NFL Power Rankings, Week 5
Broncos steal top spot from Seahawks
1. Broncos (5-0): Peyton Manning can send Tony Romo a huge gift basket for letting him off the hook in this one. Broncos usurp throne from Seattle, but we still aren’t completely sold on this team until they beat a dominating defense. By the way, how mad did Manning look when coach John Fox made him run out the clock and settle for a game-winning field goal, instead of letting him punch it into the end zone?
2. Saints (5-0): What would the over/under be for a Broncos-Saints Super Bowl? This had to be commish Roger Goodell’s vision when he changed all the rules to help offenses. Either way, Drew Brees is playing at an MVP level. Too bad Peyton Manning is playing out of his mind.
3. Colts (4-1): Not only did Indy prove it could win a nailbiter, they knocked off our consensus No. 1. The Colts have quietly taken down two NFC heavyweights, in San Francisco and Seattle —and they should have beaten AFC contender Miami, too.
4. Seahawks (4-1): We actually predicted the upset in Indy last week. Seattle is a slightly different team on the road, but still more than capable of showing up in New Jersey in February. They fall three spots strictly due to math and scheduling. They’ll beat Tennessee this weekend.
5. 49ers (3-2): Great teams win the games they’re supposed to, and the Niners absolutely buried a down-and-out Texans squad despite another poor showing from Colin Kaepernick. Don’t look now: San Fran is regaining its mojo, especially on defense.
6. Chiefs (5-0): How is undefeated Kansas City this low? Well, they haven’t exactly been knocking off any NFL juggernauts (sorry, Dallas) — and they won’t really get a true test for another month, Nov. 17, at Denver.
7. Patriots (4-1): It’s going to be that type of season up in New England. Win and everyone is praising Tom Brady’s greatness. Lose, and questions about their lack of weapons will persist. They’ll need a whole lot more than six points this week vs. New Orleans.
8. Packers (2-2): Everyone knows the Pack can score — 29.5 points per game, 453.2 yards, top 5 in passing and rushing — but this defense is far from championship-caliber and now they’ll be without Clay Matthews for at least a month.
9. Bengals (3-2): After five weeks it’s still hard to read the Bengals. They lose to the Browns, then shock the Patriots. One thing we do know, they are a better team when they’re running the football with Giovani Bernard and The Law Firm.
10. Ravens (3-2): It was nice to see the run game resurrected. Credit a healthy Ray Rice for a good chunk of that. He ran for 74 yards and was a threat catching passes out of the backfield again.
11. Titans (3-2): We’re not sure who even plays for the Titans, but this no-name offense/defense is never out of any game. They haven’t lost a game by more than nine points.
12. Cowboys (3-2): Hard to believe that Dallas was less than two minutes away from making a huge jump up the rankings. Then, Tony Romo went all Tony Romo on us.
13. Bears (3-2): Saints put down blueprint for beating Chicago: play keep away. Despite two straight losses, Bears rank No. 4 in NFL in points per game (29.0).
14. Dolphins (3-2): They need to do something about protecting the franchise. Ryan Tannehill is NFL’s most-sacked quarterback.
15. Lions (3-2): With all apologies to Reggie Bush’s renaissance, the Lions go as Calvin Johnson goes — and when Megaton isn’t playing, they aren’t winning.
16. Texans (2-3): Matt Schaub looks like he needs Dr. Phil. Texans should have entered the Josh Freeman sweepstakes.
17. Browns (3-2): There’s a new way to win in the NFL: trade away your best player, lose your starting QB to injury, decide to tank — and then reel off three straight wins. Unbelievable.
18. Eagles (2-3): If Nick Foles has a big week in Tampa this week, Philly — the worst first-place team in football — might have seen the last of Mike Vick.
19. Cardinals (3-2): Sixth-round pick Andre Ellington is emerging in the desert. Fantasy owners, take note.
20. Jets (3-2): Raise your hand, New Yorkers, if you thought Rex Ryan had a better chance to keep his job than Tom Coughlin. No one? Exactly.
21. Falcons (1-4): What’s that Bill Parcells used to say? You’re only as good as your record, and Atlanta’s record stinks. So much for all that talent.
22. Raiders (2-3): We’ve been hyping up Terrelle Pryor since Week 1. The kid has all the tools and Oakland knows it after kicking Matt Flynn to the curb.
23. Chargers (2-3): San Diego might have league’s second-worst secondary behind Washington.
24. Bills (2-3): Jeff Tuel? Thad Lewis? They’re signing quarterbacks off the street. It’s a shame since E.J. Manuel was showing such promise.
25. Rams (2-3): Rams finally got the run game going (143 yards), albeit against a terrible, terrible Jacksonville defense.
Best of the worst: 26. Panthers (1-3); 27. Redskins (1-3); 28. Vikings (1-3); 29. Steelers (0-4); 30. Giants (0-5); 31. Buccaneers (0-4); 32. Jaguars (0-5).