NFL Power Rankings Week 5: Green Bay Keeps No. 1 Spot, Vikings Hit Rock Bottom
The NFL has been like an air show so far this season. ESPN showed an incredible stat last night during the Monday Night Football broadcast—the first four weeks of the 2011 season are top four in NFL history in terms of passing yards accumulated.
There are still 13 weeks left in the season. It would appear if you made QB your top priority in your fantasy draft, you're doing pretty well for yourself.
Anyway, enough rambling. Let's take a look at the Power Rankings for Week 5.
32. Minnesota (0-4)
When you lose to a team that's been as decimated by injuries as the Chiefs have, there is no other spot for you than the worst team in the league.
There is no reason Adrian Peterson should have only ran for 80 yards.
31. St. Louis (0-4)
Things haven't gone well for a Rams team who entered the season with a lot of promise in a weak division.
Amazingly, they are only out of second place by one game, though they are far behind the 3-1 49ers.
30. Indianapolis (0-4)
The Colts almost pulled off a monumental upset last night on the road against Tampa Bay, but they just couldn't stop the Bucs' dominant run game in the fourth.
Without Peyton Manning, many are starting to think the Colts will draft Andrew Luck next year if they have the first pick. Now wouldn't that be interesting.
29. Miami (0-4)
Well, they couldn't get Jim Harbaugh, but maybe they can go for Andrew Luck? The Dolphins have been competitive in their games; that's at least something when you've played the Patriots, Chargers and Texans.
28. Kansas City (1-3)
Even before Jamaal Charles was lost to a torn ACL, the Chiefs offense was not moving the ball at all against their opponents.
Clearly, they miss Charlie Weis.
27. Denver (1-3)
The Broncos got absolutely rolled by the Green Bay Packers, and the fans are still clamoring for Tim Tebow to take over under center.
Maybe it's time to make that move. What else have they got to lose?
I played against Aaron Rodgers in two of four fantasy leagues this past week. Thanks a lot, Denver.
26. Jacksonville (1-3)
The next four teams are a whirl wind of confusion in how to place them. The Jags beat the Titans who are 3-1, the Panthers beat the Jags, the Cardinals beat the Panthers and the Seahawks beat the Cardinals.
For these next four, I'm using the eyeball test in who's been the more impressive team rather than who they've been able to get their one win against.
Jacksonville definitely looks like a 3-13 team, so they are at the bottom of the group.
25. Arizona (1-3)
Being terrible against the pass is not something a team wants to do in the evolving world of the NFL, and that's exactly what the Cardinals' main problem is.
They've given up fourth quarter leads in three straight, not something you want to get accustomed to.
24. Seattle (1-3)
The Seahawks were two special teams blunders away from staying in the game against the 49ers on the road and gave a talented Falcons team all they could handle.
They were expected to be a laughing stock, and they still could be, but they've been better than anyone expected (which still isn't very good).
23. Carolina (1-3)
One thing we all apparently either didn't notice or just ignored when Cam Newton was at Auburn is that he has a ridiculous arm.
The way he's been able to fit balls in to tight windows at his level of development is insane. He's got a chance to be very special and is proving many people wrong so far (including myself).
22. Cleveland (2-2)
Yes, they are 2-2, but settle down, Browns fans, both wins came against two teams with zero wins combined.
Colt McCoy threw the ball 61 times this past weekend, that can't be good for their offense. Peyton Hillis needs to step up.
21. Cincinnati (2-2)
Andy Dalton has been much better than anyone should have expected had they not come up just short against the Broncos they'd be 3-1.
They've shown a commitment to the run and are playing good defense, which is helping Dalton immensely.
All he has to do is protect the ball and the Bengals will be competitive.
20. Atlanta (2-2)
If Michael Vick doesn't get knocked out of that Sunday night game, the Falcons are sitting here at 1-3. They were lucky to pull out that win, with Mike Kafka seeing his first NFL action in that fourth quarter.
They are my most disappointing team thus far, despite all the struggles of the Eagles. They barely beat the Seahawks last week, escaping with a 30-28 win.
Yes, you read that correctly.
19. Philadelphia (1-3)
As bad as the Eagles have looked, they could very easily be 2-2 if Michael Vick didn't suffer a concussion in what was a freak play against the Falcons.
They have issues on defense, and Vick looks to be back to normal, but the play calling on offense has been atrocious in the red zone; that's something they can fix.
18. San Francisco (3-1)
The 49ers have been a quiet surprise at 3-1 so far, but two of their wins are against the Bengals and Seahawks, so we'll have to wait and see if they are ready to be contenders in the NFC.
One thing is for certain—they look like they will walk away with their division.
17. Pittsburgh (2-2)
Despite only losing the game 17-10, the Steelers got absolutely dominated by the Houston Texans. They got beat with their own game.
The Texans ran it all over the Steelers and attacked Ben Roethlisberger to the tune of five sacks. Arian Foster had 30 carries for 155 yards—that's not Steeler defense.
To make matters worse, Big Ben might have a foot injury that could cost him some games.
16. Dallas (2-2)
The Cowboys were up 27-3 on the Lions and rolling to what looked like a convincing victory. I guess the Lions had other plans.
