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NFL Power Rankings: Week 5

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NFL Power Rankings: Week 5

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NFL POWER RANKINGS

The Appalachian Sports Desk will be releasing collaborative weekly NFL Power Rankings. The Appalachian sports reporters will be ranking NFL teams that will be averaged out to determine their rankings. Each writer will cover 2-3 teams and give their take on them.

This weeks biggest riser: Jacksonville Jaguars moved up 10

This weeks biggest drop: Arizona Cardinals moved down 5

 

1. Kansas City Chiefs (5-0) (Last week: 1↔️)

Jumping out to their first 5-0 start since 2013, the Chiefs captured another road victory, avenging a loss to the Texans from last year with a 42-34 win. Scoring 37 points per game away from Arrowhead Stadium, Andy Reid’s offense continues to baffle opposing defenses. Going full-throttle out of the gate, the Chiefs headed to the locker room up 23-7 at halftime. Seeing their lead cut to six after a Will Fuller V 48-yard touchdown reception early in the fourth quarter, Kansas City responded with 13 straight points, stretching the score to 39-20. Houston added some “garbage time” points to bring the game within eight as the clock expired, but Kansas City had firm control of the game throughout all 60 minutes. Returning home for a rematch of last year’s AFC Divisional Playoff bout with the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Chiefs look to win their eighth consecutive regular season game. -Tyler Hotz 

2. Green Bay Packers (4-1) (Last week: 3⬆️)

With a lot of blowouts and statement wins on Sunday, it was really nice of Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers to wait until the very last second of the game to take this one over the Dallas Cowboys. Dak and Aaron had incredible games respectively, both throwing and scrambling to keep drives alive and make something out of nothing on multiple occasions. Rodgers threw for 221 yards and three TDs, including a last-second pass to Davante Adams that would win them the game.  While Davante had a great game, Packer’s fan-favorite Jordy Nelson left the fourth quarter early to get checked out for an “undisclosed injury,” which could be anything from a bad cramp to a season-ender. The Packers will release an injury report tomorrow, so until then Green Bay fans will just have to sit back, wait and celebrate being 4-1 atop the NFC North.  -Garrett Wold 

3. Atlanta Falcons (3-1) (Last week: 2⬇️)

The early bye week came exactly at the right time for the Falcons. The valuable rest period allowed standout players such as Julio Jones and free safety Ricardo Allen to recover after the devastating home loss to Buffalo. However, Vic Beasley Jr. is still nursing a hamstring injury but thankfully is back on the practice field. In regard to the current NFC South standings, the Carolina Panthers continued their winning ways last week against Detroit and thus improved to 4-1 on the year. Atlanta must keep up with the pace the Panthers have set when they host the 2-2 Miami Dolphins this week. -Shane Harvell 

4. Philadelphia Eagles (4-1) (Last week: 8⬆️)

The further into the season we get, the more we all have to just accept that the Eagles are actually progressing as a team right now. Their offense looks great, they have a healthy mix of young and old on the roster, and for now, the injury bug hasn’t left them struggling like some other teams in the league. Philly’s offense put up 34 big points, including a career-high four TD passes from Carson Wentz, three of which happened in the first quarter. The bird’s defense held their own as well, keeping a high-powered Arizona offense under 300 yards total offense and stopping powerhouse receiver Larry Fitzgerald from catching a single TD reception. Fitzgerald finished the day with six catches for 51 yards. Philly will travel to Bank of America Stadium to play the Carolina Panthers next week, and will try to extend their winning streak to four. -Garrett Wold 

5. Carolina Panthers (4-1) (Last week: 11⬆️)

Mirroring their impressive road win in New England in Week 4, the Panthers again went on the road to notch another underdog victory, defeating the Detroit Lions 27-24. Utilizing a 24-0 scoring run from late in the second quarter to early in the third quarter, the Panthers pounced on a wilting Lions’ defense. Cam Newton connected early and often with an unlikely target, tight end Ed Dickson, who ended the game with five receptions for 175 yards. Dickson’s ability to sneak behind the defense set up Carolina’s offense for early success, allowing Newton to find open targets while keeping the Detroit pass rush quiet throughout the contest. With back-to-back stellar performances, Newton is looking like his former self, throwing for 671 yards and six touchdowns on the Panthers’ short stint away from home. -Tyler Hotz

6. Denver Broncos (3-1) (Last week: 5⬇️)

The Broncos had a bye this week, so not much happened with them. The Raiders lost, which helps them in the standings. Now the Broncos can use their week’s rest to come out next week and continue their run toward another Super Bowl. -Eric Jackson

