NFL Power Rankings, Week 6: Cowboys, together with CB Trevon Diggs, are beginning to get away


One large week from an unheralded or under-the-radar participant is a marvel. Five weeks? Call it what it’s: a step forward.

It’s Breakout Players Week at The Athletic NFL Power Rankings. From a large receiver-turned-running again in Atlanta to a second-year go rusher in Seattle to a middle in Los Angeles who didn’t play a snap closing season, we’re taking a deep dive into probably the most sudden stars from the primary quarter of the season.

First, a reminder of the way those scores paintings. Our personnel of NFL newshounds and editors put up their ballots, and the scores are a composite of the ones votes. And every week, a unique beat creator joins nationwide creator Lindsay Jones to discover a unique theme. We hope through now you’ve gotten “Everything is Awesome” from your head, and are able to get into all of the breakout avid gamers with Raiders beat creator Vic Tafur, who lately wrote in regards to the rising legend of Raiders receiver Hunter Renfrow.

Before we get to the scores, a couple of notes from this week’s balloting:

  • The hole on the best is tiny, and our panelists are hardly ever in settlement about which crew will have to be No. 1. The undefeated Cardinals gained 13 of 25 first-place votes, but in addition gained a couple of second- and third-place votes, and one every at No. 4 and No. 6. It was once just right sufficient to deal with a slim lead over Buffalo, however the Bills have won flooring since closing week.
  • Our electorate are purchasing into the Cowboys, who climbed two extra spots this week, as much as No. 6. Every voter put Dallas within the Top 10, and one poll had the Cowboys at No. 2.
  • Our personnel is puzzled through the Seahawks, who fell six spots after dropping to the Rams closing week. Our panelists ranked Seattle any place from No. 11 to No. 25. The Seahawks are a perennial contender, so do they get the good thing about the doubt in a crowded box of two- and three-loss groups? Or do you push Seattle all the way down to the ground 1/3 of the league because it embarks on its first stretch of video games with out Russell Wilson?
  • The Chiefs proceed to slip, and simply slightly stay in our Top 10 after dropping their 1/3 recreation of the season. More notable is that Kansas City is our fifth-ranked crew within the AFC after dominating the convention for the previous two seasons.

1. Arizona Cardinals (5-0)

Previous rank: 1

Week 5 consequence: Beat the 49ers, 17-10

Breakout participant: Fantasy soccer manufacturing apart, this has been rather the begin to the season for Chase Edmonds, whom the Cardinals believed might be their every-down working again. Hes averaging 5.5 yards in step with lift (just about a backyard in step with lift above his profession reasonable) and has change into the most important a part of the Cardinals’ brief passing recreation, with 26 objectives in 5 video games. Now we simply wish to see Edmonds get finally zone (James Conner has 5 of the groups 8 dashing touchdowns; quarterback Kyler Murray has the opposite 3).

2. Buffalo Bills (4-1)

Previous rank: 2

Week 5 consequence: Beat the Chiefs, 38-20

Breakout participant: When the Bills misplaced to the Chiefs within the AFC Championship Game closing yr, Buffalo normal supervisor Brandon Beane bemoaned no longer having anyone like tight finish Travis Kelce. Maybe Dawson Knox took that for my part. He had 3 catches for a career-high 117 yards within the win over the Chiefs Sunday night time and is the primary tight lead to Bills historical past with a landing in 4 instantly video games.

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-1)

Previous rank: 3

Week 5 consequence: Beat the Dolphins, 45-17

Breakout participant: It’s tough for a tender skill-position participant to damage via on a crew as deep and as skilled because the Bucs. But Tyler Johnson is growing a distinct segment as a intensity receiver who’s greater than in a position to filling in if any of the Big 3 (Mike Evans, Chris Godwin or Antonio Brown) is out. Johnson, a fifth-round select of Minnesota in 2020, is averaging greater than 15 yards in step with catch on his seven receptions whilst additionally contributing on particular groups as he awaits a larger function on offense.

