Power Rankings: Do Colts deserve No. 1 ahead of Pats?

Updated: October 30, 2007, 2:45 PM ET
By Mike Mcallister | ESPN.com

Until they lose -- or rather, unless they lose -- the Patriots are a no-doubt-about-it, slam-dunk, bet-the-farm easy No. 1 pick in the Power Rankings each week, right? After all, not only are they 7-0 but they're crushing opponents; in fact, the Pats are the first team in NFL history to win each of its first seven games by 17 or more points. And consider this: Just 11 teams are averaging more points than the Pats' average margin of victory (22.7).

ESPN.com's Power Rankings
The rankings were determined by a poll of ESPN.com's NFL staff: writers John Clayton, Len Pasquarelli, Matt Mosley, Jeffri Chadiha and Mike Sando; Scouts Inc. Insiders Jeremy Green and Keith Kidd; and ESPN.com NFL senior editor Mike McAllister.

Still, there are those scattered few who think the Colts should be ranked ahead of the Pats. After all, Indianapolis is the defending champ and has yet to lose since claiming the crown. Plus, the Colts have played a tougher schedule. Indy opponents are a combined 20-18; New England's opponents are a combined 17-28.

Certainly, that's one reason senior writer Jeffri Chadiha ranks the Colts as his top team, the only voter among our eight to do so. "I think they've played better competition, and I think they're better than last year," Chadiha said. "The big difference to me is the quality of competition."

Makes sense. But it's hard to ignore how dominant the Pats are, no matter which teams they've faced. It's also hard to ignore all those record paces Tom Brady, Randy Moss and the offense are on. Plus, it's not as though the Pats have come out of nowhere; the fluke label simply doesn't apply to a team that has won three of the past six Super Bowls.

Even Chadiha acknowledged, "I think people are in love with the Patriots because they're the sexier team."

Of course, on Nov. 4, we'll get our answer on whether the Pats should be ranked ahead of the Colts. Then we finally can turn our attention to the other big debate in the rankings: Who stinks the most, the Rams or Dolphins?

So how would you rank the teams after Week 7? Click here to access SportsNation's ranking tool.

BIGGEST RISE: New York Giants from 9th to 4th; Chicago Bears from 23rd to 18th. BIGGEST DROP: Tampa Bay Buccaneers from eighth to 16th.

(Editor's note: LW indicates each team's ranking last week.)

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