The last of the NFL's unbeatens went down on Sunday afternoon, as the San Francisco 49ers were upset in a slugfest by the Cleveland Browns and the Eagles were stunned by the New York Jets, triggering debate across the country over who is the best team after the season's first six weeks.
Whether it's the Miami Dolphins or Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC, or the Eagles, 49ers or Detroit Lions in the NFC, the elite teams at the top of both conference each have an argument as the best in the league.
Here are FanBuzz' latest NFL power rankings, after Week 6 of the 2023 season:
1. Miami Dolphins (5-1)
Previous: No. 2
Another week, another gangbusters performance from the Dolphins' offense.
After a sluggish start, Miami's offense turned on the afterburners and unleashed an onslaught of 35 unanswered points against the Carolina Panthers en-route to a 42-21 blowout. Even as the offense unleashed its speed with wide receiver Tyreek Hill averaging 21.7 yards per reception and Raheem Mostert rushing for 115 yards with three total touchdowns, Miami's defense sacked Bryce Young three times. After stumbling earlier this season in Buffalo, we'll find out just how legitimate the Dolphins' championship aspirations are in a Sunday night clash in Philadelphia against the Eagles.
2. San Francisco 49ers (5-1)
Previous: No. 1
Losing to the Cleveland Browns, led by backup quarterback P.J. Walker is one thing, but losing running back Christian McCaffrey and wide receiver Deebo Samuel to injuries during said upset loss could be even more worrisome.
Browns defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz stifled Kyle Shanahan's multi-faceted attack, holding the 49ers to 4.3 yards per carry on the ground and just 3-of-12 on third down in a thrilling 19-17 win. San Francisco remains arguably the NFL's most complete roster, and few teams boast the elite talent all three levels of the defense that the Browns do. But, the 49ers saw the potential pitfalls of putting too much of the offense on Brock Purdy's shoulders as he completed just 12-of-27 attempts for 125 yards with one touchdown and one interception. San Francisco will have a chance to get right, assuming they can get healthy, next Monday night in Minnesota.
3. Kansas City Chiefs (5-1)
Previous: No. 4
Patrick Mahomes continues to find ways to win.
Last Thursday night, despite Kansas City's receivers being plagued by drops, Mahomes still passed for 306 yards with one touchdown, one interception, and 31 rushing yards. Denver certainly was not capable of making the Chiefs pay for its middling receiving corps, but some team is going to exact is pound of flesh by taking away the passing game. Don't be surprised if Chiefs general manager Brett Veach aggressively looks to add at least one veteran receiver prior to the trade deadline to shore up Kansas City's Super Bowl caliber offense.
4. Philadelphia Eagles (5-1)
Previous: No. 3
The Eagles' offense had previously been walking a tightrope in search of an identity through the season's first month, and Sunday in the swamps of Jersey, Jalen Hurts and Co. careened down to earth.
Philadelphia losing to a Jets secondary sans cornerbacks Sauce Gardner and D.J. Reed is cause for alarm. The fact that Hurts has now tossed more interceptions through six games than he did in 15 starts last season should trigger a five alarm fire. The Eagles are entering a brutally difficult stretch of the schedule, with the next eight opponents boasting a 28-12 record, that just might define their NFC title defense.
5. Detroit Lions (5-1)
Previous: No. 5
Detroit continues to look the part of a legitimate Super Bowl contender.
The Lions are getting steady quarterback play from Jared Goff, and thanks to a 45-yard touchdown strike to Jameson Williams, even more than that against the Buccaneers. It's been obvious how punishing the Lions' front-seven has been all season, but the balance on offense against Tampa — with 10 different receivers logging a catch shows that this is a team plenty capable of playing complementary football. Not only are the Lions easily the best team in the NFC North, but the gap might be minuscule between San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Detroit. Buckle up, in the Motor City.
6. Buffalo Bills (5-1)
Previous: No. 7
The Bills played down to their competition for much of Sunday night's game against the Giants, that is, until Josh Allen shifted into a higher gear in the fourth quarter against New York's defense.
Allen woke up in the final frame Sunday night, completing 7-of-8 passes for 49 yards with two touchdowns, including a signature touchdown strike into the tightest of windows. Buffalo avoided stumbling against the Giants, kept pace with the Dolphins, and despite mounting injuries on defense have all the firepower to make a run in the AFC.
7. Baltimore Ravens (3-2)
Previous: No. 13
Lamar Jackson might still make up too much of the Ravens' offense — he passed for 223 yards with one touchdown, one interception while rushing for 62 yards on an afternoon in London that saw Baltimore produce just 360 total yards. But, Jackson remains one of the game's most electrifying players, and he seems to be more comfortable in the pocket even in a game where his receivers struggled to gain separation. The AFC North is shaping up as one of the most competitive divisions in football, and the Ravens are well positioned, especially if they add some receiver help.
8. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-2)
Previous: No. 6
Jacksonville continues to play like legitimate contenders. Travis Etienne continues to be a battering ram, rushing for two touchdowns against the Colts, and Trevor Lawrence managed the game effectively with 181 yards, two touchdowns to one interception. Some enthusiasm for the Jaguars is a little tempered by Lawrence suffering a knee injury in the win.
