NFL Power Rankings: How the AFC stacks up after Week 6
I’ve always felt Columbus Day is the general line of demarcation in an NFL season. The sample size has gotten big enough so that teams know what’s an actual strength or weakness and not a false positive. Nobody’s a finished product by any stretch but this next stretch between now and Thanksgiving is when reality kicks in for pretty much everyone. For a lot of teams in the AFC, it already has.
Just a heartbreaking result for the Dolphins who could have won against fellow bottom-feeder Washington on the game’s final play had Kenyan Drake simply not just dropped that inside screen on the two-point conversion. We’ll see if they’re still lamenting that play in late April when they get to draft first overall. Who knows, maybe it’ll become their Mo Lewis play.
(Last three rankings: 16, 16, 16)
Bengals fans. They all look like they ate pennies when they were kids.
(Last three rankings: 13, 14, 14)
They beat the Bengals and Chargers back-to-back. Yay. Lowest strength of victory in the AFC (.167), though they’ve also played the hardest schedule in the AFC (.629).
(Last three rankings: 14, 13, 13)
Go back to the AFC Divisional Playoff Game last year when the Chargers fell behind the Patriots 38-7. Now this year, they barely – BARELY – survived the Colts in the opener in Los Angeles thanks to Adam Vinatieri. They’ve lost every other game except a 30-10 win over Miami. At Tennessee, at Chicago then hosting Green Bay before traveling to Oakland and hosting the Chiefs. These boys could be 2-9 soon and even then, Philip Rivers will still somehow enjoy deity status in the media despite being the whiniest player of his generation.
(Last three rankings: 7, 11, 12)
The 43-13 win over the Browns feels like it happened last season. The 24-10 win at Atlanta has lost its luster. Give Mike Vrabel credit for pulling the ripcord on Marcus Mariota on Sunday. He’s not good enough to be entitled to an unlimited rope.
(Last three rankings: 8, 9, 8)
Who’s our fastest riiiisssseeerrrrr???? J. E. T. S. Hey, Darnold, back at it again with a spleen that’s as good as new. It is amazing to see the difference he made on Sunday against the Cowboys. It’s weird, you don’t usually see Jason Garrett so seemingly unable to project authority.
(Last three rankings: 15, 15, 15)
They were a pain in the ass for a Seattle team that usually has a hard time with 1 p.m. EST games. And in the end, they lost anyway. They get their heads kicked in with decent regularity and will probably have the same thing happen the next time they play which is October 27 at Gillette – two days before the trade deadline.
Last three rankings: 10, 9, 9
They’ve won two straight and have a huge chance to make a statement with a home game Thursday night against the flagging Chiefs. I love Denver in this one. To win.
Last three rankings: 12, 12, 11
Not to be taken seriously. They gave up 285 on the ground to the Panthers in Week 5, at home against the Saints they got it done for a half then let up scores on the first two drives after the break and Gardner Minshew and the boys couldn’t stay on the field.
Last three rankings: 5, 5, 7
These guys have the worst strength of victory in the league. The four teams they’ve beaten have COMBINED for four wins. Lamar Jackson’s singlehanded offensive onslaught is fun as hell to watch but you can’t get embarrassed by Cleveland then “rebound” with an OT win over the Steelers and the winless Bengals and feel like you’ve proven much of anything.
Last three rankings: 4, 10, 10
Under the radar-est team in the conference with wins at Indy and in London over the Bears. Their odyssey continued this week as they came back from Europe then will head back to Green Bay to play the Packers before another road game at Houston. But their moxie? I like it.
Last three rankings: 11, 8, 6
If the Colts are better than I have them pegged, this is a terrific week to show it. They are at home against a division rival coming off a bye week in the Texans. Best game of the weekend, maybe? Kinda?
Last three rankings: 5, 4, 4
I’m not moving them. I don’t care how much people try to Bills-shame me, they stay right here even with wandering meatstick Josh Allen back there. And it’s not because I like Buffalo, either. I’m still getting stray social media shrapnel from Western New Yorkers not clear on what the actual NFL rules are. Bills get the Dolphins, Eagles and Redskins at home then visit Cleveland and Miami before hosting Denver. The bastards could be 10-2.
Last three rankings: 6, 3, 3
After the Chiefs scored 26 or more in every Mahomes start, they’ve now been held under that mark in back-to-back weeks. Suddenly, the vaunted home field advantage at Arrowhead ain’t looking so advantageous. They’ve lost three of four at home going back to the AFCCG and barely beat Baltimore (33-28) in Week 3. They have injuries, doubters and are getting bullied. Now we get to see how mentally strong they are. Road game at Denver which is playing lights out on defense.
Last three rankings: 2, 2, 2
The Chiefs have lost two straight, both at home. The Texans have won at the Chargers and KC, hammered the Falcons, barely lost in the opener to the Saints. As I’ve said all year (and going back to last year), if Deshaun Watson is protected, he’s as good as anyone. Watson and Patrick Mahomes are the best quarterbacks in the league under 30. Next up, at the Colts with Indy coming off the bye.
Last three rankings: 3, 6, 5
No matter how undermanned the Patriots are offensively, they have the best quarterback and best offensive coordinator in football so that by the time the game ends, people are left looking at the scoreboard and saying, “Problems? What problems??” But that was a very bad defense the Patriots labored against last Thursday night. Also, the Patriots defense is the best unit in the NFL on either offense or defense. Can’t wait to see this Jets game, though.
Last three rankings: 1, 1, 1