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SQ NFL Power Rankings: Week 5

Sports Illustrated

With impressively good and mind-numbingly bad results around the NFL, how do the teams shake-up after Week 4?

The NFL seems to be more muddled than ever in terms of understanding who are the league’s best teams. One thing that has been consistent up to now is the Chiefs. Their record remains spotless and they have moved up a spot in our rankings from last week, overtaking the Falcons who lost at home in part due to their top two receivers exiting the game due to injury.

The week’s biggest loser was the Tennessee Titans who lost by a score of 57-14. The Titans defense looked pathetic and with questions about Marcus Mariota‘s health, the preseason favorites to win the AFC South now find themselves in a precarious position. Did we drop them too far? Did we get your favorite team right? Let us know below.

   Ranking (Change)

1 (+1)

Kansas City Chiefs (4-0)

Kansas City Chiefs (4-0)

As the NFL’s lone undefeated team, the Chiefs have earned their spot as the top team in our power rankings. The Chiefs look good on both offense and defense and that it validated by the fact that they lead the league in point differential at +45. Alex Smith is playing a different brand of football than we have seen in years past. Although buoyed some by the yards after catch of some great weapons, Alex Smith is averaging a full two yards more per attempt than his career average (8.8 vs 6.8). This team is fun to watch and tough to stop. What more could you want? (Adrian Nelson)

2 (+2)

Green Bay Packers (3-1)

Green Bay Packers (3-1)

The injury bug continues to bite Green Bay, as both Ty Montgomery and Jamaal Williams left Thursday night’s tilt against the Bears. Nevertheless, Aaron Rodgers tossed four touchdowns en route to an easy victory. The defense, which for the most part has impressed this season, deserves a shoutout as well. They pressured Mike Glennon all game long, forcing four turnovers. (Kyle Trapp)

3 (-2)

Atlanta Falcons (3-1)

Atlanta Falcons (3-1)

With Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu both going down with injuries, the Falcons offense stalled in the second half in a stunning loss to the Bills. After throwing 38 TDs to just seven picks in his MVP season, Matt Ryan has already tossed five INTs in four games. Despite their 3-1 record, the Falcons are a goal-line drop (Week 1 at Chicago) and a reversed last second TD call (Week 3 at Detroit) away from being 1-3. (Jesse Doe)

4 (+3)

Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1)

Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1)

The Steelers’ defense turned in an excellent performance on Sunday, forcing three Baltimore turnovers en route to a convincing victory over their division rivals. After a relatively quiet start to the season, Le’Veon Bell exploded for 186 total yards and two TDs. A bit concerning, however, is Father Time’s continued effect on Ben Roethlisberger, as well as a disgruntled Antonio Brown. (Kyle Trapp)

5 (-2)

New England Patriots (2-2)

New England Patriots (2-2)

The Patriots defensive woes continue as Cam led the Panthers offense to a 33-30 win in Foxborough. The New England defense has now allowed a staggering 324 yards per game through the air. Stephon Gilmore has struggled mightily in the first few games of his $65 million contract; his penalties on crucial third downs kept two Panthers’ drives alive. A short week puts this battered secondary against Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson as the Pats look to bounce back from a 2-2 start. (Jesse Doe)

6 (+2)

Detroit Lions (3-1)

Detroit Lions (3-1)

It wasn’t exactly an offensive slugfest, but the Lions prevailed in a tough road matchup in Minnesota. The team hasn’t leaned on Matthew Stafford heroics nearly as much this season, which is a great sign considering their early success. The emergence of a healthy Ameer Abdullah as a go-to option has been a huge help, as the running back churned out 94 yards and a TD against one of the league’s better run defenses. The defense’s knack for turnovers can’t be undervalued either; they currently pace the league with 11 takeaways. (Kyle Trapp)

7 (+2)

Denver Broncos (3-1)

Denver Broncos (3-1)

Denver has consistently risen to the challenge and find themselves at 3-1 with great wins over the Cowboys and Raiders. The team would potentially be 4-0 were it not for the refs throwing a flag on Von Miller for teasing his buddy Tyrod Taylor with the “Too Slow.” The Denver defense is good and that’s old news. The real reason for their success has been the play of Trevor Siemian and the resurgence of CJ Anderson. Siemian has improved his passer rating so far this year (89 v 85) and Anderson, who had 437 yards in seven games last season, already has 330 yards through four games this year. (Adrian Nelson)

8 (-3)

Oakland Raiders (2-2)

Oakland Raiders (2-2)

