Written by Emilio Peña
The top three continue to remain, the middle of the pack gets shuffled around, and the bottom of the pack stays the same. Week 6 allowed some teams to add to their hot streaks, while some teams begin to spiral. The month of October is a good indicator for who are the contenders and who are pretenders.
1. Philadelphia Eagles (-)
After building a 17-0 lead early, The Eagles allowed Dallas to start to fight back. But right when it began to appear that The Cowboys were about to storm back, Philly put the final nail in their coffin. Heading into their week 7 BYE, Philly has the last remaining undefeated record, and a favorable schedule the rest of the season. The Eagles couldn’t ask to be in a better position.
2. Buffalo Bills (+1)
In what was undoubtedly the most anticipated matchup of the weekend, the Buffalo Bills took down the Kansas City Chiefs. It wasn’t the high scoring game that their playoff meeting was from last season, but it more than lived up to our expectations. If The Bills and The Eagles played today it would be hard to imagine Buffalo losing, but given the undefeated record Buffalo will securely be put in the 2nd slot until the first defeat.
3. Kansas City Chiefs (-1)
Just because the Chiefs lost, doesn’t mean they are any lesser. A timely interception by Mahomes to close the game against Buffalo cost them the game, but it was within reach till the very end. Even with Buffalo scoring after the 2 minute warning in the 4th quarter, Kansas City was within striking distance (after all, they scored in 16 seconds to end the 1st half). Expect Kansas City to bounce back and continue to be a dominant team the rest of the season.
4. Minnesota Vikings (+2)
While 4 of the 5 wins from The Vikings have been 1 score games, and most a result of 4th quarter go ahead touchdowns, the team continues to win. At some point, winning close games isn’t a result of fluke but rather a strength. Minnesota lost eight 1 score games last season. So whatever coach Kevin O’Connell has The Vikings doing differently this season, it’s working like a charm.
5. New York Giants (+5)
Week after week, The New York Giants have been more and more impressive. For the second week in a row The Giants have come back from a 10 point deficit to secure a victory. While late game blunders by Lamar Jackson and The Ravens played a hand in their defeat, credit is due to The Giants and Saquon Barkley who went down instead of scoring to avoid a Browns situation from week 2.
6. Dallas Cowboys (+1)
Finally, the Cooper Rush nonsense can be put to bed. While I was a believer at one point, I had come to the conclusion that once Dak Prescott was healthy he should take the reins at quarterback. While Dallas almost fought back in enemy territory, Cooper Rush went down in a blaze of glory. Throwing 3 interceptions and all but ending Dallas’ chance at coming back, Dallas should look to pivot to Prescott in week 7 against the terrible Detroit Lions defense.
7. San Francisco 49ers (-3)
A brutal, ugly loss to the Atlanta Falcons in week 6 halted the San Francisco 49ers momentum. Injuries played a factor in The Niners falling apart, as 4 of their defensive starters were unavailable for the game. It’s better than last year at this time but it’s still not where the 49ers would like it to be.
8. Baltimore Ravens (-)
If only this team could hold a 4th quarter lead. The Baltimore Ravens do not move this week because it could be argued that their loss was due to self inflicted wounds. Of course credit is to be given to The Giants for coming back and winning, but Baltimore shot themselves in the foot in the end. Lamar Jackson threw a costly interception on a late 3rd down. He needs to know better not to throw a ball across his body into a well covered zone. All 3 of their losses have come on very late go ahead scores, Baltimore is far from out of the race, but they will need to be more disciplined.
9. New York Jets (+5)
The Jets dominated The Green Bay Packers in all 3 phases of the game. The Jets defense was all over Green Bay, sacking Aaron Rodgers 4 times and hitting him 9 more times, as well as holding The Packers to just 10 points. Gang Green blocked a FG attempt and also blocked a punt that was returned for a touchdown. The Jets have won 3 in a row, and look poised to keep it up with strong performances from their impressive young core.
