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The Polite Power Rankings: Week 7

You have to go all the way back to 1803 to find the first use of the word “upset” to describe, well, a team being unexpectedly toppled. Back then, the word was actually applied to ships on the high seas and literally translated to “overturn” or “capsize.” Indeed, some overturning occurred this past weekend in the NFL. The surging Redskins were sunk by a suddenly confident Rams squad. The darling Cowboys let the ship be flipped by an improving Cardinals team. And the Super Bowl champs got slammed by a surly Browns squad that — you heard it here — might have remembered what it means to be good. Upsets aplenty. So where do the teams stand? Read on.

1. Pittsburgh Steelers (2)

A week of rest ends with Ben’s bones feeling fresh, Fast Willie back on the field (well, maybe back) and a hungry defense feeling even hungrier. And all that’s waiting for them on a Sunday is a sad Bengals squad. If the Steelers can survive their injuries, they’ll be in conversation all season long.

2. Tennessee Titans (4)

This undefeated team is standing confident as it prepares for the Chiefs on Sunday. But be careful, Titans. If you don’t understand why caution is required, just talk to the Redskins about what happened to them last Sunday.

3. New York Giants (1)

True, the Browns let ’em have it. But the Browns were a hungry team, and the Giants are the reigning Super Bowl champs, so they stay in the mix. A big V against the 49ers at the Meadowlands this weekend could prove that the Giants are just fine.

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8)

“They” were saying that the Bucs couldn’t handle the Panthers, but last weekend they made Carolina look a Pop Warner club. Garcia keeps this offense running efficiently — and efficiency seems to do the trick.

5. Dallas Cowboys (3)

It’s simple: too much talent to allow so much slop. Romo wants to play through his injury, but this isn’t likely to do much to eliminate that slop.

6. Philadelphia Eagles (11)

7. Arizona Cardinals (12)

When the Cardinals beat up on teams (especially good teams like the Cowboys), you’re forced to pause and say, “Huh, they sure have a lot of talent on that team. Wonder what they’ll do with it?” That question will be answered, in part, as we find out what Kurt Warner has left in the tank. A lot, by the looks of it.

8. Washington Redskins (5)

9. Buffalo Bills (9)

10. Indianapolis Colts (14)

For the first time in a long time, the Colts offense was surrounded by question marks. So what did the do? They went up against the fierce Ravens defense and made it all look so easy.

11. Chicago Bears (6)

12. New York Jets (13)

13. Carolina Panthers (7)

14. Atlanta Falcons (17)

Football’s feel-good story of the year. Seriously. I know the year is early, but does anyone want to take issue with me on this? “I wanna get you in the Georgia Dome on the fifty yard line while the Dirty Birds kick the three.” Um.

15. New Orleans Saints (10)

16. San Diego Chargers (18)

With the Patriots behind them, the Chargers begin their march to ranks of the elite. But do they have what it takes to get there? Step One = consistency.

17. Green Bay Packers (19)

18. Denver Broncos (10)

19. Jacksonville Jaguars (22)

20. Minnesota Vikings (21)

21. Miami Dolphins (20)

22. New England Patriots (16)

23. Cleveland Browns (28)

24. Houston Texans (26)

25. San Francisco 49ers (24)

26. Baltimore Ravens (23)

27. Seattle Seahawks (25)

28. St. Louis Rams (32)

Off the schneid they come! And against a strong Redskins team, too. It seems possible that new blood on the Rams’ throne has given this team a fresh outlook on the season.

29. Kansas City Chiefs (29)

30. Cincinnati Bengals (27)

31. Detroit Lions (31)

32. Oakland Raiders (30)

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