NFL Power Rankings: Ranking All 32 Teams After Sunday's Action

Zach Kruse@@zachkruse2Senior Analyst IOctober 8, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 07: Quarterback Alex Smith #11 of the San Francisco 49ers hands off to running back Frank Gore #21 during the fourth quarter against the Buffalo Bills at Candlestick Park on October 7, 2012 in San Francisco, California. The San Francisco 49ers defeated the Buffalo Bills 45-3. Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

Five weeks of the 2012 NFL season are almost in the books. 

When the Houston Texans and New York Jets finish up Monday night, the NFL season will have already waved goodbye to its first-quarter mark. 

Here's what we know through five weeks:

Only two teams (Texans, Falcons) remain undefeated, the Minnesota Vikings (last in 2011) lead the NFC North and Aaron Rodgers, Peyton Manning and Drew Brees are a combined 5-10. 

What a wild five weeks it has been.

Here's our power rankings as we lead into Week 6 of the NFL season:


1. Houston Texans (4-0)*

The Texans get a national stage Monday night to prove they belong on top of everyone's power rankings. Houston should roll the Jets, even on the road.


2. Atlanta Falcons (5-0)

The ageless Tony Gonzalez (13 catches, 123 yards, TD) continues to produce, and the Falcons continue to find ways to win football games. Not having to face Robert Griffin III for a large portion of Sunday's game helped. At 5-0 and with the rest of the division sinking, this team can already be penciled into the playoffs. 


3. Baltimore Ravens (4-1)

Sunday certainly wasn't pretty, but 9-6 wins still count as wins, last I checked. Winning the turnover battle on the road makes all the difference, especially at a tough place to play. At 4-1, the Ravens still have a lot to feel good about. 


4. San Francisco 49ers (4-1) 

Not too often in the NFL do you come across a team that has been as dominant as the 49ers have been over the last two weeks. A 34-0 shutout of the Jets on the road was followed by a 45-3 beatdown of the Bills Sunday. 79-3 over the last two weeks. Needless to say, everything is working for the 49ers, who have made the nightmare in the Metrodome a distant memory.


5. New England Patriots (3-2) 

The Patriots made the Tom Brady-Peyton Manning rivalry more interesting that it should have been late. New England mostly controlled the contest throughout. And the crazy stat from Sunday? 251 rushing yards from the Patriots. They have now went over 200 yards rushing in back-to-back games. Scary.


6. New York Giants (3-2) 

The Browns were nothing more than a pesky mosquito to the Giants, who got stung early but then flicked Cleveland away for the next 45 minutes. Ahmad Bradshaw went over 200 yards and Victor Cruz caught three scores, which shows how multi-dimensional this offense can be when it's on. A huge game in San Francisco awaits in Week 6.


7. Minnesota Vikings (4-1)

The Titans are a bad football team, but the Vikings did Sunday what good teams should do: Blow out the weaklings of the league at home. There's just something about these Vikings. Percy Harvin is an MVP candidate and the defense is playing at 2009 levels. This Minnesota team is far from a fluke. 


8. Chicago Bears (4-1) 

Mixing Blaine Gabbert and the Bears defense always looked like a bad recipe, and the outcome was predictably awful for the Jaguars. Chicago got two defensive touchdowns and beat Jacksonville by 38 points. As long as Jay Cutler stays healthy and avoids turnovers, this Bears team can beat anyone. 


9. Arizona Cardinals (4-1)

The inevitable fall-back-to-earth was coming for Arizona. St. Louis beat up the Cardinals' offensive line for the second straight week, a worrisome sign for Arizona moving forward. Kevin Kolb has proven to be a tough customer, but he can't survive this wave of punishment each and every week. 


10. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-2)

A win over the Eagles was never going to be easy, and Sunday's Pennsylvania rivalry proven to be exactly that. But like he has done time and time again, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger made the plays when he needed to. The return of Rashard Mendenhall was a nice shot in the arm, too. The Steelers can really get back on track this week with a trip to hapless Tennessee.

11. Seattle Seahawks (3-2)

Russell Wilson played much better than his box score indicated. He was accurate and poised on the road, which is something he hasn't been early in his NFL career. But everything the Seahawks do starts and ends with running the football and playing tough defense. They accomplished both Sunday in Carolina.

12. Philadelphia Eagles (3-2)

There's too much chatter about Nick Foles taking over this offense. While turnovers have plagued Mike Vick (11 in five games), he still gives this team the best chance to win football games. Foles is a rookie who has proven nothing. The Eagles remain in first place in the NFC East, mind you. 


