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Week 5 NFL power rankings: Bills and Texans soar, Patriots and Bengals plummet

The first month of the 2023 NFL season is officially in the books and Week 4 provided plenty to be excited about. With some of the highest-ranked teams losing, there’s a lot of movement in the Week 5 NFL power rankings.

It started early with the Detroit Lions delivering another statement victory, this time over the Green Bay Packers. A few days later, the Buffalo Bills, Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans stole the show with outstanding performances on Sunday.

Related: 2023 MLB power rankings

Let’s dive into the latest NFL power rankings after Week 4.

Week 5 NFL power rankings

32. Chicago Bears

  • Previously: 32nd in NFL power rankings

The Chicago Bears are the worst NFL team in 2023. If the 0-4 record isn’t enough, just take the fact that Matt Eberflus’ team blew a 21-point lead late in the fourth quarter to a team that suffered a 50-point loss a week earlier. The Bears can’t clean house fast enough. But, there is one positive.

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31. Carolina Panthers

  • Previously: 30th in NFL power rankings

Bryce Young wasn’t worth this. We loved him coming out of Alabama, but the Carolina Panthers’ situation is a complete mee. Undersized quarterbacks who lack the athleticism to make plays on their own don’t have long shelf lives when they’re surrounded by the worst supporting cast in the NFL. To make matters worse, Carolina won’t have its own top pick.

Related: Week 6 college football rankings

30. Denver Broncos

  • Previously: 31st in NFL power rankings

No, the Denver Broncos aren’t moving up more than one spot after that performance. A franchise that traded a first-round pick and then made Sean Payton one of the highest-paid coaches in NFL history is quickly realizing they might’ve rushed things. Denver is a worse football team than it was in 2022 and while George Paton will take the blame for it, this team’s lackluster effort falls on Payton.

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29. New York Giants

  • Previously: 27th in NFL power rankings

It’s becoming increasingly clear that the Daniel Jones contract was likely a mistake for the New York Giants. Granted, the extended absence of Andrew Thomas has highlighted just how bad this Giants’ offensive line is without the star left tackle. Even with Saquon Barkley potentially returning in Week 5, the Giants appear to be one of the worst NFL teams this season.

Related: NFL Coach of the Year race 2023

28. Minnesota Vikings

  • Previously: 29th in NFL power rankings

That’s a start, but turnovers nearly sent the Minnesota Vikings to a 0-4 record. We’re not praising this defense, it simply took advantage of arguably the worst offense in football. As for the Vikings’ offense, even one mistake in Week 5 against the Kansas City Chiefs will lead to a blowout loss.

Related: NFL insider sheds light on New York Jets’ interest in Kirk Cousins

27. Las Vegas Raiders

  • Previously: 25th in NFL power rankings

The Las Vegas Raiders are a very bad football team. After dropping to 1-3 on Sunday, it’s fair to wonder whether or not Las Vegas might consider trading Josh Jacobs and Davante Adams before the Oct. 31 trade deadline. Considering how thin this roster is, especially defensively, the Raiders might be better off having a firesale.

26. Arizona Cardinals

  • Previously: 24th in NFL power rankings

Once again, Jonathan Gannon and the Arizona Cardinals proved they are feisty and will take some of the best NFL teams to the final whistle. Right now, this season is practically unfolding perfectly for the Cardinals. Arizona will have two premium picks and it has already shown that this locker room loves Gannon. Buy stock in the Cardinals’ future now.

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25. Indianapolis Colts

  • Previously: 23rd in NFL power rankings

All that matters is Anthony Richardson. When a 21-year-old quarterback playing in just his second full NFL game can lead a 23-point comeback, that speaks volumes about his ability and the coaching staff around him. Indianapolis might lose 10 games this year, but the real prize is Richardson demonstrating superstar traits every Sunday.

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24. New England Patriots

  • Previously: 17th in NFL power rankings

It’s time to start thinking about the New England Patriots without Bill Belichick. Reporting in early September suggested Robert Kraft might part ways with Bill Belichick if the team didn’t take a step forward in 2024. As of now? New England has found another way to take a step backward. We still love the defense, but the Patriots’ offense is still below-average and injuries in the secondary have essentially put New England’s defense in a massive hole.

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23. Tennessee Titans

  • Previously: 26th in NFL power rankings

The Tennessee Titans feel like a tease. When the defense is on, especially the pass rush, Tennessee has a chance to win seven-plus games. Then you remember the performances like the one in New Orleans and in Week 3 against Cleveland. A 2-2 record is just a testament to Mike Vrabel’s excellence as a head coach.

