And then there were three.
After five weeks of the 2013 NFL regular season, only three teams have been able to maintain an undefeated record. Two of those teams are from the AFC West and another from the NFC South, proving that with every passing year, nothing in football is predictable.
The question is, how is the postseason picture taking shape entering Week 6?
32. Jacksonville Jaguars
Week 5: 20-34 loss at St. Louis Rams
Week 6: at Denver Broncos
For the second consecutive week, the Jacksonville Jaguars owned a three-point lead after the first quarter. Unfortunately, the Jaguars still have been outscored 71-23 in that two-week span and are now 0-5.
The biggest upset of the year would be if Jacksonville doesn't end up with the No. 1 overall draft choice in the 2014 NFL draft.
During Jacksonville's 34-20 loss to the St. Louis Rams, the Jaguars' star wide receivers, Justin Blackmon and Cecil Shorts III, both caught touchdown passes. Unfortunately, two Jaguar quarterbacks combined to go 16-of-32 for 267 yards with two interceptions.
To make matters worse, franchise quarterback Blaine Gabbert suffered yet another injury.
During a season in which Gabbert has been tasked with proving himself, he can't even stay on the field.
Considering Jacksonville committed three turnovers, it's difficult to blame the defense, but it certainly wasn't pretty. It allowed 143 rushing yards and only managed two sacks on Rams quarterback Sam Bradford.
Up next is a road game against the Denver Broncos. Best of luck.
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Week 5: Bye
Week 6: at Philadelphia Eagles
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers proved their loyalty to head coach Greg Schiano, who has a career record of 7-13, by releasing franchise quarterback Josh Freeman. Now, Tampa Bay will move forward with third-round draft choice Mike Glennon.
Glennon was 24-of-43 for 193 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions in a 13-10 loss to the Arizona Cardinals during Week 4. He'll lead the Bucs against the Philadelphia Eagles during Week 5 as Tampa Bay searches for its first win.
The pressure is on.
30. New York Giants
Week 5: 36-21 loss vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Week 6: at Chicago Bears
The New York Giants are 0-5 with just one loss coming by fewer than 15 points. Every team the Giants have faced has scored at least 30 points, and during Week 5, New York continued to struggle against the Philadelphia Eagles.
New York had a 21-19 lead with 1:05 remaining in the third quarter, but Philly scored 17 consecutive points to win, 36-21.
Eli Manning continued to play horrendous football, going 24-of-52 for 332 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions, despite being hit on just three of his dropbacks. That brings Manning's season total to 12 interceptions—the worst mark in the league.
David Wilson picked up the Giants' second rushing touchdown of the season, but as a team, New York ran for 53 yards on 17 carries.
Defensively, the Giants allowed 140 rushing yards and let Michael Vick and Nick Foles combine for 302 passing yards. New York did manage nine quarterback hits, but picked up only one sack.
Giants fans can blame Manning, but if it's possible to believe, his 12 interceptions are only a portion of the problem.
29. Pittsburgh Steelers
Week 5: Bye Week
Week 6: at New York Jets
Coming off of a bye week, the Pittsburgh Steelers are 0-4, despite having the No. 9-ranked passing offense and No. 5-rated pass defense in the league. Unfortunately, the Steelers also rank No. 31 in rushing offense and No. 25 in rushing defense.
Up next is a road game against the New York Jets that will go a long way towards determining Pittsburgh's season trajectory.
28. Carolina Panthers
Week 5: 22-6 loss at Arizona Cardinals
Week 6: at Minnesota Vikings
With Cam Newton, DeAngelo Williams and Steve Smith on the roster, it's rational to assume that Carolina will have a very strong offense. Through five weeks, however, Carolina is 1-3 with the 30th-ranked passing offense.
Who saw that coming?
Cam Newton threw for 7,920 yards through his first two NFL seasons, but has just 885 after four games in 2013. Seeing as Smith is now 34 and the Panthers still haven't drafted a No. 2 wide receiver, that number shouldn't be too surprising.
There is reason for encouragement, as Carolina ranks in the top 10 in rushing offense, rushing defense, passing defense and scoring defense. But points win games.
