Welcome back to NFL Power Rankings.
Remember last week when I said there’d be a lot of moving in this list for another month or so? Well, you’ll see that again this week. There are currently 13 teams in the NFL that are 2-2 (including the entire AFC South), which means a lot of teams are in the same position right now. 3 teams in the league are undefeated, and 6 are winless. Expect more chaos tomorrow.
Biggest rise: New Orleans Saints (up 9 spots)
Biggest fall: Minnesota Vikings (down 11 spots)
1. New England Patriots (PR: 1)
Record: 4-0 | Week 5 opponent: Washington (away)
The Patriots came back down to Earth last week, squeezing out a victory against the Buffalo Bills on the road. The defense continued to look great, intercepting Bills QBs four (4) times (almost five actually), holding them to 10 points. The unit let up their first touchdown of the season on a 4th and goal where Josh Allen JUST stretched into the end zone. Tom Brady played one of the worst games of his career, but the strength of this team looked just fine. The gap between them and KC closed a bit, but they still have the edge.
2. Kansas City Chiefs (PR: 2)
Record: 4-0 | Week 5 opponent: Indianapolis Colts (home)
This was an impressive win for Kansas City, as Patrick Mahomes led a GW drive to secure a victory. The Chiefs defense, as it has all season, continued to look porous, and allowed a season high 30 points, and over 400 total yards for the third time in 4 games. As I said last week, it doesn’t matter when you have Mahomes, and he proved that yet again. A win is a win, and this could be a small-scale statement win for this team.
3. New Orleans Saints (PR: 12)
Record: 3-1 | Week 5 opponent: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (home)
Talk about a jump. I have been super impressed with New Orleans and their ability to win the past two weeks. They dominated Seattle on the road, and then beat a good Dallas team at home. Brees is a legend, but this is still a 53-man team, and this TEAM is proving how good they are (as well as Sean Payton). They’ll be ready for another run when Drew comes back.
4. Dallas Cowboys (PR: 3)
Record: 3-1 | Week 5 opponent: Green Bay Packers (home)
Well, a little bit of a snap back to reality. Dallas’ offense was neutralized, and they couldn’t pull out the win in a game without Drew Brees. I still think this team has a ton of potential, and they faced a good team at home, but that was their first true test of the season and they failed. Don’t fret, tomorrow they get a big test against the Green Bay Packers.
5. Green Bay Packers (PR: 6)
Record: 3-1 | Week 5 opponent: Dallas Cowboys (away)
Similar to Dallas, Green Bay suffered their first lost of the season in Week 4, and the aspects of their game that looked like strengths during the first 3 weeks looked like weaknesses. The Packers defense could not contain Philadelphia, and Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense struggled in goal-to-go situations. As I said last week, this is still a good team, and they will face another big test tomorrow: Dallas.
6. Seattle Seahawks (PR: 14)
Record: 4-1 | Week 5 opponent: Los Angeles Rams (home); won
Last week I said Seattle needed to bounce back against Arizona, and they did that (and more). They won convincingly, and then beat the defending NFC Champs at home in a close and somewhat controversial game. Russell Wilson looked phenomenal, and this team’s mediocre game against New Orleans looks like a lifetime ago. With Russ playing like that, Seattle will be a Super Bowl contender.
7. San Francisco 49ers (PR: 10)
Record: 3-0 | Week 5 opponent: Cleveland Browns (home)
The 49ers benefit from sitting out last week as the rest of the league had a massive reset. I won’t penalize them for not playing, and at the moment, they are the ONLY undefeated team in the NFC. They’ll have a good test against the Browns on Monday; win that game, and it’ll justify their standing in the top 10.
8. Los Angeles Rams (PR: 4)
Record: 3-2 | Week 5 opponent: Seattle Seahawks (away); lost
Hey, something I might have been right about! The Rams hadn’t impressed me during their first 3 weeks, and after two straight losses (vs. Tampa Bay, at Seattle), you can see why. They were close against Seattle and you can argue they got screwed, but their loss to Tampa Bay was an absolute embarrassment. Maybe they’re simply a notch below where they were last season (which is fine), but they’re still a good team. Losing Claw Matthews for the next month will stink, but they aren’t going anywhere.
