Green Bay Packers (4-0) - Previously: #1 - It wasn't the blowout performance I was anticipating, but Aaron Rodgers' Revenge Tour is now complete. He beat the Seahawks and 49ers, two teams that have knocked him out of the playoffs recently, as well as Alex Smith, who was chosen way before him in the 2005 NFL Draft, in consecutive weeks. This is huge for Rodgers, who holds grudges like no one else. As I said on the podcast, I could see Rodgers being like Steve Buscemi in Billy Madison, sitting in his parents' basement, looking at his revenge list while smearing lipstick on his face.
Oh, and by the way, here's a crazy stat I saw: Rodgers could throw 61 interceptions on his next 61 passes, and he'd still have a better career interception percentage than Colin Kaepernick.
New England Patriots (3-0) - Previously: #2 - So, the Patriots were on a bye, and yet NFL kickers had their worst week yet? How interesting. It's almost as if Tom Brady went around the entire country and deflated all of the kicking balls. I'm not saying he did, but would it be totally implausible if he made 12 clones of himself and dispatched each of them, as well as himself, to all 13 Sunday locations to take the air out of the balls? Yeah, I know, definitely a strong possibility!
Cincinnati Bengals (4-0) - Previously: #4 - The Bengals have burned professional bettors twice in four weeks. The sharps were heavy on the Raiders in Week 1 and the Chiefs this past Sunday, yet Cincinnati spoiled their day. As we've seen, there isn't much wrong with the Raiders, and I have to believe that Kansas City isn't that bad, so the logical explanation is that the Bengals are much better than we all thought they were.
Andy Dalton is playing great, and he has plenty of weapons to work with. The main difference, however, is the offensive line. In a league in which half of the quarterbacks don't even have a full second to fire a pass off without getting drilled, Dalton is enjoying all the time in the world. With that in mind, how smart were the Bengals to spend their first two draft picks on linemen this past spring? Even if some of their blockers get hurt, they'll be fine.
Arizona Cardinals (3-1) - Previously: #3 - I'm not going to drop the Cardinals too far for Sunday's loss. Some fluky turnovers, as well as one of the worst officiating calls I've seen in a very long time, did them in. I think they win that matchup more often than not, though it's worth noting that the St. Louis squad we saw Sunday is much better than the one that sputtered in the first three weeks. Todd Gurley is an animal. One NFL team told us prior to the draft that they saw him as the next Jim Brown, so it's not a surprise that he's off to such a strong start.
Atlanta Falcons (4-0) - Previously: #10 - The Falcons were lucky in their first two games. They could have lost to both the Eagles and Giants. However, they're much different now, thanks to Devonta Freeman, who has inexplicably transformed into Jamal Anderson after looking terrible in his first 18 career starts. Now, Matt Ryan doesn't have to do everything because Freeman is suddenly great.
My theory? Simple. Taking after his best friend Tom Brady, Freeman has begun deflating footballs. I expect Roger Goodell to suspend him shortly despite having minimal proof. In fact, the Wells Report 2.0 may just point to this Web page as its sole piece of evidence.
Seattle Seahawks (2-2) - Previously: #5 - I can't even talk about that blown cover. I know I got lucky with Baltimore on Thursday night, and this one sort of makes up for it, but it's still crushing. Anyway, check out my NFL Game Recaps for analysis of the Seahawks-Lions game, including my thoughts on Batted Ball-gate.
Denver Broncos (4-0) - Previously: #6 - As I said on the recaps page, Peyton Manning looks like a dying animal. Seriously. It wouldn't surprise me if animal control showed up during a game, put a collar around him and dragged him off the field.
The defense is carrying Manning right now, but that will be no bueno come playoff time. Manning will then choke in glarious fashion, going something like 13-of-30 for one touchdown and four interceptions, and then we won't have to see him again until September, save for the billion times we'll watch him on TV in his many commercials.
Carolina Panthers (4-0) - Previously: #9 - Maybe I was just hearing things, but the play-by-play announcer in the Panthers-Buccaneers game called Jameis Winston "Cam Newton" a couple of times, and vice versa. I don't know who that guy was, but he needs to get his privilege checked. Not all quarterbacks of color look the same, bro.
They definitely don't play the same, that's for sure. Newton was fine, but that's all he had to be because his defense completely abused Winston. Carolina's defense is roaring right now. Yes, I know, inferior competition and all, but how potent will this unit be when Charles Johnson and Luke Kuechly return?
Buffalo Bills (2-2) - Previously: #7 - I wrote this last week: "It's amazing how great the Bills can look when they're not committing two penalties on every single drive."
