NFL Power Rankings: B/R's Expert Consensus Rank for Every Team Entering Week 7

NFL StaffContributor IOctober 20, 2020

NFL Power Rankings: B/R's Expert Consensus Rank for Every Team Entering Week 7

0 of 32

    Don Wright/Associated Press

    Big-time matchups in Week 6 had major implications for the NFL's pecking order.

    The Pittsburgh Steelers showed the Cleveland Browns that they aren't yet ready to hang with the AFC's big dogs. Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers handed Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers their first loss of 2020 in emphatic fashion. And the Kansas City Chiefs got back on track in a battle of AFC heavyweights against the Buffalo Bills, who fell to their second consecutive defeat.

    At least some things went as expected. The Tennessee Titans took care of business against the Houston Texans, although they went into overtime before putting away their division rivals. The New York Jets kept on losing, and that decidedly did not go to OT.

    With Week 6 now in the rearview mirror, Bleacher Report NFL analysts Gary Davenport, Brad Gagnon and Brent Sobleski have gathered to sift through the week that was and slot the NFL's teams from worst to first.

    Gang Green has a stranglehold on the No. 32 spot, but we have a new No. 1 this week.

32. New York Jets (0-6)

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    Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

    High: 32

    Low: 32

    Last Week: 32

    Week 6 Result: Lost at Miami 24-0

    The New York Jets are redefining futility with each passing week.

    After getting shut out by the Miami Dolphins in Week 6, the Jets have the dubious distinction of being the NFL's lone winless team. They managed only 263 total yards on offense and went 2-of-17 on third down.

    As if things weren't bad enough, the coaching staff is now sniping at one another. After defensive coordinator Gregg Williams took a veiled shot at New York's putrid offense, head coach Adam Gase expressed his displeasure with the comments.

    "I wasn't happy about it, but we talked about it," Gase told reporters after Sunday's loss. "Right now, our players are doing such a good job as far as trying to get things righted. It's just that everything we say, it matters. He understood that we have to set the right example."

    Fortunately, we have a suggestion that will solve at least that problem in New York: Fire Gase. Fire Williams. Fire everyone.

    Because at this point, an 0-16 campaign is very much in play.

31. Washington Football Team (1-5)

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    Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

    High: 31

    Low: 31

    Last Week: 29

    Week 6 Result: Lost at New York Giants 20-19

    Well, Washington, you've done it. It took a lot of work, along with a change under center from a mediocre quarterback to an even worse one.

    But after losing to the winless New York Giants, the Washington Football Team took over last place in the NFL's worst division.

    After pulling to within a point of the Giants with less than a minute left, head coach Ron Rivera eschewed an extra point and overtime to go for the win. That worked about as well as anything ever does in D.C., but Rivera was unapologetic about the decision after the game.

    "We played to win at the end," he told reporters. "The only way you learn to win is to play to win."

    Washington brought in Rivera—a veteran head coach with a Super Bowl appearance under his belt— to teach a young team how to win. But six weeks in, the team doesn't appear to have learned much.

    "Outside of Alex Smith's heartwarming return to the field, Washington's season has been a disaster," Sobleski said. "The team is 1-5 overall. Rivera already benched quarterback Dwayne Haskins, the 2019 No. 15 overall pick. The coach's aggressiveness by going for a two-point conversion with the game on the line Sunday cost Washington a potential victory. Everyone knew the organization was in a bad place entering this season, and a turnaround shouldn't be expected anytime soon."

30. New York GIants (1-5)

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    John Minchillo/Associated Press

    High: 29

    Low: 30

    Last Week: 31

    Week 6 Result: Won vs. Washington 20-19

    Only the New York Giants could notch their first win of the 2020 season and somehow make you feel worse about them while doing so.

    Quarterback Daniel Jones was the Giants' leading rusher. Jones completed all of 12 passes for 112 yards, although he did throw a touchdown pass for the first time since the season opener.

    There's no sugar-coating it: This Giants team is terrible in just about every way possible. Jones has regressed to the point that the Giants have to wonder whether the promise he showed as a rookie was a mirage. And all the Giants succeeded in doing Sunday was ceding draft position to their MetLife Stadium roommates.

    The biggest thing the Giants have going for them in 2020 is that they aren't the Jets. 

29. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-5)

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    Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

    High: 29

    Low: 30

    Last Week: 28

    Week 6 Result: Lost vs. Detroit 34-16

    When the Jacksonville Jaguars stunned the Indianapolis Colts in Week 1, we briefly thought we had underestimated the team that opened the season in the No. 32 spot in these power rankings.

    As it turns out, we did not.

