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NFL Power Rankings Week 6: Can the Broncos climb back to relevance?

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1-4 never felt so good.

NFL: Denver Broncos at Los Angeles Chargers
Remember when Von Miller trade rumors were a thing? Good times.
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

As always, rankings represent how likely a team’s chances at the Lombardi look. That means some teams may be higher than teams they lost to, and records won’t always match where they’re placed.

Grease fires

They’re a lot like your bathroom after a long night of drinking capped off with Taco Bell.

32. Miami Dolphins (0-4)

31. Cincinnati Bengals (0-5)

One fun thing about the tank for Tua contest: all of the remaining win-less teams play each other at least once except for Cinci and Washington. Whoever winds up with the first pick will really “earn” it.

30. New York Jets (0-5)

29. Washington (0-5)

The only reason they remain above the more hapless teams is they’re the first squad to score a touchdown on the Patriots defense. That’s it. They’re every bit as bad as 32-30 and probably twice as dysfunctional. Can’t imagine rooting for this dumpster fire.

Sort of interesting

It doesn’t make your eyeballs bleed to watch them.

28. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-4)

A Mason Rudolph injury from upsetting Baltimore. Now they’re down to a third string backup they only added after trading Josh Dobbs. Even as good as Minkah Fitzpatrick and Devin Bush have looked in spots, the fact that they’re missing their first and third round picks in 2020 seems insane.

27. Arizona Cardinals (1-3-1)

At one point this Sunday, I was explaining the Kliff Kingsbury-era to my girlfriend. I told her how their offense runs a lot of the Air Raid stuff I love to use in my Madden franchise, but without any of the fourth down aggression I utilize.

26. New York Giants (2-3)

Guess who’s thrown two touchdowns, three picks, and just had a 31.7 QBR? Yup. If Daniel Jones hadn’t won his first game, we’d be hearing about it more. Highlight plays are helping to mask a rookie trying to figure it out on a bad team.

The good bad teams.

The records are hiding some intriguing pieces. They won’t go anywhere, but the journey could be fun.

25. Atlanta Falcons (1-4)

My very early favorite for Lincoln Riley in 2020.

24. Denver Broncos (1-4)

An optimist will tell you the Broncos should really be 3-2. A pessimist will tell you they should trade Von Miller.

I’m just going to tell you that game against the Chargers was a bucking flast.

23. Tennessee Titans (2-3)

Fun fact: Marcus Mariota still hasn’t thrown an interception. He’s kind of the test case for if an analyst understands a QB’s role in sacks, though, because he’s averaging more than four a game.

22. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-3)

I keep asking myself if the Broncos D does enough to stop Jacksonville if Mike Purcell, Kareem Jackson, and Alexander Johnson play.

I also can’t watch broadcast booths review holding calls without the urge to claw my eyes out now.

21. Minnesota Vikings (3-2)

Minny’s season is the 2019 poster child for how a schedule impacts the narrative:

Week 1: Beat up on bad Falcons defense. Super Bowl Contender!

Week 2: Kirk poops himself against the Packers. Trash!

Week 3: Team is good enough to play with so-so QB. Playoff contender?

Week 4: Team is not good enough to play with bad $84 million QB.

Week 5: Giants secondary will make a lot of people look good.

Let’s get off the carousel. Yes, they have a winning record. They’re also comfortably lagging behind the other three teams in the NFC North right now. Wake me up if that changes.

20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3)

Shaq Barrett made it five games into the season before he had his first sack-less performance.

“Contenders.”

They believe things could break right and may turn into desperate buyers at the deadline.

19. Los Angeles Chargers (2-3)

Can’t rule them out if Derwin James or some of the other pieces come back healthy, can’t count on that to happen in time to save the season, so here they are.

18. Chicago Bears (2-3)

At one point during the game against Oakland, a couple of interesting hypothetical trades were floated.

Would have to think the Bears do here. Nick Foles is overrated.

This one is more tough to call. Dalton would be a noticeable upgrade over what the Bears currently have at quarterback.

17. Carolina Panthers (3-2)

If Kyle Allen had a mustache, he’d be the media darling.

16. Oakland Raiders (3-2)

After the last two weeks, the Broncos’ embarrassing Monday Night performance feels a little better. Okay, that’s a lie, but a comforting one.

Contenders?

You can’t rule them out just yet.

15. Cleveland Browns

It’s starting to look like the Browns would be hanging with the Vikings if they were in the NFC, rather than AFC North. We can have some faith they’ll figure it out by year’s end, but time is starting to press in like the 49ers’ line did last night.

14. Detroit Lions (2-1-1)

13. Indianapolis Colts (3-2)

Is it taboo to wonder if this piece is starting to age like wine?

Should the Denver Broncos draft Bradley Chubb? - Mile High Report

It comes down to this: would you prefer a top 10 pass rusher in the NFL or the best guard for 10+ years? Nelson looks like he could be that good barring some health luck and what he could do for the rest of the offense is intriguing.

12. Baltimore Ravens (3-2)

Remember when Lamar Jackson was the toast of the NFL world and everyone was rushing to tell you how he figured it all out as a passer? Do you remember how I said it’s perfectly reasonable to buy that he’s improving and still wonder how much the Dolphins and Cardinals inflated his numbers?

I do.

11. Buffalo Bills (4-1)

Tennessee’s defense is pretty legit and Josh Allen’s raw stats sure make him look decent. One thing stands out as a bit of a turd in the punch bowl, though: he posted a 23.3 QBR.

Maybe I’m a hater. It just seems hard to escape this feeling that he remains the dead weight holding back a championship level defense. I’m studying the Titans game a lot more for this week’s posts, so perhaps that changes my mind.

10. Los Angeles Rams (3-2)

9. Houston Texans (3-2)

We’ll find out a lot about this team after they head to Kansas City next week.

8. Dallas Cowboys (3-2)

So I don’t get why pass interference is reviewable if they’re all but impossible to overturn. I also don’t understand why roughing the passer isn’t reviewable when it has as big an impact on games and looks even more arbitrary.

In fact, if I was a conspiracy theorist, I’d start to buy into the camp that thinks refs and the league are secretly investing large amounts of money on the over/unders in these games. If.

7. Seattle Seahawks (4-1)

Turns out the Seahawks are a missed field goal better than the Rams. Still, it feels tough to trust Pete Carroll to not get in his own way. There should be little doubt at this point that Russell Wilson is one of very best quarterbacks in the league right now. That makes the fact that Brian Schottenheimer calls games like he has a rookie quarterback all the more frustrating.

If things break right, they might make Belichick sweat a little.

These teams may be able to beat New England on a neutral field. Maybe.

6. Philadelphia Eagles (3-2)

Biggest concerns: 1) Carson Wentz. 2) Perpetually bad injury luck.

5. Green Bay Packers (4-1)

Biggest concerns: 1) Matt LaFleuer’s off script play calling. 2) Run defense.

4. San Francisco 49ers

Biggest concerns: 1) Is Jimmy G more like Jimmy Bad? 2) Secondary.

2. Kansas City Chiefs (4-1)

Biggest concerns: 1) Mahomes’ ankle 2) Run defense.

3. New Orleans Saints (4-1)

Biggest concerns: 1) What’s white, black, and yellow? 2) Drew Brees’ health/age.

So they DO bleed.

Let’s be honest, you probably stopped reading after New Orleans.

1. New England Patriots (5-0)