NFL Power Rankings: Breaking Down Conferences

Marques EversollAnalyst IOctober 17, 2012

The Falcons aren't the best 6-0 team ever, but they're the only remaining unbeaten team in the NFL.
The Falcons aren't the best 6-0 team ever, but they're the only remaining unbeaten team in the NFL.Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Six weeks into the season, we know next to nothing about the NFL.

There are some very good teams, numerous good teams, and a bunch of bad teams. At this point, it looks like NFC is the stronger conference, but a lot can change as we move forward into the season.

Let’s take a look at the week six power rankings, divided by individual conferences.


NFC Power Rankings

1) Atlanta Falcons, 6-0 (No. 1 overall)

Dominant? Maybe not, but the Falcons are the last remaining undefeated team in the NFL. And for that reason, they’re the easy choice atop the NFC.

2) New York Giants 4-2 (No. 3 overall)

The defending Super Bowl champions have looked the part in 2012. And after dismantling the mighty 49ers, the G-Men look extremely tough.

3) San Francisco 49ers 4-2 (No. 5 overall)

Even after getting blown out by the Giants, the San Francisco 49ers are among the most complete teams in football. Don’t overreact; they’ll be in it in January.

4) Green Bay Packers 3-3 (No. 7 overall)

The Pack is back. After a couple several disappointing performances so far in 2012, the Packers proved a point against the previously unbeaten Texans. Look for the Pack to go on a winning streak.

5) Chicago Bears 4-1 (No. 8 overall)

Boasting a strong defense and a capable offense, the Bears are a dangerous team in the NFC. Despite being 4-1, they trail the Packers in these power rankings because Chicago was absolutely dominated by Green Bay in Week 2.

6) Seattle Seahawks 4-2 (No. 9 overall)

Seattle got a statement victory over the New England Patriots this week. Prior to this Sunday, their biggest victory was against the Packers. We all know that story.

7) Minnesota Vikings 4-2 (No. 11 overall)

The Vikings have been one of the most surprising teams in the NFL this season. But on Sunday against the Redskins, they didn’t look like a 4-1 team.

8) Arizona Cardinals 4-2 (No. 12 overall)

Arizona blew the game this weekend at home against the Bills, and now they’ll head on the road to play the 4-2 Vikings. Kevin Kolb is out, and John Skelton is in.

9) Philadelphia Eagles 3-3 (No 13 overall)

Philadelphia was up ten points with just more than six minutes to play, but the Eagles collapsed and allowed the Detroit Lions to steal the game. Time is ticking on Michael Vick. Time for Nick Foles to get ready.

10) Washington Redskins 3-3 (No. 15 overall)

Robert Griffin III was sensational on Sunday, and the Redskins pulled off an impressive home win over the Vikings. Back to .500, Washington is a dangerous team.

11) Dallas Cowboys 2-3 (No. 18 overall)

The Cowboys hung right with the Ravens until the end of the fourth quarter on Sunday. Their clock management was atrocious, and they fell to 2-3. Now, Dallas is at a crossroads.

12) Detroit Lions 2-3 (No. 19 overall)

Detroit avoided falling into a deep 1-4 hole by stealing a game this weekend at Philadelphia. Still, this doesn’t look like the same team from 2011. They’re struggling.

13) St. Louis Rams 3-3 (No. 20 overall)

The Rams have yet to lose at home, but they’ll face a tough test this week, hosting the Green Bay Packers. The defense is for real, while the offense is suspect.

14) Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2-3 (No. 22 overall)

The Buccaneers are coming off their win over KC at 2-3, but they’re quietly a dangerous team in the NFC. Don’t be surprised if Tampa Bay pulls off a couple upsets moving forward.

15) New Orleans Saints 1-4 (No. 24 overall)

Prior to their Week 6 bye, the Saints earned their first victory of the season against the San Diego Chargers at home. There really aren’t many more positive in regards to the Saints. They are what they are—a struggling football team.

