1-32 poll, plus tracking each team's confidence rating

The NFL Power Rankings love a good meme, just like everyone else. We decided to use the confidence ratings from our NFL Nation writers to summarize the first quarter of the NFL season.
Our weekly takeaways have our writers rate the team's confidence on a personal 1-10 scale. This is based on how they feel the team will move forward. We decided to compare their ratings starting in Week 1, when everyone is still young and there are many possibilities, to their feelings after six weeks of action (five for teams that have been byed), while also detailing the process that led to the confidence evolution. Some people are happy evolutions, like the Arizona Cardinals. Some have been a disappointment, while others are on a more steady track. It serves as a useful trimester progress report.

How we rank our Power Rankings. Our power panel, which includes more than 80 TV personalities, editors and writers evaluates how teams perform throughout the season.


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Previous ranking: 2

Week 1 confidence rating: 9.0

It's happening now: 9.4

The Cardinals keep winning and getting better every week. It started with Derrick Henry being stopped by the Titans in Week 1. It was then able to take down the Rams in Week 4. On Sunday, the Browns were beaten by it without Kliff Kingsbury. This team's success will continue to be demonstrated by their ability to win games on the road. Arizona will not be stopped if the Cardinals continue to score 32.3 points per contest. -- Josh Weinfuss

Previous ranking: 1

Week 1 confidence rating:

It's happening now: 7.8

The initial rating was accurate based on the performance of the Bills against the Steelers in the first game. Buffalo has been one of the most dominant teams in the NFL since then, winning every game except Monday's loss against the Titans. In truth, Buffalo's rating could have been higher after the win in Kansas City. This team has a high ceiling and it will only get better as it addresses the problems in Tennessee. The Bills have the potential to be one of the top teams in the AFC, or even the league. -- Alaina Getzenberg

Previous ranking: 3

Week 1 confidence rating: 8.

It's happening now: 8.4

The 5-1 Rams defeated the defending Super Bowl champion Buccaneers in convincing fashion. They beat the Seahawks and Colts in an "ugly" victory. They were humiliated to lose to the undefeated Cardinals, a team that the Rams had defeated eight times in consecutive meetings. Although the Rams have a great record in the NFL, it is too early to call them Super Bowl champions. This is evident in their modest rise from 8.4 to 8.4 in six games. To increase your confidence, here's the key: You must be consistent in all three phases regardless of who you are fighting. -- Lindsey Thiry

Previous ranking: 4

Week 1 confidence rating: 7.

It's happening now: 8.0

The Buccaneers are now dealing with a series of injuries after coming out of training camp looking as healthy as possible. Nine of the team's starters have missed 22 games. Antonio Brown also missed one game due to COVID-19 protocols. Their record stands at 5-1, which is a remarkable feat. This is largely due their pass rush and offense. It gets more interesting when you consider the New Orleans Saints and Chicago Bears, who are both top-10 defensive teams. What will the Bucs' offensive power be worth to them? -- Jenna Laine

Previous ranking: 6

Week 1 confidence rating: 7.

It's happening now: 9.1

Perhaps the confidence rating should be higher after the close-than-expected loss against Tampa Bay in the opener. Since then, the Cowboys have won three straight games in the NFC East. Dak Prescott's health is in doubt due to a calf strain. If he is healthy, wouldn't the Cowboys still be the favorite to win their last 11 games? Perhaps in Kansas City? Arizona? This team could be in a good playoff position and win the division. -- Todd Archer

play 2:08 What does Baltimore's win over the Chargers say about Ravens and Chargers? Pablo Torre and Domonique FOXWORTH react to the Ravens' victory over the Chargers 34-6.

Previous ranking: 8

Week 1 confidence rating:

It's happening now: 9.0

John Harbaugh has done a great job coaching Baltimore, leading them to a 5-1 record despite having 16 players injured reserve. After a disappointing loss to Las Vegas in the season opener, the Ravens appeared to be in serious trouble. They allowed huge plays on defense and failed to protect Lamar Jackson. Baltimore turned the tide quickly with dramatic fourth-quarter comebacks against the Chiefs, Colts, and Justin Tucker's winning field goal of 66 yards in Detroit. With a 28-point win over the Chargers on Sunday, the Ravens proved to be the AFC's best team with an impressive performance. -- Jamison Hensley

Previous ranking: 5

Week 1 confidence rating:

It's happening now: 7.5

It felt like it was a year ago that the 38-3 loss to Saints in their season opener felt. The Packers have now won five straight and haven't figured out yet their new defense. Aaron Rodgers has continued the connection that is possibly the best in the league with Davante Adams, while Aaron Jones (AJ Dillon) have provided the perfect counter to teams focusing on Adams. Their injury situation could prove to be a major problem. They've had a wonderful life in this regard for the past two seasons (both 13-3), but now their injuries are mounting. Rob Demovsky

