Wildly unpredictable and volatile movement.
That's your Week 5 Power Rankings!
The Patriots and Saints were hammered, and their continual lackluster play means no more blind faith that they'll turn things around. Meanwhile, we're starting to get to the point in the season where the head-to-head matchups will mean less and less in this arena. The Bills beat the Bears in Week 1 ... yet, Chicago is ranked higher. The Vikings toppled the Falcons on Sunday ... yet, Atlanta is ranked higher. And so on. In those cases, a QB change and a QB ailment play a role. In other quarterback news ...
@HarrisonNFL twitter is designed for negative chirping apparently. Keep your positive remarks to yourself.â Andrew Rosien (@floorkillah) September 29, 2014
Tony Romo and Philip Rivers, two quarterbacks who have been much-maligned over the years, are playing at a very high level for their respective teams, each of whom are 3-1. The latter's team only moved up one spot this week -- such is life when you're near the top of the mountain -- while Dallas made a sizeable leap in our Week 5 Power Rankings. As for the other 30 teams, see below. And feel free to share your take: @HarrisonNFL is the place.
So, let the dissension commence!
(Note: Arrows reflect change in standings from the most recent Power Rankings.)
PREVIOUS RANKINGS: Week 4 | Week 3 | Week 2 | Week 1 | Post-draft
It was bye week in good old Cincinnati. Happened to notice that rookie
Jeremy Hill is averaging more than 5 yards per carry, which certainly provides that offense with some added punch on the ground.
We've received much feedback regarding the Bengals topping this pecking order, and how "Everybody knows the Seahawks are the best team." Yep, and everyone knew the Athletics would sweep the Reds in the 1990 World Series.
Here's another team fresh off a bye -- and another opportunity to point out that
Bruce Arians has Arizona playing outstanding football. Truly impressive stuff, especially when you consider some of the guys the
Daryl Washington and
Darnell Dockett, among others.)
On the offensive side of the ball, sure am interested in how the touches will be appropriated to Larry Fitzgerald and John Brown throughout the rest of the season ...
As I mentioned above, many people were frustrated over the Seahawks not being No. 1 after hanging on in Week 3 to beat the Broncos in OT (thanks, in part, to a coin flip). I guess losses mean nothing anymore? For the record, I have Seattle returning to the Super Bowl. That said, in the Power Rankings, we can only call what we see to this point. All told, a top-five slot right now is a testament to how solid Pete Carroll's roster really is. The 'Hawks aren't playing their best football. What happens when they do?
Holy cow -- another top-tier team coming off a week off. Yes, Week 4 was regrouping time for this squad, following a hard-fought OT loss in the craziest environment in pro football. Also an appropriate time to figure out how to get more out of the run game, which, like it or not, has not been as effective without Knowshon Moreno. Maybe Peyton Manning wasn't 100 percent responsible for every single one of Moreno's 1,038 rushing yards last year after all. Say it ain't so.
The offense might be fast-paced, but speed doesn't matter if you become one-dimensional. Having no faith in the run game killed the Eagles on that first-and-goal series in their penultimate drive in Santa Clara. You'd think LeSean McCoy, the NFL's reigning rushing king, would get the ball on one of the two plays from the Niners' 1-yard line. Instead, Nick Foles had to try to fit the ball into an end zone full of 49ers defenders. And we know how that worked out.
So, I think Steve Smith Sr. can still play football. And even beyond the 35-year-old's 139-yard-two-touchdown-you-better-recognize performance, the Ravens fired on all cylinders. The offense maintained genuine balance against the Panthers, with 30 of the 61 play calls being runs. Justin Forsett got 17 touches, Lorenzo Taliaferro 15. And how about that defense?
Nice bounceback for Matthew Stafford in New York. The recently maligned franchise quarterback was efficient and on point all day against the Jets, completing 24 of his 34 passes for nearly 300 yards while not turning the ball over. Hey, how about this seven-rung jump in the rankings? Much kudos to an overachieving back seven on defense.
What a clutch showing from coordinator Vic Fangio's defense, which didn't allow the Eagles a first down in the second half until their next-to-last possession of the game -- a possession which, by the way, ended with a goal-line stand. Along with the fun of the 49ers' comeback win, how about seeing Jim Harbaugh go nutso, with a look in his eyes not seen since Dennis Hopper was interim coaching in Hickory? That manic gem came after Colin Kaepernick inexplicably burned a timeout in the fourth quarter.
Please keep running. Please keep running. Please keep running. Please keep running. Please keep running. Please keep running. Please keep running. Please keep running. Please keep running. Please keep running. Please keep running. Please keep running. Please keep running. Please keep running. Please keep running. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
Dude, what else can you say about that performance Thursday night? Speaking of, I said on "NFL Fantasy Live" prior to that game last week that no one would know who Larry Donnell is if it weren't for fantasy football. Well, you catch three touchdown passes in front of a prime-time audience -- on the road, no less -- and everybody is going to figure out who you are right quick.
For a guy playing at something not near 100 percent, that was one heckuva display by Jamaal Charles on Monday night. Akbar Gbajabiamila, my colleague on "NFL Fantasy Live," called it "Obamacare at work." I'd call it, "I've seen enough of Knile Davis getting my run." By the way, the blowout of the Pats was the third good game in a row for Kansas City.
