The first six weeks of the NFL regular season is in the books. Just like every season before this one, there were some surprises. Let me caution you about trying to grade a team off of one good or bad week. Given the season is still relatively young, these Power Rankings will factor in teams that I believe are good but had an off week and teams that I feel won by default or overachieved.
Be forewarned as you will see some teams with lesser records ranked higher than others. Matchup’s will even out over time but after just six weeks, clearly some teams have has harder schedules than others. With all that being said, I’m sure 90% of you have jumped over this entire first paragraph and just looked to see where you favorite team placed….
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1. Green Bay Packers (6-0) If I have to explain this one, then you don’t watch football.
2. Baltimore Ravens (4-1) Strong running game with a physical defense. It’s a good recipe in an AFC with no complete teams.
3. New England Patriots (5-1) It’s a high power offense but they lack the balance on both sides of the ball for me to put them over Baltimore.
4. San Diego Chargers (4-1) If they can get healthy, they’ll be in the Super Bowl. The offense gets plenty of yards but not enough points, while the defense restricts yards but not points. Tough team to deal with if they fix this.
5. San Francisco 49ers (5-1) This defense isn’t a secret anymore. They are basically the Ravens of the NFC. Teams need to shut down the running game and force Alex Smith to beat them.
6. New Orleans Saints (4-2) Once again, here’s another NFC team that reminds me of an AFC team in the top 5…the New England Patriots. Both have strong rushing attacks, veteran / Super Bowl winning quarterbacks but defenses that cost them games.
7. Detroit Lions (5-1) Can’t find a power rusher to save their lives! Ronnie Brown trade falls through due to Jerome Harrison having a brain tumor (prayers with him), then they sign James Davis to the practice squad and he goes on IR the first day… and now Jahvid Best could miss the rest of the year. Defenses will double Megatron and force the Lions to find a running game.
8. Buffalo Bills (4-2) This Bills rushing attack will carry them for the bulk of the season. The defense gives up a ton of points but the offense has been able to outscore most opponents. Key in time of possession over the last 10 games.
9. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-2) They aren’t elite anymore but they still have the capability of beating or losing to anyone. In a conference with so many good but no great teams, you can’t rule out the defending conference champs.
10. Houston Texans (3-3) It’s hard to keep the Texans in the Top 10 in the midst of losing 3 out of 4 games but they will get Andre Johnson back in the next few weeks and they are wrapping up the tough part of their schedule.
11. Tennessee Titans (3-2) If they can win at home this week and they finally find a rushing attack, watch out for them down the stretch. nly have 1 question though…Why pass on Brandon Lloyd when he would have only cost $1.3 mil and a 6th round pick? Would have put them over the top.
12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-2) Fear the Bucs! This is the youngest team and I truly believe the lockout killed their chemistry. As the season goes on they’ll only get better.
13. New York Giants (4-2) This team refuses to give up. They’ve been hit by a ton of injuries and don’t have a rushing attack. Yet, they stand atop the division. Give Da’rel Scott the ball and watch as we see flashbacks of what Ahmad Bradshaw use to look like.
14. Oakland Raiders (4-2) I’m on record for hating the Carson Palmer trade. With that said, they are a good team and Palmer should be able to get these speedsters the ball and rely on the legs of Darren McFadden. But, they have to win the Super Bowl in 2011 or 2012 for the trade to make sense and I don’t see that.
15. Atlanta Falcons (3-3) This was my Super Bowl pick to start the year and I’m not panicking yet. At this point last year my Green Bay pick was looking about the same as the Falcons of 2011. They’ll need to protect Matt Ryan more and they have to settle on what type of team they are.
16. Cincinnati Bengals (4-2) It pains me to place the Bengals at 16. If Bengals’ fans want to bash this placement, by all means do. Top 5 defense and an offense that gets better each week. I just want to see Marvin Lewis trust Andy Dalton more before I boost them up into the top 10.
17. Philadelphia Eagles (2-4) We’re finally seeing the adjustments being made. If they can continue to improve on defense, it’s not too late for them to make their playoff push and still accomplish their goals.
18. Dallas Cowboys (2-2) They have the tools to compete with anybody. They haven’t been healthy and haven’t played up to par. If Demarco Murray can play like he did at Oklahoma and they quit shooting themselves in the foot, they are capable of winning this division.
19. New York Jets (3-3) The defense doesn’t strike fear into any one’s hearts anymore and Mark Sanchez isn’t talented enough to take this offense on his back.
20. Chicago Bears (2-3) Every week they look like a different team. Last week they found ways to protect Jay Cutler. That’s a great recipe for success. Let’s see if they can string a few positive weeks together.
21. Seattle Seahawks (2-3) If Charlie Whitehurst gets the start this week they’ll have the chance to win again. They are a good team with Whitehurst and they would be able to let their defense keep them in games.
22. Washington Redskins (3-2) This isn’t college. The Redskins defense struggled and Rex Grossman looked bad. If they continue to struggle on defense, John Beck will struggle. Both quarterbacks are able to manage games with a strong rushing attack and a good defense giving them opportunities. Mike Shanahan will switch back and forth and prevent this team from having a leader or building chemistry.
23. Cleveland Browns (2-3) They are still a couple years away. They have key young pieces but they don’t have the whole puzzle. The Browns will fight in every game but lose more than they win.
24. Denver Broncos (1-4) Tim Tebow finds ways to win games. It might not be the prettiest wins but he’ll bring wins and that’s why they rank above some of these other teams.
25. Carolina Panthers (1-4) Cam Newton has got a ton of stats but he hasn’t found the way to win the close games. He’s not getting a lot of help but he also has cost himself with late / key interceptions.
26. Kansas City Chiefs (2-3) They have the weapons to win but I figure Todd Haley will find a way to mess it up.
27. Arizona Cardinals (1-4) Teams are able to take Larry Fitzgerald out by putting extra focus on him. Kevin Kolb doesn’t have a reliable number 2 option and the Cardinals haven’t had a consistent rushing attack this season.
28. Minnesota Vikings (1-4) They can change to Christian Ponder if they choose but the result will be the same. Ponder is a lateral move! They’ll continue to feed Adrian Peterson and they’ll hang around in a few games before losing.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-5) Blaine Gabbert and Christian Ponder were the two quarterbacks in this draft that I said were the two most over hyped. Get use to seeing these teams down at the bottom of power rankings.
30. Indianapolis Colts (0-6) Indy moves up due to showing that they can usually at least score and they have players that have made plays in the past. When the teams are as bad as St Louis and Miami, I don’t know if they could even stop the Colts.
31. Miami Dolphins (0-5) The Monday Night Football game between the Dolphins and Jets was the first game that I haven’t watched all year. I knew it would be horrific and I caught up on sleep. That should say enough about my feeling for Miami.
32. St. Louis Rams (0-5) Sam Bradford has regressed due to his line play. Now his injury may keep him out. At least they added Brandon Lloyd to help them for this playoff push?
Jayson Braddock is an NFL Scout / NFL Writer & On-Air Personality. Jayson is also a football insider for the Dylan Gwinn show on 790 AM in Houston, TX - Listeners NOT in the Houston metropolitan area can hear Jayson on iheart radio or sports790.com. You can also catch Jayson on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio with Scott Engel and the morning crew every Thursday at 10:30am ET. You may email Jayson directly @ firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @JaysonBraddock