NFL Power Rankings: Week 6


Sports Desk


The Appalachian Sports Desk will be releasing collaborative weekly NFL Power Rankings. The Appalachian sports reporters will be ranking NFL teams that will be averaged out to determine their rankings. Each writer will cover 2-3 teams and give their take on them.

This weeks biggest riser: Minnesota Vikings moved up 12

This weeks biggest drop: Green Bay Packers and Oakland Raiders moved down 8


1. Philadelphia Eagles (5-1) (Last week: 4⬆️)

Leave it to the Eagles to come into an opponent’s home field and outplay them on both sides of the ball. Philly rolled into Charlotte ready to play football and did exactly that against a Carolina team that couldn’t hold any momentum if you gave them a bucket. Philly’s offense put up 28 points, 21 of which was scored through the air thanks to the newest frontrunner for League MVP Carson Wentz.  Their defense played incredible, forcing three interceptions which turned into 15 points for the Birds. Fletcher Cox and the Philly D-Line especially gave Cam all he could handle, on top of ruining any chance the Carolina backfield had of generating offense. The Eagles are proving each week that they are here to stay and it’s gonna take a real-deal football team to slow them down, otherwise we may be looking at the end of a 57-year drought for the City of Brotherly Love. -Garrett Wold

2. Kansas City Chiefs (5-1) (Last week: 1⬇️)

After only six weeks into the season, the league’s final perfect record crumbles as the Chiefs fall 19-13 at home against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Gaining only six yards in the first half, the Pittsburgh defense shut down Kareem Hunt and the explosive Chiefs’ offense. While the offense sputtered, the Kansas City defense failed to slow down the Steelers’ stars, allowing over 150 yards each to Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown. Dropping a game to a talented Pittsburgh side is far from disappointing, but it will put a sour taste in the mouths of Kansas City faithful, bringing back memories of a 18-16 playoff loss in Arrowhead Stadium last season. With Sunday’s loss, the Chiefs have now dropped three straight games to the Steelers, averaging just over a measly 14 points per game during that streak. -Tyler Hotz

3. Carolina Panthers (4-2) (Last week: 5⬆️)

The recipe for success to win games in the NFL rarely consists of turning the ball over multiple times and struggling to find a rushing attack. Unfortunately for Carolina, they did both, ultimately resulting in a 28-23 defeat at the hands of the now 5-1 Philadelphia Eagles. While Cam Newton threw three interceptions, he was forced to throw a career-high 52 times because of an anemic Panthers’ ground game. Running backs Jonathan Stewart and Christian McCaffrey combined for four yards on 12 attempts on the ground. If the Panthers want to win games against the league’s best, they must be more balanced. In addition, they need to hope star linebacker Luke Kuechly clears concussion protocol, where he tries to avoid his third reported concussion in three years. -Tyler Hotz

4. New England Patriots (4-2) (Last week: 7⬆️)

The Patriots were able to beat their division rival, the New York Jets in a controversial play that ended with the Jets fumbling in the end zone and giving the ball back to the Patriots. The Patriots must put emphasis on the offensive line before one of the greatest quarterbacks ever gets seriously injured. Tom Brady is having shoulder problems on his non-throwing arm. The O-line simply can not stop anyone who wants to get to Brady and with a lack of a running game the hits keep coming on Brady. For the Patriots to get back to their dominant ways they must protect Brady. -Michael Pigg 

5. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-2) (Last week: 11⬆️)

Resurging to prominence following an embarrassing loss last week, the Steelers stifled the Chiefs, holding on to secure their fourth victory of the season. Awakening the Killer B’s, Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown returned to form, boasting two touchdowns and accounting for 346 of Pittsburgh’s 439 yards of total offense. Big Ben didn’t stuff the stat sheet, but he certainly put together a strong effort of his own, throwing for 252 yards with one touchdown and one interception a piece. Allowing the aging Roethlisberger to throw the ball less and have more time in the pocket gives the Steelers the balance their offense needs. Heading into a home matchup against the rested Cincinnati Bengals, the Steelers are in position to take a commanding hold on the AFC North. -Tyler Hotz

6. Minnesota Vikings (4-2) (Last week: 18⬆️)

The Minnesota Vikings just keep winning. It seems they can just put anyone at the quarterback position and still win. The Vikings were able to knock off the Green Bay Packers with the Packers dealing with quarterback problems themselves. The Vikings may have the best defense this year and have been winning games with impressive defensive stands. The Vikings got some good news this week as starting quarterback Teddy Bridgewater might be on his was back to the playing field. -Michael Pigg