7. New England Patriots (3-2) (Last week: 7↔️)

The Patriots adjusted their defense in hopes of simplifying it for the defensive backs, which paid off and resulted in a win for the Pats. The Patriots usually play a zone defense, but last week against the Bucs they went straight man-to-man. The Bucs’ quarterback Jameis Winston had opportunities to burn the Patriots’ defense but he ended up off target on a lot of his throws. The Brady-led offense was able to drive down the field but when the Patriots would get inside, the offense stalled out setting up kicker Stephen Gostkowski who ended up making four field goals. People who were questioning Tom Brady at the beginning are quietly backing down from their opinion as Brady is looking like he is in another spot to make a run at NFL’s MVP award. The Patriots will travel to New York to take on their division-rival the Jets.  -Michael Pigg

8.Seattle Seahawks (3-2) (Last week: 12⬆️)

The “Legion of Boom” revived some of its fearless confidence last week in the 16-10 victory over the LA Rams. Entering Week 5, the LA Rams happened to led the league offensively with a total of 142 points. However, the Seattle defense ended up forcing two Jared Goff interceptions and holding Todd Gurley to just 42 yards on the ground rushing. Veteran Earl Thomas has the right to claim two of the five LA turnovers. However, Rams’ wide receiver Cooper Kupp dropped the potential game-winning touchdown pass as the time on the clock dwindled. With the victory, the 3-2 Seahawks earned the top-dog spot within the NFC West over, oddly enough, the LA Rams even after a 1-2 start. After this week’s bye, Seattle will travel out and over to New York to face the injury-riddled 0-5 New York Giants on Oct. 22. -Shane Harvell

9. Detroit Lions (3-2) (Last week: 5⬇️)

In both of their two losses so far– and neither one is a terrible loss– the Lions have been right there on the verge of winning. But they haven’t. And as any team in the NFL knows, pressure makes diamonds. The Lions have beaten all the teams they should have, but in the two bigger games they have caved under the pressure when it really mattered. If they want to be better than just mediocre, they have got to find ways to knock the top-tier opponents. In order to do this, they have got to establish their almost nonexistent run game. Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick aren’t bad players, but neither one has been all that productive this year.   -Silas Albright 

10. Los Angeles Rams (3-2) (Last week: 9⬇️)

It was tough sledding for the Rams’ defense against a stingy Seahawks defense. Jared Goff couldn’t find the endzone on the day, throwing for 288 and no touchdowns with two picks. After a strong start to the season, Todd Gurley had a hard time finding holes against the Seahawks’ front seven, only rushing for 46 yards on a 3.1 average per carry. A fumble on a potential touchdown seemed to kill any momentum the Rams had. After scoring 10 points in the first half, the Rams’ offense stalled in the second half after scoring all 10 of their points in the second quarter. The bright side is the defense was able to hold the Seahawks to 16 points and held Russell Wilson to under 200 yards passing, encouraging play after allowing a 30-piece to the Cowboys last week. -Aman Hyrams

11. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2) (Last week: 6⬇️)

Pittsburgh took a 9-7 lead early in the third quarter over Jacksonville, but after Chris Boswell’s third field goal of the day, they failed to score again. Thanks to five interceptions from “Big Ben,” the Jaguars embarrassed the Steelers on their home turf, handing Pittsburgh its worst loss at Heinz Field since a 31-7 loss to the Baltimore Ravens in Week 16 of the 2006 season. Pittsburgh’s ugly day reveals major concerns over how much Roethlisberger has left in the tank, but on the bright side, they still managed to outgain the Jaguars. If the Steelers can take better care of the football, then they will still compete at a high level in the AFC. Gifting pick-sixes to opposing teams, however, will get them nothing but losses to inferior opponents.-Tyler Hotz

12. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-2) (Last week: 22⬆️)

The Jacksonville Jaguars are leading the AFC South right now. You read that right, the Jacksonville Jaguars are leading the AFC South. It has been a real up and down season for the Jags, beating Houston and Baltimore by a wide margin, but falling to the Titans and the Jets. Lucky for us, the showtime Jaguars came out to play Sunday and handed the Pittsburgh Steelers a big loss. Leonard Fournette had a huge day, running for 181 yards and two TDs. He also set an NFL record for youngest player to ever score a 90-yard TD, as well as a highlight leap over the O-line for another TD. Hopefully Jacksonville can carry this momentum into next week against the LA Rams and prove they are no longer the loveable losers, but serious contenders.-Garrett Wold 

