There's not a lot of change at the top of the Week 6 power rankings as the New England Patriots, Green Bay Packers and Cincinnati Bengals all took care of business in varying styles to remain perfect on the year. Tom Brady and New England unsurprisingly rolled the Brandon Weeden-led Dallas Cowboys. The Packers overcame three rare turnovers by Aaron Rodgers to dispatch the St. Louis Rams. The Bengals rallied from 17 points down in the fourth quarter to win in overtime over the Seattle Seahawks. This trio of clubs are clearly the NFL's top teams.
Looking past that top three, the Arizona Cardinals shrugged off a home loss to the Rams last week to absolutely destroy the hapless Lions in Detroit. In doing so, the Cardinals moved their overall point differential to +100 -- only the ninth team in the Super Bowl era to achieve that feat through their first five weeks. Arizona's strength of schedule can't be ignored, with wins over the New Orleans Saints, San Francisco 49ers, Chicago Bears and Lions. But that 25.5-point average margin of victory in those games can't be overlooked, either.
The Cardinals are not just getting wins in games they should win, they're dismantling, nay, embarrassing these teams. The way they're winning has pushed them back up into the top tier of our rankings, ahead of the unbeaten Denver Broncos and Atlanta Falcons, who both managed wins this week on the back of late defensive touchdowns. Atlanta and Denver keep finding ways to win, but neither look like the runaway freight train that Arizona does. The Cardinals are getting it done on offense, defense and special teams.
The Buffalo Bills bounced back from a tough loss to the New York Giants last week with a road win over the Tennessee Titans in Week 5. The Bills are still not playing how they want to play, but moving to 3-2 on the year -- still within striking distance of the Patriots in the East -- was a big deal.
So, how about that walkoff wildcat run by the Pittsburgh Steelers and Le'Veon Bell? That's as ballsy a call by Todd Haley as you may see this season, and it's a savior for a team that really needed it. Ben Roethlisberger is due back soon and the Steelers are still in the hunt.
Moving on up:
The Giants weren't particularly impressive on Sunday Night Football as they beat the 49ers, but in moving to 3-2 they're firmly in command of the NFC East, for now. What I like about the Giants is that when healthy, they're capable of putting up a lot of points. They are currently seventh in the NFL in points per game and as long as Odell Beckham and Rueben Randle get back onto the field, they'll be dangerous.
With Josh McCown under center, the Cleveland Browns suddenly look like viable challengers in the AFC North. The Baltimore Ravens are in a death spiral and the Steelers are still without Big Ben, so that power vacuum gives the Browns a shot. McCown threw for 457 yards in a winning effort in Baltimore, and if the offense can continue to improve and score points, Cleveland has the defense to contend.
Remember when the Bears were sure shots for the No. 1 pick, ditching players in a fire sale and tanking on the season? Well, that talk has died down for a bit, and after winning their second straight game, they continue to move up in our rankings. Jay Cutler might have some fans in Chicago before it's all said and done.
SB Nation presents: Every Sunday game, disrespected in minutes
The Seahawks were road underdogs in their matchup with the Bengals, so it's not totally surprising they lost to a tough team. It's the way they did it -- blowing a 17-point fourth-quarter lead -- that really sets them back in our rankings. Seattle, for the briefest of moments in the third quarter, looked like the Super Bowl team we'd seen the last two years, but once again it couldn't close out the game, and lost in overtime. It was the Seahawks' third blown fourth-quarter lead this season, and adding in the Super Bowl loss, a troubling pattern.
Meantime, the Ravens' season is off the rails. Baltimore looked like a very strong contender for the AFC North before the year and has had its moments this season, but just can't seem to put it together on both sides of the ball in any given game. The Ravens fall to 1-4 and while it's early, have dug themselves a pretty deep hole.
Same goes for the Kansas City Chiefs, whose first three losses came to the Broncos, Packers and Bengals -- all teams that are still unbeaten -- but losing to the Bears really sets them back. So does losing Jamaal Charles. Tough times in Kansas City right now.
Jockeying for the first pick:
The Jacksonville Jaguars helped the Tampa Bay Buccaneers get their first home win in over a year, and the Houston Texans lost to the Matt Hasselbeck-led Indianapolis Colts at home. The Lions are ... well, they're surprisingly awful, and there's no way around it. There's still a ton of season left, but right now it looks like this trio may be looking at the No. 1 pick.
|RK||WEEK 6||SB NATION BLOG|
|1||New England Patriots, 4-0 (Last Week: 1)||Pats Pulpit|
|2||Green Bay Packers, 5-0 (Last Week: 2)||Acme Packing Company|
|3||Cincinnati Bengals, 5-0 (Last Week: 3)||Cincy Jungle|
|4||Arizona Cardinals, 4-1 (Last Week: 7)||Revenge of the Birds|
|5||Denver Broncos, 5-0 (Last Week: 4)||Mile High Report|
|6||Atlanta Falcons, 5-0 (Last Week: 9)||The Falcoholic|
|7||Carolina Panthers, 4-0 (Last Week: 6)||Cat Scratch Reader|
|8||Pittsburgh Steelers, 3-2 (Last Week 9)||Behind the Steel Curtain|
|9||New York Jets, 3-1 (Last Week: 8)||Gang Green Nation|
|10||Buffalo Bills, 3-2 (Last Week: 11)||Buffalo Rumblings|
|11||New York Giants, 3-2 (Last Week: 15)||Big Blue View|
|12||Indianapolis Colts, 3-2 (Last Week: 16)||Stampede Blue|
|13||Minnesota Vikings, 2-2 (Last Week: 14)||Daily Norseman|
|14||San Diego Chargers, 2-3 (Last Week: 12)||Bolts from the Blue|
|15||Seattle Seahawks, 2-3 (Last Week: 10)||Field Gulls|
|16||St. Louis Rams, 2-3 (Last Week: 13)||Turf Show Times|
|17||Philadelphia Eagles, 2-3 (Last Week: 23)||Bleeding Green Nation|
|18||Cleveland Browns, 2-3 (Last Week: 26)||Dawgs by Nature|
|19||Chicago Bears, 2-3 (Last Week: 24)||Windy City Gridiron|
|20||Kansas City Chiefs, 1-4 (Last Week: 17)||Arrowhead Pride|
|21||Washington, 2-3 (Last Week 18)||Hogs Haven|
|22||Oakland Raiders, 2-3 (Last Week: 20)||Silver and Black Pride|
|23||Dallas Cowboys, 2-3 (Last Week: 19)||Blogging the Boys|
|24||Baltimore Ravens, 1-4 (Last Week: 21)||Baltimore Beatdown|
|25||New Orleans Saints, 1-4 (Last Week: 22)||Canal Street Chronicles|
|26||Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2-3 (Last Week: 31)||Bucs Nation|
|27||Miami Dolphins, 1-3 (Last Week: 27)||The Phinsider|
|28||San Francisco 49ers, 1-4 (Last Week: 28)||Niners Nation|
|29||Tennessee Titans, 1-3 (Last Week: 29)||Music City Miracles|
|30||Houston Texans, 1-4 (Last Week: 25)||Battle Red Blog|
|31||Jacksonville Jaguars, 1-4 (Last Week: 32)||Big Cat Country|
|32||Detroit Lions, 0-5 (Last Week: 24)||Pride of Detroit|