1. Minnesota Vikings (5-0) bye. Previously: 1
Rested from the bye, the Vikings get to head to Philadelphia in Week 7 for the NFL’s first taste of Sam Bradford versus Carson Wentz. Bradford’s old home will be the toughest road test yet (at Tennessee, at Carolina) for the NFL’s last undefeated team.
2. New England Patriots (5-1) defeated Cincinnati 35-17. Previously: 5
Two games, 782 yards, six touchdowns and a 135.5 quarterback rating. Sorry haters, but Tom Brady is still on pace for 4,692 yards and 36 touchdowns this season, 10.4 yards per attempt and a 76 percent completion percentage. We could go on. Oh, and sorry, Vontaze Burfict, but Martellus Bennett still has legs. Zero turnovers. OK, OK, we’re done.
3. Seattle Seahawks (4-1) defeated Atlanta 26-24. Previously: 7
Russell Wilson’s astounding 20th career fourth quarter/overtime comeback came just five games into his fifth NFL season. Then consider the fact that he’s doing it without his legs (7 yards on six carries). The defense can fight about blown coverages as much as it wants so long as Earl Thomas catches that final Matt Ryan pass instead of Julio Jones.
4. Atlanta Falcons (4-2) lost to Seattle 26-24. Previously: 2
Speaking of Jones, boy was that a poor first catch to miss. They didn’t get the win in Seattle, but they keep answering questions. They didn’t stick with the run game like in Denver, but three Ryan touchdown passes in the third quarter got the Falcons back in the game and this offense has now shown it can run against two of the best defenses in the league on the road. Now it gets the Chargers at home.
5. Dallas Cowboys (5-1) defeated Green Bay 30-16. Previously: 10
Heading into their bye, we’re finally ready to give the Cowboys the respect they deserve. Hammering Cincy at home and hammering Green Bay in Lambeau just take it a step further than picking on the Niners. For all the talk about Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott’s time is now. After 569 yards rushing in his last four games, Zeke is on pace for an 1,800-yard rookie season.
6. Buffalo Bills (4-2) defeated San Francisco 45-16. Previously: 11
The writer of this space is ready to eat crow on comments appearing about the Week 2 and Week 3 era Bills. Speaking of running backs on a tear, LeSean McCoy had his best game of the season against the coach who decided he was superfluous, and is averaging 118 rushing yards per game during the Bills’ four game win streak. The T-shirts on sale outside Sunday’s game must be denounced.
7. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-2) lost to Miami 30-15. Previously: 3
Ben Roethlisberger was injured, Sammie Coates was banged up, Ryan Shazier was missing and none of that changes the fact that the Steelers laid their second biggest egg of the season despite looking like the best team in the league the past two weeks. It might be harder for them to go on the redemption tour of terror than it was after losing to the Eagles: New England comes to Pittsburgh this week.
8. Denver Broncos (4-2) lost to San Diego 21-13. Previously: 4
Kansas City saved the Broncos from falling a game behind Oakland in the AFC West but there’s no time to wallow in two consecutive defeats as the Brock Osweiler reunion game occurs in Denver this week. After Atlanta showed the world the Broncos defense was mortal in Week 5, they actually did one of the best jobs this season against Philip Rivers and the Chargers in this loss.
9. Kansas City Chiefs (3-2) defeated Oakland 26-10. Previously: 13
Andy Reid is now 16-2 after the bye folks. In this “new” Pro Bowl before the Super Bowl era, it might mean pretty good chances for Big Red if he ever gets back there. The Chiefs defense certainly wanted redemption for their performance against Pittsburgh, and one can only imagine the offense spent two straight weeks running Dontari Poe screen passes because why would you want to imagine anything different?
10. Washington (4-2) defeated Philadelphia 27-20. Previously: 15
Four wins in a row for Washington — and it’s not good enough to sit atop the NFC East. Who would have thought that entering the season? Not much went wrong for Washington against Philadelphia. Their dregs-of-the-league run defense shut Philadelphia down (as did their pass defense) and Matt Jones had 135 yards on the ground.
11. Oakland Raiders (4-2) lost to Kansas City 26-10. Previously: 9
Denver was looking vulnerable, Kansas City had just been dismantled by the Steelers and the Chargers are so bad they can’t win most weeks despite having the best quarterback in their game about 95 percent of the time. Playing at home, the time was now for Oakland to announce they were in control of the division and boy did they look like the kind of 8-8 team that has been a step below Denver and Kansas City in the past. Still, they can take out frustrations on Jacksonville now.
