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Blake Pace’s NFL power rankings through Week Six

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NFL: New York Giants at New England Patriots Paul Rutherford-USA TODAY Sports

Second edition of my weekly power rankings and even more confusion than the last time. It’s tough to really get a good grip on these middle-tier teams when referees are continuing to make egregious calls, but I still feel pretty confident about the bottom feeders and the top 8-10 teams I’ve got at this points.

As you’ll notice, I usually will try to not move teams up or down while they’re on their bye week. There was one this week that just was lucky enough to be bumped up (you all know that team very well), but aside from that I’ll let individual outcomes on Sunday rearrange my thoughts on them.

Let’s not waste any more time, here are my updated power rankings through six weeks of the 2019 NFL season.

32. The Miami Dolphins (0-5) / LW: 31

That game on Sunday was boring. Blake is putting on his conspiracy theory hat, thinking the Dolphins probably threw that game at the end with their failed two-point conversion. They actively want to be the worst team in football, so they’ll remain at No. 32 for the rest of the season.

31. The Cincinnati Bengals (0-5) / LW: 30

I’ve got one more week until the trade bells start ringing in Cincinnati, but, until then, we’ll have to sit through Zac Taylor actively trying to win games despite being way in over his head. Steve Wilks was fired after one season with the Cardinals last year, and I could see one or two teams doing the same in 2019 — the Bengals being one.

30. The Washington Redskins (1-4) / LW: 32

All hail Washington, the winner of the Snore Bowl. This isn’t a good team, and it starts at the top. Even the most dysfunctional teams win a game once in a while; especially when they run into a team that’s tanking. Enjoy the win while you can, we won’t see many more in our nation’s capitol for the foreseeable future.

29. The Atlanta Falcons (1-5) / LW: 25

Now we get to the team I was most wrong about heading into the season (and in a bad way). Atlanta kept pace with Arizona, and almost sent the game into overtime if it weren’t for Matt Bryant. Dan Quinn’s days are number, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets the boot after losing to Seattle two weeks from now.

28. The New York Jets (1-4) / LW: 29

Maybe mononucleosis is the new HGH for quarterbacks. Sam Darnold looked great against Dallas, and Adam Gase finally felt comfortable opening up his playbook. The Jets still almost blew that game, however, and I can’t reasonably rank New York higher until it shows a little more consistency.

27. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-4) / LW: 23

Oh, Jameis Winston. Five interceptions, two fumbles and seven sacks combined for one of the worst performances I can remember watching in recent history. This Bucs run defense is really good and Mike Evans/Chris Godwin will be a huge duo for for the next franchise quarterback in Tampa next year, but they’ll have to suffer and ride it out through the end of 2019 before being able to officially move on.

26. The Denver Broncos (2-4) / LW: 27

Congrats, Denver. You have two wins against the inconsistent-as-ever LA Chargers and a shutout victory against the terrific duo of Marcus Mariota and Ryan Tannehill. This is still one of the lesser teams in the league, but could convince me to bump them up more with a good showing against the struggling Chiefs.

25. The New York Giants (2-4) / LW: 24

No one expected the Giants to give New England a strong test, especially without its top three (maybe four) options on offense. Fortunately for New York, it’s only one game out of the division. No one expects them to really contend atop the NFC East this year, but a win over Arizona would put them in a really good spot through seven weeks.

24. The Los Angeles Chargers (2-4) / LW: 21

This is the bad/good team of the year. There were high expectations after a great season last year, but I felt very comfortable leaving them out of the playoffs in my preseason predictions. Two many injuries on the offensive line, missing key guys on defense and a . lack of consistency on offense. The Chargers have a lot of ground to make up for if they’re going to try and pull it together.

23. The Arizona Cardinals (2-3-1) / LW: 28

Make it two straight wins for Kliff Kingsbury and Kyler Murray, who absolutely dismantled the porous defensive scheme from Dan Quinn. The NFC West is a tough division to be in this year, so we shouldn’t have high expectations for the immediate future, but Arizona has a great shot to pull to .500 with a win over the Giants on Sunday.

