Published 9:30 AM EDT Oct 16, 2018
NFL power rankings, post-Week 6 edition:
1. Rams (1): Now we know they own all-weather offense. But they'll hardly need it in playoffs, where they'll be playing in L.A., New Orleans and/or Atlanta.
2. Patriots (4): Sony Michel has little shot of overtaking Saquon Barkley in ROY race, but he does lead all first-year backs with 80 rush yards per game.
3. Saints (3): Drew Brees can reach two more milestones this Sunday — TD pass No. 500 and beating the only team he's never vanquished ... the Ravens.
4. Chiefs (2): As long as Eric Berry, Justin Houston are out, this defense — it's allowed 500 yards three times — will continue to put Patrick Mahomes and Co. in tough spots.
5. Chargers (5): Remember when Melvin Gordon was barred from end zone in his 2015 rookie year? He has 33 TDs since, more than anyone but Todd Gurley (36).
6. Ravens (10): Say hello to NFL's new No. 1 defense. Baltimore has allowed more than 14 points only once, which greatly reduces pressure on Joe Flacco et al.
7. Steelers (11): As Le'Veon Watch rolls on, interesting that team's next two games are against Cleveland and Baltimore. Pittsburgh has one AFC North game in second half.
8. Bengals (7): Maybe they're better off with a wild card. They've basically never won a big game at Paul Brown Stadium, AFC's most sparsely attended venue.
9. Vikings (12): They scored their first rushing TDs of season Sunday ... and we only just learned what we'd been missing with Kirk Cousins' celebrations.
10. Eagles (19): Doesn't Corey Clement, coming off 10 days to rest his healing quad, deserve chance to be lead back? Don't forget what he did in Super Bowl.
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11. Redskins (14): Washington and Dallas are only teams to alternate wins, losses all season, and one of them will break form following Sunday's showdown.
12. Packers (15): Appears Aaron Rodgers is gaining more and more trust in those young receivers he chided in training camp. Of course, A-Rod never lost faith in his kicker.
13. Panthers (6): If you thought returns of Thomas Davis and Greg Olsen would give them a boost ... OK, cards on the table, we thought the same thing.
14. Dolphins (16): Brock Osweiler is your classic Band-Aid — nicely effective for a very limited period of time before it starts to look really gross.
15. Bears (9): Speaking of Osweiler, we can only assume Khalil Mack was taking pity on the man he once sacked five times in a single afternoon.
16. Falcons (21): Matt Ryan's 2016 season was starting to look like major statistical outlier, but this year's numbers approaching or exceeding MVP levels.
17. Seahawks (25): Let's acknowledge legacy of Paul Allen, a quiet man who saved professional football in Seattle and turned this franchise into a force.
18. Texans (20): Winners of last three, they're playing best ball in AFC South — a remarkable statement if you saw putrid showing against Bills on Sunday.
19. Cowboys (26): Stifling D. Complementary play of Dak Prescott and Zeke Elliott balancing offense. Winning turnover battle. They looked like 2016 Cowboys.
20. Browns (13): Defense is cracking. Takeaways continue but count for less in last three weeks when Cleveland has allowed nearly 100 points and 1,500 yards.
21. Jaguars (8): Jalen, how could Dallas shred y'all? "I don’t know." How do Jags not own AFC South? "I don’t know." Y'all about to splinter? "I don’t know."
22. Jets (22): K Jason Myers poured in 24 points Sunday. What do Steph Curry, James Harden and Russell Westbrook have in common? None average 24 ppg.
23. Lions (23): Fun fact (unless you're Matthew Stafford), but guess which quarterback owns most career passing yards (36,134) without a playoff win? Yup.
24. Titans (17): They've gone from being more than the sum of their parts to less than the sum of their parts. No way Marcus Mariota should be sacked 11 times.
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25. Broncos (24): They have one game in Denver before Nov. 25, hardly an elixir for a team that's lost four in a row and typically relies on home cooking.
26. Buccaneers (18): Defensive coordinator Mike Smith became first to walk plank. Dirk Koetter, Jameis Winston could be fitted for blindfolds soon enough.
27. Colts (27): Our colleagues at The Indianapolis Star have already begun assessing prospects who will be available at the top of the 2019 NFL draft.
28. Bills (28): Not sure whether it would be best to give Nathan Peterman a hug, or loop Lawrence Taylor saying, "Son, y’all got to do better than this."
29. Cardinals (31): We wouldn't want Larry Fitzgerald's dad (or Larry Fitzgerald) mad at us, but at least this group has begun showing more fight week to week.
30. 49ers (32): They seem to lose a key player by the week, yet Kyle Shanahan's charges fight to the final whistle every time out, an encouraging sign for the future.
31. Giants (29): Shame to see Saquon Barkley's transcendent rookie season go to waste, especially since this is a group no longer showing much fight.
32. Raiders (30): Who's next to go? Amari Cooper? Gareon Conley? Reggie McKenzie? Jon Gruden's "team" has even lost its label as the Bay Area's best.
(Previous week's rank in parentheses)
Follow Nate Davis on Twitter @ByNateDavis