In another week where COVID-19 ran rampant through the NFL, upsets also jumbled up everything we thought we knew. The Chiefs, Colts, and Buccaneers all lost, and the Seahawks and Cowboys nearly left week five with losses.
We also had other playoff teams like the Patriots, Bills, and Titans all have their games postponed due to virus outbreaks, and it remains to be seen how these teams will respond.
Then, we have the other pandemic running through the NFL: injuries. Dak Prescott’s season is over after his devastating compound fracture and dislocation of his ankle, Dalvin Cook left Sunday night’s game, and Chris Godwin and Leonard Fournette both missed Thursday’s game.
This may be the least confidence I’ve had in a ranking so far this season, but it must be done, so let’s jump into it. As always, the top 14 are my playoff teams, and the remaining 18 spots go to the non-playoff teams.
Check week one’s rankings here
Check week two’s rankings here
Check week three’s rankings here
Check week four’s rankings here
Check week five’s rankings here
Last Week: 27-3 win vs CIN
Next Week: 10/18 @ PHI
Lamar Jackson’s case for back-to-back MVPs is dwindling as he put on another “meh” performance on Sunday. Normally, when his passing numbers are low, it’s because he took over the game with his legs. However, he rushed for just three yards this week.
Jackson’s game mattered very little though as Baltimore’s defense was the star of the show. They sacked Joe Burrow seven times, and Marcus Peters returned an interception for a touchdown. The Ravens have earned their way back to the top spot, and they probably retain it after this week’s matchup with the Eagles.
2. Green Bay Packers
Last Week: Bye
Next Week: 10/18 @ TB
The Packers didn’t play this week, but as long as their guys stay healthy and Aaron Rodgers keeps playing at an MVP level, they have to be the prohibited favorite to make it out of the NFC. The Seahawks and Chiefs both showed weakness this week, and Green Bay has the weapons to exploit these teams.
3. Kansas City Chiefs
Last Week: 32-40 loss vs LV
Next Week: 10/19 @ BUF
The Chiefs defense was exposed this week against the Raiders, with the secondary being especially bad. Derek Carr threw for 347 yards and three touchdowns, and Henry Ruggs and Nelson Agholor both caught touchdowns passes that went for over 50 yards. The Chiefs lost the time of possession battle too because of the combination of Josh Jacobs power rushing and Devonate Booker’s quick bursts.
Mahomes also was uncharacteristically inaccurate today with his passes, completing just 22 of 43 passes. I think this has a lot to do with the Raiders keeping him off the field and out of rhythm. Turns out the recipe for beating Patrick Mahomes is simply to not let him beat you. Things don’t get any easier with a matchup with Buffalo on another short week.
4. Seattle Seahawks
Last Week: 27-26 win vs MIN
Next Week: Bye
After going down 13-0 at halftime, the Seahawks looked like they were in trouble in this game. Similarly to the Chiefs, the Vikings seemed to discover that they just needed to keep Russell Wilson off the field in order to win this game. Seattle held the ball for just 20:32 of this game, but they were dominant in the third quarter, with a three play sequence of Metcalf touchdown catch, Kirk Cousins interception, and Chris Carson touchdown run. The Seahawks now have a well-deserved bye week to heal up after an impressive 5-0 start.
5. New England Patriots
Last Week: Postponed (COVID-19)
Next Week: 10/18 vs DEN
Stephon Gilmore was announced to have tested positive for COVID-19 after Monday night’s game against the Chiefs, which led to the postponement of their game this week. The Steelers did not look great coming off a sudden bye, so we’ll have to see how the Patriots perform.
6. Pittsburgh Steelers
Last Week: 38-29 win vs PHI
Next Week: 10/18 vs CLE
The game was ugly at times, but Pittsburgh managed to pull it out. It seems like the Steelers have nailed another wide receiver pick in Chase Claypool, who had four touchdowns this week. The Steelers need JuJu Smith-Schuster to be better than he has been, but the defense showed up again when it mattered, picking off Carson Wentz twice in the second half.
7. New Orleans Saints
Last Week: 30-27 win vs LAC
Next Week: Bye
The Saints are a very frustrating team because they do what they did in the first half, falling down by as much as 20-3, and then they outscore the Chargers 27-7 for the final 40 minutes of the game. It still nearly wasn’t enough for a win if it weren’t for a botched last second field goal by LA.
Still, the dominant stretches that they’ve shown keep them in the playoff picture, and a bye week coming up hopefully allows them to recuperate and bring Michael Thomas back into the offense.
8. Los Angeles Rams
Last Week: 30-10 win @ WSH
Next Week: 10/18 @ SF
The Rams unsurprisingly dominated from start to finish, and sacked the combination of Kyle Allen and Alex Smith eight times. Jared Goff looked very good once again, but this was a total team effort, with a bunch of different players taking on a role in this win. Next week they can firmly plant themselves in the playoffs with a win in San Francisco.
