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NFL Power Rankings, Week 5: New teams enter the top 15
LANDOVER, MARYLAND - OCTOBER 04: Quarterback Lamar Jackson #8 of the Baltimore Ravens celebrates after rushing for a touchdown against the Washington Football Team during the second quarter at FedExField on October 4, 2020 in Landover, Maryland. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Washington Football Team did not host fans during the game. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Cincinnati Bengals

NFL Power Rankings, Week 5: New teams enter the top 15

Here’s the deal with these Week 5 NFL Power Rankings. They are not predictions. If a team projects to have an easy or difficult schedule ahead of them, that matters not for this exercise. These are very simply a list of how good each team is right this minute. With one quarter of the season now in the books, here’s how all 32 teams rank in my Week 5 NFL Power Rankings list heading into the second quarter of the season.

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NFL Power Rankings: Week 5

Before we get started with our Week 5 NFL Power Rankings, be sure to check out Mike Tanier’s NFL Week 4 Recap after you take a look through this list of 32 teams. This week, Tanier kicks off the NFL Week 4 Recap looking at potential early Rookie of the Year candidates, the Tom Brady-led Buccaneers, and a breakdown of another disappointing Dallas Cowboys loss.

32) New York Jets (0-4)

It wasn’t against the greatest of competition, but the Jets showed some signs of life against Denver. That was particularly true for Sam Darnold, who certainly hasn’t given up the ship. What is maybe most noteworthy is that Adam Gase wasn’t relieved of his duties during this long week, but PFN Draft Analyst and Insider had reported last Wednesday that Gase being fired was not imminent. Just like last week, the Jets are last in my NFL Power Rankings.

31) Washington Football Team (1-3)

The Football Team walked into a buzzsaw against the Baltimore Ravens. But Washington does play hard though even late in games when the outcome has been decided. You have to think that Dwayne Haskins, particularly with his ability to find Terry McLaurin, made a strong case to remain as Washington’s starting quarterback as this were far and away from his best game of the year against a challenging defense.

That being said, much of his production came when this game was out of reach and Washington averaged under five yards per play on offense. We’ll see how they rebound next week and if they can make a move up the NFL Power Rankings list.

30) Jacksonville Jaguars (1-3)

The Jaguars battled back in the fourth quarter against the Bengals but still fell to 1-3 for the season. Gardner Minshew put up huge numbers (351 passing yards) and getting DJ Chark back helped quite a bit. Laviska Shenault also continues to show great promise, but Jacksonville’s defense allowed Joe Burrow and company to rack up 7.1 yards per play and 205 yards on the ground. This might be the worst defense in the NFL and a reason why they are 30th in my NFL Power Rankings for Week 5.

29) New York Giants (0-4)

The Giants come in at 29th in this week’s NFL Power Rankings list. And their game against the Rams was promising. Devonta Freeman looks spry, explosive, and poised to take over this backfield and the Giants stayed committed to running the ball in Los Angeles. New York had two late drives that didn’t go their way, but they certainly threatened the Rams. And give New York’s defense credit in keeping the Rams to only 240 total yards and just 4.2 yards per play.

28) Denver Broncos (1-3)

Denver took care of business against the Jets and could be getting Drew Lock back earlier than expected. Should there now be a glimpse of optimism around the Broncos now? Maybe a little, but just a little. The Broncos sit at 28th in my Week 5 NFL Power Rankings.

27) Detroit Lions (1-3)

Detroit inevitably blew another double-digit lead. The Lions jumped out 14-0 over New Orleans, but then just as quickly found themselves down by a massive margin. The Lions did battle back, but it wasn’t enough. It is difficult to find areas of this team that Detroit should be happy or comfortable with. The Lions terrible defense was on the field for 36:46 in Week 4 and a reason why they are toward the bottom of my NFL Power Rankings headed into Week 5.