Previous ranking: 7

Week 1 confidence rating:

It's happening now: 5.7

We were not sure what to expect from Chargers. They have been 4-2, with wins over the Chiefs Raiders and Browns. Overachieving creates more expectations. Justin Herbert is a budding quarterback. Can they keep their first place finish in the AFC West? This could depend on how well they improve their run defense. They are currently last in the NFL, and this could be a problem down the line. Shelley Smith

play 1:15 Was Mahomes able to save the Chiefs' season? Stephen A. weighs Stephen A. Smith claims Patrick Mahomes is being forced into hero play because Chiefs' defense stinks.

Previous ranking: 10

Week 1 confidence rating: 7.

It's happening now: 6.0

The AFC West title is possible if the Chiefs play defense as they did Sunday against Washington. They will win the AFC West title if they can play defense and limit turnovers, which is a league record. These are big ifs. The problem with Chiefs isn't their 3-3 record, but how they played the first six weeks. -- Adam Teicher

Previous ranking: 11

Week 1 confidence rating:

It's happening now: 7.5

The Cardinals punched the Titans in the face to start the season. Derrick Henry ended the season with 58 yards on 17 rushes in a 38-13 loss. Fast forward to Week 6, and Henry has now run five games in a row with at least 100 rushing yards. Henry has taken the Titans to his feet and led them to a 4-2 record. This included a 143-yard performance against the Bills. They were allowing 75 yards per game (third most in NFL) as Henry took over. When Henry scores three touchdowns or more, the Titans are now at 6-0. Henry's 10 touchdowns tie him with Priest Holmes (2004) and LaDainian Thomasson (2005) for the second-most in the first six games of a regular season. Turron Davenport

Previous ranking: 14

Week 1 confidence rating: 7.

It's happening now: 7.0

The Bengals have always responded well to any drop in Cincinnati's confidence rating. Another example was the Week 6 win against the Lions. A team with a record of 4-2 might be slightly better than that. The offense is still struggling because of early inconsistency. After three consecutive three-and-outs against the loseless Lions, the Bengals didn't get their offense under control until the fourth quarter. The Bengals should be viewed cautiously until those woes are resolved. -- Ben Baby

Previous ranking: 9

Week 1 confidence rating: 8.

It's happening now: 6.0

The defense is moving in the wrong direction as offensive injuries are increasing. Quarterback Baker Mayfield appears to be suffering from a non-throwing injury to his left shoulder. Both Nick Chubb (knee), and Kareem Hunter (calf) are both injured. Both offensive tackles Jedrick Wills Jr. and Jack Conklin are both injured. Over the last two games, the defense has given up 84 points and is now 24th in efficiency. The Browns have plenty of time to regroup. Six weeks into the season, they are not at their best. Jake Trotter

play 1:07 Orlovsky - The Browns are NFL's most disappointing football team Dan Orlovsky reflects on the Browns loss to the Cardinals.

Previous ranking: 17

Week 1 confidence rating: 8.

It's happening now: 7.5

It's remarkable that the Raiders confidence rating hasn’t dropped to zero after the week of events they have endured. That's the value of a win at Denver that builds confidence. This was the Raiders' most complete season, and it came at a time when they most needed it. Now the question is: Can Las Vegas, still struggling to make sense of Jon Gruden's resignation and email scandal, find a way to maintain its emotions in the future? Rich Bisaccia, interim coach, said that "We'll be watching." -- Paul Gutierrez

Previous ranking: 13

Week 1 confidence rating: 8.

It's happening now: 7.0

The Saints may have experienced the most dramatic up-and-down swings of any team in the league during the first four weeks. They won the Green Bay title, lost at Carolina and then fell to New England. Finally, they suffered a devastating fourth quarter defeat against the Giants. They are back at the exact same confidence level I had before Week 1. There are some weaknesses, including a lack pass-catchers with proven track records. They are a playoff-caliber squad that I believe will improve as Jameis Winston continues to get more comfortable in the offense, and eight of their starters return from injuries (including WR Michael Thomas). Mike Triplett

Previous ranking: 21

Week 1 confidence rating 6.8

It's happening now: 5.0

With a win over the Bills, the Steelers were able to start the season high. They are arguably the NFL’s best team after six games. The Steelers lost three straight games after that win against the Bills set the tone for the season. The offense was dominated by an inconsistant Ben Roethlisberger. It lacked rhythm. The defense was unable to overcome injuries to compensate for offensive flaws. The Steelers have shown some signs of life, with back-to-back wins in the bye. The Steelers' confidence rating is likely to rise if the defense plays more like it did in the fourth quarter or overtime. It will drop if it falls below that. -- Brooke Pryor