    Since that Week 1 win, the Jaguars have dropped five in a row, with the latest setback being a lopsided loss to a 1-3 Detroit Lions squad at home in which the Jags fell behind 24-3.

    It was an ugly effort all the way around. The Jaguars couldn't run the ball at all, managing only 44 yards on the ground. They also allowed 403 yards of offense to a Detroit team that came into Week 6 ranked 25th offensively.

    The Jaguars offense is inconsistent and error-prone. The defense is porous. The team is just bad.

    While young quarterback Gardner Minshew II is a fan favorite, the team eventually needs to decide whether he's the guy who can turn things around in 2021.

28. Atlanta Falcons (1-5)

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    Bruce Kluckhohn/Associated Press

    High: 27

    Low: 28

    Last Week: 30

    Week 6 Result: Won at Minnesota 40-23

    Where the heck have these Atlanta Falcons been?

    The Falcons opened a can of you-know-what offensively against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 6. Matt Ryan was sharp, passing for 371 yards and four scores. Wide receiver Julio Jones was back in action and as dominant as ever, racking up eight catches for 137 yards and two scores. The Falcons piled up 462 yards of offense and converted nine of their 17 third-down attempts.

    Per Kelsey Conway of the Falcons website, interim head coach Raheem Morris said the team is viewing every game as a one-week season from here out.

    "I can't worry about where it's been, I have to worry about where it's going," Morris said. "Next week, we have to prepare like we did this week to prepare to go 1-0 once again."

    So far, so good.

27. Houston Texans (1-5)

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    Mark Zaleski/Associated Press

    High: 25

    Low: 26

    Last Week: 25

    Week 6 Result: Lost at Tennessee 42-36 (OT)

    Had the Houston Texans been able to hold on to a late lead against the undefeated Tennessee Titans on Sunday, it might have turned their 2020 season around.

    Instead, the Texans came up short yet again. Now mired at 1-5, their 2020 season keeps circling the drain.

    Largely thanks to 335 passing yards and four scores from quarterback Deshaun Watson, the Texans held a seven-point lead with less than two minutes left. But Houston couldn't stop the Titans from driving the length of the field, tying the game and then taking the opening kick in overtime and doing so again for the game-winning touchdown.

    The game was this year's Texans in a nutshell: On a day when the offense played well, the defense was a nightmare, allowing 601 total yards and a 200-plus-yard rushing day to Derrick Henry.

    The Texans entered this 2020 season with high hopes. But at this point, they likely can't wait for it to be over.

26. Minnesota Vikings (1-5)

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    Jim Mone/Associated Press

    High: 23

    Low: 28

    Last Week: 20

    Week 6 Result: Lost vs. Atlanta 40-23

    So, this is what rock bottom looks like.

    In Week 5, the Vikings gave the undefeated Seattle Seahawks all they could handle before falling by one point on the road. In Week 6, they played host to the winless Atlanta Falcons and completely fell apart.

    The Falcons raced out to a 20-0 halftime lead and led 33-7 in the second half. Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins threw for 343 yards, but the performance was defined more by his three interceptions than his garbage-time touchdown passes. With Dalvin Cook sidelined by a groin injury, the Vikings managed only 32 rushing yards and 2.5 yards per carry.

    At 1-5, a Vikings team that entered the 2020 season with Super Bowl aspirations is now all alone in last place in the NFC North. There will undoubtedly be calls for the firing of head coach Mike Zimmer as the Vikings head into their bye week.

    And with a trip to Lambeau Field to play an angry Packers team that has already beaten the Vikings once this year coming up in Week 8, there's little reason to think things are going to improve any time soon.

    "Are you kidding me with that three-score home loss to the 0-5 Falcons after the firing of Atlanta head coach Dan Quinn?" Gagnon said. "Kirk Cousins is too erratic, and that pass defense is too vulnerable for Minnesota to compete."

25. Cincinnati Bengals (1-4-1)

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    Zach Bolinger/Associated Press

    High: 22

    Low: 27

    Last Week: 26

    Week 6 Result: Lost at Indianapolis 31-27

    When Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals raced out to a 21-0 lead against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 6, they appeared to be well on their way to their biggest win of the season.

    But wins don't come nearly as easy for the Bengals as losses, so they found a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

    Burrow posted another 300-yard passing game and ran for a score. But the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 draft isn't getting much in the way of help.

    The Bengals gained only 98 rushing yards on 32 carries. Burrow was sacked twice, and a Colts team that had been struggling offensively shredded the Bengals defense for 430 yards.

    It was a gut-wrenching reminder that while the Bengals may be getting better, they still have a ways to go before they're good again.

24. Philadelphia Eagles (1-4-1)

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    Derik Hamilton/Associated Press

    High: 23

    Low: 26

    Last Week: 24

    Week 6 Result: Lost vs. Baltimore 30-28

    The Philadelphia Eagles are an injury-ravaged mess.

