Week 7 NFL Power Rankings: Patriots slip past Vikings for No. 1

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Quarterback Tom Brady and the Patriots have bulldozed their way to the top of this week's ESPN NFL Power Rankings. ESPN's power panel (a group of more than 80 writers, editors and TV personalities) not only went with a new No. 1 this week, but also voted to move the 5-1 Cowboys up into the top five for the first time this season.

Methodology note: These rankings reflect who voters think would win in head-to-head matchups. Higher-ranked teams would more often be favored against lower-ranked teams. Coming off a win doesn't guarantee a jump, and coming off a loss doesn't guarantee a fall.

Check out the rest of the league and where each team ranks.

Previous rankings: Week 6 | Week 5 | Week 4 | Week 3 | Week 2 | Week 1 | Preseason

ESPN Stats & Information contributed the following information, which this week focuses on some important numbers regarding each team's starting quarterback.

1. New England Patriots

2016 record: 5-1
Week 6 ranking: 2

210: Tom Brady is 2-0 since his return from a four-game suspension and now he gets a Steelers team that will be without starting QB Ben Roethlisberger. Brady has not thrown an interception in his past five games against the Steelers, totaling 210 attempts in those games.

2. Minnesota Vikings

2016 record: 5-0
Week 6 ranking: 1

70.4: Sam Bradford was traded just before the season started, but that hasn't stopped him from developing an instant chemistry with his passing options. He has a 70.4 completion percentage this season, best in the NFL. Bradford takes on the team that traded him this week.

3. Seattle Seahawks

2016 record: 4-1
Week 6 ranking: 5

15: The Seahawks have a great defense and great supporting cast, but when things get down to the nitty-gritty, that's when Russell Wilson really shines. He has 15 game-winning drives since entering the NFL in 2012, tied for second in the league over that span.

4. Dallas Cowboys

2016 record: 5-1
Week 6 ranking: 7

84.7: Dak Prescott might have to give way to Tony Romo following the Cowboys' Week 7 bye, but he probably shouldn't if you look at one key stat. Prescott's 84.7 Total QBR this season ranks second among all quarterbacks, trailing only Atlanta's Matt Ryan.

5. Denver Broncos

2016 record: 4-2
Week 6 ranking: 4

17.4: The Broncos got off to a good start with their quarterback play this season, but Paxton Lynch and Trevor Siemian have combined for a 17.4 Total QBR the past two weeks, worst in the NFL in that time span. The Texans' pass rush awaits Monday night.

6. Atlanta Falcons

2016 record: 4-2
Week 6 ranking: 6

2,075: Matt Ryan has Julio Jones, a pair of tight ends and a pair of running backs to throw to this season, which has resulted in a big spike in his passing numbers. Ryan's 2,075 passing yards are 287 more than any other QB, and it's the most in Falcons history through six games.

7. Pittsburgh Steelers

2016 record: 4-2
Week 6 ranking: 3

.571: Since Ben Roethlisberger became the team's starting quarterback in 2004, the Steelers are 12-9 in games not started by him, good for a .571 win percentage. It's not the .658 win percentage that Pittsburgh has with him starting, but it's good enough to keep the Steelers afloat if he's out for an extended period.

8. Buffalo Bills

2016 record: 4-2
Week 6 ranking: 16

2.92: The blocking that allowed the Bills to average 211.8 rushing yards per game the past four weeks has also helped the passing game. Tyrod Taylor is averaging an NFL-high 2.92 seconds before passing this season, giving him plenty of time to find a depleted group of receivers.

9. Washington Redskins

2016 record: 4-2
Week 6 ranking: 22

11-5: The Redskins have won four straight and eight of their past 10, and since that game in which Kirk Cousins asked a famous question, Washington is 11-5. Cousins has thrown 32 touchdowns to nine interceptions in that span.

10. Green Bay Packers

2016 record: 3-2
Week 6 ranking: 9

6.5: If Aaron Rodgers doesn't seem himself lately, it's because he's not. Last season Rodgers set career lows in completion percentage and yards per attempt. He's performing worse in both categories this season, averaging 6.5 yards per attempt, fifth-worst in the NFL.

11. Kansas City Chiefs

2016 record: 3-2
Week 6 ranking: 15

6.6: Alex Smith has never had the biggest arm, but his short passing can be effective. His average throw has traveled only 6.6 yards past the line of scrimmage this season, second-shortest in the NFL, but as long as the Chiefs can get yards after the catch, it works.

12. New York Giants

2016 record: 3-3
Week 6 ranking: 17

69: Odell Beckham Jr. seems to be in and out of games this season, even when he's on the field. But when Eli Manning can find him, the Giants win. Manning's completion percentage to Beckham in wins this season is 69 percent, compared to 50 percent in losses.

13. Arizona Cardinals

2016 record: 3-3
Week 6 ranking: 10

833: Carson Palmer had a strong bounce-back game against the Jets, taking no sacks and throwing no picks. Palmer's best work, however, was handing off or throwing to David Johnson, who leads the NFL with 833 yards from scrimmage this season.

14. Oakland Raiders

2016 record: 4-2
Week 6 ranking: 12

1: Derek Carr has some nice receivers to throw to, but no other team has been more dependent on that position group so far this season. He has thrown an NFL-high 140 passes and 11 touchdowns to wide receivers this season, and has thrown only one touchdown to all other skill positions.