9. Dallas Cowboys
Two of the Cowboys' most important players made the two most important plays to seal Monday night's victory over the Los Angeles Chargers. With 2:00 remaining, Micah Parsons logged the Cowboys' first sack of the evening, and on very next snap a heavily pressured Herbert was intercepted by Stephon Gilmore to seal a 20-17 victory. Dallas' offense struggled to sustain much momentum throughout the game, but much like the high expectations for the Cowboys entering this season were due to the talent on defense, that talent shined through to secure a pivotal win.
10. Cleveland Browns (3-2)
Previous: No. 14
Browns defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz coached circles around Kyle Shanahan, and the Browns' talent on defense more than rose to the occasion to knock off the 49ers. But, beneath the headlines of a downright dominant performance against one of the league's most explosive offenses, quarterback P.J. Walker and the offense more than pulled their weight with a 334-yard outburst and seven-minute edge in time of possession. Against arguably the deepest roster in football, the Browns took the fight to the 49ers, and looked like a playoff team in the process.
11. Cincinnati Bengals
Previous: No. 16
Joe Burrow looks healthy again, effective again, and confident again. That's great news for the Bengals, and a warning for the rest of the AFC's elite. Perhaps even more important to the Bengals' trajectory the rest of the season is Cincinnati's defense rounding into form. Sunday, the Seahawks made four trips inside the Bengals' 10-yard line and came away with only 10 points. Throwing up a brick wall in the shadow of the goalpost has been a winning formula for Cincinnati in recent years, and seems to be once again.
12. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2)
Previous: No. 12
The Steelers are going to find a much different AFC North when they return from the bye. Suddenly, Joe Burrow is healthy and the Bengals look like contenders again, the Browns' defense is swarming, and the Ravens look plenty capable of playing complementary football. How the Steelers, particularly the offense, emerges from the bye week will be telling if they can withstand the gauntlet.
13. New York Jets (3-3)
Previous: No. 19
It's probably easier to draw wide-ranging conclusions about what Sunday's game means for the Eagles' chances in the NFC than to make any sweeping generalizations about the Jets. However, this is a game head coach Robert Saleh can point back to after Quinnen and Quincy Williams each forced a turnover and a secondary without Reed or Gardner held Jalen Hurts to 280 yards and intercepted him three times. The Jets climbing back to .500 after losing Aaron Rodgers in Week 1 is a significant achievement in and of itself.
14. Los Angeles Chargers (2-3)
Previous: No. 10
Another week, another opportunity for Justin Herbert to lead a fourth quarter comeback, but comes to an end with the Chargers walking off with a loss. Herbert missed several throws against the Cowboys that could have altered the trajectory of the game. Los Angeles' running game was completely stuck in the mud, producing a meager 53 yards. The heat is about to be turned up even higher on head coach Brandon Staley if the Chargers continue to come up shorts in games like Monday night's.
15. Seattle Seahawks (3-2)
Previous: No. 8
The Seahawks' secondary continues to play at a high level, as illustrated by holding Joe Burrow to only 185 yards, but saw little help from Geno Smith and Seattle's offense. Sunday afternoon Seattle finished only one-of-five in the red-zone, and one-of-four in goal-to-go situations. Part of that might be a credit to Cincinnati's stalwart defense, but Smith and Co. are going to need to be more effective than that in finishing drives if this team is going to make any noise in the NFC.
16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-2)
Previous: No. 11
The Buccaneers might be the best team in the NFC South, but Sunday was a reminder of the gulf between that division and the NFC's heavyweights. Baker Mayfield's receivers did him no favors, with multiple drops and none of his top targets approaching 100 receiving yards. But, Tampa faces just the 26th toughest remaining strength of schedule and if Todd Bowles' defense can capitalize, there could be some reason for optimism.
17. Los Angeles Rams (3-3)
Previous: No. 17
The names have changed, but the Rams' formula remains the same; pound the running game, hit on some big-plays vertically in the passing game, and let Aaron Donald destroy the opponent's day. Sunday against the Cardinals, Kyren Williams surpassed 100 rushing yards for the second time in three weeks, while logging in his third multi-touchdown game, Cooper Kupp returned to form with 148 yards with a touchdown, and Aaron Donald produced five tackles. Just another day at the office for the Rams.
18. Houston Texans (3-3)
Previous: No. 22
C.J. Stroud continues to make strides, and looks to have all the trappings of a future franchise quarterback. But, what's even more impressive is that in just six weeks head coach DeMeco Ryans has built a culture on defense that's translated to a top-10 scoring defense in the league. With a blowout win over the Jaguars already tucked away for safe keeping, if the Texans keep improving this is a team that could make a push in the AFC South.
19. Washington Commanders (3-3)
Previous: No. 25
Sam Howell was as efficient as he's been at any point this season, while tossing three touchdowns, even if the box score wasn't all that impressive for any aspect of the Commanders' offense. Defensively, Washington kept the Falcons under wraps for much of the game. It will be fascinating to see if this win did enough to convince new ownership in Washington not to sell at the deadline.
