As the NFL season progresses, we can start to see what teams are competitors and what teams are not.
Unlike any season before, there’s many question marks between the good and the bad. Once again, it was another extremely close weekend with 11 out of the 16 games ending within one score. It was quite the weekend for oddities as well.
There’s a real possibility viewers witnessed the worst Thursday Night Football game of all time between the Denver Broncos and Indianapolis Colts. The number one scoring offense in the NFL put up zero points, for the second shutout of the 2022 NFL season. One coach has already been fired and it seems like a third of the league is starting backup quarterbacks.
With all this chaos, there’s only a few teams that’ve made significant jumps and drops. We’re getting a glimpse at what to expect for every team going forward.
Week five is officially over, which means the power rankings begin to solidify. Though it’s very likely to change, there’s a rough way to dissect sections within the ranks.
Ranks one through four are the top dogs of the league. Five through 12 are all playoff contenders/hopefuls. 13 through 17 are good teams, but might not be good enough to make it to the post season. 18 through 25 are teams with potential to win, but not consistently enough to be considered a threat. Finally, ranks 26 through 32, the bottom of the barrel, are teams with little, to no hope for success this season.
With that being said, let’s see who falls into those categories and who has a chance to win in week six of the NFL season.
Buffalo Bills (4-1)
Buffalo did exactly what was expected of them. They hosted a bad Steelers team at home and dominated, allowing just one field goal. The Bills remain in the number one spot because they continue to show their muscle and show no sign of slowing down. Josh Allen threw for 424 yards and four touchdowns connecting with receiver Gabriel Davis three times for 171 yards and two touchdowns.
Pittsburgh looked like they gave up against the Bills, but their next opponent will do the opposite. Buffalo will travel to Arrowhead Stadium to face their toughest competition of the season, the Chiefs. Depending on how Philadelphia’s matchup fairs there could potentially be movement within the top three spots.
Philadelphia Eagles (5-0)
Philadelphia had a close one last week against Arizona. If it weren’t for a missed Cardinals field goal at the end of the game, it would’ve went into a closely matched overtime. Fortunately, the Eagles pulled through, but not without their struggles. They had four empty drives, two being quite ugly. Thankfully they have Jalen Hurts, who only threw for 239 yards, but rushed for 61 yards and two rushing touchdowns. Impressively the Eagles did not turn the ball over at all, which should always lead to a victory.
This week the Eagles host a “trending up” Cowboys team at home. Hurts won’t have as much wiggle room against a stout Dallas defense, so expect a grinding low-score affair.
Kansas City Chiefs (4-1)
The Chiefs are a fun team to watch, especially when they win. That very well could’ve not been the case on Monday night, if Las Vegas didn’t do what they did. Despite winning by an extra-point, Patrick Mahomes continued to shine with 298 yards and four touchdowns, which were all caught by, who else, Travis Kelce. Other than a missed field goal in the first quarter, scoring was quite easy for the Chiefs.
Scoring won’t be nearly as simple against a top-notch Bills defense this week. Though Mahomes has found success finding Kelce in the end zone this season, expect a different game plan against the number one team in the league.
Baltimore Ravens (3-2)
Justin Tucker may just be the most important person on the field for the Ravens. In a season where consistent kicking is hard to come by, Tucker continues to exceed expectations. Baltimores offense was stagnant against the Bengals, but one touchdown and enough yards to get Tucker in range, was all they needed. Their defense began to live up to the expectations of last season and are likely to continue to improve.
Baltimore was able to fend off a trending Bengals team and now face a, somewhat, similar trending team, the New York Giants. Expect Baltimore to have a surprising challenge against New York. It shouldn’t be difficult if they can establish the run.