15. Philadelphia Eagles

2016 record: 3-2
Week 6 ranking: 11

4: The Redskins might have been the first to realize you don't need to blitz Carson Wentz to beat him, sending four or fewer pass-rushers on 82 percent of his dropbacks. Wentz has completed an NFL-best 80 percent of his passes when blitzed this season, so watch for teams to take their cue from the Redskins.

16. Cincinnati Bengals

2016 record: 2-4
Week 6 ranking: 8

19: Andy Dalton has been pressured this season more than he's used to, and it's taking a toll. His 19 sacks rank second in the NFL, but worse than that, it's just one shy of his sack total in 13 games last season.

17. Houston Texans

2016 record: 4-2
Week 6 ranking: 18

4-8: The Texans brought in Brock Osweiler to be the franchise quarterback, but he hasn't lived up to that billing, at least not early on in games. He has thrown four touchdowns to eight interceptions in the first three quarters this season (four touchdowns, zero picks in the fourth quarter).

18. Baltimore Ravens

2016 record: 3-3
Week 6 ranking: 14

25.9: Remember when Joe Flacco's deep ball ability carried the Ravens to a Super Bowl victory in 2012? Yeah, that's not happening right now. Flacco has completed only 25.9 percent of his passes thrown 20 or more yards downfield this season, ranking 29th in the NFL.

19. San Diego Chargers

2016 record: 2-4
Week 6 ranking: 24

230: The Chargers have run 230 offensive plays with a lead this season, which ranks third in the NFL. Philip Rivers deserves a lot of credit for getting them there, but he's also part of the reason why they are 2-4, as his completion percentage drops by nearly 10 points in the second half.

20. New Orleans Saints

2016 record: 2-3
Week 6 ranking: 25

33.6: Just a friendly reminder that Drew Brees has done his part for the Saints this season. New Orleans is averaging 31 points per game, compared to the 33.6 allowed by the defense. Brees has led the Saints to 35 and 41 points the past two games to get the Saints in the win column.

21. Detroit Lions

2016 record: 3-3
Week 6 ranking: 20

3: If the Lions want to win this season, Matthew Stafford may have to do it all. The Lions are 3-1 this season and 20-7 in his career when he throws for at least three touchdowns in a game. Stafford's four games with three TDs are tied for most in the NFL this season.

22. Tennessee Titans

2016 record: 3-3
Week 6 ranking: 26

90: No team might be more dependent on quarterback play than Tennessee. The past two seasons the Titans have posted a 90 Total QBR in their wins, the highest QBR in wins over that span. In losses, they've posted the third-worst QBR (28.9).

23. Carolina Panthers

2016 record: 1-5
Week 6 ranking: 13

39: Opponents are bringing the heat to slow Cam Newton, and the strategy appears to be working. Newton has been blitzed on an NFL-high 39 percent of his dropbacks this season, and he's among the worst in completion percentage and Total QBR against the blitz in 2016.

24. Indianapolis Colts

2016 record: 2-4
Week 6 ranking: 21

36: Andrew Luck still isn't getting time to throw as he has been pressured on an NFL-high and career-high 36 percent of his dropbacks this season. He's completing only 42.4 percent of his passes when pressured this season.

25. New York Jets

2016 record: 1-5
Week 6 ranking: 27

11: Had Ryan Fitzpatrick not played in Week 6, he'd still lead the league in interceptions by two. He did play in Week 6, though, and upped his season total to 11. This led to his benching in favor of Geno Smith against the Cardinals.

26. Los Angeles Rams

2016 record: 3-3
Week 6 ranking: 19

16: Case Keenum is 3-3 as a starter this season and just completed 27 of 32 passes (including 19 straight completions) in a loss to the Lions. So why 16 for the big number? That's Jared Goff's jersey number, and if Keenum keeps the Rams in the hunt, you might not see No. 16 on the field anytime soon.

27. Miami Dolphins

2016 record: 2-4
Week 6 ranking: 29

5: Ryan Tannehill has been sacked at least five times in three games this season, one of two quarterbacks with multiple games with that many sacks (Colts QB Andrew Luck is the other). The Dolphins lost all of those games, but are 2-1 in the other three games in which Tannehill was sacked a total of one time.

28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2016 record: 2-3
Week 6 ranking: 23

62: To say Jameis Winston is relying on Mike Evans this season is an understatement. Winston has targeted Evans 62 times in five games, nearly twice as many targets as his next closest receiver. Winston has four touchdowns targeting Evans but also three interceptions.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars

2016 record: 2-3
Week 6 ranking: 30

32: The Jaguars are constantly playing from behind which -- spoiler alert -- makes winning difficult. Case in point: Blake Bortles has attempted only 32 passes with a lead this season, and 30 of those came in a Week 4 win against the Colts. His 8.7 first-quarter QBR doesn't help matters.

30. Chicago Bears

2016 record: 1-5
Week 6 ranking: 28

Zero: Probably nobody is paying attention to what the Bears are doing after their 1-5 start, but Brian Hoyer has yet to throw an interception since taking over for Jay Cutler. His 189 passes are the most in the NFL without a pick this season.

31. San Francisco 49ers

2016 record: 1-5
Week 6 ranking: 31

5-18: Colin Kaepernick's return under center got off to a strong start as he completed 8 of 11 passes in the first half Sunday. However, he went 5-of-18 in the second half as the Bills trounced the Niners. We'll see how Kaepernick fares in his second start this season against the Bucs on Sunday.

32. Cleveland Browns

2016 record: 0-6
Week 6 ranking: 32

9: The Browns have lost nine straight games, with five different starting quarterbacks over that span. Cody Kessler has started the past four, however, and his 53.7 Total QBR has been better than the others over that time (45.8).