NFL Power Rankings: Nos. 20-11
L, 20-13 vs. Broncos
Pretty substantial fall in our NFL power rankings for the Chargers, who should have won this home contest against a scuffling Broncos squad.
But when quarterback Philip Rivers is struggling, it’s tough to win against any team. He looked completely out of sync during this contest, and running back Melvin Gordon’s return to action from his holdout was anything but spectacular.
It might be better for Los Angeles to keep fellow runner Austin Ekeler in the mix more often.
L, 31-3 @ 49ers
So much for the Browns’ Week 4 domination over the Ravens being a sign of things to come.
Cleveland was totally embarrassed on national television, as quarterback Baker Mayfield completed just eight of 22 passes for 100 yards, two interceptions and a passer rating of 13.4.
Running back Nick Chubb was mostly held in check. So was wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. And it’s back to the drawing board for head coach Freddie Kitchens.
W, 24-21 vs. Bears
Pretty impressive win across the pond over in London for the Raiders. Granted, Oakland coughed up a 17-point first-half lead and looked as if it would suffer yet another second-half collapse, this time against a backup Bears quarterback.
But credit the Raiders defense for holding on late, putting head coach Jon Gruden’s squad above the .500 mark entering Week 6.
Few thought that would be a reality this deep into the season. If the Raiders win some more games like this, which they can, they’ll climb even higher in our NFL power rankings.
W, 34-27 vs. Jaguars
Kyle Allen is still holding the line with quarterback Cam Newton still out. But the Panthers would be an absolute disaster if it weren’t for Christian McCaffrey.
McCaffrey was outstanding at home against the Jaguars, churning out 237 all-purpose yards in Week 5, adding three combined touchdowns.
If he’s not in the MVP discussion right now, the league should simply do away with the award.
We’ll see if this Lions team is actually on the right trajectory this week, as they travel to take on the Packers in Week 6.
L, 24-21 @ Raiders
It’s weird to think the Bears have the same record as the Raiders, following their loss to Oakland over in London.
With quarterback Mitchell Trubisky out with an injury, backup QB Chase Daniel didn’t exactly provide an upgrade, which might be hard to do. Sure, Daniel managed his two touchdown passes. But his two interceptions, especially the last one in the waning minutes, were brutal.
Chicago’s defense is going to have to shoulder the load. But when the Bears offense is turning the ball over in crucial situations, it’s going to be costly.
The Bears take a substantial drop in our NFL power rankings as a result.
W, 28-10 @ Giants
So much for all the controversy surrounding quarterback Kirk Cousins and his wide receivers, Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs.
Thielen finally broke out — something both Vikings fans and fantasy owners have been waiting for all season now, posting up 130 yards on seven catches with two touchdowns. And Cousins managed a 300-yard performance, too, avoiding some of those costly turnovers, which have plagued him for much of the year.
Minnesota’s defense hasn’t gone away, either.
W, 19-13 @ Chiefs
Awfully impressive effort from the Colts’ banged-up defense, which was missing both starting safeties and linebacker Darius Leonard for their Sunday Night Football contest against the red-hot Chiefs offense.
Indianapolis held that offense to 13 points, thanks largely to eliminating quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ ability to move outside the pocket.
Meanwhile, all the Colts had to do was ensure Mahomes wouldn’t get his hands on the ball more often than necessary, completely controlling the clock by feeding running back Marlon Mack to the tune of 132 yards on 29 carries.
Did the Colts discover the trick how to shut down Kansas City’s offense? Maybe.
L, 34-24 vs Packers
The Cowboys were looking like legitimate Super Bowl contenders early this season. But after facing off against three less-than-good teams — the Giants, Redskins and Dolphins — head coach Jason Garrett’s squad has lost back-to-back games against good teams, the Saints and now the Packers.
Maybe Dallas was overhyped earlier this season.
Falling behind 24-0 by the third quarter didn’t help, as quarterback Dak Prescott struggled to get much of anything going. And the Cowboys’ red-zone efforts resulted in just one score in three trips.
Sure, Dallas made things interesting late. But managing just over 23 minutes possession time wasn’t going to be a good formula. Neither was the early deficit.
The Cowboys fall pretty heavily in our NFL power rankings as a result.
W, 31-6 vs. Jets
The Eagles offense is still out of sync, somewhat, and quarterback Carson Wentz is still looking to get back to a Pro Bowl-level of play.
That said, Philadelphia’s defense stole the show at home against the lowly Jets, holding New York to just 128 yards and also forcing three turnovers, turning two of them into defensive touchdowns.
The Eagles defense might have to be the dominant unit as long as the offense is still looking to hit its stride.