During its 22-6 Week 5 loss to the Arizona Cardinals, Carolina received a 308-yard passing performance from Newton, but he threw three interceptions and no touchdowns. Ted Ginn Jr. continues to be a big play waiting to happen, but the Panthers dropped a number of easy passes.
The defense is still elite, but until Carolina can consistently move the football through the air, it will continue to struggle.
27. Minnesota Vikings
Week 5: Bye Week
Week 6: vs. Carolina Panthers
The Minnesota Vikings entered their Week 5 bye with a record of 1-3 after losing three straight before defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 4. Minnesota used the bye week to target its most shaky position, quarterback, as they signed for Tampa Bay starter Josh Freeman.
Josh Freeman talking to the Twin Cities media for the first time as a Minnesota Viking. pic.twitter.com/sbTSNnh43Z— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) October 8, 2013
Freeman will be available to play during Week 7 but not Week 6.
Say what you will about Freeman's body of work with the Buccaneers, but he has the powerful arm that Minnesota needs to space the field for Adrian Peterson.
Keep an eye on this team moving forward.
26. Washington Redskins
Week 5: Bye Week
Week 6: at Dallas Cowboys
The Washington Redskins were on a bye during Week 5, but before that went 1-3 with a Week 4 win over the Oakland Raiders. Unfortunately, Washington hasn't done enough to move up in the standings, either starting slow or finishing poorly in every single game played.
Somehow, a Week 6 win over the Dallas Cowboys could give the Redskins the lead in the NFC East. A sigh is necessary.
25. San Diego Chargers
Week 5: 27-17 loss at Oakland Raiders
Week 6: vs. Indianapolis Colts
The San Diego Chargers continue to trade wins and losses. They fell to 2-3 after losing 27-17 to the Oakland Raiders. It was yet another instance of the Chargers being unable to play with any consistency, and this all makes it seem like San Diego is bound for an 8-8 season.
At least Philip Rivers should continue to give the NFL community performances to remember.
Rivers was 36-of-49 for 411 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions in the Chargers loss to Oakland. It was his third game with at least 400 passing yards in five outings, and it helped mask San Diego's horrendous running game.
Keenan Allen and Vincent Brown both topped 100 yards receiving, but San Diego ran for only 32 yards on 19 carries.
Defensively, Jarret Johnson had two sacks, cornerback Johnny Patrick had the first of his career and Sean Lissemore had his first of the season. Manti Te'o added five tackles in his second career game, and Donald Butler continues to be a force at linebacker.
Unfortunately, San Diego's statistics haven't been translated into winning consistently.
24. Buffalo Bills
Week 5: 37-24 loss at Cleveland Browns
Week 6: vs. Cincinnati Bengals
The Buffalo Bills had a chance to shine on national television against the Cleveland Browns on Thursday Night Football. Instead, Buffalo fell 37-24 in a competitive game that saw both teams lose a number of key players to injuries.
No injury was as devastating to Buffalo as the one sustained by its quarterback EJ Manuel.
Doug Marrone says EJ Manuel has a LCL sprain.... No surgery.... Can't play for a few weeks.... Says Bills looking for another QB.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 4, 2013
Manuel had thrown for 985 yards, five touchdowns and three interceptions before going down.
Manuel's absence is devastating, as backup Jeff Tuel was underwhelming against the Browns, and the Bills don't have another viable option. Without Manuel, Buffalo will enter a four-week stretch in which they face the Cincinnati Bengals, Miami Dolphins, New Orleans Saints and Kansas City Chiefs.
Things aren't looking good for Buffalo's offense.
Rookie Kiko Alonso is on pace for Defensive Rookie of the Year, tallying 44 tackles, one sack, four interceptions, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. Mario Williams had two sacks against the Browns to bring his total to 7.5 on the season.
The Bills defense has elite upside, but Buffalo is looking at a few weeks without Manuel.
23. Oakland Raiders
Week 5: 27-17 win vs. San Diego Chargers
Week 6: vs. Indianapolis Colts
The Oakland Raiders are a competitive football team with an aggressive defense, a balanced rushing attack and what looks like a up-and-coming quarterback. During Week 5, the Raiders turned all of that into a 27-17 win over the San Diego Chargers.
