I hate all the sites that do weekly power rankings. Naturally, this means I must do it myself. The difference is I will do it only 3 or 4 times during the season, since one week of football does not do much to show how a team is doing. That, and doing one of these rankings can take a LONG time if you add commentary, which of course I did. And now, without further waiting, here comes the list!:
1. Packers (5-0)
Super Bowl Champions have started 5-0, beating the #2 team on this list and everyone else handily. Is there anything left to say?
2. Saints (4-1)
This team is still vulnerable and keeps games too close going into the 4th quarter, but Drew Brees can cover up a lot, and this defense still plays well with a lead.
3. Lions (5-0)
The 5-0 start and two 20-point comebacks is damn impressive, and their performance on Monday night did not disappoint. I am a bit worried about how the secondary will hold up against a top-tier team like the Packers. We will see in week 12.
4. Ravens (3-1)
Their defense is looking like the best in the league over the past two games, and should get better with CBs Jimmy Smith and Chris Carr returning. Joe Flacco hasn’t improved much from 2010. They should give the ball to Ray Rice more.
5. Bills (4-1)
The Bills came back down to Earth in a loss to Bengals, and then proceeded to go to town on the Eagles. Defense is obviously the weak point of this team, but turnovers have more than covered for it so far.
6. Patriots (4-1)
Tom Brady is better than most offenses, period. The defense is not as terrible as their stats say (teams have to throw a lot to keep up), but it may come back to bite them against teams more balanced than the Jets.
7. Chargers (4-1)
Considering the Chargers usually start the season slow, they should be ecstatic with this record. Rivers will improve with time (especially with Gates coming back after bye). If they beat the Raiders in week 10, the AFC West will be theirs.
8. 49ers (4-1)
We have a good team in San Francisco this year. Jim Harbaugh manages to get a lot out of a team that shouldn’t be this good, and the defense has shined. They embarrassed the Bucs, but it was silly to keep starters in late, and the football gods punished them with WR Josh Morgan breaking his ankle late.
9. Redskins (3-1)
I didn’t want to rank them this high, but every other competing team had let downs this week. I’m surprised the Redskins are leading the NFC East through 4 games. The defense has done well, and Rex Grossman does just enough to win games. Their easy schedule should ensure they remain competitive for a playoff spot through December.
10. Texans (3-2)
The Texans passing offense looked lost without Andre Johnson, and it could get much worse next week at Baltimore, when Arian Foster is likely to be shut down. They’re still the favorite for the AFC South, but with Mario Williams now gone for the year, they need to start having some of their role players step up.
11. Steelers (3-2)
Just when Pittsburgh looked like a team we were going to throw under the bus, they blow out Tennessee. This defense is still good enough to dominate 2/3 of the teams in the NFL, and Big Ben can still throw the ball around. While they are vulnerable, this may be enough to get them in the playoffs, due to their very forgiving schedule.
12. Titans (3-2)
The Titans had the #1 defense through week 4, and then got smoked by Pittsburgh. Chris Johnson continues to struggle, and Matt Hasselbeck needs some more help from his WRs. They shouldn’t worry too much just yet, but they can’t afford many more performances like they had in week 5.
13. Raiders (3-2)
A good win to remember Al Davis. The Raiders remain competitive in the AFC San Diego…I mean West. Darren McFadden is a monster, and Jason Campbell is looking good in the pocket. Nevertheless, they nearly blew it against Houston and being vulnerable against the pass is not a recipe for success.
14. Giants (3-2)
This team does good one week, then just drops a bomb the next. The depleted secondary was exposed by Seattle, and Eli Manning made mistake after mistake. Giants have to worry about their defense, but in a mediocre NFC East they can remain competitors.
15. Buccaneers (3-2)
This team always seems to fall behind and then come back to win…until last week. They were just absolutely manhandled by the 49ers. This young defense is 23rd against the rush and 20th against the pass…not nearly good enough. The offense has to perform for more than half a game.
16. Bears (2-3)
Do the Bears even have an offensive line? The defense plays well most of the time, but it feels like Cutler is hit on every play, and the lack of good weapons downfield still haunts them. Being in the NFC North just hurts their record this year.
17. Falcons (2-3)
Don’t push the panic button yet, Falcons fans. This offense can still explode at any minute, and 2-3 is not a death sentence. That being said, they have not shown an ability to compete with top-level teams.
