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AP Photo/Lynne Sladky

2023 NFL Power Rankings: Week 5

Aside from the major struggles of the Bengals through four games, the current top teams in the NFL have settled in around where we expected entering the season.


1. San Francisco 49ers (4-0) | Last week: 1

Christian McCaffrey scored four touchdowns in perhaps the best game of his career, but don’t let the spectacular performance overshadow that Brock Purdy is playing outstanding football—continuing to silence the haters. FanDuel NFL lines for Week 5 have the 49ers as favorites over the Cowboys in a high-profile Sunday Night Football matchup.


2. Philadelphia Eagles (4-0) | Last week: 2

I had some thought to putting the Eagles down a couple of spots in this week’s rankings after nearly getting upset at home by the Commanders. However, the talent and play of Jalen Hurts—319 passing yards and two touchdowns to A.J. Brown last week—keeps one of the league’s two unbeaten teams at No. 2


3. Buffalo Bills (3-1) | Last week: 5 (+2)

Not only did the Bills beat the popular Dolphins team, but they did it emphatically by a 48-20 score in a contest that didn’t feel close, either. Buffalo has won their past three games by 28, 34, and 28 points—and they’ve certainly put the subpar Week 1 behind them.


4. Kansas City Chiefs (3-1) | Last week: 4

As we saw with Josh Allen and the Bills in Week 1, the Jets defense can be a major challenge even for the game’s best quarterbacks. But Patrick Mahomes was able to make enough plays with his legs to help secure the gritty Sunday night win at MetLife, with Isiah Pacheco (20 carries, 115 yards, one touchdown) starring on offense.


5. Detroit Lions (3-1) | Last week: 6 (+1)

David Montgomery carried 32 times for 121 yards and three touchdowns in the Lions’ win at Lambeau Field last Thursday night, and it’s a tough offense to stop with the way Montgomery and the offensive line can help set up favorable third-down situations for Jared Goff and company. Detroit now also gets second-year receiver Jameson Williams back early from his suspension for sports betting.


6. Dallas Cowboys (3-1) | Last week: 7 (+1)

The Cowboys were clearly not happy with the way they played in their Week 3 loss to the Cardinals, and the defense was back to its dominant, playmaking status with two touchdowns versus the Patriots. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones is talking up the Week 5 matchup with the 49ers, calling their opponent the favorite to win the Super Bowl.


7. Miami Dolphins (3-1) | Last week: 3 (-4)

A letdown playing at Buffalo wasn’t a huge surprise, but it might indicate that the Dolphins aren’t quite as deep as some of the top teams in the league. Left tackle Terron Armstead is now unfortunately out again with a knee injury. As a big-time positive for the Miami, sensational rookie running back De’Von Achane followed up his breakout outing a couple of weeks ago by tagging the Bills for 101 yards and two touchdowns on just eight carries. Look for the Dolphins to be a popular survivor pick this week as double-digit favorites over the Giants.


8. Baltimore Ravens (3-1) | Last week: 8

Lamar Jackson was phenomenal in the Week 4 win at Cleveland, totaling four touchdowns (two passing, two rushing) while again looking like the guy that won a Heisman Trophy and an NFL MVP—he almost did whatever he wanted in the victory. And star linebacker Roquan Smith backed up his talk before the week:



9. Seattle Seahawks (3-1) | Last week: 9

The Seattle defense totally overwhelmed the banged-up Giants, getting home for 11 sacks and two interceptions—including two sacks and a 97-yard pick-six by rookie fifth overall pick Devon Witherspoon at cornerback. It looks like the Seahawks followed up their great 2022 draft class with another one in 2023, and they should compete for years.


10. Los Angeles Chargers (2-2) | Last week: 15 (+5)

Khalil Mack recorded six sacks to help the Chargers make it a rough outing for Raiders rookie quarterback Aidan O’Connell. Brandon Staley again went for it deep in his own territory late in the game, but the LA defense again stepped up to get a stop for their second consecutive win after an 0-2 start. The Chargers now have the bye week to get healthier.


11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-1) | Last week: 19 (+8)

The Bucs might not be quite a match for top teams like the Eagles and 49ers, but their defense has shown the upside to take over games while Baker Mayfield and the offense make enough plays and take care of the ball. It was nice to see Chris Godwin get going with eight receptions for 114 yards in the big divisional win at New Orleans.


12. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-2) | Last week: 13 (+1)

Jacksonville’s defense stepped up with a couple of interceptions including a pick-six by Darious Williams in London. The Jaguars offense is still looking to break out, but Trevor Lawrence played efficiently versus the Falcons. Staying in London, the Bills will be a mightier challenge.


13. Tennessee Titans (2-2) | Last week: 21 (+8)

When the Titans can control the line of scrimmage and get Derrick Henry going, they are a still a scary team under Mike Vrabel. Again, getting Henry the ball with a low-volume passing attack every week remains the key for Tennessee, as they did in their two wins over the Chargers and Bengals—but could not do in their two losses.


14. Green Bay Packers (2-2) | Last week: 11 (-3)

Slow starts have been killing the Packers, and they are fortunate to be 2-2 after the comeback win over the Saints in Week 3. Ultimately, the Lions were too much to come back against last Thursday night. Hopefully Green Bay can get the ground game going to help take pressure off the defense.


15. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-2) | Last week: 10 (-5)

The Steelers’ 30-6 loss at Houston was maybe the most surprising outing of the week, and now quarterback Kenny Pickett is uncertain this week due to a bone bruise on his knee. The issue for Pittsburgh seems to be the lack of an offensive identity, which they would prefer to be running the ball with Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren if they could do it consistently.


