*Note: Record is only one factor in determining Power Rankings, especially during the first half of the season.
1. Green Bay Packers- The Packers are 5-0 and they have some impressive wins on their resume, including victories over the Saint, Falcons, and Bears. Aaron Rodgers simply can’t be stopped right now and that defense seems to get better each week. The Packers aren’t invincible, but it will take another team playing to perfection to knock them off.
2. Baltimore Ravens- The Ravens are 3-1 with wins over the Steelers and Jets to their credit. Their offense is looking strong (though had a rough go against NY), and their defense is at a peak level. So far I think they are the most complete team in the AFC, but they do have plenty of competition.
3. New Orleans Saints- The Saints have been perfect since their opening night loss to the Packers (which they nearly won on the road), and look like they will keep pace with GB all season. Drew Brees is looking great this year, and their running back by committee approach is working. The Saints defense has been just average so far, but they have had some tough match-ups.
4. Detroit Lions- It is time to start believing in this team. The Lions defense is coming up with big plays, and also limiting opponents big plays. While their offense is finally on all cylinders with a healthy Matthew Stafford. They need to find a power running complement to Javid Best, but otherwise this team is looking good.
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5. New England Patriots- Tom Brady and the Patriots offense is exactly what we thought they’d be. Their defense though still has shown a number of deficiencies. If the defense tightens up they could be headed back to the Super Bowl.
6. Buffalo Bills- The Bills have been highly impressive so far this season, and it is time they are taken seriously. They aren’t great in any one area which is a cause for concern, but they keep getting it done, and come up with the big plays.
7. Pittsburgh Steelers- I know the Steelers haven’t looked themselves this season, but this team is too talented and experienced to play poorly all year. This past week against Tennessee is the dominant Steelers performance we’ve come to expect in recent years, and could be an indication that they are back.
8. San Francisco 49ers- It’s hard to believe that they are 4-1, but it is real, and this team was very close to being 5-0 if not for a major comeback from Tony Romo and the Cowboys. The 49ers defense is really putting on a show this year, while their rushing attack is eating up the clock and churning out yards. Even Alex Smith is playing well as he has a 65% completion percentage and has 7 TD’s to just 1 INT. He might not be carrying the team on his back, but he isn’t hurting them either.
9. Oakland Raiders- The Raiders are playing really good football right now as they are off to a 3-2 start, with their only losses coming to NE and a tough shootout loss to the Bills. Oakland has a good offense that will only get better as Louis Murphy and Jacoby Ford get fully healthy. Their defense has given up it’s fair share of yards, but they seem to come up with some big stops when needed.
10. Houston Texans- The Texans have been bitten by the injury bug, but right now they still look to be a top 10 team. Matt Schaub showed that he is fine without Andre Johnson, throwing for 400 yards this past week, and their rushing attack is among the best in the league. The Texans do have a pair of losses, but they are against Raiders and Saints, both in very close games.
11. Dallas Cowboys- The Cowboys might just be 2-2, but they have had a tough schedule so far with wins over the Redskins and 49ers and losses against the Lions and Jets. In both of their losses they were in control for the majority of the game, and needed some excellent performances by their opponents (as well as some bone head plays by them) to lose.
12. San Diego Chargers- The Chargers only loss has come against the Patriots which is pretty impressive, but they also haven’t really had a tough schedule. Their four wins are over teams who have a combined 4-15 record, and the Chargers really didn’t ‘dominate’ any of those games. Right now the Chargers look good, but it’s concerning they haven’t been better.
13. Tennessee Titans- It’s hard to know what exactly to make of the Titans so far as they are a respectable 3-2, with a great win over the Ravens, but a really bad loss to the Jaguars. They are an astounding 32nd in the league in rushing, despite the presence of Chris Johnson. Since their ground game can only improve (and should), and they have a decent schedule going forward they deserve a top 15 ranking.
14. Washington Redskins- The Redskins are off to an impressive 3-1 start, but two of those wins came against the Cardinals and Rams who are a combined 1-8 and just not that good. What’s even worse is that they aren’t blowing away weaker opponents like that, as both the Cards and Rams had a chance to drive down and take the lead in the last two minutes. Their win over the Giants was impressive, but since then their passing attack has steadily declined. The rushing attack seems to work against weak opponents, but gets stifled against tougher defenses, meaning it isn’t something the Redskins can rely on right now. The defense though, has been great and has the ability to just shut down opponents (allowing zero TD’s on the road against Dallas).
