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WEEI NFL Power Rankings, Week 6: Patriots plummet to No. 9

Posted By Joe Zarbano On October 8, 2013 @ 1:04 pm In General | 7 Comments

The Broncos steamroll their way to the No. 1 spot after another dominant performance from Peyton Manning and the offense. John Elway‘s undefeated team has looked unstoppable and is a lock for the top spot again next week as the No. 32 Jaguars travel to Denver in Week 6.

Only three undefeated teams remain. The Saints (2) and Chiefs (8) both missed the playoffs last year but look primed to return after starting 5-0. Meanwhile, the Jaguars (32) and Giants (30) continue to search for a win. The two teams have a combined 31 turnovers.

Upsets were the theme in Week 5. The Seahawks (3), Patriots (9) and Falcons (20) all drop in the rankings after losing games in which they were favored. There could be more shakeup looming with the Packers (7) traveling to Baltimore (11) and the undefeated Saints heading to New England this Sunday.

Denver Broncos 1. (2) Broncos (5-0) — Not much more can be said about the Broncos offense. It’s not too early to start talking about an undefeated season. Unless you put up at least 40 points, you’re not beating Denver. The 46 points-per-game average is 16 points higher than the second-place Cowboys. 

New Orleans Saints [3]2. (3) Saints (5-0) –  Drew Brees threw a career-high 19 interceptions last year. The Saints defense was historically bad. This is a completely different team. New Orleans is winning close games, protecting the football and playing great defense.

Seattle Seahawks3. (1) Seahawks (4-1) — The Seahawks went 2-for-12 on third down Sunday against the Colts. There’s no reason for major panic in Seattle, however, as injured starting tight end Zach Miller should be ready to go next week and Percy Harvin‘s return is on the horizon. That will dramatically help the offense.

San Francisco 49ers 4. (4) 49ers (3-2) — Protect the football, dominate defensively and pound the ground game. That’s been the Niners’ formula for success the last couple of years.  Not many teams can win a game when the starting quarterback completes just six passes.

[4]5. (6) Colts (4-1) –  Andrew Luck‘s resiliency and poise in big situations has been extremely impressive. He now has nine game-winning drives in his young career.

Cincinnati Bengals6. (12) Bengals (3-2) — As bad as the Patriots have played on offense, the Bengals deserve  an enormous amount of recognition for snapping Tom Brady‘s TD pass streak and holding New England to just six points. The Bengals’ defensive performance was nothing less than stellar.

Green Bay Packers7. (7) Packers (2-2) — It’s a story of threes in Green Bay. It took three years for the Packers to have a running back rush for over 100 yards in a game. In Green Bay’s last three games, three different running backs have rushed for 132, 103 and 99 yards. Expect this team to move out of third place very soon.

Kansas City Chiefs [5]8. (9) Chiefs (5-0) — Andy Reid‘s Chiefs just aren’t going away in the AFC West. From two wins in all of 2012 to five wins in as many tries in 2013, there is no team in the NFL that has had a better turnaround season than the Chiefs.

New England Patriots 9. (5) Patriots (4-1) — A week won’t go by in New England when fans won’t compare Danny Amendola to Wes Welker. As Welker surpassed his touchdown total last year with his seventh in Week 5, Tom Brady and the Patriots offense searched for answers.

Chicago Bears10. (8) Bears (3-2) — Injuries to Chicago’s front four continue to pile up. First it was starting defensive tackle Henry Melton, now it’s DT Nate Collins who suffered a season-ending injury.

11. (12) Ravens (3-2) — Terrell Suggs has been a force at linebacker. The Ravens defense has been one of the best in the league on third down, and that continued against the Dolphins on Sunday to the tune of 3-for-16.

Miami Dolphins12. (10) Dolphins (3-2) — Ryan Tannehill has been sacked an alarming, NFL-high 24 times. The run game has been ineffective as well. The Dolphins need improved play from their offensive line. 

Dallas Cowboys13. (16) Cowboys (2-3) — It’s tough to fault any defense going up against Peyton Manning and the Broncos, but the Cowboys have allowed a staggering 81 points in their last two games. This defense has gone backward after the firing of Rob Ryan.

