Week 5 Power Rankings

By Josh Shippen, Reporter

1. Arizona Cardinals (4-0) +1

The Cardinals’ convincing win against the Los Angeles Rams solidifies them as the best team in the NFL, and Kyler Murray looks like the runaway for the MVP award after the first four weeks of the season. If the defense was just a little more productive then this team could be completely unbeatable.

2. Buffalo Bills (3-1) +2

It’s perfectly possible that the Bills fall into complete chaos after facing a team that has more than one win, but two shutouts and a more than convincing victory is a very strong case in the Bills’ favor of being a completely viable juggernaut. 

3. Los Angeles Rams (3-1) -2

The Rams had a minor fall from grace against the Cardinals, and their inability to keep up with the offense is mildly concerning. That said, the Rams have done more than enough to show that they can beat other tough opponents, which leads me to believe that they will be in it until the very end. 

4. Dallas Cowboys (3-1) +3

Few offenses look quite as dominant as the Cowboys in the first stretch of the season. In fact, I think the Cowboys top a list of teams that have a truly dominant quarterback, running back, and wide receiver tandem, even among these tough top three offenses. People should expect the Cowboys offense to keep running over opposing defenses. Trevon Diggs and Micah Parsons are also huge breakout players to continue watching on defense.

5. Los Angeles Chargers (3-1) +3

Other than one sloppy performance in week two against the Dallas Cowboys, Justin Herbert has made a strong case of his own for the MVP award. Against a lauded Raiders defense, Justin Herbert was able to connect with Austin Ekeler and Mike Williams to create some really strong offensive drives. The offensive line and defense leave much to be desired, but the offense has shown that it can keep pace with even the Chiefs offense.

6. Las Vegas Raiders (3-1) -1

A horrible first half of offensive play was the Raiders’ ruin on Monday Night Football against the Chargers, but their defense still kept them in the game and a second half of stingy offense was a very promising showing by Las Vegas. Last week’s loss is no reason to panic. No season is ever perfect, and even with how well built the Raiders are they are no exception.

7. Kansas City Chiefs (2-2) +7

Making the claim that the Chiefs have the worst defense in football is a viable claim at this point. However, even if the Chiefs offense was not peaking from weeks 2-3 of the season, it looks like it is starting to pick up steam again after a decisive win against the Philadelphia Eagles. Leave it to Patrick Mahomes to put the Chiefs right back up in contention in a tough AFC West.

8. Cleveland Browns (3-1) -5

The Browns’ most recent contest against the Vikings is a wakeup call for the offense. Any team playing the Vikings’ defense should be putting up more than 14 points, and any offense that gets as much credit as the Browns should not be keeping this game within one score.

9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-1) -3

The Bucs’ showing against the New England Patriots on Sunday Night is certainly a cause for concern. This match should have been a slaughter in the favor of Tampa Bay. Instead, the Bucs struggled to use their weapons on offense and had some noticeable defensive struggles against Mac Jones and the Pats’ offense. In the end they still got the win, but it shows that the Bucs may not be last year’s team.

10. Cincinnati Bengals (3-1) +6

Joe Burrow, Joe Mixon, and Ja’Marr Chase are proving to be one of the most exciting offenses in football, and Logan Wilson is leading the Bengals on a very unexpected defensive run. The Bengals seem to get stronger every week, and their game against the Packers will be a true test of grit for both offense and defense.

11. Green Bay Packers (3-1) -2

Something doesn’t feel right about this year’s Packers team. Aaron Rodgers does not seem to be leading as strong of an offense as he usually does, and the defense has nearly blown leads against both the Detroit Lions and the San Francisco 49ers. The Packers are not in danger by any means, but it should not be assumed that they win each and every contest like they do every other year.

12. Seattle Seahawks (2-2) +6

Were it not for an exceedingly strong quarterback under center, the Seahawks would be in considerable trouble in the NFC West. If this team can keep pace with a strong offense like the Rams on Thursday, they will have gained considerable leverage for the second spot in the NFC West. For now, they look like a team that will be hindered by a strong division and poor roster.

13. Baltimore Ravens (3-1) -3

The Ravens’ ability to push through their injury troubles is admirable, but losses to the running and receiving game will prove to be fatal against tougher opponents. Putting it bluntly, I am not so sure the Ravens would have had as much of a walk in the park on Sunday if Teddy Bridgewater had remained the starter for the whole game.

14. Tennessee Titans (2-2) -3

No Julio Jones and  A.J. Brown is not a recipe for success. Even with 157 yards on the ground from Derrick Henry, the Titans could not do enough to stop the New York Jets on a great offensive day for Zach Wilson, Corey Davis, and Jamison Crowder. I do not think there are any problems with the TItans on offense, but the defense really needs to improve. Letting the Jets walk all over you makes you one of the worst defenses in the league.

15. Carolina Panthers (3-1) -2

To the Panthers’ credit, they stayed in this game until the Cowboys’ offensive third quarter surge of points. The Panthers may not be the 3-0 operation they tried to convince us they were, but they are still a viable team that will most likely be competing for a playoff spot by September.

