NFL Week 6 Power Rankings
Last week really ruined my Pigskin Pick’em record. I went 4-5 in the early games, thanks to some upsets and, yes, some bad picks. It seems like every upset I picked ended with the favored team winning (I’m looking at you, Browns and Jaguars), but every favored team I picked was upset (like the Vikings and Patriots). For those who were wondering, the other game that I missed was Washington vs New York, which was a close one. So I’m taking that as a victory.
In hindsight, I should have looked at some history before picking some of these games. Cam Newton has still never won against the Broncos (although he did finally recover a fumble against them), and Ben Roethlistberger has never lost a home game to the Browns.
All in all, this was a strange week. It seems like the closest games were between teams where one was much better, while the blowouts were from teams that were pretty evenly matched. The 4-1 Ravens only managed to squeak by the 1-3-1 Eagles, yet the 0-5 Falcons demolished the 1-4 Vikings. Football is crazy. Let’s get to the rankings. Make sure to let me know what you think by tweeting at me (@AidanCharde) and keep coming back for more every week!
32. Clemson University Tigers (LW: N/A)
The Jets are so bad that they don’t even deserve a spot on this list. They got blown out 24-0 by Ryan Fitzpatrick. So instead, I’m including the best team in college football, the Clemson Tigers, who put up 73 points on Georgia Tech. Future #1 overall pick Trevor Lawrence had a solid statline with 391 yards and 5 touchdowns. Oh, sorry, I forgot to mention: he did that in the first half. Despite an early fumble from Travis Etienne and the defense allowing a 59-yard touchdown halfway through the first quarter, the team managed to hold on for a tight win. Clemson looks to be the favorite to win the National Championship this year, although the return of the Big 10 could shake things up.
Fine, okay, I’ll give the Jets a few lines. They suck. They’re bad at everything. Their run game is awful, their blocking is abysmal, they can’t complete passes, and that’s just the offense! Yeah, they managed to pick off Ryan Fitzpatrick twice, but that’s like a high schooler being proud of beating a kindergartener in a race. Plus, they did nothing with either pick. This team is so bad, they wouldn’t even be competitive in the NFC East, and that’s really saying something. I don’t think that Clemson would actually beat them...but it would be a close game. Fire Adam Gase.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars (LW: 28) -3
I am finally accepting that maybe, just maybe, the Jaguars aren’t good and Gardner Minshew isn’t a franchise quarterback. I think he’s playing fine for the situation he’s in, but this team is in shambles all over. Almost everyone predicted that they would be the worst team in the league, and outside of a strong week 1 showing, we haven’t really seen anything to prove that they’re not. They would be the worst team in the league in nearly every other season, but of course, the Jets just have to steal their thunder.
30. Washington Football Team (LW: 26) -4
Have the last two weeks done anything to prove that it wasn’t Dwayne Haskins’ fault that the Football Team couldn’t win? Granted, they probably should have won this week, but they only were able to put up 19 points against one of the worst defenses in the league. So much about this team annoys me, I don’t have time to get into it all, but this team has the talent to win this division (not saying much, I know) and it just feels like they’re trying to come in last.
29. New York Giants (LW: 30) +1
New York managed to win against the Washington Football Team, but it wasn’t a particularly good win. The team has a fine offense on paper, but could only manage a one point win against a team that has not been playing particularly well on either side of the ball. This is also coming off of a week where they put up 34 points, their highest of the season, and were close to winning against a team with a lot more talent. New York football makes me sad right now.
28. Detroit Lions (LW: 29) +1
The Lions were able to beat the Jaguars, and Matt Stafford looked as good as he has all season. Plus, D’Andre Swift had his best game of the season, running for 116 yards and two touchdowns. The defense struggled, allowing Keelan Cole Sr. to grab six catches for 143 yards, but also held Gardner Minshew to an almost 50% completion percentage. Point is, it was an important win that the team needed for morale. Their season is done, but I imagine it feels good.
27. Philadelphia Eagles (LW: 25) -2
The Eagles lost (again), but they somehow kept it close against one of the best teams in the league. The thing is, though, that I’d credit that more to the poor performance by the Ravens than a good performance by the Eagles. They’re still in the division race, because the NFC East sucks, but even if they do win the division, I won’t consider them a top team in the NFL. I hope that they can take some good things from this loss and use it to push themselves forward.
26. Atlanta Falcons (LW: 31) +5
First game without Dan Quinn, first win of the season. The offense had an amazing game, and the usually struggling defense was able to pick off Kirk Cousins three times. Even after the win, though, there are reports that they might be close to blowing the team up and starting from scratch. I wouldn’t be too surprised to see Matt Ryan and Julio Jones traded away before the trade deadline, as much as it might pain Falcons fans to hear. It might be for the best.
25. Cincinnati Bengals (LW: 22) -3
There was a lot of good here from the Cincinnati offense. Unfortunately, there was also a lot of bad. The team jumped out to a 24-0 lead but couldn’t hold on, losing 31-27. That is ROUGH, to say the least. But I’m not gonna make fun of them for blowing a big lead.Joe Burrow is still learning and this team has a ways to go before they’re legit. But if they can take anything away from this game, it’s that they actually can produce on offense.
