The usual suspects (New Orleans Saints, Indianapolis Colts and New York Giants) occupy the upper echelon of the Week 6 NFL Power Rankings. Meanwhile, the New England Patriots took a steep descent while the Denver Broncos moved up a few notches. And you knew it had to happen – the Oakland Raiders tumbled to their rightful place – #32.
Below are the Week 6 NFL Power Rankings, courtesy of Boston sports station WEEI:
1. New Orleans Saints (Last week, 1) 4-0-0 The bye week came at a perfect time for the Saints. They will be well rested when the Giants come to town to battle it out for the top spot in the NFC.
2. Indianapolis Colts (2) 5-0-0 The undefeated Colts head into their bye week playing at a high level. They will use the time off to rejuvenate and get some key players in the lineup. The rich get richer when safety Bob Sanders and cornerbacks Kelvin Hayden and Marlin Jackson all return in Week 7.
3. New York Giants (3) 5-0-0 Eli Manning says his heel is fine and he intends on not missing any practices this week. The Giants will need Eli at 100 percent when they face their first true test of the season Sunday against the Saints.
4. Minnesota Vikings (6) 5-0-0 Not to overshadow Brett Favre, but the Vikings defense has been outstanding and doesn’t get enough credit. Minnesota’s D leads the league in sacks and recovered fumbles, and is tied for fifth in the league for most interceptions. Any quarterback that plays the Vikings has to be scared looking over at Jared Allen.
5. Denver Broncos (13) 5-0-0 A man admits his mistakes. I admit I underestimated the Broncos. Denver showed the NFL it is for real on Sunday. The Broncos D is allowing 8.6 points a game and was able to stop Tom Brady and the Patriots offense from winning the game. Impressive.
6. Atlanta Falcons (10) 3-1-0 Coming off a loss to the Patriots, the Falcons flew into San Francisco and made a statement after blowing out the 49ers. Matt Ryan and the Falcons scored six touchdowns against San Fran’s D.
7. Cincinnati Bengals (12) 4-1-0 Child, please! If anyone doubts the Bengals, just take a look at who they have beaten. The defending Super Bowl champion Steelers, the Packers in Green Bay, and the Ravens in Baltimore. The Bengals could be undefeated right now if it wasn’t for that fluke play against Denver. By the way, Cedric Benson has more rushing yards this year than Adrian Peterson.
8. Philadelphia Eagles (15) 3-1-0 Don’t forget about the Eagles. Donovan McNabb came back healthy and played great on Sunday. Philly is the lucky team that gets to play the Raiders this week.
9. Chicago Bears (11) 3-1-0 Good time to have a bye week for the Bears. Receivers Johnny Knox and Devin Hester both needed time to get healthy. Plus, the Bears face a very good Falcons team in Atlanta on Sunday.
10. New York Jets (4) 3-2-0 The Jets defense was rolled over by Chad Henne and the Dolphins. A lot of question marks surround this Jets team now that it has lost two straight. Also, who better than Braylon Edwards to replace Plaxico Burress in the Manhattan nightlife scene.
11. New England Patriots (5) 3-2-0 The Patriots’ success lies in the hands of Tom Brady. Patriots fans still are waiting for Brady to get on the same page with his receivers. Brady needs a few more games to get into his groove, and he is playing the perfect opponent to help him get back to being the MVP caliber quarterback he was in ‘07. The Patriots play the Titans and the Bucs next before they go into their bye week.
12. Pittsburgh Steelers (9) 3-2-0 The Steelers finally won on the road but it was certainly a shaky win against the Lions. The offense has struggled so far with putting away games. Pittsburgh’s very talented defense was able to come up with some big sacks during crunch time and seal the victory.
13. Baltimore Ravens (7) 3-2-0 Back-to-back losses for the Ravens, and it seems like the defense lost its composure a little bit in both games. The Ravens need to eliminate the penalties and should be fine.
14. San Francisco 49ers (8) 3-2-0 After the 49ers’ blowout loss to the Falcons, many were at a loss for words. The defense that has been great up to this point looked like a different team on Sunday. However, the turnovers from the offense didn’t help the D, either. The 49ers will go into their bye week and then be happy to have a healthy Frank Gore back running the ball and helping that offense.
