NFL Power Rankings Week 5: Jets To the Top, Dolphins Plummet

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NFL Power Rankings Week 5: Jets To the Top, Dolphins Plummet
Rick Stewart/Getty Images
Sanchez and the Jets are flying high.

The NFL's fourth week of the regular season was certainly not without its fair share of drama.

While teams like Atlanta, Jacksonville, and New Orleans escaped with narrow victories, others like San Francisco, Detroit, and Miami will go back to the drawing board to prepare for week five.

So, what have we learned after four weeks?

1. New York Jets (3-1, Last Week: 6)

Week 5: vs. MIN

Count me in amongst the Jets' believers, as they appear to be one of the most well-balanced teams in football.

The return of Santonio Holmes will be a boost, but they'll have their work cut out for them when the hungry Vikings come to town on Monday night.

2. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1, Last Week: 1)

Week 5: BYE

The Steelers greatly exceeded expectations during the absence of Big Ben Roethlisberger, and they'll now be getting their two-time Super Bowl champion QB back after the bye to face the Browns.

Despite the loss to the Ravens, I still feel that the Steelers are the league's best team with Roethlisberger back there.

3. Baltimore Ravens (3-1, Last Week: 8)

Week 5: vs. DEN

For me, Baltimore falls under the category of "I like them, but don't love them."

That young secondary will certainly be put to the test when the NFL's best passing team, the Broncos, come calling on Sunday.

4. New Orleans Saints (3-1, Last Week: 7)

Week 5: at ARZ

It hasn't been pretty, but remember: If Hartley makes the chip-shot game-winner against Atlanta in week three, the Saints are still undefeated.

So far, though, this doesn't look like the same team that took the league by storm in '09 on their way to a Super Bowl title.

5. Green Bay Packers (3-1, Last Week: 4)

Week 5: at WAS

The Packers fall under the same umbrella as the Saints do. They're 3-1, but they haven't been as impressive as we imagined they'd be.

Lots of the struggles can be attributed to the loss of a running game following the injury to Ryan Grant in the opener. 

One-dimensional teams (unless your QB is Peyton Manning) have a tough time winning consistently.

6. New England Patriots (3-1, Last Week: 11)

Week 5: BYE

The Pats earned one of the most unique victories in NFL history Monday night against the Dolphins, scoring a touchdown six different ways. 

The young defense has been a major question mark, but, based on their effort in Miami, they look to be growing up fast.

7. Houston Texans (3-1, Last Week: 12)

Week 5: vs. NYG

Arian Foster leads the NFL with 537 yards rushing through four games, and can apparently miss significant chunks of the game and still put up big numbers.

The defense will be aided by the return of Brian "Overtrainer" Cushing against the Giants this week.

8. Indianapolis Colts (2-2, Last Week: 2)

Week 5: vs. KC

Jacksonville is a team that you surely have to beat, but how upset can the Colts be after they were beaten on a freakish 59-yard field goal?

That said, I fear for the Jaguars when they have to travel to Indianapolis later this season.

9. Atlanta Falcons (3-1, Last Week: 3)

Week 5: at CLE

The Falcons were flying high after taking down the Saints last week, but were a Nate Clements fumble away from dropping one to the winless 49ers Sunday.

Are they elite, are they lucky, or both?

10. Kansas City Chiefs (3-0, Last Week: 9)

Week 5: at IND

Kansas City, surely beneficiaries of having played just three games thus far, are the league's last unbeaten team.

However, they'll face their stiffest test of all when they travel to Indy to face the Colts.

11. San Diego Chargers (2-2, Last Week: 19)

Week 5: at OAK

As expected, San Diego rebounded from a tough loss against Seattle by thrashing the Cardinals.

We'll see if they can shake the Jekyll and Hyde act by stringing two straight wins together this week.

12. Dallas Cowboys (1-2, Last Week: 15)

Week 5: vs. TEN

Dallas was off in week four, and will come back to try and shut down Chris Johnson and the Titans.

13. Minnesota Vikings (1-2, Last Week: 16)

Week 5: at NYJ

The bye week came at a good time for Brett Favre and the Vikings, because their showdown with the Jets will be extremely physical.

14. New York Giants (2-2, Last Week: 23)

Week 5: at HOU

This team makes no sense at all.

A week after laying an egg against the Titans, the Giants come out and obliterate the Bears defensively, racking up 10 sacks. 

15. Chicago Bears (3-1, Last Week: 5)

Week 5: at CAR

Chicago's offensive line was in shambles against the Giants, and the quarterbacks suffered as a result.

Both Jay Cutler and Todd Collins were knocked out before Caleb Hanie had to come in for mop-up duty.

Pretenders?

