Ranking NFL Teams Based Solely on Week 6
Power rankings are everywhere. You can find Matt Miller's weekly update right here, amid a sea of similar articles.
These rankings are based on a body of work, reflecting differences based on recent events. But what if we hit the reset button? What if we completely ignore everything but one week's performance?
What you will find ahead are wildly inconsistent with typical rankings, precisely because we ignore outside factors like previous record or future prospects. The 49ers, for example, are not one the league's worst teams despite getting trounced at home.
It is a fun take on the goings on from Week 6.
Note: Monday night participants and teams on a bye excluded due to the nature of the rankings.
26. Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs might have been starting their backup quarterback against the Buccaneers, but that is no excuse for the pitiful game they put up.
Kansas City was blown out of a half-empty Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay, completely outplayed by the Buccaneers.
25. Indianapolis Colts
The Colts traveled to New Jersey on a high after narrowly defeating the mighty Packers last week. Their opponent, meanwhile, has been under fire from their fans and the media after two brutal losses in a row.
Nevermind all that, as the Jets dismantled the Blue Horseshoes one rushing yard at a time. They pounded the Colts into the ground behind Shonn Greene's retire-on-top-worthy 161 yards and three touchdowns.
They also made Andrew Luck look like the rookie he is.
24. San Francisco 49ers
This is a ridiculous spot for the 49ers in the grand scheme of things, but we are talking about last weekend alone.
The 49ers were at home against an inconsistent Giants team, and the Giants brought their 'A' game.
Alex Smith, however, did not, throwing three bad interceptions. Only the defense kept the 49ers in the game at all, particularly after stopping the Giants twice in the red zone after Smith interceptions.
San Francisco looked terrible on Sunday afternoon.
23. Houston Texans
The Texans could not generate a pass rush. They could not cover Jordy Nelson. They could not stop Aaron Rodgers. They could not create consistent offense.
In a nutshell, it was a debacle in Houston on Sunday night.
22. Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals gave the Cleveland Browns their first victory of 2012 in terrible fashion. That, in and of itself, is grounds for a last-place ranking. Were it not for some of the stinkbombs some other teams put up, the Bengals very well could have ended up there.
Brandon Weeden shredded the Bengals defense as the Browns put up 34 points. Andy Dalton tried valiantly to lead a charge from behind after Cincinnati went down big, but there was simply too much to overcome and not enough time.
21. Arizona Cardinals
The Bills have a terrible defense and an inconsistent offense. The Cardinals were home. This was supposed to be elementary.
Jay Feely nearly saved the day single-footedly, but he followed up a 61-yard bomb that tied the game with a 28-yard clunker at the end of regulation.
John Skelton gave up the game's ghost in overtime, handing the Bills the ball deep in Cardinals territory with a turnover after taking over for injured Kevin Kolb.
It was not a pretty day in Tempe.
20. St. Louis Rams
The Rams were able to move the ball in the Miami heat, but most of their drives stalled, leading them to resort to their ace kicker.
Greg Zuerlein—Legatron, The Leg or Big G-Z—missed his first kick of the season after making his first two to give the Rams a lead. Then he missed three more, allowing the Dolphins to win a close game as a result.
The running game was surprisingly good against a stingy run defense, but Sam Bradford looked like he desperately needed Danny Amendola healthy. The defense was not good enough to stop rookie Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins offense.
19. Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings could have taken a big, early lead with some touchdowns. Instead, they were forced to settle for some Blair Walsh field goals after their drives sputtered.
Those extra points would have proven useful, as the Vikings relinquished their meager lead and were forced to play catchup for much of the game.
They nearly pulled it off before Griffin's 74-yard touchdown run put the game out of reach, but it was too little, too late for Minnesota.
18. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers were in control for much of the game against the Titans, but they faltered on the failing leg of Shaun Suisham.
In fairness to the Steelers kicker, he made a 52-yard field goal earlier in the game before being called upon to kick a 54-yard field goal to win it. The kick fell short, and Rob Bironas wound up kicking the game-winning field goal as a result.
Pittsburgh's defense just does not seem like the fearsome bunch it has been over the years.
17. Dallas Cowboys
It was a typical fall-flat-on-their-face moment for Jason Garrett the Dallas Cowboys when they had the opportunity to win a game they had little business winning.
In mismanaging the clock at the end of the game, the Cowboys were forced to settle for a 51-yard field goal attempt to win it.
Dan Bailey could not hit, and the Cowboys failed to come back to win the game.
The Ravens had done a number on the Cowboys offensively, but key injuries and a porous rush defense allowed the Cowboys back into the game.
16. Oakland Raiders
Sporting one of the league's worst defenses, the Raiders did not have a prayer trekking east to Atlanta. Or so we all thought.
Oakland put up a magnificent fight, leading for much of the game before falling apart in the end. A Carson Palmer pick-six and an atrocious final 45 seconds led to a narrow defeat for the Raiders.
Moral victories are worthless, but it was a good showing by Oakland considering they were expected to lose big.
15. Buffalo Bills
As ugly victories go, this one takes Week 6's cake.
The Bills were up for much of the game against the Cardinals in a low-scoring affair, lost the lead after Jay Feely hit a 61-yard field goal to tie it and then won in overtime after John Skelton handed them a gift-wrapped victory.
14. Philadelphia Eagles
It was a sad turn of events for the Eagles, as they gave away a victory to the Lions after leading for much of the contest.
Philadelphia once again overcame costly turnovers from Michael Vick, taking a 10-point lead into the late stages of the game. Then the defense collapsed.
