many weeks to come. — Michael Rothstein


Week 6 ranking: 25

The notion that the Indianapolis Colts‘ young group of wide receivers and tight ends were the biggest concern hasn’t proven to be true. Surprisingly, that title belongs to an offensive line that has struggled in epic fashion and has undermined the entire offense. The Colts have used different offensive line combinations in each of the past three games, with none of the changes prompted by injury. They finally seem to have found a workable unit in Sunday’s win over the Jacksonville Jaguars — the line’s best showing of the season. As for the receivers and tight ends, the youngsters are really starting to flash, particularly rookie receiver Alec Pierce. Now, consistency is the next goal. — Stephen Holder


Week 6 ranking: 17

It was assumed Saints defense would pick up where it left off and remain top tier despite an overhauled secondary. But they have just one interception as a team, have fallen from No. 7 in total defense in 2021 to No. 17 this season and no longer have the vaunted run defense they once had. The offense continues to get the attention, but the defense has made some key mistakes this year, including missed tackles in critical moments. — Katherine Terrell


Week 6 ranking: 22

Running back James Robinson suffered a torn Achilles on Dec. 26 and the Jacksonville Jaguars were careful with him throughout the offseason and training camp. Head coach Doug Pederson was hopeful Robinson would be ready to go in the season opener, but nobody was sure what kind of conditioning Robinson would have and how much work he could handle. The assumption was more Travis Etienne Jr. early in the season until Robinson was full go. However, he’s had no issues at all and leads the Jaguars in carries (81) and rushing yards (340). He’s splitting time with Etienne, but that was always the plan. — Michael DiRocco


Week 6 ranking: 18

The Browns finished the 2021 season in the top five in lowest opposing QBR (51.1), fewest net yards per passing attempt (5.97) and highest pass rush win rate (49.9%). With virtually every starter back, that was supposed to translate into an elite defensive unit this season. Instead, Cleveland’s defense has fallen apart. The Browns are well outside the top 10 in all three of the aforementioned categories. But most telling, they now rank 31st in defensive efficiency. The Browns do have the talent to turn it around. Yet nothing about their performances so far suggests that they will. — Jake Trotter


Week 6 ranking: 23

Russell Wilson‘s arrival has not brought the immediate jumpstart to the team’s offense most had expected. The Broncos have scored just seven touchdowns over their first six games, and Wilson has looked uncomfortable at times as he attempts to navigate this season. — Jeff Legwold


Week 6 ranking: 29

It’s not so much that we got it wrong, it’s that outside factors affected early impressions of the Pittsburgh Steelers‘ defense. This looked like a championship-caliber unit in training camp, but the Week 1 injury to T.J. Watt coupled with injuries to the secondary exposed the Steelers’ lack of depth through the first five weeks of the season. But against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Steelers finally showed they can be a dominant defense with a patchwork secondary and pressure up the middle. The Steelers had two sacks, only their second multi-sack game since Watt’s injury. And, they held the Bucs to 2.9 yards per carry — the best performance of a much-maligned Steelers’ run defense. — Brooke Pryor


Week 6 ranking: 21

The Cardinals’ offense wasn’t able to survive DeAndre Hopkins‘ suspension as well as we thought. They didn’t score in the first quarter for the first five games and went two games this year without an offensive touchdown. With all their other targets, the expectation was that the Cardinals would be playing better than it has without Hopkins, but instead the team is 2-4 ready for the receiver to return. — Josh Weinfuss

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Dan Orlovsky and Mina Kimes react to the Cardinals trading for Robbie Anderson.


Week 6 ranking: 26

We thought the Raiders might employ a running back-by-committee approach. Instead, Josh Jacobs is the unquestioned lead back. Jacobs, who did not have his fifth-year option picked up, was third in the NFL with 490 rushing yards entering the Raiders’ bye week. He had accounted for 91.1% of the yards picked up on the ground by Raiders’ RBs, 82.6% of the total offensive yards gained by Las Vegas’ backs. Yeah, it sure seems Jacobs wants a new contract. Paul Gutierrez


Week 6 ranking: 31

Washington’s offense was thought to have improved after adding quarterback Carson Wentz, receiver Jahan Dotson and a healthy Curtis Samuel. Fact check: It’s not. They’re averaging 16.7 offensive points per game compared to 18.7 last season. Wentz has struggled behind a line that can’t pass protect and in an offense that has once more failed to establish an identity. Injuries have played a role — Washington is on its fourth center — but other teams have handled those much better than Washington. And the starting point with the line, thanks to personnel decisions, wasn’t good for the Commanders. — John Keim


Week 6 ranking: 27

Cole Kmet isn’t having the breakout season we projected. While so much was made of the connection between wide receiver Darnell Mooney and quarterback Justin Fields during the offseason, Kmet was also expected to be a huge part of the Bears’ passing attack coming off a year where he caught 60 passes for 612 yards. I thought all of Jimmy Graham’s red zone targets would have gone to Kmet, but the tight end has only had two passes come his way inside the 20-yard line. Through six games, Kmet has 10 catches for 116 yards. His predominant function in Chicago’s offense is as a blocker, which I don’t think many saw coming considering the lack of talent/production from others in the passing game should make him a top target. — Courtney Cronin


Week 6 ranking: 28

The Texans aren’t as bad as their record of 1-3-1 would suggest. In every Texans’ game this season the result has come down to one drive in the fourth quarter, but in the majority of them, they haven’t been able to pull out the win. Closing has been their issue as they’ve only been outscored by 13 points, which ranks 17th in the NFL. The defense has kept games close by allowing only 19 points per game, 13th in the NFL. And some results came against respectable opponents in the Chargers, Colts and Broncos led by star quarterbacks. — DJ Bien-Aime


Week 6 ranking: 30

The Lions are still very much in the rebuilding stage despite early thoughts that they improved. A 1-4 start is a reminder that this squad still has some key pieces — notably on defense — to fill before becoming a legitimate contender. Some experts projected the Lions to have a much better record at this point, but the defense has already allowed 170 points through the first five games, which are the most in franchise history. — Eric Woodyard


Week 6 ranking: 32

That quarterback Baker Mayfield would be an upgrade over Sam Darnold and help the Carolina Panthers to seven to nine wins. He’s not. Mayfield’s numbers across the board are the worst of his career and worse than Darnold’s were a year ago when he was one of the worst quarterbacks in the league. And the Panthers, who already have fired coach Matt Rhule, are 1-5 with no clear path to seven to nine wins. — David Newton

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