22. The Pittsburgh Steelers (2-4) / LW: 26

Quack quack, the duck is back. Heading into the weekend I told those that listen to my podcast that there’s no way the Chargers should be favored by a touchdown over Pittsburgh. The Steelers aren’t a great team, they’re mediocre at best, but this defense has talent when it’s put in a position to win and should be right back on track in 2020.

21. The Tennessee Titans (2-4) / LW: 20

Only dropping Tennessee one slot back definitely doesn’t seem right, but all they’re missing is an average-level quarterback from being a much better team. Marcus Mariota won’t be here beyond this season, so it doesn’t hurt to see what you can squeeze out of Ryan Tannehill. Aside from the quarterback, this is a talented roster that just needs to be able to score more than 16.3 points per game (11 since Week 2).

20. The Cleveland Browns (2-4) / LW: 22

The Browns played a solid first quarter against Seattle this past week, but then Freddy Kitchens came out and showed us why, he too, may be in way over his head. Their run offense was dominating through the early parts of the game, but it seemed like they abandoned it just to see if Baker Mayfield and Odell Beckham Jr. could get in a rhythm together. Ugly way to lose a game and it’s weird to have them up two spots higher, but there were teams that were far more underwhelming to me this past weekend.

19. The Oakland Raiders (3-2) / LW: 19

Not moving the Raiders because of their bye week. Tough road ahead for Oakland with games against the Packers, Texans and Lions approaching — a stretch that should finally be a fair assessment on whether or not this is a legit team or just a lucky one.

18. The Jacksonville Jaguars (2-4) / LW: 15

There were 30,000 mustaches in the stands on Sunday, but the worst of them all was the one on the field. Gardner Minshew and the Jags offense really couldn’t get things going at all against New Orleans, and their defense did it’s best in holding a talented Saints offense to just 13 points. It’s time I officially lower my expectations for Jacksonville this season, unless they can get consistent play from Minshew, Leonard Fournette and the rest of the Jacksonville offense.

17. The Chicago Bears (3-2) / LW: 17

Bears don’t budge because they had the week off, but they also have a tough road ahead with games against the Saints, Eagles, Lions and Rams all within the next five weeks. Hopefully Chicago can get some better performances out of its quarterbacks.

16. The Minnesota Vikings (4-2) / LW: 18

Up two spots for Minnesota, but I’m not putting much confidence behind it. Kirk Cousins had two good games against the horrid New York Giants secondary and tore apart a Philadelphia secondary that’s severely banged up

15. The Baltimore Ravens (4-2) / LW: 16

Much like Minnesota, I didn’t learn much about this Ravens team from a win over Cincinnati. Lamar Jackson is good and this offense has decent flow, but I’m worried about it’s defense being able to show up against the better offenses in the NFL. Fortunately enough, the rest of the AFC North is off to a 4-14 start.

14. The Dallas Cowboys (3-3) / LW: 10

Worst loss of the week has to be given to Dallas, who should’ve opened the floodgates against a bad Jets team. I tweeted this out the other day, but Dak Prescott isn’t the problem — Jason Garrett is. He continues to make horrible calls and is awful when it comes to clock management. I hope we get to a point where Jerry Jones chooses to move on from him after this season. At a certain point, we also have to starting talking about Zeke Elliot and how he really doesn’t intimidate opposing defenses anymore. But this is definitely not a Dak Prescott problem.

13. The Philadelphia Eagles (3-3) / LW: 9

Putting Philadelphia ahead of Minnesota? How dare he. Listen, when Philly is healthy I still think they’re one of the better teams in the NFC. Now if they can’t stay healthy or get some of their better guys back on the field, then I’ll move them down. But I have faith in Carson Wentz and Doug Peterson righting this ship and being the team to win the NFC East.

