One word to describe week 5 of the NFL season? A letdown.
Not a letdown due to quality of play and entertainment but rather for the teams that had a crucial opportunity slip away from their grasp. Eagles had the opportunity to start the season 4-0 and keep the momentum in their favor but Wentz threw it away, literally. Rams lost to the Bills at home and failed to take advantage of the Seahawks bye week. In the AFC South, the Texans got blown out by Minnesota and allowed the Colts and Titans to get back in the division race. As for the Jets and Bengals, they took letdown to a whole new level.
After five weeks of the NFL season, here are the NFL Power Rankings heading into week six. Note- last week’s power rankings
- Minnesota Vikings (5-0) – Ranked #2 last week
- The last remaining undefeated team reign in the city of Minnesota. 5-0. In week five, the poor Texans were the victim this week.Texans finished with 214 total yards, the Hopkins/Fuller duo combined to catch 40% of targeted passes, Texans turned over the ball two times and the QB was sacked four times. Good luck trying to win the line of scrimmage battle when you are facing a front seven with the dominant trio of Everson Griffith, Danielle Hunter, and Brian Robinson. The Vikings rank in the top five in nearly every team defense statistic and Sam Bradford is running this offense like a conductor.
2. Denver Broncos (4-1) – Ranked #1 last week
- What did we learn from the Broncos home loss against the Falcons? Paxton Lynch did not perform as advertised and the offensive line was a mess. In their first home loss since December when they lost to Derek Carr and the Raiders, the Broncos were just out of it. Falcons Vic Beasley came into the game with five sacks in 20 career games and he finished with 3.5 sacks. Beasley looked like Von Miller and the Broncos offense were unable to get in rhythm. NFL sources say that Trevor Siemian is rumored to start against the Chargers on Thursday Night Football and they need him.
- New England Patriots (4-1) – Ranked #3 last week
- Tom Brady is back and that’s bad news for Commissioner Roger Goodell and the rest of the NFL. In his practice… I mean game vs the Browns, Brady completed 70% of passes for 406 yards and 3 TD’s. Whether it is in the slot or out wide, watch out for Chris Hogan this season. Could become a consistent target of Brady’s.
- Pittsburgh Steelers (4-1) – Ranked #5 last week
- The return of Le’Veon Bell has added a special dimension to this Steelers offense. Defenses had to worry about the threat of Antonio Brown downfield and now they have to worry about Le’veon Bell on dump off passes too. Through two games, Bell has accumulated 332 total yards. Elite rusher and a threat as a receiver.
- Atlanta Falcons (4-1) – Ranked #6 last week
- The 2007 New England Patriots scored on 52.7% of offensive drives. The 2016 Atlanta Falcons have scored on 52.7% of offensive drives. That stat says it all. This Atlanta offense is special. They rank #1 in points and yards per game after five weeks. At Denver, Matt Ryan did not go off for Madden video game numbers but 267 yards and a TD with no turnovers against the Broncos elite defense is pretty good. Falcons are the only team in the NFL to average at least 300 yards per game and 100 rushing yards per game. Get ready Seattle.
- Oakland Raiders (4-1) – Ranked #9 last week
- The Raiders could easily be 0-5 and in the midst of another disaster season but wow, how about Derek Carr? Carr just takes it to another level in the 4th quarter; he is reaching Madison Bumgarner playoff clutchness… well sort of. Against San Diego, Derek Carr went for 25/40 for 317 yards and 2 TD’s/1 INT. In the 4th quarter this year, Carr has a QB rating of 114.8 with five touchdowns and one interceptions. MVP candidate?
- Dallas Cowboys (4-1) – Ranked #11 last week
- More and more fans are jumping on the Cowboys hype train. 4-1 Cowboys after a huge 28-14 win against the Bengals. Jerry Jones, if somehow you are reading this, do not start Tony Romo when he returns. Dak Prescott has done so well and the team chemistry looks like the 2014 Cowboys squad. Before the NFL Trade Deadline, look to see if any team wants Romo but if not, keep Romo on the bench. Times have changed.
