2020 NFL Week 5 Power Rankings

In a week where COVID seemed to finally strike the NFL the games that managed to go ahead did not disappoint. High scoring games coupled with games that were close going into the fourth quarter made for an entertaining week of football. Unfortunately, COVID did strike for the first time this season and it led to the postponement of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans to Week 7. Then when Superman Cam Newton tested positive the Patriots matchup with defending champions Kansas City was moved to Monday Night. The NFL was forced into making schedule changes and as much as I hope it doesn’t happen again, it feels like this could be the norm going forward. However, let’s focus on the positives and what was an entertaining week in the NFL with the Week 5 Power Rankings. 

After another eventful week let’s take a look at who moved up and who made the unfortunate move down in our power rankings this week. Does the re-emergence of a star receiver on the Browns bump them up the rankings? And how does the firing of a head coach affect your team’s position? Let’s dive in!

32. New York Jets - 0-4

Previously 32

Is Sam Darnold a dual-threat quarterback?? He finished this game with 84 rush yards on six carries and a score, as well as 230 passing yards with no interceptions. He was as much of a threat on the ground this week as he was in the air.

Darnold was able to link up with Jamison Crowder and I’m sure he will be glad to have him back on the field. A great rushing touchdown early on was the only real highlight on offense for the Jets as every other drive was either stopped or held to a field goal. The defense kept them in the game against Denver with a few interceptions (one of which went all the way to the house) against the a young QB in Brett Rypien. However, when it came down to it they still couldn’t get enough stops, and a night of numerous penalties led the the Jets to their fourth defeat in as many games and leaves them rooted at the button of this list.

31. New York Giants - 0-4

Week 9 Picks

Previously 31

For once there are some positives to being a Giants fan. The defense went toe to toe with one of the best offenses so far in football and barring one blown coverage in the fourth quarter they did a valiant job. They had seven tackles for loss and held the Rams to a measly 38% conversion rate on third down. However… the other side of the ball proves to be an issue. Two games in a row now with no touchdowns and only three in total for the season. Daniel Jones showed rare flashes of how good he can be but with no feel for the rush from his blind side he is going to get hit and he is going to lose the ball from time to time. If the Giants can’t work out their offensive identity then this is going to be a long hard season for Giants fans.

30. Washington Football Team - 1-3

Previously 30

Dwayne Haskins started this game knowing that there was a real chance he was playing a game where he was going to get pulled out and the reigns handed over to the back-up. How did he start? Punt, turnover, punt and missed field goal. Then with under five minutes left in the first, from somewhere he pulled out a 10-play, 75-yard drive that finished with a touchdown, seemingly prolonging his inevitable fate. That drive got him going a bit and he finished the game with 314 passing yards and formed a bit of chemistry with Terry McLaurin. 

Unfortunately, for Washington their quarterback seemed to settle once his opposition had a big lead. Rookie running back Antonio Gibson is one bright spark, as he rushed for a touchdown in the third consecutive game. The defense really needs Chase Young back as they have now given up 30 plus points in six of their last seven games and in a Week 5 game against the LA Rams they will need someone to pressure the QB.

29. Atlanta Falcons - 0-4

Previously 29

Things are not looking great over in Atlanta and history would suggest it’s not going to get better. The last time the Falcons started 0-4 was 1999 and they finished that season 5-11. In typical Falcons fashion Matt Ryan aired the ball out, throwing the ball 39 times with 28 completions. He could not however connect with his receivers to the same extent he normally does and it turned to new signing Todd Gurley to put the points on the board with two rushing touchdowns. With the Panthers, Buccaneers and Saints all winning in Week 4, the Falcons Week 5 matchup against division rivals Carolina becomes a huge game if Atlanta wants any shot at competing in their division.

28. Houston Texans - 0-4

Previously 20

The Texans have one of the best young quarterbacks in the game but are somehow sat at 0-4. The loss of DeAndre Hopkins seems to be having a big impact on the Texans. The signings of Brandin Cooks and David Johnson are not proving to be good business by Bill O’Brien, as Cooks finished with zero catches and Johnson managed 63 yards on 16 carries.

In my opinion the Texans are done and JJ Watt described it best himself as “It’s depressing. It sucks”, if they have any hope at all then someone needs to step up and fill the Hopkins shaped hole in that offence. Will Fuller did his utmost in this game, finishing with six catches for 108 yards and a score. Unfortunately for Houston his one drop of the game came on a potential game winning touchdown in the final quarter. A catch that Hopkins would probably have secured. 

