NFL Power Rankings: B/R's Expert Consensus Rank for Every Team Entering Week 7
And then there was one.
By virtue of New England's last-second win over the Kansas City Chiefs in Sunday night's thriller, there is now just one undefeated team in the National Football League. That honor belongs to the Los Angeles Rams, who squeaked by the Broncos in Denver.
That win by the Patriots may have been the biggest happening of Week 6, but it certainly wasn't the only one. There were last-second heroics in Cincinnati. A Texas-sized beatdown in Dallas. Absolute defensive dominance in Nashville. And action galore from coast to coast—and even overseas.
Now that the dust has (mostly) settled, Bleacher Report NFL analysts Brad Gagnon, Gary Davenport and Brent Sobleski gathered to do what they've done every week this season—rank every team in the league from the bottom to the top.
That team at the top is the Rams (duh), but there's a new No. 32—fresh off a European vacation they would just as soon forget.
32. Oakland Raiders (1-5)
Last Week: 30
Week 6 Result: Lost 27-3 vs. Seattle (London)
Welcome to our weekly edition of "How bad can the Raiders get?"
The answer to that question is still unanswered—because it seems with each passing game, the Silver and Black set a new low-water mark.
Earlier this week, Raiders head coach Jon Gruden indicated he wasn't looking forward to flying across the Atlantic, saying via Ann Killion of the San Francisco Chronicle that long flights give him vertigo.
Either said vertigo was contagious, or the entire Raiders team was hopped up on Dramamine on Sunday—and not the non-drowsy kind, either.
Oakland's "performance" against the Seahawks was embarrassing. totaling less than 200 yards of offense and averaging 3.3 yards a play.
Were it not for an assist from the officials against Cleveland, the Raiders would be sitting at 0-6—all alone in the NFL's cellar.
From the looks of things, the Raiders deserve to be, and the situation behind the scenes may not be much better, as Sobleski discussed:
"The entire Raiders organization is an utter disaster on and off the field. A rift appears to be forming between general manager Reggie McKenzie and head coach Jon Gruden. Wide receiver Amari Cooper and safety Karl Joseph are reportedly on the trade block. Plus, the on-field portion—which is what really counts—is one reversed call away from being 0-6. The Peter principle is alive and well in Oakland."
31. Arizona Cardinals (1-5)
Last Week: 32
Week 6 Result: Lost 27-17 at Minnesota
Too much negativity is bad for the digestive system, so we're going to kick this entry off by finding something positive to say about the Arizona Cardinals.
Um…they covered Sunday against the Vikings?
Of course, the fact that Arizona was a 10.5-point underdog in this game speaks to how the 2018 season has gone in the desert. The Cardinals are not a good football team by any stretch of the imagination, the offense has been offensive and recent reports have the team on the brink of a fire sale.
That miserable offense continues to depress on a weekly basis. Arizona amassed just 269 total yards against the Vikings, and tailback David Johnson barely cleared three yards a carry.
That Johnson was able to once again score and salvage a decent fantasy day is a little consolation to all the people who used an early draft pick on him this year.
But that's about the only consolation the Cardinals are offering up right now.
30. Buffalo Bills (2-4)
Last Week: 28
Week 6 Result: Lost 20-13 at Houston
The Buffalo Bills are not a good football team. This is not news. But the Bills had eked out two wins in five games, and at least fans could take a measure of solace in the lumps along the way being part of the development of rookie quarterback Josh Allen.
Now, the Bills may not even have that.
Per ESPN.com's Mike Rodak. Allen was forced from Sunday's matchup after taking a shot to the elbow from Texans linebacker Whitney Mercilus.
Allen was replaced by Nathan Peterman, who led the Bills on a touchdown drive to take the lead. Unfortunately, Peterman then remembered he is Nathan Peterman, so he did what Nathan Peterman does.
He threw a pair of interceptions—including the game-deciding pick-six.
It's been that kind of year in Buffalo.
At least they don't have to play the Patriots next week.
That comes two weeks from now.
