January 27, 2021

NFL Power Rankings: Packers take top spot, Jets remains league’s worst


Heading into NFL Week 6, there’s so much going around within the league, it’s almost too hard to focus on just one thing. What we do know is that the Green Bay Packers have to be seen as the top team in the league following the Kansas City Chiefs’ loss to the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 5.

On the other end of the spectrum, the New York Jets remain an absolute joke following Sunday’s blowout defeat at the hands of the Arizona Cardinals.

It’s in this that we give you our NFL power rankings heading into Week 6 of the 2020 season.

NFL Week 6: Schedule and game-by-game predictions

1. Green Bay Packers (1)

Talk about the perfect bye week for the Packers. They enjoyed a week of rest, time for Davante Adams and Kenny Clark to get healthy, and climb up the NFL power rankings heading into Week 6. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be without defensive tackle Vita Vea, their top defender, on Sunday and their secondary is struggling. Aaron Rodgers and Aaron Jones should cook in this one.

2. Buffalo Bills (4)

The Bills are 4-0 on the season heading into Tuesday night’s game (weird) against the Tennessee Titans. Josh Allen is playing at an MVP level. Buffalo is averaging a whopping 30.8 point per game and looks like a legit force in the NFC. It’s absolutely amazing what head coach Sean McDermott has done with this team.

Note: Bills rankings to be updated following Tuesday’s game

3. Kansas City Chiefs (1)

Expect the unexpected in the NFL. Everyone started talking about the potential for an undefeated season in Kansas City. After dominating the AFC West in recent years with Patrick Mahomes, a home win against the Las Vegas Raiders felt like a guarantee. Instead, we witnessed what might go down as the biggest upset of the year. The Chiefs will recover from this, but their defense might be a bigger problem than we realized.

4. Baltimore Ravens (3)

Even on a Sunday where Lamar Jackson wasn’t playing remotely close to an MVP-caliber level, the Ravens coasted to victory. Credit goes to the defense, which delivered the kind of eye-popping performance they were always capable of having. If this pass rush shows up in Week 6 against the Philadelphia Eagles, the Ravens could win by double-digits in Week 6.

5. Seattle Seahawks (5)

The Seahawks just love taking games down to the wire. Seattle’s offense couldn’t get anything going in the first half, with Russell Wilson under constant pressure. Whatever halftime adjustments this team made, they worked in grand fashion. Russell Wilson is the easy favorite for NFL MVP and Seattle’s defense is slightly improving, heading into a Week 6 bye.

NFL ratings: Week 5 SNF viewership dips

6. Pittsburgh Steelers (8)

The Steelers are 4-0 for the first time since 1979. If that wasn’t reason enough to make Steeler Nation elated, Pittsburgh’s last two 4-0 starts each ended in Super Bowl celebrations (1978, ’79), Sunday’s win over the Philadelphia Eagles wasn’t pretty, with the defense delivering an underwhelming performance, but Chase Claypool will be the talk of the city. A Week 6 clash against the Cleveland Browns will be a litmus test for both contenders.

7. Los Angeles Rams (7)

The Rams are a controversial call away from a 5-0 record. In the past two weeks, this defense has set the tone with two monster performances. Los Angeles recorded eight sacks and nine tackles for loss on Sunday, utterly destroying Washington’s offensive line. On the way to a 30-10 victory, Jared Goff (21-of-30 for 309 yards, three total touchdowns) also excelled. Based on how the San Francisco 49ers looked this past week, Los Angeles could dominate once again in Week 6.

8. Cleveland Browns (14)

The Browns are for real. Sunday’s clash against the Indianapolis Colts was a litmus test for this offense. Even without Nick Chubb, the Browns looked great. Kareem Hunt compiled 93 total yards and a touchdown, while Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry combined for 146 receiving yards. With Myles Garrett playing at a Defensive Player of the Year level, this is a legit AFC contender with another great battle ahead in Week 6.

9. New England Patriots (9)

The Patriots are probably happy the NFL postponed their game against the Denver Broncos. Instead of being forced to play, New England gets a few days for Cam Newton and Stephon Gilmore to potentially recover from COVID-19. If both stars are healthy, the Patriots can easily knock off the Denver Broncos (Week 6) and San Francisco 49ers (Week 7) before a crucial duel against the Bills on Nov. 1.

Related: Patriots’ star blasts NFL, NFLPA over disregard for player safety

10. Las Vegas Raiders (22)

Incredible. Las Vegas came into Week 5 as an 11.5-point underdog to the Chiefs, no one thought this team even had a chance in Kansas City. Yet, in the perfect summary for 2020’s unpredictability, Derek Carr played like Mahomes and the Raiders did what no other team could against Kansas City’s defense. The Raiders can enjoy their Week 6 bye before battling the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Oct. 25, an incredible opportunity for Jon Gruden to upset his former team.

