NFL Power Rankings Week 6: Initial Standings Post-Thursday Night Football

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistOctober 12, 2018

El quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) celebra un touchdown con el liniero ofensivo Cam Erving (75) y el receptor Sammy Watkins (14) durante la primera mitad de un juego de la NFL contra los Jaguars de Jacksonville en Kansas City, Missouri, el domingo 7 de octubre de 2018. (AP Foto/Charlie Riedel)
Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

An NFC East battle between the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants on Thursday Night Football seemed like the perfect primetime NFL showdown. 

It was going to end one of two ways. One, the Eagles got back on track with an important win. Two, the one-win Giants played the spoiler, keeping the overall NFC outlook in chaos. 

In reality, the Giants played about as well as could be expected for a franchise in need of an overhaul, resulting in a 34-13 Eagles win while Carson Wentz cruised with three touchdown passes. 

Here's a look at the power-ranking aftermath. 


2018 NFL Power Rankings 

1Kansas City Chiefs
2Los Angeles Rams
3Cincinnati Bengals
4New England Patriots
5New Orleans Saints
6Carolina Panthers
7Jacksonville Jaguars
8Washington Redskins
9Minnesota Vikings
10Philadelphia Eagles
11Miami Dolphins
12Chicago Bears
13Tampa Bay Buccaneers
14Green Bay Packers
15Tennessee Titans
16Los Angeles Chargers
17Baltimore Ravens
18Denver Broncos
19Seattle Seahawks
20Houston Texans
21Dallas Cowboys
22Pittsburgh Steelers
23Detroit Lions
24Atlanta Falcons
25Cleveland Browns
26Oakland Raiders
27Arizona Cardinals
28Indianapolis Colts
29San Francisco 49ers
30New York Giants
31New York Jets
32Buffalo Bills
author's opinion


Kansas City Chiefs 

Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

Week 6 will fully determine if the Kansas City Chiefs are for real. 

Or, rather, it will determine if the pace is sustainable. 

Everything looks great so far. The Chiefs are undefeated, having run through tough competition like Pittsburgh, Denver and Jacksonville. Along the way, Patrick Mahomes has morphed into the league's breakout star, throwing 14 touchdowns with just two interceptions. 

The hype is getting to be too much, really:

As is always the case, the breakout player will eventually see the rest of the NFL adapt and counter. 

And if there is one coach who seems likeliest to counter the next big thing, it's Bill Belichick

The Chiefs visit the New England Patriots on the Week 6 edition of Sunday Night Football, so the chess match between Mahomes and Andy Reid against Belichick could make for one of the better games of the season. 

Not only is it a chess match and possible playoff preview, but the encounter will also conclude with what could be the biggest swing in power rankings of the year. 


Washington Redskins 

Butch Dill/Associated Press

The Washington Redskins might be the most erratic team in football. 

Washington started the season with a 24-6 win over Arizona, which at the time seemed like a strong ushering in of the Alex Smith era and a win-now attitude. 

They went out the next week in a home opener and lost to Indianapolis, 21-9. 

Since then, the Redskins have somehow beaten Green Bay, 31-17, and been smoked in a Monday night game in New Orleans, 43-19. There, Smith was...not great: 

Through four games, Smith has four touchdowns and two interceptions, and his ground game isn't averaging four yards per carry. The defense has been just as erratic, tallying only nine sacks and coughing up 43 points despite boasting names like Josh Norman in the secondary. 

At some point, the Redskins will show consistency at one end of the spectrum or the other. They remain technically in control of the NFC East for now, but tough matchups against Carolina and Dallas in the coming weeks should tell fans all they need to know about Washington's season-long outlook. 

A coinciding shift in the power rankings will start looking permanent in the process. 


Cleveland Browns 

Rick Osentoski/Associated Press

The Cleveland Browns—yes, those Browns—could be in line for one of the biggest slingshots up the power rankings in the coming weeks. 

Those Browns started the season by playing to a tie with the Pittsburgh Steelers, which could have been chalked up to typical AFC North football and the slow-starting Steelers more than anything. 

What followed was only a three-point loss to the Saints, a win over the New York Jets and two more games decided in overtime by three points, one a loss to Oakland on the road, the other a home win over Baltimore. 

The Browns defense is elite, with advanced metrics like this backing up the overall thought: 

But the Browns haven't been too shabby offensively, either, after making the switch to rookie Baker Mayfield under center. He's not putting up gaudy numbers, but his versatility and willingness to fit the ball in tight spaces has opened things up for the unit. 

While the AFC North might not be in play for the Browns, they feel like a team that could win any week now, which is saying a lot for them given recent history, and more than fans could say about a handful of teams right now. 

If the Browns can perform well against the visiting Los Angeles Chargers in Week 6, playing Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh after seems like a good opportunity for some serious gains in the momentum department. 


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