NFL Power Rankings Week 7: Complete Outlook Entering Monday Night Football
Week 6 of the 2013 NFL regular season is all but finished. Just one game, a Monday Night Football clash between the Indianapolis Colts and San Diego Chargers, remains before Week 7 rolls around.
The question is, how is every team looking as we enter Monday Night Football and prepare for Week 7?
|Road Team||Score||Home Team|
|New York Giants||21-27||Chicago Bears|
|Cincinnati Bengals||27-24 OT||Buffalo Bills|
|Detroit Lions||31-17||Cleveland Browns|
|Oakland Raiders||7-24||Kansas City Chiefs|
|Carolina Panthers||35-10||Minnesota Vikings|
|Pittsburgh Steelers||19-6||New York Jets|
|Philadelphia Eagles||31-20||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|Green Bay Packers||19-17||Baltimore Ravens|
|St. Louis Rams||38-13||Houston Texans|
|Jacksonville Jaguars||19-35||Denver Broncos|
|Tennessee Titans||13-20||Seattle Seahawks|
|New Orleans Saints||27-30||New England Patriots|
|Arizona Cardinals||20-32||San Francisco 49ers|
|Washington Redskins||16-31||Dallas Cowboys|
|Indianapolis Colts||N/A||San Diego Chargers|
32. Jacksonville Jaguars
Week 6: 19-35 loss at Denver Broncos
Week 7: vs. San Diego Chargers
It's no secret that the Jacksonville Jaguars are the worst team in the NFL, boasting a record of 0-6 that fails to illustrate how poorly this team has played. It doesn't help that the franchise player, Blaine Gabbert, is injured.
During Week 6, the Jaguars faced the Denver Broncos. You can guess which team won without running into much trouble.
Jacksonville played well, losing 35-19 to the high-powered Broncos after tailing by two with 19:03 remaining in the game. Chad Henne was 27-of-42 for 302 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions, and continued to play better football than Blaine Gabbert.
Justin Blackmon lit it up with 14 receptions for 190 yards, and Maurice Jones-Drew added a touchdown and 72 yards on 21 carries, but it wasn't enough.
Defensively, Paul Posluszny had an interception return for a 59-yard touchdown to end the first half. Jacksonville failed to register a single sack, but managed to be the first team to hold Peyton Manning to less than 300 yards passing in 2013.
Manning hit 295, but when a team is 0-6, any little achievement is a win.
31. New York Giants
Week 6: 21-27 loss at Chicago Bears
Week 7: vs. Minnesota Vikings
Since the beginning of the season, I've been reluctant to place the New York Giants at No. 31 because quarterback Eli Manning provides postseason potential. After watching New York fall to 0-6 with a 27-21 loss to the Chicago Bears, however, my patience has run out.
It may have been a close game, but it was the first time New York had looked good since 2012—and "good" is a stretch.
Manning was 14-of-26 for 239 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions, including a 48-yard pick-six. Manning now has 15 interceptions through six weeks, completing 53.7 percent of his passes and dropping out of the ranks of the elite.
You can call that extreme, but Manning is on pace to lead the NFL in interceptions for the third time. The Giants are on pace to miss the playoffs for the fourth time in five years.
New York's defense failed to come up with a single sack or interception during the loss to Chicago. This continues to be an issue for the Giants, as the elite-on-paper tandem of Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Tuck now enter Week 7 with a combined 1.5 sacks.
The Giants aren't as bad as the Jaguars, but they're close.
30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Week 6: 20-31 loss vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Week 7: at Atlanta Falcons
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have yet to secure a win in 2013, falling to 0-5 after losing 31-20 to the Philadelphia Eagles during Week 6. Despite playing against an inexperienced quarterback, the Bucs let up more than 400 yards of total offense.
The defense has provided Tampa Bay with a sign of hope, and now, even that's in question.
Mike Glennon was strong in his first start since the Bucs released Josh Freeman, going 26-of-43 for 273 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Doug Martin added 67 yards on 16 carries, and Vincent Jackson stepped up with a monster game, catching nine passes for 114 yards and two scores.
