SLR's Week 6 NFL Power Rankings

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October 6, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) is sacked by Oakland Raiders defensive end Lamarr Houston (99) during the second quarter at Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

24. Atlanta Falcons (1-4) ▼6

How was this team 13-3 and the top seed in the NFC just nine months ago? The offense is fine, but lacks explosion even with the steady play of Tony Gonzalez. More importantly, they can’t stop anybody, and they’re a mess along the lines on both sides of the ball. This season is already on life support, and it’s time to break the glass for the panic button. It’s good that they get the dysfunctional Bucs next week, because they need some kind of positive momentum in a big way.

23. Washington Redskins (1-3) ▲2

This team has more issues than just the health of Robert Griffin III, but a bye week can’t hurt anything, if only to give them extra time to prepare for a suddenly formidable-looking Cowboys team. They might be getting up to speed, and the Dallas game could be for first place in the division. Yes, really.

22. Oakland Raiders  (2-3) ▲5

Difficult as it is to believe, Terrelle Pryor — Al Davis’ final draft pick — might actually be an NFL quarterback. If that’s true, they might actually produce a quality product in Oakland. There is a lot of athleticism on this team, and while they withered a bit late against the Chargers, they came up big when it counted, thanks in no small part to veteran Charles Woodson. I’m not sure this is a playoff team this year, but I’m also not sure it isn’t. The AFC is wide open, and head coach Dennis Allen might just have this team on the right track.

21. Minnesota Vikings (1-3) ▲1

They have to be happy with the way the rest of the NFC North fell during their off week. By not playing, they actually gained a half-game on the rest of the division. On top of that, the biggest question mark on the team may have been alleviated with the signing of Josh Freeman. On the flip side, nobody knows what they’ll get out of Freeman or how soon he’ll play, and the defense is still suspect (and that’s being polite).

20. San Diego Chargers (2-3) ▼6

What was that? This team was supposed to be building momentum coming off a big win against Dallas. Philip Rivers was supposed to be back on track. They got absolutely manhandled by the Raiders, Ryan Mathews’ suffered a concussion, and Rivers just threw the ball right to the defense in crunch time. In a shockingly powerful AFC West, the Chargers might be jockeying for last place.

19. Arizona Cardinals (3-2) ▲2

Those who were hoping Carson Palmer could bring the Cardinals into a Kurt Warner-esque Renaissance can probably stop hoping. He’s serviceable, no better. The Cardinals beat the Panthers in spite of Palmer’s performance, not because of it. Still, they play solid defense, and Andre Ellington is a budding star. That alone is enough to win them some games. They’re suddenly a game out of first place in the NFC West, but does anyone outside of Arizona believe they’ll compete for it?

18. New York Jets (3-2) ▲6

Well, it’s another tough loss for the rebuilding J… wait, they won? Actually, Gang Green posted what looked like a domination of the smoldering remnants of the Atlanta Falcons. Geno Smith is getting better with each game, and shut down the turnovers completely in this game. Sheldon Richardson is putting together an All-Pro-caliber season, and the Jets are over .500 and a game out of first in the AFC East. Go figure.

17. Dallas Cowboys (2-3) NC

Tony Romo played the best game of his career, set a bunch of Cowboys team records, and still managed to give the game away on an interception. It’s pretty much the worst way the game could have ended for him. Still, give Romo credit for a stellar day. He’s the only reason the Cowboys were tied at 48 points before the interception. It’s impossible to drop them after coming so close to taking down the Broncos.


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  • Liang

    First comment!!!!

    • Dean Holden

      Not bad.

      • Liang

        OMG I got the writer replied personally!!!!! Share and comment people!!!!!

  • jzgames11

    Nice ranking, I’m hoping my Raiders continue to grow with Terelle Pryor, playoffs or not, Raiders are fun to watch and have real hope for future success.Considering 50 million in cap space is going to players not on the team and hopefully a good draft this off-season, we should be a playoff contender in a year or 2, of not this year. Our Oline is beat up bad and Rb situation is no better so this year may be too much to ask for.

    • Dean Holden

      Thanks for reading! Yeah, I was prepared to put the Raiders right above the winless teams at 28. But I watched them play against the Chargers and came away genuinely impressed. Knocking the Raiders is trendy, and I’m not genuinely a fan of the running QB, but Pryor has improved his mechanics and decision-making IMMENSELY since his OSU days. I genuinely think that team is going somewhere.

  • GW

    barely holding off Seattle team at home and also getting beat by the Miami Dolphins at home doesn’t warrant the Colts leapfrogging the Seahawks. Indy is still a top 5 though.


    2.New Orleans



    5.Kansas City

    6.San Francisco

    7.Green Bay



    10.New England

    • Dean Holden

      I don’t especially disagree with these rankings. But re: Indianapolis over Seattle, the rationale is simple. I try to rank teams under the rationale that each team would beat the team beneath it. Since Indy and Seattle share a common record as a DIRECT result of Indy beating Seattle head-to-head, it seems appropriate.

