NFL Power Rankings Week 6: Jets, Ravens, Playoff Studs; Vikes, Cowboys, Duds
We are past the quarter mark of the season and some teams are pretty much showing us what to expect from them the rest of the year.
They took off at the gun and are hitting their strides, while others are still scuffling in the blocks.
So far, we have heard about locker room fights, we've seen big names traded and we have seen more of Brett Favre than we hoped to ever see in our lives.
But now, the bad news will start. There are soon to be people out of jobs if some of these teams don't get turned around.
All that said, let's get to the rankings.
The Duds: No Playoffs For You!
Here are the also-rans:
32. Carolina Panthers: Steve Smith hobbled and Clausen trying to find his way... they might win three games. At least the defense showed up a little this week: almost the same number of interceptions (four) as points by the O (six).
31. Buffalo Bills: This was the game they had pencilled in as a win. And they lost by 10. Fitzy is trying, though. You've got to give them that.
30. San Francisco 49ers: The team just seems unfocused. Both Frank Gore fumbles and the Alex Smith turnovers just looked bad. They could have as many as three wins right now.
29. Cleveland Browns: One of two things has to happen. Colt McCoy has to step in and be the guy from Texas who grabs the job and keeps it. Or move Peyton Hillis to quarterback.
28. Detroit Lions: If there was any way one win should count for two, this is it. What happens if this prolific offense stalls when Shaun Hill has to give it back to Matthew Stafford?
27. St. Louis Rams: It's tough to rank the Rams ahead of the Lions after that beat down that Detroit put on them, but St. Louis was hit with some injuries in the game and they have played well in most games this season.
26. Oakland Raiders: This has got to be the most confusing team to watch on a week-to-week basis. They have a potential quarterback controversy and probably a lead running back one brewing soon as well.
25. Seattle Seahawks: Not sure how Marshawn Lynch is going to fit in, but they had a bye week to figure that out. Seattle can win that division. But so can any other team there not named 49ers.
24. Denver Broncos: I don't know how this team keeps losing games. Kyle Orton has proven that he can pass the ball against any defense at any time. So it has to be the Denver D that's the problem, right?
23. Cincinnati Bengals: Ochocinco isn't producing, and no team makes more mistakes at crunch time than this team (okay, possibly San Francisco). Something is wrong.
22. Minnesota Vikings: The back-breaking Favre interceptions. The scandal. The lack of chemistry. The killer remaining schedule. No. 4 should've stayed home.
21. Dallas Cowboys: Heads will roll soon. And probably not just Wade Phillips's. How can a Super Bowl favorite play this inconsistently on both sides of the ball? Penalties and lack of discipline.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars
You know what you will get from Maurice Jones-Drew on most days. You know that Marcedes Lewis is turning into a top 7-10 tight end. You even know that the two starting receivers are becoming more and more reliable.
But I'll be damned if I can figure out David Garrard.
19. Miami Dolphins
They are not as bad as they looked against the Patriots. Once the bottom fell out of the special teams, the rest of the team was in shock.
Brandon Marshall is a stud. Chad Henne has weapons and he can be pretty good at times. And the running game is sound.
They can regroup.
18. Arizona Cardinals
I feel like a proud papa and I don't even know Max Hall. But I remember watching the Cardinals during the preseason and saying, this kid should be starting.
Not sure yet if the team will be able to overcome his growing pains enough to win the division, but they are on the right track.
In Max you must trust. But they gotta teach him to slide.
17. San Diego Chargers
It took a bunch of fumbles and blocked punts for them to finally let the Raiders win one, so there is hope.
But they have to get going soon.
The offense can score with anybody if Rivers gets going.
Why the slow starts every year, though?
16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
At some point, these guys are going to have to get some respect. 3-1 is much better than expected.
We'll know everything we need to know about Freeman and his boys once they play the Saints next week.
15. Washington Redskins
Donovan McNabb is playing well, Portis will be back eventually and the division is winnable.
