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WEEI NFL Power Rankings: Week 6

10.12.10 at 12:29 pm ET
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The 1972 Dolphins can rest easy. Parity rules in the NFL and for the first time since 1970, there are no 4-0 teams. However, there are some teams that are finally starting to pull away and look like the league’s best. For the second straight week, the Baltimore Ravens are No. 1, the New York Jets are No. 2, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are No. 3 in WEEI’s NFL Power Rankings. The Ravens have three big road wins, two against divisional opponents, and they look like the most complete team in the NFL. The Jets are enjoying a 3-0 record in the AFC East and are playing well in all three phases of the game.

After a long run, the Saints fall out of the top five to No. 7. Drew Brees has thrown five interceptions already and is certainly feeling the effects of a weak running game. The Giants squeeze into the top ten at No. 9 after back-to-back wins and a defensive line that has looked dynamic.

The Cowboys drop all the way to No. 20 after another mistake-ridden game. Wade Phillips and Dallas’ coaching staff have done a horrendous job to this point. Dallas has yet to win at home in 2010. Another underachieving team is the Cincinnati Bengals. After an amazing 2009 season, the Bengals have been awful this season and are going into Week 6 having suffered back-to-back losses to the Browns and Bucs.

The Panthers and the Bills remain winless and in the cellar.

1. (Last week, 1) 4-1 The dual rushing attack of Ray Rice and Willis McGahee, complemented by a relentless defense, has the Ravens atop the NFL as the best team in the league.

2. (2) 4-1 Through five weeks, this Jets team looks as good as advertised. The Jets have posted a takeaway-giveaway differential of 11; that leads the league. This team has turned the ball over just once this season. Meanwhile, quarterback Mark Sanchez has thrown zero interceptions. Last year, he had 20.

3. (3) 3-1 The Steelers will be licking their chops Sunday when a rookie quarterback will lead a struggling offense into Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh’s defense is one of the best in the league and with Ben Roethlisberger returning, the Steelers are in great position to do some damage as the season progresses.

4. (5) 4-1 The first-place Atlanta Falcons have put together a nice winning streak after losing in Week 1 to the Steelers. One of the keys to Atlanta’s success has been scoring points off their takeaways. The team’s rushing attack, led by Michael Turner, is second only to the New York Jets.

5. (8) 3-2 The Colts proved they can win without Peyton Manning having a Peyton Manning-like game. Against the Chiefs, it was Indy’s defense that stepped up in the red zone. The Colts also allowed just a field goal following a Manning interception that put Kansas City in great field position.

6. (6) 3-1 Since the last edition of the Power Rankings, the Patriots have traded away Randy Moss and traded for former Super Bowl MVP Deion Branch. The truth is, we still don’t know what to expect from the New England Patriots. They have showed glimpses of brilliance but we’ve also seen some serious signs of weakness in the defense. We’ll learn a lot about this team after its Week 6 playoff rematch against the Baltimore Ravens.

7. (4) 3-2 The Saints can only blame so much of their poor play on injuries. The defending champs don’t look like the team we saw jump out to a 13-0 start last season. In 2009, New Orleans was the team causing the turnovers. This year, they are losing the turnover battle. Three interceptions and one fumble against the Cardinals obviously won’t get the job done.

8. (12) 4-1 The Bears finished Sunday’s game against the Panthers with just 29 yards passing but still found a way to beat the Panthers. Running back Matt Forte finally showed what he is capable of when he rushed for over 150 yards and two touchdowns. If Forte can continue to produce, he will take a little pressure off QB Jay Cutler when he returns.

9. (16) 3-2 The G-Men turned some heads Sunday in Houston. The team’s defensive line dominated the line of scrimmage and was able to get pressure on the quarterback and prevented the league’s leading rusher from gaining significant yards of the ground. Additionally, Eli Manning and the offense seem to be clicking. Second year wide receiver Hakeem Nicks has six touchdowns through five games. That ties what he had in all of 2009.

10. (9) 3-2 Injuries have really plagued the Packers, but they’re also not making big plays when needed most. Green Bay is at the bottom of the league in third-down conversions and has scored just 14 points in the fourth quarter. They also have committed 38 penalties, which puts them in a tie for sixth most in the NFL.

11. (14) 3-1 The Chiefs showed off their outstanding defense and special teams against the Colts but once again struggled offensively. Kansas City can move on to Week 6 with confidence after not allowing Peyton Manning to throw for a touchdown.

12. (17) 3-2 Back-to-back wins against two solid teams are making some people think the Redskins are for real. Safety LaRon Landry is making a serious case for Defensive Player of the Year. He forced two turnovers on Sunday and recorded 13 tackles. He ranks second in the league with 52 total tackles.

