We are 4 weeks into the season and who knows what the hell is going on! The Rams are 3-1 and have the most potent offense in the NFL?!
The Buffalo Bills are leading the AFC East over the New England Patriots?! Derek Carr may be missing some extended time after suffering a back injury against the Denver Broncos, and if the season ended today, Alex Smith would win MVP.
With week 5 kicking off tomorrow it is time for another installment of the hallowed Al Dente Dozen, our Week 5 NFL Power Rankings. What teams rose and fell, and who fell out of the honorable top 12 completely?
1. Kansas City Chiefs (4-0) ⇔
Alex Smith is playing the best football of his career. Kareem Hunt is deserved of the hype that he has received, and the defense has been good enough to keep Kansas City undefeated.
2. Green Bay Packers (3-1) ⇑ 3
The defense is playing much better than they did all of last year. The offense is still performing, even without both starting tackles. As long as Aaron Rodgers is under center, the Packers are a legit threat.
3. Denver Broncos (3-1) ⇑ 3
I know its a small sample size, but the defense may be better than the 2015 Super Bowl team. Melvin Gordan, Ezekial Elliott, LeSean McCoy, and Marshawn Lynch have gained 95 yards on the ground…combined. Mic drop.
4. Detroit Lions (3-1) ⇑ 4
Let’s give the Lions some credit for once. The defense is playing extremely well, the running game is much improved and the offensive line is playing like a much better unit. Matthew Stafford is the highest quarterback in NFL history, and he still may not be the best QB in the game, but he is certainly making his Lions a legitimate contender in the NFC.
5. Philadelphia Eagles (3-1) ⇑ 4
If the Eagles can get some consistency from the run game this is a complete team. Carson Wentz is a great leader with a cannon for an arm. Give it a few more weeks and Alshon Jeffrey will look like the receiver that he was back in Chicago, making him one of the best free agent signings of the offseason.
6. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1) ⇑ 1
I still am not very impressed with the Steelers, but they are 3-1 and have too much talent to not be a top team. Antonio Brown‘s tirade on the sideline was quite embarrassing, but at least Le’Veon Bell awoke from his offseason slumber. It will be fun to watch when this team can all peak at the same time.
7. Buffalo Bills (3-1) N/A
Before anyone jumps out of their seat, number seven may be a tad high for the Buffalo Bills but they have earned their spot in the Al Dente Dozen. Sean McDermott has changed the culture in the locker room and you can see it translate on the field. The defense is playing with passion and Tyrod Taylor is playing mistake-free football. Can’t wait for the Bills to play the Patriots.
8. Atlanta Falcons (3-1) ⇓ 4
Not only did the Falcons lose to the Bills at home, but Atlanta could just as easily be 1-3 as opposed to 3-1. The offense is still explosive but does not play with enough consistency. This team still has the potential to win the NFC but they will have to get tougher and play more consistent in the trenches.
9. Oakland Raiders (2-2) ⇓ 7
Losing to a defensive juggernaut in Denver by one possession is not why I dropped the Raiders seven spots. Losing Derek Carr for ample time is the reason for the plunge. He is the heart and soul of that team and they will need the captains to step up and keep the ship afloat while he is out. Biggest need = Amari Cooper playing like he’s capable of.
10. New England Patriots (2-2) ⇓ 7
The Patriots are still going to make the playoffs, and still may win their division, but there is no denying that the defense is terrible as a whole. They have allowed the most points in the NFL and have made bad offenses look good. Coach Belichick is known for getting things turned around as he is a mastermind, but the Stephon Gillmore signing in the offseason is looking like a bad one thus far.
11. Carolina Panthers (3-1) N/A
They are not flashy like they were a few years ago, but they are winning games, including beating the defending Super Bowl Champs in Foxborough. Christian McCaffrey has yet to break out but you can see the talent he possesses. The defense is improved from a year ago, and reminiscent of the Panthers Super Bowl year. The team’s long-term success will be up to Cam Newton and his consistent play.
12. Los Angeles Rams (3-1) N/A
Is this team for real? Are they worthy of the Al Dente Dozen? Small sample size thus far but there is no denying what Sean McVay has done with this offense, Jared Goff, and Todd Gurley. Through 4 games, the Rams have scored the most points in the NFL, Goff looks like anything but a bust, and Gurley is the best playmaker in the game. Need to see some more consistency out of the defense, but the Rams are real contenders in the NFC West.
On The Bubble:
Washington Redskins (2-2)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1)
Houston Texans (2-2)