29. Indianapolis Colts (1-5)
Last Week: 29
Week 6 Result: Lost 42-34 at New York Jets
Not a lot has gone right for the Indianapolis Colts this season. But in recent weeks, the play of Andrew Luck had been a bright spot.
Luck did throw four touchdown passes in Sunday's loss to the Jets, but it was otherwise a game to forget. Luck completed 23 of 43 passes for 301 yards and wasn't sacked, but he threw three interceptions.
One was his second pass of the game—that it was taken back for a touchdown rather summed up the game for Indy. The season, for that matter.
The Colts are staying in games. But you can't win in the NFL with four turnovers. And Indianapolis certainly isn't a good enough team to be able to afford that many mistakes.
At this point, the Colts might as well embrace the suck and angle for the highest pick possible.
Because this team is barreling down the road to nowhere at breakneck speed.
28. New York Giants (1-5)
Last Week: 27
Week 6 Result: Lost vs. Philadelphia 34-13
The good news for the New York Giants is that tailback Saquon Barkley looks to have been worth the second overall pick in the 2018 draft—and then some. Thursday night against the Eagles, Barkley gashed one of the NFL's best run defenses for 130 yards on just 10 carries and came one yard from becoming the first back in Giants history to gain 100 yards rushing and receiving in the same game.
The bad news for the Giants is that Barkley is the only good news.
The Giants, for lack of a more eloquent way to put it, stink to high heaven. After going 0-of-7 on third down last week in Carolina, the Giants went 0-of-8 in the first half Thursday. For most of that half, Eli Manning's longest throw was two yards downfield.
Manning looks done. Finished. Washed-up. A hollow shell of the player who was twice named Super Bowl MVP.
So does his team.
"Saquon Barkley was lights-out with 229 yards on 22 touches Thursday night against the Philadelphia Eagles, and yet the Giants still lost to a familiar, banged-up opponent by a three-score margin at home. This team is an utter mess, and running backs just aren't capable of saving teams in this era," Gagnon said.
27. San Francisco 49ers (1-5)
Last Week: 31
Week 6 Result: Lost 33-30 at Green Bay
The San Francisco 49ers are running out of ways to lose games.
Monday night in Green Bay, the 49ers got a performance from C.J. Beathard that included 245 passing yards, two scores and a passer rating of 115.1.
They still lost.
Monday night, the 49ers got 174 rushing yards and almost six yards a carry.
They still lost.
Marquise Goodwin averaged over 30 yards a catch and scored twice. Reuben Foster and Jaquiski Tartt had nine tackles apiece. The Niners had 401 yards of total offense and scored 30 points. They still lost.
Three turnovers and a back-breaking illegal-contact call spoiled what could have been a massive confidence-builder for the 49ers. Rather than a Lambeau upset, the story of the season continued for the injury-ravaged 49ers.
They played another team close. But close doesn't count.
Good teams find ways to win. Bad teams find ways to lose.
That's what the 49ers are.
26. Denver Broncos (2-4)
Last Week: 20
Week 6 Result: Lost 23-20 vs. Los Angeles Rams
The Denver Broncos and Tom Petty have something in common.
Both are free-falling.
The Broncos probably don't find much funny about what happened in Denver on Sunday. For the second time in a month, the Broncos gave an undefeated team all it could handle. For the second time in a month, Denver came up short. And now, the Broncos have dropped four in a row after winning their first two.
It's not hard to find the cause of the last two losses. Last week, the Broncos allowed a staggering 323 yards on the ground in a loss to the Jets. Sunday against the Rams, it was better—the Broncos only gave up 270 rushing yards.
That's just a hair under 300 rushing yards a game allowed the past two weeks, which is a stat you expect to see in the Pac-12—not the AFC West.
25. Houston Texans (3-3)
Last Week: 25
Week 6 Result: Won 20-13 vs. Buffalo
A few weeks ago, the Houston Texans looked a lot closer to garnering the first pick in the 2019 draft than making the postseason. The 0-3 Texans were reeling.
Then came an improbable comeback and overtime win over the Colts, followed by another win in extra time over the Cowboys. Throw in Johnathan Joseph's game-sealing pick-six against the Bills on Sunday, and the same Texans team that was toast is now the toast of the AFC South.
