Surprises abound when looking at the standings heading into Week 6 of the 2013 NFL season.
Over in the AFC West, the Kansas City Chiefs have shocked the league by opening up the season with a perfect 5-0 record. Only two other teams enter Week 6 with undefeated records: the Denver Broncos and New Orleans Saints.
Nobody's surprised to see the Jacksonville Jaguars sitting on the bottom of the standings, having failed to win a single game to this point. But the other three teams in the cellar—the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Giants—were supposed to challenge for playoff spots this year.
The season is still young, however, and things can change in a hurry.
For now, here's where every team ranks heading into Week 6.
1. Denver Broncos
Peyton Manning is on a legendary tear right now. He's averaging four touchdowns a game, and the connection he has with his receiving corps is only getting better.
After Sunday's shootout with the Dallas Cowboys, the Broncos appear to have what it takes to win any type of game that could possibly come their way this season.
2. New Orleans Saints
The combination of Drew Brees and head coach Sean Payton virtually ensures the Saints will score a lot of points on a weekly basis.
But the biggest reason this team is 5-0 right now and at No. 2 in these rankings is the effect Rob Ryan has had on the defense of the Saints.
New Orleans featured one of the worst defenses in history last year, but things have quickly changed. The Saints are allowing just 14.6 points per game on average, which has given the team a comfortable margin of victory in all but one game this season.
3. Seattle Seahawks
Although the Seahawks lost to the Indianapolis Colts in Week 5, this is still one of the most dangerous teams in the NFL.
Whether you're talking about offense, defense or special teams, Seattle does it well. With Russell Wilson playing well, the Seahawks still have the inside track on winning the highly competitive NFC West and earning a first-round bye in the playoffs.
4. Kansas City Chiefs
Watching the Chiefs this year reminds 49ers fans of the 2011 squad that made it to the NFC Championship game in Jim Harbaugh's first year at the controls.
Andy Reid has re-energized this franchise, and Alex Smith is the perfect trigger man for his West Coast offense. Jamaal Charles has been wearing defenses down in the second half, while the team's defense dominates the line of scrimmage.
Yes, a 5-0 start is surprising, but after five weeks it is clear the Chiefs are for real.
5. Indianapolis Colts
Andrew Luck is doing things in his second year that boggle the mind.
He's already led nine game-winning drives in his first 21 starts, which tied Jake Plummer for the most in a quarterback's first two seasons in the history of the league, as noted by ESPN Stats & Info:
Andrew Luck and Jake Plummer are only 2 QB in Super Bowl era w/ 9 game-winning drives in 4th quarter/OT in 1st 2 seasons (via @EliasSports)— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 6, 2013
He still has 11 games left to play this year.
On the other side of the ball, Indy's defense is playing well, and this Colts team has now beaten the 49ers and Seahawks in the past few weeks.
6. San Francisco 49ers
Since getting whipped by the Seahawks and Colts, San Francisco has rebounded with two convincing victories.
Offensive coordinator Greg Roman has gotten back to the power running game after abandoning it for a few weeks, and Frank Gore is rolling along as if he were 25 instead of 30.
Once this team gets healthy heading into the second half of the season, nobody should be surprised to see the 49ers go on a big run of wins, thanks to an easy schedule the rest of the way.
7. New England Patriots
That game against the Bengals in Week 5 was as ugly as you're ever going to see from Tom Brady. New England's defense was solid once again, though, as it has been all year long.
A big test is coming up, when the Patriots host the red-hot Saints in Week 6.
If Rob Gronkowski makes his return and Danny Amendola builds off his successful return to action, then the Patriots should put up a good fight.
8. Chicago Bears
Jay Cutler has been much improved this season under the tutelage of new head coach Marc Trestman, throwing 10 touchdowns through five games. He only threw 19 all of last season, and the emergence of Alshon Jeffery should help him eclipse that mark before long.
Losing two games in a row to the Detroit Lions and Saints certainly stings, but the Bears will bounce back with a big win on a short week against the hapless New York Giants on Thursday Night Football.
9. Green Bay Packers
Rookie running back Eddie Lacy is giving the Packers the power running game they need after years of inadequate production. A tough schedule and injuries have led to a 2-2 record, but the Packers appear to be a lock as a playoff contender.
