It's been three weeks since my last top-to-bottom rankings, which means it's time for a new one. While some teams have stayed consistent from the first three weeks to now, some have surged and others have taken turns for the worse. As before, I'll be ranking each team based on their overall performances, not based on their potential or how I think they will play going forward. Among other things, my rankings take into account opponent strengths, head-to-head matchups, flukes, and competitiveness throughout games for each team rather than a basis centered solely around win-loss records.
1. Seattle Seahawks (5-0) - UP 2
Week 6 Result: Bye
Seattle hasn't been blowing their opponents out, but they seem like they know how to step up in the clutch and win games. Russell Wilson is a front-runner for MVP and has numerous weapons, including D.K. Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, and Chris Carson. The defense is inconsistent at times, but has also missed star safety Jamal Adams for the past two contests. He will likely return in week 7 against the Cardinals, for whom the Seahawks have been able to rest up and prepare for two weeks.
Next Up: at Cardinals
2. Tennessee Titans (5-0) - UP 7
Week 6 Result: W, 42-36 vs. Texans
The Titans have been shockingly good in my opinion, as Derrick Henry has returned to form and Ryan Tannehill has been reliable. Tennessee got off to a slow start, barely defeating three not so great teams. They then dealt with a COVID situation that forced them to miss about two weeks of practice, only to go out and dominate a previously surging Bills team. The defense has the potential to play very well, and the Titans could continue to roll as long as Tannehill maintains his low level of mistakes. Another test is coming in week 7.
Next Up: vs. Steelers
3. Pittsburgh Steelers (5-0) - UP 3
Week 6 Result: W, 38-7 vs. Browns
The Steelers and Titans can be somewhat interchangeable here, but we'll find out next week which team is better. Up until last week, the Steelers were kind of like the Seahawks in terms of the final scoreboard. They weren't winning in impressive fashions, but Pittsburgh has a killer defense that has allowed over 21 points only once in five games. I'm convinced that, while they haven't put up too many points yet overall (despite scoring 38 in each of the last two), Ben Roethlisberger and the offense can open things up when they need to. The emergence of rookie Chase Claypool has provided another spark for the offense, and they'll likely need a good performance from him this week in their battle of the undefeated.
Next Up: at Titans
4. Kansas City Chiefs (5-1) - DN 3
Week 6 Result: W, 26-17 at Bills
I still think the Chiefs are the best team in football, but they haven't played that way thus far (except for their win over the Ravens in week 3). It seems to me like the Chiefs either feel like they don't need to try their hardest in these games, or that they're trying to save their best plays and performances for later down the road when it matters most. Similarly, I think the defense has played lackadaisical at times, believing their offense can bail them out at any given moment. Despite all of this, the fact that they are 5-1 and I still have them at #4 shows how good of a team they are. I'm excited to see how Le'Veon Bell will fit in to the offensive schemes.
Next Up: at Broncos
5. Baltimore Ravens (5-1) - No Change (NC)
Week 6 Result: W, 30-28 at Eagles
Similar to the Chiefs, the Ravens also appear to be waiting to fully turn it on when it gets closer to the playoffs. That said, they've also annihilated their two divisional foes so far with a combined score of 65-9. Baltimore was up 17-0 at the half last week against Philly before nearly letting them come back and tie it up, but the defense has typically proven to be one of the toughest in the league. They'll get a chance to rest up and prepare for a week 8 bout with the rival Steelers.
Next Up: Bye
6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-2) - UP 7
Week 6 Result: W, 38-10 vs. Packers
I was unimpressed by Tampa Bay until this past week, when they absolutely crushed the red-hot Packers. This was after Green Bay was coming off a bye, too. The offense has struggled at times, but that defense looked amazing last week against one of the top offenses in the league. I don't know if this game was actually a fluke, or if the Bucs have turned things around and hit their stride at last. It'll be interesting to see how both teams respond next week.