16. Philadelphia Eagles (2-2, Last Week: 13)

Week 5: at SF

Clearly, this is a much different team with Kevin Kolb at the helm than it is with Michael Vick.

Kolb is going to have to start connecting with his receivers deep down the field if he wants to ever be a big-time NFL QB.

17. Denver Broncos (2-2, Last Week: 20)

Week 5: at BAL

Against all odds, Kyle Orton is still lighting up the scoreboard.

As long as the Broncos are going to employ that pass-happy offense, I'm a buyer on Orton.

18. Tennessee Titans (2-2, Last Week: 14)

Week 5: at DAL

Tennessee lost a tough one against the Broncos, but were still on the verge of victory despite a subpar output from Chris Johnson.

With 354 rushing yards through the first four games, his pursuit of the single-season rushing record looks like it'll have to wait another year.

19. Miami Dolphins (2-2, Last Week: 10)

Week 5: BYE

After leading New England 7-6 at halftime, everything fell apart in the second half on Monday night for the Dolphins.

As a result of all the Patriots' special teams shenanigans, Dolphins special teams coach John Bonamego was fired Tuesday.

20. Washington Redskins (2-2, Last Week: 22)

Week 5: vs. GB

Donovan McNabb's return to Philadelphia was a successful one, as the Redskins were able to defeat the Vick-less Eagles 17-12.

By the way, had this team not blown a huge second half lead to Houston, they'd be 3-1 and alone atop the NFC East.

21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1, Last Week: 21)

Week 5: at CIN

The Bucs were humbled in their loss to the Steelers in week three, and will have had two weeks to think about it before facing the Bengals this Sunday.

22. Cincinnati Bengals (2-2, Last Week: 17)

Week 5: vs. TB

Carson Palmer finally broke out of his seemingly-interminable slump, but it wasn't enough as the Bengals were upset by the Browns in Cleveland.

Terrell Owens, in the process of hauling in 10 passes for 222 yards and a touchdown, passed Isaac Bruce for No. 2 all-time on the NFL's receiving yards list.

23. St. Louis Rams (2-2, Last Week: 26)

Don't look now, but Sam Bradford's Rams have won two in a row, and are tied with Arizona and Seattle for the NFC West lead.

With such a weak division, it's not crazy to think that the Rams could be primed for a postseason appearance.

24. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-2, Last Week: 27)

Week 5: at BUF

Josh Scobee kicked a 59-yard field goal to take down the Indianapolis Colts.

Seriously. That actually happened.

25. Oakland Raiders (1-3, Last Week: 25)

Week 5: vs. SD

Despite the 1-3 record, the Raiders have been competitive in every game during which Bruce Gradkowski has seen the field, and have clearly improved.

26. Seattle Seahawks (2-2, Last Week: 18)

Week 5: BYE

Seattle has been incredibly inconsistent, and just lost to the Rams a week after taking down the vaunted Chargers.

Also, they just added Marshawn Lynch to their seemingly-endless stable of running backs.

27. Arizona Cardinals (2-2, Last Week: 24)

Week 5: vs. NO

The brief Derek Anderson era in Arizona has apparently come to an end, and the Cardinals are going to see what they have by throwing Max Hall into the fire.

Somebody needs to put a tent on the circus that is the Cardinals' quarterback situation.

28. Detroit Lions (0-4, Last Week: 28)

Week 5: vs. STL

The Lions are 0-4, but this is already a much different team than we've grown accustomed to seeing in Detroit recently.

Shaun Hill has been excellent in the stead of Matthew Stafford, and went 34-54 with 331 yards and two touchdowns and two interceptions against the Packers.

Are we sure this guy isn't better than Alex Smith?

29. Cleveland Browns (1-3, Last Week: 32)

Week 5: vs. ATL

The Browns earned a huge win over the Bengals last week, and will now look to focus their momentum on taking down the 3-1 Falcons.

Peyton Hillis continues to impress, and the Browns look like a much bigger threat already this year.

30. San Francisco 49ers (0-4, Last Week: 29)

Week 5: vs. PHI

Despite the winless record, the 49ers aren't even out of the playoff hunt considering the low quality of the NFC West.

However, Sunday night's home game against a likely-shorthanded Eagles team is a must-win.

31. Carolina Panthers (0-4, Last Week: 30)

Week 5: vs. CHI

DeAngelo Williams showed that he at least had a pulse against the Saints, and Jimmy Clausen, while he didn't put up spectacular numbers, was clearly more comfortable in his second career start.

They have a shot to notch their first win of the season against a downtrodden Bears team at home.

32. Buffalo Bills (0-4, Last Week: 31)

Matt Sullivan/Getty Images
Hillis. You can't stop him. You can only hope to contain him.

 Week 5: vs. JAX

 I really don't know why I moved this team out of the 32nd spot last week. Dumb.

 

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