Perhaps most significantly, rookie Timothy Wright caught seven passes for 91 yards after picking up five catches for 41 yards in Week 5.
It was another game that Tampa Bay had a chance to win, but questionable coaching decisions and costly gambles by players resulted in a loss. Tampa Bay is now 0-5 and effectively out of the race for the NFC South title.
It looks like Josh Freeman is in a better place now than he was before.
29. Minnesota Vikings
Week 6: 10-35 loss vs. Carolina Panthers
Week 7: at New York Giants
The Minnesota Vikings were dreadful during Week 6, losing 35-10 in a home game against the Carolina Panthers. Prior to a touchdown pass with just 1:00 remaining in the game, Minnesota had been trailing 35-3.
That's evidence enough that the Vikings were dominated.
Matt Cassel was 32-of-44 for 241 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions, while Adrian Peterson ran for 62 yards on 10 carries. Kyle Rudolph added 97 yards and a score on nine catches, but in the end, Minnesota couldn't find the back of the end zone.
In turn, Minnesota dropped to 1-4.
Rookie defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd picked up a sack, but that was just about the only positive that Minnesota could take from this game on defense. Not only did it allow three passing touchdowns, but Minnesota also let up 131 rushing yards and two running scores.
Minnesota will have the opportunity to win back the faith of the NFL community when it plays the Giants on Monday Night Football in Week 7.
28. Washington Redskins
Week 6: 16-31 loss at Dallas Cowboys
Week 7: vs. Chicago Bears
The Washington Redskins had the opportunity to move within a half-game of the lead in the NFC East during a Week 6 road meeting with the Dallas Cowboys. Instead, Washington fell to 1-4 and proved that its early-season slide is not a mirage.
All this should be a sign to the Redskins front office that Washington overachieved in 2012 and needs significant personnel upgrades across the roster.
Robert Griffin III was 19-of-39 for 246 yards, no touchdowns and an interception during the Redskins' 31-16 loss to Dallas. Alfred Morris ran for 81 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries, and Pierre Garcon had six catches for 68 yards, but Washington just couldn't find the end zone often enough to match Dallas.
In the end, that all led to yet another disappointing result.
Rob Jackson had an interception for Washington, and Perry Riley added a sack, but Washington made multiple key mistakes. Twelve penalties will destroy any team's chances at victory, even on a night in which the Redskins held Dallas to 213 yards of total offense.
Washington out-gained the Cowboys by 220 yards and lost by 15. Something needs to change.
27. Oakland Raiders
Week 6: 7-24 loss at Kansas City Chiefs
Week 7: Bye Week
The Oakland Raiders have reason for confidence, as quarterback Terrelle Pryor is a true franchise player. Unfortunately, the Raiders are a young team subject to inconsistency at virtually every position, including quarterback.
That was evident during Week 6.
Pryor was 18-of-34 for 216 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions against an elite Kansas City Chiefs defense. He also ran the ball six times for 60 yards, again displaying his upside, but there wasn't much he could do to put up points.
As for why, try the fact that Oakland allowed 10 sacks.
Defensively, Oakland held Alex Smith to 14-of-31 passing and limited Jamaal Charles to 78 yards on 22 carries. Charles did run for two touchdowns, but all in all, the Raiders did an excellent job on defense.
Oakland has a bye week during Week 7.
26. Atlanta Falcons
Week 6: Bye Week
Week 7: vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Atlanta was on bye during Week 6 and will return to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during Week 7.
25. Pittsburgh Steelers
Week 6: 19-6 win at New York Jets
Week 7: vs. Baltimore Ravens
The Pittsburgh Steelers finally won a game, defeating the New York Jets 19-6 to move to 1-4 on the season. The defense continued to be strong, the offense found balance, and Pittsburgh ultimately picked up a win that ends a dangerous downward spiral.
Pittsburgh can do wonders for its postseason aspirations during Week 7 with a home game against the struggling Baltimore Ravens.
