Each week, we will bring you staff NFL Power Rankings. The overall rankings are a combination of polls submitted by Justin Rozzero, Marc Clair, Chad Campbell, Greg Phillips, Andrew Flanagan & Maurice Pogue. Each team is assigned points based on rank and then compiled and ranked overall based on total points. Managing Editor Brad Woodling has the power to break ties.
- Seattle Seahawks (188 pts): It is still a mystery why the Seahawks struggle so mightily on the road, but it is still an ongoing problem. With that said, Seattle showed a lot of mettle coming back from a three score second half deficit to steal a road game in overtime. Richard Sherman and the defense delivered the knockout blow at the tail end of regulation. With that win, the Seahawks remain the class of the NFL.
- Denver Broncos (188 pts): The Broncos offensive juggernaut machine just keeps rolling along, waxing the Eagles in the Mile High City. Peyton Manning has tossed 16 touchdowns, more than any other team in the league has scored. This week’s game in Dallas should present the biggest challenge to date, but we have no proof on any level that it will even matter.
- New Orleans Saints (182 pts): The Saints put on a clinic on Monday night, eviscerating Miami with a precision offense attack and aggressive defense. If the Saints can play with that type of intensity on a regular basis, they will be hard to beat, especially at home.
- New England Patriots (170 pts): The Patriots picked up their most impressive win of the season in pushing the Falcons to the brink on Sunday night. The young receivers finally got in synch with Tom Brady and the defense continued to bend as far as they could without breaking. This week brings another road test, but at 4-0 and with Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola on the way back, the Patriots are playing with some house money when they head to Cincinnati.
- Kansas City Chiefs (166 pts): The Chiefs remained unbeaten by thrashing the helpless Giants at home. Alex Smith had his shakiest start of the year, but the team still took care of business. This week they head to Tennessee to face a frisky Titans team, but it looks like their luck may continue if Jake Locker is out of action. The key for this team is to bank wins prior to their big showdowns with Denver later in the season.
- Indianapolis Colts (150 pts): With the Texans showing serious signs of trouble, the AFC South is suddenly dropped into the Colts hands. After manhandling the Jaguars on Sunday, the Colts will be welcoming the dominant Seahawks into town this week. If the Colts can do what the Texans couldn’t, they can really put their footprint down as the top dogs of the South.
- San Francisco 49ers (149 pts): The 49ers bounced back from two tough losses by manhandling the Rams on Thursday night. Colin Kaepernick played much better and if he continues on that track, there is plenty of time for San Francisco to get right back into the hunt. The lack of weapons at receiver will continue to hamper them, but if they stay dedicated to the run, the Niners will be the force we saw for most of last year. However, was their win in St. Louis a mirage?
- Detroit Lions (148 pts): The Lions are loaded, playing well and avoiding many of the mistakes that have hindered them in the past. Reggie Bush has been a monster and with a very able backup in Joique Bell, the Lions are going to give many defensive coordinators nightmares in 2013. Even with losing Nate Burleson to a broken arm, the offense chugged right along, hanging 40 on a very good Bears defense. If there was ever a chance for Detroit to prove themselves, it comes Sunday when they visit Green Bay.
- Chicago Bears (146 pts): The Bears were due for a bad game, but there has to be some concern with how the Detroit running game gashed their defense. The Bears have been susceptible to giving up big days to top receivers, but they were able to keep Calvin Johnson in check. Jay Cutler tossed three picks, but he is prone to days like that, so no surprise there. Chicago is still in good shape, but they have a huge home game against New Orleans on Sunday. That could go a long way in determining if the Bears are legit or second tier.
- Miami Dolphins (138 pts): Miami took a tough loss Monday night, but not one to be ashamed of. The Saints don’t roll over inside the Dome, especially in Prime Time. Ryan Tannehill struggled, but the pieces and confidence are there and they had a strong first quarter of the season. How they bounce back this week will tell us a lot about this team going forward.
- Green Bay Packers (128 pts): If the Packers have any aspirations at winning the division, they need to defeat Detroit at home coming off their bye week. Another loss puts them at serious risk at falling too far behind their rivals in what has become one of the most talented and rough division in football.
