Through six weeks, we have an unexpected season unfolding. I'm pretty sure nobody would have guessed even three of the top five before the season started and nobody would have guessed the Patriots and Packers would be .500 teams. But hey, this is football. Anything can happen. So check out this week's power rankings and see where your favorite team stands.
-The only undefeated team remaining, the Falcons have a solid and balanced team. With Matt Ryan leading the offense filled with stars such as Roddy White, Julio Jones, Tony Gonzalez and Michael Turner to name a few, they have the ability to put up points every week. On defense, veteran John Abraham seems to not age and is leading that defense. With Dunta Robinson and Asante Samuel at corner and Thomas Decoud at safety, the Falcons have a good squad to defend any aerial attack. Being in a weak division, the Falcons have an easy way into the playoffs, but let's hope they will be prepared to play real teams when it matters.
2. Chicago Bears (4-1)
-Now the sole leader in their division with a Week 6 Vikings loss, the Bears will come out of the bye refreshed and ready to go. Their defense is pretty well known by now and is first in the league this season by a long shot thanks to the amount of turnovers they have forced. Offensively, the Bears are no walk in the park. Matt Forte is a top 10 back to go with the aerial assault of Jay Cutler to Brandon Marshall. The Bears are scary good and I would not be surprised at all if they won the division and made it to the Super Bowl.
3. San Francisco 49ers (4-2)
-The 49ers are the toughest team to rank. Despite losing last week to the team below, the 49ers have a squad that can destroy anyone on any given night, but it all comes down to how Alex Smith plays. As we saw last week, Smith looked like that old quarterback that couldn't do much. Throwing interceptions, checking down short, Smith is not a guy who can carry this team. If he falters, the team falters. There is never a concern with how the defense is going to play because they are a top 3 defense regardless, so it all comes back to Smith. As long as he can manage games at a higher level than last week, the 49ers shouldn't have any problem. They just need to get up early so Smith doesn't have to try and mount a comeback like last year's fluke victory against the Saints.
4. New York Giants (4-2)
-The Giants have surprised me so far this year. At first, I thought they were in for another painful year on defense. When Tony Romo picked them apart in Week 1, I thought this team was going to have a down year, but a comeback win against the Buccaneers in Week 3 and a 49ers victory last week has led me to believe they are better than what their offense shows. We all know they have the threat of Eli Manning, Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks and Ahmad Bradshaw, but what has been most surprising to me is how their defense is only giving up 19 points per game, which ranks top 10 in the NFL this year. Not only that, they are second in the NFL in interceptions and they have one of the scariest defensive lines with Justin Tuck, Jason Pierre-Paul and Usi Umenyiora. Don't sleep on the Giants because as we saw last week, they can take down good teams at will.
5. Houston Texans (5-1)
-I wish I would have done this power rankings list last week because I would have warned all of you that the Texans 5-0 record was as false as the Ravens 5-1 record. The Texans five wins were against mediocre teams that gave them no challenge. I think almost all of the top 10 teams in these rankings would have gone 5-0 if they played those teams. The Packers game was a wake up call for everyone, as it is now known that this defense can be picked apart. Losing Brian Cushing was a big deal, but that is no excuse for letting the Packers run through you. The Texans will need to redeem themselves this weekend or else they will continue to fall down this board.
6. New England Patriots (3-3)
-I don't know what's going on with the Patriots. First a terrible loss to the Cardinals, then a last second loss to the Ravens, and now another last second collapse to the Seahawks. The Patriots should easily be 6-0, but they just can't close out games. Whether it is Stephen Gostkowski kicking a game deciding field goal or the defense trying to stop a last minute drive, the Patriots have had no luck. Don't think their 3-3 record defines how good they are because if you even for a second think that they are a .500 team, you are going to be in a world of hurt. Their offense is still top three in the league as long as Tom Brady is at the helm and they can put up points in a hurry. Their defense has been solid too, but only for 57 minutes. They just can't seem to close the game. I think three losses early will be a wake up call for the Patriots and you can expect them to run through the Jets this weekend before their bye. And as for playoffs, despite being 3-3, the Patriots are still tied for first with the Jets, Dolphins and Bills. Everyone needs a fresh start and should scrap the first six weeks and look at this week like it's Week 1.
7. Green Bay Packers (3-3)
-Just like the Patriots, the Packers are not a .500 team. With a loss to the *Seahawks, Colts and 49ers, the Packers have had a rough start, but they should be looked at as a 5-1 team. The loss to the 49ers was justified because they lost to a better team. But the *loss to the Seahawks was a joke and the loss to the Colts was because of their defense. Just like the Patriots, the Packers defense collapsed in the final minutes, which led to their fall. But that's no excuse, a loss is a loss, but don't think of this team as a middle of the pack group. As you saw last week, the offense will destroy anyone in it's path. It all comes down to the defense holding up the other end of the game. But I don't doubt this defense for a second. They just had a bad game against the Colts. Look at their wins against the Saints, Bears and Texans. Those are three of the best offenses in the game and they managed to stop them. The Packers are a force, so don't expect to see them towards the bottom of the division for much longer. With their next three games against the Rams, Jaguars and Cardinals, you can expect to see them going into the bye at 6-3.
