The NFL doesn’t make sense sometimes. But I can’t stress this enough: good teams lose sometimes and bad teams win sometimes. It is still early in the season so don’t be surprised to see your beloved team lose (unless, of course, your team is the Chiefs). Teams are continuing to find their identities and string together some wins. Some teams aren’t having that luck. But the beautiful thing about the NFL is that every team can win on any given Sunday. So after another action-packed week of games, where does your favorite team stand in my weekly power rankings?
32. Cleveland Browns (0-5, Previous Ranking: 32)
Last Week: L, 17-14, vs. Jets
Next Week: at Texans (2-3)
Woof. Another iffy performance from DeShone Kizer. I still believe that Kizer can be the long-term answer at quarterback for the Browns, but he still has ways to go. Kevin Hogan took over during the game and almost secured the win. But who will start moving forward?
31. San Francisco 49ers (0-5, Previous Ranking: 31)
Last Week: L, 26-23 (OT), at Colts
Next Week: at Redskins (2-2)
Another week, another heartbreaking loss for the 49ers. They can’t just seem to close out these games but you have the feeling that they will eventually reach that point. Just think what this team will be capable of when they have a legitimate franchise quarterback and some additional weapons.
30. New York Giants (0-5, Previous Ranking: 28)
Last Week: L, 27-22, vs. Chargers
Next Week: at Broncos (3-1)
The Giants can’t catch a break. Down went Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall, Sterling Shepard, and Dwayne Harris… a.k.a. any hope the Giants had of seriously turning this offense around. Eli Manning hasn’t been perfect, but very few quarterbacks could do anything with this offense. The NFL season is a long one.
29. Chicago Bears (1-4, Previous Ranking: 27)
Last Week: L, 20-17, vs. Vikings
Next Week: at Ravens (3-2)
Who would’ve thought that Mitchell Trubisky would be basically the only semi-acceptable part of the Bears’ offense in his first career game? Even then, it was nothing to write home about. But at the same time, the refs were extremely off in this one. Sheesh.
28. Los Angeles Chargers (1-4, Previous Ranking: 30)
Last Week: W, 27-22, at Giants
Next Week: at Raiders (2-3)
Congrats, Chargers. Your bid at a winless season ended. What separated this performance from all of the other heartbreaks the Chargers have endured this season? They played collectively as a team on both sides of the ball. That type of cohesion is what we expected from this team.
27. Indianapolis Colts (2-3, Previous Ranking: 29)
Last Week: W, 26-23 (OT), vs. 49ers
Next Week: at Titans (2-3)
Don’t look now, but Jacoby Brissett could be making a name for himself in the NFL. Not as a backup, though… as a potential starter. The Colts have Andrew Luck, so it likely won’t be in Indianapolis. But Brissett is just 23, meaning his best days are still ahead of him. You can’t help but be excited about the way he has performed as the starter.
26. Arizona Cardinals (2-3, Previous Ranking: 25)
Last Week: L, 34-7, at Eagles
Next Week: vs. Buccaneers (2-2)
This is not a good football team right now. You can surely blame that on the injuries, but there is little cohesion all over the field. The Cardinals needed something at running back, so they traded for Adrian Peterson in the hopes that he could help add a spark to the offense. They certainly need one.
25. Miami Dolphins (2-2, Previous Ranking: 26)
Last Week: W, 16-10, vs. Titans
Next Week: at Falcons (3-1)
The Dolphins got the win against a Matt Cassel-led football team. A win is a win but Jay Cutler did little to get them there. He threw for 92 yards (surprisingly not the only QB to throw that little and win this week). The Dolphins are surrounded by distractions right now and still aren’t a very good football team. But like I said, a win is a win.
24. Tennessee Titans (2-3, Previous Ranking: 20)
Last Week: L, 16-10, at Dolphins
Next Week: vs. Colts (2-3)
The Titans came into the season as a favorite to win the AFC South. After Week 5, they now seem to be trending in the wrong direction. The longer Marcus Mariota remains out, the worse the Titans’ odds will be of making a late run.
23. Oakland Raiders (2-3, Previous Ranking: 12)
Last Week: L, 30-17, vs. Raiders
Next Week: vs. Chargers (1-4)
Just like the Titans, the Raiders were preseason darlings that many believed would have solid showings this year. After starting 2-0, the Raiders have dropped three straight games. And just as with the Titans, the Raiders can only go on if Derek Carr is healthy. But truth be told, the running game has failed to do much either.