The Raiders have now lost back-to-back contests and have plenty of question marks moving forward. Derek Carr will be out anywhere from 2-6 weeks and the offense was already out of sync to begin with. The Raiders’ arrow is pointing down big time, and in a competitive division, they have to hope they can weather the storm without Carr and stay in the playoff mix over the coming weeks. (Nick Cardozo)

9 (-3)

Dallas Cowboys (2-2)

Dallas Cowboys (2-2)

Jared Goff and Todd Gurley had their way with the Dallas defense in Week 4. Luckily, the Cowboys should have several key defenders returning soon, including Sean Lee, Anthony Hitchens, and David Irving. While their returns will help, the Cowboys have to figure out a way to stop the run if they want to win the NFC East. Offensively, Ezekiel Elliott has gotten going but is still averaging just 3.6 yards per carry, a far cry from the 5.1 average he posted in 2016. The new members of the offensive line must find a way to mesh with the rest of the unit as the season goes on or the Dallas offense may continue to sputter. (Nick Cardozo)

10 (+3)

Philadelphia Eagles (3-1)

Philadelphia Eagles (3-1)

Give the Eagles credit. They finished in last in 2016 in what turned out to be a very competitive NFC East, but have started the season well, and find themselves leading the division at 3-1. They haven’t blown teams out, but they’ve been in every game and more times than not this season have made the plays at the end that they’ve needed to pull out a victory. Carson Wentz has matured and is sixth in the league in QBR. If he maintains this level of play, I see no reason why the Eagles can’t run this division all the way the Week 17. (Adrian Nelson)

11 (+3)

Seattle Seahawks (2-2)

Seattle Seahawks (2-2)

The Seahawks predictably beat down Indy on Sunday night, and for the time being, it looks like their offense is starting to pick it up. Their fourth-ranked pass defense has afforded the offense time to sort through its issues. At this point, Russell Wilson has been making plays with defenders in his face for years, so even if the offensive line doesn’t make huge strides, Seattle has the talent to win the division. This week’s showdown with the new-look Rams will be very telling. If the Seattle defense can shut down the NFL’s best offense to date, look out. (Nick Cardozo)

12 (+6)

Buffalo Bills (3-1)

Buffalo Bills (3-1)

Weren’t the Bills throwing in the towel this offseason when they traded Sammy Watkins and Ronald Darby for spare parts and draft picks? Well, apparently not. After beating two of the better teams in football to move to 3-1, there is growing hope in Buffalo. The defense has been sensational thus far, giving up just 13.5 points per game. On offense, Tyrod Taylor has played conservatively, but he’s done a nice job protecting the ball. (Kyle Trapp)

13 (+6)

Carolina Panthers (3-1)

Carolina Panthers (3-1)

After Cam’s dud Week 3 performance against the atrocious Saints secondary (167 yards and three INTs), there was little hope that he could exploit the leaky Pats secondary either. However, Cam not only had a breakout game with four total TDs, but he led the Panthers to a last-second win on the road against the defending champs. With Greg Olsen out and Kelvin Benjamin nursing injuries, Devin Funchess has stepped up as Cam’s primary target recently and put up a 7-70-2 line on Sunday. A tough matchup in Detroit will show if this Panthers offense is here to stay. (Jesse Doe)

14 (+6)

Houston Texans (2-2)

Houston Texans (2-2)

After a slow start to the season offensively, rookie sensation DeShaun Watson has completely turned the team around. The Texans have averaged 45 points per game over the past two weeks, largely due to their 57-14 drubbing of the Titans in Week 4. Each week, Watson looks calm and collected, proving little by little that he’s comfortable as a starting quarterback in the NFL. Pair that with that Texans’ fifth-ranked defense in yards allowed thus far, and Houston looks like the favorite in the AFC South through the season’s first month. (Nick Cardozo)

15 (-)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1)

Jameis led a game-winning drive over the suddenly lowly Giants to push the Bucs to 2-1. Although his numbers were inflated by a broken coverage 58-yard TD to O.J. Howard, Jameis had a great day vs a strong Giants secondary with 332 yards, three TDs, and zero turnovers. The Bucs have the Patriots coming to Tampa for a Thursday night matchup where Winston and co. will feast on a porous Patriots defense that has allowed 32 points per game. But can they slow down Brady? (Jesse Doe)

16 (-5)

Minnesota Vikings (2-2)

Minnesota Vikings (2-2)