20. Las Vegas Raiders (3-3)
Previous: No. 21
Maxx Crosby is playing like a man possessed over the past two weeks, including sacking Mac Jones for a game-clinching safety at the buzzer on Sunday afternoon. But, as dominant as the defense has been of late, the Raiders' offense has been consistently inconsistent. That won't get much better with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo sidelined with a back injury.
21. Indianapolis Colts (3-3)
Previous: No. 15
The limitations of this offense without Anthony Richardson's ability to make something happen with his legs was laid bare against the Jaguars. Watching Travis Etienne have his way with the defense, especially in the red-zone, was less than encouraging. There's some young talent in Indianapolis, but it's difficult to envision them competing without Richardson.
22. Green Bay Packers (2-3)
Previous: No. 23
Green Bay has 12 more games to determine whether or not Jordan Love is the long-term answer. There's plenty of talent in the receiving corps, tight end room, and running back room. Love is going to be more consistent coming out of the bye week to secure his future in TitleTown. He just has to.
23. Atlanta Falcons (3-3)
Previous: No. 18
It is becoming abundantly clear that Desmond Ridder simply is not the answer. Whether it is replacing Ridder with Taylor Heinicke, trading for a veteran at the deadline, or collectively holding noses and waiting for the NFL Draft, the Falcons need to find a passer capable of consistently getting the most out of the likes of Drake London, Kyle Pitts, and the weapons Atlanta has already assembled on offense.
24. New Orleans Saints (3-3)
Previous: No. 20
How far away are the Saints? Derek Carr did everything he could, passing for 353 yards with one touchdown and one interception, and New Orleans still lost. Alvin Kamara has been effectively neutralized by Carr's inability to create opportunities for the running game. Meanwhile, the defense continues to underperform. If George Allen is truly on the hot seat, it might be heating up in NOLA ...
25. Minnesota Vikings (2-4)
Previous: No. 26
The Vikings seem to be clinging to the notion that they can win with Kirk Cousins, even with Justin Jefferson sidelined, and they did exactly that on Sunday against the Bears. However, Cousins passed for just 181 yards with one touchdown, and it was a Jordan Hicks fumble recovery that proved to be the difference-maker against the middling Bears who played half the game without Justin Fields. San Francisco's injuries could create an opportunity on Thursday night, but will Cousins and the Vikings' offense be able to do enough against an angry 49ers defense to even keep it close?
26. Tennessee Titans (2-4)
Previous: No. 24
It's time. The Titans need to get a real look at both Malik Willis and rookie Will Levis at quarterback. Tennessee isn't going to compete with the likes of the Texans and Jaguars at the top of the AFC South. After Ryan Tannehill's injury Sunday in London against the Ravens, Tennessee might have the perfect opportunity to get an extended look at its future, and maybe even begin a tear-down ahead of the trade deadline.
27. New York Giants (1-5)
Previous: No. 31
Don "Wink" Martindale's defense punched well above its weight in a disappointing 14-9 loss to the Buffalo Bills that was marred by catastrophic offensive play-calling on a pair of goal-line opportunities. If nothing else, the Giants appear to have found two foundational pieces at linebacker after Bobby Okereke and Micah McFadden combined for 11 tackles with one interception.
28. Arizona Cardinals (1-5)
Previous: No. 27
Arizona's defense got steamrolled by running back Kyren Williams and the Rams, allowing Williams to rush for 158 yards with a touchdown as Matthew Stafford sliced up the secondary for 226 yards and one touchdown. It's becoming obvious that this is a roster at the very beginning of the beginning of a rebuild.
29. Chicago Bears (1-5)
Previous: No. 30
The Bears' season already seemed lost. Now, Chicago may have lost the opportunity to make a legitimate evaluation of Justin Fields, after the 24-year-old suffered a hand injury in Sunday's loss to the Minnesota Vikings. Given that if the season ended today Chicago would own the No. 1 and No. 2 overall picks, Fields' Bears future, at this point, looks tenuous at best.
30. New England Patriots (1-5)
Previous: No. 29
It's time for the Patriots to embrace an overdue rebuild. Mac Jones looks lost. New England has fallen behind the rest of the AFC East by a wide margin. Soon, it might be fair to begin wondering aloud if Bill Belichick is the coach to orchestrate an organizational turnaround.
31. Denver Broncos (1-5)
Previous: No. 28
The Broncos' fire sale has begun. Randy Gregory has been traded. Frank Clark has been released. Jerry Jeudy is being shopped. Might a Russell Wilson benching be looming? Denver is arguably in worse shape six weeks into the Sean Payton era than it was under Nathaniel Hackett.
32. Carolina Panthers (0-6)
Previous: No. 32
Bryce Young showed signs of progress early Sunday afternoon against the Dolphins. While it's encouraging that eight different Panthers caught a pass in Miami, the fact that only Adam Thielen and D.J. Chark produced more than 26 receiving yards underscores the limitations of this offense at the moment.
Want More Sports News?
Get the biggest and best sports news sent directly to your inbox.