NFL Team Grades for Week 6

Gary Davenport@@IDPSharksNFL AnalystOctober 16, 2017

NFL Team Grades for Week 6

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    Jim Mone/Associated Press

    It's fitting that Week 6 of the 2017 NFL season occurred on a weekend with a Friday the 13th in it.

    Because for some teams it was a real horror show.

    In Houston, it was Night of the Living Dead, as the NFL's zombie team (the Cleveland Browns) continued redefining the concept of terrible football with a blowout loss to the Texans.

    In New York, it was The Twilight Zone, at least for a while. The Jets raced to a 14-0 lead on the New England Patriots before remembering that they're, you know, the Jets.

    In New Orleans, it was Saw. As in an offensive buzzsaw, with Drew Brees and a rested New Orleans Saints team opening a can on the Detroit Lions in a game where approximately all the points ever were scored.

    And in Minnesota, it was Omen. A bad omen. A terrible omen. The worst possible omen for the Green Bay Packers, in the form of a serious injury suffered by quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

    And that was just in the early games!

    Now that most of Week 6 is complete, it's time to sort through the madness and assign some grades to another wild and wacky week in the NFL.

    Although just so you know, if I see a big dude in coveralls and a hockey mask, I'm bouncing.

Arizona Cardinals

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    Ralph Freso/Associated Press

    Week 6 Opponent: vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    Score: Won 38-33

    In the first half of their win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, the Arizona Cardinals looked the part of a team that’s going to have to be taken seriously in the NFC West.

    New tailback Adrian Peterson had more yards in one half as a Redbird than in four games as a Saint. Quarterback Carson Palmer hit on his first 14 pass attempts. Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald went well over 100 yards. And the Cardinals poured on 31 unanswered points to open the game.

    However, NFL games have two halves, and the fact that Arizona nearly let the Buccaneers come all the way back is concerning—especially since the comeback was engineered by backup quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.

    Still, that first half offered a tease of sorts as to what the Cardinals are capable of and how dangerous Palmer can still be if he isn’t forced to throw on every play because Arizona can’t run the ball.

    The team’s timing is good. Starting next week, the Cardinals play three in a row against the NFC West, including a road tilt with the Rams in Week 7 and a Week 10 home date with the Seahawks.

    If Arizona can put together four quarters against the Rams like the first two against Tampa, its division is going to become a lot more interesting.

    Week 6 Grade: B

    Season Grade: C

Atlanta Falcons

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    David Goldman/Associated Press

    Week 6 Opponent: vs. Miami Dolphins

    Score: Lost 20-17

    The Week 6 tilt between the Atlanta Falcons and Miami Dolphins looked to be one of the more lopsided affairs of the early slate—the defending NFC champions coming off their bye against the NFL’s worst offense through five weeks.

    When the Falcons raced to a 17-0 first-half lead, it looked like the blowout was underway.

    The only thing underway was Week 6’s most surprising final—and an embarrassing loss for the Falcons at home.

    There’s plenty of blame to go around after the Falcons allowed 20 unanswered points to a Miami team that was barely averaging half that entering this week. On both sides of the ball, the Falcons looked like a team that thought once they got that lead the game was in hand. They could coast.

    And when the Dolphins came roaring back, the Falcons couldn’t get back on track, with a late drive for a game-tying field-goal attempt ending with a Reshad Jones interception.

    Even the best teams occasionally lay an egg, and the sky is hardly falling in Atlanta as the team is 3-2. 

    But the Falcons had a golden opportunity to surpass the Carolina Panthers for the division lead in Week 6, and they blew it in spectacular fashion.

    Week 6 Grade: F

    Season Grade: B-

Baltimore Ravens

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    Week 6 Opponent: vs. Chicago Bears

    Score: Lost 27-24 (OT)

    There hasn’t been a more Jekyll and Hyde team in the NFL this year than the Baltimore Ravens.

    In Weeks 3 and 4, the Ravens were shellacked by the Jacksonville Jaguars and Pittsburgh Steelers. Then they went to Oakland and repaid the favor to the Raiders.

    It had been an up-and-down year to be sure, but at 3-2 and playing a tomato can in Week 6, the Ravens had to feel pretty good about their chances of at least earning a share of first place in the AFC North.

    One problem—the tomato can didn’t cooperate.

    Of course, the reason the Ravens lost to the Chicago Bears wasn’t that the Bears played great.

    It’s that the Ravens played like crud.

    Quarterback Joe Flacco did nothing to quiet the grumbles about his play in 2017, tossing a pair of interceptions and posting a passer rating south of 50.

    The defense has no room to talk either. It was shredded by the Bears to the tune of 231 yards on the ground.