After Case Keenum surprisingly tore up the Bucs secondary for 369 yards in Week 3, he looked more like the usual Case Keenum last Sunday as the Lions defense held the Vikings to just seven points. The Vikings offense took a huge blow as rookie RB Dalvin Cook went down with an ACL injury and will miss the rest of the season, thrusting the running game onto Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon. Sam Bradford‘s health is still a question mark, as Coach Mike Zimmer and the Vikings staff have been extremely vague about the severity of his knee injury. (Jesse Doe)

17 (+4)

Los Angeles Rams (3-1)

Los Angeles Rams (3-1)

The Rams looked great through the first three weeks of the season, but many NFL fans doubted their ability to beat a good team. In Week 4, they did just that, marching into Dallas and coming away with an impressive 35-30 win. Todd Gurley racked up 215 total yards, while Jared Goff took care of the ball and made timely throws from start to finish. While Dallas was their most impressive win to date, the Rams can really make a statement this week when they host Seattle. If the Rams offense continues producing at the level it has against that defense, we may be witnessing something special. (Nick Cardozo)

18 (-6)

Washington Redskins (2-2)

Washington Redskins (2-2)

No one can quite figure out this Washington team. After a win against the Raiders a few weeks back this team shot up the rankings (probably a bit of an overreaction). After a loss to a good Chiefs team on the road that came down to a field goal with four seconds to go, this team has fallen far in the rankings (again probably a bit of an overreaction). We know this team has talent, but they haven’t consistently been able to have enough players playing well to win games. They are an interesting team who will be hard to pin down as the season progresses. (Adrian Nelson)

19 (-9)

Tennessee Titans (2-2)

Tennessee Titans (2-2)

When you get 57 points put up on you, you are going to fall in the rankings. Combine that with Marcus Mariota potentially getting hurt and we have a team falling nearly 10 spots in one week. I’m going to step out of place here and say that our writers overreacted a bit here. Mariota is still seventh in the league in QBR. The issue of course is their defense, 31st in defensive DVOA. However, given this defense was 24th last year in DVOA they will improve to the level where Mariota can carry them. (Adrian Nelson)

20 (-4)

Baltimore Ravens (2-2)

Baltimore Ravens (2-2)

Remember when the Ravens were 2-0 and everyone was praising their defense? Feels a bit distant now, doesn’t it? Baltimore absolutely needs its defense to return to form if the team expects to stay in playoff contention because right now the offense is ranked 30th in the league. When Joe Flacco candidly said, “I sucked” after the team’s Week 4 loss to the Steelers, it was exactly what we’ve all been thinking for a while now. Until the offense has a pulse and the Ravens actually beat a good team, they won’t be considered a threat to the Steelers in the AFC North. (Nick Cardozo)

21 (+2)

New Orleans Saints (2-2)

New Orleans Saints (2-2)

The Saints drubbed the Dolphins, but they didn’t look compelling doing it. They put up only three points in the first half and really only stopped the Dolphins due to their own incompetence. The Saints defense is still bad, and they are not as scary as they have historically been offensively. The Saints do seem to have found gold in Kamara, and if they can decide on either Ingram or Peterson to complement him and allow everyone to get in a rhythm, this team should easily improve. (Adrian Nelson)

22 (-5)

Jacksonville Jaguars (2-2)

Jacksonville Jaguars (2-2)

A huge Week 3 performance from Blake Bortles gave hope that the young quarterback had turned a corner, but the signal-caller was back to his old self this past week. He completed just 15-of-35 passes for only 140 yards in a brutal overtime loss to the Jets. The defense is an emerging unit, and Leonard Fournette has been an absolute stud so far. But when this team is forced to throw the ball, the results are ugly. (Kyle Trapp)

23 (+2)

Arizona Cardinals (2-2)

Arizona Cardinals (2-2)

Nice hands Larry! Fitzgerald has looked great the past two weeks and is the reason that the Cardinals offense has avoided looking anemic after David Johnson went down Week 1 with an injury. The issue is Carson Palmer is more washed than a car at a Flagship. They may be 2-2, but given their wins have been by a combined six points over the Colts and 49ers, there is no real reason to trust this team. (Adrian Nelson)

24 (+4)

Cincinnati Bengals (1-3)

Cincinnati Bengals (1-3)

Andy Dalton has now strung together two straight weeks of solid stat lines. Coming into the season I expected Dalton to rebound, but was disappointed seeing him going 36-for-66 for 394 yards, 0 TDs, and 4 INTs. If he can replicate these past couple games of going 46-for-57 for 498 yards, 6 TDs, and 0 INTs then the Bengals can be back in the Wildcard, or maybe even Divisional, hunt. (Adrian Nelson)

25 (-3)

Miami Dolphins (1-2)

Miami Dolphins (1-2)