Minnesota Vikings (4-1)
Yes, Minnesota may be ranked slightly higher than they should, but they’ve beaten every team they should’ve thus far. Say what you will about Kirk Cousins, but he’s getting the job done in “The Twin Cities.” Minnesota dominated the first half against Chicago, but they let them crawl back in the second. Thankfully, for Minnesota, the Bears fumbled late in the fourth, causing no concern for a chance at overtime. The Vikings run and pass game looked solid, but things are lacking (bad) in the field goal department.
This week Minnesota faces a Miami team spiraling down, due to injuries. The Vikings should be able to take care of this one on the road.
Los Angeles Chargers (3-2)
Another missed fourth quarter field goal saved another team last week. Los Angeles started the game down 14-0, but managed to get all the way back on top to beat the Browns. Though the Chargers defense has been nothing to write home about this year, the coaching staff had enough faith in them to hold Cleveland late in the fourth. LA was able to protect the ball with zero turnovers and running back Austin Ekeler combined for 199 scrimmage yards and a touchdown. This team had it’s struggles in the beginning of the season, but they’re living up to what was expected of them from the get-go.
The Chargers get an extended weekend for their matchup on Monday Night Football against…Denver. Hopefully the Chargers can prove us right so we don’t have to witness another horrendous prime-time game with Denver.
San Francisco 49ers (3-2)
The biggest positive jump in this weeks rankings. Doubting the 49ers was a wrong decision for the power rankings the past two weeks. Their defense is by-far the best in the league so far, but a few key players on defense, including Nick Bosa were injured. Jimmy Garoppolo played well with 253 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions. San Francisco stopped a fractured Carolina team from ever having a chance at competing.
This week the 49ers are headed to Atlanta for, what should be, another win. If San Francisco is who they perceive to be, this shouldn’t be too much of a challenge.
Dallas Cowboys (4-1)
Central Michigan star Cooper Rush continues to get the job done for Dallas. Okay, it’s 99% the defense, but Rush has still been impressive going 4-0 as an NFL starter. So far Dallas has been able to elevate other areas other than the pass game. Their defense is top three in the league, their run game has looked way better and Micah Parsons might be the new defensive player of the decade. They limited the Rams to just 10 points last week. With Dak Prescott itching to get back at quarterback this team could get even better, but there’s a chance it could have the opposite effect.
Time will tell if Rush is the man for the job, because if he gets the start against Philadelphia it’ll be the hardest test of his career and the hardest test for this team this year. This classic NFC East rivalry will be must-see TV.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-2)
Tampa Bay dominated Atlanta from the second quarter to the third quarter. Tom Brady threw for 351 yards and a touchdown, Leonard Fournette led the team in rushing and receiving yards and they didn’t turn the ball over. Overall it was a good performance, but not good enough against Atlanta. This team is a question mark as they’ve been able to skate by, but not by big margins. It’s why they remain at the nine spot.
The Buccaneers travel north to face another bad opponent in Pittsburgh. There should be no surprise that Tampa should get their fourth win next week, but it’d be nice to see a larger margin of victory.
New York Giants (4-1)
A second half comeback capped off, what can only be described as, an unexpected journey for the Giants this year. New York’s defense was able to hold the Packers at the end of the fourth quarter, just enough, to win. Daniel Jones was only sacked one time, they never turned the ball over and Saquon Barkley combined for 106 scrimmage yards and a touchdown. The Giants are still an anomaly as their competition up to this point has been about average, but they keep winning.
New York is hosting Baltimore this week, which should be another test. If the Giants can pull off another victory the outlook on their season vastly changes, for the better. The only think that can potentially hurt them is if their punter can return from London.
Green Bay Packers (3-2)
Just when Green Bay started to get on a roll, they flopped. Green Bay commanded the first half against the Giants, but they let their lead slip away and choked in the final quarter. Aaron Rodgers threw the ball well, but the Packers were never able to fully establish the run. Their defense has been better than expected up to this point, but for how shaky New York’s offensive line is, they should’ve gotten to the quarterback more.
