NFL Power Rankings Week 6: Updated Record Predictions for All 32 Teams

Matt Miller@nfldraftscoutNFL Draft Lead WriterOctober 11, 2011

NFL Power Rankings Week 6: Updated Record Predictions for All 32 Teams

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    If we learned anything at all this week, it's that we really know very little.

    How else would you explain the fact that the San Francisco 49ers and Buffalo Bills are a combined 8-2 while the Indianapolis Colts and Philadelphia Eagles are 1-9?

    Those preseason hopes and dreams of the Eagles, Atlanta Falcons and St. Louis Rams have all crashed, burned and then been buried.

    With 12 weeks left in the 2011 NFL season, it's time to update our weekly power rankings with an added bonus this week—final predictions for all 32 teams.

32. Indianapolis Colts

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    Current Record: 0-5

    The Indianapolis Colts have been sad to watch this season. I'll admit, at first, it was kind of exciting to see a team that had dominated for so long, failing. It was like the excitement of a car crash. Now, we're at that point where you just hope no one was hurt.

    The Colts can take some comfort in the fact that they are getting closer to the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft with each maddening performance.

    It's not going to be pretty from here on out, Colts fans.

    Final Record Prediction: 3-13

31. St. Louis Rams

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    Current Record: 0-4

    Fans of the St. Louis Rams have to feel pretty despondent right now.

    The team was expected to be a strong contender in the NFC West and take the leap from a solid 2010 season to a playoff team in 2011.

    They haven't.

    The defense has been thinned out due to injury and poor choices in free agency and the draft. The gamble to not sign or draft a marquee wide receiver bit them in the ass, and the offensive line has even struggled.

    The Rams won't get better this season. The issue here is talent, and until they make big moves to get better, they'll struggle near the bottom of the league.

    Final Record Prediction: 3-13

30. Miami Dolphins

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    Current Record: 0-4

    The Miami Dolphins have been close to winning every game they've played this season. But close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. The Dolphins are 0-4 for a reason.

    Looking ahead at the schedule and factoring in the uncertainty at quarterback, it would be easy to see Miami having the worst record in the NFL this year. That's not to say they are the worst team, but the issues are piling up and could be reflected in their record.

    A Week 8 matchup against Kansas City will be their best chance to get a win.

    Final Record Prediction: 3-13

29. Kansas City Chiefs

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    Current Record: 2-3

    The Kansas City Chiefs have won two straight games—both over teams who had not won a game at the time they played.

    The Chiefs should feel good about getting two wins, but the road doesn't get easier from here. Other than two games against the Denver Broncos and a matchup with the Miami Dolphins, the Chiefs may not have a chance to win another game this season.

    Matt Cassel and the wide receivers are good enough to score points, but the lack of a run game and the bad play of the secondary without Eric Berry and Brandon Flowers may be too much to overcome.

    Final Record Prediction: 5-11

28. Denver Broncos

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    Current Record: 1-4

    Whether it is with Kyle Orton or Tim Tebow at quarterback, the Denver Broncos have a lot of problems.

    The team benched star rookie linebacker Von Miller this week as they lost another game to the San Diego Chargers. They've also not found a rhythm on offense that can sustain drives or put points on the board consistently.

    John Fox is a great coach, and that alone is worth a few wins, but Denver needs to find an identity on both sides of the ball.

    Final Record Prediction: 5-11

27. Arizona Cardinals

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    Current Record: 1-4

    The Arizona Cardinals have managed to regress each week, which is in itself a surprising feat.

    Arizona looks undisciplined, sloppy and under-talented, evident in the Minnesota Vikings 28-point halftime lead Sunday.

    The Cardinals have the talent to get better, but the offensive line and secondary are showing huge issues. For Arizona to make even a mini-run and climb out of the basement, they'll need a few miracles.

    Final Record Prediction: 5-11

26. Minnesota Vikings

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    Current Record: 1-4

    The pleas for the Minnesota Vikings to replace quarterback Donovan McNabb with rookie first-rounder Christian Ponder should be quieter now that the Vikings have won a game but don't let that fool you into thinking the Vikings are good. They aren't.

    Minnesota finds themselves with a group of talented players like Adrian Peterson and Jared Allen surrounded by a supporting cast that is not good enough to help them win games. And that has to be frustrating for the All-Star players on the roster.

    Minnesota's schedule gets tough, with six divisional games that they should be expected to lose. Why the move up? Minnesota finally held on to a lead long enough to win a game.

    Final Record Prediction: 4-12

25. Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Current Record: 1-4

    The Jacksonville Jaguars are on their third quarterback this season (David Garrard, Luke McCown, Blaine Gabbert), and they are still losing football games. The writing is on the wall, and head coach Jack Del Rio's days are numbered.