    It was an ugly performance all the way around by a team fortunate to be .500.

    Week 6 Grade: D

    Season Grade: C-

Buffalo Bills

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    Michael Reaves/Getty Images

    Week 6 Opponent: Bye Week

    Score: N/A

    The Buffalo Bills entered their bye week as a team searching for their true identity.

    In Week 4, the Bills looked like a team that had been underestimated. Granted, the Falcons were without their top two receivers, but Buffalo’s win in Atlanta was a complete effort by a club that looked like at the very least it'd be a tough out every week.

    The next week in Cincinnati, though, the Bills were flat offensively and erratic defensively in a four-point loss to a one-win team. That looked like the Bills that were expected in 2017.

    Not a terrible team, mind you. But not a good one either.

    Whether it was expected or not, when the Bills host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers next week, they will be tied for second place in the AFC East—a half-game back of the Patriots. 

    If the Bills can find enough consistency on both sides of the ball to earn a split in home tilts with the Buccaneers and Oakland Raiders next week, it will set up something no one expected when the season began.

    A Bills at Jets game in Week 9 that matters.

    Week 6 Grade: N/A

    Season Grade: B-

Carolina Panthers

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    Mike McCarn/Associated Press

    Week 6 Opponent: vs. Philadelphia Eagles

    Score: Lost 28-23

    It’s important in the NFL not to get too high after a win or too low after a loss. So the Carolina Panthers should keep their heads up even though they fell to the Philadelphia Eagles 28-23 on Thursday night.

    However, there were a couple of causes for genuine concern in the game.

    For the second straight week, the Panthers were completely shut down on the ground. Of the 80 yards gained by the Panthers on 25 carries, 71 came courtesy of quarterback Cam Newton. The Carolina running backs combined for one yard—on 13 totes.

    Also, middle linebacker Luke Kuechly may have suffered his third concussion in as many years in the loss. Two years ago, Kuechly missed three games with one. Last year, it was six games. There's some confusion, as Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer reported, over whether Kuechly was actually concussed.

    There's no cofusion regarding the impact of his absence. With Kuechly off the field, the Panthers defense was a different animal against the Eagles.

    Less panther—more puddy tat.

    Carolina remains a good team with a half-game lead in its division. But it needs its run game to get going and its best defensive player to get healthy.

    Week 6 Grade: C-

    Season Grade: B

Chicago Bears

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    Week 6 Opponent: at Baltimore Ravens

    Score: Won 27-24 (OT)

    There’s an odd sensation wafting through the Bears locker room after their overtime win over the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday.

    Optimism. Maybe even a little bit of hope.

    Granted, the win came over a Ravens team that did everything it possibly could to lose, but there were still positives.

    In his second career start, rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky only passed for 113 yards (on 16 attempts), but he didn’t throw an interception and made a few nice throws.

    The ground game did all it could to take pressure off its young quarterback. The Bears rolled for a staggering 231 yards on the ground, with second-year pro Jordan Howard going off for 167 of those.

    A beleaguered Bears defense also had arguably its best game of the year on the road, forcing three turnovers and notching three sacks.

    Are the Bears a good team? No. They aren’t especially close to being one, either.

    But Rome wasn’t built in a day, and Chicago made some real, tangible progress in Week 6.

    Week 6 Grade: B-

    Season Grade: D

Cincinnati Bengals

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    Michael Reaves/Getty Images

    Week 6 Opponent: Bye Week

    Score: N/A

    Not too long ago, the Cincinnati Bengals were being completely written off. They didn’t score a touchdown in either of their first two games (at home, no less), and a Week 3 defeat at Lambeau Field dropped the Bengals to 0-3.

    However, those same Bengals rolled into their bye week with some momentum. They dominated the hapless Cleveland Browns in Week 4 and eked out a four-point win over the Buffalo Bills in Week 5. After the Pittsburgh Steelers were waxed by the Jacksonville Jaguars last week, those same Bengals who were all but done were just a game out of first place with a tilt with the Steelers set for Week 7. 

    Are the Bengals legitimate playoff contenders? Not unless they get better offensive line play than they did over the first month of the season.

    But there’s no denying that the in-season coordinator change has sparked the offense, and the defense is formidable up front.

    In any event, we’ll find out how good the Bengals are soon enough.

    Week 6 Grade: N/A

    Season Grade: C+

Cleveland Browns

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    Eric Christian Smith/Associated Press

    Week 6 Opponent: at Houston Texans

    Score: Lost 33-17

    A new era dawned for the Cleveland Browns in Houston on Sunday, with Kevin Hogan becoming the 28th quarterback to start a game for the team since it rejoined the NFL in 1999.

    The new era looked a lot like the old era. Awful on a level that inspires nausea.

