NFL Week 5 Power Rankings

Sep 29, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans wide receiver Nate Washington (85) celebrates in the end zone after scoring a touchdown against the New York Jets during the first half at LP Field. Mandatory Credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

It was a crazy week in the NFL! Where did your team end up?

1.   Denver Broncos (4-0) - Peyton is on pace to shatter Tom Brady’s single-season touchdown record of 50 since he already has 16 through the first four games. He looks like he’s never played any better, but a statistic worth noting is that all the teams he’s beaten so far this season have a combined record of 4-12. He’ll have a tougher test in Dallas this weekend, but should still leave with a win.  Previous Rank: 1

2.   Seattle Seahawks (4-0) - It wasn’t a pretty win, but it was still a win to keep them undefeated. Russel Wilson has struggled in the passing game this year, but as long as they can rely on their stellar defense and Marshawn Lynch to go beast mode, the Seahawks should keep rolling.  Previous Rank: 2

3.   New England Patriots (4-0) - As New England’s first true test of the season, they handled Atlanta pretty well in the Georgia Dome, despite almost allowing them to come back from a 17-point deficit. The season-ending injury to Vince Wilfork will impact the run defense, which is currently 11th in the league. Hopefully for them the injury to Aaron Dobson isn’t too serious, or the offense will lose another weapon just before playing the Bengals and Saints. Aqib Talib will have his hands full with AJ Green next week, it’ll be great to watch.  Previous Rank: 3

4.   New Orleans Saints (4-0) - Drew Brees put on a clinic against the previously undefeated Dolphins. Their lack of running game didn’t make a difference at all since Brees tossed 4 TDs while going 30/39 for 413 yards and a stellar passer rating of 144.5. The Dolphins had no answer for Jimmy Graham, and the duo made them pay.  Previous Rank: 5

5.   Kansas City Chiefs (4-0) - I thought the Giants would challenge the Chiefs a bit this week, but they didn’t show a sign of weakness. Alex Smith was great despite two interceptions, throwing  for 24/41 for 288 yards and 3 TD’s. He’s done a good job of spreading the ball around in the passing game and not relying on Dwayne Bowe too often.  Previous Rank: 10

6.   Indianapolis Colts (3-1) - The Colts could have fell for this trap game, much like Cincy did against the Browns, but they took care of business on the road and demolished the Jaguars. Despite 20 carries, Trent Richardson was only able to rush for 60 yards and a TD.  Previous Rank: 12

7.   Chicago Bears (3-1) - It took four games into the season, but Jay Cutler finally cost his team a win. He threw 3 INTs and fumbled the ball as well. In a five point game, these were obviously the difference. I know they lost to the Lions, but they are the better team going forward. Previous Rank: 6

8.   Miami Dolphins (3-1) - The confident Dolphins got a reality check in the Superdome on Monday night. The defense looked out of sync and the offense couldn’t sustain drives, going 3 for 9 on third down.  Allowing 18 sacks in the first four games isn’t helping Tannehill grow into a more accurate passer. He had 3 interceptions and fumble during this game.  Previous Rank: 8

9.   Cincinnati Bengals (2-2) - Despite a tough loss to the division opponent Browns, the Bengals are still a very good team. They have a chance to rebound at home against the visiting Patriots this week. They’re in a three-way tie in the AFC North right now, so every win will be crucial.  Previous Rank: 4

10.   Detroit Lions (3-1) - It’s unbelievable how much better this offense is with Reggie Bush in the lineup. Bush had 173 total yards and a TD. The Lions actually lead the NFC North right now, owning the tie-breaker against the Bears.  Previous Rank: 17  

11.   Tennessee Titans (3-1) - Who would have thought the Titans would be tied for first in the AFC South. This defense has swagger and is very hard on themselves. Bernard Pollard could be seen on the sideline visibly angry after the Titans allowed Geno Smith’s only TD of the game in the 4th quarter. It’s a shame Jake Locker will miss some significant time with his hip injury, he’s been playing his best football yet. Ryan Fitzpatrick is a solid back up to take his place in the mean time.  Previous Rank: 15

12.   Green Bay Packers (1-2) - I felt bad knocking the Packers down so far from last week when they didn’t actually play, but their play in the first three games was less than impressive. Hopefully for them they were able to heal in their bye week, or else injuries are going to derail the Packers’ season.  Previous Rank: 7

13.   San Francisco 49ers (2-2) - It was hard to tell if the 49ers played that well or the Rams played that bad on Thursday night. Either way, this is not the ‘Niners team everyone is used to seeing. They’ll have a better test next week when they face the Texans on Sunday night.  Previous Rank: 13

14.   Houston Texans (2-2) - It’s a little surprising that people are calling for Matt Schaub’s job after only two losses. Sure, he cost them the win on Sunday with that pick-six, but that burden can’t fall completely on his shoulders. Jumping ship to TJ Yates is not an upgrade at the QB position.  Previous Rank: 16

15.   San Diego Chargers (2-2) - Phil Rivers had a great game against the Cowboys and formed a connection with the former Patriot, Danny Woodhead. Rivers was 35/42 for 401 yards, 3 TDs, and 1 pick. Two of his TDs were to Woodhead, his first when Woody was lined up as an outside receiver and caught a perfectly thrown ball over the top as he beat man coverage.  Previous Rank: 18

16.   Dallas Cowboys (2-2) - The Chargers neutralized Jason Witten and DeMarco Murray to shut down the Cowboys’ offense. The defense seemed confused by the Chargers’ weapons and allowed 20 unanswered points to blow the 11 point lead they had. They are still atop the NFC East, but in a tight division of mediocrity this season, they can’t afford to blow games like this.  Previous Rank: 11