26) Miami Dolphins (1-3)

Heading into Week 5, the Dolphins are 26th in my NFL Power Rankings list. Devante Parker was more than the Seahawks cover men could handle, finishing this day with 10 catches for 110 yards. Ryan Fitzpatrick also put up big numbers against the Seahawks terrible pass defense, but his two costly interceptions might have been the difference in this game. Brian Flores is building a tough-minded football team and the building blocks of a winning culture in Miami.

25) Carolina Panthers (2-2)

This was a super impressive showing by Carolina, ousting Arizona 31-21. Teddy Bridgewater played a great game and really began to incorporate his abilities as a runner into the equation to complement sharp timing passing with a good group of Panthers’ weapons that has done quite well in Christian McCaffrey’s absence. Carolina’s offense had the ball for over 37 minutes in this game and their young defense showed promise and athleticism. They’re 25th in my Week 5 NFL Power Rankings.

24) Houston Texans (0-4)

Will the Texans ever crack the top 20 in these NFL Power Rankings? Sunday’s game started really terribly against the Vikings, but Houston did bounce back and this was Deshaun Watson’s best game of the year. However, it must be noted that he still missed his share of throws. Still, this is a winless football team (that got crushed in time of possession yet again) with more questions than answers after the quarter mark of the season, especially with Bill O’Brien now fired.

23) Atlanta Falcons (0-4)

The Falcons come in 23rd in the Week 5 NFL Power Rankings. Atlanta’s secondary is just riddled with injuries and although they didn’t have to deal with Davante Adams, the Falcons were still overmatched on the backend of their defense. Making matters worse, Julio Jones – when he was even on the field – was a shell of himself because of his hamstring injury.

22) Cincinnati Bengals (1-2)

After tying Philadelphia last week, the Bengals got their first win of the year in Week 4. Things are trending in the right direction on the field and in these NFL Power Rankings. A huge key is that Cincinnati finally got Joe Mixon going as both a runner and receiver. He was a dominant player and the engine of Cincinnati’s offense as Joe Burrow was impressive again getting his first of many career wins.

21) Las Vegas Raiders (2-2)

The Raiders were simply outmatched by Buffalo in Week 4. Derek Carr was fine, but Vegas lacked downfield playmakers as Darren Waller again was the Raiders’ most effective receiver by a wide margin. The Raiders pass-rush was nonexistent, registering just one late sack on Allen, who held the ball a long time all afternoon. They sit just outside the top 20 in these NFL Week 5 Power Rankings.

20) Arizona Cardinals (2-2)

Coming in 20th in these NFL Power Rankings are the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals got down huge early on in Carolina. They came back to make it somewhat of a game. But even in comeback mode, Arizona got very little going through the air downfield and they averaged a paltry 4.8 yards per play on the day. Their run defense and pass-rush were also very poor. This team has dropped two in a row and could be falling back to reality.

19) Philadelphia Eagles (1-2-1)

As if Carson Wentz needed even less help around him, Lane Johnson obviously played hurt in this game, leaving Wentz with a brutal front five and arguably the worst set of wide receivers in the league. Wentz still played his guts out under constant pressure and without many open receivers to target. It seems ridiculous, but the Eagles now sit atop their division and at number 19 in my Week 5 NFL Power Rankings.

18) Minnesota Vikings (1-3)

The Vikings finally got their first win over Houston, who has yet to say the same thing. Dalvin Cook continues to have an excellent season, gashing a bad Texans run defense for 130 yards. A second big game in a row by Justin Jefferson is great to see. He complements Adam Thielen perfectly and giving this offense enough of balance, often off play action. The Vikings had the ball for 36:31 in this game, which is exactly how they need to play. They’re 18th in these NFL Power Rankings headed into Week 5.

17) Los Angeles Chargers (1-3)

I ranked the Chargers 17th in this week’s NFL Power Rankings. The Chargers seemingly play in a tight game every week, usually with poor results under Anthony Lynn, and allowed a 24-0 point run by Tampa Bay. Justin Herbert has shown that he belongs, and Chargers fans should be awfully excited about his future.