4. Los Angeles Rams (4-1)

Previous rank: 4

Week 5 consequence: Beat the Seahawks, 26-17

Breakout participant: The Rams have one of the crucial NFLs highest-performing offenses (No. 2 in EPA in step with play, in line with TruMedia). One reason? They lead the NFL in sack share, at simply 2.3. Center Brian Allen has been the marvel standout at the offensive line. Allen, who began 9 video games in 2019 sooner than struggling a season-ending knee harm, didnt play a snap in 2020 and didnt transfer right into a beginning function till coaching camp, however he has been a rock for brand new Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford.

Chargers WR Mike Williams had a large Sunday vs. the Browns. (Gary A. Vasquez / USA Today)

5. Los Angeles Chargers (4-1)

Previous rank: 6

Week 5 consequence: Beat the Browns, 47-42

Breakout participant: Justin Herbert will get all of the headlines, however what has gotten into Mike Williams? He had 8 catches for 165 yards on Sunday, and in a freelance yr, Williams’ 471 receiving yards are 5th within the NFL. He is the usage of his 6-foot-4 body to make catches down the sphere seven have long gone for 20 yards or extra and he has been grab. You may just make a robust case that he and Keenan Allen were the most efficient duo within the league.

6. Dallas Cowboys (4-1)

Previous rank: 8

Week 5 consequence: Beat the Giants, 44-20

Breakout participant: It says so much in regards to the state of the Cowboys that we had such a lot of choices right here, from tight finish Dalton Schultz (3 touchdowns) to rookie defensive lineman Osa Odighizuwa (two sacks and 8 quarterback hits) and rookie linebacker Micah Parsons (2 1/2 sacks and 3 tackles for a loss), however the one proper solution is “Hard Knocks” celebrity Trevon Diggs. The second-year cornerback leads the NFL in interceptions with six in 5 video games (doubling his select general from his rookie yr), together with one he returned for a landing. Diggs is the kind of playmaking cornerback Dallas has been lacking for years.

7. Green Bay Packers (4-1)

Previous rank: 5

Week 5 consequence: Beat the Bengals, 25-22 (OT)

Breakout participant: Inside linebacker DeVondre Campbell was once a productive participant in Atlanta, in addition to in Arizona closing yr, however now hes filling a big hollow for Green Bay. His talent to create turnovers (two interceptions and a recovered fumble) has been a shiny spot for the Packers protection. Hes taking part in on a one-year, $2 million contract, which is popping out to be rather the free-agent cut price.

8. Baltimore Ravens (4-1)

Previous rank: 10

Week 5 consequence: Beat the Colts, 31-25

Breakout participant: Lamar Jackson? Can we are saying that? On Monday night time, Jackson turned into the primary participant in NFL historical past with 400 passing yards and an 85 % of completion share in a recreation. The former MVP had 499 of the Ravens’ 523 yards of offense, and not anything towards Josh Allen, however Jackson will have to be getting extra MVP attention as a result of his protection hasnt post two shutouts.

9. Cleveland Browns (3-2)

Previous rank: 9

Week 5 consequence: Lost to the Chargers, 47-42

Breakout participant: Well, every now and then we pass over on draft potentialities. Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah every now and then were given caught on blocks and disappeared towards best groups at Notre Dame, nevertheless it seems possibly offenses werent nervous about any individual else. On the Browns, the rookie linebacker has been flying round and making performs on the line of scrimmage and down the sphere. He has 21 tackles, 3 go break-ups and a pressured fumble. He additionally appears to be OK after leaving Sundays recreation with a throat contusion.

10. Kansas City Chiefs (2-3)

Previous rank: 7

Week 5 consequence: Lost to the Bills, 38-20

Breakout participant: All Jody Fortson does is catch touchdowns, mainly. As the Chiefs seek for a competent 1/3 (and fourth and 5th) receiving choice in the back of Tyreek Hill and Travis Kelce, they’ve at a minimal came upon a tight red-zone goal in Fortson, a 6-foot-6, 230-pound receiver who spent lots of the previous two seasons on Kansas City’s follow squad. He’s stuck 4 passes in 5 video games this yr (on all 4 of his objectives), and two were touchdowns.

11. New Orleans Saints (3-2)

Previous rank: 17

Week 5 consequence: Beat the Washington Football Team, 33-22

Breakout participant: Wide receiver Marquez Callaway was once a preseason celebrity for the Saints, and his regular-season manufacturing is in spite of everything catching up. After 85 receiving yards towards Washington (and one landing catch on a Hail Mary go from Jameis Winston), Callaway has already surpassed his 2020 receiving yardage general and is constant to broaden rapport with Winston as a real downfield risk.