17.   Atlanta Falcons (1-3) - To be fair to the Falcons, they were without many of their key players on Sunday night, like Asante Samuel and Steven Jackson, but the Patriots lost Wilfork early and still were without Gronkowski. Tony Gonzalez turned back the clock and caught 12 balls for 149 yards and 2 TDs, which is great for him but meaningless if you lose. They need to get their act together or risk falling too far away from a playoff spot in a competitive division and conference.  Previous Rank: 9

18.   Buffalo Bills (2-2) - Despite picking off Joe Flacco an incredible 5 times, this was only a 3 point game. They had 11 penalties for 99 yards and EJ Manuel finished with 2 picks and a fumble. The duo of Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller need to continue to be a driving force for this offense if the Bills want to string together wins.  Previous Rank: 24

19.   Cleveland Browns (2-2) - Who would have thought two weeks after trading Trent Richardson and advertising a fire-sale of their offense the Browns would have won two straight games. Brian Hoyer is a better QB than Brandon Weeden and proved it by beating a tough Bengals defense. Jordan Cameron is making the case to be considered the second best tight end active right now behind Jimmy Graham. The Browns have a young but very underrated defense worth keeping an eye on this year.  Previous Rank: 25   

20.   Arizona Cardinals (2-2) - After a quiet first half, the Cardinals rallied from a 0-10 hole to score 13 unanswered points and beat the lowly Buccaneers. Patrick Peterson was a stud with 2 interceptions on the day, including the one to seal the victory. Carson Palmer’s protection has actually been pretty good, so one would expect better numbers from him at this point than his current performance.  Previous Rank: 20

21.   Baltimore Ravens (2-2) - Anytime your “elite” quarterback that you just paid $120.6 million for throws 5 interceptions, there is cause for concern. Not only did he have 5 picks, but he did it against one of the weaker defenses in the league. His offensive line didn’t do him any favors though, as they gave up 4 sacks worth 26 yards. The lone shining light in this game from the Ravens offense was Torrey Smith who tallied 5 receptions worth 166 yards and a TD.  Previous Rank: 14 

22.   Carolina Panthers (1-2) - Returning from the bye week the Panthers take on the very beatable Cardinals. With the Falcons struggling and the Buccs an embarrassment, the Panthers can start stringing together wins and put themselves in playoff contention.  Previous Rank: 22  

23.   Philadelphia Eagles (1-3) - Even die-hard Eagles fans knew they stood no chance against Peyton Manning. The Eagles secondary is a complete mess and will only be fixed by a strong draft and free agent signings. The fast-paced offense puts even more strain on the defense since they have less time to rest. Philly could bounce back next week, though, against the miserable Giants.  Previous Rank: 21

24.   St. Luis Rams (1-3) - Four years after drafting Sam Bradford #1 overall, he doesn’t look like he’s grown at all. The Rams insist they are committed to him and would even talk about a contract extension even though his isn’t up until 2015, but this may just be a  public show of confidence for Bradford. If he doesn’t improve by the end of this year, it should be time to consider moving on. The Rams’ complete lack of running game doesn’t help relieve the pressure off Bradford, though.  Previous Rank: 19

25.   Minnesota Vikings (1-3) - The organization insists that Christian Ponder is their man, but Matt Cassel seemed to have win over the locker room with his win in London over the Steelers. He was the anti-Ponder, throwing 16/25 with 2 TDs and no interceptions. Jerome Simpson was his favorite target, but he made sure to give the ball to Jennings for some huge plays, including 2 TDs.  Previous Rank: 26

26.   New York Jets (1-3) - Just when SportsCenter finally retires the buttfumble and the Jets think they can move on, Geno Smith commits buttfumble 2.0, but this time off his own backside. It’s hard to win when you commit 10 penalties for 66 yards and 4 turnovers. The offensive line was abysmal and gave up 5 sacks worth 50 yards.  Previous Rank: 23

27.   Washington Redskins (1-3) - The league’s worst defense finally faced an offense stagnant enough to turn their incompetence it into a non-factor. Alfred Morris has played well, but RGIII is nowhere near the level he performed at last year. Maybe this upcoming bye week will help him rest and recover enough to become a prolific passer again.  Previous Rank: 29

28.   Pittsburgh Steelers (0-4) - Big Ben shouldn’t be throwing 51 times a game, but with the banged up O-line and a rookie RB he really has no choice. The offense isn’t anywhere near good enough to make up for the weak defense. The Steelers’ defense ranks 25th in total points allowed; very uncharacteristic.  Previous Rank: 27

29.   New York Giants (0-4) - The Giants are 30th in rushing yards. Eli Manning has a passer rating of 69 (half of Peyton’s 138) and leads the league in interceptions with 9 after only four weeks. To put this into perspective, Tom Brady threw 8 all last season.  Previous Rank: 28

30.   Oakland Raiders (1-3) - Without Terrell Pryor, this team looked even worse. They jumped to a 14-0 lead early after a blocked punt recovery in the endzone and Matt Flynn’s only touchdown of the game thrown to Mychal Rivera, but shut down the rest of the game and let the Redskins put up 24 unanswered points.  Previous Rank: 31

31.   Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-4) - The Buccaneers team and organization  is a complete mess. Josh Freeman and Greg Schiano are in the midst of a bitter breakup that, combined with the Buccs’ record and countless mistakes, will likely cost the coach his job. It seems only a matter of time before he’s headed back to college football.  Previous Rank: 30

32.   Jacksonville Jaguars (0-4) - Their #1 overall pick next year Teddy Bridgewater should help them put up some points, a concept lost on this squad.  Previous Rank: 32

Topics: Denver Broncos, Miami Dolphins, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, Tennessee Titans

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