We are more than a quarter of the way through the NFL regular season, and the NFC is up for grabs while the AFC has a clear favorite. Another week filled with upsets shakes up this week’s power rankings.
1. New England Patriots (5-0)
New England continued the dominance of their early schedule with a 33-7 win at Washington. Their defense has been outstanding this year to go along with another terrific start to a season for QB Tom Brady. Look for the Patriots to have yet another bye in the postseason and a ninth straight AFC Championship appearance.
Week 6: vs NYG; Thursday 8:20pm ET
2. New Orleans Saints (4-1)
In the Saints’ only loss of the season, they lost quarterback Drew Brees with a thumb injury early at the Rams. With Brees sidelined, backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater couldn’t will the Saints to victory in Los Angeles. In the three games since, Bridgewater has thrown for 684 yards, six touchdowns, and two interceptions, all resulting in wins. The Saints continue to have a tough schedule, and with Drew Brees still a few weeks away, New Orleans will have to lean on Teddy Bridgewater to continue his success. Once Drew Brees returns, this offense should put the Saints in contention for another NFC South title with a Super Bowl birth on their minds.
Week 6: @ JAX; Sunday 1pm ET
3. Seattle Seahawks (4-1)
Seattle faced off in an offensive battle with the Rams last Thursday night at home. Russell Wilson continued his MVP campaign by throwing for four touchdowns, including the game-winning score with 2:28 remaining in the game. With a couple more quality wins like they had on Thursday, the Seahawks could be seeing themselves as NFC West favorites.
Week 6: @ CLE; Sunday 1:00pm ET
4. Kansas City Chiefs (4-1)
Reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes looked human again for the second straight week. After making the comeback in Detroit to beat the Lions, Mahomes couldn’t muster up a win on Sunday Night Football against Indianapolis. Kansas City is still the most high-powered offense in the NFL and should be getting Tyreek Hill back in the not too distant future along with left tackle Eric Fisher. Once the Chiefs are fully healthy, they are the biggest threat to the Patriots in the AFC.
Week 6: vs HOU; Sunday 1:00pm ET
5. Green Bay Packers (4-1)
Green Bay and new head coach Matt LaFleur have had some really nice road wins to start the year in Chicago and Dallas. Matt LaFleur has brought the run to this Packer offense, making Aaron Jones (along with his fantasy owners) very happy. The new-look defense has appeared promising at times and not so promising at other times, especially over the past two weeks. For Aaron Rodgers, he hopes he can get his favorite weapon in Davante Adams back. The Packers will need everything they have in the NFC North, which could be anyone’s division come New Years.
Week 6: vs DET; Monday 8:15pm ET
6. San Francisco 49ers (4-0)
The 49ers have looked great through four games. Kyle Shanahan possesses one of the best offensive minds in the NFL and has his offense clicking at the moment. The run game has been impressive and with Tevin Coleman back, they have three or four quality RBs. Next week is their biggest test so far in Los Angeles.
Week 6: @ LAR; Sunday 4:05pm ET
7. Los Angeles Rams (3-2)
Speaking of LA, they lost in another high-scoring game out in Seattle. Jared Goff threw for 395 yards along with a TD, and Todd Gurley gained 51 yards and two TDs. The offense gave kicker Greg Zuerlein a chance to win with 15 seconds left, but his 44-yard field goal went right of the upright. The Rams offense is high-powered and their defense has a lot of talent, but they will need to tighten up the turnovers and play better on defense if they want to win their division again.
Week 6: vs SF; Sunday 4:05pm ET
8. Philadelphia Eagles (3-2)
The Eagles are missing some key playmakers on offense, but their defense came to play Sunday against the Jets, while their offense showed out last week in Green Bay. The Eagles offense has been inconsistent this year but has still found a lot of success with Carson Wentz at the helm and Jordan Howard in the backfield. Philadelphia’s schedule is tough up until four of the final five games of the season when they play the Giants twice, Redskins once, and Dolphins once.
Week 6: @ MIN; Sunday 1:00pm ET
9. Buffalo Bills (4-1)
The Buffalo Bills are 4-1 because of a nasty defense and a pretty light schedule, just like New England, but Buffalo is the real deal. They have a QB who manages the game well, as Josh Allen threw two TDs and one INT this past weekend in Nashville. It was the Bills defense who suffocated Marcus Mariota all day, leading to four field goal attempts that were all missed by Titans kicker Cairo Santos. Buffalo took New England to the wire with that same defense, but they came up short. The Bills have looked like the best non-division leader in the AFC and could be looking at a second wild card appearance in the last three years. Also, Bills fans never disappoint…
Week 6: BYE
10. Houston Texans (3-2)
Deshaun Watson is one of the best young QBs in the NFL with some unreal talent around him on offense. The two biggest question marks for the Texans are their inability to protect Watson and their defense. They won a high-scoring game at home this week against Atlanta due to Watson having a terrific game. If Houston can continue to score at this rate and tighten up on defense, they should be the favorite to win a wide-open AFC South.
