Week 5 is finally here, and it's time to look at this week's power rankings before heading into Thursday Night Football.
The Buffalo Bills will be taking on the Cleveland Browns this Thursday in a game that has gotten much more interesting over the past few weeks than we originally expected. Brian Hoyer has led the Browns to 2-0 since the Trent Richardson trade, and the Bills are coming off of a win after intercepting Joe Flacco five times despite three defensive backs being injured.
Before that game begins, it's time to take a look at where all 32 teams stand in relation to each other based off the first quarter of the season.
32. Jacksonville Jaguars
No surprises here—the Jaguars have been awful on both sides of the ball. They're putting up under eight points per game, and that offense is putting up 224 yards per game.
Until the quarterback situation is resolved and more overall talent is added, this team is going to stay at the bottom of this list.
Get ready, Jaguars fans, for the likely No. 1 overall pick in May.
31. Oakland Raiders
The one win the Raiders have this season is against the Jaguars, so that's not saying much. Terrelle Pryor has been the lone bright spot on this team, but he was unable to play last week against the Washington Redskins, and Matt Flynn was his replacement.
There's a chance that the Raiders can win some games this year, but Pryor is going to have to continue to step up big like he has in previous games.
30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
There's no sugar-coating it. The Bucs' season is a train wreck right now. Josh Freeman is getting too much unwanted and undeserved attention. Sure, he deserved to be benched, but now the team almost seems to be kicking him while he's down with all of the news surrounding him.
We have no clue what we're going to see for the next 12 games from Mike Glennon, but if it's like what we saw in the preseason, it's not going to be pretty in any way, shape or form.
29. Pittsburgh Steelers
I have the Steelers at No. 29 on this list, but Ben Roethlisberger apparently thinks that they should be ranked dead last.
Things really are looking bad for the Steelers right now. The ground game is producing almost no yardage, and although the return of Le'Veon Bell could help a bit, the offensive line is going to struggle against tougher defenses throughout the season.
This defense is looking old and giving up points in bunches, and it officially looks like the end of a successful run in Pittsburgh.
28. New York Giants
The Steelers are surprisingly bad, but with how high the expectations were for the Giants this season, they have been a complete shock.
The defense is looking just dreadful right now, giving up 146 points in four games. Meanwhile, Eli Manning has thrown nine, yes nine, interceptions, and the team leads the NFL with 16 giveaways. The Vikings are in second with 10.
27. Cleveland Browns
This team is a big surprise, at least through the first two weeks.
Brian Hoyer looks way better than Brandon Weeden for now, and he's finding some reliable targets in Jordan Cameron and Josh Gordon. Meanwhile, the ground game has actually been more efficient since trading away Trent Richardson.
For now, I want to write it off as a short hot streak, but this could be something bigger. We will just have to wait and see.
26. Washington Redskins
The Redskins finally got their first win of the season. Now they need to add on to that to get back in the NFC East divisional race.
Robert Griffin III is slowly shaking the rust off, and he should improve as the season continues. However, that defense is something that might hold this team back.
With how open the division is right now, the Redskins are very well still in it, and the bye this week should give this team some much needed rest.
25. New York Jets
The Jets aren't good, but they aren't the dumpster fire that we were all anticipating this year.
A lot of that has to do with that defense. The Jets defense is holding opponents to under 300 total yards, and the rookies Sheldon Richardson and Dee Milliner have done a solid job.
Geno Smith hasn't been good to start his career, but at least his team is winning games. If he does find a way to turn it around, this could be an average team this year.
24. Minnesota Vikings
Matt Cassel is a hero in Minnesota, at least for now after leading the team to its first win of the season.
Adrian Peterson may not be chasing the rushing yards record this season, but he's had a good start to the year. He already has 421 yards and five touchdowns, averaging 4.6 yards per carry.
23. Carolina Panthers
A 1-2 start isn't the prettiest in the world, but a 38-0 win over the Giants is a heck of a way to start turning things around.
Newton has been solid with seven total touchdowns in three games, and the run game looks like one of the best in the NFL right now thanks to all of the weapons.
Still, there are things this team needs to work on, but it feels like Ron Rivera may be gone after this season.
22. Tennessee Titans
Things were looking up for this team, but now Jake Locker is hurt, and any hopes of pulling off a strong season are in serious jeopardy.