- Green Bay Packers (3-1) – Ranked #10 last week
- Packers rush defense looks legit. They have allowed a league-low 42.8 yards per game. Packers front line have continued to dominate the line of scrimmage as they have shut down any running lanes and have prevented rushers from getting into the open field. This team is getting to the QB too. Even though they had the week off last week, Packers rank #5 in the NFL with 14 total sacks. Nick Perry and Clay Matthews have been the stars for Green Bay.
- Philadelphia Eagles (3-1) – Ranked #4 last week
- The perfectionist Carson Wentz threw his 1st intereption and now Wentz will be up all night rewatching the game over and over again. Eagles passed their first contender or pretender test against the Steelers and now three more await them over the next three weeks: a visit to Washington, home game against Minnesota, and a visit to the Big Apple to take on the Giants.
- Seattle Seahawks (3-1) – Ranked #8 last week
- The Seahawks were on a bye this week but unfortunately for them, they fell two spots due to the performances by the Raiders, Cowboys, and Packers. They will get a visit from Matt Ryan and the #1 offense Atlanta Falcons.
- Buffalo Bills (3-2)– Ranked #13 last week
- The ‘WE WANT REX FIRED” group can settle down for now. The Bills defeated the Rams last Sunday and for the first time in five seasons, they now have a three game win streak. Bills defense is starting to come together now. The Bills have allowed 17.4 points per game, which ranks #5 in the NFL, and they have a +9 in turnover differential. Lorenzo Alexander has played like a star with a league-leading seven sacks.
- Los Angeles Rams (3-2) – Ranked #7 last week
- With the Seahawks on a bye, the Rams missed a golden opportunity to finish week 5 in first place in the division. Instead, vintage Case Keenum showed up and the Rams lost the line of scrimmage battle to Buffalo. Can’t they just play the Cardinals and Seahawks for the entire season?
- Washington Redskins (3-2) – Ranked #17 last week
- Contender or pretender? To be continued but this team came away with a huge road win at Baltimore. After four poor weeks on defense, Josh Norman and the Redskins defense limited Joe Flacco for 4.6 yards per pass.
- Houston Texans (3-2) – Ranked #12 last week
- Two losses this season but they were beatdowns. Outsocred 68-13 against the Patriots and Vikings. Brock Osweiler has been poor in both games as he has gone for one touchdown, two interceptions, and he has completed an average of 52% of passes in both games. You want to be the best, you have to beat the best. Another contender or pretender test in two weeks against the Broncos.
- Kansas City Chiefs (2-2) – Ranked #16 last week
- On a bye week during week five but with the poor performances of the Bengals and Ravens, they moved up one spot.
16. Baltimore Ravens (3-2) – Ranked #15 last week
All five Ravens games have been decided late in the 4th quarter. You never know which Ravens team you will get and that has stressed Ravens fans. Ravens defense will keep them in the game but the Ravens offense needs to be balanced in order to keep opponents off guard. Ravens have called for 65.3% of pass plays, best for 7th in the NFL.
17. Arizona Cardinals (2-3) – Ranked #20 last week
- Only a matter of time before David Johnson gets recognized as one of the top backs in the NFL. Johnson is averaging 5.0 yards per carry and some have called Johnson the next great power back. He saved the Cardinals season on Thursday Night Football against the 49ers with a 157 yards and two touchdown performance.
18. Cincinnati Bengals (2-3) – Ranked #14 last week
- The Bengals have be known for being a “pretender team”, where they beat the losing teams while struggle against the top dogs in the NFL. So far, they have proved the doubters right. The Bengals have now lost against three current playoff teams and in each game, they have allowed at least 350 total yards.
19. Tennessee Titans (2-3) – Ranked #26 last week
- Last week, I praised the Titans rush offense and wow, they impressed once again this week. They dominated… I mean destroyed the line of scrimmage battle as the Titans accumulated 235 rushing yards. So far this season, Brian Orakpo has been a nice surprise with six sacks. Watch out for this Titans team this season. In the wild, wild AFC South, the Titans could fight for the division lead.
