Week 5 in the NFL saw a similar occurrence as in weeks before: confusion galore among many teams in the league. From what we should expect out of teams such as the Jaguars or Bills, to how worried we should be about the Cowboys or Steelers, the Power Rankings again saw distinct changes, although not as extensive as last week, and Week 6 should prove again to show what teams could be serious contenders for the 2017 NFL season.
Kansas City Chiefs (5-0) (Last Week: 1) Not only are the Chiefs the league’s solely undefeated team, they are currently the best team through five weeks. Alex Smith is the MVP so far, and the Chiefs managed to control an injury-filled road game against the Texans 42-34, where both teams saw pivotal players go down in season-ending injuries. Although being without number one receiver Chris Conley for the remainder of the season, they have proven thus far that Kansas City will keep fighting, and they will need to as their schedule gets no easier the next three weeks, hosting the Steelers, visiting Oakland, and hosting Denver on another Monday Night game.
Green Bay Packers (4-1)(Last Week: 2) The Packers fought through and left Dallas with down-to-the-wire 35-31 win against the Cowboys. Although they have been playing their games close, Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are showing again they are a top team, and as the weeks pass and weather freezes, Super Bowl hopeful Green Bay will not be game teams are looking forward to on their schedule. They will visit divisional opponent Minnesota next week, a challenging game they expect to win.
Atlanta Falcons (3-1) (Last Week: 7) The Falcons AFC East streak continues following their Week 5 bye, hosting Miami before going on a three game road stand against the Patriots, Jets, and Panthers. Next week should prove to be a given win for the Falcons, as they will be hoping to pull in the easy wins before the competitive games as they will challenge for another Super Bowl opportunity.
Carolina Panthers (4-1)(Last Week: 5) 2015 NFL MVP Cam Newton is showing he is not a one-season show, and has carried the Panthers to a competitive 4-1 record with a 27-24 win in Detroit. Although sharing a division with the Super Bowl Runner-up Falcons, thus far Newton not only is making a case for Comeback Player of the Year, but showing that the Panthers will be playing at playoff-caliber, and they will showcase that prime time Thursday night in one of the week’s top games hosting the also 4-1 Philadelphia Eagles.
Denver Broncos (3-1)(Last Week: 6) The Denver Broncos will be coming off a Week 5 bye with two non-threatening games – hosting the Giants and visiting the Chargers – before they visit the currently-undefeated Chiefs in Week 8. The Broncos have managed to showcase their defense through their first four games, and will need that as their schedule strengthens in a few weeks.
Philadelphia Eagles (4-1)(Last Week: 8) The Eagles 34-7 home win against the Cardinals proved that they are one of the most powerful teams through five weeks this year. Their one problem? Their wins come against teams with a combined 5-13 record, with their sole loss against the undefeated Chiefs. Although they have been exciting to watch, their best chance to showcase their endeavors comes prime time this Thursday, visiting the 4-1 Carolina Panthers, in a game highlighting two 4-1 teams trying to prove their worth.
New England Patriots (3-2) (Last Week: 9) The Patriots struggled through an un-Patriot like 19-14 win against Tampa Bay, thanks to the Buccaneers going 0-for-3 on field goals. They will need to address all their problems, as this was their third consecutive close game, and they will be able to show what they have worked on when they visit the surprising 3-2 Jets in their first divisional game of the season.
Detroit Lions (3-2)(Last Week: 4) The Lions again let a close home game get away from them, with a 27-24 loss against Carolina. They could be a dynamic team this season, except their two games against playoff-type opponents have been their two losses, both at home. Next week they will visit the momentum-full Saints, whose 2-2 record does not signify that it will be an easy game, and the Lions will need to grind their tales preceding their bye week.
Seattle Seahawks (3-2)(Last Week: 16) The Seahawks moved above .500 on Sunday, in their fourth one-possession game of the season with a 16-10 divisional win in Los Angeles. Although now leading their division, they have yet to confidently show they are at a Super Bowl level, much less dynamic-playoff level. However, they will have time to keep that in their back-pocket with a Week 6 bye, before four expected-to-win games against teams with a combined .316 record, in the Giants, Texans, Redskins, and Cardinals.
Jacksonville Jaguars (3-2)(Last Week: 22) The Jaguars are one of the most interesting teams in the league this season. Their stellar defense has helped them win three games where they hold each team to single digits, but offensive problems – especially at quarterback – have had help in hurting them, especially with the Week 4 loss to the Jets. Now it’s left to see whether the Jaguars will be defined by their wins – against Houston, Baltimore, and 30-9 this week in Pittsburgh – or will they show up like they did against the Jets. Their next two games before a Week 6 bye will be the best chance for the league to observe that, hosting the Rams and then going to Indianapolis to close out their October games.
Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2)(Last Week: 3) The Steelers are as interesting as the team they lost too this week, crushed at home 30-9 against Jacksonville, thanks to five Ben Roethlisberger interceptions. Although yet to play a top team, the 3-2 Steelers will get their biggest challenge of the season, visiting the undefeated Chiefs in an afternoon Sunday matchup, where they will be able to show that they still have what it takes to be a dominant team, regardless of losses to the Bears and Jaguars.
Washington Redskins (2-2) (Last Week: 12) The .500 Redskins get to follow a Week 5 bye hosting the 0-5 49ers this Sunday, where they will be expected to come off with a victory and keep the 49ers out of the win-column. How the Redskins play will also be part of their case that they can be a playoff team, after a 2015 division win at 9-7 and being held from the playoffs last season at 8-7-1.
New Orleans Saints (2-2)(Last Week: 19) The .500 Saints have picked up from their slow start, and following a Week 5 bye, they will carry a two game win streak to the NFC North, where they will see the Packers and Bears in consecutive weeks, both following a Week 6 matchup against the 3-2 Lions, a chance for both teams to show their playoff aspirations on the field.
Los Angeles Rams (3-2)(Last Week: 11) The Rams could not keep their sole-lead in the division after their 16-10 loss at home against the Seahawks. Trying to prove that they can play meaningful competition after their road win in Dallas last weekend, the Rams will need to fix their mistakes and be able to find solutions, with four of their games – including both losses – being decided by less than seven points, and they will need to carry those solutions when they visit a growing Jaguars team with their dominant defense next Sunday.
Buffalo Bills (3-2)(Last Week: 10) The Bills could not carry momentum last Sunday following two shocking wins against Denver and Atlanta. A 20-16 defeat in Cincinnati gives the team a big question mark before their Week 6 bye week. All their games have been decided by no more than ten points, and they will need to address issues during their off week before consecutive matchups against the question mark riddled Buccaneers, Raiders, Jets, and Saints.
Dallas Cowboys (2-3) (Last Week: 18) The Cowboys dropped back-to-back close games after their 35-31 loss to the Packers thanks to Aaron Rodgers’ two-minute comeback. Now 2-3 for the first time since the 2015 season, the reigning NFC East champions will have time to regress during their bye in Week 6, before visiting the currently 0-5 49ers the following Sunday, attempting to get back to .500 while holding San Francisco from the win column.
Baltimore Ravens (3-2)(Last Week: 23) The Ravens broke their slump with a 30-17 road win against the Derek Carr-less Oakland Raiders. Now back above .500 and tied atop the AFC North, the Ravens have a chance to keep their winning ways going, with their home-and-away altering schedule before a Week 10 bye being against the Bears, Vikings, Dolphins, and Titans, and their Week 6 home matchup will be a great place for them to continue this run against somewhat-struggling teams.
Minnesota Vikings (3-2)(Last Week: 17) The Vikings struggled in a 20-17 divisional victory in Chicago, especially with taking quarterback Sam Bradford out in the second quarter. In an effort to find a valuable starter, they may not get as much luck in their next game when they host divisional giant Green Bay on Sunday. Although above .500, they still have a lot of positive work to be done until they can be taken seriously.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-2)(Last Week: 20) The Buccaneers found themselves in a debacle last Thursday, with three missed field goals highlighting a 19-14 loss in New England. Forced to brush that embarrassment aside, they visit the 2-3 Cardinals next Sunday, and that will be their chance to show that an unwanted start following Hurricane Irma’s cancellation of their Week 1 game can be washed away.
New York Jets (3-2)(Last Week: 21) The Jets continue to surprise, boasting a three-game win streak following a 17-14 road victory in Cleveland. However, their games against less-talented teams will come to a close next week, hosting New England in their hardest matchup of the season. The team once predicted to go 0-16 will be facing the team once thought to go 16-0, with the winner taking the lead in the AFC East. The Jets will be able to show to the league whether they got lucky with scheduling, or whether they look to be making non-offseason noise in January.
Oakland Raiders (2-3) (Last Week: 13) The Raiders without Derek Carr cannot be dominant and would likely be held below .500, proven with their 30-17 home loss to the Ravens. However, one predicted to be out for six weeks, Carr is now being expected to play next week against the Chargers, perfectly in time for their Week 7 Thursday night game against division rival and currently undefeated Kansas City Chiefs. If Carr is back, the Raiders will not only move back into Super Bowl contention, but move much higher in the Power Rankings, but without him, the Raiders’ hope for good healthy as they will continue to go down in both areas.