16) Carolina Panthers 1-4 (No. 28 overall)

In his second NFL season, Cam Newton has come back to earth. He has incredible athletic ability, but sometimes makes questionable decisions with the football. The Panthers have dug themselves a very deep hole early in 2012.


AFC Power Rankings

1) Houston Texans 5-1 (No. 2 overall)

Don’t worry, Texans fans. Houston is still the most complete, balanced team in the AFC. The Packers just so happened to return to their dominant 2011 ways in Houston—nobody would have beaten them on Sunday.

2) Baltimore Ravens 5-1 (No. 4 overall)

The Ravens lost one of the best players at his position for the entire season. Ray Lewis gets all the publicity, but Lardarius Webb is the better player, and he’ll be severely missed. It will be interesting to see how the Ravens respond to their losses.

3) New England Patriots 3-3 (No. 6 overall)

If the Patriots hadn’t gotten conservative with three minutes remaining, they likely would have beaten the Seahawks. Still, New England remains among the AFC’s elite.

4) Denver Broncos 3-3 (No. 10 overall)

Down 24 points, it still felt like Peyton Manning and the Broncos could win the game. Denver got a huge victory headed into its Week 7 bye week. This is a very dangerous team.

5) Pittsburgh Steelers 2-3 (No. 14 overall)

Losing at Tennessee had to have been extremely disappointing for the Steelers. The defense hasn’t been as dominant as they’ve been in recent years, but the offense will keep them in a lot of games.

6) San Diego Chargers 3-3 (No. 16 overall)

What is there to say? The Chargers had the Broncos buried, but they still managed to lose. San Diego is now tied with Denver atop the division and faces an uphill battle from here.

7) Miami Dolphins 3-3 (No. 17 overall)

After a close victory over the St. Louis Rams, the Dolphins are now back to .500 along with the rest of the AFC East. Miami boasts a solid defense and a competent offense as well.

8) Cincinnati Bengals 3-3 (No. 21 overall)

The Bengals are a talented young team, but now they’ll have to rebound from a disappointing loss to the Cleveland Browns. It’s not going to be easy for Cincinnati to get back to the playoffs.

9) New York Jets 3-3 (No. 23 overall)

The Jets are back to .500 despite losing two of their best players to injury. Antonio Cromartie has picked up the slack left by Darrelle Revis, while the team was able to get back to “ground-and-pound” against the Colts.

10) Buffalo Bills 3-3 (No. 25 overall)

Buffalo stole a victory in Arizona this weekend, and now the Bills are in the middle of a logjam atop the AFC East. With a dynamic running game, the Bills could be a dangerous team if they sneak into the playoffs.

11) Indianapolis Colts 2-3 (No. 26 overall)

After an inspired win last week over the Packers, the Colts played awful against the Jets last week. It’s hard to make the Jets look like a good offensive team—but the Colts did just that.

12) Tennessee Titans 2-4 (No. 27 overall)

The Titans looked like perhaps the worst team in football prior to last week’s win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Kendall Wright and Kenny Britt provide the Titans with some weapons on the outside, giving the Titans some hope moving forward.

13) Oakland Raiders 1-4 (No. 29 overall)

Carson Palmer handed the Atlanta Falcons the win on Sunday, then he led a touchdown drive and almost pulled off the upset. Despite losing the game, it was likely Oakland’s best game of the season.

14) Cleveland Browns 1-5 (No. 30 overall)

Brandon Weeden to Josh Gordon has become a formidable connection for the Browns, and Trent Richardson remains the focal point. Still, Cleveland is likely a year away from being a dangerous team.

15) Jacksonville Jaguars 1-4 (No. 31 overall)

There isn’t much to say about the Jacksonville Jaguars. They have a great running back, and “a bunch of guys.” They’ll be in the running for a top draft pick this offseason.

16) Kansas City Chiefs 1-5 (No. 32 overall)

The Chiefs are as bad with Brady Quinn at quarterback as they are with Matt Cassel. West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith might want to start checking out the housing market in Kansas City.