NFL Power Rankings: Full Standings Heading into Thursday Night Football
Week 6 is about to begin, but there's still enough time to check out the latest NFL power rankings heading into Thursday Night Football.
The New York Giants will be taking on the Chicago Bears on Thursday night. Eli Manning, struggling to lead his team to its first win, tops the NFL with 12 interceptions. Meanwhile, the Bears are looking to turn things around after losing their last two games.
So, before this week's slate of games gets started, let's take a look at the Week 6 power rankings.
32. Jacksonville Jaguars
Yes, the Jaguars are still really bad. Not only have they failed to win a game, they're also averaging just over 10 points per game, the lowest mark in the league.
The return of Justin Blackmon may be able to help get things going on offense, but he still has Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne throwing to him.
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The change from Josh Freeman to Mike Glennon was a big one. Still, it didn't make much of a difference in the Bucs' last game against the Arizona Cardinals, as Tampa Bay still put up just 10 points.
We have no clue if Glennon is the answer for this team, but it wasn't pretty in his first game. He went 24-for-43 with 193 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions.
A bye week should help Glennon get more comfortable in this offense, but don't expect him to completely turn around a team that's struggling this much.
30. New York Giants
I'm still in shock over how bad this team has been to start the season. The Giants have yet to take advantage of a wide-open NFC East. They've instead gone winless, with all but one of their losses coming by 15 or more points.
Eli's struggles have been well documented, but the defense should get some of the blame as well. It's allowing nearly 400 yards per game, and the Giants have failed to hold any opponent under 30 points.
The two New York teams have a combined three wins, but I don't think anyone would have thought that the Jets would have all three of them at this point in the season.
29. Pittsburgh Steelers
Another team that's surprised me with how bad it's been, Pittsburgh was a Super Bowl pick by a number of analysts at the beginning of the season.
Instead, the Steelers have gone 0-4 and are coming off of a much-needed bye after losing to the Minnesota Vikings in London. The team has a number of questions to answer, including its struggling running game, which ranks 31st in the NFL at 58 yards per game.
The return of Le'Veon Bell could help the rushing attack, but the Steelers have some tough defenses to get through over the next two weeks, as they go against the New York Jets and Baltimore Ravens.
If they can win one or both of these games, expect the Steelers to start climbing quickly back up the rankings, but I don't think that's going to be the case.
28. Oakland Raiders
Give the Raiders some credit. They beat a solid team in the San Diego Chargers last week, forcing five turnovers in the game.
Terrelle Pryor was big once again in his first game back after the concussion. He went 18-for-23 with 221 yards and two touchdowns for a passer rating of 135.7 on the day.
It seems that this team trusts its young quarterback quite a bit. Just after the game against the Chargers, the Raiders released backup quarterback Matt Flynn, who had started in place of Pryor while he was sidelined.
This team has the potential to pull off some upsets as the season continues. The Raiders could be a lot better than we originally thought.
27. Carolina Panthers
This looked like a legitimate team in the 38-0 win over the Giants, but the Panthers' other three games, all losses, suggest otherwise.
Cam Newton did not have a good game against the Cardinals last week. He had four turnovers on the day, throwing three interceptions and fumbling once.
Ron Rivera was able to save his job in 2012 after that late-season run, but with how this team is playing right now, it looks like he's going to be on his way out at the end of the year.
26. Washington Redskins
Before the bye, the Redskins finally got their first win of the season, beating the Raiders in Oakland. Surprisingly enough, Washington is still in great position to take control of the NFC East.
Robert Griffin III continues to get better every game. From sliding around in the pocket to stepping into throws, he simply looks more confident in his knee as the season progresses, which is a good sign for this offense.
The defense continues to struggle, however, which could hurt this team down the stretch. It ranks dead-last in the league in total defense, allowing 440.5 yards per game.
25. Buffalo Bills
I almost never know what to think of this team. In some games, the Bills pull out convincing wins against tough opponents. In others, they completely fall apart and look like one of the bottom-feeders in the league.
The Bills are likely going to struggle for the next couple weeks, as Thad Lewis will be the starting quarterback for an injured EJ Manuel. Per the Bills' Twitter account, Lewis is slated to start Week 6 against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Lewis will have a great pair of running backs behind him in C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson, but he's going to need to make some plays of his own in order to keep the Buffalo offense from being one dimensional.
