1. Los Angeles Rams: 6-0 (Last Week: 1)
And then there was one. Just the Rams remain in the undefeated circle after the Chiefs fell on Sunday night. Los Angeles escaped Denver with a win, thanks in large part to MVP-candidate Todd Gurley. Los Angeles’ offense is explosive across the board, but the former Georgia running back leads the league in yards from scrimmage and touchdowns. Even with Jared Goff struggling, Sean McVay knows he can rely on Gurley.
2. New England Patriots: 4-2 (Last Week: 3)
It was a sight all opposing coaches hate to see. Tom Brady got the ball back with three minutes remaining in a tie ball game. Brady naturally torched the Chiefs defense to set up a chip shot for Stephen Gostkowski. Turns out Sony Michel is no joke as well. The defense failed to slow down Kansas City in the second half, but held Patrick Mahomes and company to just nine first half points. Not to mention, the Patriots came up with two interceptions. This team is well-solidified among the league’s elites once again with this victory.
3. Kansas City Chiefs: 5-1 (Last Week: 2)
The Chiefs came so close to over coming a slow start and pulling off a stunning comeback. Tyreek Hill is still out running Patriot defenders. The issue continues to be the defense, which struggled all night long to deal with New England’s balanced attack. Kansas City still leads the AFC, but faces another tough test as the Bengals come to town.
4. New Orleans Saints: 4-1 (Last Week: 4)
Odd stat of the day: the Saints lead the league in fewest rushing yards allowed per game. That is offset by allowing the third most passing yards per game and potentially a product of the offense’s ability to score. Still New Orleans has shown flashes of defensive talent. If it can find that consistently, this team will be extremely scary.
5. Minnesota Vikings: 3-2-1 (Last Week 6)
It is time to start recognizing Adam Theilen as a great receiver. The Vikings wideout hauled in 11 balls for 123 yards and a touchdown. He and Stefon Diggs create one of the best receiving duos in the league. Minnesota finally got its pedestrian ground game going as well, which is more impressive because Dalvin Cook is still out with an injury. Mike Zimmer is finding ways to win despite missing both a starting safety, defensive end, left tackle and running back. Unfortunately, rookie stand out Mike Hughes is also done for the year with a torn ACL.
6. Baltimore Ravens: 4-2 (Last Week: 10)
Talk about dominant defensive play. Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and whoever else you want to throw in from the legendary Ravens’ defenses of the early 2000s would be proud of the effort Baltimore displayed in Tennessee. The defense allowed just 106 yards of offense and shutout the Titans. The offense was solid, if unspectacular. That is all it will need to be with the league’s top scoring defense running the show.
7. Philadelphia Eagles: 3-3 (Last Week: 11)
Turns out the cure for a Super Bowl hangover is the play the Giants. Philadelphia demolished its long time rival to pick up the road win. It doesn’t completely alleviate the concerns surrounding the team, but Carson Wentz looked phenomenal in the victory. The Eagles had no answer for Saquon Barkley though. Not many teams have to this point, but he accounted for 229 yards of offense, which is never a good thing for the opposing team.
8. Pittsburgh Steelers: 3-2-1 (Last Week: 12)
It proved to be a rather dramatic finish in Cincinnati, but the Steelers picked up a divisional road win. James Connor starred again and Ben Roethlisberger continues to have a career year. The unfortunate news is Le’Veon Bell seems to be continuing his hold out, despite previous reports he would return the team’s upcoming bye.
9. Los Angeles Chargers: 4-2 (Last Week: 13)
While many thought the Chargers would struggle heading east for a matchup with the Browns, Los Angeles took care of business. The defense battered Baker Mayfield to the tune of five sacks. Melvin Gordon and Tyrell Williams had a field day against the Browns defense. Don’t look now, but the Chargers are just a game back of the Chiefs.
10. Chicago Bears: 3-2 (Last Week: 5)
What happened to the Bears defense that dominated the rest of the NFL for the first four weeks of the season? Granted the game went into overtime, but Chicago surrendered 541 yards of offense and did not sack Brock Osweiler once. Mitch Trubisky threw a costly interception in the end zone to deprive the Bears of points. This is still a young team with a lot to prove.