    Their offensive line sailed past "patchwork" three weeks ago. The wide receivers are a who's who of "who?" Against the Ravens on Sunday, the Eagles lost top tight end Zach Ertz and No. 1 running back Miles Sanders.

    That the Eagles were able to stage a late rally is an achievement of sorts—one that head coach Doug Pederson hailed after the game.

    "These guys battled their tails off today, and had a chance to win against a healthy, healthy football team," Pederson told reporters. "I'm proud of these guys in the locker room."

    Attaboys aside, the NFL is all about results. But as bad as things have been, the Eagles aren't finished just yet.

    Their next three games are all inside the NFC (L)East—two matchups with the awful Giants and a home date against the Dak Prescott-less Dallas Cowboys.

23. Denver Broncos (2-3)

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    Steven Senne/Associated Press

    High: 21

    Low: 24

    Last Week: 27

    Week 6 Result: Won at New England 18-12

    Not much has gone right for the Denver Broncos in 2020. They've been blasted by injuries on both sides of the ball, including the loss of starting quarterback Drew Lock for multiple games.

    The Broncos got Lock back in time for a Week 6 trip to Gillette Stadium to face the New England Patriots, and they were able to gut out the win on the road. But they didn't win because of their young quarterback; they won in spite of him.

    Lock was awful against the Patriots. He completed only 10 of 24 passes for 189 yards and two interceptions. His passer rating in the game was 34.9.

    But thanks to 101 yards on the ground from Phillip Lindsay, three takeaways and four sacks from their defense and six field goals from Brandon McManus, the Broncos were able to overcome Lock's rotten outing and earn their second win of the year.

    There shouldn't be much celebrating in the Mile High City, though. If the Broncos play like that against the Chiefs in Week 7, things will get ugly.

22. Los Angeles Chargers (1-4)

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    Brett Duke/Associated Press

    High: 20

    Low: 24

    Last Week: 22

    Week 6 Result: Bye Week

    After losing nine one-score games last season, the Los Angeles Chargers have dropped four of five to open this year—all by one score.

    But if you're a glass-half-full type of person, at least their transition at quarterback from Philip Rivers to Justin Herbert is going well.

    Yes, Herbert is 0-4 as a starter, but it's awfully hard to blame that record entirely on him. The No. 6 overall pick in the 2020 draft is completing 68.8 percent of his passes, is averaging nearly 299 passing yards per game and has a passer rating of 107.1.

    By any measure, Herbert has played well—so well that recently ranked him inside the top 10 at the position.'s Dan Parr sang his praises: 

    "To think this guy supposedly wasn't good enough to start a month ago. The rookie has thrown those doubts in the dust bin with his sensational string of performances since replacing Tyrod Taylor as the Chargers' QB1. There are now two players in modern NFL history with a 100-plus passer rating and 1,150-plus passing yards in their first four games: Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert. And Herbert has done it with an injury-plagued supporting cast."

    So long as Herbert keeps playing at this level, the wins will come.

21. Detroit Lions (2-3)

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    Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

    High: 20

    Low: 23

    Last Week: 23

    Week 6 Result: Won at Jacksonville 34-16

    For one Sunday at least, the Detroit Lions looked like a good football team.

    Granted, beating the Jacksonville Jaguars isn't exactly a Herculean feat. Every opponent save the Indianapolis Colts in Week 1 has done that.

    But the Lions didn't just beat the Jags. They throttled Jacksonville, racing out to a 24-3 lead and never looking back.

    If you're looking for cause for optimism going forward in Motown, there were a few. Wide receiver Kenny Golladay had another big game, topping 100 yards on four catches. And rookie tailback D'Andre Swift had easily his best game as a pro, rushing for 116 yards and two scores on 14 carries.

    The Lions actually have a chance to build some momentum. Beginning next week against the 1-5 Falcons, three of their next four opponents have losing records. If they put forth an effort like we saw Sunday in those seemingly winnable games, they just might get back to .500 and on the fringes of playoff contention.

    However, Sobleski remains skeptical that the Lions are capable of anything more than the occasional win.

    "Yes, the Lions won," he said. "Congratulations. The victory felt more like a stay of execution than actual progress. Matt Patricia's days as Detroit's head coach may be numbered. Unless the Lions start to rattle off victories—and they do face an easy schedule through Novemberthe idea of this regime sticking together beyond this season seems unlikely."

