NFL Power Rankings: B/R's Expert Consensus Rank for Every Team Entering Week 6
Five weeks into the 2020 NFL season, all you-know-what is breaking loose.
The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the league is growing by the day. The Week 5 meeting between the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots has been postponed until Week 6. The matchup between the Buffalo Bills and Titans in Tennessee was moved to Tuesday. And as a result, eight games and six bye weeks were rescheduled.
There was chaos aplenty in the games that were played, too. The Dallas Cowboys suffered a devastating injury that wrecks any chance they had of making a run in the playoffs. The defending NFC champions are in free-fall after getting boatraced at home by a one-win Dolphins team. And the defending Super Bowl champions were stunned at home by the Las Vegas Raiders.
That loss by the Kansas City Chiefs shook up the Bleacher Report NFL Power Rankings—there's a new No. 1 as we head into Week 6. It was left to B/R NFL Analysts Brent Sobleski, Gary Davenport and Brad Gagnon to determine the new top team and the 31 teams behind them.
Here's how they ranked the league's teams, starting with a New York-sized double-barreled ball of suck.
32. New York Jets (0-5)
Last Week: 32
Week 5 Result: Lost vs. Arizona 30-10
The New York Jets are redefining the concept of rock bottom on a weekly basis.
After getting blasted by an Arizona team that has scuffled the past few weeks, the Jets are winless through five games and look like the NFL's unquestioned kings of putridity in 2020.
It's a collaborative effort. The offense is offensive. The defense makes Big 12 defenses look stout. The coaching... well, let's put it this way: Adam Gase became the first coach in over 25 years to punt on two 4th-and-1 situations in the first five minutes of a game, per Pro Football Reference.
"The Jets are terrible in every way a team can be terrible, and a lot of the blame lies with Gase," Davenport said. "There are 14-year-olds playing 'Madden' in their basements who could call a better game than Gase, who is allegedly an offensive guru. Gang Green is barreling toward the No. 1 pick in 2021 at Warp 9, and right now, another year in college is probably looking pretty good to Trevor Lawrence."
31. New York Giants (0-5)
Last Week: 31
Week 5 Result: Lost at Dallas 37-34
In the long and storied history of the NFL, there has never been a season where both the New York Giants and New York Jets started the year 0-5. Until 2020, that is.
But after losing 37-34 to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, second-year quarterback Daniel Jones told reporters that the team still sees some reason for optimism.
"We're not going to allow ourselves to be discouraged and let this start affect the rest of this season," Jones said. "We have a lot of football ahead of us, and I think everyone on this team feels like we're capable of winning each of these games."
It's getting more and more difficult to see a silver lining with these Giants. They repeatedly hurt themselves with penalties Sunday, racking up eight for 81 yards. Jones failed to throw a touchdown pass for the fourth game in a row—he has only two to go with five interceptions on the season.
At this point, the only thing standing between the Giants and the No. 32 spot in these rankings is their MetLife Stadium roommates.
30. Atlanta Falcons (0-5)
Last Week: 27
Week 5 Result: Lost vs. Carolina 23-16
Since their historic collapse in Super Bowl LI, the Atlanta Falcons are five games below .500. Over the first half of the last two seasons, they have won one game.
After falling against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, the Falcons are an 0-5 wreck of a team that has blown two big leads this season and can't play defense worth a lick. Hours after the loss, both head coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff were relieved of their duties effective immediately.
"As everyone knows, this is a results business and I owe it to our fans to put the best product we can on the field," team owner Arthur Blank said. "We have poured every resource possible into winning and will continue to do so, but the results of late do not meet our standard or what I've promised our fans."
Given all of the holes on the Falcons' roster, it's fair to wonder whether these are just the beginning of the big changes as they embark upon a rebuild.
29. Washington Football Team (1-4)
Last Week: 30
Week 5 Result: Lost vs. Los Angeles Rams 30-10
Nearly two years after suffering a career- and life-threatening leg injury, Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith saw his first game action Sunday since November 2018.
"It was great to be out there, the feeling, the range of emotions, the good and the bad," Smith told reporters. "It's why I fought so hard to come back. Sometimes you can take it for granted. Certainly to be away from it for a couple years, I've missed it."
However, it didn't matter who was playing quarterback for Washington. The Rams racked up eight sacks and limited Washington to only 108 yards of total offense.
