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NFL Power Rankings: Week 5

Tom Brady

Tom Brady

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We’re a quarter of the way through the NFL regular season and the number of question marks surrounding teams has gone down significantly. We also are starting to have a feel for who might make the playoffs and who should already start scouting for next year’s draft.

Related: NFL 2016 Regular and Postseason Predictions

At this point, we’re starting to see some clear separation between the few elite teams at the top and the rest of the parity-filled league. Factoring in everything from overall roster strength, to quarterback play, to the head coach’s track record, here is the latest edition of NFL power rankings and where every team stacks up from 1 to 32.

Week 5 NFL Power Rankings

1. New England Patriots

Last week: 1

NFL Power Rankings: Patriots

Deflategate is finally and officially over and Tom Brady is back in the building. Not even a lackluster shutout loss at home can put a damper on that news nor knock the Pats off the top spot.

2. Minnesota Vikings

Last week: 3

NFL Power Rankings: Vikings

The Vikings’ defense hasn’t just helped the team win, this unit has shut down Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton and Eli Manning in three straight weeks.

3. Denver Broncos

Last week: 2

NFL Power Rankings: Broncos

The defense continues to look like one of the best of the league and continues to improve each week. While Trevor Siemian may be back as the starter after a shoulder injury, it sure seems like the Paxton Lynch era is about to begin in Denver.

4. Green Bay Packers

Last week: 4

NFL Power Rankings: Packers

No change in the rankings for the Packers, who are unlucky to get the early bye, but there should be a sense of heightened urgency in Green Bay given what the Vikings have been doing.

5. Philadelphia Eagles

Last week: 5

NFL Power Rankings: Eagles

That win over the Steelers continues to look better and better and a bye week, while early, provides a nice breather for rookie Carson Wentz.

6. Pittsburgh Steelers

Last week: 6

NFL Power Rankings: Steelers

So maybe that game against the Eagles was a bit of a one-off. It’s not surprising to see the defense look better against the same offensive scheme but the offense humming once again was the best result from demolishing the Chiefs.

7. Seattle Seahawks

Last week: 8
Russell Wilson’s knee looked fine against a feisty Jets front seven and the defense played like the top-ranked unit in the league.

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks

8. Dallas Cowboys

Last week: 12
We’re to the point where the Dak Prescott replacing Tony Romo talk is not completely crazy, especially if fellow rookie Ezekiel Elliott continues to get better each week to take a load off the quarterback spot.

NFL Power Rankings: Cowboys

9. Atlanta Falcons

Last week: 16
Not only are the Falcons rolling on offense but they’re a full two games up in the division heading into a huge stretch against two Super Bowl contenders.

NFL Power Rankings: Falcons

10. Houston Texans

Last week: 13
Going to be plenty of plays from the win over the Titans on Will Fuller’s Rookie of the Year highlight tape.

NFL Power Rankings: Texans

11. Oakland Raiders

Last week: 17
Even last year, beating Baltimore on the road in the final few minutes doesn’t happen. It does this year however thanks to Derek Carr and the underrated Michael Crabtree.

NFL Power Rankings: Raiders

12. New York Giants

Last week: 11
It wasn’t just the fact that Eli Manning looked unsettled all night against the Vikings or Odell Beckham Jr. couldn’t get going but the fact that the re-tooled defense couldn’t come up with a stop to keep it a one-score game late on Monday night that made Giants fans think not much has changed with this team.

NFL Power Rankings: Giants

13. Baltimore Ravens

Last week: 9
Terrance West made the most of his opportunity against the Raiders and Steve Smith looked 10 years younger than he is against that Oakland defense, but the team just couldn’t get the win in the end. It will be interesting to see if these Ravens rebound or if the increase in competition this week makes Sunday’s result a sign of things to come for Baltimore.

NFL Power Rankings: Ravens

14. Cincinnati Bengals

Last week: 15
A.J. Green has been fantastic to start the season and now he gets the Cowboys’ secondary to feast on next week. If the defense continues to show out like it did against Miami, things could be looking up despite a tough schedule this month.

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NFL Power Rankings: Bengals

15. Kansas City Chiefs

Last week: 10
It’s hard to have as big of a turnaround on defense as Kansas City did from the Jets win to the Steelers loss.

