NFL Power Rankings Week 5: The Winless Teams Win, Mostly


St. Louis Rams wide receiver Tavon Austin (11) carries the ball against the Arizona Cardinals during the second half at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Rams won 24-22. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

This week’s NFL power rankings still look the same at the top where the Packers and Patriots continue to lock down the top two spots. With six undefeated teams remaining, there was a bit of shuffling behind them. I have the Cardinals and Seahawks both ranked above the undefeated Panthers simply because I think they’re both better teams and Carolina can’t possibly keep up the performances they’ve started the season with.

On the other end of the spectrum, three of the four winless teams got their first victory of the season. As we all know, the one team that remains winless is the Detroit Lions. As a result, the Lions have fallen all the way down to 30th and with Arizona coming to town, there’s still room to fall.

This week’s biggest riser is the St. Louis Rams who jumped eleven spots from 21 to 10 on the heels of a 24-22 victory over the Cardinals. The Rams travel to Lambeau field this week and hopefully they can keep up their play there.

The teams that dropped the furthest this week were the Colts, who dropped from 9 to 16 despite their overtime victory at home against the Jaguars, and the Eagles, who dropped from 12 to 19 by losing to a Washington team that many had them beating. That about does it for the big movers and shakers in this week’s NFL power rankings, so without further ado:

(4-0). Previous: . Green Bay Packers. 1. team. 49. Which will happen first, an Aaron Rodgers interception or a Green Bay loss? This team is unbeatable with Rodgers playing lights out.

47. The Patriots are tough to beat in their own division, one that boasts two of the league’s best defenses. They’re almost impossible to beat if you’re an incomplete team.. (3-0). Previous: . New England Patriots. 2. team

3. team. 44. Atlanta impressed this week by putting their foot on the gas and blowing out Houston. After two one-score games and a matchup with Dallas that was close until the late, Atlanta has outscored their opponents 73-21 in their last six quarters.. (4-0). Previous: . Atlanta Falcons

team. 45. This has got to be the first time in Peyton Manning’s career where he hasn’t been great and also had to be great. This Bronco defense is elite. It may be the best defense in the league this year. It’s certainly the best at getting QB pressures.. (4-0). Previous: . Denver Broncos. 4

team. 56. At the beginning of the season, I said the Bengals would be middling this year. Four games in and Andy Dalton has made me look silly. The Bengals are clicking on all cylinders right now and the way the rest of the AFC North is playing right now, they may have the division locked up by Thanksgiving.. (4-0). Previous: . Cincinnati Bengals. 5

Previous: . Arizona Cardinals. 6. team. 32. Arizona lost this week, yet they stayed at six in my rankings. Bruce Arians’ team is good and they dropped a real close game to a team with a really good defense that has also started to get healthy on offense. The Cardinals are still a game up in the division and play their next four games against Detroit and the entire AFC North, excluding the blazing hot Bengals. This team should be 7-1 at the halfway point.. (3-1)

(2-2). Previous: . Seattle Seahawks. 7. team. 36. Kam Chancellor. The Seahawks do have some issues to work out on offense, but the defense can still make big plays in big time situations. The Cardinals and the Rams should really push the Hawks for the division though. Seattle faces 4-0 Cincinnati and 4-0 Carolina the next two weeks and follow that up with road contests against San Francisco and Dallas. They could be 4-4 and three games out of first place at the halfway point.

(4-0). Previous: . Carolina Panthers. 8. team. 87. The Panthers can’t possibly continue to keep up the play they’ve had the first four weeks. They’ve played some of the worst teams in the league so far, having played Jacksonville, Houston, New Orleans and Tampa Bay. They have their first real test against Seattle this week and follow that up with matchups against the Eagles, Colts and Packers. The Panthers are going to fall back down to earth.

(3-1). Previous: . New York Jets. 9. team. 30. The Jets have done a fantastic job playing to their strengths this year. The offense isn’t going to dazzle, but the running game is producing and Ryan Fitzpatrick is doing just enough to keep the offense respectable. The defense is the reason that has proven to be a winning model so far.

(2-2). Previous: . St. Louis Rams. 10. team. 51. The Rams are kind of the opposite of the Chargers. San Diego has two wins against bad teams and two losses to good teams. St. Louis has beaten Seattle and Arizona and more importantly are 2-0 in the division. Their losses are to Washington and Pittsburgh. Are the Rams still figuring it out or are they playing to the level of their competition?

16. Rex Ryan has this Bills team playing inspired football. He also has them playing undisciplined. Can the Bills solve their penalty issues before their three game stretch of AFC East division games? They’ve got three weeks to figure it out before then.. (2-2). Previous: . Buffalo Bills. 11. team

12. team. 31. The Giants need to capitalize on the Cowboys’ injuries and the schedule provides them the opportunity. Their next four opponents are a combined 6-14.. (2-2). Previous: . New York Giants

team. 123. Strangely, Brandon Weeden looked really good on Sunday night. It was the defense that let them down. The Cowboys just have to tread water until Romo gets back but the schedule will make it very hard for them to keep their heads above water. Their next two division games will be critical.. (2-2). Previous: . Dallas Cowboys. 13

60. The Vikings’ Week 1 loss to San Francisco is looking more and more like a fluke, especially after a close one against the Broncos in Denver. They have an absolutely brutal stretch that starts in four weeks though. In that stretch, Minnesota faces the Rams, Raiders, Packers, Falcons, Seahawks and Cardinals. If they can even manage to split those games, I’ll be impressed.. (2-2). Previous: . Minnesota Vikings. 14. team

(2-2). Previous: . San Diego Chargers. 15. team. 13. I have no idea who the Chargers are. Their two wins are against opponents that are a combined 1-7. Their two losses are against opponents that are a combined 6-2. Make of that what you will.