Before kickoff Sunday, Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports reported Washington is likely to trade 2019 first-round pick Dwayne Haskins in the coming weeks. In other words, dysfunction junction is back in the nation's capital.
"Make that four consecutive losses by at least 14 points," Gagnon said. "I know they were a work in progress even when they were healthy, but the NFL has too much parity for anyone to be blown out that consistently without there being deeper concerns."
28. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-4)
Last Week: 28
Week 5 Result: Lost at Houston 30-14
At the beginning of the season, the Jacksonville Jaguars were the No. 32 team in these power rankings. But after they stunned the Indianapolis Colts in Week 1, it led us to second-guess that assessment.
We aren't second-guessing it anymore. The Jaguars might not be the worst team in the NFL, but after getting thumped by a winless Houston Texans team, they aren't far off.
Jacksonville didn't do much well in Week 5. The offense was inconsistent and prone to errors, including a bizarre fourth-down halfback pass in the red zone that failed miserably. The defense was nonexistent, allowing 486 yards.
It was an all-around miserable showing that dropped the Jaguars into a depressingly familiar spot: last place in the AFC South. And considering how they've looked over the past four games, they won't be leaving the cellar anytime soon.
"The Jaguars are who we thought they were," Sobleski said. "A surprising Week 1 victory over the Colts created a false sense of positivity. Jacksonville has now lost four consecutive games and allowed 30 or more points in each contest. A 30-14 defeat at the hands of the Texans, who recently fired their head coach, shows the Jaguars aren't ready to compete on a weekly basis. Instead, they're 'competing' for a top-five draft pick and possibly major changes throughout the organization."
27. Denver Broncos (1-3)
Last Week: 26
Week 5 Result: Postponed at New England
Several players for the Denver Broncos were none too happy when a New England Patriots player tested positive for COVID-19 Sunday morning, which caused their Week 5 contest at Gillette Stadium to be moved to Week 6.
However, head coach Vic Fangio wasn't hearing it.
"In a weird way, I'm kind of happy to see some of this stuff happen because you see who the whiners are ... and who can't handle adversity," Fangio said, according to Arnie Stapleton of the Associated Press. "And I'm going to try hard that the Denver Broncos don't fall into any of those categories."
The Broncos weren't the only team affected by the postponement. According to Barry Wilner and Teresa M. Walker of the Associated Press, eight games ended up getting rescheduled, and six teams had their bye weeks shuffled as a result.
If there's a silver lining to the unexpected bye week, it's that when the Broncos do (hopefully) play in Week 6, there's a chance that Drew Lock will be back under center.
26. Cincinnati Bengals (1-3-1)
Last Week: 23
Week 5 Result: Lost at Baltimore 27-3
Over the first four weeks of the 2020 season, Cincinnati Bengals rookie quarterback Joe Burrow gave the franchise's long-suffering fans reason to hope for the future.
Against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, those same fans were reminded that in the present, the Bengals still aren't very good.
For lack of a better word, the Bengals got thumped in Baltimore. They managed only 205 total yards of offense, and Burrow had only 6.1 yards per pass attempt and turned it over twice.
Defensively, the Bengals had all kinds of trouble stopping the Ravens run game. Baltimore rolled up 161 rushing yards on 24 attempts and had three runs of 20 yards or longer.
The Bengals are getting better under Burrow. But with their next four games all coming against teams that presently sport a winning record, it isn't likely to show in the win column for a while.
25. Houston Texans (1-4)
Last Week: 29
Week 5 Result: Won vs. Jacksonville 30-14
As it turns out, all the Houston Texans had to do to win a game in 2020 was fire Bill O'Brien.
Kidding aside, O'Brien was hardly the sole reason that the Texans started the season in disastrous fashion. But there's no denying that under interim head coach Romeo Crennel, the Texans played their best game of the year while handling the Jaguars at home Sunday.
Quarterback Deshaun Watson threw for a season-high 359 yards and three scores. Running back David Johnson topped 100 total yards on 19 touches. And after spending the first month of the season in witness protection, wide receiver Brandin Cooks exploded for 161 yards and a score on eight catches.
This one win doesn't erase the Texans' miserable September, nor does it dig them out of the hole they've fallen into in the AFC South. But at least Houston now has some positive momentum ahead of next week's trip to Tennessee.