Ben Roethlisberger was 23-of-30 for 264 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions, hitting Emmanuel Sanders for a 55-yard score to open the second half. Antonio Brown had nine catches for 86 yards, and Heath Miller had six receptions for 84 to space the field.
Don't underestimate how much Miller's return to good health means to this team.
Defensively, Pittsburgh came up with three sacks and two long-awaited interceptions. Ryan Clark and Lawrence Timmons had the picks, while Ziggy Hood, LaMarr Woodley and Jason Worilds came up with the sacks.
It wasn't the prettiest performance, but Pittsburgh was desperate for a win, and it finally got one.
24. San Diego Chargers
Week 6: vs. Indianapolis Colts
Week 7: at Jacksonville Jaguars
The San Diego Chargers enter Week 6 at 2-3 with wins over the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles, and losses to the Houston Texans, Oakland Raiders and Tennessee Titans. San Diego will now take its explosive passing attack into Monday Night Football against the Indianapolis Colts.
Philip Rivers has 1,610 yards, 13 touchdowns and six interceptions through five games and may just match Andrew Luck at every turn.
23. Buffalo Bills
Week 6: 24-27 OT loss vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Week 7: at Miami Dolphins
The Buffalo Bills played their first game without franchise quarterback EJ Manuel, falling 27-24 in overtime to the Cincinnati Bengals. It was a promising display from a young Bills team that's flashing Pro Bowl upside all across the field.
It all starts on defense.
Kiko Alonso continued to pull away as the front-runner for Rookie of the Year, ripping off an insane 22 tackles. That brings his first-year totals to 66 tackles, four interceptions, 1.0 sack, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery through six games.
It's getting close to the time in which it's safe to label Alonso as the steal of the 2013 NFL draft.
Thad Lewis stepped in for Manuel, going 19-of-32 for 216 yards, two passing touchdowns, no interceptions and one rushing score. Lewis threw two fourth-quarter touchdowns to force overtime, including one with 1:08 remaining, and C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson combined for 114 yards of total offense on 26 touches.
The future is very, very bright in Buffalo.
22. Cleveland Browns
Week 6: 17-31 loss vs. Detroit Lions
Week 7: at Green Bay Packers
Entering the half, Brandon Weeden had the Cleveland Browns up 17-7 on the Detroit Lions after throwing two touchdown passes. In turn, many had begun to take the pressure off his shoulders after the second-year player picked up where Brian Hoyer left off.
From there, Cleveland proceeded to allow 24 consecutive points and lose 31-17 to Detroit.
Weeden was 26-of-43 for 292 yards and two touchdowns, but also threw two costly interceptions. Cleveland ran for 126 yards as a team, with wide receiver Travis Benjamin picking up 45 of those yards on one carry.
Josh Gordon and Jordan Cameron played like stars, but Cleveland's lack of a run game places quite the burden on an inexperienced quarterback.
Defensively, Tashaun Gipson pulled in an interception, and Craig Robertson recorded a sack against Matthew Stafford. Unfortunately, that was the only turnover that Cleveland forced and the only sack that it registered.
There's finally upside in Cleveland, but a Week 7 road game against the Green Bay Packers signals a return to a below-.500 record.
21. Arizona Cardinals
Week 6: 20-32 loss at San Francisco 49ers
Week 7: vs. Seattle Seahawks
The Arizona Cardinals were down by just two points with as little as 6:56 remaining in the fourth quarter of their 32-20 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. A poor fourth-quarter performance led to a loss, but all in all, Arizona showed that it's not too far from earning the reputation of a postseason contender.
Sitting at 3-3 after six weeks is an excellent start for this newly gelling team.
Carson Palmer was 25-of-41 for 298 yards for two touchdowns and two interceptions, and Larry Fitzgerald caught six passes for 117 yards and a score. Michael Floyd added five receptions for 44 yards and a touchdown, and Andre Ellington had 92 yards of total offense and a score.
Turnovers were an issue, but as the season progresses, Bruce Arians' team will continue to grow stronger.