7. Los Angeles Rams (4-2) (Last week: 10⬆️)

It’s getting harder and harder each week to keep thinking the Rams are a season away from the playoffs. Yet again Jared Goff looked comfortable in the game, although his statline may not attest to that. Todd Gurley has continued to look like a top five running back in the league to date with another 100-yard performance. The Rams’ defense leaves much to be desired, allowing 24 points and 389 yards to the Jaguar offense. This is a dangerous young team that improves seemingly every week and sits atop a division with two struggling teams and a Seahawks team that can be hot and cold. At the end of the year we may be talking about the Rams being a legitimate threat to win the NFC West. -Aman Hyrams

8.Seattle Seahawks (3-2) (Last week: 8↔️)

The Seahawks were able to rest their wings this weekend due to a bye. In regard to current the NFC West standings, Seattle is second with a record of 3-2. The 4-2 LA Rams have a half game lead over the Seahawks. The Cardinals are still well within the hunt at 3-3. Although LA and Arizona face off against each other this week in a divisional battle, Seattle must focus on the task at hand. In Week 7, the Seahawks travel to compete against Eli Manning and the 1-5 New York Giants. -Shane Harvell

9. Atlanta Falcons (3-2) (Last week: 3⬇️)

Yet again, the Falcons blew another substantial lead. Are they really over the Super Bowl debacle? Atlanta ended up squandering a halftime advantage of 17 points against Jay Cutler and the Dolphins. An unbalanced offensive attack along with a untimely turnover contributed to the second half demise. To make matters worse, Atlanta failed to make the most of their opportunities in the second half. The Brotherhood must improve on their consistency for the full 60-minute duration. Matt Ryan has thrown six interceptions in the last three games and Julio Jones has yet to haul in a touchdown this season. The Dirty Birds travel up to Foxboro this week to square off against the 4-2 New England Patriots in a heavily sought after Super Bowl rematch. New England is the perfect opponent to right the ship and silence the critics. What more can you ask for? -Shane Harvell

10. Green Bay Packers (4-2) (Last week: 2⬇️)

It’s safe to say most people had a rough weekend, but nobody had it worse than Packers’ fans did.  Green Bay came into their matchup against Minnesota favored and possibly overconfident yet fell short thanks to a terrible turn of events. Something felt off when Green Bay’s opening drive ended with an uncharacteristic field goal, but it only got worse from there. Aaron Rodger suffered a late hit on their second drive of the day and broke his collarbone, meaning the Packers will most likely finish the season without him. Aside from Rodgers, Quentin Rollins, Lane Taylor and Bryan Bulaga all left the game with injury, including David Bakhtiari who re-injured his hamstring. Minnesota went on to defeat the bruised up Green Bay Packers, leaving their future uncertain and playoffs a distant memory. -Garrett Wold

11. Denver Broncos (3-2) (Last week: 6⬇️)

The Broncos handed the Giants their first win of the 2017 season in Denver on Sunday night. The offense looked terrible, as Trevor Siemian threw a pick six, and ended up getting hurt on the play. The defense did not look too bad, only giving up one touchdown and three field goals. But regardless, if you want to make the next move to make it to the playoffs, you need to beat the teams you are supposed to. This outing was definitely disappointing to say the least. -Eric Jackson

12. Washington Redskins (3-2) (Last week: 16⬆️)

After leading 17-7 at halftime, the Redskins got outscored 17-9 in the second half and escaped with a 26-24 victory over the 0-6 49ers. A win is a win, but the comeback effort of the 49ers further illustrates the frightening trend that Washington can at times struggle to hold onto leads. The Redskins have shown flashes this year but will need play much better next Monday night if they want to avenge their Week 1 loss as they travel to Philadelphia for a primetime matchup. With upcoming games against the Eagles, Cowboys and Seahawks Washington will have their chances to move up in the NFC East as well as the power rankings. -Silas Albright

13. Detroit Lions (3-3) (Last week: 9⬇️)

Although it’s safe to say the Saints look to be a lot better than anyone thought heading into Week 1, a 52-38 shellacking doesn’t look good against any team. That’s what happened to the Lions in Week 5 as the offense gave the Saints three free touchdowns on a fumble and an interception in the Saints end zone and another 27-yard pick six. For the first time all season the Lions have dropped to .500 at 3-3. Pair that fact with the blowout loss that included ugly showings from both the offense as well as the defense and Detroit should see a pretty big drop in the power rankings. -Silas Albright

