Injuries seem to be a big theme early on in this 2017 NFL season. The Vikings lost their leading rusher, Dalvin Cook, to a torn ACL. Tennessee and Oakland held their breath as Marcus Mariota and Derek Carr went down with injuries. Julio Jones, Jordan Matthews, Markus Golden, Josh Norman, Greg Olson, Chris Carson, Andrew Luck and many others have all been dealing with injuries. This will affect many teams and how their season will go. It is often said that the best team doesn’t always win the SUper BOwl. Sometimes it is either the healthiest or luckiest team, or a combination of both, that go on to win it all. It seems like this year more than others, that statement may be true. With all the injuries going on, and the results of last week, here are the 2017 NFL power rankings: week 5.
32. Cleveland Browns (0-4)
(Photo Credit: http://www.cleveland.com/browns/)
Last week: 32 (no change)
Next game: home vs. New York Jets
In the first couple weeks, the Browns were showing promise. Over the past two weeks, however, they have shown a decline. Their defense is giving up 26.8 points per game, fourth worst in the NFL. The offense is ranked 26th averaging 296 yards per game. Nothing seems to be going right as the Browns continue to experience growing pains. This week they have a winnable game but there is no certainty that they win.
31. New York Giants (0-4)
Last week: 28 (-3)
Next game: home vs. Los Angeles Chargers
Everyone expected a New York team to be winless after four weeks but the Giants weren’t that team. The Giants are crumbling before our eyes and their season is sinking faster than the Titanic. Their offense can’t run the ball because their offensive line is so atrocious. It is hard to succeed in football without a good rushing attack. They will win some games and maybe even this one, but this team is no longer a playoff contender.
30. Indianapolis Colts (1-3)
Last week: 27 (-3)
Next game: home vs. San Fransisco
Indianapolis has the worst defense in the NFL. Currently, they are giving up 34 points per game. Even with Andrew Luck, they would not be able to win games with this bad of a defense. As the season progresses, they may find a way to win one or two other games, including this one against the 49ers. But when it is all said and done, Indianapolis will have a top-five pick.
29. San Fransisco 49ers (0-4)
Last week: 31 (+2)
Next game: away vs. Indianapolis
The 49ers defense has improved greatly this year after giving up over 30 points per game last year. They have brought that number down to 23.5 this season. Unfortunately, the offense isn’t doing their fair share. Brian Hoyer is leading the offense to just 16.5 points per game. If this trend continues so will the losses for San Fransisco. This week will be one of the few instances in which they can pull out a win.
28. Los Angeles Chargers (0-4)
Last week: 25 (-3)
Next game: away vs. New York Giants
As long as Phillip Rivers struggles to protect the ball, Los Angeles will continue to underperform. His carelessness is putting the defense in holes they can’t climb out of. This is why the defense does not rank high in any statistical categories. In order for the Chargers to get a win, they need a game without turnovers. Once they accomplish that, they also need their special teams to not choke. It is going to be a long year for Charger fans, I recommend checking out mock drafts.
27. Miami Dolphins (1-2)
Last week: 24 (-3)
Next game: home vs. Tennessee
Jay Cutler was supposed to be the answer. Anybody with a football brain knew that wasn’t true. Cutler has proven time and time again who he is and how far his teams go, nowhere. In the past two weeks, the Dolphins have scored a total of six points and got shut out by the Saints. Getting shut out by a Saints defense should be forced retirement. It is the most pathetic thing that could ever happen to an offense. Miami is going to wish Jay Cutler never left the booth by the time the season reaches the end.
26. New York Jets (2-2)
(Photo Credit: http://dailydolphin.blog.palmbeachpost.com/)
Last week: 29 (+3)
Next game: away vs. Cleveland
Even when the Jets try to tank they can’t get it right. Somehow the Jets have a two-game winning streak to be .500 on the season. Two wins supposed to be their entire season win total. This week New York has a chance to get above .500 with the Browns coming into town. If they win this game they will have officially thrown themselves out of contention for the number one overall pick. Sorry Jet fans, there is no playoff season happening despite their surprising start to the season.
25. Chicago Bears (1-3)
Last week: 22 (-3)
Next game: home vs. Minnesota
Mitchell Trubisky has finally been named the starter in Chicago. His first career game will be against Mike Zimmer and one of the most fearsome defenses in the NFL. The Bears always fight well against the Vikings and even beat them on Monday Night at Soldier Field last season on Halloween. There is a good chance they do so again this season. The Bears could save their season if Trubisky is the savior Chicago is hoping him to be.
24. Cincinnati Bengals (1-3)
Last week: 30 (+6)
Next game: home vs. Buffalo
After playing the Packers tough in Lambeau and annihilating the Browns, the Bengals look like a solid football team again. In the preseason I predicted they would go 8-8 and that is still a likely finishing point for them. This week they will run into a very hot Buffalo team. It is a good thing they are playing at home because it gives them a shot to win. Until the Bengals show more they will rank in the mid-20’s.
