NFL power rankings: Seahawks overtake Chiefs with Steelers close behind; 49ers, Cowboys fall for Week 6

Week 5 in the NFL was the typical roller-coaster ride for the 2020 season to open the second quarter of the season. The mighty Super Bowl 54 champion Chiefs lost, leaving an appropriate five undefeated teams.

That also opened the door for the most impressive NFC power to take the top spot and one AFC threat to also get closer to flexing on the rest of the league. On the surprise side, the Browns and Raiders asserted themselves as legitimate AFC playoff contenders with big wins, too.

Unfortunately, on the downside, the injury-riddled Super Bowl 54 runner-up 49ers took a hit, right below Tom Brady’s Buccaneers. Here’s how all 32 teams in the NFL stack up each other in Sporting News’ latest look at the league’s hierarchy going into Week 6:

MORE: Updating the Tank for Trevor Lawrence tracker for Week 6

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NFL power rankings

1. Seattle Seahawks 5-0 (last week’s ranking: 2)

The Seahawks have some defensive issues, that’s for sure, but who doesn’t in the NFL in 2020? But they’re still making plenty of big plays in key times and even when the offense has a “off night”, guaranteed NFL MVP Russell Wilson makes it spectacular one in the end.

2. Kansas City Chiefs 4-1 (1)

The Chiefs didn’t claim to be perfect with Patrick Mahomes. Sometimes he doesn’t have every answer with his arm and legs for another team making big pass plays and running all over Kansas City’s defense. But getting the loss out of the way takes away some pressure and also leads to a laser-refocused team for when eventually everything counts a lot more in the playoffs.

3. Pittsburgh Steelers 4-0 (6)

The Steelers wanted to make amends for their injury mess of a playoff-less team when they had an elite defense and not much else. Ben Roethlisberger is back on a mission, re-armed with more weapons and a healthy, effective running game with James Conner. Pittsburgh is starting to show few weaknesses as it redevelops into a complete contender.

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4. Baltimore Ravens 4-1 (3)

The Ravens have had no trouble ripping into the Browns, Texans, Washington and Bengals. In retrospect, the Cleveland victory looks a lot better, but there are some things the Ravens still could be doing a lot better offensively with Lamar Jackson and defensively with their back seven talent as winning the AFC North is harder this season.

5. Buffalo Bills 4-0 (4)

The Bills have seen their Week 5 game move to Tuesday and their Week 6 game move to Sunday. Beating the Rams and the Raiders back to back have padded the resume nicely with Josh Allen balling out. Just imagine how high they can end up should they beat the Titans and Chiefs.

6. Green Bay Packers 4-0 (5)

The Packers enjoyed a bye week knowing Aaron Rodgers and Aaron Jones have complete control of their offense and there’s some promise for their defense, talented in several areas, to turn things around. They can’t afford to let up with the Bears finding ways to win.

7. Los Angeles Rams 4-1 (8)

The Rams keep rolling along with Aaron Donald powering an improved defense, sticking with the running game and getting timely big plays from Jared Goff. They’re back to fighting the Seahawks in the division with the 49ers fading fast.

8. Tennessee Titans 3-0 (9)

The Titans haven’t played a game in forever, it seems like. But they’re still undefeated because of a famliar formula of running Derrick Henry, play-action passing and good situational defense. That defense is a growing concern, however.

9. Cleveland Browns 4-1 (12)

The Browns’ loss to the Ravens in Week 1 seems like a long time ago. They’ve found their run-heavy formula to win games, and surprise, it’s also getting better play out of Baker Mayfield in the passing game and more inspired rested defense as a result. Kevin Stefanski and Joe Woods have succeeded at bringing back winning, complementary football to Cleveland.

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10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 3-2 (7)

The Bucs had an ugly one-point loss at the Bears with some dysfunction involving penalties, blocking and tackling. They need to fix plenty more to lift Tom Brady, because he’s doing the best he can to lift them.

IYER: Bucs are still very much playoff contenders with Brady

11. New England Patriots 2-2 (10)

The Patriots had a weird Week 4 and didn’t have a Week 5. New England would seem like the last team to struggle witih COVID-19 protocol under Bill Belichick, but here we are. Even with Cam Newton and the defense, it’s still looking like a wild-card team at best.

12. New Orleans Saints 2-2 (11)

The Saints really need to march away with a victory against the Chargers so they can keep pace in suddenly a tight three-team NFC South race with the Buccaneers and Panthers. They will do it with one more week of no Michael Thomas.

13. Chicago Bears 4-1 (15)

The Bears don’t get many style points for what they’re doing to rebound under Matt Nagy and Nick Foles isn’t exactly lighting things up replacing Mitchell Trubisky. But they are asserting their defensive strengths and physicality to pull out gritty winning.

