Each week of the NFL season, The Baltimore Sun will rank all 32 NFL teams. The rankings will take into account not just weekly performance, injuries and roster depth, but how well each team measures up as Super Bowl contenders.
Here are the rankings heading into Week 7:
1. Kansas City Chiefs (5-1, No. 2 last week)
Last week: Win vs. Broncos, 19-8
Up next: vs. Chargers
Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce remain the main attraction, but it’s worth noting how well the defense is playing. After forcing three turnovers and holding the Broncos to 4.0 yards per play, Kansas City ranks ninth in defensive efficiency. Through six weeks, only the 49ers have allowed fewer points per game (14.7). Even when the offense doesn’t meet its high standard — such as going 1-for-5 in the red zone Thursday — the defense is there to pick up the slack.
2. San Francisco 49ers (5-1, No. 1)
Last week: Loss vs. Browns, 19-17
Up next: at Vikings
If Jake Moody’s 41-yard field goal attempt in the final seconds sails through the uprights, we’re probably complimenting the 49ers for overcoming so many injuries and mistakes. One loss, even to a third-string quarterback, does not portend a decline for such a talented team. However, injuries to running back Christian McCaffrey (oblique) and wide receiver Deebo Samuel (shoulder) loom large for an offense that might need to put more on quarterback Brock Purdy’s shoulders. How he responds will be fascinating.
3. Miami Dolphins (5-1, No. 4)
Last week: Win vs. Panthers, 42-21
Up next: at Eagles
After falling behind 14-0, the Dolphins scored 35 straight points to bury any hope of an upset. The Tua Tagovailoa-to-Tyreek Hill connection remains unstoppable, and Raheem Mostert showed he’s more than capable of being the lead back with star rookie De’Von Achane sidelined for a few weeks. The pass rush is also starting to take shape, with Christian Wilkins and Bradley Chubb combining for three sacks Sunday.
4. Philadelphia Eagles (5-1, No. 3)
Last week: Loss vs. Jets, 20-14
Up next: vs. Dolphins
Perhaps even more concerning than Jalen Hurts’ three interceptions Sunday were the injuries suffered by right tackle Lane Johnson (ankle), safety Reed Blankenship (ribs) and cornerbacks Bradley Roby and Eli Ricks. Johnson might be the most important player on the team behind Hurts and wide receiver A.J. Brown, and the secondary was already banged up. It’s only one loss, but the Eagles now head into the toughest part of their schedule with plenty of question marks.
5. Detroit Lions (5-1, No. 6)
Last week: Win vs. Buccaneers, 20-6
Up next: at Ravens
With four straight wins, the Lions are off to their best start since 2011 and favorites to claim their first division title since 1993. Quarterback Jared Goff is playing at a Pro Bowl level, and the emergence of 2022 first-round pick Jameson Williams to complement Amon-Ra St. Brown and rookie tight end Sam LaPorta gives the offense an extremely high ceiling. This team is no longer just a feel-good story, but a legitimate Super Bowl contender.
6. Buffalo Bills (4-2, No. 5)
Last week: Win vs. Giants, 14-9
Up next: at Patriots
It’s hard to know what to make of the Bills after they got shut out for three quarters and nearly lost to one of the worst teams in the league. In wins over the Raiders, Commanders and Dolphins, they looked like a juggernaut. In games against the Jets, Jaguars and Giants, the offense looked broken. While quarterback Josh Allen’s shoulder injury might be part of the problem, the slow starts are cause for concern.
7. Dallas Cowboys (4-2, No. 9)
Last week: Win vs. Chargers, 20-17
Up next: Bye
While Dak Prescott’s performance will always be the most popular talking point for this team, it’s the defense that deserves top billing. Unheralded players such as Markquese Bell, Damone Clark, Osa Odighizuwa and DaRon Bland have been extremely important in helping solidify one of the league’s best units alongside stars Micah Parsons, DeMarcus Lawrence and Stephon Gilmore. The defense has been the backbone as Prescott and coach Mike McCarthy continue to figure things out on offense.
8. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-2, No. 7)
Last week: Win vs. Colts, 37-20
Up next: at Saints
Quarterback Trevor Lawrence seemed to avoid a serious knee injury late in Sunday’s win, but the Jaguars weren’t so lucky elsewhere. Right guard Brandon Scherff (ankle) and cornerback Tyson Campbell (hamstring) were hurt, potentially leaving Jacksonville short-handed heading into a Thursday night matchup. As encouraging as these three straight wins have been, the Jags have yet to win on American soil this season against any other team but the Colts.
9. Ravens (4-2, No. 10)
Last week: Win vs. Titans, 24-16
Up next: vs. Lions
“That could have been a much more comfortable game for us,” coach John Harbaugh said after the win over Tennessee in London, echoing the thoughts of many who watched as the Ravens once again let another overmatched team hang around too long. That continues to be the story of the season, and now the Ravens’ once firm grip on the AFC North is starting to slip with every team in the division .500 or better. There are plenty of reasons for optimism (a suffocating defense, rookie wide receiver Zay Flowers’ emergence, the highest completion rate of Lamar Jackson’s career) and perhaps just as many for concern (injuries, a lack of production from Odell Beckham Jr. and Rashod Bateman, mediocre special teams). Sunday’s matchup against Detroit is an important litmus test for the Ravens’ Super Bowl hopes.
10. Cleveland Browns (3-2, No. 13)
Last week: Win vs. 49ers, 19-17
Up next: at Colts
Could that be the win that galvanizes the Browns? Cleveland was far from flawless in ending the 49ers’ 15-game regular-season winning streak, committing 13 penalties and turning the ball over twice on interceptions from practice squad quarterback P.J. Walker, but the defense bounced back to shut down the league’s second-highest-scoring team. When quarterback Deshaun Watson returns from his shoulder injury, the Browns have reason to believe they can contend for their first division title since 1989.
11. Cincinnati Bengals (3-3, No. 17)
Last week: Win vs. Seahawks, 17-13
Up next: Bye
Outside of two opening touchdown drives, it was not a big day for Joe Burrow and the Bengals’ offense, which was held to 214 total yards. Instead, it was the defense that paved the way to victory, sacking Geno Smith four times and picking him off twice. “It’s better to win ugly than lose pretty,” Bengals coach Zac Taylor said. Cincinnati will have to get the most out of its bye week to prepare for a brutal stretch against the 49ers, Bills, Texans and Ravens.
12. Seattle Seahawks (3-2, No. 8)
Last week: Loss vs. Bengals, 17-13
Up next: vs. Cardinals
The Seahawks got the ball inside the Bengals’ 10-yard line twice in the final four minutes and came away with zero points. That’s the kind of day it was for Seattle, which dominated in first downs, yards and time of possession but totaled just six points on 10 possessions after an opening touchdown drive. There’s still a lot to like about this team after the return of left tackle Charles Cross and a career-best performance from first-round rookie receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba.
13. Los Angeles Rams (3-3, No. 18)
Last week: Win vs. Cardinals, 26-9
Up next: vs. Steelers
The return of Cooper Kupp and the emergence of rookie Puka Nacua are no doubt the most exciting parts of the Rams’ season so far, but the emergence of second-year running back Kyren Williams is not far behind. Williams’ 158 rushing yards Sunday were the most by a Rams running back since Cam Akers had 171 against New England in December 2020. The defense also pitched a shutout in the second half, including a red zone interception and a strip-sack.
14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-2, No. 12)
Last week: Loss vs. Lions, 20-6
Up next: vs. Falcons
As beautiful as they are, the creamsicle throwback uniforms the Bucs wore Sunday seemed to bring the worst out of Tampa Bay. Baker Mayfield completed just 19 of 37 passes — including 4 of 10 to Mike Evans — as the Bucs went 2-for-12 on third down and averaged 2.9 yards per carry. “If we play like that we’ll lose every time,” Mayfield said.