24. Minnesota Vikings
It looks like Christian Ponder's starting job is officially gone now that the Vikings have brought in Josh Freeman.
Having said that, Freeman likely won't start until he learns the playbook and feels comfortable in the offense, which may take a couple of weeks. Meanwhile, it appears that Matt Cassel will likely start this week against the Carolina Panthers.
That Viking defense is still a problem, however, as it has allowed 430.8 yards and 30.8 points per game. If that doesn't get fixed, it won't matter who the starting quarterback is.
23. Cleveland Browns
If you would have told me that the Browns and the Indianapolis Colts would each be 3-0 after the Trent Richardson trade, I probably would have laughed.
The trade has motivated the Browns to prove everyone wrong—and it's working so far. They've put up at least 30 points in two of their last three games and are looking to ride the momentum into some tough games before their bye week.
The injury to quarterback Brian Hoyer was unfortunate, but now it's time for Brandon Weeden to step up and lead this team that won its last three matchups with the backup QB at the helm.
22. Tennessee Titans
Ryan Fitzpatrick looked like he could really lead the Titans to a win over the Kansas City Chiefs, but some sloppy play and a couple turnovers quickly changed that perception.
Still, the Titans are going to have to stick with Fitzpatrick while Jake Locker recovers from a hip injury. Chris Johnson, who is averaging just 3.1 yards per carry, needs to step up big while the team is without their franchise QB.
21. Philadelphia Eagles
The offense for the Eagles has been fun to watch. Philadelphia leads the NFL in rushing, putting up 186.6 yards per game.
However, the defense is what's killing this team. It's allowing 326 passing yards per game along with another 108 yards on the ground.
Unless this offense is capable of putting up at least 30 points every game, the Eagle defense is going to need to step it up.
20. Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals finally won back-to-back games for the first time since the beginning of the 2012 season, when they won four straight.
The defense looked terrific last week, forcing four turnovers and allowing just six points.
The offense is what's holding this team back right now. Carson Palmer has struggled so far, throwing nine interceptions and just five touchdowns through the first five games. Meanwhile, the ground game isn't doing much either, averaging just 81 yards per game.
19. St. Louis Rams
The Rams finally got another win, beating the Jaguars by 14 points. It wasn't the most convincing win, but they needed something to start turning things around.
Sam Bradford is having a pretty solid season so far. He's thrown for 1,315 yards, 10 touchdowns and just three interceptions. With new weapons like Tavon Austin and Jared Cook, he should be able to have a pretty solid season through the air.
The defense has a lot of talent on it with players like defensive end Robert Quinn and linebacker James Laurinaitis, but the secondary has been a major liability through the first five games. Until the Rams can fix that, the defense will continue to give up points.
18. San Diego Chargers
It looked like the Chargers might have a pretty solid season brewing, but then they lost to the Raiders, and now I don't know what to think of them.
Philip Rivers is continuing to have a dominant year. He's completing 73.7 percent of his passes, throwing for 1,610 yards and 13 touchdowns to just five interceptions. At this rate, he's on pace for over 5,100 yards and 40-plus touchdowns.
It's quite likely that Rivers continues to air it out, as his defense is struggling to contain opponents. They gave up 27 points against the Raiders, a team without a lot of talent on offense.
We will see how the rest of the season plays out, but I'm not convinced that this is a playoff contender in the AFC.
17. New York Jets
Everyone is quite surprised with how well the Jets are playing right now. They're 3-2 to start the year, thanks to a terrific defensive unit, which is allowing fewer than 300 yards per game. New York is one of only two teams in the NFL that can say that.
Geno Smith didn't have a single turnover last week against the Atlanta Falcons, which was quite a surprise. He had the best game of his young NFL career, throwing for 199 yards and three touchdowns while completing 80 percent of his passes.
It looks like Smith might be the answer at QB after all, but the defense should be getting the majority of the credit for how well this team has played so far.
16. Houston Texans
After squeaking out their first two games, the Texans have lost their last three, and it looks as it their weaknesses have been exposed.