The AFC South—where good football goes to die.
Granted, Houston's winning streak has come against three teams that are a combined 6-12 this season. But those wins count the same as any other, and suddenly the Texans are in a three-way tie for first place.
If the Texans can make it four in a row next week in Jacksonville, we may have to start taking them seriously.
And given how the Jags have looked the past two weeks, it's a real possibility.
24. Cleveland Browns (2-3-1)
Last Week: 17
Week 6 Result: Lost 38-14 vs. Los Angeles Chargers
There's little question that the Cleveland Browns are better in 2018.
However, calling them good may have been a bit premature.
The Los Angeles Chargers gave Cleveland a hard lesson in just how far the team still has to go in Week 6, dominating the game on both sides of the ball. There just wasn't much the Browns can take from this beating as something to build on moving forward.
Frankly, it's somewhat surprising this hadn't already happened. The Browns have been able to hang with some good teams and even upset the Baltimore Ravens last week. But this is still a young team led by a rookie quarterback with holes at several positions.
Yes, the Browns already have more wins in 2018 than in 2017 and 2016 combined, and there's optimism for the future that hasn't been present in Cleveland for a long time.
But Rome, as they say, wasn't built in a day.
23. Tennessee Titans (3-3)
Last Week: 18
Week 6 Result: Lost 21-0 vs. Baltimore
There were players on the field Sunday at Nissan Stadium wearing the Titans uniform. But they played like no one bothered to tell them there was a real-life NFL game scheduled.
The Titans were dominated in a way that you don't often see in today's pass-wacky and offense-heavy NFL. Tennessee barely amassed 100 yards of total offense. The Titans had all of seven first downs and converted one of 10 third-down attempts.
Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota may need therapy after this one. His stats for the game are pretty miserable—10-of-15 passing for 117 yards. However, when you subtract the yards lost from the 11 (seriously) sacks he took, Mariota's passing yardage drops all the way to 51.
Technically, the Titans are ahead of the Houston Texans and Jacksonville jaguars in the AFC South by virtue of head-to-head wins over both teams.
But calling these Titans a first-place team after what we saw Sunday feels awfully weird.
22. New York Jets (3-3)
Last Week: 26
Week 6 Result: Won 42-34 vs. Indianapolis
Don't look now, but the New York Jets have a little something going.
For the second game in a row, the Jets kept the scoreboard operator busy at MetLife Stadium. In Week 5, it was 34 points in an emphatic win over the Denver Broncos. In Week 6, it was an even bigger total in a 42-34 win over the Indianapolis Colts.
The Jets have made a habit of big plays this season, dating all the way back to their blowout win over the Detroit Lions back in Week 1. The team added a couple more to the pile in Week 6—an interception return for a touchdown on Andrew Luck's second pass attempt and a long pass from rookie signal-caller Sam Darnold in the third quarter.
Darnold had the best game of his career against the Colts—just six incompletions on 30 attempts, two touchdowns, 9.3 yards per attempt and a passer rating of 113.9.
These Jets are quietly kind of OK, and Gagnon seems to agree:
"This Jets team is still at least a year away from truly contending, as it's been prone to some extremely high highs, as well as some extremely low lows this season. Still, you get the feeling those lows will become less frequent as Sam Darnold gets more comfortable. For the first time in his short career, Darnold has now strung together back-to-back strong performances. He's well-supported by an opportunistic defense, which could enable the Jets to go toe-to-toe with anyone when they're clicking."
21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3)
Last Week: 16
Week 6 Result: Lost 34-29 at Atlanta
Had you told Tampa Bay head coach Dirk Koetter that in his first start of 2018, quarterback Jameis Winston would throw for 395 yards and four scores, we're guessing he'd have smiled. That smile would only widen when you said the Buccaneers would rack up over 500 yards of total offense against the Atlanta Falcons.
Koetter's not smiling now. Not after an five-point loss in Atlanta—Tampa's third in a row.
The problem wasn't the offense. Or Winston. Although, he did throw a pair of interceptions. The problem Sunday was (and is) a defense that ranks somewhere between puffy cloud and marshmallow on the hardness scale.
