NFL Power Rankings: How the AFC stacks up after Week 5
It’s a big week for not being married to the last thing I saw. It’s the body of work, ladies and gentlemen, not 60 minutes on a Sunday night with the country watching against a limping wunderkind. I got a lot of pushback on the Bills being my No. 3 team in the conference last week. Do I bow to the pressure and the naysayers even after they won on the road … START CLICKING!
16. Miami Dolphins (0-4)
15. New York Jets (0-4)
The Jets (0-4) came off their bye and got demolished by the Eagles 31-6. They didn’t manage an offensive score against the Patriots prior to their bye and only scored three against Cleveland. I think it will get better when Sam Darnold comes back but it’s never going to get good. They have the Cowboys, Patriots and are at Jacksonville over their next three.
Last three rankings: 13, 15, 15
14. Cincinnati Bengals (0-5)
These final three teams — the Bengals, Jets and Dolphins — inhabit a different world of ineffectiveness. The 0-5 Bengals, after a “We don’t care” loss to the Steelers, lost at home to the winless Cardinals.
Last three rankings: 15, 13, 14
12. Los Angeles Chargers (2-3)
After being life-and-death for a half with the Dolphins, the 2-3 Chargers lost at home to a previously winless Broncos team. I don’t think they will be here long. They are better than this. But they are absolutely not as good as they were given credit for at the start of the season based on last year.
Last three rankings: 4, 7, 11
11. Denver Broncos (1-4)
The Broncos are the top of the worst. Two of their losses are heartbreakers, one against the very good Bears the other two weeks ago against the Jags. But they’ve lost Bradley Chubb and Chris Harris is slashing off the weeks until he’s a free agent. Too bad, because this is a team that can make the playoffs.
Last three rankings: 11, 12, 12
10. Baltimore Ravens (3-2)
Big bad Ravens defense has allowed 96 points in three games and Baltimore’s three wins have come against the Dolphins, Cardinals and Steelers, who have a combined two wins between them. They lost by 15 to the Browns at home. They barely survived the Steelers.
Last three rankings: 5, 4, 10
9. Cleveland Browns (2-3)
I can’t put the Ravens over them since Cleveland hammered the Ravens at home last week. I’m not putting the one-win Chargers and Broncos over them. So here are the 2-3 Browns after their 31-3 humiliation that will probably be followed by a patient dissection by Russell Wilson this Sunday in Cleveland, which will be followed by the Patriots.
Last three rankings: 9, 10, 7
8. Tennessee Titans (2-3)
I have to move these guys UP?! After a home loss? The Titans (2-3) missed four field goals so that’s their “yeah, but…” … on the other hand, I dropped them a spot after the win in Atlanta so it all works out.
Last three rankings: 8, 8, 9
7. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-3)
These guys … they lose a tight one at Houston, hammer the Titans then allow 34 to the Panthers and get gutted for 285 on the ground? And the defense is supposed to be the strong suit? Also, a question: do the Jags (2-3), stick with Minshew when Foles is back healthy? I say yes.
Last three rankings: 9, 5, 5
6. Oakland Raiders (3-2)
They are in the most difficult schedule stretch any team will face this year. And they opened with wins in Indy and against the Bears in London. The Raiders (3-2) have a well-earned bye this week then play at Green Bay and Houston. One could make the argument they belong ahead of Indy. Not me. But one could.
Last three rankings: 10, 11, 8
5. Houston Texans (3-2)
I wrote this last week: The Texans are wearing me out. Just figure it out up front. Eighteen sacks now in four games for Deshaun Watson. The quality of their first loss — close at New Orleans — is keeping them here but how do you lose at home to a brand new quarterback like Kyle Allen? Falcons next. Houston (3-2) didn’t allow Watson to be sacked. They scored 53. Watson threw for 426 and five touchdowns. Now comes KC.
Last three rankings: 3, 3, 6
4. Indianapolis Colts (3-2)
A week after a home loss to the Raiders, the Colts toppled Kansas City on the road with one of the most impressive wins in the league this year. They were overpowering on the ground and it was fun to watch because the Chiefs supposedly fixed all that after being emasculated in the AFC Championship last year and it’s clear they haven’t. Side note: Indy (3-2) plays a lot of close games — OT loss in the opener, wins by two and three points, a seven-point loss and now this six-point win. That’s good for the Colts soul. Bye this week then hosting Houston and Denver.
Last three rankings: 6, 5, 4
3. Buffalo Bills (4-1)
I don’t give a single poop about the limitations of Josh Allen and whether his presence means the 4-1 Bills should be here. Buffalo went down to Tennessee, they allowed 252 yards of offense (81 on two plays) and they survived. The potential for a letdown after the draining Patriots game was right there but they got the job done on the road. They are consistently a pain in the ass and their only loss is to the best team in the league.
Last three rankings: 7, 6, 3
2. Kansas City Chiefs (4-1)
We acknowledge the bullying the Chiefs took on Sunday night at home against the Colts. A bullying which followed the Chiefs being life-and-death with the Lions on the road. It was enjoyable. And the injury to Patrick Mahomes showed that — brilliant as he is — when the scrambling ability is limited, the effectiveness drops. Bad week for KC, great week for Indy but it felt like an outlier. A normal performance from the Chiefs offense would make it hard for the Colts to run that ground-and-pound game they did once they got the lead. I can’t wait to watch Mahomes vs. Deshaun Watson this weekend. I’m a big Watson guy, big Watson guy.
Last three rankings: 2, 2, 2
1. New England Patriots (5-0)
A ho-hum 26-point win that resulted in the end of the Jay Gruden Era in Washington. All caveats remain in place as the Patriots keep playing the schedule they were given and overwhelming them. It’s not their fault. It’s not their fault. Giants up Thursday. Still not their fault.
Last three rankings: 1, 1, 1