Lack of good business and a terrible start has subsequently cost Bill O’Brien his job. The Texans now have to hunt for a new head coach.

27. Denver Broncos - 1-3

Previously 28 Brett Rypien can certainly rip the ball. Other than one dodgy throw away that resulted in an interception, the first three quarters he looked fairly settled and like a starter in this league. He will need to thank rookie wideout Jerry Jeudy who saved him from a fourth interception by ripping the ball from Jets cornerback Pierre Desir and strolling backwards into the end zone for a score.  However, in the fourth quarter, he made some rushed decisions which resulted in a pick six and a further interception. He saved his blushes late on with a solid block downfield that allowed Melvin Gordon to stroll in for the game winning Touchdown. Denver has some weapons and when Courtland Sutton and Drew Lock return they could be dangerous on offense.  The defense held the Jets to one touchdown but still gave up five field goals. To keep winning they will need to find stops quicker on defense and get the ball back into the hands of their speedy offense.

26. Detroit Lions - 1-3

Previously 26

Are Detroit taking whatever the Atlanta Falcons have been taking?? They have now given up a double digit lead in three games this season and have slumped to 1-3. Matt Patricia is a defensive minded head coach right? So why does he have a defense that would struggle to stop a nursery touch football team. 

Matthew Stafford and his offense did put up 29 points and made it look like they were in the game. However, he only completed 54 per cent of his passes and threw a terrible interception as he underthrew T.J. Hockenson and gifted a pick to Patrick Robinson in the Saints end zone. 

In the hottest seat in football and in a playoff or bust year Patricia needs Stafford to play perfectly to cover up the woes of the defense. Unfortunately for him, Stafford can’t do it.

25. Jacksonville Jaguars - 1-3

Previously 25

Remember when the Jaguars had an all conquering, all dominant defense??? It’s a memory that is rapidly fading and on Sunday night it may have disappeared completely. The Jags gave up over 500 yards of total offense to the Bengals and only forced one punt from them. 

Long gone is the defense that led the Jags to the AFC Championship game and even more unfortunate for them is the fact that Minshew-Mania is not materialising and the offense is struggling. They converted 2-of-10 third downs and short of D.J. Chark there wasn’t much going on. In a tough AFC South, the Jaguars have a chance to do well given the struggles of the Texans but if they are to do that then the defense needs to step up in a big way.

24. Cincinnati Bengals - 1-2-1

Previously 27

Finally the Bengals coaching staff decided to try and stop Joe Burrow taking hit after hit and hand the ball off to running back Joe Mixon. Joe Mixon had a great game finishing with season highs on carries (25), yards (151) and touchdowns (2). This opened up a much more balanced attack and allowed Burrow more time in the pocket, and more importantly allowed him to lead his team to their first win of the season and his first win in the NFL. Joe Burrow finished with 300 yards and became the first rookie quarterback to reach 300 yards in three consecutive NFL games. Burrow is the real deal and if they can keep the run game going then this offense can pose problems to any one they play.

23. Miami Dolphons - 1-3

Previously 24

Somehow the Miami Dolphins were only down by two points going into the fourth quarter and the NFL world were looking at a potential upset. Ryan Fitzpatrick had a chance in the fourth quarter to pull off a comeback but in typical Fitzpatrick fashion he threw an interception and the Seahawks capitalised by scoring a touchdown. Fitzpatrick now has 64 interceptions in the fourth quarter since 2008 and leads the NFL in that unfortunate category. The Dolphins offensive line aren’t great at protecting their QB and have allowed at least one sack in 30 consecutive games. A stat they will need to improve on when Tua Tagovailoa takes the reins. A move that may happen in the near future.

22. Philadelphia Eagles - 1-2-1

Previously 23

This is a team who at the start of season had great potential to go on a run before the injury bug took over. The Eagles limped into a Week 4 matchup with the current NFC champions without any of their starting wide receivers.

However, up stepped Travis Fulgham who finished the game with the game winning touchdown on a 42 yard bomb from Carson Wentz. Despite the state of the NFC East this seemed like a must win for the Eagles for reasons other than their record. Carson Wentz was being questioned along with head coach Doug Peterson, and the win here might hold the naysayers at the door for one more week. However, lookout, as next up they face the quarterback terrorising Pittsburgh Steelers.