20. Dallas Cowboys (2-4)

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    Michael Ainsworth/Associated Press

    High: 15

    Low: 25

    Last Week: 19

    Week 6 Result: Lost vs. Arizona 38-10

    Fans of the Dallas Cowboys can be forgiven for thinking that the team had bottomed out. The offensive line has been ravaged by injuries. The defense has played like absolute garbage. Star quarterback Dak Prescott was lost for the year to a broken ankle.

    As it turns out, things could get worse. Quite a bit worse.

    Ezekiel Elliott now has almost as many lost fumbles in 2020 alone as in his entire career before this season after losing two against the Cardinals—both of which were converted into touchdowns. Andy Dalton threw two picks of his own and was sacked three times. The Dallas defense allowed over 250 rushing yards—again.




    And yet, as bad as the Cowboys are, the team remains in first place in the NFC (L)East at 2-4 heading into next week's matchup with a Washington team that is so bad.

    So there's hope, we guess?

    There are six teams in the NFL that have as many wins six weeks into the season as the NFC East has as a division.

19. Carolina Panthers (3-3)

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    Brian Blanco/Associated Press

    High: 19

    Low: 19

    Last Week: 17

    Week 6 Result: Lost vs. Chicago 23-16

    Week 6 presented the Carolina Panthers with a golden opportunity. After peeling off three consecutive wins to get above .500, the Panthers faced their biggest test of 2020: a home date with the one-loss Bears.

    The Panthers needed such a win both to bolster their resume and to keep pace with the New Orleans Saints and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC South. Alas, their offense struggled in the 23-16 loss.

    The Panthers mustered only 112 yards on the ground, averaging less than four yards per carry. Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater wasn't sharp, throwing a pair of interceptions and posting a passer rating of 50.4. Carolina turned it over three times and converted only three of their 13 third-down attempts.

    "The Panthers appear to be stuck in the in-between," Davenport said. "If Sunday's loss was any indication, they aren't on the level of the Saints or Buccaneers. But they could be good enough to challenge for one of the NFC's three wild-card spots. They could change that narrative with a win next week in New Orleans, but they'll need a much sharper effort than we saw against the Bears to pull that off."

18. San Francisco 49ers (3-3)

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    Scot Tucker/Associated Press

    High: 15

    Low: 20

    Last Week: 21

    Week 6 Result: Won vs. Los Angeles Rams 24-16

    The San Francisco 49ers aren't easy to get a bead on.

    One week after looking terrible against the Miami Dolphins, the 49ers played perhaps their best game of the 2020 season while downing the Los Angeles Rams 24-16.

    The 49ers controlled the game with their rushing attack and short passes. Per Jon Becker and Cam Inman of the San Jose Mercury News, Niners quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo thinks getting back to what they do well is the key to their success moving forward.

    “We're definitely moving in the right direction," he said. "I wouldn't say we're totally there yet. There's a lot of football left in the season. How we finished this game, it felt a lot like last year, just how we controlled the clock, running the ball, converting third downs. That's when we put teams away and what we did tonight.”

    It was important for the Niners to wash off the stink of their blowout loss to the Dolphins and get some positive momentum. Week 6 was the beginning of a seven-game gauntlet that will define their season.

    Next up is a trip face the New England Patriots, followed by a trip to Seattle to lock horns with the rival Seahawks.

17. Miami Dolphins (3-3)

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    Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

    High: 11

    Low: 17

    Last Week: 18

    Week 6 Result: Won vs. New York Jets 24-0

    The Miami Dolphins are a .500 team six weeks into the 2020 season. This is not a drill.

    Granted, beating the winless Jets isn't exactly a massive achievement. But Week 6 marked the second game in a row that the Dolphins not only won, but won running away.

    That is an achievement.

    It's been a group effort. Veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was efficient against the Jets, tossing three touchdown passes. Young running back Myles Gaskin continued to play well, piling up 126 total yards. Defensively, edge-rusher Emmanuel Ogbah continued to impress, piling up a pair of sacks.

    Miami even got rookie signal-caller Tua Tagovailoa in the game for some mop-up duty.

    The Dolphins will now head into their bye week in a position that exactly no one expected. By November, they were supposed to be jockeying for draft position. Instead, they might make a run at a playoff spot.

16. New England Patriots (2-3)

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    Charles Krupa/Associated Press

    High: 11

    Low: 17

    Last Week: 12

    Week 6 Result: Lost vs. Denver 18-12

    The New England Patriots have hit a rough patch as of late.

    Both quarterback Cam Newton and cornerback Stephon Gilmore tested positive for COVID-19 in recent weeks. Sunday's game with the Denver Broncos was supposed to have been played a week ago.

    Given how the game turned out, the Pats probably would have rather not played at all.

    New England got Newton back for Week 6, but he didn't play well. The Patriots turned the ball over three times (including two Newton interceptions), allowed four sacks and converted only four of 13 third-down attempts.

