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NFL Weekly Power Rankings: Week 5

Model: Paola (Photo by Double G Media)

Model: Paola (Photo by Double G Media)


The NFL seems to have more parody than it ever has. Many teams have been winning games that they have no business winning. Other teams have been losing against teams that they should have no problem against. Each game has to be taken with a grain of salt, but as we get further into the season, that becomes less true. Some teams have gotten off to surprisingly good starts while others have started slow. There’s still plenty of games to play, however, and as we get further into the season, we’ll know more and more about each team. For now, this is how the league is shaking out:

1. Denver Broncos 4-0 (last week’s ranking: 2) – The Broncos are one of three undefeated teams remaining in the NFL (one of which being the Eagles who just had their bye week). Denver’s defense continues to be the NFL’s most dominant unit on the strength of their secondary and pass rush. Offensively, the Broncos don’t need to score a lot, but they certainly can. Trevor Siemian isn’t going to scare anyone, but he has played well and the Broncos have done a good job of putting him in a position to do so. Until the defending champs lose, they should be considered the NFL’s best team. They face the red hot Falcons next week.

2. Minnesota Vikings 4-0 (last week’s ranking: 3) – The Vikings are practically a carbon copy of how the Broncos are built. They’ve been almost as dominant defensively as Denver and the offense has done well with Sam Bradford under center. The main difference between these teams is the Vikings don’t have as good of an offense around their quarterback. The offensive line hasn’t played well and star running back Adrian Peterson is out for most the season if not all of it. Despite these flaws, the Vikings are undefeated and look like on the best teams in the NFL, at least for now. Next week they host the Texans in what should be a great matchup.

3. Seattle Seahawks 3-1 (last week’s ranking: 4) – Here comes the Seahawks. Once again, the Seahawks are looking like a team poised for a deep playoff run. Their offense has been excellent in the last two games after a slow start. The offensive line hasn’t been great, but Russell Wilson’s ability to elude sacks and make plays downfield has made up for that. Defensively, the Seahawks are as good as ever and the “Legion of Boom” is in full force. Seattle’s defense is right up there with the Broncos and Vikings and these three teams are in a league of their own on that side of the ball. If the Seahawks continue to play like this, they could move back up to the top of the rankings. They’re on bye next week.

4. New England Patriots 3-1 (last week’s ranking: 1) – Oh, how the mighty have fallen. The Patriots finally looked like a vulnerable team without Tom Brady. Too bad for the rest of the NFL that he returns next week. Getting shut out by the Bills was not a pretty look for this team, but this offense is going to soar with Brady back and Gronk having another week to get healthier. The defense has still been very good, there’s no question about that. They’re not quite on the level of the top three teams, but close enough. Next week’s game against the Browns will be over before it starts.

5. Pittsburgh Steelers 3-1 (last week’s ranking: 7) – That was a nice bounce back for the Steelers on Monday night against the Chiefs. Their offense was spectacular and the return of Le’Veon Bell was huge for the Steelers. The Steelers’ offense is still among the best in football. On defense, the Steelers were finally able to get after the quarterback after registering just one sack through their first three games. It’s still not a great unit, but they will win plenty of games on the strength of their offense. It’ll likely happen against next week against the Jets.

6. Green Bay Packers 2-1 (last week’s ranking: 5) – The Packers had a bye this week, but they move down a spot because of how impressive the Steelers were. The Packers have had plenty of time to game plan for the Giants next week on Sunday Night Football.

7. Philadelphia Eagles 3-0 (last week’s ranking: 10) – Another team on bye, the Eagles actually move up because the Panthers, Cardinals, and Chiefs played so poorly. The Eagles’ easy, early season schedule continues against the Lions next Sunday.

8. Cincinnati Bengals 2-2 (last week’s ranking: 11) – The Bengals simply notched a solid win against the Dolphins. Their defense was great, shutting down the Dolphins’ offense completely, outside of a long touchdown to Kenny Stills. Offensively, A.J. Green continued to dominate, but otherwise the Bengals are just solid on that side of the ball. The Bengals are a very good, but not great team. They’ll face the surprisingly tough Cowboys next week.

9. Oakland Raiders 3-1 (last week’s ranking: 13) – The Raiders continue to win close games. They’ll be one of the most fun and interesting teams to watch all season. Their offense has been great so far this year, even if they’ve struggled to get the run game going. Derek Carr is having an excellent season so far and he’s got a great group of weapons to throw to. The Raiders don’t have the best defense, but it’s coming along. Next week’s game against the division rival Chargers should be a good test for their defense, but it’ll likely be a shootout.

