The first five weeks of the NFL regular season is in the books. Just like every season before this one, there were some surprises.
Let me caution you about trying to grade a team off of one good or bad week. Given the season is still relatively young, these Power Rankings will factor in teams that I believe are good but had an off week and teams that I feel won by default or overachieved. Be forewarned as you will see some teams with lesser records ranked higher than others. Matchup’s will even out over time but after just five weeks, clearly some teams have has harder schedules than others. With all that being said, I’m sure 90% of you have jumped over this entire first paragraph and just looked to see where you favorite team placed….
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1. Green Bay Packers (5-0) Easily the most complete team. When the team is struggling, the coaches adjust and find a way to win. Team full of playmakers.
2. New Orleans Saints (4-1) The defense will cost them some games but the offense can stick with or beat every team in the league. They’ll improve the defense before January.
3. Detroit Lions (5-0) Entertaining to watch and clearly one of the best teams, but the lack of a dependable running game and the secondary will allow weaker teams to beat them.
4. New England Patriots (4-1) There isn’t any clear cut AFC powerhouse. Any of five or six teams can legitimately be the AFC representative in the Super Bowl. With all things equal, New England gets the edge. However this defense is hard to watch.
5. San Diego Chargers (4-1) Only loss is to the Patriots and that’s what keeps them behind New England. They aren’t playing to their capability and aren’t close to healthy, yet they stand 4-1. A team to fear once they hit their stride.
6. Baltimore Ravens (3-1) The offense has shown several hiccups against quality defenses and the defense still is susceptible to the pass. A team that can be beaten by matchup problems.
7. San Francisco 49ers (4-1) I’m not sure what to think about this team. They are old school, the defense doesn’t put too much pressure on Alex Smith but even when the offense has had to perform, amazingly Smith has stepped up to the challenge.
8. Buffalo Bills (4-1) They can play with any team but they can lose to any team. The injuries to the receiving core are mounting up and should prove to be too much. But in games where Fred Jackson can carry the bulk of the offensive workload, they’ll be able to win.
9. Washington Redskins (3-1) The versatility of this running game will be hard to stop. Rex Grossman is doing what he’s asked but the story is the much improved defense. Funny how much a happy locker room changes things. How’s New England’s D with Fat Albert now?
10. Houston Texans (3-2) Even without Mario Williams I’m buying on this defense. Matt Schaub will need to build instant chemistry with Derrick Mason while Andre Johnson is out. Teams will key on Schaub’s inability to get the receivers the ball if he doesn’t gel with Mason.
11. Tennessee Titans (3-2) Tennessee looked like the team we expected last week. Chris Johnson is obviously not ready to carry the bulk of the rushing attack. don’t understand why the Titans don’t give more touches to Javon Ringer & Jamie Harper until CJ shows flashes of his former self. Ease Matt Hasselbeck’s duties.
12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-2) I keep waiting for this team to look like the 2010 version but it hasn’t come. If LeGarrette Blount misses significant time, they don’t have the running back on the roster to help get this offense back on track. I’m expect a slide down these rankings.
13. Oakland Raiders (3-2) They played motivated after the passing of Al Davis but they also showed that this high power offense can be stopped. More teams will stack the box versus Darren McFadden and make Jason Campbell attempt to beat them.
14. Cincinnati Bengals (3-2) They have a running game, a capable passer, a true #1 receiver, and a quality defense. They need to start believing in themselves and open up the offense. They can’t keep allowing teams to hang around and pull out wins.
15. Atlanta Falcons (2-3) Tons of talent but face a horrific early schedule and still haven’t found their identity. They’ll need to find it fast if they want to catch up to a very deep NFC.
16. Dallas Cowboys (2-2) Miles Austin and Dez Bryant have had some time to heal. Watch out for this team because they could end up winning the division.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2) We all know the offensive line is beat up and the defense is aging but it’s a veteran teams that will find ways to win games. Don’t take them lightly.
18. New York Jets (2-3) This isn’t the 2009-10 Jets team. They need to get the running game going because Mark Sanchez can’t carry this team.
19. New York Giants (3-2) This seems like an eight and eight team. They stay in games with freak plays and you can’t rely on that over a 16 game season.
20. Chicago Bears (2-3) No offensive line, no defense, and it doesn’t seem as if the players are buying what a coach is selling. Equals not much winning….
21. Philadelphia Eagles (1-4) It’s a mess! They used the failed Redskins formula of trying to buy a championship. It’s backfiring and setting this team back. I doubt they get this under control until it’s too late.
22. Seattle Seahawks (2-3) I think they have a talented enough defense and some good offensive pieces to contend in their weak division. They finally have a pro style quarterback in Charlie Whitehurst and I don’t believe he gives back the job to Tarvaris Jackson.
23. Carolina Panthers (1-4) They will be in every game and they are about to start winning some of those. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if they upset Atlanta this week.
24. Cleveland Browns (2-2) Finally Greg Little is being named a starter. In a division where no team has really set themselves apart, this move could keep the Browns in the hunt.
25. Kansas City Chiefs (2-3) This team gets on hot streaks and right now they are in the middle of one. As long as they can keep Dwayne Bowe and Matt Cassel in tune with each other, they’ll have a chance to compete in games.
25. Denver Broncos (1-4) I don’t want to get carried away and Tim Tebow’s style won’t look the best at times but he’ll find ways to win. This team will come out more energetic and they are getting players healthy as week speak. If Demaryius Thomas can finally stay healthy, Eddie Royal comes back fine, and Julius Thomas (best kept secret) is ready, watch what Tebow does with these weapons.
26. Arizona Cardinals (1-4) A colossal disappointments. They have zero chemistry and I don’t see it getting better any time soon. Larry Fitzgerald needs someone opposite of him to allow him to do more.
27. Minnesota Vikings (1-4) Run Adrian Peterson, run Adrian Peterson, and run Adrian Peterson. This will get you several wins and Jared Allen is playing insane right now. Also, don’t underestimate how good cornerback, Chris Cook is when healthy. Not enough good pieces to take advantage of the great pieces though.
28. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-4) In the middle of a four game losing streak and I doubt it ends anytime soon. They drafted the wrong quarterback and he doesn’t have a great team around him.
21. St. Louis Rams (0-4) I’ll admit that I missed big on this team. I thought they would win the division, now they may win the first pick in the draft. This offensive line is terrible and Sam Bradford looks shell shocked.
29. Miami Dolphins (0-4) Rumors are flying that Miami was upset that they had a bye week and Indy didn’t because it got the Colts a game closer to Andrew Luck. They can’t stand not being the worst team and they’ve earned it.
29. Indianapolis Colts (0-5) There’s no limit this team will go to ensure it’s dynasty for another 15 years. Kerry Collins & Curtis Painter…well played Indianapolis Colts, now enjoy the best NFL QB prospects since, well Peyton Manning.