What a depressing loss for the Steelers against an inferior opponent. Maybe Ben Roethlisberger should have walked down the field on that flea flicker and personally handed the ball to Antonio Brown. In fairness, Brown had a nice day with two touchdowns, but there is no getting around how crucial that sequence was to the outcome of this game.
Guessing Ryan Tannehill realized his days as franchise quarterback were about to have a number attached to them. Outstanding game for him and the Dolphins' offense as a whole, including one Lamar Miller, who is averaging well over 5 yards per carry. Is it me, or does he look like a guy who -- in theory -- got passed up in training camp by, say, a veteran free-agent addition and is now stating his case?
Another large drop, mostly based on health concerns, as opposed to Sunday's road failure in Minnesota. This team is hurting right now. The loss of Joe Hawley is certainly a hit, as the center is clearly one of the heartbeats of this football team; not to mention, the offensive line was already thin. While being sensitive to Falcons fans' playoff aspirations, we should note they are only lacking one thing: a defense. Five-hundred-fifty-eight total yards of offense allowed? Matt Asiata? Jerick McKinnon?
The Texans are 3-1. So what's preventing them from cracking the top 20? A quarterback who continues to turn the ball over. On another note, maybe we should all take a step back and realize that J.J. Watt is a 3-4 DE. Those guys are supposed to get six to eight sacks and be solid against the run. Watt is merely the best defensive player in the league, and believe it or not, has more touchdowns this season than Andre Johnson and Arian Foster combined.
This defense is getting destroyed, plain and simple. In Rob Ryan's triumphant return to Dallas -- where he was, in his mind, wrongfully terminated, leading him to say he'd "be out of work for like five minutes" -- the Cowboys decided to take up 35 minutes of game clock, because Ryan's Saints couldn't stop them. When DeMarco Murray wasn't finding the seams in the ground game, Tony Romo was exploiting them in the secondary. Who saw this team being 1-3?
Massive drop, based on consecutive
performances and the sudden decision to
bail on EJ Manuel. While I understand the coaching staff's position, I have my own take on what Buffalo is and isn't doing regarding its young quarterback --
click here to see what it is.
The Bills' defense has certainly played well enough to win. They have allowed opponents to post just 16.5 offensive points per game -- so don't put J.J. Watt's great play (and Manuel's blunder) on them.
Despite spending last week on a bye, the Browns fall one spot, due to another win from the Texans (who leapfrogged them). Also, we barely penalized Cleveland for losing at home in Week 3. After the off week, Ben Tate has returned to practice. And hopefully a week of respite will allow the defense to start playing better ball. The opponents over the next five weeks certainly bode well for that unit: Tennessee, Pittsburgh, Jacksonville, Oakland and Tampa Bay. The guys in black and yellow can score some points, but otherwise, not exactly a murderers' row of offensive attacks.
With this being a short week for the Vikings, and with Teddy Bridgewater ailing, we're putting Minnesota here for now -- with great upside potential. (Especially since the early signs on Bridgewater's ankle injury appear encouraging.) Thought Teddy would outperform Blake Bortles in their starting debuts, despite the buzz surrounding the latter in the preseason, and it sure worked out that way Sunday. The kid was beyond impressive against the Falcons, eclipsing 300 yards while completing more than 60 percent of his passes -- and don't forget the touchdown run. Most importantly, the Vikings didn't turn it over.
If coordinator Marty Mornhinweg dumbs down the Jets' offense anymore, it will serve as a special episode of "Blue's Clues." At some point, the offense has to function like, well, a pro offense. If Geno Smith can't digest a real scheme, then the club has to go in another direction. Is it time, Jets fans? Let me know what you think: @HarrisonNFL. Once again, 200 yards passing will not offset two turnovers.
Kirk Cousins looked like a man who was pressing on Thursday night. One game does not a career make. Still, Cousins tossed four interceptions vs. the Giants, whereas Robert Griffin III hadn't thrown one this year -- in fact, RGIII's had just two career games with more than one pick. That's, well, pretty interesting, no?
So it's anticipated that Shaun Hill will start against Philadelphia? Super. Too bad this team can ill afford an awful start. After the Eagles, St. Louis gets the 49ers and Seahawks. Then comes a three-game road stretch, with trips to Kansas City, San Francisco and Arizona. It gets harder after that ... Ah, heck, this is depressing. Hoping Jeff Fisher's club gets it together.
I gave Mike Glennon an A- in our NFL NOW grades. Sure, he didn't light it up (what Bucs quarterback ever has?), but the moxie he showed at the end of the upset win over the Steelers was simply stellar -- not to mention the ball placement on several throws, including the touchdown to Vincent Jackson to seal the deal. That ball to Louis Murphy on the deep slant was as money as it gets. Glennon was so money in Pittsburgh he didn't even know it.
With the comparisons to Ben Roethlisberger running rampant, everyone is excited about Blake Bortles. Count me in. That said, the performance in San Diego looked better on the highlight reel than in reality, particularly in the second half. The Eric Weddle interception was a classic case of a young QB trying to do too much. The key for the rookie out of Central Florida is to learn to live another down.
Well, that was a great 10-play drive to start things off in London. There were a couple of third-down conversions in there and a touchdown throw to a dude you've never heard of. Of course, the Raiders proceeded to get outscored 38-7 the rest of the way. But hey, man, solid start. Kind of like the latest "Godzilla" movie.
Follow Elliot Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonNFL.