Week 5 of the NFL showcased the contending teams pulling away from the rest of the field. The Def Pen Sports team has analyzed the Week 5 games and made the needed adjustments for Week 6 of the 2021 NFL Power Rankings. The contributors to this week’s rankings are Dylan Hargis and Xavier Santos. Team names will be followed by their record and the number of spots they moved up or down from last week’s rankings.
2021 NFL Power Rankings: Week 6
1. Arizona Cardinals 5-0 (-)
The 49ers’ defense was able to contain the Cardinal offense for most of that game. Arizona was begging to give the game away and the Niners simply could not capitalize. It was an ugly win but 5-0 is 5-0 and they remain number 1 in our rankings.
2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 4-1 (-)
The offense overpowered Miami’s offense but the defense continued to look vulnerable at times. Miami isn’t in the same class as Tampa and we suspect the defense will be a problem against the better teams in the league.
3. Buffalo Bills 4-1 (+2)
Going into Arrowhead and dominating was a warning shot across the NFL. The AFC Championship rematch was a one-sided beat down by the Bills. This offense and defense look like a unit prepared to win a Super Bowl.
4. Los Angeles Rams 4-1 (-)
It’s a classic chicken or egg situation. Was Geno Smith a few plays away from completing the comeback because the Rams defense is bad or did Geno Smith’s play make the Rams defense look bad? Our guess is that the Rams defense allowed Geno Smith to look as good as he did. The defense is an issue for the Rams. The pressure is on Matthew Stafford and company to score points. They won’t be winning many games 17-14.
5. Los Angeles Chargers 4-1 (-2)
While the team did win and put up an insane amount of offense, the defense got exposed on Sunday. A questionable pass interference call likely saved the team from falling to the Browns. Justin Herbert looks like a real MVP candidate, but competing for a Super Bowl might be too early of a call.
6. Dallas Cowboys 4-1 (-)
The Giants defense is better than some people give it credit for but they eventually wore down. The Cowboys took care of business and are clearly the team to beat in the NFC East.
7. Green Bay Packers 4-1 (+2)
What a game! It seems like we could copy and paste the same blurb for all of the teams near the top in the NFC. The offense played well enough to win but the defense continued to struggle in key spots. AJ Dillon looks like he has carved out a nice role for himself while Davante Adams continues to make a case for the best receiver in the league.
8. Cleveland Browns 3-2 (-)
Is the Browns’ offense good or is the Chargers’ defense bad? We are leaning on the latter being true for now. The Browns probably should have won that game, but the defense gave up way too many points and Baker Mayfield couldn’t score when it mattered most. That being said Nick Chubb looks unstoppable.
9. Las Vegas Raiders 3-2 (-2)
The Raiders’ offense looked like a completely different team against the Bears’ defense. Last week’s loss against the Chargers seems to have shaken this team and there isn’t an easy fix. This team needs a win or it risks falling apart after a quick start to the season. Granted they have bigger problems now.
10. Cincinnati Bengals 3-2 (+2)
The Bengals should be 4-1 right now but a missed field goal robbed the team of that. Joe Burrow and JaMarr Chase look like the future of the AFC right now. The defense is playing better than expected and even the offensive line doesn’t look completely useless. Are the Bengals a playoff team this year?
11. Baltimore Ravens 4-1 (-)
The Ravens may be 4-1, but they are absolutely lucky they aren’t 2-3 right now. Lamar Jackson continues to find ways to win games, but the defense is seriously letting him down right now. Jonathan Taylor ripped this team apart on Monday Night Football. This Ravens roster just does not look like a Super Bowl contender.
12. Carolina Panthers 3-2 (-2)
It looks like this team will go as far as Sam Darnold will take them. When he plays mistake-free football, the Panthers can beat anyone. When he struggles to protect the ball, games like Sunday happen. The defense made life miserable for Jalen Hurts for the better part of 3 quarters. Ultimately, Darnold was unable to make enough winning plays.
13. Denver Broncos 3-2 (-)
The Denver Broncos are who we thought they were and that is not a serious contender. This team has failed the two real tests given to them this year. The rushing defense was supposed to be good, but Najee Harris ran all over the team on Sunday. Denver plays Las Vegas next week in a must-win matchup.
14. Tennessee Titans 3-2 (+1)
After an embarrassing loss against the New York Jets, the team got a bounce-back game against a sad-looking Jaguars team. Derrick Henry continues to be the king of running backs. The Titans’ best weapon is a poor-looking division. Houston, Indianapolis, and Jacksonville all look like they are competing for a top draft pick this year.
15. New Orleans Saints 3-2 (+3)
Jameis Winston is going to give Sean Payton and all Saint’s fans a heart attack. His boom or bust style of play makes every Saints game a must-watch. With Tampa being the best team in the division, New Orleans will have to compete with a number of teams fighting for a wild card berth. It will be interesting to see how Michael Thomas’ return impacts the offense.
16. Kansas City Chiefs 2-3 (-2)
There is officially a problem in Kansas City. The offense has not been able to make up for the mistakes made by the defense. Patrick Mahomes officially looks human for the first time in his NFL career. One has to think that they will figure it out eventually, but that moment needs to hurry up and happen. They continue to fall on the 2021 NFL Power Rankings.