16. Washington Football Team (2-2) +6

Taylor Heinicke keeps getting doubted, and keeps exceeding expectations. Even though a win against the Falcons defense is nothing to write home about, keeping pace with a very strong offense is a big green check mark for Washington’s offense. They are doing a great job of proving they were not a complete fluke after barely making the playoffs in a horrible division.

17. San Francisco 49ers (2-2) -2

There is only so far Kyle Shanahan can carry this team amidst the injuries and depth that this team is suffering from. In addition to losing almost every running back on the depth chart, the 49ers lost their starting quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo. If his injury persists into week five, they will be forced to throw rookie Trey Lance into the fire against the best team in the NFL.

18. Minnesota Vikings (1-3) -1

The Vikings had a battle of the defenses against the Browns on Sunday, and let’s just say that if I had to pick between the Browns and Vikings, it would be no contest. The Vikings’ inconsistent offense, struggling defense, and complete refusal to close out games is killing what otherwise has the potential to be considered a strong season.

19. Denver Broncos (3-1) -7

There is a realistic reality in which the Denver Broncos are 4-0. Unfortunately, the real world features Teddy Bridgewater in the midst of concussion protocol, and the struggling Drew Lock starting in his place. Let’s just say that Drew Lock is a far fall from Teddy Bridgewater based on what the last two years have shown us.

20. New England Patriots (1-3) +4

The Patriots had a good effort against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but in the end Bill Bellichek was not able to outsmart the Bucs and deal with Leonard Fournette and Tom Brady’s incredible play. If the Patriots had proved themselves against lesser opponents, then this would not be something to be concerned about.

21. Chicago Bears (2-2) +4

The Chicago Bears’ roster is a bit of a mess. On one hand, the Bears are in the process of developing some good offensive talent in Justin Fields, David Montgomery, and Darnell Mooney. On the other hand, Fields is not ready to play yet, Montgomery is facing injury concerns, and Mooney does not have the adequate passing talent to have a breakout season. 

22. New Orleans Saints (2-2) -2

The New Orleans Saints are the most hot and cold team of 2021. One week they held Aaron Rodgers to no touchdowns and two picks, and only three weeks later they gave up over 400 yards to Daniel Jones and the New York Giants offense. Any matchup that this team could have could easily end up in a win on a loss. 

23. Philadelphia Eagles (1-3) -2

A mediocre offense and an awful defense are not a good combination to have when four of your games are against Washington and Dallas. Jalen Hurts has shown remarkable improvement compared to his original play at the end of 2020, but it is painfully clear that he still has a long way to go.

24. Miami Dolphins (1-3) -1

Oh how far the Dolphins have fallen. In week one this team was thought of as a half decent operation that could compete for a Wild Card spot by the end of the season, and now they might as well be 0-4 with injuries and poor play. 

25. Indianapolis Colts (1-3) +4

Despite their win, the Colts are one nasty hit away from Carson Wentz being out for the rest of the season and the Colts being at the same level as the Houston Texans by midseason. Additionally, the defense is no longer at the level where they can carry the offense out of the hole that Wentz has dug for them. The Colts are playing a lost season, and I would not be surprised if they are drafting for a quarterback at the start of the 2022 NFL Draft.

26. Atlanta Falcons (1-3) +1

The Falcons are slowly nearing back to the dominant offense that has been so prevalent since 2016, but it is a steep climb without Julio Jones in an offense that features Calvin Ridley, Kyle Pitts, and a struggling 36 year old Matt Ryan. This offense is quietly bringing an element of hope to a previously hopeless team.

27. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-3) -8

Ben Roethlisberger’s aging offense is lucky to have the win that they have. Each week the Steelers seemingly play an easier opponent, and each week they fall in spectacular fashion. The Steelers are setting up for a massive rebuild in the approaching offseason.

28. New York Giants (1-3) +2

The Giants’ offense no longer looks as slow and disconnected as it did for weeks 1-3. Whether that is because of ever so slight improvements to Saquon Barkley or the addition of first round pick Kadarius Toney in the offense, it elevates the Giants from being the worst team in the NFC.

 

29. New York Jets (1-3) +3

The Jets had everything go right against the Titans on Sunday. Zach Wilson was playing out of his mind, Corey Davis and Jamison Crowder stepped up and made plays, and John Franklin-Myers, Quinnen Williams, and Quincy Williams led an aggressive defense in the Jets’ overtime win. Chances that this much will continue to go right are astronomically low.

30. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-4) +1

The Jaguars looked stronger than they have in any other game, but they faded in a big spot down the stretch and that is not something we should be seeing from a time trying to validate that their first overall pick is not a draft bust.

31. Detroit Lions (0-4) -3

For three weeks the Lions looked like a team with bad luck that was playing in competitive contests. Now after getting embarrassed by the Bears in week four, the Lions look like a team with almost no developing players outside of offensive lineman Penei Sewell to be excited about. The only bright spot of this time is that Jared Goff has not been an absolute train wreck as their new quarterback.

32. Houston Texans (1-3) -6

The Texans are running a totally stale operation with one of the worst starting quarterbacks in recent memory. Nothing short of a colossal miracle will be able to give the Houston Texans a win until Tyrod Taylor returns.

 

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