22. New York Jets (3-2, Previous Ranking: 22)
Last Week: W, 17-14, at Browns
Next Week: vs. Patriots (3-2)
Another week, another win for the Jets. For a team that many predicted could go winless this year, it comes as a surprise to see them at 3-2 and tied for 1st place in the AFC East. The Jets have played solid defense and Josh McCown has been consistently average, which is all this team really needs to stay afloat.
21. New Orleans Saints (2-2, Previous Ranking: 19)
Last Week: Bye
Next Week: vs. Lions (3-2)
After trading away Adrian Peterson, the Saints can turn their attention to the future. Before the bye, the Saints were just picking up steam so it’ll be interesting to see if they can keep up with the Lions in Week 6.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-2, Previous Ranking: 17)
Last Week: L, 19-14, vs. Patriots
Next Week: at Cardinals (2-3)
The outcome of this game would’ve been very different if the Buccaneers had a kicker that could convert field goals. But at the same time, there were far too many miscues on offense. Those types of inconsistencies will not win you many football games, especially against top competition.
19. Cincinnati Bengals (2-3, Previous Ranking: 23)
Last Week: W, 20-16, vs. Bills
Next Week: Bye
After looking lost through Week 3, the Bengals have really turned it around and are developing a scary offense with the change of face at offensive coordinator. Andy Dalton and A.J. Green have been dangerous and if that continues, the Bengals could start making some noise and fly up the rankings very soon.
18. Dallas Cowboys (2-3, Previous Ranking: 15)
Last Week: L, 35-31, vs. Packers
Next Week: Bye
The Cowboys cannot close out games. They had no choice but to score at the end of the game to take the leave. You simply can’t give Aaron Rodgers that much time to stage a comeback. The Cowboys need more defensively to secure these games. If not, they will continue to drop these games in the 4th quarter.
17. Baltimore Ravens (3-2, Previous Ranking: 21)
Last Week: W, 30-17, at Raiders
Next Week: vs. Bears (1-4)
This was a very consistent Week 5 performance by the Ravens for the most part (not that the Raiders really threw anything at them). They needed to rebound after a poor showing against the Steelers and they did just that in Week 5. They could continue that trend with a favorable matchup at home against the Bears.
16. Minnesota Vikings (3-2, Previous Ranking: 18)
Last Week: W, 20-17, at Bears
Next Week: vs. Packers (4-1)
This might have been one of the most boring games of the week. The Vikings’ defense is exciting to watch, but the offense didn’t offer much to be excited about. Case Keenum entered the game in relief of Sam Bradford and put on a solid performance, so props to him for doing what he needed to do to bring home the win.
15. Washington Redskins (2-2, Previous Ranking: 16)
Last Week: Bye
Next Week: vs. 49ers (0-5)
The Redskins needed this early bye to attempt to recover from the injuries and loss that they endured in Week 4. They have a favorable matchup at home against the 49ers, but they have managed to stay in most of their games this season.
14. Houston Texans (2-3, Previous Ranking: 13)
Last Week: L, 42-34, vs. Chiefs
Next Week: vs. Browns (0-5)
Deshaun Watson has been an absolute revelation for the Texans. To say he is playing at a top tier level right now would be an understatement. When you look at his stat line, it almost feels like the Texans should’ve won. That’s just how good the Chiefs are. Losing J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus will be major blows to this defense, but they are still good enough to win, especially in the weak AFC South.
13. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-2, Previous Ranking: 24)
Last Week: W, 30-9, at Steelers
Next Week: vs. Rams (3-2)
I’m still not sold on the Jaguars, but that’s not to take away from the Jaguars three-score victory IN Pittsburgh. Beyond Leonard Fournette, the offense was nothing special, but boy does their defense know how to take advantage of turnovers. This team needs to consistently play these types of games to really be taken seriously, but if the defense plays like this, they could surprise a lot of people.
12. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2, Previous Ranking: 3)
Last Week: L, 30-9, vs. Jaguars
Next Week: at Chiefs (5-0)
Five interceptions. Two pick-6’s. That is not a recipe for success in the NFL. The Steelers have issues showing any consistency on offense and that starts with Ben Roethlisberger. But honestly, the blame is all over on offense. The defense has seemingly been weaker against the run, but they have been solid in most other areas. But until this team pulls it together, they will continue to be one of the biggest question marks in the NFL. The thing is, we have seen this before from the Steelers before they go on a midseason run. Time will tell if that is again the case in 2017.
