Five Up Five Down
Five Up Five Down: The 5 Best and 5 Worst NFL Teams Week Seven is where we rank the five best and five worst teams in the NFL. Anybody can list the best teams. It takes real skill to sort through the mess that is the bottom of the league. Week seven is hours away from kicking off in the Mile High City. What did we learn from Week 6? Tom Brady has nimble feet, Aaron Rodgers is the comeback kid, Todd Gurley is the best running back on the planet, and the Ravens have just sacked Marcus Mariota yet again.
5 UP: The 5 Best NFL Teams Week Seven
1. LOS ANGELES RAMS (6-0) Last Week: 2nd
The Rams are proving to be the best team in the NFL for many reasons. One of those reasons is they find ways to win games that they don’t play in very well. One guy who was dominant was Todd Gurley, who was again the best running back on planet setting career highs (208 yards 2 TD’s 7.4 Avg.) as he ran up and all over the Denver Broncos. He covered up for Jared Goff who was sacked five times and only completed 50% of his passes and threw an ugly interception. It marks the 2nd straight week of bad play from Jared after his fantastic performance against the Vikings. Goff has still put up impressive numbers on the year (1,928 Yards 12 TD’s 5 INT 110.9 Ratings) but with Gurley running this well, his numbers might decrease anyways. The Rams WR core has been beaten up recently with Copper Kupp out this week which has not helped Jared either.
The defense has played big in moments when they’ve had to. Consistency has been an issue all year long, and Wade Phillips is working on it. The Rams will finish up a long three-game road trip in San Francisco. They are 10.5 point favorites against the (1-5) 49ers who have played better than their record would indicate. The two rivals have met 137 times with the 49ers winning 69 of those contests.
2. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (5-1) Last Week: 1st
If you could ever build a case that you’ve won after losing, the Chiefs proved that this week. Patrick Mahomes II legacy is still growing when he nearly outdueled the GOAT. He threw for 352 yards and 4 TD’s (1,865 yards 18 TD’s 4 INT’s 112.2 Rating) this kid is beyond exceptional! Another positive for the Chiefs in the 43-40 loss was the running game appeared in the form of Kareem Hunt (10 carries 80 Yards 8 AVG). If the Chiefs can balance the attack and eat up more time on the clock, they will win more close games. They gave Tom Brady too much time to beat them on Sunday night.
A high-powered offense again picked apart the Kansas City Chiefs defense. I realize the Chiefs are usually tough on 3rd down conversions (allowed over 50% to the Pats on Sunday night) but when you give up nearly 500 yards that will end up being a losing formula. The challenges keep coming for KC who will welcome a good Cincinnati Bengals (4-2) team to town. Chiefs are 6 point favorites, but Cincy leads the all-time series 15-13. Though they moved one spot down our list of Five Up, the Chiefs proved even in a loss they are a team who will contend for the top spot thanks to the most exciting player in the NFL.
3. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (4-1) Last Week: 4th
The Saints enjoyed the Bye Week and gained a spot in our 5 Up category thanks to a Bengals loss in Pittsburgh. This week, Drew Brees and company will have to deal with a red-hot defense that just racked up 11 sacks last week. New Orleans’ schedule is brutal coming up with three of the next four crucial games on the road against (@Ravens, @Vikings, Rams, @Bengals). We will learn a lot about the Saints Super Bowl chances in the next month. Drew Brees, when its all said and done, would like to be #1 on the top 10 quarterbacks list. Ravens have dominated the series five games to one and are two-point favorites at home.
4. CINCINNATI BENGALS (4-2) Last Week: 3rd
So the Bengals lost to the Steelers last week, what else is new? They played very well but lost on a late Antonio Brown touchdown. I am merciful; they only dropped one spot in our rankings. The defense let down the Bengals against Pittsburgh. Three Steelers had over 100 yards by run and pass, which is not a good sign for Marvin Lewis team. The Bengals have a lot of young talent and Tyler Boyd is starting to become a household name.
The offense was not without blame as well. Andy Dalton was very inconsistent and wound up with just 229 yards through the air. Joe Mixon was, in my opinion, not used enough (11 carries for 64 Yards). If the Bengals don’t want to slide out of the top five, they will need to establish the run and make Joe Mixon part of a ball attack against Kansas City this weekend.
5. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (4-2) Last Week: Unranked
Well, it was just a matter of time before the Patriots were going to climb into the rankings. It was not an easy decision because the Chargers and Ravens are not far behind the Patriots. They have some serious questions on the defensive side of the ball. If there is any coach who can get all the questions answered and the mess cleaned up, it’s Bill Belichick. Check back in November and that defense will probably be corrected as it is every year.
When you have Tom Brady as your QB, it covers up a lot of weaknesses. He has some old weapons back in Edelman and some new ones to play with in Josh Gordon. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but it looks like Brady is getting even better. What’s in that TB 12? What is also very appealing for the Patriots is the fact rookie running back Sony Michel is looking like a stud. The Patriots will travel to the Windy City to challenge the Chicago Bears (3-2). An aspect to watch is how the Pats will block Khalil Mack. New England is two-point favorites for week seven and leads the all-time series between the two teams, 9-4. The Biggest game between these two, of course, was Super Bowl 20 when the Bears trounced New England 46-10.
