1. Los Angeles Rams: 5-0 (Last Week: 1)
It was the closest game Los Angeles has played all season, but going into Seattle is always tough. The Rams defense showed some major signs of weakness allowing 190 yards on the ground. The injuries to Brandin Cooks and Cooper Kupp could cause some issues. The road trip continues as Los Angeles heads to Denver.
2. Kansas City Chiefs: 5-0 (Last Week: 2)
Offense trumped defense in Kansas City on Sunday. It was an ugly game for Patrick Mahomes, but the defense created turnovers to keep it a comfortable win. Don’t be mistaken, the defense is still a major problem, but if the Chiefs can continue that bend don’t break approach successfully, this offense will outscore pretty much anyone.
3. New England Patriots: 3-2 (Last Week: 4)
This feels awfully familiar. New England got off to a slightly rocky start only to right the ship and reassert its dominance in the division. Sony Michel is emerging as a real threat in the ground game. The Patriots probably would’ve beaten the Colts by a bigger margin if it wasn’t for two interceptions that went right through the hands of the intended receiver. The defense will need to stiffen with Kansas City headed to town.
4. New Orleans Saints: 4-1 (Last Week: 9)
Drew Brees is now the passer in NFL history. New Orleans also looks like a playoff team. The week 1 loss to the Buccaneers is a distant memory after four straight wins. The defense is improving, especially with the defensive line. The Saints held Washington under 50 yards rushing and sacked Alex Smith three times. This team is looking scary and now Sean Payton will have a week off to study the rest of the league.
5. Chicago Bears: 3-1 (Last Week: 5)
Chicago has allowed the third fewest yards and points per game. They also had a cupcake schedule to open the season with wins over the Seahawks, Buccaneers and Cardinals. That easy trend continues with the struggling Dolphins in week 6. The back half is not as easy, but the Bears certainly have a legitimate chance to make the playoffs.
6. Minnesota Vikings: 2-2-1 (Last Week 7)
Ignoring an absolute collapse against Buffalo, this has been a solid Minnesota team. Beating the Eagles in Philly is a big accomplishment. The biggest issue is still running the ball for the Vikings. As long as Dalvin Cook is out, Kirk Cousins will be asked to do a lot. There are few pass-catching duos better than Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. Thielen just became the first receiver in NFL history to pick up 100 receiving yards in each of the first five games of the season. This team has a lot to work on, but finds itself in a good place.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: 3-2 (Last Week: 3)
There were some signs of concern for Jacksonville against New York last week and it all unraveled for the offense in Kansas City. Blake Bortles threw four interceptions and lost a fumble. With Leonard Fournette out, the Jaguars need Bortles to do more, but it is crucial for him to take care of the football. Even the Jags defense needs some offensive support. Once again the South seems a bit weak.
8. Carolina Panthers: 3-1 (Last Week: 10)
This could have very easily been a crushing loss if Graham Gano hadn’t hit a 63-yard field goal with seconds remaining. The Carolina defense folded in the fourth quarter against the Giants. It looks like it might be difficult to keep pace with the Saints, but with Atlanta and Tampa Bay floundering, the Panthers seem remain the only threat in the division.
9. Cincinnati Bengals: 4-1 (Last Week: 11)
If you watched only the first half, or even the first three quarters of Cincinnati’s game, you would have a tough time seeing them as a top-10 NFL team, But after scoring 27 unanswered points to win, the Bengals look the real deal. The offense had some issues getting going, but the defense came up with two touchdowns. Marvin Lewis and company continue to find ways to win, even if it isn’t always pretty. Suddenly, the Bengals are all alone atop a tough-looking AFC North.
10. Baltimore Ravens: 3-2 (Last Week: 6)
Baltimore took care of business against Pittsburgh, but then completely slumped offensively in Cleveland. The Ravens are struggling to find any sort of consistency on a week-to-week basis. Baltimore is 1-2 against the division now, which could come back to haunt them at season’s end with how the North is shaping up.
11. Philadelphia Eagles: 2-3 (Last Week: 8)
The Super Bowl hangover continues for the Eagles with a home loss to the Vikings. The bad news continues for Philly as Jay Ajayi is out for the season with a torn ACL. Kirk Cousins had a field day against the defense, which is a major concern considering Minnesota cannot run the football. With a short week going to New York to face a team that would love to add to the misery and desperately needs a win, Doug Pederson has a lot of work to do.
