One of my favorite aspects of this season has been the parity throughout the league. Every team is so close and the races are still wide open in each conference after five weeks of play. Honestly, this is making for one of the more tight, frustrating, and exciting seasons in recent memory. But, in a sport where each team plays only 16 games, isn’t that what you want? Every game means so much in the NFL and this season, every game seems to mean so much more. And, as you might have seen, that also means that there are going to be vastly different evaluations of the teams and how they match up, but without further ado, here’s how I see it. My week 6 Power Rankings:
- Chiefs (5-0)
Haven’t scored less than 24 points in any game this season. Alex Smith is playing like an MVP. Kareem Hunt is almost literally running away with Offensive Rookie of the Year. Andy Reid is actually managing the clock well. A lot can happen, but this team looks dominant.
- Packers (4-1)
Aaron Rodgers showed yet again this week why he is the best quarterback in this league. If he played every drive like there’s a minute left in the game, I think they could score every time. And, the defense looks better than I expected.
- Panthers (4-1)
Just when it looked like Cam was headed toward mediocrity, he broke out with tremendous showings over the past two weeks. I was still skeptical after he took advantage of a weak Patriots defense, but I think Detroit is for real. His re-emergence, coupled with this elite defense has catapulted this team back into contention.
- Eagles (4-1)
Boy is it fun to watch Carson Wentz. He plays the game like he’s a kid having fun in his backyard and his mobility is severely underrated. I expect the o-line to get better every week and live up to their potential as a top unit in the league. The defense is a problem, but it should be able to keep them in games once Ronald Darby returns from injury.
- Falcons (3-1)
They might be higher on this list if not for their bye, but with Vic Beasley coming back the future looks bright. I don’t see any signs of a Super Bowl hangover and a lot of signs that they might be on their way back there.
- Lions (3-2)
I love this Lions team, but there’s something about them that makes me feel like they’re still “very good” and not yet “great”. Darius Slay is an elite corner and I like the defensive unit as a whole, but I wish the offense were more aggressive. They made Matt Stafford the highest paid player for a reason, I would’ve expected one of those reasons to be that they trust him to take control of a game. I don’t think they take the next step until they’re more offensive on offense.
- Broncos (3-1)
This defense is still the best in the league… And I’m not so sure it’s close. Obviously, the all-world duo of Harris and Talib terrorizes opposing offenses, but the run defense has been the big surprise. Trevor Siemian has actually looked like a good NFL starter and C.J. Anderson has returned to form in the backfield. Everything seems to be clicking for this Denver squad so far.
- Seahawks (3-2)
At first glance, this team looks like it could be in trouble, but then they just figure out how to win games. Admittedly, I was among those expecting the Rams to take this past weekend’s matchup, and yet the Seahawks found a way. The defense hasn’t been as good as it was in recent years – specifically the run defense – but I expect that to correct itself. This team is still anchored by superior coaching and one of the only quarterbacks in the league that can win a game without an offensive line. Ultimately, though, this line could keep the team from being a true contender.
- Patriots (3-2)
It’s not time to doubt the Patriots yet. I mean, Super Bowl LI ring a bell? As long as Belichick and Brady are at the helm of this team, they always deserve the benefit of the doubt. Always. That being said, any Patriots fans downplaying the struggles of this defense are delusional and it calls into question the decisions to let go of Jamie Collins and Chandler Jones while trading a first round pick for Brandin Cooks. The offense is not and has not been a problem. At best, those calls look questionable right now and at worst, downright irresponsible.
- Rams (3-2)
Perhaps the biggest surprise of this year, the Rams look like the real deal. Jared Goff has made shocking strides in year two, Todd Gurley looks like he can take over games, and Sean McVay is even more impressive than I expected (as a 31-year-old head coach no less).
- Cowboys (2-3)
Let me tell you, Dak Prescott is the real deal. Yes, Zeke gets most of the attention, but a lot running backs could’ve had a field day behind that line last year. I mean, Joseph Randle and Darren McFadden did in 2015. That same year, backup QB after backup QB floundered. That’s not to say Zeke isn’t a special talent, but with him still looking at a potential suspension, Dak needs to take the reigns of this team. And I believe he can.
- Bills (3-2)
Before week 1, people were talking about this team possibly trying to out-tank the Jets. Five weeks later, they’re legitimate playoff contenders and sitting in first place in the AFC East. They still have a lot to prove, but the defense looks great and Tyrod Taylor is making the front office look like fools for trying to move on.
- Texans (2-3)
Deshaun Watson is quickly becoming one of my favorite players in this league. At every level, he’s proven people wrong and has carried himself with what seems like a genuine humility and compassion. That’s a leader and arguably the lone piece the Texans missed last season. Losing J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus are crushing blows, but I love this team and what they’re playing for.
- Bengals (2-3)
What a difference a change in coordinator makes. Even more impressive is the fact that this team was minutes away from topping the Packers and being in first place right now. Losing Tyler Eifert for the season is extremely disappointing and you wish him the best, but Tyler Kroft has filled in admirably in his absence. Andy Dalton looks good again, but he needs to improve for this team to take the next step. Cincinnati has a potential top 5 defense to go with one of the league’s best playmakers and if the O-line can give the uber-talented Joe Mixon room to run (he gets the least amount of yards before contact by far), I like this team’s chances.
- Redskins (2-2)
This team still has a lot to prove and a lot of questions. Will Jordan Reed ever be healthy? Will Terrelle Pryor find himself in this offense? One guy I’m sure of is Kirk Cousins. I love him as a leader for this team and expect him to perform at a top level the rest of the season. Quietly, though, the defensive line looks good. Yes, they have to hope Josh Norman returns soon, but there’s a lot of potential here.
