Week 6 in the NFL was similar to the entire season, with more upsets around the league, seeing the Bears, Dolphins, and Giants all surprisingly win on the road. The league was bombarded with on-the-field headlines, such as with the Chiefs suffering their first defeat of the season and Aaron Rodgers’ likely season-ending injuring leaving Super Bowl hopeful Green Bay in extreme panic.
With teams closing in on each other early in the 2017 season, Week 7 will provide intriguing matchups with many teams looking to separate from their opponents. This week’s power rankings see less movement than usual, but the we still await for certain teams to prove themselves, while others anticipate positive movement along the ladder.
Kansas City Chiefs (5-1) (Last Week: 1) The Chiefs lost their first game of the season on Sunday 19-13 to the Steelers at home. With offensive line struggles and lack of depth due to health highlighting their defeat, they still are the best team in the league for multiple reasons. The AFC’s sole one-loss team, they have shown dominance throughout their first five weeks, and while Pittsburgh highlighted their weaknesses, other teams will need to outperform the Chiefs to dethrone them from the top. With less than a week to rest, their challenging run continues as they travel to a healthy Oakland on Thursday night, with a chance to show that Week 5 was just a small fluke in their 2017 campaign.
Philadelphia Eagles (5-1)(Last Week: 6) The Eagles proved they could perform against high competition with a 28-23 Thursday night win in Carolina, giving the Panthers their second loss of the season. Now the NFC’s leader, quarterback Carson Wentz excellent play looks to continue with their third division game against the Washington Redskins this Monday Night, as the Eagles look to increase their lead atop the NFC East.
Pittsburgh Steelers (4-2)(Last Week: 11) The Steelers came back to top form in Kansas City, giving the Chiefs their first loss with a 19-13 victory. With all of their off-the-field issues aside, the Steelers have a chance to be the league’s team to beat, except losses to the Jaguars and Bears have highlighted their inconsistence. While they are yet to unveil which Pittsburgh team appears week-by-week, their division reign may be on the line Sunday when the Cincinnati Bengals visit the AFC North leaders.
New England Patriots (4-2) (Last Week: 7) The Patriots struggled to victory against division-rival Jets 24-17, erasing an early two touchdown deficit. Tom Brady has been lacking through the first six games, and the team has a lot to improve on to get back into Super Bowl form. Next Sunday night, the much anticipated Super Bowl rematch against the Falcons will be aired primetime, allowing both teams a chance to see who can perform against high competition.
Atlanta Falcons (3-2) (Last Week: 3) The Falcons were upset at home on Sunday, losing 20-17 to the struggling Miami Dolphins, shutout 20-0 in the second half. It is yet to see whether the Falcons will be characterized by their wins, notably against the Lions and Packers, or their home losses, against the AFC East’s Bills and Dolphins. Now going on a three game road streak, with the first two closing out their schedule against the AFC East, their chance at Super Bowl revenge happens Sunday night, when they visit New England primetime in an effort to not only stay above .500 but show the league – and themselves – that two losses are small bumps in their still championship-caliber hopes.
Carolina Panthers (4-2) (Last Week: 4) The Panthers disappointed at home on Thursday night, losing 28-23 to the Rams, highlighted by Cam Newton’s three interceptions. However, thanks to the Falcons’ shocking upset, Carolina is now tied at first in the AFC South. They will have a chance to get back in the win column on the road on Sunday, visiting rookie Mitchell Trubisky and his Chicago Bears.
Seattle Seahawks (3-2)(Last Week: 9) The Seahawks had a Week 6 bye halt their first multi-game winning streak of the season, however they expect that to continue next week in New York against the injury-hampered Giants. Look to damper on their opponent’s parade after they upset the Broncos Sunday night, the Seahawks will be expected to continue momentum as they expect to see more than solely their 11 games remaining.
Denver Broncos (3-2)(Last Week: 5) The Broncos were on the unlucky end of their upset this weekend, taking their first home loss of the season as they gave the Giants their first win, 23-10. Although unfortunately battling significant injuries throughout the game, they were completely handled by the Giants, and lost ground fallowing their Week 5 bye. The Broncos will be able to get back in the stable this Sunday, the first of consecutive divisional road matches, this one against the Chargers, who not only are coming off back-to-back wins, but looking to avenge a last-second loss in the season opener to their divisional opponents.
New Orleans Saints (3-2)(Last Week: 13) Drew Brees saw his first two interceptions of the season, but that was pushed aside in the Saints’52-38 offensively charged victory against the Lions. Their three consecutive victories have erased any fear from their 0-2 season start, and that could continue when they visit Green Bay this Sunday, their first mid-season game without Aaron Rodgers since 2013.