14. Buffalo Bills (3-2) (Last week: 13⬇️)

The Bills had a much needed week off. After starting the season shocking people with a win over the Falcons and having close games with teams like the Panthers, they followed it up with a disappointing loss to the Bengals. Tyrod Taylor has been playing like a star and not like a game manager people thinks he is. The main thing for the Bills over the off week is to get star running back LeSean McCoy healthy again. McCoy has been dealing with an hamstring injury and if they can get him to 100 percent healthy, the Bills could make a run in the AFC. -Michael Pigg

15. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-3) (Last week: 12⬇️)

In a league full of inconsistencies, the Jaguars may be the worst of them all. From incredible performances against Houston, Pittsburgh and Baltimore, to disappointing losses against the Titans and the Jets, there is no rhyme or reason behind Jaguars’ football. Jacksonville traveled to LA on Sunday and neither teamed played particularly impressive, but the Rams managed to establish a run game and had incredible help on special teams. Leonard Fournette scored a 75-yard TD, which added to his already impressive performance this season, and Blake Bortles connected with Chris Ivory of their only other TD of the game. While the Jaguars are yet to be proven over or underrated, they still sit high in the AFC South and have a chance to prove themselves next week against divisional rivals Indianapolis next Sunday. -Garrett Wold

16. Dallas Cowboys (2-3) (Last week: 15⬇️)

The Cowboys had a much needed break after a hard fought Green Bay game but what happened during the break is where the problem lies. Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension has been back on and off which is where the bye week becomes crucial. Had the Cowboys played and Zeke not have been on suspension, an extra win could have been beneficial in the long run. The Cowboys go up against the 49ers which should be a good game to get their Zeke-less feet under them. We’ll just have to wait and see how they handle things on the ground. -Noah Gerringer

17. New Orleans Saints (3-2) (Last week: 21⬆️)

Can we please give a round of applause to the New Orleans Saints? They have become a team once again. Now, it’s important to understand the word “team.” Drew Brees only had 186 yards and threw two interceptions, but what is crucial is that the defense came through BIG. The Saints had three defensive touchdowns and against the Lions. They didn’t just play the Browns or the Jets. The Lions are a team that can stand their ground. When Matthew Stafford throws for 312 yards and is beat, it means that something huge was happening on the other end of the ball. The Saints go head-to-head with the Packers next week and even without Aaron Rodgers, it should still be a good game. Watch out for the New Orleans Saints at the end of the season and don’t be surprised if they happen to win the NFC South. -Noah Gerringer

18. Houston Texans (3-3) (Last week: 19⬆️)

The Texans bounced back after a loss to the Chiefs with a commanding 33-17 victory over the Browns. From the start, you could tell the Texans were the better team. Deshaun Watson once again showed his talent, and the defense showed some life after losing their two stars in JJ Watt and Whitney Mercilus. Overall, the Texans go into their bye week on a positive note. Although they still have some things to build and work on, this team is definitely improving. -Eric Jackson

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3) (Last week: 17⬇️)

The Bucs have gone from a potential playoff team to the team that got ran over by Adrian Peterson. If the “shades of 2009” are throwing you off, don’t worry because they should. Tampa’s defense has to improve if they are going to try and tread water in their division, let alone the NFC. The secondary is leaking and their front seven can’t stop, well, Adrian Peterson circa 2017. Worst of all is that Jameis Winston has an AC joint sprain and is uncertain to play in next week’s game against Buffalo. But don’t worry, Ryan Fitzpatrick will probably only throw three interceptions. -Ian Taylor

20. Arizona Cardinals (3-3) (Last week: 26⬆️)

Welcome to it, Adrian Peterson. Peterson proved the doubters wrong in regard to what he has left in the tank. He rushed for 134 yards and two touchdowns in the 38-33 victory over Tampa Bay. The outstanding performance helped to relieve some of the pressure off of Carson Palmer’s shoulders. AP only needed the right opportunity to show the world what he can do. Bruce Arians willingly gave Peterson such the opportunity due to the David Johnson’s injury. I can only imagine what has already gone through Sean Peyton’s head. Anyway, Arizona improved to 3-3 on the year and happily nestled themselves just one game back out of first place within the NFC West. The Cards are on the road this week in perhaps a must win division battle against the 4-2 LA Rams. -Shane Harvell

