NFL Rankings: Falcons perched at the top

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NFL Rankings: Falcons perched at the top

There is only one unbeaten team remaining the 1972 Dolphins are that much closer to popping the bubbly and no more winless teams the 2008 Lions are lonely at 0-16 as we have finished six weeks of the 2012 NFL season. We have a new team atop the rankings in the undefeated Atlanta Falcons, who survived a home scare against the Raiders, and some shuffling at the top, including a massive leap by the defending champs after the Giants thumped the 49ers.

1 (2) Atlanta Falcons (6-0) Matt Ryan's 19 career game-winning drives most by QB in first five seasons since 1960. 2 (5) Baltimore Ravens (5-1) Defense teetering, though, with Ray Lewis lost for season with torn triceps. 3 (12) New York Giants (4-2) Defending champs serve notice to league with dominant performance at the 'Stick. 4 (1) Houston Texans (5-1) Still only defense in NFL yet to give up a rushing TD this season. 5 (6) Chicago Bears (4-1) Bye week enables Bears to move into stingiest points-allowed status at 14.2 per game. 6 (3) Minnesota Vikings (4-2) Vikings humbled a bit by RG III, but Percy Harvin has league-leading 49 catches. 7 (4) 49ers (4-2) Who's got it better than them? At the moment, six other teams. 8 (7) Arizona Cardinals (4-2) Cue the Kevin Kolb-John Skelton dilemmaagain. 9 (14) Seattle Seahawks (4-2) CB Richard Sherman taunting Tom Brady early candidate for Tweet of the Year. 10 (18) Green Bay Packers (3-3) Yeah, Aaron Rodgers and his franchise-tying six TD passes sent a message. 11 (8) New England Patriots (3-3) Benefactor of Tuck Rule and SpyGate Tom Brady complains of piped-in noise at Seattle? 12 (19) Denver Broncos (3-3) Peyton Manning's 37 fourth-quarter comebacks most by NFL QB since 1950. 13 (20) New York Jets (3-3) Mark Sanchez shines, so call off the call for Tim Tebowfor now. 14 (22) Washington (3-3) Robert Griffin III. That is all. 15 (23) Miami Dolphins (3-3) Raise a flipper if you saw Hard Knocks and thought they'd be .500 after six games. 16 (13) St. Louis Rams (3-3) Can they just get it over with and move back to L.A. already? 17 (21) Buffalo Bills (3-3) C.J. Spiller's 7.6-yards-per-carry average leads the NFL. 18 (10) Cincinnati Bengals (3-3) Being the victims of their cross-state rivals' first win is not a good look. 19 (24) Detroit Lions (2-3) Jason Hanson's ninth OT field goal tied for most in NFL history. 20 (11) Philadelphia Eagles (3-3) Yeah, it's all Juan Castillo's fault. Right? 21 (9) San Diego Chargers (3-3) Oh, Norv. 22 (15) Dallas Cowboys (2-3) Looking for a positive from America's Team? Cowboys have top pass defense in the league. 23 (31) Tennessee Titans (2-4) Chris Johnson's personal record without a TD has now reached 10 games. 24 (16) Pittsburgh Steelers (2-3) Ben Roethlsberger surpasses Terry Bradshaw as Steelers' all-time leading passer. But TB's appearance on 'Hooper' is way cooler. 25 (26) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3) Buc's already have four 100-yard receiving games, after three combined in'10 and '11. 26 (17) Indianapolis Colts (2-3) Defense needs to give Andrew Luck help; its three takeaways an NFL worst. 27 (27) Carolina Panthers (1-4) What does an "entertainer" and an "icon" do over a bye week? 28 (29) New Orleans Saints (1-4) Something says Saints about to embark on a potentially season-saving run after bye. 29 (25) Raiders (1-4) No truth to rumor team changing motto to "Just keep it close, baby." 30 (30) Jacksonville Jaguars (1-4) MJD about to get his first taste of the Black Hole. 31 (32) Cleveland Browns (1-5) They've turned the ball over in 24 straight games, the NFL's current longest streak. 32 (28) Kansas City Chiefs (1-5) Introducing, the lone team yet to hold a lead in regulation this season.

Donald Penn: Raiders players trust McKenzie will add right pieces

Donald Penn: Raiders players trust McKenzie will add right pieces

The Raiders were pretty darn good last season. A 12-4 record proved that point. There was plenty of talent on a team with a penchant for high-wire acts in victory that masked the fact there were holes on the roster.

They need to be filled for the Raiders to improve in 2017, and new players will be imported through free agency and the draft.

Left tackle Donald Penn is excited to see who gets added, but said there’s no doubt talent is coming to Oakland. He speaks for Raiders players, who have faith that general manager Reggie McKenzie will make the right moves.

“Things that Reggie has done in past drafts have been great, and we’re looking forward to seeing what he brings back towards us,” Penn said recently during an in-studio appearance on NFL Network. “We can’t wait to get back out there healthy. We’re ready to hit the football world with a storm.”

While new guys are coming, a few might head out. The Raiders have several unrestricted free agents. Penn wants to keep his guys around – he mentioned running back Latavius Murray by name -- though he has some ideas for McKenzie’s checklist.

The Raiders don’t need much with most key players under contract – the Raiders should be less active in free agency over past offseasons – but a few key components could put this team over the top.

“If we stick to Reggie’s plan, we’ll be great,” Penn said. “I know he’s going to have a great draft, add a couple little pieces here and there – maybe somebody in the secondary to help out a little bit.

"On offense, you could always use a weapon. Maybe we get another receiver to take (pressure off Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper), but we have a good nucleus right now.”

Raiders LT Donald Penn: QB Derek Carr 'almost 100 percent'

Raiders LT Donald Penn: QB Derek Carr 'almost 100 percent'

Derek Carr is on the mend. The Raiders franchise quarterback had surgery to repair his fibula shortly after he broke it in a Week 16 victory over Indianapolis, and is recovering well during the offseason.

Carr insisted on intense rehab this winter in an attempt – however unlikely it may have been – to return should the Raiders have played in the Super Bowl. It slowed to a normal pace after the Raiders' loss at Houston in the postseason’s opening round, but those in contact with him say he’s making strides.

Left tackle Donald Penn was recently in contact with Carr, and provided an update on Monday during an in-studio appearance on NFL Network.

“I texted Derek (a few) days ago checking in,” Penn said, “and he said he’s almost 100 percent.”

Surgically-repaired broken filbulas take significant time to heal, and the Raiders plan to be conservative with their MVP candidate during the offseason. Derek Carr’s brother and NFL Network analyst David Carr, who was on set with Penn on Monday, said Derek could be back for offseason work.

“He’s doing good,” David Carr said. “He’s walking around already, stretching it out. You can’t do a lot for the bone, right? But he’s going to be back. He’s going to get a whole full offseason in. That’s going to be the best part.”