A Denver Broncos Loss means a new number one in the Week Six NFL Power Rankings. Who claims that top spot? Where did the Broncos wind up? Find out here.
Since my first NFL Power Rankings back in April, the number one spot has belonged to the defending Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos. After their first loss, how far did they fall? Who took their spot a top the rankings? What has changed since week five? It’s all here in your Week Six NFL Power Rankings:
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Oct 9, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive end Brian Robison (96) sacks Houston Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler (17) in the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Vikings win 31-13. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
1. Minnesota Vikings (2)
For the first time all year we welcome a new team to the number one spot. The last unbeaten team of the year is the Minnesota Vikings. It’s really hard to believe when you consider that Teddy Bridgewater and Adrian Peterson are both down with significant knee injuries. Right now it doesn’t seem to matter as the Vikings boast a swarming defense—a defense that could carry them all the way to the Super Bowl.
Oct 9, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) reacts during the fourth quarter against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Patriots won 33-13. Mandatory Credit: Scott R. Galvin-USA TODAY Sports
2. New England Patriots (3)
Tom Brady certainly didn’t waste any time in his return from suspension showing the world that he was back. He threw for more yards in the first half against the Browns then either Garappolo or Brissett did in any whole game. Rob Gronkowski also looked like his normal dominant self as well—funny how that works. The scariest part of the whole deal is that Gronk wasn’t the tight end on the receiving end of the touchdowns. It was Martellus Bennett who caught three scores. This is easily the best combination of tight ends that the Pats have had since they combined Gronk with Aaron Hernandez.
Oct 9, 2016; Green Bay, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) drops back to pass in the first quarter during the game against the New York Giants at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
3. Green Bay Packers (4)
Aaron Rodgers didn’t have his best game ever, but one thing he did have—all day long to throw the ball. It teams can’t find a way to put pressure on Rodgers, the Packers are going to win a lot of games.
Oct 9, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) throws a pass against the New York Jets during the first half of their game at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports
4. Pittsburgh Steelers (7)
Big Ben continued his assault on the NFL, making fantasy owners proud and happy. Sammie Coates has stepped in nicely for suspended WR Martavis Bryant, and the Steelers are rolling right now. The game to the Eagles certainly looks like the exception, and not the rule.
Oct 2, 2016; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) throws the ball to running back Christine Michael (32) against the New York Jets in the second half at MetLife Stadium. Seattle defeated New York 27-17. Mandatory Credit: William Hauser-USA TODAY Sports
5. Seattle Seahawks (5)
The Seahawks got to enjoy a nice week off, and in doing so moved their way into first place in the NFC West with a Rams loss. The Seahawks offense had a miserable opening two weeks but fared very nicely in weeks three and four. With a week off to heal his ailments, Russell Wilson may be ready to set the league on fire post-bye week.
Oct 9, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) looks to pass as tackle Ryan Schraeder (73) blocks against Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller (58) in the third quarter at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Falcons won 23-16. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
If there were any questions about the Falcons offense being elite, they put them to bed on the road against the defending champs. What makes the Falcons so dangerous is not necessarily Matt Ryan and Julio Jones; it’s the combination of Matt Ryan and Julio Jones mixed with the duo of Devontae Freeman and Tevin Coleman in the backfield. These two running backs are not only great runners, but also great in the passing game as well. If the Falcons can continue to pressure the quarterback the way they did in Denver, they will have to be taken seriously in the NFC.
Oct 9, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Atlanta Falcons defensive end Dwight Freeney (93) and outside linebacker Vic Beasley (44) combine to sack Denver Broncos quarterback Paxton Lynch (12) in the second half at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Falcons defeated the Broncos 23-16. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
7. Denver Broncos (1)
Paxton Lynch certainly didn’t have the game he was hoping to in his first career start. While it was hardly all on the QB, his play certainly validated head coach Gary Kubiak’s decision to roll with Trevor Siemian as the starter over the first round pick. While the Broncos defense didn’t have a horrible day, limiting the Falcons to 15 points under their season average, there were some weaknesses exposed. To add insult to injury, Coach Kubiak was hospitalized after the game due to what is being described as a “complex migraine.” The Broncos will have only three days to prepare with an interim head coach, and questions about the QB situation linger, as it is unclear yet if Trevor Siemian will be ready to start.