    Hogan completed just 54.1 percent of his passes for a whopping 140 yards. He was intercepted three times, including a pick-six on a horrible overthrow. He was also flagged for intentional grounding in his own end zone.

    It’s reached a point with the 0-6 Browns where searching for bright spots like the play of rookie No. 1 overall pick Myles Garrett is equal parts patronizing and pathetic.

    The Browns are the worst team in football, hands down. They can’t run the ball. Or throw the ball. Or stop opponents from doing either one.

    Watching Deshaun Watson torch the Browns for three passing scores Sunday is just rubbing salt in the wound. The Browns could have drafted Watson at No. 12 in 2017. Or drafted Philadelphia’s Carson Wentz at No. 2 overall the year before.

    But they passed on both. Because they’re the Browns.

    And it looks like Cleveland aims to finish what it started last year by going 0-16.

    Week 6 Grade: F

    Season Grade: F-

Dallas Cowboys

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    Ron Jenkins/Associated Press

    Week 6 Opponent: Bye

    Score: N/A

    The Dallas Cowboys need a hug.

    After falling short in heartbreaking fashion to the Green Bay Packers in Week 5, the Cowboys have lost as many games in five weeks (three) as they did throughout the entire 2016 regular season.

    Starting tailback Ezekiel Elliott may now be out for the next six games after an appeals court reinstated his suspension for an alleged violation of the NFL's domestic violence policy.

    Perhaps most alarmingly, the Dallas defense has been getting gashed on the ground with linebacker Sean Lee on the shelf over the past two weeks. The team ranked 20th in the NFL in run defense heading into Week 6, and that number doesn't reflect how poorly Dallas has defended the run of late.

    If Elliott's suspension holds, Dallas can still have a fairly effective ground game with Darren McFadden and Alfred Morris. It doesn't take an elite talent to pick up yardage behind that dominant offensive line.

    But to have any hope of catching the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC East, the Cowboys need Lee back on the field to get their defense squared away.

    Week 5 Grade: N/A

    Season Grade: C

Denver Broncos

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    Joe Mahoney/Associated Press

    Week 6 Opponent: vs. New York Giants

    Score: Lost 23-10

    With both the Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders losing in Week 6, opportunity came knocking for the Denver Broncos. Beat an injury-ravaged, winless New York Giants team at home and they would be just a half-game back of the Chiefs at 4-1.

    Piece of cake, right? Sure...a piece of cake that the Broncos choked on.

    Denver's top-ranked run defense allowed a 100-yard game to Orleans Darkwa. Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul abused Denver's offensive line, piling up three sacks.

    But wait, there's more! Denver gained less than 50 yards on the ground and was turned away on 4th-and-goal at the 1-yard line in the fourth quarter. Trevor Siemian was out of sync all night and tossed a pair of interceptions—including one that was brought back for a score. And Emmanuel Sanders was carted to the locker room after suffering an ankle injury. 

    If the Broncos are a playoff contender, they didn't look like it in Week 6. 

    Week 6 Grade: F

    Season Grade: C+

Detroit Lions

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    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    Week 6 Opponent: at New Orleans Saints

    Score: Lost 52-38

    For a short time Sunday, it looked like Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions were going to take their whole "Captain Comeback" thing to the next level.

    After finding themselves in a gargantuan 45-10 deficit, Stafford and the Lions made it all the way back to 45-38 when defensive tackle A'Shawn Robinson caught a tipped pass for a pick-six. They even had a chance to tie the game before Stafford's second pick-six gave the Saints some breathing room. 

    On a day where the NFC North was turned squarely on its head due to Aaron Rodgers' broken collarbone, the Lions defense was nearly nonexistent for the second straight week. After allowing Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers to drop 27 points on them in Week 5, the Lions gave up the most points they've allowed since 2007 to Drew Brees and Co. 

    If that keeps up, it won't matter how good Stafford is.

    Week 6 Grade: D

    Season Grade: C

Green Bay Packers

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    Bruce Kluckhohn/Associated Press

    Week 6 Opponent: at Minnesota Vikings

    Score: Lost 23-10

    The sky is falling in Titletown.

    It's not that the Green Bay Packers lost 23-10 to the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. That's insignificant, relatively speaking.

    The Packers may well have lost their season, too.

    The team announced quarterback Aaron Rodgers suffered a broken collarbone that may end his season. Wideout Randall Cobb was predictably crestfallen after the game.

    "It's devastating, no question about it," Cobb said, per's Rob Demovsky. "First and foremost, it's one of my closest friends, so to see him go down with that, it's tough. But we've still got to play football. We've got a long season ahead of us, and we've got to figure out what we're going to do."

