Both AFC and NFC conferences sport nine teams with at least three or more wins. The AFC North is the lone division in the NFL with a team on the bottom of the deck with a .500 record. Strength, much? After losing in Week 1, powerhouses San Diego and the Dallas have won four straight.
All right, Daniel, you can do this. You were born to do this.
1. BRONCOS (3-1) +2
Why wasn’t Peyton SuperMan-ning credited for his arm-tackle on Calais Campbell? … As long as the quarterback stays upright, I can't picture teams stopping Denver’s formidable offense. After rookie quarterback Logan Thomas threaded the needle on an 81-yard touchdown pass to Andre Ellington*, the Broncos’ defense shut the Cards’ down in the fourth. (*Ellington did most of the work.)
2. CHARGERS (4-1) EVEN
If Branden Oliver keeps shining, I’ll be holding Joe Flacco’s clipboard next season. The rookie dazzled on stage against a Jets team which has not struggled vs. the run much this season. The Chargers’ O-line deserve a praise bath for opening holes for a guy who doesn’t even own a headshot on NFL.com yet. The Jets aren’t solid, but a 31-0 scoreboard makes me believe that the #SanDiegoSteamroll won’t stop when they host the Raiders this Sunday.
3. SEAHAWKS (3-1) +2
A personal foul, holding and a false start penalty committed by the Seahawks’ offense made Percy Harvin fantasy football team owners’ blood run cold Monday night. Russell Wilson’s elusiveness and shifty scrambling dominated a nasty Redskins’ pass rush for 122 yards on 11 carries.
4. COWBOYS (4-1) +6
About that…+6. Edging the Texans in overtime, to me, was a huge confidence boost for Dallas. Why? J.J. Watt had his worst performance through five games (even in Week 2, he recorded a touchdown reception vs. Oakland). If Tony Romo keeps this up then … erm, I won’t jinx it. The Cowboys are the NFC’s best team. Sorry, Philly.
5. PACKERS (3-2) +7
6. COLTS (3-2) +2
The Ravens didn’t hold the ball long enough (21 minutes) to expose any of the Colts’ weaknesses on Sunday. Indy’s a tough team to take down, especially when its defense is holding an offense to a nine percent success rate on third-downs. The Colts get the job done.
7. RAVENS (3-2) -3
I blame Head Coach John Harbaugh for the loss. He opted not to tie the game at three in the second quarter on fourth-and-1. I see both ends of the teeter-totter, but those bold moves are saved for home games. … Someone put Jacoby Jones in front of the JUGS machine and have him catch 200 passes a day. Lord.
8. CARDINALS (3-1) -2
Their quarterback situation makes this ranking iffy, but their valiant effort for three quarters in Denver keeps them in my Top 10. The Cards’ defense intercepted the Sheriff twice. Manning tossed one interception coming into this game (Seattle!). In 2013, 10 of Manning’s 659 pass attempts were to the wrong team.
9. EAGLES (4-1) +4
The Rams almost erased a 27-point deficit on Sunday. I love the Rams defense, I really do, but the Eagles are in grave danger if they don’t tighten things up. These next five weeks with the Giants, Texans, Cardinals, Panthers and Packers on their menu. …
10. 49ERS (3-2) +1
Frank Gore, who’s had back-to-back 100-yard games (Eagles/Chiefs), is the most valuable asset on this team. According to kicker Phil Dawson, "there is zero problem in the locker room…team is completely unified, we believe in our coach [Jim Harbaugh] and love playing for him." Gore added that he loved the Coach and is willing to go to war with him any day of the week.
11. PATRIOTS (3-2) +5
12. BENGALS (3-1) -11
As we enter the thick cloud of what-ifs and are-you-sures, we’ll reward the Bengals the benefit of the doubt before they host Carolina. The HR director, principal and assistant principal of the high school I’ll start working at on Friday, graciously reminded me, "let bygones be bygones, and let’s move forward." Readers, if you don't get anything out of this Power Rankings list, know that honesty, gratitude and humility goes a lonnnng way.