11. Carolina Panthers: 3-2 (Last Week: 8)
One of the easiest signs of the Panthers struggling is when Christian McCaffrey picks up only 20 yards on 8 attempts. Carolina’s lack of a run game hurt them in D.C. Cam Newton used his legs well, but this team works best when it is picking up tons of yards on the ground. The defense only allowed two touchdowns in the game. The Panthers offense has to do more to get the win.
12. Cincinnati Bengals: 4-2 (Last Week: 9)
The team that seemed to always find a way to win in the fourth quarter suffered its first late-game let down of the season. Cincy out played Pittsburgh for much of the contest, but the Steelers high-powered offense proved to be too much. The fact is, the Bengals failed to lean on the running game when it should have, as Joe Mixon only had 11 carries. That number needs to be higher going forward.
13. Jacksonville Jaguars: 3-3 (Last Week: 7)
When you get blown out 40-7 against a team who had previously been averaging under 17 points per game on offense, you drop six spots in the rankings. Jacksonville looked outmatched in every aspect of the game. Blake Bortles is looking more and more like the quarterback all his critics made him out to be. Luckily for the Jaguars, they still hold a share of the division lead. This upcoming matchup with the Texans is crucial.
14. Green Bay Packers: 3-2-1 (Last Week: 14)
Well that was exciting. Aaron Rodgers went into All-Madden mode in the fourth quarter to lead a furious comeback against San Francisco. Green Bay should never have been in that spot in the first place. The defense has a ton to work on after allowing C.J. Beathard to torch them. The Packers have a sorely needed bye to get healthy before facing a gauntlet. The Rams and the Patriots await following the week off.
15. Washington: 3-2 (Last Week: 16)
Washington bounced back well after a lackluster performance in New Orleans. Returning home helped. So did actually playing defense. Jay Gruden’s team still leads the NFC East, but with both the Cowboys and Eagles picking up big wins in week 6, Washington still has a lot of work to do. The division is wide open and stifling run defense like we saw this weekend could be key to winning it.
16. Atlanta Falcons: 2-4 (Last Week: 15)
It was almost a catastrophic collapse, but Atlanta hung on for the win. The offense looks prolific. The defense looks prolifically bad. The Falcons rank 30th and 31st in total defense and scoring defense respectively. Luckily for them, the only team worse in both those categories is Tampa.
17. Seattle Seahawks: 3-3 (Last Week: 21)
Oakland might be terrible, but Seattle did exactly what you are supposed to do to terrible teams. Russell Wilson was efficient. The defense played at an extremely high level. Knocking Amari Cooper out of the game certainly made stopping the Raiders offense easier, but Derek Carr had one of the worst games of his career. The Seahawks need to win these kind of games to have a shot at the wild card.
18. Detroit Lions: 2-3 (Last Week: 18)
A week off for Detroit came at the right time. The Lions have played a number of close games in recent weeks, but have no consistently shown up on offense. This also gives Golden Tate a chance to get healthy. With the Bears losing, the Lions are now only one win behind everyone in the NFC North. Detroit has a date with Miami, who just knocked off Chicago.
19. Miami Dolphins: 4-2 (Last Week: 24)
Turns out the solution to the Miami Dolphins late-game issues was Brock Osweiler. That was never a sentence I thought I would type. The former Broncos quarterback played well for his old offensive coordinator, tossing three touchdowns and 380 yards. The Dolphins are right back in the wild card hunt with a solid win over a great Bears defense.
20. Dallas Cowboys: 3-3 (Last Week: 25)
Bring Connor McGregor to every Cowboys game going forward. Dallas found its swagger and blasted the Jaguars at home. Cole Beasley finally showed up. Dak Prescott looked comfortable shredding what was supposed to be one of the league’s top defenses. If the Cowboys can play anywhere close to this well on offense the rest of the year, Dallas has a real chance at winning the division.
21. Tennessee Titans: 3-3 (Last Week: 17)
While defense can win championships, offense is a nice thing to have too. The Titans were embarrassed all over the field. For what is usually one of the better offensive lines in the league, Tennessee surrendered 11, the second most allowed in league history. Marcus Mariota is probably still in the ice bath.
22. Houston Texans: 3-3 (Last Week: 23)
Remember when everyone was wondering where the supposedly vaunted Texans defense had disappeared to? Houston is looking like it has an elite defense once again. While Buffalo has a great defense of its own, Deshaun Watson has been way too turnover prone in recent weeks for the Texans to keep overcoming his errors. Watson needs to take care of the football and take the pressure off this defense.
