After what we saw through week 5 of the 2014 NFL season, we have no choice but to put the San Diego Chargers at the top of the power rankings, which includes being slightly better so far than the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos, while the Dallas Cowboys continue surging in the right direction. Quite different from the current state of mind near the bottom, including the Oakland Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars, still without a win.
1. San Diego Chargers (4-1): Playing against the Jets is almost like a gimme’ game, but shutting out an NFL offense while torching a pretty good defense has to count for something.
2. Seattle Seahawks (3-1): Russell Wilson is a beast, even when the secondary isn’t so ‘boomish’ as before.
3. Denver Broncos (3-1): Peyton Manning threw two interceptions while setting milestones and records, so it didn’t mean much in the end, especially against a Cardinals team down to their third string quarterback.
4. Cincinnati Bengals (3-1): The Bengals suffered from poor execution in their loss to the Patriots, but also from very shady calls.
5. Dallas Cowboys (4-1): Tony Romo didn’t lose a game that went into overtime! DeMarco Murray is leading the NFL in rushing! The Cowboys defense held an opponent to just 17 points! Not bad considering all the doomsday reactions from the first day of the season.
6. Green Bay Packers (3-2): Aaron Rodgers thrives against teams with 0 ability to put him under any kind of pressure as the Packers beat the Vikings 42-10, with Rodgers needing just 17 attempts to make three touchdown passes.
7. New York Giants (3-2): An impressive comeback win for the Giants against Atlanta. Eli Manning continues to be mostly accurate (19-for-30) and the improved offensive line and running game makes it so much easier for him.
8. Indianapolis Colts (3-2): Excellent defense, a suddenly functioning running game and Andrew Luck playing perfectly in the fourth quarter. Reason to worry, probably, for other teams.
9. San Francisco 49ers (3-2): Colin Kaepernick needs teams to blitz him otherwise his passing looks amateur. Frank Gore is still a great runner and it’s almost impossible to run against them at this point.
10. New England Patriots (3-2): Pissing off Tom Brady and Bill Belichick isn’t smart, especially when they’re playing at home and the official calls go their way.
11. Philadelphia Eagles (4-1): Maybe Nick Foles is injured, or maybe his throw needs some fixing. The Eagles are bleeding yards and are not clicking with the efficiency expected from a Chip Kelly offense, despite beating the Rams 34-28.
12. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2): Beating the Jacksonville Jaguars by only 8 points is almost like a loss, but not allowing a touchdown through the entire game has to count for something.
13. Baltimore Ravens (3-2): Overall, the Ravens’ offense has improved this season. But these lapses in production could be costly in such a tight division.
14. Arizona Cardinals (3-1): Only one loss, but if Logan Thomas remains their only healthy quarterback, an excellent yet banged up defense isn’t going to be enough.
15. Carolina Panthers (3-2): Facing Jay Cutler at his sling-mode is always a good thing, but the more mobile Cam Newton gets, the better the Carolina Panthers are going to look.
16. Houston Texans (3-2): Arian Foster is back, but as long as Ryan Fitzpatrick is their quarterback, it’s hard to expect too much from a good, but probably not good enough team.
17. Kansas City Chiefs (2-3): Alex Smith really wanted to show the 49ers that they’re missing him, but that fantasy existed only in his imagination.
18. Buffalo Bills (3-2): Kyle Orton is a good backup to have and although he did throw an interception, combined with the Bills’ defense and some Jim Schwartz mojo, their win in Detroit wasn’t that surprising.
19. Detroit Lions (3-2): The legend of Matt Stafford becomes less than ordinary when Calvin Johnson is playing injured.
20. Chicago Bears (2-3): Marc Trestman might be an offensive genius (that word gets thrown around a bit too much), but he hasn’t been able to fix Jay Cutler completely, once again shooting his own team in the foot by taking too many risks.
21. Atlanta Falcons (2-3): Without being able to win on the road, nothing good is going to happen to them when the season ends.
22. Cleveland Browns (2-2): It’s hard to see the Browns making the playoffs, but they’re incredibly difficult to beat, Brian Hoyer is making people forget about Johnny Manziel being on the team and it’s October and the Browns are still not depressed. That has to count for something.
23. Miami Dolphins (2-2): Had a bye week to rest from an easy experience in London.
24. New Orleans Saints (2-3): Won a must win game against a terrible Bucs team. So what? They needed overtime to get there, with Drew Brees leaking too many interceptions (three this time).
25. Minneosta Vikings (2-3): If anyone needed proof of how Christian Ponder is done in this league, especially with this kind offensive line, the 32 point loss at home to the Packers was it.
26. Washington Redskins (1-4): Every game shows a new problem for Gruden to solve. This time? Zero running game.
27. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-4): Moral victory? A six point loss in New Orleans in overtime isn’t that bad, but good teams don’t let games slip away from them like that in the fourth quarter.
28. St. Louis Rams (1-3): Austin Davis isn’t a bad quarterback to have, but the Rams were inferior to the Eagles in so many ways it’s hard to get encouraged from a narrow loss.
29. New York Jets (1-4): Geno Smith and Michael Vick put on an abysmal offensive performance, and it probably isn’t the last time that will happen, shut out by the San Diego Chargers.
30. Tennessee Titans (1-4): Jake Locker, Charlie Whitehurst, it doesn’t matter. The Titans are more than just a quarterback away from being in contention for anything, even in the AFC South.
31. Oakland Raiders (0-4): Didn’t play, but as terrible as it gets.
32. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-5): Their players have cool names like Blake Bortles and Storm Johnson. That’s the only good thing we have to say.