Oct 9, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr (4) reacts after the Raiders scored a touchdown against the San Diego Chargers in the fourth quarter at Oakland Coliseum. The Raiders defeated the Chargers 34-31. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
8. Oakland Raiders (10)
The Raiders are 4-1, and due to having played, and won a division game currently sit atop the AFC West. The Raiders still have some questions left to answer—while they are 4-1, they only have a +5 scoring margin on the year. Subsequently, the Chargers who held a lead against the Raiders for much of the day are 1-4, and have a +10 scoring margin for the year. This can be credited to some good fortune, but also to some clutch fourth quarter play and solid coaching decisions. The Raiders defense has not been a bright spot however, and will need to clean up their act if they want to continue winning close games once the weather turns.
Oct 9, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) runs with the ball against Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick (27) linebacker Vontaze Burfict (55) and Rey Maualuga (58) in the third quarter at AT&T Stadium. Cowboys beat the Bengals 28-14. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
9. Dallas Cowboys (11)
Dallas is playing a fantastic brand of football. Ezekiel Elliott is leading the league in rushing, and Dak Prescott is playing the type of mistake-free football that you would expect from a 10-year vet. There are going to be some very tough, and very real questions to answer when Tony Romo returns from injury if Prescott can keep this up.
Oct 9, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions cornerback Darius Slay (23) forces a turnover against Philadelphia Eagles running back Ryan Mathews (24) during the fourth quarter at Ford Field. Lions win 24-23. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
10. Philadelphia Eagles (6)
The Eagles got punched in the mouth by the Lions but responded very nicely. They were in a good position to win the game until Ryan Mathews coughed up the ball. These types of losses will happen for young teams, but it appears the future is still bright for the Eagles.
Oct 9, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Buffalo Bills defensive back Nickell Robey (21) celebrates the Bills 30-19 win over the Los Angeles Rams at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
11. Buffalo Bills (15)
The Bills have risen from the ashes and all of the sudden are 3-2, and just a game behind the Patriots from the AFC East lead. The defense is suddenly forcing turnovers, which is interesting considering they fired their offensive coordinator. Perhaps these players didn’t want to see Rex get fired after all.
Oct 9, 2016; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Mike Wallace (17) defended by Washington Redskins Josh Norman cornerback (24) at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports
12. Washington Redskins (19)
Josh Norman for MVP. Norman has brought an attitude with him from the Panthers, who sorely miss him. Now, the Skins, much like the Bills, have risen from the dead and are 3-2. The NFC East is wide open, and for the first time in awhile, all the teams might actually be pretty good.
Oct 9, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) is sacked in the fourth quarter by Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Terrell McClain (97) and defensive end Jack Crawford (58) at AT&T Stadium. Cowboys beat the Bengals 28-14. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
13. Cincinnati Bengals (8)
The Cowboys just blew the doors right off these Bengals. Something isn’t right in the jungle. If it doesn’t get fixed quick, Andy Dalton will be watching the playoffs from his couch for the first time in his career.
Oct 6, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) is defended by San Francisco 49ers free safety Eric Reid (35) during a NFL game at Levi
14. Arizona Cardinals (17)
Larry Fitzgerald is an ageless wonder. After all this time, he’s still got it. Whenever he does decide to hang it up, it should be five years and then straight to Canton. His team has troubles, but the ability to get a win with no Carson Palmer was a good sign for when he returns.
Oct 9, 2016; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) reacts on the sideline during the game against the Washington Redskins at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports
15. Baltimore Ravens (13)
The Ravens could easily be 5-0, but they fumbled away that opportunity the past two weeks. The Oakland game was one thing, but this team should have easily handled the Redskins. C.J. Mosely’s pick-six that wasn’t could haunt this team when it comes down to handing out playoff spots.