9. Tennessee Titans
Last Week: 42-16 win vs BUF
Next Week: 10/18 vs HOU
The Titans had quite the impressive win on Tuesday night. Not only did they go against undefeated Buffalo and absolutely demolish them from start to finish, but they did it after COVID-19 chaos went through the entire organization.
Ryan Tannehill and A.J. Brown had a connection that looked very similar to the one that happened last year, and Derrick Henry controlled the game from the ground. This team looks to have taken control of the AFC South considering Indy’s struggles this week.
10. Buffalo Bills
Last Week: 16-42 loss @ TEN
Next Week: 10/19 vs KC
Josh Allen had his first objectively bad game of the season, throwing two momentum killing interceptions. Penalties also killed Buffalo as they committed ten for 56 yards. The defense was bad too, allowing Derrick Henry to score twice, and Ryan Tannehill also tallied 42 rushing yards on top of his three touchdown passes. This team may be in trouble if they don’t figure out a solution before Monday’s game against Kansas City.
11. Arizona Cardinals
Last Week: 30-10 win @ NYJ
Next Week: 10/19 @ DAL
Here’s a great stat for your week. The Cardinals got their first win against the Jets on the road since 1975. Kyler Murray got back on track this week, and the running game emerged once again, scoring three touchdowns. This was a much needed win after two straight questionable losses, but we’ll see if the momentum continues into week six at Dallas.
12. Cleveland Browns
Last Week: 32-23 win vs IND
Next Week: 10/18 @ PIT
That’s right, everybody. The Cleveland Browns are officially in the playoff picture. After an impressive win against Indy, and now that they are 4-1, they have to be included. The AFC North has turned into the division that we thought the NFC West would be, and Cleveland deserves credit for that. Pittsburgh has owned this team in recent years, but the Browns have been up for every challenge all season.
13. Chicago Bears
Last Week: 20-19 win vs TB
Next Week: 10/18 @ CAR
The Bears got a great win against Tom Brady and the Buccaneers this week. The defense limited the Bucs offense all night, and then Nick Foles had some more magic in him and led the game winning field goal drive. Next week they get a Carolina team that is proving everyone must take seriously, but the defense should get them to 5-1.
14. Dallas Cowboys
Last Week: 37-34 win vs NYG
Next Week: 10/19 vs AZ
I’ve made a lot of jokes about the Cowboys and the NFC East, but I can’t do it this week. The Dak Prescott injury was absolutely heart wrenching to watch, and everyone should be rooting for him to come back healthy next year.
All is not lost for Dallas though. They should still win this division because of their offensive weapons, and Andy Dalton came in and does what he does best: lead game winning drives. I said the Arizona win was the stat of the week, but here’s a close second. Andy Dalton has more career game winning drives than Aaron Rodgers after yesterday.
15. Indianapolis Colts
Last Week: 23-32 loss @ CLE
Next Week: 10/18 vs CIN
Philip Rivers unquestionably lost this game for the Colts, throwing a pick six and then getting an intentional grounding penalty in the end zone, resulting in a safety. However, the fact that this team decided to run Jonathan Taylor just 12 times is unacceptable. The defense still wasn’t that bad, when you consider they only really allowed 24 points to a team that has been great on offense this year. They should get back on track against the Bengals.
16. Las Vegas Raiders
Last Week: 40-32 win @KC
Next Week: Bye
It might be time for the Jon Gruden haters to disappear. This team continues to prove that they are a contender in any game, and they capped off their first stretch of the season with a road win against the defending champs. The defense did a great job of not only rushing Mahomes, but making sure the receivers could not get any separation. They have to keep this going in order to have a chance at catching the Browns, Steelers, or Patriots for a playoff spot, but this team is certainly capable.
17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Last Week: 19-20 loss @ CHI
Next Week: 10/18 vs GB
The Buccaneers missed Chris Godwin and Leonard Fournette this week. The Bears defense did a great job of containing Tampa’s receivers, and the Bucs defense couldn’t stop Chicago’s offense when it really needed to. This team is now in danger of falling to third in the NFC South with a huge matchup against the Packers on the slate next week.
18. Carolina Panthers
Last Week: 23-16 win @ ATL
Next Week: 10/18 vs CHI
The run defense is still not great, but the Panthers continue to compete in every game that they play. They’ve moved themselves into a tie for the NFC South lead, and the impact of Teddy Bridgewater on this team can’t be overstated. He hasn’t made a ton of flashy plays, but he has limited his mistakes very well, outside of the loss to Tampa Bay. This team could potentially be leading the division after week six.
19. Detroit Lions
Last Week: Bye
Next Week: 10/18 @ JAX
Like I said last week, the Lions have remained competitive in every game so far this season, and they should get a win against a struggling Jacksonville team.
20. Miami Dolphins
Last Week: 43-17 win @ SF
Next Week: 10/18 vs NYJ
I get that the Niners have been beat up, but Jimmy Garoppolo, Deebo Samuel, and Raheem Mostert all came back this week. The fact that Miami won by this much is impressive. Ryan Fitzpatrick has continued his magic into October, and the defense played very well too. The winning will probably continue next week against the Jets.