It wasn't extraordinary defense, but Yeremiah Bell had an interception, and Darnell Dockett, Karlos Dansby and Calais Campbell all recorded sacks. Tyrann Mathieu continues to be a pleasant surprise at safety, and Patrick Peterson shut down Anquan Boldin.
Once chemistry is created, the Cardinals will be fun to watch.
20. Houston Texans
Week 6: 13-38 vs. St. Louis Rams
Week 7: at Kansas City Chiefs
Many will claim that I'm being too harsh on a Houston Texans team that reached the playoffs in 2012 and has elite players at running back, wide receiver and all over the defense. Those fans can answer to the fact that three of Houston's past four losses have come by at least 20 points.
Name value is wonderful, but it means nothing when it comes to wins and losses.
Houston fell 38-13 to the St. Louis Rams, scoring one offensive touchdown and committing four costly turnovers at home. Arian Foster was absolutely dominant, rushing for 141 yards on 20 carries and catching four passes for 57 yards.
Matt Schaub and T.J. Yates combined to go 27-of-38, but failed to find the back of the end zone, and the latter threw picks.
Defensively, Houston didn't land a single sack and failed to force a single turnover against the Rams. Andre Johnson may have caught seven passes for 88 yards, but with a lackluster defensive effort and disappointing play at quarterback, Houston fell.
A Week 7 road game against the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs is beyond unfavorable.
19. New York Jets
Week 6: 6-19 loss vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Week 7: vs. New England Patriots
The New York Jets have gone back and forth with wins and losses through six weeks, most recently falling 19-6 to the Pittsburgh Steelers. This comes one week after New York defeated Atlanta on Monday Night Football.
That inconsistency is why it's so difficult to believe in the Jets as postseason contenders.
Geno Smith was 19-of-34 for 201 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions against the Steelers' vaunted defense. The Jets ran for 83 yards as a team, and Jeff Cumberland had four receptions for 59 yards, but the Jets were just 3-of-11 on third down.
Defensively, the Jets were strong yet again, but it wasn't enough.
Ben Roethlisberger completed passes at virtual will, but the Steelers pass rush ripped off four sacks. Muhammad Wilkerson, David Harris, Garrett McIntyre, Calvin Pace and Leger Douzable all brought Roethlisberger down, and the Jets shut down Pittsburgh's run game.
During Week 7, New York will get the opportunity to take a huge step forward in the hunt for the AFC East with a home game against the New England Patriots.
18. Tennessee Titans
Week 6: 13-20 at Seattle Seahawks
Week 7: vs. San Francisco 49ers
The Tennessee Titans have a proven defense that continues to keep it in games despite receiving a dreadful offensive output. During Week 6, that helped the Titans pull off a near upset of the Seattle Seahawks before eventually falling 20-13.
Jake Locker can't come back soon enough.
Ryan Fitzpatrick was 17-of-29 for 171 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions with a team-high 33 rushing yards. Chris Johnson rushed for the same number, but did so on 12 carries as Tennessee failed to get anything going on offense.
Tennessee also fumbled the ball three times.
Ropati Pitoitua and Bernard Pollard had sacks for Tennessee, and Jason McCourty had a 77-yard fumble return for a touchdown as the first half came to a close. The Titans struggled to defend the run, but in the end, it played as well as possible.
Tennessee will face the San Francisco 49ers in Week 7.
17. Carolina Panthers
Week 6: 35-10 win vs. Minnesota Vikings
Week 7: vs. St. Louis Rams
The Carolina Panthers have one of the best defenses in the NFL, and with good health, it can compete with anyone in the league. During Week 6, the Panthers went on the road to defeat the Minnesota Vikings 35-10.
It was all about balance.
Cam Newton was 20-of-26 for 242 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions, also running for a seven-yard score. Mike Tolbert added one rushing and one receiving touchdown, DeAngelo Williams had 117 yards of total offense, and Brandon LaFell topped 100 yards receiving with a score.
The defense wasn't too bad, either.
Safety Mike Mitchell was the star of the game, coming up with seven tackles, two interceptions and a sack. Thomas Davis added two sacks of his own, and the Panthers held Minnesota to 0-of-1 in the red zone.
