Each week, we compare all 32 NFL teams using our Football Relativity tool. There are some significant shifts this week as we now have three weeks of results with which to evaluate teams. We’ll indicate as we go which teams are moving up and down from the Week 5 comparison.
10 – Baltimore Ravens, New York Jets, Pittsburgh Steelers – We’re not dropping the Ravens despite their overtime road loss to the Patriots. The Ravens have faced a gauntlet of a road schedule thus far and have proven their mettle with it. The Jets won on the road in Denver, solidifying the fact that they’re one of the league’s top teams. LaDainian Tomlinson’s renaissance has taken the Jets up a level from what they were with Thomas Jones last year. The Steelers welcomed Ben Roethlisberger back, and their passing game immediately showed some pop. With Roethlisberger throwing the ball and that defense, the Steelers are among the elite.
9 – Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints (UP A LEVEL) – The Colts moved to 4-2 with a road win in Washington, and that result reminds us that the Colts will be there in the AFC hunt all season. The Pats came back to take down the Ravens, and even though their defense is a bit subpar, the offense makes them a serious threat too. Deion Branch is playing as if he never left. The Saints got a dominating road win in Tampa Bay, and Chris Ivory provided some running-game pop. When the Saints can run the ball, their entire offense looks a lot better.
8 – Atlanta Falcons, Green Bay Packers (DOWN A LEVEL), Houston Texans, New York Giants (UP A LEVEL), Philadelphia Eagles (UP A LEVEL) – The Eagles thumped the Falcons at home 31-17. Whether Kevin Kolb or Michael Vick is throwing the ball, the Eagles are dangerous. The Falcons finally lost after some good road performances, but they need to bounce back to prove that the road woes that plagued them last year are truly gone, as we discussed in Rise/Sink/Float. The Packers lost to the Dolphins at home, and at this point Green Bay’s injury list is so long that it’s hard to see them returning to top level. The Texans looked awful early against the Chiefs but mounted a furious rally to beat the Chiefs. That’s the second time Houston has come up with such a rally, and that’s a good sign for a team that’s trying to get over the hump. The Giants took care of business against the Lions, as we noted in Rise/Sink/Float, and they’re showing that along with the Eagles they’re the class of the NFC East.
7 – Miami Dolphins, Tennessee Titans (UP A LEVEL) – The Dolphins went on the road and eked out a win over a banged-up Packers team. Miami hasn’t gotten the job done in home games against division rivals, but this is another good road win for them as they try to fight for a wild-card berth. The Titans also went on the road and took care of business with a 30-3 victory in Jacksonville on Monday night. The home loss to Denver a couple weeks back was troubling, but the Titans are showing that they’re a legitimate playoff contender.
6 – Chicago Bears (DOWN A LEVEL), Dallas Cowboys (DOWN A LEVEL), Kansas City Chiefs, Minnesota Vikings, Washington Redskins – We covered the Bears’ devastating loss in Rise/Sink/Float. The Cowboys also blew an opp0rtunity in Minnesota, and now at 1-4 this talented crew faces long playoff odds. It’ll be interesting to see whether Dallas can bounce back or whether players start to mail it in. The Vikings, meanwhile, got a key win, and with the Bears and Packers losing have hopes in the NFC North. There’s still time for them to put things together. The Chiefs took a lead in Houston but eventually gave up the ghost, and now they’ve lost two straight games on the road. They need to bounce back with a win soon so that they don’t lose the momentum they built early on. The Redskins lost to the Colts at home, once again playing a close game. Washington isn’t a great team, but they’re competitive, even against the league’s better teams. It’ll be interesting to see if the Redskins can steal a road win at Chicago next week.
5 – Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos, San Diego Chargers, Seattle Seahawks (UP A LEVEL), Tampa Bay Buccaneers – The Bengals were on bye. The Broncos lost a home game against the Jets. While the Broncos throw the ball well, they’ve lost some close games, which is a troubling sign. The Chargers lost at the Rams, once again showing major flaws on the road. The good news is that they have six home games and four road games left, which gives them a chance to notch some wins, but this isn’t a recipe to win the AFC West. The Seahawks got a big win on the road against the Bears, which puts them ahead of the pack in the moribund NFC West. The Buccaneers got blown out at home by the Saints, showing once again that while they play well against decent teams, they can’t hang with the big boys.
4 – Arizona Cardinals, Jacksonville Jaguars, St. Louis Rams – The Cardinals were on bye. The Rams once again showed they have mettle at home by beating the Chargers. The next step forward is a road win, but for now the Rams are showing progress with Sam Bradford. The Jaguars got destroyed on Monday night by Tennessee, falling to 3-3 and showing they’re a long way from playoff contention.
3 – San Francisco 49ers – The Niners finally got a win by beating Oakland, and with a trip to Carolina this week, they still have a chance to right their season and make a run in the NFC West.
2 – Cleveland Browns (DOWN A LEVEL), Detroit Lions (DOWN A LEVEL), Oakland Raiders (DOWN A LEVEL) – We populated this level with teams that give game effort but rarely pull off a win. The Browns fell in Pittsburgh, and the Lions fell at the Giants, while the Raiders lost a winnable game against the 49ers in the battle of the Bay area.
1 – Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers – The Bills and Panthers were mercifully on bye this week.