Photo courtesy Bleacher Report
The Vikings took over the top spot this week as the Broncos tumbled to No. 4. Speaking of four, that appears to be the lucky number this week as most teams that made significant movement jumped either up four spots or fell four spots.
- Minnesota Vikings (5-0) +1
And then there was one. If you predicted when Teddy Bridgewater went down that Minnesota would be the last undefeated team this season, buy yourself a lottery ticket as soon as possible. The Viking defense continued their dominance Sunday, this time over the Texans, as they only allowed a touchdown in garbage time.
- New England Patriots (4-1) +1
Deflategate is finally, mercifully, over. Tom Brady returned from his four-game suspension Sunday, just in time to face the listless Browns. He quickly became acquainted with his newest weapon, Martellus Bennett. Brady was 6-of-8 passing for 67 yards and three touchdowns when targeting Bennett. Paired with Gronkowski, New England’s two tight end set creates matchup problems for anyone in the league.
- Pittsburgh Steelers (4-1) +1
The Steelers’ Week 3 loss to Philadelphia is looking more and more like an aberration. Sammy Coates finally justified his preseason hype as he hauled in six catches for 139 yards and two touchdowns as part of a monstrous day for Ben Roethlisberger. Big Ben beat up on the Jets with 380 yards passing and four touchdowns.
- Atlanta Falcons (4-1) +3
Atlanta handed the Broncos their first loss of the season Sunday and are looking every bit like an NFC contender. While Denver was without their starting quarterback, more impressive was what the Falcon offense did to the defending champs’ defense. Optimism should be tempered, though, considering the Falcons started 5-0 last season before limping to a disappointing finish.
- Denver Broncos (4-1) -4
Denver’s quarterback problems finally caught up to them this week, as Paxton Lynch struggled in his rookie debut. While his final numbers may be a bit deceiving, Lynch looked like a rookie making his first NFL start. Perhaps more concerning was the Bronco defense uncharacteristically giving up some big plays.
- Seattle Seahawks (3-1) –
Does the Legion of Boom still have it? We’re about to find out, as the Seahawks’ next opponent just knocked off what is widely regarded as the best defense in the league. In the past, slowing down Atlanta’s offense was as simple as erasing Julio Jones. Now, with a full complement of weapons at Matt Ryan’s disposal, it’s going to take a bit more.
- Green Bay Packers (3-1) +1
The Packer defense has only allowed eight total touchdowns through four games, but they’ve also only forced four turnovers. With the Cowboys headed to Green Bay, quarterback Dak Prescott, who has yet to throw a pick, could take advantage of a defense that doesn’t appear willing to break that streak.
- Oakland Raiders (4-1) +1
The Raiders have an average margin of victory of 5.25 points, including two one-point wins. This team knows how to win close games. Oakland faces a stingy Kansas City defense this weekend that’s coming off a bye week with an opportunity to take control of the AFC West.
- Philadelphia Eagles (3-1) -4
Save for a field goal in the final two minutes of their Week 5 matchup against the Lions, the Eagles held Detroit scoreless in the second half of their only loss to date. Sitting top-five in offense and defense, Philadelphia should bounce back against a mediocre Washington team.
- Dallas Cowboys (4-1) +1
Quarterback Dak Prescott has set a rookie record by throwing 155 passes without his first interception. Dallas looks to extend a four-game winning streak as it heads to Green Bay. Prescott will have his hands full as he tries to match points with Packer quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
- Los Angeles Rams (3-2) +2
The Rams came crashing back to Earth in a 30-19 loss to the Bills in Week 5. However, a visit to Detroit should do plenty to remedy such a loss. Running back Todd Gurley should be able to run wild against the 24th-ranked Lions defense.
- Arizona Cardinals (2-3) +5
The Cardinals have proven they can win without quarterback Carson Palmer with a 33-21 Thursday night win over the 49ers. However, they would probably prefer not to, considering the win came against the 49ers. Palmer will be back Week 6 against the Jets. Arizona needs to get a win soon or may find itself out of the NFC West race early.
- Cincinnati Bengals (2-3) -3
After starting the season with high hopes, things have taken a turn for the worst. With only two wins this season, the Bengals will face yet another tough opponent in the Patriots, and with Tom Brady back, this will be an uphill climb for the Bengals.
- Houston Texans (3-2) -2
With an upcoming matchup against division rival Indianapolis Colts, the Texans look to put more distance between them and all other teams in the very weak AFC South.
- Kansas City Chiefs (2-2) +1
Coming off a bye, the Chiefs should be well rested to face AFC West rival Oakland Raiders. This should be a matchup that will test the Chiefs and give a better indicator as to who the Chiefs really are.
- Buffalo Bills (3-2) +3
With a slow start to the season, the Bills are riding high with a three-game win streak, including a shocking win against the Patriots. The Bills look to add another win to their record against the struggling 49ers.
