Not too much change at the top of the NFL power rankings, as the Denver Broncos (with offense) and the Kansas City Chiefs (with defense) keep on winning, while the Indianapolis Colts and the New Orleans Saints showed some vulnerability we didn’t expect from them, as the New England Patriots regain their pedigree as Super Bowl contenders.
As for the bottom of the pile, it’s pretty much the same, as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, New York Giants and Jacksonville Jaguars continue to search for their first win of the season.
1. Denver Broncos (6-0): Looked human against the Jacksonville Jaguars, which meant winning by only 16 points, but their body of work this season, which includes scoring 44.2 points per game, can’t be erased with one OK win.
2. Kansas City Chiefs (6-0): Alex Smith is playing horribly, because of himself and a bad receiving crew, but his defense is the best in the NFL so far, keeping teams at 10.8 points per game and leading the NFL with 31 sacks so far.
3. Seattle Seahawks (5-1): Russell Wilson is struggling in his passing game, but the Seahawks have enough running power and one of the top defenses in the NFL (allowing only 15.7 points per game, 290 yards per game) to overcome his career setback, while he himself seems to be moving more and more towards running the ball.
4. New England Patriots (5-1): While their ability for most of their games says otherwise, they’re winning, including being the first team to beat the Saints this season. Their pass defense is the most surprising factor this season, allowing only 228.8 yards per game.
5. New Orleans Saints (5-1): It was a weird game for the Saints in New England: Looking bad with Jimmy Graham on the field, looking better after he was injured. The defense needs to start thinking about more schemes than just blitzing all the time.
6. San Francisco 49ers (4-2): Have won three consecutive games behind excellent defense and a power running game (Frank Gore with over 100 yards again), but might be getting Colin Kaepernick back, enjoying his best game (252 yards, two touchdowns) since the opening weekend.
7. Green Bay Packers (3-2): If it was any other quarterback having to deal with the injuries befalling this team, as Randall Cobb will be out for at least five weeks, I’d be worried. But Aaron Rodgers has a running game and a team that can defend the run, allowing only 3.4 yards per attempt so far this season.
8. Indianapolis Colts (4-2): The Chargers found a way to limit Andrew Luck, and suddenly the running game didn’t look too impressive with just Trent Richardson. Unless they start improving their run defense, this season isn’t going to end on a positive note.
9. Cincinnati Bengals (4-2): The Bengals continue to look shaky on offense, but their defense and especially front seven is talented enough to make any quarterback drop his passer rating by a few clicks, keeping them in games they shouldn’t be in.
10. Detroit Lions (4-2): Even without Calvin Johnson, it seems like the addition of Reggie Bush has really opened up things for the Lions on offense, while their defense comes up big when it matters despite giving up way too many yards.
11. Chicago Bears (4-2): The Bears don’t look good on defense, allowing over 370 yards per game. As long as Jay Cutler doesn’t turn the ball over, it’s fine, but that’s not something to be relying on.
12. Miami Dolphins (3-2): Had a bye week, but if Ryan Tannehill continues to get shady protection from his offensive line, they’re not going to be close to the Patriots for much longer.
13. Dallas Cowboys (3-3): It’s not quite clear how severe the DeMarcus Ware and DeMarco Murray injuries are, but the Cowboys probably are good enough to keep pulling off wins due to the weakness of their division alone.
14. Tennessee Titans (3-3): Even with Ryan Fitzpatrick doing a terrible job as Jake Locker’s replacement, the Titans haven’t been blown out by two better teams, and have a strong enough defense to win against inferior opposition.
15. San Diego Chargers (3-3): Their defense isn’t going to be consistent and good like they were in facing the Colts, but if Philip Rivers can get more days like this from Ryan Mathews, this season might end up being about more than beating on the weakest in the league and nothing more.
16. Baltimore Ravens (3-3): Their offense looks bad with only 72.7 yards per game, taking away all the excellent work this defense is doing most of the time.
17. Philadelphia Eagles (3-3): All of their wins have come against three of the absolute worst teams in the league, but Nick Foles is becoming the quarterback of the future for the Eagles, and might continue to start even when Michael Vick is healthy again.
18. New York Jets (3-3): The defense is going to be good all season long. The difference between a terrible season and one that is something to build on is going to be Geno Smith avoiding turnovers, which is he is finding hard to do.
19. St. Louis Rams (3-3): Their win over the Texans depicts the craziness of the NFL this season, although the Rams won’t meet a broken team like the Texans every day.
20. Carolina Panthers (2-3): Still not much of a passing game, but Cam Newton is improving as a quarterback, and the Panthers have a good enough defense to seperate them from the rest of the bottom feeders in their division.
21. Arizona Cardinals (3-3): Their defense kept them in the game against the 49ers, but Carson Palmer has no protection and no running game, which is always a recipe for disaster.
22. Cleveland Browns (3-3): Brandon Weeden didn’t need much to get back to his old ways. The Browns aren’t going to win much with him behind center.
23. Houston Texans (2-4): Lost four in a row, and there seems to be 0 confidence in this team at the moment. Even J.J. Watt can’t get the job done, as there seems to be nothing that will stop this slide.
24. Buffalo Bills (2-4): Thad Lewis didn’t do too badly against a very good defense, but the Bills don’t have enough consistency beyond their excellent running game to be a factor.
25. Oakland Raiders (2-4): Terrelle Pryor got sacked 10 times against the Chiefs, and despite being the best running quarterback in the NFL, he’s not going to go for with that offensive line.
26. Atlanta Falcons (1-4): The bye week provides hope that when Steven Jackson returns, things will start to look better.
27. Minnesota Vikings (1-4): Adrian Peterson didn’t get to touch the ball too much following the death of his son (10 carries, 62 yards), but Matt Cassel is still a better quarterback than Christian Ponder.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-4): Couldn’t keep on losing forever, although few quarterbacks will be easy to pick as Geno Smith.
29. Washington Redskins (1-4): Bad at almost every aspect of the football game, as it seems the debate over their name is more interesting than what this season is turning into.
30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-5): The Bucs are willing to pay the Mike Glennon interception tuition if it gets them to a better place, but it might be with Greg Schiano at the end of the road.
31. New York Giants (0-6): Eli Manning continues to decimate any chance the Giants create for themselves, and well on course to set a new interceptions record.
32. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-6): Lost by 16 points, and it was probably the game that made them feel the best about themselves this season.