24. Philadelphia Eagles (1-3-1)
Last Week: 21
Week 5 Result: Lost at Pittsburgh 38-29
The Philadelphia Eagles are a mess.
The good feelings about their first win of the season—which temporarily moved them into first place in the NFC Least—lasted until another sloppy, mistake-filled loss dropped them to 1-3-1 for the season.
Carson Wentz again didn't play well, throwing two more interceptions to bring his total to nine for the season. Pittsburgh went 11-of-15 on third-down conversion attempts. Rookie wide receiver Chase Claypool gashed the Eagles for four total touchdowns, and the Eagles gave up 367 total yards and 38 points.
At least wide receiver Travis Fulgham played well?
There's no real light at the end of the tunnel for the Eagles, either. Playing in the woeful NFC East offers at least some reprieve, but over the next six games, Philly's out-of-division opponents have a combined record of 13-2.
Given how Philadelphia is playing, it's hard to envision the Eagles winning any games outside the division. But Sobleski hasn't completely given up hope.
"Amazingly, the Eagles are only a half-game behind the NFC East-leading Dallas Cowboys despite a 1-3-1 record," he said. "Even with all of the issues they're dealing with, specifically a rash of injuries, they have an opportunity right the ship. Yes, the Eagles fell short against the Steelers, but they trailed by only two points in the fourth quarter against an undefeated opponent. Once Philadelphia gets past the Baltimore Ravens next week, everything can change thanks to a three-game stretch against the New York Giants (twice) and Dallas Cowboys."
23. Detroit Lions (1-3)
Last Week: 25
Week 5 Result: Bye Week
Every year, the bye week brings with it good news for the Detroit Lions: They won't lose that week.
In his third season as the Lions head coach, Matt Patricia has posted a record of 10-25-1. His winning percentage of .292 is the third-worst in franchise history among coaches who lasted at least 10 games.
The Lions currently rank 25th in total offense and 26th in total defense. They have already squandered three double-digit leads in four games, including in Week 4 against the New Orleans Saints.
They just don't appear to be making real progress. The Lions look like the same bad team that went 3-12-1 in 2019 and 6-10 in 2018.
And with both Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn on thin ice in Motown, the Lions appear to be hurtling toward a franchise reset—again.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.
22. Los Angeles Chargers (1-4)
Last Week: 24
Week 5 Result: Lost at New Orleans 30-27 (OT)
The Los Angeles Chargers have become the zen masters of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Last year (per ESPN's telecast of Monday's game), the Bolts tied an NFL record by losing nine one-score games.
The Chargers are on pace to break that record in 2020. By blowing a 20-3 lead in New Orleans and falling to the Saints in overtime, the Chargers just lost their fourth one-score game in a row.
In Week 5.
That immensely depressing factoid aside, it's not all doom and gloom for the Chargers. In rookie Justin Herbert, Los Angeles appears to have gotten just what it wanted when it drafted the former Oregon star sixth overall: a franchise quarterback.
Herbert was mostly outstanding against the Saints, passing for 264 yards and a Monday Night Football rookie record with four touchdown passes. That feat was all the more impressive when you consider he was without top wideout Keenan Allen for most of the game after he left with a back injury.
Things are looking up in Herbertville.
Provided, that is, they can eventually figure out the whole one-score thing.
21. San Francisco 49ers (2-3)
Last Week: 16
Week 5 Result: Lost vs. Miami 43-17
The Super Bowl hangover appears to be a real thing.
Through five weeks, just about everything that could go wrong for the San Francisco 49ers has gone wrong. After getting pasted by the Miami Dolphins, they have already lost as many games in 2020 as they did in the entire 2019 regular season. Injuries have decimated them on both sides of the ball.
And now there might be a quarterback controversy to boot.
Jimmy Garoppolo was back under center for the Niners in Week 5 after missing two games with an ankle injury. However, he finished 7-of-17 for 77 yards and two picks before being benched in favor of C.J. Beathard.
As Kaelen Jones of The Ringer noted, things may well be about to go from bad to worse.
"The problem for the Niners is that their schedule is unfavorable, with matchups against the Rams (twice), the Patriots, the Seahawks, the Packers, and Bills forming their next seven games. That's seven games against competitive teams with clear playoff aspirations and functioning offenses at this point in the season. The 49ers are currently not trending toward a similar path, and at 2-3, their playoff hopes in a competitive NFC West look shaky."