Previous ranking: 23

Week 1 confidence rating:

It's happening now: 4.5

It is difficult to understand the Vikings team. They defeated Arizona in Week 2. It was the league's last undefeated team. This was the only game Kyler Murray had thrown two interceptions in. They played down, allowing Detroit, which was winless, to stay around until the end. Then they did it again with Carolina in Week 6. Although the Vikings have been successful with Kirk Cousins's stellar quarterback play, it is difficult to see them as a certainty until they show themselves in the five games they have since the bye. Courtney Cronin

Play 2:05 - Stephania Bell examines Christian McCaffrey’s injury timeline and when he will be able to return.

Previous ranking: 12

Week 1 confidence rating:

It's happening now: 5.0

Although injuries are often used as an excuse when things get difficult, they are actually a major factor in Carolina's rise from 3-0 to 3-3. Statisticians show how much the loss of Christian McCaffrey, running back, has affected quarterback Sam Darnold's offense. Jaycee Horn, cornerback, and Shaq Thompson, linebacker were equally important to the defense. These two first-round selections are important and can't be replaced. Without them, the pressure and sack numbers would have been much lower. The confidence rating without the three mentioned players should be lower than mine. -- David Newton

Previous ranking: 18

Week 1 confidence rating:

It's happening now: 5.8

The 49ers have played in every game and could be 5-0. They could also be 0-5. They are currently at 2-3 and have a losing streak of three games against teams that were considered to be preseason playoff contenders. It's difficult to trust the Niners at this time because they don’t seem to have an identity that inspires confidence. There are good reasons to be hopeful, but there are many more questions that must be answered in order for this season's progress to continue on its path. -- Nick Wagoner

Previous ranking: 16

Week 1 confidence rating: 2.0

It's happening now: 4.8

Although the Bears are a stronger team than they were in Week 1 against the Rams, this past Sunday's loss at the Packers confirmed that Chicago is unable to beat high-quality opponents. Although my 4.8 rating may seem harsh, the Bears (3-3), who are at Tampa Bay (5-1), next week. Matt Nagy's team might be back below.500 within a blink of an eye. This is why the rating accurately reflects it. Jeff Dickerson

Previous ranking: 15

Week 1 confidence rating 7.8

It's happening now: 5.5

The Broncos offense seemed to know what it wanted during the first three games of the season: More inclined to spend big on personnel and have a good mix of physical play as well as a downfield passing game. The past three games? It's not so. Turnovers are increasing and results are falling. Defensively, a team with tremendous cover-rush potential hasn’t shown it enough in a string of three consecutive losses, especially against a Raiders offensive that had just seen its head coach and caller resign days before. Jeff Legwold

Previous ranking: 19

Week 1 confidence rating:

It's happening now: 5.0

Even in the season's opening loss, Mac Jones' strong start made things look up. The Patriots' down-and-down defense and special team play, along with several skill-position players, led to things falling. They have been learning to not make mistakes and are now trying to improve their game. This volatility has also been reflected in the coaching decisions that have been made. -- Mike Reiss

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Previous ranking: 25

Week 1 confidence rating 5.8

It's happening now: 4.8

T.Y. Carson Wentz and Carson Wentz's health are uncertain. The rating dropped due to the inability to win a significant victory over a playoff-caliber opponent, Miami and Houston. However, Indianapolis is getting healthier and will have a chance to win significant games against San Francisco or Tennessee in the next two matches. Mike Wells

Previous ranking: 20

Week 1 confidence rating 8.7

It's happening now: 5.0

This huge confidence swing happens when a team loses four of five games or its starting quarterback is injured. They can still be competitive with Russell Wilson's Geno Smith as their starting quarterback. This is evident in the Seahawks' performance Sunday, when they rallied from a 14-0 deficit and took the Steelers to overtime. They are currently at 2-4 and four games behind the NFC West. Wilson must return as soon as possible, in Week 10. They also need to win the two remaining home games to get out of this hole. -- Brady Henderson

play 1:11 Is Jalenhurts the long-term solution for the Eagles' quarterback position? Louis Riddick outlines what Jalen Hurts needs to do to become the Eagles' long-term quarterback.

