NFL Power Rankings 2013: Showcasing League Hierarchy with Week 6 on Horizon

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistOctober 9, 2013

Oct 6, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA;  Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) during the second half of the game against the Seattle Seahawks at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Colts won 34-28. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports
Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Through five weeks, the NFL has sorted itself out with a display of entertaining action, but the rankings have not exactly turned out as many expected.

The perfect example of this notion occurred on Monday Night Football to close out the week. The New York Jets, also known as the media's favorite punching bag, defeated the Atlanta Falcons at home.

Atlanta, despite the return of elite tight end Tony Gonzalez for a Super Bowl opportunity, is in free fall in the rankings. On the other hand, New York continues to climb courtesy of a stellar defense and a rookie quarterback by the name of Geno Smith.

Outside of those two teams headed in drastically different directions, here is where the rest of the league stands with Week 6 on the way.

1. Denver Broncos (5-0)

What more can be said about Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos? The defense allowed 48 points last week against Dallas—and won.

No team is beating Manning and Co. in a shootout, and more often than not the defense won't allow over 40 points anyway. As of now, only one team can truly step to Denver, and it resides in the No. 2 slot.

2. New Orleans Saints (5-0)

As far as Super Bowl contenders go, New Orleans is right with Denver. Sean Payton is back, but what's even scarier about the Saints is the defense led by Rob Ryan.

New Orleans has no issues getting to opposing quarterbacks. Tight end Jimmy Graham is unstoppable in his contract year, and the Saints just notched a major "prove it" win on the road in Chicago.

3. Seattle Seahawks (4-1)

Despite being the latest contender to fall victim to Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts, Seattle remains one of the top three teams after a 34-28 defeat.

The Seahawks are the most balanced team in the NFL thanks to a strong passing attack led by Russell Wilson and a strong ground game with Marshawn Lynch.

Like last year, the Seahawks are getting off to a slow start. Nothing to worry about.

4. Green Bay Packers (2-2)

Aaron Rodgers and Co. got back on track in Week 5 with a major 22-9 win over the Detroit Lions, placing them directly back into the thick of things in the NFC North.

Thanks to a bevy of weapons on offense, Rodgers and Co. will have little issue scoring with the best of the best, but the absence of Clay Matthews for a month per ESPN's Adam Schefter is a huge blow to the defense.

5. Kansas City Chiefs (5-0)

The Kansas City Chiefs continue to impress under new head coach Andy Reid. Alex Smith and the offense do an excellent job of controlling the pace, while the defense is one of the NFL's most underrated units.

The only knock on Kansas City at this point has been a favorable schedule to date. Time will tell how long the Chiefs can remain undefeated.

6. Indianapolis Colts (4-1)

Indianapolis continues to impress, now owning major victories over both the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks. 

The scary part is the Colts will seemingly only improve as new back Trent Richardson continues to learn the offense. A defense that ranks No. 30 against the run is an issue, but so far Andrew Luck has more than picked up the slack on his way to MVP consideration.

7. San Francisco 49ers (3-2) 

The San Francisco 49ers are not who we thought they were.

Neither is quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has done little to help his team win in recent weeks after exploding for over 400 yards passing in Week 1 against Green Bay.

San Francisco got back on track in Week 5 with a blowout win over Houston, but that means little considering the Texans are the NFL's biggest punchline.

8. Miami Dolphins (3-2)

Ryan Tannehill is one of the NFL's most underrated quarterbacks, and paired with a quietly stellar defense, the Miami Dolphins have been able to make serious improvements this year.

A stunning 26-23 loss to Baltimore last week stings, but the Dolphins were tough throughout. Miami is headed for nothing but a strong campaign this year.

9. New England Patriots (4-1)

Oct 6, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) passes the ball against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. Cincinnati defeated New England 13-6. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports
Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Tom Brady and Co. finally suffered their first loss in Week 5 as the team was held without a touchdown in a loss to Cincinnati.

The good news is that the Bengals are a playoff-caliber team (at least defensively), and tight end Rob Gronkowski will be back sooner rather than later.

Things are just fine in New England.

10. Chicago Bears (3-2)

The Marc Trestman era took another hit in Week 5 as Chicago was outlasted by New Orleans at Soldier Field, but the Bears remain one of the NFL's best.

Quarterback Jay Cutler looks great in Trestman's offense and is surrounded by quality weapons such as Matt Forte, Martellus Bennett, Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery. Things will only continue to improve with more experience in the system.

11. Baltimore Ravens (3-2)

Baltimore is a difficult team to peg down. Two weeks ago, Joe Flacco threw five interceptions in a loss to Buffalo before the team outlasted Miami for a big win in Week 5.

Ray Rice was a major factor in the win, and if he's back to form after a hip injury, the Ravens will do nothing but rise in the rankings.

12. Cincinnati Bengals (3-2)

Cincinnati is another team from the AFC North that continues to confuse. The Bengals under Marvin Lewis have a history of playing down to the competition, which was perfectly on display two weeks ago in a loss to Cleveland before a win over New England in Week 5.

As long as Cincinnati plays contenders, it appears they will continue to win games.

13. Detroit Lions (3-2)

Detroit was humbled in a 22-9 loss against Green Bay, but it's important to remember the team was without wideout Calvin Johnson and remains in first place in the NFC North.

Then again, an offense that so heavily relies on one player is a double-edged sword; Johnson needs to get healthy—fast.

14. Philadelphia Eagles (2-3)

Philadelphia managed to get itself back on track in Week 5 with a major win over the New York Giants, although that has lost its luster considering the Giants have yet to win a game this year.

As long as LeSean McCoy continues to play like the best back in the league, it does not matter who is under center in Chip Kelly's electric offense.