13. San Diego Chargers (3-2) 

The Chargers will wonder what the men wearing black and white were looking at in New Orleans. Replacement or real, the officials are still making game-altering decisions that are flat-out wrong. Still, the Chargers had plenty of chances to put Sunday night's game away, and didn't. 


14. Denver Broncos (2-3)

You have to wonder why the Broncos felt compelled to take the ball out of Peyton Manning's hand late in the fourth quarter against New England. Denver had a chance to get back into the game, but Willis McGahee's fumble killed the comeback. Despite three tough losses (Atlanta, Houston and New England), Denver is still in good shape through five games. 


15. Cincinnati Bengals (3-2)

Andy Dalton (234 yards, TD, 2 INTs) didn't play well enough against a shaky secondary Sunday. Miami isn't a pushover, but you expect playoff teams to win those kind of games at home. Bengals really need to get a win in Cleveland next week.


16. Green Bay Packers (2-3) 

Forget Seattle. The Packers will be kicking themselves for blowing an 18-point lead against a lesser talented Colts team if they miss the playoffs by a game. Nothing looks in rhythm on either side of the football. There are tangible problems here that could get exposed big time Sunday night in Houston. 


17. St. Louis Rams (3-2)

The Rams are now 3-0 at home, which is just one step to becoming a playoff football team. You can tell this is a Jeff Fisher team; St. Louis is physical and plays hard-hitting defense. If only Sam Bradford could continue taking steps forward...


18. Washington Redskins (2-3)

Everyone saw the Robert Griffin III injury coming. He's been exposed to too many big hits early on in his NFL career, and his body isn't constructed to continually take on blows from defensive linemen and linebackers. 


19. Dallas Cowboys (2-2)

A much-needed bye for the Cowboys in Week 5. A trip to Baltimore awaits. 

20. New York Jets (2-2)* 

All eyes will be on the quarterback position Monday night. 


21. Indianapolis Colts (2-2) 

The Colts completed the feel-good win of the 2012 season Sunday. The way that group came together at half time and blew out a good Packers team in the second half was why you follow sports. A win is pretty meaningless in the grand scheme of things, but for a moment Sunday, life was OK for ailing head coach Chuck Pagano. 


22. Miami Dolphins (2-3)

A scrappy win for Joe Philbin's Dolphins. Andy Dalton was under pressure and Ryan Tannehill made some plays and avoided turnovers. The Dolphins may not be a playoff team in 2012, but Philbin and Tannehill have this franchise on the right track.


23. Detroit Lions (1-3) 

The Lions were off in Week 5. A two-game road trip in Philadelphia and Chicago will test this 1-3 team coming out of the break. 


24. New Orleans Saints (1-4)

The Saints finally took the monkey off their back Sunday night. Drew Brees, who broke Johnny Unitas' record for consecutive games with a touchdown pass, was fantastic, and the defense got just enough stops. Can this team rise from the ashes?


25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-3)

The Bucs were off in Week 5. Hosting Kansas City this Sunday gives Tampa Bay a chance to get back on track. 


26. Buffalo Bills (2-3)

The Bills are in trouble. This defense has allowed 176 points this season, including 90 over the last six quarters of football. That is unacceptable any way you slice it up. The effort Sunday in San Francisco was pathetic. A trip to 4-1 Arizona awaits in Week 6. 


27. Oakland Raiders (1-3) 

The Raiders were off in Week 5. A big test is waiting for Oakland in Atlanta Sunday.


28. Tennessee Titans (1-4)

This is already a lost season for Tennessee. Jake Locker is hurting, Chris Johnson can't run the football and the defense is a shell of its former self. Getting to five or six wins may be the ceiling for this team. 


29. Carolina Panthers (1-4)

The Panthers offense was physically beat up by Seattle, but the Seahawks might have the most underrated defense in football. Cam Newton said he wasn't good enough, and he was right: The Panthers won't win many games where he throws for 141 yards. 


30. Kansas City Chiefs (1-4) 

Classless move for Chiefs fans to cheer Matt Cassel's injury. But without piling on, the Chiefs need to start thinking about their next plan at quarterback. Cassel isn't the answer. There will be plenty of quarterback options next April, too. 


31. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-4)

What about the Jaguars quarterback situation? Is it time to move on from Blaine Gabbert? Jacksonville's offense is lacking playmakers, but Gabbert hasn't showed anything in over a year's work to think the Jaguars have something to move forward with. 


32. Cleveland Browns (0-5)

Trent Richardson is the truth, but the Browns have so many holes at other positions to be competitive in 2012. Brandon Weeden has been awfully shaky in five NFL starts, too. Considering his age, Weeden doesn't have to long to prove he belongs. 


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