8. Seattle Seahawks (4-2)
-The Seahawks are easily the most underrated team in the league. Nobody knew about this defense until this year and nobody believed Russell Wilson could be a good enough quarterback to lead this team. Well, six weeks later, the bandwagons are filling up. Wilson and company are making a name for themselves and so are the fans, AKA the 12th man. Wilson has now beaten Brady, Cam Newton, Tony Romo and Aaron Rodgers. Pretty good for a rookie who wasn't supposed to be a good NFL quarterback. But Wilson isn't the main reason they win these games. All the praise should go to the defense. The defensive line has been getting to the quarterback with no problem and making life hell for opposing offenses. But even if the opposing QB gets enough time to throw, he is challenging what I think is the best secondary in the league. Sophomore Richard Sherman, my favorite cornerback, is getting better week by week and is a scary 6"3. Opposite of him is an even taller corner in Brandon Browner who is 6"4. Having a tall wide is no longer an advantage against this team. And even if you can somehow get by these guys, the safety duo of Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas awaits you, both pro bowl players. A Thursday matchup with the 49ers will be the biggest test for this team and if they pull off the victory, don't be surprised if I jump this team into the top 5 next week. They are for real.
9. Baltimore Ravens (5-1)
-Before Week 6 started, this Ravens team looked like it was the most balanced of any Ravens team in the last 10 years. But post Week 6, the Ravens are going to have a tough time winning any game. With the news of Ray Lewis and Lardarius Webb out for season, the Ravens defense has been depleted. Terrell Suggs has been out all year, these two are now done for the year and Haloti Ngata is going to be week-to-week with an injury. The offense has been good, but the defense has always been the image of the Ravens. They will be lucky to make playoffs this year, so don't let their 5-1 record fool you.
10. Denver Broncos (3-3)
-Another team with a record that does't define them. The Broncos have had one of the hardest schedules this year, no doubt. With wins against the Steelers, Chargers and Raiders and losses against the Patriots, Texans and Falcons, the Broncos have faced the hardest part of their schedule. Sitting at 3-3 and tied for first in the division is pretty good at this point. With one more tough game against the Saints after the bye, the Broncos face the Bengals, Panthers, Chargers again, Chiefs, Buccaneers, Raiders again, Ravens, Browns and the Chiefs again. Looking at those teams, all of them minus the Ravens are ranked below them in these power rankings. And by a long shot. I almost would put the Ravens under them, but I want to see what they can do without Lewis and Webb. As for the Broncos, as long as Peyton Manning and Von Miller stay healthy, both sides of their team will have no problem playing dominant football. Last week's comeback just proves that they are never out when they have the offense and defense they have. At 3-3 right now, I see the Broncos running through the easy part of their schedule and finishing in first in the division at 10-6.
As we leave the top 10, full breakdowns are no longer needed. I think to earn the right to have your team praised like I have done before, you have to be one of the best 10 teams in the NFL right now. So I will give you a quick summarized breakdown of the remaining teams.
11. Minnesota Vikings (4-2)
-My Vikings disappointed me last week, but also showed where the problems are- defense. The Vikings defense gave up over 30 points to basically Robert Griffin himself. He ran for over 100 yards and threw for over 150. Until the Vikings can consistently shut down opposing teams week in and week out, they are going to be in trouble the rest of the year.
12. Arizona Cardinals (4-2)
-If the Cardinals weren't tied for first in the division, I would rank them a lot lower. It's great they started 4-0 and won big games against the Patriots and Seahawks, but we need to be realistic now. The offense is competing for worst in the league in my opinion. Their best running back is third-string William Powell and their quarterback is a combo of Kevin Kolb and John Skelton. I feel bad for Larry Fitzgerald. This offense is as pathetic as they come. I can guarantee you that they will not finish higher than the 49ers and Seahawks in the division.
13. Philadelphia Eagles (3-3)
-The Eagles continue to disappoint every week. Until Michael Vick can cut down on the turnovers and the defense can stop comebacks, the Eagles could easily drop in the standings. Let's hope they fix things in the bye week.
14. Washington Redskins (3-3)
-Coming off a big win against the Vikings, the Redskins are looking like a contender in the division. Their offense will only be as good as RG3 is, so as long as he can continue to run through defenses, they will have no problem. Their season lies with the banged up defense.
15. Cincinnati Bengals (3-3)
-The Bengals looked like a team that could compete for the division, but with back-to-back losses to the Dolphins and Browns, I couldn't tell you what team is going to show up. But they aren't out of it. In fact, they are in second behind the soon-to-be free falling Ravens. Don't forget about this Bengals.
16. New Orleans Saints (1-4)
The Saints obviously can't be ranked anywhere higher than this. Starting 0-4, they were lucky to get a win against the Chargers. This season is really showing everyone just how important Sean Peyton is to the team's success. The Saints have a tough schedule ahead, so don't be surprised if they continue to be a below .500 team.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-3)
-Another team that has had a disappointing start. With losses to the Raiders and Titans, the Steelers have given away games they should have won. Their below .500 start has them at third in the division with a lot of room to catch up. But don't count the Steelers out. As long as their star players remain healthy, they will continue to be a threat.
