Packers the NFC's best?

RADIO.COM Sports Power Rankings

Joe Zenzola
October 08, 2019 - 4:10 pm

By Tim Kelly, RADIO.COM Sports

Though Patrick Mahomes dazzled early on Sunday Night Football, the reigning NFL MVP reaggravated an ankle injury, and the Kansas City Chiefs suffered their first loss of the 2019 season, falling 19-13 to the Indianapolis Colts.

With that, for the first time since Week 1, someone other than the Chiefs occupies the No. 2 spot on the latest edition of the RADIO.COM NFL Power Rankings:

1. New England Patriots (Last Week: No. 1)

When the Patriots went 16-0 in 2007, their defense included Junior Seau, Tedy Bruschi, Mike Vrabel, Vince Wilfork, Rodney Harrison and Asante Samuel. The Patriots don't have as dominant of an offense as they had that year, but Tom Brady says the Patriots defense is playing as well as any he's played with. The Patriots still have the Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys and Kansas City Chiefs on their schedule, but an undefeated regular season doesn't feel impossible.

2. Green Bay Packers (Last Week: No. 6)

The Packers narrowly lost at home in Week 4, in a game where Aaron Rodgers threw for 422 yards. They bounced back from that loss in rather resounding fashion, defeating the Dallas Cowboys 34-24 in Jerryworld. Though things got a little too close for comfort in the second-half, Aaron Jones rushed for four touchdowns and helped the Packers to move to 4-1.

3. Kansas City Chiefs (Last Week: No. 2)

More concerning than a loss at home to the Indianapolis Colts is that Patrick Mahomes aggravated his ankle injury in said loss. A healthy Mahomes is the best player on the planet, and makes the 4-1 Chiefs the biggest threat to a seventh Super Bowl title for Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.

4. New Orleans Saints (Last Week: No. 7)

Teddy Bridgewater has done an impressive job at keeping the Saints afloat during Drew Brees' absence, and there's still a path to the Saints securing home field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. While other NFC contenders are likely to face resistance to winning their own divisions, the Saints biggest resistance appears likely to come from the Cam Newton-less Carolina Panthers.

5. Philadelphia Eagles (Last Week: No. 5)

Though there was a feeling that the performance of the Eagles offense in their 31-6 win over the New York Jets left something to be desired, they still won by 24 points. Their defense got to Luke Falk 10 different times, including three sacks by Brandon Graham, who only had four sacks all of 2018. The Eagles will now head into arguably the toughest stretch of their 2019 schedule, as they'll play in Minnesota, Dallas and Buffalo in the next three weeks.

6. Los Angeles Rams (Last Week: No. 4)

It's hard to be too down on the Rams after a 30-29 loss in Seattle, especially when the usually automatic Greg Zuerlein missed what would have been a game-winning field goal. Still, the loss to the Seahawks - and a looming date with the 49ers - serves as a reminder that competition in the NFC West is improved in 2019.

7. Dallas Cowboys (Last Week: No. 3)

Since starting 3-0 with wins over the New York Giants, Washington Redskins and Miami Dolphins, the Cowboys have suffered back-to-back losses to two of the NFC's elite teams - the New Orleans Saints and Green Bay Packers. Over those two games, Dak Prescott has been picked off four times. Luckily for the Cowboys, they'll face the lowly Jets in Week 6.

8. Seattle Seahawks (Last Week: No. 13)

Don't look now, but the Seahawks are 4-1 with a win in hand over the NFC West rival Los Angeles Rams. At 30, Russell Wilson is playing as well as he ever has, with 12 touchdowns and zero interceptions through the first five weeks of the season.

9. San Francisco 49ers (Last Week: No. 10)

Off the bye, the 49ers made a statement on Monday Night Football, picking off Baker Mayfield twice, and adding in four sacks for good measure in a 31-3 victory. The 49ers are one of two undefeated teams remaining, and while there are legitimate concerns to have about their ability to go toe-to-toe with the elite offenses in the NFC, they have the No. 2 overall ranked defense after five weeks of the season.

