2014 NFL Power Rankings: Week 5

The season is a quarter old. My top fives.


1. QB Philip Rivers, Chargers
2. RB DeMarco Murray, Cowboys
3. QB Aaron Rodgers, Packers
4. QB Peyton Manning, Broncos
5. QB Andrew Luck, Colts


1. DE JJ Watt, Texans
2. DE Muhammad Wilkerson, Jets
3. LB Luke Kuechly, Panthers
4. OLB Justin Houston, Chiefs
5. S Harrison Smith, Vikings

Offensive ROY

1. WR Kelvin Benjamin, Panthers
2. OT Jake Matthews, Falcons
3. RB Terrence West, Browns
4. WR Allen Hurns, Jaguars
5. WR Mike Evans, Buccaneers

Defensive ROY

1. LB Preston Brown, Bills
2. CB Kyle Fuller, Bears
3. LB Anthony Barr, Vikings
4. LB CJ Mosley, Ravens
5. LB Khalil Mack, Raiders


1. Seattle Seahawks (1) (2-1). Bye.

2. Denver Broncos (2) (2-1). Bye.

3. Cincinnati Bengals (3) (3-0). Bye.

4. San Diego Chargers (4) (3-1). We are at the quarter mark, and Philip Rivers is my choice for NFL MVP. His late career resurrection has continued. He is up to a 70% completion percentage and a 9:1 TD:INT ratio. The Chargers have a real chance to win the division and gain home field throughout.

5. Arizona Cardinals (5) (3-0). Bye.

6. Baltimore Ravens (12) (3-1). The Ravens are rolling. They have averaged 25.8 points per game and only given up 15 per this season. Baltimore is never down for long, and with all three phases playing very well right now, it looks like the Ravens are once again contenders in the AFC.

7. Philadelphia Eagles (7) (3-1). The Eagles have held the ball for only 24 minutes a game, last in the NFL. Part of that has to do with their quick strike ability, but that could cause the defense to tire out by the end of the year.

8. Detroit Lions (13) (3-1). The Lions are surprisingly winning with defense this year. The offense has been held in check for the most part, but the defense has come through, allowing only 15.5 points per game, good for fifth best in the NFL.

9. Indianapolis Colts (8) (2-2). After two close losses to two of the better teams in the NFL, the Colts have demolished their over matched division rivals. It is good to see the shackles taken off of Andrew Luck, who I think will be the best quarterback in the NFL in three years.

10. San Francisco 49ers (11) (2-2). A 1-3 start could have spelled doom for the 49ers, but they managed to rally late and potentially save their season.

11. Dallas Cowboys (19) (3-1). Jason Garrett (or someone else) has finally figured it out. To keep a terrible defense off the field, you need to control the clock and run the ball. The Cowboys are fourth in the NFL in time of possession, thanks to the performance of DeMarco Murray. He has been the best running back in football, and it has not been close. After Philip Rivers, he is my early runner up for MVP.

12. Green Bay Packers (18) (2-2). The Packers have 99 problems, but Aaron Rodgers is not one. The best quarterback in football is off to another legendary start, with 12 touchdowns against 1 interception (this is counting last nights Vikings win).

13. Kansas City Chiefs (23) (2-2). The Chiefs kept it close against the Broncos and have slammed their foot on the pedal, destroying two AFC East teams. Andy Reid football is a fantastic, explosive running game, pass rushing defense and game management by Alex Smith.

14. Chicago Bears (9) (2-2). The Bears just cannot beat the Packers. Green Bay often makes Jay Cutler look especially bad. He has 19 interceptions in 9 regular season games against the Packers.

15. Carolina Panthers (6) (2-2). Well, the Panthers have fallen apart quickly. Carolina has desperately missed Greg Hardy and Thomas Davis, as a lack of depth has done them in. It also doesn't help that injuries have taken away the most dangerous part of Cam Newton's game, as well as pretty much every running back on the roster.

16. Pittsburgh Steelers (15) (2-2). This is not your daddy's Steelers. The offense continues to roll, but an over matched defense could not keep from imploding late and losing a game they had no business losing.

17. Atlanta Falcons (16) (2-2). 33-28. That is the average score of the Falcons four games. The four headed monster at running back has resulted in more big plays. The defense won't stop anyone, but Falcons games will be fun to watch.

18. Cleveland Browns (17) (1-2). Bye.

19. Houston Texans (22) (3-1). The Texans are 3-1 thanks to the easiest early season schedule in football. With two games each left against the Titans and Jaguars, the Texans could squeeze out 8 or 9 wins despite a hopeless situation at quarterback.

20. New England Patriots (10) (2-2). Tom Brady is not quite washed up, but he is no longer talented enough to make bums at wide receiver look good. The Patriots lost Randy Moss, Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez in recent seasons, and did nothing to replace them. Brady's arm has lost a lot, but it doesn't help that he has the worst group of receivers in the NFL.

21. Miami Dolphins (25) (2-2). The bi polar Dolphins have won their two games by a score of 71-34 and lost their two games by a score of 25-63. Ryan Tannehill probably played his best game as a pro, but it was against the helpless Raiders secondary.

22. New York Giants (26) (2-2). When the Giants offense is good, it's good. But how long can they count on career backup Rashad Jennings to pile up yards?

23. New Orleans Saints (14) (1-3). The Saints might be toast. Even in their lone win, New Orleans did not look impressive at all. Rob Ryan's magic on defense might have worn off.

24. Minnesota Vikings (27) (2-2). This was before the Vikings were thrashed by Green Bay. Teddy Bridgewater looked like he could be decent, but one reason he fell was concerns over his body holding up over the long haul. He didn't make it through one game before getting injured.

25. Buffalo Bills (20) (2-2). The change from EJ Manuel to Kyle Orton is unlikely to help this team much. The coaching staff is trying to save their jobs instead of developing Manuel, who has improved somewhat this year. Their jobs won't be saved by the neck beard.

26. Washington Redskins (21) (1-3). So much for Kirk Cousins becoming the next Kurt Warner. The Redskins remain a mess. Problems at quarterback and in the secondary threaten to ruin what is otherwise a solid, talented team.

27. New York Jets (24) (1-3).  To quote Dennis Green, the Jets are who we thought they were. With perhaps the best front seven on defense in football, the Jets lead the NFL in rushing yards allowed and sacks. But they can't stop anyone through the air or score.

28. Tennessee Titans (28) (1-3). The Titans have lacked stability at quarterback since the Steve McNair days. The running game and especially defense is simply not good enough to overcome those issues.

29. St. Louis Rams (29) (1-2). Bye.

30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (31) (1-3). Mike Glennon is not a great quarterback, but it was obvious from the start that he gives the Buccaneers it's best chance to win. Austin Seferian-Jenkins is a match up nightmare waiting to happen, and needs to play more.

31. Oakland Raiders (30) (0-4). A new coach is unlikely to turn around Oakland's fortunes. A new General Manager should. In the least surprising development of the off season, Reggie McKenzie blowing Oakland's cap space on a plethora of washed up big names has not translated to success.

32. Jacksonville Jaguars (32) (0-4). The Jaguars have lost their four games by an average of 38-14.5. The coaching staff kept things safe for Blake Bortles, as he dinked and dunked his way to a nice completion percentage but nothing else. Jacksonville is just not talented enough to compete. A winless season is a possibility.

Jonathan Carrano

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