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Editor's note: Rick Gosselin is in his 49th season reporting on the NFL in 2021. He has covered the Lions, Giants, Chiefs and Cowboys in his career plus 38 Super Bowls. He has served on the Hall of Fame selection committee and is a member of both the senior and contributor sub-committees. Gosselin also is one of the 12 voters for the AP 32, the weekly ranking of NFL teams conducted by the Associated Press. Here is his sixth week ballot:

1. Arizona. One of the strengths of the 6-0 Cardinals is their ball security. They have committed only five turnovers, third fewest in the league. Arizona does not beat itself. Quarterback Kyler Murray has thrown only four interceptions and none in the last three games. He also has not lost a fumble yet this season. Last week: 1

2. LA Rams. For the first time in his 13-year career Matthew Stafford is an NFL MVP candidate. That’s because he spent the first 12 years of his career in Detroit, where he never quarterbacked the Lions to an NFC North crown. The Lions are one of only four franchises that has never been to a Super Bowl and Stafford labored in the culture of losing there, posting a 74-90 record as the starter. But he was traded to the Rams in the offseason. Coach Sean McVay viewed him as the missing piece – and he has been just that, throwing 16 TD passes to propel the Rams to a 5-1 start. Stafford get his first chance to play against the Lions Sunday at home. Last week: 3

3. Tampa Bay. Tom Brady is surrounded by Pro Bowl weapons and he’s finding ways to keep them all happy. Four of his receivers have already had 100-yard games – WRs Antonio Brown, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and TE Rob Gronkowski. All have caught touchdown passes as have two others, RB Gio Bernard and TE O.J. Howard. With that kind of balance it’s little wonder why the Buccaneers lead the NFL in passing this week. Last week: 4

4. Dallas. The NFL has figured a way to slow Dallas CB Trevon Diggs that the league’s quarterbacks have not. The NFL is sitting Diggs and his 5-1 Cowboys down this week with their bye. Diggs tied an NFL record by intercepting at least one pass in each of the first six games this season. He leads the league with seven and has returned two of them for touchdowns. The NFL record for interceptions in a single season is 14 set by Hall of Famer Dick “Night Train” Lane in 1951. Last week: 5

5. Buffalo. There have been 73 individual 100-yard receiving games across the NFL this season. The Buccaneers and Rams have five apiece. The Jacksonville Jaguars are at the other end of the spectrum, having allowed a league-high six of them. The Bills have the only defense in the league that has not allowed a 100-yard receiver yet. Last week: 2

6. Baltimore. When the game’s best tight ends are discussed, Rob Gronkowski, Travis Kelce and George Kittle and Darren Waller start the conversation. It may be time to work Baltimore’s Mark Andrews into the discussion. His two 100-yard games match those of Kelce for the season high at the position and he has scored three touchdowns in the last two weeks for the 5-1 Ravens. He’s become QB Lamar Jackson’s go-to guy, catching 10 touchdown passes in 2019 and seven more in 2020. Last week: 7

7. Green Bay. Tom Brady isn’t the only quarterback who knows how to keep his receivers – all of his receivers -- happy. Aaron Rodgers has thrown his 12 touchdown passes this season to seven different receivers. Wide receivers Davante Adams, Reggie Cobb, Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling have all found the end zone as have running backs Aaron Jones and A.J. Dillon and tight end Robert Tonyan. And there is still more to go around. Rodgers threw TD passes to 11 different players in his MVP season in 2020. Last week: 8

8. Tennessee. Derrick Henry has been arguably the best player in the NFL over the last five weeks with five 100-yard consecutive rushing games and nine touchdowns for the 4-2 Titans. He again leads the NFL in rushing with 260 more yards than runnerup Nick Chubb of the Browns. Last week: 10

9. LA Chargers. It’s fine for an offense to have a quarterback lead your team in rushing in a game…if your quarterback is named Lamar Jackson. Not if it’s Justin Herbert. But that was the case last weekend against Baltimore when Herbert led Los Angeles with 12 yards rushing on two carries. Not surprisingly, the Chargers went down in flames, 34-6. Where are Keith Lincoln and LaDainian Tomlinson when you really need them? Last week: 6

10. Cleveland. The Browns need to get their offensive tackles back for the sake of both QB Baker Mayfield and the offense. Left tackle Jedrick Wills and right tackle Jack Conklin are both former Top 10 picks in drafts and Pro Bowl-caliber talents. But Wills missed the last two games with an ankle injury and Conklin the last game with a knee injury. The Browns have lost the last two games to fall to 3-3 and Mayfield was sacked a season-high five times in last week’s loss to the Cardinals. Last week: 9