Matt Schaub is getting a lot of the blame, and for good reason. He's thrown a pick-six in four straight games, the first NFL quarterback ever to do so. He has failed to get DeAndre Hopkins, the team's athletic rookie receiver, involved in the offense since Week 2, when he went for 117 yards and a touchdown.
The defense is trying to hold things together, but without an offense that can hold onto the ball, the Texans are going to keep struggling.
15. Atlanta Falcons
This is the best 1-4 team out there, but the Falcons have still won just one game, and now they're already well behind the New Orleans Saints in the NFC South.
To make matters worse, the Falcons lost star receiver Julio Jones for the rest of the 2013 season with a fractured foot.
There it is. RT @mortreport: Julio Jones will have surgery next week after Dr Robert Anderson confirmed his fractured foot. Out of year.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 9, 2013
The defense is continuing to lose guys in the front seven, while their secondary is young and inexperienced. Matt Ryan is going to have to lead this team, and that's going to be a difficult task with how many players it has lost to injury.
14. Dallas Cowboys
They may have lost to the Denver Broncos, but the Cowboys proved to me that they're the best team right now in the NFC East.
Tony Romo looked fantastic last week, except for the late interception that set up Denver's game-winning field goal. The Cowboys wouldn't have even been in the position to lose late if not for Romo's brilliance, as he threw for over 500 yards and five touchdowns.
There are a number of weapons on offense, but the Dallas defense is struggling. It's given up 81 points in the past two games and is allowing 326.4 passing yards per game.
Still, with how bad the rest of the division has played so far, the Cowboys are the front-runners in the NFC East.
13. Detroit Lions
Since star receiver Calvin Johnson was out with a knee injury, the Lions get a pass for losing to the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. When Johnson's in the game, this is a completely different, and much more deadly, offense.
Running backs Reggie Bush and Joique Bell have emerged as nice weapons for the Lions. The two have combined for almost 800 total yards and five total touchdowns.
Matthew Stafford is enjoying the new dimension that Bush and Bell bring to the offense, and as long as the Lions can keep scoring, they'll be able to carry their below-average defense.
12. Miami Dolphins
After a nice 3-0 start, the Dolphins have lost their last two games.
Cameron Wake has been banged up, but he should be able to rest up and be ready to go after the bye week. The Dolphins have allowed 64 points in their last two games, and a healthy Wake will be able to push that number down a bit.
Ryan Tannehill continues to develop into a possible franchise quarterback. He's thrown for 1,383 yards and six touchdowns so far, and his improvement should continue with receiving threats like Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline to throw to.
11. Baltimore Ravens
After Joe Flacco threw five interceptions in the loss to the Buffalo Bills, the Ravens needed a bounce-back win.
They got just that against a good Miami Dolphin team.
That doesn't mean everything is alright. The running game is surprisingly bad right now, despite having both Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce in the backfield. The Ravens are averaging just 77.8 yards per game on the ground and just 2.8 yards per carry.
The defense will need to carry this team, with guys like Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumervil continuing to make plays. As the new players get more comfortable in the defense, this team will keep getting better.
10. New England Patriots
It was only a matter of time before the Patriots lost their first game this season. The offense just hasn't been the same, and while the young receivers have continued to improve as the season has gone on, they really needed Danny Amendola and Rob Gronkowski to come back.
Amendola came back last week, but he wasn't able to do much in the rainy conditions. However, at least he's back, and he should be more effective on a drier field.
The good news is that Gronk may finally be coming back this week. According to NFL on ESPN, the Patriots' star tight end will likely play this Sunday against the New Orleans Saints.
DEVELOPING: Patriots TE Rob Gronkowski likely to play Sunday vs Saints. #TheReturnOfGronk— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) October 8, 2013
This offense is finally starting to get healthy, and that's bad news for the rest of the NFL.
9. Chicago Bears
After losing their last two games, the Bears will be looking to get back on track and should be able to do so against a struggling Giants team.
The offensive line is beginning to struggle once again after looking so good through the first three games. After allowing just three sacks in the first three weeks, it has allowed six sacks over the last two games.
Alshon Jeffery is emerging as a real weapon with 28 receptions for 429 yards and two touchdowns. The Bears needed a receiving threat to play opposite Brandon Marshall, and Jeffery appears to be that guy.
8. Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals got their statement win for the 2013 season, winning 13-6 over the New England Patriots.