- Baltimore Ravens (3-2) -3
Looking to snap their current losing streak, the Ravens look to their matchup against the New York Giants to bring things back in order. The Ravens are 2-0 on the road, giving them the advantage against a Giants team that is 1-1 at home.
- Carolina Panthers (1-4) -3
Without starting quarterback Cam Newton and running back Jonathan Stewart, Carolina was unable to muster much of an offensive attack in their loss to the Buccaneers Monday night. The reigning NFC champion Panthers might be in trouble if they can’t turn the ship around in a hurry. They hope to have Newton back in time for their pivotal Week 6 tilt against New Orleans.
- Washington Redskins (3-2) +1
With an ugly victory over Baltimore in Week 5, the Redskins winning streak sits at three. Washington hasn’t looked good over the last three weeks, but they’ve done just enough to get the win. The Redskins will be playing without tight end Jordan Reed when they face the Eagles in Week 6.
- New York Giants (2-3) -2
Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham final notched his first touchdown reception of the season Sunday night against the Packers. Unfortunately, that was about the only thing that went right for the Giants in Week 5. Their offense has looked out of sync so far in 2016, and they may have a difficult time turning things around in Week 6 against a tough Ravens defense.
- New York Jets (1-4) –
New York is growing impatient waiting on quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick to perform. After a brilliant 2015 campaign, Fitzpatrick already has 10 interceptions to just five touchdowns and losing wide receiver Eric Decker for the year makes matters worse. The Jets’ Monday night showdown with Arizona could get ugly in a hurry.
- Detroit Lions (2-3) +1
The shocking result of Week 5 was the Lions’ last-second victory over the undefeated Eagles. Matthew Stafford threw for three touchdowns as Detroit was finally able to get the offense and defense on the same page for an entire game. They face a challenge in Week 6 when the Rams come to town.
- San Diego Chargers (1-4) +3
Remember 2011 when Tebow-mania was a thing? When the Broncos would stay in every game, but then at the last minute Tim Tebow would do something amazing and they’d win? The Chargers are the opposite of that this year. Las Vegas should start taking bets on trying to predict how the Chargers will blow it this week.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3) +4
Roberto Aguayo is now 4-for-8 on field goals for the year, which is far less than everyone expected from the most accurate kicker in college football history. Fortunately for the Bucs, one of those four was the game winner Monday. What kind of a game plan is “hand the ball to our third-string running back 30 times?” A winning one, I guess.
- Indianapolis Colts (2-3) +2
I think Canton should just save some time and start making Adam Vinatieri’s bust now. Andrew Luck continues to be all by himself on offense. The defense was so bad they allowed Brian Hoyer to throw for nearly 400 yards and rookie Jordan Howard to run wild. The good news is everyone else: the AFC South looks awful.
- Jacksonville Jaguars (1-3) -4
Speaking of the rest of the AFC South… the Jaguars had a bye week so it’s hard to tell where they’re at, but last time we saw them they were winning their first game. Next week they get to play Chicago, which is a game they should win. If they win that game, and Texans drop another, the Jaguars are in a good place.
- Tennessee Titans (2-3) +2
Right now the Titans are about as good as we’d thought they’d be, which isn’t saying much. Marcus Mariota has had a pretty disappointing sophomore season, but Sunday he found the end zone four times. There are still a lot of things this team could work on, but they’re undoubtedly better this year than they’ve been the past few season.
- New Orleans Saints (1-3) -4
Following a close victory over San Diego, New Orleans had this last week off. If the Saints want to stay competitive in the division, they enter what looks like a must win-game Sunday against the struggling Panthers.
- Miami Dolphins (1-4) -4
Head coach Adam Gase says he still believes in quarterback Ryan Tannehill, despite his throwing more interceptions than touchdowns this season. Their hapless red zone defense looks to get back on track this week against a solid Steelers offense.
- Chicago Bears (1-4) +1
Quarterback Brian Hoyer continues to impress while filling in for Jay Cutler, but his final throw Sunday will no doubt be the lasting memory. The Bears have so many holes to fill that it ultimately might not matter who is playing quarterback once Cutler is healthy.
- San Francisco 49ers (1-4) -1
Since shutting out the Rams in Week 1, San Francisco’s defense has given up an average of 35 points per game. With a struggling defense and mediocre quarterback play, Chip Kelly announced the team will turn to Colin Kaepernick this week against the Bills.
- Cleveland Browns (0-5) –
After quarterback Cody Kessler went down last week, the Browns were forced to insert their fifth quarterback in five games. Adding insult to injury, Tom Brady scorched Cleveland’s defense with 406 yards and three touchdowns in his season debut.
Rankings by: Kaleb Searle, Brad Curnow, David Roura, Devin Olsen, Adam Cichoski, Mark Wait
I’m a Pacific Northwest guy who loves his Pacific Northwest sports. An amateur movie buff who prefers the disc to digital. Chasing the sports writing dream while I geek out on Assassin’s Creed.