13. New England Patriots
It seemed like Tom Brady and New England would cruise to victory after they took an early lead, seemingly marching down the field at will to score. Then, the 12th Man stepped in.
The Seahawks defense stiffened up, buoying the team long enough for Russel Wilson's fourth-quarter heroics. The Patriots could not punch it into the end zone, settling for field goals when they could have scored touchdowns.
An intentional grounding call just before halftime eliminated a scoring opportunity for New England altogether, as the clock expired due to a 10-second runoff. That proved to be the difference in the game.
12. Tennessee Titans
Chris Johnson ran the ball well. Matt Hasselbeck had a vintage performance. The defense bent but did not break.
It was a great come-from-behind win at home for the Titans against the perennially mighty Steelers.
11. Detroit Lions
Matthew Stafford looked lost. He came out flat against the Eagles, a particularly troubling issue considering the Lions were coming off a bye.
The fourth-year quarterback came alive after being held in check for much of the game, leading his team to an overtime victory on the road. The defense did enough to keep the Lions in the game, allowing for the comeback from their still-young quarterback.
10. Miami Dolphins
Ryan Tannehill had a gutsy performance against a good pass defense.
The Dolphins spotted the Rams a 6-0 lead that could have been much bigger had the defense not held their opponents out of the end zone for much of the game. Once the rookie quarterback got rolling, though, the Dolphins never looked back.
A fourth-quarter score brought the Rams within striking distance, but the defense held one last time. It was an ugly victory—Miami would have lost if rookie kicker Greg Zuerlein had just made the three field goals he missed—but a solid one against a surprising Rams team.
9. Cleveland Browns
It was Brandon Weeden's birthday, and he made the Bengals defense cry because he wanted to.
Okay, they did not cry, but Weeden certainly had a great 29th birthday. The rookie took part in a blitz from rookie quarterbacks that saw four of five starters win their games. He got some help from his defense, which forced four Andy Dalton turnovers.
They returned one of those for a touchdown, effectively putting the game out of reach in the fourth quarter.
8. Seattle Seahawks
Russell Wilson tapped into his preseason magic against the Patriots, leading the Seahawks to an improbable come-from-behind victory against their vaunted opponents.
The diminutive rookie threw two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter, defiantly bucking his critics as the Seahawks roared back for a win. The 12th Man did its part, as did the Seahawks defense, holding the Patriots to field goal attempts or worse when it looked like the game could get out of hand.
7. Atlanta Falcons
The Falcons enjoyed home-field against one of the worst teams in the league and a 9.5-point spread as a result.
They were lucky to come out of the game with a victory. Matt Ryan could not take advantage of an injury-depleted Raiders secondary for much of the day, throwing three interceptions.
He was good when it counted, though, marching the Falcons down the field for a last-second field goal. Dennis Allen thawed Matt Bryant with a time out—Atlanta's kicker missed on his first try—allowing the Falcons to squeak by his Raiders.
6. Baltimore Ravens
The Ravens won this game, but they paid a heavy price.
They lost the best remaining cornerback in the league—Lardarius Webb, after Darrelle Revis' injury—to a potentially season-ending knee injury, Ray Lewis to a possibly torn triceps and Haloti Ngata to a sprained MCL.
Already without Terrell Suggs and hemorrhaging yards to opposing running backs, the Ravens suddenly find themselves vulnerable in a perennial area of strength: defense.
Victory rings hollow when you lose the heart of your team. Things look bleak for that defense going forward.
5. Washington Redskins
Robert Griffin III shook off an injury, got the start and steamrolled the Vikings on Sunday.
The rookie was electric, leading his offense to a big win with 182 yards passing, 138 yards rushing and three total touchdowns. His 74-yard scamper iced the game after the Vikings crept back.
Defensively, the Redskins did well enough to contain Christian Ponder, Percy Harvin and Adrian Peterson for much of the game while the Redskins built a lead. They let things get interesting toward the end, but RG3 slammed the door.
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Had the Chiefs not been starting Brady Quinn—a lower middle-class man's Jimmy Clausen—the Buccaneers would have ranked a bit higher.
Tampa Bay dominated every facet of the game against the Chiefs, scoring a defensive touchdown and simply routing the Chiefs at home. It was an old-fashioned whooping given by the Buccaneers.
3. New York Jets
Based on what we saw from the Jets at MetLife Stadium—and, again, ignoring everything leading up to the game—the Jets are an excellent team. Unfortunately, they were playing what looked like a minor league team in the Indianapolis Colts.
For one day, though, Shonn Greene and Mark Sanchez bucked their critics, putting on an offensive show in a rout. The Revis-less defense held Andrew Luck in check, narrowly missing out on two defensive touchdowns after penalties brought them back.
2. Green Bay Packers
The Packers came to Houston to plunder and pillage. Mission accomplished.
Only when they finally called off the dogs in the middle of the fourth quarter did Aaron Rodgers' aerial assault abate. Green Bay throttled an undefeated team on the road, beating them in every phase of the game save perhaps a blocked punt that occurred well after the game was beyond reach for the Texans.
It was a glorious evening for the reigning MVP and his cohorts.
1. New York Giants
It was a balmy day in San Francisco as the Giants torched the vaunted 49ers.
New York proved to have the better defense last Sunday, forcing Alex Smith and San Francisco into multiple turnovers and shutting them out of the end zone entirely.
The offense could have put the game out of reach earlier if they could have scored a touchdown on one of those turnovers, but a steady diet of Lawrence Tynes field goals nickel-and-dimed the 49ers into submission.