1. New England Patriots (Last week: 1)
The AFC East (other than the Jets) had a good weekend, and the Pats certainly led the way. There were some questionable miscues from the defense and special teams, but nothing to really be concerned about.
2. Minnesota Vikings (Last week: 2)
A week off lets the Vikings bask in the glory of being undefeated. Leslie Frazier has this defense operating at a very high level and the offense is playing turnover free. That’s a winning formula.
3. Seattle Seahawks (Last week: 4)
It was a win but Seattle almost blew a major first half lead against Atlanta. Arizona is on tap and a win there would put Seattle in the driver’s seat for the rest of the season in the NFC West.
4. Dallas Cowboys (Last week: 9)
Five in a row heading into the bye week is perfect for these red hot Cowboys. Dak Prescott finally threw an interception, but Dallas got a very solid road win at Lambeau. Oh and Zeke Elliot leads the league in rushing. Good draft class for Jerry Jones.
5. Atlanta Falcons (Last week: 6)
Even with a loss, Atlanta actually moves up in the power rankings. The Falcons got the short end of the stick on a no-call at the end of the game in Seattle. You can’t blame it all on that, but Atlanta held their own in Seattle.
6. Green Bay Packers (Last week: 5)
Another week another question mark for the Packers. Aaron Rodgers looks pedestrian at best. The running game has disappeared and that defense finally broke in an embarrassing home loss for Green Bay.
7. Washington (Last week: 12)
Is Washington really the number 7 team in the league? Probably not but they’ve won four in a row, including two divisional games. With so many of the top teams losing, its hard to justify them anywhere else.
8. Denver Broncos (Last week: 7)
The Chargers are better than their record indicates, but the Denver offense had a poor showing this week. Denver would drop more if it wasn’t for the parity in the league right now.
9. Buffalo Bills (Last week: 13)
Make that four in a row for Rex Ryan’s crew. An absolute thrashing of the 49ers this weekend moves the Bills to 4-2 with chances to climb higher.
10. Kansas City Chiefs (Last week: 14)
It wasn’t always pretty, but that’s just how the Chiefs play football. Kansas City silenced the division rival Raiders and even though Oakland has a better record, the Chiefs look headed in the right direction.
11. Philadelphia Eagles (Last week: 8)
Talk about coming back down to Earth. After a 3-0 start, Philly has dropped two straight. Both were by one score or less so no need to panic, but the expectations for Philly have been curbed.
12. Oakland Raiders (Last week: 10)
I mentioned last week that Oakland’s defense was lackluster. Well this week so was the offense. A 16-point loss to the division rival Chiefs at home definitely stings. Oakland, despite it 4-2 record, has a point differential of -11. Not good.
13. Arizona Cardinals (Last week: 16)
Even if it was just the Jets, Arizona got back to .500 with a beatdown on Monday night. David Johnson scored three touchdowns and is third in the league in rushing. That defense had two picks and limited the Jets to three points. Now the real test comes with a visit from Seattle.
14. New York Giants (Last week: 18)
While still in the basement, the Giants got a big win at home this week. More importantly, Odell Beckham Jr. finally showed up. He had a career-high in yards and two 60-plus yard touchdowns, including the game winner. This was the type of win New York needed to banish some of their old demons.
15. Houston Texans (Last week: 19)
Houston pulled off the comeback of the week with a home win over the Colts in overtime. Finding yourself down 17-3 at halftime isn’t reassuring, but a win is a win no less. It keeps the Texans atop the AFC South and knocks down their biggest challenger for that title.
16. Pittsburgh Steelers (Last week: 3)
It might be time for panic mode in Pittsburgh. Ben Roethlisberger will miss an estimate 4-6 weeks with a torn meniscus. And the Steelers got thoroughly beaten by Miami, whose only other win was against Cleveland. Not a great look, especially when you allow a 200-yard rusher either. Oh and the Patriots are visiting this weekend. Good luck Landry Jones.
17. Baltimore Ravens (Last week: 11)
This time the offense showed up, and the defense dropped the ball. That’s two straight losses for Baltimore. Things would be worse if it wasn’t for the unexpected turn Pittsburgh just took. This could be the Ravens division now.
