NFL Power Rankings: Takeaways from Every Team's Week 6 Performance
Week 6 of the NFL season is in the books, and with it comes a fresh set of power rankings to take us into Week 7.
Only two unbeaten teams remain in the league as the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs emerged victorious in their respective matchups.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, the New York Giants, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Jacksonville Jaguars were all victims once again and remain as the only three teams without a win as the Pittsburgh Steelers finally pulled themselves out of that deep, dark hole.
Let's take a look at the full power rankings after Week 6 and some takeaways from each team's performance.
1. Denver Broncos (6-0)
Well, the Broncos didn't deliver on the 28-point spread they were favored by, but they still took care of business against the Jaguars on Sunday. Despite the fact that Denver was a little sloppy against the Jags, there's no question this team's offense is the best in football with all of its weapons in the passing game.
The Broncos defense will be scary as linebacker Von Miller's suspension ends and cornerback Champ Bailey is finally healthy. Having those two on the field will only make the Broncos a more complete team as their great offense shined once again in Week 6.
2. New England Patriots (5-1)
The Pats got a huge win against the Saints this past week, earning them the No. 2 spot. Scoring 30 points versus New Orleans' impressive defense is no small task, but it just goes to show how Tom Brady and company are coming together as the return of star tight end Rob Gronkowski nears.
Once all the pieces fall into place offensively and the team's top players return, New England has the kind of defense that can more than support its solid offense enough to win some games. This team has some serious Super Bowl potential as a result.
3. Kansas City Chiefs (6-0)
The Chiefs' ranking will remain somewhat hurt but still high because of their wins being against mostly lackluster opponents, and the Raiders were the latest team to fall victim to Kansas City.
There are some glaring problems on offense for the Chiefs, namely in their passing game, which ranks No. 26 with quarterback Alex Smith at the helm. Still, this team has a great defense with an elite pass rush that will always keep Kansas City in games no matter what the offense does.
4. New Orleans Saints (5-1)
The Saints took a step back after falling to the Patriots in Week 6. New Orleans' offense stalled horribly in the first half to the tune of only seven points, but was able to bounce back in the second half with 20 points.
It was a tough road loss for the Saints and their first of the season. If not for the legendary Brady and his game-winning touchdown pass, the Saints would be higher than this. Things are still looking very good as New Orleans' defense has answered the bell for the most part this season, and its offense remains elite after dropping 27 points on a stingy Pats defense.
5. Indianapolis Colts (4-2)
The Colts suffered a loss at the hands of the Chargers on the road on Monday Night Football in what was a bad effort by their offense and run defense. The loss will drop the Colts slightly in the rankings, although they remain ahead of two teams they beat in the Seahawks and Niners.
One of the bigger issues the Colts have is their run defense, which now ranks No. 30 in the NFL. It's a glaring weakness that opponents will look to exploit as the season wears on. Also, the Colts air attack has suffered thanks to the emergence of the ground game, which ranks No. 4 in the NFL.
6. Seattle Seahawks (5-1)
After a sensational start to the season, the Seahawks have played three close games in a row with the latest coming against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday in a winning effort that was sloppy to say the least.
Seattle's defense remains one of the best in the NFL, and as long as it can continue to force turnovers and hold opposing offenses in check, the Seahawks will be able to hide their struggles through the air on offense with the No. 24-ranked passing attack.
7. San Francisco 49ers (4-2)
With three wins in a row, the Niners are beginning to round into form this season and are right in the hunt for the NFC West title. Beating the Cardinals at home isn't exactly something to write home about, but it was a hard-fought win nonetheless as the Niners look forward to three more winnable games in a row coming up.
San Fran's defense has been much improved during its three-game streak with just 34 points allowed during that span. However, despite a great rushing attack that ranks No. 6 in the league, the Niners have the second-worst air attack in football and need more out of Colin Kaepernick. Nevertheless, 252 yards and two scores on Sunday is certainly a step in the right direction.
8. Green Bay Packers (3-2)
The Packers have not looked great on offense in two straight wins, but it's their defense that has done the job. Against the Ravens in Week 6, the Packers defense allowed just 17 points and 360 totals yards a week after holding the Lions to just nine points.