The defense is playing quite well, allowing fewer than 320 yards per game. Meanwhile, the offense is looking better than last year thanks to the contributions of rookies Giovani Bernard and Tyler Eifert.
Giving Andy Dalton other players to throw to besides A.J. Green is huge for this offense. As the season progresses, expect the Bengals to get the rookies more involved and for this offense to put up more points.
7. Green Bay Packers
A 1-2 start entering their bye week wasn't what the Packers had in mind. Fortunately, they were able to turn things around in Week 5, getting a much-needed win over the Detroit Lions.
Aaron Rodgers continues to play at a high level. He's thrown for 1,331 yards, nine touchdowns with just three interceptions. Meanwhile, the offense actually has a legitimate running game this season, ranking fifth in the NFL at 141 rushing yards per game.
The defense isn't doing the team any favors, but once cornerback Casey Hayward is finally able to return, opposing quarterbacks should start to struggle.
6. San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers are starting to turn things around, winning two straight games after losing badly in to the Seattle Seahawks and Indianapolis Colts in back-to-back games.
The defense has stepped up over the past two games, allowing just 14 total points. The unit is allowing just 188.8 passing yards per game, the second-best mark in the league.
The offense hasn't been the same as it was in 2012. Colin Kaepernick is missing some rather easy throws, looking like a completely different player than he was last season. Some of that may have to do with all of the injuries at the wide receiver position, but something looks off in the Niners' passing game.
5. Indianapolis Colts
This has been the most surprising team in the NFL, in my opinion. We knew that they were going to be good, but I don't think a lot of people had them beating both the Seahawks and the 49ers at the beginning of the year.
There's a completely different philosophy in Indianapolis right now. The Colts are focused on running the ball and playing solid defense, and this new approach is starting to pay dividends. They're fourth in the NFL in rushing at 142 yards per game and are allowing just 330 yards per game on defense.
The Colts have the biggest game of the NFL season in a couple of weeks, when Peyton Manning returns to Indianapolis for the first time. If the Colts continue to play as well as they have, they have a shot to take down the best team in the NFL.
4. Seattle Seahawks
I know that the Colts beat the Seahawks, but I still believe that this is one of the most complete teams in the NFL.
It is easily the most dangerous team when playing at home.
The vaunted Seahawks secondary got burned last week, but it's still the most talented unit in the league with players like cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner. The defensive line improved over the offseason as well, bringing in Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril.
They may have lost their first game of the year, but the Seahawks should be just fine the rest of the season, and they're still a Super Bowl contender in the NFC.
3. Kansas City Chiefs
It's been an incredible turnaround for the Chiefs. After going just 2-14 last season, they're already 5-0 this in 2013 and looking to remain unbeaten with a win this Sunday against the Raiders.
The defense has been fantastic, allowing fewer than 11 points per game. They're also holding opponents to just over 300 yards per game, ranking seventh in total defense.
Alex Smith and the rest of the offense is playing efficiently. The Chiefs have put up at least 26 points in four of their five games, and the offense has struck a nice balance between running and passing.
It's going to be hard to win their division, but the Chiefs are still probably the second best team in the AFC.
2. New Orleans Saints
What's made the Saints so much better this season hasn't been the high-powered offense, but the much-improved defense.
The defense has completely turned it around thanks to coordinator Rob Ryan. After easily being the worst defense in 2012, the Saints are allowing around 330 total yards per game, and they've held each of their opponents to under 20 points.
At this juncture, there's no better team in the NFC. With that offense and defense, the Saints could continue this undefeated season for quite some time.
Who is the best team in the NFL?
1. Denver Broncos
When it comes to picking the best team in the NFL, the clear choice has got to be the Broncos.
Peyton Manning is the clear top candidate for the MVP award right now. He's thrown 1,884 yards and 20 touchdowns with just one interception. At this rate, he's on pace to throw for over 6,000 yards and 64 touchdowns.
The offense is simply unstoppable. They're blowing the rest of the league away, averaging 46 points per game. The defense is struggling against the pass, allowing 347 yards per game, but things should get better once Von Miller and Champ Bailey return.
The Broncos will easily go 6-0 after playing the Jaguars this week, and with that unstoppable offense, they are clearly the best team in the league.
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