13. Buffalo Bills (3-2) (Last week: 13↔️)

Coming off an impressive win last week against the Falcons the Bills had a let down against the Bengals. Bengals’ wide receiver A.J. Green looked liked he was not even guarded as he exploded for a 77-yard touchdown pass. The Bills’ defense has been impressive all year but the gave up almost 400 yards to the struggling Bengals offense. Next week the Bills will have their bye week and it will come at the perfect time as they are dealing with a lot of injuries and maybe they can figure out what has happened to the defense. -Michael Pigg

14.Oakland Raiders (2-3) (Last week: 10⬇️)

It’s hard to not put too much stock into the Raiders’ play the past few weeks. After starting out 2-0, the Raiders have dropped three in a row. No, they don’t have their Pro Bowl and MVP candidate QB Derek Carr, but Marshawn Lynch has yet to regain his form from previous seasons and the Raiders just can’t move the ball with EJ Manuel at the helm. Amari Cooper may have been impacted the most from the loss of Carr, only catching one ball for the second time this season. I’m not going to put too much into these past few games but if the Raiders don’t get Derek Carr back soon, they may be in trouble. . -Aman Hyrams

15. Dallas Cowboys (2-3) (Last week: 15↔️)

I was impressed with the boys this week. Zeke looked back to normal for the most part and Dak played an incredible game in the first half. The second half looked like a very young team that can play well most of the time. They were able to do great things at times and Dak is proving that he has talent. Unfortunately, the Dallas-D is still the Dallas-D and without some sort of help in the air, the Cowboys will continue to blow leads like they’re doing, especially when you’re relying on your secondary against Aaron Rodgers. Not only that but rookie Taco Charlton and Jaylon Smith have to play like the draft picks they were. They cannot leave the field without making the quarterback at least a little nervous throughout the game. Something needs to happen for the Cowboys to continue to move forward. -Noah Gerringer

16. Washington Redskins (2-2) (Last week: 17⬇️)

The Redskins had the week off in Week 5 and are still the best two-win team in the league. They have played arguably the toughest schedule so far and a 2-2 record against the Rams, Raiders, Chiefs and Eagles is nothing less than respectable. As the season progresses and the Redskins’ schedule balances out, we will likely see them jump a lot in the power rankings as well as the NFC East standings. But not yet. Trust the process. -Silas Albright

17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-2) (Last week: 14⬇️)

The kicker is a very underrated member of a NFL team, unless his name is Nick Folk. What should have been Jameis Winston’s message-to-the-league game turned into a shining example of why kickers aren’t seen as people. The good news is that kickers are replaceable, the Roberto Aguayo jokes are becoming fainter and Doug Martin looked really solid in his season debut. If the Tampa offense can show up against other teams like it did against the Pats, that could be enough to take the Bucs to a winning record. -Ian Taylor

18. Minnesota Vikings (3-2) (Last week: 16⬇️)

It is impressive that the Vikings have won three games this year, dealing with all the injuries they have had. In a win against the Chicago Bears on Monday night they might have lost Sam Bradford again with another knee injury. Bradford who has been out since Week 1 finally got the nod to play and it was evident the rust was still affecting his play Monday night. The Vikings should go ahead and plan around Case Keenum who came in Monday and were more effective than people thought he would be. Minnesota defense gave rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky all sorts of problems, getting to him early and knocking him down when they got the chance. The Minnesota Vikings will be at home next week as they take on the Green Bay Packers. -Michael Pigg

19. Houston Texans (2-3) (Last week: 15⬇️)

The Texans struggled early Sunday night against the Chiefs. The offense looked out of sorts and the defense could not get a stop. With the losses of J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercillus, the defense may struggle even more. But once again, Deshaun Watson balled out in a loss. The rookie struggled coming out of the gates but in the second half, he showed his skill. He recorded his second game in a row where he had five TDs. It seems strange to say, but it looks like the Texans have more issues on the defensive side of the ball than they do on the offensive side. -Eric Jackson

20. Baltimore Ravens (3-2) (Last week: 23⬆️)

The Ravens picked up a somewhat surprising win this week against a Derek Carr-less Oakland Raiders, 30-17. Joe Flacco had his first good game in several weeks, going 19-26 for 222 yards, with Buck Allen and practice squad signee Alex Collins anchoring the run game productively. Receiver Mike Wallace had a premier day with three receptions for 133 yards. The real story was the defense however, holding Raiders’ new starting quarterback EJ Manuel to under 160 passing yards and sacking him three times. They were able to keep Marshawn Lynch in check and clean up the time of possession battle. This goes to show that when the Ravens’ defense can focus on stopping the run, it opens up opportunities on both sides of the ball. The Ravens take on the struggling Bears at home this week, a good opportunity for a win against a team that starts a rookie quarterback. -Brooks Maynard