Week 6: @ KC; Sunday 1:00pm ET
11. Chicago Bears (3-2)
The best defense in the NFL gave up 169 yards and three TDs to the Oakland Raiders rushing attack on Sunday, which was led by rookie Josh Jacobs. The Bears went to London with a banged-up defense and their second-string QB playing. Chicago lost the battle on offense and defense at the line of scrimmage, which resulted in a good day for Josh Jacobs and a bad day for the Bears offense. Chase Daniel and the Bears erased a 17-0 deficit to take a 21-17 lead but ultimately lost 24-21. The Bears have a championship-caliber defense and an offense with a lot of playmakers. They have a good chance at taking the NFC North if they can fix their struggles on offense.
Week 6: BYE
12. Dallas Cowboys (3-2)
The first three games for Dallas were outstanding. Dak Prescott was even getting MVP praise, but these past two weeks have been rough on the offense. They were completely shut down in New Orleans and were shutout in the first 39 minutes at home against Green Bay. That left them in a 24-0 hole they couldn’t dig out of. If the Cowboys want to get to the postseason, they have to fix their offense in pivotal games like the last two weeks.
Week 6: @ NYJ; Sunday 4:25pm ET
13. Indianapolis Colts (3-2)
The Colts surprised everyone when they went into Kansas City and bullied the Chiefs into a 19-13 win. The Colts attacked Kansas City’s run defense, which has yielded the third-most yards per game. Colts GM Chris Ballard has built a team with a lot of depth and a lot of talent. The loss of Andrew Luck to retirement has hurt, but new starting QB Jacoby Brissett has done well. Indianapolis has a chance in the AFC South if Brissett and the defense can keep it up.
Week 6: BYE
14. Baltimore Ravens (3-2)
Lamar Jackson has looked really good this year and has proved a lot of people wrong. He did not continue that success this past week, but he still got the win in a tough battle against Pittsburgh. The Ravens will need to lean on Lamar Jackson’s abilities to get them to the postseason along with their stout defense.
Week 6: vs CIN; Sunday 1:00pm ET
15. Detroit Lions (2-1-1)
The Lions almost pulled off a huge upset last week against Kansas City. It would have been a quality win to go along with wins against the Eagles and Chargers, but they sit at second in the NFC North with a chance to take first next Monday night at Green Bay. The Lions’ defense has been a surprise this year while Matthew Stafford is slinging it around the field. We see if they are for real next week and if they can hold up in the tough NFC North.
Week 6: @ GB; Monday 8:15pm ET
16. Oakland Raiders (3-2)
The Raiders have strung together two straight impressive wins. Oakland’s defense has been good enough, and Jon Gruden’s offense has been working well. Josh Jacobs looks legitimate and Tyrell Williams has Raider fans forgetting 84 (Antonio Brown). I’m not so sure the Raiders will keep it up, but they are a fun team to watch and are getting much better under Gruden.
Week 6: BYE
17. Minnesota Vikings (3-2)
Kirk Cousins has been up and down in Minnesota, with most ups coming against teams under .500 and most downs coming against teams over .500. Even though Cousins hasn’t been very good, the Vikings have the best WR tandem in the NFL and a top-five running back along with a very good defense. If Cousins can clean up some mistakes, the Vikings could be a threat in the NFC North.
Week 6: vs PHI; Sunday 1:00pm ET
18. Los Angeles Chargers (2-3)
Melvin Gordon is finally back but was not helpful in the Chargers’ loss to Denver. Philip Rivers hasn’t had a great start to the year, but there is a lot of time to turn things around. A backfield of Austin Ekeler and Gordon along with Mike Williams and Keenan Allen at WR should give Los Angeles a chance of getting things right.
Week 6: @ PIT; 8:20pm ET
19. Carolina Panthers (3-2)
No Cam Newton? No problem. Christian McCaffrey is the best back in the NFL and the Panthers, with or without Newton, go as McCaffrey goes. Kyle Allen is having a good year in Newton’s absence along with McCaffrey, but the second half of their schedule is very tough. If they can pick up some key wins in the second half, they’ll be fighting for a wild card spot.