10. Houston Texans (Last Week: No. 14)

Following a disappointing home loss in Week 4, Deshaun Watson and the Texans bounced back in a major way in Week 5. Watson threw five touchdown passes, three of which were hauled in by Will Fuller V, who had over 200 receiving yards. The scariest part for opposing defenses is that DeAndre Hopkins hasn't really hit his stride yet in 2019; the two-time All-Pro is averaging under 70 receiving yards per game.

11. Detroit Lions (Last Week: No. 11)

The Lions are coming off of their bye week, but they were one of the biggest surprises of the first quarter of the NFL season, going 2-1-1. Matt Patricia's squad has defeated both the Los Angeles Chargers and Philadelphia Eagles, and lost by just four points to Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. The next two weeks will be telling about their ability to hang in perhaps the most competitive division in the NFL, as they'll face the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings.

12. Baltimore Ravens (Last Week: No. 8)

Since a 2-0 start, the Ravens have come back to earth. They suffered losses to the Kansas City Chiefs and Cleveland Browns in back-to-back weeks, and needed a game-winning field goal by Justin Tucker in overtime to defeat a Pittsburgh Steelers team on their third-string quarterback in Week 5. The good news is that two of the Ravens next four games are against the winless Cincinnati Bengals. The bad news is those two Bengals games are sandwiched around meetings with the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots.

13. Indianapolis Colts (Last Week: No. 18)

Former Colts general manager Ryan Grigson's inability to build an offensive line around Andrew Luck certainly contributed to his premature retirement. That's ironic, because current general manager Chris Ballard has done a tremendous job building an offensive line, which was on display during the team's Week 5 upset win over the Kansas City Chiefs. Frank Reich has the Colts are 3-2 after losing their Hall of Fame caliber quarterback to retirement just week's before the season - he's an early favorite for Coach of the Year.

14. Minnesota Vikings (Last Week: No. 15)

After a rather tumultuous week, Kirk Cousins threw for over 300 yards and two touchdowns in a 28-10 Vikings win over the New York Giants in Week 5. That said, Cousins has laid eggs against the two NFC contenders that the Vikings have played thus far - the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Bears - and the Philadelphia Eagles are coming to town this week.

Christian McCaffrey scored three touchdowns for the Panthers Sunday. Photo credit (Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

15. Carolina Panthers (Last Week: No. 19)

Without Cam Newton, the Panthers have won three consecutive games, thanks to early NFL MVP candidate Christian McCaffrey, who is averaging 5.6 yards per carry in 2019. One thing worth monitoring is that while Kyle Allen hasn't thrown an interception in three starts, he has six fumbles, which obviously isn't sustainable.

16. Buffalo Bills (Last Week: No. 17)

Sean McDermott wants to play Rex Ryan football - elite defense, and just enough offense to pull out a close win. That may not be a realistic way to build a Super Bowl contender, but the Bills are 4-1 and have a top five defensive unit after five games.

17. Cleveland Browns (Last Week: No. 9)

The Browns have had one of the most difficult schedules in the league to open the 2019 season, and while they still find themselves in the mix in the AFC North at 2-3, their next two games are against the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots.

18. Los Angeles Chargers (Last Week: No. 12)

After a Week 5 loss to the previously winless Denver Broncos, it doesn't feel like a stretch to call the Chargers the most disappointing team in the NFL. A year ago, Philip Rivers and company won 12 regular season games. They're off to a 2-3 start in 2019, and have a Sunday Night Football tilt against the Pittsburgh Steelers on tap for Week 6.

19. Chicago Bears (Last Week: No. 16)

A surprise loss to the Oakland Raiders in London has a very good chance to prove costly for the Bears in a crowded NFC North. They're on the bye in Week 6, but their next three games are against the New Orleans Saints, Los Angeles Chargers and Philadelphia Eagles.

20. Jacksonville Jaguars (Last Week: No. 21)

Since Nick Foles went down with a broken collarbone in the Jaguars Week 1 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, Gardner Minshew has thrown nine touchdowns and just one interception. The 2-3 Jaguars are very much in a tight AFC South race. After committing $50 million guaranteed to Foles this past offseason, the Jaguars will have a difficult decision to make when the former Super Bowl MVP is ready to return.