Now, Oakland is 2-3 in a wide-open AFC wild-card race.
After missing Week 4 with an injury, Terrelle Pryor was 18-of-23 for 221 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions against the Chargers. He also ran for 31 yards. Denarius Moore and Rod Streater were on the receiving end of Pryor's TD throws.
Defensively, Oakland overcame a monster performance by Philip Rivers to force turnovers and walk away with a victory.
DJ Hayden, Charles Woodson and Usama Young came up with interceptions on a day that Oakland forced five turnovers. Woodson and Chimdi Chekwa also recovered fumbles and Lamarr Houston picked up his third sack in five games.
Oakland has a long way to go before contending for the playoffs, but the upside is present.
22. Atlanta Falcons
Week 5: 30-28 loss vs. New York Jets
Week 6: Bye Week
The Atlanta Falcons have gone from a Super Bowl contender to a team that's moving closer and closer to earning a top-10 pick in the 2014 NFL draft. Despite playing three of its first five games at home, the Falcons enter their Week 6 bye at 1-4.
Worst of all, Atlanta has lost each of its first four games by seven points or fewer.
Matt Ryan was 36-of-45 for 319 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions during Atlanta's 30-28 Week 5 loss to the New York Jets. It was a close to perfect performance by Ryan, but it still wasn't enough for a Falcons team that continues to find ways to lose.
This bye week couldn't come soon enough.
Osi Umenyiora had two sacks against the Jets to bring his total to 4.0 on the season. Unfortunately, the defense failed to come up with a single interception against a quarterback who had eight through four games.
Atlanta has the talent to be elite—especially on offense—but nothing has come of it in 2013.
21. St. Louis Rams
Week 5: 34-20 win vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Week 6: at Houston Texans
The St. Louis Rams entered Week 5 at 1-3 with three consecutive losses and back-to-back blowout defeats. After falling behind 10-7 to the Jacksonville Jaguars and needing a fourth-quarter touchdown to put the game away, St. Louis moved to 2-3 with a 34-20 win.
The Rams have work to do, and as it presently stands, they're at an uncomfortable 2-3.
St. Louis ran for 143 yards as a team, and Sam Bradford threw for three touchdowns and no interceptions. Bradford truthfully didn't play as great of a game as those numbers indicate, but three scores and no turnovers is about as encouraging as it gets.
During Week 6, the Rams will have the opportunity to become a postseason contender with a road game against the Houston Texans.
St. Louis' defense got sacks by Michael Brockers and Chris Long, which is a promising sign. Matt Giordano had an 82-yard interception return for a touchdown and James Laurinaitis had an interception of his own.
It wasn't the most convincing win, but it worked out, nonetheless.
20. Tennessee Titans
Week 5: 26-17 loss vs. Kansas City Chiefs
Week 6: at Seattle Seahawks
The Tennessee Titans are a 3-2 football team that has been impressive in each of its first five games. During Week 5, however, the Titans fell apart during the fourth quarter after playing well for just 13:01 out of a possible 60 minutes.
In the end, it was a 26-17 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Ed Werder of ESPN reports that Titans quarterback Jake Locker is set to miss roughly six weeks due to hip and knee sprains. In his place, Ryan Fitzpatrick was 21-of-41 for 247 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions, and he picked up 50 yards and a score on the ground.
Fitzpatrick was flat out terrible during the first half and, outside of a third quarter spurt, played very poorly.
Ropati Pitoitua picked up his third sack in two weeks during the Titans' loss, but the defense isn't the focus here. Tennessee has a defensive unit that is strong enough to hold its own against the best, but until Locker returns, wins will be tough to come by.
An unfavorable stretch starts during Week 6 with a road game against the Seattle Seahawks.
19. Cleveland Browns
Week 5: 37-24 win vs. Buffalo Bills
Week 6: vs. Detroit Lions
The Cleveland Browns have won three consecutive games to move to 3-2 on the season. The source of Cleveland's most recent success has been the play of backup-turned-starting quarterback Brian Hoyer.
