NFL Power Rankings – Week 5

NFL Power Rankings - Week 5

After a crazy first few weeks in the NFL, the contenders are starting to come into focus. As the weeks go on, it becomes easier to rank each team and predict the outcomes of games. Although I didn’t put them into writing, I went 12-4 on my week four predictions, a step forward after going 8-8 in weeks two and three. Hopefully I can keep it up. With plenty to discuss, let’s get straight to the week five power rankings and predictions.

The cellar dwellers:
#32. Houston Texans (0-3-1, 32)
#31. Chicago Bears (2-2, 31)
#30. Carolina Panthers (1-3, 26)
#29. Washington Commanders (1-3, 28)

The scrappy underdogs:
#28. Seattle Seahawks (2-2, 30)
#27. New York Giants (3-1, 25)
#26. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-3, 24)
#25. New York Jets (2-2, 29)
#24. Atlanta Falcons (2-2, 27)
#23. Detroit Lions (1-3, 20)

Playoff longshots:
#22. New Orleans Saints (1-3, 23)
#21. New England Patriots (1-3, 19)
#20. Arizona Cardinals (2-2, 18)

In the mix for the playoffs:
#19. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-2, 17)
#18. Cleveland Browns (2-2, 15)
#17. Indianapolis Colts (1-2-1, 13)

Surefire contenders:
#16. Minnesota Vikings (3-1, 14)
#15. Las Vegas Raiders (1-3, 21)
#14. Denver Broncos (2-2, 12)
#13. Dallas Cowboys (3-1, 22)

#12. Tennessee Titans (2-2, 16)
#11. Los Angeles Chargers (2-2, 11)
#10. Miami Dolphins (3-1, 10)
#9. Los Angeles Rams (2-2, 5)

Super Bowl contenders:
#8. Green Bay Packers (3-1, 6)
#7. Cincinnati Bengals (2-2, 7)
#6. San Francisco 49ers (2-2, 8)
#5. Philadelphia Eagles (4-0, 9)
#4. Baltimore Ravens (2-2, 4)
#3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-2, 3)
#2. Buffalo Bills (3-1, 1)
#1. Kansas City Chiefs (3-1, 2)

Week five predictions:
Indianapolis Colts @ Denver Broncos: The Colts are off to an underwhelming 1-3 start in 2022. Their lone
win was an impressive one over the Chiefs, but they benefited from two missed kicks and some other
uncharacteristic mistakes by Kansas City. Matt Ryan, now 37 years old, is not having a good year, as it
seems like his age is catching up to him. For the Broncos, Russell Wilson finally had a good game in week
four, totaling 266 yards and three touchdowns with no turnovers. Denver’s defense had their worst
showing of the season thus far however, and the Broncos lost to the Raiders 32-23. Denver is the all-
around better team, so I think they will be able to get the win at home. I am confident that the defense
will rebound, but Wilson will have to string together more solid performances before we have complete
confidence in the offense.
Prediction: Broncos 24, Colts 20

New York Giants vs Green Bay Packers: This is the second NFL game in London this season after the
Vikings and Saints played there last week. The Giants are off to a surprising 3-1 start, but none of their
wins have been particularly impressive. It is good to see Saquon Barkley healthy and having a great
season however. The Packers are coming off an ugly win over the Patriots, as it took them until overtime
to outlast New England’s third string quarterback Bailey Zappe. Green Bay’s young receivers are
struggling even though Aaron Rodgers is playing great football. Green Bay could have beaten New
England in regulation, but rookie Romeo Doubs dropped an easy 40-yard touchdown with under two
minutes to go. The Packers are unquestionably superior to the Giants so they should win this game, but
they have plenty of problems to solve if they hope to be Super Bowl contenders come January.
Prediction: Packers 26, Giants 17

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Buffalo Bills: The Steelers finally made the change from Mitch Trubisky to rookie
Kenny Pickett at quarterback for the second half against the Jets in week four, and he will get his first
start this week in an extremely tough matchup. Pickett fared alright in his second half cameo,
completing 10 of his 13 passes and running for two short touchdowns. However, all three of his
incompletions were intercepted by the Jets, and Pittsburgh lost 23-20. The Bills have begun to show
some weaknesses over the past two weeks, as they lost to the Dolphins and barely beat the Ravens.
Their defense is still good, but the loss of star safety Micah Hyde for the season is a big blow to their
secondary. Moreover, the offense has been less potent as they have faced better defenses, and Josh
Allen has made some mistakes. I think this game will be closer than anticipated. Pickett will have a full
week to prepare and he has great receivers to throw to. Pittsburgh’s defense isn’t amazing, but
they are good enough to keep Allen relatively in check. With that being said, I’ll still take Buffalo since
they are at home and should be able to make clutch plays when they need to given their offensive
Prediction: Bills 27, Steelers 21

Los Angeles Chargers @ Cleveland Browns: The Browns have been a hard team to predict this season as they always are. This will be their toughest matchup of the season to date as they finally face a team inside the top 20 of my power rankings. Although the Chargers have been hit hard by injuries, they still have Justin Herbert at quarterback and thus have a dangerous offense. Neither of these teams have
great defenses, so I expect this to be a relatively high scoring game, a prospect that bodes well for the Chargers given their high octane offense. Herbert and the Chargers should be able to outshoot Jacoby Brissett and the Browns in this one. Prediction: Chargers 31, Browns 23

Chicago Bears @ Minnesota Vikings: The Bears are one of the worst teams in football. Justin Fields has been unwatchable. From inaccurate throws to bad decision making, he has hardly done anything right in the first month of the season. The Vikings, on the other hand, come into this week at 3-1 and tied for the NFC North division lead. However, two of their three wins have been close calls, as they had to overcome a 10-point fourth quarter deficit to beat the Lions in week three and narrowly escaped London with a 28-25 win over the Saints last week. The Vikes are not quite as good as their record suggests, but they are still far superior to the Bears. Prediction: Vikings 27, Bears 14

Detroit Lions @ New England Patriots: Both of these teams are extremely well coached and scrappy. Although they don’t have the most talented rosters, either of these teams can pull off an upset any given week. I seriously have no idea how this game will play out. It could go either way. I’ll take the more experienced Pats to win a close one at home, but I don’t have much confidence in that pick. Prediction: Patriots 23, Lions 21

Seattle Seahawks @ New Orleans Saints: The Seahawks have been a pleasant surprise so far this season, especially offensively. Last week, they won the shootout of all shootouts, defeating the Lions 48-45. Geno Smith has been the biggest reason for Seattle’s surprisingly good offense. There was never a question of whether the Seahawks had enough playmakers on offense, but I and many others doubted
whether Smith, a 31-year old who hasn’t been a full time starter since 2014, would be able to get them the ball. He has done that and then some. However, Seattle’s defense is one of the league’s worst, so they don’t have a very high ceiling as a team. The Saints have disappointed early this season, thanks in large part to their quarterback play. Jameis Winston is a playmaker, but he is way too aggressive and
often makes plays for the wrong team by throwing easy interceptions to the defense. Andy Dalton got the start in week four against the Vikings with Winston dealing with injuries, and his play style is the polar opposite of Winston’s. Dalton is a game manager who lacks aggressiveness. But no matter who is at quarterback this week, I think their receivers will be too much for Seattle’s young cornerbacks to
handle. Based on the matchup, Dalton is probably the best option for the Saints this week, but I’ll take them to win no matter who starts at quarterback. Prediction: Saints 27, Seahawks 23

Miami Dolphins @ New York Jets: The main story surrounding the Dolphins during and after their week four loss to the Bengals has been the health of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who suffered a bad looking concussion four days after seemingly suffering a first concussion when he hit his head hard and came up hobbling and shaking his head against the Bills. The NFL Players Association is investigating the matter,
and the independent neurologist who cleared Tua to come back into the game against Buffalo has already been fired. Tua has already been ruled out for this week, so veteran Teddy Bridgewater will get the start. Bridgewater is one of the better backups in the league and should be able to keep Miami’s offense running smoothly. Hopefully Tua can get healthy and return to the field sooner than later, but
the Dolphins should be okay in the meantime. The Jets got their starting quarterback back last week when Zach Wilson returned from a knee injury and led his team to a surprising win over the Steelers. Although he struggled for much of the game, Wilson came up clutch when it mattered most, completing all six of his passes on the final drive for 62 yards and the game winning touchdown. If he carries that
momentum into this week, this game could be close. However, Miami is more proven and has the more talented roster, so I’ll take them to win. Prediction: Dolphins 26, Jets 20

Atlanta Falcons @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Falcons have surprisingly pulled off back-to-back wins over the Seahawks and Browns in their last two games. Arthur Smith is a creative offensive play designer and the defense has done enough to get the job done. This week, however, they face rival Tampa Bay, a team that has dominated Atlanta in recent years. Tom Brady had his best game of the season by far in
week four, throwing for 385 yards and three touchdowns, but there was just no keeping up with Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, who put on an incredible offensive display. Tampa Bay has one of the most talented defenses in the league, and I expect them to rebound in a big way this week. The Bucs should win this game easily.Prediction: Buccaneers 33, Falcons 17

Tennessee Titans @ Washington Commanders: After a slow start, the Titans have rebounded in a big way with back-to-back wins over the Raiders and Colts. Derrick Henry looks like his old self after struggling for the first two weeks of the season. Carson Wentz and the Commanders are falling downhill with increasing speed. The defense is mediocre and the offense can’t get anything going until garbage
time it seems. With these teams’ momentum going in opposite directions, the Titans should cruise in this one. Prediction: Titans 31, Commanders 21

Houston Texans @ Jacksonville Jaguars: The Texans are probably the worst team in the NFL. They have yet to win a game and it’s hard to see that changing any time soon given how little roster talent they have. The Jags got off to a hot start, winning two of their first three games over the Colts and Chargers, but they faltered in week four when they lost 29-21 to the Eagles. The game was played in the rain,
perhaps contributing to Trevor Lawrence’s five turnovers, including four lost fumbles. Lawrence and the Jags have a lot to clean up after last week, but they have the perfect opportunity to do just that against the Texans this week. I expect them to rebound and win convincingly.
Prediction: Jaguars 28, Texans 17

San Francisco 49ers @ Carolina Panthers: The 49ers defense is dominant. They haven’t given up more than 10 points in a game since week one. The offense, after struggling in the first week with Jimmy Garoppolo at quarterback after the season ending injury to Trey Lance, rebounded against the Rams in week four in a 24-9 win. They are one of the best teams in the NFC. On the other hand, the Panthers are a disaster. The coaching has been extremely underwhelming and Baker Mayfield has been dreadful at quarterback. This is a mis-match. Prediction: 49ers 27, Panthers 10

Philadelphia Eagles @ Arizona Cardinals: The Eagles have shocked the world with a dominant 4-0 start to the season. They haven’t exactly played any great teams, but they have won every game in convincing fashion. The Cardinals, as I predicted they would, have disappointed to this point. Kyler Murray is great, but he doesn’t have much talent to work with and head coach Kliff Kingsbury does nothing to help him
out. This should be another win for Philly. Fly Eagles fly. Prediction: Eagles 28, Cardinals 20

Dallas Cowboys @ Los Angeles Rams: Things looked bleak for the Cowboys after the week one injury to quarterback Dak Prescott, but they have surprisingly reeled off three straight wins with Cooper Rush to stay right in the playoff mix. This team looks like it will be dangerous once Prescott returns, and that could happen any time now. The Rams are coming off an ugly loss to the 49ers. They have played two
great defenses so far this season and they have lost both of those games by wide margins. There two wins came against the Falcons and the Cardinals, both of whom have below average defenses. The Rams have another tough matchup this week against a ferocious Cowboys pass rush. I would pick Dallas if Prescott was healthy, but I think the Rams will be able to muster just enough offense to get the win given that Rush will be under center for Dallas. Prediction: Rams 20, Cowboys 17

Cincinnati Bengals @ Baltimore Ravens: The Bengals got off to a rocky 0-2 start, but they have rebounded with wins over the Jets and Dolphins. The Ravens have traded wins and losses over the first month of the season. They fell just short last week against the Bills, losing 23-20 on a last-second field goal. Lamar Jackson did not have his best game against Buffalo, but he has still played like the MVP favorite for most of the season. These teams are well matched. Both have great offenses led by great quarterbacks, and they both have solid defenses. I am going to take the Bengals to win in an upset. They have played really well in their last two games and their offensive playmakers are better than Baltimore’s. Lamar will of course keep it close, but I think Joe Burrow and the Bengals will pull it out in the end. Prediction: Bengals 30, Ravens 27

Las Vegas Raiders @ Kansas City Chiefs: The Raiders finally got their first win of the season last week against the Broncos. Running back Josh Jacobs had a career day, totaling 175 yards and two touchdowns to lead the way. The passing game, led by quarterback Derek Carr, has not lived up to expectations, however. The Chiefs, on the other hand, recovered from their week three loss to the Colts in a big way,
dominating an elite Buccaneers defense in a 41-31 week four win. Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce are an unstoppable duo in the passing game. The Chiefs have owned the Raiders in recent years, and I see no reason for that to change now. Prediction: Chiefs 34, Raiders 24