21. Oakland Raiders (Last Week: No. 26)

After ultimately the most tumultuous preseason in NFL history, Jon Gruden's Oakland Raiders are off to a surprising 3-2 start, led by rookie running back Josh Jacobs, who is averaging nearly five yards per carry. The Raiders schedule is about to get difficult, but they've already won as many games as some thought they would the entire season.

22. Tennessee Titans (Last Week: No. 20)

Mike Vrabel's Titans have two surprising road victories in 2019 - Week 1 in Cleveland and Week 4 in Atlanta - but have lost the rest of the games they've played. They cut kicker Cairo Santos after he missed four field goal attempts in the team's Week 5 loss, but are replacing him with Cody Parkey, who, at last check, was far from a sure thing.

23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Last Week: No. 25)

While it would have been nice to pull out a win in New Orleans, it's an overwhelmingly positive note that Jameis Winston has thrown 10 touchdowns to just two interceptions over the past four games. In a contract year, he's becoming a franchise tag candidate, at a minimum.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers (Last Week: No. 22)

After a scary injury to Mason Rudolph, the Steelers will most likely be left to turn to Devlin Hodges, an undrafted rookie, to start against a desperate Los Angeles Chargers team on Sunday Night Football. Even in a very winnable AFC North, the stars don't seem to be aligning this year in Pittsburgh.

25. Atlanta Falcons (Last Week: No. 23)

It feels unlikely that Dan Quinn will join Jay Gruden as a coach fired during the 2019 season, though it does seem to be trending in the direction of the Falcons making a change at the end of this season. With the exception of a Week 2 victory on Sunday Night Football, the Falcons are winless in 2019. Quinn has a defensive background and things aren't as simple as who your best offensive players are, but a team with Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu, Calvin Ridley and Devonta Freeman should be much better than 1-4. Part of the reason they aren't is because they've given up over 30 points per game.

26. New York Giants (Last Week: No. 24)

Following a Week 5 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, the Giants have a short week, as they'll travel to New England to face the undefeated Patriots on Thursday Night Football. With Saquon Barkley, pulling out a win, would have been a tough task. Without him, the Giants almost certainly will fall to 2-4.

27. Arizona Cardinals (Last Week: No. 29)

Things got tight late in the game, but the Cardinals ultimately pulled out the first win of the Kyler Murray/Kliff Kinsbury era with a 26-23 win in Cincinnati in Week 5. A 1-3-1 record isn't anything to get ecstatic about, but the Cardinals have been much more competitive than they were a season ago.

28. Denver Broncos (Last Week: No. 30)

The Broncos pulled out the most surprising win of Week 5, upsetting the Chargers in Los Angeles, 20-13. You still get the sense, though, that they are trending towards having a top five pick and potentially being a landing spot for Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert or Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm.

29. Cincinatti Bengals (Last Week: No. 28)

Since nearly pulling out a win in Seattle in Week 1, Zac Taylor's Bengals have been outscored 115-60. They had a good chance to break into the win column against the Arizona Cardinals last week, but lost 26-23. The Bengals could potentially draft Andy Dalton's replacement this offseason.

30. New York Jets (Last Week: No. 27)

Even if Sam Darnold returns in Week 6, he'll be returning behind an offensive line that allowed Luke Falk to be sacked 10 times in Week 5. Darnold coming down with mononucleosis was a brutal break, but the issues run much deeper for the Jets. As RADIO.COM's Ross Tucker said, you get the sense that Adam Gase could be one-and-done as Jets head coach.

31. Washington Redskins (Last Week: No. 31)

Since the Redskins jumped out to a 17-0 lead in Philadelphia in Week 1, they've been outscored 151-56. Jay Gruden was fired Monday, and you get the sense that the rest of the season will be about figuring out what they have in Dwayne Haskins. Whenever the Redskins turn things over the Haskins, he'll be thrown into a very unenviable situation. But like Josh Rosen with the Arizona Cardinals, he may only have the rest of this season to convince the organization (and Gruden's eventual successor) not to draft a quarterback again in 2020.

32. Miami Dolphins (Last Week: No. 32)

After their bye week, the Dolphins have arguably their best chance to secure their first win of 2019, as they'll host the winless Washington Redskins. A loss this week may help the Dolphins to secure the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, but it also puts them one step closer to being the third 0-16 team in NFL history.