- Houston Texans (123 pts): The Texans have not looked good at all in 2013, including wins and losses. The most dominant they have looked was in the first half against Seattle last weekend. The Seahawks looked helpless and the Texans offense was rolling. Then things fell apart in the second half and the team went ice cold. Now, they head to San Francisco and are looking at the very real possibility of falling under .500.
- Atlanta Falcons (116 pts): Injuries and questionable playcalling decisions have seriously hampered the Falcons this year and they continue to fall further behind the Saints. Despite all the dinged up bodies, they still had a chance to knock off New England at home, but they abandoned the run and continued to chuck the ball downfield, despite proof that it just wasn’t working. Mike Smith needs to adapt in games when necessary and seemingly only does once he gets burnt a time or two. If they can’t beat the Jets on Monday night, it is going to be a long season in the ATL.
- Cincinnati Bengals (113 pts): The Bengals continue to squander opportunities to pull away from the pack in the AFC North, dropping a road game to the inferior Browns. Cleveland has a good defense, but Andy Dalton and the Bengals offense looked way too anemic for a team considered a legit Super Bowl contender. Until they win the games they should win, it is hard to put them in that category. A win over New England Sunday could change that perception, but for now they remain a team that has failed to strangle the competition when given a golden opportunity to do so.
- Dallas Cowboys (111 pts): Similar to the Bengals, the Cowboys just don’t want to accept the gift being dropped into their laps. There is no reason they should have lost in San Diego last weekend, with a golden opportunity to take complete control over the division. Now, with Denver coming to town, there is a chance they could be looking at a scant 1/2 game lead this time next week. If Dallas can’t win the division this year, it will certainly be time for major changes in Big D.
- Tennessee Titans (110 pts): It may be time to admit the Titans may be pretty good. They have an aggressive, fast and energetic defense, backed by an efficient QB and solid run game. However, their destiny may change if Jake Locker has to miss any significant amount of time. Once he went out of the game, the Jets pretty much played the Titans evenly. The defense will have a tougher time forcing Alex Smith to turn the ball over four times as they did against Geno Smith, but a win over KC would keep the Titans in the division hunt.
- San Diego Chargers (108 pts): The Chargers offense continues to impress and Mike McCoy has reinvented Philip Rivers. With the stank of the Norv Turner era cleansed from San Diego, the team certainly seems to be reinvigorated. They likely have no chance at winning the division, but if they continue to pick up wins, they will be right in the thick of the wild card race. And with a winnable game against Oakland on tap, the Chargers are looking at an unlikely 3-2 start.
- Baltimore Ravens (92 pts): Just when you think this team is ready to turn the corner, they choke away a game against a depleted Buffalo team as “elite” QB Joe Flacco threw five picks on the day. If Flacco wants to be looked at as a top QB in the NFL, this is a game he has to win. With the Bengals stalling and the Steelers dead in the water, the Ravens could have reminded them who the Kings of the North were, but Flacco came up short when he was needed the most.
- Cleveland Browns (79 pts): The amazing Browns are rolling, thanks to the arm of Brian Hoyer, the hands of Jordan Cameron and the pure talent of a hard hitting defense. Playing in a suddenly vulnerable division, you have to wonder if the Browns should abandon any inclination of tanking and start to pursue a playoff run instead. Now is the time, though, for them to determine if they have the talent or if this is just a two week mirage. Still, manhandling the Bengals offense shows that this team has the defense to contend.
- Buffalo Bills (77 pts): It is looking to be a roller coaster year in Buffalo as rookie EJ Manuel is good to win the Bills games but also raw enough to cost them some. At full health, this team could have sniffed around a wild card spot, but the problem is they never stay healthy long enough to make waves. And now, they have a short week against a rejuvenated Browns team that will not make things easy on Manuel.