11. Buffalo Bills (3-2, Previous Ranking: 5)
Last Week: L, 20-16, at Bengals
Next Week: Bye
This loss falls squarely on the Bills’ offense and their inability to come through when they need to. With just over 3 minutes to go, they had the chance to march down the field and win the game… they couldn’t do it. The Bills are a good team, but if the offense can’t get going, the team can’t get going.
10. Los Angeles Rams (3-2, Previous Ranking: 9)
Last Week: L, 16-10, vs. Seahawks
Next Week: at Jaguars (3-2)
The Rams are much better than they were in 2016. While they have been explosive on offense this season, it should come as a surprise to no one to see this be a low scoring game. Jared Goff had the opportunity to make the score higher and win the game, but a few miscues showed that he is still a young quarterback. The important thing is that he is still coming along and is the future of the franchise.
9. New England Patriots (3-2, Previous Ranking: 11)
Last Week: W, 19-14, at Buccaneers
Next Week: at Jets (3-2)
On the stat sheet, it would appear that the Patriots might have finally turned a corner on defense. I don’t believe that paints the full picture. The Buccaneers had ample opportunities to win this game but messed up at every turn. The Patriots needed to win, and win they did. Never did I think I’d see the day where Tom Brady was fighting to keep pace with the Bills and Jets.
8. Seattle Seahawks (3-2, Previous Ranking: 14)
Last Week: W, 16-10, at Rams
Next Week: Bye
The Seahawks are not the same defense that we become accustomed to in the early 2010s, but they still know how to get the job done when they need to. This was an extremely important win for the Seahawks to prove that they are still the class of the NFC West. This team still has a lot of work to do on offense, but this was a quality win by Seattle heading into the bye.
7. Denver Broncos (3-1, Previous Ranking: 7)
Last Week: Bye
Next Week: vs. Giants (0-5)
It was nice to see signs of life from the Broncos’ run game before the bye. If Trevor Siemian can regain some life and the defense continues to perform, the team could be legitimate a contender down the road. They get a good test against a good Giants defense but a JV offense.
6. Detroit Lions (3-2, Previous Ranking: 4)
Last Week: L, 27-24, vs. Panthers
Next Week: at Saints (2-2)
Props to the Lions for clawing their way back into this game when it appeared that Cam Newton and the Panthers had run away with it. The Lions need to play the entire game the way they do when they’re playing in the 4th quarter. The Lions are still contenders in the NFC with Matthew Stafford leading the way, but it would be nice to see a full 60-minute performance.
5. Carolina Panthers (4-1, Previous Ranking: 10)
Last Week: W, 27-24, at Lions
Next Week: vs. Eagles (4-1)
The Panthers proved that their offensive outburst against the Patriots wasn’t a fluke. Cam Newton, amid an extremely controversial week, came out and played another excellent game. He played very similarly to his MVP season and as long as he keeps this up, the Panthers will keep on winning.
4. Atlanta Falcons (3-1, Previous Ranking: 6)
Last Week: Bye
Next Week: vs. Dolphins (2-2)
Just like the Redskins, the Falcons needed this bye to really regain their health. At 3-1, they are sitting in a good position to continue developing chemistry on offense and put to rest many of the questions surrounding Matt Ryan and the rest of the squad. The Dolphins should be a great tune-up.
3. Philadelphia Eagles (4-1, Previous Ranking: 8)
Last Week: W, 34-7, vs. Cardinals
Next Week: at Panthers (4-1)
And just like that, the Eagles are sitting atop of the NFC East 1.5 games ahead of Washington. I really think that the Eagles are the real deal and as long as Carson Wentz continues to grow and play the way he is, they can really make a splash. Their biggest test will come next week against the Panthers on the road, which could be crucial for tie-breakers at the end of the season. They will be up to the challenge.
2. Green Bay Packers (4-1, Previous Ranking: 2)
Last Week: W, 35-31, at Cowboys
Next Week: at Vikings (3-2)
Aaron Rodgers is incredible. There is no other quarterback I would rather have with seconds left in the game when trying to mount a comeback. But more impressive was Davante Adams and his miraculous comeback just one week after suffering a terrible concussion. He played an inspired game and really was the biggest reason for the Packers’ comeback victory.
1. Kansas City Chiefs (5-0, Previous Ranking: 1)
Last Week: W, 42-34, at Texans
Next Week: vs. Steelers (3-2)
Another week, another win. The Chiefs are unquestionably the best team in the NFL right now, as they continue finding ways to win. You can make the argument that Alex Smith is the best quarterback in the NFL at the moment, as he is getting it done both through the air and on the ground. This offense is beyond explosive. This defense can keep up with basically anyone. AFC, beware.