10. Cincinnati Bengals (+2)
It feels like every other week we get a different version of The Bengals. This week, we got the dominant offense that everyone expected them to be. Joe Burrow threw for 300 yards, tossed 3 touchdowns and ran another 1 in while Ja’Marr Chase caught 2 of them for 132 yards on 7 catches. The Bengals defense continues to be sneakily good too, they continued their streak of not allowing a 2nd half touchdown this season which is one of the more underrated stats this season. Cincy looks to continue the strong play with a home matchup against the also streaky Atlanta Falcons.
11. Tennessee Titans (-)
The Titans spent week 6 on BYE while they prepared for their week 7 divisional showdown with the Indianapolis Colts which is starting to look like a massive game as far as the AFC South race is concerned.
12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-7)
Probably Tampa Bay’s least impressive performance of the season and they still had a chance to tie the game late. While The Pittsburgh Steelers aren’t a team you write home about this season, it’s still a Mike Tomlin coached team that was embarrassed badly the week before. Tampa was only able to muster a single touchdown on Sunday, and Brady certainly wasn’t thrilled about it (see sideline meltdown video). It’s the first time all season I have begun to lose some confidence in them, but they still have the GOAT behind center so nobody should be surprised if they get things going soon.
13. Green Bay Packers (-4)
Green Bay has lost 2 in a row for the first time in the Matt LeFleur era. Things haven’t been great during that two week stretch either. With Aaron Rodgers and LeFleur subtly taking jabs at each other through the media, there is cause for concern. This is still the Green Bay Packers, who have dominated the NFC North for years. It’s not time to hit the panic button just yet.
14. Los Angeles Chargers (-1)
The MNF AFC West showdown between the Chargers and Broncos was not the offensive showdown that the NFL schedule makers probably thought it would be when they put it in primetime. With both teams only scoring a touchdown a piece, both offenses left plays on the field. Justin Herbert threw 57 pass attempts and didn’t have a touchdown to his name on Monday. The team still won though and moved to 4-2 (tied for division lead, for now).
15. Los Angeles Rams (+1)
LA took care of The Carolina Panthers on Sunday. They feasted on an easy foe. The only touchdown allowed by The Rams was a pick six from The Panthers defense. Matthew Stafford also connected with Allen Robinson for a touchdown which should bode well for their chemistry moving forward. LA lost all of their games in November last season, so they have proven they can fight through adversity. They need to start stringing some wins together if they want to get back to The Super Bowl, let alone playoffs.
16. New England Patriots (+3)
If it was ever in question since Brady’s departure, Bill Belichick is still one of the best coaches in the league. He has Bailey Zappe playing lights out, and the defense is always stout. If we’ve learned anything from the Cooper Rush situation, turn back to the starting quarterback once they’re available.
17. Indianapolis Colts (+8)
Just a slow start like last year, Indy is starting to look respectable again. Their second win in a row, and a strong performance has The Colts looking more like the team that many had winning their division. A tough divisional matchup in Nashville against The Titans next week will be telling for who The Colts really are.
18. Miami Dolphins (-3)
The Miami Dolphins have had awful injury luck this season at the quarterback position. For the 3rd week in a row the quarterback who started the game left with injury. This is the NFL though and nobody is going to feel bad for them. With Tua presumably returning in week 7, Miami hopes to end their 3 game losing streak.
19. Atlanta Falcons (+3)
I feel like a broken record, but this Atlanta Falcons team is feisty. They have an argument they could be 5-1 on the season, but they’re happy to be 3-3, and also currently in the lead for the NFC South race. Arthur Smith has coached this team well, and has adjusted his playbook to fit his personnel. With Cordarrelle Patterson returning soon, this team looks to contend for a playoff spot.
20. Seattle Seahawks (+4)
The Seattle Seahawks took down divisional rival Arizona Cardinals in dominant fashion. Their defense, which has been awful this season, didn’t allow a single touchdown (Arizona’s lone touchdown was a blocked punt), and only allowed a single field goal. Rookie Tariq Woolen also recorded his fourth interception of the season. I thought The Seahawks would be left for dead this season, but they are firmly in the NFC playoff race.