    Mind you, this was a game where the New England defense held the Broncos out of the end zone. Denver quarterback Drew Lock was terrible and the Broncos didn't crack 300 yards of offense, yet New England still lost.

    And now, five games into the season, the Pats are a sub-.500 team.

    "I'm starting to believe this team doesn't have enough left to keep the dynasty alive with even a playoff berth." Gagnon said. "The roster really is below average, and there's not much even Bill Belichick can do about that. You can't lose at home to the Broncos in their current shape."

15. Las Vegas Raiders (3-2)

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    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    High: 12

    Low: 17

    Last Week: 16

    Week 6 Result: Bye Week

    The Las Vegas Raiders undoubtedly wish their bye week came a little later in 2020. Teams prefer that week off closer to the middle of the regular season, and the Raiders are coming off their most impressive victory of the year.

    Last week, the Raiders flat-out outplayed the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. Derek Carr flat-out outplayed 2018 MVP Patrick Mahomes.

    That wasn't even the Raiders' first win over a perceived Super Bowl contender, though. They also downed the New Orleans Saints in the Allegiant Stadium opener. All three of the Raiders' victories in 2020 have come against teams that presently sport a winning record.

    This is a good football team. The best the Raiders have had since 2016, in fact.

    The tests keep coming after the bye. In Week 7, the Raiders host Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After that comes a trip to Cleveland to face the 4-2 Browns.

    Even splitting those games would reinforce the Raiders' legitimacy as a playoff contender. Win them both, and the hype train in Raider Nation is going to really kick into high gear.

14. Cleveland Browns (4-2)

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    Don Wright/Associated Press

    High: 13

    Low: 14

    Last Week: 7

    Week 6 Result: Lost at Pittsburgh 38-7

    The Cleveland Browns got smacked by reality in Week 6.

    Over the first five weeks of the 2020 season, the Browns were one of the NFL's most pleasant surprises. They led the league in rushing, ranked fourth in scoring and worked their way into the top 10 of these power rankings.

    But Sunday's trip to Pittsburgh marked Cleveland's stiffest test since the season opener in Baltimore. And just as they did in that game, the Browns got hammered.

    Without the run game to lean on, Baker Mayfield had his worst outing of the season, throwing multiple interceptions for the second week in a row. Cleveland's defense was exposed by the Steelers, who piled up 38 points despite finishing with only 277 yards of offense.

    This may well be the best Browns team we've seen since the franchise rejoined the NFL in 1999. But as Sunday plainly showed, they're still only the third-best team in their own division.

    "The Browns loaded up on wins against teams that are a combined 8-15-1 this season, but they were humiliated by a combined margin of 76-13 in key matchups with the Ravens and Steelers," Gagnon wrote. "That suggests they aren't worthy of being considered elite just yet."

13. Los Angeles Rams (4-2)

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    Tony Avelar/Associated Press

    High: 11

    Low: 18

    Last Week: 8

    Week 6 Result: Lost at San Francisco 24-16

    The Los Angeles Rams were just off against the Niners on Sunday night.

    The story of their defeat was missed opportunities on both sides. There were long passes that just missed. A pass rush that just couldn't get home. It was a surprisingly sloppy effort from a Rams team that had won four of five to open the season.

    Afterward, head coach Sean McVay told reporters that the Rams all but beat themselves.

    "Offensively, we just were never really to get any continuity. We had a lot of missed opps tonight—some decisions that clearly I've got to do a better job with. But I think as a whole, just too many things that we're not accustomed to doing. You give credit to the 49ers, they did a nice job, but we made a lot of uncharacteristic things. We had a lot of our players that we count on that didn't come through in some situations that they typically do, but it's a great learning opportunity for us."

    Whatever the reason for the setback, the Rams had better get their learn on quickly. Beginning next Monday night in Los Angeles, they face a six-game stretch against teams that are .500 or better, including the first of two matchups with the undefeated Seahawks on Nov. 15.

    "At 4-2, the Rams are still well-positioned to make a run at the postseason, but their effort against a depleted 49ers squad is concerning," Sobleski said. "San Francisco's offensive line easily overwhelmed the Rams defensive front. Aaron Donald was basically a non-factor considering his normal output. The 49ers relied on getting the ball out quickly in the passing game, and the Rams defenders struggled to handle playing in space. Other opponents will watch Kyle Shanahan's game plan and utilize it to expose the Rams' weaknesses."

12. Arizona Cardinals

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    Seth Wenig/Associated Press

    High: 10

    Low: 18

    Last Week: 15

    Week 6 Result: Won at Dallas 38-10

    Frankly, it's fair to wonder whether Monday night's blowout in Dallas says more about how good the Arizona Cardinals are or how bad the Dallas Cowboys are. This was a game in which Arizona quarterback Kyler Murray completed nine of 24 passes as the Cardinals scored 38 points.

