It’s time to break out the smiley face stickers and the sad clowns. Let’s rank some football teams!
- KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (4-1)
Another week, another ridiculous Patrick Mahomes performance, this time storming back from a 17-point deficit to overtake the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday night. Fun fact — this is the first Power Rankings of the season with a repeat No. 1.
Last week: No. 1
- BUFFALO BILLS (4-1)
The Bills toyed with the Pittsburgh Steelers for all of a quarter, like a killer whale and a seal in one of those nature documentaries where David Attenborough makes you care about a cute animal only to see it barely escape the jaws of death. Only there was no escape for the Steelers Sunday. Buffalo and Kansas City are significantly ahead of the rest of the crowd this point in the season. And, yes, I’m even talking about the lone undefeated squad ranked just beneath them.
Last week: No. 3
- PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (5-0)
While Philadelphia has one of the easiest overall schedules in the NFL, their 5-0 record is no illusion. They dominated the 4-1 Minnesota Vikings in Week 2 and then outlasted the Arizona Cardinals, who made the playoffs last year, on the road. This is a good team. I don’t think they’ll hold up as the best team in the NFC, but they are absolutely playing the best through the first five weeks of the season.
Last week: No. 4
- TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (3-2)
The Bucs stopped a two-game skid with a suddenly very important win over the Atlanta Falcons. Nothing is looking easy in Tampa Bay this season, but it’s not like they haven’t had their share of distractions in “Acts of God” and “Acts of Gisele” both. On the bright side, Antonio Brown quitting the team in New York last season looks more like a blessing every single day.
Last week: No. 6
- LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (3-2)
Los Angeles outlasted a spry Cleveland Browns team on the road Sunday. Justin Herbert looks healthier each week and running back Austin Ekeler picked the perfect time to win everybody some Daily Fantasy cash.
Last week: No. 9
- GREEN BAY PACKERS (3-2)
There’s bad losses, then there’s losing to the New York Giants in London while sacrificing a home game at Lambeau to do it. Apparently there’s some internal issues that Aaron Rodgers doesn’t like with the team’s “attitude” as well. Maybe he should have invited them all to his last ayahuasca enema party.
Last week: No. 2
- SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (3-2)
As bad as it is to write (and know), Trey Lance’s injury put this 49ers team atop the NFC West five weeks in and has them angling for a division title and home playoff game. With Lance, they wouldn’t have made it at all and would probably be 0-5.
Last week: No. 10
- MINNESOTA VIKINGS (4-1)
After co-leading the NFC North for a week, the Vikings are all alone atop the division after a Packers stumble across the pond. With Teddy Bridgewater and Tua Tagovailoa’s statuses with the Miami Dolphins up in the air for next Sunday and a friendly schedule for the two following weeks, they could remain there for a while.
Last week: No. 11
- DALLAS COWBOYS (4-1)
If you were a Cowboys fan hoping to bring in Sean Payton next season, I have bad news. Somebody is doing a great coaching job in Dallas, and while it might not be Mike McCarthy (and he’s definitely not sucking), he’s resting comfortably on a very cold seat. I have some worse news — Dan Quinn, your best coach on the staff, has the defense playing at a championship level and might work his way into another head coaching job next year.
Last week: No. 12
- LOS ANGELES RAMS (2-3)
Oof. The winning team isn’t supposed to suffer from a Super Bowl hangover, but the Rams look like they’re traveling Vegas with a baby strapped to their chest after getting a black eye from Mike Tyson. Injuries to the offensive line have doomed the team in their title defense with Matthew Stafford getting pressured on 45.9 percent of his drop backs this season and the running game is nonexistent.
Last week: No. 5
- BALTIMORE RAVENS (3-2)
Baltimore slipped past the defending AFC Champion Cincinnati Bengals last Sunday and, in so doing, are all alone atop the AFC North. There’s a lot of season to go, but if Lamar Jackson stays healthy (and with the way Greg Roman calls games, that’s a big “if”) they could stay there.
Last week: No. 13
- TENNESSEE TITANS (3-2)
After an 0-2 start, the Titans have turned their season around with three consecutive wins. They can all but seal the deal by knocking off the Indianapolis Colts for a second time in three weeks Sunday.
Last week: No. 15
- CINCINNATI BENGALS (2-3)
The Bengals have gotten no help from their schedule and there’s plenty of season to go, but this has been a disappointing start for a team and a fanbase who hoped to have buried the “Bungles” for good.
Last week: No. 7
- MIAMI DOLPHINS (3-2)
The Dolphins can’t keep their quarterbacks out of the concussion protocol and the guy they’d most want to trade for is currently starting in San Francisco. It’d be a shame to see injuries knock this team out of the playoff hunt this early when it looked like they’d cruise to at least a Wild Card in the first month of the season.
Preseason: No. 8
- NEW YORK GIANTS (4-1)
Well, all of us prepared for this Giants train to derail just got flattened like a penny by that win over the Packers Sunday in London. I think Brian Daboll might have been the right hire, here. How did the NFC East become the best division in the conference?
Last week: No. 17
- NEW YORK JETS (3-2)
If I were to tell you that, five weeks into the season, the Bucs and Jets would have the same record, you would immediately have thought Tom Brady re-retired and/or had an allergic reaction to a carb. But, no, Brady is fine health wise (home wise, who can say?) and the Jets and Bucs are both 3-2. And they’ve done it as deserved underdogs in the process.