Winston and the offense have been put in an untenable position—knowing they have to score on every drive because the defense can't get a stop…especially through the air. That causes the offense to press. Which leads to mistakes.
Those mistakes lead to losses, and the losses are starting to pile up.
20. Atlanta Falcons (2-4)
Last Week: 22
Week 6 Result: Won 34-29 vs. Tampa Bay
The Atlanta Falcons entered Week 6 in full-on desperation mode—a reeling 1-4 team that can score with the best of them but has no defense whatsoever.
As it happened, no defense whatsoever was the theme of Sunday's game. The Falcons and Buccaneers combined for 63 points and a staggering 928 yards of total offense.
But where Tampa's Jameis Winston threw a pair of interceptions, Matt Ryan was clean and precise—just 10 incompletions on 41 attempts, 354 passing yards, three scores and a passer rating of 125.5.
Is Atlanta's season saved? Hardly. The Falcons remain in last place, and their injury-ravaged defense was gashed for over 500 yards by the Bucs.
But for one more week at least, there's hope that Atlanta's season hasn't spiraled completely out of control. That a turnaround is possible.
And with a Monday night meeting with the woeful Giants next on the agenda, getting another step closer to .500 isn't at all out of the question.
19. Seattle Seahawks (3-3)
Last Week: 21
Week 6 Result: Won 27-3 vs. Oakland (London)
After what happened in Week 6, the Seattle Seahawks may want to petition the NFL to stay across the pond for a while.
One week after a crushing two-point home loss to the Rams, the Seahawks took out their frustrations over that game on a hapless Oakland Raiders squad.
To say this game was lopsided is an understatement. The Seahawks outgained the Raiders by almost 200 total yards, forced two turnovers and toughed out 155 yards on the ground.
It's that running game that has become Seattle's identity over the past few weeks. Seattle had 37 rushing attempts against just 23 passes in the win. The Seahawks have morphed into a ground-and-pound offense—a throwback squad winning the old-fashioned way.
Per Gagnon, Seattle's doing more than just running the ball:
"Despite so many lost stars on defense, Seattle has looked good defensively of late. The Seahawks have quietly surrendered 17 or fewer points in three of their last four games and can be excused for giving up 33 to the high-flying Los Angeles Rams. They won all three of those games and nearly beat the Rams as well. Let's not forget they have Bobby Wagner and Frank Clark, and don't look now, but Jarran Reed appears to be emerging, too. Most importantly, Russell Wilson is rolling. And when that's the case, the sky's the limit for even this post-Legion of Boom Seahawks team."
18. Miami Dolphins (4-2)
Last Week: 22
Week 6 Result: Won 31-28 vs. Chicago (OT)
The Miami Dolphins know you don't respect them. That no one believes in them.
Apparently, they also don't care.
The number of people who thought the Dolphins had a real shot at knocking off the Chicago Bears on Sunday numbered approximately zero. This was a Dolphins team licking its wounds after a fourth-quarter collapse in Cincinnati last week and starting Brock Osweiler at quarterback against one of the NFL's best defenses.
So of course, Osweiler threw for 380 yards and three scores, Frank Gore topped 100 yards on the ground and the Dolphins won one of the zaniest games of the season in overtime.
It was a result that left Davenport flummoxed:
"Four wins in six games or not, I still don't think this team is all that good. This was more about the Bears falling apart than Miami being a legit playoff contender. That Miami did this with Brock Osweiler and Frank 'AARP' Gore is just proof that the only certainty in the NFL is there are no certainties."
Sobleski, on the other hand, had jokes:
"For those about to Brock, Miami salutes you. Week 6's most stunning finish came in overtime when the Brock Osweiler-led Dolphins upset the Chicago Bears. Amazingly, Osweiler threw for 380 yards and running back Frank Gore gained 101 yards on the ground against an impressive defense. Adam Gase's squad continues to perform above expectations."
17. Detroit Lions (2-3)
Last Week: 19
Week 6 Result: Bye Week
Not that long ago, the Detroit Lions looked finished. Through. Kaput. After falling to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 4, the Lions fell to 1-3. A decisive Sunday night win over the New England Patriots the week before had the look of a fluke.
