NFL Power Rankings Week 6: How Each Team Stacks Up Heading into Sunday's Action
Week 5 of the 2013 NFL season saw more than one game that shook the NFL's power structure. Week 6 should be no different.
The Indianapolis Colts proved that they were for real with an upset win over the Seattle Seahawks. The New Orleans Saints showed that they could win on the road by picking up a win in Chicago while the Atlanta Falcons showed that they just aren't the same team they were last season in a loss to the New York Jets.
Whether your team is out to prove it's a legitimate Super Bowl contender or a contender in the Jadeveon Clowney/Teddy Bridgewater sweepstakes, here's a look at where all 32 NFL teams stand heading into Week 6.
1. Denver Broncos (5-0)
There's only one real question for the Broncos this week as they host the Jacksonville Jaguars: Will they score 100 points?
Peyton Manning is having a season for the ages. His 20 passing touchdowns to just one interception through five weeks is equal parts impressive and demoralizing for the rest of the league as no one is on his level right now in terms of efficiency.
The defense was exposed a bit in a 51-48 shootout victory over Dallas last week, but that's a testament to how perfectly an opponent must play to beat the Broncos.
2. New Orleans Saints (5-0)
The days of the Saints having to outscore everyone with their explosive offense are over. The Saints have given up no more than 18 points in every single game and are the most complete team that Sean Payton has had in New Orleans.
Considering that includes a Super Bowl team in 2009 and an NFC Championship Game appearance in 2006, that's high praise.
3. Seattle Seahawks (4-1)
The Seahawks were kicked out of the "unbeaten club" last week as they were unable to beat the Indianapolis Colts at home. But here's the thing—the Colts are really good (spoiler alert: They're in the top five of these rankings).
Losing to one of the league's top teams by virtue of a fourth-quarter comeback on the road isn't the worst thing in the world. That's why they should still be considered among the league's elite.
4. Kansas City Chiefs (5-0)
The Kansas City Chiefs may be the hardest team in the NFL to figure out.
Yes, they're undefeated, and the defense is legitimate. But they've played exactly one team with a winning record. That was the Tennessee Titans, who were forced to roll with Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback due to Jake Locker's injury.
The next four weeks feature home games against Oakland (2-3), Houston (2-3), Cleveland (3-2, but without Brian Hoyer) and a road game against Buffalo (2-3) for Kansas City.
There's a very real chance the Chiefs head into the bye week a perfect 9-0 with a Week 11 matchup against the Broncos looming and having never been tested by a playoff-caliber team.
5. Indianapolis Colts (4-1)
It's official: The Indianapolis Colts are for real.
After outscoring the Jacksonville Jaguars and San Francisco 49ers by a combined score of 64-10 in Weeks 3 and 4, there were still doubts about how good the competition was. There are no doubts about the Seahawks. They're a Super Bowl contender, and the Colts not only hung around, but beat them.
That makes them a serious contender in the AFC.
6. New England Patriots (4-1)
The Cincinnati Bengals proved that the Patriots offense isn't as scary as it once was. It was held to just six points in Cincinnati as the Bengals handed Bill Belichick and Tom Brady their first loss of the season.
Although the loss hurts their stock a little bit, few teams have the kind of depth in the secondary that the Bengals possess. This week's matchup against the Saints won't be easy either, but the loss isn't enough to knock the Patriots out of the league's upper echelon.
7. Chicago Bears (4-2)
Marc Trestman may be able to run for president after this season with the Bears. His work with Jay Cutler is enough to prove he can fix just about anything.
The usually reckless Cutler looks better than ever, and his quarterback rating of 95.2 (a career high) shows the improvement. With Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall on the outside, the Bears offense is a scary unit.
8. San Francisco 49ers (3-2)
It took a few weeks to get started, but the Niners are starting to look like the team that won the NFC Championship Game in 2012. They have won their last two games by a combined score of 69-14 and get to host the Arizona Cardinals this week.
Colin Kaepernick still hasn't topped 175 yards passing in four weeks, but back-to-back blowout wins over St. Louis and Houston show the offense isn't in imminent danger.
9. Green Bay Packers (2-2)
After a slow 1-2 start to the season, the Packers faced a must-win situation against the Detroit Lions last week. They responded by reminding fans why they're a force in the NFC with a 22-9 win over their division rivals.
Clay Matthews' injury is certainly cause for concern, but the Packers are still a top-10 team until we see just how much losing Matthews will hurt the defense.
