NFL Power Rankings: Week Six

1 – Los Angeles Rams (5-0) (–) — The divisional rival Seahawks made it close, but the Rams offence was too much in the end, even with a few uncharacteristic turnovers from MVP candidate Jared Goff. The California Kid leads the league in passing yards (1,727) and is getting a whopping 10.4 yards per toss so far this season, nearly two yards more than the runner up in that category. LA’s end zone bloodhound Todd Gurley found what he came for three more times in the 33-31 win, re-taking his league lead in points, with 58 through five games. There were a few holes in the Rams defence that were exposed however, as new addition Marcus Peters was beat for scores on three separate occasions, none of which the corner was even close on. If LA’s defence plays like that against Case Keenum’s struggling Broncos attack next week the Rams may not be as invincible as we all thought.

Life comes at you fast.

2 – Kansas City Chiefs (5-0) (–) — The Myth of Mahomes is over, as the story of 2018 threw his first two picks while failing to toss a touchdown pass in a 30-14 win over the Jags. To be clear, that doesn’t mean Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs aren’t for real, it just means they’re not as perfect as they seemed during that 4-0 start. In fact, during the Chiefs’ fifth win of the season it was Kareem Hunt and the defence who carried the team. The defence forced five turnovers (all of which were committed by Blake Bortles, a tad less impressive) and racked up five sacks while Hunt toted the ball a season-high 22 times while scoring for his third straight game. It’s a relief to see that Mahomes is human, but at the same time it’s scary to see how well the Chiefs can play even when the young phenom doesn’t throw a touchdown. Kansas City is for real.

3 – New Orleans Saints (4-1) (↑1) — Since the Saints fell to the Buccaneers in a fitz-magical upset in Week One, they have been undefeated, putting up a league-high 180 points through the first five weeks. Week Five was no different, as the Saints went up against a supposedly stout Washington defence and beat them to a pulp in a 43-19 win. Running back Mark Ingram returned and made quite an impression, taking 18 touches for 73 yards and a pair of scores while running mate Alvin Kamara was quiet as a mouse. In the second quarter QB Drew Brees became the NFL’s all-time passer leader, passing Peyton Manning with a 62-yard touchdown toss to Tre’quan Smith. By game’s end Brees had amassed 72,103 passing yards through his career, and it couldn’t have happened to a nicer, better guy. Cheers, Drew.

4 – New England Patriots (3-2) (↑1) — The Patriots are winning games as they usually have during the Brady-Belichick era: with efficiency. Tom Brady’s attack is averaging only 357 yards per game, good for 22nd in the league. They’ve turned that yardage into 26.6 points per game however, which is ninth in the league. Same story goes for the defence; they’re the quintessential bend but don’t break unit, having given up just 12 touchdowns so far this year. The Pats proved they can run the ball with strong efforts on the ground the past two weeks. They’ll need all the fire-power they can get with the Chiefs coming into town next Sunday night, a matchup which should go down as one of the thrillers of the season.

5 – Jacksonville Jaguars (3-2) (↓2) — After allowing offences nearly 29 points per game over the first four weeks, the Chiefs clamped down on the Jags offence, only allowing two touchdowns in a 30-14 loss for Jacksonville. Blake Bortles was tossed around like a rag-doll, committing five turnovers, including two interceptions in the Chiefs end zone. The Chiefs defence is nothing special, so this performance from Bortles (despite an impressive rushing touchdown during which he trucked a defender) is alarming for the Jags. Bortles had no problem moving the ball, putting up 502 yards, but the turnovers can’t continue if the Jags want to succeed without Leonard Fournette, who will likely be out due to injury for at least the next week or two. Next week in Dallas Blakey B will look to get back on track after one of his worst games in recent memory.

6 – Los Angeles Chargers (3-2) (↑2) — Philip Rivers has an embarrassment of riches and he did well to use them all to get a convincing win over a Raiders team that has struggled mightily this season. Bolo Tie Phil completed at least three passes to four different receivers during the 26-10 win, including eight receptions for 90 yards to number one wideout Keenan Allen, both of which are the receiver’s highest totals since Week One. If Allen can get going alongside running back Melvin Gordon (six touchdowns) and up-and-coming rookie play-maker Mike Williams this offence can really do some damage against the Browns this week in Cleveland—and beyond.

