This week is a bit of a stripped-down version of the NFL Power Rankings. We got back to somewhat of expected normalcy after Week 5 brought some fluky outcomes. Plus, there’s only so much to say about teams at this point without being overly repetitive. We’re being a bit cautious here as we’re anticipating Week 6 to be something of a moving week. Which is to say: we’ll have a much better idea of the lay of the land a come Tuesday.
NFL Power Rankings, Tier 1: Still on top
1 New England Patriots (5-0; +121 point differential)
2 Kansas City Chiefs (4-1; +35)
If the Chiefs won last week, it’s entirely possible they would have moved into the top spot, despite New England being undefeated and holding that spot for the whole season so far. The Pats have looked a little shaky at times, but even with the Mahomes injury, Kansas City played bad against the Colts. But no other team has proved to consistently be on this level, so the top tier stays as is.
NFL Power Rankings, Tier 2: Not quite there yet, but close
3 Green Bay Packers (4-1; +26)
4 Buffalo Bills (4-1; +20)
5 New Orleans Saints (4-1; -1)
6 San Francisco 49 (5-0; +70)
7 Philadelphia Eagles (3-2; +30)
8 Seattle Seahawks (4-1; +15)
9 Dallas Cowboys (3-2; +41)
10 Houston Texans (3-2; +21)
This group firmly has a grasp on a playoff spot – or at least as much as a team can at this point. The Packers are in perhaps the NFL’s deepest division but could have a victory over all of their NFC North foes if they take care of the Lions Sunday. The Bills have been frisky but don’t project to be able to catch the Patriots. Buffalo doesn’t stand to have much competition for a wild-card spot, though. Sure, the 49ers are undefeated, but their best opponent thus far has either been the Browns or Buccaneers, depending on your taste, but either way, that’s not saying much. A win against the Rams this weekend would move them up and go a long way toward proving that they are for real. The Eagles, Seahawks, Cowboys, and Texans all feel like they could beat anybody in any given game, but they’ve also laid some stinkers this season.
— PFF (@PFF) October 10, 2019
NFL Power Rankings, Tier 3: Sending mixed signals
11 Baltimore Ravens (3-2; +38)
12 Detroit Lions (2-1-1; +2)
13 Indianapolis Colts (3-2; -2)
14 Los Angeles Rams (3-2; +12)
15 Oakland Raiders (3-2; -20)
16 Chicago Bears (3-2; +18)
17 Carolina Panthers (3-2’ +22)
Baltimore and Detroit have perhaps had more success early on than anticipated. But they’re also two teams who’ve gotten out to hot starts in the past and fallen apart to some measure later on. Those two, along with the Colts, are a couple of solid performances away from proving how good they are. For now, just outside the top-ten feel about right. The Rams are showing signs of a Super Bowl hangover. Oakland destroyed Chicago in London, thus getting a higher ranking, but we’re taking that win with a bit of a grain of salt. Carolina has looked better than anticipated without Cam Newton but still has a lot of work to do.
NFL Power Rankings, Tier 4: Running out of time
18 Los Angeles Chargers (2-3; +9)
19 Jacksonville Jaguars (2-3; -7)
20 Minnesota Vikings (3-2; +39)
21 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3; -1)
22 Tennessee Titans (2-3; +22)
23 Cleveland Browns (2-3; -30)
The Chargers have a bit more in-division competition than they may be planned for with how well Oakland has played. L.A. beat Miami by 20 a couple of weeks ago but really hasn’t had that great a performance since their Week 1 win over Indy. Gardner Minshew is a nice story, but it’s getting a bit overblown due to his, uh, persona. Minnesota, Tampa Bay, Tennesee, and Cleveland have all looked good but have all looked bad. Inconsistency is a recipe for heartbreak in this league.
NFL Power Rankings, Tier 5: Fragile, handle with care
24 New York Giants (2-3; -28)
25 Denver Broncos (1-4; -16)
26 Pittsburgh Steelers (1-4; -15)
These three teams are all in pretty depressing states as organizations. The Giants, coincidentally, might have the brightest future of the group after switching to Daniel Jones at quarterback. The other two teams here aren’t quite as fortunate at the most important position.
NFL Power Rankings, Tier 6: A mixed bad of bad
27 New York Jets (0-4; -62)
28 Arizona Cardinals (1-2-1; -38)
29 Atlanta Falcons (1-4; 50)
30 Cincinnati Bengals (0-5; 56)
31 Washington Redskins (0-5; 78)
New York could prove to be pretty competitive if Sam Darnold can come in and pull the offense together, at least to some degree. Arizona is still establishing a new identity and figures to struggle while doing so, they just need to stay the course and resist the urge to make knee-jerk reactions. Things really fell apart quickly in Atlanta. Cincinnati and Washington are in the beginning phases of a rebuild, they just need to admit it.
— NFL Throwback (@nflthrowback) October 5, 2019
NFL Power Rankings, Tier 7: This isn’t how this works
32 Miami Dolphins (0-5; -137)
Miami is undoubtedly tanking. But the big worry for them should be that what they’re doing has ruined the environment around the franchise. They may actually prove tougher to overcome than the losses on the field. At some point, they’ll need to prove to players around the league that they’re a legitimate NFL organization that deserves to be taken seriously.