15. Green Bay Packers (14) 2-2-0 Aaron Rodgers is a great quarterback who can make plays, but every quarterback relies on his offensive line. So far, Green Bay’s offensive line has looked more like a turnstile.
16. San Diego Chargers (16) 2-2-0 Philip Rivers and the Chargers will get a shot at the undefeated Broncos on Monday Night Football. Coming off a bye week, the Chargers will be well-prepared and certainly capable of beating the Broncos.
17. Miami Dolphins (21) 2-3-0 Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams are the best running back duo in the game. The Dolphins offense was able to move the ball very easily against a Jets defense that has been praised as one of the best in the league. Chad Henne deserves a lot of credit. He made some huge throws down the stretch and proved he is more than capable of filling Chad Pennington’s shoes.
18. Arizona Cardinals (18) 3-2-0 The Cardinals have the personnel to have a strong ground game but still have been unable to establish the run. Giving up a 21-point lead to the Texans is inexcusable. They need Tim Hightower and first-round draft pick Beanie Wells to gain good yardage to help put teams away. The Cards defense stepped up and turned an interception into points toward the end of the fourth quarter.
19. Seattle Seahawks (22) 2-3-0 Nobody can question the toughness and talent of Matt Hasselbeck. The Seahawks offense can be explosive with receivers such as T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Nate Burleson.
20. Dallas Cowboys (20) 3-2-0 The biggest sign of a mediocre team is that team needing overtime to beat the Chiefs. Tony Romo needs to stay away from making critical mistakes and it’s tough to believe Romo can do such a thing.
21. Houston Texans (19) 2-3-0 Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson can’t do it all for the Texans. It doesn’t get easier for Houston next week when it travels to Cincinnati to face a hot Bengals team.
22. Jacksonville Jaguars (17) 2-3-0 Jack Del Rio’s days in Jacksonville could be numbered. The Jaguars have been playing very poorly defensively, and after a couple great performances on offense, the Jags were shutout this past Sunday.
23. Carolina Panthers (25) 1-4 If Jake Delhomme doesn’t turn the ball over, the Panthers usually will be in a position to win the game. Just one pick thrown on Sunday and the Panthers finally got their first win of the season.
24. Tennessee Titans (23) 0-5-0 The Titans’ weak secondary will have a tough time with Tom Brady, Randy Moss and Wes Welker.
25. Washington Redskins (27) 2-3-0 When will Jim Zorn be fired? The Redskins had trouble running the ball against one of the worst run defenses in the league.
26. Detroit Lions (26) 1-4-0 The Lions continue to show improvements and gave the defending champs some trouble toward the end of the game. The Lions are a bad team but are on the way up.
27. Buffalo Bills (24) 1-4-0 The news didn’t get better for the Bills following the loss to Cleveland. Buffalo has lost linebackers Kawika Mitchell and Marcus Buggs for the season. T.O. had his best game of the year with just four catches for 44 yards.
28. Cleveland Browns (29) 1-4-0 The Browns are 31st in the league with a minus -7 in the giveaways/takeaways category. It’s pretty sad when the player that performed the best on your team on Sunday was the punter, Dave Zastudil.
29. Kansas City Chiefs (28) 0-5-0 The Chiefs defense gives up more than 25 points and 400-plus yards per game. However, it was great seeing a Matt Cassel to Mike Vrabel touchdown. What were the Chiefs thinking, playing Dallas with the state of Texas logo on their helmets?
30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (30) 0-5-0 The Bucs now have lost nine straight games dating back to last December and have the worst defense in the league. TB allows close to 400 yards a game.
31. St. Louis Rams (32) 0-5-0 Two turnovers in the red zone killed the Rams. St. Louis gives up nearly 30 points a game on average.
32. Oakland Raiders (31) 1-4-0 Waiting for Al Davis to make another brilliant move and announce Tom Cable’s five-year extension. Is it possible to coach an NFL team from jail?