NFL Week 5 Power Rankings

October 12, 2020

Through five weeks of the NFL season, we have seen a clear delineation between the haves and the have-nots in the league. Some clearly elite teams have started to emerge, while other teams are emerging as favorites to land the top pick in next year’s draft. In this week’s NFL power rankings, find out who claims the top spot after a week of surprising results across the National Football League.

32. New York Jets

It is safe to say that the New York Jets won’t be popular when making NFL picks anytime soon. The Jets dropped to 0-5 with a 30-10 loss to the Arizona Cardinals this week. Their -86 point differential is the worst in the league by a full 34 points through five weeks. If this keeps up, there will be very little to stop them from earning the top overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

31. New York Giants

While the Giants aren’t the worst team in their own stadium, they are still clearly one of the worst teams in the NFL. The Giants put up some points against the abysmal Dallas Cowboys defense in Week 5. But they still managed to lose, even with Dallas forced to use backup quarterback Andy Dalton for the end of the game. The Giants are somehow just two games back of the lead in the NFC East, still, so it isn’t time to tank just yet.

30. Atlanta Falcons

The Atlanta Falcons dropped to 0-5 when they lost at home to the Carolina Panthers this week. But there is a bright side to their ineptitude so far this season. The organization has cut ties with head coach Dan Quinn and GM Thomas Dimitroff. After multiple down years following their Super Bowl LI collapse to the New England Patriots, this change was long overdue. The question now is how quickly they can rebuild.

29. Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jacksonville Jaguars have the worst defense in the NFL, and it might not be that close. They were defeated 30-14 by the previously winless Houston Texans in Week 5. Jacksonville allows more yards per play than any team in the league at 6.6 yards a pop. Despite their surprising Week 1 win over the Colts, the Jags are likely to be underdogs in most of their remaining games, if not all of them.

28. Detroit Lions

The Detroit Lions had a bye week in Week 5. For a team struggling as much as they have, that means that they couldn’t lose in Week 5. Fortunately for the Lions, they have a chance to pick things up in Week 6. They travel to Jacksonville to face a Jaguars team that has been horrid on defense all season. If Detroit can’t move the ball in that game, they might be firing a coach sooner rather than later themselves.

27. Washington Football Team

Offensively, the Washington Football Team might be the worst team in the NFL. They benched starting quarterback Dwayne Haskins, and backup quarterback Kyle Allen got injured in Week 5. That left the team to put Alex Smith into a game for the first time since breaking his leg. The problem with that was the fact that Washington couldn’t protect him, leading to an uncomfortable amount of hits on a player who suffered a gruesome injury. Needless to say, the Football Team was blown out in Week 5 by the Rams.

26. Philadelphia Eagles

Philadelphia showed some signs of life on offense in Week 5 despite losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers. Carson Wentz and Travis Fulgham looked to be a decent combination in the passing game. Fulgham hauled in 152 receiving yards for the game. The problem for the Eagles was their defense in Week 5, as they allowed 38 points in a losing effort. This team still cannot put together a solid game on both sides of the ball.

25. Denver Broncos

The Denver Broncos were another team that received an unexpected bye week in Week 5. Their game with the Denver Broncos was pushed back to Week 6 because of New England’s COVID-19 situation. Their reward for being so flexible? They now get to face Cam Newton instead of a backup quarterback. In many ways, it feels like Denver has been punished for the Patriots’ positive tests.

24. Cincinnati Bengals

As it turns out, one good game against the league’s worst defense did not turn Joe Burrow into a good quarterback. The Bengals’ signal caller failed to throw for 200 yards as the Bengals lost 27-3 to the Ravens. Burrow is a bottom-five quarterback in the league in terms of yards per attempt in 2020. Those who are doing smart NFL betting this season should take advantage of his early growing pains.

23. Houston Texans

Finally, the Houston Texans are in the win column during the 2020 season. After firing Bill O’Brien, the Texans put up 30 points on a bad Jacksonville defense en route to an easy victory. Houston will need to play better against quality competition, but this was a side of the Texans that we hadn’t seen this year. With Bill O’Brien gone, one has to wonder if they will turn a corner going forward.

22. Dallas Cowboys

Dallas moves down in our power rankings thanks to a tight game against the New York Giants. But the result of that game wasn’t the story of Dallas’ week. The headline for Dallas is the loss of quarterback Dak Prescott for the season due to a gruesome leg injury. Andy Dalton is a capable backup quarterback, but a team as defensively challenged as Dallas cannot afford a dropoff in quarterback production.