12. Cincinnati Bengals (3-2)

Previous rank: 16

Week 5 consequence: Lost to the Packers, 25-22 (OT)

Breakout participant: Remember long ago when JaMarr Chase stated the ball was once other within the NFL than in faculty, and thats why he possibly had some drops within the preseason? He obviously were given used to it. Sunday, Chase had six catches for a career-high 159 yards and a landing to change into the second one participant in NFL historical past at age 21 or more youthful with a minimum of 400 yards receiving and 5 touchdowns of their first 5 video games. Randy Moss was once the opposite.

13. Tennessee Titans (3-2)

Previous rank: 18

Week 5 consequence: Beat the Jaguars, 37-19

Breakout avid gamers: Derrick Henry is working over 10-man fronts however are you actually shocked? Only two avid gamers are clocking in and going to paintings on protection and thats protection Kevin Byard and linebacker Harold Landry. Byard is having a bounce-back season and had 10 tackles, an interception and a fumble go back for a landing towards the Jaguars. Landry had two sacks, expanding his general to 4 1/2 for the season.

14. Carolina Panthers (3-2)

Previous rank: 15

Week 5 consequence: Lost to the Eagles, 21-18

Breakout participant: Can we imagine somebody who has already had two seasons with greater than 1,200 all-purpose yards a breakout candidate? Yes. And we can. Because that is our Power Rankings and we will be able to do what we wish. DJ Moore suits right here as a result of hes at the cusp of turning into a real No. 1 receiver (even supposing hes no longer paid find it irresistible on his personal crew, cough, cough, Robby Anderson). Through 5 video games, Moore is fourth within the league in catches (35), in the back of handiest transparent high-target large receivers like Davante Adams, Tyreek Hill and Keenan Allen. He wishes another landing catch to check his season excessive (4).

15. San Francisco 49ers (2-3)

Previous rank: 14

Week 5 consequence: Lost to the Cardinals, 17-10

Breakout participant: Hes overlooked a while with a shoulder harm, however Elijah Mitchell has change into the 49ers’ No. 1 working again, one thing none people would have predicted two months in the past. Mitchell, an undrafted rookie from Louisiana-Lafayette, climbed the intensity chart as a result of accidents to veterans Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson Jr., and moved forward of draft select Trey Sermon. He averaged 4.78 yards in step with lift Sunday towards a stout Arizona protection.

16. Denver Broncos (3-2)

Previous rank: 13

Week 5 consequence: Lost to the Steelers, 27-19

Breakout participant: The Broncos misplaced Jerry Jeudy after which Okay.J. Hamler to harm, however sure-handed Tim Patrick has been there to catch the slack. The 6-foot-4 Utah product had seven receptions on 9 objectives for 89 yards Sunday, and his objectives have long gone up the closing 4 weeks (from 4-5 to 6-9). He has 302 yards on 22 catches this season. Wait, did this simply change into a fable soccer waiver-wire pickup column?

17. Las Vegas Raiders (3-2)

Previous rank: 11

Week 5 consequence: Lost to the Bears, 20-9

Breakout participant: Hunter Renfrow has long gone from lovable little third-down man to a hard-nosed enforcer on pretend punts who is difficult to hide on any down. He first gave realize that this yr was once going to be other when he were given the most efficient of Rams nook Jalen Ramsey on the groups intrasquad practices in August. Now, he’s one in every of just a handful of receivers to have crowned 50 yards each recreation. He has even used a patented, slow-developing triple transfer that hypnotizes defensive backs.

Darrell Taylor has been the Seahawks maximum constant go rusher. (Brad Rempel / USA Today)

18. Seattle Seahawks (2-3)

Previous rank: 12

Week 5 consequence: Lost to the Rams, 26-17

Breakout participant: Consider us cautiously constructive about second-year go rusher Darrell Taylor, who overlooked his whole rookie season convalescing from a leg harm. Hes been the Seahawks maximum constant go rusher, with one sack in every of the Seahawks 5 video games. They will want lots extra of that during coming weeks if they’ve to win video games with protection whilst quarterback Russell Wilson recovers from finger surgical procedure.

