Week Five contained possibly the worst slate of NFL games I have seen in a long time. With that said, the Dolphins and Bengals won a pair of thrillers, while the Broncos remained undefeated as they knocked off the Patriots in overtime. So, without further ado, here are my rankings heading into week six.
Teams previous ranking in ( ).
1. New York Giants (1): A thorough pounding of the Raiders sets up a battle of unbeatens in Week Six between the Giants and Saints. QB Eli Manning’s health doesn’t seem to be a problem.
2. New Orleans Saints (2): Tough to find a team with an advantage in their Week Six matchup with the Giants, but coming off a bye may be just enough for the Saints to take over the No. 1 spot.
3. Indianapolis Colts (4): The Colts appear to be unbeatable, but as good as Peyton Manning is, they absolutely must find a consistent running attack.
4. Minnesota Vikings (5): As many predicted, the Vikes are 5-0. We’ll find out how good the Vikings are in their next three games as they will face the Ravens at home, followed by road games against the Steelers, and division rival Packers.
5. Denver Broncos (11): Is there anyone out there that doesn’t believe in this team now? I’m not sure if I do, but I also believe they are far better than I ever thought possible. A division game against San Diego this week, followed by a week off, and then back to back games against two AFC powerhouses, Baltimore and Pittsburgh.
6. Philadelphia Eagles (8): Welcome back Donovan McNabb, and welcome to the league Jeremy Maclin. McNabb completed 76 percent of his passes, and threw for three touchdowns, two to Maclin who had six receptions for 142 yards. If they can keep RB Brian Westbrook healthy, and get him running like he is capable, this is a scary team.
7. Atlanta Falcons (9): Very impressive road win against the 49ers. Roddy White and Michael Turner finally gave fantasy owners what they had been waiting for. Even the defense started to play better.
8. Cincinnati Bengals (15): Three consecutive wins by three points, and four straight wins overall. Not to mention two of those wins against teams expected to finish very high in the AFC, and a win at Lambeau Field against a very good Packer team. It appears the Bengals may be for real, even with the departure of WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh.
9. Pittsburgh Steelers (10): The return of S. Troy Polamalu is right around the corner. The difference he makes for their defense is incredible. Three straight weeks they have given up 20 or more points; two of those games against the Lions and, surprise, Bengals. On offense, QB Ben Roethlisberger continues to put up impressive passing numbers.
10. New York Jets (7): WR Braylon Edwards’ debut with his new team was impressive. Cleveland fans could not have been happy with how well he played. However, it was not enough to beat the Miami Dolphins on Monday Night Football. Perhaps going 3-0 and beating the Patriots wasn’t quite as impressive as we thought.
11. New England Patriots (3): The Pats may still be one of the most talented teams in football, but so far they haven’t been dominant on either side of the football, and they sorely need to get a consistent running game.
12. Baltimore Ravens (6): A home loss to the divisional foe Cincinnati Bengals drops the Ravens out of the Top 10. The Ravens appeared to be extremely well balanced after the first month, but they failed to run the ball successfully against an average Bengals defense.
13. San Diego Chargers (13): It’s unusual to face a must win game in Week Six, but the Chargers cannot afford to fall any farther behind the Broncos in the AFC West.
14. Chicago Bears (14): The Bears, or more importantly my fantasy team, need RB Matt Forte to start Week Six where he left off in Week Four. He shouldn’t have a problem with that against the Falcons defense this week. In fact, look for Forte to have a string of big games, as he doesn’t face an above average run defense until Week 11.
15. San Francisco 49ers (12): The 49ers got pummeled by the Falcons this week. They are off this coming weekend and should have RB Frank Gore back when they face the Texans in Week Seven.
16. Seattle Seahawks (19): The ‘Hawks put an old fashioned whopping on the Jags this week. WRs Nate Burleson and Houshmandzadeh each scored two touchdowns, and the defense pitched a shutout. There is no doubt that with a healthy Matt Hasselbeck this team can compete for the NFC West title.
17. Dallas Cowboys (17): WR Miles Austin set a Dallas record for receiving yards in a game with 250. Nonetheless, the 'Boys needed overtime to put away the winless Chiefs. It’s impossible to predict what Cowboy team is going to show up on a week to week basis.
18. Green Bay Packers (18): The Packers are 2-2, and with games against the Lions and Browns coming up, they could be 4-2 going into their Week Eight showdown at Lambeau with the Vikings, who could be 5-2 at kickoff of that game. The Packers signed long time OL Mark Tauscher to try and protect QB Aaron Rodgers.
19. Arizona Cardinals (20): The defending NFC champs have some serious problems. They can’t run the ball effectively, and their defense underachieves on a weekly basis. They were one yard away from blowing a 21-0 halftime lead against the Texans.
20. Miami Dolphins (22): QB Chad Henne abused a very good Jets defense for 241 yards and two touchdowns, while RBs Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams did good damage on the ground. I’m not sure the Dolphins are this good, but then again I thought the Broncos would win five games all year…
21. Houston Texans (16): 2-3 after five weeks is not where I thought the Texans would be, but, as usual, their defense is a liability. RB Steve Slaton is having a miserable sophomore year.
22. Jacksonville Jaguars (21): Two straight wins, against divisional opponents no less, and then they lay an egg against the Seahawks. Nonetheless, the Jags should head into their bye week with a win against the Rams, and have a favorable schedule the rest of the way.
23. Detroit Lions (26): No Matthew Stafford and WR Calvin Johnson left the game early with an injury, and yet the Lions still put up a fight against the defending champion Steelers. Yes, they are 1-20 since the start of last season, but this is a different Lions team.
24. Carolina Panthers (27): It wasn’t a pretty win, but it was still a win. QB Jake Delhomme committed only one turnover, but only threw for 181 yards, and the Panthers ground game was stagnant yet again.
25. Washington Redskins (24): The Redskins are just not a very good football team. RB Clinton Portis is playing through injury, and QB Jason Campbell appears as if he isn’t going to be a starter in this league for very long.
26. Tennessee Titans (23): 0-5 and no sign of turning it around. It is time to begin the next Vince Young era.
27. Buffalo Bills (25): Is it too soon to say the T.O. experiment has failed? The Bills have been a huge disappointment. Two very good wide receivers, and two very solid running backs, and yet 20 total points in their last three games.
28. Kansas City Chiefs (29): They put up a good fight against the Cowboys, but came up just short in overtime. Larry Johnson has been miserable all year, and the defense isn’t very good.
29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (28): TE Kellen Winslow had a monster game, but take him out of the equation, and the Bucs couldn’t run, or throw on offense, and the defense let the Eagles do whatever they wanted. Simply put, the Bucs stink.
30. Cleveland Browns (30): QB Derek Anderson completed under 12 percent of his passes for 23 yards and an interception. Yet, somehow it was enough for the Browns to escape with their first victory of the year, 6-3.
31. Oakland Raiders (31): Another week, another brutal performance by the Raiders offense. TE Zach Miller is the only bright spot on this team.
32. St. Louis Rams (32): The Rams actually put up a lot of yards against the Vikings, but nonetheless it was never a game. QB Marc Bulger didn’t start, but was 7-7 for 88 yards, and a score in garbage time.