Ken's Note: These rankings are the views of the author, and may/do not reflect the views of any other Windy City Gridiron contributor.
Welcome to the Week 5 Power Rankings.
Power rankings are kind of silly and entirely meaningless, and they are also completely subjective... what one person sees as a strength another might see as a weakness. I get that. My reason for doing this feature isn't "I think I know better," but rather to entertain, hopefully amuse and also to generate friendly discussion and debate (within the site rules, of course).
My feature comes out later in the week than pretty much everybody else's on the web because I actually watch every single game I talk about BEFORE posted my rankings (as far as I know, I am the ONLY person doing this in the online media). Gamepass condensed games are the greatest tool ever made for the NFL football junkie. By doing this instead of just watching the highlights (if that) or browsing the box score, I suspect my list looks significantly different than most.
Here's how I have the league shaking out after Week 5:
1) Broncos - (Last week's rating #2 ) Denver dominated a bad team on the road, which is exactly what top teams do. Up they go to the first slot, but not by much.
2) Vikings - (Last week's rating #3) I hate to say it, but, it's Skol time. The Vikings, with their new QB, are as solid of a team as there is in the NFL. They are my favorites to win the NFC Championship.
3) Steelers - (Last week's rating #7 ) This weeks annihilation of the Kansas City Chiefs was just about as impressive of a showing as last week's debacle was bad. Three of the first four Steelers games have them looking like world beaters, and that's enough to make them top 5.
4) Patriots - (Last week's rating #1 ) Laying an egg like that on offense will get you knocked down a peg or two, but let's be serious... they are replacing a no-name kid with Tom Brady at quarterback. Nuff said as to why they don't move very far down.
5) Packers - (Last week's rating #5 ) The Cheeseheads stay where they are on a bye week. They are on track for a wildcard appearance this season.
6) Eagles - (Last week's rating #6 ) Staying put during the bye week at #6.
7) Seahawks - (Last week's rating #13 ) I don't like putting a team that has this bad of an offensive line this high, but that Seahawks defense is legit and they are 3-1. Still, Russell Wilson is running for his life the entire game. Sooner or later, "bad things" are going to happen to the young man facing that much pressure.
8) Bengals - (Last week's rating #9 ) The Bengals totally dominated a bad Dolphins team at home, this is a very good football team and are definitely on the road to the playoffs if this keeps up. What will they do in the post season? With Cincinnati, that's always the big question.
9) Cowboys - (Last week's rating #8 ) The Dallas Cowboys found a gem in Ezekiel Elliot, and Dak Prescott is the future for the Cowboys. The question is starting to loom, if the Boys keep winning, do you sit Prescott? Dallas still has a lot of question marks in that defense, which is why I am not ranking them higher.
10) Texans - (Last week's rating #10 ) The good news this week is that the Texans beat the Titans. The bad news, of course, is that JJ Watt is out for the season. The Texans really only outplayed the visiting Titans in special teams, the margin of victory in the game was on a great punt return. A second special teams TD on a punt block was called back on an entirely bogus (and waived off) flag. Still, a win against a division rival is good, right? At home, Texas should beat everybody in their division, which is why they are this high on the list. Playing in a weak division gives Texas the opportunity for a lot of wins.
11) Rams - (Last week's rating #19 ) The Los Angels Rams are 3-1 under the brilliant leadership of Jeff Fisher, who has his team playing well enough for Fisher to earn a lucrative contract extension. Do you believe in miracles? In this case, I am thinking it's more "a solid D and a lot of smoke and mirrors". If Trent Dilfer can lead a team to the promised land, I suppose Case Keenum can too. The problem for the Rams is, this D is good but they are not "2000 Ravens" good.
12) Falcons - (Last week's rating #16 ) This just in, Julio Jones is really good. Really, really, really good. The rest of the Falcons? Well... Matt Ryan can really, really throw the ball to Julio Jones (and other people as well). These guys nearly put up a 50 burger on the Panther's defense. The reason I don't have the Falcons higher is the other side of the ball, where they have been giving up points in bunches.
13) Raiders - (Last week's rating #15 ) Best game of the week this week was a solid Oakland team going into Balitimore and edging out the Ravens. Derek Carr & Michael Crabtree went off on the Ravens, with Carr standing in the pocket untouched and unhurried finding Crabtree scorching defensive backs left and right (literally). Had Oakland not been turnover-prone, the game would not have been as close. Still, beating a decent opponent on the road is a good thing.
14) Redskins - (Last week's rating #18 ) Another week, another win... but... it was a win against Cleveland, which isn't really going to move the needle much. Washington did what they had to do, beat a bad team... but there's not a lot of new information to be gained from this win. Tied at half? Takes a big fourth quarter to pull it out? Meh.
15) Ravens - (Last week's rating #14 ) Baltimore... this is a very "middle of the road" team, they aren't really good or really bad at anything. They will probably sniff around a wildcard slot this year, but they don't seem to be going anywhere... Games like the one against Oakland this weekend are the type you have to win to be an above-average team.
16) Giants - (Last week's rating #17 ) The Giants had a "big ask" this week, playing the Vikings at Minnesota. They showed they are about an average team in the loss.