15. Washington Commanders (3-3, No. 22)
Last week: Win vs. Falcons, 24-16
Up next: at Giants
When getting a first-year starting quarterback back on track, it helps to have a good defense. The Commanders recorded three interceptions in the second half and got a 61-yard punt return from Jamison Crowder to put Sam Howell in position to throw three short touchdown passes. Howell is still a work in progress — especially when it comes to avoiding what’s now a league-leading 34 sacks — but Washington has a solid enough roster to remain in the postseason race.
16. Los Angeles Chargers (2-3, No. 11)
Last week: Loss vs. Cowboys, 20-17
Up next: at Chiefs
Whether it’s Justin Herbert’s fractured finger, safety Derwin James’ unnecessary roughness penalties or continued struggles running the ball, nothing ever seems to go right for this team. Injuries are certainly part of the problem, but replacing coordinator Joe Lombardi with Kellen Moore has not been enough to elevate this offense to an elite level. The return of running back Austin Ekeler should help, though.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2, No. 16)
Last week: Bye
Up next: at Rams
18. Houston Texans (3-3, No. 21)
Last week: Win vs. Saints, 20-13
Up next: Bye
While Houston certainly got lucky Sunday — the Saints missed two field goal attempts and fumbled an interception — the defense stood tall when it mattered most. With New Orleans driving to tie the game in the fourth quarter, the Texans forced a turnover on downs and an interception to seal the victory, their third in four games to match their total from last season.
19. New York Jets (3-3, No. 24)
Last week: Win vs. Eagles, 20-14
Up next: Bye
Credit coach Robert Saleh and the Jets’ defense for keeping this season alive. Despite missing starting cornerbacks Sauce Gardner and D.J. Reed on Sunday, New York forced four turnovers, including safety Tony Adams’ interception with 1:50 to play that set up Breece Hall’s game-winning touchdown. They’ve managed to go .500 against a tough schedule with Zach Wilson at quarterback, which speaks to how well this defense is playing.
20. New Orleans Saints (3-3, No. 14)
Last week: Loss vs. Texans, 20-13
Up next: vs. Jaguars
Only four teams — the Steelers, Jets, Giants and Titans — have been worse at turning trips to the red zone into touchdowns this season than the Saints (36.8%). That includes an 0-for-3 showing Sunday, made worse by a missed 29-yard field goal attempt by Blake Grupe in the fourth quarter. Derek Carr connected on some big plays to Rashid Shaheed and Chris Olave as New Orleans finished with 430 total yards, but that means little when it only leads to 13 points.
21. Atlanta Falcons (3-3, No. 15)
Last week: Loss vs. Commanders, 24-16
Up next: at Buccaneers
Coach Arthur Smith’s face said it all. Desmond Ridder’s interception in the end zone in the fourth quarter was inexcusable, and calls to bench the second-year quarterback will only grow louder after he finished with three turnovers in a game for the second time in three weeks. At least wide receiver Drake London and tight end Kyle Pitts are finally getting more involved.
22. Indianapolis Colts (3-3, No. 19)
Last week: Loss vs. Jaguars, 37-20
Up next: vs. Browns
With rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson likely out for the season, it’s hard to imagine the Colts remaining in the AFC South race for much longer. Gardner Minshew is a capable backup in relief, but he has not performed nearly as well when asked to start. The focus now should be on keeping running back Jonathan Taylor healthy, developing young players and perhaps seeing which veterans teams might be interested in before the Oct. 31 trade deadline.
