The NFL is often described as a league of parity, and our latest power rankings heading into Week 5 lives up to the mantra. With just three teams remaining unbeaten through the first month, the bigger question is whether the NFL is simply full of mediocrity this season.
Only half of the divisions have more than one team with a winning record. A surprising 13 teams sit at 2-2 heading into Week 5, a record that qualifies you for first place if you are in the AFC South or AFC North. Seven teams are still looking for their first win, a number that will decrease to six after the Monday Night Football matchup between two winless squads: Bengals and Steelers.
In the words of Dennis Green, “They are who we thought they were.” Yet, it is unclear exactly what we think of most teams as even the Rams managed to lose at home to the Buccaneers. Sean McVay’s club is thought to be one of the few elite teams in the NFL, but even they have looked human in recent weeks. The Saints and Cowboys are also believed to be among the best the NFL has to offer, but the two teams failed to score a touchdown in the first half of their Sunday Night Football matchup.
It is still too early to make sweeping judgments, but all indications are this season’s Super Bowl contenders are anybody’s guess. The parity could also be an indicator that there are only a handful of teams that are true championship contenders. A full month of what college football fans call the October Scaries should give us a better indication of the top NFL teams once we get to the halfway mark of the season.
Top 5: The Patriots & Chiefs Survived to Stay at the Top, While the Saints Jumped the Cowboys
This week’s film from the Patriots and Chiefs is unlikely to make its way to the season highlights, but each team did just enough to remain undefeated. The Patriots were able to go into a difficult road environment and come away with a win against the Bills. Buffalo poked some holes in the Patriots offense, and it will be interesting to see if future opponents are able to implement a similar defensive strategy.
The Chiefs were in serious danger of losing to the Lions and needed a late comeback to retain perfection. Patrick Mahomes failed to throw a touchdown pass, but the rest of the team managed to have his back as Kansas City stole a road win. After a week at the top, we have the Patriots back at No. 1 but the margin between the two teams remains close.
Dallas and New Orleans squared off in what could be an early preview of a potential NFC playoff matchup. The Saints were able to outlast the Cowboys in a primetime defensive struggle. New Orleans is now 2-0 in the two full games they have been without Drew Brees. Both wins also came against fellow top 10 teams in the power rankings showing Sean Payton has been able to create successful gameplans around Teddy Bridgewater.
The Rams still find themselves in the top five but are in danger of moving down. Los Angeles does not look like the team we saw last season, but there is still plenty of time for the Rams to gain steam.
Bottom 5: There Are Still Plenty of Teams Searching for Their 1st Win
It is the opposite of a beauty contest, but there are more winless teams than spots in the Bottom Five. The Dolphins continue to be the “worst of the worst,” and there is little indication that another team will claim this spot this season.
The Falcons are a new addition to the Bottom Five, but the Dan Quinn era in Atlanta appears to be unraveling. Quinn’s experiment as defensive coordinator has so far been a failure, and there have been few signs of life from the Falcons this season. Atlanta has had plenty of injuries to a rebuilt offensive line, but the team’s holes go well beyond this aspect of the squad. The Falcons offense was once thought to be one of the best in the NFL, but Matt Ryan has failed to find his footing so far this season.
Just missing the list is the Cardinals, who continue to get the benefit of the doubt thanks to Kliff Kingsbury’s new offensive system. It is a month into the season, and it is fair to begin asking if this offense will become the prolific unit that was hyped over the offseason. The Cardinals are not helped by playing in the NFC West, which appears to be the deepest division in the NFL.
Here is a look at our latest NFL power rankings. We will continue to update this page as more games are completed.
NFL Power Rankings: After Week 4
|1.||New England Patriots (4-0)|
|2.||Kansas City Chiefs (4-0)|
|3.||New Orleans Saints (3-1)|
|4||Dallas Cowboys (3-1)|
|5.||L.A. Rams (3-1)|
|6.||Green Bay Packers (3-1)|
|7.||Seattle Seahawks (3-1)|
|8.||Chicago Bears (3-1)|
|9.||San Francisco 49ers (3-0)|
|10.||Detroit Lions (2-1-1)|
|11.||Buffalo Bills (3-1)|
|12.||Philly Eagles (2-2)|
|13.||Indianapolis Colts (2-2)|
|14.||Minnesota Vikings (2-2)|
|15.||Cleveland Browns (2-2)|
|16.||Baltimore Ravens (2-2)|
|17.||Tampa Bay Bucs (2-2)|
|18.||Jacksonville Jaguars (2-2)|
|19.||Tennessee Titans (2-2)|
|20.||Carolina Panthers (2-2)|
|21.||Houston Texans (2-2)|
|22.||L.A. Chargers (2-2)|
|23.||New York Giants (2-2)|
|24.||Oakland Raiders (2-2)|
|25.||Pittsburgh Steelers (1-3)|
|26.||Arizona Cardinals (0-3-1)|
|27.||Atlanta Falcons (1-3)|
|28.||Cincinnati Bengals (0-4)|
|29.||Washington Redskins (0-4)|
|30.||Denver Broncos (0-4)|
|31.||New York Jets (0-3)|
|32.||Miami Dolphins (0-4)|