23. Denver Broncos: 2-4 (Last Week: 20)
This is the NFL. Moral victories don’t exist, but Vance Joseph has to feel a lot better about his team’s defense effort this week. Yes, the Broncos still allowed Todd Gurley to rumble for over 200 yards and two scores, but it also stifled the best passing offense in the league. Denver also mounted a fourth quarter comeback attempt. Joseph has his work cut out for him, but his team was much improved this week.
24. Cleveland Browns: 2-3-1 (Last Week: 19)
Just when it seemed like it was finally time for the Browns to turn it around, Cleveland laid an egg against Los Angeles. For the first time this season, it is probably important to remember this is the youngest roster in the NFL. The Browns are in the middle of a massive rebuild, well another one at least. The result isn’t good, but when you have a rookie quarterback playing through a knee injury against a red hot team, sometimes this happens.
25. New York Jets: 3-3 (Last Week: 26)
Turned out to be a great week to have Jason Myers as your fantasy kicker. He set a franchise record with seven made field goals. New York has a lot to be happy with as Sam Darnold played his best game so far in his rookie season. It will face a much stiffer challenge as Minnesota comes to town. How the Jets fare against the Vikings will let us know how close this team is to breaking into legitimate playoff contention.
26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 2-3 (Last Week: 22)
Another week, another brutal loss for Tampa, and it cost defensive coordinator Mike Smith his job. This one was brutal in a different sense then the previous blowout to Chicago. The Buccaneers had a legitimate chance to win the game and came up about seven yards short of a winning touchdown as time expired. Jameis Winston played a lot like Ryan Fitzpatrick actually. He threw for 395 yards and four touchdowns, but tossed two early interceptions and fumbled twice. For the first time all season, Tampa showed signs of a running game, averaging 6.2 yards per carry.
27. New York Giants: 1-5 (Last Week: 27)
Don’t look now, but the Giants are turning themselves into one of the worst run franchises in football. This is a team dominating the back pages with all of the drama unfolding. Pat Schumur has no idea what to do. Eli Manning is being put in an impossible situation as an aging quarterback with an awful line. On the bright side, Saquon Barkley is running away with the rookie of the year award.
28. Indianapolis Colts: 1-5 (Last Week: 28)
It was a wild game in New York, but the Colts made way to many mistakes to win. Andrew Luck toss three picks, although the first one was not his fault. Robert Turbin also lost a fumble. Indianapolis’ defense gave up a ton of points to a rookie quarterback as well. The positive spin is despite consistently having good starting field position, Indy forced the Jets to attempt seven field goals in the game.
29. Buffalo Bills: 2-4 (Last Week: 29)
For the second straight week, the defense almost found a way to win it for Buffalo. Unfortunately, who else but Nathan Peterman got in the way, throwing two back-breaking interceptions in the final two minutes. Allen left with an injury midway through the game. Peterman is making a case to be one of the worst quarterbacks in NFL history. He has thrown an interception on 11.4 percent of his passes in his career and a completion percentage of 44.3. For reference, JaMarcus Russell completed 52.1 percent of his passes and only threw an interception on 3.4 percent of his passes. The Bills need a new backup quarterback.
30. Oakland Raiders: 1-5 (Last Week: 30)
The Raiders are officially in free fall. Oakland got rocked across the pond by Seattle in a 27-3 drubbing. Reportedly, the Raiders are also shopping their top wide receiver Amari Cooper and 2016 first round pick Karl Joseph. The fire sale is on in Oakland. Apparently Jon Gruden does not want any good players on the roster by the time the team moves to Las Vegas.
31. Arizona Cardinals: 1-5 (Last Week: 31)
Unfortunately for Arizona, the rebuild is going to take some time. There were some positives from this game, like producing two turnovers, including a fumble returned for a touchdown. The downside is the Cardinals allowed one of the worst running teams in the league to pick up 195 yards on the ground. Josh Rosen looked rather average, but not outmatched against a good Vikings defense. Steve Wilks needs to find a way to get David Johnson going.
32. San Francisco 49ers: 1-5 (Last Week: 32)
Few expected it, but San Francisco put on an offensive show in Green Bay on Monday Night Football. C.J. Beathard was nothing short of masterful and the running game accounted for 174 yards. However, the 49ers still came up short as Beathard threw a late-game interception to set up the Packers’ winning drive. Kyle Shannahan is clearly not interested in tanking the rest of the way.