The Minnesota Vikings and Chicago Bears capped Week 5 with a thrilling finish on Monday Night Football, which sets up the power rankings for Week 6.
Through five weeks, the Pittsburgh Steelers have become the biggest enigma among the 32 teams. To add more uncertainty, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger dropped a hint, though tinged with sarcasm, that he's on the downturn, per NFL Network reporter Aditi Kinkhabwala:
Aditi Kinkhabwala @AKinkhabwala
Afterwards, Ben Roethlisberger said, "Maybe I don't have it anymore." Asked: What makes you say that? Says, "I'm not playing well enough." https://t.co/w1IcjgnYKY2017-10-8 20:49:44
The Steelers dropped their second game in dumpster-fire fashion. Roethlisberger threw five interceptions; the Jacksonville Jaguars returned two for touchdowns. Will the rankings reflect a major slide for Pittsburgh?
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton looked impressive in another win against a formidable opponent, where do they rank among the top 10?
Finally, a team that started 0-3 deserves your attention going forward.
Week 6 Power Rankings
1. Kansas City Chiefs (5-0)
2. Green Bay Packers (4-1)
3. Atlanta Falcons (3-1)
4. Denver Broncos (3-1)
5. Carolina Panthers (4-1)
6. New England Patriots (3-2)
7. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2)
8. Philadelphia Eagles (4-1)
9. Seattle Seahawks (3-2)
10. Washington Redskins (2-2)
11. Houston Texans (2-3)
12. Los Angeles Rams (3-2)
13. New Orleans Saints (2-2)
14. Detroit Lions (3-2)
15. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-2)
16. Cincinnati Bengals (2-3)
17. Oakland Raiders (2-3)
18. Dallas Cowboys (2-3)
19. Minnesota Vikings (3-2)
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-2)
21. Tennessee Titans (2-3)
22. Buffalo Bills (3-2)
23. Baltimore Ravens (3-2)
24. Arizona Cardinals (2-3)
25. New York Jets (3-2)
26. Miami Dolphins (2-2)
27. Los Angeles Chargers (1-4)
29. Chicago Bears (1-4)
28. Indianapolis Colts (2-3)
30. New York Giants (0-5)
31. San Francisco 49ers (0-5)
32. Cleveland Browns (0-5)
Carolina Panthers Claim No. 5 Spot
It's not exactly the 2015 season, but the Carolina Panthers look like a complete team for the first time since their run to Super Bowl 50. Furthermore, Newton looks sharp under center even without tight end Greg Olsen on the field. He's thrown six touchdowns and one interception in the last two outings.
Since Olsen suffered a broken foot in Week 2, wideout Devin Funchess has caught 18 passes for 181 yards and three touchdowns as the most productive receiver in the offense.
In the Panthers' Week 5 victory over the Detroit Lions, tight end Ed Dickson flashed his receiving skills with five catches for 175 yards. In addition, running back Christian McCaffrey scored his first NFL touchdown.
For the most part, the offense struggled through the first three weeks, but developing talents around Newton have shown promise in the two previous victories. Meanwhile, the defense ranks No. 3 in yards allowed.
Seattle Seahawks Back in the Top 10
Many analysts buried the Seattle Seahawks due to their atrocious offensive line play, but head coach Pete Carroll's group continues to grind away at opponents.
The Seahawks defense, particularly their stingy secondary, remains a constant in their hard-fought battles on the gridiron. The defense hasn't allowed 300 passing yards since Week 1. Only the Tennessee Titans have scored more than 18 points against this club.
Despite Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff's hot start, which produced seven touchdown passes and one interception, he failed to throw for a score against the Seahawks defense and turned the ball over twice in a 16-10 loss on Sunday.
Seattle mustered up enough offense to beat a formidable division opponent on the road. Critics prematurely stripped the NFC West champions from the previous season. Despite the Seahawks' flaws, the defense will typically keep the club competitive within the conference.
Watch out for the Cincinnati Bengals at No. 16
Go ahead and laugh at the Cincinnati Bengals in the No. 16 spot, but this isn't the same team from the first two weeks with ex-offensive coordinator Ken Zampese pulling the strings. In fact, the offense immediately changed course under Bill Lazor who took over the play calling.
The Bengals pushed the Green Bay Packers to overtime at Lambeau Field in Week 3 and scored 75 points since the team excused Zampese. Wideout A.J. Green lists second in receiving yards (504), and the coaching staff has steadily increased rookie running back Joe Mixon's workload as the lead ball-carrier in the backfield.
Once the Bengals iron out the wrinkles in their ground attack, this team will have the opportunity to win shootouts against teams with explosive offenses. Through five contests, the pass defense has only allowed 200 or more yards to quarterback Aaron Rodgers—no shame there.
Despite the Bengals' 2-3 record, it's a team on the rise within the AFC North, especially with Roethlisberger and Joe Flacco struggling through the early part of the season.