NFL power rankings

Week 6 in the NFL was a great showcase for the strong top two teams in Sporting News’ power rankings to further flex in front of big national audiences. As for some other familiar playoff contenders in the NFC and AFC, it was a rough week, giving upset-minded upstarts more legs.

There’s no change in the best teams from each conference as the Eagles and Bills won huge games against rivals. The NFC division races got tighter across the board, while there’s more cloudiness in the AFC wild-card picture.

With that in mind and considering the four teams on bye, here’s how all 32 teams stack up against each other going into Week 7:

IYER: What’s wrong with the Packers, Buccaneers and 49ers?

NFL power rankings Week 7

1. Philadelphia Eagles 6-0 (previous ranking: 1)

The Eagles rolled out of the gate against the Cowboys with more of their efficient, explosive and balanced offense. They backed it up with sharp pass defense from Darius “Big Play” Slay and others to bring Cooper Rush crashing down to earth. But they still need to work finishing games as well as they start them to stay undefeated.

2. Buffalo Bills 5-1 (2)

The Bills made their share of offensive mistakes with Josh Allen against a game Chiefs’ defense, but in the end, Von Miller’s pass rush and their active secondary made the difference against Patrick Mahomes. There’s no doubt they are heavy AFC championship favorites now.

MORE: Von Miller gives Bills a Super Bowl-worthy defense vs. Chiefs

3. Kansas City Chiefs 4-2 (3)

The Chiefs fought the Bills hard with Mahomes, falling just one successful possession short. Mahomes faced the better defense in Buffalo’s, but it’s encouraging for a potential rematch Kansas City’s D hung in there well.

4. New York Giants 5-1 (7)

The Giants can be considered “for real” only a game behind the Eagles with their lone loss coming to the Cowboys. They took advantage of a weak schedule early, but their Packers and Ravens victories stamp their inspired all-around arrival under coach of the year frontrunner Brian Daboll.

5. Minnesota Vikings 5-1 (8)

Daboll’s biggest competition may come from another offensive-minded rookie coach. Kevin O’Connell has unlocked the Vikings to become more explosive around Kirk Cousins with skill principals Dalvin Cook, Justin Jefferson, Adam Thielen and Irv Smith Jr. They are a strong threat to steal the NFC North from the Packers, whom they beat soundly in Week 1.

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6. Los Angeles Chargers 3-2 (10)

The Chargers have quietly fought through their rash of offensive and defensive injuries to get above .500 and they continue their groove with Justin Herbert and Austin Ekeler on Monday night against the battered Broncos.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3-3 (4)

The Bucs seemed like they were going through the motions around Tom Brady offensively with poor execution while the defense did its best. Tampa Bay needs to find its explosive self, stat, to do more than win the weak NFC South one more time with Brady.

8. San Francisco 49ers 3-3 (5)

The 49ers went from Carolina to Atlanta with a stop in West Virginia and forget how to protect the ball and work over a weak defense. So much for the Kyle Shanahan revenge result against the Falcons. Perhaps they were looking ahead to a Super Bowl rematch with the Chiefs?

9. Dallas Cowboys 4-2 (6)

The Cowboys fought hard in the second half to push the Eagles but they miss the extra firepower they have with Dak Prescott. Credit the defense for fighting hard to facilitate the rally, but it needs more of the burden of winning relieved.

10. Tennessee Titans 3-2 (13)

The Titans enjoyed their bye with a three-game winning streak to rest hammering Derrick Henry for the stretch run. Their defense is finding its usual gritty self despite some talent limitations and Ryan Tannehill is quieting any noise of losing his job.

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11. Cincinnati Bengals 3-3 (14)

The Bengals are facing more challenges with their offense this season, but Joe Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase and Joe Mixon were bound to work them out of it. Their defense is getting pushed around more, but the big plays will come there once the offense consistently starts faster.

12. Los Angeles Rams 3-3 (15)

The Rams needed that pull-away comeback win against the sputtering Panthers. Matthew Stafford still made a critical mistake, but the Sean McVay and the team helped him, working to spread the ball around in the passing and running games. The defense also needed it as a get-well game.

13. Baltimore Ravens 3-3 (9)

The Ravens ran into the Giants’ buzzsaw and couldn’t hold another late lead. They need more of an aggressive pour-it-on passing game with Lamar Jackson and better pass defense to keep avoiding that frustration.

14. New York Jets 4-2 (16)

The Jets joined the crosstown Giants in stomping the Packers. They are played inspired defensive-minded football for Robert Saleh with rookie Sauce Gardner and many other changes paying off. The run-heavy offense keeps rocking with rookie Breece Hall to lift Zach Wilson.

15. Green Bay Packers 3-3 (11)

What was that? The Packers looked home hungover after going from Lambeau to London. They should have run the ball better and played better run defense, because their passing game with Aaron Rodgers and pass defense with Jaire Alexander really need that support.