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21. San Francisco 49ers

Kyle Shanahan’s 49ers were one of the biggest favorites on the board in Week 5. But they were blown out by the Miami Dolphins in embarrassing fashion. The Niners could not stop Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Dolphins offense. Even worse, a returning Jimmy Garoppolo was benched due to how poorly he was playing. Both of those things are major causes for concern for a Niners team that is in danger of falling behind in the NFC West.

20. Minnesota Vikings

The Minnesota Vikings, by all accounts, should have defeated the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday Night Football. They put together a great game plan to run the ball and keep it out of the hands of Russell Wilson. Unfortunately for Minnesota, two costly turnovers and a late turnover on downs allowed the Seahawks the opening they needed to win right at the end of the game. But this was an encouraging performance from a Vikings team that could still sneak into the postseason.

19. Chicago Bears

Is it possible that the Chicago Bears are the worst 4-1 team in the history of the NFL? They defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday night, thanks to a series of breaks going their way at the end of the first half. A missed false start to set up their first touchdown drive, followed by a missed roughing the passer to set up their second touchdown will help mask some poor play from Nick Foles in the victory.

18. Los Angeles Chargers

Justin Herbert has been one of the pleasant surprises of the 2020 NFL season. The rookie went into New Orleans in Week 5 and traded blows with Drew Brees without any problems. Los Angeles blew a double-digit lead and lost the game in overtime, but Herbert is already showing that he is more than capable of leading an NFL team in the first five weeks of his career.

17. Miami Dolphins

Miami were the big winners of Week 5. Their destruction of the defending NFC champions on the road was incredibly impressive. It has been said many times, but Brian Flores is building something special in Miami. If Ryan Fitzpatrick can keep playing at the level he has been, Miami could even sneak into the playoffs during a year they had written off as a prep year for Tua Tagovailoa.

16. Las Vegas Raiders

The other big winners in Week 5 of the NFL season were the Las Vegas Raiders. The Raiders were double-digit underdogs to the Kansas City Chiefs. But they put up 40 points and kept the ball out of Patrick Mahomes’ hands late to seal a victory. Now just a game back of first place in the AFC West, the Raiders may be able to set their sights on legitimate postseason contention in 2020.

15. New Orleans Saints

New Orleans won its game over the Los Angeles Chargers in overtime. But there are some definite concerns surrounding the Saints in spite of that win. They had to come back from a double-digit deficit to get to overtime. And with Michael Thomas having disciplinary issues, the Saints look to be in disarray right now. They may still be the favorites to win the NFC South, but there is some work to be done in New Orleans.

14. Carolina Panthers

Matt Rhule’s Carolina Panthers are one of the hottest teams in the NFL. They have won three straight games, including a Week 5 win over the Atlanta Falcons. After two poor defensive showings, the Panthers have allowed under 18 points per game over their last three contests. With Christian McCaffrey set to return in the near future, the Panthers could make some noise in the NFC.

13. Indianapolis Colts

One of the big disappointments in Week 5 was the performance of the Indianapolis Colts. They lost on the road to the Cleveland Browns, struggling to stop the passing attack of Cleveland. The second half in particular was a nightmare, with a Philip Rivers pick-six and a safety costing Indy the game. They will need to clean up the mistakes to keep up with the undefeated Titans.

12. Cleveland Browns

Cleveland was very impressive in their win over the Colts. Baker Mayfield threw a pair of interceptions, but the Browns forced some mistakes from the Colts as well. The Browns aren’t known for overcoming adversity, but that’s exactly what they did in Week 5. Somehow, the Browns are in third place in the AFC North despite being 4-1 on the season, but they are in a great position to compete for the playoffs.

11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay lost a strange game to the Chicago Bears in Week 5. Perhaps more strange than the result itself was the ending. Tom Brady is known for his situational awareness, but he seemed to lose track of what down it was on the Bucs’ final drive. Tampa’s defense was as strong as ever in the loss, but the offense is clearly missing Chris Godwin.

10. Arizona Cardinals

Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals had an easy week in Week 5. They blew out the lowly New York Jets on the road, with Joe Flacco in at quarterback for the Jets. Arizona moved to 3-2 with the win, though you have to wonder how good the Cardinals really are given their wins over subpar teams so far. They face an intriguing test against the Dallas Cowboys in Week 6 on Monday.

