Before you sharpen your pitchforks, a short note on how we’ve come to rank the teams as we have: all NFLTR writers have compiled their own NFL power rankings, which we’ve compiled and averaged in the list below. We hope you enjoy the fruits of our labor, and feel free to agree, disagree, or roast us in the comments below.
#1) Denver Broncos
The Broncos have won 16 straight regular season games dating back to last year. Peyton Manning‘s incredible season includes a record setting 20 TD passes in five games before throwing his first interception. He also passed Dan Marino on Sunday for No. 2 on the all-time passing yardage list.
#2) New Orleans Saints ( 1)
Saints TE Jimmy Graham has four straight games with over 100 receiving yards, which ties Tony Gonzalez for the NFL single-season record for tight ends. Meanwhile, Drew Brees has produce his third most-accurate game on Sunday (29-for-35 passing or 82.9%) when throwing the ball 35 or more times.
#3) Seattle Seahawks (1)
Despite losing their first game of the season to the Colts Sunday, Seattle produced two 100-yard rushers including RB Marshawn Lynch and QB Russell Wilson. They finished the game with 423 yards of offense total, so as much as it hurts for them to lose a game like this, they clearly went up against a top-notch opponent on the road. The Seahawks will have a favorable stretch of games ahead of them when they take on TEN, ARI, STL and TB in the next four.
#4) Kansas City Chiefs ( 1)
If you look at the Chiefs schedule, Kansas City has a decent shot at being 9-0 by the time they play the Broncos in Week 11. The Chiefs are off to a 5-0 start for the first time since 2003, while Alex Smith is 24-5-1 as starter dating back to the 2011 season. That’s good enough for second best win percent in NFL behind only Peyton Manning.
#5) Indianapolis Colts ( 5)
There is no question that Colts have to be one of the most impressive teams in the league. In their last 18 games, the Colts have wins over the 49ers, Seahawks, Texans and Packers. Andrew Luck has engineered 9 game-winning drives in the fourth quarter and overtime in his first two seasons in the NFL. T.Y. Hilton went toe-to-toe with one of the league’s best cornerbacks in Richard Sherman and finished the game with 5 catches for 140 yards and two touchdowns.
#6) Green Bay Packers ( 3)
Sunday’s win brings their winning streak to 22 straight at home over the Lions. It’s to the point where you can probably just pencil a win in for the Packers when they take on Detroit at home. Green Bay appears to have regained a bit of a home field advantage, as they’ve won 22 of 23 regular season games at home over the past three seasons. The Packers look like they’ll be without OLB Clay Matthews for a few weeks, but they managed to 3 out 4 games without him last year. Nick Perry and Mike Neal will likely be asked to handle more snaps in the coming weeks.
#7) San Francisco 49ers (1)
For a game in which the 49ers won 34-3, their passing offense has been underwhelming to say the least. San Francisco ranks No. 31 in the league in passing yards. Thankfully for them, their running game has offset their lack of passing yards by ranking No. 6 overall in that department. Few teams will have as easy of stretch as the 49ers will have in the next five games. Here’s San Francisco next five weeks: ARI, TEN, JAX, BYE, and CAR.
#8) New England Patriots (1)
The Bengals handed the Patriots their first loss of the season, and Cincinnati’s defense was largely responsible for the win. New England’s scored just 6 points on Sunday, which is the fewest points they’ve scored since being shut out by the Dolphins back in 2006. Tom Brady‘s streak of throwing at least one touchdown in a game ended at 52 straight games. The Patriots had won 63 straight games when allowing 13 points or fewer. Clearly, we’re looking at a different Patriots offense this season, at least while Rob Gronkowski is out and Danny Amendola is less than 100 percent.
#9) Cincinnati Bengals ( 4)
Bengals have gone 19 straight games without allowing an opposing quarterback throw for 300 yards. That probably helps to mitigate the fact that their own quarterback, Andy Dalton, hasn’t thrown for 300 yards in their last 15 games. Cincinnati is 3-0 at home this season and 0-2 on the road, which is important to consider given that they’ll be on the road in four of their next five contests.
#10) Dallas Cowboys ( 4)
Maybe you’re tired of people defending Tony Romo for making costly mistakes in close games, but I just don’t feel comfortable hammering a guy who threw for 506 yards and five touchdowns. Dallas wins that game if their defense can make two stops! 51 points allowed and somehow it’s on Romo? Come on. Given the quality of the other teams in the NFC East, the Cowboys should be able to win this division with 8 wins.
#11) Chicago Bears (3)
Alshon Jeffery looks a lot better this than I expected he would coming out of college. He’s clearly a mismatch with his size, but he’s posted some staggering number in the past two weeks — 15 receptions, 325 yards receiving, 27 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Opposing teams continue focus on double-teaming Brandon Marshall, which has resulted in two straight losses for the Bears. Their losing streak probably has more to do with their defense allowing an average of 30 points over that span.