But then, the Lions raced to a 24-0 lead last week against the Green Bay Packers and held on to win 31-23. With two wins over playoff contenders in three weeks, the Lions got back to within a game of .500 and kept their season from going off the rails.
The Lions aren't a team without problems, chief among them consistency of effort. But Detroit has no shortage of skill-position talent on offense, a franchise quarterback in Matthew Stafford and a defense that's improving as the team acclimates to Matt Patricia's scheme.
Detroit's next two games (at Miami, vs. Seattle) appear winnable, and no one's running away with the NFC North as of yet.
It's possible this team could insert itself into the thick of the division race heading into a big two-week road trip to Minnesota and Chicago.
16. Dallas Cowboys (3-3)
Last Week: 24
Week 6 Result: Won 40-7 vs. Jacksonville
Where in the h-e-double-egg-noodles has this Cowboys team been hiding over the first five weeks of the 2018 season?
The Cowboys didn't just beat the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 6—they pounded them into a pile of goo so unrecognizable that dental records were required for identification.
This was a game in which the Cowboys offense—which had been struggling mightily—torched a suddenly vulnerable Jacksonville defense for 378 total yards. You name the player for the Cowboys; they had a good game. Ezekiel Elliott topped 100 yards on the ground. Dak Prescott had one of his best outings of the season. Cole Beasley lit up the NFL's best secondary for 101 yards and two scores on nine catches.
The defense played just as well. Blake Bortles passed for all of 149 yards. The Jaguars were held to just 65 yards on the ground and 3.6 yards per carry.
It was dominance that was as thorough as it was surprising.
The question now is whether Dallas can do it again.
15. Green Bay Packers (3-2-1)
Last Week: 14
Week 6 Result: Won 33-30 vs. San Francisco
The Green Bay Packers badly needed a win over the hapless 49ers on Monday night. The team has a Week 7 bye, followed by a murderous two-game road-trip.
At Los Angeles Rams. At New England Patriots.
That's just messed up.
The Packers got that win they badly needed. But the way the team got it is going to leave more than a few Packers backers nervous.
This was supposed to be an easy win—not a last-second thriller that required 10 unanswered points over the last 1:55 of the game.
To be blunt, Green Bay's defense is awful. The Packers allowed over 400 yards of total offense to the 49ers, including a mind-boggling 174 yards on the ground.
Per Davenport, this team is in real trouble:
"Any team led by Aaron Rodgers is dangerous. And the bye will allow the Packers a chance to get a banged-up receiving corps healthy. But if the Pack roll into L.A. and then Foxborough playing defense like they did against San Francisco, they're going to get demolished."
14. Carolina Panthers (3-2)
Last Week: 7
Week 6 Result: Lost 23-17 at Washington
One of the great truths of the NFL is that turnovers are the kiss of death. Lose the turnover battle, and odds are you're going to lose the game.
The Panthers got a refresher in that lesson Sunday in Washington. Despite outgaining the Redskins by a fair margin and holding Washington under 300 yards of total offense, the Panthers found themselves in an early hole the team wasn't able to dig out of.
The reason? Giveaways. Three of them, compared to no turnovers by the Redskins.
Davenport was frustrated by Carolina's performance:
"Games like this are why I get nervous every time I slot the Panthers inside the top 10. The passing game was stagnant, the Panthers turned it over three times and went just 3-of-9 on third down. After watching that game, it's pretty clear to me that the New Orleans Saints are the best team in the NFC South—and it isn't as close as we may have thought."
13. Washington Redskins (3-2)
Last Week: 15
Week 6 Result: Won 23-17 vs. Carolina
If we told you, fresh off a beatdown in New Orleans, that the Washington Redskins would host the Carolina Panthers without tailback Chris Thompson and wideout Jamison Crowder and fail to reach 300 yards of total offense in a game in which Alex Smith passed for all of 163 yards, your first question would likely be along the lines of, "Did they lose by 20?"
All of that happened in Week 6—except the part where the Redskins lose. Instead, Washington jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead and held off a sloppy Panthers team to move to 3-2 and become the only team in the NFC East with a winning record.