15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- The Bucs are off to a respectable 3-2 start with their only losses to Detroit and San Francisco. They haven’t really blown out opponents though, and their defense has allowed quite a few points to be scored on them. They still have some real playoff chances (especially with the Falcons being down), but that defense has to do a better job of limiting chances for their opponents.
16. New York Giants- The Giants have been hit extremely hard by injuries, and could be considered fortunate to be 3-2. The real knock on them was this past week’s game vs Seattle which they simply needed to win. They have the talent to compete for a playoff spot, but right now lack the consistency in play.
17. New York Jets- The Jets aren’t looking to hot right now with three straight losses (though they are all against quality teams: Oakland, Baltimore and New England). The Jets still are a decent team with a very good defense, but their rushing attack has failed them this year, and Mark Sanchez is just incapable of carrying this team (despite being surrounded by weapons). They are going to have to shape up fast or their playoff chances will go out the window.
18. Philadelphia Eagles- They might just be 1-4, but this team has enough natural talent to reel off 6 or 7 straight wins (which they kinda have to do if they want to have any shot at the playoffs). Philly is a dangerous team with a number of playmakers, and I don’t think there is such a thing as an ‘easy win’ over them.
19. Chicago Bears- The Bears are just 2-3, but overall they are still a team to reckon with. Their rushing attack (and screen game) is in good hands with Matt Forte. Also they have a number of good players on both sides of the ball. Right now though they just can’t put an all-around game together which is why they end up losing.
20. Cincinnati Bengals- The Bengals might have a rookie quarterback, and a rookie number one receiver, but someone forgot to tell them that. Cincy is playing good football right now, as their defense has been very stingy and their offense has been above average. They are 3-2 right now, and while I don’t see them making any sort of playoff run, they aren’t the doormat that everyone expected them to be.
21. Atlanta Falcons- Boy are the Falcons hurting right now. They have just two wins, both of which where they squeaked by the Eagles and Seahawks. Their defense isn’t putting teams away (or even slowing them down), and their offense is extremely frustrating. Matty Ice looks to have thawed considerably, and their rushing attack can’t get going consistently.
22. Cleveland Browns- The Browns right now look to be a bit of a mess as they are engaged in a contract dispute with arguably their best player, Peyton Hillis. They need to get this done so this young team can move forward and grow for next year.
23. Carolina Panthers- The Panthers might be just 1-4, but they are playing close games (including ones against some very good teams), and showing some real promise for the future.
24. Minnesota Vikings- The Vikings aren’t exactly having the season they hoped for, but with a solid defense and Adrian Peterson they will probably get about 6 wins.
25. Arizona Cardinals- The Cards are 1-4, but they have been in most of their games and should continue to get better as the season wears on.
26. Jacksonville Jaguars- The Jags are starting the Blaine Gabbert era early so it should be a long season, but with MJD and a solid defense they should be in most games.
27. Seattle Seahawks- The Seahawks had an impressive 2nd win over the Giants, but they have some serious questions overall.
28. Kansas City Chiefs- Yes the Chiefs have looked a little bit better of late, but that defense has gotten torched so far this year, and while the offense could be above-average, it is hard to believe it will be better than that without Charles.
29. Indianapolis Colts- My how the mighty have fallen. They still have talent at a number of positions, but they aren’t used to playing even pitched battles, as both their offense and defense are built for shootouts.
30. Denver Broncos- The Tim Tebow era has begun. It could energize the team and give them something to build on for next year, but I doubt it helps to much in the win column.
31. St. Louis Rams- The Rams defense is getting smoked through the air and on the ground, while on offense their line couldn’t block high schoolers at this point. Sam Bradford is getting zero help right now and they are just reeling as a team.
32. Miami Dolphins- Losing Chad Henne hurts, but a bigger issue could be the health of rookie RB Daniel Thomas. In the two games he has played he’s given Miami a real running threat, but he’s also missed two games and is nursing a hamstring injury. If he misses or is ineffective for a couple weeks, the Dolphins are in real trouble.