Week 6: @ TB; Sunday 9:30am ET
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3)
The Buccaneers offense has been impressive under Bruce Arians. The defense has also looked better, but they did let up four TDs to Teddy Bridgewater on Sunday. Chris Godwin and Mike Evans are a scary duo for opposing DBs to guard. If they aren’t in a wild card race, they’ll be playing spoilers to someone.
Week 6: vs CAR; 9:30am ET
21. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-3)
Gardner Minshew almost came back against Houston, then pulled out the win against Tennessee, and came back to beat Denver. This past week, his magic was at it again but came 25 yards short of tying the Panthers. The Jaguars’ defense is much better when Jalen Ramsey is out there, and if he isn’t, I don’t believe the Jaguars can make the playoffs. It will take a lot of Minshew magic, but it sounds like Ramsey isn’t going to be traded anytime soon.
Week 6: vs NO; Sunday 1:00pm ET
22. Tennessee Titans (2-3)
The Titans defense has been giving up 15.2 points per game. Marcus Mariota has been swallowed up by opposing defenders because of terrible play by his o-line. Mariota has no turnovers this season but hasn’t had time to make enough plays. If the Titans can’t protect Mariota, it won’t matter how well their defense plays — they won’t be playing for anything come December. If they can figure it out, a tough defense along with a stout running game and talent at the pass-catcher position should be a recipe for success.
Week 6: @ DEN; Sunday 4:25pm ET
23. Cleveland Browns (2-3)
The Browns got crushed Monday night against the 49ers. After a big win last Sunday, Baker Mayfield and company fell flat in San Francisco. It’s not too late to turn it around in Cleveland, but Mayfield needs to play better.
Week 6: vs SEA; Sunday 1:00pm ET
24. New York Giants (2-3)
Daniel Jones has impressed since he got the starting gig. Not having Saquon Barkley has hurt but his recovery is going well. The Giants won’t be going to the playoffs this year, but a good year from Daniel Jones going into year two would be something Giants fans would enjoy seeing.
Week 6: @ NE; Thursday 8:20pm ET
25. Atlanta Falcons (1-4)
The Falcons have lost three in a row to three AFC South teams after a big win against Philadelphia in week two. A lot of playmakers on offense keep the Falcons in every game, but their defense has been a disappointment this year. They would have to go on a very impressive run to make the playoffs after a 1-4 start.
Week 6: @ ARI; Sunday 4:05pm ET
26. Denver Broncos (1-4)
Vic Fangio’s tenure started off as poorly as it possibly could have — an 0-4 start with both home losses coming on last-second field goals. His team was ready for the Chargers on Sunday as they took home the win. It was a much-needed win, but there are issues on both offense and defense that are going to continue to hold the Broncos back.
Week 6: vs TEN; Sunday 4:25pm ET
27. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-4)
The Steelers have had a rough season. Ben Roethlisberger goes down for the year and backup Mason Rudolph had to leave the game on Sunday with concussion-like symptoms. The Steelers continue playing everyone tough in spite of the injuries. It’s going to be too tough to overcome, and they’ll be looking to 2020 sooner than later.
Week 6: @ LAC; Sunday 8:20PM ET
28. Arizona Cardinals (1-3-1)
Kyler Murray has flashed for the Cardinals along with some rookie mistakes, but in his first year, you see why he was the number one overall pick. He and Kliff Kingsbury should be a nice duo for the Cardinals for years to come, and they will continue to work on things in year one.
Week 6: vs ATL; 4:05pm ET
29. New York Jets (0-4)
The Jets were picked to perform decently this year. Their defense is doing well, but things have not gone to plan. Sam Darnold is still out, and third-string QB Luke Falk is not giving the Jets anything. We’ll see what this offense looks like once Darnold is healthy.
Week 6: vs DAL; Sunday 4:25pm ET
30. Cincinnati Bengals (0-5)
The Bengals have too many holes, and Andy Dalton is not the answer. First-year head coach Zac Taylor looks like he will be able to get his hands on a top QB in the upcoming draft class.
Week 6: @ BAL; Sunday 1:00pm ET
31. Washington Redskins (0-5)
Jay Gruden is out, and the Redskins will be searching for their next head coach. It’s probably best to give Dwayne Haskins time to work on things before throwing him in. Haskins’ teammate at OSU, Terry McLaurin, is the one bright spot for Washington this season and looks the part of a stud WR.
Week 6: @ MIA; Sunday 1:00pm ET
32. Miami Dolphins (0-4)
The Dolphins are in full rebuild mode. Players are demanding trades as the Dolphins look to be locking up that number one spot in the 2020 NFL Draft. Their best chance at a win comes this Sunday against the Redskins.
Week 6: vs WSH; Sunday 1:00pm ET
Featured Photo: Patrick McDermott/Getty Images