23. Las Vegas Raiders (2-4, No. 20)
Last week: Win vs. Patriots, 21-17
Up next: at Bears
It’s only been six games, but the Raiders have received the full Jimmy Garoppolo experience. Another injury, this time to his back, could keep the quarterback sidelined for the second time this season, leaving rookie Aidan O’Connell and veteran Brian Hoyer to battle for the starting job. It’s hard to imagine this team making any sort of run without their $72.75 million signal-caller — even with defensive end Maxx Crosby building a case to be a first-time All-Pro.
24. Green Bay Packers (2-3, No. 23)
Last week: Bye
Up next: at Broncos
25. Minnesota Vikings (2-4, No. 28)
Last week: Win vs. Bears, 19-13
Up next: vs. 49ers
In losses, the Vikings are averaging 386.8 total yards. In wins, they’re averaging 242.5. Go figure. According to ESPN, Minnesota’s 220 yards against Chicago marked its lowest yardage and points totals in a win since 2021. Star wide receiver Justin Jefferson can’t come back soon enough.
26. Tennessee Titans (2-4, No. 25)
Last week: Loss vs. Ravens, 24-16
Up next: Bye
With Ryan Tannehill reportedly dealing with a high-ankle sprain, maybe the Titans will finally figure out their long-term plan at quarterback. Second-year pro Malik Willis replaced Tannehill on Sunday, but the Titans traded up to select Will Levis with the second pick in the second round of April’s draft. With the bye coming up, this will be an important evaluation period.
27. Arizona Cardinals (1-5, No. 26)
Last week: Loss vs. Rams, 26-9
Up next: at Seahawks
The loss of James Conner to a knee injury looms large for Arizona, which got just 4.4 yards per carry from its running backs and went 0-for-3 in the red zone Sunday. Quarterback Joshua Dobbs has struggled mightily in Conner’s absence, posting a QBR of 9.6 and 16.6 (on a 0-100 scale) in the past two games.
28. Chicago Bears (1-5, No. 27)
Last week: Loss vs. Vikings, 19-13
Up next: vs. Raiders
A dislocated thumb on his throwing hand will likely keep quarterback Justin Fields out this week, adding another layer of disappointment to a season that has gone from bad to worse at each possible turn. It’s hard to imagine rookie Tyson Bagent, a former Division II quarterback for Shepherd University, getting this struggling passing game back on track.
29. New York Giants (1-5, No. 30)
Last week: Loss vs. Bills, 14-9
Up next: vs. Commanders
Coach Brian Daboll said “there are no trophies for trying” after a close loss against one of the league’s best teams, but the Giants should feel somewhat encouraged by their performance Sunday night in nearly pulling off the upset as a 15-point underdog. Whether the team can build on that performance when quarterback Daniel Jones and left tackle Andrew Thomas return remains to be seen.
30. New England Patriots (1-5, No. 29)
Last week: Loss vs. Raiders, 21-17
Up next: vs. Bills
Baltimore Ravens Insider
It might be time for New England to hit the reset button at both coach and quarterback, long a rock-solid partnership that fueled a dynasty. Bill Belichick will likely leave on his terms, but it’s fair to question whether he’s lost his edge considering the results of the past four years. Perhaps the Patriots can parlay this seemingly lost season into a top draft pick to use on a franchise quarterback.
31. Denver Broncos (1-5, No. 31)
Last week: Loss vs. Chiefs, 19-8
Up next: vs. Packers
Just how big of a teardown will this be for coach Sean Payton? Outside linebackers Randy Gregory and Frank Clark are already out, and wide receiver Jerry Jeudy could be next — if the price is right. Landing a top-five pick in the draft would create an interesting decision between building around Wilson at the end of his career or potentially drafting his successor.
32. Carolina Panthers (0-6, No. 32)
Last week: Loss vs. Dolphins, 42-21
Up next: Bye
Quarterback Bryce Young has yet to deliver the standout moments befitting of a No. 1 overall selection, but his turnover-free performance Sunday is an encouraging step. The Panthers clearly have work to do to build a contender around the former Alabama star, starting with adding more speed at wide receiver.