NFL Power Rankings Week 6: Where Each Team Stands in Its Divisional Race
With five weeks in the books, each and every division in the NFL has its own story with some of them being competitive while others simply aren't. Winning the division guarantees a spot in the playoffs, and that's every team's goal before the season starts.
After Week 5, some teams' hopes of winning the division are better while others are looking more and more bleak by the week.
The New York Jets shocked the Atlanta Falcons in Week 5, and that leaves the Jets with a great chance of reaching first place after Week 6, with the Falcons' chances of winning their respective division looking impossible now.
Let's take a look at the full power rankings for the league and where each team stands in its division through five weeks.
1. Denver Broncos (5-0)
It wasn't pretty defensively, but the Broncos were able to stave off an offensive explosion from the Cowboys by dropping 51 points to win by a field goal. Denver's defense has some concerns, but they will be erased once Champ Bailey and Von Miller return.
Interestingly enough, Denver's impressive start has only earned it a share of the AFC West lead with the undefeated Chiefs. The Broncos certainly have the edge as the more proven team, but the Chiefs will have a chance to prove otherwise in Week 11.
2. New Orleans Saints (5-0)
The Saints keep rolling along after their latest win over a competitive team in the Bears. While we knew this team would have a great offense, we had no clue the Saints defense could play this well.
New Orleans' only real competition in the NFC South was supposed to be the Falcons, but seeing how Atlanta is in a bad way at 1-4, the Saints are clear-cut favorites to cruise to a division title barring a collapse.
3. Kansas City Chiefs (5-0)
Never flashy but always successful, the Chiefs once again took care of business in Week 5, this time against the Titans. It's clear Kansas City's offense has enough weapons to help support what is one of the finest defensive units in football.
No matter how good the Chiefs have played thus far, the Broncos still have the upper hand in the division as a surefire favorite to win the AFC West crown. If there is anyone with the defensive capability of stopping the Broncos' potent offense, it's the Chiefs. Although, a second-place finish this season is looking more likely than not.
4. Indianapolis Colts (4-1)
After beating the 49ers and Seahawks is successive weeks, the Colts must be taken seriously as a top-flight team in the NFL. While their defense was considered suspect, it has done more than enough to help the Colts get off to a great start while Andrew Luck and Co. take care of the rest on offense.
The AFC South is awfully tight this early in the season with the Titans being just one game behind and the struggling Texans two back. Of all the teams in contention for the division, the Colts have looked like the most complete of any and are no doubt the class of the division with a first-place spot to prove it.
5. Seattle Seahawks (4-1)
Seattle suffered a tough loss in Week 5 to Indianapolis, which certainly knocked this team down a peg in the rankings. The passing attack continues to be a problem, but don't expect the Seahawks' issues there to derail this team moving forward, as they still possess a great defense and elite rushing attack.
With the Niners starting to rebound, the Seahawks own a one-game lead with just two games separating them from the last-place Rams. Sure, the Cards are tied for second place with the Niners, but San Fran has a much more realistic shot at challenging Seattle for the division crown with a lot more talent on both sides of the ball.
6. New England Patriots (4-1)
The Pats offense struggled in Week 5 with a combination of a great defensive opponent in the Bengals and some bad weather. Still, New England's offense has yet to play a game at full strength this season, and that could happen sooner rather than later when Rob Gronkowski returns. Once he does, this team will be one of the most complete squads in the NFL, thanks to a stellar defense this season.
New England was thought to have a great chance at winning the division this season. Things keep getting tighter and tighter, though, as the Jets have been playing about as good a brand of football as anyone could have imagined and the Dolphins are a team that must be respected. If they lose to the undefeated Saints in Week 6, the Pats could be looking at a tie for the division lead with the Jets.
7. San Francisco 49ers (3-2)
The Niners smacked the Texans around last week, but that was more a result of a team in disarray in Houston than the Niners looking that great. San Fran's defense is improving each week, and they have a great rushing attack. However, concerns over quarterback Colin Kaepernick's lack of great play are relevant.
San Fran's two wins in a row have put it right back in the mix for the division title at one game back. If this team hopes to challenge the Seahawks for first place, Kaepernick has got to step his game up and pick up the slack that the passing attack has been unable to do so far.
8. Green Bay Packers (2-2)
The Packers got a deserving jump up the rankings this week thanks to an impressive win over the Lions. Not only did the Packers do their thing on offense against a tough Lions defense, but they also shut down the Calvin Johnson-less Lions to the tune of just nine points.
With Green Bay beating the Lions and Chicago losing two in a row, the Packers are starting to look like the best team in the NFC North with a chance to take over first place in Week 6. If not this week, it's just a matter of time before Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay are tops in their division.
9. Baltimore Ravens (3-2)
The Ravens pulled out another win over a good team, this time against the Dolphins. Don't look now, but Baltimore has beaten three solid teams this season and has quickly become a major surprise.
As one of the three teams tied for the lead in the AFC North, the Ravens now have a great shot at winning the division with a tough game against the Packers coming up.
