Wednesday, October 14, 2015

2015-16 NFL Power Rankings (Week 5)


The Best Get Better, and The Worst Get, Uh, Worser? 

By: Jimbo X
@Jimbo__X

THE ELITES

01
Arizona Cardinals
Season Point Differential: (+100)

Just five games into the season and the 4-1 Cards already have a points for/points allowed margin in the plus triple digits. If Carson Palmer, Chris Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald can keep racking up the points, there is a very good chance this team could be plus 300 by the time the playoffs role around. With a real-life NFL Blitz offense like that, these team may not even need a solid D to propel them late into January ... mayhap even February play.

02
New England Patriots
Season Point Differential: (+73)

What's left to be said about this Patriots team? They curb stomped Dallas 30-6 in their own house, with Tommy Terrific going 20 for 28 for 275 yards and two touchdown passes and wideout Julian Edelman racking up 120 yards and a touchdown on just four receptions. Factor in weapons like Gronk, LeGarrette Blount and Dion Lewis, and this is one of most complete NFL offensives we've seen in a long time

03
Green Bay Packers
Season Point Differential: (+56)

Although Aaron Rodgers got sacked and intercepted twice, it didn't really mean much, as the Packers remain unbeaten following a fairly facile 24-10 win over the Rams. The defense no doubt deserves some major credit here: not only did they limit Nick Foles to 141 yards, they also managed to pick him off four times

04
Atlanta Falcons
Season Point Differential: (+50)

Matt Ryan and pals won yet another come-from-behind thriller, this time a 25-19 overtime spectacular capped off by Robert Alford's shut-the-lights pick six off Kirk Cousins. Although Matty Ice (254 yards, no touchdowns, two INTs) played fairly ho-hum, Devonta Freeman put on another impressive performance, chewing up the turf for 153 yards and a TD on 27 carries. 

05
Cincinnati Bengals
Season Point Differential: (+47)

Just when it looked like the Bengals hype train was going to derail, the stage an epic comeback and beat the reigning NFC Champions 27-24 in O.T. Combined, standout receivers Tyler Eifert and AJ Green had almost 200 reception yards, as the Golden Ginger tossed the ball 331 yards for two TDs and a single pick. 

06
New York Jets
Season Point Differential: (+40)

The best (statistical) defense in the League took a breather over the weekend. The 3-1 squad will next do battle against the Redskins, who are no doubt looking to avenge their overtime loss to the Falcons in Sunday's 1 p.m. game. 

07
Carolina Panthers
Season Point Differential: (+37)

Also receiving a bye this week was the second best (statistical) defense in the NFL. Cam and company will come out of hibernation Sunday to take on the defending (but currently faltering) NFC Champions Seahawks ... who, in case you weren't aware of it, are undefeated in play against his royal Newton-ness. 

08
Denver Broncos
Season Point Differential: (+34)

Despite being a 5-0 team, this Broncos unit looks very, very beatable, with their narrow 16-10 win over the Raiders being the biggest sign so far this season that Peyton Manning and company ain't the high-scoring juggernaut they used to be. The run game should be especially concerning for the Denver faithful: in Sunday's victory, they could only muster 43 yards on the day. 

THE PLAYOFF HOPEFULS

09
Pittsburgh Steelers
Season Point Differential: (+25)

With just 203 passing yards and a 1:1 TD-to-INT ratio, Mike Vick played just all right -- thankfully for the Steelers, Le'Veon Bell picked up the slack in the run game, racking up 111 yards and a solo TD on 21 carries. That said, the star of their 24-20 victory over San Diego was actually unsung, no-name defender Antwon Blake, whose defensive TD gave Pittsburgh the edge in a back-and-forth slugfest. 

10
New York Giants
Season Point Differential: (+23)

Eli and pals may have struggled, by the nonetheless got the job down against the floundering Niners on Sunday evening, winning a tight 30-27 contest. Manning put on an NFL 2K performance, tossing the rock for almost 450 yards, hitting three separate receivers for touchdowns. In the G-Men's third straight victory, Odell Beckham, Jr. shined -- he finished the game with 121 yards on just seven receptions, evening out to an absurd 17.3 yards per catch

11
Buffalo Bills
Season Point Differential: (+19)

The Bills won an ugly one against the Titans, as T-Mobile put up 109 yards and one passing TD in Buffalo's 14-13 win. Needless to say, Buffalo's defense won them the day here, as the offense could only post 240 combined yards of offense. 

