We saw the first test to the NFL’s COVID-19 protocol with the postponement of the Titans-Steelers game. Though the Chiefs remain supplanted as the top team in this week’s NFL Power Rankings, there is plenty of movement elsewhere:
NFL Power Rankings, Tier 1: No changes at the top
1. Kansas City Chiefs (4-0, +47 point differential)
Not much new to add here. The Chiefs continue to be one of the most impressive offensive teams the league has seen in a long time. And the defense is improved this season.
NFL Power Rankings, Week 5: New No. 2
2. Seattle Seahawks (4-0, +33)
Seattle should be able to take advantage of a winless Minnesota team on Sunday night. Then the Seahawks’ schedule gets pretty interesting with four in-division games (two against the Cardinals and one each versus the 49ers and Rams) with the undefeated Bills sandwiched in the middle.
3. Baltimore Ravens (3-1, +49)
The Ravens aren’t even in first place in the AFC North, thanks to the Steelers, but they hold steady. It says a lot about the Ravens that even after suffering the 34-20 loss to Kansas City, Baltimore still has the second-best point differential in the league.
4. Green Bay Packers (4-0, +51)
Monday night’s 30-16 win over Atlanta may not qualify as a blowout, but the Falcons never had a chance and became the latest victim of the team sporting the league’s best point differential.
5. Buffalo Bills (4-0, +23)
Obviously, things can change in the blink of an eye this season, especially in the Bills’ case, with a game against the quarantined Titans slated next. But even if that game is moved out of that slot, Buffalo is lined up to play Kansas City after that. We’re about to find out a lot about this Bills team over the next two weeks.
6. Tennessee Titans (3-0, +6)
7. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-0, +22)
What to do with the COVID-19-stricken Titans? No game this week, we’ll see about Week 6. Tennessee holds steady for now. The coronavirus in the Tennessee locker room robbed us of a very intriguing game between the Titans and Steelers. For now, these two sit about the same in the NFL Power Rankings.
Source: Another good morning, as the #Titans had zero positive COVID-19 tests. That’s two in a row. There is a potential the facility could open tomorrow.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) October 6, 2020
8. Indianapolis Colts (3-1, +47)
Indy has looked impressive since Week 1’s loss to Jacksonville. That’s still one of the worst losses in the NFL this season and the Colts have gotten its wins against the Vikings, Jets, and Bears. There’s still quite a bit to figure out with the Colts, though they deserve to be in the top 10.
Through four weeks, and with the Monday night games in the books, the Colts’ defense ranks first in the NFL in:
— yards/game allowed (236.3)
— passing yards/game (159.3)
— points allowed/game (14.0)
— interceptions (7)
— safeties (2)
— 3rd downs allowed (31%)
— defensive TDs (2)
— Zak Keefer (@zkeefer) October 6, 2020
9. New England Patriots (2-2, +5)
The Pats have had a tough season so far: Even before it started, New England lost more players to this season’s opt-out clause than any other team. And just when the team was figuring out how to utilize Cam Newton, he tests positive for COVID-19 and the Patriots still had to play the Chiefs (as part of one of the tougher schedules so far). We’re giving this team the benefit of the doubt here.
10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-1, +28)
Victories over the Panthers, Broncos, and Chargers aren’t all that impressive. And that season-opening loss to New Orleans doesn’t look as good as it did at the time. The Bucs make the top 10, but with some caution moving forward.
NFL Power Rankings, Tier 3: Still in the thick of things
11. Los Angeles Rams (3-1, +26)
L.A. gets Washington on Sunday, which bodes well for the Rams to move to 4-1, putting them solidly in the running for a division title in the league’s toughest division, the NFC West. Even if Los Angeles isn’t able to obtain the top spot, a wild-card playoff spot would be a nice consolation.
12. Cleveland Browns (3-1, -2)
Cleveland approaches the top 10 but stays on the outside looking in. The negative point differential is concerning, and even though the talent on the roster – at least on paper – may deserve a ranking a few spots higher, but something still feels a bit volatile about this situation.
13. Chicago Bears (3-1, +4)
The Nick Foles shine wore off a little but the Bears are still in pretty decent shape, considering Chicago is in a division with two weak teams (the NFC North, with Detroit and Minnesota). Plus, the NFC, in general, is shaping up to perhaps be a little top-heavy. The Bears could still easily finish behind Green Bay in the division but make a playoff appearance.