12. Arizona Cardinals (3-3) defeated New York Jets 28-3. Previously: 18
The Cardinals are rivaled in the “look great some weeks and terrible some other weeks” sweepstakes only by Pittsburgh. With Carson Palmer back at the helm, they certainly didn’t waste any time showing the Jets which team had their early season troubles sorted out and which team didn’t Monday night. David Johnson has 833 total yards through six games and exactly zero games under 100 total yards.
13. Houston Texans (4-2) defeated Indianapolis 26-23 (OT.) Previously: 12
The Texans sure did a masterclass in making an underwhelming game look fine in the box score by the time all was said and done Sunday. Lamar Miller had his best game yet in his new home, and Brock Osweiler’s two fourth quarter touchdown passes add a whole lot of shine to another underwhelming performance. All that said, the Texans avoided falling into a three way tie with the Colts and Titans, and that’s important with a trip to Denver upcoming.
14. Philadelphia Eagles (3-2) lost to Washington 27-20. Previously: 6
The first game of the Lane Johnson suspension era didn’t go well for Philadelphia. Washington pass rushers had their day and the Eagles only found the end zone Sunday on a Wendell Smallwood kick return and Malcolm Jenkins pick-six. Things won’t get any easier back home in Week 7 against a Vikings defense looking to become Purple Carson Wentz Eaters. No? Not catchy enough?
15. Green Bay Packers (3-2) lost to Dallas 30-16. Previously: 8
It’s not just the eye test the Packers and Aaron Rodgers are failing. From 2009 to 2014, Rodgers' lowest quarterback rating was 101.2, his lowest completion percentage 64.7 and his fewest yards per attempt 7.8. In 2015 those numbers were 92.7, 60.7 and 6.7, respectively. In 2016, they sit at 88.4, 60.2 and 6.5. Trading a draft pick to the Chiefs for Knile Davis means fantasy owners can probably stop dreaming of Randall Cobb at running back.
16. Detroit Lions (3-3) defeated Los Angeles 31-28. Previously: 19
Somewhere in the NFL commandments is don’t get in a shootout through the air in Detroit. The Lions know what they’re doing. One of the surprises of the weekend was finding out Golden Tate still played for the Lions. The stage is set for another high scoring matchup with Kirk Cousins and Washington headed to Detroit this weekend.
17. New York Giants (3-3) defeated Baltimore 27-23. Previously: 20
Odell Beckham Jr. had his best game of the season and finally got the Giants back in the win column by topping 222 receiving yards with a home run slant. The Giants need more of that OBJ — and less of the one that earned a 15-yard penalty for celebrating immediately after — if they’re going to compete this season. Unfortunately for New York, they’re one and the same.
18. Cincinnati Bengals (2-4) lost to New England 35-17. Previously: 14
It’s been a tough road for the Bengals, with losses to New England, Pittsburgh, Dallas and Denver to start the season. It gets a little easier when they take on the Browns in the battle of the oranges this week. The defense probably won’t have to resort to attempting to injure players out of frustration in the fourth quarter this week.
19. San Diego Chargers (2-4) defeated Denver 21-13. Previously: 26
Add the Chargers and Thursday night’s game to the list of evidence for home teams being better than away teams laid out this week, but somehow it’s always a little less shocking to see Philip Rivers win than Ryan Tannehill. Unfortunately for San Diego, with a trip to Atlanta on the docket this week, losing yet another high scoring close matchup might be a pretty good result.
20. New Orleans Saints (2-3) defeated Carolina 41-38. Previously: 25
We knew there was a reason we thought the Saints were the best 0-3 team. We also knew that reason was Drew Brees, who just turned in his second 400-plus-yards, four touchdown performance of 2016 against the reeling Carolina defense. They’ll face a way tougher test this week in Kansas City, presuming the Chiefs defense plays a little more like the one that intercepted Ryan Fitzpatrick an alarming number of times and less like the one that allowed Ben Roethlisberger to complete an alarming number of go-routes.