These Redskins are hard to figure out. They've beaten a pair of good teams in the Packers and Panthers and dominated the Cardinals. But they also got flattened by the Saints and gave the Colts their only win of the season.
For now, we'll go with a skeptical respect of Washington (or skeptispect, if you will) ahead of next week's NFC East showdown with the suddenly surging Cowboys.
12. Cincinnati Bengals (4-2)
Last Week: 9
Week 6 Result: Lost 28-21 vs. Pittsburgh
Sunday's home meeting with the Steelers represented a huge opportunity for the Cincinnati Bengals. A chance to exorcise some demons and establish themselves as the clear front-runners in the AFC North.
Instead, the same thing happened that always happens when the Bengals and Steelers meet—heartbreak for the fellas in the orange hats with stripes.
For the ninth time in their last 10 meetings and sixth straight time, the Steelers emerged victorious when Ben Roethlisberger found Antonio Brown for the game-winning touchdown with 10 seconds left on the clock.
It was a devastating defeat after Andy Dalton drove the Bengals the length of the field to take the lead with just over a minute left.
At 4-2, the Bengals are still in first place. But with a trip to Kansas City looming next week and the Saints coming to town a few weeks from now, their days atop the division may be numbered.
11. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-3)
Last Week: 5
Week 6 Result: Lost 40-7 at Dallas
That crashing sound you hear is the Jacksonville Jaguars plummeting down these rankings.
A couple of weeks ago, the Jaguars were considered by some the best team in the AFC—a team that thumped the New England Patriots a few weeks back.
However, over the last couple of weeks, the Jags have gone from thumper to thumpee. Last week, it was a 30-14 waxing on the road at Kansas City.
Sunday, it was much, much worse.
That the Jaguars were blasted 40-7 by any team is cause for concern. That it happened at the hands of a flawed Cowboys team that entered the week near the bottom of the NFL in many offensive categories?
We knew that the Jaguars offense could be prone to inconsistency. We did not know that Jacksonville's defense was suddenly going to fall apart.
Not that long ago, it looked like the Jags were going to cruise to the AFC South title.
It doesn't anymore. Cruise became crash in a hurry, as Gagnon will attest to:
"The Jags have problems. Big problems. That defense has struggled the last couple of weeks. And while that unit has too much talent to stay down, I'm not sure any defense can be consistently dominant enough to compensate for the fact Blake Bortles is one of the worst starting quarterbacks in professional football."
10. Baltimore Ravens (4-2)
Last Week: 13
Week 6 Result: Won 21-0 at Tennessee
Last week, the Baltimore Ravens traveled to Cleveland and laid an egg against the Browns.
This week, the Ravens traveled to Nashville and laid a piano upside the Titans' heads.
The Ravens put forth a defensive effort Sunday that the 1985 Bears would be proud of. One hundred and six total yards allowed. Fifty-one passing yards allowed. Seven first downs allowed. Eleven sacks. A shutout in every sense of the word.
Ray Lewis needed oxygen watching this one from home.
The Baltimore offense isn't winning any shootouts—although it did post a respectable 361 yards of offense in Week 6.
The thing is, it doesn't have to. Not with a defense that has given up 14 points or less five times in six games.
That defense is in for a test next week, though.
Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints will pay a visit to Charm City—with an extra week to get ready, no less.
9. Philadelphia Eagles (3-3)
Last Week: 11
Week 6 Result: Won 34-13 at New York Giants
From all indications, this is not going to be a banner year for the NFC East. Entering Week 6 no team in the division was above .500.
But the Philadelphia Eagles appear to have established themselves as the team to beat in the East after pummeling the Giants in New York on Thursday night.
The story of the smackdown was quarterback Carson Wentz. The third-year pro has improved steadily since rejoining the Eagles in Week 3, culminating in 278 passing yards, three scores and a season-best passer rating of 122.2.
The Eagles aren't perfect—the running game and pass defense remain areas of concern. This year's squad, at the moment at least, probably isn't as good as the Eagles team that won Super Bowl LII.
