Following Week 6 of the 2012 NFL season, we'll see a new leader atop the power rankings.
It's all about the matchups, and the Atlanta Falcons surely have themselves a favorable one this weekend, hosting the Oakland Raiders in the Georgia Dome.
With only two undefeated teams left in football, the Houston Texans and the Falcons will look to reach the 6-0 mark and stay at the top of the power rankings.
Here are my projected power rankings after Week 6:
1. Houston Texans- Down: Despite the recent struggles of the Green Bay Packers, the Pack presents a difficult matchup for the Texans this weekend. While I like the Texans at home on Sunday Night Football, I do think the Houston D is going to surrender some points.
2. Atlanta Falcons- Up: The Falcons have themselves an easy matchup this weekend, facing a dismal Raiders squad at home. Matt Ryan and the Falcons offense is going to throw all over Oakland's 28th-ranked pass defense.
3. San Francisco 49ers- Down: The 49ers host the Giants this weekend and let's not forget that the Giants had success through the air against San Francisco last season, as I noted earlier this week. New York has a great shot to defeat the 49ers in Week 6 and move them down in the rankings.
4. Baltimore Ravens- Up: Ray Rice and the Ravens are going to run all over the Cowboys defense this Sunday. Baltimore sports a defense that can easily force Tony Romo into difficult throws, something I expect this weekend.
5. New England Patriots- Even: I like the Patriots to take down the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday and keep their spot at No. 5 in the rankings. Seattle has a solid defense, so I wouldn't expect a blowout, but New England should win this one fairly easily.
6. Chicago Bears- Even: Bye Week
7. New York Giants- Up: I have the Giants defeating the 49ers on the road, which would undoubtedly bump them up in the rankings. Eli Manning should have Hakeem Nicks back, and with a breakout running performance by Ahmad Bradshaw in Week 5, New York is on the rise.
8. Minnesota Vikings- Down: If Robert Griffin III plays against Minnesota, I think the Redskins will win this one at home. Alfred Morris is nasty on the ground and RGIII has the receivers around him to overtake a great Minnesota defense.
9. Arizona Cardinals- Down: The Cardinals get a Buffalo Bills team with a streaky offense this Sunday and coming off a Thursday Night Football loss to the St. Louis Rams, the Cardinals could be in for another letdown with Ryan Williams on the sideline.
10. Pittsburgh Steelers- Up: The Steelers get a woeful Tennessee Titans squad on Thursday Night Football that is without starting QB Jake Locker. As I mentioned in my preview, the Titans offense has 10 turnovers and I think you can tack on a couple more when Pittsburgh comes to town.
11. Philadelphia Eagles- Even: I'm not sure which Detroit Lions offense is going to show up on Sunday, but if it looks like the one led by Matthew Stafford from 2011, the Eagles are in trouble. Even if Philadelphia wins, I don't think it'll be that much of an impressive showing to move the Eagles up.
12. Green Bay Packers- Up: The Packers have been struggling, but let's not forget they're led by reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers, who can do some damage against the Texans' stellar defense.
13. Dallas Cowboys- Down: It's going to be turnover city for Romo and the 'Boys when they travel to Baltimore to face a Ravens defense that's tied for second in the AFC with six interceptions.
14. San Diego Chargers- Down: Peyton Manning against the Chargers' subpar pass defense? San Diego will be moving down after a loss at home to Denver.
15. Cincinnati Bengals- Up: The Bengals have to move up—they're playing the Cleveland Browns, who were dismantled by the G-Men in Week 5.
16. Seattle Seahawks- Even: As I said earlier, I like New England to beat the Seahawks on the road, but if the Seahawks play decently (like I expect), they should stay about even despite surrendering a loss at home.
17. Denver Broncos- Up: Peyton Manning is going to have a field day on Monday Night Football against the 20th-ranked San Diego pass defense.
18. St. Louis Rams- Up: Regardless of who you're playing, a road win in the NFL is big, and that's what the Rams are going to get this weekend in Miami.
19. Miami Dolphins- Down: That tenacious Rams defense that stifled the Cardinals last Thursday night will do the same thing to Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins at home this weekend.
20. Detroit Lions- Even: The Eagles sport the ninth-best pass defense in the NFL, which poses a problem for the struggling Lions. I see some turnovers this weekend for Matthew Stafford.
21. Washington Redskins- Up: Again, this hinges on the health of RGIII, but if the versatile QB plays before his home crowd against the Vikings on Sunday, he'll have Washington on the rise.
22. Indianapolis Colts- Up: The Colts will follow up a shocking win against the Packers with a road win against Rex Ryan and the Jets, doing it all for coach Chuck Pagano.
23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Even: The Bucs should be well rested at home this weekend after a Week 5 bye to get past the Chiefs.
24. New Orleans Saints- Even: Bye Week
25. Carolina Panthers- Even: Bye Week
26. New York Jets- Down: Have you seen Mark Sanchez and the Jets offense function? Yeah, me either. I like the Colts on the road in MetLife Stadium.
27. Buffalo Bills- Up: The Bills are playing a highly ranked team in the Cardinals, and as long as they show up and don't get blown out, they will move up in the power rankings. Who knows, they could even win.
28. Tennessee Titans- Even: It's going to be a dismal Thursday night game for the Titans as they host a staunch Steelers defense. They'll stay right here.
29. Oakland Raiders- Even: Oakland has to travel to the Georgia Dome where Matt Ryan and his Falcons are nearly unbeatable. How do you think this one will go down?
30. Kansas City Chiefs- Even: Kansas City hung tough with the Ravens last weekend, but against a rested Tampa Bay squad it's not looking too positive for KC.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars- Even: Bye Week
32. Cleveland Browns- Even: It doesn't get any better or worse for the Browns, who are 0-5 and face Andy Dalton and the Bengals on Sunday. Loss. Loss. Loss.
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