12. The Carolina Panthers (4-2) / LW: 13

Kyle Allen is undefeated as the starting quarterback for the Carolina Panthers ... chalk that up as something I didn’t think I’d type out at the beginning of this season. Not only are they winning, but they still put up 37 points in a game where Christian McCaffrey averaged 1.4 yards per carry. Their schedule toughens up in two weeks against the 49ers, but there’s no denying the Panthers have to be very happy with where they’re at heading into the bye.

11. The Houston Texans (4-2) / LW: 14

What we’re seeing out of Deshaun Watson somewhat reminds me of what we saw from Andrew Luck in his earlier years. I’d say there’s probably more overall talent with Houston, but Watson is now one of those quarterbacks that win games on his own. I’m not 100% bought in, but what a gritty win on the road against Kansas City.

10. The Indianapolis Colts (3-2) / LW: 11

I won’t usually change the ranking for teams that are on their bye, but two NFC East teams dropped below after some bad losses on Sunday. Welcome to Blake’s Big 10, Indianapolis. Massive game coming up this weekend against the Texans.

9. The Detroit Lions (2-2-1) / LW: 12

Good showing by the Lions, almost knocking off Green Bay in Lambeau Field. The refs screwed up calls against Detroit on multiple occasions, but until we see changes up top we’re just going to have to live with this reality. The Lions are a good team, just unlucky last night.

8. The Los Angeles Rams (3-3) / LW: 4

Why did the Rams give Jared Goff a massive contract extension before this season began? I’m not a Goff hater, but why not just wait out the season to see what you’ve got out of the guy. He’s had a bad season through this point, and looked awful against a tough defense without Todd Gurley behind him. Los Angeles desperately needs to make a trade — either on the offensive line or in the secondary — if they want to fight for the NFC West title.

7. The Buffalo Bills (4-1) / LW: 7

Nothing to say about the Bills this time around, who spend their Sundays sitting on the couch enjoy the weekend. Should be an easy win coming up with Miami traveling up North.

6. The Seattle Seahawks (5-1)/ LW: 8

Great, gutsy win for Seattle to come back from a 20-6 deficit and take care of the Browns. Cleveland definitely did some things on offense to allow the comeback, but Russell Wilson has to be the frontrunner for MVP so far and Chris Carson is a legit starting running back — something Seattle has been desperately been looking for since the days of Marshawn Lynch.

5. The Kansas City Chiefs (4-2) / LW: 2

Two tough losses in a row drops Kansas City down three spots for me. I said it last week too, but this is one of the few teams out there that desperately needs to make a trade or two before the deadline. They need help in the front seven to stop the run, and they need help on the offensive line to aid their own rush attack and give Pat Mahomes more protection. Can’t move them lower than five just yet, but would have to if they lose or even struggle against Denver on Thursday.

4. The New Orleans Saints (5-1) / LW: 5

I thought New Orleans was a playoff-caliber team heading into the season, but I definitely underestimated just how good they’d be — especially on defense. They’re in a perfect spot for when Drew Brees returns and, as long as they stay healthy, will have a chance to make a deep run in the postseason yet again.

3. The San Fransisco 49ers (5-0) / LW: 6

Holding Sean McVay to single-digit points was all I needed to see to officially be sold on this 49ers squad. This was a tough win for San Fran, one where their own offense unusually struggled, but Kyle Shanahan finally has this team heading in the right direction and is one of the best teams in the NFL.

2. The Green Bay Packers (5-1) / LW: 3

Damn does Aaron Rodgers look good with his team trailing in the second half. Green Bay has been the team this year to jump out to huge leads and then win close games when they play conservative in the second half, but it was the reverse this time around. Sure, the referees had their hands all over this one, but this is still (to me) the team to beat in the NFC.

1. The New England Patriots (5-0) / LW: 1

I’m sorry guys. I know New England faced yet another light opponent, and have another one this week against the Jets, but I can’t dethrone them as long as they’re playing terrific defense and special teams. Even in a bad game for the offense Tom Brady still had a 300-yard performance, and once in a while Sony Michel actually decides not to put his head down and run into the first defender he sees. The Patriots are the king of the court for now, maybe when they’re schedule gets a little more difficult and they lose a game or two I’ll decide to change my stance.