Injuries to guys like James Jones and Randall Cobb are certainly a concern, but quarterback Aaron Rodgers has the skills to make another unknown receiver on his team a star such as Jarrett Boykin. If the defense keeps playing this well, the sky's the limit for Green Bay this season.
9. Detroit Lions (4-2)
The Lions offense woke up in Week 6 against the Browns after scoring 31 points on a stingy Browns defense that ranks No. 8 against the pass and No. 7 against the run. That was with limited production from superstar receiver Calvin Johnson.
A nice bounce-back win for the Lions proved they can still win games without Johnson being at 100 percent. Their defense has been pretty good this season and has shown flashes of great play, but it's the Lions offense that will carry them to where they want to go.
10. Cincinnati Bengals (4-2)
A narrow win over the Bills leaves some questions about just how good the Bengals are, and worries about their consistency are warranted. With that being said, the Bengals beat a team they should have and were able to keep building momentum after a huge win over a top team last week.
Quarterback Andy Dalton looked great against Buffalo with three touchdowns and over 300 yards of offense. Together with a great defense, if Dalton can keep improving his play week to week, this team will be extremely tough to beat.
11. Dallas Cowboys (3-3)
With the Cowboys' normally inconsistent play, it was thought they may have a letdown game against the Redskins on Sunday, but they avoided that by topping their division rival by two scores. While their offense was mostly good, it was the Cowboys defense that answered the call and won them the game a week after surrendering 51 points to the Broncos in a 51-48 loss.
We know that the Cowboys offense will be there week to week as Tony Romo leads Dallas to the No. 11 passing attack. An injury to DeMarco Murray may leave Dallas asking where the ground attack will come from, but if this team can play defense, its passing attack has the ability to carry the offense enough to win games without him.
12. Chicago Bears (4-2)
The Bears were on their way to being a top team in the league after three wins to start the season, but two losses followed by a narrow win over the lowly Giants in Week 6 showed this offense isn't totally there yet after totaling just three points in the second half against a horrid defense.
Winning games this season will be heavily predicated on what the defense can do for Chicago. If it can score, the Bears as a team should be largely successful. If not, the Bears will be hard-pressed to win games against some of their tougher opponents on the schedule.
13. Miami Dolphins (3-2)
Following two losses in its last two games, Miami desperately needed a bye week to get itself together. A great opportunity to right the ship comes in Week 7 as the Dolphins take on the Bills in a game they should win.
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill has been solid this season, but Miami's rushing attack needs to produce more in order to give the sophomore signal-caller some more support. On defense, Miami must improve its pass defense (No. 26) while its run defense is a middle-of-the-road unit (No. 15).
14. San Diego Chargers (3-3)
A win over a top team in the Colts catapulted the Chargers up the rankings this week. San Diego finally got some contributions from its rushing attack and didn't need Philip Rivers to carry the team on his back to win.
San Diego's defense remains suspect, but the win over the Colts showed what this unit can do when at its best. A 102-yard game from running back Ryan Mathews also gives some hope in another lackluster part of the Chargers offense and should give some balance to their elite passing attack.
15. Baltimore Ravens (3-3)
The Ravens took a bit of a dive after a loss in Week 6, but thanks to an overall close contest against the Packers, the Ravens are still getting some respect in this spot.
Baltimore's signal-caller, Joe Flacco, is beginning to hit his stride and is giving opposing defenses something to respect moving forward. On the flip side, Baltimore's rushing attack has been dreadful this season as it ranks No. 27 in the NFL. The Ravens are playing well enough on defense to keep them in games, and it's the least of this team's worries at the moment.
16. Cleveland Browns (3-3)
After scoring just 17 points and watching quarterback Brandon Weeden make horrible decisions in the Browns loss to the Lions, it's pretty clear that this team isn't as good on offense without Brian Hoyer behind center.
Cleveland's normally stellar defense had a letdown game by allowing 31 points to Detroit, but it must be said that the struggles of Weeden are a big reason for that with so many short drives on offense. That fact alone may negate Cleveland's defense, which spells disaster for this upstart squad.
17. St. Louis Rams (3-3)
Are the Rams finally finding their footing after a blowout victory over the Texans? That remains to be seen as Houston is in a tailspin at the moment having lost three games in a row with numerous issues both on and off the field.