23. New Orleans Saints (2-2)
Last week: 23 (no change)
Next game: BYE
The Saints have the week off but have looked extremely impressive after an 0-2 start. They have pulled to 2-2 on the season to salvage their season. Drew Brees is still doing incredible things in his late 30’s. Brees ranks fourth in the NFL in passing yards with 1,135. He has also thrown eight touchdowns and zero interceptions. The defense found some way to get a shutout which is one of the most surprising things to happen in 2017 in the world. New Orleans will have to wait two weeks to prove if they will continue this upward trend.
22. Arizona Cardinals (2-2)
Last week: 26 (-4)
Next game: away vs. Philadelphia
Arizona is going to be an average team this season. They were able to beat the 49ers but won’t beat many more teams. The defense isn’t as good as they have been in the past five seasons. Their offense is lost without David Johnson and it shows in their play calling. They pass the ball 69.9 percent of the time. If this trend continues, Carson Palmer will wear out by the end of the season.
21. Baltimore Ravens (2-2)
Last week: 21 (no change)
Next game: away vs. Oakland
Joe Flacco does not belong as a starting quarterback in the NFL. His one playoff run is the only reason he still has a job. Flacco has thrown four touchdowns and six interceptions. He is the signal caller of an offense averaging just 15 points per game. That is tied for the second-worst mark in the NFL. If the Ravens are unable to beat a Raider team that will be missing Derek Carr then they will drop further in the rankings.
20. Seattle Seahawks (2-2)
Last week: 20 (no change)
Next game: away vs. Los Angeles Rams
Seattle finally went off in a game, the only problem was that it came against the dreadful Colts. They have looked like a below average team all season and until they show something against a quality opponent they will remain a low ranked team. If they go to Los Angeles and beat the Rams they will have proven they are a real threat once again.
19. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-2)
Last week: 16 (-3)
Next game: away vs. Pittsburgh
Just when the Jaguars look like they might be a threat they go and lose to the Jets. This team has a lot of talent but to truly become great they have to find consistency. They can’t play great against good teams and play badly against bad teams. Jacksonville is going to be a tough out with a defense that only gives up 18.5 points per game. The key, as always, will be Blake Bortles. However he performs determines if the Jags win or lose.
18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1)
Last week: 13 (-5)
Next game: home vs. New England
Tampa Bay barely beat the winless Giants. A win is a win but their big drop in the rankings has more to do with how well other teams look. The Bucs may end up in the playoffs this season but there are 17 teams that have looked more impressive this season. Tampa Bay has a big game against the Patriots and if they find a way to win they will have earned more respect.
17. Washington Redskins (2-2)
Last week: 12 (-5)
Next game: BYE
Although the Redskins lost, they looked extremely impressive on the road in Kansas City. Arrowhead is a difficult place to play but the Redskins didn’t seem to be fazed by the atmosphere. Washington will be on a bye this week so they won’t be able to show an improvement however they should not be taken lightly.
16. Tennesse Titans (2-2)
Last week: 5 (-11)
Next game: away vs. Miami
The Titans have a similar problem as the Jaguars. One week they look absolutely impressive and the next they look like a bunch of bums. Tennesse also has a history of completely blowing games in which Marcus Mariota goes down with an injury. Next time they meet the Texans they won’t get blown out so badly. Until then they have to be ranked lower than Houston and must show improvement to earn a higher ranking.
15. Houston Texans (2-2)
Last week: 19 (+4)
Next game: home vs. Kansas City
Holy cow, the Houston Texans put on a show last week. DeShaun Watson did not look like a rookie. He threw for 283 yards and put up five total touchdowns while leading the offense to a 57 point outburst. If Watson can play this well all season then the Texans will end up winning the Super Bowl. This week they have the opportunity to take on the best team in the NFL. An upset win versus the Chiefs will prove that the Texans are a real contender.
14. Minnesota Vikings (2-2)
Last week: 9 (-5)
Next game: away vs. Chicago
Is there any team in the NFL that deals with as many injuries as the Vikings? Last season they set an NFL record for how many offensive linemen they used in a season. They lost Teddy Bridgewater and Adrian Peterson to season-ending injuries. This year Sam Bradford came down with a mysterious knee injury that has plagued him since week one. Now, rookie running back Dalvin Cook has a torn ACL and the Vikings are going to struggle. Their defense is still Super Bowl caliber but Minnesota doesn’t have the health to be a true threat.
13. Dallas Cowboys (2-2)
Last week: 8 (-5)
Next game: home vs. Green Bay
Dallas was in a dogfight last week against the Rams. They lost that fight and fell to 2-2 on the season. It is still early in the season so the Cowboys can still win the division. They will fight with the Eagles over the season but their running game will break out and lead them to plenty of wins. This week they face off against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, the team that knocked them out of the playoffs. They will be looking for revenge and a chance to prove they are still the cream of the crop in the NFL.
12. Oakland Raiders (2-2)
Last week: 4 (-8)
Next game: home vs. Baltimore
Oakland is in serious trouble if back injuries plague Carr this season. He will miss anywhere from two to six weeks and for the sake of the Raiders, hopefully, it is two weeks. This team was one of the favorites in the AFC to challenge the Patriot’s throne. The defense is not good enough to carry them. If Carr can’t come back quickly and perform at a high level, the Raiders dreams of a Super Bowl will die.
