Week 5 NFL Power Rankings

Anthony Holzman-Escareno@@TheUSADreamContributor IIIOctober 3, 2012

Week 5 NFL Power Rankings

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    NFL Power Rankings are the end all, be all of determining who is the best team in the league, that is, until the Super Bowl is played. 

    As each week passes, NFL power rankings and records become increasingly more important. 

    With the first quarter of the NFL season in the books, strengths and weaknesses of the league's teams are being revealed. This makes ranking the NFL's best team's a little easier week in and week out. 

    Some teams have looked as expected. Others have surprised and disappointed. 

    Who's hot and climbing the charts? Who's free falling down the rankings?

32-29: There's Always Next Year's Draft

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    32. Cleveland Browns

    The offense has rookie starters at quarterback and halfback, which doesn’t make their struggles out of the ordinary. Brandon Weeden had his best game last Thursday, and Trent Richardson has shown flashes, but the team sits at 0-4.


    31. Jacksonville Jaguars

    Blaine Gabbert just doesn’t seem to be the answer in Jacksonville. The offensive play callers are protecting him too much, which is never a good thing. The Jags are just bad.


    30. Indianapolis Colts

    Andrew Luck gives the team hope for the future, but the present is still very gloomy. For every dark night there is a brighter day, Indianapolis.


    29. Miami Dolphins

    After a training camp on HBO’s Hard Knocks, the Dolphins have found the season to be something similar. 

28-25: Former Contenders Fall Flat

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    28. Oakland Raiders

    The Raiders are last in the NFL in rushing after four weeks. Since the team’s best player is running back Darren McFadden, the inability to run the ball will lead to a long season in Oakland.


    27. New Orleans Saints

    The Saints have lost their first four games. The defense is horrible, and Drew Brees can no longer cover up the flaws on that side of the ball. The Bountygate suspensions have taken their toll on New Orleans. They are not going to make the playoffs, but the team is not as bad as their record states.


    26. New York Jets

    Chants of “Tebow” will soon be heard around the country. In fact, they can already be heard. Without Darrelle Revis and Santonio Holmes, the Jets have taken the first flight out of the playoff race. They are the worst 2-2 team in the NFL. Sanchez is a better quarterback, but that is not saying much.


    25. Tennessee Titans

    The Titans franchise was Chris Johnson, and although he finally went over 100 yards last week, he is not the same back that we saw in 2009. The team needs his playmaking abilities, but they don’t have them. 

24-21: Struggling to Take off

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    24.Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    The team can’t throw the football, and they can’t stop the pass. In a predominately passing league, this is disheartening for the Buccaneers. Josh Freeman needs to prove that he is what they thought he was.


    23. Kansas City Chiefs

    Jamal Charles has shown that he is finally getting comfortable with his reconstructed knee, which is a good sign because they still have Matt Cassel as their starting quarterback.


    22. Buffalo Bills

    For all the money and draft picks the Bills put into their defense, the group has repaid the franchise by allowing over 32 points a game. Mario Williams needs to prove that he is worth the $100 million the team invested in him.


    21. Carolina Panthers

    After a last second loss to the Falcons, the Panthers are a 1-3 football team. However, they are extremely dangerous and should not be overlooked by any team in the league. Cam Newton presents problems for any defensive group that faces him.

20-17: Arrows Up and Arrows Down

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    20. St. Louis Rams

    Will Sam Bradford ever be the elite quarterback that the Rams selected him to be? Probably not, but he has been good enough to get them to 2-2. The Rams have the draft picks to put together a nice roster in the coming years, but one has to wonder if they would have kept the second-overall pick now.


    19. Detroit Lions

    What has happened in Detroit? The special teams unit is horrible, giving up kick and punt returns for touchdowns in each of the last two weeks. Matthew Stafford is hurt and isn’t taking care of the football. This all equals a Detroit team that was supposed to contend falling back to the Lions’ ways of old.


    18. Seattle Seahawks

    Sure, Russell Wilson has played well for a rookie drafted in the third-round, but in all honesty, the team should be 1-3. They are more the team that lost to Arizona and St. Louis than the team that beat Dallas and Green Bay.


    17. Washington Redskins

    Robert Griffin III makes the Redskins a threat every Sunday. The team is 2-2, with one-possession losses to the Rams and Bengals. This is because the defense has given up too many points for the offense to keep up.