    Wait, what?

    Any number of Redbirds stepped up in the stomping. Running back Kenyan Drake had easily his best game of 2020, rolling up 164 yards and two scores. Wide receiver Christian Kirk also found the end zone twice. And safety Budda Baker was a force, notching seven solo tackles, a sack, a forced fumble and an interception.

    It came against a tomato can, but it was an impressive outing that gives the Cardinals considerable momentum entering Week 7.

    The team is going to need it. Next week, the Cardinals play host to the undefeated Seattle Seahawks.

    "I'm not ready to say the Cardinals are for real after wins over terrible Jets and Cowboys teams," Davenport said, "but 'Zona won't have to wait long for a chance to get some respect. One thing is for sure: The NFC West hasn't disappointed."

11. Indianapolis Colts (4-2)

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    AJ Mast/Associated Press

    High: 9

    Low: 15

    Last Week: 11

    Week 6 Result: Won vs. Cincinnati 31-27

    The Indianapolis Colts rebounded from last week's loss to the Cleveland Browns with a four-point win that moved them to 4-2 on the season. But to do so, they needed to mount a second-half comeback after spotting a one-win Bengals team a 21-0 lead.

    That ugly start notwithstanding, the Colts have to be pleased with the offense's performance, particularly quarterback Philip Rivers. The veteran signal-caller had drawn some criticism after a shaky performance against the Browns, but Rivers had his best game Sunday since joining the Colts, finishing with 371 passing yards and three scores.

    Over the early part of the season, the Colts defense carried the team to victory. In Week 6, it was Rivers and the offense's turn.

    The Colts will have the bye and a winnable Week 8 tilt with the Detroit Lions to tighten things up before a four-game stretch that will go a long way toward determining whether they're a legitimate contender. They have a home date with Baltimore in Week 9 followed by two matchups with the undefeated Titans sandwiched around a visit from the Green Bay Packers.

10. Chicago Bears (5-1)

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    Brian Blanco/Associated Press

    High: 8

    Low: 14

    Last Week: 14

    Week 6 Result: Won at Carolina 23-16

    The Chicago Bears are the Rodney Dangerfield of NFL playoff contenders.

    Despite winning four of their first five games, the Bears weren't given much praise for their start to the season. But after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers blasted the Green Bay Packers and the Bears outlasted the Panthers, Chicago is all alone in first place in the NFC North.

    It hasn't been especially pretty—Chicago's offense won't be confused with Kansas City's any time soon. And the Bears haven't exactly played a who's who of heavy hitters, although their Week 5 win over the Buccaneers looks that much better after what happened to the Packers.

    But still, 5-1 is 5-1, and Davenport is ready to give Da Bears some dap.

    "The Bears are playing good defense, aren't beating themselves and keep finding ways to gut out close wins," he said. "But they'll now have a chance to prove they are legit. Within the next three weeks, they'll take trips to face the Los Angeles Rams and unbeaten Titans and have a home date with Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints. Add in a home game against the Vikings, and even if the Bears split that quartet and hit the bye at 7-3, you have to feel good about their playoff chances heading into the first of two against the Pack in Week 12."

9. New Orleans Saints (3-2)

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    Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

    High: 7

    Low: 10

    Last Week: 10

    Week 6 Result: Bye Week

    The New Orleans Saints entered the 2020 season with one clear goal: make it to Tampa for Super Bowl LV. But while they've started 3-2, they haven't yet looked like one of the NFC's elite.

    That's in part due to the absence of star wide receiver Michael Thomas, who suffered a high ankle sprain in Week 1. He was ready to return last week, but the Saints benched him after a dust-up with safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson during a practice.

    Thomas plans to be back on the field in Week 7, and quarterback Drew Brees said last week's kerfuffle is in the rearview mirror, per Amie Just of

    "I've spoken with Mike," Brees said. "Mike and I talk a lot, both personally in the locker room, by text message—we're always communicating. So at the end of the day, Mike has been part of this team, he's going to be a big part of this team moving forward."

    The Saints will need Thomas, as their schedule stiffens up after the bye. They're heading into four straight games against teams that are .500 or better, including in-division bouts with the Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

8. Buffalo Bills (4-2)

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    Adrian Kraus/Associated Press

    High: 7

    Low: 12

    Last Week: 8

    Week 6 Result: Lost 26-17 vs. Kansas City

    The shine is coming off Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills.

