After a dramatic week in the NFL, there have been many sharp risers and fallers in the rankings, writes Stephen Loftus.
Seattle fell to the Cowboys and now face an uphill battle to overtake the San Francisco 49ers and Arizona Cardinals in their tough division. There were inspiring performances from Chicago and the San Diego Chargers who continue to rise through the rankings and remain in control for the AFC’s number one seed.
Here’s this week’s Top 10.
1. Denver Broncos
Peyton Manning struggled under pocket pressure at times from the Jets front four, but still managed to throw three touchdown passes, two of which went to Julius Thomas, who now has eight touchdowns in 5 games. Bradley Roby has emerged as a nice addition to the defense, which was always going to look good against Geno Smith and his dreadful offense.
DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller provide a potent pass-rush but the potential of an injury to Danny Trevthan will sting John Fox. The Broncos now roll on to face the 49ers at Mile High next week.
2. San Diego Chargers
The Chargers hold the best record in the league alongside Philadelphia and Dallas at 5-1 and Philip Rivers continues to make a strong case as MVP. Although they struggled against Oakland this past week, they are still on a five-game win streak and lead the AFC West division over Denver.
First round pick Jason Verrett sealed the win over Oakland with a late interception and it is the defence that must hold strong over the coming weeks when they face crucial division games against Denver and Kansas City.
3. Dallas Cowboys
If Philip Rivers feels he is making a strong case for MVP, then DeMarco Murray must also enter the conversation. Murray ran for 100 yards for the six-straight time as Dallas stunned the reigning champion Seattle Seahawks.
Tony Romo has now become a peripheral figure as his offensive line takes control and dominates opposing defensive lines. The only concern for Dallas as they continue to roll is the workload of DeMarco Murray.
4. San Francisco 49ers
The Niners are surprisingly now 4-2 after a comfortable victory over the St.Louis Rams on Monday night. Amid all the rumours that Jim Harbaugh will leave the team at the end of the season, San Francisco continue to win games and will be confident going into Denver next week.
5. Seattle Seahawks
This may be a slightly controversial pick but you simply cannot rule out the champions. Russell Wilson is playing on an All-pro level and once the defence sorts out their problems, Seattle can get back to the top of their division.
The offensive line will get better once Max Unger returns at center and when they get back to running the ball.
6. Indianapolis Colts
Andrew Luck is the hottest quarterback in football right now and Vontae Davis continues to dominate opposing wide receivers. If the Colts can continue this great offensive run, then they can wrap up the AFC South division earlier than expected. simply put.
7. New England Patriots
Season ending injuries to Jerod Mayo and Stevan Ridley have left holes on both offense and defense for the Patriots but if there is one coach and quarterback duo that can patch these holes, it is Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. Brady will be pleased to see his weapons integrating into his offense, including Brandon LaFell.
8. Arizona Cardinals
Although Arizona remain atop the NFC West, they were taken apart by Denver in Week 5 and couldn’t help but beat a poor Washington Redskins team on Sunday. Questions over the health of Carson Palmer were allayed when he suited up on Sunday but the Cardinals will have to develop a better pass-rush to overcome the loss of Calais Campbell who suffered an MCL injury.
Injuries to Andre Ellington and Patrick Peterson also leave question marks over their participation this upcoming week.
9. Baltimore Ravens
Baltimore are the Jekyll and Hyde team of the NFL. Joe Flacco and the offense managed to score 13 points against the Colts in Week 5 and then lit up Tampa Bay for 38 points in one half of football on Sunday. F
lacco threw for 306 yards and five touchdowns and now faces the porous Atlanta Falcons defense in Week 7. CJ Mosley continues to impress at linebacker.
10. Philadelphia Eagles
Chip Kelly and the offensive line finally fixed LeSean McCoy’s problems as he rushed for 149 yards against a good New York Giants defense. “Shady” is the key to this offense and if he can get on a run of consecutive good games, Philadelphia can overcome the poor play of Nick Foles at quarterback.
They now face an intriguing battle with the Dallas Cowboys to gain full control of the NFC East.
Stephen Loftus, Pundit Arena.