10. Cincinnati Bengals
Cincinnati has more talent on its roster than most teams in the league, but to this point the players and coaches have yet to maximize the incredible potential.
Andy Dalton continues to make poor decisions in the passing game. If he doesn't start to learn from his mistakes, then the Bengals will not take the next step.
11. Baltimore Ravens
But somehow the Ravens are 3-2.
John Harbaugh knows how to get the most out of his team. Every year since he's been the head coach, Baltimore has made the playoffs, and it doesn't appear 2013 will be any different.
12. Detroit Lions
The true value of Calvin Johnson was felt in Week 5 when he was inactive against the Packers. The Lions could only manage a single touchdown, and the team's offense wasn't nearly as explosive.
Thankfully, Johnson's injury won't keep him out of action for long. With him and Reggie Bush on the field at the same time, the Lions feature an offense capable of keeping up with any team in the league.
13. Miami Dolphins
Protecting Ryan Tannehill isn't something the Dolphins do well.
The Ravens sacked him six times in Week 5, and he's spent more time on the ground this season than a wobbly toddler learning to walk.
But when he has time to throw, the second-year quarterback makes big plays with regularity. Combined with a better-than-average defense, the Dolphins have the makings of a playoff contender.
14. Atlanta Falcons
Injuries have ravaged Atlanta's roster early this year, but this is still a playoff team.
Once Steven Jackson returns to action, the Falcons will be able to give Matt Ryan the balance on offense he needs to shred defenses on play-action passes. Julio Jones, Roddy White, Harry Douglas and Tony Gonzalez comprise one of the league's top receiving corps, and they'll be hard to stop in January.
15. Tennessee Titans
Losing Jake Locker was a heavy blow to this team.
In his third year, he was beginning to look like a franchise quarterback, and he'd yet to throw a single interception before getting knocked out for at least a month with a hip injury.
Tennessee's defense will keep the Titans in most games. Nobody should be surprised to see this team win at least eight games before the end of the season.
16. Dallas Cowboys
Different year, same Cowboys.
Tony Romo still can't keep himself from throwing interceptions with the game on the line, and Dallas' defense is a wreck on the back end thanks to poor safety play.
17. Cleveland Browns
The Browns are in first place in the AFC North, but I'm not ready to buy into this team as a legitimate playoff contender.
Brandon Weeden will get another shot at making his case as the starting quarterback after Brian Hoyer's unfortunate injury put him out for the season. If he can cut down on his mistakes and get rid of the ball quickly, then the Browns will have a chance to win most of their games thanks to a stellar defense.
18. Arizona Cardinals
Arizona has some pieces in place to become a really good team.
Unfortunately, Carson Palmer isn't the answer at quarterback. He's struggled with turnovers throughout his career, and he's already thrown nine interceptions this year with just five touchdowns.
19. Houston Texans
Matt Schaub is a new record-holder in the NFL, but not for any reason he'd have chosen for himself.
After throwing an interception that was returned for a touchdown in Sunday night's game against the 49ers, Schaub became the first NFL quarterback to throw a pick-six in four consecutive games, as noted by ESPN Stats & Info:
Via @eliassports Matt Schaub set an all-time NFL record by throwing a pick-six in four consecutive games— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 7, 2013
Not surprisingly, however, head coach Gary Kubiak stuck with his man after losing 34-3 on national television. He named Schaub his starter going forward, as reported by Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com.
20. St. Louis Rams
The fact that Tavon Austin only has 166 total yards of offense through five games is all you need to know about the job offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer has done for the Rams.
This team is loaded with talented skill position players, but big plays are hard to come by.
Defensively, the Rams have underperformed. It's looking more and more like this team will finish the year under .500.
21. Oakland Raiders
Dennis Allen has his team playing with fervor.
Terrelle Pryor's insertion into the starting lineup was absolutely the right move, and his incredible athleticism shines through in every single game he plays.
Unfortunately, the Raiders are not talented enough to beat the top teams in the league.
22. Philadelphia Eagles
Philadelphia's defense is atrocious.
Making matters worse, the Eagles have struggled with turnovers on offense, and the combination of the two has resulted in a poor start to the season.