- Vikings (3-2)
The defense is championship-caliber and the line looks improved, but I don’t have much faith that Sam Bradford will ever be completely healthy. After losing Dalvin Cook, this can’t rely on the run anymore and I don’t foresee Case Keenum leading a deep playoff run.
- Saints (2-2)
I have to say, I’m very impressed by their draft and think the defense looks improved, but I still think this team is stuck in limbo. The offense is still great and will get a boost from Willie Snead, but in a tough division, I can’t see anything better than a 9-7 finish.
- Jaguars (3-2)
Does anybody know what this team is? They destroyed a talented Texans team, got their doors blown off by the Titans (who don’t look as great as they did before the season), embarrassed the Ravens (who had looked great early in the season), lost to the Jets, and now beat down the Steelers. Honestly, I have no idea if this team is good or bad but I do know that the secondary is arguably top two with Denver and Leonard Fournette is a beast. I’ll admit, I thought he was heading towards being a huge bust prior to the draft, but he’s the real deal.
- Raiders (2-3)
This team needs to find its identity. Not only has the line looked weak, but without Derek Carr they’re lost. And, even with Derek Carr, they looked lost the past two games. If he doesn’t figure out how to handle pressure soon, this team could be in trouble, but I do expect him to figure it out because up until this point he’s been too good not to.
- Steelers (3-2)
Honestly, it doesn’t look like Ben has it anymore. The QB has historically been much better at home than on the road, but he hasn’t even been great at home recently. And that’s putting it nicely considering he threw five interceptions last game. This team is very, very vulnerable and unless Ben turns it around soon, I’d be worried as a Steelers fan.
- Ravens (3-2)
The good thing is the defense looks very good and is very underrated. The bad news is the offense is nonexistent. Let me put the (joke) debate to rest, Joe Flacco is not elite.
- Titans (2-3)
The Titans are basically a mirror image of the Raiders: A team with high expectations coming into the year that has been hampered by an o-line vastly underperforming and a young stud QB going down. Thankfully, Mariota looks like he should be back Monday, but they need the line play and Demarco Murray to improve. A healthy Corey Davis wouldn’t hurt either, but the defense needs to be better as well. I’m in the minority, but I believe that could happen with Dick LeBeau.
- Buccaneers (2-2)
Jameis looked bad against the worst defense in the league. Without him at his best and a defense riddled with injury, I don’t see much reason for excitement.
- Jets (3-2)
Is the tank officially off? In a wide-open AFC, I say yes. ASJ is a great story and finally gives the Jets much needed production at tight end. Josh McCown has been the leader this offense has needed and brings Fitzpatrick’s gutsiness, but has been smart with the football… So far. However, what gives this team a shot is their defense, specifically the two young safeties that have looked like veterans out there. I think they’re a major reason why offenses score only around 60% of the time they get within the Jets’ 30-yard line. With clutch play like that, there’s reason for hope, but that’s all it is at this point.
- Bears (1-4)
Mitchell Trubisky looked okay in his debut. Yes, that was a bad mistake at the end, but I saw promise and he was certainly an upgrade over Glennon. Jordan Howard can play for my team any day with the heart he’s showing despite being injured and the defense is underrated. There’s potential here.
- Cardinals (2-3)
The run defense has been very good, the pass defense not as much… Exactly what we all expected. Justin Bethel has undoubtedly been a weak link and the O-line has been abysmal. With an aged Carson Palmer throwing nearly 50 times a game, it’s hard to win. Does the addition of AP get me excited? Not really, but having a legitimate threat in the backfield should help this team in the short-term. Although, with the most players over 30 of any roster in the league, what is this team’s long-term future?
- Chargers (1-4)
This is one of the better 1-4 teams I’ve seen in a long time. Melvin Gordon is a great player, Keenan Allen is a special talent, Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa are going to be powerhouses in this league… I like a lot of what I see. It’s just about seeing them put it together. Despite playing in the toughest division in football, I’ve liked what I’ve seen
- Dolphins (2-2)
I’m shocked by what I’ve seen from Adam Gase’s squad. Not much else to say other than that. They look horrible on both offense and defense, but they still sit at 2-2. The NFL is odd, my friend.
- Colts (2-3)
Jacoby Brissett has done a fine job coming in and filling in for Andrew Luck in-season. I’m extremely impressed by his tenacity. That’s about all the good I have to say about this team.
- 49ers (0-5)
I don’t think they’re as bad as their record shows and yet, it’s what we all expected. Just like everyone else, I’m confused about what’s happening with the backs, but I like the promise the young players are showing while Hoyer and Garçon have done fine filling in for the short-term.
- Giants (0-5)
I don’t even know what to say here. This was a team that some were predicting were a Super Bowl contender during the preseason and they now sit at 0-5 with little hope for anything positive this year. A combination of horrible cap mismanagement and drafting has culminated with the Giants having the worst o-line in the game in my opinion. With an absurd string of injuries to the wide receivers last game, I’d be surprised if this team won more than three games. Fortunately, they’ll probably secure a top draft pick and could try to build toward the future with a healthy Odell Beckham next season.
- Browns (0-5)
I actually thought Deshone Kizer showed promise week 1 but has since fallen so far that he might not even start for the team after week 5. That’s about where this team is. Cleveland seems to be where football dreams die (I’m sorry, Browns fans).