Next Up: at Raiders
7. Green Bay Packers (4-1) - DN 5
Week 6 Result: L, 10-38 at Buccaneers
I didn't like having to put the Packers this low, but they must be punished for their abysmal game against the Buccaneers. Offensively, they couldn't get anything going all game, and their defense just got worn out. Other than that game, the Packers have been extraordinary, which leads me to believe it was just one of those days and isn't indicative of their performance going forward. Aaron Rodgers might throw for 18 touchdowns next week in Houston.
Next Up: at Texans
8. Chicago Bears (5-1) - DN 1
Week 6 Result: W, 23-16 at Panthers
Don't look now, but the Bears are actually in first place in the NFC North... They haven't won a game by more than seven points, but wins are wins in the NFL. The defense has held their opponents under 20 points in four of their six contests, which takes some pressure off a still uncertain quarterback situation. We'll get a better idea of how good Chicago is in their upcoming three game stretch against the Rams, Saints, and Titans.
Next Up: at Rams
9. Las Vegas Raiders (3-2) - UP 6
Week 6 Result: Bye
I'm not exactly sold on Derek Carr and the Raiders just yet, but I have to put some respect on their name after their impressive win against Kansas City. The addition of Henry Ruggs seems to have been the key missing piece, as they now have a speedy deep-ball threat to take the top off of the defense. This helps every facet of the offense, which had already been fairly productive without Ruggs. The defense will need to improve for the Raiders to be a real threat in the AFC.
Next Up: vs. Buccaneers
10. Buffalo Bills (4-2) - DN 6
Week 6 Result: L, 16-27 vs. Chiefs
I was high on Josh Allen and the Bills after week 3, but Allen has now had two consecutive dud performances against the Titans and Chiefs. Hopefully for the Bills (and my fantasy team), those games were anomalies and Allen can get back to his former self from here on. Buffalo will draw an easy get-right game next week against the lowly Jets to help build their confidence back up.
Next Up: at Jets
11. Los Angeles Rams (4-2) - DN 1
Week 6 Result: L, 16-24 at 49ers
Sunday night's loss to the Niners was a disappointing one, especially for me since I had them covering for last week's Lock of the Week if you read my NFL betting articles. I think that was somewhat of a fluke game, and San Francisco simply had a good game script to open things up and make it difficult for the Rams to recover. If Jared Goff plays well, I think this team has the star-power and potential to challenge Seattle in the tough NFC West.
Next Up: vs. Bears
12. Arizona Cardinals (4-2) - DN 3
Week 6 Result: W, 38-10 at Cowboys
Speaking of the tough NFC West, the Cardinals appear just as good, if not better than the Rams. I had to penalize the Cardinals for two poor losses against the Lions and Panthers, but other than those games, Arizona has looked sharp. That was especially true in Monday Night's obliteration of the Dak-less Cowboys. Much like the Rams, the Cards will go as far as their quarterback does, but when Kyler Murray is on his game, he's electric. Next week's matchup with the division leader should be fun to watch.
Next Up: vs. Seahawks
13. Cleveland Browns (4-2) - UP 4
Week 6 Result: L, 7-38 at Steelers
I'll be honest, I thought the Browns were going to be competitive this year after their 4-1 start. But after watching them get demolished by the Steelers, I'm afraid they're the same old Browns. It appears that Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland offense is really good against bad defenses, but is almost nonexistent when they are faced with a formidable opponent. They did manage to defeat the Colts, who have played well defensively, but Indy was missing their star linebacker and Phillip Rivers gave Cleveland about 10 points by himself. The Browns might beat up on the Bengals next week, but it won't mean much in my opinion.
Next Up: at Bengals
14. Indianapolis Colts (4-2) - DN 1
Week 6 Result: W, 31-27 vs. Bengals
The Colts have been inconsistent at the quarterback position all season, and that has cost them in both of their losses. They nearly suffered another bad loss this past Sunday, but were able to overcome a 21-0 deficit to squeak by the Bengals. They'll get a bye to prepare for the Lions in week 8 before beginning a brutal four game stretch that includes the Ravens, Packers, and Titans (twice). Those games are all winnable if Phillip Rivers does better at protecting the ball and creating plays.