#12) Baltimore Ravens ( 3)
The Ravens ran for a season-high 133 yards, which included a season-best 74 yards rushing from Ray Rice. Torrey Smith chipped in a great game catching six passes for 121 yards while Joe Flacco completed three passes of at least 40 yards. Terrell Suggs is clearly in the running for defensive player of the year as he accounted for three of the Ravens six sacks.
#13) Detroit Lions (6)
It’s been a widely covered topic for the past week, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s still staggering to consider that the Lions haven’t won in Green Bay for 22 years. In those games, the Lions been outscored 631-346 the Packers. There’s no question that not having the best receiver in the game will have a pretty big impact, but the Lions couldn’t do anything. If one player is that important to your team, than you’re not a real contender. Just as surprising was the fact that Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley were held in check throughout the game.
#14) Miami Dolphins ( 2)
Somehow Jonathan Martin starting at left tackle hasn’t been a big story over the Dolphins first four weeks of the season, but Terrell Suggs really had this way with him on Sunday. Miami needs more production out of their running game. I’m not sure why it’s so hard for them get Lamar Miller more involved, but they’re apparently comfortable with the 28th ranked rushing attack.
#15) Atlanta Falcons (4)
I think it’s clear that expecting the Falcons to pick up where they left off last year with their current defensive unit was pretty unreasonable. Monday’s loss to the Jets was the first time Matt Ryan has lost back-to-back home games in his career. Atlanta already has more loses than they had last season. It’s hard not to think back to Mike Smith‘s decision to go for a touchdown at the end of the first-half instead of kicking a field goal. Of course it’s easy to second guess situations hours later, but that seems like a huge mistake for a head coach to make.
#16) Tennessee Titans ( 2)
Tennessee remained competitive against the undefeated Chiefs on Sunday, but unfortunately couldn’t pull out their third straight win. The game ultimately came down execution in the fourth quarter. Both of Ryan Fitzpatrick‘s two interceptions came in the final quarter, which help the Chiefs put up 13 fourth-quarter points. As we mentioned last week, the Titans are in the midst of a tough stretch that includes a trip to Seattle and home game against San Francisco.
#17) Houston Texans
Another popular stat from this past weekend was Matt Schaub setting an NFL record by becoming the first QB to throw a pick-six in four straight games. Meanwhile, K Randy Bullock has now missed five field goals in five games. The Texans streak of 36 straight games played without having a losing record is now over and there are plenty of questions regarding their quarterback moving forward. HC Gary Kubiak intends to stick with Schaub, but another horrible outing could be enough to warrant a change.
#18) Arizona Cardinals ( 3)
The Cardinals is certainly deserving of some attention. This group ranks No. 2 in the league against the run and just got a good cover LB in Daryl Washington back from suspension. If the Cardinals only had a running game to compliment their defense, they could really grind teams out and win the time of possession battle. Arizona hasn’t had a 100-yard rusher for 11 straight games. Things get a lot harder for ARI as they take on the 49ers, Seahawks and Falcons in the next three weeks.
#19) New York Jets ( 5)
Man what a game from rookie QB Geno Smith who completed 16-20 passes for 199 yards and three touchdowns. The Jets defensive line deserves a lot of credit as well. Jon Gruden highlighted the play of Muhammad Wilkerson for most of the game, and rightfully so, but rookie Sheldon Richardson is deserving of some praise as well. The Jets are clearly a team in the fight for playoff spot. New York will have a decent matchup against the Steelers next week, but their next three games after that are against NE, CIN, and NO.
#20) Philadelphia Eagles ( 2)
The Philadelphia Eagles are surprisingly back in first place, despite their 2-3 record. Their two wins are both division wins, which of course is great, but they’ve beaten the 1-3 Redskins and the now 0-5 Giants. The Eagles have only two games on their remaining schedule against teams with a winning record. It doesn’t get much easier than that. If they can improve their pass-defense and get some solid play out of Nick Foles and/or Michael Vick, they could easily be in contention at the end of the season.
#21) San Diego Chargers (5)
Turnovers really hurt the Chargers against the Raiders, which is something that has plagued Phillip Rivers in recent years. San Diego’s first-half performance really put them in a tough position. CB Richard Marshall was clearly a liability that Terrelle Pryor and the Raiders receivers were able to exploit throughout the game. The Chargers will need to put together a solid stretch of wins as the Broncos and Chiefs have already put some distance between them and the Chargers. SD gets a really tough matchup against the Colts in Week 6 and then games against the Jaguars and Redskins after that.