15. Dallas Cowboys (2-3)

It certainly is not the end of the world to lose to a team like Denver at this point, and it's impressive that Tony Romo and Co. were able to drop 48 on the Broncos and keep things close until the very end.

That being said, a trademark Romo interception to give the game away late was disappointing to say the least.

16. New York Jets (3-2)

Geno Smith may not be surrounded by the best supporting cast on offense, but he has the backing of a great defense and threw three touchdowns before leading a final drive with Monday Night Football coming to a close. 

The drive resulted in a field goal to defeat Atlanta, and with it came the national recognition and respect the Jets deserve.

17. Cleveland Browns (3-2)

Another team that fields an elite defense, Cleveland, deserves more respect as well.

Brandon Weeden is back as the starter after Brian Hoyer was lost for the year on Thursday Night Football in a loss against Buffalo per Scott Petrak on Twitter .

The offense will be sluggish at best considering Weeden was on the bench for a reason, but Joe Haden and the defense will keep the team in all games.

18. Atlanta Falcons (1-4)

The free fall continues for Matt Ryan and Atlanta after a humbling loss to the Jets on Monday Night Football. 

Even worse, the Falcons appear to have lost star receiver Julio Jones for the remainder of the season per Jay Glazer of Fox Sports. Add in the fact Roddy White is still hobbled, and the once-feared offense in Atlanta is no more.

19. Buffalo Bills (2-3)

Buffalo is without starting quarterback EJ Manuel for six weeks per Ian Rapoport on Twitter.

That means Thad Lewis is making his second career start against Cincinnati in Week 6, and it won't be pretty. C.J. Spiller has been a disappointment this year, and things will only get worse before they improve in Buffalo.

20. Houston Texans (2-3)

Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub has now thrown an interception that has been returned for a touchdown in four straight games.

What more needs to be said?

21. St. Louis Rams (2-3)

St. Louis finally got back to its winning ways in Week 5, but that's not saying much considering the team faced the horrific Jacksonville Jaguars.

Until quarterback Sam Bradford can elevate his play against quality opponents, the Rams will continue to dabble in mediocrity.

22. Tennessee Titans (3-2)

Things went about as expected for Tennessee in Week 5 with backup Ryan Fitzpatrick under center. Jake Locker is missing courtesy of a scary hip injury, and Fitzpatrick brings little to the offense in spot duty.

Chris Johnson remains a threat, but defenses can key on him and contain the Titans offense with relative ease.

23.  Arizona Cardinals (3-2)

Oct 6, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer (3) is sacked by Carolina Panthers defensive end Charles Johnson (95) during the second quarter at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports
Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, the Arizona Cardinals pulled off a gritty win over the Carolina Panthers in Week 5, but the same issues reared their ugly head.

The offensive line does little to protect the immobile Carson Palmer, who continues to turn the ball over at a ridiculous rate. Add in a back in Rashard Mendenhall who is the definition of ineffective, and it's going to be a long season in the desert.

24. Oakland Raiders (2-3)

Terrelle Pryor is the real deal for Oakland under center, as he showcased in a major win over San Diego. 

Pryor is effective enough through the air but keeps defenses honest with his outstanding ability on the ground. Oakland won't be making a trip to the postseason, but things are going much better than anticipated, and Pryor appears to be a sound building block.

25. San Diego Chargers (2-3)

San Diego is a tough team to figure out. Some weeks Philip Rivers looks as if he could carry the team to the playoffs, and others the entire squad lays an egg and loses to Oakland on Sunday Night Football.

The Chargers are too iffy of a team to rank any higher, and a .500 record or worse sounds about right for a team a few years out from putting it all together.


26. Carolina Panthers (1-3)

Oct 6, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington (58) chases down and tackles Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) during the second half at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Spor
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

When a team's best wide receiver is Tedd Ginn, there is an issue.

That's the case for Cam Newton in Carolina, who once again has to feel shunned by his front office. The Panthers have a huge amount of cap space tangled up in running backs they never use and once again have given Newton little to work with.

The beat goes on in Carolina.

27. Washington Redskins (1-3)

Washington continues to confuse thanks to the erratic play of Robert Griffin III. After a bye in Week 5, RGIII and Co. have a huge date with Dallas.

The Redskins still have a chance to turn things around, but it's going to take an extreme output from RGIII.

28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-4)

Greg Schiano has not only managed to run quarterback Josh Freeman out of town, he has also manged to waste one of the NFL's most talented defenses.

Rookie Mike Glennon has been thrown to the wolves, and things don't appear to be headed in a positive direction.

29. Minnesota Vikings (1-3)

The Minnesota Vikings may have solved their quarterback issues by winning the Josh Freeman sweepstakes, according to a tweet by Freeman's agent, Erik Burkhardt.

The question now becomes, is it too little, too late?

30. Pittsburgh Steelers (0-4)

The naysayers were right this time—Pittsburgh is simply too old. Ben Roethlisberger cannot do it all on his own.

Years of horrible drafting are finally catching up with the franchise, and it's not pretty. Things will only get worse.

31. New York Giants (0-5)

This year likely marks the last time fans will see Tom Coughlin as head coach in New York—if he lasts the entire season.

There's plenty of talent on the Giants roster, but something is off, and quarterback Eli Manning is giving away the football at a rapid pace.


32. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-5)

The good news is that Jacksonville played its best game in Week 5. Ready for the bad news?

The Jaguars still lost by 14.

Jacksonville now heads into a matchup with Denver, the No. 1-ranked team on this list.

Stop laughing.

Follow B/R's Chris Roling on Twitter for more news and analysis @Chris_Roling


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