Herbert almost outdueled Tom Brady while throwing touchdowns to relative unknowns Jalen Guyton, Tyron Johnson, and Donald Parham. Keep an eye on Austin Ekeler’s injury status, though. He was missed, as Los Angeles produced just 46 yards on the ground in Tampa.

16) Dallas Cowboys (1-3)

It was a miserable start for the Cowboys, who trailed by 27 points at one point. This is a very difficult team to trust right now. But Dak Prescott is playing great (450+ passing yards in three straight games!) and Dallas is just dripping with playmakers around him. This was a wild game, but the Cowboys lost the turnover battle by three and their defense has allowed 38 or more points in three straight games. Dallas sits just outside the top 15 in my Week 5 NFL Power Rankings.

NFL Power Rankings, Week 5: Teams ranked 15-6

15) Chicago Bears (3-1)

We kick off the top 15 of our Week 5 NFL Power Rankings with the Chicago Bears. In their first loss of the season, Chicago’s defense played quite well against the Colts but got no help. The Bears scored a late touchdown against a soft prevent defense, but overall were totally dominated on that side of the ball.

Nick Foles was quite bad in this game and it’s pretty clear that Chicago’s coaching staff doesn’t trust him to power the offense, but it was the Bears running game that was especially futile. David Montgomery finished this outing with 27 yards on his 10 carries while the Bears other three ball carriers combined for a single yard on the ground.

14) Cleveland Browns (3-1)

The Browns got up early on the Cowboys, but what a wild game this was. This was a ridiculous performance from Odell Beckham and the Browns finished the day with 307 rushing yards! However, they might have lost Nick Chubb, who only got six carries in this game. This was one of the most eye-opening and startling showings of Week 4 as the Browns dropped 49 points on the Cowboys in Dallas. Can the Browns move up from the 14th spot in next week’s NFL Power Rankings? Time will tell.

13) Indianapolis Colts (3-1)

At 13 in my Week 5 NFL Power Rankings are the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts defense has been stifling all season long and their trip to Chicago was no different. The defense was awesome. But Indianapolis has yet to really get Jonathan Taylor going and Philip Rivers no longer is able to carry an offense. This is a very lopsided team right now. It’s a big win, but the Colts will need far more from their offense (a terrible 4.2 yards per play vs. the Bears) to hang with the top teams in the AFC.

12) New England Patriots (2-2)

Cam Newton has tested positive for COVID and the Patriots game in Kansas City was bumped to Monday Night. In that game, New England left too many great opportunities on the field and Brian Hoyer was benched in favor of Jared Stidham. To no fault of his own, Stidham threw a pick-6 in the fourth quarter that put the game out of reach for a Patriots team devoid of weapons. And you can’t lose the turnover battle to Kansas City and expect to win. That said, the Patriots still sit just outside the top ten in these NFL Power Rankings.

11) Tennessee Titans (3-0)

The Titans roster has been riddled with an outbreak. Their game vs. the Steelers has been postponed, but what will be the status of their Week 5 contest against Buffalo? And which Tennessee players will actually be available to play? Lots of questions still remain – their status will be updated in next week’s NFL Power Rankings.

10) Los Angeles Rams (3-1)

The number 10 in my Week 5 NFL Power Rankings are the Los Angeles Rams. Los Angeles had a tough going against a desperate Giants team. The Rams offense spreads the ball around very well and that is an ideal fit for Jared Goff’s strengths. Nine Rams caught passes against the Giants but Los Angeles got very little from their ground game, which is their offensive foundation. Los Angeles advanced to 3-1, but they were somewhat fortunate to escape Week 4 with the victory.