But while the Redskins are all over the place, the Cowboys are a mess on offense and the G-Men are just a mess, the Eagles are getting better by the week.
8. Chicago Bears (3-2)
Last Week: 6
Week 6 Result: Lost 31-28 at Miami (OT)
Yes, you read that right.
Fresh off their bye week, with some pundits proclaiming the Bears the best team in the NFC North and a potential Super Bowl contender, Chicago proceeded to go to Miami and lose to a Dolphins team that had just fallen apart against the Bengals and gotten absolutely waxed by the New England Patriots.
That "Super Bowl" defense allowed a jaw-dropping 541 yards of total offense to a Dolphins team starting Brock Osweiler at quarterback. That "Super Bowl" defense allowed over 100 rushing yards to Frank Gore, who is approximately 62 years old.
It's not entirely on the defense. The Bears committed three turnovers and missed a game-winning kick in overtime.
Offense. Defense. Special Teams. If you happen to know the Heimlich maneuver, the Bears can use your help.
Because no team in the NFL choked harder in Week 6.
And we're left wondering if maybe we weren't just a little rash in ranking these Bears as highly as we did.
7. Los Angeles Chargers (4-2)
Last Week: 12
Week 6 Result: Won 38-14 at Cleveland
The Los Angeles Chargers have long been known as a team that excels at falling flat. The kings of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
There was a measure of concern that could happen in Week 6. The Chargers were traveling east to face a game Cleveland Browns team in a 1 p.m. game. Two years ago, the Bolts gave the Browns their lone win of the 2016 season in a similar situation.
There would be no repeat.
The Chargers dropped a hammer on the Browns, racing out to an early lead and never looking back. It was an effort that left Davenport looking at the Chargers as a legit contender in the AFC:
"The Chargers did what they were supposed to do again Sunday. Beat a team handily they were supposed to beat. L.A.'s only two losses are to the Chiefs and Rams, and Philip Rivers and the Chargers were in both of those games. This is maybe the best team in the NFL that no one is talking about. They could be dangerous."
"It's time to consider the Chargers a legitimate Super Bowl contender and Philip Rivers a serious MVP candidate. Yeah, everyone has heard this story before, but Los Angeles has playmakers everywhere and the quarterback has never played better. This 4-2 team is only going to improve once its best defensive player, Joey Bosa, is healthy and in the lineup."
6. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2-1)
Last Week: 10
Week 6 Result: Won 28-21 at Cincinnati
The Pittsburgh Steelers appear to be figuring it out.
By virtue of Sunday's last-second road win in Cincinnati, the Steelers have now peeled off three wins in four games to climb within half a game of first place in the AFC North. The Steelers offense was lethal against the Bengals, piling up 481 total yards.
Pittsburgh's defense still has issues on the back end, but the team has discovered something of a fix of late—controlling tempo and time of possession with the ground game.
A ground game that's hopeful it will be getting tailback Le'Veon Bell back during the bye week. Of course, given that James Conner just peeled off his third 100-yard rushing game and now has seven scores on the ground, said ground game has been doing just fine of late Bell or no Bell.
The Steelers aren't quite there yet—that pass defense and a staggering number of penalties chief among their concerns. And there's no guarantee Bell will follow through on coming back.
But among the four teams in the North, Pittsburgh is the one most trending in the right direction of late.
5. Minnesota Vikings (3-2-1)
Last Week: 8
Week 6 Result: Won 27-17 vs. Arizona
The Minnesota Vikings managed to avoid a repeat of the Buffalo debacle of a few weeks ago. The team did what it needed to do and got a 10-point win against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 6.
But beating arguably the worst team in the league by 10 points at home doesn't inspire a ton of confidence.
It was an uneven showing from a group that was supposed to be among the best in the NFL entering the season. Kirk Cousins passed for just 233 yards and turned it over twice—including a fumble that was returned for a score.
Davenport wasn't especially impressed by what he saw from the Vikings in Week 6:
"I keep waiting for a complete effort from this team, but this 60-minute sleepwalk certainly wasn't it. This is the second time this year that Minny has looked all kinds of blah at home against a lousy team. And it's getting a lot harder for me to imagine this team beating the Rams or Saints."
