Week 7 of the 2013 NFL regular season is set to commence on Thursday, Oct. 17, when the Seattle Seahawks travel to play the Arizona Cardinals. With only two undefeated teams remaining and no division race even close to decided, the pressure is mounting.
The question is, what do the standings look like entering Week 7?
|2013 NFL Regular-Season Standings|
|New York Giants||0||6||0||.000|
|Green Bay Packers||3||2||0||.600|
|New Orleans Saints||5||1||0||.833|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||0||5||0||.000|
|San Francisco 49ers||4||2||0||.667|
|St. Louis Rams||3||3||0||.500|
|New England Patriots||5||1||0||.833|
|New York Jets||3||3||0||.500|
|Kansas City Chiefs||6||0||0||1.000|
|San Diego Chargers||3||3||0||.500|
32. Jacksonville Jaguars
Week 6: 19-35 loss at Denver Broncos
Week 7: vs. San Diego Chargers
The Jacksonville Jaguars played significantly better than most expected them to against the Denver Broncos, but they still fell 35-19. It's difficult to fault Jacksonville for losing to the Broncos, but this was another development in a disastrous season.
When a 16-point loss is a good thing, it goes without saying that a team is terrible.
Jacksonville is showing signs of life with Justin Blackmon returning to action, but with his return has come an injury to Cecil Shorts. The Jaguars' star receiver has a sprained shoulder, per Michael DiRocco of ESPN, which further hinders the offense.
During Week 7, Jacksonville will face a San Diego Chargers team that's elite when it's on its game but wildly inconsistent.
Jacksonville did hang 303 passing yards on the Broncos and forced Peyton Manning's second interception of the season. Maurice Jones-Drew ran for a touchdown, and Blackmon caught 14 passes for 190 yards to establish the offense.
Unfortunately, Jacksonville is still 0-6.
31. New York Giants
Week 6: 21-27 loss at Chicago Bears
Week 7: vs. Minnesota Vikings
The New York Giants have been one of the most difficult teams to watch during the 2013 regular season. With every passing game, they find a new way to turn the ball over and waste one of the best receiving corps in football.
The result has been a stunning 0-6 record so far.
Brandon Jacobs was a revelation during Week 6, carrying the ball 22 times for 106 yards and two touchdowns during New York's 27-21 loss to the Chicago Bears. Even as the running game came to life for the first time all season, Eli Manning complemented a 37-yard touchdown pass to Rueben Randle with three interceptions.
Manning now has nine touchdowns to 15 interceptions through six games.
Truth be told, the only things separating the Giants from the Jaguars are name value and upside. New York has four losses by at least 15 points and two by 24 or more through its first six games.
New York will receive the opportunity to right its past wrongs on Monday Night Football against the Minnesota Vikings.
30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Week 6: 20-31 loss vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Week 7: at Atlanta Falcons
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are one of three remaining teams without a win, most recently falling 31-20 to the Philadelphia Eagles. The Bucs were within one point of the lead during the fourth quarter, but the result was yet another example of Tampa Bay lacking leadership.
Putting together an elite-on-paper defense is nice, but when there are questions up top, not much good can be done.
Mike Glennon was 26-of-43 for 273 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, shining in the Bucs' first week without Josh Freeman. Vincent Jackson caught nine passes for 114 yards and two touchdowns, and Timothy Wright pulled in seven for 91.
Tampa Bay's lack of discipline continued, with eight penalties for 72 yards.
Lavonte David registered the lone sack for Tampa, and Darrelle Revis recovered a fumble, but it was yet another puzzling ending for the Bucs. Both offensively and defensively, they struggled to do anything that wasn't sloppy.
A lack of discipline has resulted in a lack of victories.
29. Minnesota Vikings
Week 6: 10-35 loss vs. Carolina Panthers
Week 7: at New York Giants
The Minnesota Vikings reached the playoffs in 2012, using a legendary season from Adrian Peterson and a strong defense to run through the competition. In 2013, Minnesota has fallen to 1-4 and is finally beginning to question whether or not it has a franchise quarterback.
