The fifth week of football is officially in the books, and now the trends that were beginning to develop a week ago have either made us much more confident or second-guess ourselves. Now we move ahead to the Week 6 edition of the XN Sports NFL Power Rankings.
Every week, XN Sports will rank every NFL team. Here is the Week 6 edition based on the Week 5 results and how teams are trending at this juncture of the season.
No team is in more shambles than the Jets, who have a quarterback conundrum for a third time in the Rex Ryan era, a coach on the hot seat who will likely get fired by season’s end, and perhaps a general manager who will join him on the open market. The Jets were believed to perhaps have a shot of being a playoff team this year, but instead they’ll be looking toward a total overhaul of the front office and roster.
What to know: Michael Vick and Geno Smith combined for a 4.13 Total QBR, the second-worst by any team this season.
(Photo by Al Pereira/New York Jets/Getty Images)
28. St. Louis Rams (Last week: 29)
Austin Davis? Yes, Austin Davis. Was his extraordinary performance a product of a young stud quarterback or a pitiful Eagles defense — that remains to be seen.
What to know: Austin Davis was 29-of-49 for 375 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions, becoming the third quarterback this season to reach those benchmarks in a game (Philip Rivers Week 4 vs Jaguars and Matt Ryan Week 1 vs Saints), and the first to do it on the road.
(Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Last week: 28)
The Bucs nearly upset the Saints in New Orleans and put themselves right in the mix in the lowly NFC South. At 1-4, though, they’re probably not a realistic playoff team but a team that must be considered tough throughout the season.
What to know: Gerald McCoy has totaled a +16.9 pass rushing grade this season, according to Pro Football Focus, which is more than twice as high as the second-best grade for a defensive tackle.
(Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)
26. Washington Redskins (Last week: 27)
I was left impressed with Washington’s effort against the best team in the NFL, but after a horrid outing against the Seahawks Week 5, I’m again back on the Kirk Cousins train. He gives Washington the best chance to win, at least in the Jay Gruden offense. This is going to be a soap opera over the next few months.
What to know: DeSean Jackson‘s 60-yard receiving touchdown in the second quarter was his 14th receiving touchdown of 50 yards or more since 2008, breaking a tie with Calvin Johnson for most in the NFL over that span.
(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
25. Minnesota Vikings (Last week: 23)
The Vikings were shellacked and their third-string quarterback Christian Pondercemented his status as an NFL bust against a superior Packers team. The Vikings don’t need to press the panic button, this year is all about the development of Teddy Bridgewater.
What to know: The Vikings miss Teddy Bridgewater, badly. Christian Ponder was 11-of-23 with two interceptions on throws that traveled more than five yards down the field. Last week against the Falcons, Bridgewater was 9-of-14 for 176 yards and no interceptions on such throws.
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
23. Kansas City Chiefs (Last week: 22)
Alex Smith came up with a dud against his former team, and the Kansas City team that spanked the Patriots on Monday night a week ago did not show up in this one. The Chiefs are a good team, nothing more, nothing less.
What to know: Against his former club, Alex Smith was unable to get anything going in the passing game. Three of his 17 completions went beyond 10 yards, and his two touchdowns were more about scheme — as Travis Kelce took a wide receiver screen to pay dirt, and De’Anthony Thomas broke a handful of tackles on his score.
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
22. Cleveland Browns (Last week: 25)
All of that hype surrounding Brian Hoyer during their bye week came to fruition in the Browns’ 25-point comeback win against the Titans Sunday. The Browns are not a team we’re accustomed to believing in, but they’re giving us a reason to this year.
What to know: The Browns overcame a 28-3 deficit in a 29-28 win at Tennessee, which is the largest comeback victory by a road team in NFL history, and the third-largest comeback in league history (25 points).
(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
21. Miami Dolphins (Last week: 19)
The Dolphins should have a healthy Mike Pouncey and Knowshon Moreno when they return from their bye week. Those are two key cogs that cannot be underrated.
What to know: The Dolphins have a perfect 5-0 record coming off the bye when they have gone into their break with a .500 record.
(Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
20. New Orleans Saints (Last week: 21)
I’m left unimpressed after the Saints’ overtime win over the Buccaneers in the Superdome. New Orleans was on the brink of falling to 1-4 as the Buccaneers rolled into the Superdome and scored 24 unanswered to take a 24-13 lead in the third quarter, but thanks to some late heroics and a strong ability to rebound, a late Khiry Robinson run kept the Saints’ postseason hopes alive. The Saints have their work cut out for them during the bye week.
What to know: Drew Brees was 3-of-10 for 13 yards under pressure Sunday, including a pair of interceptions, one returned for a touchdown. Brees only had eight interceptions under pressure over his previous 36 games entering Sunday.
(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
16. Chicago Bears(Last week: 10)
The Bears’ second-half collapses each of the past two weeks proves that an opportunistic defense can either make or break you. These past two weeks, it’s broken the Bears, while their offense has stalled in second halves. Jay Cutler needs a healthy Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall in order for this team to make any sort of run.
What to know: The Bears coughed up a 14-point lead Sunday against Carolina. One reason: they became the second team this season to have three fourth-quarter interceptions. The Giants did it against Arizona Week 2.