Houston Texans (2-3)(Last Week: 14) Although the Texans lost at home 42-34 Sunday night to the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs, their biggest loss was the season-ending injury to J.J. Watt, a big blow to the whole city of Houston. With their division-title aspirations hit with a suffer, they have no better chance to bounce back then when they host the AFC worst Cleveland Browns on Sunday, where they will attempt to get back to .500 and on way to their third consecutive AFC South championship.
Cincinnati Bengals (2-3) (Last Week: 26) The Bengals have attempted to part ways with a disastrous 0-3 start, winning consecutive games thanks to a 20-16 victory against the rising Bills. Now entering their bye week, there is no better time for them to rest following an attempt to get back into their divisional race – who does not have a clear winner so far – and be able to make their point for their chance in Pittsburgh in Week 7.
Tennessee Titans (2-3) (Last Week: 15) The Titans are another playoff aspiring team suffering without their franchise quarterback, Marcus Mariota, who today was reported to be “day-to-day.” A 16-10 loss in Miami put a dent into any hopes, but if Mariota comes back, they’ll have a great chance to even pass .500 with games against the Colts and Browns before their bye week, with the former coming on Monday night.
Miami Dolphins (2-2)(Last Week: 27) The Dolphins managed to get back on track with a 16-10 win against the Tennessee Titans, who played without the injured Mariota. With the Dolphins having all four of their games see the winning team with 20 or less points, they are showing they may not be the most exciting team to watch this season. However, they can make their mark in a so far close AFC East if they can pull off an upset in Atlanta next Sunday, which would be great momentum to carry into a divisional matchup against the Jets, preceding three consecutive primetime games.
Chicago Bears (1-4) (Last Week: 25) The debut of second overall pick Mitchell Trubisky was not enough to propel the Chicago Bears to a divisional victory against the Minnesota Vikings on Monday night. They could not find a lead in a struggling matchup, and need a lot of work done as they move forward. However, although next weekend’s visit to 3-2 Baltimore may seem against them, Trubisky will have a solid chance to make a name for themselves, as the Bears will attempt to pull off a doable upset.
Arizona Cardinals (2-3)(Last Week: 24) The Cardinals again struggled against competition, with a disastrous 34-7 loss to the soaring Eagles. With both of their wins being overtime victories against teams with a combined 2-10 record, they are making a statement for not being in playoff form. Their next two games will be home contests against teams who are not spectacular, yet have shown hopes of playoffs through five weeks, with a Week 6 matchup against the Buccaneers and a Week 7 divisional game against the Rams.
Indianapolis Colts (2-3) (Last Week: 28) Among being associated with Peyton Manning’s statue or Mike Pence’s early exit from the game, the Indianapolis’ third most important Sunday news was their overtime victory against the 0-5 49ers. Their third game decided by a field goal, they can bring any momentum they may have found Sunday in Tennessee on Monday night, in a matchup that will be more favorable for them if they go up against Titans backup Matt Cassel.
Los Angeles Chargers (1-4)(Last Week: 30) The Chargers finally found themselves in a close game which they became victorious, winning 27-22 against the also disappointing New York Giants. Perhaps finally finding solutions for their season to bounce back, they will see two consecutive division games, in Oakland and at home against Denver, before a visit to New England concludes the first half of their season. This week, a trip to Oakland may be in their favor, only if the silver-and-black cannot find Carr healthy enough to play.
San Francisco 49ers (0-5)(Last Week: 31) The 49ers saw themselves for the third consecutive week falling short in a game within three points, being their second overtime defeat, this time in Indianapolis 26-23. As they struggle on all sides of the ball, they will look to sneak out their first win of the season, against a victory-seeking Redskins in the nation’s capital.
New York Giants (0-5) (Last Week: 29) The Giants put a cherry on top of their collapse of a season with season ending injuries to Odell Beckham, Jr. and Brandon Marshall, losing Eli Manning’s top two receivers for the rest of the season. In addition, their next two receivers saw injuries in the beginning of the game, leaving Manning in distraught, and being one of the reasons to a 27-22 loss to the Chargers. Without their wide receiver core, especially their star in Beckham, the Giants are now proving to be New York’s worst team this season, and the only reason they are not at the bottom of the Power Rankings is because deep down somewhere, Eli Manning should be able to find his two super bowl rings.
Cleveland Browns (0-5) (Last Week: 32) It is no shock in this decade of the NFL that the Cleveland Browns are the league’s worst team. However, they lost their third three-point game, all being at home, this time to the New York Jets. Although their first overall pick Myles Garrett highlighted his NFL debut with a sack on his first play, the Browns will need a little more to get above .000, and they may start counting on luck, as they see a better team next week when they visit the 2-3 playoff hungry Houston Texans.