    It has become a matter of when and not if on Del Rio's release, but can Jacksonville string together wins late in the year, or are we looking at a bottom five team?

    The Jaguars play in a weak division, which helps, and they have one of the league's most talented running backs in Maurice Jones-Drew. I would think six wins is a realistic expectation.

    Final Record Prediction: 6-10

24. Seattle Seahawks

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    Current Record: 2-3

    The Seattle Seahawks beat the 3-1 New York Giants one week after almost beating the Atlanta Falcons. Pete Carroll's boys may have just one win, but they are getting better each week.

    With Charlie Whitehurst taking over for an injured Tarvaris Jackson on Sunday, Seattle was able to beat the Giants. If Whitehurst keeps the job, more wins will be coming soon.

    Seattle is good enough to finish second in the NFC West, which should be good for a minimum of four more wins.

    Final Record Prediction: 6-10

23. Carolina Panthers

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    Current Record: 1-4

    Rookie quarterback Cam Newton, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 draft, has lived up to early expectations. Newton has the Panthers playing good football, even if it's not quite good enough to win yet.

    If nothing else, Newton has been exciting. If the Panthers can develop talent at defensive tackle and in the secondary, this will be a playoff team in a very tough division. That's at least a year away though. Until then, we'll enjoy watching Newton air-it-out to Steve Smith.

    The rest of the season will be hard to predict for the Panthers, but what is certain is that Newton will make the rest of this season damn fun to watch.

    Final Record Prediction: 6-10

22. Philadelphia Eagles

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    Current Record: 1-4

    The Philadelphia Eagles have moved past being a disappointment. It was disappointing when a team that most expected to make the Super Bowl lost three straight games. At this point, all expectations are long gone. The Eagles are not contenders. In fact, they aren't a winning team.

    This is proof that All-Star teams don't win championships. Like the Miami Heat in the NBA, the Eagles were assembled without the foresight of what makes a team great. Things like leadership, work ethic and chemistry can't be bought.

    The Eagles are good enough to rebound to an extent, but their chances at the playoffs seem impossibly slim.

    Final Record Prediction: 7-9

21. Cleveland Browns

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    Current Record: 2-2

    Coming off a bye week, the Cleveland Browns are a solid .500. Can they improve in a very tough division?

    The Browns have won despite the lack of an elite wide receiver or defensive end. Their play at most positions has been the product of good coaching and hard work, not overwhelming talent. A team like that is always tough to beat, especially once the weather gets cold.

    The Browns need to get Peyton Hillis rolling if they hope to keep hovering around that .500 mark.

    Final Record Prediction: 7-9

20. New York Jets

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    Current Record: 2-3

    Yes, the New York Jets are this bad, no matter what their fans may tell you.

    The NFL's most overrated team, New York, has lost three straight and have been exposed on both sides of the ball. Sad, but true.

    For New York to come out of their slump and have a hope of the playoffs, or even an 8-8 record, they need to find a consistent run game and find a way to stop the run. Until they stop hemorrhaging in the trenches, this is a team that will fly well below expectations.

    Final Record Prediction: 8-8

19. Atlanta Falcons

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    Current Record: 2-3

    The Atlanta Falcons have a losing record, but they've gotten there with close games and near misses. While that won't matter if they continue to lose, Atlanta's strength of schedule is among the toughest in the NFL to date.

    The Falcons could be a playoff team, or they could win seven games. They continually surprise me with exceptional play one week followed by mistakes and a lack of fire the next.

    The good news for Atlanta is that outside of their own division, the schedule is very manageable.

    Final Record Prediction: 9-7

18. Cincinnati Bengals

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    Current Record: 3-2

    Andy Dalton, welcome to the NFL. Dalton has been a vision for Bengal fans with three fourth-quarter comebacks through five games. Not too bad for the second-round draft pick.

    Cincinnati is a good cornerback and defensive end away from competing for a playoff spot, but they are good enough already to make some noise against teams who overlook them. Dalton and fellow rookie A.J. Green are a match made in heaven. If nothing else, they are making the Bengals a watchable team each week.

    Final Record Prediction: 8-8

17. Chicago Bears

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    Current Record: 2-3

    How good would the Chicago Bears record be if they weren't in the NFC North with two undefeated teams? That's a fair question, even if it doesn't change anything.

    Chicago is talented. They have proven that they can hang with the NFL's best, but unfortunately, they have to see the NFL's two best teams four times in the regular season.

    A wildcard spot isn't out of the question for Chicago, but for that to happen, Jay Cutler has to find a wide receiver he can trust.