Closing in the top 5 this week:
Baltimore Ravens (4-2), LA Chargers (4-2), Miami Dolphins (4-2)
5 DOWN: The 5 Worst NFL Teams Week Six
28. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (1-5) Last Week: Unranked
The start of the 2018-2019 season has not been kind to the Colts. It looks like Andrew Luck is still trying to find his consistency, but he has very little to work with offensively. Indy is 30th running the ball which puts a tremendous amount of pressure on the shoulders of the franchise Quarterback (1,792 yards, 16 TD’s 8 INTS 88,8 Rating). Luck has been under duress as well, already being sacked 19 times so far this year.
The Colts defense has not offered any big stops when the team needs it most. They give up a lot of yards on the ground and provide no pass rush to create sacks (10 as a team) and turnovers. The perfect get well card is coming to town as the equally inept Buffalo Bills (2-4) enter Lucas Oil Field. The Colts are favored by seven and a half points, but the Bills lead the series 37-31-1.
29. N.Y. GIANTS (1-5) Last Week: 29th
The Giants are a complete disaster right now as week seven begins. After playing better in Carolina, they came home in a must-win versus the Eagles and everyone other than Saqoun Barkley played horribly. The offensive line did an excellent job run blocking, but the Eagles pushed them aside and terrorized Eli Manning all night. The Odel Beckham Jr. soap opera is another example of blaming the teams best player when he is not the issue. Eli Manning, as great as he has been in his career, looks like a washed-up gunslinger who is out of bullets. The Giants got a great player in Barkley but the decision to give Manning one more year seems like a disaster.
The defense has been equally inept. Eli Apple seems to be fighting everyone, and the tackling has been poor. Pat Shurmur has a lot of work on his hands, and one must wonder if he doesn’t hear the clock tick on his job. He deserves patience but the New York fan base has none. If the team continues to have terrible performances like against the Eagles last Thursday night, Pat might be a coordinator somewhere else soon. The Giants will be in Atlanta on Monday night. There is a chance to put up big numbers against a struggling Falcons defense. The Falcons (2-4) are four and a half favorites against the G-men at home, and the series is even at 12 games apiece.
30. ARIZONA CARDINALS (1-5) Last Week: 30th
The Cards are improving in some areas, but surprisingly it was the defense that let them down in Minneapolis. Somehow the Cards let the inept running game of the Vikings get 195 yards on the ground. They did create another turnover for a score. However, giving up 27 points on the road with a rookie quarterback is a recipe for a loss. David Johnson continues to be average but one bright spot is the play of Christian Kirk who was noticeable getting open against a stingy Vikings defense (6 catches for 77 yards).
The Cardinals will be in Denver tonight to face the (2-4) Broncos. This might be the worst matchup for the Cardinals historically who have lost eight of the ten matchups with one ending in a tie. This will be another learning curve for Josh Rosen (626 Yards 55.6 % 2 TD’S) who hasn’t played that bad after relieving Sam Bradford of the starting duties.
31. SAN FRANCISCO 49ers (1-5) Last Week: 32nd
Did the 49ers lose in heartbreak fashion on Monday night? Yes, they did. Like many teams, the failure to stop Aaron Rodgers late in a game lead to a loss at Lambeau Field. The team played hard, and a lot of positives come out of this loss, which is why they moved up the rankings. No team in the NFL has been hit with so many injuries. Head Coach Kyle Shanahan deserves credit because his team comes to compete every week.
C.J. Beathard to his credit has played well (892 yards 6 TD’s 5 INTs 87.3 Rating) since coming in for injured Jimmy Garoppolo. How long will this last, nobody knows? The issue with the 49ers is the defense. It’s frustrating because they get pressure and sacks but the secondary has been awful. Yes, this does include a past his prime Richard Sherman. Next up for the 49ers for week seven, is the best team in football, the Los Angeles Rams (6-0). When it pours downhill, you are 1-5, the Rams are next of course.
32. OAKLAND RAIDERS (1-5) Last Week: 31st
Well, Jon Gruden said his team is not tanking. That’s great. Gruden grinders getting up at 4 am to put together a dated offensive system. I like Coach a lot. He is a stand-up guy, but this team is brutal and the worst in the NFL. His offensive gameplan is old, and the team is somehow worse than it was last year. Getting embarrassed across the pond in London 27-3 to a beleaguered Seahawks team is disgusting. I’ve said this all along, Derek Carr looks like a lost soul. Is he fixable? Well, that is what Jon Gruden is supposed to do. He looks like he has regressed from last year. If you listen to talk radio, the marriage of Gruden and the fans are in a state of divorce proceedings.
As far as the defense, they are minus 66 point differential – the worst in the league. It’s ugly, and the lack of depth is the fault of the entire organization. Hey, Khalil Mack says hi from Chicago. The good news for the Raiders is that they cannot lose this weekend. Oakland is enjoying a Bye week. When they get back on October 28th, the equally inept Colts will be in town. It will be a chance for the Silver and Black to get a win.
Teams that are knocking on futilities door:
Buffalo Bills (2-4), Denver Broncos (2-4), Atlanta Falcons (2-4)
Come back next Thursday for Five Up Five Down: The five best NFL Teams and the five worst NFL Teams for Week 8.