NFL Power Rankings Week 6

About the only good thing that can be said for October is that it's better than September.

You see, I've been writing a weekly selection column picking games against the spread for 40 years, first at the various jobs I've worked at and more recently online. But before I do, I write a season preview of how I believe every team will do in the upcoming season, which will naturally influence my weekly selections at least in September, and to a lesser extent, October (hence my opening sentence). This means that if I get a certain number of teams wrong (either at the top or at the bottom), it will logically follow that I will get a lot of weekly picks wrong. But by November everything has become clear. Plus, then you get all these warm-weather and domed-stadium teams having to play in cold weather, leading to several easy picks in most weeks.

The young season is also playing host to a lopsided domination by the home teams, which are 59-32-2 for a .645 winning percentage — and four teams are both unbeaten at home and winless on the road: Carolina, Dallas, Green Bay, and New England.

But at least this October has given me some satisfaction, from the world of MMA — where first one loudmouth, Conor McGregor, got his mouth forcibly shut by a Russian, Khabib Nurmagomedov, and then a week later another, Chael Sonnen, got his shut by another Russian, Fedor Emelianenko, although at least Sonnen showed rare (for him) class afterwards.

Here are your Week 6 power rankings.

1. Los Angeles Rams (6-0) — And now there is one — one unbeaten team, that is. A trip up Interstate 5 to take on C.J. Beathard and the 49ers awaits, followed by a home game against Green Bay, which is practically a guaranteed W these days the way the Packers play on the road. Brandin Cooks and Cooper Kupp figure to be long since out of the dreaded concussion protocol for their key game at New Orleans in Week 9.

2. Kansas City Chiefs (5-1) — Tempted to rank them lower based on their last-in-the-league ranking in total defense, which New England's offense threw a 500-burger at Sunday night. But they still have road wins over the Chargers and Steelers, and a convincing home win over 2018 Final Four participant Jacksonville.

3. New Orleans Saints (4-1) — Had a totally awesome bye week, in that the other three one-win teams going in all lost (Bengals, Bears, Panthers). With Mark Ingram back from suspension the offense could be well-nigh unstoppable from here on — but pass defense ranks 30th in the league in yards allowed per game and 31st in yards allowed per attempt.

4. New England Patriots (4-2) — Parity is baaack, with a 4-2 team after six games ranked this high. Survived Sunday night's tsunami of points (83) and yards (946), and in Week 7 it's off to play a Bears team over which they have won four in a row and seven out of eight since the Bears went out of their way to humiliate them in Super Bowl XX by having William "Refrigerator" Perry score a touchdown that made the score 44-3 (the final score was 46-10), instead of handing it off to Walter Payton. Indeed, the late Dick Enberg's call of that play : "Refrigreator Perry ... touchdown!," is regarded by many as the most memorable play ever called by Enberg.

5. Los Angeles Chargers (4-2) — Zooms into the top five coming off their handing Cleveland its first non-nail-biting loss of the season. Philip Rivers is on pace to crush his career single-season passing-rating record, with a 115.1 (his best so far have been the twin 105.5s he hung up in 2008 and 2013), and their only losses have been to the No. 1 Rams and the No. 2 Chiefs.

6. Baltimore Ravens (4-2) — The other AFC team that missed the playoffs on tie-breakers last year comes in right behind the Chargers in this week's rankings. Sacked Marcus Mariota 11 times in last week's 21-0 shutout of Tennessee. They also held Buffalo to a field goal in Week 1 — a field goal that was kicked when the Bills were down 40-0 late in the third quarter and was obviously kicked to break up the shutout.

7. Cincinnati Bengals (4-2) — Since fines or even suspensions have never provided any deterrent whatsoever to his actions, Vontaze Burfict needs to be banned for life before seriously maims or even kills someone, the latest victim of his head-hunting having been the 5-foot-10, 181-pound Antonio Brown (Burfict goes 6'1", 255) in a game in which they saw their losing streak at home versus the Steelers extended to six games, and to Pittsburgh overall, seven games.