The Vikings will now take a chance on Josh Freeman.
It's becoming clear that the era of Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel is reaching its end in Minnesota.
The Vikings fell 35-10 to the Carolina Panthers during Week 6 in a continuation of the inconsistencies at quarterback. Cassel was 32-of-44 for 241 yards and a touchdown, but he tossed two interceptions and struggled to help Minnesota find the back of the end zone.
Sharrif Floyd picked up a sack and Kyle Rudolph finally woke up, but Minnesota must address its issues at quarterback if it has any hope of reaching the postseason.
28. Washington Redskins
Week 6: 16-31 loss at Dallas Cowboys
Week 7: vs. Chicago Bears
During Week 6, the Washington Redskins had a prime opportunity to take down the Dallas Cowboys and potentially earn a share of the lead in the NFC East. Rather than taking home the victory, the Redskins posted another dud.
Washington is now 1-4, with a clash against the 4-2 Chicago Bears looming in Week 7.
Robert Griffin III has one passing touchdown to two interceptions over the past two weeks and completed just 48.7 percent of his passes against Dallas. The promising sign is that he's begun to run the ball with a higher level of comfort, which bodes well for Washington's future.
The next step is remembering how to win.
Washington registered just one sack against Dallas but still managed to hold the Cowboys to 213 yards of total offense. By comparison, the Redskins ran the ball for 216 yards as a team and went 8-of-16 on third-down conversions.
Somehow, some way, this team is finding ways to lose.
27. Oakland Raiders
Week 6: 7-24 loss at Kansas City Chiefs
Week 7: Bye Week
The Oakland Raiders played the Kansas City Chiefs close for three quarters but eventually fell 24-7 in front of a deafening crowd at Arrowhead Stadium. The offensive line fell apart, and Darren McFadden continued to struggle running the football, but it was a relatively impressive outing.
Strong defense and dynamic quarterback play are good ways to establish a bright future.
Terrelle Pryor was 18-of-34 for 216 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions, also rushing for 60 yards on six carries. Denarius Moore kept up his strong season with five receptions for 82 yards and a touchdown, and Oakland nearly overcame getting sacked nine times.
McFadden added 83 yards of total offense but picked up just 52 on the ground on 16 carries.
Rookie Sio Moore registered his first career sack, and Nick Roach and Vance Walker added one each. Charles Woodson continued his bounce-back season with yet another fumble recovery, and Oakland held Alex Smith to 128 passing yards on a completion percentage of 45.2.
Oakland isn't playing for the playoffs in 2013, but it's creating a promising next few seasons.
26. Atlanta Falcons
Week 6: Bye Week
Week 7: vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Atlanta Falcons were on bye during Week 6 after starting the season with a stunning record of 1-4. Injuries have crippled the offense, as the likes of Steven Jackson, Julio Jones and Roddy White have all gone down.
Atlanta will face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during Week 7 in a desperation game for both teams.
25. Pittsburgh Steelers
Week 6: 19-6 win at New York Jets
Week 7: vs. Baltimore Ravens
The Pittsburgh Steelers finally won a game in Week 6, taking a low-scoring battle with the New York Jets by a final of 19-6. It wasn't pretty, but Pittsburgh isn't yet eliminated from the race for the AFC North, and a Week 7 win over the Baltimore Ravens could make it a legitimate threat.
It's all about discovering balance.
Ben Roethlisberger was 23-of-30 for 264 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions, finding Antonio Brown and Heath Miller a combined 15 times for 170 yards. The Steelers ran the ball for just 2.8 yards per carry, but the 26 rushing attempts opened up the field.
Emmanuel Sanders tallying three catches for 70 yards and a touchdown is evidence enough.
The Steelers registered three sacks and two interceptions, with Ryan Clark and Lawrence Timmons coming up with the picks. It was exactly what Pittsburgh needed, as it has struggled to pressure the quarterback and force turnovers early in the season.
