Every once in a while in an NFL season there will be weeks like the one that just happened. This is the week where survivor pools came to die, because not only did last week’s bottom six teams all expectedly lose … the top two teams did as well. This is the week where Larry Csonka and the late Don Shula (for two reasons) can raise a glass.
Csonka, because the final two undefeated teams (the Eagles and 49ers) both lost … and the spirit of Shula, because of that, and Bill Belichick seemingly never catching him for most career wins. As I said, the bottom six teams all lost, and the Patriots are one of them. They lost to the Las Vegas Raiders, and unfortunately for them, in this case, what happened in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas.
Because I can’t bring myself to put them where they deserve to be at this point, I’ll reiterate: The bottom six teams all lost, and they are still at the bottom of this list. Those six teams are the Bears, Cardinals, Giants, Patriots, Broncos, and Panthers … order them however you like, these teams’ seasons are essentially already over.
Here are the top 26 teams:
NFL Power Rankings
- Detroit Lions: Why not the Lions? They now have three really solid road victories, going into Kansas City, Green Bay, and Tampa Bay and leaving with wins. They are one of only five 5-1 teams in the league, and two of the other four are coming off of a loss. Most lists have Kansas City ahead of the Lions, but I’ll give credit where credit is due. With a loss head-to-head and the same record, I can’t put the Chiefs ahead of them. The Lions have yet another tough road game this week (is that all they play?), heading to Baltimore to play the Ravens.
- Kansas City Chiefs: This is shaping up to be a Chiefs/Dolphins AFC Championship game, although we are still only entering Week 7, and it is not even at Halloween yet … there is definitely a ton of season left, and so much can still happen. Tua Tagovailoa could get hurt … or Patrick Mahomes, for that matter. Or, Travis Kelce may leave the team to go with Taylor Swift on the European leg of her world tour. Otherwise, Kansas City seems destined for another deep playoff run.
- Miami Dolphins: This team is on pace to break the all-time scoring record, and they are truly an offensive juggernaut. They have speed everywhere, and even when their young and dynamic RB De’Von Achane goes down with an injury, they don’t miss a beat. After getting down by 14 points early, all they did was put up 42 points and win going away. RB Raheem Mostert rushed the ball 17 times for 115 yards and two TDs, now giving him 10 TDs on the season.
- San Fransisco 49ers: The 49ers lost an uninspired game in Cleveland. They can blame the loss of Christian McCaffrey and Deebo Samuel all they want, but the team wasn’t playing great before they left. If they played the whole game, they probably would have won … let’s face it, they should have won anyway, only losing due to a missed last-second FG. Cleveland was without their RB Nick Chubb and QB Deshaun Watson, and the 49ers were favored by double digits. This was by far Brock Purdy’s worst game as a pro.
- Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jags being ahead of the Eagles may be a stretch, but they are playing better at the moment. They are now on a three-game winning streak and in first place in the AFC South. This week, they have a tough matchup on the road in New Orleans on a short week, and they will have a gimpy QB in Trevor Lawrence, who has a banged-up knee.
- Philadelphia Eagles: The Eagles may have been victims of looking ahead to their home-field matchup against the Dolphins this week. If they were, shame on them. They are staring down a two-game losing streak if they don’t bring their “A” game Sunday night. This is another one of those potential Super Bowl matchups.
- Buffalo Bills: The Bills escaped at home against the Giants this past Sunday Night. Truth be told, the refs bailed them out. They correctly called pass interference with no time left to keep the game going, but they blinked on the subsequent play when a holding penalty on Darren Waller should have been called and given the G-Men one more play. The Bills should have a “get right” game this week heading into Gillette Stadium to play the hapless Patriots.
- Baltimore Ravens: The Ravens are such an interesting team. They remind me of a racehorse who is always lurking, ready to make a run to the finish line. They are definitely a solid second-tier team and capable of making a run in the playoffs.
- Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys established the running game against the Chargers on Sunday as well as unleashing their top-five defense, and the result was a solid road victory.
- Cincinnati Bengals: After unleashing Ja’Marr Chase the previous week, this week was far more pedestrian for both Chase and QB Joe Burrow. Burrow threw for less than 200 yards, and Chase only caught six passes for 80 yards. And the Bengals only put up 17 points … but a win is a win, and this win got them back to .500 and only one game out of first place. They still don’t seem completely right, but they have their bye this week, which may help with any nicks and bruises the team may be nursing.