7 – Minnesota Vikings (2-2-1) (↑7) — The Vikings needed this win in a big way, for their record but just as much for their team morale. It was a great team win during which they got three sacks and two turnovers from their D, not to mention 330-lb Linval Joseph‘s rumbling 64-yard interception return touchdown. Kirk Cousins’ passing game was on point as per usual, finding Adam Thielen for his NFL-record fifth-straight 100-yard game to start the season while also connecting with Stefon Diggs 10 times during the 23-21 win over the defending champs. Still no Dalvin Cook however, and that means still no run game. Minnesota will hope to have the sophomore tailback in the lineup next week but with or without them the Vikings should be good when the Cardinals come to town next week.

8 – Green Bay Packers (2-2-1) (↓2) — What can you do but feel sorry for Aaron Rodgers after that loss. He didn’t have two of his top three receivers and his offensive linemen turned into human turnstiles, allowing him to be sacked four times, two of which resulted in strip-sacks. Then there was kicker Mason Crosby, who missed with the first five swings he took. The reliable kicker of 10+ years made a kick at the end of the game, but it was the first time since 2001 that a kicker has been as useless as Crosby was on this day. Even changing his shoes didn’t help the guy out! He’s lucky he seems to be on Aaron Rodgers’ good side because if he hadn’t been a veteran he’d already be out flippin’ burgers at Burger King.

9 – Philadelphia Eagles (2-3) (↓2) —  Week Five’s 23-21 loss to the Vikings comes after the heartbreaking loss Philly suffered in OT at the hands of the Titans. After two uneven efforts in a row the Eagles find themselves below .500 for the first time since 2016. Their top back Jay Ajayi tore his ACL so it will be interesting to see how that backfield shakes out. The Ertz to Wentz connection is as strong as ever, with Zach Ertz‘ 10 receptions against the Viks bringing him up to third in the league with 41 through five weeks. Philly has lost a few close ones but I wouldn’t worry about them, expect Wentz to lead his team back to victory this week when they head to the Meadowlands to take on the Giants on Thursday.

10 – Cincinnati Bengals (4-1) (↑5) — The Bengals had a scare for a second there after they went down double-digits due to a punt return touchdown against them, but thanks to three fourth quarter turnovers by Ryan Tannehill which led to two defensive touchdowns for the Bengals, they kept themselves at the top of the AFC North pecking order at 4-1. With Joe Mixon back the Bengals are essentially at full strength on offence and will need all the help they can get with the division-rival Steelers coming in hot after their first big win of the season.

11 -Chicago Bears (3-1) (↑1) — The Bears had a week off last week and will head to South Beach to take on the fish in Week Six. Khalil Mack and the suddenly scary Chicago Bears defensive front will look to continue terrorizing opposing offences, going up against a unit led in Miami by Ryan Tannehill, whose three turnovers in Week Five led to a Dolphins loss. Mitchy Trubisky will look to build on the record-setting six touchdown performance he put forth last time out. Don’t expect six touchdowns, but expect at least a couple.

12 – Carolina Panthers (3-1) (↑5) — Talk about a dying breed. The Panthers thought they’d iced the game when Riverboat Ron went for it on fourth and short around midfield with about three minutes left and his team up three. Killa Cam Newton—who’s got balls just as big as his coach’s—decided against a quick and easy pass to the flat to get the yardage needed on that fourth down, instead slinging it 20 yards downfield for the first. Unfortunately they couldn’t run the clock out and instead had to settle for a field goal, which was answered quickly by Giants rookie phenom Saquon Barkley, who leaped into the end zone to put his team up one with half a minute left. That’s when that man came in. Graham Gano. Possibly the last of a dying breed (along with Justin Tucker), Gano has yet to miss this season (on field goals or extra points) and absolutely nailed a 63-yarder as time expired to put an exclamation point on his application as the most reliable kicker in the game not named Tucker. I’m not the only one who loved that kick either, Carolina’s Spanish announcers were more than a little content with the boot as well. What a call that was. The Panthers will head to the nation’s capital to take on a Washington team still limping after the Saints gave them an absolute beatdown on Monday night.