Week 7 will be a test of just how improved the Steelers are.
24. Buffalo Bills
Week 6: 24-27 OT loss vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Week 7: at Miami Dolphins
A case could be made that the Buffalo Bills are one of the most dramatically improved teams in the NFL. Three of Buffalo's four losses have come by seven points or less, including a 27-24 overtime loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 6.
Plain and simple, Buffalo has the look of a future AFC East front-runner.
Thad Lewis was 19-of-32 for 216 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions during his season debut, and Buffalo ran for 130 yards and a score as a team. T.J. Graham caught four passes for 74 yards, and both Scott Chandler and Marquise Goodwin scored touchdowns.
The Bills may miss EJ Manuel, but the rising stars on this team are limitless.
Jim Leonhard picked off his third pass of the season, and four separate Bills registered sacks during Buffalo's win. Kiko Alonso continued his campaign as the favorite for Rookie of the Year by registering 22 tackles against Cincinnati.
For a team with so many rookies and inexperienced players, Buffalo is flashing extraordinary upside.
23. Cleveland Browns
Week 6: 17-31 loss vs. Detroit Lions
Week 7: at Green Bay Packers
The Cleveland Browns lost backup quarterback Brian Hoyer and are now relying upon the play of 2012 first-round draft choice Brandon Weeden. That seems like an ideal turn of events, but as is often the case in Cleveland, what's logical isn't what has transpired.
During Week 6, the Browns blew a 17-7 lead by allowing 24 consecutive points. They eventually fell 31-17 to the Detroit Lions.
Weeden was 26-of-43 for 292 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions, falling apart during a second half that was highlighted by a side-arm flick gone wrong. Cleveland ran for 126 yards, but it was yet another misleading stat line for a mediocre Browns running game.
As has been the case in 2013, 45 of Cleveland's 126 yards came on one carry by a wide receiver. At some point, trickery will be ineffective, and the running backs will need to shine.
Josh Gordon starred with seven receptions for 126 yards, and Jordan Cameron continued his tear with five catches for 64. Defensively, Tashaun Gipson had an interception, Craig Robertson had a sack, and T.J. Ward seemed to be involved on almost every play.
It was a difficult loss for a Browns team that had previously won three straight games. Now, Cleveland will travel to play the Green Bay Packers.
22. Arizona Cardinals
Week 6: 20-32 loss at San Francisco 49ers
Week 7: vs. Seattle Seahawks
The Arizona Cardinals are 3-3, which is a strong record considering they have a new head coach, offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator and quarterback. During Week 6, the Cardinals flashed their upside during a 32-20 loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
The defeat stings, and it won't get any easier, but Arizona is significantly better in 2013 than it was in 2012.
Carson Palmer was 25-of-41 for 298 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions against the 49ers' vaunted defense. Turnovers have been an issue for Palmer, but he's built a strong chemistry with Larry Fitzgerald, who had six catches for 117 yards and a touchdown in Week 6.
Michael Floyd added his first touchdown of the season.
Darnell Dockett led a strong defensive unit, and Yeremiah Bell registered his first interception of the season. Dockett, Calais Campbell and Karlos Dansby registered sacks, but San Francisco did rush for 149 yards.
It wasn't perfect, but Arizona proved that it's in line to finish in the ballpark of .500.
21. Houston Texans
Week 6: 13-38 vs. St. Louis Rams
Week 7: at Kansas City Chiefs
The Houston Texans started the season with two unconvincing victories and have since lost four straight games. Fans can blame Matt Schaub and pretend nothing else is wrong, but Houston has problems all over the field.
There's no way to argue that when three of Houston's four losses have come by at least 21 points.
The Texans currently rank No. 1 in pass defense but are No. 25 against the run. Houston may have held Sam Bradford to 116 passing yards during Week 6, but he was 12-of-16 and threw three touchdowns to no interceptions.
