Never underestimate the mediocrity of the NFL.
Just when you thought the San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles would cruise to 6-0 records Sunday, both laid eggs against undermanned teams.
The 49ers rolled into Cleveland and took an early 7-0 lead before getting stuck in neutral and falling to backup quarterback P.J. Walker. The Eagles, meanwhile, turned the ball over four times in a confounding loss to Zach Wilson and the Jets at MetLife Stadium.
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The undefeated counter is now at zero.
Elsewhere, the Bills avoided disaster against the Giants, the Bengals got back to .500, the Lions dismantled the Bucs, and the Bears’ rebuild path is about to enter an uncertain realm with quarterback Justin Fields suffering a hand injury in the loss to the Vikings.
Here’s where each team stands after Week 6.
- San Francisco 49ers (5-1): A fluke loss on a rainy day in Cleveland is only a flesh wound to the NFL’s best team. Now, the injuries to Christian McCaffrey and Deebo Samuel? That’s a bit more serious.
- Kansas City Chiefs (5-1): The Chiefs’ lack of reliable receiving options not named Travis Kelce will bite them eventually. But the Broncos weren’t the team to take advantage of that weakness.
- Miami Dolphins (5-1): “Vending machine” Chase Claypool was inactive Sunday, and the Dolphins won by 21. If you need any clearer indication of the gap between the cream of the crop and the Bears, I can’t provide it.
- Detroit Lions (5-1): It’s time to talk with your friends and family about the Detroit Lions being legitimate Super Bowl contenders.
- Philadelphia Eagles (5-1): Jalen Hurts hasn’t been sharp all season, and it finally cost the Eagles on Sunday against the Jets. Hurts now has more interceptions this season than he did in all of 2022. Something is wrong in Philly.
- Buffalo Bills (4-2): Josh Allen unplugged the controller and plugged it back in at halftime Sunday, allowing the Bills to avoid an embarrassing loss to the Giants.
- Baltimore Ravens (4-2): The Ravens’ decision to travel to London early paid off. Good organizations always seem to make the easy call.
- Jacksonville Jaguars (4-2): Trevor Lawrence left the game with a knee injury but said he’s “OK.” Assuming that’s true, the Jags finally look like the contender they were hyped up to be in the offseason.
- Dallas Cowboys (4-2): I'm surprised Mike McCarthy's entire play sheet wasn't first and second-down runs.
- Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2): Hopefully, the Steelers used their bye week to help Matt Canada find the play sheet with the good calls on it.
- Cleveland Browns (3-2): The Browns’ defense has given up the fewest yards through five games of any team in over 50 years. All they need is Deshaun Watson not to lose them games once he returns.
- New York Jets (3-3): The Jets have “embarrassed” every quarterback they have played so far, to quote Robert Saleh. That’s actually not far from the truth. The Jets’ defense is legit, and Aaron Rodgers is somehow throwing passes already and walking without crutches. There’s New York voodoo in the air.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-2): Baker Mayfield’s career resurrection was put on hold Sunday when the Lions dominated the Bucs in Tampa. But hey, the creamsicle uniforms were a nice touch.
- Los Angeles Chargers (2-3): The Chargers always find a way to lose. They've truly raised it to an art form.
- Cincinnati Bengals (3-3): The NFL let the Bengals off the mat. Here comes Joe Burrow.
- Seattle Seahawks (3-2): The Seahawks outgained the Bengals 381 to 214 on Sunday but went just 5-for-12 on third down and just 1-for-5 in the red zone. Woof.
- Los Angeles Rams (3-3): Down three points at halftime, the Rams busted out a nine-run, 62-yard sequence to set up Cooper Kupp’s first touchdown of the season. Sean McVay is pushing the right buttons with a young, unproven group.
- New Orleans Saints (3-3): I see that Derek Carr threw short of the sticks on fourth down again. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
- Indianapolis Colts (3-3): The Colts have potential, but Sunday was a reminder of just how far they have to go.
- Washington Commanders (3-3): After a putrid effort against the Bears, the Commanders did their job with an ugly road win in Atlanta. Ron Rivera doing all he can to keep the train on the tracks and keep his job.
- Houston Texans (3-3): I’m buying all the DeMeco Ryans-C.J. Stroud stock. That’s going through the roof.
- Atlanta Falcons (3-3): Desmond Ridder is the definition of a JAG. Somedays he might be a JAG-plus. On Sunday, he was a JAG-minus. It’s hard to win with those under center.
- Las Vegas Raiders (3-3): With Jimmy Garoppolo’s status for Week 7 up in the air, we could be looking at Tyson Bagent vs. Brian Hoyer/ Aidan O’Connell at Soldier Field. I think it could be worse. Not sure how, though.
- Green Bay Packers (2-2): The Packers are used to having a quarterback who could rise above whatever issues the team has and will them to victory. Those days are long gone.
- Minnesota Vikings (2-4): The Vikings beat the Bears, and that gets you zero points in these rankings. From what I saw for three hours Sunday, Minnesota is a bad football team that does very little correctly.
- Tennessee Titans (2-4): Malik Willis? Will Levis? It doesn’t matter. This season is a wrap for the Titans.
- New York Giants (1-5): The Giants might end up in prime position to land Caleb Williams or Drake Maye. If only they hadn’t just signed Daniel Jones to a four-year, $160 million contract.
- Chicago Bears (1-5): After Justin Fields’ injury, the Good Shepherd (Tyson Bagent) might be all that stands between the Bears and a completely lost season.
- Arizona Cardinals (1-5): The Cardinals are well-coached, but the talent gap is hard to overcome on a week-to-week basis.
- New England Patriots (1-5): I think it’s time for Mac Jones and the Patriots to agree to see other people.
- Denver Broncos (1-5): Fire sale in Denver starting in 3….2…..1….
- Carolina Panthers (0-6): People can point to trading DJ Moore as Scott Fitterer’s big blunder. But I think hiring Frank Reich was the bigger mistake.