Next Up: Bye
15. Miami Dolphins (3-3) - UP 6
Week 6 Result: W, 24-0 vs. Jets
The Dolphins have been rolling after stomping their last two opponents by a combined score of 67-17. Despite their recent success, Miami has announced that rookie Tua Tagovailoa will take over as the signal caller following their week 7 bye. It's an intriguing move in my opinion to switch things up now when Ryan Fitzpatrick is playing very well, especially considering the Dolphins have four respectable defenses up next on the slate. Everyone will be tuning in to see how Tua performs against the Rams coming off the bye.
Next Up: Bye
16. New Orleans Saints (3-2) - UP 1
Week 6 Result: Bye
The Saints have been somewhat disappointing so far this season, and nearly dropped to 2-3 until they mounted a huge comeback two weeks ago against the Chargers. Still, they handled the Bucs in week 1 and were very competitive against the Packers, showing that they can still be in the mix to compete in big games against good teams. It almost feels as if New Orleans plays to their opponent's level, which is something they'll have to fix quickly if they want a serious shot at the postseason before Drew Brees's career potentially comes to a close.
Next Up: vs. Panthers
17. San Francisco 49ers (3-3) - DN 3
Week 6 Result: W, 24-16 vs. Rams
I feel like you don't know what you're going to get from Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers week-in and week-out. Until their victory over the Rams on Sunday night, their only wins were against the two New York teams, who are two of they worst organizations in the NFL right now. The Niners have dealt with their fair share of injuries, and we know their potential based off last season if they're able to get close to full health. At 3-3, they're currently in last place in the NFC West, but there are plenty of games left for them to make up ground.
Next Up: at Patriots
18. Carolina Panthers (3-3) - UP 6
Week 6 Result: L, 16-23 vs. Bears
Carolina is one of those teams that no one is really paying attention to, but is playing surprisingly well. Teddy Bridgewater has been solid at the quarterback position and has kept the team at .500 so far while Christian McCaffrey tries to work back from an injury. Their losses have been to the Raiders, Buccaneers, and Bears, all teams I have in my top 10 right now. They've been competitive in all of them, except for maybe the game against Tampa, and even had a chance to win against Las Vegas. I wouldn't bet on them to make it into the playoffs in a pretty loaded NFC, but they could cause problems for other playoff teams, much like the Cardinals did last season.
Next Up: at Saints
19. Los Angeles Chargers (1-4) - NC
Week 6 Result: Bye
This may be somewhat controversial to put the 1-4 Chargers ahead of four 2-win teams, but I think they have looked better than any other team remaining on this list. I've watched all of L.A.'s games this season and I love a lot of things about them. The Chargers are surprisingly just a few plays away from being undefeated this season. In their past three losses to the Chiefs, Bucs, and Saints, L.A. got out to leads of 11, 17, and 17 points respectively. Now, they obviously need to learn to finish games, but Justin Herbert is the real deal, and he has several weapons he can utilize to move the ball down the field consistently.
Next Up: vs. Jaguars
20. New England Patriots (2-3) - DN 12
Week 6 Result: L, 12-18 vs. Broncos
The Patriots looked pretty good in each of their first three games, but they looked bad in the last two. Granted, they had to play the Chiefs without Cam Newton, who tested positive for COVID, but they weren't able to move the ball at all against the stout Broncos defense even with Cam back. They're currently in third place in the division, somewhere they haven't been in about two decades, and I don't know if Bill Belichick has the personnel this season to rival the Bills. I think they'll ultimately by vying for second place in the division with Miami.