11. Las Vegas. The Raiders have committed a league-low four turnovers this season – all on interceptions thrown by QB Derek Carr. Las Vegas is one of only two teams yet to lose a fumble this season along with the New York Jets. Last week: 11

12. Kansas City. The Chiefs have one of the most-explosive quarterbacks in the NFL in Patrick Mahomes but one of the least-explosive pass rushes. The Chiefs have a league-low seven sacks through six games. Kansas City has only one sack in three road games and none in their last two outings. Not surprisingly, the Chiefs continue to struggle on defense. They have allowed the fourth most points and fifth most yards in the league, a weakness that has doomed the defending AFC champions to a 3-3 start. Last week: 12

13. Cincinnati. The spotlight in Cincinnati shines on QB Joe Burrow. But it’s the Bengals’ defense that has provided the thrust in a surprising 4-2 start on the season. Cincinnati ranks eighth in the NFL in defense, up from 26th a year ago. The Bengals allowed single touchdowns against Chicago, Detroit and Pittsburgh and only two TDs against the Packers. You can win a lot of games in the NFL when you keep the other team out of your end zone. Last week: 14

14. New Orleans. The Saints are suffering from the Drew Brees effect. When the NFL’s all-time leading passer retired after the 2020 season, he took the New Orleans passing game with him. The Saints rank 31st in the league in passing this season with Jameis Winston standing in the pocket. He has passed for fewer than 150 yards in three of the five games for the 3-2 Saints. The offensive focus has shifted to RB Alvin Kamara, which isn’t a bad option by the way. Last week: 13

15. Minnesota. The Vikings need to find ways to keep RB Dalvin Cook healthy. This is his fifth season in the NFL and he has missed games every year because of injury, 23 games in all, including two already this season. When he is healthy, Cook is a beast on the ground with 17 career 100-yard rushing games and four more games in the 90s. He rushed for 140 yards on 29 carries in Minnesota’s victory over Carolina last weekend. A healthy Cook will be the key to the Vikings’ playoff hopes. Last week: 19

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16. Pittsburgh. Ball security was a major plus on the NFL resume of Alabama RB Najee Harris and it remains a strength now that he’s playing on Sundays. Harris fumbled just once in 719 touches at Alabama. The Steelers used a first-round draft pick on Harris and he has yet to put the ball on the ground – much less lose a fumble – through his first six NFL games. That’s 136 touches and counting. He has already had a 100-yard rushing and a 100-yard receiving game for the 3-3 Steelers. And his workload is increasing. Harris carried the ball 23 times in Week 5 against Denver and a career-high 24 times in Week 6 against Seattle. Last week: 22

17. Denver. The Broncos allowed only 26 points in their first three games on their way to a 3-0 start. But that was against the Giants, Jets and Jaguars – teams with young or struggling quarterbacks. You can find those three teams near the bottom of these rankings. But Denver has seen a step-up in competition these last three weeks and have allowed 94 points in losing all three games to Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Las Vegas – all teams with established franchise quarterbacks. Another established quarterback, Baker Mayfield, is up next when the Broncos travel to Cleveland. Last week: 17

18. Carolina. Same as above. The Panthers allowed only 30 points in their first three games on the way to a 3-0 start. But that was against the Jets, Saints and Texans. In the last three weeks the Panthers have played better teams, better offenses and allowed 91 points in losing all three games to Dallas, Philadelphia and Minnesota. Last week: 15

19. Chicago. The Bears are the polar opposite of the Chiefs. The defense is stout, the offense clueless. Chicago ranks last in offense, last in passing and 30th in scoring. Yet, like the Chiefs, the Bears sit 3-3 on the season. Last week: 16

20. New England. The trading of Sony Michel to the Rams and the season-ending injury to James White has left Damien Harris to carry the load on the ground for the Patriots. And he’s responded. Harris has had two 100-yard games this far. He’s averaging 4.1 yards per carry and leads New England with three touchdowns. His 100-yard games have come against Miami and Dallas. Last week: 21

21. Indianapolis. Colts coach Frank Reich clearly saw something in Carson Wentz that the Eagles didn’t when he traded for him in the offseason. What Reich saw is a quarterback who doesn’t beat himself and still has the arm to win games. Wentz has thrown only one interception in six games and has a current streak of 144 consecutive passes without a theft. His lone interception came against the Rams in the second week. Wentz has thrown a pair of TD passes in each of his last three games. Last week: 26

22. Seattle. It’s difficult to win games when you don’t have the football. And that’s been Seattle’s predicament in its 2-4 start. The Seahawks have an average time of possession of 25 minutes, seven seconds. That’s the league-low. So Seattle is asking its defense to play almost 35 minutes per game and win on Sundays without the football. I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that the once-proud Seahawk defense now ranks last in the NFL. Last week: 18

