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AP Photo/Alex Brandon

2022 NFL Power Rankings: Week 6

I mentioned parity in the intro of last week’s power rankings, and that certainly appears to remain the case after Week 5. But I completely agree with Tom Brady on the reasoning for that, as when asked about it he said “I think there’s a lot of bad football from what I watch. Yeah, poor quality of football that’s what I see.” With that said, despite the parity, I’d say there are several teams that stand out above the rest at the moment—with a bunch of teams with potential (and some “bad football”) behind them.


The one sentence per team worked well for the power rankings, and I’m going to try to stick with just one or two sentences of analysis moving forward.


1. Buffalo Bills (4-1) | Last week: 1

The Bills completely dominated against the Steelers on both sides of the ball, and Josh Allen won another AFC Offensive Player of the Week—highlighted by an early 98-yard touchdown strike to a healthy Gabe Davis deep down the field. This Sunday at Arrowhead has been one to circle on the calendar for a while now.


2. Philadelphia Eagles (5-0) | Last week: 2

Jalen Hurts scored on a couple of unique quarterback sneaks to help the Eagles grind out a win at Arizona, and it was a surprisingly conservative offensive approach with a ton of screens to DeVonta Smith and Dallas Goedert. I’d like to see A.J. Brown get more involved against the Cowboys on Sunday night.


3. Kansas City Chiefs (4-1) | Last week: 4 (+1)

The roughing the passer call against Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones was horrible, but not many are talking about how Kansas City benefited from arguably an even bigger call on the phantom holding on the missed field goal of the close win versus the Raiders. The Chiefs could get a big boost defensively if first-round rookie cornerback Trent McDuffie can return for the Bills matchup.


4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-2) | Last week: 5 (+1)

The Bucs were potentially bailed out by a bad roughing the passer call on Falcons defensive lineman Grady Jarrett, but Tom Brady is coming off his second consecutive 350-yard passing performance for an offense that’s looking more like what we expected entering 2022.


5. San Francisco 49ers (3-2) | Last week: 6 (+1)

Fortunately, the 49ers have a very deep defense, as they are dealing with more injuries to that side of the ball with Nick Bosa (groin) potentially set to miss time and Emmanuel Moseley—who had a pick-six in the blowout win at Carolina, the second straight week the Niners had a pick-six—sadly done for the season due to a torn ACL. Jimmy Garoppolo is distributing the ball and playing at a high level, and it was nice to see veteran running back Tevin Coleman (two touchdowns) contribute both as a runner and receiver.


6. Baltimore Ravens (3-2) | Last week: 9 (+3)

Justin Tucker is about as good as it gets at any position in football, and his 61 consecutive kicks made in the fourth quarter or overtime—and 18-for-18 in the final minute of games—is simply insane. Despite the Week 4 loss against the Bills, the Ravens defense has done a solid job the past couple of weeks.


7. Dallas Cowboys (4-1) | Last week: 10 (+3)

Micah Parsons was banged up a bit with a groin issue, but he played through it and still added two more sacks to help wreck the game for the Rams. Mike McCarthy and his coaching staff including defensive coordinator Dan Quinn have done a heck of a job with the Cowboys, who will now go to Philly for Sunday Night Football.


8. Green Bay Packers (3-2) | Last week: 3 (-5)

Green Bay was in control in London, but honestly, I think they got too greedy wanting to put on an international “show” and were chucking the ball down the field too much instead of riding Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon to victory—and there are seemingly some issues in the locker room because of the offensive approach. The Packers have lost to the next two teams behind them in the power rankings, but I think they round out the seven or eight teams that—as of now—I see having the best shot to make a deep postseason run if the playoffs were to start today.


9. Minnesota Vikings (4-1) | Last week: 14 (+5)

The Bears climbed back into the game, but the Vikings were able to come away with the win to get to a somewhat understated 4-1 start. Minnesota is finding a way to win close games, and they’ll be favored at a beat-up Miami squad as they look to get to 5-1.