Next Up: vs. 49ers
21. Detroit Lions (2-3) - UP 1
Week 6 Result: W, 34-16 at Jaguars
Detroit looked like a typical Detroit team after week 2, but they got a surprising win in week 3 against the Cardinals and beat the Jaguars soundly this past week. They were competitive in a loss to the Saints, and are starting to get really good production from rookie running back D'Andre Swift. We know Matthew Stafford can sling the ball, and the return of Kenny Golladay has helped the offense. They'll look to win again in Atlanta in a game in which they are, surprisingly to me, underdogs.
Next Up: at Falcons
22. Houston Texans (1-5) - UP 3
Week 6 Result: L, 36-42 at Titans
I feel so bad for the Texans. They have had by far the toughest schedule of all teams so far. Four of their first six opponents have been the Chiefs, Ravens, Steelers, and Titans, all of which are ranked in my top five. To make matters worse, their next game is against the Packers, who I have ranked at #7. The Texans really haven't looked that bad in their first six games, and took the Titans to overtime in a game they had chances to win. Houston has some winnable games after Green Bay and will have definitely gotten past the hardest part of their schedule. We'll see if they're able to rebound after such a poor start to the season.
Next Up: vs. Packers
23. Cincinnati Bengals (1-4) - UP 3
Week 6 Result: L, 27-31 at Colts
The Bengals are kind of like the Chargers in my opinion, but to a lesser degree. I like Joe Burrow and think he will be good, and there are some good skill players on offense to help him out, but Cincinnati's offensive line is just horrendous. Burrow has no time to pass when he drops back, and the run game can't be established because the o-line can't create holes for Joe Mixon. I'm worried that Burrow could suffer the same way Andrew Luck did with his first few years in Indianapolis. Cincinnati's front office has to do everything they can to build their line and protect their most valuable asset.
Next Up: vs. Browns
24. Philadelphia Eagles (1-4) - UP 6
Week 6 Result: L, 28-30 vs. Ravens
After a horrid first three games of the season, the Eagles stole a win from the 49ers and played competitively in losses to the Steelers and Ravens in the last three weeks. After what I've seen since week 3, I think the Eagles have performed better than any other team in their division and probably have the best chance of winning it. Carson Wentz has looked better in his last three games and they should be able to use the momentum from a near comeback against Baltimore to propel themselves going forward. It's sad that I have the best team in the NFC East ranked at #24 overall, but Philly has a good shot at winning their next four games, which come against the Giants (twice), Cowboys, and Browns.
Next Up: vs. Giants
25. Denver Broncos (2-3) - UP 3
Week 6 Result: W, 18-12 at Patriots
While Denver's defense has been tough for much of the season, the offense has been anything but that. They have been hurt by injuries to Von Miller, Drew Lock, Courtland Sutton, K.J. Hamler, and Phillip Lindsay, among others, which has obviously greatly affected their performance and potential this season. The Broncos have a lot of young players with potentially bright futures, but as for this season, it'll be more of getting those young guys game reps to prepare them for the rest of their careers.
Next Up: vs. Chiefs
26. Dallas Cowboys (2-4) - DN 8
Week 6 Result: L, 10-38 vs. Cardinals
Things quickly went from bad to worse for the Cowboys, who couldn't seem to win
Next Up: at Washington
27. Atlanta Falcons (1-5) - NC
Week 6 Result: W, 40-23 at Vikings
Next Up: vs. Lions
28. Minnesota Vikings (1-5) - UP 1
Week 6 Result: L, 23-40 vs. Falcons
Next Up: Bye
29. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-5) - DN 6
Week 6 Result: L, 16-34 vs. Lions
Next Up: at Chargers
30. New York Giants (1-5) - UP 1
Week 6 Result: W, 20-19 vs. Washington
Next Up: at Eagles
31. Washington Football Team (1-5) - DN 11
Week 6 Result: L, 19-20 at Giants
Next Up: vs. Cowboys
32. New York Jets (0-6) - NC
Week 6 Result: L, 0-24 at Dolphins
Next Up: vs. Bills
Expert Nick Swatson discusses all the news, predictions, and outcomes surrounding the NFL.