Ha! So much for that. The Bills imploded for the second time in three weeks. Doing so once is somewhat understandable, but twice? They need to calm down and stop playing like idiots because they are a talented team that is highly capable of making a playoff run if they play to their potential.
Minnesota Vikings (2-2) - Previously: #8 - The good news is that Teddy Bridgewater was awesome in the second half, misfiring on just two passes. The bad news is that the offensive line blew and ultimately cost the Vikings a victory. The incoherent preseason Minnesota play-by-play guy constantly called the Vikings' offensive line the "Minnesota Moving Company," so he must be devastated right now that his nickname isn't living up to its reputation. But don't worry, incoherent Minnesota play-by-play guy, as mentioned earlier, half the quarterbacks in the NFL right now have terrible protection.
NFL Power Rankings: Week 5 - Bottom 10
32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-3) - Previously: #31 - What I wrote last week: "Marcus Mariota has now outplayed Jameis Winston by a wide margin in two of their three games. Not good, Bucs, not good." I guess we can say three of four weeks? Because whatever Mariota did during his bye week was sure as hell better than what Winston did on Sunday.
Speaking of which, how dumb am I for dropping the two units on Carolina? Ugh. Sounds like it's time for...
The Adventures of Derek Anderson's Magic Flask!
Me: I'm totally going to rebound this week! Panthers for two units.
Jameis Winston: That's not nice.
Me: Sorry, Jameis. But your team sucks, and you have no homefield advantage, yet Vegas has yet to account for that, so the spread should be like -6.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-3) - Previously: #30 - How sad is it that the Jaguars can't even beat Matt Hasselbeck? If they can't overcome Hasselbeck, how the hell are they ever going to defeat Andrew Luck? Luck could be playing with just one arm, shouting, "Tis merely a flesh wound!" and yet Jacksonville would still lose.
30. Chicago Bears (1-3) - Previously: #32 - Jay Cutler is so bad that he wins when his team is trying to lose. Amazing. Anyway, here's the Cutler meme of the week:
And now we know why Cutler actually tried hard against the Raiders. He was taking a picture with kitties before the game, and if there's a single thing Cutler sort of, kinda, maybe cares about in this world, it's kitties.
29. San Francisco 49ers (1-3) - Previously: #28 - "I can now be myself." - Colin Kaepernick, this offseason upon learning that Jim Harbaugh was not coming back.
Yes, I quoted that last week, but I wanted to bring it up because Clay Matthews was heard shouting, "You ain't Russell Wilson, bro" at Kaepernick during the game. This actually happened. And Kaepernick probably thought, Yes, I know I'm not Russell Wilson, silly goose - because I'm being myself right now!
28. Cleveland Browns (1-3) - Previously: #29 - Was there a more Cleveland Browns loss than Tramon Williams being offside on a missed, game-winning field goal? Good grief.
The Browns should just stop trying to win and embrace the losing. In fact, they should build a museum in their stadium called the Browns History of Great Losers Hall of Fame and enshrine all of the most disappointing players and coaches they've ever had. If they do this, I'm sure they'll ask Williams for his cleats, since something of his needs to be in there for sure.
By the way, here's my ballot for the innagural class of the Browns History of Great Losers Hall of Fame:
Tim Couch, QB
Courtney Brown, DE
William Green, RB
Brady Quinn, QB
Trent Richardson, RB
Chris Palmer, HC
Did I miss anyone worthy of being in the first class? Let me know.
27. Houston Texans (1-3) - Previously: #25 - I'm beginning to think this whole Ryan Mallett-Brian Hoyer experiment isn't going to work out. By the way, here's a picture of J.J. Watt trying to carry his team against the Falcons:
26. Washington Redskins (2-2) - Previously: #26 - I'm proud of Kirk Cousins for not imploding like he did last year following a humiliating loss to the Giants on a Thursday night. He played quite well, particularly on the game-winning drive. That said, I can't say I trust him very much yet. It's not exactly a challenge battling a Philadelphia defense missing multiple starters.
25. Oakland Raiders (2-2) - Previously: #22 - What's worse: A) The Raiders losing to Jay Cutler, or B) the fact that I said that the Chargers (with their banged-up offensive line) were worse than Oakland.
As dumb as my statement was, it has to be A. You can't lose to Cutler. The man smokes cigarettes during games!
24. New Orleans Saints (1-3) - Previously: #24 - Nothing bad to say about the Saints this week, though that wouldn't be the case if I actually bet money on the Cowboys on Sunday night. What a terrible beat.
Something new this year - I'm keeping track of precise run defense, pass defense and pass protection rankings in Excel. The benefit to this is that it'll be broken down by week. Here are the download links: