Week 6 NFL Power Rankings

Oct 10, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings free safety Xavier Woods (23) and safety Harrison Smith (22) break up a Detroit Lions pass during the second half at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

I think it’s safe to say this was one of the strangest weeks of NFL football in recent memory. Between all the missed kicks, two separate games ending in a score of 25-22, and a coach losing his job over a coaching scandal in the midst of a prime time game, there was plenty of news and jaws dropped over the course of the weekend. With that said, things remain very stable at the top of this week’s power rankings. Just one new team changes spots within the top five, so read on to find out who that is as well as where everyone else lands!

1. Buffalo Bills

        Last Week: 38-20 win @ KC

        Trending: —

        This Week: 10/18 @ TEN

The Bills proved that after defeating three straight inferior teams by massive margins that they truly deserve this number one spot. Their pass rush had Patrick Mahomes under duress all night, and Josh Allen lit up Kansas City’s defense. A three-score victory in Arrowhead makes it extremely difficult to unseat this team moving forward.

2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

        Last Week: 45-17 win vs MIA

        Trending: —

        This Week: 10/14 @ PHI

After struggling through the New England rain against the Patriots last week, Tampa Bay’s offense got right back on the horse in week 5. Tom Brady and Co. were off to the races immediately and put up their second 40+ point performance of the year. The Bucs have a sneaky tough matchup with Philadelphia on a short week, but they should continue to look like a top team in the NFC.

3. Arizona Cardinals 

        Last Week: 17-10 win @ SF

        Trending: —

        This Week: 10/17 @ CLE

The Cardinals now have back-to-back impressive divisional road wins and remain the only undefeated team in the league. Arizona didn’t play a great game this week in San Francisco, but an ugly win is still a win. Granted, it was against Trey Lance in his first career start and without George Kittle, but Arizona has to be considered a real contender. 

4. Green Bay Packers

        Last Week: 25-22 win @ CIN

        Trending: —

        This Week: 10/17 @ CHI

Another fabulous game from both Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams was overshadowed by a horrific kicking performance from Mason Crosby. At one point, Crosby had missed three kicks in a row, but he got it together just in time to hit the game-winner in overtime. Not having Jaire Alexander is a noticeable detriment to the defense, especially against star receivers, but they should still handle Chicago fairly easily.

5. Baltimore Ravens

        Last Week: 31-25 win vs IND

        Trending: +2

        This Week: 10/17 vs LAC 

The Ravens got off to a very lethargic start on Monday night, but they came roaring back in the second half and overtime. They closed the game with four straight touchdown drives, with Lamar Jackson making play after play down the stretch. The Ravens have to go into next week’s matchup against the Chargers feeling unstoppable.

6. Los Angeles Chargers

        Last Week: 47-42 win vs CLE

        Trending: +3

        This Week: 10/17 @ BAL

After a team in the Minnesota Vikings, that prior to the season seemed very comparable to the Chargers, scored just seven points against the Cleveland Browns defense, it seemed like LA’s offense might struggle as well. No such struggles occurred. Justin Herbert looked like a top QB in the league, and even a missed field goal could not deter the Chargers from coming away with a win. This team looks legit, but they get another very tough matchup with Baltimore in week 6.

7. Los Angeles Rams

        Last Week: 26-17 win @ SEA

        Trending: +1

        This Week: 10/17 @ NYG

LA was manhandled by the Cardinals last week, but they put that performance in the rear view mirror on a short week. Matthew Stafford got a little banged up against Seattle which might be something to watch moving forward, but in the end, it mattered very little. Russell Wilson also suffered an ugly finger injury, but it didn’t seem like that was going to change the outcome of this game as Geno Smith played at least as well as Wilson did. 

8. Dallas Cowboys

        Last Week: 44-20 win vs NYG

        Trending: +3

        This Week: 10/17 @ NE

Week five of 2020 could not have gone worse for Dallas, but in 2021, the Cowboys are solidifying themselves as a contender in the NFC. After their shootout loss in week 1 against the defending champs, Dallas has now rattled off four straight wins. They’ve also scored 35+ points in three straight games. Anytime someone has to go against a Bill Belichick defense should be considered a test, but this team seems poised to handle it.

9. Cleveland Browns

        Last Week: 42-47 loss @ LAC

        Trending: -3

        This Week: 10/17 vs ARI

The Browns may have lost this week, but it says more about their opponent than it does them. The defense may not be as vaunted as we thought, but it will do fine against the majority of NFL teams. The offense remains one of the more high-powered units and a chore for any team as long as Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt remain healthy. 

10. Kansas City Chiefs

        Last Week: 20-38 loss vs BUF

        Trending: -5

        This Week: 10/17 @ WSH

The Chiefs are on the verge of falling out of the top 10 after another abysmal defensive performance. KC has now given up 400+ yards and/or 30+ points in four of five games this season, and to make matters worse, Patrick Mahomes has not looked like the MVP quarterback that he used to be. Any time the offense is turning the ball over multiple times per game, it’s going to be tough to win, and this is now the second time in the last three games that the Chiefs have had four turnovers. 

11. San Francisco 49ers

        Last Week: 10-17 loss vs ARI

        Trending: +2

        This Week: Bye

Trey Lance looked a bit overwhelmed against the Cardinals in his first career start, and the playcalling seemed very conservative as a result. If Lance continues starting for the near future, the playbook should be opened up as he gets more experience. If he ends up going back to the sideline, Jimmy Garoppolo is at least a fine starting QB. Additionally, with how banged up this team is, the loss against a top contender means very little. This upcoming bye week should be very good for them to regroup.

12. Seattle Seahawks

        Last Week: 17-26 loss vs LAR

        Trending: -2

        This Week: 10/17 vs PIT

Unless Geno Smith’s unexpectedly great performance against LA was real, the Seahawks are probably set to take a tumble in the next coming weeks without Russell Wilson. DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett should make up for a lot of flaws that Smith may bring, but this week doesn’t look promising against a great Pittsburgh defense.

13. New Orleans Saints

        Last Week: 33-22 win @ WSH

        Trending: +4

        This Week: Bye

The Saints got the ultimate Jameis Winston experience this week as he threw for multiple touchdowns but also had multiple turnovers. In the end, they came out with a win, and now they get an early bye to hopefully get some of their injured stars back on the field for week 7 in Seattle. All in all, this was a big road win for a team in need of a statement. 

14. Minnesota Vikings

        Last Week: 19-17 win vs DET

        Trending: +1

        This Week: 10/17 @ CAR

The Vikings backed their way into a walk-off win against Detroit, but again, a win is a win. The Vikings defense has been very good the past three weeks, and if they can just get the offense back on track, this will be a tough team to beat. 

15. New England Patriots

        Last Week: 25-22 win @ HOU

        Trending: -1

        This Week: 10/17 vs DAL

I mentioned earlier that facing a Bill Belichick defense should always be considered a test, but apparently that’s not quite the case for the mighty Houston Texans. Making Davis Mills look like Tom Brady is not a great look, but this is still a team that held the actual Tom Brady in check just a week ago. They probably won’t have enough firepower to hang with Dallas, but it should be an interesting game. 

16. Cincinnati Bengals

        Last Week: 22-25 loss vs GB

        Trending: +4

        This Week: 10/17 @ DET

The Bengals remained feisty as they forced Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers into overtime. If Evan McPherson could have made one of two kick attempts, they may have even escaped with a win. Despite the loss, they should be able to get back on track against the Lions.

17. Pittsburgh Steelers

        Last Week: 27-19 win vs DEN

        Trending: +2

        This Week: 10/17 @ SEA

Pittsburgh’s defense did an excellent job of limiting the Denver passing attack, and Ben Roethlisberger played much better than he has all season. Rookie Najee Harris is the catalyst for the offense, and as long as he is on the field, this team should stay relevant. 

18. Denver Broncos

        Last Week: 19-27 loss @ PIT

        Trending: -2

        This Week: 10/17 vs LV

The Broncos clearly wanted to keep Teddy Bridgewater upright this week after he went down in week 4. It was a much simpler playbook with Bridgewater getting rid of the ball quickly. Pittsburgh didn’t give him many chances to work, and the running game never got going, either. We’ll see how they fare against a struggling Raiders team.

19. Chicago Bears

        Last Week: 20-9 win @ LV

        Trending: +6

        This Week: 10/17 vs GB

Don’t look now, but the Chicago Bears are now 3-2. The rushing attack didn’t miss a beat without David Montgomery, and Justin Fields did what he needed to do as a game manager. The Bears now have a chance to take over the NFC North if they can win their home matchup with the Packers.

20. Las Vegas Raiders

        Last Week: 9-20 loss vs CHI

        Trending: -9

        This Week: 10/17 @ DEN

The Raiders have certainly come down to earth after a hot 3-0 start. This week, a strong performance from the Bears defense held Derek Carr in check without a touchdown pass and only 206 yards. Week 6 doesn’t get any easier as Las Vegas heads to the Mile High city and plays an equally good defensive unit. Plus, when you suddenly lose your head coach due to an email scandal, you’re going to drop a few extra spots. 

