Each week, we will bring you staff NFL Power Rankings. The overall rankings are a combination of polls submitted by Justin Rozzero, Marc Clair, Chad Campbell, Greg Phillips, Andrew Flanagan & Maurice Pogue. Each team is assigned points based on rank and then compiled and ranked overall based on total points. Managing Editor Brad Woodling has the power to break ties.
- Denver Broncos (192 pts): It wasn’t the massacre that everyone expected, but Denver still handled Jacksonville with ease to remain undefeated. There are still some question marks on defense and they could be exposed Sunday night in Indianapolis, however Von Miller will be back on the field which should help. Drama will be high as Peyton Manning returns to Lucas Oil Stadium.
- Kansas City Chiefs (179 pts): The Chiefs offense has to lend some concern to the coaching staff and fans, but you can’t deny their dominant defense and six wins in six tries. Alex Smith still hasn’t had that breakout game and Dwayne Bowe looks cooked, but Jamaal Charles continues to get it done. They host slumping Houston in what could be a massacre in KC.
- Seattle Seahawks (179 pts): It wasn’t easy, but the Seahawks knocked off the game Titans to remain at 5-1 and atop the NFC West. Despite a monster day from Marshawn Lynch, the offense still seems to have trouble getting going in most games and it won’t get much easier as they head to Arizona on Thursday night. Expect that one to be a defensive slugfest, a game that Seattle has seemed to enjoy winning in 2013.
- New Orleans Saints (175 pts): The Saints hung in against the Patriots at home before taking control of the game in the second half. However, they had more than one chance to seal the game and the offense couldn’t pick up one last first down and the defense couldn’t make one last stop to get the win. To be a true title contender, they will need to beat teams over .500. Still, New Orleans heads to the bye at 5-1 and well are well in control of the division.
- New England Patriots (170 pts): You could already hear the Sports Hub phone lines burning up before Tom Brady reached back and pulled out a vintage performance on the final drive to lift the Pats to a victory over the Saints. The defense looks elite, getting a huge stop when needed. Despite once again losing Danny Amendola, it was a big win for the Pats as they have a two game lead in the division with a chance to really pull away as they visit the Meadowlands on Sunday.
- San Francisco 49ers (163 pts): The Niners are back on track and winning games like it is 2011: through running, defense and opportunistic passing. With a depleted WR corps, San Francisco has had to alter their game plan from what they ran earlier in the year and it seems to be working. The return of Vernon Davis has also helped take some pressure off of Anquan Boldin. The defense gets to feast on Ryan Fitzpatrick and a worn down Chris Johnson as they look to keep pace in the playoff race.
- Green Bay Packers (151 pts): The Packers are hurting across the board, with Clay Matthews dinged up on defense and James Jones and Randall Cobb hurting on the offensive side. Despite the wounded stars, the Packers went into Baltimore and won a slugfest, which was good to see. They will continue to rely on Eddy Lacy and the developing ground game as they will be forced to play a different style until the weapons are all back in place.
- Indianapolis Colts (148 pts): Tough loss Monday night as Andrew Luck couldn’t lead a fourth quarter comeback, something that was due to happen. The Colts still are in good shape atop the division as they prepare for the biggest test of the season against the undefeated Broncos. Luck can make a huge statement if he can outduel Manning in Peyton’s old stomping grounds.
- Chicago Bears (143 pts): The Bears took care of business against the pitiful Giants on Thursday night and remain tied for the division lead with Detroit. This week they travel to the capital where Jay Cutler should be able to chuck the ball around with ease against the sagging Washington pass defense. After breaking out for a big game on Thursday, Brandon Marshall will be salivating to do it again.
- Detroit Lions (137 pts): The Lions kept their place on top of the North by running away from a game Browns team late and banking another victory. The offense will have a tough matchup this week as the stout Bengals defense comes to town. If the Lions can win a close, low scoring game as the Packers did last Sunday, it could go a long way in pundits viewing them as a legit title contender.
