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NFL power rankings 2016: The Patriots just keep cruising to easy wins

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With Tom Brady at the helm, the Patriots have three easy wins by double-digit margins and look deserving of the No. 1 spot.

NFL: New England Patriots at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Some weeks in the NFL, there are reasons to change your opinion of a team. Whether that’s a convincing victory or a bad loss that spells trouble, the NFL is built on momentum and teams can climb or slide through power rankings.

Week 7 wasn’t one of those weeks.

Instead it was a sloppy one filled with turnovers, untimely injuries, and whatever the hell happened on Sunday Night Football between the Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals. Results of those kinds of performances aren’t always indicative of the quality of a football team, though.

Even a 21-10 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles isn’t enough to sell your stock in the Minnesota Vikings. Yes, Sam Bradford threw an interception and fumbled four times on six sacks, and those are bad signs for the team after losing Matt Kalil and Andre Smith. But the Eagles are among the league’s best at getting to the quarterback and gave Ben Roethlisberger a rough day in Week 3.

Still, the Vikings had some flaws exposed, while the rest of the NFL is still looking for a weakness in the New England Patriots. Ho hum, another win by double digits. I think it’s safe to say that the Buffalo Bills won’t be able to shut out the Patriots next week for the second time in a month.

Deep falls and big jumps

Usually these are separate sections, but only five teams moved as much as four spots this week and the rest was mostly tinkering.

The Oakland Raiders are back in the top 10 after decimating the Jacksonville Jaguars and looking every bit like their 5-2 record. They won in every facet of the game and just have the Tampa Bay Buccaneers between them and a huge AFC West showdown with the Denver Broncos.

Meanwhile, the Miami Dolphins moved into the top 20 on the shoulders of a historic performance by running back Jay Ajayi. He has now rushed for at least 200 yards in two straight weeks and figures to keep getting plenty of opportunities after the sudden retirement of Arian Foster.

On the flip side, the Jaguars, Texans, and Washington are the other teams moving four spots — in the other direction. For Washington, that meant falling out of the top 10.

For the Jags, Blake Bortles looks like a mess, the highly touted wide receivers can’t get going, and the exciting additions to the defense don’t seem to be handling losing very well. The end would appear to be on the horizon for Gus Bradley. For the Texans, the signing of Brock Osweiler just looks plain bad. The AFC South is always on brand.

Other surging teams are the Detroit Lions and San Diego Chargers, a pair that play exciting football and are finally getting breaks after horrible luck to start the year.

Bottom of the trash heap

The Chicago Bears, San Francisco 49ers, and Cleveland Browns have been at the bottom of the power rankings for a while and all still look like they belong there.

Thanks to the Indianapolis Colts finally helping out poor Andrew Luck, there’s a team that climbed out of the doldrums at the bottom. The Jaguars look like a deserving member, however.

The Carolina Panthers also slid into the bottom five even though it was a bye week. That’s more a product of wins by the Colts, Buccaneers, and New York Jets, though, leaving no choice but to drop the 1-5 Panthers a bit more.

Week 8 Team Last week
1 New England Patriots 2
2 Minnesota Vikings 1
3 Seattle Seahawks 3
4 Denver Broncos 6
5 Dallas Cowboys 5
6 Atlanta Falcons 4
7 Kansas City Chiefs 8
8 Philadelphia Eagles 11
9 Pittsburgh Steelers 7
10 Oakland Raiders 14
11 Arizona Cardinals 12
12 Buffalo Bills 10
13 Washington 9
14 Green Bay Packers 13
15 Cincinnati Bengals 15
16 Detroit Lions 19
17 New York Giants 16
18 San Diego Chargers 21
19 Baltimore Ravens 18
20 Miami Dolphins 24
21 Houston Texans 17
22 New Orleans Saints 22
23 Tennessee Titans 20
24 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27
25 Los Angeles Rams 23
26 Indianapolis Colts 29
27 New York Jets 28
28 Carolina Panthers 26
29 Jacksonville Jaguars 25
30 Chicago Bears 30
31 San Francisco 49ers 31
32 Cleveland Browns 32