11. New Orleans Saints (12)

It’s hard to give the Saints too much credit for Monday night’s win over the Chargers. Their previously stout defense yielded four touchdown passes to rookie quarterback Justin Herbert. Struggles on that side of the ball combined with Drew Brees’ regression at quarterback has been a major cause for alarm in the Bayou. Despite this, New Orleans is 3-2 on the season and in the midst of a two-game winning streak.

12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6)

Tampa Bay’s loss was painful for a few reasons. One, it showcased the dangers of what happens to this offense if Tom Brady is under siege. The Chicago Bears wrecked the Buccaneers at the line of scrimmage and took away the deep ball, a concern with some tough defenses on deck. Losing Vea on the defensive line is a seismic blow, creating a massive hole on defense. It could get ugly in Week 6 against the Packers, a team with all the weapons to attack the Bucs on both sides of the ball.

Related: Can the Buccaneers win a Super Bowl with Tom Brady?

13. Carolina Panthers (15)

There’s a whole lot of credit to go around in Carolina. First, Teddy Bridgewater is on a hot streak with 824 passing yards, a 5/1 TD/INT ratio and a 73.5% completion rate in three consecutive victories. Additionally, running back Mike Davis has thrived during Christian McCaffrey’s absence with 351 scrimmage yards and three total touchdowns. It’s all a credit to Matt Rhule, who is quickly proving his rapid success in college was no fluke. A matchup between the Panthers and Bears will be one of the must-watch games in Week 6.

14. Indianapolis Colts (10)

The Colts can’t win competitive games with Philip Rivers. They put the game on his shoulders in Week 1 and he choked the game away to the Jacksonville Jaguars. After winning the next three games, largely being carried by the defense and running game, the 38-year-old quarterback’s costly turnovers lost the game. Honestly, the Colts might be better off trying to trade for Matt Ryan or even Tyrod Taylor.

15. Arizona Cardinals (16)

Arizona avoided some very uncomfortable conversations by putting the New York Jets away on Sunday. Kyler Murray looked sharp with 380 passing yards and two scores, while DeAndre Hopkins did his usual thing. This is the showing the Cardinals’ offense needed before heading to Dallas, facing a Cowboys’ defense that Murray and Hopkins should carve up. Sadly, Chandler Jones’ season-ending injury likely spells doom for this defense.

Related: NFL Week 6 points spreads and odds

16. Chicago Bears (23)

It’s fitting that the Bears are 4-1 in 2020. There’s no way to predict what will happen next in this absurd year, which perfectly matches this team every week. An argument could easily be made that Chicago is a few bounces and in-game injuries away from an 0-5 record. Yet, they keep racking up the wins. We know two things; Nick Foles is an upgrade over Mitch Trubisky and Khalil Mack is ridiculous. Anything could happen in Week 6 against the Panthers.

17. Tennessee Titans (13)

Tennessee’s game Tuesday against the Bills will be its first since Sept. 27 due to a major COVID-19 outbreak within the organization. It has led some to believe the Titans should have to forfeit games. At this point, that doesn’t seem to be in the cards. What we do know is that Mike Vrabel’s squad is 3-0 on the season. They’ve won the three games by a combined six points against squads that boast a combined 3-11 record. Tuesday’s game will be telling.

Note: Titans’ rankings will be updated after Tuesday night’s game

18. Miami Dolphins (24)

Ryan Fitzpatrick is one strange dude. Prior to Miami’s blowout win over Jacksonville back in Week 3, there was talk about him being benched. Since then, the bearded genius has led his team to a 2-1 record while averaging 32.3 points per game. That included a 43-17 win over San Francisco in Week 5. Miami appears to be much better than its 2-3 record suggests.

19. San Francisco 49ers (11)

San Francisco’s performance in a 43-17 home loss to the Miami Dolphins last week had a whole lot of things mixed in. Some Jim Tomsula. Some Chip Kelly. Some Mike Singletary. Through five weeks, the 49ers have outscored the two New Jersey based teams who boast a combined 0-10 record by a 67-22 margin. They have been outscored by 35 points on their three other games. Forget Super Bowl hangover, this team needs to be checked for alcohol poisoning.

20. Dallas Cowboys (19)

It was absolutely devastating to see Dak Prescott go down with a season-ending ankle injury Week 5 against the Giants. Dude was playing at an MVP level and was on pace to shatter some single-season NFL records. Despite their win and status as the division leaders in the NFC East, it’s going to be hard for the Cowboys to overcome this. Can Andy Dalton rally his boys?