13. (11) 2-2 With a new special teams coordinator and two weeks to think about their embarrassing performance on a national stage, let’s see how Chad Henne and the Dolphins respond in Week 6.

14. (20) 3-2 The Titans are averaging 26.4 points a game, which is fifth best in the NFL. However, it’s tough not to mention that they gave up over 500 yards of offense to the Cowboys. If they can improve their defense, they’ll be able to compete in the AFC South.

15. (18) 3-2 Impressive win for the beat up Eagles, who beat a team that was extremely desperate for a win. Kevin Kolb stepped back into the starting role nicely. Kolb was able to spread the ball around to seven different receivers and didn’t turn the ball over.

16. (7) 3-2 The Texans’ weak secondary was exposed in Sunday’s loss to the Giants. Houston needs to rely on Brian Cushing to generate pressure on the quarterback to help the pass defense. Houston ranks last in the league in the pass defense category.

17. (15) 1-3 The Vikings are a very talented team offensively and defensively. However, with a 1-3 record, a tough schedule ahead and a 41-year old quarterback who continues to turn the ball over, the Vikings need to fix their mistakes immediately if they want to compete for a playoff spot in the NFC.

18. (24) 3-1 It is looking more and more like Josh Freeman will have a bright future in the NFL. The second year QB led a very impressive game-tying touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter. This young team is showing a lot of promise. The Bucs D made veteran Carson Palmer look silly.

19. (10) 2-3 The Chargers are another disappointing team in 2010. San Diego has allowed four special teams touchdowns in five games. The “not so Super Chargers” are now 0-3 on the road, and 0-2 in the division.

20. (13) 1-3 The Cowboys have played with a total lack of discipline and it all starts with their head coach, Wade Phillips. Coming off a bye week, the Cowboys beat themselves. Dallas had three turnovers and 12 penalties for over 100 yards. Ten of their next 12 opponents are over .500.

21. (19) 2-2 The lack of a run game is really hurting the Broncos. All reports suggest running back Knowshon Moreno will return in Week 6.

22. (27) 3-2 Max Hall became the first undrafted quarterback in NFL history to beat the defending Super Bowl champs in his first career start. That, however, wasn’t the most impressive statistic of the game. The Cardinals managed to put 30 points on the board without an offensive touchdown. Arizona benefited from the sloppy play of the Saints.

23. (22) 3-2 Every team in the AFC South is tied for first place at 3-2, and that includes the Jaguars. David Garrard has now put together back-to-back solid performances.

24. (21) 2-2 Two major disappointments for the Bengals so far: Carson Palmer and the defense. Palmer has made some brutal mistakes in the first five games of the season. Cincy’s D, which was one of the best in the league last year, can’t get any pressure on the QB and can’t make big stops.

25. (25) 2-2 Newly acquired running back Marshawn Lynch will make his debut Sunday for the Seahawks. It will be interesting to see how much he can help Matt Hasselbeck and the team’s 31st ranked rushing attack.

26. (26) 2-3 The Raiders earned a big divisional win and broke a 13-game losing streak to the Chargers. Jason Campbell played really well when Bruce Gradkowski went down with a shoulder injury. It will be fun to watch how things play out in Oakland.  Head coach Tom Cable said Gradkowski is his guy, but owner Al Davis is a big fan of Campbell.

27. (28) 0-5 Alex Smith has played very inconsistently and is the main reason why the 49ers are 0-5. At times, Smith has showed signs of greatness but the majority of his season has been highlighted with bad decisions. Smith committed three turnovers on Sunday night, including a fumble in a very crucial moment of the game.

28. (23) 2-3 The season-ending injury to top wide receiver Mark Clayton will really hurt Sam Bradford and the Rams offense. The Rams’ red zone issues continued Sunday when they went 0-3.

29. (30) 1-4 Finally, a win in Detroit. After four weeks of playing competitive football, the Lions got a well-deserved victory. No. 2 overall pick Ndamukong Suh made one of the plays of the week and is developing nicely.

30. (29) 1-4 Looks like rookie Colt McCoy will get his first start of his career Sunday with injuries to both Seneca Wallace and Jake Delhomme. This is definitely not the ideal situation for the Browns. If they could draw it up, they probably wouldn’t want to see their franchise QB making his first career start against a relentless and physical Steelers D.

31. (31) 0-5 Carolina’s offense is anemic. They’ve scored a total of 52 points through five games.

32. (32) 0-5 The Bills are at the bottom of the league in many statistical categories and give up an average of 32 points per game. They need to give rookie running back C.J. Spiller more touches and more opportunities to make dynamic plays.

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