19. Chicago Bears (3-2)

Previous rank: 22 (tie)

Week 5 consequence: Beat the Raiders, 20-9

Breakout participant: We attempted actually tough to discover a participant as opposed to Justin Fields, however its inconceivable. Its Fields, who in point of fact understood the project of what it takes to be a breakout participant. Hes finished a minimum of 60 % of his passes in his earlier two begins (and threw his first landing closing week towards the Raiders). And whilst the Bears offense remains to be somewhat conservative, Fields is the crew’s most enjoyable participant and the rationale smartly be staring at each Sunday.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-3)

Previous rank: 22 (tie)

Week 5 consequence: Beat the Broncos, 27-19

Breakout participant: Diontae Johnson has gotten higher every yr since changing into a third-round select of Toledo in 2019. Now he’s obviously Pittsburgh’s No. 1 goal, even sooner than JuJu Smith-Schuster was once injured. Johnson has 25 receptions for 305 yards and 3 touchdowns, which in case you do the mathematics (we dont really feel find it irresistible), you’ll see he’s headed for an enormous yr for the Steelers and shrewd fable homeowners.

21. Minnesota Vikings (2-3)

Previous rank: 20

Week 5 consequence: Beat the Lions, 19-17

Breakout participant: Its tough to get objectives and touchdowns whilst taking part in along Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen, and but receiver Okay.J. Osborn has become an excellent WR3 in Minnesota, only one yr after no longer registering a catch or perhaps a passing goal in his rookie season. Osborns manufacturing has dipped somewhat previously two video games after his scorching get started (he had 167 yards within the first two weeks), however hes given a spark to a Vikings offense that has wanted it.

22. New England Patriots (2-3)

Previous rank: 19

Week 5 consequence: Beat the Texans, 25-22

Breakout participant: Mac Jones? Please. As the nice QB guru Rex Ryan stated on TV Monday, You have a pea-shooter at quarterback. Hes nearer to Danny Wuerffel than he’s Tom Brady. Jones will have to be positive, however had been going with tight finish Hunter Henry in spite of everything making just right on all of the doable he confirmed with the Chargers. Henry was once focused a team-high 8 instances on Sunday and had six receptions for 75 yards, together with a landing. He has 20 catches on 26 pea pictures this season, and he and Jones will handiest get extra in sync.

Javon Hargrave (97) has been a shiny mild for the Eagles this season. (Griffin Zetterberg / USA Today)

23. Philadelphia Eagles (2-3)

Previous rank: 25

Week 5 consequence: Beat the Panthers, 21-18

Breakout participant: With his subsequent sack, defensive take on Javon Hargrave will surpass his profession single-season excessive (6 1/2 with the Steelers in 2018), and hes already set a profession mark for quarterback hits (9, in simply 5 video games). His constant inside go rush, particularly in live performance with Fletcher Cox, has been the most efficient a part of the season for the Eagles.

24. Indianapolis Colts (1-4)

Previous rank: 24

Week 5 consequence: Lost to the Ravens, 31-25

Breakout participant: Jonathan Taylor confirmed his knee wasn’t bothering him an excessive amount of when he took off for a 76-yard landing off a display go towards the Ravens on Monday night time. He additionally confirmed his energy on some runs. He has 283 yards dashing and receiving within the closing two video games.

25. Washington Football Team (2-3)

Previous rank: 21

Week 5 consequence: Lost to the Saints, 33-22

Breakout participant: We assume it says so much in regards to the state of the Washington Football Team that it was once actually tough to select a worthy breakout participant. So right here we’re with defensive take on Jonathan Allen, who, when issues are going smartly for the Washington protection, is overshadowed through a few of his teammates at the defensive entrance. But misplaced in Washingtons front-seven struggles this season is how constant Allen has been. Hes already credited with 12 quarterback hits, simply 3 shy of his profession excessive. That’s the kind of manufacturing Washington wishes after it signed him to a four-year, $72 million contract previous this yr.

26. Atlanta Falcons (2-3)

Previous rank: 28

Week 5 consequence: Beat the Jets, 27-20.