Green Bay sticks with the “Big Apple” theme with the Jets this week. They should be able to handle the young team, but if the Jets played like they did in week five, Green Bay might slip further down the ranks.
Cincinnati Bengals (2-3)
While a loss cannot be chalked up to one player being out, it certainly doesn’t help when receiver Tee Higgins left the game early due to an ankle sprain. Cincinnati may be the hardest team to pin-point on these power rankings. After a Cinderella story last year, expectations were extremely high on this young explosive offense. Things just haven’t fully clicked yet. They sit atop the Cardinals because both teams are in very similar positions.
Only able to beat teams worse than them, they should be able to handle the Saints on Sunday.
Arizona Cardinals (2-3)
Arizona lost, but yet they move up. So far they’ve shown they can stick with the big dogs in the league. They just haven’t been able to pull through as many victories as they’d like. Winning is the only thing that matters in the NFL, but the Cardinals are regaining their true form. In a year where reliable kickers are scarce, the Cardinals and their fans wait intently on Matt Prater’s return.
While a missed field goal derailed their chance to win last week, they have an easier opponent in the Seahawks this week. Arizona should be able to get to .500 on Sunday.
Miami Dolphins (3-2)
Injuries are a common place in the NFL and can always can plague a teams season. The Dolphins just seems to be getting the brute of them. With Tua Tagovailoa out for the foreseeable future, Miami was to rely on Teddy Bridgewater. But Bridgewater entered concussion protocol on the first drive of the game against the Jets. To make matters worst Tyreek Hill was seen walking with a boot according to David Furones of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. The Dolphins had to thrust seventh-round rookie Skylar Thompson into the game last week, where he played as well as anyone else in that situation, not good.
Unfortunately Miami’s defense has been sub-par (at best) the past few weeks. It doesn’t get any easier either. They face Minnesota at home on Sunday, for most likely their third loss.
Los Angeles Rams (2-3)
Unfortunately for the Rams, Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp cannot be the only offense for the team. Los Angeles’ defense was able to contain the Cowboys to only 22 points, but their offense only scored 10. In last weeks rankings it was said that “things need to turn around this week (against Dallas)”. Things did not turn around and LA looked like a shell of the team they were last year.
Thankfully for the Rams they host the Panthers this week. This would be a good time for Stafford and the offense to regroup and focus on more targets than Kupp, while still getting a win.
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-3)
Jacksonville had the NFL fooled for a brief moment, they still might, but not like two weeks ago. Trevor Lawrence has turned the ball over seven times in the past two weeks, two interceptions this week. That’s not the worst part, because they played the winless (at the time) Houston Texans. The Jaguars offense was unable to score a touchdown and posted only six points, against a bottom five defense. An overall bad performance for Jacksonville.
Remaining in the AFC South, Jacksonville takes on Indianapolis this week. If the Jaguars can regain the momentum they had, this should be win. On the contrast if both teams play like they did in week five, that’d be two consecutive games without a touchdown, for both teams.
Las Vegas Raiders (1-4)
With only seconds on the clock, the Raiders had to go for a fourth and one on their own 46 yard-line. Instead of letting running back Josh Jacobs (154 yards and one touchdown) try and get the one yard or a short out-route to the sideline, Derek Carr threw up a prayer that wasn’t answered. The Raiders were upset, especially Davante Adams. Las Vegas continues to lose close games, frustrating the team and fans. A case could also be made on the decision to go for a go-ahead two-point conversion with four minutes left in the fourth that ultimately cost them the game.
Thankfully the Raiders head into their bye week, hopefully to figure some things out and get to the level they’re expected to be at.
New York Jets (3-2)
New York stomped all over Miami on Sunday. They put up, an NFL week five high, 40 points and never let up. This team, honestly, should be higher in the rankings, but what holds them back, is how new, fresh and young they are. As exciting as they are, young teams are bound to be inconsistent. Other than that New York seems to have a couple of good NFL teams this year. Rookie running back Breece Hall put the team on his back leading his team in rushing and receiving yards with 197 combined and a touchdown. In fact all of their touchdowns were ran in. They also have a very underrated defense that can hold opponents quite well.
