SLR’s Week 6 NFL Power Rankings

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Oct 6, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) passes the ball against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium. Cincinnati defeated New England 13-6. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

8. New England Patriots (4-1) ▼4

The Patriots were, realistically, living on borrowed time as an undefeated team. They’re holding their offense together with duct tape and twine, and it finally broke down against a very good Bengals defense. There’s a lot of upside with their young receivers, most of whom are playing their first season in the Patriots’ offense, but there’s awful lot of improvement to be done, too. Luckily, the defense is playing better than it has in years.

7. Cincinnati Bengals (3-2) ▲9

I don’t get this team. They beat the Packers, lose to the Browns, then beat the Patriots. Perhaps Andy Dalton is the reason for the inconsistency, but this team obviously has the talent to beat anyone. That just doesn’t mean they actually will. Still, the big statement win for the Bengals is a strong argument for them as the early favorite to take the AFC North, despite the current three-way tie at the top.

6. San Francisco 49ers (3-2) ▲2

Oh, there‘s the hard-hitting, suffocating defense the 49ers made their trademark last season. This is a 3-2 team, but it’s a 3-2 team that lost games to two of the NFL’s best teams in the Seahawks and Colts. They’re back to embarrassing teams with their defense, but reports of Colin Kaepernick’s superstardom are, at best, premature. Luckily, this team is good enough to win without needing much of a contribution from him at all.

5. Kansas City Chiefs (5-0) ▲2

Okay, I’ve seen enough. I’m a believer. I said last week that I’d move them into the top five if they beat the Titans, and here they are. Nothing about them is flashy, but they are fundamentally sound, play rock-solid defense, and are mistake-free on offense. It’s amazing how many teams that formula will beat. If the season ends tomorrow, Andy Reid is the unanimous Coach of the Year.

4. Seattle Seahawks (4-1) ▼2

They flirted with a loss last week against Houston before Matt Schaub threw Richard Sherman the game-tying touchdown. Sherman’s game was… less outstanding against Andrew Luck, who made one of the best defenses in the NFL look pedestrian. They get another tough test against the Titans next week, their third straight game against an AFC South team. They’re not as invulnerable as they looked two weeks ago.

3. Indianapolis Colts (4-1) ▲2

That’s what we like to call a “statement win.” The Colts made their first statement this season when they dominated the defending NFC Champion 49ers. Now they’ve knocked off the previously 4-0 Seattle Seahawks with a total team effort and a big comeback drive by Andrew Luck. It’s hard to imagine the Colts made the right decision moving on with Luck instead of Peyton Manning, but they did.

2.  Denver Broncos (5-0) ▼1

There are two ways to look their shootout win over the Cowboys. One is that they won a game in which they gave up 48 points. The other is that they gave up 48 points, and nearly lost, to a team that nearly lost to the Giants earlier this season. Regardless, they move down because they can’t win every game 51-48. Can they?

1. New Orleans Saints (5-0) ▲2

The Saints have played reasonably stiff competition in the last three weeks, and they’ve steamrolled everybody. The time to doubt whether Sean Payton’s return makes a difference on this team is over. If the Chiefs weren’t 5-0, Payton would be my Coach of the Year choice. They get the nod over Denver because they look like they can play reasonable defense on occasion.