Detroit Lions14. (11) Lions (3-2) — Detroit’s potent offense was neutralized without stud receiver Calvin Johnson on Sunday. In a close divisional race, the Lions will need a healthy Johnson and much better play from the offensive line. Stafford was sacked five times in Sunday’s loss to the Packers. 

Arizona Cardinals15. (18) Cardinals (3-2) — Arizona’s trademark over the last couple of years has been its defense. It’s reliable every week. It was on display once again Sunday when the Cards forced four turnovers and recorded seven sacks against the Panthers.

16. (19) Eagles (2-3) — Did anyone expect Michael Vick to play a full 16-game season?

Houston Texans17. (14) Texans (2-3) — Matt Schaub has just been plain awful. He set a record Sunday for most consecutive games with a pick-six, with four. It might be time for a change in Houston, but T.J. Yates certainly is not the answer. The Texans don’t have many options. 

18. (15) Titans (3-2) — The Titans desperately need Chris Johnson to make more of an impact in the run game. He’s averaging just 3.1 yards per carry and has yet to score a rushing touchdown.

New York Jets19. (23) Jets (3-2) — “Hope” is spelled G-e-n-o in New York. The rookie QB didn’t turn the ball over and led his team on a methodical game-winning drive. Improvement week to week will be the key for Smith. 

20. (13) Falcons (1-4) —  The Falcons are playing poorly in many different phases. The offensive line has been shaky, the defense continues to allow big plays and there have been many questionable coaching decisions. 

Cleveland Browns21. (21) Browns (3-2) — I guess things were just going too good in Cleveland, so the football Gods had to knock them down a few pegs. Brian Hoyer is out for the year. The Browns haven’t averaged 20 or more points a game since 2007. Behind Hoyer, Cleveland put up 30-plus in two of his three starts.

Washington Redskins22. (20) Redskins (1-3) — Starting 0-3 in the NFC East is no big deal. The Redskins have a great opportunity to take control of their division this week against the Cowboys. 

Carolina Panthers23. (25) Panthers (1-3) — Cam Newton‘s career record dropped to 14-22 since being selected first overall in 2011. Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton, selected in the second round, improved to 22-15. 

St. Louis Rams24. (24) Rams (2-3) — It took five weeks and a game against the Jaguars, but St. Louis didn’t turn the ball over for the first time this season. 

25. (17) Chargers (2-3) — Turnovers lead to losses, and that’s the reason why the Chargers are in last place. San Diego is a minus-8 in turnover differential.

Buffalo Bills [6]26. (27) Bills (2-3) – It’s never a good sign when your starting quarterback is coming from the practice squad. Thad Lewis will be under center Sunday against a Bengals defense that made Tom Brady look bad.

Minnesota Vikings [7]27. (22) Vikings (1-3) — With just four passing touchdowns in four games, it’s no wonder why the Vikings are doing whatever they can to improve their downfield passing game. Peyton Manning had seven in his first game.

Oakland Raiders 28. (29) Raiders (2-3) — The latest roster move in Oakland is just another example of this franchise’s incompetence at managing the quarterback position. It’s the most important position in football, but the Raiders continue to fail, as QB’s come and go like a carousel. JaMarcus Russell, Andrew Walter, Kerry CollinsDaunte Culpepper, Carson Palmer and now Matt Flynn. Does anybody believe Terrell Pryor can be the savior?  

Pittsburgh Steelers 29. (28) Steelers (0-4) — It’s going to take more than Levi Brown to fix the Steelers’ offensive line problems. This will continue to be a nightmare year for Pittsburgh.

[8]30. (26) Giants (0-5) — As he watches his older brother have a career year, Eli Manning is having a career-worst year. Still, I’m not convinced benching the two-time Super Bowl MVP is the answer in New York. He’s a proven winner. Tom Coughlin and the coaching staff must find a way to get him back.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers31. (31) Buccaneers (0-4) — No more excuses in Tampa. Josh Freeman was sent packing. Now the Bucs can’t blame poor play on distractions. It’s put up or shut up time.

Jacksonville Jaguars32. (32) Jaguars (0-5) — The Jaguars are 28-point underdogs this Sunday against the Broncos. Even if they were 35, I’d consider taking Denver. 

Which NFL teams are in your top 10? Leave your opinions/comments below or send via Twitter to @JoeZWEEI.


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