Hoyer is now out for the season with a torn ACL, and Brandon Weeden has resumed his role as the starting signal-caller.
Browns QB Brian Hoyer tore his ACL, an MRI confirmed. Done for season.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 4, 2013
When a team's backup plan is having a recent first-round draft choice under center, there isn't much to be upset about.
Weeden came in against the Bills in relief of Hoyer and went 13-of-24 for 197 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. Willis McGahee also ran for a score, and Josh Gordon caught four passes for 86 yards and a score to anchor the offense.
In the end, T.J. Ward's 44-yard interception return for a touchdown sealed an injury-marred victory.
Four separate players had sacks for Cleveland, with D'Qwell Jackson continuing to shine with a team-high 11 tackles. It wasn't a perfect performance, but the Browns did manage to dominate Buffalo's backup quarterback Jeff Tuel.
A Week 6 meeting with the Detroit Lions spells trouble, but Weeden was drafted in the first round to be the franchise quarterback.
It's time he shows why.
18. Philadelphia Eagles
Week 5: 36-21 win at New York Giants
Week 6: at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Philadelphia Eagles bounced back from a three-game losing streak with an explosive 36-21 win over the New York Giants. It took two quarterbacks and a second-half comeback, but when it was all said and done, the Eagles continued their reign of dominance over the Giants.
During Week 6, the Eagles will face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the road.
Michael Vick threw for 105 yards and ran for 79 before leaving with an injury, but Nick Foles threw two fourth-quarter scores in relief. LeSean McCoy ran for a touchdown and DeSean Jackson had seven catches for 132 yards and a touchdown.
The Eagles also shined on defense.
Philadelphia had three interceptions, with Brandon Boykin, Mychal Kendricks and Cary Williams all picking off passes. Even with just one sack, the Eagles managed to put forth a very strong defensive performance.
In the end, Philadelphia moved into a tie for first place in the NFC East.
17. Arizona Cardinals
Week 5: 22-6 win vs. Carolina Panthers
Week 6: at San Francisco 49ers
The Arizona Cardinals moved to 3-2 on the season with a defense-oriented 22-6 win over the Carolina Panthers. Cam Newton erupted for a big passing day, but Carolina's explosive running game was shut down and Arizona secured its second consecutive win.
If there's one thing we've learned over the past two seasons, it's that head coach Bruce Arians knows how to make the most of any situation.
Carson Palmer was 19-of-28 for 175 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions, tossing his lone touchdown pass in the fourth quarter. Andre Ellington had 83 yards of total offense on 11 touches, and Michael Floyd caught five passes for 61 yards.
It wasn't pretty, but a win is a win.
Defensively, Arizona continues to be one of the better teams in the NFC. Karlos Dansby, Patrick Peterson and Daryl Washington all had interceptions. Antoine Cason recovered a fumble, and the Cardinals had seven sacks.
Dansby, Washington and Calais Campbell each had two sacks, and rookie Tyrann Mathieu added one of his own. Arizona is a true dark horse.
16. Dallas Cowboys
Week 5: 51-48 loss vs. Denver Broncos
Week 6: vs. Washington Redskins
During Week 5, the Dallas Cowboys fell to the Denver Broncos by a score of 51-48. It was one of the most explosive offensive performances by two teams in recent NFL history.
Unfortunately, Tony Romo's legendary performance will be remembered mostly for the late-game interception that he threw.
Top passing games in Cowboys history: Tony Romo 506, Don Meredith 460, Troy Aikman 455, Romo 441, Romo 447, Romo 416. All in losses.— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) October 7, 2013
It's unfair, but when everyone expected him to throw a pick, he did.
Romo finished the day 25-of-36 for 506 yards, five touchdowns and one interception. Eight different Cowboy receivers caught passes and three topped 100 yards, with DeMarco Murray running for a touchdown in this air-it-out battle.
If there's anything to actually take away from this game, it's that Dallas can compete with the best.
Defense wasn't a factor in this game, as the Cowboys failed to register a single sack or quarterback hit. Morris Claiborne was the first player to intercept a Peyton Manning throw in 2013, however, and that's something of a building block for the Dallas defense.