16-13: Mistaken Identities?

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    16. Dallas Cowboys

    Bi-polar. Two-faced. Jekyll and Hyde. Those are the only terms that can adequately describe this team. They can beat anybody on any day and can also lose to anybody on any day. This is not good for a team hoping to climb back into contention.


    15. Pittsburgh Steelers

    The defense needs Troy Polamalu and James Harrison. The unit was torched in Oakland in their last game. After a Week 4 bye, they can still prove that they are a top team in this league. However, at 2-2, this is as high as they can sit on reputation.


    14. Denver Broncos

    The Broncos are another one of those teams that can compete with any ball club. They are a hard team to rank. Though they have losses to the two best teams in the NFL, they are a better team than last season’s playoff team. Peyton Manning will have them contending for the AFC West title.


    13. Minnesota Vikings

    The Vikings have taken out the 49ers and Lions, two teams that were preseason locks to make the playoffs. Adrian Peterson is beginning to look like his old self, and Christian Ponder has come into his own. The Vikings must continue their improved play to climb the rankings. 

12-9: Any Given Sunday

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    12. New York Giants

    The defending champs have looked great and awful way too often, and they have done it in the same game. They can beat any team in the league, but they typically play down to their opponents’ level. Having Eli Manning to dig them out of holes is the only reason they are still this high.


    11. Cincinnati Bengals

    The Bengals are 3-1, reeling away three straight victories after being embarrassed opening night in Baltimore. Before jumping the gun, the team has beaten Cleveland, Washington and Jacksonville. The Bengals are a good football team but just how good is yet to be seen.


    10. San Diego Chargers

    The Chargers' defense came to play against Kansas City and forced six turnovers, after getting trounced by the Falcons the week before. Philip Rivers doesn’t have the greatest players around him and is known to give the ball away, but he is still one of the better quarterbacks in the league.


    9. Chicago Bears

    The Bears defense does not create turnovers. They force them. The defense is obviously the strong link of the team, but the offense has too many playmakers to ignore. If they can sure up their offensive line, the Bears can be as good as they want to be.

8-5: Perennial Contenders and the Cardinals?

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    8. Arizona Cardinals

    The defense is great. The offense has played well enough. The question remains as to whether or not the Cardinals can keep this pace the entire season. It looks like Kevin Kolb has taken the starting quarterback job. Although the team has beaten two teams ranked higher than them, they still have much to prove to work their way to the top of the rankings.


    7. Green Bay Packers

    Green Bay got absolutely shafted against Seattle two weeks ago, which coincidentally was the replacement refs last game. The team should be 3-1, and Aaron Rodgers is still the best quarterback in the league. There are plenty of discount double checks to come.


    6. New England Patriots

    New England is at .500, but after the beatdown they put on the Bills in the fourth quarter last week, it is a safe to assume the Patriots are going stay atop the league’s elite.


    5. Philadelphia Eagles

    The Eagles have the talent to contend for the Super Bowl and have gotten out of a horrible stretch of football at 3-1. It doesn’t matter how a team wins as long as they do. However, if the Eagles plan on being around come playoff time, they have to run the football, protect Michael Vick and take care of the football.

4-1: Nobody Wants to Play in the Pro Bowl

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    4. Baltimore Ravens

    Would you believe that the Ravens are being carried by their offense this season? A team known for having a menacing defense has relied on Joe Flacco, Ray Rice and company to carry the load. It’s the same old greats on defense. Ray Lewis, Ed Reed and Haloti Ngata anchor a defense that misses Terrell Suggs but is too talented not to play better.


    3. San Francisco 49ers

    Except for a dud in Minnesota, the 49ers have played like a team that was a fumble way from the Super Bowl last year. The defense is no question the best in the league. The rugged 49er defense will get enough help from their offense to keep the team around late in the postseason.


    2. Atlanta Falcons

    Matt Ryan has played like a league MVP through four weeks. When an offense this explosive has a defense that can create turnovers, the team will be a contender. There are a lot of dirty birds in the future of the Falcons.


    1. Houston Texans

    The Houston Texans are the best team in football. They have talent across the board on defense and have some of the best skills players in the league on offense. Can the Texans finally get some respect in Texas?