17) Chiefs - (Last week's rating #4 ) I watched the first half of this game only because... well... if you watched the first half, you know why. Kansas City has been absolutely blown out in 3 halves this season: the first half of the first game against the Chargers, who they ended up beating and this entire game at Steelerville. Before they move up again, that's gotta stop.
18) Bills - (Last week's rating #21 ) Yeah, don't really know what to do with the Bills, they kicked the crap out of the Bradyless Patriots, but... but... I am not convinced. Color me a skeptic.
19) Cardinals - (Last week's rating #11 ) First things first, the black jerseys are a YES. Great look. This week's game left the Cardinals bruised, battered, concussed and 1-3, two games out in the division. They lost to a team with a great defense but very questionable offense, at home in Arizona. This is what is known in power rankings as "a bad thing."
20) Panthers - (Last week's rating #12 ) What would precipitate a drop of this magnitude in the rankings over the last two weeks? Let me think? Is it a 1-3 record? Is it the 7 zillion sacks they have given up so far this season? Is it the 300 yards in recieving they gave up to Julio Jones or the 500 yards of passing to Matt Ryan? Is it the fact that they scored 33 points yet were still completely blown out in a division loss? Yes, to all of the above. If anything, I should move them lower.
21) Jaguars - Yes, they are 1-3 but this team has some talent, and they SHOULD be a tough out this year. They are also playing in a weak division.
22) Jets - (Last week's rating #22 ) Well, I guess the Jets defense was good for what ailed Russell Wilson for Seattle. Honestly, that whole "leaving wide receivers entirely uncovered" thing doesn't work very well, as Jets fans know today. The winning 10 points for Seattle came off of Ryan Fitzpatrick interceptions (although, to be fair, the second one was a tipped ball that should have been a completion). Very, very meh.
23) 49ers -(Last week's rating #23 ) The Cowboys are good, and SF jumped out on top of them (something Chicago could not do). But then "bad things" happened. The season-ending loss of NaVorro Bowman is shattering to the Niner defense, he is their heart and soul. Blaine Gabbert was not, is not and never will be the answer. What else can they do? Colin Kaepernick? Week 1 seems a very, very, very long time ago for Niner fans.
24) Saints - (Last week's rating #29 ) The Saints have Drew Brees, and with Brees you ALWAYS have a puncher's chance in a game. The defense this week was absolutely horrid again (as usual) but they were able to squeak past the Chargers in a tight win.
25) Chargers - (Last week's rating #20 ) - San Diego can give up lots and lots of points. They can score lots and lots of points. Unfortunately, they give up more than they score more often than not. Fundamentally unsound team, tough division, they are going nowhere and are not ascending.
26) Dolphins - (Last week's rating #25 ) I should move them down four spots just for donning those hideous Color Rush uniforms. Where was the Miami version of Chris Sale with a pair of scissors and a vengeance for good fashion? Unfortunately for Miami, their atrocious attire was the least of their worries, as they were manhandled by a very good Bengals team.
27) Colts - (Last week's rating #27 ) The Colts simply cannot stop anybody so far this year. I'm hoping, as a Bears fan, that this trend will continue at least one more week. The Colts offense is pretty good at chucking the ball 50 yards downfield just before quarterback Andrew Luck gets smashed by opposing pass rushers, but until they can start playing better defense, they will remain bottom dwellers. That offensive line is going to get Luck killed.
28) Titans - (Last week's rating #28 ) Tennessee was in the game against the Texans, but... but... isn't there always a "but" when talking about the Titans? As usual, part of the team did well (the running game) while second year Marcus Mariota was spotty, while special teams were a dumpster fire. One punt returned for a touchdown, another punt was blocked and returned for a TD only to be called back by a penalty flag for 12-men (even though the guy made it off and the flag was waived off... it's confusing to describe, let's just say that it should have been another Texans TD).
29) Bears - (Last week's rating #32 ) Chicago didn't just beat the Lions, Chicago held a top scoring team without an offensive TD for the game. Not an earth shattering win, but one that moves the Bears well out of the rankings basement.
30) Lions - (Last week's rating #24 ) The Detroit Lions lost to the lowest rated team on last week's power chart, and were beaten thoroughly in both the offensive and defensive phases of the game. Coming into the contest, they had the fifth best offense in the league, and that offense did not score a touchdown against a bunch of backups. This is called "falling off the ratings cliff".
31) Buccaneers - (Last week's rating #26 ) Well... at least none of them died on the field this week, so, there's that. This is a bad team, with a quarterback who's turning the ball over with shocking regularity. Going into the game, the Bucs had turned the ball over 9 times so far in the season, all of which involved quarterback Jameis Winston. Tampa took him off that hook by proceeding to turn the ball over in ways not involving the second year quarterback. Tampa is also dead last in point differential, a whopping -12.7 points per game.
32) Browns - (Last week's rating #31 ) Cleveland's been scoring a lot of points this year, but unfortunately for the Browns they have been giving up a LOT more points. We are seeing some definite improvements in Cleveland, but to get out of the Rankings cellar, they are going to have to win a game. The truth is, there's a lot of very young talent on this team, they have a good coach, a ton of draft picks and even though they are still winless, this is an ascending team. I know that sounds crazy, but Cleveland is on the right track.
So what do you think? Am I close? Am I entirely wrong? Spill the beans, let us know what you think & how you would rank them!