The Panthers are now the No. 2 team in the NFC South.
16. Philadelphia Eagles
Week 6: 31-20 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Week 7: vs. Dallas Cowboys
The Philadelphia Eagles entered Week 6 in need of a victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and that's exactly what they got. Philly won 31-20 to mark its second consecutive victory over the Bucs to move to 3-3 overall.
Now, the Eagles will face the Dallas Cowboys for the division lead during Week 7.
Nick Foles was 22-of-31 for 296 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions, also running for a four-yard score. LeSean McCoy had 116 yards on 25 carries, also catching two passes for 55 yards to extend his league lead in rushing.
Defensively, Connor Barwin and Bennie Logan had sacks, and Bradley Fletcher had an interception. DeMeco Ryans added a game-high 12 solo tackles en route to one of the better defensive performances that Philadelphia has had all season.
That marks two consecutive wins for the previously lowly Eagles.
15. St. Louis Rams
Week 6: 38-13 win at Houston Texans
Week 7: at Carolina Panthers
The St. Louis Rams are 3-3 with impressive performances in every win and horrendous outings in each loss. During Week 6, the Rams blew the Houston Texans out with a 38-13 win on the road.
Now, we'll see if Jeff Fisher can do what he's done just six times in 19 seasons: reach the playoffs.
Sam Bradford didn't do much, but when he did throw the football, he found the end zone. He was 12-of-16 passing for 117 yards and three touchdowns. No receiver had more than two catches, and the run game tallied 99 yards on the ground.
St. Louis added two defensive touchdowns.
Alec Ogletree had a team-high 10 tackles and an interception returned for a 98-yard touchdown. Daren Bates had a fumble recovery for an 11-yard touchdown, and the Rams tallied five sacks as a team.
Week 7 will be a true test with a road game against the Carolina Panthers.
14. Miami Dolphins
Week 6: Bye Week
Week 7: vs. Buffalo Bills
The Miami Dolphins were on bye during Week 6 of the 2013 NFL regular season. This comes one week after Miami nearly pulled off an upset of the Baltimore Ravens, losing 26-23 after blowing a 13-6 lead at the end of the first half.
During Week 7, Miami returns with a home game against the Buffalo Bills.
13. Dallas Cowboys
Week 6: 31-16 win vs. Washington Redskins
Week 7: at Philadelphia Eagles
The Dallas Cowboys nearly took out the Denver Broncos during Week 5, eventually falling 51-48. During Week 6, the Cowboys left no room for doubt as they defeated the division rival Washington Redskins 31-16 to improve to 3-3.
Dallas is now in control of its own destiny.
Tony Romo was 18-of-30 for 170 yards, one touchdown and one interception, finding rookie Terrance Williams for the score. Fellow rookie Joseph Randle ran for his first career touchdown, and DeMarco Murray also found the back of the end zone.
Unfortunately, Murray went down with a knee injury.
From bad to worse for the Cowboys. First DeMarco Murray (sprained knee) and now DeMarcus Ware headed to the locker room with an injury.— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) October 14, 2013
The Cowboys are all too familiar with Murray's history of injuries.
Jason Hatcher had two sacks, Kyle Wilber added one, and Orlando Scandrick had a huge interception in the end zone. Brandon Carr did an excellent job of shutting down Pierre Garcon, and the Cowboys secondary came together for a monster performance.
With a win over the Eagles during Week 7, the Cowboys can move to 4-3 and get a one-game lead in the NFC East.
12. Baltimore Ravens
Week 6: 17-19 loss vs. Green Bay Packers
Week 7: at Pittsburgh Steelers
The Baltimore Ravens were impressive in defeat, holding Aaron Rodgers and the high-powered Green Bay Packers to less than 20 points in a 19-17 loss. Unfortunately, Baltimore's run game was as poor as the rushing defense was.
In the end, Baltimore fell to 3-3 and now trails in the AFC North.
Joe Flacco was 20-of-34 for 342 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions, but Ray Rice carried the ball 14 times for just 34 yards. Tandon Doss, Dallas Clark and Marlon Brown all had very big games out of receiver slots, but without an effective rushing attack, Baltimore was unable to put up points.