9. Chicago Bears (PR: 15)
Record: 3-1 | Week 5 opponent: Oakland Raiders (away)
The Bears looked better in Week 3, but still needed a statement win in my eyes, and their shutdown of the Vikings offense was enough for me. This defense looks as legit as they did a year ago, which will only help as the season progresses. Mitch Trubisky suffered an injury, but career backup Chase Daniel held the fort down in his place. I think they’re finding their groove just in time, with some tough games on the horizon.
10. Buffalo Bills (PR: 10)
Record: 3-1 | Week 5 opponent: Tennessee Titans (away)
This defense is legit. Some might argue this game was more of an indictment on Tom Brady, but if you look at passer rating, this was the lowest rating (45.9) he had in a win in his ENTIRE CAREER; his previous low in a win (48.3) happened last season… against Buffalo. Josh Allen looked AWFUL (hoping he’s feeling better), and the offense could get nothing done (except for Frank Gore). They showed they can play with the giants of the NFL, and I think that will mean something for this up-and-coming squad.
11. Philadelphia Eagles (PR: 16)
Record: 2-2 | Week 5 opponent: New York Jets (home)
I think I was a bit too harsh last week with the Eagles. They had disappointed me (even after beating Green Bay), and other teams had looked more impressive to start the season. After Week 4 (and the start of Week 5), I realized the Eagles were fine. Inconsistent, yes, but fine. They still have a talented QB and a solid head coach. If they get healthy to finish the season, they’ll only rise in these rankings. Please don’t make me look bad again.
12. Detroit Lions (PR: 13)
Record: 2-1-1 | Week 5 opponent: none (bye week)
Even in defeat, I came away impressed. This team is showing that it can compete with the best teams in the league, a great step in the right direction. Stafford has had a great start to his season, but their defense looks like a mess. They have a bye week, so hopefully they fix some problems, but they have a lot to be happy about… for now.
13. Cleveland Browns (PR: 18)
Record: 2-2 | Week 5 opponent: San Francisco 49ers (away)
How about THAT win last week, huh!? I said last week they were close, and I truly believed it… and they had a huge statement victory. Many skeptics overreacted based on Week 1, but the Browns were always going to have a daunting schedule to start this season. Now they’re 2-2, but it won’t get easier, as their next 3 games are against the 49ers, Seahawks, and Patriots. If they can win just one of those games, the rest of their schedule is extremely light. This is still a playoff team.
14. Baltimore Ravens (PR: 5)
Record: 2-2 | Week 5 opponent: Pittsburgh Steelers (away)
Maybe we all were too high on Baltimore. Their Week 3 showing against Kansas City isn’t anything to hold against this team, but losing to Cleveland at home in that fashion was. Maybe they just faced a desperate Browns team, but the offense looked timid for most of the game. It’s still way too early, and with one of the better coaches and young QBs in the NFL (plus being in the AFC North this season), they’ll be fine.
15. Houston Texans (PR: 9)
Record: 2-2 | Week 5 opponent: Atlanta Falcons (home)
The Texans had a chance last week to put their foot down and say “we’re here,” but were not able to do so. Another example of facing a desperate 1-2 team, but they did force multiple turnovers against the Panthers offense. However, the Texans offensive line did an awful job protecting Deshaun Watson, allowing 6 sacks for the second time this season, adding up to a total of 18 sacks allowed this season (on pace for 72 overall). If they can’t protect Watson, they won’t succeed, plain and simple.
16. Indianapolis Colts (PR: 11)
Record: 2-2 | Week 5 opponent: Kansas City Chiefs (away)
Last week was rough, and the Colts will be the first ones to tell you that. With Hilton, Leonard, and Hooker not being able to play, they were empty-handed against the Raiders. Tomorrow night will not be any easier against the Chiefs, but don’t lose hope yet. This is a tough stretch, but if they can regain some health (easier said than done), they’ll be fine as the season progresses. I don’t envision last week being the norm for this team this season.
