The quarter-pole Power Rankings held a few surprises. Nearly a third of the way through the season, the chaos continues. Two teams remain unbeaten while four remain winless. After five weeks, the picture is becoming clearer and the contenders are beginning to separate themselves from the bunch. Today we take a look at the NFL Power Rankings and update our top-10. Where does your team rank?
*Rankings show team’s record and movement from last week’s rankings*
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Chicago Bears (3-2, -4), Houston Texans (3-2, +/-), Indianapolis Colts (3-2, +3)
A bad first-half and some questionable offensive play-calling ultimately doomed the Bears. Chicago got into a 17-0 deficit against the Oakland Raiders and was unable to make it all the way back. Losing to the Raiders drops you out of the top-10. The Texans easily dispatched the Atlanta Falcons. Houston’s passing game torched the Falcons to the tune of 426 yards and 53 points. The Texans lead the division but can’t jump their division rivals, the Indianapolis Colts. Indy shocked the league as they went into Kansas City and shut down the Chiefs. Last week’s second-ranked team, the Chiefs were left impotent against a tough Colts defense, in addition to multiple injuries at the wide receiver position.
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No. 10 – Philadelphia Eagles (3-2, +3)
After a pair of shocking losses to the Falcons and Lions, Doug Pederson‘s bunch seem to have steadied the ship. The Eagles have now won back to back games against the Packers and Jets. Philadelphia ran roughshod on the Jets, surrendering just 128 total yards and creating three turnovers. Carson Wentz is effective and has been there when needed. The defense is coming around. Philly is a dangerous team but will be tested over the next four weeks featuring the next three on the road against the Vikings, Cowboys, and Bills.
No. 9 – Dallas Cowboys (3-2, -4)
The Cowboys don’t need to panic just yet. They do, however, need to be wary of allowing negative momentum to build. Dallas lost their second straight game on Sunday, dropping them four spots in our rankings. This loss felt different from last week. The Packers controlled the game for long stretches and Dallas failed to score until the final 20 minutes of the contest. Dallas’ offense puts up the yards but victories are difficult to come by when you finish with a minus-3 turnover margin. The Cowboys need to hope that Dak Prescott gets better at protecting the football and the ground game can get going.
No. 8 – Los Angeles Rams (3-2, -3)
Perhaps the league has figured out Sean McVay. If so, the young head coach needs to make adjustments, quickly. The Rams dropped a heartbreaker last Thursday to the Seahawks. Los Angeles had a chance to steal the game at the end but Greg Zuerlein missed the go-ahead field goal from 44 yards away. The Rams have lost two in a row and the offense has been shaky. Defenses have slowed down the Los Angeles ground game by placing six defenders at the line of scrimmage, effectively plugging holes in the zone-blocking scheme. Jared Goff looked better against the Seahawks but he will need to find consistency for this team to win. The 49ers make their way down the coast to play the Rams on Sunday. McVay’s team needs to turn things around or risk falling behind in the playoff race.
No. 7 – Buffalo Bills (4-1, +/-)
Buffalo has the second-best record in the AFC. The defense continues to impress but does so against another struggling offense, the Tennessee Titans. The Buffalo offense is lacking and will be a problem for the Bills against stronger teams. Josh Allen needs to get better at protecting the football. Ultimately, the offensive issues prevent Buffalo from appearing higher on the list. The bye week could be a blessing for the Bills as they get two weeks to prepare for the Dolphins. That should be a fun time for Buffalo fans.
No. 6 – Seattle Seahawks (4-1, +4)
Somehow the Seahawks continue to hang around and win games. At 4-1, the Seahawks seem to be coming together as a team. Pete Carroll‘s team has typically struggled during the early part of the season before finishing with a run in the playoffs. Russell Wilson continues to play like the eventual league’s most valuable player while Chris Carson is on a hot streak. The defense needs to get better to truly contend for a championship but the experience is there. After a tough win against the Rams, Seattle is steadily climbing up the power rankings.
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No. 5 – Green Bay Packers (4-1, +3)
Green Bay continues to find a way to win. The defense surrendered 500 yards of offense to the Cowboys but created three turnovers. Offensively, Aaron Rodgers isn’t playing spectacularly well but is getting the job done. There is a balance between the passing attack and the ground game. Green Bay running backs Jamaal Williams and Aaron Jones pull double duty and are effective pass-catching options out of the backfield. The defense is already vastly better than the last few seasons. If the offense can continue to improve, the Packers are a major threat in the NFC.
No. 4 – Kansas City Chiefs (4-1, -2)
The Chiefs fall in our newest Power Rankings. Even the best offenses have a threshold of talent that must be met for it to be successful. The Chiefs may have found their limit against the Colts. Kansas City was without starting wide receivers Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins, tackle Eric Fisher, and running back Damien Williams. Kansas City’s defense has performed better than last year but is hoping to see more from Frank Clark. Hill and Watkins should be returning soon. The offense will speed back up and will return to creating explosive plays. Over the last two seasons, only two teams have truly created problems for the Chiefs, the Patriots, and the Colts. That leaves the rest of the league at the mercy of Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense.
No. 3 – New Orleans Saints (4-1, +/-)
Teddy Bridgewater has been fantastic for the Saints. After a rough time replacing Drew Brees during the game against the Rams, Bridgewater has stabilized his play and been impressive. Over the last three games, Bridgewater has completed at least 70% of his passes and thrown six touchdowns to two interceptions. The Saints’ offense as a whole has been productive. Alvin Kamara and the ground game has alleviated some of the pressure on Bridgewater. Defensively, the Saints have given up less than 300 yards each of the last two games.
No. 2 – San Francisco 49ers (4-0, +2)
One of the final two undefeated teams left in the NFL, San Francisco jumps up to claim the second spot on our Power Rankings. The 49ers announced themselves as contenders with an impressive victory over the Browns on Monday night. San Francisco’s ground game is impressive. The 49ers have three running backs who are legitimate home-run threats. Matt Breida and Raheem Mostert are now joined by Tevin Coleman to form a formidable three-headed monster at running back. The loss of fullback Kyle Juszcyzk for a few weeks could put a damper on the offense. During that time, the defense will need to continue to force turnovers and get after the quarterback. San Francisco’s defense currently gives up an average of just 14.3 points per game and just over 200 yards per game of total offense. It is a defense that is only getting better and has the potential to be special. A major threat looms for the 49ers as they head to Los Angeles to face the Rams. To borrow from a famous wrestler, in order to be the man, the 49ers need to beat the man. Sunday, they have the chance.
No. 1 – New England Patriots (5-0, +/-)
New England remains at the top spot of our Power Rankings once again. The Patriots are the lone undefeated team in the AFC and are a favorite to represent the conference in the Super Bowl. Tom Brady and the offense continue to find ways to puts points on the scoreboard while the defense remains the best in the league. The scary part is that the offense is missing pieces. If the offense can get going, this could be the best Patriots team we’ve ever seen. Is it too early to start looking at a possible unbeaten season?