"Shaky" is being kind. Given how they looked against the Dolphins, the 49ers appear to be done.
20. Minnesota Vikings (1-4)
Last Week: 18
Week 5 Result: Lost at Seattle 27-26
The 2020 season has been filled with disappointments for the Minnesota Vikings. And Week 5 brought with it the biggest one to date.
With two minutes to go in the game and the Vikings nursing a five-point lead, Minnesota faced a 4th-and-1 deep in Seattle territory. Rather than kick a field goal to go up eight, Minnesota head coach Mike Zimmer elected to try to go for it and salt the game.
Running back Alexander Mattison was stopped short of the line to gain. The Seahawks took over and drove the length of the field for the game-winning touchdown, and the Vikings' already dwindling playoff chances were dealt another sizable blow.
"Minnesota's 1-4 record is somewhat misleading since the Vikings' last two losses occurred while giving up scores with less than two minutes left to play," Sobleski said. "Zimmer's squad has the talent to win, but it's failing to close out games. With the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers sporting a combined 8-1 record, it's difficult to envision the Vikings turning the season around completely. An upcoming matchup against the Atlanta Falcons, who just fired their head coach and general manager, could get Minnesota back on track."
19. Dallas Cowboys (2-3)
Last Week: 22
Week 5 Result: Won vs. New York Giants 37-34
The Dallas Cowboys are all alone in first place in the NFC East after coming back to beat the New York Giants on Sunday. But the win came at a heavy cost.
Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott spent Sunday night in a Dallas hospital after undergoing surgery to repair a compound fracture of his ankle, per NFL.com. Head coach Mike McCarthy expressed sympathy for his star quarterback, while professing confidence that Prescott will eventually make a full recovery.
"I feel terrible for him," McCarthy said. "He was having a tremendous year. He has made such an impression on me and clearly a leader on this football team. No doubt he will bounce back."
The problem for the Cowboys is that Prescott won't return until 2021. Veteran backup Andy Dalton is a three-time Pro Bowler with well over 100 starts on his NFL resume, but the drop-off from Dak to Dalton is significant.
And whatever shred of hope the Cowboys had for a deep playoff run this year is likely gone as a result.
"They'll eventually miss Dak Prescott, and they aren't winning in sustainable fashion anyway," Gagnon wrote. "They were lucky to beat the winless Giants and have now been outscored by 17 points in five games. The Cowboys' two wins have come by four total points over teams that are a combined 0-10."
18. Miami Dolphins (2-3)
Last Week: 19
Week 5 Result: Won at San Francisco 43-17
The Miami Dolphins dropped a piano on the defending NFC champions on the road Sunday.
To be fair, the San Francisco 49ers have been ravaged by injuries on both sides of the ball. And given how abysmal he was against the Dolphins, it appears as though the Niners rushed quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo back too soon from his high ankle sprain. But Miami took full advantage of those shortcomings.
Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick roasted the 49ers for 350 passing yards and three scores, posting a nearly perfect 154.5 passer rating. Miami allowed only 259 total yards and forced three turnovers.
It was a good old-fashioned thrashing, and one of our analysts doesn't necessarily think it was a fluke.
"I think a lot of us are still holding the Dolphins' poor start against them, but they were adapting to a lot of big changes early," Gagnon said. "Now, they've hung with the Buffalo Bills and Seattle Seahawks and easily defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars and San Francisco 49ers in a four-week span. They quietly have a plus-23 scoring margin this year."
17. Carolina Panthers (3-2)
Last Week: 20
Week 5 Result: Won at Atlanta 23-16
Something unexpected is happening in Carolina: The Panthers just might be good.
After downing the winless Falcons in Atlanta on Sunday, the Panthers are tied for first place in the NFC South. They have peeled off three consecutive victories without the presence of their best offensive player, running back Christian McCaffrey.
Reserve running back Mike Davis has been a godsend for Carolina, and he had another huge game against Atlanta, piling up 149 total yards and a score on 25 touches. Wide receiver Robby Anderson has emerged as Teddy Bridgewater's go-to target in the passing game, hauling in eight catches for 112 yards. And Bridgewater was sharp again in Week 5, topping 300 passing yards with two scores and no interceptions.