20. Indianapolis Colts (2-3) – Ranked #24 last week
- The Colts came away with the win against the Bears but their flaws were exposed once again. It is not 2010 anymore for Frank Gore. The offensive line is struggling once again with pass blocking. The defense is desperate for a star playmaker and they need pass rush depth. Luck can not carry this team week after week.
21. Detroit Lions (2-3) – Ranked #29 last week
- Matthew Stafford is an odd player, literally. In weeks 1, 3, and 5, Stafford has thrown nine touchdown passes, one interception, and he has completed an average of 74% of passes. In week 2 and 4, Stafford has thrown one touchdown pass, three interceptions, and he has completed 55% of passes. If the pattern continues, bad news for Lions fans as they welcome the Rams this week.
22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3) – Ranked #27 last week
- Bucs took advantage of a Cam-less Panthers squad on Monday Night Football and they brought home the win. All-around good game for the Bucs as they look ahead to a matchup with San Francisco. 3-3 is very realistic.
23. New York Giants (2-3) – Ranked #18 last week
- Giants do love drama. After last week’s “Odell Beckham Jr. is immature” talk, now the Giants are looking at a 2-3 start in a completely different division. Unlike season’s before where you could start 0-4 and still find a way to win the division, the Eagles and Cowboys are looking like the real deal. Time to pick it up against the Ravens this week.
24. Carolina Panthers (1-4) – Ranked #19 last week
- From NFC champs to a 1-4 start. Whether you would blame QB play, defense, or the rushing game, it is a mess. Now they have to visit New Orleans where the high-scoring Saints offense will be waiting for them.
25. New Orleans Saints (1-3) – Ranked #21 last week
- Brees and the Saints rested well during the bye week but now they welcome in the Panthers this week. Perfect opponent to get back into the division race.
26. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-3) – Ranked #23 last week
- On a bye week in week 5 but with the AFC South’s inconsistency, do not count them out.
27. San Diego Chargers (1-4) – Ranked #22 last week
- It is sad to see the Chargers disappoint Philip Rivers. It is really a new storyline every week. I hope that when Rivers walks off into the sunset, we will remember Rivers as a Hall of Fame QB. Ignore team success, he has been one of the best of this generation.
28. New York Jets (1-4) – Ranked #25 last week
- How did they get here? Poor secondary play and Ryan Fitzpatrick playing like he should refund the $12 million that he received from the Jets. It is simple this week, win or your season is over. Visiting the Cardinals will be a tough matchup but smart secondary play along with a dominant performance by Matt Forte as a rusher and receiver can get the Jets a much needed win. If not, who knows what will happen. Geno time? Todd Bowles loses his job?
- Chicago Bears (1-4) – Ranked #28 last week
- Looking back at his awful performance against the Chiefs in the playoffs, I did not expect this start for Hoyer. This season, Hoyer has aired it out for 1,094 passing yards, 71.4% of passes, and six touchdowns with no interceptions. But do not be fooled. Hoyer is obviously not the long-term solution… neither is Jay Cutler.
- Miami Dolphins (1-4) – Ranked #30 last week and
- San Francisco 49ers (1-4) – Ranked #31 last week
- Decided to put these two teams together to talk about one glaring issue, QUARTERBACK. Does not look like Ryan Tannehill and Blaine Gabbert are the solutions for this team so it looks like their scouts should be prepping up for the NFL draft. DeShone Kizer would fit nicely with Chip Kelly while DeShaun Watson could end up with the Dolphins or they could pick up the hometown QB with Brad Kaaya.
- Cleveland Browns (0-5) – Ranked #32 last week
- The only winless team remaining, crushed by Tom Brady, and they have now played five starting quarterbacks. Yup, it’s the Cleveland Browns. On a positive note, Cody Kessler has continued to play very well. For a rookie coming over from a pro-style like offense at USC, he has transitioned very well. Other than that, well, the Cleveland Indians are having nice success in the playoffs.