10. Kansas City Chiefs 2-2 (last week’s ranking: 8) – That was not pretty for the Chiefs. Just a week after forcing eight turnovers and holding the Jets to just three points, the Chiefs’ defense was lit up by the Steelers. It’s still a very talented defense and this is likely the worst game they’ll have all season. It was certainly a tough matchup. Offensively, the Chiefs are a team that won’t scare you, especially with Jamaal Charles still limited. Their biggest problem is that they don’t have a great passing game and it’s hard for them to come from behind against good teams. They’re on bye next week so that will provide them some extra time to regroup.

11. Atlanta Falcons 3-1 (last week’s ranking: 20) – What a game for Julio Jones. A whopping 300 yards on 12 catches, including a 75-yard touchdown in the 4th. The Falcons have an elite offense. They lead the NFL in points per game and they just put up 41 against the Panthers’ tough defense. Matt Ryan threw for a ridiculous 503 yards. Their defense is still horrendous, though, so the Falcons will be in plenty of high scoring shootouts. Against the Broncos next week, we’ll see how the Falcons’ offense does against the NFL’s top defense.

12. Houston Texans 3-1 (last week’s ranking: 12) – After getting embarrassed by the Patriots, the Texans bounced back and got a win against the Titans, but it wasn’t very convincing. The Texans are a good team, but unless Brock Osweiler can take the next step, they’re not true contenders. With J.J. Watt out for the season, the Texans go from having a very good, if not great, defense to having just an above average one. Watt was easily the best player on this team, if not the best player in the NFL, at least on defense. Next week’s game in Minnesota will be incredibly tough for the Texans.

13. Dallas Cowboys 3-1 (last week’s ranking: 15) – The Cowboys have been hot of late, winning three straight games. However, they’d be more convincing as a contender if they were beating better teams. You can’t blame a team for having an easy schedule, but until they beat a good team, they’ll hover around the middle tier of NFL teams. Their offense has been great with rookie Dak Prescott under center, but it isn’t necessarily because of Prescott’s play. The ‘Boys have done an excellent job putting him in position to be successful, with the league’s best offensive line and stud rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott. The Cowboys don’t have a good defense, but they’ve been good enough to win against lesser teams. They have a good chance to prove themselves next week against the Bengals.

14. Buffalo Bills 2-2 (last week’s ranking: 19) – Two great games in a row means the Bills get to move up. Beating the Cardinals and Patriots in back to back games isn’t easy. Beating them by a combined 31 points is even harder, but the Bills did just that. They shut out a Patriots offense that, despite missing Tom Brady, still put up 27 points against the Texans. The Bills’ defense has looked like the defense that everyone expected to see this season and the offense makes just enough big plays to win. If the Bills can keep playing like this, they’ll have a good shot at making the playoffs for the first time in years. Their game against the Rams next week should be a great defensive battle.

15. Los Angeles Rams 3-1 (last week’s ranking: 23) – The Rams’ terrible 28-0 loss against the 49ers to start the season sure seems like it was a long time ago. The Rams have been very good defensively since that game. Other than allowing the Bucs to score 32, they’ve held the Seahawks and Cardinals to a combined 16 points. The Rams are that team that always shows up against better teams, but struggles to beat the teams they should beat. Their offense still is among the league’s worst, as they can’t even get their best player, Todd Gurley, going. Because their offense is so bad, they’ll never win in dominant fashion, but their defense will keep them in a lot of games. That likely won’t change next week against the Bills.

16. Baltimore Ravens 3-1 (last week’s ranking: 16) – The Ravens suffered their first loss of the season this week against the Raiders, but it was a very close game that the Ravens certainly could’ve won. The Ravens’ defense was great against the run, as usual, but they struggled to stop Derek Carr and the Raiders’ passing game. Offensively, Steve Smith stepped up and made some great plays, but outside of him and Terrance West, there was very little production for Baltimore. The Ravens look like a team poised to be in plenty of close games, only to come out on top against lesser teams and lose to the better ones. That’s why they remain in the middle of the rankings. Next week’s game against the Redskins could be another win, but a close one.

17. New York Giants 2-2 (last week’s ranking: 14) – The only thing worse for the Giants in the last couple weeks than Odell Beckham’s behavior has been the play of Eli Manning. Manning hasn’t had the best protection in front of him, but he has been inaccurate and unable to take care of the football. The Giants offense still has plenty of talent and they should be able to score against weaker defenses, but against the team like the Vikings, they didn’t stand a chance. Defensively, the Giants were still solid, as they have been so far this year, but they are still vulnerable in the secondary and against the run. They’ll be in Green Bay next week against the well rested Packers.