Breakout participant: It feels a bit bizarre to be naming a 30-year-old, nine-year veteran as a breakout participant, however its like the class was once constructed for Cordarrelle Patterson, who’s shattering the expectancies any people had for him in Atlanta. Patterson, who’s now formally indexed as a working again as an alternative of a large receiver, already has 41 dashing makes an attempt (his profession excessive is 64, closing yr with the Bears). Hes averaging 4.2 yards in step with lift and 11.8 yards in step with catch. Perhaps his manufacturing is an indictment of the Falcons total offensive play, however its nonetheless thrilling to peer a participant experience this kind of profession renaissance.

27. Miami Dolphins (1-4)

Previous rank: 26

Week 5 consequence: Lost to the Buccaneers, 45-17

Breakout avid gamers: The Dolphins havent had so much to be at liberty about in 2021, however possibly they in spite of everything have some key items to construct round their quarterback. On Sunday, working again Myles Gaskin turned into the 1/3 Dolphins participant with a minimum of 10 receptions in a recreation this season (becoming a member of Jaylen Waddle and Mike Gesicki). It’s the primary time in franchise historical past that 3 avid gamers have recorded a 10-reception recreation in one season. Of direction, it might simply imply that Miami is dropping so much.

28. New York Giants (1-4)

Previous rank: 27

Week 5 consequence: Lost to the Cowboys, 44-20

Breakout participant: The Giants were looking forward to Daniel Jones to make this kind of bounce. Through 5 video games, the previous first-round select quarterback has profession highs in of completion share (64.3) and yards in step with strive (8.2). Hes additionally taking fewer sacks and is making fewer errors, with only one interception and 3 fumbles (however none previously two video games). His advanced play hasnt translated into wins but for the Giants, however its tough to position an excessive amount of of that blame on Jones himself. Now we wait to peer when hell be cleared to go back after struggling a concussion towards Dallas.

29. Houston Texans (1-4)

Previous rank: 31

Week 5 consequence: Lost to the Patriots, 25-22

Breakout participant: Were no longer going to mention Davis Mills grew to become the nook and in truth seemed like an NFL quarterback towards the Patriots however in case you say it, we wont disagree too loudly. The rookie made all of the other types of throws youre intended to and completed with 3 landing passes and 312 passing yards, finishing 72.4 %. He didnt even throw an interception. Mills turned into the one rookie no longer named Russell Wilson to throw 3 TDs towards a Bill Belichick protection. Houston lovers could have even forgotten they’ve Deshaun Watson and dont play him. Too a lot?

30. New York Jets (1-4)

Previous rank: 29

Week 5 consequence: Lost to the Falcons, 27-20

Breakout participant: The Jets traded up within the draft to get guard Alijah Vera-Tucker. He had a sluggish begin to the season after lacking lots of the summer time and all the preseason with a pectoral harm, however the rookie is now beginning to display his capability. The Jets are working the ball higher in the back of him and he hasnt allowed a pass-rush drive since Week 3 (or a sack since Week 1, in line with Pro Football Focus).

31. Detroit Lions (0-5)

Previous rank: 31

Week 5 consequence: Lost to the Vikings, 19-17

Breakout participant: For as soon as, weren’t right here to pile at the Lions. This season, and particularly Sunday, has been tricky sufficient. This rebuild can be an extended, painful procedure, nevertheless it is helping to have proficient younger avid gamers like unfastened protection Tracy Walker, who had seven solo tackles (together with one for a loss) and a go breakup towards the Vikings. Dont let him go away in unfastened company, Detroit.

32. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-5)

Previous rank: 32

Week 5 consequence: Lost to the Titans, 37-19

Breakout participant: The handiest offensive skill-position participant we’re excited to look at on a weekly foundation (as opposed to Trevor Lawrence, as a result of, clearly) is large receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. He’s a daft athlete and a official deep risk … if handiest the Jaguars would constantly make him a part of the sport plan. Jacksonville’s offense was once at its very best this season vs. the Bengals in Week 4, when Shenault had seven objectives that ended in six catches for 99 yards. It’s a thriller why the Jags couldn’t get him extra excited by Week 5 towards Tennessee. He had only one goal, which went for 58 yards, past due within the recreation.

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(Photo: Matt Strasen / AP Images for Panini)


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