Seeing as the offensive line allowed five sacks to a Packers defense that was without Clay Matthews, it's safe to say Baltimore's offensive line is a question mark.
Defensively, the Ravens did a good job of containing Aaron Rodgers, but allowed 140 rushing yards. Elvis Dumervil had two sacks, Arthur Jones added another, and Jimmy Smith had his first interception of the season, but Baltimore's inability to stop the run was game-changing.
The Ravens now have an uphill battle in the race for the division.
11. Chicago Bears
Week 6: 27-21 vs. New York Giants
Week 7: at Washington Redskins
Placing trust in the Chicago Bears' ability to consistently win games is one of the most risky things you can do in the NFL. The defense is dynamic, the quarterback play can be elite, and the run game is elite, but Chicago is painfully inconsistent.
During Week 6, the Bears moved to two games over .500 with a huge 27-21 win over the New York Giants that began to quiet the critics.
Jay Cutler was magnificent, going 24-of-36 for 262 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Brandon Marshall had nine catches for 87 yards and two touchdowns, and Matt Forte had 111 yards of total offense for the Bears.
The second half was rather lackluster for Chicago, but it did enough to win.
Tim Jennings had two interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown, and Zack Bowman tallied a pick of his own. Lance Briggs added a sack for a Bears team that struggled to prevent ball movement, allowing 123 yards of offense.
In the end, 4-2 is a better record than most expected out of Chicago.
10. Detroit Lions
Week 6: 31-17 win at Cleveland Browns
Week 7: vs. Cincinnati Bengals
During Week 6, the Detroit Lions had a tough task with a road game against the rising Cleveland Browns. It was a magnificent effort by Detroit, who came back from 10 points down at the half to score 24 consecutive points and win at FirstEnergy Stadium.
In the end, the Lions walked away with a huge win that keeps them on top in the NFC North.
Matthew Stafford was 25-of-43 for 248 yards, four touchdowns and an interception against what was the No. 7 pass defense. Reggie Bush added 135 yards of total offense and a score, but the star was rookie tight end Joseph Fauria.
Fauria had three catches for 34 yards and three touchdowns, giving him five scores on seven career receptions.
DeAndre Levy played a key role defensively, tallying a team-high seven tackles and two interceptions. Devin Taylor and Willie Young each recorded a sack, and David Akers kicked a critical 51-yard field goal to secure the win for Detroit.
During Week 7, the Lions will host the Cincinnati Bengals in a battle of 4-2 teams.
9. Green Bay Packers
Week 6: 19-17 win at Baltimore Ravens
Week 7: vs. Cleveland Browns
The Green Bay Packers began the season at 1-2, but over the past two weeks, they've picked up wins against the leader in the NFC North and the defending Super Bowl champions. Furthermore, the Packers' only two losses have come by a combined 10 points during road games against the Cincinnati Bengals and San Francisco 49ers.
Green Bay is still elite.
Going on the road to play the Ravens, Aaron Rodgers led a 19-17 win by going 17-of-32 for 315 yards, one touchdown and an interception with 21 rushing yards on five attempts. Whatever Rodgers couldn't do, Eddie Lacy could, as the rookie torched the Ravens for 120 yards on 23 carries.
Unfortunately, the victory came with the loss of Randall Cobb and James Jones.
Nelson on Cobb, Jones injuries: "As far as I know, it’s possibly not as bad as it could have been." That's all I've got, folks.— Jason Wilde (@jasonjwilde) October 13, 2013
Jarrett Boykin made a series of bad plays in their absence, but also turned a short throw into a 43-yard gain when Green Bay's offense couldn't get going.
Defensively, the Packers held the Ravens to 47 yards on 22 carries, continuing to play dominant football against the run. In Green Bay's first game without Clay Matthews, A.J. Hawk had three sacks to lead a charge that brought down Joe Flacco five times.
Up next is a home game against the Cleveland Browns.