12. Pittsburgh Steelers: 2-2-1 (Last Week: 16)
Admittedly, I questioned just how good this team was this season last week after a loss to Baltimore. Then Pittsburgh steamrolled Atlanta at home. The Steelers took advantage of a bad team, but that is a credit to the coaching staff coming in with a good game plan. What was most impressive was the defense holding what is usually a potent Falcons offense to just 17 points. Pittsburgh has a road trip to Cincy now with a lot on the line for the fate of the division.
13. Los Angeles Chargers: 3-2 (Last Week: 19)
Beating the Raiders doesn’t usually lead to a massive jump in the power rankings, but the Chargers dominated their division rival. Philip Rivers had a prolific day passing. The defense held Oakland to just 41 yards running. The only real concern is the ground game for Los Angeles that produced just 2.5 yards per carry. The Chargers now head to Cleveland, which is going to be a tough matchup with a stingy defense. It is the type of game Los Angeles needs to win to validate talk of a playoff run.
14. Green Bay Packers: 2-2-1 (Last Week: 12)
Detroit shutout the Packers in the first half of this game. That should be a much bigger storyline than the historically bad day from Mason Crosby. Unbelievably poor performance from Green Bay in a divisional game it really needed to win. The Packers head home for what should be a fairly easy matchup with San Francisco. Knowing Aaron Rodgers, this team will bounce back in a big way. This team does not over look opponents.
15. Atlanta Falcons: 1-4 (Last Week: 13)
This was an awful showing from Atlanta. Dan Quinn has a lot of questions to answer after that performance. Even with all the injuries, the Falcons completely rolled over in Pittsburgh. Chances of a playoff appearance are shrinking quickly. Matt Ryan and company need a win over Tampa Bay to have any shot at staying in the hunt.
16. Washington: 2-2 (Last Week: 14)
Coming off a bye week, Jay Gruden should have had his team ready for the New Orleans Saints. Yes, it was an emotional game for Drew Brees as he broke league records, but Washington made it pretty easy for him. Brees finished 26 of 29 for 363 yards and three touchdowns. Losing would have been understandable. Getting completely outmatched coming off a bye week is unacceptable.
17. Tennessee Titans: 3-2 (Last Week: 15)
Will the real Tennessee Titans please stand up? A week after beating the Eagles in a thrilling overtime game, the Titans fall flat against the Bills. It was a defensive slugfest, which is usually a benefit for Tennessee. The fact that Buffalo won only passing for 82 yards is a disappointing reflection on how much this Titans offense is struggling. Even without a ton of weapons, there needs to be done more done offensively.
18. Detroit Lions: 2-3 (Last Week: 25)
The Lions now own victories over Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers. They also have losses to the Cowboys, Jets and 49ers. Now that loss to San Francisco was with Jimmy Garoppolo. Detroit gets a week off for Matt Patricia to figure out how to build on the positives and learn from the negatives. Continuing to put the ball in the hands of rookie running back Kerryon Johnson seems like a good place to start.
19. Cleveland Browns: 2-2-1 (Last Week: 26)
Believe it or not, the Browns are undefeated at home. Wins over the Jets and Ravens along with a tie with the Steelers has Cleveland right in the mix for the AFC North. The AFC North is the only division in the entire league with every team at .500 or better. This defense is tough to score on, except for the Raiders apparently. The NFL is weird sometimes and the Browns tend to be right at the middle of all the weirdness. They are currently the best team to watch in the NFL.
20. Denver Broncos: 2-3 (Last Week: 18)
This was a bit of a head-scratcher. Denver flopped in New York and allowed several huge plays to what has been anemic offense this season. Now, Case Keenum did tear apart the secondary, but the Broncos did not finish drives. Colby Wadman punted eight times, Keenum threw a pick and Denver turned it over on downs. When you have 13 total drives and 10 end without points, that is a major issue. Couple that with allowing 323 yards rushing and this three-game losing streak is suddenly feeling pretty brutal.