During Week 6, the Cowboys will play the Washington Redskins with the division lead on the line.
15. Houston Texans
Week 5: 34-3 loss at San Francisco 49ers
Week 6: vs. St. Louis Rams
Before readers tell me that the Houston Texans are ranked too low on this list, look at the facts. Not only has Houston lost three consecutive games, but two of those losses have come by at least 21 points.
During Week 5, Houston fell 34-3 to the San Francisco 49ers.
Matt Schaub was 19-of-35 for 173 yards, no touchdowns and three interceptions. Arian Foster ran it 21 times for 98 yards, but Houston only scored three points against a banged-up Niners defense, and that's about all you need to know.
Houston is in trouble.
The Texans' pass defense was stellar, holding Colin Kaepernick to 6-of-15 passing, but the run defense just didn't exist. This was the first time the defense has truly fallen apart in 2013, but that doesn't make it any less of a troubling sign.
Houston appears to be falling apart at the seams.
14. Miami Dolphins
Week 5: 26-23 loss vs. Baltimore Ravens
Week 6: Bye Week
Since starting 3-0, the Miami Dolphins have lost back-to-back games against teams that are believed to be Super Bowl Contenders. After getting blown out by the New Orleans Saints, the Dolphins fell 26-23 in a heartbreaker to the Baltimore Ravens.
The bye week couldn't have come at a better time.
Ryan Tannehill threw for 307 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions, but was 21-of-40. A weak performance by the offensive line didn't help. It also doesn't help that Miami ran for 22 yards on 11 carries as the team's rushing attack continues to struggle.
Fortunately, Mike Wallace did wake up and catch seven passes for 104 yards and gave Dolphin fans some reason to be encouraged.
Defensively, Koa Misi and Olivier Vernon had sacks for Miami, and Reshad Jones returned an interception for a touchdown. Dannell Ellerbe recovered a fumble, and the Dolphins rebounded from Week 4 with a strong defensive performance.
Unfortunately, it wasn't enough, and Miami is now only one game above .500.
13. New York Jets
Week 5: 30-28 win at Atlanta Falcons
Week 6: vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
The New York Jets are 3-2 with a rookie quarterback that has flashed signs of being a franchise player. Say what you will about the Atlanta Falcons' 1-4 start, but every one of their losses have been against postseason-caliber teams and each has been by fewer than seven points.
New York just walked away with a 30-28 win over Atlanta on a day in which Matt Ryan was extraordinary.
Geno Smith went 16-of-20 for 199 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Eight different receivers had receptions, and Kellen Winslow had a gorgeous touchdown grab in which he managed to get both feet down in the end zone.
It wasn't easy, but New York moved to within one game of the division lead.
Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson had sacks and showed just how young and talented this Jets defense is. Ryan was sensational, but New York shut down Atlanta's run game and eventually did enough to win.
New York doesn't play sexy, but Rex Ryan's hot seat is cooling down in a rapid manner.
12. Chicago Bears
Week 5: 26-18 loss vs. New Orleans Saints
Week 6: vs. New York Giants
The Chicago Bears had the unfavorable task of slowing down the New Orleans Saints during Week 5. The defense managed to hold New Orleans to 26 points—a low mark for Drew Brees and company—but the offense just couldn't put up enough points.
If you're looking at the box score, you're just as confused as me.
Jay Cutler was 24-of-33 for 358 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. The Bears ran for 94 yards on 18 carries as a team, and committed just one turnover against the Saints.
Robbie Gould made his only field goal attempt, which shows just one thing: something weird happened in New Orleans.
Every number points to a major scoring output by Chicago, but it just didn't happen. Chicago is still a postseason contender, but the Bears have now lost two consecutive games since starting 3-0.
A Thursday Night Football game against the 0-5 Giants offers the opportunity for a bounce-back win, but Chicago has just as much reason for desperation as New York.
11. Detroit Lions
Week 5: 22-9 loss at Green Bay Packers
Week 6: at Cleveland Browns
The Detroit Lions have been strong enough to emerge as an above-.500 team in the NFC North. In turn, Detroit has overcome a Week 5 loss to the Green Bay Packers and is still on top of the division
During Week 6, Detroit will hit the road to play the Cleveland Browns.