10. Cleveland Browns (3-2)
That's right, the Browns are in the top 10. After beating the Bengals in Week 4, Cleveland went on to drop 37 points against the Bills en route to its third straight win and a spot among the league's respected teams.
Cleveland now owns a share of the lead in the AFC North as the Browns are tied with the Ravens and Bengals in what is a wide open division at this point in the season.
11. Cincinnati Bengals (3-2)
A 13-6 win over the Patriots spoke volumes about how good the Bengals defense can be when at its best. Such a win also helped propel the Bengals back to a competitive position in the league after a loss to the Browns in Week 4.
Cincy still remains as a top favorite to win the AFC North, but it's anyone's division at this point with three teams tied at 3-2.
12. Miami Dolphins (3-2)
Miami is starting to come back down to earth with two losses in a row. One of them was a blowout at the hands of one of the league's elite, the New Orleans Saints, while the other came in a winnable game last week against what was to be a middle-of-the-road squad in the Ravens.
A bye week is much-needed for a Dolphins team that is struggling at the moment. Despite two straight losses, the Dolphins are very much in the thick of things in the AFC East as they stand just one game back for the division lead.
13. Detroit Lions (3-2)
Figuring out the Lions is tough. One week they are beating a tough opponent like the Bears, and the next they are getting manhandled by the Packers defense. With just nine points against Green Bay, Detroit sorely missed star receiver Calvin Johnson in Week 5 and desperately needs him back if it hopes to recover.
The loss to the Packers certainly exposed some major weaknesses for the Lions on offense. However, Detroit still owns a share of the division lead and has as good a chance as any team in the NFC North to take home the divisional bragging rights.
14. Chicago Bears (3-2)
After dropping a tough game to the Lions in Week 4, the Bears fell victim to an elite team after losing to the Saints by one score in Week 5. Not surprisingly, Chicago didn't have a defensive touchdown, and for the second week in a row it coincided with a loss.
With a Week 6 matchup against the lowly Giants, the Bears have a great chance of grabbing sole possession of first place should the Lions falter against the Browns. The Packers are still right there, though, and trail the Bears by just one win.
15. Dallas Cowboys (2-3)
The Cowboys are a team that is hard to figure out. After losing to the Chargers in Week 4 having only scored 21 points, Dallas came out in Week 5 ready to try and match the high-powered Broncos offense. Dallas fell just short with 48 points and zero defense and isn't getting more respect than this, because the Cowboys are the kind of team that can be great one week and horrible the next.
Week 6 is a huge game for the Cowboys. If they lose to the Redskins, they will be tied in the win column with the team from Washington while having one more loss. Dallas could theoretically fall even further if the Eagles beat the lowly Bucs.
16. Arizona Cardinals (3-2)
While the Cards do have three wins, two of them came against lackluster squads in the Buccaneers and, most recently, the Panthers. Granted, the Cards did beat the Lions in Week 2, but the jury is still out on just how good this team really is.
With just one game separating the Cards from first place, there is hope in Arizona. However, it must be said that the Cardinals are not as talented on both sides of the ball as both Seattle and San Fran, so winning this division will be a tall task for Arizona.
17. Tennessee Titans (3-2)
Tennessee's start to the season has been a special one to say the least. The tough part of the Titans schedule began last week in a loss to the Chiefs and figures to only get tougher with games against the Seahawks, 49ers and Rams the next three weeks.
The Titans are just one game behind the Colts for the AFC South lead. Granted, the Titans have a shot at getting a share of the division lead this week, but it's doubtful they can knock off the Seahawks at CenturyLink Field, and the Colts should beat the Chargers to gain a two-game lead.
18. New York Jets (3-2)
Welcome to respectability. The Jets' win over the Falcons after a week of predictions that they would get spanked on the road has shoved their team into the conversation as a tough squad to beat in the AFC. With a defense to be reckoned with, New York has a great chance of making the playoffs as long as rookie QB Geno Smith keeps progressing as he did in Week 5.
The AFC East is no guarantee at this point, and the Jets could find themselves with a share of the lead alongside the Patriots should New York top the winless Steelers and the Pats lose to the undefeated Saints.
19. Houston Texans (2-3)
The Texans are in a state of total disarray with questions about the viability of quarterback Matt Schaub. Schaub didn't help those concerns after tossing three picks in a 31-point blowout loss to the Niners. This team is quickly declining by the week, and things aren't looking so good for Houston this season.
Despite its woes, this team is just two games behind the division-leading Colts. With three tough games in a row for the Titans, the Texans will have a golden opportunity to leap-frog the Titans for second place and put themselves in a position to potentially play for a share of the division lead in Week 9 against Indy.
20. Oakland Raiders (2-3)
Oakland's defense looked impressive after holding the Chargers to just 17 points, and it's clear the Raiders are not anywhere near as bad as everyone made them out to be before the season. As long as Terrelle Pryor continues to develop and this defense gets better, the future is actually bright in Oakland.
As far as the Raiders' chances in the division go, things are looking slim. At best, the Raiders are the third-best team in the AFC West, and not finishing in last would be a major accomplishment.