    Over the first month of the 2020 season, Allen completed over 70 percent of his passes as the Bills peeled off four straight wins. But over the last two weeks, he has looked a lot more like the erratic passer who couldn't hit 60 percent his first two seasons in the league.

    The numbers against the Kansas City Chiefs were ugly: 14-of-27 passing for 122 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. The Bills allowed more yards to Kansas City on the ground than Buffalo gained as a team.

    It wasn't just Allen, either. Buffalo's run game continued to struggle with Devin Singletary and Zack Moss combining for 42 yards on 15 carries. Rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire peeled off 161 yards on 26 carries against a Bills run defense that had no answers all night long.

    That's two straight games against postseason teams from last season—two straight opportunities to measure just how good these Bills really are.

    And two straight times, they came up short.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-2)

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    Mark LoMoglio/Associated Press

    High: 8

    Low: 9

    Last Week: 13

    Week 6 Result: Won vs. Green Bay 38-10

    As statement wins go, the biggest of Week 6 belonged to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

    One week after a somewhat listless and error-filled performance in a loss to the Chicago Bears, the Buccaneers came out and blasted the previously unbeaten Green Bay Packers by four touchdowns.

    It was a dominant effort on both sides of the ball. The Tampa offense got a third straight 100-yard rushing game from running back Ronald Jones II and the best game (5/78/1) from tight end Rob Gronkowski since he came out of retirement.

    The defense was even better. Tampa completely put the clamps on Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay offense, holding Rodgers to only 160 yards on 16-of-35 passing while sacking Green Bay quarterbacks five times and picking Rodgers off twice.

    "The defense is just ridiculous," Gagnon said. "That performance against Rodgers with Davante Adams back was unreal, and it was another indication that the unit is strong enough to carry the Bucs to a playoff berth and maybe even a divisional crown."

6. Tennessee Titans (5-0)

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    Wade Payne/Associated Press

    High: 5

    Low: 6

    Last Week: 6

    Week 6 Result: Won vs. Houston 42-36 (OT)

    It's Derrick Henry's world; the rest of us just live in it.

    Henry had himself a day against the Houston Texans in Week 6, piling up 212 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries. In case that wasn't enough, he also added 52 receiving yards on two catches.

    Henry averaged 9.6 yards per carry against Houston. He peeled off yet another ridiculous touchdown run, rumbling 94 yards in the second half. And he was a huge part of the Titans remaining undefeated after the Texans came roaring back in Nashville.

    "It's high time that we recognized the Titans for what they are: a legitimate Super Bowl contender in the AFC," Davenport said. "Ryan Tannehill is playing lights out after chucking four touchdown passes against Houston. The Titans thrived in spite of their COVID-19 outbreak to remain one of two undefeated teams in the AFC. Only one will be left after the Titans host the Pittsburgh Steelers next week, though, and the loss of left tackle Taylor Lewan to an ACL tear could be huge against Pittsburgh's formidable pass rush."

    "Even with Lewan out, the undefeated Titans have the formula to win," Sobleski added. "Henry pounds the ball. Tannehill is extremely effective in play action. Tennessee has multiple weapons in the passing game. And the defense plays fundamentally sound football for the most part."

5. Baltimore Ravens (5-1)

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    Derik Hamilton/Associated Press

    High: 4

    Low: 6

    Last Week: 5

    Week 6 Result: Won at Philadelphia 30-28

    The Baltimore Ravens did what they set out to do in Week 6, downing an overmatched Philadelphia Eagles team to move to 5-1 and stay one back of the AFC North-leading Pittsburgh Steelers.

    But Ravens head coach John Harbaugh likely wasn't thrilled with how this game ended.

    For much of Sunday's contest, the Eagles appeared headed to blowout-ville. The Ravens dominated the first half on both sides of the ball and led 17-0 at intermission.

    But the Ravens just couldn't seal the deal, allowing an undermanned Eagles team to come within a two-point try of tying the game up at the end.

    It was an effort that left Davenport equal parts puzzled and concerned.

    "The Ravens might be 5-1, but they aren't rolling along like the 2019 iteration did, especially on offense," he said. "That might not matter against an Eagles team that's one step away from trying out receivers in a Wawa parking lot, but it could when the Ravens have to play the Kansas City Chiefs, Tennessee Titans or division-rival Steelers."

    "They cut it far too close against the depleted Eagles on Sunday," Gagnon added. "Pair that with their horrible Week 3 performance against the Kansas City Chiefs, and it's fair to wonder if the Ravens are just good at bullying significantly inferior opponents and nothing more."

4. Green Bay Packers (4-1)

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    Jason Behnken/Associated Press

    High: 4

    Low: 5

    Last Week: 1

    Week 6 Result: Lost at Tampa Bay 38-10

    The Green Bay Packers just got a wake-up call.