21. Seattle Seahawks: 2-3 (Last Week: 20)
Seattle came agonizingly close to knocking off the top team in the league. A stellar ground game proved to the be the recipe to taking the pressure off Russell Wilson. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to halt the high-flying pass attack from Los Angeles. The Seahawks are still a really hard team to beat at home, picking up some road wins will be the difference for Pete Carroll this year.
22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 2-2 (Last Week: 22)
How is it that the number two offense in the league is 2-2 with a major question at quarterback? Well for one, it’s Tampa. Two, Ryan Fitzpatrick is involved. The Buccaneers have no running game to speak of and the league’s worst defense. Dirk Koetter should be focused on finding who will be part of this team next season rather than trying to come up with short-term fixes.
23. Houston Texans: 2-3 (Last Week: 27)
Houston suddenly sits just one game out of first place in the AFC South after consecutive overtime victories. It was a solid win as the defense showed up and Deshaun Watson balled out. Watson did get fairly battered, but still got the win. With a stingy Bills defense coming to town, the offensive line will need to do a better job keeping the franchise quarterback clean.
24. Miami Dolphins: 3-2 (Last Week: 17)
This seems a bit harsh considering Miami has a winning record. However, the Dolphins have lost two straight and don’t have great quality wins. Miami also blew a 14-point fourth quarter league. Ryan Tannehill has looked like one of the worst five starting quarterbacks in the league over the past two weeks. He has completed 56 percent of his passes for 285 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions.
25. Dallas Cowboys: 2-3 (Last Week: 21)
The formula for beating the Cowboys is containing Ezekiel Elliott. Easier said than done, but the Texans got it done on Sunday night. Dak Prescott does not have too many weapons around him other than Elliott, but he needs to play better. Dallas did enough defensively to win the game. If Prescott is going to stick around, he needs to win these kinds of games.
26. New York Jets: 2-3 (Last Week: 28)
This is a raw and young Jets team. This is the type of win shows a lot of the promise this team has to offer. Still warning signs as Sam Darnold only completed 10 passes on the afternoon. New York is not going to run for 323 yards every week, but this style of play is exactly what the Jets need to be successful now.
27. New York Giants: 1-4 (Last Week: 24)
The offense finally showed up for the Giants. It seems to be how New York’s season is going as it loses on a 63-yard field goal. Pat Schumer is finding creative ways to hide the offensive weakness, but the Giants still haven’t played a complete game this season. Until they do, they will find themselves on the wrong side of the scoreline.
28. Indianapolis Colts: 1-4 (Last Week: 23)
It seems like there a ton of running backs on the Colts and no one knows how to use them. Indy has no running game and with T.Y. Hilton out, Eric Ebron is truly the only consistent threat the Colts have in the passing game. The defense was opportunistic, but far from good enough to beat the Patriots. Andrew Luck faces a tough Jets defense this week and will need more help from his supporting cast to get a win.
29. Buffalo Bills: 2-3 (Last Week: 31)
It is amazing how bad Josh Allen can play and Buffalo still finds a way to win. This defense is among the best in the league. The Titans offense is nothing to write home about, but the Bills have had a way of frustrating some of the top offenses in the league. Buffalo has a shot to reach .500 with a win over Houston this week, something that seemed pretty much impossible after the 47-3 drubbing the Bills took week one.
30. Oakland Raiders: 1-4 (Last Week: 29)
Sunday was just a friendly reminder that this is one of the worst teams in the league. Oakland had no offense to speak of, and did little to stop Philip Rivers throwing the ball. The Raiders have one of the worst defenses in the NFL. Jon Gruden is going to need to retool most of it during the offseason to turn things around next year. That has to be where Oakland is looking is to the future.
31. Arizona Cardinals: 1-4 (Last Week: 32)
Three straight weeks of improved play from Arizona finally nets the team its first win of the season. Granted, it was against the hapless 49ers. If the Cardinals can ever find a way to get the ground attack on track, they could start surprising a few teams. Until then, Josh Rosen is not polished enough to win games for this team.
32. San Francisco 49ers: 1-4 (Last Week: 30)
It’s time to tank for San Francisco. After catching lightning in a bottle to end last season, the 49ers are missing their franchise quarterback and still a few pieces away from truly competing with the best of the league. Landing a top pick with a quarterback already in place could lead to trading back for a huge return.