They ended up coming all the way back and winning 34-30 thanks in part to three Tony Romo interceptions. It marked the fourth largest regular season comeback in league history.
Not looking good in Dallas, but they are very banged up.
15. New York Jets (2-2)
The Jets have underachieved so far this season, but have a chance to make a statement this weekend in Foxboro.
One problem has been their offensive line losing key players this offseason and Nick Mangold to an injury.
If they can figure out things up front, it will start to change for the better.
14. Oakland (2-2)
The Raiders got behind the Patriots by 14 early in the second half, which forced them to abandon the run and trust Jason Campbell to bring them back.
That's not going to win them many games. As long as they are in games or have the lead, you have to believe they have a chance with Darren McFadden running the rock.
He's averaged 117 yards per game on the ground so far this season.
13. Chicago (2-2)
First of all, let me say that I'm not a Bears fan, but seeing where ESPN ranked the Bears is what inspired me to write this article.
How can you place a team who has played the Falcons, Saints and Packers in their first three weeks and still come out of that stretch 2-2 as the 18th ranked team?
Granted, 13th isn't all that much better, but I don't see how they can be so low when their two losses are to the two top teams in the power rankings.
Matt Forte is a beast and will carry this offense. He's averaged 159 yards from scrimmage in the first four games. That's pretty damn good.
12. Washington (3-1)
The Redskins look like a solid team, but they have to get wins against better opponents to move up on this list. They have wins over a depleted Giants team, the Rams and the Cardinals.
They can't control who's been on their schedule, and Rex Grossman has run Mike Shanahan's offense very well, I just wonder how long he can keep it up.
They'll get a real test when Philadelphia comes calling in Week 6. Or will they?
11. Tennessee (3-1)
The Titans win over the Ravens and their loss to the Jaguars sort of cancel each other out. Their other two wins have come against the Browns and Broncos, not exactly world beaters.
They have a chance to prove themselves in the coming weeks, but I'm not quite sold on them yet.
That said, Matt Hasselbeck has been brilliant.
10. Buffalo (3-1)
The NFL is nuts. How can a team beat the Patriots and then turn around and lose a 14-point lead to the Bengals?
The Bills have the Eagles coming to town this weekend. We'll get a chance to see just how good, or bad they really are.
9. New York Giants (3-1)
After a disappointing loss to the Redskins on the road in Week 1 (while missing their top two defensive players among others who were injured), the Giants have ripped off three straight thanks in part to the play of Eli Manning.
From the second half of the Rams game on, he has a 130.5 QB rating and no interceptions. As long as Eli is playing like this, the Giants are a tough team to beat.
But how long can he keep it up?
8. Tampa Bay (3-1)
Tampa Bay lost to Detroit, who is one of two unbeaten teams remaining in the NFL, and they beat division foe Atlanta last weekend. Many picked the Falcons to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl, or at least make the NFC Championship.
The Bucs are rolling and Josh Freeman is proving he's the real deal. He may not have the crazy numbers, but he wins games.
7. San Diego (3-1)
The Chargers' one loss was to the Patriots on the road, a game that many feel they could have won if they took care of the ball in the red zone.
As it happens, they did not, and here they sit. The Chargers have to fight off the Raiders in the AFC West, but they have bigger dreams than just making the playoffs.
So far so good.
6. New England (3-1)
I'm sorry, I'm not sold on a team that gives up 477 yards per game defensively. They still look like the favorites to win their division, but don't look better than the five teams ahead of them in my opinion.
5. Baltimore (3-1)
I'm not sure what happened in their double digit loss to the Titans, but the Ravens have been playing incredible football otherwise.
I don't imagine Jim Harbaugh will let this team go through any more mental lapses.
4. Houston (3-1)
Wait, the Houston Texans as the best team in the AFC? Well, they are certainly playing like it. Wade Phillips has the defense rolling, and the offense is as explosive as ever.
Their only loss has come to the New Orleans Saints on the road, and keep in mind they were without Arian Foster in that game.
Him playing could have gone a long way to scoring TDs in the red zone and milking the clock later in the game with a lead.
The Texans look like the most complete team in the AFC right now, but of course, that could change at any moment.
3. Detroit (4-0)
The Detroit Lions are playing incredible football right now, and Calvin Johnson is on pace for 32 receiving touchdowns. That would shatter the old record of 22 set by Randy Moss in 2007.
They have a very big test with the Chicago Bears coming to town this weekend. If they want to stay toe-to-toe with the Packers, they'd better come away with a win.
2. New Orleans (3-1)
The Saints beat the Bears and the Texans in back-to-back weeks after their season opening loss to the Packers. Hard to rank a team lower than second when their only loss is to the No. 1 team.
Despite the fact that the Falcons came in to the 2011 season as the improved team on paper, for some reason I got the feeling the Saints were going to win their division.
They still have two matchups against the 3-1 Bucs, so we'll see how that shakes out.
1. Green Bay (4-0)
Yea, no surprises here. The Packers are without question the best team in the league this year. They do scare me sometimes on defense, but it appears they can overcome those problems by just scoring more points than the opposition.
It's like the Moneyball theory for football. Who needs defense when you're averaging 34.5 points per game?