Green Bay Packers (4-2)(Last Week: 2) Green Bay likely got the worst loss of the season, not by their 23-10 defeat by the Vikings, but in Aaron Rodgers’s likely season-ending injury, shattering any individual or team goals on the season. The Packers still have not completely ended Rodgers’ season, likely leaving the optimistic possibility open for a late season run, but they will need to stay in contention without their star, and that will prove to be difficult next week against the fiery 3-2 Saints.
Los Angeles Rams (4-2)(Last Week: 14) The Rams proved again that they can play well against lesser competition, remaining undefeated on the road this season against defensive-minded Jacksonville 27-17. With a half-game division lead against the Seahawks, they will look to make a name in the NFC playoff race against the 3-3 Cardinals on Sunday, hoping to be 5-2 for the first time since 2003.
Washington Redskins (3-2) (Last Week: 12) Kirk Cousins and the Washington Redskins had a Week 6 bye to get ready for a Monday night divisional rematch with the Philadelphia Eagles, attempting to come back from their 30-17 loss to begin the capital’s season. Currently a game and a half behind Philadelphia in the NFC East, this primetime game is the perfect situation for Washington to continue to turn around a nerve-racking start.
Buffalo Bills (3-2)(Last Week: 15) A Week 6 bye after their 20-16 loss in Cincinnati allowed the Bills to halt any negative run to their surprisingly above .500 start. After four weeks away from home, they return to Buffalo hosting the 2-3 Buccaneers this Sunday, part of a 18-year-long attempt to return to the playoffs.
Detroit Lions (3-3)(Last Week: 8) An optimistic start for the Lions has followed a ray of anxiety, thanks to consecutive conference losses after Sunday’s 52-38 offensive shootout in New Orleans. In a division that has opened up following Aaron Rodgers’s injury, the .500 Lions will have a Week 7 bye to rest before back-to-back primetime games against the 4-2 Steelers and Packers may outline the rest of their season.
Jacksonville Jaguars (3-3)(Last Week: 10) Jacksonville continued their rollercoaster season on Sunday, with 27-17 home loss to the Rams. With all of their victorious opponents being their only games allowing over 10 points, the Jaguars still continue to rely on their defense amongst an unconfident offense. They will look to follow their 2017 pattern this week with a road divisional win against the Colts and attempt to separate from the rest of the pack in a neck-and-neck AFC South.
Minnesota Vikings (4-2)(Last Week: 18) The Vikings took advantage of an early Aaron Rodgers injury in a 23-10 home victory against the Green Bay Packers. As quarterback Case Keenum continued to convince Minnesota he is the right starter at the position with consecutive victories, the team is now tied at the top of the division, being the only team since 2011 to get in the way of Aaron Rodgers in the NFC North. Looking to continue their momentous run, their next two games are favorable matchups against the Ravens and Browns, preceding a Week 9 bye.
Houston Texans (3-3)(Last Week: 22) Deshaun Watson again prevailed, throwing three touchdowns in a 33-17 victory for the Houston Texans against the now 0-6 Browns. Watson is making a strong case for Offensive Rookie of the Year, leading the NFL with 15 touchdown passes. He is helping the AFC South co-division leaders make their own case for a return to the playoffs, and will be able to take a break next week before a Week 8 matchup against also three-win Seattle.
Dallas Cowboys (2-3) (Last Week: 16) A Week 6 bye for America’s team didn’t keep the Cowboys away from national headlines: owner Jerry Jones’s comments regarding those who kneel and Ezekiel Elliott’s six-game suspension being reinstated devoured the Cowboys’ chances at a quiet week. However, they have a chance to bounce back not only from last weekend but back-to-back losses on the field this Sunday, when they visit the 0-6 49ers looking to return to .500.
Miami Dolphins (3-2)(Last Week: 25) The Dolphins looked to have disaster written after trailing the Falcons 17-0 at halftime in Atlanta, before Jay Cutler’s two touchdown passes helped for 20 unanswered points in a 20-17 shocking upset of the Super Bowl runner-ups. Now showing that they may be able to return to the playoffs following their 2016 wildcard berth, the Dolphins will be able to ride this momentous wave next week against the 3-3 Jets, whom they lost to in Week 2.
Arizona Cardinals (3-3)(Last Week: 27) The acquisition of Adrian Peterson proved wisely for the Arizona Cardinals, as his two touchdowns combined with Carson Palmer’s three for a 38-33 victory against the Buccaneers. There best win of the season, this play will need to continue when the 4-2 Rams visit this Sunday, in an attempt to make a run in the NFC West.
New York Jets (3-3)(Last Week: 20) The Jets were on the unfortunate end of controversy after a touchdown in the fourth quarter was called off, hurting their upset bid in a 24-17 home loss against the Patriots. They will look to get back to their earlier winning ways this Sunday in Miami, who helped start their magical three-game streak this season.