13 – Miami Dolphins (3-2) (↓4) — Jakeem Grant is one fast sonnuvabitch you guys. He has scored on a 52-yard pitch-and-run, a 102-yard kickoff return and has now added a 71-yard punt return to his season achievements. Grant’s 521 kickoff return yards through five games represent the highest five-game total since 2013 when someone named Devin Hester was terrorizing the league with his game-breaking speed. Unfortunately for Grant the rest of the Dolphins squad was unable to play up to par and lost to the Bengals 27-17 after a fourth quarter meltdown during which Ryan Tannehill turned the ball over three times, resulting in two defensive touchdowns.

14 – Baltimore Ravens (3-2) (↓4) — After a very impressive win over the Steelers in Week Four, Joe Flacco reverted back to form against the Browns. Joe had trouble with the Browns swarming defence, completing barely half his passes and throwing a pick without finding the end zone all game. After such a uneven showing, it seemed only fitting they lost on the clumsiest, ugliest game-winning field goal you’ll ever see. In Week Six they’ll visit a Titans team that lost in very similar fashion. Let’s see which of the two groups can get back on track.

15 – Denver Broncos (2-3) (↓4) — After that embarrassing 34-16 display against the Jets there’s probably next to no one who is giving the Broncos a chance this week against the Rams. And I’m not gonna be the exception. I do think however that the Seahawks gashing the Rams for 190 yards on the ground bodes well for the Broncos’ third-ranked rushing offence in the contest. Case Keenum has been a zero, but if the Broncos D can make a couple of stops early and get rolling on the ground with pounder Royce Freeman and speedster Phillip Lindsay, they may have a shot at slaying Goliath. Ultimately though, I bet they blow it and Todd Gurley makes his way to the end zone on multiple occasions as the Broncos fall again. I do believe though that if the game starts out the Broncos’ way they can definitely give LA a run for its money .

16 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-2) (↓3) —  The Bucs didn’t play this week but they still had to drop three spots now that they’ve benched Fitzmagic and gone back to an Uber driver’s worst nightmare as their starting QB. I know Jameis Winston likes to eat Ws (which I and the majority of people have always found extremely weird, above) but I doubt he’ll actually be earning any victories for his Bucs any time soon. The Bucs have one of the worst defences in the league and they’ve got to deal with division-rival Atlanta this week, no doubt the most talented one-win team of this young season. Maybe they’ve got a shot against the Browns the week after? If I were a betting man I’d take Baker over Jameis, but that’s just me.

 

17 – Pittsburgh Steelers (2-2-1) (↑3) — Though there have been tabloids discussing some lawsuits coming Antonio Brown‘s way shortly, they are for minor issues and their affect on Brown’s play will most likely be minimal to non existent. Brown finally busted out in the fifth game of 2018, snatching six balls for 101 yards and a pair of scores, including a 47-yard trip to pay dirt during which he was hit with an absolutely lovely dime right in the bread basket between two defenders by QB Big Ben Roethlisberger. Antonio’s back on track, and so is RB James Conner, who had a rough couple of games but came back strong in Week Five with 110 yards and a pair of TDs on the ground. The defence stepped up against a very potent Falcons attack that had been averaging 29 points a game, giving them just 17 points while holding Julio Jones reception-less until the fourth quarter, at which point it was much too little too late. The Steelers have to be feeling good going into a divisional matchup with Cincinnati in Week Six.

18 – Houston Texans (2-3) (↑3) — DeShaun Watson is a winner ya’ll. He had the stats last season, but now, he’s getting the dubs. I mean, they’re just wins against the porous Colts and Cowboys, to be sure, but they’re wins nonetheless. The more impressive thing is that Watson was able to lead his squad to two straight overtime wins. That takes composure and at least a little of that lovely spice we call ‘clutch’. The Texans are right back in the mix and will host a Bills team that has been causing gamblers from here to Albuquerque problems all season long.

19 – Atlanta Falcons (1-4) (↓3) — It’s clear from the statistics that Matt Ryan is a different player at home and away. When he’s not at home, all he wants to do is dump it off to perennial after-thought Austin Hooper instead of finding big plays on the outside, where possibly the best receiving trio in the league is doing work. Julio Jones didn’t have a catch until the fourth quarter against the Steelers during an embarrassing 41-17 loss and that CANNOT happen again if the Falcons want to be any kind of competitive in the NFC. They’ll be back at home against the Bucs in Week Six so expect big games from Julio and Matty boy alike: Hotlanta is where they flourish.