If there's a caveat with Carolina's win streak, it's that it has come against teams with a combined record of 4-11. The next few weeks will give us a much better idea of just how good these Panthers really are.
Starting with a home date against the Chicago Bears next week, the Panthers will play three of four against teams with a winning record, including trips to New Orleans and Kansas City.
"There's a glass-half-empty way to view Carolina's three-game winning streak sans McCaffrey, and it's all about the money they spent on Run CMC," Gagnon said. "But here's another way to look at it: Imagine McCaffrey and Mike Davis together in support of Teddy Bridgewater and DJ Moore in the Carolina offense? That could be downright dangerous. Do not rule out the Panthers."
16. Las Vegas Raiders (3-2)
Last Week: 17
Week 5 Result: Won at Kansas City 40-32
If the Las Vegas Raiders make the playoffs in 2020, they will look back to Week 5 as the game that got the ball rolling.
Because Week 5 was when David slayed Goliath.
This was the week when Derek Carr had more passing yards and a much higher passer rating than Patrick Mahomes. It was the week where the Raiders piled up 144 yards on the ground on 35 carries, which led to over a 10-minute edge in time of possession. This was the week where the Raiders gashed the Chiefs for 490 yards of total offense and converted half of their 14 third-down attempts.
In successive games against two of the AFC's best teams, the Raiders have now hung with the Buffalo Bills for most of the game and knocked off the defending Super Bowl champions. But there won't be any rest for the Silver and Black, at least for a while. Each of the Raiders' next two games come against teams with a winning record, and a prime-time rematch with the Chiefs looms on November 22.
15. Arizona Cardinals (3-2)
Last Week: 15
Week 5 Result: Won at New York Jets 30-10
After a hot start to the season, the Arizona Cardinals had struggled as of late. Back-to-back defeats that included an embarrassing home loss to the lowly Lions dropped the Redbirds to .500 heading into Sunday.
Luckily, Week 5 brought the fix to all that ails an NFL team: a trip to face the New York Jets.
It was a get-right game for a number of players. Kyler Murray tossed only one touchdown pass, but he ran for a score, threw for 380 yards and averaged over 10 yards per pass attempt. The run game got going, racking up 127 yards. And DeAndre Hopkins had another big outing, hauling in six grabs for 131 yards and a score.
Unfortunately, the win may have come at a steep cost. Per Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk, star edge-rusher Chandler Jones suffered what is believed to be a season-ending biceps injury.
And with the Cardinals facing Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks twice and Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills over the next five games, Jones' absence will loom large.
14. Chicago Bears (4-1)
Last Week: 14
Week 5 Result: Won vs. Tampa Bay 20-19
The Chicago Bears have won four games this season, and they have piled up zero style points while doing it.
Against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday, the Bears won despite amassing only 243 yards on offense. Chicago ran for all of 35 yards on 14 carries (a horrendous 2.5 yards per tote), while quarterback Nick Foles threw for 243 yards and one touchdown with a passer rating of 83.7.
The Bears deserve a substantial amount of credit for figuring out a way to win these games. And the Buccaneers entered Thursday's contest with three straight victories under their belt. But there's still a fair amount of skepticism from our analysts as to whether the Bears are close to as good as their record.
"For most of the first half of Thursday's game, the Bears looked like the same team that got throttled by the Colts in Week 4," Davenport said. "The Buccaneers did more to beat themselves than the Bears did. And even with the 3-2 Bucs mixed in, the Bears' four wins have come against teams with a combined winning percentage of .211. I'm not buying these Bears as anything more than a one-and-done wild-card team at best."
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-2)
Last Week: 10
Week 5 Result: Lost at Chicago 20-19
After peeling off three straight wins, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had worked their way into the top 10 of our power rankings ahead of Thursday's trip to Chicago.
Then they rolled into the Windy City and did everything they could to beat themselves.
The Buccaneers have been one of the league's most penalized teams in 2020, and they continued that trend against Chicago with 11 penalties for 109 yards. They went only 4-of-14 on third downs, and at the end of the game, quarterback Tom Brady appeared to lose track of what down it was.
Bucs head coach Bruce Arians denied that Brady lost track of the down, while the veteran quarterback side-stepped the question, per ESPN's Jenna Laine.
"I knew we needed a chunk and I was thinking about more yardage," he said. "It was just bad execution. We had a great opportunity there so ... just didn't execute when we needed to."