Previous ranking: 24

Week 1 confidence rating:

It's happening now: 3.9

The Falcons were thrashed 32-6 in the opener, which was a shock to the confidence meter. However, the Eagles have since fallen back to reality. The offense has been limited by inconsistent playcalling and injuries on the offensive side, as well as Jalen Hurts' inconsistent play. Meanwhile, the defense has shown wild swings in its performance. Philadelphia is now past the most challenging part of its schedule. There are still wins against the Jets, Giants, Lions, and Washington. Even if it doesn't reach its Week 1 mark again, the confidence meter should continue to tick up. Tim McManus

Previous ranking: 22

Week 1 confidence rating:

It's happening now: 3.7

There was something wrong with the defense's performance in the opener, which led to a lower than expected confidence rating. Also, quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was hurt. The defense is currently last in yards allowed and 31st overall. This is a significant improvement from the fourth-ranked defense in 2020, which was second in yards and fourth in points. It's not all about the schedule. While Taylor Heinicke makes a great story, Washington still needs more firepower. Heinicke must always carry the day which can lead to mistakes and turnovers. John Keim

Previous ranking: 26

Week 1 confidence rating:

It's happening now: 5.0

Because there were so many unknowns going into the season, there is a bit more confidence than Week 1. And then there was the week 1 meltdown. The Falcons have made progress and are correcting their mistakes every week. This season is not about wins or losses. It's about building and growing for long-term success. It seems that this is already happening. -- Michael Rothstein

Aaron Rodgers, Brian Flores & DK Metcalf ESPN

Previous ranking: 27

Week 1 confidence rating:

What it looks like now: 2.0

The Dolphins won 10 games in 2020 and it felt like they were ready for the next step under Brian Flores in 2021. However, this has not been the case. Miami is near the bottom in the league for scoring offense (29th), and scoring defense (229th). It's also dead last in third down defense, and it was just the Jaguars that ended a five-game losing streak. Six games into the season, the Dolphins have done little to inspire confidence. Without their first-round pick, 2022, there isn’t even a silver lining in losing games. Marcel Louis-Jacques

Previous ranking: 29

Week 1 confidence rating:

It's happening now: 3.0

The Jets are the league's youngest team, and they play like it, especially when it comes to offense. An underrated front four is helping the defense excel, but it is countered by an offense that cannot get out of its own way. It was obvious that the offense would experience growing pains, particularly with Zach Wilson as a rookie quarterback. But to score zero points in the first quarter? Even the most pessimists wouldn't have predicted that. Wilson is being put under tremendous pressure by the Jets who are consistently playing behind. Or they will be looking at 3-14 and 4-13. -- Rich Cimini

Previous ranking: 32

Week 1 confidence rating: 2.5

It's happening now: 3.0

The Jaguars are seeing a slight uptrend in Trevor Lawrence's performance over the past six weeks. Lawrence's Total QBR, completion rate and total QBR jumped from Weeks 1 through 3 (22.4, 54.2%) up to Weeks 4 and 6 (56.4,66.3%), while his turnovers fell from nine to 2. Cincinnati was also beaten by the Jaguars on the road. Although there are still many issues with defense, Lawrence's progress is encouraging. James Robinson has been running back more often which gives the team some hope. Mike DiRocco

Previous ranking: 28

Week 1 confidence rating:

It's happening now: 1.0

The confidence rating was relatively good after the season-opening win over the Jaguars. The Texans have now lost five consecutive games, and only two of them were close. They have lost five straight games on the road and dropped their last two away games by a combined score 71-3. Houston lost quarterback Tyrod TAYLOR to a left hamstring injury in Week 2. His replacement, 2021 third-round draft pick Davis Mills, has struggled in his place. David Culley stated that the Texans will continue to work with Taylor week-to-week, but that the coach isn’t certain when Taylor will be back. It's difficult to see the Texans improving their offense until that happens. -- Sarah Barshop

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Previous ranking: 30

Week 1 confidence rating:

It's happening now: 1.8

It was not a great start for the Giants, and it's worse now. This is what happens when you lose five out of six games. Your defense ranks 27th in the league, and your offense is plagued by injuries. The only thing you can take away from the first half of the season, seriously, is Daniel Jones' play -- he was up until Sunday against the Rams against whom he had four turnovers and a 38-11 loss. -- Jordan Raanan

Previous ranking: 31

Week 1 confidence rating:

What it looks like now: 2.5

It is hard to not be in the moment. However, the Lions' performance against the Cincinnati Bengals was their worst of the season. My confidence in this team has dropped drastically over the past six weeks. However, a series of injuries is also affecting this group. It's hard not to think back to Detroit's 2008 0-6 start. This was during the notorious 2008 season, when the team finished 16th. You wonder when this team will win. I admire the passion shown by Dan Campbell, the Lions coach. But the players must match that energy on field. Eric Woodyard