12
Philadelphia Eagles
Season Point Differential: (+14)

The Eagles lit up the Saints on Sunday, as Sam Bradford passed for 333 yards and two TDS (plus an extra two INTS, but really, who's counting?) in Philly's 39-17 victory. Give the running backs some credit, too: combined, Demarcus Murray and Ryan Matthews racked up over 150 yards and two touchdown rushes a piece. 

13
Seattle Seahawks
Season Point Differential: (+13)

The Hawks blew a massive lead against Cincinnati, allowing the Bengals to score 17 unanswered points late in the fourth quarter. The defense, which sacked Andy Dalton four times, looked pretty solid against the run, but Seattle's secondary got torched in the aerial game. Big ups to Tom Rawls, though, who had 169 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries. 

14
Tennessee Titans
Season Point Differential: (+11)

Marcus Mariota had trouble in Tennessee's 14-13 loss to Buffalo, throwing the ball for 187 yards and no touchdowns (even though he did break off an impressive 22 yard run at one point.) It's a "L" in the record book no matter how you slice it, but you have to give this young team plenty of props for hanging in their as long as they did against one of the League's most dynamic defenses ... and almost beating them at their own game, too. 

15
Minnesota Vikings
Season Point Differential: (+7)

The 2-2 Vikes sat the week out, giving them ample time to prepare for this weekend's soiree against the Chiefs. Despite being anchored by one of the most explosive backs in the League, the Vikings are actually the third lowest scoring team in the NFL so far this season -- alas, allowing just 73 points at the quarter mark of the season, they are also posting the third best defensive numbers in the League. 

16
Washington Redskins
Season Point Differential: (-7)

The 'Skins took the Falcons to the brink, but a costly O.T. pick now puts Washington at 2-3 on the season. Defensively, the team did OK, but the run game, so far this season the team's strongest suit, got absolutely shut down over the weekend: Matt Jones had just 20 yards on 11 carries, as Washington couldn't accumulate more than 51 yards on the ground all day. 

THE MIDDLE OF THE PACK

17
Indianapolis Colts
Season Point Differential: (-14)

It can be argued that, in his last two games, Matt Hasselback has actually played better than Andrew Luck in the Colts' first three games of the season. With 213 yards and two TD passes, the Hass didn't exactly set the world on fire, but that steady pace was still enough to propel Indy to a 27-20 win over hated (albeit seriously slumping) divisional rivals Houston. 

18
Cleveland Browns
Season Point Differential: (-14)

Josh McCown EXPLODED in week five, tossing an insane 457 yards and two touchdown passes in the Browns 33-30 victory over the Ravens. No less than three receivers had 75 yards or more at the end of the fourth quarter, with Gary Barnidge posting an impressive 139 yard, one touchdown final tally. 

19
Baltimore Ravens
Season Point Differential: (-14)

The good news for Baltimore is that their defense was able to drop Josh McCown four times. The bad news? They let him complete 36 out of 51 passes and accumulate more than 450 yards in the air by the time the game was over. Forget Joe Flacco's two scrambling touchdowns and Justin Forsett's 121-yard day; when your D is giving up that many passing yards, you KNOW you've got some major infrastructural problems to deal with.

20
Oakland Raiders
Season Point Differential: (-17)

In their 16-10 home loss to Denver, the Raiders put in their best defensive showing of the year, with a possibly Blue Angels-assisted pick six being the only thing standing between the Silver and Black and a huge upset. Alas, offensive production for Cooper, Crabtree and Murray has dropped precipitously over the last two weeks; this team is going to have to get things in tip-top shape over the bye week, lest the promising young squad peters out before the midpoint of the season. 

21
San Diego Chargers
Season Point Differential: (-18)

Despite posting 365 yards and two TDs, Phillip Rivers didn't have enough gas in his tank to propel the Chargers to victory in their narrow Monday night loss to Pittsburgh. A big factor? The team's lackluster run game, which only accounted for 52 yards all night long. 