The Jets head out to Green Bay this week for a true test of consistency. For a team trending up, this week is a great opportunity to make waves in the AFC East.
New England Patriots (2-3)
Mac Jones was out, Brian Hoyer was out, but Bailey Zappe was not. In his first career start Zappe not only got the win, but was comfortable right from the start. Running back Rhamondre Stevenson rushed for 161 yards and he’s the number two option at that position. New England played well, but Detroit played worse. Despite shutting them out, the Lions hurt themselves more than the Patriots did. That is why they only move up two spots.
The Patriots head to the rust belt, this week to face the Browns. If Zappe gets the start, expect a few more mistakes compared to last week. This game should be a close matchup.
Tennessee Titans (3-2)
Wile many outside power rankings have the Titans much higher, the 20 spot is more than fair. While Tennessee has won their last three games, two have been against teams beneath them and one was against the 1-4 Raiders. They’re trending up, but there’s hesitance to put them any higher. Last week they played the second worst team Washington. They were barely able to slide past the Commanders too. The Titans were forced to punt eight times against a middle of the pack defense. It seems as though the success of the team is completely reliant on Derrick Henry to perform, so hopefully he can stay healthy.
While they’re on a roll, they’ll have to take a break for with a bye this week.
Atlanta Falcons (2-3)
Reality hits the Falcons after a brutal offensive performance against the Buccaneers. They punted six times, missed a field goal and totaled only 261 yards of offense. Marcus Mariota is not the answer and with Cordarrelle Patterson on injury reserve their offensive versatility is limited. Atlanta’s defense did show some poise against Tampa Bay so that’s a plus.
With San Francisco on the docket, expect an even worse offensive showing against the number one defense in the NFL.
Cleveland Browns (2-3)
Four out of five games have been decided by a field goal for the Browns. What differs last week against the Chargers is that rookie kicker Cade York had a chance to win the game for the second time this season, but he failed to do so. Cleveland continues to push their games to the final stages of the game and it’s not working out. Granted nobody expect greatness out of Jacoby Brissett, but the defense hasn’t done them many favors. With the weapons Cleveland has on both sides of the ball, they shouldn’t be losing the way they are.
Their next opponent is New England. No matter who the quarterback is for the Patriots, the Browns have another winnable matchup. We’ll see if Cleveland can change their ways.
Chicago Bears (2-3)
Mark week five on the calendar, because it’s the first time Justin Fields has thrown for over 200 yards this season! Yes, it was only 208 yards, but it still counts. Chicago did show some fight in the second half against the Vikings but ultimately fell short, due to a fumble. Other than that, this team continues to struggle to find their identity on offense, while their run defense struggles mightily.
They remain at the 23 spot, because they have a real chance at (somehow) getting their third win against the struggling Washington Commanders. They’ll play on Thursday night, which is scary considering the NFL game televised on Thursday night last week.
New Orleans Saints (2-3)
New Orleans got their second win of the season thanks to the Swiss army knife Taysom Hill. Hill, who was not used much until week five, is one of the more versatile players on the football field at anytime. The fact the Saints haven’t utilized him more up to this point is surprising. He finished with 112 rushing yards, three touchdowns and a 22-yard touchdown pass. Now that Alvin Kamara looks healthy he finally was able to have a big game with 194 scrimmage yards. Granted all these stats were put up against the Seahawks defense, but it’s a positive for a team with higher hopes, then where they are right now.
The Saints will have their word cut out for them this week against the Bengals. If they can diversify their attack like they did against Seattle, there’s a real chance they can win.
