1. New England Patriots (6-1) defeated Pittsburgh 27-16. Previously: 2
The Vikings’ distress is New England’s opportunity, and the defending champions reclaim the top spot after an impressive road victory (Ben Roethlisberger or no) in Pittsburgh. The Patriots are 3-0 on the road and will look to revenge the lone blemish on their record next week in Buffalo.
2. Dallas Cowboys (5-1) bye. Previously: 5
Detroit’s last second touchdown saved the Cowboys from watching the rest of their division go 3-0 over their bye week. Now the Cowboys can put some more distance between themselves and the second place team when Philadelphia visits Dallas for a battle of the NFL’s two most successful rookie signal callers: Dak Prescott and Carson Wentz.
3. Seattle Seahawks (4-1-1) tied Arizona 6-6. Previously: 3
Now we get to include the tie column for the rest of the season. A shocking miss from Stephen Hauschka kept Seattle from stealing this victory despite being outgained by almost 200 yards. The disparity between offenses may be just as evident next week, when Seattle visits the Saints, who are averaging 29.3 points per game, or 11 more than the Seahawks.
4. Minnesota Vikings (5-1) lost to Philadelphia 21-10. Previously: 1
The Vikings defense was up to its usual tricks in Philadelphia, but for the first time this unit was outshone by the one on the other side of the field. The first loss diagnosis doesn’t look too bad for the Vikings: The defense only allowed one scoring drive longer than 50 yards and Matt Asiata and Jerrick McKinnon both had success running behind an offensive line that allowed six sacks.
5. Denver Broncos (5-2) defeated Houston 27-9. Previously: 8
Not that the Broncos defense were pushovers during the past two losses, but this was the one we expect to see all week, terrorizing Brock Osweiler for four quarters in his return to Denver. Trevor Siemian outplayed the QB he replaced in a game that felt intensely personal for the Broncos. They don’t have to wait long to have their revenge on San Diego either, as the Chargers come to Denver next week.
6. Philadelphia Eagles (4-2) defeated Minnesota 21-10. Previously: 14
The Eagles might be the most active mover up and down these rankings this season. But they’ve now beaten the team in the top spot twice. Their two most dominating performances of the season have come at home against the Steelers and the Vikings, both undefeated teams at the time, and that has to bode well for this team facing big games in the future.
7. Kansas City Chiefs (4-2) defeated New Orleans 27-21. Previously: 9
Jamaal Charles had just one carry against the Saints, but Spencer Ware’s illustrious performance through six games has allowed Kansas City to be careful with Charles. Ware had another 131 total yards against New Orleans, which gives him 777 yards rushing and receiving through six games. He’s also averaging 5.2 yards a carry a year after averaging 5.6.
8. Oakland Raiders (5-2) defeated Jacksonville 33-16. Previously: 11
Oakland’s offense found itself again in Florida and you can bet the return of Latavius Murray helped. Despite looking promising in early games, neither Jalen Richard nor DeAndre Washington delivered much offense in Murray’s absence, and he established himself with two touchdowns Sunday. In more good news for the Raiders, they play in Tampa next week.
9. Atlanta Falcons (4-3) lost to San Diego 33-30 (OT). Previously: 4
There’s no time to ruminate on goal line calls as the Packers come visiting in Week 8. But the tandem at running back in Atlanta is one to watch as Devonta Freeman was stuffed twice at the end of the game and Tevin Coleman outgained him despite having seven less carries against San Diego. The more important issue is finding a second receiving target for Matt Ryan; Julio Jones has 35 percent of the Falcons receiving yards this season.
10. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-3) lost to New England 27-16. Previously: 7
Perfect time for a bye for the Steelers. Let Big Ben keep healing, recover from two consecutive losses and get two weeks to make sure they won’t overlook the reeling Ravens, who have lost four straight games.
11. Green Bay Packers (4-2) defeated Chicago 26-10. Previously: 15
The Packers offense got back on track against the Bears, and it will have to stay there to keep up with the Falcons next week in Atlanta. They’re just a game behind the Vikings now, but just half a game ahead of the surging Lions. Knile Davis should be more heavily featured next week, instead of the running-back-by-committee of Randall Cobb and Ty Montgomery.
12. Buffalo Bills (4-3) lost to Miami 28-25. Previously: 6
The Bills put a capstone on their four game win streak by pushing back LeSean McCoy too early and having little else to go to against Miami when he couldn’t continue. Now they have to see if McCoy will be ready to face a New England team hungry for a win in Buffalo after the Bills handed them their lone loss in Week 4.
13. Arizona Cardinals (3-3-1) tied Seattle 6-6. Previously: 12
How did the Cardinals fail to turn 443 yards of offense into a touchdown? Chandler Catanzaro’s struggles can’t account for that. David Johnson had his third straight 100-yard game, but took several more touches than usual to get there, totalling 41 in the game. It’s not a loss, but Arizona missed a chance to gain on Seattle at home.
14. San Diego Chargers (3-4) defeated Atlanta 33-30 (OT). Previously: 19
The Chargers have had exactly one game (their Week 2 blowout of the Jaguars) decided by more than one score this season. If they can defeat the Broncos for the second time in three weeks and get to .500, is it too late to inject them into the AFC West discussion?
15. Detroit Lions (4-3) defeated Washington 20-17. Previously: 16
Matthew Stafford and the Lions have a knack for late comebacks and it was on display after Kirk Cousins gave them just a minute to work with with his own fourth quarter touchdown. If they want to hang onto the division race, they’ll need to do more of the same against the Texans while the Vikings feast on Chicago. At the moment, it looks like Houston’s offense is one they can hang with.