21. Miami Dolphins (3-2) (Last week: 25⬆️)

Damn, Adam Gase is a good head coach. A shocking comeback win on the road against the Falcons is the kind of win to start some momentum building up. On the other hand, Jay Cutler is still “not awful” at football and Jay Ajayi has the same number of rushing touchdowns as I do. The Dolphins’ defense stepped up big, which is what the whole season has been needing. If Miami can keep the defense where it is and not let the offense completely fail, a .500 record isn’t out of the question. The Dolphins also have a home revenge game against the Jets next week, followed by a trip to Baltimore. If they play their cards right, a 5-2 record is only two games away. -Ian Taylor

22. Oakland Raiders (2-4) (Last week: 14⬇️)

With a healthy Derek Carr the Oakland Raiders looked to get back on track against a Chargers team that just won their first game. That didn’t happen. Derek Carr struggled a bit throwing the ball, possibly still dealing with back spasms that hindered him the past couple of weeks, evident by a few short armed throws and some discomfort in the pocket. Marshawn Lynch showed some promise after a lackluster start to the season running for 63 yards on 13 carries. With the offense struggling, the Raiders looked to Cordarrelle Patterson for a spark on a 47-yard touchdown rush. The defense looked decent after allowing under 350 yards to the Chargers but they couldn’t finish the game, allowing 10 points in the fourth quarter that decided the game. -Aman Hyrams

23. Tennessee Titans (3-3) (Last week: 22⬇️)

The Titans had to grind out a tough win against their division rivals in Indianapolis on Monday night the ship and get back to .500. Mariota is back to his old turnover-allergic self, and the Titans’ ground game continues to be one of the better running back committees in the league. There is however, no excuse for being down against the Colts at the end of the third. The Colts have beaten two teams this season, the Browns and the 49ers. What team wants to join that group? The Titans do have a comfortable few weeks ahead of them, playing the Browns, Ravens and the Bengals. If the Titans can get to a 6-3 record by the end of that run, there’s hope. -Ian Taylor

24. Baltimore Ravens (3-3) (Last week: 20⬇️)

The Ravens lost a close one in Baltimore this week, a 27-24 overtime loss to the Chicago Bears. However, the final score was much closer than the game. Rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky made the second start of his young career, going 8/16 for 113 yards and a touchdown while getting sacked four times. Bears running backs had a big day with Jordan Howard rushing for 167 yards and Tarik Cohen throwing a touchdown pass, while Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco completed less than 60 percent of his passes and threw two interceptions. The Ravens actually scored all of their points on special teams, with three successful field goals from Justin Tucker, a 96-yard kickoff return by Bobby Rainey and a 77-yard punt return from Michael Campanaro, which saved the game from being lost in regulation. Between the Ravens defense allowing 342 offensive yards from a woeful Bears team and their offense unable to score at all, things are only getting worse in Baltimore. -Brooks Maynard

25. Cincinnati Bengals (2-3) (Last week: 23⬇️)

The Bengals had a bye and it probably couldn’t have come at a worst time. Andy Dalton was just starting to get going and the Bengals looked like they might have a chance when it’s all said and done. They face off against the Steelers next week which will more than likely determine the Bengals’ destiny for the season. We’ll see if they can get right back where they left off or if the bye week laziness will kick in. -Noah Gerringer

26. New York Jets (3-3) (Last week: 24⬇️)

The Jets looked good at the beginning of their game with the New England Patriots, starting off 14-0 midway through the first half with two touchdown passes from Josh McCown. But the Jets’ offense soon ran out of gas, able to produce only a field goal from that point on and the Patriots went on to win 24-17. On paper, the Jets outplayed the Patriots with the same number of first downs, nearly 100 more passing yards and 33 more in total. But the Patriots have something the Jets don’t have: players that show up when they are needed to. When the Patriots needed Tom Brady, he threw two touchdown passes, both to tight end Rob Gronkowski. When the Jets needed Josh McCown, he threw two interceptions. This is Jets football. -Brooks Maynard