- Cincinnati Bengals (135 pts): The Bengals continue to be hard to peg as they followed up a dominant performance against New England with a shaky win in Buffalo. After stifling Tom Brady, the D had a hard time slowing down Thad Lewis and the Bills run game. Still, a win is a win and the Bengals are back in the pole position in the North as they head to Detroit in a game that will really test the defense yet again.
- Dallas Cowboys (123 pts): Dallas bounced back from a heartbreaking loss with a convincing Sunday night victory over an inferior team. It was good to see them win that kind of game and not look ahead to their big divisional battle in Philadelphia this week. If the Cowboys want to win the East, this is the game to lock up. They also need to start beating playoff caliber teams when it matters.
- Miami Dolphins (120 pts): Despite having the week off, Miami still lost half a game in the standings thanks to New England’s victory. With the Patriots and Jets playing this week, Miami can pick up some needed ground on half of the division with a win over Buffalo.
- Baltimore Ravens (109 pts): The Ravens continue to be the Ravens, looking very good one week and pedestrian the next. They had a chance to steal a big home game but could not land a knockout blow in time. Joe Flacco has not looked like a Super Bowl MVP and Ray Rice has struggled. Luckily for them, the Bengals have been unable to run away with the division crown, so a win over Pittsburgh this week could bury the Steelers and move them back into first place.
- San Diego Chargers (108 pts): The Chargers picked up a really nice win on Monday Night, outlasting the Colts and doing it on the ground late in the game. With the Texans faltering, there is a wide open shot at the second AFC Wild Card and if San Diego can continue to win games like that, they can play themselves right into the mix. They need to take care of business at Jacksonville this week and then they can head to their bye in a comfortable position.
- Tennessee Titans (96 pts): The Titans have had to deal with some really tough luck. They were looking like a sneaky playoff sleeper but the injury to Jake Locker and the schedule hardening has really shot a hole through those aspirations. They gave the Seahawks a game early on, but the higher talent level pulled it out in the end. This week they are at home against the resurgent 49ers, another tough road to hoe.
- Philadelphia Eagles (91 pts): With Michael Vick down, Nick Foles stepped right in and did a nice job managing a tricky offense against a strong pass defense and as a result, the Eagles are back to 3-3 and tied with Dallas. This Sunday, Philly needs to hold serve and send a message that the Cowboys will not be waltzing to the division crown. It is uncertain if the Philly defense can stop Tony Romo, so whether it is Vick or Foles, the offense will need to have another big day.
- Cleveland Browns (90 pts): Similar to Tennessee, losing Brian Hoyer really dampened the excitement surrounding the resuscitated Browns. The defense is still as legit as it comes and Josh Gordon has been fantastic, but the offense is struggling under Weeden and it may soon be Jason Campbell time. Things do not get easier this week as the squad heads into Green Bay for another cross conference battle.
- New York Jets (83 pts): In the least surprising loss of all time, the Jets lost a game they really needed to win. A victory over the winless Steelers would have had them one game out of the division as the Patriots were coming into New Jersey. Instead, the offense sputtered and the defense couldn’t hold up for sixty minutes. An early decision not go for it on 4th and inches near the goal line set the tone for a passive outing. A win over the Patriots would be huge as the Bengals and Saints are next up on the docket in the weeks to come.
- Atlanta Falcons (79 pts): The Falcons return from bye and are still hurting. Matt Ryan is going to have a tough go against the Tampa Bay pass defense, but there is still enough talent in place to outlast a mentally weak Buccaneers team. If Atlanta wants to keep any playoff hopes alive, they have to win this game.
- Houston Texans (68 pts): Things have reached a critical mass in Houston as Matt Schaub went down to injury to the cheers of mentally wrecked Texans fans. TJ Yates didn’t do much better as he immediately chucked a pick-six, proving this team’s problems run deeper than its beleaguered starting QB. After getting embarrassed by the Rams, Houston now has to deal with undefeated Kansas City and one of the best defenses in the league. This team is perilously close to being winless, only thanks to two last minute comebacks to open the season.