But something is still bugging me about this team.
Maybe "DMC" will get the last laugh after all.
14. Philadelphia Eagles
Kolb played pretty well, but they needed a lot of help from the Niners to seal the game.
I don't think there will be any quarterback controversy when Vick gets back. He is the man for this year. They just have to get 21 other starters on the field and healthy.
13. Kansas City Chiefs
Baby steps. You can't go from really bad to undefeated in a year. I don't care how many Patriots coaches and upper management you have.
But KC gave a gutsy performance against the Colts. Unfortunately, they can't become playoff bound without an elite quarterback, and Cassel just isn't one.
But, I see them getting to 8-8.
12. Houston Texans
They seem schizophrenic this season. Their wins have been really good and the losses have made them look like an expansion team.
Granted, they are fighting through injuries at skill positions, but still. A few more ugly losses and folks will start to wonder if 9-7 or 8-8 is their ceiling.
11. Tennessee Titans
One thing's for sure about this team: When Vince Young is playing well and Chris Johnson can find creases, it's an offensive party.
Dallas tried to stay with them and players kept making clutch plays.
In a division where all four teams have the same record, it could be tight all season. And two really good teams could miss the playoffs from the AFC South.
10. New England Patriots
Essentially, the Patriots traded Randy Moss, first-ballot Hall of Famer, for Deion Branch, who had past glory with the team and nothing since.
I guess it's moves like this that make folks call Belichick a genius.
I can't wait to see how it plays out.
Side note: Will we ever know if Brady and Moss really almost came to blows?
9. Green Bay Packers
We won't know if this is too high of a ranking for the Pack until we know how much time, if any, that Aaron Rodgers will miss because of his concussion.
Not to mention the injuries at tight end and on defense. This team is officially on high alert. Any more serious injuries and the season could be in peril.
8. New Orleans Saints
Right now we know two things about the world champs:
A. Reggie Bush is a lot more important to them than he seemed to be.
B. Everything went right for them last year. They got the bounces, stayed relatively injury free, etc.
This year, not so much.
7. New York Giants
This is one of those rare teams that pretty much gets the same production out of the offense every week. Bradshaw runs like a mad man, Jacobs might also show up, Smith and Nicks are always where Manning needs them to be.
But, whether or not they are dominant totally depends on the defense. When they are causing havoc, this is an elite team.
6. Chicago Bears
Todd Collins tried as hard as he could to give this game away by tossing four interceptions. But, Matt Forte and that Chicago defense stopped all the nonsense.
A healthy Jay Cutler to go along with those other two elements probably means a division title.
5. Indianapolis Colts
Slow and steady wins the race. Remember that saying?
Well, the Colts don't look great right now.
But they will weather their injury bug and some of the timing issues, and they will be there in the end.
Slow and steady. And Peyton Manning.
4. Atlanta Falcons
I don't think I have ever had the Falcons this high.
But they deserve it. Roddy White, Matty Ice and Michael Turner? All studs.
Now we get to switch from Brett Favre drama to Michael Vick vs. his old team drama, right?
3. Pittsburgh Steelers
The team did well without their two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback, but I can't put them any higher until I see if he just jumps back in or not.
We know everything else about the team is title caliber.
2. Baltimore Ravens
You know that the defense is mean and the running game is getting back to where it was last year, but I am still not impressed with Flacco.
He should be playing better than he is with all those weapons. That's why I have them at No. 2. If he continues playing like this and they play the Jets again, they will lose.
1. New York Jets
Rex Ryan promised that this is what his team would be like, and so far, so good.
But there have been mental mistakes made by either Sanchez or the offensive coordinator that make you wonder if they will be able to perform in the clutch against a team that doesn't fold.
Last night, if Favre doesn't do what he has been doing for years—throw team-crushing interceptions—the Jets might have lost.
But as of now, every team has flaws and the Jets are the best of the lot for this week.