21. San Diego Chargers (2-3)
San Diego failed to keep pace with both the Chiefs and Broncos in Week 5 after losing to its divisional foe, the Raiders. Philip Rivers continued his great season with 411 yards passing, but the Chargers failed to do anything else on offense and only mustered up 17 points.
At 2-3, it's highly unlikely the Chargers will be able to catch the undefeated Broncos or Chiefs this season. At this point, the best-case scenario for this squad would be a third-place finish ahead of the Raiders.
22. Philadelphia Eagles (2-3)
The Eagles aren't scoring any extra respect points after a Week 5 victory over the winless Giants. Philly did manage to get back on track offensively, although it isn't saying much when considering the opponent.
The Eagles may have woes on defense, but who doesn't in the NFC East? Philly is tied for the division lead with the Cowboys and could have sole possession of first place should Dallas lose and the Eagles win.
23. Buffalo Bills (2-3)
The Browns may be a team on the rise, but to allow 37 points to their suspect offense is a bad sign for the Bills. If Buffalo keeps playing poor defense like that, it must find a way to get into the 30s on offense, which is something the team has failed to do this season.
After losing to the Jets in Week 3, it's quite clear the Bills are the worst team in the AFC East. Still, with a two-game deficit and an unpredictable division, the Bills' hopes are alive, although four straight games against winning teams will only serve to end their hopes.
24. Atlanta Falcons (1-4)
Speaking of teams in disarray, the Falcons certainly qualify as such. Atlanta was this writer's personal favorite to come out of the NFC, but now it looks as though the Falcons will be lucky just to make the playoffs after losing a game they desperately needed against a less desperate Jets squad.
Any hope that the Falcons can win the NFC South have gone bye-bye for now and likely the remainder of the season. Such a hole is tough to get out of in and of itself, but when considering the Saints are 5-0, that makes it even more impossible. It's wild card or bust at this point for Atlanta.
25. St. Louis Rams (2-3)
The Rams got a gift matchup with the worst team in the league in Week 5. St. Louis snapped its three-game losing streak with the win over the Jaguars and finally got a solid contribution from its rushing attack. The game with Jacksonville was a little closer than desired, and that perfectly underscores the Rams' problems this season.
In the NFC West, the Rams have a chance to compete as they are just two games back, but St. Louis must make drastic improvements, and fast, if it hopes to have a prayer at challenging for the division title.
26. Washington Redskins (1-3)
A week after winning their first game of the season, the Redskins enjoyed some rest in Week 5 as they prepare for a showdown with the Cowboys in Week 6.
A horrid start had people in the nation's capital fearing the worst, but the rest of the NFC East is a mess, and the Redskins still have a chance to make some noise and take that division if they can just get their act together.
27. Carolina Panthers (1-3)
Two weeks after trouncing the Giants and a week after their bye, the Panthers threw up a stinker against the Cardinals as they failed to get into the end zone. This team is about as up-and-down as they come with Cam Newton not looking so hot in 2013-14.
With the Falcons' woes this season, the Panthers are in second place by default. If they are looking to win the division, the Panthers are dreaming as the undefeated Saints are running away with the NFC South, and Carolina will be lucky to finish in second if Atlanta starts playing better.
28. Minnesota Vikings (1-3)
A win in London against the lowly Steelers didn't do much to improve the Vikings' stock. After a bye week last week, the Vikings have a great chance to continue their rebound with a win over the equally bad Panthers.
Such a competitive division with equally matched teams in the NFC North makes Minnesota's deficit for the division lead something they could potentially overcome, and that's especially true with two winnable games in a row against the Panthers and Giants.
29. Pittsburgh Steelers (0-4)
A bye week was absolutely necessary for the Steelers last week after dropping a game to the Vikings in London in Week 4. Pittsburgh has another winnable game against the Jets in Week 6, although "winnable" has taken on a new meaning with this struggling squad.
It's a shame the Steelers have gotten off to such a poor start. The AFC North is wide open at the moment, but it's obvious the Steelers are on the outside looking in as the worst team in the division.
30. New York Giants (0-5)
Another week, another dreadful performance for the G-Men. This mistake-prone mess of a team looks to be the exact squad struggling teams would like to face in order to rebound from their own issues as the Eagles proved in Week 5.
If you are aware of the NFC East's history in the past few seasons, you know that nobody is ever out of it, and the same can be said for the winless Giants this season. However, it must be said that the G-Men are the worst team in the division, and that's a horrid distinction to have considering their counterparts.
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-4)
For a team in turmoil like the Bucs, a bye week is a nice break from all the nonsense in order to refocus for the rest of the season. A new quarterback behind center in rookie Mike Glennon means a new start for this franchise with plenty of growing pains to follow.
The Bucs have no prayer of winning the NFC South with the Saints owning a perfect record. If they can avoid finishing in last place in 2013-14, consider that a positive sign after this horrendous start.
32. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-5)
Like the Giants, the Jags are another team struggling squads love to see on their schedule this season. The Rams were the latest beneficiary of the lowly Jags, and Jacksonville fell further into the depths of ineptitude after another loss.
Forget the division; the Jags will be lucky to get a win this season as they sit an astounding four games behind the Colts for AFC South supremacy.
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