23. Philadelphia. The Eagles featured one of the NFL’s best pass rushes in 2020 with 49 sacks. But those Philly rushers have been slow out of the gate this season with only 11 sacks, 10 fewer than league leader Chicago. The problem has been at home. The Eagles have 10 of their sacks in the three road games but only one sack in three home games. The silver lining is that Philadelphia plays its next two games and four of the next five on the road. The Eagles visit Las Vegas this weekend. Last week: 20

24. Atlanta. It’s been a struggle this season for the Falcons. They are in a rebuilding mode, playing without both the coach who took them to the Super Bowl (Dan Quinn) and the best player off that team (WR Julio Jones). Atlanta is 2-3 with its only two victories have come against the hapless New York teams. The Falcons are coming off their bye this week and have historically been stout after a week off. Atlanta is 19-13 coming off byes. The Falcons visit the Dolphins Sunday. Last week: 23

25. Washington. The NFC has a 17-12 edge in the interconference series with the AFC – and Washington is the reason it’s as close as it is. Washington has contributed three of the AFC victories, losing to Bills, Chargers and Chiefs. The only other team 0-3 in interconference play is the Patriots. Washington has one last chance to salvage a victory against the AFC when it visits the Las Vegas Raiders in December. Last week: 24

26. San Francisco. The 49ers have rushed for six touchdowns this season – by six different players. Everyone has contributed – quarterbacks (Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance), receivers (Deebo Samuel) and running backs (Elijah Mitchell, JaMycal Hasty and Trey Sermon). And keep an eye on Pro Bowl TE George Kittle. He’s rushed for a touchdown each of the last three seasons. Last week: 25

27. Jacksonville. QB Trevor Lawrence, the first overall pick of the 2021 draft, is a quick study. He threw seven interceptions in his first three NFL games but has thrown only one in the three games since then. He didn’t throw any interceptions against Miami last weekend and the Jaguars cashed in his performance – 319 passing yards and a touchdown – into their first victory of the season. The Jaguars have a bye this week, which gives Lawrence an extra seven days to study tape and continue to figure out NFL defenses. Last week: 32

28. NY Jets. Jamison Crowder established himself as one of the NFL’s better slot receivers in his first two seasons with the Jets in 2019 and 2020, leading the team in receptions both years. But he missed the first three games of the 2021 season with a groin injury and it slowed the growth of rookie QB Zach Wilson. Crowder returned in Week 4 to catch seven passes with a touchdown in the upset of the Tennessee Titans – New York’s only win of the season – and caught four more passes in Week 5 in a loss to the Falcons. Crowder and Wilson have now had the bye week to work further on their chemistry. Last week: 28

29. Miami. The Dolphins used the sixth overall pick of the 2021 draft on Alabama WR Jaylon Waddle, hoping to team him with QB Tua Tagovailoa and rekindle the magic from their college days. Waddle was a vertical stretch guy, averaging 18.9 yards per career catch at Alabama with a pair of 90-yard touchdowns. But his vertical stretch has disappeared on Sundays. Waddle leads the Dolphins with 37 receptions but is only averaging 8.1 yards per grab. Miami QBs Tagovailoa and Jacoby Brissett have thrown seven TD passes between them this season and not a one has traveled longer than six yards. Last week: 29

30. Houston. The Texans are on the road this week at Arizona – and that’s not good news for their rookie quarterback Davis Mills. Forget for a second the Cardinals rank in the Top 10 in the NFL defense. Mills has struggled on the road against all NFL defenses. In three road games he has thrown seven interceptions and only one touchdown pass. He’s been held under 105 yards passing in two of his games away from home. Last week: 31

31. NY Giants. The NFC East is where ailing NFL offenses come to heal. Washington ranks 31st in yards allowed, the Giants 27th and Dallas 24th. Washington ranks 32nd in points allowed, New York 27th, Philadelphia 25th and Dallas 20th. Remember the NFC East’s days of yore when Charles Haley, Reggie White, Lawrence Taylor and Darrell Green terrorized offenses? Frankly, neither can I. Last week: 27

32. Detroit. The story line this weekend is the Lions playing against Matthew Stafford. Detroit used the first overall pick of the 2009 draft on Stafford and he spent 12 seasons with the Lions in becoming the franchise’s all-time leading passer. But there is another intriguing story line – Detroit QB Jared Goff is playing against the team that used the first overall pick of the 2016 draft on him. He even took the Rams to a Super Bowl. But Los Angeles quit on him, trading Goff to the Lions for Stafford this offseason. Last week: 30