Oct 9, 2016; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Rams quarterback Case Keenum (17) is pressured by Buffalo Bills defensive end Adolphus Washington (92), nose tackle Corbin Bryant (97) and defensive end Kyle Williams (95) during the 1st half at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
16. Los Angeles Rams (14)
There was good news and bad news Sunday for the Rams. The bad news is that the Rams lost the game, and their unlikely lead in the NFC West. The good news though; the Rams finally scored a touchdown in Los Angeles.
Oct 2, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87) carries the ball against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
17. Kansas City Chiefs (20)
When last we saw the Chiefs, they were getting smacked around by the Steelers like we haven’t seen since Andy Reid arrived. Hopefully they’ve thought long and hard about that pathetic performance and used the bye week to make some attitude adjustments. Or it is possible that they stewed in this filth for two weeks, and the worst is yet to come. Stay tuned for what the post-bye Chiefs have to offer.
Oct 9, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA;Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) and Colts receiver T.Y. Hilton (13) embrace after their victory over the Chicago Bears at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports
18. Indianapolis Colts (23)
The Colts certainly don’t like to make things easy on themselves. However, in a one-score game in the fourth quarter, you almost know that a long bomb from Andrew Luck to T.Y. Hilton is coming. These two have a knack for making that huge play when it matters the most. Now it is time to see if the Colts can string a couple wins together and make a play for the AFC South.
Oct 9, 2016; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive tackle Tom Johnson (92) and defensive end Everson Griffen (97) and defensive end Danielle Hunter (99) force Houston Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler (17) to the ground for a loss in the fourth quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. The Vikings win 31-13. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports
19. Houston Texans (12)
The Texans were supposed to take the next step when they signed Brock Osweiler away from the Broncos at a premium. What they didn’t suspect was that Brian Hoyer would be playing significantly better than Osweiler as a backup on a very bad team. The team can get out of Osweiler’s contract after two years, but do they really want to watch Osweiler lead this team for two whole years.
Oct 2, 2016; London, ENG; Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Allen Hurns (88) runs the ball for a touchdown during the fourth quarter of the game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Indianapolis Colts at Wembley Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steve Flynn-USA TODAY Sports
20. Jacksonville Jaguars (22)
The Jags had a week to revel in their first victory and readjust to the East Coast time zone. Now it’s time to get to work. At 1-3, they are right there in the South. That’s probably more of a knock on the poor division then it is a compliment of the Jaguars, but it’s the truth nonetheless.
Oct 10, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicker Roberto Aguayo (19) kicks the game winning field goal against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium. The Buccaneers won 17-14. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (24)
Don’t draft a kicker in the second round. Don’t draft a kicker in the second round. Don’t draft a kicker in the second round. That said, the kicker finally made a kick to beat the defending NFC Champion Panthers in Carolina. What is going on?
Oct 9, 2016; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers inside linebacker Vince Williams (98) makes a sack on New York Jets quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick (14) during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh won 31-13. Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports
22. New York Jets (18)
Since the Jets beat up on the Bills in week two it has been a long hard fall. To be fair, they have played a miserably tough schedule to this point in the year, but the losses keep mounting. At 1-4, playoff hopes seem to be just a distant memory. Brandon Marshall may have to wait another year for his first ever shot at the dance.
Oct 10, 2016; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Derek Anderson (3) runs with the ball during the fourth quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Bank of America Stadium. The Buccaneers won 17-14. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports
23. Carolina Panthers (16)
Things have gone terribly wrong in Panther land. Nobody could have seen this coming—this is a team that was 15-1 a season ago and absolutely dominated their way to the Super Bowl. A team that lost a great corner, but also added a great receiver to help out the MVP quarterback improve upon a league-high scoring offense. Now at 1-4, the season may be over. Can Superman bring this team back from the dead in his return from a concussion?
