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Offensive player rankings, Week 6: AFC North's top offense is ...

Fueled by the Killer Bs, the Pittsburgh Steelers have finished in the top three in total offense in the AFC four times since Le'Veon Bell entered the league in 2013. But with Bell at home on the couch, Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown and Co. have taken a backseat to another team in the AFC North:

After winning just 13 games over the last two seasons, Cincinnati is off to a fast 4-1 start and leads the division, with Baltimore (3-2), Cleveland (2-2-1) and Pittsburgh (2-2-1) trailing. The Bengals rank third in the NFL in scoring (30.6 points per game) -- one spot higher than the Steelers (28.6) and well above the Ravens and Browns. And although they've scored one fewer offensive touchdown than the Steelers, it's clear from watching the tape that the Bengals have the most well-rounded and efficient attack in the North.

Cincinnati's offense looks nothing like the unit that ranked 26th in the category in 2017 (thank goodness), and the offensive players look more comfortable in Bill Lazor's second season calling plays. Perhaps the greatest change from last season has been the offensive line additions of left tackle Cordy Glenn and rookie center Billy Price. The ground game, featuring a dynamic Joe Mixon, has flourished behind the big boys up front. The second-year back is recording seven more attempts per game, 46 more rushing yards per game and 1 more yard per attempt than he did as a rookie last season. Even when Mixon was sidelined with a knee injury in Weeks 2 and 3, the ground attack didn't miss a beat with Giovani Bernard, who scored three times in his two starts.

When you compare the combined rushing totals of Bernard and Mixon with those of the Steelers' two primary runners, James Conner and Stevan Ridley, the numbers clearly favor Cincinnati:

Bernard/Mixon: 94 attempts, 427 yards, 4.54 ypc, four TDs
Conner/Ridley: 93 attempts, 370 yards, 3.98 ypc, five TDs

With Mixon demanding attention in the box, Andy Dalton has been able to take advantage of opportunities through the air. Dalton and Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger have had eerily similar seasons thus far, but Cincinnati's receiving corps has stood apart in the Bengals' passing attack. To start, Antonio Brown and A.J. Green -- the top receiving talents on these two teams -- are comparable, and I think GMs across the league would be split down the middle between the two. Before the Terrible Towel backers come after me, take a look at how the two compare statistically this season.

Green on 43 targets: 26 catches, 409 yards (15.7 ypc), five TDs and 121.2 passer rating when targeted.
Brown on 66 targets: 35 catches, 373 yards (10.7 ypc), five TDs and 69.8 passer rating when targeted.

Although Brown has more receptions, Green has been more efficient, as the Bengals aren't forcing the ball to their star. Instead, they are relying on John Ross and Tyler Boyd, who have repeatedly won one-on-one situations and established themselves as threats (both have two TDs). Losing tight end Tyler Eifert for the season hurts Cincinnati, but Tyler Kroft proved last season that he has the goods. He hauled in seven receiving TDs in 2017, second most on the team, when filling in for an injured Eifert again.

Despite sitting atop the AFC North, the Bengals continue to have their doubters. But they'll have the chance to silence their skeptics and cement their status as the division's top offense on Sunday when they clash with, you guessed it ... the Steelers.

Each week in the 2018 campaign, former No. 1 overall pick and NFL Network analyst David Carr will take a look at all offensive players and rank his top 15. Rankings are based solely on this season's efforts. Now, let's get to it -- the Week 6 pecking order is below.

NOTE: Arrows reflect changes from last week's rankings.

Another huge game by Gurley, who had 113 scrimmage yards and three rushing touchdowns, to help the Rams improve to 5-0. Fun fact: Gurley did not miss an offensive play (63 snaps) against the Seahawks, according to Next Gen Stats. This is the second time a running back has played on every offensive snap in a game this season, with Christian McCaffrey playing on all of Carolina's 66 offensive snaps in Week 3.

Despite the Chiefs' win, Mahomes had his worst output of the season against a Jaguars defense that was determined to shut him down. Although he ran one into the end zone early on, the second-year QB threw two interceptions and no touchdown passes, finished with his lowest passer rating of the season (62.7) and completed 57.9 of his passes. In Mahomes' defense, we should note that most quarterbacks struggle against Jacksonville.

Monday night was about Drew Brees, so the reunited running back duo of Kamara and Mark Ingram took a backseat. Although Kamara had just nine touches in the win over the Redskins, I do think Kamara will be more involved going forward.