18. Detroit Lions (2-3)
-The Lions looked like a franchise that was turning things around last year. Five games in for them and now that doesn't look like the case. Last week they managed to pull off a last second comeback, but the game was ugly. The Lions had over 10 flags and didn't get things going until the fourth quarter. At 2-3, the Lions are in the familiar spot of last in the division, but you can never count out Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson.
19. San Diego Chargers (3-3)
-The Chargers proved to the world on Monday Night Football that they are not very good. Philip Rivers can't stop throwing to the other team and the defense can be beaten with ease. But then again, the Chargers always start like this. We could be experiencing another first half tank and second half charge.
20. Dallas Cowboys (2-3)
-The Cowboys. What to do with the Cowboys. Well, Dez Bryant drops balls. DeMarco Murray can't stay healthy. Tony Romo is the NFC Philip Rivers. Their defense continues to give up tons of points. And the schedule does not get any easier. I think that sums up the season so far and if you are a fan, don't set your expectations high for a comeback because the division is full of good teams they have to play a lot more. Calling it now, last place for America's team.
21. Indianapolis Colts (2-3)
-The Colts have had a roller coaster season. Andrew Luck has led the team to big wins against the Vikings and Packers, but managed to fall apart against the Jets, Jaguars and Bears. After last season, this is actually a good start at rebuilding the franchise, but ranking them as of today, they are just another one of those teams that will occasionally get a big win, but manage to lose all the games they should win.
22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3)
-The Buccaneers have a good squad on paper I think, but they just play so bad. Their starting cornerback Aqib Talib is now suspended and besides rookie Mark Barron, the secondary is easily beatable. Josh Freeman is showing us that his big season in 2010 was a fluke with 25 touchdowns and only six interceptions. He is continuously making bad decisions and leading his team into holes they can't climb out of at the end of the game. A team that had high hopes is now just another team to beat up on.
23. St. Louis Rams (3-3)
-The Rams have looked good this year after managing to go .500. Ok, that's all the good I have to say about them. The Rams offense is terrible. Sam Bradford has nobody to throw to and their starting running back and franchise player Steven Jackson is now splitting carries with a rookie. Defensively, they are a good squad with Cortland Finnegan and Janoris Jenkins at corner and James Laurinaitis at the center of the defense. But no matter how well the Rams defense plays, if they can't score on offense, they aren't going to win many games. Consider starting .500 a fluke.
24. Miami Dolphins (3-3)
-Much like the Rams, the Dolphins offense is nothing scary. Rookie Ryan Tannehill will be good one day, but he really needs a go-to wide to throw to. Brian Hartline can't be your No. 1. Reggie Bush is finally playing like the USC running back we all saw. On defense though, the Dolphins can be beat. Cornerback Sean Smith is proving to be a lockdown corner, but everywhere else, they don't have great players. Playing in a weak division, they may get by with it, but when you face Tom Brady twice, he will show everyone just how bad the defense actually is.
25. New York Jets (3-3)
-I don't need to say anything here except START TIM TEBOW!
26. Buffalo Bills (3-3)
-The Bills just like their division rivals Jets and Dolphins are just another team. They have a good offense some days, but their offense can be shut down with all the turnovers they have. And on defense, pick your spot because they really don't have a strong part that will stop any big offense like they're going to face in a few weeks with the Patriots and Texans.
27. Tennessee Titans (2-4)
-The Titans offensive line can't make room to run for Chris Johnson and without Jake Locker, they are a dead offense completely. Defensively they can be torched, just ask the Patriots, Chargers, Texans and Vikings, all of whom put up over 30 points against them.
28. Carolina Panthers (1-4)
-Disappointing to see, Cam Newton is running this team into the ground. Making terrible throws, going three-and-out consistently, until Newton can figure out how to do more than just run, they are going to continue to lose.
29. Oakland Raiders (1-4)
-The Raiders defense sucks. They can't keep teams from scoring and they put themselves in a hole way to early. Last week against the Falcons, they had a shot at winning, but a quick last second drive by the Falcons had them in field goal range for the win in a flash. If they can pick it up the rest of the way, they could be good enough to pull off some more upsets like against the Steelers because their offense can put up the points to do it.
30. Cleveland Browns (1-5)
-Maybe it's because I have Trent Richardson on my fantasy team, but I think the Browns aren't all that bad. Yes, they only got their first win last week, but they haven't been losing by a lot. Their worst loss was against the Giants by 14, but other than that, they have lost games by only one, seven twice and nine. I think the Browns are on to something and I would not be surprised if they got another win or two before the bye.
31. Kansas City Chiefs (1-5)
-Jamaal Charles, only offense they have. Brandon Flowers and Tamba Hali, only defense they have. Three players against a whole opposing team, you can't win.
32. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-4)
-Haha, I don't know what I'm supposed to say here. Somehow they got a win against the Colts, but other than that, they have done nothing else. They prove week in and week out that they have no defense to stop anyone and their offense is clearly run through Maurice Jones-Drew and everyone knows it. I call that a recipe for disaster. And also the worst team in the league.