NFL Power Rankings: Breaking Down Where Each Team Stands Entering Week 5
After the Cleveland Browns kept their winning streak alive over the Buffalo Bills, Week 5 is underway, and there are a number of really good games on the schedule.
Below are my latest power rankings, which break down where each team stands entering the fifth week.
1. Denver Broncos (4-0)
Denver will remain at the top of these rankings until Peyton Manning proves he's human. He's having just a remarkable season—there's seemingly no way to stop him.
2. Seattle Seahawks (4-0)
Seattle is clearly the class of the NFC. It has a big test against Indianapolis, but this defense is truly incredible.
3. Kansas City Chiefs (4-0)
The Chiefs are definitely for real, and the way they toyed with the New York Giants wasn't fair. Alex Smith is the perfect quarterback for this offense. Kansas City is efficient and effective.
4. New Orleans Saints (4-0)
We knew they could score, but the defense is the surprise. Can they keep it up? It remains to be seen, but an encouraging start so far.
5. New England Patriots (4-0)
Tom Brady and Kenbrell Thompkins have found some chemistry. Thompkins looks like a really good player, with a lot of speed. But the loss of Vince Wilfork is devastating. He is the key to their defense.
6. Indianapolis Colts (3-1)
They have a tough matchup against Seattle, but they do average a healthy 26 points per game. I'm still waiting for Trent Richardson to take off.
7. San Francisco 49ers (2-2)
They had a good win against the St. Louis Rams. Now they need to keep it up. The more Frank Gore runs the ball, the better. He holds the key to that offense.
8. Detroit Lions (3-1)
The defense isn't great statistically, but according to ESPN, it is the best in the league at preventing third-down conversions. The defense has been a weak link for so long, but the more it can improve, the better things will be.
9. Chicago Bears (3-1)
Bad Jay Cutler came out to play again, throwing three picks and completing just 57.4 percent of his passes against the Lions. He has enough weapons around him that that shouldn't happen.
10. Miami Dolphins (3-1)
Miami had a little dose of reality against the Saints, although it's never easy to win in the Superdome. Ryan Tannehill is still experiencing ups and downs, and he needs to be consistent if the Dolphins want to make the playoffs.
11. Green Bay Packers (1-2)
We keep saying they're better than their record. But eventually, they need to start winning, especially with the Lions playing so well.
12. Tennessee Titans (3-1)
The loss of Jake Locker really hurts, as he was just starting to flourish. The defense is really good, though, and could help the Titans tread water until he can come back.
13. San Diego Chargers (2-2)
Philip Rivers is experiencing a revival. He's thrown 11 touchdowns and just two picks. They are in a tough division, though, so making the playoffs could be difficult.
14. Cincinnati Bengals (2-2)
Their loss against the Cleveland Browns is starting to look less bad. Andy Dalton, with four interceptions and just four touchdowns, needs to elevate his game.
15. Baltimore Ravens (2-2)
The loss to the Bills was an awful day for Joe Flacco, but one that was probably an anomaly. Ray Rice has to pick it up. He has only 89 rushing yards on the season. That's just not good enough.
16. Cleveland Browns (3-2)
Is this for real? Three straight wins after trading their best offensive player is impressive. Plus, their defense is legit. They give up the ninth-fewest passing yards per game and the eighth-fewest rushing yards per game.
17. Houston Texans (2-2)
They barely beat the Chargers and Titans, got demolished by the Ravens and couldn't hold on against the Seahawks. They could easily be 0-4. Matt Schaub's time is running out.
18. Atlanta Falcons (1-3)
Injuries are an issue, to be sure, but this team looks off. The Falcons need Steven Jackson back, as they average just 82 yards per game on the ground.
19. Dallas Cowboys (2-2)
The Cowboys look like the class of the NFC East, although that's not saying much. Their pass defense, which gives up 304.5 yards per game, needs to catch up with their run defense, which gives up just 77.8 yards per game.
20. Carolina Panthers (1-2)
The run game is terrific, and the defense is surprisingly good. It's the passing game that needs work. Cam Newton has only completed 55.6 percent of his passes.
21. Arizona Cardinals (2-2)
This is just an average team. It's not great in any aspect but not awful. Nevertheless, it is far from a playoff berth. Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald need to start creating some chemistry.
22. New York Jets (2-2)
This team will go as far as Geno Smith takes it. The defense is back to being stout, but Smith needs to be more consistent and take better care of the ball if the Jets are going to make the playoffs.
23. Minnesota Vikings (1-3)
Should the Vikings stick with Matt Cassel? He didn't throw a pick and completed 64 percent of his passes. Christian Ponder has thrown five picks and has completed only 59 percent of his passes.
24. Buffalo Bills (2-3)
EJ Manuel is a work in progress, but the defense is beyond repair. Allowing Brandon Weeden to tear you up is never a good look.
25. Washington Redskins (1-3)
The run game, and all its deception, is back. Robert Griffin III had season highs in completions and yards on play-action passes, per ESPN. The more the Redskins can get back to the run, the better RG3 will be.
26. Philadelphia Eagles (1-3)
The offense is as advertised, but it doesn't mean much if the defense is going to be awful. The Eagles are near the bottom in both pass and rush defense.
27. St. Louis Rams (1-3)
They are in desperate need of a running game and a run defense. They average a paltry 47.3 rushing yards per game and give up a gaudy 133.5 yards per game on the ground. That's not good enough.
28. Oakland Raiders (1-3)
The Raiders are simply a better team with Terrelle Pryor, which is not a sentence many expected to read before the season. The Raiders finally have a quarterback—now they need to build around him.
29. Pittsburgh Steelers (0-4)
Le'Veon Bell looks like a keeper, but it doesn't seem like Levi Brown will do much to help the offensive line. Big Ben is running for his life back there, and the defense lets up 122.8 rushing yards per game—29th in the league. The bye week couldn't come at a better time.
30. New York Giants (0-4)
A potential trade for Jon Beason won't do much, as he's simply not the player he used to be. The Giants desperately need better offensive line play. Rookie Justin Pugh is not getting the job done at right tackle.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-4)
It'll be nice to have Luke Joeckel at left tackle, as he should hold down the blindside for the next decade. But that's about the only position that's settled. The Jags should consider trading Maurice Jones-Drew and start collecting picks.
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-4)
This is a mess. Mike Glennon is simply not ready, and the franchise seems poised for a season-long soap opera.
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