16. Los Angeles Rams (2-2) | Last week: 22 (+6)

Star rookie receiver Puka Nacua caught the game-winning touchdown in the Rams’ win at the Colts, and the Rams are now at 2-2 with the opportunity to potentially get All-Pro receiver Cooper Kupp (hamstring) in the lineup for the first time this season. Sean McVay has done a really good job with LA in what most expected would be a down year.


17. Indianapolis Colts (2-2) | Last week: 16 (-1)

They couldn’t complete the comeback, but I noticed that the mainstream sports media is starting to notice how insanely talented Anthony Richardson is at quarterback—with his wicked arm talent (not just pure athleticism). The Colts are in a great spot with him long-term, and it sounds like superstar running back Jonathan Taylor (ankle) will surprisingly play for Indy despite the contract saga over the summer.


18. Cincinnati Bengals (1-3) | Last week: 12 (-6)

There’s plenty of time to get it together and go on a run, but the Bengals look lost offensively right now—and it’s leading to too much being asked of the defense. Cincy must get right against Arizona this Sunday.


19. New Orleans Saints (2-2) | Last week: 18 (-1)

Another offense that’s been off early this season, the Saints scored just nine points in the home loss to the Bucs while Derek Carr played through his shoulder injury. Frustration seems to be mounting in New Orleans, and Alvin Kamara’s stat line (13 receptions for 33 yards) is an indication of the offense having problems.


20. New England Patriots (1-3) | Last week: 14 (-6)

The Patriots are coming off the worst-ever loss under Bill Belichick (35 points), and now pass rusher Matthew Judon (biceps) and stud rookie corner Christian Gonzalez (shoulder) are going to miss time. The offensive line concerns I’ve outlined have been the big issue for the Pats, and it’s tough to win with struggles there.


21. Washington Commanders (2-2) | Last week: 23 (+2)

They lost, but the Commanders rise a couple of spots in this week’s power rankings after an excellent performance from Sam Howell and the offense. Washington has the ability to run the ball well with Brian Robinson Jr., and they can still get receivers Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson going more to complement that.


22. New York Jets (1-3) | Last week: 24 (+2)

I’ve seen several people say that Zach Wilson played an OK game in the Sunday night loss to the Chiefs. No, he played a great game all things considered while facing one of the NFL’s most underrated defenses. Throws were totally on the money from about the second quarter on, and the Jets—though they must get the run game with Breece Hall going more consistently—can win games if Wilson plays like that.


23. Minnesota Vikings (1-3) | Last week: 27 (+4)

A slow start offensively was overcome by two Justin Jefferson touchdowns and some life in the rushing attack—including five carries for 40 yards for Cam Akers in his Vikings debut—to get on the board for a win. Harrison Smith recorded three sacks and a forced fumble—returned for a touchdown by D.J. Wonnum—for Minnesota.


24. Houston Texans (2-2) | Last week: 28 (+4)

Rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud continues to impress early in his career, and it helped that the offensive line kept him clean from T.J. Watt and the Steelers pass rush in Week 4. DeMeco Ryans has his defense playing extremely well the past two games.


25. Cleveland Browns (2-2) | Last week: 17 (-8)

Perhaps you can chalk it up to a bad day without their starting quarterback, but the Browns were no match on either side of the ball in their loss to the Ravens. Oddly, Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski was not shy about admitting that Deshaun Watson (shoulder) was cleared but didn’t feel he could play.


26. Atlanta Falcons (2-2) | Last week: 20 (-6)

The Falcons have an intriguing roster on paper, including the veteran additions on defense. However, the concern has been whether Desmond Ridder can lead the offense successfully, and he struggled across the pond. The next two games at home versus Houston and Washington are critical for Arthur Smith’s club.


27. Las Vegas Raiders (1-3) | Last week: 25 (-2)

It was frustrating to watch Aidan O’Connell hold the ball for so long in his first career start, and it was a tough break for the Raiders to not get Jimmy Garoppolo (concussion) back in time for the divisional matchup. Looking to end their three-game losing streak, Vegas faces Davante Adams’ former Packers team this Monday night.


28. New York Giants (1-3) | Last week: 26 (-2)

Atrocious play on the offensive line is going to lead to struggles at quarterback, so be careful not to just look at the stats and immediately blame the Giants’ struggles on Daniel Jones. New York must get tight end Darren Waller going, and hopefully Saquon Barkley and Andrew Thomas are near returns.


29. Arizona Cardinals (1-3) | Last week: 29

The 49ers are a little too much for the Cardinals right now, but Arizona played better than the score indicated. Joshua Dobbs threw two touchdowns and again had no turnovers, with the offense putting up 362 yards.


30. Denver Broncos (1-3) | Last week: 31 (+1)

Denver’s defense allowed guys to run open for most of the game against Chicago, but they tightened up late to get a much needed first victory under head coach Sean Payton. They won’t be playing the Bears every week, and there appears to be a lot of work to do on defense moving forward.


31. Carolina Panthers (0-4) | Last week: 30 (-1)

It must be concerning for Panthers fans that things basically fell apart for Frank Reich in Indianapolis and now his time with Carolina is off to a poor start. The talk from the organization was that they expected to compete in 2023.


32. Chicago Bears (0-4) | Last week: 32

Justin Fields played perhaps the best game of his young career, showing off his creativity while tossing four touchdowns and building a 28-7 lead over the Broncos. The Bears simply cannot buy a win right now, but tomorrow night against the Commanders is an opportunity to build on a positive step overall last week.