That's not a shocking number—only the Pittsburgh Steelers have forced fewer turnovers than the Texans in 2013.
With all of this being established, quarterback play has been a problem for Houston. The Texans are second-to-worst in giveaways with 15, as Schaub has thrown nine interceptions and T.J. Yates tossed two in his only game with more than five attempts.
Quarterback play is a major issue for Houston, but if fans think that it's all on Schaub, they're wrong.
20. New York Jets
Week 6: 6-19 loss vs. Pittsburgh Steelers
Week 7: vs. New England Patriots
The New York Jets have a strong defense and a rookie quarterback who has flashed signs of being a franchise player. As one might expect from a rookie field general—and no, not the once-in-a-lifetime 2012 type—that inexperience has bred inconsistency.
In Week 6, that was on full display when New York fell 19-6 to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Geno Smith was 19-of-34 for 201 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions just one week after torching the Atlanta Falcons. The run game wasn't much help, as Bilal Powell carried it nine times for 30 yards, and New York's receivers dropped several passes.
If we've learned anything in 2013, however, it's that Rex Ryan still knows how to lead a high-quality defense.
New York is struggling to force turnovers, and that could be its ultimate undoing, but the Jets rank No. 2 in run defense and have held four of six opponents to 20 points or less. Furthermore, New York ranks fourth in the NFL with 20.0 sacks through six games.
The young defensive line is starting to come together, as Muhammad Wilkerson and Sheldon Richardson are using their power to lead a promising Jets squad.
19. Tennessee Titans
Week 6: 13-20 at Seattle Seahawks
Week 7: vs. San Francisco 49ers
The Tennessee Titans have remained competitive in Jake Locker's absence, losing 26-17 to the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs and 20-13 to the Seattle Seahawks. The primary reason for that is the Titans' physical defense.
If only they could put points on the board.
Judging Tennessee's offense without Locker is unfair considering it played Kansas City and Seattle, but it won't get any easier in Week 7 against the San Francisco 49ers. A Week 8 bye signals the beginning of a more favorable patch, but Tennessee could be 3-4 entering it.
Fortunately for coach Mike Munchak and company, the AFC South is still wide open.
According to Paul Kuharsky of ESPN, Locker has returned to practice with a sleeve and a knee brace. It's unclear when he will be ready, but once he is, the offense will open up more than it has with Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Regardless of who's under center, the three weeks leading up to the bye are as tough a stretch as any team will see all season.
18. Carolina Panthers
Week 6: 35-10 win at Minnesota Vikings
Week 7: vs. St. Louis Rams
The Carolina Panthers have been dominant during their two victories and offensively underwhelming in three losses. As the season progresses, expect Carolina's elite defense to be complemented by an offense that actually reflects the skill level.
Keep in mind, this is still Cam Newton we're talking about.
During Week 6, the Panthers defeated the Minnesota Vikings 35-10 with Newton going 20-of-26 for 242 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions. Newton also ran for a score to remind the league that he's already a record-setting player.
Most encouraging of all, Brandon LaFell broke out with a 107-yard receiving performance.
Defensively, the Panthers rank in the top 10 in almost every major statistical category. Thomas Davis registered two sacks against Minnesota, and safety Mike Mitchell had two interceptions and a sack against Matt Cassel.
Carolina has questions to answer, but there's no reason to be anything but intrigued.
17. Philadelphia Eagles
Week 6: 31-20 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Week 7: vs. Dallas Cowboys
The Philadelphia Eagles have been inconsistent during the 2013 regular season, but entering Week 7, they own a share of the NFC East lead. Now, they will face the Dallas Cowboys to determine which team is tops in the division.
Philly's performance in Week 6 suggests that it's up to the task.
Nick Foles was 22-of-31 for 296 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions in his first start under head coach Chip Kelly. Foles also ran for a touchdown, and LeSean McCoy picked up 116 yards on 25 carries to extend his league lead.