8. Miami Dolphins (4-2) — Nobody but nobody expected them to beat the overhyped Bears even before it was known that Ryan Tannehill wasn't going to play (what else is new?). But what happened? In came Brock Osweiler, who is on his fourth team (one of which he had two stints with and another he never even actually played for), and he threw for 380 yards, and despite his total lack of mobility, did not get sacked even once in a game that went down to the absolute last play of overtime, with the Dolphins winning.

9. Minnesota Vikings (3-2-1) — That Geico commercial starring Stefon Diggs is beginning to get on my nerves, with Diggs being eclipsed by teammate Adam Thielen in every statistical department — receptions (58 to 40), catch percentage (.716 to .667), receiving yards (712 to 435), and most surprisingly of all, yards per catch (12.3 to 10.9).

10. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2-1) — Don't be surprised if they trade their weapon of mass distraction, Le'Veon Bell, during their upcoming bye week, especially with James Conner glory bound to an everlasting feeling, as the Grass Roots sang back in 1972: Conner is pace for 1,208 yards and 19 touchdowns (rounded off to the nearest full touchdown — he has 7 in his first six games). Those are LeGarrette Blount-type numbers. But of course once Conner's rookie contract is up, the Rooneys will hit the same wall with him as they hit with Bell.

11. Carolina Panthers (3-2) — After ranking 29th, 19th, 24th, tied for 21st, and 28th in average passing yards per game in 2013 through 2017, they're 26th in that statistic so far in 2018. Cam Newton couldn't possibly be the most overrated player in the NFL - could he? And they have been missing both of their starting offensive tackles, Matt Kalil and Daryl Williams, since the start of the season. Ouch!

12. Green Bay Packers (3-2-1) — Their defense must be pretty rotten if C.J. Beathard scored 30 points and put up a 115.3 passer rating on it Monday night. They will only go as far as Aaron Rodgers can take them — and recently, on the road, that has been nowhere: they have been outscored 62-40 in two road games so far this year, and following next week's bye, they must visit the Rams and Patriots, essentially guaranteed rout losses.

13. Washington Redskins (3-2) — With both them and Dallas winning (the Eagles and Giants played each other Thursday night), and three of the four AFC South teams losing (including the Jaguars to the Cowboys), the NFC East has moved a half-game ahead of the AFC South and climbed out of last place in the overall division standings. At least they finally beat a decent team last week.

14. Chicago Bears (3-2) — Now, can we can give it a rest about how they are to 2018 what the Eagles were to 2017? Only one of their games so far gives them any hope of even being competitive against New England this coming week — and that was their 48-10 burial of Tampa Bay in Week 4.

15. Philadelphia Eagles (3-3) — Rumored to be open to a trade(s) that would bring anything from a power back to a burner at wide receiver to a cornerback (don't know how Jalen Mills keeps his job) into the fold. Their demolition of the Giants on Thursday night only serves to prove how much better they are when playing with a lead than coming from behind, which the aforementioned burner who can get you right back in the game on one play makes a lot easier to do.

16. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-3) — Their last two games were too bad to be believed. Their running game has essentially been rendered irrelevant by the injuries to Leonard Fournette and Corey Grant (Jamaal Charles? Really?) and Blake Bortles has gone back to being, well, Blake Bortles (his 81.1 passer rating won't buy you much in today's NFL).

17. Dallas Cowboys (3-3) — Totally exploded against Jacksonville, but since 2013 the Jags are 4-17 on artificial turf and 1-8 in domed stadiums, so maybe it's best not to read too much into it. Also, America's Team is 3-0 at home and 0-3 on the road.

18. Tennessee Titans (3-3) — What happened in their game last week against Baltimore is Exhibit A as to why the passer rating system needs to be changed: Marcus Mariota was sacked 11 times and had 51 net yards passing, yet still managed to come away with a 90.1 passer rating for the game.

19. Seattle Seahawks (3-3) — Their owner, Paul Allen, who was one of the two owners who voted against the 2002 realignment (Bill Bidwill of the Cardinals was the other), died yesterday, the second NFL owner to die in six days (Alex Spanos of the Chargers died last Tuesday). But rumors of this team's "death" have proven at least somewhat exaggerated, as they are doing better than expected. Russell Wilson and the offense have pretty much had to carry the entire load now that the defense has been gutted, but so far they're hanging in there.