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
14. Carolina Panthers (Last week: 17)
I’m not sure whether the Panthers’ win was more about Carolina or the Bears, but a win is a win, and the Panthers remain very much in the mix in the very mediocre and unimpressive NFC South. Carolina is banged up and plagued by suspensions, but still they’re going to have a shot to take this division crown.
What to know: This is the fourth time in five games that the Panthers have allowed multiple passing touchdowns. In 2013, it only happened in two games against Carolina.
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
13. Pittsburgh Steelers (Last week: 14)
Did anybody expect such a low-scoring, close contest in the first half? There are definitely causes for concern with the Steelers, who seemingly can play up or down to their opponents. There’s so much talent on the offensive side of the ball, they should have ravished the Jags.
What to know: After the Steelers defeated Blake Bortles and Jacksonville, rookie quarterbacks are now 2-17 (in the regular season) against the Steelers since Dick LeBeautook over as Pittsburgh’s defensive coordinator in 2004.
(Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
9. Detroit Lions: (Last week: 7)
Well, just when we’re ready to believe in the Lions they pull a stinker against the Kyle Orton-led Bills. Sure, the Bills are a quality opponent, but this is the kind of game — at home — when a true contender wins. Fool me once, Detroit, shame on you. Fool me twice …
What to know: The Lions, who went 0-for-3 on field-goal attempts Sunday, have now missed a field goal in every game this season.
(Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
8. Green Bay Packers (Last week: 9)
It seems like a month ago that the Packers wiped the floor clean against the Christian Ponder-led Vikings, and the Packers offense looked like it has finally found its stride. If this is any indication of what’s to come for Green Bay, they ought to be considered the clear favorites in the NFC North — no other team has looked as sharp.
What to know: Aaron Rodgers owns a 119.0 quarterback rating against Minnesota, which is the highest of any quarterback against one team with a minimum of 200 passes, according to NFL research.
(Photo by Brian D. Kersey/Getty Images)
7. San Francisco 49ers (Last week: 8)
Despite the turmoil by the Bay, the 49ers took care of Alex Smith to move to 3-2 and remain in the thick of the NFC West race. Frank Gore continues to defy age, as the Niners now rank third in rush offense and third in rush defense. That’s a formula for success.
What to know: Frank Gore‘s back-to-back games rushing for at least 100 yards marks the first time since he has done so since 2011 when he reached the five straight 100-yard weeks.
(Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
6. Philadelphia Eagles (Last week: 6)
The Eagles continue their winning ways, though the defense allowed Austin Davis to put forth a Dan Marino-esque effort against them, which should be a concern for Chip Kelly. In close games, how can you expect this D to make that big stop? Offensively, though, we saw signs of LeSean McCoy turning a corner behind an offensive line getting healthier with each week.
What to know: Philadelphia has now won seven straight home games, the longest streak since 2004.
(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
5. Arizona Cardinals (Last week: 5)
Well, we were ready to anoint Drew Stanton “the guy” out in the desert, but now we all cannot wait until Carson Palmer is back healthy again. Secondly, yet another injury on defense — this one to Calais Campbell — could be devastating. They’ve already lostDarnell Dockett up front, and it makes you wonder how much more this unit can handle.
What to know: The lopsided loss to Denver marked the first time the Cardinals have allowed 40 points in a game since the 58-0 loss at Seattle in Week 14 of 2012.
(Photo by John Leyba/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
4. Cincinnati Bengals (Last week: 2)
I think the Bengals’ loss to the Patriots said more about New England than it did about Cincy. The Patriots played emotional, and it was too much for the Bengals to compensate for. This is still a stout team in all three phases, and they’ll be fine going forward.
What to know: The Bengals allowed 33 points through their first three games. They allowed 43 to Patriots Sunday night.
(Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
3. San Diego Chargers (Last week: 5)
If Denver is the No. 1 team in the AFC, the Chargers are without question No. 1A. Philip Rivers continues to make his case for MVP, and Branden Oliver — the fourth-string running back — ran all over the vaunted Jets defense. And what about the ageless Antonio Gates — what are they drinking out there in San Diego?
What to know: Antonio Gates hauled in his 91st career touchdown catch, which tied him with Isaac Bruce for 10th all-time.
(Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
2. Denver Broncos (Last week: 3)
This was exactly the kind of performance we hoped to see the Broncos put forth after their defeat in the Super Bowl rematch and following a bye. Peyton Manning looked sharp, and the offense dominated what was previously a dominating defense.
The Broncos did lose Montee Ball for upwards of three weeks, but it might not matter going against a handful of stout run defenses in the next few weeks. We’re confident Manning can shoulder the offensive workload for a while.
What to know: Peyton Manning, who joined Brett Favre as the only other quarterback in the 500-touchdown club Sunday against Arizona, also threw for a career-high 479 yards.
(Photo by Steve Nehf/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
1. Seattle Seahawks (Last week: 1)
It wasn’t the Seahawks’ most dominating performance of the season, but they traveled to the East Coast and took care of business again in primetime. Russell Wilson is truly developing as an NFL quarterback, and he is now the focal point of this offense.
What to know: Primetime Seahawks? Under coach Pete Carroll, the Seahawks are 11-1 in primetime and own the longest active Monday Night Football streak with nine straight wins, the second-longest mark of all time.