Week 5 NFL power rankings

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By SAM SPIEGELMAN
XNsports.com

The fourth week of football is officially in the books, and now trends are beginning to develop as we move ahead of the Week 4 edition of the XN Sports NFL Power Rankings.

Every week, XN Sports will rank every NFL team. Here is the Week 5 edition based on the Week 4 results and how teams are trending at the quarter-point of the season.


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Week 5 NFL power rankings

32. Oakland Raiders (Last week: 32)

Now a new head coach will take over on the sidelines with a decision to make about which backup will give the team the best chance to get off the snide after the bye week.

Things in Oakland are quickly spiraling out of control, and while the coach needed to go, you can make the argument the season is already lost and the organization needs to replace the front office, too. Let the tryouts for 2015 begin.

What to know: Dennis Allen led the Raiders to a 8-28 mark since he took over in 2012, which is the second-worst record during that span. Only the Jaguars (6-30) have fared worse.

(Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images)

31. Tennessee Titans (Last week: 28)

Charlie Whitehurst got the start for the Titans, and I’m not sure if Jake Locker will ever get the nod under center for this team ever again.

The Titans are barely scratching the surface of being competitive, and they need to figure out which pieces will be on the team next season.

What to know: Is Whitehurst in line to get more starts? Pro Football Focus’ analysis suggests yes. Whitehurst earned a +1.8 grade, standing up to pressure and thriving with his accuracy.

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

30. Jacksonville Jaguars (Last week: 31)

The Jaguars couldn’t get Blake Bortles a win in his first start, but I was impressed by what Bortles brings to the table.

Jacksonville might round into a more competitive team as Bortles gets more experience under his belt. Consider this year a JV type of season, and Bortles will have the Jags in the mix in 2015.

What to know: Blake Bortles posted the highest completion percentage of any rookie quarterback making their first career start at 78.4 percent (minimum 30 pass attempts)

(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

29. St. Louis Rams (Last week: 29)

A bye week should do Austin Davis and Co. well. So far, Davis has played pretty well in spot duty.

What to know: The Rams have just one sack in the first three weeks. One of those reasons: opponents are successfully running the ball against them. Teams have the sixth-most attempts against St. Louis, which ranks 29th in yards per rush allowed through three games.

(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Last week: 30)

The Bucs finally got off the snide, and it looks like Mike Glennon has a grasp on the starting job. That’s a move the team needed to make all along.

Nobody is jumping on the Tampa Bay bandwagon to make a run at the NFC South crown, but they’re more competitive with Glennon under center and a healthy Doug Martin.

What to know: The Buccaneers win probability reached as low as 1.5 percent during their comeback victory over the Steelers on Sunday. They began the fourth quarter with about a 13.5 percent chance of winning, but dipped to 1.5 percent with 1:35 to go in the game.

(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

27. Washington (Last week: 21)

Maybe we were too quick to anoint Kirk Cousins the new quarterback in the nation’s capital. Cousins was overwhelmed by the Giants defense, and the Washington offense was even more ineffective than its defense.

There are so many holes on a team that won the division less than two years ago.

What to know: The Giants defense put pressure on Cousins all night Thursday, but interestingly enough, three of Cousins’ picks came while facing no pressure at all.

(Photo by Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

26. Buffalo Bills (Last week: 20)

Kyle Orton just supplanted your 2013 first-round pick under center. That’s a major misstep for the Bills in terms of building the franchise in the future and destroying the confidence of a young quarterback.

Now the rest of 2014 -- beginning in Week 5 -- is contingent on the success of Orton, a career journeyman who retired in the offseason. Barring a minor miracle, Buffalo just decided to end its season.

What to know: Do the Bills have the best defensive line in football? According to Pro Football Focus, it’s certainly a possibility. PFF graded the D-line at +9.4 for their game against the Texans. All four linemen graded positively, including Marcell Dareus, who helped hold Arian Foster and Alfred Blue to 15 yards and combined for three sacks.

(Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

25. Cleveland Browns (Last week: 25)

Apparently, reports out of Cleveland is that there’s a growing confidence in Brian Hoyer as the starting quarterback. But the Browns just had a bye week, so I’m not sure why we’re suddenly anointing Hoyer the man just yet.

What to know: Are the Browns poised to make a run? Their upcoming schedule includes Tennessee, Pittsburgh, Jacksonville, Oakland, and Tampa Bay. Combined, those teams are 4-16.

