After five weeks in the NFL, there are only two undefeated teams. That usually makes it harder to do these, since it's harder to figure out who's good. Luckily for me, most of the teams I had in last week won. Always a nice thing. There's a bit of an oddity in the bottom this week as one of the teams on a bye entered in. I try not to do stuff like that, because it isn't really fair to the teams that won. But this week there were not 10 teams worth highlighting. It's a little odd, since last week there were 12 or 13 teams that were solid. Naturally, I blame this on parity. I'm not totally against parity, but during the season it can create some rather unnecessary turmoil.
Here are the standings for Week 5:
No, I don't get it either.
I gambled on Indy and Tennessee, because I had no confidence in their opponents. And then there are the Giants. I think it's fair to say that the Giants disappointed a whole bunch of people around the country with their sorry, no account performance. To allow Seattle (one of the bottom 10 teams in the league by national consensus) to come into the New Meadowlands and win is more than inexcusable.
Not much else to say other than that. Although I could toot my own horn about a couple picks, it's probably best not to, as I could go 6-7 next week and look like a complete moron.
Here are the Rankings for Week 5:
1.) Green Bay (5-0) [no change]
The defending champs just keep rolling. Normally, teams that go into Atlanta aren't that successful. But with two victories in a playoff game and a pretty meaningful regular season game in their last couple tries, it looks like Aaron Rodgers and company have beaten whatever demons that are usually in the Georgia Dome preventing the road team from winning. Naturally, the aftereffect of such a victory is to pronounce the Packers as the best team and Rodgers as the best QB in the league. I agree with the former, but not the latter. Not yet, at least. But give me some time (a repeat would help as well) and perhaps I'll come around.
2.) Detroit (5-0) [no change]
Some may question the legitimacy of the Lions as second-place after five weeks. My answer is that they're still undefeated. They have a tough matchup next week with the 49ers coming in, but another victory would obviously cement peoples' minds, I believe. Detroit's running game is a bit unimpressive, despite Jahvid Best's effort to run through the entire Bears defense. Once they're of a piece with Matt Stafford, Calvin Johnson, and the rest, the Lions will be unstoppable. Let's not forget, now that Nick Fairley is healthy (or at least healthier), that defense is even tougher. I think the D-line is the key to their entire operation. As they go, so the Lions go.
3.) New Orleans (4-1) [no change]
Winning close and late appears to be something the Saints do well (besides Week 1, but that's understandable). They produce in the red zone and especially in the 4th quarter when it's "winning time". Drew Brees is certainly one of the best QB's in the league (though I would not call him "the" best). They're already in good position in the division, and it shouldn't take much (besides continuing on their present winning path) to secure it.
4.) New England (4-1) [no change]
As expected, the Pats pulled one out at home against the Jets. Just like that, they've won two in a row and look like a solid favorite in Week 6 against the Cowboys. Tom Brady played well again, despite having a ball tipped for his first red zone interception at home. For my money, he remains the best QB in the league.
5.) Baltimore (3-1) [no change]
When a team goes on a bye, they neither move up nor down. Although sometimes they move in. Baltimore gets the Texans at home in Week 6; assuming better play from Joe Flacco, their odds of winning that game seem pretty good.
6.) San Diego (4-1) [no change]
People all over are saying that the Chargers don't look good. They're 4-1, having started strong and continuing strong. We'll see how this turns out. Assuming Philip Rivers gets back to playing at his usual level, it's hard to see how they don't win the AFC West. They do have a couple tough games at home (which are considerably tougher for the road teams, despite their evident goodness, or maybe greatness) coming up.
7.) Buffalo (4-1) [no change]
After a baffling loss at Cincinnati, Buffalo recovered quite nicely by defeating the Eagles at home. I don't really feel reticent to call the Bills playoff contenders; after all, who else is going to take the wild card? Oakland? Tennessee? I doubt it. Getting in the playoffs is one thing; winning in the playoffs is something else. I'm not quite sure the Bills are going to advance in the playoffs, but then again, neither is anyone else.
8.) San Francisco (4-1) [+2]
As Buffalo has dropped back just a little, San Francisco has become one of the more surprising teams in the NFL after five weeks. People want to call it a "Bay Area Renaissance", or whatever. I'm not convinced that's the case just yet; both SF and Oakland have to make the playoffs before a "Renaissance" can be fully declared. So far, it's a good start for that part of Cali. With the 49ers headed to Detroit, they have a heck of an opportunity to make a statement of purpose. With a win, they totally demolish expectations. But even if they fail, they won't be totally diminished. After all, I'm sure most people expect Detroit to win.
9.) Washington (3-1) [-]
It's a little odd to have a team on a bye enter the Rankings, but that's what happens when teams expected to win don't. Of course, as long as Rex Grossman continues to play ...least worst in the NFC East, we might be seeing Washington in these Rankings for a few more weeks.
10.) Cincinnati (3-2) [-]
The Bengals get a chance at being the last team in the Rankings this week. I could have gone with Pittsburgh, but I don't trust them at the moment. This Cincinnati team can win on the road (just not in Denver). And they have a prolific pair of rookies at key positions. So maybe they can stick around for more than a week.
Finally, a note on the teams that exited the Rankings. They are Tennessee (8) and Houston (9). Both teams lost, but I expected Tennessee to win. I don't think either team has seriously damaged their playoff chances; they play in the same mostly weak division.
That's all for this week. See you next week!