8. Cincinnati Bengals
Week 6: 27-24 OT win at Buffalo Bills
Week 7: at Detroit Lions
It wasn't pretty, but the Cincinnati Bengals defeated the Buffalo Bills 27-24 in overtime to down a foe that has long given them trouble. The Bengals now own victories over the Bills, Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers en route to a 4-2 start.
Consistency has been an issue, but last year, the Bengals would've lost this game. The progression this team has made is remarkable, albeit painful to watch.
Andy Dalton was 26-of-40 for 337 yards, three touchdowns and one interception, finding A.J. Green six times for 103 yards and a score. Giovani Bernard added 100 yards of total offense, Mohamed Sanu had five huge receptions, and Marvin Jones caught three passes for 71 yards and one touchdown.
For all of the ball movement, it was Mike Nugent who hit a 43-yard field goal in overtime to give Cincy the 27-24 win.
Defensively, the Bengals came up with five sacks. Carlos Dunlap, Wallace Gilberry and James Harrison made noise coming off of the edge, while Geno Atkins, Domata Peko and Brandon Thompson plugged the middle.
It wasn't easy, but the Bengals are finally winning the games they're supposed to win.
7. San Francisco 49ers
Week 6: 32-20 win vs. Arizona Cardinals
Week 7: at Tennessee Titans
The San Francisco 49ers have responded to two consecutive blowout losses with three straight double-digit victories. San Francisco's Week 6 win over the Cardinals was closer than 32-20 may suggest, but it was a much-needed win that saw Colin Kaepernick top 200 passing yards for the first time since Week 1.
The 49ers can now breathe a huge sigh of relief.
Kaepernick rebounded from four consecutive disappointing performances by going 16-of-29 for 252 yards, one touchdown and an interception. Frank Gore picked up yet another 100-yard rushing performance with 101 on 25 carries, and Vernon Davis had a career performance with eight catches for 180 yards and two scores.
It wasn't the best offensive performance you'll ever see, but it was what San Francisco needed after Kaepernick had four straight weeks of poor performances.
Defensively, rookie Eric Reid had his third interception of the season, and Carlos Rogers had one of his own. Patrick Willis added a team-high eight tackles in his first game back, and rookie Corey Lemonier had his first career sack.
All in all, San Fran reminded us of why we respect the Niners.
6. New Orleans Saints
Week 6: 27-30 loss at New England Patriots
Week 7: Bye Week
The New Orleans Saints re-defined the term "Premature celebration" during Week 6. After Keenan Lewis came up with a fourth-quarter interception, the coaches celebrated, and the defense wrapped hands around the game ball.
Just like that, lazy play-calling allowed the New England Patriots to get the ball back and go on a scoring drive to score the game-winning touchdown with five seconds remaining. Oops.
It was one of the most disappointing and undisciplined displays you'll ever see at the NFL level. Sean Payton became conservative with his play-calling to enable two three-and-outs that let New England back into a game that should've seen the clock run out, and Rob Ryan celebrated as if the game were over.
Just like that, the Saints saw 6-0 and then let it slip away.
Prior to that mental collapse, the Saints looked like a Super Bowl team, racking up five sacks and rushing for 131 yards on an off-day by Drew Brees. Cameron Jordan picked up his fifth sack in six games, and the Saints remained one of the most dramatically improved defensive units in football.
If New Orleans loses home-field advantage in the NFC, however, this mental lapse will be a major reason why.
5. Seattle Seahawks
Week 6: 20-13 win vs. Tennessee Titans
Week 7: at Arizona Cardinals
The Seattle Seahawks bounced back from a Week 5 loss to the Indianapolis Colts by securing a hard-fought 20-13 win over the Tennessee Titans. It was Seattle's fourth consecutive meeting with an AFC South squad, and in the end, Seattle emerged at 5-1.
During Week 7, Seattle will begin a two-game road stint against its division rivals.
Russell Wilson has struggled for the most part in 2013, but was 23-of-31 for 257 yards and 10 carries for 61 yards. Marshawn Lynch shouldered the scoring load, carrying the ball 21 times for 77 yards and the team's only two touchdowns, also catching four passes for a team-high 78 yards.