(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

24. New York Jets (Last week: 18)

We’re already hearing Jets fans make the call for Michael Vick to replace Geno Smith in the starting lineup, and that’s not a good sign for a team that we all knew would face the harder part of their schedule right off the bat.

The Jets have faced Green Bay, Chicago, and Detroit the past three weeks, and now get San Diego, Denver, and New England in consecutive games. It wouldn’t be surprising for them to be 1-6 before their Oct. 26 contest against Buffalo.

What to know: Geno Smith has had multiple turnovers in each game for the 11th time in the past two years. That’s the highest total in the NFL over that time, two more than Eli Manning and Carson Palmer (nine).

(Photo by Ron Antonelli/Getty Images)

23. Minnesota Vikings (Last week: 27)

Teddy Bridgewater led the Vikings to a convincing victory over the Falcons in his first career start, and after a bit of an injury scare it looks like they’ll have their rookie back under center for Week 5.

Without Adrian Peterson, Matt Asiata and Jerick McKinnon have picked up the slack. They can be even more dynamic if they find a way to get Cordarrelle Patterson the rock.

What to know: Bridgewater notched the third-highest Total QBR by a rookie making their first career starting in the last five years. Bridgewater earned an 85.6 QBR, behind Robert Griffin III’s 94.5 and Tim Tebow‘s 88.9.

(Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)

22. Kansas City Chiefs (Last week: 24)

I’m not sure whether to chalk Monday night’s win up to the Chiefs or the descending Patriots. The solid running game and stout defense -- that sounds nothing like an Andy Reid team, but it’s led to two straight wins.

I’m far from a believer when it comes to Kansas City, but they are formidable when Alex Smith and Jamaal Charles play like that.

What to know: Alex Smith completed 20-of-26 passes for 248 yards and three touchdowns Monday night. That computes to a passer rating of 144.4, which is the fourth-highest by any player with at least 10 attempts in a game against a team that employed Bill Belichick as its head coach or defensive coordinator, according to Elias Sports.

(Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

21. New Orleans Saints (Last week: 15)

The Saints are making the case to be the most disappointing team four weeks into the season. The offense is not nearly as explosive or dynamic as we expected it to be, and the defense has been a pushover, to put it kindly.

There’s still time for New Orleans to turn things around, especially because the rest of the NFC South is allowing them to get second, third, and fourth chances. I’m just not sure whether I still believe they can rally.

What to know: The Saints were held without a point in the first half twice before Sunday night against Dallas while Sean Payton has been their head coach. Once in 2007 and again in 2011.

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

20. New York Giants (Last week: 26)

The Giants are… back? Eli Manning has played lights out in recent weeks, and the revamped front four is generating pressure like the Giants’ defenses of old, which is allowing the rest of the defense to make plays.

If the Eagles and Cowboys are the class of the NFC East, I give the Giants a fighting chance.

What to know: Manning has four games with 300 yards passing and four touchdowns. In the Super Bowl era, all other Giants quarterbacks have a total of two — Phil Simms and Kerry Collins.

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

19. Miami Dolphins (Last week: 22)

Ryan Tannehill needed a big performance to salvage his job, and fortunately for him and his team, the Raiders were up next on the schedule. Tannehill was up for the challenge, and the Dolphins are back up to .500.

With the rest of the AFC East quite suspect, the Dolphins still have a shot if they can figure things out.

What to know: Tannehill was ready for the moment. He completed 17 of his first 19 passes (89.5 percent) in the first half Sunday, the highest completion of any one half in his three-year career.

(Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images)

18. Dallas Cowboys (Last week: 23)

This is the best offensive line in football paving holes for DeMarco Murray, who leads the league in rushing. Tony Romo has improved drastically since Week 1, and the defense is even beginning to show some signs of life.

Early on, the Cowboys are making a believer out of me. However, they’ve picked on the Titans, Rams, and disappointing Saints the past few weeks. Houston and Seattle are on the horizon.

What to know: Murray is the first NFL player with 100 yards rushing and a touchdown through the first four weeks of the season since Emmitt Smith did it back in 1995, according to Elias Sports.

(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

17. Carolina Panthers (Last week: 13)

With their top three running backs injured and a defense finally getting exploited, Carolina has dropped two in a row, with the road getting a bit murkier.

Cam Newton has played extremely average, and that likely is a product of not having a running game and suspect protection. They’re fortunate the rest of the NFC South is equally as unpredictable.

What to know: The Panthers have surrendered six passing touchdowns allowed outside the numbers so far in 2014, including three against the Ravens. They allowed four in all of 2013.