14. Las Vegas Raiders 3-2 (16)

The Raiders are getting exceptional play from Derek Carr, who seems rejuvenated by new big-play threats Henry Ruggs III and Nelson Agholor. They have a strong baseline of running the ball with Josh Jacobs. The defense has the talent to be more effective.

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15. Carolina Panthers 3-2 (17)

The Panthers, since those early losses to the Raiders and Bucs and losing Christian McCaffrey, have been an absolute offensive groove with Mike Davis playing supersub to support Teddy Bridgewater, Robby Anderson and D.J. Moore. But the story is how the defense is getting it done better with young talent such as Brian Burns leading the way.

16. Arizona Cardinals 3-2 (18)

The Cardinals took care of the Jets in their long cross-country flight the way they should have. There’s an opening in the NFC West to get a wild card, but they have a better litmus test at the Cowboys next week. The defense needs to start to making more big plays.

17. Indianapolis Colts 3-2 (14)

The Colts still have a quarterback liability with Philip Rivers and their running game hasn’t been as productive as expected with Jonathan Taylor. Luckily, they have a strong defensive backbone to always keep them in games.

18. San Francisco 49ers 2-3 (13)

What was that? The 49ers are doing their best to play through their injuries and unfortunately they rushed Jimmy Garoppolo back before he was mentally and physically ready against the Dolphins. A brutal schedule ahead may make their Super Bowl hangover worse, however.

19. Dallas Cowboys 2-3 (20)

The Cowboys will need to play the rest of the season without Dak Prescott, so now there’s a lot on Ezekiel Elliott and Andy Dalton to save gamedays with the defense still struggling, save for a few pressure plays a game.

20. Miami Dolphins 2-3 (26)

What was that? More of hot streaky Ryan Fitzpatrick showed up in San Francisco and their young defense is being coached well by Brian Flores. This will be a pesky rebuilding team all season.

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21. Philadelphia Eagles 1-3-1 (19)

The Eagles did their best to get the big plays against a tough Steelers defense with Carson Wentz and Miles Sanders, but the breakdowns and mistakes continued. Their defense has some pop up front, but there are growing holes there, too.

22. Minnesota Vikings 1-4 (22)

The Vikings are trying to duct tape their young defense with zone heavy approach combined with blitzing, and it’s working a little better. Unfortunately, despite the offense’s rushing dominance, they are making a few too many mistakes there.

23. Cincinnati Bengals 1-3-1 (21)

The Bengals had a rough outing against the Ravens with Joe Burrow hounded by former LSU teammate Patrick Queen. There’s not much Burrow can do with the offenisve line and defense as a whole woes.

24. Los Angeles Chargers 1-3 (23)

The Chargers have played well with Justin Herbert, but they are falling in all one-possession games to continue the close frustration of Anthony Lynn. The losses of Chris Harris Jr. and Austin Ekeler hurt a lot.

25. Detroit Lions 1-3 (24)

The Lions went into the bye wondering how much longer Matt Patricia would be their coach coming out of it. They do get the Jaguars and Falcons back to back on the road to try to get to respectability fast.

26. Washington Football Team 1-4 (25)

Washington went from Dwayne Haskins to Kyle Alen to Alex Smith, and the offensvie results are still limited because of supporting personnel issues. The defense is starting to break down, too, after a good early start.

27. Houston Texans 1-4 (30)

The Texans finally got their first win, with interim coach Romeo Crennel, the oldest coach in the league, bringing a better overall game plan than fired Bill O’Brien. Deshaun Watson and the offense also looked like they were having fun again.

28. Jacksonville Jaguars 1-4 (27)

The Jaguars keep on fighting with Gardner Minshew but their defense, already with major holes, is now injury depleted, too. 

29. Denver Broncos 1-3 (28)

The Broncos didn’t play in Week 5. That doesn’t hide the fact their more limited offense still has a daunting date with the Patriots next.

30. Atlanta Falcons 0-5 (29)

Dan Quinn and Thomas Dimitroff had a good run but losing to the Panthers at home in a desperation situation was too much to think they remained the right combination for the team going forward. Also, what’s wrong with Matt Ryan, besides no Julio Jones?

IYER: Ranking Falcons’ best replacement candidates for Quinn

31. New York Giants 0-5 (31)

Start spreading the blues, New York and New York are the only winless NFL teams outside of Atlanta going into Week 6. The Giants did fight well with Daniel Jones, Joe Judge and Jason Garrett in Dallas, but even the Cowboys losing Prescott didn’t give the defense enough of a break at the end.

32. New York Jets 0-5 (32)

Joe Flacco and Le’Veon Bell actually gave the Jets a little more life under Adam Gase. But they still got crushed by the Cardinals because of more poor defense from Gregg Williams’ side. Why aren’t Gase and Williams gone, again?

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