NFL Power Rankings Week 6: Predicting Post-Monday Night Football Standings

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorOctober 8, 2018

KANSAS CITY, MO - OCTOBER 07:  Quareterback Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs passes during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Arrowhead Stadium on October 7, 2018 in Kansas City, Missouri.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The AFC West may be the NFL's most disparate division with four teams going in different directions.

The 5-0 Kansas City Chiefs look like they are going to stay near or at the top of the league for a decade-plus with quarterback Patrick Mahomes and an incredible offense destroying opposing defenses.

The 3-2 Los Angeles Chargers are floating by sans edge-rusher Joey Bosa (23.0 sacks in 2016 and 2017 combined), who has missed the entire season with a foot injury. They should be a playoff contender into the winter.

The 2-3 Denver Broncos have lost three straight and are reeling after allowing 323 rushing yards to the New York Jets.

The 1-4 Oakland Raiders' offense has been efficient, but the defense can't stop anyone.

We'll take a look into the future and predict how those four teams' seasons will shake out below, in addition to predicting how the power rankings will look after the Washington Redskins and New Orleans Saints square off on Monday night.


NFL Power Rankings

1. Los Angeles Rams (5-0)

2. Kansas City Chiefs (5-0)

3. Cincinnati Bengals (4-1)

4. New Orleans Saints (4-1)

5. Chicago Bears (3-1)

6. Carolina Panthers (3-1)

7. New England Patriots (3-2)

8. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-2)

9. Tennessee Titans (3-2)

10. Miami Dolphins (3-2)

11. Baltimore Ravens (3-2)

12. Los Angeles Chargers (3-2)

13. Washington Redskins (2-2)

14. Green Bay Packers (2-2-1)

15. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-2-1)

16. Cleveland Browns (2-2-1)

17. Minnesota Vikings (2-2-1)

18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-2)

19. Philadelphia Eagles (2-3)

20. Denver Broncos (2-3)

21. Seattle Seahawks (2-3)

22. Detroit Lions (2-3)

23. Houston Texans (2-3)

24. New York Jets (2-3)

25. Buffalo Bills (2-3)

26. Dallas Cowboys (2-3)

27. Atlanta Falcons (1-4)

28. Oakland Raiders (1-4)

29. New York Giants (1-4)

30. Indianapolis Colts (1-4)

31. Arizona Cardinals (1-4)

32. San Francisco 49ers (1-4)


Kansas City Chiefs

If the Kansas City Chiefs defense plays more like it did Sunday when it forced four interceptions and a lost fumble from Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles in a 30-14 win, then this team shouldn't have an issue waltzing to the Super Bowl.

A date with the New England Patriots looms large Sunday, however, as the Pats have overcome a sluggish 1-2 start to win two straight games by a combined score of 76-31.

If the Chiefs knock off New England on the road and then the Cincinnati Bengals at home in consecutive weeks, then they'll have tiebreakers over teams who are in (or currently tied) for the division leads. That would give them a very comfortable edge for the home-field race moving forward.

Even if the Chiefs split those games, they'll be good shape given the offense's invincibility (league-leading 175 points). Expect a top-two AFC seed.


Los Angeles Chargers

The Los Angeles Chargers are 3-2 with their lone losses coming against the two undefeated teams in the league (the Chiefs and Los Angeles Rams). The problem is the slate doesn't get much easier down the road, with a road tilt against Kansas City in addition to travels to the Pittsburgh Steelers and Seattle Seahawks. Games with the Cincinnati Bengals and Tennessee Titans also are on the slate.

The good news is that Bosa shouldn't be out for the whole year. He told assembled reporters that he will be out through the team's bye week, but that isn't too far off (the Chargers have games against the Browns and Titans before their break).

With him back, a Chargers pass defense that has been hit or miss prior to its 26-10 win over Oakland should improve, and that should help the Bolts stay in the playoff hunt well into December at minimum. The guess here is they land one of the league's wild-card spots.


Denver Broncos

The Denver Broncos can't buy a win right now with three straight losses, including that aforementioned loss to the New York Jets.

The Broncos may have been tired Sunday after flying cross country on a short week after losing a Week 4 Monday Night Football game with the Chiefs.

However, the schedule doesn't get any easier, with matchups against the 5-0 Rams and Chiefs within the next three weeks. Denver also has to face three winning teams in succession (the Chargers, Steelers and Bengals) in November and December.

The other problem is quarterback Case Keenum has struggled a bit in his first five games with the team, throwing seven interceptions to just five touchdowns.

The Broncos are in rough shape, and if they fall to 3-5 (at best) with those Rams and Chiefs games up ahead, then it's hard seeing how the team can bounce back in such a packed division. Look for Denver to finish third in the division and out of the playoffs.


Oakland Raiders

It's an easy narrative to spell out, but at this point, it's the one that matters most: The Oakland Raiders simply aren't the same without edge-rusher Khalil Mack, and it's hurt the team to the point where they may have the worst defense in football.

Mack has five sacks in four games for his new team (the Chicago Bears), who acquired him in a trade right before the season. Meanwhile, Oakland has six sacks as a team through five games.

Of course, some Raiders' players are stepping up on that end. Notably, Rashaan Melvin has seven passes defended (plus an interception), while Gareon Conley has six (and a pick).

But Oakland has also allowed 149 points so far, which is the second-worst mark in the league. As good and efficient running back Marshawn Lynch and quarterback Derek Carr have been this season, the team can't overcome defensive struggles on a weekly basis. Look for Oakland to finish last.


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