21. Washington Football Team

        Last Week: 22-33 loss vs NO

        Trending: -3

        This Week: 10/17 vs KC

One of the most disappointing developments of 2021 has been the downfall of the Washington defense. A unit that was so stout last year gave up 30+ for the third straight week. In 2020, the defense did not allow 30 points in a game over the final seven weeks of the regular season.

22. Tennessee Titans

        Last Week: 37-19 win @ JAX

        Trending: +2

        This Week: 10/18 vs BUF

Per usual, the Tennessee Titans found their success on the broad shoulders of Derrick Henry. The defense also took advantage of a couple turnovers from Trevor Lawrence’s offense to get this win fairly easily. The Titans feel like a team that are going to beat up on the bad teams, but struggle versus the better ones. 

23. Indianapolis Colts

        Last Week: 25-31 loss @ BAL

        Trending: -2

        This Week: 10/17 vs HOU

The bug that struck kickers all week seemed to carry into Monday night, and it led to the Colts being unable to close out the game in regulation after a missed field goal. Who knows if Blankenship would have made it if he was at 100%, but ultimately, it shouldn’t have come down to that anyway. The weaknesses on defense that have shown up all season reared their ugly heads down the stretch. 

24. Philadelphia Eagles

        Last Week: 21-18 win @ CAR

        Trending: +2

        This Week: 10/14 vs TB

This was a gutsy win for the Philadelphia Eagles and their young QB, Jalen Hurts. The defense looks much improved to begin this year, and they should at least be able to play Tampa tough this week. 

25. Carolina Panthers

        Last Week: 18-21 loss vs PHI

        Trending: -3

        This Week: 10/17 vs MIN

After a solid start to the year, Carolina has definitely stalled a bit. A large reason for that has been the play of QB Sam Darnold. After just one interception thrown over the first three weeks, he now has thrown five over the past two. Three of them came this past week against Philadelphia, and he now has to go against a solid Minnesota Vikings defense.

26. Miami Dolphins

        Last Week: 17-45 loss @ TB

        Trending: -3

        This Week: 10/17 @ JAX

The Dolphins have imploded since the injury to Tua Tagovailoa, and now they may be without Jacoby Brissett following a hamstring injury in the loss against Tampa. Not much has gone right so far this season for Miami, but maybe they can begin righting some wrongs as they continue their northern Florida tour against Jacksonville. 

27. Atlanta Falcons

        Last Week: 27-20 win vs NYJ

        Trending: +1

        This Week: Bye

In the first London game since 2019, the Atlanta Falcons came oh so close to blowing another lead, but they managed to hang on. Matt Ryan played very well, connecting with rookie TE Kyle Pitts nine times for 119 yards and a touchdown. On the other end, Zach Wilson was held under 200 yards passing. 

28. Detroit Lions

        Last Week: 17-19 loss @ MIN

        Trending: +1

        This Week: 10/17 vs CIN

Jared Goff turnovers continue to be an issue for the Lions, and it once again was a major factor in Detroit’s inability to finish off a comeback win in Minnesota. The defense played surprisingly well though while De’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams have been a productive duo out of the backfield. 

29. Houston Texans

        Last Week: 22-25 loss vs NE

        Trending: +3

        This Week: 10/17 @ IND

The Texans got off to a very hot start against New England, but their flaws inevitably came back to bite them. Davis Mills’ passing attack stalled down the stretch of the game, and a defense that has not really stopped anybody this season eventually allowed Mac Jones and the Patriots to get rolling. After Indy’s impressive performance in Baltimore, things probably won’t get any easier this week.

30. New York Jets

        Last Week: 20-27 loss @ ATL

        Trending: —

        This Week: Bye

After some big plays by Zach Wilson led the Jets to an upset win over Tennessee last week, he could not find the same magic against Atlanta in London. The RBs could not get much going on the ground, either. New. York heads into their bye week needing to regroup. 

31. New York Giants

        Last Week: 20-44 loss @ DAL

        Trending: -4

        This Week: 10/17 vs LAR

Not only was the Giants defense embarrassed by Dallas’ offense, but all three of Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley, and Kenny Golladay may be set to miss time after leaving the game with injuries. This setback could make an already difficult matchup with the Rams even tougher.

32. Jacksonville Jaguars

        Last Week: 19-37 loss vs TEN

        Trending: -1

        This Week: 10/17 vs MIA

The Jaguars defense simply is not talented enough to contain Derrick Henry for that long. Combine that with rookie mistakes from Trevor Lawrence throughout the day, and this team wasn’t ever going to win this game. Maybe they can pull off some magic against a hampered Dolphins squad.