21. Los Angeles Chargers
Last Week: 27-30 loss @ NO
Next Week: Bye
Only the Chargers can find ways to lose in these ways over…and over…and over again. Justin Herbert looked great once again, and even without Austin Ekeler, they dominated the Saints for half the game. Then either they got complacent, or the Saints woke up, or maybe a little of both.
LA’s defense has been atrocious down the stretch of this four game losing streak, giving up 30 or more points in each game. Even though Herbert looks like he can carry this offense for years to come, he’s going to need some help from the other side of the ball to put some checks in that win column.
22. Houston Texans
Last Week: 30-14 win vs JAX
Next Week: 10/18 @ TEN
The Texans are 1-0 in the post-Bill O’Brien era. Sure, the win came against a bad Jaguars team, but the team still looked better than it has all season. James Robinson finally wasn’t able to put up big numbers, and Houston got some great rushing of their own. Brandin Cooks also had a great game, catching eight passes for 161 yards and a touchdown. The playoffs are still very unlikely, but at least they finally got over the hump and won a game.
23. Minnesota Vikings
Last Week: 26-27 loss @ SEA
Next Week: 10/18 vs ATL
Another week, another dumb Vikings loss. Minnesota gave up three touchdowns in about one and a half minutes of game time, and at that point I thought this game was over. With Dalvin Cook being hurt, it was Adam Thielen and Alexander Mattison stepping up that kept Minnesota in the game to the end.
The defense was great in the first half, but seemed to be figured out in the second half. Finally, I know it’s easy to say this in hindsight, but they should have kicked teh field goal on the last minute possession only because it puts them up eight. The good news is they get a much easier matchup with Atlanta this week.
24. San Francisco 49ers
Last Week: 17-43 loss vs MIA
Next Week: 10/18 vs LAR
Yikes. In his return, Jimmy Garoppolo looked absolutely horrible, and the defense couldn’t stop Miami’s offense. This season seems to be gone at this point, and I don’t see how they come away from the Rams game with a win.
25. Philadelphia Eagles
Last Week: 29-38 loss @ PIT
Next Week: 10/18 vs BAL
Even though they lost, the Eagles finally showed a little bit of fight against a good team this week. They were only down 31-29 in the fourth quarter, and after an Eric Ebron fumble, it seemed like they were about to take the lead.
Then, the offense couldn’t get much going. They missed a field goal, the Steelers quickly scored a touchdown, Wentz threw an interception, and the game was over. This was probably their best chance at stealing a win, and now the schedule doesn’t get any easier with a game against Baltimore.
26. Denver Broncos
Last Week: Postponed (COVID-19)
Next Week: 10/18 @ NE
With their game against the Patriots being postponed, there is a much higher chance that Cam Newton can return for this game. Denver is not a good team, and I don’t expect them to stand much of a chance in this game.
27. Cincinnati Bengals
Last Week: 3-27 loss @ BAL
Next Week: 10/18 @ IND
The Bengals were totally overmatched in this game, and Baltimore’s defense tore them apart. The one positive coming out of this week is that Joe Burrow didn’t get hurt. Another tough defense in Indianapolis is on deck, which doesn’t bode well for the young offense.
28. Jacksonville Jaguars
Last Week: 14-30 loss @ HOU
Next Week: 10/18 vs DET
The Jaguars have been owned by the Texans in recent years, and the trend continued this week. James Robinson didn’t have a very good game, and the defense got torched. The week one win is looking very flukish right now.
29. New York Giants
Last Week: 34-37 loss @ DAL
Next Week: 10/18 vs WSH
The Giants played a competitive game against a rival this week, and that’s about all the fans can really ask for at this point. Devonta Freeman was good, and Darius Slayton broke out with 129 receiving yards. The defense made some big plays early on, including a pick six by Kyler Fackrell in the first quarter. That said, the team is still winless.
30. Washington Football Team
Last Week: 10-30 loss vs LAR
Next Week: 10/18 @ NYG
Washington made one of the dumbest moves of the week when they made Alex Smith active for this game. Sure, seeing him play football was a cool comeback moment, but every time Aaron Donald came after him was terrifying. Smith hadn’t even been taking hits in practice, and his first game back in two years after a life threatening leg injury is against the best pass rusher in the league. Makes sense.
31. Atlanta Falcons
Last Week: 16-23 loss vs CAR
Next Week: 10/18 @ MIN
The first step towards improvement is admitting there is a problem. Atlanta finally did that after their fifth straight loss to start the season by firing Dan Quinn. It might be time to start looking at replacements for Matt Ryan too, as he has thrown just one touchdown in the past three weeks.
32. Bye Week
Adam Gase still coaches the Jets.
33. New York Jets
Last Week: 10-30 loss vs AZ
Next Week: 10/18 @ MIA
I know I did this last week too, but is there really anything to say about the Jets? Jamison Crowder had a good game, with 116 yards and a touchdown, but other than that, this team just flat out stinks. The only thing the Jets could do to make this season worse is win a game and blow their chance at the first overall pick.