17. Los Angeles Chargers (PR: 17)
Record: 2-2 | Week 5 opponent: Denver Broncos (home)
You’re probably asking how I penalized a team for winning, but it’s simple: they beat Miami. As we’re seeing, that doesn’t necessarily make you special. Nevertheless, it wasn’t an impressive enough win to justify moving up, and their next 2 games (at home against Denver and Pittsburgh) should be easy wins too. That’s fine, this is a good squad, but they’ll have to prove this season they can beat the better teams in the NFL, but there’s plenty of time
18. Minnesota Vikings (PR: 7)
Record: 2-2 | Week 5 opponent: New York Giants (away)
What can I even say about this team… they’re on the verge of a collapse in my opinion. They cannot trust Kirk Cousins, and Stefon Diggs is practically out the door. You know what I’ve said all season: they have to run the ball and rely on their defense, but Adam Thielen said it best, “You have to be able to throw the ball.” Classic case of a team with 10-6 talent playing like a 6-10 team; that leads to an 8-8 season.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (PR: 22)
Record: 2-2 | Week 5 opponent: New Orleans Saints (away)
What a game against the Rams. They may have kicked me to the curb after their game against the Giants, but they came back and made a HUGE statement against Los Angeles. Their defense may have allowed Jared Goff to pass for over 500 yards, but Jameis Winston had a great game, and don’t look now, but in his last 3 weeks, he’s 67 for 103 (65.1%), passing for 973 yards, 8 TDs & 2 INTs (113.5 passer rating). They may not be a heavyweight, but this is as good as they’ve looked under Winston.
20. Carolina Panthers (PR: 21)
Record: 2-2 | Week 5 opponent: Jacksonville Jaguars (home)
Carolina had another season-saving type win last week against the Texans to get to 2-2. Similar to the Saints, this looks like a team proving that they are more than their star QB, and they’re surviving right now. The NFC South might not be as wide open as it appeared when Drew Brees first went down against the Rams, but the Panthers are staying in the picture right now, which is all you can ask. Has Allen done enough to continue starting once Newton is ruled healthy? I’m not sure yet, but if he keeps winning, the team might not have a choice.
21. Tennessee Titans (PR: 20)
Record: 2-2 | Week 5 opponent: Buffalo Bills (home)
Yes, they won last week, but I was more impressed with the Panthers win against Houston, thus Tennessee falling back one spot. Marcus Mariota looked great against Atlanta, and maybe he’s showing he’s not the slouch I think he is, but lets just say he’s doing enough for now. The AFC South is WIDE OPEN with each team at 2-2, and the Titans are absolutely in the picture for making a run… but can they? A win tomorrow against the Bills would be a step in the right direction.
22. Jacksonville Jaguars (PR: 23)
Record: 2-2 | Week 5 opponent: Carolina Panthers (away)
Minshew mania! He wasn’t perfect against the Broncos in Denver, but he led a GW drive in a location known for being tough for QBs to succeed in. He was thrown into the fire Week 1, and he’s done nothing but impress, keeping the Jaguars alive this season, and similar to the Titans, right in the conversation in this division. Some considered them a dark horse, and even with Jalen Ramsey’s status in limbo, they’re sticking around. A long way to go, but due to their division, they should continue to be around.
23. Oakland Raiders (PR: 25)
Record: 2-2 | Week 5 opponent: Chicago Bears (home)
I’ll give them credit, beating the Colts (in Indy) was impressive. I thought things were going to go downhill like always, but like a bunch of other teams in the NFL, they too are 2-2. I don’t know if they can keep it up with their next 5 games being against Chicago, Green Bay, Houston, Detroit, and the Chargers, but it only takes winning 2 out of those 5 to be 4-5 before facing Cincy and the Jets. One game at a time, and for now, they’ve been a pleasant surprise, but they’ll need to do more to continue rising.