Bill Belichick and Bailey Zappe

16. New England Patriots 3-3 (17)

The Patriots’ defense has assembled the ideal places on every level for Bill Belichick and per usual, they improve with each game. The running game has been great with Rhamondre Stevenson in the lead, but it’s really the QB play of Bailey Zappe that has sparked them back into wild-card contention.

17. Indianapolis Colts 3-2-1 (18)

The Colts looked like an offensive disaster with Matt Ryan under Frank Reich early, but credit them for fighting back with Ryan playing much better through clutch moments and the running game getting on track, even without a healthy Jonathan Taylor. Michael Pittman Jr. and Alec Pierce are quickly becoming a dangerous receiving duo.

18. Miami Dolphins 3-3 (12)

The Dolphins have gone from 3-0 to 3-3 in a blink, and it goes beyond their injury-marred revolving door at quarterback. Their defense is starting to be exposed with shaky coverage and giving up chunk runs. They are trending to an anomalous freefall out of the playoffs.

19. Atlanta Falcons 3-3 (25)

The Falcons have just about been in every game with Arthur Smith getting the most out of Marcus Mariota and a run-heavy offense with a calculated passing attack. The defense has played over its head at times  but that will get more challenging with the cornerback injuries.

20. Seattle Seahawks 3-3 (26)

The Seahawks’ offense has been efficient, versatile and sometimes explosive with Geno Smith along his talented wide receivers and tight ends behind an improved offensive line. It went to another level featuring rookie Kenneth Walker in the running game. Now Pete Carroll is scheming up the defense to overachieve, too.

Geno Smith

21. Denver Broncos 2-3 (19)

The Broncos have a big opportunity to push themselves back into the AFC West race on Monday night. Russell Wilson has almost run out of time to turn things around with his new offense. It must happen against the Chargers.

22. Pittsburgh Steelers 2-4 (28)

The Steelers’ defense decided to wake up to thwart Tom Brady and hold up better against the running game. Unfortunately, just as their offense was starting to feel it more with rookie Kenny Pickett, he got concussed. They still have another big shot against another Florida team with a Sunday night trip to Miami in Week 7.

23. Jacksonville Jaguars 2-4 (21)

The Jaguars started to fine more offensive pop again with Trevor Lawrence, Travis Etienne Jr. and others in Indianapolis. But their young, improved defense has started to wilt against the run and give up big pass plays

24. New Orleans Saints 2-4 (23)

The Saints keep trying to march away with victories with a dominant and suddenly deeper running game, but the injury-forced adjusted offensive identity from downfield passing hasn’t bene helpful, especially with the defense struggling more than expect with Dennis Allen.

25. Arizona Cardinals 2-4 (20)

The Cardinals have somehow become an offensive mess with Kliff Kingsbury and Kyler Murray, despite having plenty of running and receiving skill. Marquise Brown may need to miss time, but that’s timed with DeAndre Hopkins’ return. The coach and QB need to live up more to their new contract expectations, stat.

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26. Cleveland Browns 2-4 (22)

The Browns have hit a wall depending on Jacoby Brissett at quarterback. Their running game can carry them only so much when the defense isn’t cooperating with necessary complementary football. Their schedule will probably doom their season before Deshaun Watson can return.

27. Las Vegas Raiders 1-4 (24)

Davante Adams and the Raiders needed the bye badly after all their frustrating close losses, culminating with the one-point defeat against the Chiefs. They are definitely pointing up as the best one-win team in the NFL. They first need to get to .500 soon with the Texans, Saints and Jaguars the next three weeks.

28. Washington Commanders 2-4 (31)

The Commanders don’t get any style points for producing just enough points to beat the Bears. Carson Wentz’s inconsistencies and injuries are concerning, but they need to build on their best defensive performance above all else to push toward .500.

29. Chicago Bears 2-4 (27)

What was that? The Bears are not helping Justin Fields with a forced run-heavy offense and not taking advantage of his mobility in the passing game. The defense needs to be protected better given its major weakness against the run.

30. Houston Texans 1-3-1 (29)

The Texans have been scrappy in division play with a win over the Jaguars and a tie with the Colts, thanks to Lovie Smith getting the most of the defense. But Davis Mills needs to show a lot more playing off Dameon Pierce and the running game to not become a lame-duck QB.

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31. Detroit Lions 1-4 (30)

The Lions went into their bye after a shutout loss to the Patriots that suddenly left them questioning a lot about their offense. That should get back to being better with a cleaner bill of health, but the defense will continue to sink them.

32. Carolina Panthers 1-5 (32)

The Panthers played a little more inspired on both sides of the ball without Matt Rhule against the Rams, including getting big plays from their defense under Steve Wilks and a lot more of Christian McCaffrey. It still wasn’t enough.

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