    What the Packers are going to do depends on how long Rodgers will be out. If he has a chance to return toward the end of the season, Brett Hundley potentially could keep the team in the wild-card hunt.

    But if Rodgers' year is done, so is Green Bay's.

    Week 6 Grade: F

    Season Grade: B

Houston Texans

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    Eric Gay/Associated Press

    Week 6 Opponent: vs. Cleveland Browns

    Score: Won 33-17

    It's hard to read too much into a win over the Cleveland Browns. However, give credit where it's due. The Texans did what was necessary to win a game that wasn't as close as the final score would indicate.

    On offense, Deshaun Watson couldn't muster his typical huge chunk plays through the air. But the rookie still managed 225 passing yards and three scores to go with 23 of Houston's 123 rushing yards on the day.

    In his first six NFL games, Watson has tossed 15 touchdown passes. Not only is that an NFL record, but it's also as many scoring strikes as Brock Osweiler threw for the Texans across 15 appearances last year. Houston also set a franchise record by topping 30 points for a fourth straight game, per the Associated Press.

    Despite being hit hard by injuries on defense in Week 5, the Texans were able to shut Cleveland down for most of the day. The Browns didn't score a touchdown until the fourth quarter, and Houston allowed just a single garbage-time score by the Cleveland offense. 

    We'll get a far better feel for how good the Texans are when they travel to Seattle in two weeks. On Sunday, they at least looked capable of winning the AFC South again.

    Week 6 Grade: B

    Season Grade: B-

Indianapolis Colts

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Week 6 Opponent: at Tennessee Titans

    Score: Lost 36-22

    The 2017 Indianapolis Colts can be summed up in one play from their Week 6 loss to the Tennessee Titans.

    Trailing by seven late, the Colts faced 3rd-and-long. Robert Turbin caught a short pass and lunged for the sticks, taking a big hit and suffering what looked to be a serious arm injury.

    He came up short—as did quarterback Jacoby Brissett on fourth down.

    That’s the Colts in a nutshell—just short.

    The Indy defense looked good in the first half. Ditto for the offensive line. But both came up short of the sort of four-quarters effort it would have taken to notch a win.

    Given that he joined the team just days before Week 1, Jacoby Brissett has been a pleasant surprise. But against the Titans he came up short too. He couldn’t make plays when he had to—including the scramble that all but decided the game.

    Had the Colts been able to hold on to their halftime lead and squeak out a win Monday night, they would have been 3-3 and tied for first place in the AFC South. A best-case scenario and then some with no Andrew Luck.

    But they came up just short—and now they’re alone in last place in the NFL’s worst division.

    Week 6 Grade: D

    Season Grade: D

Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    Week 6 Opponent: vs. Los Angeles Rams

    Score: Lost 27-17

    The Jacksonville Jaguars look like a team that isn't sure if it's good or not.

    One week, the Jags are scoring two defensive touchdowns, Leonard Fournette is peeling off a 90-yard run and Jacksonville is flattening the Pittsburgh Steelers at home.

    The next, it's a different story. Fournette had another long touchdown in Sunday's loss to the Los Angeles Rams, and Jacksonville is as hard to throw on as any team in the NFL. But the Jaguars' issues at football's most important position rose up and bit them again against L.A.

    Statistically, Blake Bortles had one of his better games of the season, going 23-of-35 for 241 yards and a touchdown. But Bortles was also sacked five times, threw a pick and fumbled twice.

    It's simple—if the Jaguars are down late and has to go the air, they're toast. They just can't do it.

    This is a team that's a year away (at least) because they're a player away. The Jaguars need a better quarterback...perhaps a lightly used Kirk Cousins?

    Week 6 Grade: C-

    Season Grade: C+

Kansas City Chiefs

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    Peter Aiken/Getty Images

    Week 6 Opponent: vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

    Score: Lost 19-13

    And then there were none.

    On Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium, the last of the unbeaten teams suffered its first loss.

    That the Kansas City Chiefs lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers isn't especially alarming. This team wasn't going 16-0. And the Steelers are a perennial contender who have long been a thorn in Kansas City's side.

    The way the Chiefs lost, on the other hand, is another story.

    Kansas City entered Week 6 averaging 414.2 yards and 32.8 points per game. The Chiefs came in under half that scoring average and had just one first down and six total yards in the first half.

    It was deja vu all over again—a near carbon copy of last year's divisional-round loss to Pittsburgh. Just as in that game, the Chiefs couldn't get their offense going until it was too late. Just as in that game, they had no answer for Pittsburgh's Le'Veon Bell, who again gained well over 150 yards on the ground.

    This game was a chance to send a message—a chance for the Chiefs to establish themselves as the clear top team in the AFC.