13. LIONS (3-2) -6
Alex Henery might’ve blown three field goals in the team’s loss to the Bills, but the end-all-be-all truth remains constant. We will forever preach that the game of football is a team sport. Look for the Lions to rebound in Minnesota.
14. BROWNS (2-2) +5
Speaking of team sport, the Browns …
15. GIANTS (3-2) +5
I predicted that the G-men would roll the Falcons. Rueben Randle snagged his second touchdown of the season since Week 2 and rookie Odell Beckham’s first career TD reception was glorious.
16. PANTHERS (3-2) +6
Last three Jay Cutler-led drives: Thomas DeCoud’s pick. Antoine Cason’s fumble recovery.
Kawann Short’s sack and Charles Johnson’s fumble recovery. The Bears were who the Panthers thought they were.
17. STEELERS (3-2) -8
I apologize to you readers for misjudging this team. They’re at home (17) now. Forgive me?
18. TEXANS (3-2) +8
#BeReal. This squad belongs in the Top 20. They lost in last week’s backyard brawl to the Cowboys in OT. Hats off to first-year coach Bill O’Brien.
19. DOLPHINS (2-2) +8
20. CHIEFS (2-3) -1
By now you know that I don't cheerlead for the Chiefs. Andy Reid is hard to beat coming off a bye week, that's historically proven. BUT ... would anybody else agree with me when I say that they'll lose to the Chargers and the Rams in upcoming weeks?
21. BEARS (2-3) -7
22. FALCONS (2-3) -7
They’re ranked this high only because they nicked the Saints. This team is lackluster at best. (Run the ball, for goodness’ sake.)
23. SAINTS (2-3) -6
Had the Bucs held their commanding lead and won, the Saints would be ranked 33rd. I’m serious.
24. RAMS (1-3) +5
Again. ... I love this defense. Their offense executed really well in the second half and perhaps with more time Austin Davis would’ve left Philly with a W. Fortunately for the Eagles, a half is 30 minutes. ...
25. VIKINGS (2-3) EVEN
The Teddy Bridgewater Experiment continues. … I admire Christian Ponder’s attempt but it’s time he retires.
26. REDSKINS (1-4) -2
The Redskins are my ho-hum team. Kirk Cousins’ shine is gradually fading and regardless of personnel changes, this team is simply boring to watch.
27. TITANS (1-4) +1
Wow. On track for their second win of the season with a 25-point lead over the Browns and on pace to scoring 50 total, the team shriveled up like post-bath fingers. Neither Charlie Whitehurst nor Jake Locker threw an interception but still. …
28. BILLS (3-2) -4
Kyle Orton is an improvement compared to EJ Manuel but needless to say, Alex Henery makes even 66.6 percent of his field goal attempts and the Bills slide down the ranks. Their backfield sputtered vs. a stout Lions defensive line, as we expected. To former Lions Head Coach Jim Schwartz, that wasn’t a "douche move" … celebrate all you want.
29. BUCCANEERS (1-4) +2
The Bucs looked like a postseason-contending team until (insert sadness here). Maybe the Bucs only succeed in November. (3-0 in November ’13, 3-1 in November ‘12).
30. RAIDERS (0-4) +1
Bye. Congratulations, Tony Sparano, on the promotion.
31. JETS (1-4) -10
Before Sunday, the Chargers were allowing 15.75 points per game. The Jets visited San Diego's territory TWICE all game. When? On their last two possessions, Michael Vick led the offense to the Chargers' 16 yard-line and 36-yard line, respectively. In Rex Ryan's words, "a complete ass-whoopin."
"We could've had Joe Namath it wouldn't have been any different today."
Pray for the Jets.
32. JAGUARS (0-5) EVEN
Er, pray for the Jaguars.