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22. Pittsburgh Steelers

  • Previously: 14th in NFL power rankings

Kenny Pickett (knee) is injured, the Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line is a disaster and its secondary might be one of the worst in the AFC. Just two of those things can sink a team. Combine them all together and the Steelers, even with T.J. Watt and Mike Tomlin, look like a club headed for a sub-.500 record.

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21. New York Jets

  • Previously: 22nd in NFL power rankings

After days of being criticized by just about everyone not in a New York Jets uniform, Zach Wilson delivered the game of his life on a national stage against Patrick Mahomes. If Wilson can somehow build on this, New York might just have a shot at a Wild Card spot.

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NFL power rankings after Week 4: Bengals are finished

20. Cincinnati Bengals

  • Previously: 11th in NFL power rankings

We’re ready to stick the proverbial fork in the Cincinnati Bengals. After the Week 4 loss, Cincinnati has the fourth-worst point differential (-45) in the NFL. Tee Higgins is hurt, Joe Burrow will be limited by a calf injury all year, Cincinnati’s offensive line is a mess and the defense has taken an alarming step backward.

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19. Atlanta Falcons

  • Previously: 13th in NFL power rankings

It seems unthinkable that the Atlanta Falcons had zero interest in pursuing a Lamar Jackson trade this offseason. Quite frankly, the Falcons could win the NFC South by multiple games if they even had Kirk Cousins at quarterback. Instead, Desmond Ridder is an anchor that drags down an offense that should be top 10 in the NFL.

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18. Houston Texans

  • Previously: 28th in NFL power rankings

The Houston Texans have arrived. While we’re not ready to suggest the Texans can win the AFC South, they’re headed for multiple division titles long-term with DeMeco Ryans and C.J. Stroud leading the way. While we still might question what Houston sacrificed to get Stroud and Will Anderson Jr., both rookies have already proven to be franchise cornerstones and they’ve been instrumental in the Texans’ victories.

17. Los Angeles Rams

  • Previously: 20th in NFL power rankings

Ugly wins still count in the standings. The Los Angeles Rams blew a three-touchdown lead in Week 4, but Matthew Stafford came through in overtime to save the day. If the Rams played in any other division, they might have a shot at a wild card spot in the NFC. Heck, it might still be possible if Cooper Kupp and the offensive line get healthy.

16. New Orleans Saints

  • Previously: 15th in NFL power rankings

Many thought one of the easiest schedules in the NFL would gift the New Orleans Saints double-digit wins. Let Sunday demonstrate why that’s highly unlikely. New Orleans could still win the NFC South, but it’s now been outscored 43-9 in the last six quarters and we’d consider the Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars as favorites to beat New Orleans in the next two weeks.

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15. Washington Commanders

  • Previously: 19th in NFL power rankings

After getting their doors blown off by the Buffalo Bills last Sunday, the Washington Commanders raised some eyebrows by taking the Philadelphia Eagles to overtime. A loss drops this team to 2-2 and its victories over Arizona and Denver by a combined six points look even worse in hindsight. However, Washington could string together three wins in a row as long as they handle their business against sub-par teams (Bears, Falcons, Giants).

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14. Green Bay Packers

  • Previously: 12th in NFL power rankings

Thursday Night Football is all the evidence you need that there’s a new king of the NFC North. The Green Bay Packers are far too inexperienced to stay competitive with the Lions all year. Moving forward, Green Bay’s hope is for its young players to clean up the mistakes. The 2023 season was always about the future and that is still bright for Green Bay.

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13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • Previously: 21st in NFL power rankings

Safe to say we never saw this coming from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It helps to face two teams near the bottom of our NFL power rankings, but Baker Mayfield is making a clear case for NFL Comeback Player of the Year. We also have to tip our cap to Todd Bowles, who has done a phenomenal job in a year where many viewed him as a lame-duck coach.

12. Los Angeles Chargers

  • Previously: 16th in NFL power rankings

Brandon Staley and the Los Angeles Chargers almost found a new way to steal defeat from the jaws of victory in Week 4. Fortunately for Los Angeles, Justin Herbert and Khalil Mack exist. The Chargers need the bye to get Nick Bosa, Derwin James and Austin Ekeler healthy. Maybe, just maybe, we’ll see a more consistent football team when the Chargers return.

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11. Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Previously: 18th in NFL power rankings

The Jacksonville Jaguars defense earned the victory on Sunday and ignited more confidence that this is the best team in the division. Unfortunately for Jacksonville, Week 4 also proved once more that it’s past time for Doug Pederson to reclaim play-calling duties. Otherwise, the Jaguars will never come close to reaching their ceiling.