#22) Cleveland Browns ( 1)
Ready for this? The Browns are 3-0 since trading Trent Richardson. They’re also 3-0 since WR Josh Gordon has returned from suspension. Interestingly enough, Gordon’s seven career touchdowns have all been at least 20 yards or longer. Losing Brian Hoyer is just disappointing. It would have been great to see what he could do with a real shot, but it appears as though Brandon Weeden will be asked to build on their current winning streak. Cleveland’s next five games are pretty tough. They’ll be up against DET, GB, KC, BAL and CIN, all of whom are at least .500 or better.
#23) Oakland Raiders ( 5)
Terrelle Pryor looked great in Sunday night’s win over the Chargers. He completed 78 percent of his passes for 221 yards and two touchdowns. He also chipped in 31 yards rushing. Charles Woodson tied an NFL record with his 13th career defensive touchdown. They need to get healthy at running back as Rashad Jennings suffered a hamstring injury and Darren McFadden is already expected to miss a few weeks.
#24) Carolina Panthers (4)
Cam Newton‘s four turnovers, Steve Smith‘s dropped touchdown, seven sacks allowed, a safety, and a dropped first-down pass by Brandon LaFell on fourth-down probably explains why the Panthers lost on Sunday. Here’s how Carolina has started their past five seasons: 1-3 in 2013, 1-6 in 2012, 1-5 in 2011 and 1-12 in 2010, 1-3 in 2009. It’s time to clean house and get some new coaching talent to run this team. CAR gets MIN, STL and TB in the next three weeks.
#25) Buffalo Bills (4)
The Bills lost out on Josh Freeman and have since added Thaddeus Lewis to their active roster with the intention of starting him against a tough Bengals team. It’s hard to expect a lot out of Buffalo’s offense when their only options at quarterback are Lewis and undrafted rookie Jeff Tuel. Losing E.J. Manuel is really unfortunate for a team who could have a chance to compete for the AFC East title now that the Patriots offense is struggling. The Bills are up against four teams with winning records in the next four games including CIN, MIA, NO and KC.
#26) Minnesota Vikings
#27) St. Louis Rams (2)
It appears as though we finally have a decent idea of who the Rams should be handing the ball off to. Zac Stacy actually looked serviceable against the Jaguars, carrying the ball 14 times for 78-yards. Jeff Fisher indicated that Stacey will remain the Rams RB in Week 6 when they take on the Texans in Houston. On the season, St. Louis has just one run of more than 20+ yards, and it’s from QB Sam Bradford. They’ll need to sure up their poor run defense against a Texans team that’s likely to set the tone with Arian Foster and Ben Tate throughout the game.
#28) Washington Redskins (1)
Thankfully for Washington they are coming off of a bye week that should allow them to get healthy on both sides of the ball. RB Alfred Morris is clearly one of the major injuries heading into Week 6. On the season, he’s averaging 5.29 yards per carry and 2.30 yards after contact. Meanwhile, the Redskins passing attack is good enough for 8th in the league. Washington has a tough three-game stretch ahead of them as they take on the Cowboys, Bears and Broncos with two of those games on the road.
#29) Pittsburgh Steelers ( 1)
The Steelers boast an 0-4 record on the season and have a miserable turnover margin of -11. A once vaunted defense is averaging over 27 points allowed per game and they still have offensive line issues, which has produced in the No. 31 overall rushing attack. Week 6’s game against the Jets looked like a decent opportunity for PIT to get their first win of the season, but their defense is good enough to make this a one-sided game.
#30) Tampa Bay Buccaneers ( 1)
The Buccaneers are currently 0-4 on the season and just released their starting quarterback in favor of rookie Mike Glennon. The ranks dead last in passing yards this season, but the good news is that they’ll be up against an Eagles secondary who can easily be exploited. TB needs to get Doug Martin going and that can be done by improving their blocking up front. The Bucs get PHI, ATL and CAR in the next three weeks.
#31) New York Giants (2)
The Giants have allowed as many points through 18 quarters as the 2000 Ravens did all season. Eli Manning is now on pace for 38 interceptions this season. New York is the third team in NFL history to allow at least 30 points in each of their first five games, and have allowed 182 points during that stretch. As if things weren’t bad enough, the Giants have been outscored 61-21 in the fourth quarter this year. They are bad. New York travels to Chicago on a short week and most likely without RB David Wilson.
#32) Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville trades LT Eugene Monroe, which I believe was a good move for them, and then loses No. 2 overall pick Luke Joeckel for the season in less than one week. The Broncos scored 51 points on Sunday, which just happens to be the exact number of points scored by the Jaguars all season. The betting line for Week 6’s game against the Broncos opened at +28 for Jacksonville, which is also a record. The good news is that Chad Henne will be under center for them this weekend.