We'll find out soon enough—in two weeks, New Orleans comes to U.S. Bank Stadium.
4. Kansas City Chiefs (5-1)
Last Week: 2
Week 6 Result: Lost 43-40 at New England
The run is over.
The Kansas City Chiefs are undefeated no longer, falling by three at Gillette Stadium on Sunday night on a last-second Stephen Gostkowski field goal.
The Chiefs actually trailed 24-9 at the half, but a flurry of big plays thrust the Chiefs into the lead for a bit and then tied the game again at 40.
Quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the offense were their usually lethal selves—Kareem Hunt and Tyreek Hill peeled off long touchdown catches. But as Davenport pointed out, the Chiefs' leaky defense finally did them in:
"It was a matter of time until this happened. Kansas City had no answer whatsoever for the New England offense, either through the air or on the ground. Over the first five weeks of the year, the Chiefs could compensate for a lack of defense by running up the score. And against most of their opponents moving forward, they can do the same thing. But unless the Chiefs can figure out some sort of patch—some fix on defense—their season's going to end the same way Week 6 did—in crushing disappointment."
3. New Orleans Saints (4-1)
Last Week: 3
Week 6 Result: Bye Week
Things are looking pretty good for Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints.
The Saints head into the bye week fresh off an impressive Week 5 win over the Washington Redskins in which Brees became the NFL's all-time leader in passing yards. His next scoring strike will put Brees in the 500-touchdown club.
In news that should surprise exactly no one, the Saints have been dominant offensively—third in total offense, fifth in passing and first in the league in scoring at 36 points per game entering Week 6.
But the defense has also picked it up of late. Yes, the Saints allowed 48 points in a stunning Week 1 loss to Tampa and 37 in a win over the Falcons in which zero defense was played by either team. But in allowing just 19 points to the Redskins last week, the Saints played arguably their best game of the season on that side of the ball.
They allowed fewer points to the New York Giants and Cleveland, but the only people afraid of those offenses are those teams' fans.
That's a good thing, because once New Orleans takes the field next week, the team begins a brutal five-week stretch that includes trips to Baltimore, Minnesota and Cincinnati and home dates with the Rams and Eagles.
2. New England Patriots (4-2)
Last Week: 4
Week 6 Result: Won 43-40 vs. Kansas City
We've figured it out. The Patriots stumble in September to troll the media. Give us something to talk about. Or they might just be bored after owning the AFC for the last decade-and-a-half.
Either way, every time people start hand-wringing about the Pats, they wind up with egg on their faces and crow on their plate.
As the Pats demonstrated quite clearly in taking down the AFC's last undefeated team in Week 6, they're just fine—thank you very much. After a 1-2 start, the Pats have reeled off three straight wins, scoring at least 38 points in each.
This offense could be downright scary, as Sobleski pointed out:
"The Patriots proved they're still the team to beat in the AFC after a Sunday night takedown of the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs are loaded on offense yet play little to no defense. New England may not feature the league's best defense. However, it can at least stop someone once or twice. Plus, the Patriots offense is only going to get better as Josh Gordon and Julian Edelman become more comfortable."
The AFC's big bad is still both.
What a game.
1. Los Angeles Rams (6-0)
Last Week: 1
Week 6 Result: Won 23-20 at Denver
Like it was going to be anyone else.
After six weeks, the Los Angeles Rams are the lone remaining undefeated team in the NFL. This marks the ninth time the Rams have won their first six games in a season. Believe it or not, according to the Fox telecast of the game, no franchise has done it more.
Sunday's win in Denver wasn't L.A.'s best effort of the year. In fact, it was the worst—at least from a scoring perspective. For the first time all season long, the Rams failed to hit the 30-point mark. Jared Goff completed just half his passes for 201 yards with a pick.
However, with the passing game sputtering, Todd Gurley roared. The Pro Bowl tailback actually outgained Goff, piling up 208 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries.
Great teams find a way to win when they aren't playing their best. The Rams did that in Week 6—on the road, no less.
There's no question who the NFL's best team is right now.