NFL Power Rankings Week 6: Bengals Rising, Lions Falling

Peyton Manning leads the Broncos to a record-breaking start - Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The league begins to take shape as the bye weeks roll in. Which teams are trending up? And which are trending down as we look at the NFL Power Rankings entering Week Six.

1: Denver Broncos (5-0) Last Week's Ranking: 1

Narrowly escaping an unexpected defeat at the hands of Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys, the Broncos have to thank, well, Tony Romo for their last-second victory. The Broncos continue their hot streak without key defensive players Von Miller (suspension) and Champ Bailey (injury). Who will stop them?

2: New Orleans Saints (5-0) Last Week's Ranking: 3

The Drew Brees/Jimmy Graham partnership is near unstoppable, combining for 548 yards and 5 touchdowns in the last 4 weeks. Brees/Graham torched a strong, undefeated Chicago Bears defense to continue on unbeaten and have taken a commanding lead over the rest of the division.

3: Seattle Seahawks (4-1) Last Week's Ranking: 2

The Seahawks held their own on the road against the Indianapolis Colts, even though they did not prevail, but it informs us that the Seahawks are able to compete on the road. Key injuries to the offensive line has resulted in more of Russell Wilson running the ball, which is only a good thing.

4: Kansas City Chiefs (5-0) Last Week's Ranking: 5

Although playing at a middle-of-the-pack level, Alex Smith has been able to keep turnovers at an absolute minimum during the Chiefs' unbeaten start. Credit to their defense, which is emerging as a top unit in the league.

5: San Francisco 49ers (3-2) Last Week's Ranking: 6

A rocky start to the season has been steadied due to the annihilation of the Houston Texans Sunday night. The Niners' run-game has been superb, but if they are going to go all the way they need more out of Colin Kaepernick and the passing game.

6: Indianapolis Colts (4-1) Last Week's Ranking: 7

The only thing more impressive than turning over the Seattle Seahawks is turning over the Denver Broncos. Andrew Luck looked supremely good against the 'Legion of Boom' where speedy receiver T.Y Hilton made Richard Sherman look average. The Colts are legit.

7: Cincinnati Bengals (3-2) Last Week's Ranking: 16

The Bengals stopped Tom Brady from throwing a touchdown pass for the 53-consecutive game in a low-scoring affair. Their defense is legit, but their offense is suspect. Andy Dalton is struggling when A.J Green is not an option.

8: New England Patriots (4-1) Last Week's Ranking: 4

Rob Gronkowski cannot come back quick enough for the Patriots who sit at 4-1. The return of Amendola helped, but their big-time tight end is the key to this offense. A poor outing against the Bengals will be written off as a 'bad day at the office' for Brady.

9: Green Bay Packers (2-2) Last Week's Ranking: 10

The bye week helped the Packers get healthy and back on track as they return to .500 following an impressive win over Detroit Lions. Rodgers has a smooth rapport with each of his receivers which bodes well for post-season success.

10: Chicago Bears (3-2) Last Week's Ranking: 9

Jay Cutler and the Bears finally have a viable target opposite Brandon Marshall in Alshon Jeffery who set franchise-record numbers against the Saints but couldn't keep up. The NFC North is looking very tough and hard to call.

11: Baltimore Ravens (3-2) Last Week's Ranking: 17

The Ravens were efficient in the redzone and established the run-game early which was the key to their success. The offensive line will kick into gear soon, and the Ravens should come out on top of the AFC North.

12: Dallas Cowboys (2-3) Last Week's Ranking: 18

The Cowboys gave the Broncos a real run for their money on a 51-48 shootout, but again, despite a wonderful performance setting a Cowboys passing record in the process, a late Tony Romo interception cost the team a chance to win. They showed the fight and spirit which tells me they can compete with anyone.

13: Miami Dolphins (3-2) Last Week's Ranking: 11

Losing two on the bounce isn't good, but it was against the undefeated Saints and rebounding Ravens, so the wheels are not coming off just yet. If the Dolphins could protect Ryan Tannehill effectively and be more consistent on offense, they could be a play-off team.

14: Houston Texans (2-3) Last Week's Ranking: 13

The total ineptitude of the offense against a suspect 49ers defense was their downfall. Schaub's pix-six on the opening play of the game set the tone as the Niners ran riot on the Texans. The team should consider moving away from Schaub.

15: Tennessee Titans (3-2) Last Week's Ranking: 12

The Titans defense is the strength of the team, especially with Jake Locker out for a period of time. Backup Ryan Fitzpatrick proved more than serviceable in their well-fought defeat to the Chiefs. A darkhorse for a wildcard spot.