Playing without the injured Calvin Johnson, Reggie Bush had 69 yards of total offense from scrimmage. Matthew Stafford was 25-of-40 for 262 yards and one touchdown and no interceptions, but he couldn't find the end zone until it was too late.
In the end, we learned just how pivotal Megatron is to Detroit's offense, whether he's producing elite numbers or not.
The Lions played well on defense, with rookie Ezekiel Ansah picking up yet another sack. Green Bay erupted for a monster rushing performance, but Detroit played well enough to hold Green Bay to five field goals and one touchdown.
Detroit has convincing wins over the Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings and Washington Redskins, so there's no reason to panic. This loss is just a minor setback.
10. Cincinnati Bengals
Week 5: 13-6 win vs. New England Patriots
Week 6: at Buffalo Bills
The Cincinnati Bengals had as much to prove as any team in the NFL after a 17-6 Week 4 loss to the Cleveland Browns. The Bengals defense is one of the best in the league, and during Week 5, it proved just that.
In a rain-soaked battle, Cincinnati emerged with a monumental 13-6 win over the New England Patriots.
Andy Dalton was a responsible 20-of-27 for 212 yards, no touchdowns and one interception, and BenJarvus Green-Ellis ran for the team's lone touchdown. Rookie running back Giovani Bernard added 62 yards on 13 carries, and A.J. Green had five receptions for 61 yards.
The key to this win, like many others, was Cincinnati's defense.
Wallace Gilberry had two sacks in place of the injured Michael Johnson, and both Geno Atkins and Vontaze Burfict registered one. Adam Jones had the game-clinching interception and Cincinnati moved to 3-2.
It hasn't been a pretty season for the NFL, and at this point, 3-2 is a great place to be.
9. Baltimore Ravens
Week 5: 26-23 win at Miami Dolphins
Week 6: vs. Baltimore Ravens
After suffering a disappointing 23-20 loss to the Buffalo Bills during Week 4, the Baltimore Ravens needed to rebound in style. Matched up against the much-improved Miami Dolphins, Baltimore responded with a gritty performance.
Ray Rice returned, the defense stepped up, and the Ravens picked up a huge win.
Rice ran the ball 27 times for 74 yards and two touchdowns, and Justin Tucker made four field goals, including the game-winner. Joe Flacco was 19-of-32 for 269 yards, no touchdowns and one interception, with Torrey Smith catching six passes for 121 yards.
If Rice was big, then the defense was huge.
Terrell Suggs had three sacks, and Elvis Dumervil, Courtney Upshaw and Pernell McPhee each added one. Baltimore also held Miami to 22 rushing yards on 11 attempts and walked out of Miami as a 3-2 team with a share of the lead in the AFC North.
It wasn't pretty, but Baltimore needed a win, and that's what they got.
8. Green Bay Packers
Week 5: 22-9 win vs. Detroit Lions
Week 6: at Baltimore Ravens
The Green Bay Packers are 2-0 at Lambeau Field with a scoring margin of 60-29. Fresh off of a Week 4 bye, the Packers used a dominant defensive performance to top the Detroit Lions 22-9 and move to within one-half game of the NFC North lead.
Unfortunately, it was a costly win.
Packers LB Clay Matthews still is undergoing more testing, but he is expected to miss one month with a broken thumb.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 7, 2013
Fortunately, Aaron Rodgers is still on the roster.
Rodgers wasn't at his best but still managed to go 20-of-30 for 274 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. Eddie Lacy returned from injury in style, carrying it 23 times for 99 yards, and Randall Cobb added 107 yards from scrimmage.
James Jones had four receptions for 127 yards and a touchdown, and Jordy Nelson caught five passes for 82 yards to remind fans that Green Bay still has one of the league's best offensive units.
The key to Green Bay's win over Detroit was the Packer defense, which allowed just three points through 57 minutes and 53 seconds of the game. 2012 first-round draft choice Nick Perry had two sacks, and three other players came up with one of their own.
When it was all said and done, Green Bay walked away with a costly win, but reemerged as the class of the NFC North.