    They didn't come close to accomplishing that goal.

    Week 6 Grade: C-

    Season Grade: A-

Los Angeles Chargers

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    Don Feria/Getty Images

    Week 6 Opponent: at Oakland Raiders

    Score: Won 17-16

    After dropping their first four games, the L.A. Chargers were written off by their fans.

    Well, they would have been if they had any fans, anyway.

    But after back-to-back wins over teams that made the postseason in 2016, the Chargers appear to have a new offensive formula.

    That formula’s name is Melvin Gordon.

    For the second straight week, Gordon had a huge outing. The third-year pro gained 83 yards on 25 carries with a touchdown in Sunday’s last-second win over the Oakland Raiders, adding 67 more yards and a second score on nine catches.

    The first month of the 2017 season was filled with crushing losses of all sorts for the Bolts. Three of those four losses were by seven points combined.

    Now, the Chargers are winning those close games. And in doing so in Week 6, they worked their way out of the AFC West cellar.

    Week 6 Grade: B-

    Season Grade: C-

Los Angeles Rams

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    Logan Bowles/Getty Images

    Week 6 Opponent: at Jacksonville Jaguars

    Score: Won 27-17

    The mark of a good team in the NFL is one that can eke out a win on the road despite a less than stellar effort. Grinding out a victory without playing your best.

    That's what the Rams did in Jacksonville on Sunday.

    On a day where quarterback Jared Goff threw for just 124 yards against the NFL's stingiest pass defense, the Rams found a way to put 27 points on the board. Todd Gurley was the catalyst, tallying 120 total yards on 24 touches—an even five yards per tote.

    The defense came up big, sacking Blake Bortles five times and getting key stops when it needed them. The Rams even got a sizable contribution from their special teams, with Pharoh Cooper taking the opening kickoff back 103 yards for a score.

    After coming up just short at home against the Seattle Seahawks last week, this was a gut-check game—a chance for the Rams to either rebound or fall back into bad habits and losing streaks.

    Los Angeles chose the former route, bouncing back and moving to 4-2 on the season. In six games in 2017, the Rams have now equaled their win total from 2016.  

    Week 6 Grade: B

    Season Grade: B

Miami Dolphins

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    David Goldman/Associated Press

    Week 6 Opponent: at Atlanta Falcons

    Score: Won 20-17

    The Miami Dolphins came into Week 6 the most unimpressive 2-2 team in recent memory. They ranked at or near the bottom of the NFL in just about every offensive category, including total offense and scoring (32nd in each).

    So of course, those same Dolphins went into Atlanta, spotted the defending NFC champions 17 points and then roared back for a stunning 20-17 win.

    Because football.

    Mind you, the Miami offense continues to be an area of concern. Tailback Jay Ajayi had his best game of the season with 130 yards on the ground, but Jay Cutler barely cracked 150 passing yards and averaged just 4.6 yards per attempt.

    However, they won.

    When the Falcons jumped out to a 17-0 lead, it looked like this one was over. They were moving the ball with ease, while the Dolphins couldn't get it going. But rather than pack it in, Miami circled the wagons. It stiffened defensively, chipped away on offense and gutted out an impressive victory over a good team.

    The Dolphins still aren't piling up the style points. But 3-2 is 3-2. How you get there is secondary to, well, getting there.

    Week 6 Grade: B

    Season Grade: C

Minnesota Vikings

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    Bruce Kluckhohn/Associated Press

    Week 6 Opponent: vs. Green Bay Packers

    Score: Won 23-10

    The Minnesota Vikings are on their second-string quarterback (Case Keenum) and second-string tailback (Jerick McKinnon).

    They are also, given everything that happened in Week 6, the favorites to win the NFC North.

    The 4-2 Vikings haven't exactly been lighting it up, though. At 20.3 points per game, they are a middling offense. Their best showing on that side of the ball was back in Week 1 with Sam Bradford under center, when they scored 29 points in a win over New Orleans.

    However, while the Vikings may not be great offensively, they've been good—or at least good enough. They've been efficient, if unspectacular, and most importantly Minnesota is near the bottom of the NFL in giveaways.

    In short, the offense hasn't put the defense in bad spots. And the defense has responded. It ranks inside the top 10 in total defense, run defense and scoring defense and inside the top half of the league in sacks with 16.

    The unit was on display in Week 6 against the Packers. McKinnon had 99 total yards and two scores, but other than that nothing the Vikings did blew any doors off. But they did win a big divisional game by 13 points, though.

    The Chicago Bears aren't good. The Detroit Lions have a better offense but keep digging early holes every week. The Green Bay Packers are finished if Aaron Rodgers is out for the year after breaking his collarbone Sunday.

