NFL Power Rankings: Where Every Team Stands After Sunday's Action
Another Sunday is in the books in the world of the NFL, and the hierarchy of the league has taken a massive shift after some exciting action.
Upsets littered Sunday's schedule, and while familiar faces dot the top 10, there is plenty of movement to cover overall with Week 6 on the horizon.
Based on overall performance so far and how teams project to perform the rest of the way, here is where the NFL stands after five weeks of thrilling action. Enjoy.
1. Denver Broncos (5-0)
Denver just escaped Dallas with a massive 51-48 victory over the Cowboys in a high-scoring affair that perfectly fit what Peyton Manning and Co. love to do.
While it is a bit alarming the Denver defense allowed Tony Romo to go off for over 500 yards, Denver remains far and away the NFL's best team after managing to pull out the gritty victory in the closing seconds.
2. New Orleans Saints (5-0)
The New Orleans Saints have the look of an unstoppable team firing on all cylinders. Drew Brees and the offense are next to unstoppable, and the defense under Rob Ryan is keeping quarterbacks under constant pressure.
The Saints beat down the Chicago Bears at home Sunday to solidify themselves as one of the NFL's top two teams.
3. Seattle Seahawks (4-1)
Seattle is the latest top team to be stunned by the Indianapolis Colts, as the Seahawks were handed a 34-28 loss on the road, but Russell Wilson and Co. remain one of the NFL's most balanced squads.
While they are no longer undefeated, the Seahawks rank near the top of the list in rushing thanks to Marshawn Lynch and have an elite pass defense in a league that favors that method of offensive output.
A little hiccup in no way bounces Seattle from the top five.
4. San Francisco 49ers (3-2)
San Francisco notched an important win over the Houston Texans on Sunday Night Football, but with the way Houston is imploding, that's not saying much.
Still, a strong defensive showing paired with an elite rushing attack is hard to discredit. There was one concern: Colin Kaepernick looked weak through the air yet again, this time only throwing for 113 yards.
That needs to change in a hurry if San Francisco is going to hang around these parts.
5. Green Bay Packers (2-2)
After a bye week, Aaron Rodgers and Co. got back into the thick of things in the NFC North by destroying Detroit 22-9.
Detroit may have been without Calvin Johnson, but the strong showing from Green Bay's defense is hard to ignore. Rodgers and the offense will always score, but a legit defensive performance will take the Packers places this season.
6. Kansas City Chiefs (5-0)
We are beginning to sound like a broken record—the Andy Reid era in Kansas City is off to an outstanding start.
This time the victim was Tennessee, but once again the Chiefs were the more physical team in a gritty win. As always, the Chiefs are extremely talented on defense and meticulous enough on offense to stick with any team in the NFL.
Business as usual in Kansas City.
7. Indianapolis Colts (4-1)
If there is one team that has meticulously climbed the rankings each week, it's Andrew Luck's Indianapolis Colts. Luck looks like an MVP candidate, and the Colts have major wins over both San Francisco and Seattle through the first five weeks of the season.
The offense has been able to overcome the lack of defense, and things could get even better as Trent Richardson continues to learn the system.
8. Miami Dolphins (3-2)
The Miami Dolphins lost a heartbreaker 26-23 in Baltimore to the Ravens Sunday, but that does not change the fact that the team fielded an outstanding defense.
Offensively the unit is fine with Ryan Tannehill leading the way, and as long as the ground game continues to produce, the Dolphins will continue to rise up the rankings and contend in the AFC East.
9. New England Patriots (4-0)
New England and Tom Brady were held without a touchdown for the first time in a long time Sunday against Cincinnati, as the Patriots continue to struggle against quality defenses and dearly miss tight end Rob Gronkowski.
Despite the humiliating 13-6 loss, Brady and Co. will be just fine once the team gets back to full strength. A loss to one of the NFL's best defenses is nothing to hang their heads about and surely not something to take a nose-dive in the rankings over.
10. Chicago Bears (3-2)
Chicago was throttled at home by the unstoppable force that is the New Orleans Saints, but it was not for lack of effort on the Bears' end.
Alshon Jeffery had a breakout game with over 200 yards, giving Marc Trestman's offense yet another scary weapon right alongside Brandon Marshall and Martellus Bennett.
Chicago remains one of the NFL's best teams.
11. Baltimore Ravens (3-2)
Baltimore got back on track with a win over Miami and got exactly what it needed in the process—running back Ray Rice back to his old self with two rushing touchdowns.
Even better was the fact Rice's production came against a top defense. The hip injury that plagued him a few weeks ago appears to be healed, and that comes just in time as the Ravens could not afford another loss to a playoff-caliber team.
12. Cincinnati Bengals (3-2)
Cincinnati is back in the swing of things after getting what could turn out to be a season-saving win over New England.
The defense is once again one of the best the NFL has to offer, but the lack of production and shaky play from quarterback Andy Dalton appear to be the team's biggest issue.
13. Detroit Lions (3-2)
Detroit may have lost and only scored nine points in the process, but there is a silver lining in everything.
For one, the Lions were without Calvin Johnson. Secondly, Detroit still sits alone atop the NFC North. For now Matt Stafford and Co. need to just stay the course until Megatron returns.
14. Houston Texans (2-3)
Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub has thrown a pick-six in four straight games, including one during Sunday's embarrassing loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
Schaub was benched in favor of T.J. Yates after his third interception. It's a real shame the Texans are crashing and burning in this manner because the majority of the positions on the team are above average on paper.
15. Atlanta Falcons (1-3)
Atlanta has a date with the New York Jets on Monday Night Football after a horrendous 1-3 start in which nothing has seemed to click properly.