Michael Vick is reportedly going to sit on the bench in Week 6 after suffering a hamstring injury on Sunday, as reported by ESPN's Adam Schefter:
Eagles QB Michael Vick is expected to miss Sunday's start vs. Tampa Bay due to his hamstring injury. Nick Foles time.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 7, 2013
If Nick Foles has a huge game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, then you can be sure the airwaves in Philadelphia will be inundated with talk of a quarterback controversy.
23. Buffalo Bills
Buffalo's defense is playing extremely well right now, but the loss of EJ Manuel in Week 5 will prove too difficult to overcome. He's expected to be out four to six weeks with a knee injury, and practice-squad quarterback Thad Lewis will start in Week 6, as noted by Josh Katzowitz of CBS Sports.
24. New York Jets
Rex Ryan has a good thing going for himself with a young defense that is quickly becoming one of the league's best.
Unfortunately, he also has a rookie quarterback who can't stop turning the ball over.
Turning the ball over and winning in the NFL are opposing forces, and the Jets won't win often if Smith continues to make poor choices.
25. San Diego Chargers
It's been fun watching Philip Rivers sling the ball all over the yard, but he's had to do it for a frustrating reason: San Diego's defense is a nightmare.
Terrelle Pryor doesn't normally shred opposing defenses with his arm, but he looked like Peyton Manning at times against the Chargers on Sunday night, finishing with 221 yards and two touchdowns and connecting on 18 of his 23 attempts.
26. Minnesota Vikings
The Josh Freeman signing, as reported by Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, will make for an intriguing second half of the season for the Vikings. But for now, the biggest concern facing the team is its inability to stop opponents from passing the ball. Minnesota ranks No. 29 in the league, allowing 326 passing yards per game.
The only game this team won was against the winless Pittsburgh Steelers, which is bad news considering the NFC North is looking strong this year. The Vikings will be lucky to win six games.
27. Carolina Panthers
Cam Newton didn't improve in his second year, but it was too early to say he'd "regressed."
After five games this year, it's no longer too early to make that claim. Newton doesn't do the little things right, and when he makes mistakes they tend to be big ones.
The Panthers are now 1-3, having claimed their only victory against the Giants. If Newton and his team can't get better quickly, then head coach Ron Rivera could be in danger of losing his job before the season is out.
28. Washington Redskins
It's going to be interesting to see what Robert Griffin III looks like in Week 6 after he and his teammates got an early week off in Week 5. RGIII hasn't been sharp this year, and he hasn't looked comfortable playing on his surgically repaired knee.
Perhaps a greater concern is Washington's horrific defensive secondary, which gives up 298 yards a game.
29. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers have one of the worst offensive lines in football, and Ben Roethlisberger is getting hammered on nearly every single dropback.
On the other side, Pittsburgh's defense hasn't yet forced a single interception, and the team isn't stopping the run like it used to, allowing 122.8 yards a game.
30. New York Giants
Eli Manning has lost his marbles this year playing behind a turnstile of an offensive line. He's already turned the ball over 14 times in five games, which is only two fewer than he coughed up last year, as noted by Kevin Negandhi of ESPN:
Eli Manning has committed 14 turnovers in 5 games this season. last year, he committed 16 turnovers in 16 games.— Kevin Negandhi (@KNegandhiESPN) October 6, 2013
The entire team is plain bad, though. This isn't all on Manning.
If things continue on this same course, we could finally be witnessing the end of Tom Coughlin's tenure in New York.
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Speaking of teams headed down the wrong course...
Which team is the NFL's worst?
After spending big money on free agents the past couple of years, Tampa Bay finds itself without a franchise quarterback. Rookie Mike Glennon isn't the answer, and there's nobody else waiting in the wings.
Second-year head coach Greg Schiano appears poised for an epic meltdown.
32. Jacksonville Jaguars
Fun fact of the day: The Broncos are favored to beat the Jaguars by 28 points in Week 6, which is the largest spread in the history of the NFL, as noted by CBS Sports:
The Jaguars are now the biggest underdogs in NFL history. Denver is favored by 28 points! http://t.co/V7uK5Yu1Ig— CBSSports.com (@CBSSports) October 7, 2013
Jacksonville doesn't do anything well. At this point, nobody will be surprised if the Jags don't win a game in 2013.
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