10. Cincinnati Bengals (3-2)
The Bengals round out the top 10 here after a huge win over the New England Patriots has them tied atop the AFC North at 3-2. The fact that they held Tom Brady to 197 yards and the Pats offense to just six points is a testament to just how stingy the defense is.
The offense is still a work in progress, but the Bengals should be the favorite to win their division.
11. Baltimore Ravens (3-2)
Throw out an ugly loss to open the season against the Denver Broncos and this Ravens team is 3-1 with its only loss coming by three points. Joe Flacco threw five interceptions in that loss.
As inconsistent as Flacco is known to be, he's not going to throw five interceptions very often. This is still a team that can play with just about anybody.
12. Miami Dolphins (3-2)
Remember when the Arizona Cardinals started 4-0 last season before going 1-11 over the final 12 games? Well, the Dolphins are in danger of being that team this year.
After starting off 3-0 and looking like a team that could challenge the Patriots, the Dolphins have lost back-to-back games against the Saints and Ravens.
Obviously, those are two high-quality teams that are ranked ahead of them on this list, but fans have to be happy they have a bye week to analyze what's gone wrong the last two weeks.
13. Detroit Lions (3-2)
If we learned one thing about the Detroit Lions last week, it's that they're a much better team when Calvin Johnson is healthy. Without Megatron in the lineup they mustered just nine points against the Green Bay Packers.
The Lions had a huge opportunity to take a commanding lead over their division rival, but couldn't get the job done. They'll need to put that loss behind them quickly to keep up with the Bears and Packers for the division lead.
14. Dallas Cowboys (2-3)
If there was ever a team that deserved to move up the rankings after a loss, it's the Dallas Cowboys this week. All Tony Romo jokes aside, the Cowboys offense hung right with the Denver Broncos for four quarters and forced Peyton Manning to beat them down the stretch.
The Cowboys are the only team that can say that. Add in the fact that the NFC East is the worst division in the NFL right now and the Cowboys are in great shape for a 2-3 team.
15. Cleveland Browns (3-2)
The Browns win over Buffalo proves they can still win games with Brandon Weeden at the helm. Brian Hoyer got the start, but it was Weeden who played the vast majority of the game and put up a respectable 197 yards on 13-of-24 passing.
However, it's not the offense that has the Browns ranked this high. It's the defense. Ray Horton's squad is seventh in the league against the pass (207.6 yards per game) and eighth against the run (94.2 yards per game).
16. Tennessee Titans (3-2)
The Titans are like the AFC South's version of the Browns. The quarterback that gives them the best chance to win (Jake Locker) is out, and the backup (Ryan Fitzpatrick) hurts their chances; however, the defense (No. 12 in total defense) should keep them in games.
17. New York Jets (3-2)
The Atlanta Falcons might be just 1-4, but the Jets' 30-28 win over them in prime time is still a really impressive win. Rex Ryan has the Jets playing well above expectations, and Geno Smith's ability to go on the road and win at a place like Atlanta is a testament to his promise.
A blowout loss to the Titans in Week 4 still offers some perspective on this team's ceiling, but there's reason for optimism in New York. Well, for the Jets, anyway.
18. San Diego Chargers (2-3)
Following up a nine-point win over the Dallas Cowboys with a 10-point loss to the Oakland Raiders is one of the more baffling one-week turnarounds in the NFL, but the Chargers did just that in Week 5. However, the loss could very well be chalked up to the improvement of Terrelle Pryor and the Oakland Raiders rather than how bad the Chargers are.
A Monday night game at home against the Indianapolis Colts presents a huge opportunity to bounce back this week.
19. Atlanta Falcons (1-4)
Just one season removed from an appearance in the NFC Championship Game, the Falcons are just 1-4. But has any team lost four games by such a close margin? All four losses have been decided by seven points or less.
The Falcons deserve to be on the low end of the totem pole in the rankings—1-4 is 1-4 no matter what the margins of victory are. But even without Julio Jones, one has to think that having the Buccaneers, Cardinals and Panthers coming up will get them back on track.
20. Houston Texans (2-3)
After winning their first two games, the Houston Texans have dropped three in a row and look nothing like the team that went 12-4 last season. Arian Foster has had the ground game going again in the last two weeks, but without a passing game, teams are going to continue to succeed against the Texans.
Matt Schaub has now thrown a pick-six in four consecutive games. It may be time for Gary Kubiak to pull the trigger on a quarterback change before this season is lost.