21. Minnesota Vikings - 1-3

Previously 21

The Vikings had control of this game throughout but still found themselves thanking the refs for overturning a Will Fuller touchdown late in the fourth. Dalvin Cook took control of this game by rushing for 130 yards and a couple of touchdowns. This opened up the passing game and allowed Kirk Cousins to be a game manager as opposed to trying to be the playmaker, which is when it normally goes wrong. A much needed win for the Vikings and maybe they can now kick their season into gear, providing Cook can continue to carry them.

20. Dallas Cowboys - 1-3

Previously 18

With no defense it really doesn’t matter how good your quarterback is. Dak Prescott threw for over 170 yards and two touchdowns in the first quarter of Sunday’s matchup and by halftime he still found himself down 31-14. This defense is going to cost the Cowboys the division and more importantly it will cost them any shot at the playoffs. The defense has given up 38-plus points in three straight games for the first time since 1960. They have no pass rush of note and coupled with that the secondary is terrible. Playing in quite possibly the worst division in football they may have the worst defense in football.

19. Chicago Bears - 3-1

Previously 14

The Bears are going with Nick Foles and hoping that he can bring some of the magic that led the Philadelphia Eagles all the way to a Super Bowl victory to Chicago. In his first start for the Bears the magic was not there. Foles was a dud, missing his receivers all day on inaccurate passes. Other than one drive in garbage time where he had 90 yards and a touchdown, Foles only managed 164 passing yards and 11 first downs on 10 possessions. In fairness to Foles he didn’t have a run game to lean on with the Bears only managing 28 rushing yards as a team. 

The Bears were found out in this one as they faced a good defense for the first time this season. If the Bears want to keep a winning record beyond Week 6 they need to work on that offense.

18. Los Angeles Chargers - 1-3

Previously 19

Justin Herbert looks like the new starter in Los Angeles. In a showdown with the G.O.A.T Tom Brady, Herbert could have easily succumbed to fan boy state and fell away, but he made a game of it. Herbert, still looking for his first win in the NFL, got off to a great start in this one leading the Chargers to a 10-point halftime lead. 

Unfortunately for Herbert, he would go on to lose this one but he did manage 290 yards and three touchdown passes. All three of his touchdown passes went to undrafted free agents and the defensive touchdown for the Chargers also came from an undrafted free agent. He needs to get his first win but I am confident about the future of Chargers football in the hands of Justin Herbert. 

17. Las Vegas Raiders - 2-2

Previously 17

If the Raiders want Derek Carr to put up the numbers they need to protect him better. Against the Bills they gave up 13 QB pressures and despite Carr performing okay under pressure they gave up key turnovers that put this game out of sight. The Raiders failed to convert when in Bills territory and had to settle for field goals instead of touchdowns. Since their hot start to the season, the Raiders have dropped two and in the losses they have given the ball away five times. A trend that needs to stop if the Raiders truly are a playoff team. 

16. Carolina Panthers - 2-2

Previously 22

Two wins in a row for the Panthers and do they even need Christian McCaffrey? I’m joking, of course they do, but Mike Davis looks like a highly competent back-up as he obliterated the Cardinals run defense for 84 yards and a score. Control of time of possession kept Carolina in control of this game from start to finish and it never looked like anything other than a Carolina win. When McCaffrey joins up with the offense and if this young speedy defense continues to make plays, could the Panthers challenge in the NFC South?

15. Arizona Cardinals - 2-2

Previously 15

Two losses in a row for Kyler Murray, who was tipped by many (including me) to be the MVP of the season, have seen the Cardinals hit a slide. The Cardinals defense badly missed Budda Baker and Chris Banjo as they gave up a season high 276 passing yards to eight different Panthers players. No pressure on Teddy Bridgewater throughout made life difficult for the Cardinals secondary which was surprising as Carolina was missing two starters from the O-Line. 

Murray couldn’t escape the pressure in this one sustaining multiple QB hits which when combined with the inability to get the run game going meant a stagnant offensive performance. The Cardinals need to get pressure on opposing offenses consistently to keep the win column higher than the loss column.

14. San Francisco 49ers - 2-2

Previously 11

Nick Mullens is not better than Jimmy Garoppolo let’s just get that straight right now. The 49ers need their starting quarterback and quickly. The 49ers have also been struck down by the injury bug, but one star player did return in this one and returned in a big way. George Kittle went off for 183 yards on 15 catches and a score and was the best player on the field by far. 