18. Bengals (3-2)
Who thought the Bengals would be 3-2 through 5 games? Andy Dalton has been impressive in his rookie campaign, and AJ Green is looking like a future superstar. The defense has been the anchor by which they’ve been winning games so far. Can they beat Pittsburgh and Baltimore? I’m not so sure.
19. Cowboys (2-2)
You live with Tony Romo, you die with Tony Romo. Two or three Cowboys teams show up every game and a lack of consistency is a killer in the NFL. With Miles Austin coming back, they have the weapons, but they need to trust the running game more, especially late in games.
20. Jets (2-3)
The rush defense is pathetic. The run game is pathetic. The pass game remains mediocre. In short, there’s some chaos in New York. There’s still time to turn it around, but it’s going to be difficult with Buffalo and New England in the division.
21. Browns (2-2)
I can’t recall a 2-2 team with such a negative outlook. Peyton Hillis is living up to the Madden Curse, not with an injury but with purely bad play. Colt McCoy looks lost on the field at times and has regressed, and minus some of the young players (Joe Haden, Phil Taylor), the defense is forgettable. They could easily finish behind the Bengals in the AFC North.
22. Seahawks (2-3)
A great win in New York, but I can’t see it translating into a good season. The defense was given some gifts by Eli, and they remain a liability. The offensive line remains atrocious. Second in the NFC West is not out of the question, but the playoffs just may be.
23. Eagles (1-4)
Turns out a dream team can’t win without linemen and linebackers. Playing in zone defense with man-coverage CBs is not smart, and they cannot stop the run. Michael Vick throws and runs for a lot of yards, but is also making a lot of mistakes. It’s going to be tough for them to make a playoff run.
24. Chiefs (2-3)
2-3 would be ok…if their two wins did not come against teams that were a combined 0-7 when KC played them. Cassel has gotten better, but I don’t know if he can do it against good teams, and their schedule gets much harder.
25. Panthers (1-4)
Cam Newton has looked great, the offense revived at times…and they’re 1-4. They have not been able to clinch late in games, a problem that has affected offense, defense, and special teams (don’t kick to Devin Hester! Argh!). Nevertheless, Panthers fans couldn’t have expected a winning season, but there is a lot of hope for the future.
26. Vikings (1-4)
They have been in games despite of Donovan McNabb, who is just awful. They really need to put in Christian Ponder sometime this season. Jared Allen is quietly leading the league in sacks, and Adrian Peterson is apparently pretty good. That being said, no passing game and a poor secondary (except Antoine Winfield) will keep them at the bottom of the NFC North.
27. Cardinals (1-4)
Kevin Kolb is not doing well in the desert. He looks lost at times, and the weapons around him aren’t doing much to help (minus Fitzgerald of course). The defense has been mediocre so far. Unless Kolb improves, this team is going nowhere.
28. Broncos (1-4)
IT’S TIM TEBOW TIME!!! In all honesty, I’m ok with him starting. Kyle Orton has been miserable so far, and the Broncos need to know how he can play before possibly spending a draft pick on yet another QB. Rookie OLB Von Miller has had a good season (minus week 5), but the defense is terrible. The run game relies on Willis McGahee; not a good sign. Bottom line, the Broncos are favorites to finish last in the AFC West.
29. Jaguars (1-4)
Blaine Gabbert is going through severe rookie problems, and having few WR weapons doesn’t help. Teams can concentrate on stopping MJD, and they have done just that. The defense is actually in the top 10, but it’s for naught with an offense that cannot score. I think the Jags will play better as the season progresses, but Jack Del Rio looks like he will be gone after this season.
30. Colts (0-5)
They’ve been on the cusp of winning for three straight weeks, but keep losing close games. Curtis Painter looks good at times, but needs to look good all game to win. The defense is their greatest weakness, and tackling seems to not be taught in Indianapolis.
31. Rams (0-4)
Talk about a team going backwards. The secondary has been wiped out by injury. Sam Bradford is suffering sophomore woes, and few of his receivers are worth mentioning. A very hard schedule will keep them at the bottom rung this year. I’ll be sad if Coach Spagnuolo is fired.
32. Dolphins (0-4)
In my opinion, the leader of the Andrew Luck sweepstakes. QB Chad Henne was not a winner, and now he’s out for the year with no decent backup. Reggie Bush has been worse in Miami than he was in New Orleans, and a defense that was supposed to be a top 10 group has become a bottom 10 group. Sparano might be fired before the season is over.