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

16. Houston Texans (Last week: 19)

We have to start considering J.J. Watt as a legitimate MVP candidate, as he single-handedly has made an impact in every one of the Texans’ wins this season.

The Texans are beating who they should beat, which is similar to what the Colts are doing. When these two AFC South rivals go head to head, we should see just how close this divisional race will be.

What to know: Watt, who caught a TD pass against the Raiders two weeks ago, is only the second player since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970 with a TD reception and a pick-six in the same season, according to Elias Sports. Mike Vrabel did that in 2005.

(Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)

15. Atlanta Falcons (Last week: 10)

Atlanta is the Pittsburgh of the NFC -- good enough to compete with any level of competition, but inconsistent enough to play down to any level of competition.

Still, Matt Ryan is an early MVP candidate, and this time can truly play with the best teams in the NFL. Their defense will always be their Kryptonite.

What to know: The Falcons are 2-0 at home this season and 0-2 on the road. They’ve totaled 1,056 yards of offense at home, 720 on the road. They’ve allowed 689 yards at home, 1,030 on the road.

(Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)

14. Pittsburgh Steelers (Last week: 9)

It’s been hard to get a gauge on the Steelers so far this season, because they’ve been as Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as any team in the NFL. Still, I think this team can contend; the question is can you expect them to?

Perhaps we can chalk this one up to a depleted defense minus Ryan Shazier, Jarvis Jones and Ike Taylor. Perhaps…

What to know: Antonio Brown set an NFL record with his 20th consecutive game with at least five receptions.

(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

13. New England Patriots (Last week: 4)

The Patriots opened Monday night’s game with five straight punts followed by a fumble and an interception, and with each passing week I’m believing less and less in what this team is capable of.

The offseason additions and young pieces maturing had me convinced this team would be the second-best team in the AFC, but so far the offense is anemic and the defense is below average. This is a purely personnel issue.

What to know: For the season, Tom Brady has completed only 43 percent of throws more than five yards downfield this season, second-worst in the league behind only EJ Manuel.

(Photo by Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

12. Indianapolis Colts (Last week: 17)

It’s no surprise that as Andrew Luck began to pick up his game, the Colts are looking more and more like the powerhouse we expected them to be. Luck is playing at a rapid pace, enough to put him into the MVP discussion.

One caution: the Colts have ravished the Jaguars and Titans in consecutive weeks, but now face a five-game stretch featuring Baltimore, Houston, Cincy, Pittsburgh, and the New York Giants. Let’s see how they fare with more stringent competition.

What to know: With the win Sunday, Luck is now 4-0 all-time against Tennessee. Interestingly enough, he has two touchdowns compared to four interceptions in those games. He had 18 touchdowns and four interceptions against the rest of the AFC South.

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

11. Baltimore Ravens (Last week: 16)

The Ravens look like they’re the second-best team in the AFC North behind Cincinnati, and the team looks as if it’s beginning to find its stride. The running game has finally become a factor, and Steve Smith has surfaced as a legitimate No. 1 wide receiver again.

There aren’t too many things to nitpick about Baltimore right now. Three straight wins has me starting to take them very seriously.

What to know: Smith now has two receiving touchdowns of 60 yards or more. The only other Ravens player to accomplish that feat in a season was Derrick Mason back in 2009.

(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

10. Chicago Bears (Last week: 8)

This is typical of the Bears -- just when you start to get behind them, they pull off a second-hand stinker behind the arm of a bad Jay Cutler.

Cutler and the defense are both going to be a bit unpredictable, with major upside and a low basement. I can see the Bears going toe-to-toe with any team in the league, but also losing to like… the Bills.

What to know: The Packers and Bears went an entire game without either side punting for just the second time in NFL regular-season history. The last time that occurred was in 1992 with the Bills and 49ers.

(Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune/MCT via Getty Images)

9. Green Bay Packers (Last week: 14)

Beating the Bears was Green Bay’s signature victory to date. They turned what had the making of a shootout in the first half into a one-sided victory in the second, and that says a lot about the ceiling of this team.

The Packers still have their work cut out for them, especially with the Lions surging and Bears lurking. I still put my trust in Aaron Rodgers.

What to know: Aaron Rodgers surpassed the 25,000 passing yards mark in his 98th career game played. He is the fourth-fastest quarterback to reach that milestone.

(Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)

8. San Francisco 49ers (Last week: 11)

The Niners needed to get a win over Philly to get back on the right track. And remember, even if the team settles for .500 through the first half of the season, it’ll get reinforcements back to make a late-season run.