- Seattle Seahawks: Even with the loss, the Seahawks are still over .500 at 3-2. And with a home game against the 1-5 Cardinals coming up, they should find themselves two games over .500 and still in the hunt to win the NFC West.
- Cleveland Browns: Like the Seahawks, the Browns are now 3-2 after their improbable victory over the 49ers. They are heading to Indianapolis to face a 3-3 Colts team who will be led by backup QB Gardner Minshew. In many ways, this will be a measuring stick game for both teams.
- Pittsburgh Steelers: The Steelers are coming off a bye and will be going cross country to face the Rams in Sofi Stadium. The Rams are now .500 and their offense is starting to click now that WR Cooper Kupp is back and healthy.
- Washington Commanders: The Commanders are now .500 after their road victory in Atlanta against the Falcons. They will look to get to 4-3 with a win in New York against the Giants this week, but it might not be too easy. The excruciating loss in Buffalo could have one of two results for the Giants. They may be ticked off and play with everything they have, or they may be defeated and deflated and pack it in. The team played better with Saquon Barkley back, and my guess is they don’t just lay down.
- New York Jets: This could prove to be the signature win for the Jets and Zach Wilson, defeating the previously undefeated Eagles. They have a bye this week, which is a bit unfortunate; after a win like that, they probably wanted to get back on the field on Monday. On the other hand, WR Garrett Wilson is nursing a lower leg injury, and the time off should serve him well.
- Los Angeles Chargers: The Chargers are 2-3 and going into Kansas City. Here comes 2-4, adding another HC into the mix for being the first to get the axe this year. QB Justin Herbert is too talented and has too many weapons to face a 2-4 start to the season.
- Houston Texans: Conversely, the Texans are .500 at 3-3 and entering their bye week. Sometimes, a team’s hype or excitement level is based on preseason expectations. Nobody expected much of the Texans this season, and most thought it would take time for QB C.J. Stroud to develop into a solid NFL quarterback. After only six games, it appears he’s already there. Their being at 3-3 is borderline remarkable, while the Chargers being 2-3 is disgraceful.
- New Orleans Saints: The Saints played 11 straight games without giving up 20 points but now have given up at least 20 in two out of their last three, which resulted in two losses. They are still .500 with a 3-3 record and are facing the Jaguars at home this Thursday.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers: It will be interesting to see how the Bucs respond after only scoring six points against the Lions. They have another home game this week, in a divisional tilt against the Falcons. The NFC South stands to be tight all season, and this game could very well determine who wins it and who ends up on the outside looking in.
- Minnesota Vikings: The Vikings won a must-win game against the Bears to get to 2-4. They face a much tougher opponent this week, facing a suddenly embarrassed 49ers team coming off a loss. I can’t imagine the Niners taking back-to-back opponents lightly.
- Atlanta Falcons: The Falcons are 3-3, which is where they probably were predicted to be, but they had a great chance to be 4-2 with a home matchup against the Commanders. Winning games like this is what separates average from good, and good from great … the Falcons are just average.
- Los Angeles Rams: The Rams aren’t quite back in the race to compete with the 49ers, but they are .500 at 3-3 (seemingly like half the league). They have a winnable game at home against the Steelers this week. For a team like the Rams, they are trying to slowly get back into playoff contention after an endless string of injuries. Moving above .500 would go a long way to getting them back to their recent Super Bowl pedigree.
- Las Vegas Raiders: It took a safety to give the Raiders their first game over 20 points this year. They only defeated the Patriots. But, as I’ve said a few times, a win is a win. They are now 3-3 and still in the hunt for a playoff spot. In their matchup this week in Chicago, both starting QBs may be on the shelf, but the Raiders should have enough to get to 4-3.
- Indianapolis Colts: It’s a bit unfair for a 3-3 team to be ranked 24th, but with nine 3-3 teams, someone invariably will be low on the list. The fact that they lost against the Jaguars needn’t have dropped them so far down, but not even being competitive did.
- Green Bay Packers: The Packers are coming off a well-needed bye, which dropped them down this list. They are coming back to play a road game, but if you have to play on the road coming off a bye, facing the Broncos isn’t a bad spot. This is really a must-win game for the Packers. It’s a game they cannot afford to lose, as a loss would take them to 2-4.
- Tennessee Titans: The Titans are now 2-4 and have lost their starting QB Ryan Tannehill to a high-ankle sprain. This is a team that feels like it is teetering, and with the trade deadline coming up, they could become sellers.