The passing game started making some real plays, but now Chris Johnson is going to need to step it up, because averaging 3.3 yards per carry isn't going to cut it.
Things aren't going to get any easier, as the Titans play the Chiefs, Seahawks and 49ers in their next three games, so this could be a rough stretch for Titans fans.
21. Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles looked so good in their first game, but after we realized that the Redskins are seriously struggling, that win looks less impressive.
The offense is extremely fun to watch, but that defense is extremely bad. It gave up 52 points last week to the Denver Broncos, and it simply can't stop anyone.
If that defense was even slightly better, this could be the best team in the NFC South. Unfortunately, that's not the case, and the Eagles are going to struggle to win games solely with their offense.
20. Buffalo Bills
Honestly, the Bills confuse me. They've looked good against good teams, but struggled against bad ones.
EJ Manuel is developing nicely as a rookie quarterback, at least better than Geno Smith. He has some nice running backs in Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller, and this offense could shape into a solid unit as the season continues.
Inconsistency is a problem with this team, and it needs to play more consistently before it can get into the teens of the power rankings.
19. Arizona Cardinals
Carson Palmer has been a much better option than Kevin Kolb or John Skelton last season, but that hasn't made this team much better.
The offense hasn't been incredibly efficient, but the defense is making some plays from time to time thanks to guys like Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu.
Larry Fitzgerald is making some plays, but they need other players to step up on both sides of the ball.
18. St. Louis Rams
At first, this looked like a legitimate team. That quickly changed over the past few weeks.
Two straight blowout losses have the Rams looking like their old selves. Sam Bradford has two new weapons in Tavon Austin and Jared Cook, but neither has taken over the offense, excluding Cook's big game in Week 1.
The defense has given up over 30 points over the last three games, but Robert Quinn is looking like the former North Carolina standout with five sacks.
17. Baltimore Ravens
The defending Super Bowl champions just don't look like the same team, and this season isn't what their fans were hoping for.
For some reason, despite having Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce in the backfield, they're averaging less than three yards per carry on the ground and just 64 rushing yards per game.
The defense hasn't looked up to par, not to mention the offense. After Joe Flacco threw five interceptions, something has to happen to turn this team around.
16. Dallas Cowboys
Last week was the chance for the Cowboys to prove themselves as the team to beat in their division.
A 30-21 loss against the Chargers isn't going to do that.
At this point, it looks like the Cowboys are destined for yet another 8-8 season. They'll be playing their toughest game of the year this week against the Denver Broncos, so this will be a game that would be a big lift if they were somehow able to pull off the upset.
15. Detroit Lions
The offense for the Lions looks much more balanced than it did last season. Matthew Stafford is on pace to throw around 600 passes as opposed to the 727 last season.
Reggie Bush and Joique Bell have become true weapons in the backfield, but Bush in particular is on pace to have the best season of his career.
The defense needs to pick it up, but for now, that offense is winning the Lions games, and this week against the Packers will be a big test to see if they can win against tough teams.
14. San Diego Chargers
Wow, that defense is not good. It's allowing 430-plus yards of total offense and has lost games against the Texans and Titans.
Philip Rivers has been the game-changer he used to be, however, pulling off some nice wins against the Eagles and Cowboys. He's completing almost 74 percent of his passes for 1,199 yards and 11 touchdowns with only two interceptions.
13. Miami Dolphins
The first loss was an ugly one, and maybe we're starting to see that this Dolphins team isn't as good as we originally thought.
There's still a lot to like about this team, however. Brent Grimes and the rest of the secondary look much improved from last season, while Cameron Wake has led an intimidating pass rush when healthy.
Ryan Tannehill is developing into a nice quarterback with some solid weapons in Brian Hartline and Mike Wallace. As he develops and continues to get better, this team will keep getting better.
12. Houston Texans
The only way to describe the Texans' loss to the Seahawks is that it was inexcusable. They were up seven and were looking to run the clock out, but Matt Schaub threw another pick-six as Richard Sherman took it all the way to the house to tie the game.
J.J. Watt still looks like the best defensive player in the NFL, and the defense has been solid, but two straight losses have the entire team frustrated. DeAndre Hopkins looks like a real weapon opposite of Andre Johnson, but Schaub needs to focus on making the right plays instead of trying to make the big ones.
11. Cincinnati Bengals
For now I'm calling the loss to the Browns a fluke, because this team has looked good in the rest of its games this season.