18. Detroit Lions (Last week: 20)
After looking down and out two weeks ago, the Lions are suddenly at .500. Both wins were solid, but Detroit has yet to show any signs of stability. If we see that, then this might be a playoff contender.
19. New Orleans Saints (Last week: 24)
The Saints defense still looks terrible, so it’s a good thing that Drew Brees hasn’t lost a step. The New Orleans signal caller threw for 465 yards and 4 touchdowns. Unfortunately, the defense also allowed 21 points in the fourth quarter. Sean Payton can’t win every shootout.
20. San Diego Chargers (Last week: 26)
San Diego got a much need win against division rival Denver, breathing some life into their playoff aspirations. That might sound crazy because they are 2-4, but Philip Rivers could carry this team into the wildcard conversation.
21. Cincinnati Bengals (Last week: 17)
Another week another deflating loss for Cincy. The Bengals came out strong against New England, only to fade in the second half. Cincinnati has scored 109 points so far this year, tied for the third worse mark in the conference.
22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Last week: 22)
A week theoretically let the Buccaneers get healthy, until word came out that Doug Martin suffered a setback. Jameis Winston needs to step up now and show that he has taken that step from his rookie to sophomore year.
23. Los Angeles Rams (Last week: 15)
Never doubt Jeff Fisher’s ability to coach his team to a .500 record. Two straight losses look bad, but Case Keenum had a good day and found Kenny Britt all day long. If Todd Gurley ever got rolling like he did last season, Los Angeles could hang around in this wildcard picture.
24. Indianapolis Colts (Last week: 21)
The Colts had Houston right where they wanted them, and then blew it. A win would’ve put Indy in a three-way tie atop the division with the Texans and Titans. Instead, the Colts’ coaching staff still has to figure out how to close games and protect Andrew Luck, two things they have struggled with in the least three seasons.
25. Miami Dolphins (Last week: 30)
After proclaiming that Miami hit rock bottom a week ago, the Dolphins came back and shocked the Steelers. Yes it was without Ben Roethlisberger, but Jay Ajai ran for over 200 yards and the ‘Fins can say they aren’t the worst team in the AFC East.
26. Carolina Panthers (Last week: 23)
Carolina cannot seem to string together two consistent weeks of football. Cam Newton returned to jump-start the offense, but the defense allowed Drew Brees to have a field day. At 1-5, the Panthers look like they did two years ago where all Newton did was pout and walk out of pressers.
27. Tennessee Titans (Last week: 29)
Don’t look now, but the Titans just hit the same number of wins through six weeks as they did all of last season. And they are only a game out of first place in the AFC South (man that division sucks). I’m not sold yet, because this was a two-point win over the winless Browns, but things are looking up for Tennessee.
28. Jacksonville Jaguars (Last week: 28)
They barely squeaked out a win in Chicago, but Jacksonville does move to 2-4. This team has struggled to find an identity so far, as it can’t seem to effective run the ball and continues to turn it over. Gus Bradley still has a lot of work to do with this group.
29. New York Jets (Last week: 25)
If you didn’t think it could any worse, it did. The Jets mustered on a field goal and both Ryan Fitzpatrick and Geno Smith threw interceptions against Arizona. Smith is set to start this week at Baltimore, but it probably won’t make a difference for this floundering Jets team.
30. San Francisco 49ers (Last week: 27)
Back to the basement is where San Francisco finds itself now. A blowout on the road in Buffalo certainly was not the way Colin Kaepernick wanted to debut this season, but he was probably an improvement over Blaine Gabbert. Chip Kelly is searching for answers, but it is clear that this team is in full scale rebuild mode.
31. Chicago Bears (Last week: 31)
Chicago blew another one against an AFC South opponent. Brian Hoyer continues to play mistake free, but the offense is still ineffective. At least they seem to have a couple of nice pieces in Jordan Howard and Cameron Meredith.
32. Cleveland Browns (Last week: 32)
It can only go up from here. Cleveland lost again, this time in a comeback attempt that just came up short. In other news, LeBron looks great in the preseason and the Indians are on the brink of a World Series appearance. And it’s not all bad for the Browns, they have Terrelle Pryor. Once healthy, this Cleveland team should be more competitive. Until then, it’s going to keep being ugly I think.