As the 2018-19 NFL season is underway, certain franchises have stepped into the spotlight. As the weeks progress, here are the NFL Power Rankings, brought to you by The Athletes Hub:
1. Los Angeles Rams (6-0) (-)
After another close victory for the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, they hold the #1 slot for the fifth week in a row. With the last three wins coming from 7 points or less, the Rams will need to learn to separate themselves during the second half.
2. New England Patriots (4-2) (+1)
A big victory over the Kansas City Chiefs leapfrogged the New England Patriots into the #2 slot. Although vulnerability is apparent on defense, the offense under Tom Brady is running smoothly.
3. Kansas City Chiefs (5-1) (-1)
The defense has always been suspect for the Kansas City Chiefs, so letting up 43 points to the New England Patriots was not a surprise. On the bright side, the Chiefs look like the second-best AFC team, and hold a game-one lead over the Patriots for the #1 seed in the conference.
4. New Orleans Saints (4-1) (+2)
A bye week actually assisted the New Orleans Saints into the #4 slot, as plenty of teams showed inconsistency during week six. Drew Brees and the offense will need to learn a timeshare system between Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram, but the horizon appears bright.
5. Philadelphia Eagles (3-3) (+5)
This might be a stretch, but the Philadelphia Eagles have looked dominant in each of their three wins this season. With games against the Carolina Panthers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Dallas Cowboys and New Orleans Saints on their schedule, this will make or break the reigning Super Bowl champions.
6. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-3) (-2)
In what should have been a low-scoring victory over the Dallas Cowboys, instead the defense was treated with domination. Without Leonard Fournette as the centerpiece of the offense, the Jacksonville Jaguars are quickly spiraling out of AFC contention.
7. Minnesota Vikings (3-2-1) (+2)
There has been skepticism surrounding the Minnesota Vikings, but their week six victory over the Arizona Cardinals was what the doctor ordered. Even with Dalvin Cook sidelined, the offense remains poised and high-scoring around Kirk Cousins and Adam Thielen.
8. Carolina Panthers (3-2) (-3)
I am slowly starting to buy out of Carolina’s chances at a run in the NFC, simply based on their inability to defeat above-average franchises. Scheduled against the Philadelphia Eagles and Baltimore Ravens over the next two weeks, perhaps the Panthers can make up some ground.
9. Baltimore Ravens (4-2) (+4)
The Baltimore Ravens don’t appear elite, but a 21-0 victory over the Tennessee Titans would prove otherwise. The defense is the real hero in this scenario, allowing a league-low 12.8 points per game through the first six weeks.
10. Green Bay Packers (3-2-1) (+1)
A comeback victory is always nice to read about, but against the San Francisco 49ers? As long as Aaron Rodgers is healthy, there is a reason to believe the Green Bay Packers can compete with the best in the league.
11. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2-1) (+1)
Even without Le’Veon Bell in Steelers headquarters, the running game has been efficient for the offense. There is worry about a future dilemma in the backfield if Bell returns, but all signs are pointing away from that scenario for now.
12. Washington Redskins (3-2) (+2)
Alex Smith continues to play as the game manager for the Washington Redskins, and it’s clearly working. Depending on how the divisional games play out, the Redskins could somehow snag themselves an NFC East title.
13. Chicago Bears (3-2) (-6)
An overtime loss to the Miami Dolphins doesn’t suit the Chicago Bears well, as they slip six slots in this week’s power rankings. There is doubt that Chicago can beat above-average franchises, much like the Carolina Panthers, but contain a lethal defense that could carry them to 8+ wins.
14. Cincinnati Bengals (4-2) (-6)
The Cincinnati Bengals dropped a close game to the Pittsburgh Steelers, and a victory could have very well seen them up to #5-8. When a franchise shows no previous history of winning when it matters most, it’s difficult to invest into them.
15. Los Angeles Chargers (4-2) (-)
A convincing victory over the Cleveland Browns doesn’t prove much, regardless of the potential this Los Angeles roster may have. The one bright spot I do enjoy involves Melvin Gordon, who rushed for 132 yards and 3 TDs on 18 attempts.