16. Cincinnati Bengals (3-4) defeated Cleveland 31-17. Previously: 18
Nothing like your in-state rival to get that offense going. Especially when that rival is Cleveland. Jeremy Hill, Giovani Bernard and A.J. Green all took it to the Browns and with the Steelers floundering and a sizable absence in store for Ben Roethlisberger, the AFC North is wide-open for a team that has been 1-3 and 2-4 to step back into.
17. Washington (4-3) lost to Detroit 20-17. Previously: 10
Especially with every other team in the division winning (or on a bye), this was a tough loss for Washington. Unlike last year when it was just bad, the Washington run game has improved to “maddeningly inconsistent.” Chris Thompson took center stage here, but here are Matt Jones rushing totals over the last four games: 27, 135, 31, 117. Good luck, fantasy owners.
18. New York Giants (4-3) defeated Los Angeles 17-10. Previously: 17
The Giants found a team that could turn the ball over more than they can! With just 232 total yards against the Rams, it seems the Giants can either move the ball at will until it winds up in the hands of a defender, or not move it at all.
19. Houston Texans (4-3) lost to Denver 27-9. Previously: 13
That was not a happy homecoming for Brock Osweiler. Just 3.2 yards per attempt for 131 yards, no touchdowns and three fumbles, one of which came as the ball fell out of his hand on a pass attempt with no defender nearby. The ugliest night in a pretty ugly season for Houston’s new some-crazy-amount-of-millions man. In Houston’s three losses, Osweiler’s highest QB rating is 60.6 and he has yet to throw for 200 yards.
20. Miami Dolphins (3-4) defeated Buffalo 28-25. Previously: 27
Jay Ajayi makes defenders miss (or just land the hit and bounce off) and now he’s making teammates retire. After watching Ajayi rumble for 418 yards in the past two games, Arian Foster announced his retirement Monday. Foster ran for at least 1,200 yards four times with the Texans, but his Miami career consisted of just 22 carries for 55 yards.
21. Indianapolis Colts (3-4) defeated Tennessee 34-26. Previously: 23
The Colts assert there is still some order in the division. One of Andrew Luck’s best performances in Tennessee: 353 yards and three touchdowns, and he’s still a perfect 8-0 against the Titans in his career.
22. New York Jets (2-5) defeated Baltimore 24-16. Previously: 28
Geno Smith looks like he’s done for the season for a second straight year, which means Ryan Fitzpatrick gets a second chance to show everyone why they should believe in him. It probably also means a lot of fantasy points for opposing defenses. If you’re streaming, next up: Cleveland. OK, maybe next next up, the Dolphins.
23. New Orleans Saints (2-4) lost to Kansas City 27-21. Previously: 20
It’s a weird one when the Saints are dinking and dunking and the Chiefs are scoring on big plays, but that’s what was on the field in Kansas City last weekend. The Saints defense is the only one allowing more points per game than San Francisco, and it looks like the offense will have to score their way to every win the rest of the season.
24. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-3) defeated San Francisco 34-17. Previously: 25
Oakland and Tampa Bay could share a flight from the Bay Area to the other bay area for this weeks matchup in Tampa. There’s nothing like facing the 49ers to get your offense … and your defense back on track. Tampa just outgained them 513-273.
25. Tennessee Titans (3-4) lost to Indianapolis 34-26. Previously: 24
The Titans have a short week to bounce back from this loss. Thursday night they host the Jaguars in a matchup of two of the NFL’s younger teams. The Jaguars are the bigger disappointment this season, but the Titans can’t feel good about letting the Colts take it to them at home.
26. Baltimore Ravens (3-4) lost to New York Jets 24-16. Previously: 21
Four losses in a row for the Ravens and only a bye week can stop the bleeding. Baltimore continues to ignore the running game despite Terrance West finding success in previous weeks and none of these losses being blowouts they had to pass back into.
27. Los Angeles Rams (3-4) lost to New York Giants 17-10. Previously: 22
The Case Keenum giveth, and the Case Keenum giveth away. Four interceptions in week seven after four total touchdowns in week six. The Rams, who looked promising following that abysmal opening week performance, have now lost three straight.
28. Carolina Panthers (1-5) bye. Previously: 26
Hopefully the Panthers figured out their pass defense (allowing an NFL-worst 8.6 yards per attempt) over the bye because Carson Palmer, David Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald are coming to town.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-4) lost to Oakland 33-16. Previously: 29
Where is Allen Robinson? Outside of a three touchdown stretch over Weeks 3 and 4, Robinson has been almost invisible and it’s not for lack of targets. He has just 26 catches on 55 targets and only one game over 60 yards receiving: what was then a disappointing outing in Week 1.
30. Chicago Bears (1-6) lost to Green Bay 26-10. Previously: 30
With Brian Hoyer’s broken arm, the Bears turn once again to Jay Cutler against a Vikings defense that might be pretty angry following their loss in Philadelphia. Once again, Monday Night Football sure knows how to pick 'em.
31. San Francisco 49ers (1-6) lost to Tampa Bay 34-17. Previously: 31
Chip Kelly’s offense is working its magic on the San Francisco defense: A year after ranking 18th in points per game allowed, they’re down to 31st, and only one defense (the Giants) has been on the field for more plays.
32. Cleveland Browns (0-7) lost to Cincinnati 31-17. Previously: 32
Now starting at quarterback for the Cleveland Browns: “Next man up."