24. New York Giants (PR: 26)
Record: 2-2 | Week 5 opponent: Minnesota Vikings (home)
Well, the Giants got Case Keenum to start the day, and then before the end of the first half, Washington threw in Dwayne Haskins, just because. Danny Dimes wasn’t as dynamic as he was against Tampa Bay, but he’s young, it’s going to be a season full of development. The Giants don’t have playoff prospects because the conference is too deep, and their division is too strong with Dallas and Philly, but it could’ve been worse. Also, please don’t rush back Saquon.
25. Pittsburgh Steelers (PR: 25)
Record: 1-3 | Week 5 opponent: Baltimore Ravens (home)
They finally got their first win of the season, and Mason Rudolph looked good, but it was against the Bengals, who are looking worse by the week. Last week I said their playoff hopes are over, but that might not be the case. If they win tomorrow versus Baltimore and Cleveland losses to San Fran Monday, the Steelers will be in a three way tie for first place in the division. That makes what’s always a fun match between the Steelers and Ravens that much more important.
26. Atlanta Falcons (PR: 19)
Record: 1-3 | Week 5 opponent: Houston Texans (away)
Even more disappointing than the Vikings. The talent is there, but I just think Dan Quinn has lost this team. He’s a good coach, and he’d quickly be snatched up as a coordinator elsewhere, but I think his time has run its course in Atlanta. Ryan has 6 INTs through 4 games, one off of his 2018 total. Just a mess, and unless they wake up soon, it’ll only get worse.
27. Denver Broncos (PR: 27)
Record: 0-4 | Week 5 opponent: Los Angeles Chargers (away)
They have to win a game eventually, right? Losing Bradley Chubb for the season was devastating, and things don’t look, and with their next 3 games being against the Chargers, Titans and Chiefs, they could be facing an 0-7 start (notice how I say things like this and the opposite tends to happen). This was always going to be a transition season, but I just thought there’d be more to show for it in Year 1 for Vic Fangio, but not yet.
28. Arizona Cardinals (PR: 28)
Record: 0-3-1 | Week 5 opponent: Cincinnati Bengals (away)
Arizona faced a better team last week and the end result reflected as much. After a tie in Week 1, they’ve lost three straight, but they face a winless Bengals team tomorrow, so… well, someone has to win… unless they tie.
29. Cincinnati Bengals (PR: 29)
Record: 0-4 | Week 5 opponent: Arizona Cardinals (home)
Cincy just did not show up Monday against the Steelers, and now sit at 0-4. They looked like they were losing to better teams to start this season, but Monday was embarrassing, as Pittsburgh was in the same spot they were at 0-3, and the Bengals had just as much to gain from that game. Now? Onto 2020.
30. Washington (PR: 30)
Record: 0-4 | Week 5 opponent: New England Patriots (home)
What a mess. They start the game last week with Case Keenum, throw in Haskins in the 2nd quarter (versus the second half), and now are starting Colt McCoy tomorrow against the Patriots. I get it, better than putting in Haskins against a potent New England defense, but they set him up for failure last week, plain and simple. Jay Gruden still has a job, but that won’t last much longer. As Washington fans now, this mess won’t go away with Dan Snyder owning the team, even when Gruden is canned. It’s a real shame, but at least the Nationals are in the playoffs!
31. New York Jets (PR: 31)
Record: 0-3 | Week 5 opponent: Philadelphia Eagles (away)
No changes from last week. Still no Sam Darnold, and with a game against the Eagles, expect another disappointing showing.
32. Miami Dolphins (PR: 32)
Record: 0-4 | Week 5 opponent: none (bye week)
Well, they had a lead, that’s something! They lost by 20 points (their closest game of the season), and Josh Rosen looked better. They have a bye week, and then face Washington in Week 6… if they don’t win that one, it’s really time to accept 0-16 might happen.
Photo above from Joe Nicholson of USA TODAY Sports
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