Regardless of who you believe, it was an ugly end to an ugly game that made Tampa's stay in the top 10 a short one.
12. New England Patriots (2-2)
Last Week: 12
Week 5 Result: Postponed vs. Denver
NFL teams typically don't like to have to bye weeks early in the season, especially when that bye week was unexpected.
But all things considered, the New England Patriots probably don't mind having their Week 5 date with the Denver Broncos pushed back a week.
After all, the Patriots would have had to face the Broncos without starting quarterback Cam Newton and cornerback Stephon Gilmore, both of whom are sidelined after testing positive for COVID-19.
An additional positive test on Sunday morning caused the Patriots' facilities to be closed and the game to be rescheduled for Week 6. That game will be contingent on no additional positive tests, and as we've seen in Nashville, once things start to snowball in that regard, it can get out of control quickly.
11. Indianapolis Colts (3-2)
Last Week: 8
Week 5 Result: Lost at Cleveland 32-23
The Indianapolis Colts appear averse to being included the top 10 of these power rankings.
Twice this year, they've cracked the top 10. They proceeded to lose their next matchup both times.
Heading into Week 5, the Colts led the league in both total defense and scoring defense. But while the 32 points and 385 yards the Colts allowed were both well over their season averages in that regard, the defense wasn't necessarily the reason why they lost.
Instead, it was the play of quarterback Philip Rivers, who failed to crack 250 passing yards, didn't throw a touchdown pass, tossed a pair of picks (including an awful pick-six) and was called for intentional grounding in his own end zone. He finished with a woeful passer rating 60.6.
"The Chargers moved on from Rivers in the offseason because they thought he was done," Davenport said. "Through five games, they appear to have been right. The Colts aren't 3-2 because of Rivers. They are 3-2 in spite of him. Indy is an excellent defensive team with a great offensive line and a good young running back. But the Colts aren't good enough to overcome mistakes and turnovers from the veteran signal-caller who was supposed to be the missing piece in a postseason puzzle."
10. New Orleans Saints (3-2)
Last Week: 7
Week 5 Result: Won vs. Los Angeles Chargers 30-27 (OT)
The NFL is all about results. And when Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore brought down Chargers wideout Mike Williams inches short of a first down in overtime, the New Orleans Saints secured a win that got Drew Brees and Co. back above .500.
But there's still plenty to be concerned about in the Big Easy.
Offensively, the Saints couldn't get going in the first half, falling into a 20-3 hole. Brees eventually warmed up, but New Orleans clearly misses wide receiver Michael Thomas in a big way.
The defense is where the worries really reside.
Against a Chargers team that was led by a rookie quarterback and didn't have it's top running back or No. 1 wide receiver, the Saints allowed 27 points and 350 yards of offense. Justin Herbert set a rookie record for Monday Night Football with four touchdown passes.
The Saints were burned over and over again on deep throws, including one that very nearly cost them the game at the end of regulation.
"I picked the Saints to win Super Bowl LV before the season," Davenport said. "But the way they're playing defensively right now, there's no chance this team will even get to Tampa. Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson will have a field day with this secondary."
9. Buffalo Bills (4-1)
Last Week: 6
Week 5 Result: Lost 42-16 at Tennessee
Over their first four games, the Buffalo Bills were an offensive stampede.
Tuesday evening in Nashville, the team spit the bit.
Against the undefeated Titans, Josh Allen looked less like the potential MVP candidate we saw over the first month of the season and more like the talented but inconsistent passer we saw the first two seasons of his career. His completion percentage was way down, he missed more than one open receiver, and he threw a pair of costly interceptions.
It wasn't all on Allen, though. A Buffalo defense short top cornerback Tre'Davious White was carved up by Ryan Tannehill. Buffalo looked like the team that hadn't practiced in two weeks, committing mental lapse after penalty after...well, you get where this is headed.
It absolutely wasn't what the Bills were hoping for in their biggest test to date this season, especially with the Kansas City Chiefs headed to Orchard Park in Week 6.
The AFC is confusing right now. Like Advil-inducing confusing.
8. Los Angeles Rams (4-1)
Last Week: 9
Week 5 Result: Won at Washington 30-10
The Los Angeles Rams might want to petition the NFL to be moved to the NFC East.
Five weeks into the 2020 season, the Rams have already played all four teams in the NFL's worst division. They went 4-0 in those games, outscoring their opponents 104-55.