      • SLC_Raider

        You say you believe each team would beat the team beneath it, yet you still ranked the Charges above the Raiders, who just beat down San Diego. If you are using this rational for putting the Colts ahead of Seattle, then explain why it doesn’t apply for Oakland?

        • Dean Holden

          That is a fair question. The Raiders made me a believer with their athletic play and the development of Terrelle Pryor, but I’m not yet convinced they can play that way consistently. If those teams played again next week and the week after under the same circumstances, I’m not so sure the Chargers wouldn’t win the next two.

          That being said, these are weekly power rankings. There’s no rule of thumb that can hold up 100% of the time. The “would this team beat the team below it” rule is one I like to use as a general rule, but it works a lot better when the teams playing are only a few spaces apart, like the Colts and Seahawks were.

          I like that Raiders squad, but if they beat the Chiefs next weekend (and I think they can), that doesn’t mean the Chiefs are coming down 10 spots and the Raiders up 12 just so I can position them relative to the week’s outcomes. That said, they’ll erase a lot of doubts I have if they can pull the upset in KC.

          Thanks for your comment.

  • Mark Snyder

    Take the top 2 defensive players and 3 other starters from any other defense and see how they do. At this moment in time (while Von Miller and Champ Bailey remain out), you can say Denver is number 2. Soon enough their defense will be a different beast, though.

    • Dean Holden

      Perhaps so. And these are weekly rankings, so at that time, it’s very possible they’ll be back to number one. But for now, I can’t get fully behind a defense that gave up 48 points (and nearly the game) to what was statistically a bottom-half offense coming in.

      Check that. If I lined up wide, maybe I COULD get behind them.

      • Mark Snyder

        Romo has always been capable of these kinds of performances, when it strikes him. I think they got caught in a perfect storm. I don’t see such a shootout happening again (well, maybe against Andrew Luck).

        • Dean Holden

          If they beat the Colts, there won’t be any way I can keep them out of first. I might have to invent a new position above first to put them.

    • Chase

      Mark, this is a weak excuse. The Saints have had a FAR worse time with Defensive injuries this season. I like Denver and might very well get to enjoy another Brees vs Manning Superbowl, but the team with the better defense is clear…

      “Rob Ryan’s official title is defensive coordinator of the New Orleans Saints. But during his first few weeks on the job he’s operated more like the director of FEMA.

      Just about everything that can go wrong for the defense has since the Saints opened training camp on the 2013 season. Seemingly a week hasn’t gone by that Ryan hasn’t lost a key defender to injury. And we’re not talking fringe players or subs. We’re talking starters, guys Ryan was counting on to right the Saints’ listing defensive ship when camp opened.

      First, outside linebacker Victor Butler went down. He was quickly followed by fellow linebacker Jon Vilma. Martez Wilson, Kenyon Coleman, Will Smith and Glenn Foster followed shortly thereafter. If you’re counting, that’s six defenders, all in the front seven. And that was before the season even started.

      The first two games of the season have claimed two defenders apiece. Defensive linemen Brodrick Bunkley and Tyrunn Walker went down in the opener against Atlanta. Cornerback Patrick Robinson and defensive tackle Tom Johnson joined the M.A.S.H. unit last week at Tampa Bay.

      Wilson returned to action last week, and Walker and Foster began practicing again this week.”


      • Dean Holden

        Wow. Even I didn’t know it was that bad. All the more impressive that the Saints’ defense frustrated the Bears as much as they did.

      • Mark Snyder

        Saints need a better defense. They are not the offensive juggernaut that Elway has assembled. I was only referring to giving up so many points. I’m happy for the Saints, I like them and I hope they make it.

        • Chase

          Not trying to be mean, but what are you smoking? Denver has the #1 offense and #29 defense compared to the Saints having the #4 offense and the #11 defense… Are you sayimg the #4 offense this year, and a top 5 offense since around 2009 is NOT a “juggernaut?”

        • Chase

          Mark, I am very happy for Denver and I’m not posting to be mean; but you neex to take the mile high blinders off and look around. The Broncos are a very strong and impressive team, but their defensive play this week was a bit concerning. They can’t expect for Manning to put up 50 points every week and carry the team through the superbowl. We have yet to see a defense knock Manning around and how he will take some heavy hits… There is still a lot of season left.

          • Mark Snyder

            What I said is that Denver’s defense was without two pro bowl caliber starters, including one of the top 3 pash rushers in the łeague last year. And they are riddled with injuries elsewhere. As far as the offense, they have been performing at a different level than the league has seen for a while almost since Manning arrived. A Saints fan hoping for some heavy hits on Manning, isn’t that a bit ironic! Let the season play out, we will see what it looks like in the end.