Oakland Raiders (2-4) (Last Week: 21) Amidst Derek Carr’s return, the Raiders continued disappointment with a 17-16 home loss to the Chargers, lifting the Super Bowl hopeful’s losing streak to four. They will have a short break to address the team’s problems before hosting division rival and AFC best Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday night, looking to give them their second loss on the season as Carr looks to get back to his 2016 level.
Tennessee Titans (3-3) (Last Week: 24) Lacking a completely healthy Marcus Mariota, the Tennessee Titans managed to avoid an early scare and run away with a 36-22 Monday night victory against Indianapolis. Now tied with the Jaguars and Texans at 3-3 and for the lead in the AFC South, visiting the Browns in Week 7 gives them a great opportunity to keep moving forward and get an easy win against a team looking for their first of the season.
Cincinnati Bengals (2-3) (Last Week: 23) The Bengals impressed in Week 5, moving their win streak to two after games against Cleveland and Buffalo. Following their bye last week, they will travel to Pittsburgh for an afternoon game, looking to erase their unfortunate start to the season and gain ground into a division that they once looked to control.
Chicago Bears (2-4) (Last Week: 26) The Bears surprised the Ravens in overtime 27-24, giving second overall pick Mitchell Trubisky his first win in his second start. Although their season looked like it ended with an unlucky start, Aaron Rodgers’s likely season-ending injury gives all the teams in the NFC North a chance. At 2-4, the Bears will look to find momentum when the Panthers visit this Sunday, with both teams looking to prove their worth in a competitive and injury-riddled NFC.
Baltimore Ravens (3-3)(Last Week: 17) Baltimore returned home in Week 6, but that was not enough to continue momentum as the Ravens were upset at home in overtime to the Bears 27-24. The lowest ranked team with a .500 record, the Ravens could not keep a perfect record against nowhere-near perfect teams, with their wins coming against the Browns, Bengals, and a Carr-less Raiders. However, they only see themselves a game behind division leader Pittsburgh, and the Ravens will have a chance to find some light in their next three games, challenging yet competitive matches against the Vikings, Dolphins, and Titans.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3)(Last Week: 19) The Buccaneers have not been able to continue where they left off after last season’s 9-7 record with a 38-33 loss in Arizona, although nearly coming back from a 31-0 deficit regardless of four missed two-point conversions along with an injured Jameis Winston. Now at the bottom of the NFC South, they’ll have a chance to bounce back in Buffalo this Sunday, with their odds best if Winston plays.
Los Angeles Chargers (2-4)(Last Week: 29) The Chargers managed to not only win a close game, but battle against a decent opponent with a 17-16 victory in Oakland. Not only are they on a multi-game winning streak, but they now could pose a threat in an AFC that may possibly be wide open for a wild-card spot come playoff time. Their run has no better place to continue than at home against Denver, whom they lost to in Week 1 on a blocked field-goal attempt.
New York Giants (1-5) (Last Week: 31) The Giants prevailed against all odds with an injured-galore receiving core in Denver with a 23-10 victory on Sunday night. No longer left with a goose egg in the win column, they now are set on just not being the worse. Although there is always a chance, even though an 0-5 team has never made the playoffs, the Giants will need to take each game as it goes, but a win against the Broncos may just be enough momentum to get going, as their next three games are against NFC West opponents, with the first being at home against the 3-2 Seahawks.
Indianapolis Colts (2-4) (Last Week: 28) The Colts erased early hopes by falling short as the Tennessee Titans gained momentum, losing 36-22 on Monday night. Awaiting the season debut of injured starting quarterback Andrew Luck, the Colts see themselves in last place with only one game behind the three-team division leaders. With a manageable hole to get out of, they will return home on Sunday against the divisional Jacksonville Jaguars, in a game that could tie them with their opponents in the AFC South.
San Francisco 49ers (0-6)(Last Week: 30) The 49ers woes continued this week with a 26-24 loss in Washington, although some glimmer of hope unveiled when they tied the game at 17 with all of their points unanswered. Without a solid quarterback, it makes sense that San Francisco has not been able to find success, even if their last five games were decided by three points or less, which is the sole reason they are not at the bottom of the rankings. A team that five years ago boasted a potential star at quarterback (one who would later make a name off the field), they now are left with questions all over, and that will continue with their NFC East trip, this time hosting the disappointingly 2-3 Cowboys.
Cleveland Browns (0-6) (Last Week: 32) Although having three first round draft picks this past April, the Browns have sadly shocked no one with their seventh consecutive season with a five game losing streak, increasing this season’s total on Sunday with a 33-17 loss in Houston. The lonely silver lining (other than the hope that tanking will finally work) is that there’s too many games remaining to worry about matching their 0-14 start from last season, and that impressively awful feat could be terminated against the Titans next week, where they will look to bust the hopes of a Tennessee team looking to get ahead in a tight-knit division.