What a weird season. Putting together power rankings is becoming more difficult each week, as those in the top 10 or 15 demonstrate elite characteristics while at the same time revealing major vulnerabilities. Storylines this week will center around the Seahawks' Monday night win over Washington; the Broncos' and Chargers' convincing wins; the Bengals', Cardinals' and Ravens' concerning losses; the Packers' and Patriots' surprising rebirths, and the Cowboys' continued ascent.
Meanwhile, the Steelers remain a mystery and the Colts continue to gain traction. The Niners remain defiant to media narratives around their locker room and head coach, and the Giants appear to be better than most had given them credit for.
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The Panthers shrugged off doubts with a big win over the Bears while the Eagles and Saints held on to beat the Rams and Bucs, respectively. In his first start of the season, Kyle Orton and the Bills got a much-needed win over the Lions. The Browns squeaked out a comeback win over the Charlie Whitehurst-led Titans.
Every team is at least one quarter of the way through its season now, and we're still trying to figure things out after five weeks. Here are your power rankings through one week of October:
|1||Seattle Seahawks, 3-1 (Last Week: 1)||Field Gulls|
|2||Denver Broncos, 3-1 (Last Week: 2)||Mile High Report|
|3||San Diego Chargers. 4-1 (Last Week: 5)||Bolts from the Blue|
|4||Cincinnati Bengals, 3-1 (Last Week: 3)||Cincy Jungle|
|5||Arizona Cardinals, 3-1 (Last Week: 4)||Revenge of the Birds|
|6||San Francisco 49ers, 3-2 (Last Week: 8)||Niners Nation|
|7||Dallas Cowboys, 4-1 (Last Week: 11)||Blogging the Boys|
|8||Philadelphia Eagles, 4-1 (Last Week: 9)||Bleeding Green Nation|
|9||Green Bay Packers, 3-2 (Last Week: 12)||Acme Packing Company|
|10||Indianapolis Colts, 3-2 (Last Week: 18)||Stampede Blue|
|11||Baltimore Ravens, 3-2 (Last Week: 6)||Baltimore Beatdown|
|12||Pittsburgh Steelers, 3-2 (Last Week: 10)||Behind the Steel Curtain|
|13||New England Patriots, 3-2 (Last Week: 15)||Pats Pulpit|
|14||New York Giants, 3-2 (Last Week: 20)||Big Blue View|
|15||Detroit Lions, 3-2 (Last Week: 12)||Pride of Detroit|
|16||Carolina Panthers, 3-2 (Last Week: 17)||Cat Scratch Reader|
|17||Buffalo Bills, 3-2 (Last Week: 21)||Buffalo Rumblings|
|18||Houston Texans, 3-2 (Last Week: 13)||Battle Red Blog|
|19||Kansas City Chiefs, 2-3 (Last Week: 14)||Arrowhead Pride|
|20||Chicago Bears, 2-3 (Last Week: 16)||Windy City Gridiron|
|21||Cleveland Browns, 2-2 (Last Week: 22)||Dawgs by Nature|
|22||New Orleans Saints, 2-3 (Last Week: 23)||Canal Street Chronicles|
|23||Atlanta Falcons, 2-3 (Last Week: 19)||The Falcoholic|
|24||Miami Dolphins, 2-2 (Last Week: 24)||The Phinsider|
|25||Minnesota Vikings, 2-3 (Last Week: 25)||Daily Norseman|
|26||Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1-4 (Last Week: 26)||Bucs Nation|
|27||New York Jets, 1-4 (Last Week: 27)||Gang Green Nation|
|28||Washington, 1-3 (Last Week: 28)||Hogs Haven|
|29||St. Louis Rams, 1-3 (Last Week: 29)||Turf Show Times|
|30||Tennessee Titans, 1-4 (Last Week: 30)||Music City Miracles|
|31||Oakland Raiders, 0-4 (Last Week: 31)||Silver and Black Pride|
|32||Jacksonville Jaguars, 0-5 (Last Week: 32)||Big Cat Country|
The Packers' offense was picked apart with a fine-tooth comb in the run-up to Thursday's game and they responded by putting 42 on the scoreboard. Meantime, even though the Bengals' offense and the viability of Andy Dalton as a top-tier passer has regularly been a question mark, this week their vaunted and normally stout defense was exposed up front. Cincinnati gave up 220 yards rushing -- at a 4.8 yards per carry clip -- while getting blown out by the supposedly free-falling Patriots.
As for New England, that team went from an out-of-control dumpster fire last week in Kansas City to blowing out one of the best teams in the AFC, and its bounce-back game went a long way to dispel the "Tom Brady is done" narratives.
GIF via @cjzero
The Cardinals fell apart after sustaining injuries to several key players, including quarterback Drew Stanton. Stanton should likely return within a week or two, but with Carson Palmer's return date uncertain, Calais Campbell now several weeks out, Patrick Peterson banged up and Matt Shaughnessy out at least six games, Arizona appears to be losing the battle of attrition. That should have an effect on the next few weeks.
The Panthers responded to two straight losses with a big comeback win over the Bears, while the Lions (particularly kicker Alex Henery, now jobless) blew a good opportunity to continue moving up in the rankings.
The Seahawks, Broncos and Chargers appear to be the best teams in the NFL right now, but there may be none rising faster than the Cowboys, Colts and Giants. All three got wins again this week -- the Cowboys behind their strong run game, the Colts on the shoulders of Andrew Luck and a stout defense, and the Giants with the help of big plays by Odell Beckham Jr. and Rueben Randle.
NFL Week 5
NFL Week 5
Meanwhile, the Niners and Eagles also rose in the rankings with wins this week despite their underwhelming performances. San Francisco's defense was again convincing in victory, but its offense hasn't been firing on all cylinders. And while the seemingly endless series of reports of discord have thus far galvanized that team, they could ultimately end up becoming a distraction as the year progresses. In Philly, the Eagles got off to a fast start against the Rams, but for the second straight week faltered late. They allowed St. Louis to creep back into the game before finishing the job. In the end, they're sitting pretty at 4-1.
Down in the second half of the rankings, the Saints, Browns and Bills also move up.