NFL Power Rankings, Tier 4: Need to start stacking successes
14. Arizona Cardinals (2-2, +6)
Arizona’s hot start has come to a crashing halt after two straight (bad) losses to the Lions and Panthers. The Cardinals’ slide should end this week as the Jets are tabbed for this week.
15. San Francisco 49ers (2-2, +36)
This is one of the most talented rosters in the league but has been close to playing their entire second team as starters as the team deals with a rash of injuries. It doesn’t hurt San Francisco’s cause that the NFC West looks to be the league’s toughest.
16. New Orleans Saints (2-2, 0)
The Saints seem to be on the verge of either an appearance in the NFC Championship game or on the brink of total collapse. Not sure why, but the situation in New Orleans feels like it’s going to be one or the other, with no in-between.
17. Las Vegas Raiders (2-2, -9)
The Raiders are at .500 but have lost two straight and are currently sporting a negative point differential. Things are trending down in Vegas.
18. Philadelphia Eagles (1-2-1, -23)
19. Dallas Cowboys (1-3, -20)
Somebody has to win the NFC East, right? It should be one of these two teams, but both have disappointed thus far this season.
NFL Power Rankings, Tier 5: Bad teams that try hard
20. Carolina Panthers (2-2, -3)
Even as injury-depleted as this team is with Christian McCaffrey and others out, Carolina is pretty frisky, now on a two-game win streak. Still, don’t expect too many more wins, at some point the lack of depth will catch up to the Panthers.
21. Miami Dolphins (1-3, -3)
Miami is facing some mounting pressure to turn the quarterback keys over to Tua Tagovailoa, but the team should stay the course with Ryan Fitzpatrick. The Dolphins are staying pretty competitive, just coming up short on wins. But making sure Tagovailoa is healthy going forward and continuing to learn the playbook. Another top pick wouldn’t hurt.
22. Cincinnati Bengals (1-2-1, 0)
Rookie Joe Burrow got his first win as a pro after trying in Week 3. While that’s a nice accomplishment for the top overall pick, don’t expect too many more from this team.
23. Detroit Lions (1-3, -28)
Detroit has had a tough schedule so far, but the Lions have still looked bad and given away a couple of games the squad probably wishes they had back.
24. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-3, -22)
The Jags beat the Colts in Week 1, then followed that up with losses to the Titans and Dolphins before the latest defeat this past week, to the Bengals. Jacksonville might be worse now than they were to start the season. Not a great sign.
Worst first down% on third-and-1, 2018-present:
5. LA Chargers (60.7%)
4. Green Bay Packers (59%)
3. Jacksonville Jaguars (59.8%)
2. Buffalo Bills (56.8%)
1. Chicago Bears (56%)
— JJ Stankevitz (@JJStankevitz) October 6, 2020
25. Los Angeles Chargers (1-3, -12)
Justin Herbert looking good but the team still losing isn’t all that bad for this team right now, as it sets the Chargers up for a top draft pick while getting their future franchise quarterback some meaningful experience. The situation in L.A. may not be as bad as it appears.
26. Denver Broncos (1-3, -16)
There’s talent on this roster, it’s just that most of it is currently listed on the IR. It’s setting up to be a lost season in Denver.
27. Washington Football Team (1-3, -33)
Washington looked good in the Week 1 win over the Eagles. But we’ve since learned Philly isn’t very good right now and Washington has done nothing since.
NFL Power Rankings, Tier 6: Nothing going right
28. Minnesota Vikings (1-3, -19)
29. Atlanta Falcons (0-4, -32)
30. Houston Texans (0-4, -46)
These are veteran teams built to win now but haven’t had much of anything go right this season. Atlanta may face the toughest decisions when management decides the team needs to be torn down. Houston currently does not a head coach or general manager. And Minnesota arguably had the bleakest cap sheet in the NFL projecting over the next couple of seasons.
Bill O’Brien in 2020:
? Blew a 24-0 lead in the playoffs vs. Kansas City
? Traded away DeAndre Hopkins
? Started the season 0-4 in a year where Houston does not have their first and second-round picks
? Fired by the Texans pic.twitter.com/K3IQ3yMrst
— ESPN (@espn) October 5, 2020
31. New York Giants (0-4, -49)
32. New York Jets (0-4, -66)
More misery in the Big Apple.