24. Los Angeles Chargers (LW: 24) =
The Chargers had a bye, but they did hear some good news this week. Tyrod Taylor, who was the starter at the beginning of the season, should be coming back soon after a team doctor punctured his lung prior to week 2. He probably won’t get the starting job back, considering how well Justin Herbert has been playing, but it’s always good to know you have a good backup in case the main guy goes down.
23. Minnesota Vikings (LW: 19) -4
I wanted to move Minnesota down so much further, but Justin Jefferson is keeping them out of the bottom five. The rookie sensation had his biggest game of the season and scored two of their three touchdowns on the day. But this is not the season that the team expected, so expect them to start selling soon. They already dealt a major defensive player to the Ravens, and I’m ready to see who else gets shipped out.
22. Denver Broncos (LW: 27) +5
Denver won on the back of six field goals, and only six field goals. That’s impressive enough, but even more so when you realize they played the Patriots. Most people, myself included, counted the Broncos out well before the game started. Their defense deserves a lot of credit to holding the Patriots to basically nothing for most of the game. The only reason New England stayed in it was some poor play calls on offense that led to two picks. But they won, against all odds, and that’s all that matters.
21. Houston Texans (LW: 21) =
The Texans nearly won this game, which is a win for a 1-4 team playing a 4-0 team. They probably would have won if not for Mike Vrabel channeling his inner Bill Belichick and taking an intentional penalty to stop the clock. An impressive outing from Deshaun Watson was not enough to keep Houston afloat. The problem this week seemed to be their defense, which has struggled all season. Hopefully they can fix it soon.
20. Carolina Panthers (LW: 20) =
Carolina narrowly lost to the Bears, but Teddy Bridgewater was mostly to blame. He had two costly picks and completed just over 50% of his passes. That being said, they’re 3-3 and only one game behind the first place Buccaneers, which means they still could be in the divisional race. This week is huge for them. They lost earlier this season to the Bucs, but they’re about to play the Saints in a game that could be very important at the end of the season. It’s a must-win.
19. Miami Dolphins (LW: 23) +4
I contemplated moving the Dolphins down after they made the horrible, evil, and ridiculous move of benching Ryan Fitzmagic for Tua Tagovailoa, but I had already made the whole list and didn’t feel like it. Plus, they’re 3-3, in second place in their division, and they’re still behind the Cowboys. That’s punishment enough. Point is, I don’t think it makes any sense whatsoever to bench Fitzpatrick right now, and I think it will hurt them in the long run.
18. Dallas Cowboys (LW: 16) -2
The only reason the Cowboys are still up this high is because they’re in first place in the division, which kind of just forces me to put them this high. But until they start winning games (and looking good doing it), this is probably the highest they’ll be. Andy Dalton is fine, but this week showed how much the Cowboys need Dak Prescott. And it was a hard week for the coaching staff, with reports coming out that players are...not happy with them. Internal conflict never turns out well.
17. Chicago Bears (LW: 17) =
How the hell are the Bears 5-1? How the HELL are the BEARS in FIRST PLACE in the NFC NORTH? This is a ridiculous season. But record doesn’t mean everything, which is why they’re still down here. They’ve only won one game against a team that is legit, and even in their first three wins (against the Lions, Giants, and Falcons), they haven’t looked particularly great. I don’t think the fans mind, since they’re winning, but they will get blown up by the Packers.
16. San Francisco 49ers (LW: 18) +2
Oh boy, this week is going to be interesting. There are so many storylines here! Jimmy G is playing his old team, the 49ers are playing against the team that formerly had Tom Brady (who they opted not to go for in free agency, despite mutual interest), and both teams are performing way below expectations. The Niners really, really need to win this week if they want to stay alive this season.
15. Cleveland Browns (LW: 13) -2
And just like that, the explosive run of the Browns comes to a screeching halt. The Browns have two losses this season, both in the division, and both absolute blowouts. The division losses are going to hurt them later in the season, especially in such a tight race, but the bigger problem is keeping up team morale when they don’t play well. The Browns use their cockiness to keep up good play, but they also get demoralized fast when they lose.
14. New England Patriots (LW: 11) -3
This was a tough loss for the Patriots, but I think a lot of it can be chalked up to a lack of practice. Cam Newton was coming off of two weeks of rest, but the Patriots are never one to make excuses. The defense was amazing, maybe the best it’s been all season, but the offense looked out of sync. It’s time for New England to make a decision. If they’re below .500 at the trade deadline, it might be time for them to start selling. But they also might be just a receiver away from being the best team in the AFC.
13. Los Angeles Rams (LW: 12) -1
LA looked bad against the struggling 49ers on Sunday Night, losing 24-16. They went down 21-6 at the half and could never make it out of the hole. Jared Goff passed for under 200 yards, and they barely managed to gain 100 yards total on the ground. This was the worst game for the Rams yet this year, though, and there are a lot of bright spots on the team. They’re far behind the Seahawks, but they could be a Wild Card team.
