NFL WEEK 5: POWER RANKINGS

BY ADAM GREENE It’s the absolute apex of the NFL Week, when we finally put the previous Thursday, Sunday and Monday’s action behind us and focus on the future. And, in so doing, give out some well-deserved praise and scorne. We have our fourth different team to claim its spot atop the rankings this season, something that’s all but unheard of in Power Rank-ery. We do not have a new No. 32. That team might as well put their chair in the full reclining position. Really get comfortable. It might be a while. 1. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (3-1) No team looked better in Week 4 than the Kansas City Chiefs. Considering what they had to replace in talent in the offseason (and failed to do), no one expected them to look in December form in September. But that’s exactly what happened, landing them atop the rankings for the first time in 2022. Dominating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Tampa the way they did, in front of a Prime Time Audience, has to be recognized. There are statements, and there’s signed and notarized declarations. Mahomes put his John Hancock on one Sunday. Last week: No. 5 2. GREEN BAY PACKERS (3-1) While it might seem unfair to drop a team after a win, the Packers haven’t looked like themselves this season. They got the win over the hapless Patriots, but that game should have been a blowout. Speaking of looks, Aaron Rodgers’ hair choice is a bad one. Last season he grew it out to play John Wick on Halloween, catching Covid-19 in the process and busting himself for publicly lying about his vaccination status. This year, he’s apparently trying to trick Covid into thinking he’s already dead by dressing up as the Crypt Keeper. Last week: No. 1 3. BUFFALO BILLS (3-1) Dropping after a come from behind victory on the road against a potential playoff team is bad form, but the Chiefs jumped the field. The Bills looked cooked against the Baltimore Ravens for most of the day, but showed up in the only time it really counts. While this game might get replayed in the postseason, the Josh Allen vs Lamar Jackson MVP race is finally on. Last week: No. 2 4. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (4-0) The Eagles have done exactly what they’re supposed to do — dominate inferior teams on their schedule. Luckily for them, most of the teams on the docket are inferior since Philadelphia was blessed with one of the league’s easiest schedules. Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals could be a trap, or it could be a defining moment for the Eagles first half of the season. With the rest of the NFC hovering at .500, this could lay an early claim on NFC home field and keep it. Last week: No. 7 5. LOS ANGELES RAMS (2-2) Like the Packers, the Rams haven’t looked resembled their former selves in 2022. It didn’t help that, even last season, LA got swept by the San Francisco 49ers in the regular season. Los Angeles is playing with more than half its starting offensive line missing, but, there’s no excuse to being held completely out of the end zone against the Niners Monday night. Last week: No. 3 6. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (2-2) With Hurricane Ian just wrapping up and apparently some off the field drama for Tom Brady just beginning, the Bucs needed to be at their best against the Chiefs last Sunday night. And, even then, they probably would have still lost. In what just might be a coincidence, but I’m choosing to believe it’s not, Tampa went 0-2 after signing COVID-19 super spreader Cole Beasley to their roster. The good news for the Buccaneers is, as of Wednesday morning, Beasley left the team and retired. Last week: No. 4 7. CINCINNATI BENGALS (2-2) A big win over the Miami Dolphins erases one bad loss for the Bengals. Unfortunately for Cincy, they had two on their record already. Knocking the Ravens off in Baltimore Sunday will clear that up completely. Last week: No. 9 8. MIAMI DOLPHINS (3-1) The final AFC unbeaten team fell in the ugliest way possible, not only losing the game, but losing its starting quarterback for at least a week (but probably more). Tua Tagovailoa went down early with a horrifying concussion that made his previous week’s “back injury” look extra suspicious. Miami is now under the microscope and their “unaffiliated neurotrauma consultant” has been fired, because the “unaffiliated” guy’s head is always going to roll first. The team doesn’t lose a lot at the QB position with Teddy Bridgewater in and he might be a better deep ball thrower than Tagovailoa. The shame is, Tagovailoa’s injury and ordeal has shed a new light on the NFL’s current concussion protocols and already forced changes in the rules. It’s a too bad Tagovailoa had to go through that intensely scary moment to make it happen. Preseason: No. 6 9. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (2-2) Justin Herbert is starting to look like himself again “just in” time. He was dialed in pretty well against the Houston Texans last week, but will face a true test making the trip to the Cleveland Browns Sunday. He’ll need a lot more help out of the running game. The Chargers rushed for just 81 yards as a team against one of the weaker defenses in the league. Last week: No. 11 10. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (2-2) For some reason, Jimmy Garoppolo turns into the second coming of Steve Young when he faces the Rams. Against everyone else, he’s Jeff Garcia. Thanks to their schedule, they get the Carolina Panthers this week and even Jeff Garcia could eviscerate those schlubs with this roster around him. Last week: No. 12 11. MINNESOTA VIKINGS (3-1) While America slept, attended church or got mimosa drunk at brunch, the Vikings outlasted the New Orleans Saints to end September a half game up in the NFC North. Last week: No. 12 12. DALLAS COWBOYS