After a wild start to the NFL season featured a ton of close games, Week 5 seemed to take a bit of a breather and serve up an unusually high number of games that were not even close. Whether that’s a blip or a trend remains to be seen but there were a number of results that did help create some separation in the standings and in the rankings.
Factoring in everything from overall roster strength, to quarterback play, to the coaching staff, here is the latest edition of NFL power rankings and where every team stacks up from 1 to 32.
Week 6 NFL Power Rankings
1. Minnesota Vikings
Last week: 2
The last undefeated team in the NFL had its best outing of the year against the Texans but you wonder how the loss of right tackle Andre Smith will impact the offense going forward after losing another key contributor.
2. New England Patriots
Last week: 1
More than 400 (406 to be exact) and three touchdowns in a cathartic performance by triumphant returning hero Tom Brady. If we keep getting performances as sharp as that, the season-long tour the Pats are going to go on to prove everybody wrong is going to be some show.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers
Last week: 6
Admit it, you’re looking ahead to Pittsburgh hosting New England in two weeks. Another ho-hum victory by the Steelers against the Jets gets us one step closer to a potential (likely?) AFC Championship Game preview.
4. Atlanta Falcons
Last week: 9
The top offense in the league earned it on the road at the Super Bowl champs and proved its hot start is no fluke. The balance the team has is remarkable and the defense is starting to look like it’s ahead of schedule too.
5. Green Bay Packers
Last week: 4
The Packers never seemed to put the Giants away on Sunday night but the way they leaned on their defense is an encouraging sign at this point in the year.
6. Denver Broncos
Last week: 3
Rough start to the Paxton Lynch era in Denver, with the number of sacks he took particularly concerning. Could just be a bump in the road for the defending champs as Broncos are set to play a big stretch in the division over the coming weeks and will be without Gary Kubiak on Thursday night.
7. Philadelphia Eagles
Last week: 5
The surprisingly stingy defense showed up late to the game and that ended up costing the Eagles as much as Ryan Mathews’ late fumble.
8. Dallas Cowboys
Last week: 8
Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott are getting all the attention in Big D but hats off to Mo Claiborne for continuing his career year by holding A.J. Green to four catches for 50 yards on Sunday.
9. Seattle Seahawks
Last week: 7
Talk about a timely bye week in order to rest Russell Wilson. Now comes a huge challenge on Sunday in hosting the Falcons.
10. Oakland Raiders
Last week: 11
The injuries are starting to mount to key players but the Raiders keep winning. The difference between a good year and the playoffs however will come down to progress on defense.
11. Washington Redskins
Last week: 17
Three straight by Washington and the NFC East remains as unpredictable as it was to start the season. Next week’s matchup against the Eagles looms large but the team is picking a good time to start looking better on defense.
12. Kansas City Chiefs
Last week: 15
Does anybody really know how good the Chiefs are? Seems hard to peg just where the team fits in as they come off their bye.
13. Buffalo Bills
Last week: 23
Three straight wins to get back over .500 and two more winnable games ahead of their showdown with the full strength Patriots before Halloween.
14. Arizona Cardinals
Last week: 20
It’s pretty clear the Cardinals have found their game plan for success with David Johnson but it we’ll see if they remain extra committed to it when Carson Palmer returns from his concussion.
15. New York Giants
Last week: 12
Three straight losses and Eli Manning was once again ineffective on the road. Is this a regression to what the team is going to be like the rest of the way or can rookie head coach Ben McAdoo get things turned around?
16. Baltimore Ravens
Last week: 13
Offensive coordinator Marc Trestman is out after a lackluster showing to start the season in a change that probably needed to be made.
17. Cincinnati Bengals
Last week: 14
They’ve beat two bad teams and lost to three apparent playoff teams. That’s not encouraging to anybody who thinks this is finally the year the team gets over the hump in the playoffs — if they even get that far.
18. Houston Texans
Last week: 10
That massive Brock Osweiler contract is looking more and more like a potential liability long-term but the Texans are in such a bad division that even last week’s loss to a very good Minnesota team doesn’t knock them out of first place.
19. Los Angeles Rams
Last week: 16
At least Jeff Fisher had to be a little happy for a small, ex-USC defensive back having a good game in Nickel Robey. Other than that, it has to be a little concerning how banged up the team is on the defensive line
20. Detroit Lions
Last week: 24
They’re 2-3 and trending upward after knocking the Eagles from the ranks of the unbeaten, but the lack of a strong ground game continues to be a huge issue for long-term success.
21. Indianapolis Colts
Last week: 25
No London hangover the week after flying back from across the pond but it will remain a testament to Andrew Luck’s toughness if he makes it through the entire season upright.
22. Tennessee Titans
Last week: 28
They’ve been in every game this season until the final few minutes and it’s probably time to start considering the possibility they can win the AFC South, especially with a favorable stretch of games the next two months.
23. Jacksonville Jaguars
Last week: 21
In a division like the AFC South, the Jags are not out of the race just yet but the upcoming five-game stretch after the team’s bye will likely determine head coach Gus Bradley’s fate.
24. New Orleans Saints
Last week: 22
The early bye may be just what the defense needs to regroup after a rough start to the year but nobody is expecting a huge jump on the field ahead of a huge matchup with Carolina.
25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Last week: 29
More and more it’s looking like that opening week win over Atlanta will be one of the bigger flukes of the season but Monday night’s last-second win over the Panthers has to be a little encouraging.
26. San Diego Chargers
Last week: 27
They’re 1-4 and have lost in excruciating fashion just about every game this season. It seems all but certain that Mike McCoy is going to get the axe soon but you can’t help but wonder if the team’s play is going hamper the ballot initiative for a new stadium even more.
27. Carolina Panthers
Last week: 19
You have to go back to the 2007 Bears to find a team that’s been as bad as the Panthers have been after losing the Super Bowl.
28. New York Jets
Last week: 26
The Jets are likely to be favored in just one of the next five games before their bye and you have to wonder if that is the week where major changes will happen on both sides of the ball as draft position becomes the only thing left to wonder about in New York.
29. Miami Dolphins
Last week: 18
In retrospect, barely beating the Browns should have served as a warning sign that the Dolphins were in big, big trouble this season and not taking the next step under a new coaching staff.
30. Chicago Bears
Last week: 30
Brian Hoyer is making the QB choice between him and Jay Cutler harder and harder for John Fox and it seems like Jordan Howard might be somebody to build around. Still, losing a game in that fashion at Indianapolis underscores this isn’t a great team.
31. San Francisco 49ers
Last week: 31
Come November, Chip Kelly is going to have to formally deny reports he’s interested in the Oregon job.
32. Cleveland Browns
Last week: 32
Between the Cavaliers and the Indians, the sporting scene around Cleveland is going great in 2016. Well, with one notable exception of an NFL franchise that can’t even get a quarterback to play a full game without getting injured.
— Written by Bryan Fischer, an award-winning college football columnist and member of the Athlon Contributor Network. You can follow him from coast-to-coast on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat at @BryanDFischer.