21. New Orleans Saints (2-2) (Last week: 20⬇️)

The Saints had a bye and my guess is that it messes them up for the rest of the season. Their last two games resulted in a combined 13 points against them. The defense was playing at an extraordinary level and Drew Brees was doing his thing. They play the Lions next week and this game will determine their position in the NFC South. The Panthers are somehow in the lead and just took down the Lions. If the Saints’ defense can continue their run then maybe– just maybe– Brees and the gang can make a run for it at the end.. -Noah Gerringer

22. Tennessee Titans (2-3) (Last week: 19⬇️)

Since I proudly declared that the Titans Hype Train was a thing two weeks ago, Tennessee has been outscored 73-24 in two games and they are 0-2. I don’t remember the last time I was this wrong about something that didn’t involve dating. The Titans are on the precipice of spiralling, and starting Matt Cassel at quarterback is a cardinal sin of desperation in the league. The Titans need Mariota back as soon as possible, for Pete’s sake they lost to the Dolphins without him. -Ian Taylor

23. Cincinnati Bengals (2-3) (Last week: 24⬆️)

Everyone please rise and give the Cincinnati Bengals a round of applause. Andy Dalton threw for 328 yards and is continuing to get better each week. Sure, he threw two picks and that’s never good but what’s important is that they’re winning. In addition to Dalton having a great day, A.J. Green had 189 receiving yards on seven catches. When you have a wide receiver like that who can put up numbers like those, there is no reason you should be struggling. But, you can’t do everything without some sort of run game. Joe Mixon is not a NFL running back. The biggest punch that guy had was in a Norman, Oklahoma restaurant and just like he should’ve been done then, he should be done now. Giovani Bernard is a much better back if the Bengals were to just give him the ball instead. The Bengals stand no chance against the Steelers next week. -Noah Gerringer

24. New York Jets (3-2) (Last week: 27⬆️)

The Jets have pulled themselves up into a winning record this week with a win over the lowly Cleveland Browns, 17-14. The Jets’ win is mainly thanks to the Browns’ inability to finish drives, with Cleveland producing over 200 yards more offense, eight more first downs and averaging nearly two yards more per play. But the Browns turned the ball over three times, two by fumbles and once by interception. This is the second week in a row that the Jets have caught a lucky break against a team that played poorly. Looking at their schedule, they will have a tough time continuing to do this, with games against the New England Patriots, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers and Kansas City Chiefs over the next seven weeks. If they want to keep winning, they will need to start having real success instead of hiding behind close victories. -Brooks Maynard

25. Miami Dolphins (2-2) (Last week: 26⬆️)

You know it’s a bad situation when the fans are calling for your starting quarterback to be benched, while in the lead, in the second quarter. The Miami-faithful have come to the consensus that Smokin’ Jay Cutler’s time is up, but unless Matt Moore is somehow a lot better or the Dolphins are hiding something, there’s no better option than the Santa Claus, Indiana native. But enough about Cutler, let’s talk about how nobody else on the Dolphins is really showing up. I’d be the first to blame Cutler for the slow start to the season if literally everything around him wasn’t falling apart. Glancing over the alleged newest cocaine scandal in South Beach’s illustrious history, the defense is nothing short of sad and Jay Ajayi can’t find his stride. If the Titans had Mariota this week, the Dolphins are easily 1-3. -Ian Taylor

26. Arizona Cardinals (2-3) (Last week: 21⬇️)

Did Arizona even get off the bus to play the Eagles? It seems unlikely since the Eagles went on to dominate the Cardinals from the opening snap. Philadelphia won by a score of 34-7 in a battle of the birds. However, in Arizona’s defense, Philadelphia was expected to win. Carson Wentz shredded the Red Bird defense by throwing for 304 yards and four touchdowns. The Cardinal’s offensive line allowed only two sacks on Carson Palmer this time. Palmer had been sacked a total of 12 times in last two games combined. Yet again, the running game was disastrous with just 31 total yards. The Cards have now rushed for a combined 131 yards in the last three games alone. As soon as the defense is able to get off the field, they often found themselves jogging directly back on since the offense cannot sustain drives with David Johnson present in the lineup. This is a prime example of a recipe for disaster. The front office just traded for Adrian Peterson, former New Orleans Saints running back, to help the cause. The Cards, now 2-3, host the dangerous 2-2 Tampa Bay Buccaneers this week.Shane Harvell