The 49ers offense is better with Garoppolo and Kittle in the starting line-up and hopefully the former will be back soon to prevent the 49ers losing pace completely in the NFC West. Brandon Aiyuk scored a fantastic hurdling touchdown and Jerrick McKinnon ran in another touchdown for the fourth straight week. The offense is putting up points but the defense needs to find a way to work without Nick Bosa.

13. Indianapolis Colts - 3-1

Previously 12

In a game that was almost as boring as the Eagles Bengals game from Week 3, the most entertaining part was Phillip Rivers trash talk to Bears defender Roquan Smith. Rivers didn’t light the game up but with a strong rushing attack led by Jonathan Taylor (68 yards on 17 carries) and the stingiest defense in football the Colts are contenders in the AFC South.

12. New England Patriots - 2-2

Previously 9

A Cam Newton less Patriots were never going to beat the Mahomes-led Chief right? Correct, but it wasn’t as plain sailing as you might have thought. 

The Patriots held the Chiefs to six first half points and if it wasn’t for some terrible play and decision making by the quarterback, the Patriots should have been tied or in the lead at the half. The defense couldn’t hold the Chiefs all night and without Cam Newton doing Cam Newton things on offense this one got out of reach quickly when the Chiefs clicked into gear. 

Costly turnovers by Brian Hoyer led to Jarret Stidham getting some playing time in the fourth quarter and Patriots fans got a glimpse of what life would be like if they hadn’t procured Newton. They will be praying for a swift return for their star QB.

11. New Orleans Saints - 2-2

Previously 13

This game was a chance for the Saints to prove to the football world that they should never have doubted the Saints and a chance for them to show that they are still a force to be reckoned with. After five minutes of this game that was not going to plan. Drew Brees found himself 14-0 down after a tipped pass was intercepted giving the Lions an instant red zone opportunity. 

Howeve,r the Saints then went on a tear and dismantled a terrible Lions defense. The Saints scored on five straight possessions with four of them being drives of 75 yards or more. A combination of a dominant run game, Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray finished with a combined 137 yards and three touchdowns, and Brees finally realising he can throw the ball further than 10 yards led the Saints to a vital win.

Wide receivers Tre’Quan Smith and Emmanuel Sanders built a connection with Brees in this one with the former finishing with two touchdown grabs. Sean Payton will hope that they can continue this production when Jared Cook and Micheal Thomas finally return.

10. Los Angeles Rams - 3-1

Previously 10

For the second week in a row the Rams fate would be decided by their cornerback Darious Williams. After giving up a big PI call that cost them the win in Week 3, Williams stepped up late in this one and picked off Daniel Jones in the red zone to end any hope of a Giants comeback. 

A strong performance from the Giants defense in this one made life difficult for Jared Goff at times but he held true and then when the Giants slipped up (inevitable right) he found Cooper Kupp, free after a busted coverage, for the game sealing touchdown. The Rams held the Giants to no touchdowns and secured four sacks and eight tackles for a loss. They made it seem difficult at times but everyone knew the Rams would come away with the W. Another NFC East outing next week should be another win on the board.

9. Cleveland Browns - 3-1

Previously 16 

I thought I was a bit low on the Browns last week and boy did they make sure I knew about it. A monstrous performance by them in the matchup with Dallas. Odell Beckham had a huge game and the offense was clicking everywhere. 

Nick Chubb went out injured unfortunately, but with Kareem Hunt also in the backfield they didn’t miss a beat. They finished with over 300 rushing yards which allowed Baker Mayfield to sit back and work on his connection with Beckham. Kevin Stefanski is getting the Browns going and they are looking like a real contender in a competitive AFC North.

8. Tennessee Titans - 3-0

Previously 7

Be prepared Titans fans, your team could be on the sidelines for more than just Week 4. The positive tests have been mounting up in Nashville and it may force the NFL to postpone their Week 5 matchup with the Bills as well. The Titans got to sit back and watch their rivals the Texans lose again and drop well out of the race for the AFC South. However, the Colts are hot on their heels and the Titans will be desperate to get back out on the field and show who is the best in the South.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 3-1

Previously 8

A game where Tom Brady went up against a quarterback who was more than twenty years younger than him. It is a game that Brady would need his high powered defense to step in and stop the exuberance of youth. Unfortunately for Brady, this didn’t happen consistently, although a Chargers turnover is the only reason the Buccaneers were only down by 10 at the half. 

Brady, going for his 222nd regular season victory, came out in the second half and led the Buccaneers to their third victory of the season. In typical Brady fashion he threw five touchdown passes to five different receivers. The GOAT was spreading the love and the Buccaneers fans around the world have got to be loving Tom terrific.