    Final Record Prediction: 9-7

16. Tennessee Titans

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    Current Record: 3-2

    The move to sign quarterback Matt Hasselbeck this offseason has saved the Tennessee Titans season. The team has struggled to get Pro Bowl running back Chris Johnson going after a long holdout this summer, and it's been the play of Hasselbeck and the no-name defense that's fueled Tennessee to three early wins.

    The Titans benefit from a weak division that should give them wins against the Jacksonville Jaguars and Indianapolis Colts, but they aren't quite ready to overtake Houston Texans atop the division.

    Final Record Prediction: 9-7

15. Dallas Cowboys

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    Current Record: 2-2

    I'm giving the Dallas Cowboys credit for having beat the San Francisco 49ers and Washington Redskins. I'm also giving them credit since their only losses came against the Detroit Lions and New York Jets. Dallas, even though they have just two wins, has the look of a playoff team...

    ...IF they can get Tony Romo playing consistent football. Romo is hot one week, horrible the next. For this team to make a run in a wide-open NFC East, Romo has to play more like he did versus San Francisco and less like he did against the Lions.

    Final Record Prediction: 9-7

14. Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Current Record: 3-2

    The Pittsburgh Steelers have rolled off three wins and one tough loss to Houston after an opening week loss, it's time people take notice. Pittsburgh is winning without great play up front on offense and without James Harrison on defense. Credit Mike Tomlin and Ben Roethlisberger.

    The Steelers may not be ready to beat the Houston Texans or Baltimore Ravens weekly, but they are better than I thought after their Week 1 smackdown at the hands of the Ravens.

    If Pittsburgh can get healthy, they will make a run at the playoffs. That run will put them up against serious odds, as their 3-2 record already has them behind the ball for a wild-card spot.

    Final Record Prediction: 10-6

13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Current Record: 3-2

    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have three wins, but the story of their season is better told in their two losses.

    A 48-3 beatdown by the San Francisco 49ers has me questioning the Buccaneers. Where is the team that fought tooth-and-nail last season for 10 wins? Where is the fire and tenacity that their young defensive line was supposed to bring? And where the hell is Josh Freeman?

    Tampa is good enough to win the South, but they are too inconsistent to hang with the New Orleans Saints right now.

    Final Record Prediction: 9-7

12. New York Giants

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    Current Record: 3-2

    Regular readers of this space know that I am not the world's biggest Eli Manning fan. I have to say though, Manning is playing his best football this season.

    The Giants have the talent to walk away with the NFC East, especially with their rivals the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys struggling on the offensive side of the ball. Who would have thought two months ago that the Giants would be competing with the Washington Redskins for the division?

    It may seem unlikely, but it is true. The Redskins lead the division, with the Giants in position today to take the No. 2 wild-card spot.

    Final Record Prediction: 10-6

11. Washington Redskins

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    Current Record: 3-1

    It is hard for me to wrap my head around how well the Washington Redskins are playing. It almost seems too good to be true. And maybe it is.

    Washington is playing quality football and winning football games with great defense and just enough offense to get the job done. To win the division, they will need big games from Rex Grossman along the way.

    Grossman proved in Week 1 that he's capable of carrying the team, but he'll need to do it again before the rest of the league believes in Rex and the Redskins.

    Final Record Prediction: 11-5

10. Oakland Raiders

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    Current Record: 3-2

    The Oakland Raiders may be 3-2, but those two losses came against two of the NFL's best franchises. They also have a win over a top-10 team.

    Oakland dropped two games to the New England Patriots and Buffalo Bills—both top six teams. Their win last weekend over the Houston Texans has me thinking playoffs for the Raiders.

    A great running game is enough to get Oakland in the playoffs this season. To win a game there, they will need one of their young receivers to step up and help Jason Campbell in the passing game.

    Final Record Prediction: 10-6

9. San Diego Chargers

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    Current Record: 4-1

    It's hard to look past the San Diego Chargers 4-1 record, but I have to ask...who have they played?

    Sure, you can only play the teams you are scheduled to face, but the Chargers four wins may not be quite as impressive as the four wins by the Buffalo Bills or Baltimore Ravens.

    San Diego has wins over Minnesota (1-4), Kansas City (2-3), Miami (0-4) and Denver (1-4). Not exactly the toughest schedule in the world.

    With the AFC West looking weak this season, San Diego will have a great shot at the playoffs. This is a team that historically finishes hot. We'll see if San Diego is worthy of a top-10 spot soon enough.

    Final Record Prediction: 10-6

8. Houston Texans

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    Current Record: 3-2

    News tonight that the Houston Texans will lose outside linebacker Mario Williams for the season is sobering, but this team can win without him. Especially in the AFC South.