11. Atlanta Falcons (3-1)
Last week: 2 (-9)
Next game: BYE
Matt Ryan looks nothing like an MVP this season. He has thrown five touchdowns and five interceptions and looks bad when Julio is not on the field. The defense is nothing spectacular either allowing 22.2 points per game. A loss at home is worse than a loss on the road and many thought the Bills were an inferior team. The Falcons have to wait two weeks to make up for it, but this loss will be the start of the decline for Atlanta.
10. New England Patriots (2-2)
Last week: 3 (-7)
Next game: away vs. Tampa Bay
Before the season the big question about New England was whether or not they would go undefeated and who could even come close to challenging them. Now they are 2-2 and do not look like the best team in the AFC. Tom Brady is still looking amazing as he has thrown for 10 touchdowns and zero interceptions. The Patriots have the second-worst scoring defense in the NFL allowing 32 points per game. If they don’t fix that bad defense they will be in danger of the Bills taking their spot as AFC East champions.
9. Los Angeles Rams (3-1)
(Photo Credit: https://twitter.com)
Last week: 18 (+9)
Next game: home vs. Seattle
The number one scoring offense in the NFL belongs to the Los Angeles Rams. They may not be the greatest show on turf but are on their way to becoming the greatest show in L.A. It is early, but Todd Gurley should be in the conversation for M.V.P. Gurly has 696 all-purpose yards and seven touchdowns in just four games. The Rams may finally win the division.
8. Denver Broncos (3-1)
Last week: 11 (+3)
Next game: BYE
The story of the Broncos this season is their strong running game. They average 143 rush yards per game. Denver continues to play great defense and that is the key to their season. The Broncos got a big divisional win against Oakland and now they get a break this week. It will be interesting to see how they perform in two weeks against the Giants. Hopefully, they don’t take them lightly or they will end up falling behind the Chiefs further in the AFC West.
7. Green Bay Packers (3-1)
Last week: 14 (+7)
Next game: away vs. Dallas
Green Bay beat up on the Bears as if they were their little brother on Thursday night. As long as Aaron Rodgers is on the team they will have a chance to win any game. If they go on the road and beat Dallas again then there is no question they are still the favorites in the NFC North.
6. Buffalo Bills (3-1)
Last week: 17 (+11)
Next game: away vs. Cincinnati
Defense wins championships and the Bills have the best scoring defense in the NFL allowing just 13.5 points per game. They also succeed in taking the ball away forcing 1.8 turnovers per game.Keeping up with this pace is going to be the key in the Bills ending their long playoff drought. The offense just needs to take care of the ball and move it down the field. The Bills next step is winning games they are expected to win like this week against the Bengals.
5. Carolina Panthers (3-1)
Last week: 15 (+10)
Next game: away vs. Detroit
That is the Cam Newton that everyone has been waiting to see. The M.V.P caliber performance against New England will shut the doubters up. Cam had 316 yards through the air and had four total touchdowns. They also got the win on the road which is more impressive. Carolina is going to have another huge road game against Detroit and a win in that game may spring them even higher in the rankings.
4. Detroit Lions (3-1)
Last week: 10 (+6)
Next game: home vs. Carolina
Detroit has a defense that is capable of playing up to the level of their offense and that makes them extremely dangerous. Minnesota had been an explosive offense in two of their first three weeks and they held them to just seven points. The offense is still dangerous as ever with the comeback kid Matthew Stafford. A win against Carolina could really set the Lion up for a truly memorable season.
3. Philadelphia Eagles (3-1)
Last week: 7 (+4)
Next game: home vs. Arizona
Philly is on a roll this season. Their only loss has come to the undefeated Chiefs and they played well in that game. Carson Wentz is off to a nice start throwing for over 1,000 yards and six touchdowns. They also have the third-best rushing attack in the NFL with an average of 143 yards per game. Their next game is against the Cardinals and they should win this rather easily to get to a very impressive 4-1.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1)
Last week: 6 (+4)
Next game: home vs. Jacksonville
The Steelers are playing well but there is also the feeling that they haven’t hit their stride. The potential is there for them to be the best team in the NFL. Big Ben is showing regression, which is why he was contemplating retirement. The offense is still a strength of the team but they will go as far as the defense will take them. This defense is only giving up 14.8 points per game, second best in the NFL. It will be fun to see if the Steelers and Chiefs are on a collision course to meet in the playoffs for a rematch.
1. Kansas City Chiefs (4-0)
Last week: 1 (no change)
Next game: away vs. Houston
There is no question the Chiefs are the best team in the NFL. They proved it again winning on Monday Night against the Redskins. They are the last undefeated team remaining. The offense is extremely explosive with Travis Kelcie, Tyreek Hill and Kareem Hunt. Alex Smith is not a game manager and can lead this team to the promised land. The defnese is still elite and the Chiefs are the current favorite to win the Super Bowl.
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