Back to form, Brady answered all the "Have the Patriots lost it?" questions before halftime. Like I said last week, having Julian Edelman on the field changes everything for the offense and Brady, who finished with four total TDs and a 102.6 passer rating against the Colts. Next week, Brady and Mahomes go head-to-head in what could be a preview of the AFC Championship Game.

What a night for Brees! To become the NFL's all-time leading passer during a home game in New Orleans ... you couldn't write a better script. Brees is playing some of his best football at 39 years old.

Given the lack of reps the young receivers who filled in for Geronimo Allison and Randall Cobb have had with an ailing Rodgers, the Packers struggled against a solid Detroit secondary. After going down 24 points at the half, Rodgers did all he could to orchestrate another comeback, but Mason Crosby wasn't having it.

With a lot of other teams pushing the envelope offensively, it seems to me that Rodgers is frustrated with what the Packers, who are one of the easier offenses to scheme for, are doing.

Thomas has been outstanding this season with 46 receptions through five games, second most in the league, behind Minnesota's Adam Thielen (47). Most impressively, Thomas has the highest reception percentage (93.9) of any player targeted at least 15 times this season.

 Hopkins' catch-and-run play in overtime lifted the 
 Texans in the battle for Texas. With Houston's offense looking nothing like it did a year ago, Hopkins (once again) is a bright spot. He comes through in the big moment time and time again. 

Even with Brandin Cooks and Cooper Kupp exiting, Goff kept his poise and continued to move the ball. His biggest play of Sunday's game wasn't a pass but a 2-yard rush on fourth-and-1 to ice the win. Goff's continual improvement in 2018 is moving him up the MVP conversation ladder.

In a much-needed win for the Steelers, Brown pulled through in a big way with 101 receiving yards and a pair of TDs. Brown and Ben Roethlisberger looked to be on the same page in Week 5 and must continue to gel against division leader Cincinnati in Week 6.

Kelce came up with some big plays in Kansas City's win, notching his 15th game with at least 100 receiving yards. Next week, the two best tight ends in the league will be in display in prime time. Will Kelce best Gronk in the battle of tight ends?

With seven catches for 116 yards against the Eagles, Thielen became the first player in the Super Bowl era to record at least 100 receiving yards in each of his team's first five games in a given season. He's leading Minnesota in receptions (47), receiving yards (589), receiving TDs (T-1 with three) and plays of 20-plus yards (eight).

Minnesota avenged its NFC title loss Sunday to avoid a three-game skid. The Vikings' dynamic receiving duo (Diggs and Thielen) far outplayed the Eagles' DBs, with each putting up over 100 scrimmage yards. In addition, Diggs had his second straight game with at least 10 receptions and 50-plus yards after the catch.

The Bengals rank fourth in scoring with 30.6 points per game, and Green has had a lot to do with that. With as many touchdown receptions as games played, the seven-time Pro Bowler put up another solid effort against the Dolphins (six catches for 112 yards).

I think everyone wanted to see how the Hill- Jalen Ramsey matchup would shake out after last week's pressers. Ramsey held Hill at bay for most of the game, but Hill got the last laugh after burning Ramsey on a 36-yard reception down the sideline. Oh, and Hill's team also won the game. Hill 1, Ramsey 0.

Dropped out: Julio Jones, WR, Falcons (previously No. 13).


Philip Rivers, QB, Chargers: Through five games, Rivers has thrown 13 touchdowns against just two interceptions, and he's shown improvement almost every week. He's getting the ball out quickly and letting his playmakers do the rest.

Odell Beckham Jr., WR, Giants: OBJ had his best game since 2016 (eight catches, 131 receiving yards, one receiving TD and a 57-yard touchdown PASS), and if it hadn't been for Graham Gano's game-winning field goal, the Giants would have beaten the Panthers. This is the type of performance the Giants need from OBJ.

Julio Jones, WR, Atlanta Falcons: All of his five receptions came in the final quarter, which is baffling to me. The Falcons are struggling in more ways than one right now, but keeping the ball away from their best player isn't helping.

Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks: Let's be honest. No one expected the Seahawks to give the Rams a run for their money. Thanks to Wilson's three touchdown passes, the Seahawks nearly handed the Rams their first loss of the season.

Follow David Carr on Twitter @DCarr8.

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