20. New York Jets (3-3) — Sam Darnold is showing all the poise of a fifth-year pro, which NFL rookies are for all intents and purposes if they went to a so-called AQ college, and Bobby Anderson has a gaudy 19.3 yards-per-catch average, and Terrelle Pryor is finally living up to the potential that his truly freakish combination of size and speed bestowed upon him. They have scored 34 points or more in half of Darnold's starts.

21. Houston Texans (3-3) — Created a three-way tie atop the AFC South, which they were inexplicably favored to win before the season started, with their lucky win over lowly Buffalo coupled with ugly losses by Jacksonville and Tennessee. Offense is underachieving, ranking 11th in yards gained but 21st in points scored.

22. Detroit Lions (2-3) — Averaging 4.3 yards per carry and 97.2 yards rushing per game, figures they haven't seen in ages. Defense ranks seventh against the pass but has only two interceptions. Both them and the Bears have definitely gained ground on the Vikings and the Packers in the NFC North, if only by default.

23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3) — Mike Smith, who once took the Falcons to the Final Four as a head coach, was fired yesterday as their defensive coordinator. Ranking last in points allowed and next-to-last in yards allowed doesn't exactly do much for a defensive coordinator's job security.

24. Cleveland Browns (2-3-1) — Could be headed for a slide down the rankings in the weeks ahead: four of their first six games were at home, they are coming off far and away their worst performance of the season, and they have lost 23 consecutive games on the road, just three shy of the all-time NFL record established by Detroit from mid-2007 to late 2010.

25. Atlanta Falcons (2-4) — Maybe they should keep the retractable roof at their new stadium open more often. It was open for only the second time ever last week, and their defense gave up "only" 29 points. And how do you like this one? In NFL history, teams scoring more than 35 points at home are 408-4 — and two of the four losses were by this year's Falcons.

26. Buffalo Bills (2-4) — Don't know how they beat the Titans, who went to the Elite Eight last year, or the Vikings, who went to the Final Four. With Josh Allen expected to miss several weeks, the team has signed Derek Anderson, whose chief claim to fame was getting caught on camera laughing on the sidelines while his team was getting blown out on Monday night.

27. Denver Broncos (2-4) — It looks like Case Keenum is turning out to have been a one-year flash in the pan - and they're 1-9 on the road under Vance Joseph, and four of their first six games were at home, where even an early snowstorm couldn't save them last week. They could find themselves in the same "Down" elevator as the Browns in future rankings.

28. Arizona Cardinals (1-5) — Sam Bradford was benched after averaging a jump-off-the-page lousy 8.0 yards per completion and replaced by rookie Josh Rosen, taken with the 10th overall pick, and Rosen has averaged 12.5 yards per completion — and Rosen can only move forward from here. However, David Johnson, returning from a wrist injury that ended his 2017 season early on, has been a major disappointment — and as a result, they are dead-last in the league in rushing with averages of 3.2 yards per carry and 64 yards per game.

29. Oakland Raiders (1-5) — But by the time they come off their Week 7 bye, they might merit a lower ranking — maybe even rock-bottom, because Jon Gruden is seriously considering spending that bye trading everyone he can get rid of for something in return. Don't know enough about how the lines of authority run out there to know whether Gruden or Mark Davis signed off on the Khalil Mack trade, but I do know that if Al Davis was still alive, that trade would never have happened.

30. Indianapolis Colts (1-5) — The nagging injuries to T.Y. Hilton are killing them — they're averaging 9.6 yards per completion, which is last in the league. And the defense, while a little less awful than last year's edition, is still awful.

31. New York Giants (1-5) — They needed to hire a proven winner after they fired Ben McAdoo, but instead, they hired a proven loser in Pat Shurmur. So many explosive players on offense, yet so little production — and all the locker-room drama, of which I'm sure we haven't seen the last of, sure isn't helping.

32. San Francisco 49ers (1-5) — In his early years as their head coach, Bill Walsh said of Steve DeBerg: "He will always play just well enough to get you beat." Four decades later, there is a DeBerg clone in San Francisco, and his name is C.J. Beathard: Monday night was the second time in three weeks that Beathard has pulled it, and I'm sure that there are more to follow.

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