    That leaves the Vikings—your 2017 NFC North champions.

    Yeah, I said it.

    Week 6 Grade: B

    Season Grade: B-

New England Patriots

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    Seth Wenig/Associated Press

    Week 6 Opponent: at New York Jets

    Score: Won 24-17

    When the New York Jets jumped out to a 14-0 lead on the New England Patriots, I considered scrapping this week's grades altogether.

    Seems like a silly way to spend an afternoon with the Apocalypse's arrival and all.

    New England restored a measure of order to the universe by outscoring the Jets 24-3 the rest of the way, though. And six weeks in, the 4-2 Patriots are where they always are: in first place in the AFC East.

    However, I doubt head coach Bill Belichick will take the team out for ice cream sundaes after it escaped MetLife Stadium with a win.

    Because the same problem that has dogged the Patriots all season cropped up in Week 6.

    New England's pass defense is awful.

    Over the first five weeks of 2017, the Jets ranked 25th in passing offense at fewer than 190 yards per game. Against the Pats, Josh McCown threw for 354 yards and two scores.

    The Patriots have been able to overcome that leaky secondary the past two weeks, but if this keeps up they will be in real trouble against the NFL's better teams.

    Week 6 Grade: C+

    Season Grade: C+   

New Orleans Saints

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    Bill Feig/Associated Press

    Week 6 Opponent: Detroit Lions

    Score: Won 52-38

    If I told you Matthew Stafford would pass for 312 yards while Drew Brees would be held to 186 and then told you the final score of Sunday's game between the Lions and Saints would be 52-38, odds are good you'd tab the Lions as the team that cracked 50.

    You would be incorrect.

    That the Saints piled up all those points without a huge day from Brees bodes well for them.

    Tailback Mark Ingram showed why New Orleans sent Adrian Peterson packing, as he piled up 114 yards and two scores on 25 carries.

    The Saints defense was even more impressive. Yes, the unit gave up a lot of yardage (347), and the Lions scored 38 points. But New Orleans also feasted on a big-play buffet that featured five takeaways, five sacks and three defensive touchdowns.

    After a pair of losses to open the season, the Saints have reeled off three straight wins—a stretch over which they have outscored their opponents 106-51.

    And with losses from the rest of the NFC South in Week 6, the Saints are in the thick of the division hunt.

    Week 6 Grade: B

    Season Grade: B

New York Giants

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    Jack Dempsey/Associated Press

    Week 6 Opponent: at Denver Broncos

    Score: Won 23-10

    Let's be clear about this right off the top—nothing that happened Sunday in Denver changes the fact that the New York Giants are finished where the playoffs are concerned. After an 0-5 start, the best New York can hope for is to spread the misery by playing spoiler.

    With that said, the Giants get an A for going into Denver and spanking a one-loss Denver team coming off its bye.

    They get an A because head coach Ben McAdoo had the common sense to relinquish play-calling duties.

    Better late than never.

    They get an A for piling up 148 rushing yards against a Denver defense that entered Week 6 first in the NFL against the run.

    They get an A for shuffling their offensive line—a shuffle that opened holes on the ground and gave Eli Manning time to complete just enough passes.

    And they get an A for a dominant defensive performance that included four sacks and a pick-six.

    One win won't erase all that's happened to the G-Men, whether it's the five losses or the injury-ravaged receiving corps.

    But for one night at least—the Giants looked good.

    Week 6 Grade: A

    Season Grade: D-

New York Jets

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    Seth Wenig/Associated Press

    Week 6 Opponent: vs. New England Patriots

    Score: Lost 24-17

    The New York Jets should be glad the New England Patriots came back to win.

    Let's be brutally honest: The Jets aren't a good team. They aren't nearly as bad as many thought they would be, and there have been bright spots—whether it's been veteran quarterback Josh McCown, tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins (who caught eight passes Sunday) or inside linebacker Demario Davis.

    But the Jets aren't a playoff team. Frankly, all a win does is cost Gang Green slots in next April's draft.

    Fans of the team don't want to hear that, of course. They are seething after the Jets wasted a 14-0 lead. Raging at the officials for taking a Seferian-Jenkins touchdown off the board on a dubious call that ruled he didn't have full control of the ball until he was out of bounds.

    By dubious, I mean it was terrible.

    The Jets may have lost the battle, but in some respects they're winning the war. Head coach Todd Bowles has one of the league's more talent-deficient teams playing hard and giving its long-suffering fans a glimmer of hope.

    New York shouldn't mess it up by going 7-9 and picking 14th next year.