10. New York Giants (4-1) | Last week: 17 (+7)

The Giants are a tough team to rank (and again they can even be over the Packers after beating them on a neutral field), but it feels like moving them to the top ten is fair as one of six teams in the league with four-plus wins this season. The hopeful creativity in getting a motivated Saquon Barkley the ball has come to fruition, Daniel Jones is playing well, and the defense is performing better than anyone expected.


11. Los Angeles Chargers (3-2) | Last week: 11

Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen, who has been out with a hamstring injury, questioned Brandon Staley’s decision to go for a fourth down late in the fourth quarter at Cleveland, tweeting “WTF are we doing?”, and he’s right that his team was lucky to get the win. Most players undoubtedly believe that analytics taking over the game has gotten stupid at this point, and LA has a talented roster that doesn’t need the computer to make decisions for them—the heavy analytics paired with the inconsistent defense are my two biggest concerns.


12. Tennessee Titans (3-2) | Last week: 15 (+3)

Linebacker David Long came away with a game-clinching interception to help the Titans get to 3-2 ahead of their Week 6 bye, and Derrick Henry has gotten going with his third consecutive 130-yard outing (both rushing and receiving). The Titans are rolling with three straight wins right now, so I feel this bye doesn’t come at a great time for them; but they’ll have extra time to prepare for a Colts team they already beat once this year.


13. Cincinnati Bengals (2-3) | Last week: 7 (-6)

The offense is the concern for the Bengals (it didn’t hurt basically not having Tee Higgins at all on Sunday night), who could certainly be a few spots higher than this—but I want to see more offensively. Cincinnati’s highly underrated defense hasn’t allowed a second-half touchdown all season.


14. Miami Dolphins (3-2) | Last week: 8 (-6)

Teddy Bridgewater was taken out very early at quarterback for the Dolphins on Sunday because of the new concussion protocols, which put the team in a tough spot in their blowout loss to the Jets. Now Skylar Thompson—a rookie who impressed during the summer—is going to make his first career start against the Vikings this week.


15. New England Patriots (2-3) | Last week: 19 (+4)

Wearing the red Pat Patriot uniforms (and moving to 7-0 while wearing them as the alternate), the Patriots gave a virtuoso performance in demolishing the Lions via a dominant defense and an offense that took care of the ball while Rhamondre Stevenson (25 carries, 161 yards) ran exceptionally well.


16. Los Angeles Rams (2-3) | Last week: 12 (-4)

Again, the Rams simply aren’t going to have much of a shot against top teams unless the offensive line improves drastically. But the LA defense should be able to take over versus the Panthers on Sunday.


17. Indianapolis Colts (2-2-1) | Last week: 20 (+3)

It was about as ugly as it gets in a victory, but the Colts will take a road win on a short week—without Jonathan Taylor in the lineup—and a 2-2-1 start ahead of matchups against the two divisional opponents they lost to the next two weeks. Rookie receiver Alec Pierce was impressive last week, so he’s someone to watch moving forward.


18. Arizona Cardinals (2-3) | Last week: 16 (-2)

Vance Joseph’s defense brought a ton of heat on the Eagles (a big reason for all the screens Philadelphia was running) to help keep things close, but some things didn’t go the Cardinals’ way in the end of the three-point loss. I think Kyler Murray needs to take over this weekend at Seattle as Arizona looks to get back to .500.


19. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-3) | Last week: 13 (-6)

The Jaguars were the darlings of the first few weeks of the season, but there are unsurprisingly some growing pains for Trevor Lawrence (who had a bad red-zone interception in the close loss to Houston) and company. I’d like to see Travis Etienne and Christian Kirk get more involved after the offense scored just six points last week.


20. New York Jets (3-2) | Last week: 25 (+5)

I mentioned the Dolphins losing Teddy Bridgewater early, which put them in a tough spot; but give the Jets credit for taking advantage in emphatic fashion led by Breece Hall and Michael Carter on offense. Admittedly, I did not expect a 3-2 start for New York—though this weekend at Lambeau should be a good measuring stick to see if they are for real.