Oct 9, 2016; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) throws a pass during the second half against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium. Titans won 30-17. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
24. Tennessee Titans (31)
Tennessee is a unique team that could either finish with a top-3 pick in the draft, or they could win their division and go to the playoffs. Their schedule sets up very nicely for them to make a run in the next few weeks so we should know more where they are the former or the latter.
Oct 9, 2016; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) looks to throw the ball against the Philadelphia Eagles during the second half of a game at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports
25. Detroit Lions (29)
What’s gone relatively unnoticed in an otherwise tough season for the Lions is that quarterback Matthew Stafford is truly playing a great brand of football. The Lions have been hit with some very tough, very key injuries and simply don’t have the depth to overcome these injuries. They are also stuck with a poor coach that the current GM did not pick. The play of Stafford though could attract a good coach to lead this team next year.
Oct 9, 2016; Green Bay, WI, USA; New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning (10) passes in the second quarter during the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
26. New York Giants (21)
Winning in Lambeau isn’t an easy task. Despite the loss, the Giants didn’t play bad Sunday night. They even picked off Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay—twice. If the Giants can stay healthy on the defensive side of the ball, and find a way to get Odell Beckham Jr. going, they could still win the division and return to the playoffs. Then again, every team in the NFC East can say that they are the favorites in the division for their own reasons.
October 9, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers punter Drew Kaser (8) and kicker Josh Lambo (2) react after a missed field goal attempt fumbling the snap during the fourth quarter against the Oakland Raiders at Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
27. San Diego Chargers (25)
How’s this for a stat: No team in the NFL has been ahead in their games for more time this season than the San Diego Chargers. This is a team that has been ahead in the fourth quarter of every game they have played. How they are 1-4 is becoming a nationwide mystery. So what’s next? Just a Thursday night date with the defending champion Broncos who aren’t going to be happy after suffering their first loss. Yikes.
Oct 2, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; New Orleans Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas (13) celebrates after a touchdown during the second half of the game against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. New Orleans won 35-34. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
28. New Orleans Saints (26)
The Saints had an entire week to digest how the Chargers just handed them their first victory of the year. At 1-3, they are only two losses behind the Falcons. The good news is they are ahead of the Panthers. The Saints still have true problems on the defensive side of the football, and likely won’t be able to stop anyone from scoring points on them.
Oct 9, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Chicago Bears head coach John Fox reacts against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports
29. Chicago Bears (28)
John Fox really had it good in Denver. In Chicago he faces the challenge of deciding between his captain Jay Cutler, or the journeyman Brian Hoyer. Perhaps he will play the guy that gives them the worst chance to win. At this rate, he looks like he is trying to get fired.
Oct 9, 2016; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota (8) runs the ball for a first down in the game against the Miami Dolphins during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium. The Tennessee Titans defeat the Miami Dolphins 30-17. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
30. Miami Dolphins (30)
The Dolphins have gone from nearly beating the Seahawks in Seattle in week one, to getting beat up by the Titans at home. Too bad they still owe Ryan Tannehill all that money.
Oct 6, 2016; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Blaine Gabbert (2) throws a pass against the Arizona Cardinals during a NFL game at Levi
31. San Francisco 49ers (27)
Could there really be a worse starting quarterback in the NFL than Blaine Gabbert? The answer to that is no. It’s got so bad that the 49ers have gone to Colin Kaepernick and asked him to restructure his contract just to get him back on to the football field. This is the same Colin Kaepernick that ownership let meet twice with John Elway during the offseason, and has set the league on fire with his National Anthem protests. Things could be better in San Francisco.
Oct 9, 2016; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Charlie Whitehurst (15) throws a pass during the second quarter against the New England Patriots at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
32. Cleveland Browns (32)
Five games down—five different players have thrown a pass for this team. It’s been said before, and will get said every week to remind the Browns what could have been; Carson Wentz is playing pretty good.