Bradley Fletcher had his first interception of the season, and Connor Barwin and Bennie Logan secured sacks. It wasn't a perfect performance, but the Eagles found their offensive balance after three shaky weeks.
Up next is Philadelphia's biggest game of the half-season.
16. San Diego Chargers
Week 6: 19-9 win vs. Indianapolis Colts
Week 7: at Jacksonville Jaguars
The San Diego Chargers continued to defy the odds by securing yet another win over a postseason contender. The Chargers have now defeated the Dallas Cowboys, Indianapolis Colts and Philadelphia Eagles and have one-possession losses to Houston and Tennessee.
During Week 7, San Diego can finally move above .500 with a road game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Philip Rivers continued his masterful season, going 22-of-33 for 237 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. Ryan Mathews finally stepped up by carrying the ball 22 times for 107 yards, and Keenan Allen emerged as a Rookie of the Year candidate after hauling in nine catches for 107 yards and a score.
With Danny Woodhead continuing to serve in the Darren Sproles role, Rivers and the Chargers offense should continue to flourish from here on out.
Defensively, second-year defensive end Kendall Reyes registered his second sack of the season after tallying 5.5 as a rookie. Derek Cox came up with an interception, and Manti Te'o did an excellent job as the defensive play-caller, albeit with a handful of rookie mistakes.
San Diego has a bright future, and Rivers is reminding the world that he once was and still is a star quarterback.
15. St. Louis Rams
Week 6: 38-13 win at Houston Texans
Week 7: at Carolina Panthers
The St. Louis Rams made quite the statement during Week 6, securing a 38-13 road win against the Houston Texans. Say what you will about Houston's level of play in 2013, but the defense has playmakers, and the offensive has Arian Foster at running back.
A 38-13 win is a 38-13 win no matter which teams are involved, but when a team wins one over a title contender, it's a signature victory.
Sam Bradford didn't do much, but when he did throw the football, it led to extraordinary results. He was 12-of-16 for 117 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions, with nine separate players catching passes.
Most important of all, Zac Stacy provided St. Louis with a long-awaited rushing attack by running for 79 yards on 18 carries after picking up 78 on 14 rushes against the San Francisco 49ers.
Defensively, Michael Brockers led a pass rush that registered five sacks, landing two individually. Janoris Jenkins, Chris Long and Robert Quinn also brought down the quarterback, showing that St. Louis' youth movement is beginning to realize its potential.
The future is bright in St. Louis, and a Week 7 clash with San Diego presents the opportunity for the Rams to prove their legitimacy.
14. Miami Dolphins
Week 6: Bye Week
Week 7: vs. Buffalo Bills
The Miami Dolphins opened the season with three straight wins but lost consecutive games entering their Week 6 bye to fall to 3-2. During Week 7, they will go toe-to-toe with the division rival Buffalo Bills with a chance to move one game closer to the AFC East lead.
The New England Patriots are 5-1, the New York Jets are 3-3, and the Bills are 2-4 through six weeks, leaving the door open for Miami to strike.
13. Dallas Cowboys
Week 6: 31-16 win vs. Washington Redskins
Week 7: at Philadelphia Eagles
The Dallas Cowboys haven't been able to string together victories, but they've been as strong as any 3-3 football team possibly could. During Week 6, they managed to defeat the rival Washington Redskins to earn a share of the NFC East lead.
During Week 7, they will face the Eagles to determine the division leader.
Tony Romo was 18-of-30 for 170 yards, one touchdown and one interception, and both DeMarco Murray and Joseph Randle ran for scores. Cole Beasley continued to shine as a slot receiver, and Terrance Williams scored his second touchdown in as many games for Romo.
Unfortunately, Dallas must now move forward with doubts surrounding the health of Murray and DeMarcus Ware.
That's what you call the worst-case scenario.