21. Philadelphia Eagles (18)

Yuck. The first five weeks of Philadelphia’s season compares to Rocky. That’s if Rocky was 300 pounds and punched himself in the face more than his opponents. Week 5’s 38-29 loss to the undefeated Steelers included Carson Wentz throwing two more interceptions. He’s now on pace for 29 interceptions on the season. Oh, and Philadelphia is giving up 29 points per game. This seems to be an unlucky number for embattled head coach Doug Pederson and Co.

22. Los Angeles Chargers (27)

Despite their Week 5 loss to the Saints in overtime, the Chargers move up some in our latest power rankings. That’s primarily due to the fact that Justin Herbert looks like the real deal under center. He threw four touchdowns compared to zero interceptions in the loss. Los Angeles now needs to find a way to win the close games. All four of its losses this season have come by one score. That’s on head coach Anthony Lynn more than anything else.

Related: NFL Rookie of the Year candidates

23. Denver Broncos (25)

Denver was forced into a Week 5 bye following the most-recent COVID-19 outbreak around the NFL. That’s terrible news for the team and its players. Not shockingly, said players are not happy about the late change in the schedule. At 1-3 on the season, Denver will have 17 days off in between games before it takes on the Patriots in Week 6.

24. Minnesota Vikings (20)

Minnesota had an opportunity to come out on top over the undefeated Seahawks in Week 5. That’s until head coach Mike Zimmer opted to give Russell Wilson an opportunity for a game-winning touchdown drive. Like clockwork, Wilson delivered for his Seahawks. This has Minnesota at 1-4 on the season and completely out of the NFC Playoff race. How the once mighty have fallen.

Related: NFL coaches on the hot seat

25. Cincinnati Bengals (21)

The first major regression we’ve seen from Bengals rookie No. 1 pick came during a blowout Week 5 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Cincinnati fell by the score of 27-3 with the Bengals having put up just north of 200 total yards of offense. This is to be expected. Zac Taylor’s squad is in no way on the same playing field as the Ravens. It showed in Week 5. We’re interested to see how this squad responds Week 6 against the Colts.

26. Houston Texans (28)

We’ll give Houston credit for coming to play under interim head coach Romeo Crennel Week 5 against the Jaguars. That’s until we realize that these same players were forced to perform under Bill O’Brien. That’s like going from Bloody Mary to Mother Teresa. Hyperbole aside, Houston was able to pull off its first win over the season by virtue of Deshaun Watson going for north of 400 total yards.

27. Jacksonville Jaguars (26)

Following their season-opening win against the Colts, things have spiraled completely out of control for Jacksonville. This included a 30-14 loss to a previously winless Texans squad that just fired Bill O’Brien. This four-game losing streak has coincided with the Jaguars giving up an average of 31.8 points per game. It’s almost like moving on from a half-dozen defensive Pro Bowlers wasn’t a recipe for success in Duval.

28. Detroit Lions (27)

If you had placed a bet on Matt Patricia not being one of the first two coaches fired this season, we’re ready to provide you with an all-expensive paid vacation to Vegas. Just give us some pro tips. Detroit is 1-3 on the campaign. It is giving up an average of 31.8 points per game. Somehow, we envision that the Lions’ Week 5 bye would have been better spent serving Mr. Patricia some divorce papers. Guess not.

29. Atlanta Falcons (29)

Dan Quinn is finally out of a job in Atlanta following Week 5’s loss to the Carolina Panthers. The Falcons are now 0-5 for the first time since Dan Reeves was their head coach in 1997. You know what else happened in 1997? Falcons first-round pick A.J. Terrell was just a theory by his parents. Oh, and the Falcons are giving up 32.2 points per game. That’s fun.

Related: Top 100 NFL players of 2020

30. New York Giants (30)

Good news for Giants fans. They scored 34 points against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 5. That’s only 13 fewer points than New York scored in its first four games combined. The bad news? Joe Judge’s defense also gave up 37 points and a game-winning drive by none other than one Mr. Andy Dalton. The Jets and Giants are now a combined 0-10. Is it Yankees season yet? Oh wait!

31. Washington Football Team (31)

Brutal. Absolutely pathetic. While it was a nice story to see Alex Smith get on the field for the first time in almost two years, this Washington Football Team is downright terrible. Smith and fellow quarterback Kyle Allen tallied 70 net passing yards on 30 attempts in last week’s 20-point loss to the Los Angeles. That’s impressively bad.

32. New York Jets (32)

“The most frustrating part of being 0-5 is how his team’s strong practices are going to waste.” Those were the words of Jets head coach Adam Gase following Week 5’s 30-10 loss to the Arizona Cardinals. Gase does know they are practicing against themselves, right? Through five weeks, the Jets are being outscored 161-75. One has to wonder whether Gase has something he’s holding against the powers that be in Jersey. He should be gone by now.

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Author: Matt Johnson