17. Chicago Bears 3-2 (+2)
The Bear’s defense looked like the defense we grew accustomed to watching the past few seasons. Khalil Mack was a disruptive force the entire game. Offensively, the Bears did just enough to secure the win. The key to the season will be how Justin Fields improves from week to week.
18. San Francisco 49ers 2-3 (-1)
Trey Lance is raw. That much is evident after Sunday’s game. He flashed all of the traits that made him a top pick in last year’s draft but also showed why Kyle Shanahan insisted on starting Jimmy Garapolo to begin the season. The 49ers are in a tough spot for this season. They may have the best defense in the conference but their quarterback play will dictate how far this team gets.
19. Pittsburgh Steelers 2-3 (+3)
Pittsburgh regained some footing this Sunday after beating the Denver Broncos. This was a win the team couldn’t afford to miss out on. Right now it seems unclear if Ben Roethlisberger still has enough left in the tank to get this team to the playoffs. The team will need to lean heavily on the other playmakers on the team. They could climb up the 2021 NFL Power Rankings if they can keep winning.
20. Philadelphia Eagles 2-3 (+4)
Jalen Hurts left a ton of plays on the field Sunday. A combination of poor throws and missed reads resulted in some ugly plays for most of the game. On the flip side, credit Hurts with coming through when it mattered. Hurts isn’t good enough to be considered the team’s long-term answer at quarterback but he may be good enough to get the team to the playoffs.
21. Minnesota Vikings 2-3 (+2)
The team was two pass plays and a field goal away from giving the Detroit Lions their first win of the season. It was an ugly win that likely saved the Vikings season for the time being. The team will have to get better on both sides of the ball if they have any hopes of playing in the postseason.
22. Washington Football Team 2-3 (-1)
The defense played their best game of the season but it wasn’t enough. At 2-3, the team’s season will be decided in the next two or three games. If they can get to .500 by the time Ryan Fitzpatrick returns from injured reserve, a late-season run is possible. If not, they may be better off tanking. This team isn’t a quarterback away from contention the way many believed heading into the season.
23. New England Patriots 2-3 (-3)
The Patriots beat the Houston Texans, but the game was about as ugly as it could get. It is becoming more and more apparent that this was a team held together by Tom Brady’s talent at throwing the football. This just isn’t the same offense or defense we are used to seeing with the Patriots.
24. Seattle Seahawks 2-3 (-8)
There is a non-zero chance Russell Wilson has played his last snap as quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks. Unless Geno Smith can make magic happen in the next month, it may be in the best interest of Wilson and the team to let the season play out and for both sides to work towards finding a new home for him.
25. Indianapolis Colts 1-4 (-)
The Colts looked like a brand new team in the first half of Monday Night Football. Once the second half started it was easy to remember why they had only won a single game. A blocked field goal and then a missed field goal spelled the end of the team, but seriously how did they manage to blow that lead? The Colts probably need to focus on their draft position this year now that they fall to 1-4.
26. Atlanta Falcons 2-3 (+1)
Kyle Pitts showcased the skillset that convinced Atlanta to draft him 6th in last year’s draft. The young tight end was dominant and ran rampant in the Jets’ secondary. In hindsight, it was still a bad decision to take him in lieu of a quarterback but it was still a welcome sight for fans who thought they may have been sold a false bill of goods. Matt Ryan isn’t good enough to get this team to the playoffs but he could be the ideal stop-gap for a contending team with a hole at the quarterback position. The Falcons should get what they can for Ryan and start looking ahead to next season. It’s time this team embraces a full rebuild.
27. Miami Dolphins 1-4 (-1)
The Dolphins proved to be fool’s gold last year when they almost made the playoffs. This team just isn’t ready to win games and was completely dismantled by Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Tua Tagovailoa comes back soon, but this team already looks like they have been eliminated from the playoffs.
28. New York Giants 1-4 (-)
The Giants suffered a number of injuries at key positions Sunday. At 1-4, their season is over and so is any notion that this team could contend for a wild card berth. This team is in need of a facelift and few teams would benefit more from cleaning house and starting over.
29. New York Jets 1-4 (-)
The Jets looked more like the bad team that they are in London on Sunday. They couldn’t manage to beat a bad Falcons team that was without their top two wide receiver options. Zach Wilson threw his ninth interception on the year in the game. Things look bleak for this roster.
30. Houston Texans 1-4 (-)
This team blew a lead against the lackluster New England Patriots. The first win against the Jaguars only proves how bad Jacksonville really is on the field. Houston needs more talent and that just isn’t in the cards right now. They’d be lower on the 2021 NFL Power Rankings, but they have won a game this year.
31. Detriot Lions 0-5 (-)
That was a heartbreaking loss for Dan Campbell and his players. The team has bought into his message and they are playing hard for their coach. The team is bereft of playmakers and we hope their hard work can result in a win soon.
32. Jacksonville Jaguars 0-5 (-)
This team is a sad and pathetic excuse for an NFL team. Urban Meyer has more than lost his team’s respect and he needs to be fired. Trevor Lawrence deserves better and the Jaguars can’t afford to ruin him. They may remain on the bottom of the 2021 NFL Power Rankings all year.
* The biggest movers of this week were the Philadelphia Eagles (+4) and the Seattle Seahawks (-8) *