Fortunately for Dallas, Romo is playing at a world-class level, and both Jason Hatcher and George Selvie have been pleasant surprises along the defensive line. The Cowboys will need players to step up in their stars' absence, but that doesn't mean they can't win games.
They have won two in a row against Philadelphia and are in dire need of a victory here.
12. Baltimore Ravens
Week 6: 17-19 loss vs. Green Bay Packers
Week 7: at Pittsburgh Steelers
The Baltimore Ravens suffered a heart-breaking 19-17 loss to the Green Bay Packers during Week 6. The result pushed the Ravens one game back in the AFC North, which means it's time for concern in Baltimore.
Up next is a road game against Baltimore's bitter rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Baltimore received a strong performance from Joe Flacco, who went 20-of-34 for 342 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Marlon Brown, Dallas Clark and Tandon Doss all played well, but Ray Rice only managed 34 yards on 14 carries.
You can thank Baltimore's poor offensive line for that.
Defensively, Elvis Dumervil registered two sacks, and Arthur Jones came up with one of his own. Jimmy Smith came down with an interception, and the Ravens limited Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay to just 19 points.
A loss against Pittsburgh would be season altering.
11. Chicago Bears
Week 6: 27-21 win vs. New York Giants
Week 7: at Washington Redskins
The Chicago Bears were back to their old antics during Week 6, taking down the New York Giants with a well-rounded 27-21 victory. The win helped Chicago move to 4-2 and maintain a tie on top of the NFC North.
The Bears will now go on the road to face the Washington Redskins.
Jay Cutler was 24-of-36 for 262 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions, and Matt Forte had 111 yards of total offense. Brandon Marshall caught nine passes for 87 yards and two touchdowns, and Martellus Bennett had six receptions for 68.
No matter which way you cut it, Chicago's offense is dangerous.
Tim Jennings picked up two interceptions and returned one for a 48-yard touchdown, and Zack Bowman had a pick as well. Lance Briggs tallied a sack, and Chicago continued to play a physically dominant brand of football.
Chicago has always been a good football team, but in 2013, it seems as if the skill players have brought it all together.
10. Detroit Lions
Week 6: 31-17 win at Cleveland Browns
Week 7: vs. Cincinnati Bengals
The Detroit Lions have one of the best offensive units in football. During Week 6, the defense displayed that postseason upside by mounting a comeback victory.
It wasn't easy, but the Lions made it work.
Matthew Stafford was 25-of-43 for 248 yards, four touchdowns and one interception, completing throws to seven separate receivers. Joseph Fauria caught three passes for 34 yards, and every one of those receptions went for a touchdown.
Reggie Bush added 135 yards of total offense, and Detroit scored 24 consecutive points to secure a critical victory.
Defensively, Devin Taylor and Willie Young registered sacks, while DeAndre Levy came up with two interceptions. That brings his total to four picks on the season, which has played a major role in Detroit overcoming the underwhelming play of Ndamukong Suh.
A Week 7 game against the Cincinnati Bengals will be a great way to determine just how legitimate a postseason threat Detroit is.
9. Green Bay Packers
Week 6: 19-17 win at Baltimore Ravens
Week 7: vs. Cleveland Browns
The Green Bay Packers needed a road victory after dropping their first two outings away from home. They responded in excellent fashion, using a balanced attack to overcome injuries and defeat the Ravens 19-17.
As encouraging as the performance was, the impact from the losses of Randall Cobb and James Jones cannot be understated.
Fortunately, Green Bay survived Week 6.
Jarrett Boykin dropped a number of passes and was generally disappointing, but he turned a drop-off into a 43-yard gain to spark a huge second half. Aaron Rodgers hit Jordy Nelson on a 64-yard touchdown, and Jermichael Finley had a big 52-yard catch of his own.
Defensively, A.J. Hawk had three sacks, while both Micah Hyde and Nick Perry registered one apiece. According to Tom Silverstein of The Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, Perry will miss time with a fractured foot.
Green Bay is banged up, but no one will argue with victories.