22
Kansas City Chiefs
Season Point Differential: (-26)

The Chiefs' anemic offense cost them Sunday's tilt against Chicago, as K.C. could muster just a little over 300 total offensive yards against a team that, for a majority of the season, has posted the worst defensive stats in the League. Losing top running back Jamal Charles is going to be a huge blow to a team that's already struggling to sniff endzone, no matter how you cut it. 

23
St. Louis Rams
Season Point Differential: (-29)

There weren't a whole lot of positives to take away from the team's 14-point loss to Green Bay, but there is no denying that Todd Gurley is making a strong case for offensive rookie of the year. Despite not hitting the endzone Sunday, he nonetheless managed to rack up 159 yards on 30 carries, averaging a stellar 5.3 yards every time he was handed the ball. 

24
Dallas Cowboys
Season Point Differential: (-30)

The good news is that the Cowboys D managed to sack Tom Brady five times over the weekend. The bad news is, the Patriots defense mangled Brandon Weeden and the rest of the depowered Dallas O even worse, as The Weed threw an INT, no TD passes and racked up just 188 yards on the day. 

ANXIOUSLY AWAITING THE DRAFT

25
Miami Dolphins
Season Point Differential: (-36)

The Fins had a bye this week, with their next match-up a 1 p.m. Eastern tilt against the Titans. Having posted a paltry 65 points in their first four games, the Dolphins have the dubious distinction of owning the League's worst offense at the quarter-mark of the 2015 season. 

26
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Season Point Differential: (-38)

In a NoFlo versus MidFlo match-up, Jameis Winston and the Bucs outpaced in-state rivals Jacksonville 38-31. Doug Martin was no doubt the belle of the proverbial ball, racking up 123 yards and two touchdowns on two dozen carries. 

27
Houston Texans
Season Point Differential: (-38)

Until the Texans get their two-headed quarterback situation straightened out, this team is going to be in offensive purgatory for quite some time. And speaking of purgatory, ardent atheist running back Arian Foster underwhelmed in his first game of the season, accumulating a secularly low 41 yards on 19 carries in Houston's 27-20 loss to the Colts. 

28
New Orleans Saints
Season Point Differential: (-40)

The 2010 Super Bowl Champs are looking more like the pitful 'Aints of yesteryear these days, with there latest loss -- a 39-17 shellacking -- coming at the beaks and talons of the Eagles. While Drew Brees had solid stats (335 yards and two TDs), the offensive line absolutely collapsed around him, resulting in five sacks, an INT and three lost fumbles

29
Jacksonville Jaguars
Season Point Differential: (-52)

Although Blake Bortles had over 300 passing yards against the Bucs and four TD passes, he also got sacked six times and threw a costly INT. The receiving corps may have played well (the two Allens, Hurns and Robinson, had a combined 188 yards and three touchdown receptions)but the Jags got no help at all from their backs, who rushed for an absurdly low 34 yards after factoring out Borts' one 22-yard scramble. 

30
Detroit Lions
Season Point Differential: (-55)

The 0-5 Lions are doing their best job of impersonating the dreadful 2008 season, complete with Matt Stafford tossing three INTs in Detroit's weekend 42-17 pummeling at the hands of the Cardinals. When Dan freaking Orlovsky is actually getting play, you know the season is headed down the poop chute fast. 

31
Chicago Bears
Season Point Differential: (-56)

After starting off the season on pace to accumulate the worst defensive numbers in the League, the Bears have improved somewhat since Jay Cutler returned from injury. Alas, Chicago fans may not want to get too jacked up over the Bears' two-game winning streak, having won nail biters over Oakland and K.C. by no more than two measly points

32
San Francisco 49ers
Season Point Differential: (-65)

Although Colin K. tried his best (and with 262 yards and two TDs, he didn't necessarily have a bad game, either), the down-in-the-dumps Niners nonetheless lost a 30-27 heartbreaker to Eli and the Giants on Sunday night. Alas, considering the secondary gave up almost 450 yards to the Other Manning, it's probably not a surprise that the team, once again, finds itself dwelling at the very bottom of the weekly power rankings. 

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