NFL Power Rankings Week 5: Patriots continue to stumble

We’ve reached the quarter mark of the NFL season, and one thing is clear: This isn’t going how any of us guessed it would. One of the most startling surprises? The relative futility of Super Bowl LI champions — and early Super Bowl LII favourites — the New England Patriots.

After losing at home to Carolina on Sunday they’re now 2-2 — and one of their wins was a home squeaker versus Houston in Week 3. And that wobbly play is enough for them to fall to the bottom half of the top in our panel’s weekly power rankings for the first time in… forever? Kind of feels like forever.

As always, the panel includes editor Geoff Lowe, and staff writers Donnovan Bennett, Mike Johnston and Emily Sadler.

Rank Team

It came down to the wire, but Alex Smith & Co. pulled out a win on Monday night to remain the league’s only undefeated team. They’ll be on the big stage once again when they visit Houston on Sunday night. (ES)
2017 record: 4-0

Previous: 1


Despite being decimated by injuries once again the Packers are 3-1 and have a share of first place in the NFC North. Other than Tom Brady, who continually does more with less than Aaron Rodgers? (DB)
2017 record: 3-1

Previous: 4


With their running game and defensive line producing better than expected it is hard to find a weakness on this Lions team. (DB)
2017 record: 3-1

Previous: 5


The Steelers got their first win in Baltimore since 2010 and have taken a stranglehold of the AFC North. Antonio Brown may not have been happy on the sidelines, but the Steelers had 11 offensive plays of 10 yards or more in the first half alone versus Baltimore and look to be back to their explosive selves. (DB)
2017 record: 3-1

Previous: 7


While the offence still leaves a little to be desired, Denver’s defence wrapped up the Raiders on Sunday. They head into the bye week at No. 2 in the strong AFC West. (ES)
2017 record: 3-1

Previous: 11


A Week 5 bye should serve this team well. Julio Jones (hip flexor), Vic Beasley (hamstring), Ryan Schraeder (concussion protocol), Mohamed Sanu (hamstring) and Ricardo Allen (concussion protocol) are all key to this team’s success, and all are currently among the walking wounded. (MJ)
2017 record: 3-1

Previous: 2


Carolina was averaging 15 points a game before dropping 33 on the Patriots in Foxborough on Sunday. New England boasts the second-best offence through four weeks, but it won’t matter with this defence. (GL)
2017 record: 2-2

Previous: 3


For the first time in a long time, the Bills look like a team that can compete in the AFC. Sean McDermott’s team plays stellar defence and has done a great job of limiting mistakes on offence. (GL)
2017 record: 3-1

Previous: 14


After barely running the ball the first two weeks of the season, the Eagles have racked up 407 rushing yards in their last two games and it’s paying dividends for the entire team. (GL)
2017 record: 3-1

Previous: 12


How ‘bout that L.A. offence? Todd Gurley was the star of the show as he led the high-scoring Rams to a comeback victory over the Cowboys in Dallas. This team looks like the real deal. (ES)
2017 record: 3-1

Previous: 16


Carolina gave New England a taste of their own medicine and kept them off balance by mixing up their attack. Cam Newton became the first QB in NFL history to record 50 career rushing touchdowns. (MJ)
2017 record: 3-1

Previous: 21


The Broncos delivered a blow to the Raiders’ season on Sunday as Derek Carr was forced to leave the game with a back injury and is expected to miss two to six weeks. Backup E.J. Manuel has big shoes to fill if Oakland wants to keep pace in the West. (ES)
2017 record: 2-2

Previous: 6


What might be most impressive about Washington after a hard-fought loss to the undefeated Chiefs is the defence, which shut down Oakland last week and gave K.C. trouble Monday night. (GL)
2017 record: 2-2

Previous: 10


It was a tale of two halves for Dallas in Sunday’s loss to the Rams as the Cowboys scored on every possession of the first half but were then limited to just six second-half points by former head coach Wade Phillips. (GL)
2017 record: 2-2

Previous: 9


Seattle’s defence finally showed up — albeit, against the Colts — but the win proved costly for the home team as they lost impressive rookie running back Chris Carson to injury. (ES)
2017 record: 2-2