8. Cincinnati Bengals
Week 6: 27-24 OT win at Buffalo Bills
Week 7: at Detroit Lions
The Cincinnati Bengals made strides during Week 6, surviving a road scare against a Buffalo Bills team that has long given them trouble. Behind Andy Dalton's heroics, Cincinnati ended up walking out of Buffalo with a 27-24 overtime win.
Up next is another tough road game against the Detroit Lions.
Dalton was 26-of-40 for 337 yards, three touchdowns and one interception, and he also led the overtime scoring drive. BenJarvus Green-Ellis had his second consecutive big game with 86 yards on 18 carries, while Giovani Bernard had 100 yards of total offense with 15 carries for 28 yards.
Bernard, A.J. Green and Marvin Jones all caught touchdown passes.
As a unit, the Bengals registered five sacks, and Vontaze Burfict had a fumble recovery. Geno Atkins, Carlos Dunlap, Wallace Gilberry, James Harrison, Domata Peko and Brandon Thompson all came up with sacks.
Cincinnati is now in first place in the AFC North.
7. San Francisco 49ers
Week 6: 32-20 win vs. Arizona Cardinals
Week 7: at Tennessee Titans
The San Francisco 49ers have climbed back from 1-2 to win three consecutive games and reach 4-2. They are now back within one game of the lead in the NFC West.
That's without Michael Crabtree and Mario Manningham still.
Colin Kaepernick was 16-of-29 for 252 yards, two touchdowns and one interception during Week 6 against the Arizona Cardinals. Frank Gore ran the ball 25 times for 101 yards, and Vernon Davis hauled in eight passes for 180 yards and two touchdowns.
Kendall Hunter found the end zone for a rushing score as well.
Corey Lemonier picked up a sack for the 49ers, but Arizona was able to move the ball at will. Fortunately, Eric Reid and Carlos Rogers came up with vital interceptions that offset the Cardinals' momentum.
Kaepernick still hasn't lived up to the hype of his Week 1 dominance, but he played well enough during Week 6.
6. Indianapolis Colts
Week 6: 9-19 loss at San Diego Chargers
Week 7: vs. Denver Broncos
Week 6 was an example of a relatively inexperienced team looking ahead and falling victim to their current opponent. The Colts fell apart with a 19-9 loss against the San Diego Chargers on Monday Night Football, and they have to face the Denver Broncos next.
It'll be an uphill battle, to say the least, but the Colts are still in control of the AFC South.
Andrew Luck was 18-of-30 for 202 yards, no touchdowns and one interception against the Chargers. Reggie Wayne caught five passes for 88 yards, topping 1,000 for his career. T.Y. Hilton added five receptions of his own.
Indianapolis needs Trent Richardson to do better than 10 carries for 40 yards, but at this point, it'll need to be perfect against Denver.
Cory Redding and Kelvin Sheppard recorded sacks, but Indianapolis' defense struggles to stop the run. The Colts allowed a 100-yard rusher and a wide receiver with 100-plus yards and failed to force a turnover.
Indianapolis is a legitimate force, but Week 7 could lead to a dangerous loss.
5. New Orleans Saints
Week 6: 27-30 loss at New England Patriots
Week 7: Bye Week
The New Orleans Saints were seconds away from defeating the New England Patriots during Week 6. Rather than remaining focused on the task at hand, the Saints celebrated with a game ball, decided to throw the ball instead of running the clock out and gave New England another chance to shine.
Tom Brady rose to the occasion, and New Orleans dropped its first game of the season.
Prior to the final minute collapse, Drew Brees was 17-of-36 for 236 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Khiry Robinson carried it seven times for 53 yards and a score, while both Travaris Cadet and Kenny Stills caught touchdowns.
In the end, though, it was all about defense.
The Saints came up with five sacks, and Keenan Lewis tallied an interception. Cameron Jordan starred with his fifth sack in six games, but a premature celebration by the players and coaches decided this game.
New Orleans enters its bye week with a puzzling loss behind it.