    Week 6 Grade: C

    Season Grade: C+

Oakland Raiders

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    Don Feria/Getty Images

    Week 6 Opponent: vs. Los Angeles Chargers

    Score: Lost 17-16

    The Green Bay Packers aren't the only team hitting the panic button after a Week 6 loss.

    The Oakland Raiders probably hit theirs so hard it broke.

    After falling prey to a last-second field goal at home against the Los Angeles Chargers, the Raiders have dropped four in a row. A team picked by many to win the AFC West now sits in last place.

    The Raiders got quarterback Derek Carr back for this game, but he was out of sync after returning from a back injury. He passed for just 171 yards and tossed two interceptions. Oakland's ground game remains stuck in neutral, as although Marshawn Lynch averaged 4.8 yards a carry he handled the ball just 13 times. Star wide receiver Amari Cooper had another down game with just 28 receiving yards.

    It isn't just the offense, either. Oakland's defense surrendered 150 total yards to Chargers tailback Melvin Gordon, got to quarterback Philip Rivers only once and still hasn't intercepted a pass this season.

    Not one.

    Now on a short turnaround, the Raiders have to prepare for a Thursday showdown with a Kansas City Chiefs team (5-1) that's smarting after its first loss of 2017.

    And if the Raiders fall in that one, their season could be all but over by the halfway point.

    Week 6 Grade: D

    Season Grade: C-

Philadelphia Eagles

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    Bob Leverone/Associated Press

    Week 6 Opponent: at Carolina Panthers

    Score: Won 28-23

    If there was any question about it before, it's been settled now.

    The Philadelphia Eagles are for real. Not only do the 5-1 Eagles look like the class of the NFC East, but they are legitimate contenders to do a lot more than just make the playoffs.

    On offense, second-year quarterback Carson Wentz is playing like the best quarterback in the NFC. He's leading a balanced attack that ranked sixth in the league in scoring entering this weekend, and through five games no quarterback in the NFL had been more effective on third down, as illustrated in this Next Gen Stats video.

    How you feeling about that trade now, Philly?

    On defense, the Eagles sport one of the best front sevens in all of the NFL. Philadelphia came into Week 6 with the NFL's second-ranked run defense, and despite the loss of starting middle linebacker Jordan Hicks Thursday night, the Eagles shut down Carolina on the ground.

    As in fewer than 10 yards combined from everyone not named Cam Newton.

    There's a lot of season left. But to this point the Eagles are the most impressively surprising team of 2017.

    Week 6 Grade: A-

    Season Grade: A-

Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    Week 6 Opponent: at Kansas City Chiefs

    Score: Won 19-13

    The Pittsburgh Steelers are Week 6's object lesson in how quickly things can change in the NFL.

    One week ago, the Steelers were blasted 30-9. At home. By the Jacksonville Jaguars. Sunday, it was the Steelers who were blasting, as they handled the NFL's last unbeaten team at Arrowhead Stadium.

    Last week, Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger attempted 55 passes and had two picks returned for scores. Sunday, he attempted just 25 and nearly had a triple-digit passer rating (97.4).

    Those 25 pass attempts were seven fewer than the runs made by Le'Veon Bell, who rolled over the Chiefs for 179 yards.

    Pittsburgh's defense was stifling as well. Chiefs QB Alex Smith threw for 246 yards, but almost all of that came during catch-up mode. Kareem Hunt had easily his worst game as a pro, as he picked up just 21 yards on nine carries. And superstar tight end Travis Kelce was a non-factor with four catches for 37 yards.

    Against the Jaguars, the Steelers looked like a team on the cusp of falling apart. Sunday, they looked like a squad capable of winning the Super Bowl.

    It'll be interesting to see which Pittsburgh team shows up against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 7.

    Week 6 Grade: A

    Season Grade: B-

San Francisco 49ers

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    Pablo Martinez Monsivais/Associated Press

    Week 6 Opponent: at Washington Redskins

    Score: Lost 26-24

    The 2017 San Francisco 49ers are like a bizarre performance art piece titled "Snatching Defeat from the Jaws of Victory."

    Since losing 23-3 in Week 1, the Niners have lost by three points at Seattle, two against the Rams, three at Arizona (in overtime), three at Indianapolis (also in overtime) and now two in Washington.

    That's five losses by a combined 13 points.

    Ouch and double-ouch.

    The 49ers are pulling out all the stops in an effort to either break out of this funk or at least give the appearance they are. After Brian Hoyer stunk up the joint early, Kyle Shanahan turned to rookie C.J. Beathard under center.

    All things being equal, Beathard played OK, passing for 245 yards and keeping San Fran in the game. But just as with every game this season, when the final gun sounded the 49ers were on the wrong end of the final score.

    They have at least been competitive this year (unlike some teams—looking at you, Cleveland), and the defense has improved relative to 2016.