12. Indianapolis Colts (LW: 15) +3
Philip Rivers led the Colts to a major comeback against the Bengals, keeping them in the race for the AFC South title. The defense had a tough first quarter, but stiffened up early in the second, holding the Bengals to just six points in the last 44:56. This defensive squad has had a lot of success, and is the reason they’re sitting on a 4-2 record right now.
11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (LW: 14) +3
Tampa had their biggest win of the season, blowing out the Packers and intercepting Rodgers twice (nearly both went for touchdowns, too). I’m still concerned about Tom Brady, since he has not been very consistent, but the defense has shown that they’re here to play and they’re ready to get back into the playoffs. But although they’re ahead of the Saints in the standings, I still don’t think they’re the best team in the division.
10. Las Vegas Raiders (LW: 10) =
The Raiders hit their bye at a bad time. They just came off their biggest win of the season, taking down the Chiefs and opening up the possibility of winning the division. Kansas City does not look as unbeatable as they did last year, which means there’s a slight possibility that the Raiders could take the AFC West, especially if they own the tiebreaker. Hopefully they can keep up the momentum.
9. Buffalo Bills (LW: 8) -1
Buffalo has now lost two in a row, but they were also to two of the best teams in the league. The defense has had some problems, but they’re riddled with injuries that should get better soon. Josh Allen, on the other hand, has all of a sudden crashed back to Earth after an MVP-like start to the season. I don’t doubt that he can get back on track, but this team’s success hinges on how well he can play.
8. Arizona Cardinals (LW: 9) +1
Kyler Murray reminded me why he was my preseason pick for MVP this year with that stellar performance against the Cowboys. I know it’s not much, since it was against the Cowboys, but they still looked very impressive. The game was an absolute blowout, and the biggest part was that (outside of a great catch and run that went for 60 yards), DeAndre Hopkins was basically a non-factor. Point is, they can win games without needing him to be overly involved.
7. Green Bay Packers (LW: 4) -3
The Packers looked awful and Aaron Rodgers looked like the overrated quarterback that he is. His first turnover of the season ended up being a pick six that turned the tide of the game after Green Bay went up 10-0. Even with Davante Adams and Aaron Jones, the offense couldn’t do anything against the Bucs defense, which should be concerning. As much as I know they’d love it, they can’t just play NFC North teams every week.
6. New Orleans Saints (LW: 5) -1
The Saints didn’t move down because of anything that happened during the bye, although Michael Thomas might be missing yet another week with a hamstring injury. It was just an unfortunate consequence of the Titans having a great game. I still think the Saints should be the favorites to win the NFC, despite what their record says. The team has won games without the best receiver in the league, and they can continue to do it.
5. Tennessee Titans (LW: 6) +1
Mike Vrabel pulled off one of the smartest moves of the season in order to win this game, which shows us just how versatile this team is. He took an intentional 12 men on the field penalty in order to stop the clock, which saved the Titans a timeout that they needed to tie the game with just a few seconds to go. But coaching aside, this team looks great. Jadeveon Clowney was an incredible addition to this defense, which makes running against them almost impossible. Plus, Derrick Henry and Ryan Tannehill have been playing at an elite level. This team was a win away from the Super Bowl last year. They might just make it this year.
4. Pittsburgh Steelers (LW: 7) +4
Pittsburgh had one of their most impressive wins of the season as they crushed the red-hot Browns and held basically every part of the offense to nothing. But while the defense is the talk of the town, this is a crazy good offense. JuJu and Chase Claypool have been balling out, and James Washington and Diontae Johnson have been playing better than expected. This next week is going to be a fun game to watch, as the last two undefeated teams in the AFC face off. Two great offenses, two great defenses, two great coaches. Who will win?
3. Baltimore Ravens (LW: 2) -1
The Ravens won, but not by as much as they should have. If not for a failed two point conversion attempt, they might have gone to overtime against the Eagles, who had one win. The defense that has been so good all season allowed 22 points in the final frame, while the offense only managed six to keep the team alive. A loss here would have been embarrassing, but this game was not much better.
2. Kansas City Chiefs (LW: 3) +1
The past few games have not been great for the Chiefs, but they’ve managed to go 2-1 despite not playing their best in any of the three games. But things are about to get a lot scarier on this already terrifying offense, as Le’Veon Bell is about to join a rushing attack that just put up 245 yards against one of the best run defenses in the league. That’s also very unlike Andy Reid, who has never been the one to run the ball a lot. Now that they have two versatile backs, there’s no telling what this offense can do.
1. Seattle Seahawks (LW: 1) =
The Chiefs didn’t really do enough for me to put them into the top spot over the Seahawks, who are the last undefeated team in the NFC and probably the best team in the league right now. I’m concerned that a lot of their games have been too close for comfort, something that might prove to be a problem later in the season. But their biggest and most important test of the season so far comes this week, as they take on the Cardinals, who are off the heels of a big offensive explosion. This is, by far, the game of the week.