18. Arizona Cardinals 1-3 (last week’s ranking: 6) – The Arizona Cardinals are one of the biggest disappointments so far this season. This team reached the NFC Championship game last season, but has gotten off to a terrible start, losing to three very beatable teams. The slow start against the Patriots is understandable. Then they came back and demolished the Bucs. The last two weeks, however, have been terrible losses to the Bills and Rams. The Cardinals don’t have any major injuries and didn’t lose any of their key players in the offseason. They even added Chandler Jones. They also have an excellent coaching staff so there’s no real explanation as to why they are struggling. They have a good opportunity to turn it around on Thursday night against the 49ers, as long as Carson Palmer can return from the concussion he suffered in the 4th quarter on Sunday.

19. Carolina Panthers 1-3 (last week’s ranking: 9) – Another disappointment this year, the Panthers have not looked like the team that reached the Super Bowl last season. Their defense was playing fine until they were picked apart by Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, and the Falcons this week. The Panthers’ secondary is clearly a problem. Offensively, they appear to be in the middle of an identity crisis. They want to run the ball and let Cam Newton make plays, but their offensive line has not allowed that to be the case. They haven’t been able to run the ball with Jonathan Stewart out and they haven’t been able to protect Newton. Now Cam has a concussion and the Panthers could be in big trouble. Fortunately, he’ll have an extra day to recover as the Panthers don’t play until Monday night against the Bucs.

20. New York Jets 1-3 (last week’s ranking: 18) – Maybe the Jets were smart not to overpay for Ryan Fitzpatrick. He’s thrown nine interceptions (yes, NINE!) in the last two games. Sure, they were playing two great defenses, but that’s not “winning football”. The Jets have struggled to run the ball as well and Forte appears to be slowing down after a couple strong games to start the year. Defensively, the Jets still have a fearsome pass rush and their defensive line is among the NFL’s best, but their secondary has been getting torched this season. The decline of Darrelle Revis has hurt the team significantly. The Jets still have a well put together roster and a good coaching staff, but they’ve been disappointing so far this season. They’ve also had a very tough schedule and it doesn’t get any easier next week against the Steelers.

21. Washington Redskins 2-2 (last week’s ranking: 21) – To no one’s surprise, the Redskins beat the Browns this past week. Winning against the Browns is not impressive, so the Redskins don’t move up or down. It’s clear that their offense can score as long as Kirk Cousins plays well. He has an excellent group of receivers to throw to and a pretty good offensive line in front of him. Their defense is not great, but it’s a good enough group to beat bad teams like the Browns. Their matchup with the Ravens next week should be a close one.

22. Indianapolis Colts 1-3 (last week’s ranking: 17) – The Colts don’t have the most talented team, but they can’t be happy with this start. Losing to the Broncos is one thing, but the losses to the Lions and Jaguars were bad. The defense was especially bad in those losses, looking undisciplined by committing bad penalties and missing tackles. The offense is good. Andrew Luck is a great quarterback and he has a good group of weapons around him, but the offensive line has been bad in the last few games after a good start in Week 1. The Colts’ biggest problem offensively has been their proneness to slow starts. The Colts aren’t good enough defensively to not fall behind when the offense doesn’t score and they are forced to come back late in games. They’ve been excellent in the 4th quarter, but they can’t wait that long to start playing. If it happens again against the Bears next week, this team is in serious trouble.

23. Jacksonville Jaguars 1-3 (last week’s ranking: 28) – The Jags notched another win in London, defeating the Colts 30-27. No one has really questioned the Jaguars’ ability to put up points, but they struggled to run and protect the ball up until this game. They had plenty of success on the ground and, for the first time this season, Blake Bortles didn’t turn the ball over. Defensively, the Jags still have plenty of room for improvement, but it’s a young unit and they’ll surely get better over the course of the season. They flashed the ability to get after the quarterback, sacking Andrew Luck six times. As this team grows, they’ll start winning some games. For now, they still look like one of the bottom-tier teams in the NFL. They have their bye week coming up.

24. New Orleans Saints 1-3 (last week’s ranking: 24) – The Saints were fortunate to pick up a win against the Chargers last week instead of falling to 0-4. The Saints took advantage of a pair of Chargers’ fumbles to come back from a 13 point deficit late in the 4th On defense, the Saints are horrendous. Their defense is absolutely terrible and may be the worst in the NFL. Offensively, though, the Saints still have Drew Brees and a very talented core around him. As long as Brees is there, the Saints will be a tough team to beat simply because of their ability to score. New Orleans is off on bye next week.