Denver Broncos (2-3)
Denver’s offense proceeded to go from bad to worse. Russell Wilson can’t seem to find open receivers in scoring positions. With Javonte Williams out, they struggled on the ground. They missed a field goal, punted five times and Wilson threw two picks. Against a poor Indianapolis defense, they were unable to find the end-zone a single time. Serious work needs to be done to this team.
Broncos have yet another primetime game on Monday Night versus the Chargers. The NFL universe cannot take another zero touchdown performance, please.
Indianapolis Colts (2-2-1)
The Colts didn’t play any better than Denver, they just happened to win. They punted the ball seven times, Matt Ryan threw two picks and just like Denver zero touchdowns. Thankfully their kicker was able to make all his attempts. They won 12-9.
Indianapolis faces Jacksonville this week. In a poor AFC South, this matchup means something for the Jaguars, but not as much for the Colts.
Detroit Lions (1-4)
Coming into week five, Detroit had the number one scoring offense and the most scored on defense in the NFL. Somehow they scored zero points. More than half of their defensive secondary is hurt and the rest of their defense is just bad. Lions fans were tricked into high expectations due to HBO’s Hard Knocks and an, early, explosive offense. Dan Campbell warned fans before the season started, that it’d be a process this year. No-one seemed to listen. This years Lions is a mind boggling NFL team.
The Lions have their bye this week. Something they desperately need to let injured players recover and for the staff to figure out the direction of the team moving forward.
Seattle Seahawks (2-3)
Seattle’s offense has been quite electric since they outscored Detroit in week four. But they were unable to do the same thing against a competent NFL defense. Geno Smith looks like he was reborn. Say what you will, but Smith’s confidence is at a career high and he’s taking advantage of his opportunity. But with Rashaad Penny out, this teams offensive attack diminishes. If Kenneth Walker III can emulate his explosiveness he displayed at Michigan State, this team could become more of a problem than most thought.
Since the Seahawks have begun to play within their limits, a test against Arizona this week could vastly change the outlook on their season.
Houston Texans (1-3-1)
Rejoice Houston! The Texans won their first game of the season. Unfortunately, it could be the only. Winning is king in the NFL, but Houston still did not play well. They only scored 13 points in a game as forgettable as the Broncos and Colts. Running back Dameon Pierce had 99 rushing yards and the only touchdown of the game.
Houston’s bye week couldn’t have come at a worst time. Nonetheless maybe the Texans need a break anyway.
Pittsburgh Steelers (1-4)
Pittsburgh is not looking good. Granted they did play the number one team in the Buffalo Bills, but there’s no excuses for scoring only three points in an NFL game. They went 5-15 on third downs, 0-3 on fourth downs and turned the ball over twice. While two turnovers is quite normal nowadays, you can’t do that against the best team and expect to win. Besides throwing zero touchdowns, Kenny Pickett threw for 327 yards, so he’s getting comfortable.
Their schedule doesn’t make it any easier with Tampa Bay next. Unless a miracle occurs, Pittsburgh will add another loss to their season.
Washington Commanders (1-4)
No matter what Ron Rivera says to apologize, it’s hard to believe he has faith in Carson Wentz after his press conference comments. What’s funny is that Wentz actually played quite well against the Titans with 359 yards, two touchdowns and one pick. Granted he did fumble the ball three times, but all were recovered. Washingtons run game is to blame here, with only 43 total rushing yards.
Hopefully those rushing numbers can improve against Chicago this week, who has the second worst rushing defense in the NFL.
Carolina Panthers (1-4)
What a week it’s been for the Panthers. Head coach (former) Matt Rhule was fired, baker Mayfield was injured, continued to play and is now out for two to six weeks which means they’ll have an XFL quarterback starting this week. In short, Carolina did not play well against the 49ers and have quickly tumbled down to the bottom of the rankings and the NFL.
New starting quarterback PJ Walker will have his first start this year this week against the Rams. This game will be a loss for the Panthers, but nobody minds if Walker shows some flash.