- New York Jets (75 pts): This was a disappointing game for a team that is trying to prove the doubters wrong. With a very rough slate of games over the next handful of weeks, this was a golden opportunity to knock off a team that is very even in all aspects of the game. However, when four turnovers lead directly to 28 points, you really don’t have much of a chance. The DL continues to play lights out, but the offense has to stop turning the ball over or else the team stands no chance. If they can clean up the penalties and turnovers, the defense has a chance to make Monday night a very long one for Matt Ryan.
- Carolina Panthers (69 pts): The Panthers come off a demolition of the Giants and a bye week by heading to the desert to face the Cardinals. With the Falcons reeling, the Panthers have an opportunity to pass them by getting back to .500. The key is to remain aggressive and play to Cam Newton’s strengths as much as possible and good things can happen.
- Philadelphia Eagles (59 pts): The Chip Kelly bandwagon suddenly has a whole lot more room on it after another loss. The fact that they gave up 52 points to Denver is not a surprise, but the Eagles offense is supposed to have been built to hang in that kind of shoot out. If they can’t be competitive in those types of games, this team has no shot. As is, they are only game out of the division lead and visit the Giants in a crucial game for both teams. The Eagles have a very real chance at being tied for the NFC East lead while also burying Big Blue by the time Sunday night rolls around.
- Arizona Cardinals (53 pts): For most of Sunday’s game, the Cardinals could not move the ball, but they never quit and made a late comeback to take another win out of Tampa’s hands. The problem isn’t heart in Arizona, it is just a question of talent. Now is the time to rebuild and get the franchise prepared to take the leap as the teams ahead of them inevitably start to come down.
- Minnesota Vikings (50 pts): The Vikings started hot and held off the surging Steelers to win their first game of the year. Adrian Peterson had his best game since week one and Matt Cassell proved to be much more effective and competent than Christian Ponder and should remain as starter. Minnesota has a week off to relax and get healthy before a home showdown with Carolina in week six.
- Washington Redskins (48 pts): Washington finally got a win but lost Alfred Morris in the process. The injury doesn’t look serious, but the Redskins need to be at full health to get back into the NFC race. After the bye week, the Skins head to Dallas for a huge week six showdown. Despite how ugly the defense has played, this team still has the talent and time to get back into the division chase.
- St. Louis Rams (38 pts): After a solid week one win, things have gone sour in St. Louis very quickly. The Rams continue to get down big early and they don’t have the weapons to chuck their way back into games. Sam Bradford looks completely lost on the field and his development has completely halted and the past has proven that Brian Schottenheimer is not the man to return him to form.
- Oakland Raiders (25 pts): With Terrelle Pryor sidelined, Matt Flynn got the nod and had a solid day, but it wasn’t enough to pick up the win. The Raiders should take their time with Pryor and ensure he is completely healthy before rushing him back, because he does look to have promise as a legit starting QB and the team is going nowhere in 2013.
- Pittsburgh Steelers (24 pts): The Steelers had a good game offensively and gave the London fans a show, but it wasn’t enough to stop the Vikings. At 0-4, like the Giants, the Steelers are just two games out of first with plenty of division games remaining, but time is ticking away and the injuries are wrecking their season. They have this week off to heal and reconvene, but they need to start picking up wins quickly.
- New York Giants (20 pts): Things are looking bleak for the Giants, but despite the dismal start, they are still just two games out of first place. They have a huge game against Philadelphia this week that could either turn the season around or effectively end it. And if they do lose, you have to wonder if Tom Coughlin survives the season, something that seemed impossible to ponder twelve months ago.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (19 pts): Mike Glennon started well in his NFL debut before faltering late as the Bucs once again coughed up a late lead. With a tough division and conference, plus a team mutiny on hand, the season is just about done in Tampa. The lingering questions that remain: how much more rope does Greg Schiano have and when will Josh Freeman be traded?
- Jacksonville Jaguars (6 pts): Management is standing behind Blaine Gabbert, but is that because they think he can win games or because they know he can lose them?
Biggest Rise: Detroit Lions (+8)
Biggest Fall: Cincinnati Bengals (-8)
PTB Game to Watch: Detroit @ Green Bay, Sunday, 1PM, FOX
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