25. San Diego Chargers 1-3 (last week’s ranking: 26) – Poor Philip Rivers. The guy can’t get a break. He’s played very well all year, yet his team is just 1-3. On Sunday, the Chargers lost simply because Melvin Gordon and Travis Benjamin couldn’t hang on to the ball. They both fumbled in the 4th quarter, costing the Chargers their 13 point lead and sending them to a one point loss. The Chargers have lost both Keenan Allen and Danny Woodhead for the season, yet their offense has still played well. Defensively, the Chargers have a great group of cornerbacks, but that’s it. They can’t stop the run or get after the quarterback. They’ve got a tough game against the Raiders next Sunday.

26. Miami Dolphins 1-3 (last week’s ranking: 22) – Could the Dolphins have played worse on Thursday night? They scored a measly seven points and that came on a long touchdown pass from Ryan Tannehill to Kenny Stills. Other than that play, the Dolphins never even sniffed the end zone. They can’t run the football or protect Tannehill enough for him to get the ball to their talented, young receivers. Defensively, the Dolphins have a good pass rush, but they can’t stop the run and their secondary is atrocious outside of Rashad Jones. They’ll have a chance to win at home against the Titans next week.

27. Detroit Lions 1-3 (last week’s ranking: 25) – The Lions played their worst game of the season on Sunday against the Bears. Their offense managed just a pair of field goals before Andre Roberts’ 85-yard kick return touchdown with just 1:52 left in the game. Defensively, they weren’t bad, but that’s not surprising considering they were facing the Bears who started Brian Hoyer at quarterback. The Lions don’t have a great defense, but it’s still a decent unit. Offensively, the Lions can put up points in a hurry, but Matt Stafford is a gunslinger and he’s going to have games like this. The Lions are a better team than how they’ve played. Now they have a game coming up against the surprisingly good Eagles.

28. Tennessee Titans 1-3 (last week’s ranking: 2) – The Titans continue to come close to winning games, but they’re just not a winning team. They have been one of the league’s bottom teams for the last couple years. They have a ways to go before they can be considered a playoff contender. They could be good offensively once they put some better receivers around Marcus Mariota. Defensively, they simply need more talent and more playmakers. They have a solid unit, but it’s not striking fear into opposing quarterbacks. Next week, they’ll face the Dolphins in one of the more winnable games on their schedule.

29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1-3 (last week’s ranking: 27) – After a Week 1 win over the Falcons, the Bucs have been terrible. Defensively, they’ve been one of the worst teams in the league. In their last three games, they’ve allowed an average of nearly 35 points a game. That was including a matchup with the Rams, who they allowed 37 points to. Offensively, Jameis Winston got off to an excellent start, but has regressed since then. He threw four touchdowns in Week 1, taking advantage of the Falcons’ weak defense. In the last three games, he’s thrown four touchdowns combined as well as seven interceptions. The Bucs are a flawed team and it’s not going to get any easier when they face the Panthers next week.

30. Chicago Bears 1-3 (last week’s ranking: 31) – The Bears got their first win of the season, despite starting Brian Hoyer at quarterback. The Bears don’t have a very good offense. They’ve got Alshon Jeffery, who is an excellent receiver, but outside of him, there’s very little talent. The offensive line hasn’t been terrible, though, and rookie running back Jordan Howard looked really good in his first career start. Even when Jay Cutler is healthy, the Bears offense doesn’t instill fear into any defensive coordinator. Defensively, the Bears may be even worse. They have had a lot of injuries, but even when healthy, it’s just not a great unit. Their secondary is awful and the front seven has potential, but they haven’t shown it up to this point. Next Sunday, they play the Colts in Indy.

31. San Francisco 49ers 1-3 (last week’s ranking: 30) – The 49ers are a rebuilding team. They seemed to have a bright future a couple years ago, but a few things happened that completely derailed this franchise. They fired Jim Harbaugh, who was a great coach. Colin Kaepernick started to regress as a player, so he was benched for Blaine Gabbert. Then they had several players retire and leave via free agency. Now they’re a franchise that lacks talent and has a dysfunctional front office. Their tough season won’t get any easier against the Cardinals on Thursday Night Football.

32. Cleveland Browns 0-4 (last week’s ranking: 32) – The Browns are basically the 49ers, but with even less talent. Their front office has no idea what they’re doing. They don’t know how to draft, missing on several early picks (especially quarterbacks). Even when they do draft good players, they don’t resign them to extensions and let them leave in free agency. They’ve done a terrible job building this team and it wouldn’t be surprising if the failed to win a single game this year. It certainly won’t happen this week against the Patriots.

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