Indianapolis Colts. 16. team. 46. The Colts are flat out bad. We keep waiting to see them find their stride, but honestly, they may not ever find it. Even if they don’t, the AFC South is so bad the Colts can walk into the playoffs at 8-8. The last two weeks Indy has “luck”ed into a pair of division wins. If the Colts were in any other division, they’d be 0-4 right now with just a handful of winnable games on the schedule ahead of them.. (2-2). Previous:

55. Pittsburgh just isn’t good enough with Mike Vick at quarterback to make up for the defensive deficiencies. That’s the short of it. They could very easily lose their next four games without Big Ben. That would put them in a 2-6 hole that would end their season in all likelihood.. (2-2). Previous: . Pittsburgh Steelers. 17. team

18. team. 28. There’s no such thing as a good loss in this league, but if there was, it’s how the Raiders did it Sunday. They put together a quick drive off of a turnover to take the lead late, but the Bears responded with a last second field goal for the win. They’re a young team with tons of upside, but they may be another two years away from competing for the division. They can certainly make some noise in the AFC West this year though. The division games will say a lot about how far the Raiders have come, and how far they have to go.. (2-2). Previous: . Oakland Raiders

19. team. 54. A 23-20 loss to Washington has Eagles fans questioning Chip Kelly and the potential of this Eagles team. The NFC East is an average division from top to bottom (Philly is 1-3 and just one game out of first place) so the division winner will likely end up close to .500. The Eagles need to do their part to get an edge on the battered Cowboys before they get healthy though. Dropping division games isn’t a good way to do that.. (1-3). Previous: . Philadelphia Eagles

20. team. 26. Last week I questioned how a team with Baltimore’s talent could be 0-3. While their Thursday night performance wasn’t exactly inspiring from a talent perspective, the Ravens got into the win column and may find themselves at 3-3 after matchups with the Browns and 49ers in consecutive weeks.. (1-3). Previous: . Baltimore Ravens

21. team. 15. C.J. Spiller’s overtime touchdown grab got the Saints into the win column, but there’s going to be more games ahead where the Saints will need to make big plays to stay in it. It’s too early to pass judgement on the Saints, but their playoff chances are just barely existent at 1-3 in a division with two 4-0 teams.. (1-3). Previous: . New Orleans Saints

22. team. 53. The Browns have been competitive despite a mostly bad defense. The Cleveland D has given up an average of almost 30 points per game in their three losses. Just 14 points were given up in their Week 2 win. When the offense is consistently scoring 27 or 28 points per game, they’re doing their job. If the defense can pull it together, the Browns could end up finding some wins. Their schedule is pretty tough though.. (2-2). Previous: . Cleveland Browns

team. 35. The Titans had a bye last week but have shown flashes of talent and competitiveness each week. They could be in the playoff conversation in early December before a four game final stretch that should leave them on the outside looking in. Before you call me crazy, look at the schedule. The Titans could be 7-5 through 13 weeks.. (1-2). Previous: . Tennessee Titans. 23

24. team. 124. The Chiefs looked good in a Week 1 win against Houston and have followed that up with three straight losses to teams that are all currently undefeated. It’s tough to make anything out of the Chiefs’ season so far. The four game stretch that lies ahead should show us who the Chiefs are.. (1-3). Previous: . Kansas City Chiefs

team. 42. Last week I mentioned the 49ers had been outscored 90 – 25 in Weeks 2 and 3. That number is now 107-28 over the last three weeks. That’s less than 10 points per game on offense and over 35 points per game allowed on defense since their surprising Week 1 win.. (1-3). Previous: . San Francisco 49ers. 25

Previous: . Miami Dolphins. 27. team. 59. Miami is a tire fire right now. They eeked out a Week 1 victory against Washington and proceeded to drop three straight to the Jags, Bills and Jets. The offense is averaging 16.25 points per game. The defense has 1 sack on the season. No wonder Philbin was canned.. (1-3)

57. The Bears finally got their first win this season upon Jay Cutler’s return to the lineup. I’m not saying the Bears are good, but they very well may be average. Look at the schedule and tell me they can’t be competitive in at least two or three of their next five and their last five opponents have a combined record of 6-14.. (1-3). Previous: . Chicago Bears. 28. team

(1-3). Previous: . Houston Texans. 29. team. 10. The AFC South is straight up terrible. The Jags are bad, the Colts are bad and the Texans are bad. The Titans are average. The Texans get to face off with each of their division opponents over the next four weeks so this division should start to come into focus soon.

50. Probably the most heartbreaking loss Detroit fans have seen since…well, since January. The Lions have a knack for losing games is truly soulcrushing fashion. It’s almost impressive. While the playoffs are out of the picture, a .500 season can still be salvaged, despite injuries piling up.. (0-4). Previous: . Detroit Lions. 30. team

48. Tampa is 1-3 with their lone win against the 1-3 Saints. The NFC South is a tale of two cities, or rather, a tale of four cities with pairs heading in opposite directions. The Bucs have a couple winnable games coming up, but after that, wins will be few and far between.. (1-3). Previous: . Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 31. team

team. 52. That loss to Indy has got to hurt. You can’t win games missing field goals like that. The Jaguars’ lone win is against a Dolphins team that has completely fallen apart since their Week 2 matchup. The offense has averaged 13 points per game in their three losses. On the bright side, they do get the Bucs and Texans the next two weeks.. (1-3). Previous: . Jacksonville Jaguars. 32

Next: An Open Letter To The NFL

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