16. Miami Dolphins (4-2) (+6)
Easily viewed as the most inconsistent franchise in the NFL, the Miami Dolphins have seen just about every aspect of the power rankings segment. Ranked as the worst 4-2 franchise remaining, is anyone else surprised about the play of Brock Osweiler?
17. Houston Texans (3-3) (+1)
A third consecutive victory puts the Houston Texans in a favorable position against a struggling Jacksonville Jaguars roster. As long as Deshaun Watson can control the amount of times he gets hit within a game, the Texans could make a run for the AFC South title.
18. Seattle Seahawks (3-3) (+2)
Winning 27-3 over the Oakland Raiders doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it’s promising to see the Seattle offense gain some momentum moving forward. With a layup game against the Lions next week, it’s important to remember that Detroit has overcome the New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers in their only two victories of the year.
19. Dallas Cowboys (3-3) (+2)
The Dallas Cowboys looked like their 2016 selves during week six, blowing out the Jacksonville Jaguars by a score of 40-7. This was Dak Prescott’s best game of the season, and possibly his career, as he proves he can win when his back is up against the wall.
20. Denver Broncos (2-4) (-1)
Even with 322 yards and 2 TDs, Denver Broncos fans were calling for Chad Kelly to enter the game. Despite the coaching staff’s support for Case Keenum, dropping four straight games can’t look promising.
21. Atlanta Falcons (2-4) (+2)
There is no reason to buy into the Atlanta Falcons this season, but a win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers showed progression. With Devonta Freeman sidelined, I will be curious to see whether Tevin Coleman can take advantage of his carries.
22. Detroit Lions (2-3) (-5)
The drop off for the Detroit Lions during their bye week says more about the other competing franchises rather than themselves. It’s still early in the season, but the three losses for Detroit have come from opponents who hold a combined record of 7-11 this season.
23. Tennessee Titans (3-3) (-7)
After starting the season 3-1, the Tennessee Titans are beginning to show their true colors after failing to score against the Baltimore Ravens defense. With the Los Angeles Chargers and Dallas Cowboys set as their next two opponents, hope is looking bleak for Marcus Mariota and company.
24. New York Jets (3-3) (+2)
Sam Darnold continues to be the best rookie quarterback within the NFL at this point in time, leading the New York Jets to a 42-34 victory over the Indianapolis Colts. There won’t be playoff hopes this year, but the Jets should be enthused about Darnold’s ability to win football games in his rookie year.
25. Cleveland Browns (2-3-1) (-)
The Browns looked poor in just about every department against the Los Angeles Chargers, but it’s difficult to put them under the #25 slot by default. Baker Mayfied will continue to learn the NFL system, as the Browns defense is their most lethal edge heading into game day.
26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3) (-2)
Even after Jameis Winston threw for 395 yards and 4 TDs, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers failed to defeat the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. Heading into the 2019 NFL Draft, it’s difficult to pinpoint the biggest “need” for this franchise.
27. New York Giants (1-5) (-)
After yet another loss added to the New York Giants season, the offense continues to appear lackluster. Based on rumors, there are players beginning to turn on Eli Manning. At this rate, there must be some regret about the front office not selecting a backup option during the previous draft.
28. Oakland Raiders (1-5) (-)
The curse of Jon Gruden continues, as the Oakland Raiders keep adding to their grave that is labeled as the 2018 season. Without a captain on either side of the ball, the future of this franchise is unknown.
29. Indianapolis Colts (1-5) (-)
The Indianapolis Colts had the opportunity to move up the #24 with a victory over the New York Jets, but proved they are not ready to compete against the bottom-half of the league yet.
30. Buffalo Bills (2-4) (-)
There could be a debate on whether the Buffalo Bills need some more repsect for the start of their season, but this is an offense that has 76 points on the season, which is 6 less than the #31-ranked offense, and 139 less than the #1-ranked offense.
31. Arizona Cardinals (1-5) (-)
The Arizona Cardinals drop yet another game, and Josh Rosen can’t complain about the piece he has been handed. Arguably, it could be stated that Rosen has the most pieces of any rookie quarterback, but has failed to meet expectations.
32. San Francisco 49ers (1-5) (-)
A victory over Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers in Lambeau Field would have surely broken the internet, but that was taken away in the final minutes on Monday night. CJ Beathard played a great game, but a win would be the only way to move out of last place on the power rankings.
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