We’re at the quarter pole of the NFL Season and we don’t know a whole lot. Here’s what we do know – the AFC South and NFC South are both incredibly weak. Though each division’s best team are the top two teams in the league, the next highest ranked team in the “South” falls at 23 meaning the 6 remaining AFC/NFC South teams fall within the last 10 spots. We know that the Arizona Cardinals defense is undeniable, the Texans, Falcons, and Ravens hardly have a weakness on their roster, the NFC West is not as weak as we all thought, and that the AFC West is going to be a fight to the finish. What we don’t know is whether or not the Saints can finish a game, which New England team we’re going to get from one quarter to the next, where the Detroit offense has gone, and which Tony Romo will show up this week. Without further ado, the Week 5 NFL Power Rankings:
1. Atlanta Falcons (4-0)
Last Week: 1 (-)
There are a lot of people who will argue that the Texans absolute domination of teams deserves my top spot. While Houston has been impressive, the Falcons have gone 4-0 with a much tougher schedule. Matt Ryan’s clutch throw out of his own endzone to Roddy White to come back against the Panthers showed the kind of poise he’ll need to win his first career playoff game.
2. Houston Texans (4-0)
Last Week: 2 (-)
What can be said about this team? They have one of the best running backs in the league, one of its best receivers, and its most underrated quarterback. The defense is intense and both lines are very strong. This team has been absolutely dominant this season and with such a weak schedule, there’s no reason to think it won’t continue.
3. Baltimore Ravens (3-1)
Last Week: 3 (-)
It wasn’t pretty but Joe Flacco & Company got the win to extend the longest active home win streak in the NFL.
4. San Francisco 49ers (3-1)
Last Week: 4 (-)
A week after getting dominated by the Vikings, the team rebounded in a big way. Anybody start Colin Kaepernick on their fantasy team?
5. Arizona Cardinals (4-0)
Last Week: 6 (+1)
You know the old saying, “Any given Sunday…” Good teams find ways to win games and that’s exactly what the Cardinals did on Sunday.
6. Chicago Bears (3-1)
Last Week: 10 (+4)
Defense wins championships and this team is in a tie for 1st in their division on the strength of their D. As the offense continues to improve this could be a very scary team.
7. Philadelphia Eagles (3-1)
Last Week: 13 (+6)
The Eagles protected the ball for once and got a big win against the defending Super Bowl Champs to take sole possession of 1st in the NFC East.
8. Green Bay Packers (2-2)
Last Week: 8 (-)
What we do know about the Packers right now is that it doesn’t matter whether the officials are replacements or not – Green Bay cannot get a call in their favor.
9. New England Patriots (2-2)
Last Week: 11 (+2)
The team that came out of the locker room for the 2nd half looks like a Super Bowl contender.
10. San Diego Chargers (3-1)
Last Week: 14 (+4)
The Chargers got a much-needed win against the division rival Chiefs to firm up their AFC West lead. Don’t get too excited yet though San Diego, the Chargers were 3-1 at this point last year too.
11. New York Giants (2-2)
Last Week: 5 (-6)
An 0-2 start in the NFC East is not what the Champs had in mind.
12. Cincinnati Bengals (3-1)
Last Week: 16 (+4)
This young team has won three straight since an opening week loss and this young offense is clicking.
13. Denver Broncos (2-2)
Last Week: 15 (+2)
Peyton Manning is getting better every week. Brady vs. Manning Part LXVII is this weekend which will give Denver a chance to prove they’re for real.
14. Minnesota Vikings (3-1)
Last Week: 20 (+6)
The NFL has a utility player and his name is Percy Harvin. Harvin has the surprising Vikings off to a 3-1 start and you could make an argument that he’s the MVP of this young NFL season.
15. Dallas Cowboys (2-2)
Last Week: 9 (-6)
Monday night’s loss was nothing short of embarrassing for Dallas. Jerry Jones can already feel that window starting to close.
16. Seattle Seahawks (2-2)
Last Week: 7 (-9)
In Sunday’s game Russell Wilson looked like a rookie quarterback. The defense is solid but the offense has to find consistent production.
17. Washington Redskins (2-2)
Last Week: 21 (+4)
RG3 showed poise in bringing his team back on the road last week. He has to be the frontrunner for rookie of the year at this point.
18. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-2)
Last Week: 18 (-)
Coming off the bye, the battle for Pennsylvania is a must-win game for the Steelers.
19. St. Louis Rams (2-2)
Last Week: 26 (+7)
The Rams have already matched their win total from 2011 thanks to the leg of rookie kicker Greg Zuerlein. Mark my words, he will break the NFL record for longest field goal.
20. Buffalo Bills (2-2)
Last Week: 17 (-3)
This team looked like a playoff team for the first half. The talent is here but the Bills have to find away to stop divisional rivals from finding the endzone.
21. New York Jets (2-2)
Last Week: 12 (-9)
Darelle Revis is done for the year and now Santonio Holmes might be too. Doesn’t seem like things can get much worse for the ailing Jets.
22. Detroit Lions (1-3)
Last Week: 19 (-3)
The difference between 3-1 and 1-3 is subpar special teams play.
23. Carolina Panthers (1-3)
Last Week: 23 (-)
The Panthers looked like the team many thought they could be against the Falcons but they failed to get the job done.
24. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-3)
Last Week: 22 (-2)
Many considered the Buccaneers the winners of the offseason. Now they must find a way to win in-season.
25. Miami Dolphins (1-3)
Last Week: 28 (+3)
Ryan Tannehill looked impressive as he broke Dan Marino’s rookie single game passing record against one of the league’s top defenses.
26. Oakland Raiders (1-3)
Last Week: 24 (-2)
Carson Palmer wants to win his first playoff game this year. In order to do that he must find a way to win his first AFC West matchup this year.
27. Kansas City Chiefs (1-3)
Last Week: 25 (-2)
How bad is Matt Cassel? The fans are asking for Brady Quinn.
28. Tennessee Titans (1-3)
Last Week: 25 (-1)
We’re 4 weeks into the season and the Titans are in second place and out of the running for the AFC South crown.
29. New Orleans Saints (0-4)
Last Week: 27 (-2)
The Saints looked like, well, the Saints last week but even with favorable calls could not win a game they had every chance to win. Ladies and Gentlemen, I present the New Orleans Ain’ts…
30. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-3)
Last Week: 30 (-)
If Blaine Gabbert is going to be an NFL starting QB, he needs receivers that can get separation and catch the ball.
31. Indianapolis Colts (1-2)
Last Week: 31 (-)
Rebuilding is a long, painful process.
32. Cleveland Browns (0-4)
Last Week: 32 (-)
They almost pulled off the biggest upset of the young season. Brandon Weeden is getting better but on a Hail Mary, he’s got to put the ball in a place where his receivers have a chance.