Previous: 15


His passer rating is on a steep incline, which can’t last forever, but Deshaun Watson has officially arrived and it appears so have the Texans. The offence managed 33 first downs, the team put up a whopping 57 points, and the defence forced five turnovers and held the Titans to just 195 total yards. (MJ)
2017 record: 2-2

Previous: 24


Jameis Winston can at times seem flustered (so can Mike Evans when he’s not getting the ball) yet he was poised when it counted and the Bucs walked away with a last-second FG victory. Gerald McCoy and Co. held the Giants’ run game in check. A Thursday contest at home against the Patriots is a real litmus test. (MJ)
2017 record: 2-1

Previous: 17


Not only did they get walloped by Houston, but the Titans now have to monitor the health of Marcus Mariota. The QB injured his hamstring. They face the struggling Dolphins next. (MJ)
2017 record: 2-2

Previous: 8


A 20–0 shutout of the Dolphins in London should give this team confidence heading into their Week 5 bye. The last time the Saints held a regular-season opponent to zero points was on Dec 16, 2012, when they blanked the Bucs 41-0. (MJ)
2017 record: 2-2

Previous: 20


Promising rookie Dalvin Cook being lost for the year is devastating. Latavius Murray quickly goes from surplus goods to indispensable starter — he played 19 snaps in Week 4 after having just 17 combined during the first three weeks of the season. (DB)
2017 record: 2-2

Previous: 13


Arizona (barely) won against the 49ers, but lost one of their best defenders in the process, as linebacker linebacker Markus Golden suffered a season-ending knee injury. (ES)
2017 record: 2-2

Previous: 22


Powered by a surprisingly-effective run game, the Jets are much better than expected. They’re by no means a playoff team, but this looks like a six to eight-win squad. (GL)
2017 record: 2-2

Previous: 31


Joe Flacco threw another two interceptions and hasn’t found his form after missing training camp with a back injury. The 2012 conversations after about whether Flacco is an elite QB seem like a long time ago. (DB)
2017 record: 2-2

Previous: 19


The Jags are still a young, perplexing team. They can show up one week, then look lost the next. Bilal Powell ran all over them this past Sunday in their OT loss to the Jets, which doesn’t bode well for a defence about to take on Le’Veon Bell and the high-powered Steelers offence at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. (MJ)
2017 record: 2-2

Previous: 18


Remember last week when I said it couldn’t get worse for the Dolphins? I was wrong. Miami is now the last-ranked offence and looks completely lost with Jay Cutler at the helm. (GL)
2017 record: 1-2

Previous: 25


A loss to the Browns would have likely led to sweeping changes, but the Bengals cruised to an easy win in Cleveland. Andy Dalton’s four TD passes and 146 quarterback rating is a sign of hope for Cincinnati fans. (DB)
2017 record: 1-3

Previous: 27


The Mike Glennon experiment is over. Mitchell Trubisky will become the first QB to make his first start on Monday Night Football since Aaron Rodgers. No pressure. (DB)
2017 record: 1-3

Previous: 23


Sunday’s last-second loss to the Bucs is another heartbreaker for a Giants team now all but guaranteed to miss the post-season. (GL)
2017 record: 0-4

Previous: 26


The Chargers are likely feeling a bit homesick for San Diego after being booed by droves of Eagles fans at their home field in L.A. on Sunday. The winless team will now head to New York to face another 0-4 squad in the Giants. (ES)
2017 record: 0-4

Previous: 28


They kept things interesting for two quarters in Seattle … before it went off the rails. The Colts will continue to struggle against any teams that boast a strong secondary. (MJ)
2017 record: 1-3

Previous: 29


San Francisco gave the Cardinals a run for their money, but still live in the league’s basement as they sink to 0-4. (ES)
2017 record: 0-4

Previous: 30


The Browns were booed loudly in a game versus a divisional rival. DeShone Kizer struggled for his third straight game before being pulled, which again calls into question the franchise’s decision to pass on the QBs drafted before him. (DB)
2017 record: 0-4

Previous: 32