NFL Power Rankings: Colts for real after dropping two powerhouses
Indy looks likely to unseat the Texans in the AFC South, having already beaten the 49ers and Seahawks -- the biggest surprise this side of KC.
The Chiefs and Colts in the top four? Who would have predicted that Week 1? Indianapolis moves up two spots after beating Seattle, which drops to fifth. Second-year quarterback Andrew Luck is a big reason why, but the Colts are more than that.
1. Denver Broncos : The scoring machine rolled on again, dropping 51 points on the Cowboys, and when the defense failed the Broncos played even better on offense. There may not be a team to match up with all the Denver receivers.
2. New Orleans Saints : The Saints went on the road to Chicago and remained undefeated. The defense is underrated and the offensive passing game is as good as any in the NFL except Denver.
3. Kansas City Chiefs : Andy Reid may deserve coach of the year for what he is getting done with a team that was 2-14 last year. It continues to amaze me how Alex Smith is excelling by throwing 39 times a game. Two AFC West teams in the top three!
4. Indianapolis Colts : The Colts just beat the Seahawks and the 49ers, which are strong statement games about Indy's toughness. Andrew Luck looks like he has already built an offense to win the AFC South.
5. Seattle Seahawks : A bit of a setback with its first loss, but two road trips on back-to-back weeks was a little too much to ask. The Seahawks' offensive line was missing three starters and Seattle still ran for 218 yards.
6. San Francisco 49ers : The 49ers are climbing their way out of a recent two-game losing streak with a power run game. They've run it 76 times in the last two games for 396 yards to put the team back in the top 10.
7. Cincinnati Bengals : The Bengals have the talent to be even higher in the rankings, but they are inconsistent. A solid win over the undefeated Patriots, backed by a solid run game and pass rush, moves them up.
8. New England Patriots : It's tough to watch Tom Brady playing without his real receiving weapons week in and week out, and now the defense will be without nose tackle Vince Wilfork for the rest of the season. The Patriots are still the team to beat in the AFC East and Rob Gronkowski returns soon.
9. Dallas Cowboys : Even though they lost to Denver this week the Cowboys offense was impressive with Tony Romo throwing for 506 yards and five touchdowns.
10. Green Bay Packers : The bye last week did the Packers defense some good as they held Detroit to nine points. Part of that was due to the absence of Lions WR Calvin Johnson , but it still was a sign of some improvement.
11. Detroit Lions : Calvin Johnson has missed five games in his career and now the club is 1-4 without him. Let's see how they do this week against a hot Cleveland team.
12. Chicago Bears : Which Chicago team is going to show up each week? It seems like pass rush pressure makes Jay Cutler look ordinary at times even though he threw for 358 yards this past week in a loss. In his two previous home games he was sacked one time in 72 pass plays. In the home loss to New Orleans he was sacked three times and hit another seven times in 36 pass plays.
13. Miami Dolphins : Ryan Tannehill has been sacked 24 times in five games and is on pace for 77 sacks. On top of that the Dolphins ran the ball for only 2.0 yards a carry against the Ravens. They aren't making the playoffs with this formula.
14. Tennessee Titans : The Titans continue to be a tough out for any team. Backup QB Ryan Fitzpatrick ran for a go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter then threw two interceptions to ensure a Chiefs win. Now the Titans are on the road in Seattle.
15. Baltimore Ravens : If the Ravens stick to the run like they did this past week with 40 carries and the defense pressures quarterbacks like they did last week with six sacks then they will take the division and move back up the rankings. Joe Flacco just doesn't have the receiving weapons or the protection to be a pass-first team.
16. Cleveland Browns : Things are getting very interesting in Cleveland, with an underrated defense, an emerging star at wide receiver, and a quarterback with an opportunity to establish himself. The Browns have not lost since WR Josh Gordon has returned from suspension.
17. New York Jets : Geno Smith struggles to protect the ball, but looked better Monday night, and the club struggles to keep healthy receivers on the field. It's too bad because the defense lives up to its end of the bargain.
18. Atlanta Falcons : The Falcons have aspirations for a Super Bowl and their offense scores points. The problem is the defense has to defend teams playing catch-up and that requires pass rushers. If they had just signed one or two of the free agents that get after quarterbacks like Elvis Dumervil , Shaun Phillips or Desmond Bryant . Those three already have 12 sacks between them.
19. Houston Texans : Quarterback Matt Schaub has thrown a pick-six in four straight games and the team is 1-3 in those games.
20. Oakland Raiders : Every week I say there's a lot of fight in the Raiders but little talent. The win over San Diego was big in many ways and the team will not finish in the bottom five, which is a tribute to Dennis Allen.
21. San Diego Chargers : Outside of Antonio Gates who is Philip Rivers throwing to that scares opponents? Rivers doesn't have a run game to keep teams honest, yet he has 13 touchdown passes and 1,610 yards.
22. Arizona Cardinals : Two sleepy wins in a row is a tribute to head coach Bruce Arians. He's not working with a lot of talent but just enough to stay in games and squeeze out some wins.
23. Philadelphia Eagles : The No. 1 rushing team in the NFL with 187 yards a game has to support a shaky defense and they may have to do it without Michael Vick for a while.
24. Buffalo Bills : The Bills lost young QB EJ Manuel for a few weeks and the backup is an inexperienced rookie. Too bad they didn't sign Josh Freeman.
25. Carolina Panthers : Just when I was starting to believe the Panthers were a dangerous team they come off a bye and lose to the Cardinals. Cam Newton looks lost at times and the seven sacks and three interceptions are a bad sign.
26. Washington Redskins : The Redskins are coming off a bye and, hopefully, made some adjustments to that defense. Robert Griffin III may be ready to open up the pistol option game.
27. Minnesota Vikings : Signing Josh Freeman was a good idea and getting that defense to stop giving up 29 points a game may be a better idea.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers : The Steelers are coming off a bye at 0-4 and searching for answers. Protect Ben Roethlisberger better and it may answer a lot of questions.
29. St. Louis Rams : They beat Jacksonville this past week but now go to Houston. Let's wait and see how that goes.
30. New York Giants : It is really ugly in the Big Apple and shocking to people like me that they look this bad. No one saw 0-5 coming and giving up the most points in the NFL.
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers : It feels like Tampa Bay is sitting on a powder keg. No-shows are starting to be very significant. Let's see if another 20,000-plus stay home this week when the Eagles come to town.
32. Jacksonville Jaguars : The first pick in the draft is all but a lock. In one week they managed to get both starting offensive tackles off the field via trade and injury. I wouldn't want to be the quarterback under center, and they go to Denver of all places this week.
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