6. Pittsburgh Steelers - 3-0

Previously 5

No game for Pittsburgh in Week 4 due to a COVID outbreak in Nashville. The Steelers remain undefeated, but with everyone else in their division winning in Week 4 the Steelers will need to continue this winning momentum in Week 5 against the Eagles. 

The COVID situation seems to have affected the Steelers more than anyone else despite them not having any positive tests. They have lost out on a Week 8 bye, just before an important Ravens game, and are now forced to play 13 straight in their bid to get the black and gold to the playoffs. 

5. Buffalo Bills - 4-0

Previously 6

Josh Allen is fun to watch isn’t he? He has developed into a true quarterback and isn’t running around in the backfield trying to get it done with his feet anymore. He finished with three rushing attempts for minus one yard and a score.

Defenses need to be worried about the fact that Allen can now beat you through the air and still has the weapon of his legs. He is well and truly in the MVP conversation and rightly so, but he has his new wide receiver to thank for that. In 2019, Stefon Diggs was the best in the NFL at running post routes on passes thrown by Kirk Cousins. In Josh Allen he has an upgrade at the QB position and he is making it count for the Bills. In Diggs and John Brown the Bills ability to stretch the field is incredible. To partner it they have Devin Singletary in the backfield and a quarterback who will quite happily take the ball and run it himself. 

To go with their entertaining offense they have a defense who have given up a lot of points this season. However, in this one they forced turnovers and stopped Derek Carr from mounting a comeback. The Bills look good on both sides of the ball and could climb higher in this list with more wins against playoff contending teams.

4. Seattle Seahawks - 4-0

Previously 2

In his worst game of the season so far,  Russell Wilson still put up 31 points on 260 passing yards and two touchdowns. Unlike Ryan Fitzpatrick, Wilson loves the fourth quarter of football games, having completed 80 touchdown passes since he was drafted. 

It was in the fourth quarter of this one that Seattle finally put the game out of reach. A pass to David Moore gave the Seahawks a nine point lead early in the fourth that they never surrendered. D.K. Metcalf made up for his blunder against the Cowboys by finishing here with 106 yards on only four catches. The Russell Wilson deep ball to Metcalf is a thing of beauty and is what has the Seahawks offense up there with the likes of Kansas City. Unfortunately the defense is still giving up points and if an ageing Fitzpatrick can run against you and score touchdowns then so can anyone.

3. Baltimore Ravens - 4-0

Previously 4

After losing at home to their closest challengers in the AFC the Baltimore Ravens needed to go out against Washington and get a resounding win to knock away the cobwebs of defeat. They did exactly that. Missing starter Ronnie Stanley on the offensive line didn’t hamper the run game as Mark Ingram ran in a seven yard touchdown to open the scoring. This was followed up by Lamar Jackson running in a 50 yard TD to put this game out of sight. 

The Ravens defense got an instant return on the big money deal for Marlon Humphrey when he stripped the ball from J.D. McKissic and set up his offense for an easy touchdown. The Ravens get back to winning ways and put away another team with ease.

2. Green Bay Packers - 4-0

Previously 3

Do the Packers even need Davante Adams at this point? The Packers are now 6-0 since 2019 in games they have played without Adams. Much of that can be put down to the continued strong performances of running back Aaron Jones, who in this one finished with 111 scrimmage yards and a score. 

The standout performance of the day goes to TE Robert Tonyan. The big TE became the first undrafted Packers player in recent years to score three touchdowns in a game. Aaron Rodgers continues to play lights out football and only missed on six passes out of 33. When Adams and Allen Lazard are added back into this squad they will be one of, if not the most dominant offence in the NFC.

1. Kansas City Chiefs - 4-0

Previously 1

For only the third time in the Parick Mahomes era the Kansas City Chiefs failed to score a touchdown in the opening half of a game. Did the Patriots manage to pull off the unthinkable?? For over two quarters the Patriots did enough to stifle the high powered Chiefs offense, but that was all. 

In the second half the Chiefs came out and everything seemed to click. Mahomes shook off the cobwebs and finished with two touchdown passes, for once giving up some of the spotlight to his defense. The defense was outstanding, even without Chris Jones rushing the passer. They only gave up 10 points and had four defenders responsible for takeaways. A stifling defense to go with the high powered offense makes this team destined for another Super Bowl, right??

MArk Ross

NFL Analyst@steelers_mark