27. Chicago Bears (2-4) (Last week: 27↔️)

The Bears met with Joe Flacco and the Ravens in Baltimore on Sunday. All eyes were on Mitch Trubisky again and how he would play coming off a tough loss on the previous Monday night to the Vikings. Trubisky’s stats won’t blow you away however he looked like he was a little more comfortable in his first career start. He showed good control of the offense and didn’t take too many unnecessary chances in the passing game. Obviously the plan for Chicago is to protect their young quarterback and to keep the playbook nice and simple. The offense used a few trick plays to get some momentum on offense; none bigger than Tarik Cohen’s beautiful touchdown pass to Zach Miller. Aside from the growing offense, the Bears’ defense showed their ability to get stops and force some big turnovers. Some young playmakers stepped up for the Bears including safety Adrian Amos with his big 90-yard pick six. Jordan Howard continued his strong season with 167 yards on the ground including a big 53-yard gash. -Aman Hyrams

28. Los Angeles Chargers (2-3) (Last week: 29⬆️)

Two weeks ago the Chargers were in consideration for the No. 1 pick. Now, they are somehow back in playoff contention with two straight wins and a shocking upset over the reeling Oakland Raiders. No, the Chargers won’t make the playoffs but running back Melvin Gordon has exploded the last two weeks with two straight over 100-yard rushing games and has carried the team on his back. Philip Rivers is back to being a solid quarterback and the defense has looked very solid. Will this continue? Probably not. With games against the Broncos, Patriots and Jaguars coming up, it’ll be very easy for the Chargers to start losing again. But two straight wins is impressive. -Staff Report

29. Indianapolis Colts (2-4) (Last week: 28⬇️)

Indianapolis’ 11-game win streak over the Titans was snapped in Week 5 on the least watched Monday Night Football of the season as the Colts dropped to 2-4. Not a headline that Colts fans enjoy seeing. After the Colts took yet another lead into the fourth quarter only to get outscored 21-3 over the final 15 minutes and ultimately lose by two touchdowns 36-22, the only thing left for Indianapolis fans to do is wait and hope. Wait for Andrew Luck to gallop in on his white stallion and bring life back to their offense and hope that the defense can somehow learn how to close out a football game. They literally haven’t won the fourth quarter in any of their games, even the two that they escaped with three point victories in. Something good has gotta happen in Indy and soon if they want to turn this season around. -Silas Albright

30. New York Giants (1-5) (Last week: 31⬆️)

The Giants won a game! It only took six weeks but the Giants finally won a game! Even with no starting wide receivers playing, the Landon Collins and Janoris Jenkins led secondary dominated the Denver Broncos and helped prevail the sinking Giants to a win. Eli Manning struggled without many weapons aside from rookie tight end Evan Engram, but the New York defense looked like the one that helped lead them to an 11-5 record last season and is being paid over $100 million. Ben McAdoo finally gave up the offensive play calling to their offensive coordinator, and in a league with so many teams struggling, you never know what can happen. -Staff Report

31. San Francisco 49ers (0-6) (Last week: 30⬇️)

The 49ers add to their single-digit loss numbers yet again. While winless, since being blown out by the Panthers in Week 1, they have lost by a combined 13 points in five games, an average margin of 2.6. The Redskins were their enemy this week, losing 26-24. While the 49ers started Brian Hoyer at quarterback, they eventually brought in rookie backup C.J. Beathard, the cousin of former App State wide receiver, Bobo Beathard. The move is not surprising; Hoyer currently ranks 19th in passing yards and his touchdown count matches his interceptions, while his play has earned them no victories. Beathard had a decent day, going 19/36 for 245 yards and a touchdown, but it would not be enough. Only time will tell if the change will be able to end the losing streak in San Francisco, unlikely in upcoming weeks as they face the Cowboys, Eagles and Cardinals in their next three contests. -Brooks Maynard

32. Cleveland Browns (0-6) (Last week: 32↔️)

The Browns looked horrid in their game Sunday against the Texans. Hue Jackson decided to make the change at QB, choosing Kevin Hogan over rookie Deshone Kizer. Hogan ended up throwing three interceptions and the Browns’ defense could not slow down Deshaun Watson and company, although they did record a pick-six late in the game. The loss moves the Browns to 0-6 on the year. Could they actually end up having a worse record than they did last year? Eric Jackson 

Rankings By: Brooks Maynard, Tyler Hotz, Silas Albright, Eric Jackson, Shane Harvell, Aman Hyrams, Michael Pigg, Ian Taylor, Noah Gerringer and Garrett Wold