21. New Orleans Saints (2-3) | Last week: 28 (+6)

Taysom Hill ran for three touchdowns and threw for another in New Orleans’ home win over Seattle. (Hopefully you follow our fantasy football analysis and have had Hill rostered as a potential cheat-code TE.) I’d like to see the pass defense find its groove when hosting the Bengals this week.


22. Detroit Lions (1-4) | Last week: 18 (-4)

After all the praise I and others gave the Lions offense, they couldn’t have looked much worse in their shutout loss at Foxboro. I think the early bye comes at the perfect time for Detroit, as they really need to recharge and get healthy before looking to make a run—which they have the ability to do if the offense can get back to where it was the first four weeks and the defense can step up.


23. Atlanta Falcons (2-3) | Last week: 23

We touched on the roughing the passer call that cost the Falcons a realistic shot to go down the field and win the game, but I like the way Arthur Smith has his squad fighting every week—they’ve covered the spread in every game, for what that’s worth. Marcus Mariota hasn’t been perfect, but he’s a playmaking quarterback that gives his receivers opportunities to make plays.


24. Las Vegas Raiders (1-4) | Last week: 22 (-2)

The Davante Adams situation bears monitoring after he shoved a photographer after a brutal loss to the Chiefs. The Raiders now have their bye week to work through everything and get healthier, and they still have the pieces to go on a run despite the disappointing start to the year.


25. Denver Broncos (2-3) | Last week: 21 (-4)

Russell Wilson has not been himself, and I noticed from Week 1 that he was massively underthrowing deep balls when he’s typically been among the league’s best at them throughout his career—so I wouldn’t discount the shoulder being an issue. Overall, Denver’s offense just feels discombobulated, and I’m not sure it’s something they’ll be able to solve in 2022.


26. Seattle Seahawks (2-3) | Last week: 24 (-2)

It was in a losing effort for the team last week, but Geno Smith went off versus the Saints and is really playing about as well as any quarterback in football through five games. Losing running back Rashaad Penny (leg) for the season is very disappointing for both Penny and the Seahawks, and now promising second-round rookie Ken Walker could get a heavy workload for Seattle.


27. Cleveland Browns (2-3) | Last week: 27

Nick Chubb again went off on the ground for the Browns, but the problem is Cleveland’s own run defense was gashed itself—a defense that’s led to two straight losses. The Browns must get the corrected against the run-heavy Pats.


28. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-4) | Last week: 26 (-2)

As I’ve mentioned often the past two seasons with people low on them, the Steelers have never had a losing record under Mike Tomlin; so we’re about near the low point after the 35-point loss last week and a 1-4 start. It wouldn’t have made a difference against the Bills, but not having T.J. Watt in the lineup has killed Pittsburgh.


29. Chicago Bears (2-3) | Last week: 29

The run game struggled, and Justin Fields probably had his best game of the season in the 29-22 loss at Minnesota last week, so we’ll see if he can build on that moving forward. I’m admittedly not very excited about TNF between the Bears and Commanders to kickoff Week 6.


30. Washington Commanders (1-4) | Last week: 31 (+1)

Carson Wentz dropped some dimes last week in the loss to the Titans, but the bad came with the game-ending interception into tight coverage. Commanders head coach Ron Rivera’s comments about “quarterback” being the reason the team has struggled—when Dallas is 4-0 without Dak Prescott—sounded like someone desperate to save his job. The good news is Wentz is 6-0 on Thursday nights.


31. Houston Texans (1-3-1) | Last week: 32 (+1)

The Texans were able to get on the board with a win, with Lovie Smith’s defense—and third overall pick Derek Stingley Jr.—shutting down the Jags. Rookie running back Dameon Pierce continues to look like a major factor for a team that wants to control games.


32. Carolina Panthers (1-4) | Last week: 30 (-2)

Matt Rhule became the first coach fired this season, and while it’s been a poor start to the season that showed no signs of turning around, I think Rhule could have gotten things turned around with another year or two on the job. Anyway, Carolina needs to improve at quarterback no matter who the head coach is, and it says a lot about the position that Rhule was 1-27 when the opposition scored 17+ points.