9) New Orleans Saints (2-2)

With a ridiculous list of inactive stars and going down 14-0 right off the bat against the Lions, things were looking quite bleak for the Saints overall. New Orleans did have a tough time ultimately putting the Lions away but did what they had to in order to get to 2-2 with Alvin Kamara looking as elite as any running back in the league. This was probably Drew Brees’ best game and the Saints finally pushed the ball downfield. Maybe the best is yet to come for the Saints as they get healthier. Let’s see if they can get any higher in next week’s NFL Power Rankings.

8) San Francisco 49ers (2-2)

Coming in 8th in this week’s NFL Power Rankings are the San Francisco 49ers. Nick Mullens was underwhelming and his late pick-6 was inexcusable. He was pulled for CJ Beathard after that interception and it is unclear who would start next week if Jimmy Garoppolo can’t return.

But more than anything, San Francisco faced a desperate and proud Eagles team on Sunday night. The Niners defense is still quite strong, but not on par with where it was in 2019. Getting George Kittle back was massive for San Francisco’s offense and is massive going forward for a team that might have overcome the bad times and is ready to turn the corner.

7) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-1)

Tampa Bay dug themselves quite a hole (and Tom Brady’s early pick-6 didn’t help) but came back to make it game against the Chargers as Brady threw five touchdowns, his best game of the year. Tampa Bay took this game over as it went along after their slow start.

Hopefully, Chris Godwin returns and Mike Evans, who was injured and returned in this game but looked hobbled, will be able to go on a very short week Thursday night. The Bucs offense was quite strong on the ground and through the air. It is beginning to shape up for Brady and company – can they crack the top 5 in next week’s NFL Power Rankings?

6) Pittsburgh Steelers (3-0)

Unfortunately, the Steelers didn’t get to play this week as their trip to Tennessee was postponed. This remains a complete and promising team that should be in the thick of the AFC. But with the schedule change, Pittsburgh now has eight of their final 11 games on the road. They sit just outside the top five in these NFL Power Rankings.

The top 5 NFL teams

5) Buffalo Bills (4-0)

We begin our five best teams of the Week 5 NFL Power Rankings with the Buffalo Bills. The Bills got a big scare when Josh Allen went to the locker room after injuring his left arm, but their star-in-the-making quarterback quickly returned. Their trip to Las Vegas was close for a while, but Buffalo pulled ahead in the second half and were far and away from the better team on Sunday, even though the Raiders made it somewhat interesting in the end.

4) Seattle Seahawks (4-0)

The Seahawks are 4th in this week’s NFL Power Rankings. Miami gave the Seahawks all they could handle on this massive cross-country road trip with a 10:00 AM body clock start – something that is a tough task against any team in this league. Of course, Russell Wilson is the greatest of deodorants to cover up problem areas and DK Metcalf was a monster in this game as usual. However, Seattle’s pass defense was once again a real problem with Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing for 315 yards.

3) Baltimore Ravens (3-1)

It wasn’t against the stiffest of competition, but the Ravens righted the ship by dismantling Washington. It was good to see Marquise Brown and Mark Andrews get back on track and the defense played quite well as Baltimore ran away with the lead. Heading into next week, they are the number three team in my Week 5 NFL Power Rankings.

2) Green Bay Packers (4-0)

The Packers come in as the number two team in this week’s NFL Power Rankings. Aaron Rodgers was short on receiving weapons for Green Bay’s Monday Night contest against a Falcons team that was desperate for a win. But Aaron Jones and Jamaal Williams caused Atlanta’s defense all sorts of problems all night long. And Robert Tonyan caught three touchdowns!

1) Kansas City Chiefs (4-0)

On Monday Night Football, Bill Belichick had an excellent gameplan to keep the Chiefs offense in check. But that only works for so long. And with the mistakes New England made, it was only a matter of time before the Chiefs took control. The Chiefs remain in the number one spot in my Week 5 NFL Power Rankings.

Matt Williamson is a Senior NFL Analyst for Pro Football Network. You can follow him on Twitter: @WilliamsonNFL.

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