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NFL Power Rankings Week 5: Updated 2016 Regular-Season Standings

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistOctober 4, 2016

It's no secret. The Vikings are looking like legitimate contenders.
It's no secret. The Vikings are looking like legitimate contenders.Andy Clayton-King/Associated Press

It might not have been a blink-and-you-miss-it scenario, but the first month of the 2016 NFL season has flown by. Week 4 wrapped up on Monday night, when the Minnesota Vikings knocked off the New York Giants, 24-10.

The Vikings' two-touchdown victory should give them a lot of confidence moving forward, and it keeps them in the realm of the unbeaten. Only two other teams—the Denver Broncos and the Philadelphia Eagles—remain perfect, as the Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots both fell to 3-1 on Sunday.

Only the Cleveland Browns remain winless.

Should Minnesota really be considered among the top teams in the league right now? Is Cleveland really the worst team in football? Where do the other 28 teams rank? Now that we're on to Week 5, it's time to answer these questions with some power rankings. 

Week 5 NFL Power Rankings
RankTeamRecord
1Denver Broncos4-0
2Minnesota Vikings4-0
3Philadelphia Eagles3-0
4Pittsburgh Steelers3-1
5New England Patriots3-1
6Atlanta Falcons3-1
7Houston Texans3-1
8Dallas Cowboys3-1
9Los Angeles Rams3-1
10Seattle Seahaws3-1
11Oakland Raiders3-1
12Baltimore Ravens3-1
13Cincinnati Bengals2-2
14Green Bay Packers2-1
15New York Giants2-2
16Buffalo Bills2-2
17Kansas City Chiefs2-2
18Washington Redskins2-2
19Arizona Cardinals1-3
20Carolina Panthers1-3
21Jacksonville Jaguars1-3
22New York Jets1-3
23Indianapolis Colts1-3
24Chicago Bears1-3
25Detroit Lions1-3
26New Orleans Saints1-3
27San Francisco 49ers1-3
28Miami Dolphins1-3
29Tennessee Titans1-3
30San Diego Chargers1-3
31Tampa Bay Buccaneers1-3
32Cleveland Browns0-4

Notable Rankings

    

2. Minnesota Vikings

QB Sam Bradford is getting just enough out of the Vikings offense to continue winning.
QB Sam Bradford is getting just enough out of the Vikings offense to continue winning.Jim Mone/Associated Press

As we mentioned before, the Vikings held off the Giants on Monday night for a 24-10 victory and a perfect 4-0 record. The fact that Minnesota is still undefeated is rather impressive when you consider some of the injuries the team has already been forced to endure.

Minnesota has already had to place quarterback Teddy Bridgewater and running back Adrian Peterson on injured reserve. Injuries have also caused some shuffling along the offensive line. However, the Minnesota offense has managed to do enough, thanks in large part to the arm of acquired quarterback Sam Bradford.

Bradford has been both efficient and careful with the football thus far. He has completed 69.5 percent of his passes and has zero turnovers to go with four touchdowns. These are important traits, because this team is built to win with defense.  

The Vikings are averaging just 22.0 points per game right now and have the league's worst rushing attack (64.2 yards per game). But their defense is so good that their low offensive output hasn't been a problem.

Minnesota is ranked second in scoring defense (12.5 points per game allowed). Over the past three weeks, the Minnesota defense has made top-notch quarterbacks Eli Manning, Aaron Rodgers and Cam Newton look below average.  

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

This Vikings defense is scary https://t.co/ofT9fJpZsl

The Vikings won't need to rack up a ton of offensive yardage as long as they can limit mistakes and maximize scoring opportunities. This is going to be a tough team to beat moving forward.

    

6. Atlanta Falcons

The Atlanta Falcons lost in the opening week of the season, but they've rebounded to win three straight. The first two wins—against average defenses in the Oakland Raiders and New Orleans Saints—might not have been particularly impressive. When Atlanta shredded the Carolina Panthers for 48 points this past week, however, folks had to take notice.

QB Matt Ryan has the Falcons offense rolling.
QB Matt Ryan has the Falcons offense rolling.Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

Led by quarterback Matt Ryan and receiver Julio Jones, the Atlanta offense is scary good. Strong running from Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman makes it a complete unit that can stand toe-to-toe with any other offense in the league.

Yes, this is still a one-dimensional team—Pro Football Focus rates Atlanta just 25th in overall defense—but if the offense is clicking, it will be a tough one to knock off. Ryan seems to have finally taken to offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan's system this year, and the Falcons are soaring because of it.

"He looks like a totally different guy to me," one personnel executive said before the Carolina contest, per Mark Maske of the Washington Post. "He’s just making better decisions. He looks a lot more sure of himself. Obviously he has to keep it going for more than three games."

Ryan proved he could shred an above-average defense like Carolina's, while Jones showed off his ability to completely take over a game.

SportsCenter @SportsCenter

Julio Jones was on 🔥🔥🔥🔥 today. He had career-high 300 Rec yds, setting a Falcons franchise record. https://t.co/eboOYS5S7s

The next challenge for Atlanta will reveal whether this team is a possible playoff contender or a legitimate challenger for the Super Bowl. The Falcons head into Denver to face the Broncos, who remain undefeated at the top of our power rankings.

The Broncos are allowing a mere 169.5 yards passing and 16.0 points per game. If Ryan and Co. can navigate that gauntlet and come away with a win, it will be time to give Atlanta even more respect.

    

23. Indianapolis Colts

The Colts need more than just QB Andrew Luck if they hope to ever reach the Super Bowl.
The Colts need more than just QB Andrew Luck if they hope to ever reach the Super Bowl.Ben Hoskins/Getty Images

Heading into the 2016 season, it seemed like a realistic goal for the Indianapolis Colts to return to the postseason. Quarterback Andrew Luck got healthy (and paid), and the last time he finished a season healthy, the Colts reached the AFC title game.

The problem is that Luck cannot continue to carry this team if the rest of the roster is going to remain this weak. Outside of Luck, a handful of quality receivers and aging running back Frank Gore, the Colts have very little.

Indianapolis is rated 29th in pass blocking by Pro Football Focus. The team's defense is rated 31st. Luck and his weapons aside, this may be the worst roster in the entire NFL.

Geoff Schwartz @geoffschwartz

Luck's prime years are being wasted. Imagine him with the Cowboys OL? Or even just a decent one. He'd be a super bowl contender

Just consider that Luck had to stage a late comeback to get Indianapolis its lone win (over the San Diego Chargers) and that three of Indianapolis' games have been simply won by the team that could score last.

The Colts aren't built to protect a lead or control the tempo of a game. If Luck struggles, the team isn't going to win, and if it can't win, the Colts are only going to continue sliding down the power rankings.