NFL Power Rankings: Chiefs

16. Los Angeles Rams

Last week: 24
The defense is the strength of the team as expected but the offense getting going even a little bit more would help add to the inexplicable 3-1 start.

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17. Washington Redskins

Last week: 21
Washington has strung together a pair of back-to-back wins but there’s still a bit of mystery as to how good the team can be. At least Kirk Cousins and the offense are starting to click a little better in the red zone.

NFL Power Rankings: Redskins

18. Miami Dolphins

Last week: 18
Ryan Tannehill never had a chance on most of his drop backs against the Bengals but it’s still concerning to see how the Dolphins’ offense hasn’t been able to get going under Adam Gase.

NFL Power Rankings: Dolphins

19. Carolina Panthers

Last week: 7
We knew the defense was in trouble this season but not 503 yards to Matt Ryan bad. To think Julio Jones gets another shot this year to abuse the Panthers’ secondary is a tad scary after his 300-yard day.

NFL Power Rankings: Panthers

20. Arizona Cardinals

Last week: 14
Are the Cardinals the most disappointing team in the league right now? Only the Panthers have a case against them.

NFL Power Rankings: Cardinals

21. Jacksonville Jaguars

Last week: 26
They had to go all the way to London to get their first win of the season but the better news is that, after beating Indy, there’s still a chance to get going in the lackluster AFC South.

NFL Power Rankings: Jaguars

22. New Orleans Saints

Last week: 27
Drew Brees had to relish that kind of comeback win at San Diego after his career took a turn there all those years ago. The team still isn’t all that great but seeing the veteran signal-caller do his thing when called upon is still worth tuning in to.

NFL Power Rankings: Saints

23. Buffalo Bills

Last week: 28
An encouraging win on the road at pesky nemesis New England is nice but not as nice as getting back both Marcell Dareus and Seantrel Henderson for their game at the Rams.

NFL Power Rankings: Bills

24. Detroit Lions

Last week: 19
The Lions’ defense continues to be an issue and if the run game can’t get going to help take a little pressure off, then things will only get worse in Detroit.

NFL Power Rankings: Detroit Lions

25. Indianapolis Colts

Last week: 20
At some point we’re all going to look back at the past few years and wonder why the Colts’ brain trust never made it a priority to upgrade Andrew Luck’s offensive line because they sure are wasting the prime years of his career.

NFL Power Rankings: Colts

26. New York Jets

Last week: 22
Ryan Fitzpatrick likely remains the starter with two tough road games upcoming but if there’s no progress on offense, what does the team have to lose by making a change under center?

NFL Power Rankings: Jets

27. San Diego Chargers

Last week: 23
Blowing two double-digit second half leads, the latest in front of a home crowd, is a good way for the Ken Whisenhunt interim head coach era to begin in San Diego.

NFL Power Rankings: Chargers

28. Tennessee Titans

Last week: 29
It’s a sign of progress that the Titans have had a chance to win every game this season in the final quarter but at some point those losses need to turn into wins.

NFL Power Rankings: Tennessee Titans

29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Last week: 25
Could you blame the tens of thousands of fans who didn’t want to wait out a weather delay the way the Bucs played on Sunday afternoon?

NFL Power Rankings: Buccaneers

30. Chicago Bears

Last week: 31
It was pretty encouraging to see the defense step up against a Lions offense that can make you pay for mistakes but Brian Hoyer’s efficient play is one reason why there’s now a question as to who starts at quarterback going forward when Jay Cutler is fully healthy.

NFL Power Rankings: Bears

31. San Francisco 49ers

Last week: 30
To sum up things in the Bay Area sports scene after losing to the Cowboys: Hey look, the Warriors are starting preseason ball.

NFL Power Rankings: 49ers

32. Cleveland Browns

Last week: 32
Cody Kessler looks serviceable for a rookie on a talent-deficient team and it doesn’t seem like a winless season will be happening at the very least. But that first W won’t be happening next week.

NFL Power Rankings: Cleveland Browns

— Written by Bryan Fischer, an award-winning college football columnist and member of the Athlon Contributor Network. You can follow him from coast-to-coast on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat at @BryanDFischer.