    Houston's biggest need is getting wide receiver Andre Johnson back from a hamstring injury. At least with a healthy Johnson, the Texans can hope to outscore the opposition. Until Andre is back, the Texans will rely on Matt Schaub and Arian Foster to carry them.

    Houston should hit the halfway mark with a 5-3 record. If they can get there, the playoffs and the AFC South crown will be within reach.

    Final Record Prediction: 11-5

7. San Francisco 49ers

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    Current Record: 4-1

    It's hard to believe the San Francisco 49ers are really 4-1. But they are. I double-checked.

    San Francisco is winning with tough defense and timely offense. Some weeks, it is Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter. Other weeks, it is Ted Ginn. And sometimes, it's Alex Smith, a player many of us had written off as a draft bust.

    Smith and the 49ers have come alive under Jim Harbaugh, and right now, there is no one in the NFC West who can touch them.

    Final Record Prediction: 11-5

6. Buffalo Bills

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    Current Record: 4-1

    The Buffalo Bills having four wins is among the most surprising things to happen this season, but it's great for the NFL.

    Fans my age remember watching four straight Super Bowl losses by the Bills, and at least in my eyes, it's great to see them doing well again 20 years later. I have a soft spot for the Bills, and it's great to see that team winning quality games.

    The Bills have scored the second-most touchdowns in the NFL this season, tied with the juggernaut offense up in New England. That's a statistic that tells the story of just how good the Bills have been this year and how good they will continue to be.

    Final Record Prediction: 11-5

5. New Orleans Saints

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    Current Record: 4-1

    New Orleans Saints fans do not like me, and I'm OK with that. I've picked against your team (both correctly and incorrectly), and many feel that I've consistently underrated your team. I will disagree.

    There's no bias here. I am among the biggest Drew Brees fans you will find outside New Orleans. I'm rooting for the quarterback, the head coach and the city to do well. The Saints are great for the NFL in the same way the Bills are.

    Having said that, hopefully, Saints fans will take this as a mea culpa of sorts:

    There is no way the Saints don't win the South this year. In fact, I'm struggling to see them not playing in the NFC Championship Game.

    Final Record Prediction: 12-4

4. New England Patriots

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    Current Record: 4-1

    Fans of the NFL's 31 other franchises will tell you the New England Patriots are overrated, no matter what they do on the field. If anything, New England is underrated this season.

    You hear talk about the Buffalo Bills (rightfully so) and the Detroit Lions, and people are finally talking about the Green Bay Packers, but no one is talking about the Patriots. At least not in my circles.

    That's how Bill Belichick would want it. The perception that his team is the ultimate underdog fueled New England to at least two Super Bowl titles. The current roster may not be ready for another title run, but we didn't think they were ready in 2001 either.

    Final Record Prediction: 13-3

3. Baltimore Ravens

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    Current Record: 3-1

    The Baltimore Ravens scare me. The team has the talent, leadership and coaching to win a Super Bowl. In fact, if I had to place a bet today, I would put the Ravens in the Super Bowl. I have that much respect for the roster.

    But sometimes, like Week 2 against the Tennessee Titans, the Ravens forget to play hard. They won't be able to pull that off throughout the rest of the season if they hope to live up to expectations.

    Baltimore fans should expect nothing less than a Super Bowl berth this season. With this defense and the talent on offense, those are realistic expectations.

    Final Record Prediction: 13-3

2. Detroit Lions

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    Current Record: 5-0

    The Detroit Lions have won close games and won blowouts. They have beaten good teams and survived trap games against lesser opponents. The Lions, folks, are for real.

    Detroit is able to win in shootouts where Matthew Stafford has to air-it-out to Calvin Johnson, and they are able to win dogfights against blue-collar football teams. That experience will come in handy not only as the season progresses, but in the playoffs.

    The Lions outlook for the season is exceptional. Outside a tough game against San Francisco this weekend, the Lions only losses may come at the hands of the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers.

    Final Record Prediction: 14-2

1. Green Bay Packers

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    Current Record: 5-0

    Look at the Green Bay Packers schedule and tell me when you think they will lose. Maybe on Thanksgiving against the Detroit Lions? Outside of their two divisional games versus Detroit, the Packers remaining schedule looks surprisingly winnable.

    If I had to make one pick for the Super Bowl, I'd put my money on Green Bay. I may even go ahead and put money on them for 2012 too. The Packers are built to win for the next five seasons, and as long as Aaron Rodgers is healthy, they'll be super competitive.

    If there is a chink in the armor, it's on the offensive line, where both tackles are hurt right now. Rookie Derek Sherrod may be forced into action earlier than anyone expected.

    Final Record Prediction: 15-1