You’ve got to wonder if Miami is regretting this whole Jay Cutler experiment already. After all, the team has scored just SIX points the past two weeks combined. What’s worse is that those matchups were against the Saints and Jets, who don’t exactly have stout defenses. In fact, the Dolphins are dead last in yards per game so far. The team simply has too many weapons to keep wasting them on Jay Cutler checkdowns. Don’t be surprised if Miami turns to Matt Moore soon. (Nick Cardozo)

26 (-2)

Los Angeles Chargers (0-4)

Los Angeles Chargers (0-4)

The Chargers are a disaster, currently sitting at 0-4 with absolutely embarrassing attendance. Is it too late to move back to San Diego? While the Rams are surging and gaining popularity in L.A., the Chargers are becoming an afterthought. The AFC West is absolutely loaded and looks like it will be for years to come. With Philip Rivers in his twilight years, is it time for the Chargers to tank for Darnold or Rosen? Drafting a hometown kid would be a fast way to increase their fanbase in L.A.(Jesse Doe)

27 (+4)

New York Jets (2-2)

New York Jets (2-2)

In a Week 4 matchup against the Jaguars, Bilal Powell and unsung rookie Elijah McGuire rushed for 256 yards on the ground in an overtime victory. The jury is out on the Jets’ 2-2 start; winning is, of course, the point of the game, but they may be playing themselves out of a coveted draft pick. After an offseason cleanse, they entered the season in full tank mode, yet after four weeks they have the same record as the Patriots. Just like everyone expected, right? (Kyle Trapp)

28 (-1)

Chicago Bears (1-3)

Chicago Bears (1-3)

The Mike Glennon era in Chicago, for the time being, has come to its merciful end. The offseason addition had just four touchdowns, and eight turnovers, in his four game stint as a starter, and now the Bears will turn to rookie Mitchell Trubisky. With a decimated wide reciever core, it’s unlikely the UNC product has a Deshaun Watson-like impact, but he can’t be much worse than the alternative. (Kyle Trapp)

29 (-3)

New York Giants (0-4)

New York Giants (0-4)

The Giants have lost in heartbreaking fashion two straight weeks, but a loss is a loss. Since 1990, only one team has started 0-4 and made the playoffs, and that was all the way back in 1992. Luckily for the Giants, they now enter a matchup against the winless Chargers. Depending on how the rest of the Giants’ season shakes out, there could be many changes entering next year. Will Ben McAdoo be ousted? Will the team draft Eli Manning‘s successor? Better yet, will Eli decide to hang it up? It can’t be easy to easy for him to keep playing behind their porous offensive line at this age. Despite New York’s incredibly slim chances of making the postseason, the team still has intrigue based on its up-in-the-air future. (Nick Cardozo)

30 (-1)

Indianapolis Colts (1-3)

Indianapolis Colts (1-3)

The final score of the Colts blowout loss to the Seahawks doesn’t do the Colts justice, as Jacoby Brissett and co. played an excellent first and held a 15-10 lead before the Seahawks exploded for 36 in the second half. With no one knowing how much longer Andrew Luck will be out, Brissett’s development has to be encouraging for a Colts front office that acquired him for the seldom-used Phillip Dorsett a few weeks ago. The rest of the AFC South is sitting at 2-2, so despite their poor start, the return of a healthy Luck could keep this team relevant. (Jesse Doe)

31 (-1)

San Francisco 49ers (0-4)

San Francisco 49ers (0-4)

In the useless words of Giants coach Bob McAdoo, the 49ers first win just keeps getting delayed. They have played teams tight and lost late to their divisional mates - the Seahawks, Rams, and Cardinals. One Week the offense looks servicable and the defense horrendous and the next week it is reversed. Despite a lack of talent the offensive mastermind Kyle Shahanan needs to do better than producing an offense ranked 25th in yards and 26th in points. (Adrian Nelson)

32 (-)

Cleveland Browns (0-4)

Cleveland Browns (0-4)

Deshone Kizer continues to look as raw as he was advertised pre-draft, completing just 16 of 34 passes for 118 yards and an interception before being benched in favor of Kevin Hogan. The good news: it looks likely that Myles Garrett will make his season debut this week in a winnable game against the Jets. The bad news: there’s only so much he can do to help one of the league’s worst defense. (Kyle Trapp)

Edited by Jeremy Losak.

SQuiz
Who was the last team to score 57+ points in an NFL regular season game?
Created 10/5/17
  1. New England Patriots
  2. Seattle Seahawks
  3. Green Bay Packers
  4. Philadelphia Eagles

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