I'm becoming a real fan of Giovani Bernard, who is simply a fun player to watch. He adds another dimension to this offense with Andy Dalton and A.J. Green, making this offense a legitimate threat in games.
The defense has made some key stops in games when it needed to, and I want to see more of that as the season continues.
10. Atlanta Falcons
That was a tough loss for the Falcons on Sunday Night Football. Tony Gonzalez still looks great, and Matt Ryan has plenty of weapons to throw to.
The front seven is falling apart, and the secondary is inexperienced on defense. Once Steven Jackson comes back, the offense should be able to control games as the defense works on getting better.
9. Indianapolis Colts
Somehow, after losing key players in vital positions, the Colts have actually looked like a better football team over the past two weeks.
The defense hasn't totally impressed, but it's showing signs of improvement. This week against the Seahawks will be a good way to see if this team's new defense can stop one of the deeper and more complete teams in the league.
8. Green Bay Packers
A much-needed bye should hopefully make this team look a lot better this week against the Lions. Aaron Rodgers should be getting Jermichael Finley and Eddie Lacy back, while the defense will likely be getting Morgan Burnett back for the first time all season.
Speaking of the defense, it is going to be really glad that Burnett is coming back. It has struggled against the pass, even with the pass rush of guys like Clay Matthews. Once Casey Hayward returns, this defense could be one of the better ones in the NFC.
7. Chicago Bears
The Bears suffered their first loss of the season last week against the Lions, and Jay Cutler finally looks mortal. The offense still looks a lot better than last season, with Kyle Long being a welcome addition to that offensive line.
The defense doesn't feel the same without Brian Urlacher, yet it's still forcing plenty of turnovers. It will need to keep doing that throughout the season, especially if Cutler looks more like he did against the Lions than he did in other games this season.
6. New England Patriots
Those young receivers who struggled and looked lost during the Week 2 win against the Jets don't look so lost anymore.
Kenbrell Thompkins has become a legitimate threat for Tom Brady. He caught six passes for 127 yards and a touchdown last week, and he will likely still have a role in the offense once Danny Amendola returns.
The loss of Vince Wilfork is going to kill this defense, but it has looked solid through the first four games. It will be interesting to see how it responds to his loss because without him, this defense is losing its most important player.
5. New Orleans Saints
It official. The Saints are legitimate contenders in the NFC, and that offense looks like one of the most explosive ones in the league.
Drew Brees is having yet another incredible season so far. He's thrown for 1,434 yards and 10 touchdowns to go with four interceptions, giving him a passer rating of 103.8 at this point in the season.
The defense looks good, and that's a major improvement from last season. As long as it can at least contain opposing offenses, this team could win almost all of its games.
4. Kansas City Chiefs
It's funny how big of a difference a year makes.
Did I say year? I meant a new quarterback and coach.
Andy Reid and Alex Smith have completely turned this team around, doubling the 2012 win total in just four weeks. The offense isn't flashy, but it's efficient, turning the ball over just three times this season.
The defense has looked great as well, allowing just over 10 points per game. It will likely look even better this week going against the Titans, and Justin Houston could have another big game.
3. San Francisco 49ers
As much as the rest of the league's rankings have moved around, I've now had the 49ers as the No. 3 team on this list for three straight weeks. Yes, they struggled against the Colts and Seahawks, yet they had a great comeback game against the Rams, scoring 35 points in the win.
The 49ers could move out of the No. 3 spot depending on how they play against the Texans on Sunday night. Colin Kaepernick is going to need to look better than he has in other games to pull out the win this week.
2. Seattle Seahawks
This is arguably the most complete team in the NFL, but I can't put the Seahawks at No. 1 after that near loss to the Texans that was essentially handed to them at the end.
The defense is frightening, and the secondary is the best in the NFL. The offense doesn't look elite this season, but Marshawn Lynch still does look like one of the best running backs in the league. Once Russell Wilson is a fully developed NFL quarterback, this will be a Super Bowl contender for five to 10 years.
1. Denver Broncos
When Peyton Manning is on your team, life is good.
The Broncos offense simply looks unstoppable right now, with Peyton passing for 16 touchdowns and zero interceptions. Wes Welker, Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas are all staying happy with all of the passes from their star quarterback.
On defense, the Broncos are holding their own. Once Von Miller returns, they're going to be even scarier, and this team will have a real shot at going 16-0.
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