20 – Tennessee Titans (3-2) (↓2) —  The Titans beat the defending champs and the leagues best defensive unit in back-to-back weeks, forcing us to take them seriously, only to pull the rug out from under us at the last moment with a ‘SIKE!’ and a big fat L at the hands of the Bills. Nice. Marcus Mariota and the painfully regular offence of the Titans will face a tall order when the Ravens come to town this week. The Bills don’t have an impressive defence by any measure, so if they can hold the Titans to just 12 points, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Ravens ball-hawking defence shut them right out this time around.

21 – New York Jets (2-3) (↑3) — Through five weeks in the 2018 season, there are already 20 of 32 teams with at least two wins AND two losses. The Jets as a franchise are terrible, but they’ve got this new rookie QB and Robby Anderson so they’ve somehow fit themselves into the middle-of-the-pack early on this season. Two 70+ touchdown passes to Anderson seem like a once a season phenomenon though. The Jets won’t get big plays like that every week but I have a feeling they will finish this season with one of those records where you can’t quite roast them like the Browns used to get roasted, but you also have no respect for them. Much like the 5-11 Jets of 2017, come to think of it. Anywho, the Jets could very well keep the good times rolling this week when they host the struggling Colts at the Meadowlands.

22 – Seattle Seahawks (2-3) (–) — The Seahawks offence came to play in Week Five against the best team in the league but came a successful Jared Goff 4th down sneak short in a 33-31 loss. Russell Wilson threw three touchdowns, but it was the running game that kept the Seahawks offence humming and the whole team in the game. Mike Davis and Chris Carson combined for 190 yards on 31 carries, which included more than a few long, tackle-busting runs. Seattle forced two fumbles and intercepted Goff twice, which is encouraging for a defence that just lost their best playmaker. The Seahawks will look to get back to .500 against the sinking Raiders next week in the Bay.

Karma’s a bitch ain’t it.

23 – D.C. Football Team (2-2) (↓4) — The Redskins had been making people’s heads turn after three weeks thanks to their league-leading defence, but Drew Brees and the Saints quickly put the idea of Washington as a premiere defence to bed when they put up 447 yards and Brees completed 26 passes while misfiring on only three. Alex Smith was ordinary as ever, throwing one pick and no touchdowns as his offence couldn’t even put up 300 yards against a defence who was allowing nearly 400 per game over the previous four. The running game was abysmal, managing only 39 yards on the night. 33-year-old veteran Adrian Peterson also strained his shoulder and couldn’t finish the game. It seems that without him Washington becomes one-dimensional, and when that one dimension is Alex Smith, it’s probably a bad sign for your team.

24 – Detroit Lions (2-3) (↑3) — Thanks to some very timely and well-situated turnovers, the Lions were able to grab a stranglehold of their matchup with the Packers early on and hold it just tight enough to get the W. Without those turnovers and an otherworldly terrible performance from Mason Crosby however, that game would’ve gone a very different way. Matty Stafford couldn’t even top 200 yards while completing just over 50 percent of his passes on the day. Rookie runner Kerryon Johnson had looked like he was getting going as well before an injury forced him out. No doubt the Lions are happy to take their bye now and let their prized young tailback get healthy.

25 – Cleveland Browns (2-2-1) (↑3) — The Browns earned their first win on a Sunday in over 1,000 days after outlasting the division-rival Ravens in a 12-9 OT win. The Browns now rep the same record as the Vikings, Packers and Steelers. Not bad company. The Ravens offence isn’t a finely tuned machine or anything, but the Browns did well to shut them out of the end zone for the entire game, the first time they’ve done that as a team since Week Seven of last season, when they were on the losing end of a 12-9 overtime game. Hue has really turned the tables now, hasn’t he. The Browns’ offence will have to pick up their jockstraps and get to gelling though; they’ll host an LA Chargers team with more lethal weapons than the Browns have wins over the past three seasons.