16: Atlanta Falcons (1-4) Last Week's Ranking: 14

We can no longer put the Falcons' woes down to the tough schedule. This team is not performing at a level it should be. The Monday night loss to the Jets could be the start of a downfall.

17: Arizona Cardinals (3-2) Last Week's Ranking: 23

Cardinals winning on defense. Deja vu, right? The return of Daryl Washington was key to their success against the hapless Panthers as Todd Bowles' group begins to gel. It's the offense that sucks. Carson Palmer with another multiple interception game, which cannot continue .

18: Detroit Lions (3-2) Last Week's Ranking: 8

This team cannot function on offense without Calvin Johnson, it's as simple as that. Their secondary in particular is struggling to hold any offense is a problem, especially if they want to take charge of a highly contested NFC North.

19: Cleveland Browns (3-2) Last Week's Ranking: 19

Even though they lost Brian Hoyer for the year, Brandon Weeden proved he can successfully carry the offense forward. The Browns are 3-0 since the Richardson trade to Indy, and the Colts are also 3-0 since the trade. Win-win.

20: San Diego Chargers (2-3) Last Week's Ranking: 15

A loss to a division rival, and Philip Rivers suggested 'MVP' challenge took a serious hit Sunday night. The Chargers are still an improved team, but they won't finish any better than .500.

21: Philadelphia Eagles (2-3) Last Week's Ranking: 25

With Vick down injured, Nick Foles stepped up and led the Eagles to a victory which gives them a share of the lead in the NFC East, who would've guessed? The Eagles will be a tough challenge for any defense and have a real shot at the play-offs.

22: Buffalo Bills (2-3) Last Week's Ranking: 20

Losing E.J Manuel is a big deal for the Bills, as he was showing signs of real development as a quarterback, but his injury leaves them with Jeff Tuel, who did not look ready for the NFL. Depending on who they bring in short-term will decide their season, unfortunately for them, Josh Freeman is of the market.

23: New York Jets (3-2) Last Week's Ranking: 26

Beating to the Atlanta Falcons was unexpected, and their defense is where the strength is on this roster. Geno Smith will continue to make rookie mistakes, but I like how the Jets are developing right now.

24: Oakland Raiders (2-3) Last Week's Ranking: 28

Terrelle Pryor bounced back to beat the Chargers on Sunday Night, and looks to be playing the Raiders out of Bridgewater territory. The Raiders will continue to surprise, and Pryor is beginning to look like a viable NFL quarterback.

25: St. Louis Rams (2-3) Last Week's Ranking: 21

A win is a win, but a win against the Jags isn't worth bragging about. The Rams defense looked shaky against the woeful Jags, and their offense is putrid at times. The Rams, for all their offseason hype, are not a good team. How much of that is down to Sam Bradford? I don't know...

26: Carolina Panthers (1-3) Last Week's Ranking: 22

Ron Rivera is a dead man coaching for Carolina, another defeat surely spells the end of his run with the Panthers. This is the team that has potential, but lacks leadership and direction. A coaching revamp is needed, soon.

27: Pittsburgh Steelers (0-4) Last Week's Ranking: 31

The bye week came a good time for the Steelers to get healthy and regroup. Trading for Levi Brown (lol) they hope will rectify the offensive line woes of the early season. Le'Veon Bell looks strong, and Antonio Brown is beginning to emerge. The Steelers are better than 0-4.

28: Washington Redskins (1-3) Last Week's Ranking: 24

Even though they've been poor, the Redskins off the bye are only one game off in the division. When RGIII regains trust in that knee and begins to run more, the whole offense will improve. The Redskins can easily sweep the division. Anyone can, really.

29: Minnesota Vikings (1-3) Last Week's Ranking: 27

The Vikings are another team that needed the bye. Following their London win over the Steelers, the Vikes signed Josh Freeman, who to me, is an upgrade on Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel. The Vikes pass attack now becomes viable.

30: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-4) Last Week's Ranking: 30

They have (essentially) written the season off and are seeing what they have in Mike Glennon. The Bucs defense is the only bright spot. The bye has given Mike Williams and Vincent Jackson time to get healthy, and hopefully, the Bucs can compete.

31: New York Giants (0-5) Last Week's Ranking: 29

Eli Manning, a.k.a turnover machine, and the rest of the Giants are playing poorly, but are only two games off in the NFC East. Wow that division is bad. There's still hope for the Giants, despite being winless.

32: Jacksonville Jaguars (0-5) Last Week's Ranking: 32

Jags, worst in the league. About right?

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