21. Baltimore Ravens (3-3) lost to New York Giants 27-23. Previously: 16
Is it too harsh to say we were also fairly confident the Ravens were the worst 3-0 team? Hopefully Baltimore was comfortable in the Meadowlands because they’ll be back there next week to try and drop the Jets to 1-6. That fourth win has been a long time coming Baltimore, but watching Monday Night Football, you had to almost be able to taste it.
22. Los Angeles Rams (3-3) lost to Detroit 31-28. Previously: 17
As mentioned above, there are more conventional strategies than bringing Case Keenum to a Matthew Stafford fight, but don’t knock Keenum for that, who dropped 300 yards and four touchdowns on the Lions. Keenum hasn’t been outstanding in 2016, but the passing game has actually been the more solid part of the Los Angeles offense, with Todd Gurley still searching for his first 100-yard rushing day of the season.
23. Indianapolis Colts (2-4) lost to Houston 26-23 (OT.) Previously: 22
Hard-luck loss for Andrew Luck, who turned in 53 yards rushing and a score on the ground to go with his regular passing day. The next game is big for the Colts, who now sit in last place in the AFC South and face a trip to Tennessee. With Houston facing the Broncos, a win could have Indy just a game back again.
24. Tennessee Titans (3-3) defeated Cleveland 28-26. Previously: 27
While the rushing attack picked an odd time to stall — against Cleveland — Marcus Mariota had his second straight game with three touchdown passes. While they hardly are beating up on world beaters, the Titans have done a great job of beating the teams they should beat. Some teams — ahem, Pittsburgh, ahem — could learn a lesson from them.
25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3) bye. Previously: 23
Tampa Bay, now no longer the only team to beat the Falcons but still one of many to have their way with the Panthers, has one of the better opportunities you can get to even their record in Week 7, travelling to San Francisco to face a 49ers team that has allowed more points than any other in the NFL this season.
26. Carolina Panthers (1-5) lost to New Orleans 41-38. Previously: 24
The Panthers have a timeout bye week now to sit and think about what they did try and figure out this defense that has gone from allowing 19.2 points per game in 2015 to 29.3 in 2016, because there has to be an answer besides “Josh Norman.” That one’s not fixable.
27. Miami Dolphins (2-4) defeated Pittsburgh 30-15. Previously: 30
Never underestimate the power of a home team in the NFL. Even if that home team had spent its previous home games losing to Tennessee and needing overtime and three missed field goals to claw past Cleveland. Before Sunday, the most yards any Dolphin had rushed for in a game in 2016 was 42 by Jay Ajayi in Week 5. He outdid that just a bit with 204 on Sunday.
28. New York Jets (1-5) lost to Arizona 28-3. Previously: 21
Yanked from the game for Geno Smith. That’s where Ryan FItzpatrick and the Jets are at. This team and the Bills could not have gone in more opposite directions since their Week 2 matchup. Todd Bowles said Fitzpatrick will start next week and Smith only entered to get reps because the deficit was so large. Now if he could just say how they’ll get more than 33 yards rushing next week.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-3) defeated Chicago 17-16. Previously: 28
When you need a game winning touchdown who do you turn to? Allen Robinson, surely. Or Allen Hurns. Julius Thomas? How about getting Arrelious Benn to catch a slant, fall down, then run 51 yards for his first touchdown since 2011? This is a feel-great moment for Benn, one of the best college receivers this writer ever saw unfortunately plagued by injuries at Illinois and ever since.
30. Chicago Bears (1-5) lost to Jacksonville 17-16. Previously: 29
Jordan Howard's promising start to starting for the Bears came crashing to a halt Thursday with 15 carries for just 34 yards. The Bears, who give up on the run even when it’s working, predictably abandoned Howard so Brian Hoyer could attempt 49 passes for a second time this season.
31. San Francisco 49ers (1-5) lost to Buffalo 45-16. Previously: 31
Colin Kaepernick’s return to the field for San Francisco started so well. His 53-yard touchdown to Torrey Smith was about the last highlight of the day Sunday for the Niners however. Tampa Bay at home in Week 7 might be a winnable matchup, but these days what San Fran has to be most thankful for is the Browns remaining winless.
32. Cleveland Browns (0-6) lost to Tennessee 28-26. Previously: 32
Terrelle Pryor scoring two more touchdowns might give Josh Gordon pause as to exactly how much the Browns will put up with. In more good new for teams who need good news, no quarterbacks were injured in the making of this loss.