26 – Dallas Cowboys (2-3) (–) — I’m at my wits end trying to write about these Cowboys. Ezekiel Elliott is a great player (if not a great person) with a great o-line and Dak Prescott has finally chased the 200-yards-in-a-game monkey off his back. They took the Texans to overtime in another complete snooze-fest of a game—if not for the spin cycle DeAndre Hopkins put the Cowboys defence in to set up the Texans’ game-winning field goal in overtime. They’ll host a prowl of Jaguars that were mistreated by both the Chiefs and their own QB this past week: those cats will be looking for blood in Dallas. Not literally, but you never know with those Jacksonville guys, Florida is a crazy place with some wild people.

27 – San Francisco 49ers (1-4) (↓4) — These guys lost to the Cardinals somehow. They also lost #TheGuy Matt Breida for a few weeks which doesn’t help their case. Other than that… I mean, they lost to the Cardinals dude, what more is there to say? They head to Green Bay to take on the Packers this week. The only shot for them there is if Mason Crosby tries to kick a field goal every time Green Bay gets across midfield. Even then I think the Niners take the L.

28 – New York Giants (1-4) (↓3) — The Giants finally scored more than 30 points—unfortunately it came in a 33-31 loss—a feat which they haven’t achieved since the final game of 2015. That’s right. In this new age of high-flying offences and flimsy scoring and passing records the Giants failed to top 30+ points for two full seasons. Yikes. The Odell Beckham-Saquon Barkley pairing showed off their chemistry when ODB tossed one to Barkley on a deep wheel route that the deceptively swift rookie took 57 yards to the house. Barkley also scored an impressive touchdown to put the Giants up for about 20 seconds in the final minute of the game, but of course, the defence was unable to back the offence up, allowing for a 63-yard boot from Graham Gano to win the game for the Panthers in the dying seconds. It’s a tough way to lose, but the Giants can’t dwell as they turnaround on a very short week to take on the defending-champion Eagles at home on Thursday night.

29 – Buffalo Bills (2-3) (↑2) — The Bills won on a field goal in the dying seconds, 13-12, over the upstart Titans and are now just one game below .500. Can you believe that? After Vontae Davis left at halftime of that game a few weeks back I thought for sure these boys were done for. Apparently, you can never count out Bills Mafia. Well, actually, you can usually count them out, just not in this case. LeSean McCoy also looked decent for the first game this season, but there has been talk about moving him back to his old stomping grounds in Philly with the Eagles lead back having torn his ACL this past week. I doubt Shady will be dealt this week if at all, so he’ll be available for Sean McDermott and the Bills when they head to Texas to take on the Texans this week.

30 – Indianapolis Colts (1-4) (↓1) — The Colts looked rough against the Patriots last Thursday, a matchup which used to be one of the most anticipated in the league schedule not too long ago. The 38-24 beatdown the Colts received in New England last week has sadly become the norm for this once celebrated rivalry. Andrew Luck seems to be mostly recovered from his shoulder issues, but with no run game to speak of (just 74.9 yards per game) and top play-makers T.Y. Hilton and Jack Doyle out with injury it’s like Luck’s playing in a strait-jacket. One would think they’d be able to put up a better showing this week against the Jets. One would think.

31 – Arizona Cardinals (1-4) (↑1) — Believe it or not these desert dudes actually earned a win. I mean, it was against the Niners, who’ve lost their top QB and RB already this season, but the 28-18 win counts nonetheless. A win’s a win, and the Cardinals must be ecstatic that they won’t have to play with the 0-16 possibility hanging over their heads all season. They’ll head to Minnesota to take on a tough Vikings team this week. I’m giving them next to no chance in this one, but I also gave the Bills no chance against the Viks a couple of weeks ago and they ended up mopping the floor with the Purple People Eaters. So.. watch out for the desert birds in Week Six as they’ll.. look, I guess, to play spoiler against Minnesota. I’m still very skeptical.

A long road ahead for Chuckie and the crew.

32 – Oakland Raiders (1-4) (↓2) —  Oakland’s pass rush is still invisible, putting up just six sacks through five games, the lowest total in the league. The defence as a whole has been swish cheese, giving up the third most yards in the league. Derek Carr has been leading a solid offensive unit on the other hand, putting up 411.2 yards per game, good for sixth in the league. In Week Six the Raiders will have their hands full with a Seahawks offence that seems like they might have finally figured it out.