The biggest hesitation I have with putting my faith in the 49ers is the situation Jim Harbaugh is in. Is the front office fully invested in him, and is he invested in his team?

What to know: The ageless wonder, Frank Gore, became the first 49ers player to catch a touchdown pass from Colin Kaepernick not named Anquan Boldin, Michael Crabtree or Vernon Davis since Week 16 of 2012.

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

7. Detroit Lions (Last week: 12)

Is it time to start believing in the Lions? Well, it depends on how you view their triumph over the Jets. They went on the road against a quality defense and easily earned the win without the help of Calvin Johnson. To me, that’s impressive.

Given their outings against the Giants and Panthers in the first two weeks, it looked like the same old inconsistent Lions. Maybe under Jim Caldwell they’ve turned a corner.

What to know: Calvin Johnson‘s 12 receiving yards against the Jets was the fewest he’s ever had in a Lions win. Detroit had lost the previous six games when Johnson was held to under 20 yards.

(Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

6. Philadelphia Eagles (Last week: 5)

At 3-1, it’s hard to knock the Eagles too much. But it worries me when Nick Foles is playing light years worse than he did last year, and this defense is as weak as any team’s in the league.

LeSean McCoy has been a non-factor and, because Philly has continually fallen behind, the team is relying on Foles to win them games. That simply cannot last, and if that continues this team is destined to flop.

What to know: The Eagles managed 213 total yards in the loss against the 49ers, which is the second-lowest total in the Chip Kelly era. The 22 yards rushing was the lowest by any team in the NFL so far this season.

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

5. San Diego Chargers (Last week: 7)

Philip Rivers is making a strong case to be the MVP at the quarter-point of the season. Two-thirds of the Chargers’ backfield is on the sidelines, and the running game has offered no help to Rivers, who’s single-handedly leading the team to victory week after week.

The defense has continued to make strides with a solid front seven and new-look defensive backfield. It wouldn’t surprise me to see the Bolts win the AFC West.

What to know: That lowly running game is averaging 2.4 yards per carry. The 31 other NFL teams are all averaging 3.0 yards per carry or more.

(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

4. Arizona Cardinals (Last week: 6)

The Cardinals have overcome some key losses on both sides of the ball to begin the year 3-0. Drew Stanton has started two of the three games. Larry Fitzgerald has been a non-factor. And nobody is asking where Daryl Washington, Karlos Dansby or Darnell Dockett is.

Eventually, these Cardinals do have to come back to reality, but they are already a step ahead of the 49ers as the second-best team in the NFC West.

What to know: Philly gets the credit for being the comeback birds, but perhaps it’s the Cardinals’ claim to fame. Arizona started the year with three victories, all of which have been a result of second-half comebacks. Arizona trailed the San Diego Chargers by 11, the New York Giants by four, and the San Francisco 49ers by eight.

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

3. Denver Broncos (Last week: 3)

There’s no questioning the Broncos have one of the most talented rosters in the NFL, but there are still some kinks to work out if they want to return to the Super Bowl again this season. Montee Ball so far has been a bit of a disappointment, as the Broncos run game ranks 27th in the NFL. And the newly revamped secondary which added T.J. Ward and Aqib Talib is 31st.

There are obstacles this team needs to overcome, but fortunately there’s enough time and the right personnel to fix it.

(Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

2. Cincinnati Bengals (Last week: 2)

Cincy headed into its bye week unbeaten, and now gets to add a healthy Marvin Jones to an already explosive offense.

The Bengals face a desperate New England team, Carolina, Indy, and Baltimore the next four weeks. We’ll have an even better gauge of where they stand in the AFC after this difficult stretch.

What to know: What can Jones do for you? Last year he caught 10 touchdowns and ranked 21st in the league in yards per route run. He finished second on the Bengals with 712 receiving yards while also running eight reverses for 65 yards.

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

1. Seattle Seahawks (Last week: 1)

You can’t lose your post atop of the NFL world because of a bye. Let’s not forget Seattle’s overtime victory over the Broncos in the Super Bowl 48 rematch. This is the still the bully on the block, and nobody has proven to be as well-rounded -- at least in the NFC -- through the first month of the season.

What to know: Tight end Zach Miller underwent an ankle procedure during the bye week and is expected to miss an extended period of time. It’s not a major loss. Luke Willson and Cooper Helfet should see more action in his place.

(Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

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