          • Chase

            I understand the injuries… honest. I’m not going to keep arguing with you b/c we obviously look at the situation in two different ways. Players get hurt… Other players are there to step up when needed… Denver’s D was a floor mat Sunday for Romo and the boys. Yes, it was like that on both sides; but more is expected from the team most polls had ranked at #1. Denver’s O is by far their most attractive feature. They seem unstoppable, and no one is arguing otherwise. You claim they are “performing at a different level than the league has seen for a while.” This is where you lose me. I look at the Packers 2-5 years ago, the Saints for most of the past 5 years, the Patriots for the majority of the past decade, and the Colts for all of the years Manning was there and think that your comment is senseless. A lot of seasons a team looks unstoppable, and Denver is scary this season; but I feel like your comment is a bit premature after less than 1/3 of the season being over.

            Now to the Saints fan comment… I have watched almost every Saints game for the past 15+ years of my life. That circus the Commish put on was pathetic. I never saw any of the players purposely try to injure another player. Yes, there was locker room trash talk, and there were some big hits; but the Saint’s D were one of the least penalized teams over that span. That does bring up aggressive D’s though! I’m pretty sure Manning would have at least 2 more rings if it weren’t for his mistakes against them :)

            No more arguing here… It’s been fun. Enjoy the rest of the season and I’ll see you next week in the week 7 power rankings!!!

          • Mark Snyder

            I love it when people take other people’s viewpoint and say ‘you need to take the blinders off’. I don’t think the Broncos need to make any excuses for putting up a tough W. Even truly juggernaut defenses (like Alabama fields year after year), can get caught in shootouts sometimes. It happens. The mark of a winner is that they find a way to post the W anyway. Broncos didn’t in last years playoffs. They did this time. To me, the most important play of this game was when Moreno ran to the half yard line and went down, letting Manning kill the clock and kick the winning FG. If they had done a similar percentage play in last year’s playoffs against Baltimore, we might be talking about ‘defending champion Broncos’ right now. You know Manning is going to perform. It’s John Fox’s learning from past mistakes that bodes well, in my opinion.

  • Matty Long

    you are just strait up stupid, i dont see how you can move a team down after winning AND scoring 51 points…no matter how ugly it was with defense. You know nothing.

    • Chase

      You do realize this isn’t “offensive rankings” and the team that was bearly beat after 51 points had a 2-2 record, don’t you? I guess I don’t know anything either though… Keep living in Matty world.

    • Dean Holden

      What is important is not that they scored 51 points. What interests me is that they won by three points over a 2-2 team, and they needed an extremely fortunate turnover to not LOSE 51-48. We know the Broncos will score points. Now we know anyone with a half-competent offense will do the same against them. Can they win every game in a shootout? Maybe, but it’s not a sustainable strategy.

      • Mark Snyder

        Your picture above does not look like ‘an extremely fortunate turnover’. It looks like a great defensive play to me. Am I missing something? I think the best think to say about how this game went down is that the Broncos made Tony Romo look like…Tony Romo. In the end it was enough!

        • Dean Holden

          It’s not that the turnover just fell into their hands. Danny Trevathan made a great play on the ball, though Romo had no business trying to force it in a tie ball game. What was fortunate was the timing. Romo and Manning both turned the ball over once. Romo just managed to do it (again) at a time when turning the ball over meant losing the game.

    • Matty Long

      So hold up Chase, by that logic are you aware that two of the Saints victories came by a total of 7 points…(barely winning) to teams who have a combined record of 1-8..that is great! And Dean what the Broncos NEED is for their 2 star defensive players to get back on the field and for 4 others defensive starters to not get injured and leave a game, once they are back and healthy they will NOT give up 48 points again. What is impressive though is that the Broncos while not in the prettiest fashion show they can win tough games when they need to despite being sorely depleted on D. Which is the staple of a good team…being able to overcome adversity and pull out a win.

      1. Broncos
      2. Saints
      3. Chiefs
      4. Colts
      5. Seahawks
      This is how top 5 should round off.

      • Chase

        You still seem to be missing the point. This is the: SLR’s Week 6 NFL Power Rankings!!!!
        I have never said one team is better than another, and I have a great respect for all of the teams in your top 5. You, my friend, were the one posting “you are just strait up stupid” and “You know nothing” to a very logical post. Both top two teams won and played away games, but the Saints handled their business in a solid fashion against a strong opponent. That’s all. End of story. There’s a lot of season left to see where the teams will end for the season…

      • Dean Holden

        That’s a perfectly reasonable top 5, but that’s not how I see it right now. Weekly power rankings are not about who might get better when they get players back. And I don’t think anybody can argue that the Broncos are not a good team. No. 2 in the rankings doesn’t mean they’re terrible by any means. But by the eye test, the Saints and Broncos are both undefeated teams, and the Saints played a more complete game against a stronger opponent. The same will hold true if they can knock off the 4-1 Patriots next week.