Last week: No. 23
- NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (2-3)
The Saints have been blasted by injuries to the point they tossed the keys to quarterback Andy Dalton, but it was Taysom Hill who saved the day and pissed off every fantasy football player on the planet last Sunday. Hill was a one-man wrecking crew and I don’t think anyone, anywhere benefited from it in fantasy football.
Last week: No. 20
- DENVER BRONCOS (2-3)
Well, Gordon Ramsay is about to storm Russell Wilson’s kitchen and call him every British-y curse in his vocabulary. The Health Department has hung a giant “D” on the door. DangeRuss needs to pop open his old Tumblr account and look for his best recipes from 2019 or this Kitchen Nightmare will continue. Wilson is currently on pace for one of the worst statistical seasons of his career.
Last week: No. 14
- CLEVELAND BROWNS (2-3)
That’s two losses in a row for the Browns, who remain a tough out with Jacoby Brissett at quarterback. Hopes in Cleveland are probably dimming, but the Pro Deshaun Watson offensive T-shirt market continues to boom.
Last week: No. 16
- ARIZONA CARDINALS (2-3)
In the preseason I predicted that the Cardinals would miss the playoffs after a tumultuous offseason of self-inflicted wounds surrounding the contract, and preparation of Kyler Murray. And while I have no idea how he’s doing in his nightly Call of Duty matches, I do know the team doesn’t seem that impressive on the field. Unfortunately, there’s no Double XP weekends in the NFL.
Last week: No. 18
- JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (2-3)
After looking as if they could possibly contend for a Wild Card spot in the first month of the season, the Jaguars took their annual eye-rolling loss to the Texans to make us all feel stupid for thinking they could sniff the postseason.
Last week: No. 19
- NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (2-3)
I don’t know if the Pats’ 29-0 shutout win over the Detroit Lions says more about New England than it does about Detroit. Either way, they have to be happy that rookie Bailey Zappe held down the fort with Mac Jones out.
Last week: No. 28
- LAS VEGAS RAIDERS (1-4)
The Raiders blew a 17-0 lead to the Chiefs Monday night and then Devante Adams shoved a camera guy out of the stadium. I would say nothing good happened Monday regarding Vegas, but my guess is that camera guy has a nice fat check coming his way from Adams in the near future. And Adams is probably sitting out next week on a suspension.
Last week: No. 21
- ATLANTA FALCONS (2-3)
The Falcons were robbed by the refs in their game with the Buccaneers and no one wants to hear any excuses from the league. That was the worst roughing the passer penalty for all of one full day until Chris Jones got called for something equally ridiculous Monday night against the Raiders. Heads should roll. No defense can play under those conditions.
Last week: No. 22
- INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (2-2-1)
Somehow, in spite of looking like the Pacific Garbage Gyre each and every week, the Colts are still right in the thick of the AFC South. Of course, that probably says more about the South than it does about Indianapolis.
Last week: No. 26
- CHICAGO BEARS (2-3)
Don’t look now, but the Bears look sneaky interesting at this point of the season and Justin Fields, after a freshmen redshirt under Matt Nagy, looks like he’s playing real football. The rest of the offense just isn’t there yet.
Last week: No. 24
- PITTSBURGH STEELERS (1-4)
Mike Tomlin is taking full responsibility for the Steelers 1-4 start, but this was always going to be the first mulligan of his career. Considering that this will likely be his first losing season as a head coach, he should be OK. He’s earned it.
Last week: No. 25
- SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (2-3)
Geno Smith may have put forth the best game of his career in last week’s 39-32 loss to the Saints. He went 16 of 25 for 268 yards, three touchdowns and no picks. Denver wishes they were getting that kind of production out of Russell Wilson.
Last week: No. 27
- HOUSTON TEXANS (1-3-1)
Look at you, Texans. Winning the second worst game of the week and your first of the season. I would chastise you for ruining your shot at winless-ness, but I never really believed it was on the table. An 0-for season in a 17-game campaign is too much to ask from any hapless franchise, even one ran like a religious cult.
Last week: No. 32
- DETROIT LIONS (1-4)
Dan Campbell might want to dust off that resume. It doesn’t matter how hard you play or how many kneecaps you bite when you can’t put a game in the win column.
Last week: No. 29
- WASHINGTON COMMANDERS (1-4)
The Commanders had to deal with a little drama this week as it appeared to some that head coach Ron Rivera blamed Carson Wentz for his team’s misfortunes, when he was really saying that they haven’t had continuity at the QB position. I’m the guy that blames Wentz. Let’s get it straight.
Last week: No. 30
- CAROLINA PANTHERS (1-4)
Here’s the deal. Matt Rhule has been fired. Steve Wilks is now the interim head coach (a significant upgrade) and Baker Mayfield is out for probably a month. I don’t know what to expect Sunday, but the Rams probably don’t either. They need to be ready. How many times have you seen an interim head coach win his first game? It feels like it happens a lot. Fun fact — Sam Darnold won his last start against the Rams in 2020, 23-20 with the Jets.
Last week: No. 31
Follow Adam Greene on Twitter @TheFirstMan.