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Week 5 NFL power rankings: Best NFL teams right now

10. Cleveland Browns

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: 8th in NFL power rankings

The moment Deshaun Watson was ruled out on Sunday, it was over for the Cleveland Browns. Cleveland’s offense was completely controlled by Baltimore and this Browns’ defense didn’t look quite as dominant against legitimate competition. The bye is coming at the perfect time for Cleveland. However, it will return to face the San Francisco 49ers and that feels like a guaranteed 2-3 record.

9. Seattle Seahawks

Syndication: Detroit Free Press
  • Previously: 9th in NFL power rankings

After a Sunday when a few top teams struggled but came away with victories, the Seattle Seahawks made it look relatively easy on Monday Night Football. A Geno Smith injury scare was a temporary concern, but he returned to action. Seattle’s defense is trending in the right direction, but its offensive line is quickly becoming a collection of fill-in starters and that could have long-term consequences if guys don’t get healthy.

8. Baltimore Ravens

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: 10th in NFL power rankings

A much-needed win for the Baltimore Ravens after what transpired a week prior. Still without a handful of starters on both sides of the ball, Baltimore utterly dominated Cleveland. Lamar Jackson is looking even more comfortable in this offense and with the Ravens’ offensive line gaining key players back in the weeks to come, things could get even better for Baltimore.

7. Miami Dolphins

Syndication: Democrat and Chronicle
Jamie Germano/Rochester Democrat and Chronicle / USA TODAY NETWORK
  • Previously: No. 1 in NFL power rankings

The Miami Dolphins’ offense can be stopped, albeit with some of their own mistakes. What’s troubling for Miami isn’t the fact that it lost 48-20 to the Buffalo Bills. Instead, it’s All-Pro left tackle Terron Armstead leaving on crutches and the Dolphins’ pass defense having major problems without Jalen Ramsey. Miami is still a Super Bowl contender, but Week 4 is enough evidence that they belong in a crowded mix of teams.

6. Dallas Cowboys

NFL: New England Patriots at Dallas Cowboys
Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: No. 7 in NFL power rankings

We’ll chalk up the first loss of the season to the Dallas Cowboys being rattled after Trevon Diggs’s injury. One week later, the Cowboys’ defense was phenomenal and two defensive touchdowns really could’ve been everything needed to secure a victory. The one concern with Dallas remains the inefficiency in the red zone.

5. Detroit Lions

Syndication: The Post-Crescent
  • Previously: No. 6 in NFL power rankings

The Detroit Lions are 11-3 since November 2022. While some might be frustrated with how Jahmyr Gibbs is used, David Montgomery does all the little things that this coaching staff loves. Those little details and ‘small’ contributions to winning are also why Detroit has been one of the best NFL teams in the last 15 games.

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4. Philadelphia Eagles

NFL: Washington Commanders at Philadelphia Eagles
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: No. 4 in NFL power rankings

All the Philadelphia Eagles care about is being 4-0, something that only one NFL team can say. Yet as you watch this defense, it’s clear it is multiple tiers below the level it performed at in 2022. With the Eagles’ offense still not firing on all cylinders, Philadelphia enters Week 5 lower in our NFL power rankings than it does in the standings.

3. Kansas City Chiefs

Syndication: The Record
Chris Pedota, NorthJersey.com / USA TODAY NETWORK
  • Previously: No. 3 in NFL power rankings

The Kansas City Chiefs could be even better in 2023 than they were last season. For the reigning Super Bowl champions, the most impressive thing right now is how good this defense looks led by Chris Jones and Trent McDuffie. On Sunday Night Football, we also saw this Chiefs’ offense really start clicking against an elite defense. As long as both sides maintain their play, Kansas City should be 8-1 at the end of October.

2. Buffalo Bills

Syndication: Democrat and Chronicle
Jamie Germano/Rochester Democrat and Chronicle / USA TODAY NETWORK
  • Previously: No. 5 in NFL power rankings

The Buffalo Bills are No. 2 in the power rankings after crushing what many viewed as the best NFL team entering Week 4. It’s also easy to argue that if Josh Allen didn’t bizarrely make decisions like a rookie in Week 1, Buffalo is undefeated right now. Unfortunately, Sunday’s victory came at a devastating cost. With Tre’Davious White (Achilles) done for the season, the Bills’ defense will likely take a step back and that will cost them some wins.

1. San Francisco 49ers

NFL: Arizona Cardinals at San Francisco 49ers
Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports
  • Previously: No. 2 in NFL power rankings

Christian McCaffrey now holds the San Francisco 49ers franchise record for consecutive games with a touchdown (13). In his last 10 games, Brock Purdy has an 18-3 TD-INT ratio with a QB rating over 110 and a completion rate approaching 70 percent. If that’s not enough to convince you this is the best team in the NFL, San Francisco also has the best defense and head coach in football.

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