NFL Week 5 Power Rankings: Bad Kicking, Bad Teams Dominate Headlines

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Oct 6, 2015

What a week.

The NFL is about at the quarter pole, with the majority of its teams through four of 16 games, and here’s what we know: There are very few good teams, the kickers are awful, and the NFL continues to find ways to embarrass itself on the biggest of stages.

We’ll dive into all of those facts in this week’s NFL power rankings. Here they are.

1. New England Patriots (Last week: 1): The Patriots stayed undefeated by virtue of the bye week, and no one did enough to usurp them from the top spot.

2. Green Bay Packers (Last week: 2): Aaron Rodgers wasn’t his dominant self against the 49ers, but the Packers’ defense was incredible. If they’re still able to pick up easy wins when Rodgers isn’t out of this world, this really could be a team built for a championship run.

3. Denver Broncos (Last week: 4): Peyton Manning didn’t look very good Sunday, but he was bailed out by the Broncos’ ferocious defense. Yes, this already is a recurring theme for Denver.

4. Cincinnati Bengals (Last week: 5): The fact the Bengals sit fourth in these rankings is one of the many reasons this is not a strong league from top to bottom right now.

5. Atlanta Falcons (Last week: 8): Love, love, love what Dan Quinn has done with the Falcons so far. He’s got the most out of a defense that doesn’t have any real studs and made the running game a focal point. Just wait for when teams start game-planning to stop the run, allowing Matt Ryan and Julio Jones to blow things open.

6. Arizona Cardinals (Last week: 3): Last week, we pointed out the Cardinals really haven’t beaten anyone this season. A loss to the Rams should temper expectations moving forward.

7. Carolina Panthers (Last week: 7): Cam Newton is on pace for a career high in touchdown passes and a career low in interceptions. He’s the second-biggest reason — after the defense, of course — that the Panthers are among the NFL’s top teams.

8. Seattle Seahawks (Last week: 10): Look, power rankings are about more than wins and losses. If they weren’t, they’d be this. The Seahawks got plenty of help Monday night, but they won, and that’s really what matters most. Also, having Kam Chancellor back on the field might be bigger than you think.

9. New York Jets (Last week: 18): Do I really believe the Jets are one of the 10 best teams in the NFL? Probably not, but it’s a results-based business, so whatever, I guess.

10. Indianapolis Colts (Last week: 13): The Colts have the lowest point differential (minus-21) of all teams .500 or better. The bad news is Andrew Luck is hurt, and they’re on a short week. The good news is they’re playing the Texans on Thursday night.

11. San Diego Chargers (Last week: 20): Good on the Chargers for finding a way to win, even if it was against the Browns. Philip Rivers was fantastic, and the future is a little brighter, as San Diego is set to have tight end Antonio Gates back in the fold.

12. New York Giants (Last week: 19): The Giants are another team inching toward being healthy. The NFC East — and all of its injuries and unmet expectations — is wide open, with the veteran-laden G-Men looking like a team to contend.

13. Pittsburgh Steelers (Last week: 6): The Steelers did everything they could to lose Thursday night, including Michael Vick doing Michael Vick things, Josh Scobee kicking his way out of a job, and head-scratching decision after head-scratching decision. And they still got to overtime.

14. St. Louis Rams (Last week: 16): No one knows what the Rams are going to do from week to week. Literally no one.

15. Dallas Cowboys (Last week: 9): The Cowboys have had brutal luck when it comes to injuries, losing Lance Dunbar (likely for the season) and Sean Lee (for who knows how long) on Sunday in New Orleans. Now they get to play the Patriots.

16. Buffalo Bills (Last week: 16): Rex Ryan said after a 14-point home loss that he was “proud” of his team. That might seem weird, considering the Bills committed 17 penalties for 135 yards, but criticizing that part of the game would reflect poorly on the head coach. I’m sure Bills fans still will find a way to whine about this ranking, though.

17. Minnesota Vikings (Last week: 12): The Vikings had a brutal matchup Sunday, but they held their own against the Broncos. They have to get healthy, though. If Teddy Bridgewater has no one to throw to, that makes it considerably easier for opponents to game-plan for Adrian Peterson.

18. Baltimore Ravens (Last week: 21): Sure, it took a lot for them to win (see No. 13), but I still think there’s at least a chance of a run, which is why they’re ranked relatively high with only one win. Winnable games — against the Browns and 49ers — are up next.

19. Kansas City Chiefs (Last week: 14): The Chiefs have to figure out a way to start protecting Alex Smith. No wonder the guy doesn’t throw downfield — he now has been sacked 102 times in 34 games as Chiefs quarterback, including five times Sunday against the Bengals.

20. Washington Redskins (Last week: 27): Apparently, the key to victory for Washington is just protecting the football. The Redskins are 2-0 in the two games Kirk Cousins hasn’t thrown a pick.

21. New Orleans Saints (Last week: 28): We’re buying low on the Saints. Drew Brees looked like a different player after missing a week, and a healthy dynamic running back combination of Mark Ingram and C.J. Spiller could give him plenty of options moving forward.

22. Oakland Raiders (Last week: 22): Some Raiders fans were upset with their team’s ranking last week. The Raiders then lost to the previously winless Bears. So, yeah.

23. Philadelphia Eagles (Last week: 15): The previously mentioned wide-open NFC East means Philly’s not dead yet. Sam Bradford’s three-TD performance doesn’t hurt, either.

24. Cleveland Browns (Last week: 26): The Browns get a bump despite losing after putting themselves in position for a road win at San Diego before they crumbled in the final minutes. Still, you have to like the fight they showed with a late touchdown.

25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Last week: 24): Turn over the ball a bunch of times, and yeah, you’re probably not going to win football games.

26. Miami Dolphins (Last week: 17): In the last two days, the Dolphins were smoked by the Jets, flew back from London, fired their head coach and had their quarterback exposed (reportedly) as a bully who needed to be defended by said head coach. Impressive stuff.

27. San Francisco 49ers (Last week: 29): The 49ers were bumped up this week because they didn’t lose by 30 to the Packers, and other teams sucked a lot more than they did. But, man, Colin Kaepernick has looked awful this season.

28. Chicago Bears (Last week: 32): Jay Cutler was, um, resurrected Sunday, and the Bears actually won a game.

29. Tennessee Titans (Last week: 30): Loved what the Titans did this week — by not playing.

30. Detroit Lions (Last week: 23): The Lions got screwed Monday night, but that doesn’t change the fact they’re the NFL’s lone winless team.

31. Houston Texans (Last week: 25): This team, especially its defense, looked like it quit in the second half against the Falcons, which is a bit concerning given the veteran presence it’s supposed to have in players like J.J. Watt and Vince Wilfork.

32. Jacksonville Jaguars (Last week: 31): The football gods offered the Jags a gift in the form of Andrew Luck’s injury, and they responded by kicking it wide right and wide left.

Thumbnail photo via Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY Sports Images

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