    But 0-6 is 0-6.

    At least they're playing hard without playing too hard. They're focused on the task at hand—securing the No. 1 overall pick in 2018.

    I'm kidding. I think.

    Week 6 Grade: D+

    Season Grade: D-

Seattle Seahawks

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    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Week 6 Opponent: Bye Week

    Score: N/A

    We've seen this movie before.

    In it, the Seattle Seahawks enter a season with Super Bowl expectations, only to play a choppy first month of the season that leaves many folks wondering what's "wrong" with the Seahawks.

    If 2017 follows this same script, the Seahawks will peel off a long winning streak (last year from September 25 to November 20, Seattle lost all of once), and when the dust settles the team will clear off a space on the mantle for its fourth NFC West championship in the past five seasons.

    This isn't to say the Seahawks don't have flaws. They've been wildly inconsistent offensively this season, mostly because the line play hasn't been.

    It's been consistently lousy.

    But in traveling to Los Angeles last week and putting the clamps on the Rams, the Seahawks showed they once again have one of the stingiest defenses in football—a defense capable of masking the team's offensive woes.

    They also served notice that they remain the team to beat in their division.

    Week 5 Grade: N/A

    Season Grade: B

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    Week 6 Opponent: at Arizona Cardinals

    Score: Lost 38-33

    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers entered the 2017 season with more than a little playoff buzz after a solid offseason and appearance on HBO's Hard Knocks.

    The Buccaneers will limp out of the Valley of the Sun a 2-3 team with an injured quarterback and more than a few substantial problems.

    Jameis Winston's banged-up right shoulder, a setback he suffered Sunday, isn't even close to being the biggest one. Veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick played well in Winston's stead, as he flirted with 300 passing yards and posted a passer rating of 102.3.

    But as it has more often than not, the Tampa defense disappointed again in Week 6. Against a Cardinals team allowing the most sacks in the NFL through five weeks, the Bucs managed just two. An Arizona team that was dead last in the NFL in rushing piled up 160 yards on the ground.

    That's about three times what the Cardinals were averaging.

    The Buccaneers have had some impactful injuries on the defensive side of the ball. And the Week 1 bye courtesy of Hurricane Irma may have thrown the team off its routine to open the season.

    But just over a month later, Tampa can't shake that funk. And if it doesn't do so quickly, its spot in the NFC South basement will become more than temporary.

    Week 6 Grade: D+

    Season Grade: C-

Tenneseee Titans

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    Joel Auerbach/Associated Press

    Week 6 Opponent: vs. Indianapolis Colts

    Score: Won 36-22

    The first five weeks of the 2017 season were disappointing for the Tennessee Titans. They began the season as a trendy playoff pick but limped into a Monday night showdown with a Colts team they hadn’t beaten in 11 tries at 2-3 and with a banged-up quarterback.

    They exorcised at least one of those demons in downing Indy by two touchdowns.

    It wasn’t an especially impressive victory. Marcus Mariota looked rusty after missing last week, managing just 108 passing yards in the first half. A Colts offense that has struggled in 2017 moved up and down the field essentially at will over the first 30 minutes.

    Luckily for the Titans, NFL games have two halves.

    Whatever head coach Mike Mularkey said at halftime worked. Mariota, while clearly limited in his ability to move around, threw for almost 200 yards in the second half and tossed a long touchdown. The defense played much better as well, holding the Colts offense to just a long field goal after the half.

    The win doesn’t fix all that ails the Titans, but they found a way to get a home win they desperately needed.

    And tied for first place is tied for first place.

    Week 6 Grade: B-

    Season Grade: C

Washington Redskins

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    Alex Brandon/Associated Press

    Week 6 Opponent: San Francisco 49ers

    Score: Won 26-24

    I'm not sure how to feel about the Washington Redskins after they escaped with a two-point win over the San Francisco 49ers.

    On one hand, there were positives—not the least of which is a victory that moves Washington into second place in the NFC East behind the Philadelphia Eagles.

    Quarterback Kirk Cousins threw for 330 yards and accounted for three touchdowns (two passing, one rushing). Scatback Chris Thompson continued to be one of the best offensive weapons in the NFL most people have never heard of, racking up 138 total yards.

    But it's vaguely unsettling that this game was this close. If the Redskins truly fashion themselves contenders, they should be able to roll past a winless 49ers team at home.

    Partly that was because injuries have hit the secondary hard. But that secondary isn't going to be 100 percent when they travel to Philly next week to try to avenge a Week 1 loss in what's become a very big matchup.

    If they play in that game the way they did Sunday, there isn't going to be any escaping.

    Week 6 Grade: C+

    Season Grade: C+