There wasn't much that the Rams didn't do week Sunday in Washington, Jared Goff threw for 309 yards and two touchdowns with a passer rating of 111.7. Aaron Donald tied a career best, amassing four of the team's eight sacks. The Rams allowed all of 108 total yards of offense.
"Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks get most of the headlines in the NFC West, but the Rams have quietly looked like one of the best teams in the NFC," Davenport said. "When Goff and Donald are playing this well, the Rams can beat anyone. And with the reeling San Francisco 49ers next on the slate, the Rams should keep right on rolling in Week 6."
7. Cleveland Browns (4-1)
Last Week: 13
Week 5 Result: Won vs. Indianapolis 32-23
The last time the Cleveland Browns were 4-1, Bill Belichick was their head coach. Nick Saban was the team's defensive coordinator. And Bill Clinton was in his first term as president.
It isn't just that the Browns are 4-1 for the first time in well over two decades. Or that the Browns have peeled off four straight wins. After victories over the Cincinnati Bengals, Washington and Dallas Cowboys, Cleveland notched a win over a team with a winning record.
And afterward, quarterback Baker Mayfield told reporters that the Browns won even though they didn't play up to their potential.
"I think that was the worst game I have played out of the five so far," he said. "I have to get better. A lot to learn from, but we learned on that defense and we got the yards when we needed it."
It certainly wasn't a flawless performance. Mayfield threw two interceptions, and the pass defense continues to be an issue. And next week brings an even bigger test against a Pittsburgh Steelers team that has long dominated their rivalry.
But we're five weeks into the season, and the talk around the Browns has more to do with a potential trip to the playoffs than next year's draft position. It's an interesting change of pace.
"The Browns being ranked in the top 10 of B/R's power rankings is almost certainly a sign of the coming apocalypse," Sobleski said. "The current incarnation of the team is legit, though, and an impressive victory over a tough Colts squad shows the Browns can be more than just a good story. Kevin Stefanski's offense managed 385 yards against the Colts' No. 1-ranked defense. The Browns are now well-prepared and not just talented on paper."
6. Tennessee Titans (4-0)
Last Week: 11
Week 5 Result: Won 42-16 vs. Buffalo
The Tennessee Titans just sent a message.
For most of the past fortnight, there's been plenty said about the Titans—and very little of it had anything to do with the team's ability to play football. Instead, it was positive tests and closed facilities and rescheduled games.
It was all very 2020.
The Titans hadn't played since coming back to edge the Vikings in Minnesota on Sept. 27. They had barely practiced since then.
So of course, they rolled the undefeated Buffalo Bills like it was nothing.
Ryan Tannehill threw for three scores and ran for another. The Titans defense turned the Bills over three times, and the offense converted 60 percent of its third-down attempts.
It was last year's run to the AFC title game all over again: not especially attractive, but brutally efficient. That it came after the long layoff speaks well to head coach Mike Vrabel and rest of the Titans coaching staff.
And it showed quite clearly that the Titans are for real…again.
5. Baltimore Ravens (4-1)
Last Week: 4
Week 5 Result: Won vs. Cincinnati 27-3
It might seem odd to nitpick a blowout win. But after the Ravens blasted the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 5, at least one of our analysts was looking at the proverbial glass as half-empty.
"Yes, Baltimore did what it was supposed to and handled an overmatched Bengals team at home," Davenport said. "But the reigning NFL MVP had another shaky outing. Playing a bad Bengals defense, Lamar Jackson completed barely over half of his passes and had a passer rating of just 71.9. It didn't matter in a game where the Ravens averaged 6.7 yards per carry, allowed only 205 yards and forced three turnovers, but Jackson has to be better throwing the ball against the best teams in the AFC."
Davenport does have a point: Jackson's numbers are down nearly across the board relative to last season. He also isn't alone in that assessment.
"Something isn't quite right with Jackson," Sobleski said. "He's either dinged at the moment or not happy with the offensive scheme. Maybe both. The Ravens coaching staff certainly didn't do the quarterback any favors by asking him to throw the ball nearly 40 times against a bad Bengals defense. Granted, Baltimore still won easily, but the shine of last year's well-oiled offensive juggernaut has worn off just a bit."
