NFL 2013: Deeper by the Dozen (After Week 6)

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NFL 2013: Deeper by the Dozen (After Week 6)
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Matt Ryan.

While there are some intriguing games on the slate for Week 7 of the 2013 season, most NFL eyes will be on Indianapolis this Sunday night.

That's because one-time Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning returns to face his former club this weekend as he and heir Andrew Luck clash in prime time.

It is the only meeting this week between teams that reached the playoffs in 2012. But that doesn't mean that there are not plenty of intriguing games on the schedule.

So here is the weekly look and ranking of how last season's postseason field is faring in 2013. Feel free to add your own thoughts…

12. Minnesota Vikings (1-4)

Shortly after he was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, quarterback Josh Freeman joined the Purple Gang. Now the former first-round draft choice will start for Leslie Frazier's team this Monday night against the winless New York Giants. More importantly, Freeman will be the Vikings' third different starting quarterback in six games this season. And things have been even worse on the other side of the ball as Minnesota has allowed at least 27 points in all five games this season…

11. Washington Redskins (1-4)

Last Sunday night at Dallas, Mike Shanahan's defending NFC East champions had their opportunities but fell short to the Cowboys. It marked the second loss to a division foe in as many tries this season, bad news for a club that was a combined 5-1 vs. NFC East rivals in 2012. And quarterback Robert Griffin III has already committed seven turnovers in five outings, equaling his total in 15 games last season…

10. Houston Texans (2-4)

Fortunately for Gary Kubiak's team, the entire AFC South lost in Week 6. Hence the Texans, losers of four in a row, remain two games out of first place for now. It's astounding that in last week's 38-13 loss to the St. Louis Rams, Houston allowed only 216 total yards while losing by 25 points. Even more amazing is the fact that the Texans have given up 21 touchdowns this season and seven of those scores by the offense and special teams. Things don't get any easier this week when Kubiak and company invade Arrowhead Stadium…

9. Atlanta Falcons (1-4)

Perhaps a week off will prove to be beneficial for the Falcons, who have already lost one more game than they did all of last season when they were the top seed in the NFC with a 13-3 mark. Mike Smith's team is limping, especially on offense, and who knows when we will see running back Steven Jackson. This week, the defending NFC South champs host the winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers. For what it's worth, the Bucs are 1-10 in their last 11 games, their only victory over that span coming at Atlanta…

8. Baltimore Ravens (3-3)

A week after the defending Super Bowl champions got their first road win of the season at Miami; the Ravens were beaten at home by a Green Bay Packers team that managed to score only one touchdown on the afternoon. It's really amazing if you think about the fact that in their last 11 regular-season games, John Harbaugh's team is just 4-7. More importantly, they were 4-0 during the 2012 postseason. But that's the past and this week the Ravens head to Pittsburgh to renew their fierce rivalry with the Steelers…

7. Cincinnati Bengals (4-2)

After scoring a combined 19 points in their previous two games, Marvin Lewis' club rang up 27 points in an overtime win at Buffalo, the team's first road victory of 2013. The Cincinnati defense has looked better in recent weeks but did give up a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown passes to the Bills, sending the game into overtime. We're still waiting for quarterback Andy Dalton and the offense to develop a little rhythm and that doesn't figure to be easy this week at Detroit…

6. Green Bay Packers (3-2)

We have seen Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers put up phenomenal numbers since he became a starter in Green Bay in 2008. But over the last two games, Mike McCarthy's club has scored only two touchdowns while Mason Crosby has kicked nine field goals. Still, that was good enough to knock off the Detroit Lions and Baltimore Ravens. But the injuries are starting to mount for the Pack, which host the intriguing Cleveland Browns on Sunday…

5. San Francisco 49ers (4-2)

It is now three straight wins for Jim Harbaugh's team following a 1-2 start, with the Niners scoring 35, 34 and 32 points, respectively, in those contests. San Francisco remains one game behind the Seattle Seahawks, who head to Arizona on Thursday night. 49ers tight end Vernon Davis had a monster performance against the Cardinals last Sunday but this weekend's trip to Nashville to face the Titans won't be easy…

4. Indianapolis Colts (4-2)

Don't want to overreact to one loss, especially after Chuck Pagano's club had posted recent wins over the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks. And quarterback Andrew Luck remains efficient, although the team failed to score a touchdown Monday night against the Chargers. But the Indianapolis defense is physical, has consistently gotten after the quarterback (17 sacks) and this club has already forced 10 turnovers, five fewer than all of last season…

3. New England Patriots (5-1)

Does anyone remember that at this time last season Bill Belichick's team was just 3-3? The current edition of the Patriots is one that doesn't always look pretty but manages to win more often than not. Five of New England's six games this season have been decided by seven points or less and the Pats are 4-1 in those contests. And while it's odd to see Tom Brady with only eight touchdown passes in six games, keep in mind that Belichick's team is giving up less than 17 points per game…

2. Seattle Seahawks (5-1)

Pete Carroll's club has not been overly sharp the last few weeks in splitting with the Colts (loss) and Tennessee Titans (win). And this Thursday's trek to Arizona won't be easy as well as the Cardinals defense figures to get after quarterback Russell Wilson. Few teams have slowed down running back Marshawn Lynch this season but Bruce Arians' club has been sturdy against the run. Still, no one's sleeping on a Seattle team that leads a division in which none of the four clubs has a losing record…

1. Denver Broncos (6-0)

Those expecting that blowout last week against the Jacksonville Jaguars never saw their wish granted as the Broncos pulled away late in the game for a 35-19 win. For the first time all season, quarterback Peyton Manning didn't throw for at least 300 yards. But it's a week of comebacks for the team and Manning, who returns to Indianapolis this Sunday night as the Broncos battle the Colts. And speaking of returns, outside linebacker Von Miller is back this week after a six-game suspension…

Russell S. Baxter has been covering the NFL for 30-plus years on all platforms. He is the founder of ProFootballGuru.com, writes for numerous websites and publications across the country and is blessed with an encyclopedic memory. Ready to talk NFL? Follow him on Twitter at @BaxFootballGuru.

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