7. San Francisco 49ers
Week 5: 34-3 win vs. Houston Texans
Week 6: vs. Arizona Cardinals
After three weeks of the 2013 season, the San Francisco 49ers fell to 1-2 following back-to-back blowout losses to the Seattle Seahawks and Indianapolis Colts. But the Niners have since rebounded, turning the tables against the St. Louis Rams and Houston Texans with lopsided wins.
During Week 5, San Francisco dominated the Texans, 34-3.
Colin Kaepernick was just 6-of-15 for 113 yards, with one touchdown and no interceptions, continuing his dreadful season after a dominant Week 1 performance. Frank Gore helped to lead the offensive charge by running the ball 17 times for 81 yards and a score, and Vernon Davis had 88 yards receiving with a touchdown.
In the end, San Francisco won this game with defense.
Tramaine Brock returned an interception 18 yards for a touchdown early in the game and picked off another pass later in the first half. Tony Jerod-Eddie added a pick of his own and Donte "Hitner" Whitner recovered a fumble despite San Francisco picking up just one sack.
If there were a way to break out of a funk, a 34-3 win over a Super Bowl contender would be the way to do it.
6. New England Patriots
Week 5: 13-6 loss at Cincinnati Bengals
Week 6: vs. New Orleans Saints
The New England Patriots suffered their first loss of the 2013 NFL regular season on the road against the Cincinnati Bengals. In the pouring rain, the Patriots defense stepped up as the New England offense was shut down, and a late-game interception sealed New England's fate.
Even still, the Patriots are still one of the best teams in the AFC.
Tom Brady was 18-of-38 for 197 yards, no touchdowns and one interception, with the running game picking up 82 total yards. Brandon Bolden had 64 yards of total offense on 11 touches, and Danny Amendola led the Patriots in receiving yards in his first game back, but it just wasn't enough.
Considering the offense played this poorly and New England only lost by seven points, it's safe to say the Patriots have reason for confidence moving forward.
Defensively, the Patriots held Bengal quarterback Andy Dalton to zero touchdown passes with Brandon Spikes making a red-zone interception. Jerod Mayo seemed to be in on every play and Chris Jones, Chandler Jones, Tommy Kelly and Mayo all recorded sacks.
The loss stings, but New England's defense proved to be the real deal in Cincinnati.
5. Seattle Seahawks
Week 5: 34-28 loss at Indianapolis Colts:
Week 6: vs. Tennessee Titans
The Seattle Seahawks played their second consecutive down-to-the-wire football game against an AFC South foe. After turning a Matt Schaub gaffe into a game-tying interception return and an eventual overtime win against Houston in Week 4, Seattle wasn't so lucky against the Colts.
The Seahawks are now 4-1 with a one-game advantage over San Francisco in the NFC West.
Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson each ran for 102 yards, with the team finishing with 218 rushing yards on the day. Jermaine Kearse and Golden Tate caught touchdown passes, but Wilson was 15-of-31 for 210 yards and threw the game-clinching interception during the fourth quarter.
It wasn't an ideal ending, but if it's possible to look good in defeat, Seattle did it.
Bruce Irvin recorded a sack in his season debut and Chris Clemons added his second in as many games since returning from a torn ACL. The defensive backfield wasn't as good as the coaching staff may have hoped, but it took a fourth-quarter surge for Indianapolis to win.
Seattle is still elite, and the only reason it fell to No. 5 is the success of the teams ahead of it.
4. Indianapolis Colts:
Week 5: 34-28 win vs. Seattle Seahawks
Week 6: at San Diego Chargers
The Indianapolis Colts have completed a daunting task, picking up wins over both the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks in the same season. With victories over two teams that were crowned as preseason Super Bowl favorites, Indianapolis has reason to believe in its own status as a contender.
In two weeks, Indianapolis can go for the trifecta when it hosts Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.
The offense wasn't spectacular, but Andrew Luck was 16-of-29 for 229 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions in the 34-28 win. Donald Brown had only six carries, but he managed to punch it in for a go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Luck found Reggie Wayne for the two-point conversion and yet another fourth-quarter comeback was completed.