21. New Orleans Saints (-4)
Down their top 3 wide receivers, and starting quarterback The New Orleans Saints were in the game until the very end. They inevitably lost to the Cincinnati Bengals, but continue to be in every game they play. With a game on Thursday night, New Orleans will hope to have one of their top pass catchers back.
22. Cleveland Browns (-4)
After starting the season relatively hot, The Browns have cooled down massively. At one point 2-1, they have lost their last 3 in a row, and this time badly. Even when The Browns get Deshaun Watson back, their defense is a huge liability. Joe Woods will need to get his boys in shape if this team wants to contend.
23. Jacksonville Jaguars (-2)
Jacksonville tried their hardest to sweep the Indianapolis Colts for the first time since 2017. Up 21-13 early in the 3rd quarter, they were unable to hang with The Colts the rest of the way. After a hot start, the Jags need another win before their season spirals.
24. Arizona Cardinals (-4)
A brutal loss for Arizona against divisional foe the Seattle Seahawks. They couldn’t muster a single touchdown on offense and lost Hollywood Brown to a potentially season ending injury. With DeAndre Hopkins coming back this week, Arizona needs a win desperately.
25. Pittsburgh Steelers (+4)
Kenny Pickett got his first career win against Tom Brady, something he’ll never forget. Unfortunately for him, he left the game with a concussion. Backup Mitchell Trubisky was able to relieve him and secure the victory. As long as Mike Tomlin is coach, overlook this team at your own peril.
26. Las Vegas Raiders (+1)
The Raiders didn’t do anything to move up a spot in their BYE week, but rather the Denver loss helps them move up with a chance to pass them in the division next week.
27. Denver Broncos (-3)
The Denver Broncos first quarter was very encouraging, considering how the start of their season has gone. Russell Wilson was a perfect 10-10 passing with 116 yards and a touchdown to give Denver a 10-0 lead in the first quarter. It was all downhill after that. Wilson finished the game 5-18 passing with 72 yards and took four sacks. In the second half and overtime, Wilson only completed three passes for 15 yards. Another loss and it’s time to hit the panic button in Denver.
28. Washington Commanders (+4)
Washington didn’t play particularly well in their week 6 win over The Chicago Bears. They did manage to escape with their first win since week 1. Unfortunately for them, Carson Wentz suffered a fractured ring finger to his throwing hand, and will miss 4-6 weeks. Right when things started to look positive, they suffered another setback.
29. Chicago Bears (-1)
A game of inches taken literally. The Chicago Bears were literally inches away from scoring what would’ve been the game winning touchdown but Darnell Mooney was unable to secure the catch while he was in the endzone. 3 trips to the red zone and no touchdowns to account for it is not acceptable. If they had just kicked a field goal earlier on they might’ve been able to escape 3-3, but instead sit at 2-4.
30. Detroit Lions (-1)
A struggling Detroit team needed this BYE week to evaluate how their season had started. Dan Campbell’s offense was sharp till their goose egg against The Patriots, and their defense had been awful all season. They look to rebound, and I can imagine a lot of jobs will depend on it.
31. Houston Texans (-1)
Houston was on BYE for week 6, but stayed busy on their off week. They fired their executive vice president of football operations Jack Easterby. A controversial figure in the organization is gone, and Houston continues to build for a brighter future.
32. Carolina Panthers (-)
If it were possible, the rock bottom that Carolina has hit has gotten even worse. Robbie Anderson and interim head coach Steve Wilks got into a verbal altercation and Anderson was sent to the locker room early (and traded the next day). They weren’t much better on the field either, PJ Walker and co didn’t score a single touchdown and only booted 1 field goal through. David Tepper I can only imagine is getting ready to scout the best quarterbacks college football has to offer.