After playing the floundering Eagles next week, Baltimore hits an imposing five-game gauntlet—the Pittsburgh Steelers at home, at the Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots, home against the Tennessee Titans and then a rematch with the rival Steelers.
4. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-0)
Last Week: 5
Week 5 Result: Won vs. Philadelphia 38-29
Over the past several decades, the Pittsburgh Steelers have been one of the NFL's most successful franchises. But it's been a long time since they opened a season with four straight wins.
Namely, 41 years.
But after outlasting their Keystone State rivals at Heinz Field on Sunday, the Steelers are 4-0 for the first time since the days of Terry Bradshaw and Chuck Noll in 1979.
Rookie receiver Chase Claypool propelled Pittsburgh to the win. Not only did the former Notre Dame star top 100 yards and score three times through the air, but Claypool also punched in a score on the ground.
"The Steelers, not the Baltimore Ravens, have been the most consistent team in the AFC North so far this year," Davenport said. "We'll get to see those rivals battle soon enough, but Pittsburgh's next matchup is no cakewalk either. Next Sunday, the Steelers will play host to Baker Mayfield and the 4-1 Browns. Win those games, and the Steelers can really strengthen their grip on the division. Lose them, and things will get muddy quickly."
3. Kansas City Chiefs (4-1)
Last Week: 1
Week 5 Result: Lost vs. Las Vegas 40-32
The sky is falling! OK, not really.
Sure, the Kansas City Chiefs lost their first game of 2020, falling at home in surprising fashion to the Las Vegas Raiders. But the 4-1 Chiefs are still the class of the AFC West.
However, there is at least some cause for concern in Kansas City. With the exception of their sterling Week 3 victory in Baltimore, the Chiefs have hardly been firing on all cylinders this year.
That was certainly the case against the Raiders. Patrick Mahomes threw for 340 yards, but he completed only 22 of 43 passes and was outplayed by Derek Carr.
The Kansas City defense is an even bigger worry after being gashed for 40 points and 490 yards by the Raiders. Whether it was on the ground or in the air, Kansas City had all kinds of problems getting off the field.
"I know they're the defending champs and they should probably remain the Super Bowl favorite, but this was the Chiefs' second relatively poor performance in a four-week span," Gagnon said. "They just haven't been consistently crisp enough to hold the top spot."
2. Seattle Seahawks (5-0)
Last Week: 3
Week 5 Result: Won vs. Minnesota 27-26
The Seattle Seahawks just keep finding ways to win.
For a good portion of Sunday's game with the Minnesota Vikings, it looked like the Seahawks were about to be toppled from the ranks of the unbeaten. The Seahawks fell behind 13-0 and trailed by five with less than two minutes remaining.
But then Russell Wilson got to cooking.
Wilson's 217 passing yards was far from his best effort of the season. But he made the plays he needed to, including a six-yard scoring pass to DK Metcalf with 15 seconds left that decided the game in Seattle's favor.
After the win, which lifted the Seahawks to 5-0 for the first time in franchise history, head coach Pete Carroll was singing the praises of his star quarterback.
"There is just so much character that goes into being able to have that much poise, to be that clear, to function like that so beautifully throughout those opportunities," Carroll told reporters after the game. "He's just as good as you can get. I don't know how anybody could ever be better than what he continues to show us in those situations. He's as good as you can get."
1. Green Bay Packers (4-0)
Last Week: 2
Week 5 Result: Bye Week
The Green Bay Packers probably didn't want to take Week 5 off.
NFL teams don't like early bye weeks since it means a long stretch without a week off after. Week 9 is the sweet spot—play eight, take a week off, play eight more.
But the bigger reason the Packers likely would have preferred playing this week is that they're firing on all cylinders through four games—especially on offense.
No team in the league is averaging more points per game than the Packers (38.0). Quarterback Aaron Rodgers has completed 70.5 percent of his passes for 1,214 yards, 13 touchdowns, zero interceptions and a passer rating of 128.4.
He's on pace to set career bests in most of those categories, but at least one Packers player saw this explosion coming.
"Before the season, I already knew it was going to happen," tight end Robert Tonyan said, per ESPN's Rob Demovsky. "I already knew it was going to happen. That's all I've got to say."
Aaron Rodgers playing well might not be a surprise. But the Packers looking like the class of the NFC is at least a mild one.
As is Green Bay taking over the No. 1 spot here without even playing in Week 5.