In the end, this was yet another defensive win.
Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas had interceptions for Seattle, and Michael Bennett, Chris Clemons and Jordan Hill were all in on sacks. The Seahawks allowed just 66 yards on 20 carries, and Ryan Fitzpatrick was held to 171 yards and two picks with no touchdowns.
It wasn't pretty, but improving to 5-1 is nothing to criticize.
4. New England Patriots
Week 6: 30-27 win vs. New Orleans Saints
Week 7: New York Jets
The New England Patriots have a star-less receiving corps and a running game that has been nothing short of inconsistent. Through six weeks, the Patriots have fought off those signs of adversity by going 5-1 as they struggle to develop team chemistry.
The Patriots took their greatness to another level by defeating the previously unbeaten New Orleans Saints 30-27 with a touchdown pass from Tom Brady to Kenbrell Thompkins with five seconds remaining in regulation. Now, the Patriots are preparing for Rob Gronkowski to return.
If 5-1 is what New England is when it's struggling, imagine what will happen when the offense comes together.
Brady was 25-of-43 for 269 yards, one touchdown and an interception, and Stevan Ridley finally broke out with 20 carries for 96 yards and two touchdowns. Michael Hoomanawanui emerged with four receptions for 57 yards at tight end, and New England's nameless receiving corps continued to come together.
It wasn't perfect, but the Patriots defense was dominant, holding Drew Brees to 17-of-36 passing and walking away with yet another gritty win.
3. Indianapolis Colts
Week 6: at San Diego Chargers
Week 7: vs. Denver Broncos
The Indianapolis Colts have started 4-1 with victories over the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks. On Monday night, the Colts will face the San Diego Chargers in hopes of securing a full two-game lead in the AFC North.
Who's ready to see Andrew Luck's Monday Night Football debut?
2. Kansas City Chiefs
Week 6: 24-7 win vs. Oakland Raiders
Week 7: vs. Houston Texans
The Kansas City Chiefs are 2013's grind-it-out title contender, using ferocious defense, intelligent coaching, responsible quarterback play and a lethal rushing attack to win games. So far, it's worked to perfection, as the Chiefs rest at 6-0 after six weeks.
During Week 6, Kansas City outlasted its bitter rival Oakland Raiders for a 24-7 win.
Jamaal Charles carried the ball 22 times for 78 yards and two touchdowns, also catching five passes for 50 yards. Charles now has 775 yards of total offense through six games, catching 33 passes to solidify his place as one of the best all-around offensive threats in football.
The rest of the offense struggled against Oakland, but it did enough to win.
Defensively, the Chiefs had a legendary performance, ripping off 10 sacks, three interceptions, a defensive touchdown and nine tackles for loss. Tamba Hali had a game-high 3.5 sacks, Derrick Johnson had two sacks, and Justin Houston upped his total to 9.5 on the season during the monstrous outing.
Not bad for a team that had to bring down the elusive Terrelle Pryor.
1. Denver Broncos
Week 6: 35-19 win vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Week 7: at Indianapolis Colts
It wasn't as easy as people thought it'd be, but the Denver Broncos moved to 6-0 with a 35-19 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Broncos led by just two points with 4:03 remaining in the third quarter, but Knowshon Moreno took over to lead Denver to a W.
It wasn't the most impressive outing, but when the run game leads a Peyton Manning offense to a victory, there's nothing but reason for confidence.
Moreno ran the ball 15 times for 42 yards and three touchdowns, also catching the ball seven times for 62 yards. Peyton Manning was 28-of-42 for 295 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, also fumbling the ball twice, while five players had at least three catches.
It's scary to know that, when Manning struggles, the Broncos are still an elite offensive unit.
Malik Jackson stepped up with two sacks for the defense, and both Danny Trevathan and Kayvon Webster had interceptions. Furthermore, Denver held the Jaguars to one offensive touchdown and an average of 2.6 yards per rushing attempt.
Sitting at 6-0 is a comfortable place to be.
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