Matt Ryan and Co. can tout the No. 4-ranked passing offense all they want, but if the team cannot finish games, then the Falcons will continue to slide down the rankings at a steady pace.
16. St. Louis Rams (2-3)
St. Louis got things back on the right track Sunday with a major 34-20 victory, but it came against the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars.
In other words, one of the NFL's biggest disappointments so far this year does not deserve to move up for hitting a punching bag. Until quarterback Sam Bradford can get it together, St. Louis is stuck in ranking purgatory.
17. Philadelphia Eagles (2-3)
Speaking of teams getting things back on track with a big win, Chip Kelly and the Eagles managed to turn things around with a 36-21 victory.
Except this one was nothing to write home about either as the win came against the laughably bad New York Giants.
Michael Vick looks amazing in Kelly's offense, but a horrible defense will prevent the Eagles from moving far out of this spot.
18. Dallas Cowboys (2-3)
As the rest of the rankings are going to show, the NFC East has been less than impressive so far this season, although Dallas has had its fair share of ups and downs.
One such set of downs occurred Sunday when quarterback Tony Romo threw for over 500 yards but in classic Romo fashion threw a costly interception late in the game to give Denver the win.
Dallas has the firepower to stick with most teams, but the execution and clutch gene is another discussion entirely.
19. Cleveland Browns (3-2)
Don't look now, but the Cleveland Browns continue to climb the rankings after a big win on Thursday, marking the third week in a row the Browns have pulled out a win.
Time and again Cleveland continues to prove this year that the team has a defense capable of hanging with any team and compensating for a horrific offense.
Cleveland will now be without starter Brian Hoyer for the year, so time will tell if the defense can win more games.
20. Buffalo Bills (2-3)
Fortunately for Buffalo, the defense led by end Mario Williams has been playing great football in recent weeks and can keep the team in games. While that's great, the team needs Manuel back in a hurry.
21. Tennessee Titans (3-2)
The Tennessee Titans are without starting quarterback Jake Locker after his hip injury, and it showed on Sunday against Kansas City as backup Ryan Fitzpatrick put together a miserable outing in the loss.
Like many teams that lose a starting quarterback, Tennessee's season will be defined by the stretch of games it plays without him. So far, the Titans have started that stretch off on the wrong foot.
22. Arizona Cardinals (3-2)
Arizona mustered a solid win over Carolina in Week 5, but problems abound in the desert. The offensive line continues to struggle, there's no running game to speak of, and Carson Palmer continues to turn the ball over at a fast rate.
Consistency and improvement are needed in multiple areas.
23. San Diego Chargers (2-3)
San Diego has been a difficult team to figure out over the first month of the season, but a major loss to the Oakland Raiders on Sunday Night Football put things into perspective.
The Chargers have an explosive offense at times, but the defense is a mess once again. Now under .500, San Diego has plenty of work to do to turn things around.
24. New York Jets (2-2)
Things are not as bad as the record indicates for New York, thanks to rookie quarterback Geno Smith. He's playing great football, all things considered, and New York has a good shot at sticking with most teams as a result.
The team is a few years out from making serious noise, but don't sleep on the resurgent Jets.
25. Oakland Raiders (2-3)
Oakland and quarterback Terrelle Pryor scored a huge victory over the San Diego Chargers on Sunday Night Football to turn the season around.
Pryor was electric with over 200 yards and two touchdowns while putting to bed any doubt about his ability as a starter. Oakland has the firepower to stick with most teams and should continue to slowly climb the ranks.
26. Carolina Panthers (1-3)
As usual, the lack of weapons around quarterback Cam Newton came back to haunt the Panthers on Sunday as the team could only score six points in a loss to Arizona.
Carolina has a huge amount of cash strapped up in running backs it hardly uses and has no threat at receiver. Newton can only win so many games on his own.
27. Washington Redskins (1-3)
Washington was fortunate enough to have a bye in Week 5, which is great with a huge matchup against Dallas looming and the team's season on the line.
The Redskins managed a big win two weeks ago to right the ship, but they're entering "too little, too late" territory if Robert Griffin III can't improve.
28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-4)
One of the NFL's best defenses resides in Tampa Bay, but it's hard to tell at face value with the 0-4 record and the train wreck coach Greg Schiano has created.
Rookie quarterback Mike Glennon had a week to soak in as much knowledge as possible in Week 5, so look for a better outing from the Buccaneers.
29. Minnesota Vikings (1-3)
As another team that watched from home in Week 5 on a bye, Minnesota received some great news late Sunday as the Vikings officially won the Josh Freeman sweepstakes, according to a tweet by Freeman's agent, Erik Burkhardt.
With Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel out of the way, Freeman should allow the Vikings to have a more effective offense that can at the very least dig them out of the current hole they are in at the moment.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers (0-4)
Ben Roethlisberger and Co. got to sit out for a week on a bye and think about everything that has gone wrong so far this season, but no amount of rest can fix a simple problem—lack of talent.
Pittsburgh has drafted poorly for years and now is paying the ultimate price. Let the rebuilding begin.
31. New York Giants (0-5)
If folks would have predicted before they season that New York would be at the bottom of the barrel with Jacksonville, we would have called them crazy.
Well, here we are, and Tom Coughlin's Giants are a mess with Eli Manning unable to take care of the football. The season's over in New York.
32. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-5)
Not much to say here. Jacksonville had its best outing of the year on Sunday and still lost by 14 points. The long season in Jacksonville is far from over.
Follow B/R's Chris Roling on Twitter for more news and analysis @Chris_Roling
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