Still, the Rams deserve credit for such an impressive win and have emerged victorious in two straight contests now. St. Louis' defense has greatly underachieved this season—especially against the run—and quarterback Sam Bradford has been very up and down with his play. On the bright side, running back Zac Stacy is giving St. Louis hope in a ground game that has been awful in 2013-14.
18. Philadelphia Eagles (3-3)
The Eagles aren't scoring any extra points in the respect department after beating one of the worst teams in the NFL, the Bucs. To make matters worse, it was just a one-score game in the fourth quarter before Alex Henery's 24-yard field goal with just under three minutes left sealed the deal.
Without Michael Vick on the field, backup QB Nick Foles appears to have the goods to fill in after tossing three touchdowns without a pick and compiling nearly 300 yards. Running back LeSean McCoy remains as deadly as ever, although the Eagles defense is still very much suspect.
19. Tennessee Titans (3-3)
The Titans lost to a top team in Week 6, so their fall down the power rankings is a small one. Despite the loss, Tennessee kept the game close throughout and lost by just one touchdown.
With Jake Locker out, the Titans will struggle to find a consistent passing attack, and things aren't going to get any better for the No. 29-ranked passing game in the NFL. As a result, running back Chris Johnson will see more defenders up front trying to stop him, and Tennessee's defense simply isn't good enough to make up for this team's offensive issues.
20. Arizona Cardinals (3-3)
Losing to a tough team in the Niners didn't do much to hurt the Cardinals in the rankings, and this team remains very much in the hunt for the NFC West crown. A 32-20 result doesn't look great, but the Cards were within just two points of the Niners going into the fourth quarter before being blanked on the scoreboard in the final frame.
Arizona's offense remains suspect with a mediocre passing game and a ground attack that ranks No. 24 in the NFL. Defensively, we saw some good things from Arizona as it held Frank Gore in check for most of the game as allowing big plays was the biggest problem for the Cardinals.
21. New York Jets (3-3)
Just when you thought the Jets were flying high and looking like a competitive team, they allow the winless Pittsburgh Steelers to go to town and dominate them.
Mistakes by rookie quarterback Geno Smith prove that there is still much work to be done after he couldn't do anything wrong against the Falcons in Week 5. New York has a stellar defense that will keep it in games, so the Jets remain dangerous as a team on the bubble to make a playoff run.
22. Carolina Panthers (2-3)
Not only did the Panthers beat a team they should have beaten in the Vikings, but Carolina crushed its lowly opponent by a 25-point margin. A win like that showed the Panthers are just a step above the truly worst teams in the NFL this season.
With top-10 rankings in the run game and both pass and run defense, the Panthers are playing some solid football this season. If quarterback Cam Newton can continue to improve this team's passing attack, the Panthers could make some noise and save head coach Ron Rivera's job.
23. Houston Texans (2-4)
Who on earth would have thought the Texans would be this far down the rankings six weeks into the season? It's safe to say the answer is nobody, and Houston deserves what it's getting after getting spanked by the Rams in Week 6.
Houston's problems are plentiful as not only is its defense letting it down, but quarterback Matt Schaub has had a ton of issues. His recent injury against the Rams won't help matters if T.J. Yates has to start behind center. To outline just how poor Schaub has played, fans actually cheered when he was removed from the game after getting hurt.
24. Buffalo Bills (2-4)
Buffalo took a tough Cincinnati squad all the way to overtime with Thad Lewis behind center, but in the end the Bills couldn't do enough to win. While this team likely won't be making the playoffs this year, the Bills are a competitive team with a bright future and could play spoiler late in the season.
Lewis' success against the Bengals certainly turned some heads as it's no small task to throw for over 200 yards and two touchdowns versus a tough defense in just the second game of his career. Despite a lackluster defense, it's clear the Bills offense can do enough to keep them in games and that Buffalo shouldn't rush EJ Manuel back since Lewis can hold his own out there.
25. Oakland Raiders (2-4)
After a surprising win in Week 5 against the Chargers, Oakland lost to a tough opponent in the undefeated Chiefs. The Raiders really never got their offense going and scored just seven points as their defense failed to do enough in the second half to come out of the game with a win.