    After cruising to wins in their first four game and pacing the NFL in points per game through five weeks, the Packers ran into a buzzsaw Sunday in Tampa. After Green Bay scored the first 10 points of the game, Tampa Bay reeled off 38 unanswered. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers finished 16-of-35 for 160 yards and two interceptions, including only his third career pick-six. His passer rating was a horrendous 35.4.

    It was a sobering defeat, but Rodgers told reporters afterward that it may have been a blessing in disguise.

    "You don't ever want to lose like this. I felt like we needed a little bit of a wake-up call at some point this season because things have been so good and there's been so much talk maybe outside the building about the ease with which we're moving the ball on offense and scoring. I think we needed kind of a kick in the ass a little bit."

    Tell yourself whatever you need to, Aaron.

3. Kansas City Chiefs (5-1)

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    Adrian Kraus/Associated Press

    High: 2

    Low: 3

    Last Week: 3

    Week 6 Result: Won at Buffalo 26-17

    It's not every day that you see an Andy Reid-coached team run the ball 46 times.

    As a matter of fact, no one has ever seen it.

    Per Joe Buck of Fox Sports at the end of Monday's telecast, the 46 carries by the Kansas City Chiefs in their Week 6 win over the AFC East-leading Buffalo Bills was a record for a Reid-led team.

    With the Bills playing soft out of respect for Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs passing attack, rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire gashed Buffalo to the tune of 161 yards on 26 carries. And as Sam McDowell reported for the Kansas City Star, Mahomes is just fine with winning via the run game.

    "Clyde was running well. O-line was blocking well," Mahomes explained. "I just want to win. I don't care how it's done—pass, run, defense, whatever that is. We found a way to do that."

    Great. Now the Chiefs can run the ball, too. Because the AFC didn't have enough problems.

    And Le'Veon Bell hasn't even shown up yet.

2. Seattle Seahawks (5-0)

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    Stephen Brashear/Associated Press

    High: 1

    Low: 2

    Last Week: 2

    Week 6 Result: Bye Week

    Last year, the Seattle Seahawks tied an NFL record with 10 one-score wins, per ESPN's Brady Henderson. This team is used to not only being in close games but also winning them, just as it did in Week 5 against the Minnesota Vikings to move to 5-0 for the first time in franchise history.

    It helps to have arguably the best quarterback in the NFL in Russell Wilsonas veteran linebacker K.J. Wright told reporters after that victory. 

    "We just have to believe as a team, if we have Russell at quarterback, anything is possible," Wright said. "His Hall of Fame career, he just keeps adding to it. I love him as a teammate, I love him as a man and it's just special that he keeps doing that."

    The Seahawks aren't a team without issues. The defense entered Week 6 last in the league in both total defense (471.2 yards per game) and pass defense (370.4 yards per game).

    But with Wilson playing at an otherworldly level, the Seahawks are piling up wins and have cemented a spot near the top of these power rankings.

1. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-0)

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    Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

    High: 1

    Low: 3

    Last Week: 4

    Week 6 Result: Won vs. Cleveland 38-7

    Heading into Sunday, Ben Roethlisberger sported a perfect career record at home against the Browns. Eleven games, eleven wins.

    Make it 12.

    The Steelers dominated the Browns in every facet of the game Sunday. On a day where the offense didn't tally 300 total yards, Pittsburgh's offense still posted 31 points. The other seven came courtesy of a Steelers defense that completely stymied a Browns offense that entered Week 6 fourth in scoring.

    It was a statement win over a 4-1 Browns team—a message to teams like the Kansas City Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens that the Steelers are as good as any team in the AFC.

    And in the opinion of at least one of the analysts here at Bleacher Report, the Steelers are the best team in the conference.

    "The Steelers have no shortage of offensive firepower, but T.J. Watt, Cameron Heyward and the defense is what makes them so dangerous," Davenport said. "The Steelers take the run away and make opponents one-dimensional as well as any team in the league. That could be huge in matchups with the Tennessee Titans and Baltimore Ravens over the next two weeks."

    However, that defense will have to overcome a big personnel loss. Second-year linebacker Devin Bush is believed to have suffered an ACL tear against Cleveland, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.

    "For me, the Steelers are the best team in the NFL at this moment," Sobleski said. "A victory over the previously 4-1 Browns is impressive unto itself, but it showed the gap between Pittsburgh and the rest of the AFC's potential contenders. The Steelers dominated in the trenches on both sides of the ball. The defense is easily the league's best with a scary good defensive front, fantastic edge-rushers, an opportunistic secondary and aggressive play-calling. Pittsburgh is now hitting its stride and has the look of a first-rate Super Bowl contender."


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