- Carolina Panthers (60 pts): The Panthers picked up a convincing win on Sunday and continue to hang around the periphery of the playoff picture. With Ron Rivera’s newfound aggressive attitude and the commitment to allow Cam Newton to run the offense in a style best suited for him, the Panthers could develop more quickly than expected and with Tampa Bay and Atlanta stumbling they are in prime position to leapfrog those teams in the division in terms of consistency and success in 2013.
- St. Louis Rams (60 pts): After leaving much to be desired early in the season, the Rams have won two in a row to move back to .500. Of course, those wins came against the lowly Jaguars and the troubled Texans, but there they are, just one game out of a playoff spot six weeks into the season. The offense has looked a bit better and Zac Stacy has been an improvement over Darryl Richardson. They have a big game against Carolina this week, a battle that will sniff out one team as a possible fringe contender.
- Buffalo Bills (57 pts): The Bills once again played a gutty game at home as unknown Thad Lewis had a nice day against a stingy defense. The Bills came up just short in OT but there are some buildings blocks in place for Doug Marrone. The key as always in Buffalo is whether or their top players can stay on the field long enough to contribute.
- Arizona Cardinals (51 pts): When the Cardinals traded for Carson Palmer, the hope was that he would be just good enough to allow them compete thanks to a solid defense and a good arsenal of weapons. Palmer has been a disappointment and he has prevented Arizona from taking that next step forward. In the next few weeks, the Cardinals may be best served to tryout another arm as they continue to search for answers.
- Oakland Raiders (50 pts): There really should be no shame in getting shutdown by the Chiefs defense in Kansas City, but losing Terrelle Pryor is the bigger concern coming out that game. Pryor has looked good this season and the Raiders need to keep him healthy so they can continue to assess whether he is their QB of the future. That should be the main goal of 2013.
- Washington Redskins (41 pts): 2012 seems like a decade ago for this team. The defense has very little going for it and the offense is a shell of its self. RG3 has been playing better, but it looks to be too little, too late unless Washington can get hot and go on a sustained run as they did a year ago. Even if RG3 continues to improve, it doesn’t look like the defense can sustain that sort of winning streak.
- Pittsburgh Steelers (37 pts): Pittsburgh picked up their first win of the year against the Jets, a victory they hope will spur a comeback to relevancy. With a wide open division ahead of them, if the Steelers can pick off the Ravens Sunday, they will be right back in the mix. Big Ben played well, staying upright and connecting on a few big passes and a whole lot of little ones to Antonio Brown, the team’s best playmaker. And they allowed zero touchdowns, like the Steelers of old.
- Minnesota Vikings (28 pts): The Vikings looked hapless on Sunday and it is clear that Matt Cassell is part of the problem and not the answer. Adrian Peterson was clearly distracted by a tumultuous week and the team isn’t talented enough to win without him. Soon enough, Josh Freeman will get shot to audition for a permanent job, but Minnesota may be best off laying low and aiming high in the 2014 draft.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (16 pts): The sloppiness continues as Tampa dropped another game at home. The stars seem to be aligned that Greg Schiano will not survive the season, meaning yet another spin of the coaching (and possibly QB) carousel for the Bucs. You have to wonder if they will look to move some of their more expensive pieces as they start to stockpile much needed draft picks.
- New York Giants (16 pts): Stick a fork in the Giants as they are officially cooked 0-6. With Dallas and Philadelphia struggling early, the Giants had a chance to get back into the division fight, but they just can’t get that big win. In fact, they are on pace to be historically bad, but that could finally change as they welcome in Minnesota on Monday night. A win will help, but they have a long way to go to really quell the whispers that this could finally be it for Tom Coughlin.
- Jacksonville Jaguars (6 pts): They fought hard, they really did. They gave Denver a much better game than anybody expected, so kudos to them. Chad Henne should remain installed as starter for now and if Justin Blackmon can stay out of trouble and Cecil Shorts isn’t seriously hurt, this team actually has the bare bones of a decent offense in place.
Biggest Rise: San Diego Chargers & St. Louis Rams (+5)
Biggest Fall: Oakland Raiders (-4)
PTB Game to Watch: Denver Broncos @ Indianapolis Colts, Sunday Night, 8:30PM, NBC
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