9. Los Angeles Rams

The LA Rams are 4-1 and have an impressive point differential. In Week 5, they easily took care of the Washington Football Team. But the Rams have played the entire NFC East through the first five weeks. Their schedule is set to get much more difficult now that they no longer have games to look forward to against the worst division in the NFL. Their performance in those games will determine where they end up in these rankings in the future.

8. Buffalo Bills

You have to feel bad for the Buffalo Bills. They had a game pushed back against the Titans due to Tennessee’s COVID outbreak. They lose that game, and now have their Thursday game with the Chiefs pushed back to Monday. Because of the Titans, the Bills will be at a rest disadvantage against one of the best teams in the league. But with Josh Allen looking like last year’s Josh Allen against the Titans, the Bills are far from perfect.

7. Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh came back from their COVID-induced bye week by getting the better of the Philadelphia Eagles. The Steelers defense looked poor in that game, but their offense came alive for the first time this season. Ben Roethlisberger is looking like a top contender for the comeback player of the year award, as he is avoiding back-breaking mistakes while the Steelers remain undefeated.

6. Green Bay Packers

Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers had a scheduled bye week in Week 5. They are still unbeaten and boast one of the top offenses in the NFL. The Packers face an important test in Week 6, as they face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the road. With both teams having more than a week’s rest to prepare for the game, it will be interesting to see which of these top-15 teams come out on top.

5. Tennessee Titans

It wasn’t clear how the Tennessee Titans would respond to nearly two weeks off due to their COVID-19 outbreak. They responded by throttling the Buffalo Bills on a rare Tuesday night game. Ryan Tannehill has picked up where he left off last season, and the Titans defense is creating turnovers better than any team in the league. At 4-0, the Titans now have to avoid fatigue caused by such an early bye week.

4. Seattle Seahawks

With a great offense and a bad defense, every Seattle Seahawks game is both exciting and competitive. This past week, the Seahawks barely got by the Minnesota Vikings. Seattle should be commended for their ability to respond to a 13-0 deficit at the half. They caused a couple of key turnovers to get back into the game and played perfectly on the final couple of possessions to secure yet another victory.

3. New England Patriots

New England, by not playing in Week 5, moved up a spot in our rankings. They got an extra week to get Cam Newton ready to play, as he should be ready to play the Broncos in Week 6. The Patriots are another case where their opponents appear to be punished by the Patriots having positive tests. But that won’t be any concern of the Patriots, who are back on track to play with their starters.

2. Kansas City Chiefs

Kansas City was a double-digit favorite against the Las Vegas Raiders, and lost that game outright. They gave up 40 points and could not get stops when they were needed the most. The Chiefs now have one loss on the season, but are still in the driver’s seat in the AFC West. They will be challenged on defense again in Week 6, when they take on the Buffalo Bills in Orchard Park on Monday.

1. Baltimore Ravens

Baltimore moves to the top of our NFL power rankings after they destroyed Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 5. With the Chiefs losing, the Ravens take their place at the top. But the concern for the Ravens is still whether or not they can perform offensively against top-tier opponents. Against the lowly Eagles in Week 6, the Ravens will have to wait to prove that ability.

NFL Betting FAQs

What happens if a game gets cancelled due to COVID?

The status of a game due to COVID-19 depends on the NFL betting rules at your sportsbook of choice. Some books will void any bet for a game that is changed due to the virus, while others stipulate that a game has action as long as it is played within a specific time frame. Make sure to read up on those rules before placing any bets.

Who is the NFL MVP so far?

Right now, Russell Wilson appears to be the favorite to win the NFL MVP award. He is leading a 5-0 team and has made up for the Seahawks’ suspect defense by making a series of important plays with the offense. This could change as the season goes on, but Wilson is certainly the frontrunner over players like Rodgers and Mahomes thus far.

Are fans returning to NFL stadiums?

Yes, teams are starting to let limited amounts of fans into their games across the NFL. Not every team is allowing fans, though. Bettors should research the rules on fan attendance at the games they are considering betting on. That way, they have an idea as to what kind of home field advantage will exist, if any.

Jay Sanin
Jay Sanin is a sports writer and broadcaster from Albany, NY. He has covered sports betting and the gambling industry since 2013.