27. Chicago Bears (1-4) (Last week: 25⬇️)

The headline of the week was on display on Monday night. The Bears’ first round pick Mitch Trubisky took the field against the Minnesota Vikings. His debut was less than spectacular, but not awful. His completion percentage was plagued by drops, but overall he looked comfortable on the field and looks the part. The Bears were able to find some success running the football with Jordan Howard running for 76 yards on 19 carries, and the defense was able to keep the Vikings from lighting up the scoreboard, only allowing 20 points in the loss. If it wasn’t for a late interception by Harrison Smith to set up a game winning field goal, the Bears definitely had a shot of winning the game. Bears’ fans should be encouraged by the game as the results may be misleading. -Aman Hyrams

28. Indianapolis Colts (2-3) (Last week: 28↔️)

The Colts won for the second time in Week 5, but it’s hard to tell which of their three-point victories over now 0-5 teams is less impressive. The point I’m making here is that the Colts are technically 2-3 but they might as well be 0-5. Indianapolis was up 16-6 heading into the fourth quarter before the defense allowed the Brian Hoyer led 49ers offense to score two touchdowns and a field goal to force overtime. Although the Colts escaped with the win, it was probably the least convincing win in the whole NFL this year … however, the honor could just as easily go to the Colts’ Week 3 three-point win over the DeShone Kizer-led Browns in which Indianapolis was outscored 14-3 in the fourth quarter. -Silas Albright

29. Los Angeles Chargers (1-4) (Last week: 30⬆️)

The Los Angeles Chargers won their first game since 1960 (They became the San Diego Chargers in 1961) and their first game under first year head coach Anthony Lynn. It wasn’t pretty, but the Chargers ended up coming out as the best worst team in their matchup against the Giants. If it weren’t for the Giants’ awful defense, it could easily be Los Angeles sitting at 0-5 right now. Next week will be a challenge when they play the Raiders, who are looking to bounce back from a three game losing streak and may have Derek Carr back on the field.Jason Huber

30. San Francisco 49ers (0-5) (Last week: 31⬆️)

The 49ers suffered their fourth heartbreaking loss in a row this week, 26-23 against the Indianapolis Colts. Since being blown out by the Carolina Panthers in Week 1, San Francisco has lost all four games but only by a combined 11 points. The Colts have found just enough success under quarterback Jacoby Brissett to stay out of the bottom slot in the rankings and this held true against the 49ers, competing 22 passes for 314 yards. The Colts managed only 45 yards more offense and two more first downs than the 49ers, but it was enough to win the game. Penalties were a problem for the 49ers again this week, flagged 10 times for 77 yards. The 49ers continue to rely too much on kicker Robbie Gould for points, kicking three field goals and not scoring a touchdown until there was less than 10 minutes remaining in the game. While Gould has been consistent, the 49ers need to be able to score touchdowns if they want to find that elusive first win. -Brooks Maynard

31. New York Giants (0-5) (Last week: 29⬇️)

If the Giants’ season wasn’t over before they played the Chargers, it came crashing down faster than a burning bridge on Sunday. Not only did New York fall to an abysmal 0-5, they lost their best player Odell Beckham Jr. for the entire season to a broken ankle at the end of the game, they lost receiver Dwayne Harris for the entire season and lost key receivers Sterling Shepard and Brandon Marshall for an extended period of time. What else could have gone worse for the Giants? Not having an offensive line? Well, that’s true. Not having a running game? That’s true too. The Giants have gone from being a Super Bowl contender to one of the bottom three teams in the league that has to think about firing their general manager and coach and tanking the rest of this season for a high draft pick. New York will look to avoid their worst start in franchise history next week against the Broncos. -Jason Huber

32. Cleveland Browns (0-5) (Last week: 32↔️)

Well, the Browns lost again … to the Jets. But the future was seen when Myles Garrett recorded his first career sack. Garrett was coming back from an injury so it was nice to see that little burst from him. The Jets are better than expected so it is not that bad of a loss, but it is still a loss so I mean that is not good either.Eric Jackson 

Rankings By: Jason Huber, Brooks Maynard, Tyler Hotz, Silas Albright, Eric Jackson, Shane Harvell, Aman Hyrams, Michael Pigg, Ian Taylor, Noah Gerringer and Garrett Wold 

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NFL Power Rankings: Week 5