21. Arizona Cardinals (3-2)
Don't let this team's 3-2 record fool you. There are still major concerns that will hold Arizona back this season. Those "major concerns" are also known as Carson Palmer and the Cardinals offense.
Palmer has just five touchdowns to nine interceptions while the running game is averaging just 3.3 yards per game. Wins over the lowly Buccaneers and Panthers have the Cardinals on the winning side of .500 for now, but it's doubtful that holds up once they play the 49ers and Seahawks the next two weeks.
22. Buffalo Bills (2-3)
The Buffalo Bills have shown some flashes of promise in wins over the Panthers and Ravens. And fans should be legitimately excited about the EJ Manuel era. But with Manuel out of commission, the Bills will be starting Thad Lewis.
That's not going to bode well for the Bills offense, but it won't completely debilitate it either. They have the NFL's third-most productive ground game at over 150 yards per game. Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller will primarily be responsible for keeping things going.
23. Oakland Raiders (2-3)
Don't look now, but Terrelle Pryor looks like a good NFL quarterback. The dual-threat signal-caller went 18-of-23 for 221 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions against the San Diego Chargers last week.
That's the kind of efficient quarterback play that could make the Raiders a surprising team on any given week.
24. Philadelphia Eagles (2-3)
We know this about the Eagles five games into the Chip Kelly era: They can beat teams that are clearly worse than them.
The Eagles' two wins have come against the Washington Redskins and the New York Giants. Both of those teams will come after them in the power rankings and have severe issues defensively.
However, Kelly's uptempo offense has yet to earn a win over a team that is impressive. Until that happens, the Eagles can only be considered slightly better than the league's worst teams.
25. St. Louis Rams (2-3)
The good news for the Rams is that Sam Bradford played his best game of the season last week. He threw three touchdowns to no interceptions with 222 yards. Zac Stacy also looked like a feature back with 78 yards on 14 carries.
The bad news is that this all happened against the Jacksonville Jaguars, so it's debatable as to whether those stats should even count.
Trips on the road against Houston and Carolina should offer the Rams offense the opportunity to prove that it's for real.
26. Carolina Panthers (1-3)
With the Giants sitting at 0-5, the Panthers' lone victory (38-0) doesn't look nearly as good as it did at the time. The three losses still look just as ugly, though. Cam Newton threw three interceptions and was sacked seven times as the offense struggled in a six-point performance. The defense gave up 22 points to a Cardinals offense that is less than explosive.
Ron Rivera may want to update his resume if this play continues.
27. Washington Redskins (1-3)
A lot of the talk about the Redskins has focused around Robert Griffin III's supposed regression and unwillingness to run. But the real issue with this team is on the defensive side of the football.
Opposing quarterbacks have a rating of 111.9 against the secondary, and Washington is giving up 28 points per game. Until the defense is fixed, the Redskins are going to be one of the year's most disappointing teams.
28. Minnesota Vikings (1-3)
If an NFL team wins a game in London against a team that has no wins, does the rest of the NFL still recognize it?
The Vikings finally broke into the win column, but it was in a shootout against the lowly Steelers. Josh Freeman might be enough to jump-start this offense down the road, but it's hard to imagine that happening instantaneously.
29. New York Giants (0-5)
Danieal Manning is looking like a better quarterback than Eli Manning right now, and it's killing the New York Giants.
Overall, the G-Men looked much better than the 29th team in the league on Thursday night against a very good Bears team, but Eli's three interceptions created a situation that was too difficult to overcome. As long as he continues to struggle, the Giants will continue to be among the league's worst teams.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers (0-4)
It's hard to remember the last time things were this bad in Pittsburgh. The Steelers have no run game (3.2 yards per game) and can't stop the run on defense (122.8 yards per game). That's a far departure from the physical Steelers teams that have traditionally ruled the AFC North.
It may be time to make major changes in the Steel City.
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-4)
Josh Freeman is gone, but the Buccaneers are still really bad at football. Maybe he wasn't the problem?
The Buccaneers are averaging a pitiful 11.0 points per game offensively and rank dead last in passing (174.3 yards per game). Greg Schiano hasn't exactly ingratiated himself to the fanbase and should be a good bet to become the first coach to get fired this season.
32. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-5)
Simply put, the Jaguars are the epitome of ineptitude. Not only have they not won a game this season, but they haven't come close. Every loss has been by at least 10 points, and they're being outrushed by an average of 102 yards per game.
That's the definition of disaster.
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