Move over, Eli Manning—there's a new king of fourth-quarter rallies.
The Colts defense struggled to stop the run, but it did an excellent job of slowing down Russell Wilson and the Seahawks' passing game. Robert Mathis had two sacks to bring his season total to a league-best 9.5, and Darius Butler had the game-clinching interception.
Chuck Pagano has a relentless football team on his hands, and as long as the game is close in the fourth, you can count on Luck to step in and close it out.
3. Kansas City Chiefs
Week 5: 26-17 win at Tennessee Titans
Week 6: vs. Oakland Raiders
The Kansas City Chiefs don't play a sexy brand of football, but they're a resilient group that seems to embody the never-say-quit attitude. During Week 5, the Chiefs overcame a lazy third quarter to earn a comeback victory on the road against the Tennessee Titans.
The offense underwhelmed, but in the end, a 26-17 road victory is about as strong of a result as a team could ask for.
Alex Smith wasn't at his best against one of the league's better pass defenses, but he did lead fourth-quarter scoring drives. Jamaal Charles went off for 108 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries and also caught five passes for 37 yards, and Donnie Avery had three receptions for 91 yards.
When it was all said and done, it was the defense and special teams that earned the game ball.
Marcus Cooper recovered a muffed punt for a touchdown, and the defense dominated against both the run and the pass. Titans backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick started working magic during the second half, but Cooper and Quintin Demps came up with interceptions, and the Chiefs' pass rush was strong enough for Kansas City to win.
Justin Houston now has 8.5 sacks through five weeks, Tamba Hali has 4.0 and Dontari Poe has 4.5 after failing to register a single one as a rookie last year.
2. New Orleans Saints
Week 5: 26-18 win at Chicago Bears
Week 6: at New England Patriots
Matched up against one of the most balanced units in the NFL, the New Orleans Saints defense made quite the statement. New Orleans walked away with a 26-18 victory over a Chicago Bears team that had scored 30 points in three of its first four outings.
Eight of the 18 points New Orleans gave up came with 2:11 remaining on the clock and the Saints up by two possessions.
Drew Brees tore the Bears' elite defensive backfield apart, going 29-of-35 for 288 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions. Pierre Thomas added 91 yards of total offense and two receiving touchdowns, while Jimmy Graham had 10 catches for 135 yards.
All in all, it was business as usual for New Orleans offense.
The most frightening aspect of New Orleans' early-season success has been the quality play of its defense. New coordinator Rob Ryan has the Saints playing the best defensive football we've seen out of this team in a long time, and that's made Brees' job significantly easier.
The Saints were 13-3 the last time Sean Payton was head coach, and with a relatively similar roster, they're moving towards a similar record in 2013.
1. Denver Broncos
Week 5: 51-48 at Dallas Cowboys
Week 6: vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Denver Broncos faced their toughest test yet during Week 5, emerging victorious during a 51-48 offensive clinic against the Dallas Cowboys. Denver overcame a 500-yard passing game from Tony Romo and remained one of three undefeated teams.
Up next is a home game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Peyton Manning continued his all-time season by going 33-of-42 for 414 yards with four touchdowns, a rushing touchdown, though he did throw his first interception of the year. Three different receivers caught touchdowns, including tight end Julius Thomas, who had two to continue his monster season.
As great as the passing game was, the story of the day for Denver was the continued emergence of running back Knowshon Moreno.
Knowshon Moreno is a completely different player than he used to be. Remarkable maturation.— Lindsay Jones (@bylindsayhjones) October 6, 2013
Moreno ran the ball 19 times for 93 yards and a touchdown and also caught five passes for 57 yards. He's now run for 841 yards over his past 11 games after failing to reach 800 yards in any season since his rookie year in 2009.
It's not fair how good this Broncos offense is.
There wasn't much to talk about Denver's defense, but it must be said that both Champ Bailey and Von Miller have yet to return to action. Bailey is one of the greatest cornerbacks in NFL history and continues to be among the elite at his position, while Miller has 30.0 sacks in two seasons.
It's a scary thought, but Denver will get significantly better as the season goes on.