4. Seattle Seahawks
Week 6: 20-13 win vs. Tennessee Titans
Week 7: at Arizona Cardinals
The Seattle Seahawks rebounded from a Week 5 loss by defeating the Tennessee Titans by a score of 20-13 in Week 6. The win pushes Seattle to 5-1 and helps the Seahawks to tighten their grip on the NFC West as the San Francisco 49ers begin to streak.
Up next is a road game against division rival Arizona.
Marshawn Lynch ran for two touchdowns during Week 6, and Russell Wilson was 23-of-31 for 257 yards. Lynch finished with 77 rushing yards and 78 receiving yards, and Doug Baldwin tallied four receptions for 48 yards.
In the end, this game proved to be about which team could grind better on defense.
Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas each came up with interceptions, and Seattle held Tennessee to 171 passing yards. The run defense was just as exceptional, holding the Titans to 66 yards on 20 carries as a team.
This team will only get better as the season goes on.
3. New England Patriots
Week 6: 30-27 win vs. New Orleans Saints
Week 7: New York Jets
The New England Patriots survived what should have been a loss to the New Orleans Saints by stepping up with a last-minute touchdown. They received no shortage of favors, but in the end, a win is a win.
Now, New England is 5-1 with a banged-up roster.
Tom Brady was 25-of-43 for 269 yards, one touchdown and one interception, finding Kenbrell Thompkins for a 17-yard game-winning score with five seconds remaining. Stevan Ridley ran the ball 20 times for 96 yards and two touchdowns, and Aaron Dobson had six catches for 63 yards.
With Rob Gronkowski expected to return soon, the offense will only get better.
The questions for New England are on defense, where injuries are ravaging every position. Already without Vince Wilfork, Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston reports that Jerod Mayo will miss the rest of the regular season with a torn pectoral muscle.
He has led New England in tackles in every season since 2008.
2. Kansas City Chiefs
Week 6: 24-7 win vs. Oakland Raiders
Week 7: vs. Houston Texans
The Kansas City Chiefs are 6-0 with an extraordinary defense, a balanced offense and a dangerous special teams unit. During Week 6, the Chiefs defeated the Oakland Raiders 24-7 in a game where the defense needed to make a major push.
A record of 6-0 is a comfortable place to be.
Jamaal Charles has 475 rushing yards and five touchdowns on the ground, as well as 33 receptions for 300 yards and two touchdowns through the air. Alex Smith didn't do much during Week 6, but he continues to play responsible football and shines when Kansas City needs a big play.
As balanced as the offense may be, this team dominates through defense.
Husain Abdullah had a pick-six, and both Marcus Cooper and Quintin Demps came up with interceptions as well. The Chiefs registered nine sacks to increase their league lead. Justin Houston now has 9.5, while Tamba Hali has 7.5 through just six games.
No one can stop the Chiefs' pass rush, and as long as Charles gets his touches, very few will be able to slow down the offense. Kansas City is for real.
1. Denver Broncos
Week 6: 35-19 win vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
Week 7: at Indianapolis Colts
The Denver Broncos are a 6-0 football team that was criticized for a lackluster effort during a 16-point win. That's right: A small portion of local fans booed the Broncos offense because a 35-19 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars wasn't impressive enough.
When a 16-point win is disappointing, you're doing something right.
Peyton Manning was 28-of-42 for 295 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, raising his numbers to 22 scores and two picks through six weeks. Knowshon Moreno starred with 104 yards of total offense and three rushing touchdowns, and Denver's balance continued to overwhelm its opposition.
Now, Von Miller prepares to return from suspension during Week 7.
The fact that Denver is 6-0 with wins that have re-established the term "dominance" is impressive, but it's worth noting that they're about to get drastically better. Miller was second in the AFC in sacks last season, and Champ Bailey still hasn't reached full health.
If this is what a banged-up Broncos team looks like, the rest of the NFL should fear a healthy one.
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