Expect the Raiders to be up and down as the season moves along, and a playoff run is certainly out of the question for this squad. Regardless, the Raiders have a promising defense that will keep them somewhat competitive, and Terrelle Pryor continues to look like a viable option behind center even though he wasn't great against a tough Chiefs defense.
26. Atlanta Falcons (1-4)
If there was any team in the NFL that needed a bye week, it was the Falcons. After losing three games in a row, Atlanta is in serious trouble in regard to its playoff hopes, but things are looking up with three winnable games against the Bucs, Cardinals and Panthers coming up.
The loss of Julio Jones for the season and Roddy White's season-long injury woes leave this team's offense in serious doubt. The Falcons will need more support from their No. 26-ranked rushing attack as it's clear quarterback Matt Ryan can't do it by himself. On defense, the Falcons have been dreadful against the pass, and this team won't be beating anyone anytime soon if it can't stop opposing offenses through the air.
27. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-4)
Finally, the Steelers got their first win of the 2013 campaign against a tough Jets team in Week 6. It was a spirited effort from Pittsburgh's defense that got the win, and its offense did barely enough to get the job done.
The Steelers are seriously lacking a rushing attack as it ranks No. 31, but with a No. 7 passing attack and big-play ability, Pittsburgh can still be a dangerous team when it airs the ball out. The Steelers have been stingy against the pass (No. 4), but they must play better against the run (No. 21) in order to see a major improvement on defense overall.
28. Washington Redskins (1-4)
As bad as the Redskins have played this season, they had a great chance to come back and beat the Cowboys on Sunday night. It wasn't meant to be, however, as quarterback Robert Griffin III's accuracy cost Washington dearly, and the Cowboys secondary stepped up big time to make some huge plays down the stretch.
Washington's problems don't seem to be getting any better week to week. RG3 looks like a shell of his 2012 self, and now the biggest concern in his game is his throwing accuracy after making some amateur-looking throws versus Dallas. Until Griffin starts playing better and this defense becomes more competitive, the Redskins will be a basement-dweller for the foreseeable future.
29. Minnesota Vikings (1-4)
It seemed as though the Vikings had a winnable game against a fellow one-win opponent in the Panthers, but instead Carolina smoked Minnesota without incident and further buried the Vikings in the depths of ineptitude.
At this point, Adrian Peterson is the only certainty for this team, and he isn't even having that great of a season. Bigger problems lie in the passing game that ranks No. 21 in the NFL, and Minnesota's defense has allowed over 30 points in four of five contests.
30. New York Giants (0-6)
Once again the Giants successfully squandered a chance to win this season and as has been the case through the first six weeks, it was turnovers that did them in. Eli Manning threw three more picks and none bigger than the one that was returned for a touchdown by the Bears defense that proved to be the difference.
This team is going nowhere this season. Despite the fact that its passing game is the No. 8-ranked unit it football, Manning is negating that with his awful decision-making and lack of communication with receivers. Things aren't any better on defense for the G-Men as they are ranked No. 20 and No. 26 against the pass and run, respectively. Expect a New York fire sale to happen in the weeks to come.
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-5)
It was a good effort by the Bucs as they came to play against the Eagles in Week 6 in a losing effort. In what seemed like an inevitable event, the Eagles were able to score the final 10 points of the game and end any hopes of the Bucs coming out with their first win of the season.
The only bright spot for Tampa Bay was its defense this season, but after allowing 31 points to the Eagles, even that aspect of this team is in question. Tampa Bay has the worst passing attack in football, and rookie quarterback Mike Glennon likely won't help improve that. It looks like more building is needed on both sides of the ball for Tampa Bay before it returns to respectability.
32. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-6)
Once again the Jags were rightfully disrespected with a huge 28-point spread against the Broncos in Week 6 and while they were able to avoid losing by such a huge margin, moral victories won't put one in the win column for Jacksonville.
The Jags aren't doing anything right this season as their offense stinks and their defense is even worse. Despite their obvious struggles and horrid play, wide receiver Justin Blackmon looks like a star in the making after compiling 326 yards and a touchdown in two games this season.
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