2021 NFL Power Rankings: Week 5

So this is why they play the games. Preseason prognostications have gone out the window, as several teams have surprised through four weeks of NFL action. Once again, there is a new No. 1 this week.

Here is a look at my power rankings heading into Week 5. Odds courtesy of DraftKings on Oct. 5.

1. Arizona Cardinals (4-0)

Last Week: 6

Week 4 result: 37-20 win over the Rams

Week 5: Cardinals (-5.5) vs. 49ers

Super Bowl odds: +1600

It’s been a dream start for the Cardinals, capped by the road thrashing of the Rams on Sunday. Between the overall body of work and that performance, Arizona jumps all the way to the top spot. The Cardinals have the MVP favorite at quarterback and a well-stocked roster. Oddsmakers have noticed, as the Cardinals’ were +4500 longshots to win the Super Bowl before the season.

2. Buffalo Bills (3-1)

Last Week: 3

Week 4 result: 40-0 win over the Texans

Week 5: Bills (+3) at Chiefs

Super Bowl odds: +750

The Bills dominated the Texans on Sunday and now have a point-differential of plus-90 on the season, which leads the NFL. They were the other option for No. 1, but quarterback Josh Allen has been up and down this year, which keeps Buffalo at No. 2 for now. The Bills have a huge showdown on Sunday night against the Chiefs.

3. Los Angeles Rams (3-1)

Last Week: 1

Week 4 result: 37-20 loss to the Cardinals

Week 5: Rams (-2.5) at Seahawks

Super Bowl odds: +800

The Rams’ stay at No. 1 didn’t last long, as they were thoroughly outplayed at home by the Cardinals. This is still a Super Bowl contender, but winning the NFC West gets much more difficult if Los Angeles loses on Thursday night to Seattle.

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-1)

Last Week: 2

Week 4 result: 19-17 win over the Patriots

Week 5: Buccaneers (-10) vs. Dolphins

Super Bowl odds: +500

Not a great showing for Tampa Bay in New England. Tom Brady was inaccurate against the Patriots, albeit in the rain, and the team was a foot away from a possible loss on a late New England field goal attempt. The Bucs are still the betting favorite to win the title but have some concerns.

5. Kansas City Chiefs (2-2)

Last Week: 4

Week 4 result: 42-30 win over the Eagles

Week 5: Chiefs (-3) vs. Bills

Super Bowl odds: +600

Patrick Mahomes threw five touchdown passes in the win over Philadelphia, but the defense remains a concern. It’s been a bumpy start for Kansas City, but a win over Buffalo this week would vault them back to the top of the AFC hierarchy.

6. Green Bay Packers (3-1)

Last Week: 5

Week 4 result: 27-17 win over the Steelers

Week 5: Packers (-3) at Bengals

Super Bowl odds: +1200

Green Bay has turned things around after that awful start against the Saints. However, the team lost star cornerback Jaire Alexander to a serious shoulder injury, which could be a big deal as the season moves along.

7. Cleveland Browns (3-1)

Last Week: 8

Week 4 result: 14-7 win over the Vikings

Week 5: Browns (+1) at Chargers

Super Bowl odds: +1400

The Browns’ defense has looked impressive each of the past two weeks, as this team looks like a serious player in the AFC. Cleveland plays in a tough division so must keep racking up wins, and has a tough game this week on the road against the Chargers.

8. Baltimore Ravens (3-1)

Last Week: 10

Week 4 result: 23-7 win over the Broncos

Week 5: Ravens (-7) vs. Colts

Super Bowl odds: +1200

Baltimore put together an impressive performance against Denver, even if it was overshadowed by coach John Harbaugh getting into a war of words with Broncos coach Vic Fangio. Quarterback Lamar Jackson is averaging 8.7 yards per pass attempt this season, a big jump from previous seasons.

9. Dallas Cowboys (3-1)

Last Week: 9

Week 4 result: 36-28 win over the Panthers

Week 5: Cowboys (-7) vs. Giants

Super Bowl odds: +2000

The offense continues to play well, but it’s the transformation of the defense that has Dallas looking like a legitimate contender in the NFC. Cornerback Trevon Diggs has a ridiculous five interceptions already, and if that side of the ball stays stout, the Cowboys will cruise to the NFC East title and make a play for a high seed.

10. Seattle Seahawks (2-2)

Last Week: 11

Week 4 result: 28-21 win over the 49ers

Week 5: Seahawks (+2.5) vs. Rams

Super Bowl odds: +2800

The Seahawks picked up a much-needed win on the road against the 49ers. Quarterback Russell Wilson and the offense continues to play well, but the defense will have its hands full this week against the Rams. Seattle could really use another divisional win to keep pace.

11. San Francisco 49ers (2-2)

Last Week: 7

Week 4 result: 28-21 loss to the Seahawks

Week 5: 49ers (+5.5) at Cardinals

Super Bowl odds: +2800

The 49ers have stumbled the past two weeks, albeit against good competition. Rookie quarterback Trey Lance may start against the Cardinals, and his performance after a full week of game preparation could tell us a lot about this team’s ceiling.

12. Los Angeles Chargers (3-1)

Last Week: 15

Week 4 result: 28-14 win over the Raiders

Week 5: Chargers (-1) vs. Browns

Super Bowl odds: +2000

The Chargers have wins over the Chiefs and Raiders already as they seem primed to make a playoff push. Another crucial AFC showdown awaits against Cleveland.

13. Denver Broncos (3-1)

Last Week: 12

Week 4 result: 23-7 loss to the Ravens

Week 5: Broncos (+1.5) at Steelers

Super Bowl odds: +4000

Denver showed it wasn’t quite ready to hang with the big boys in a loss to the Ravens. Even worse, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is in concussion protocol after getting injured in the game.

14. Carolina Panthers (3-1)

Last Week: 17

Week 4 result: 36-28 loss to the Cowboys

Week 5: Panthers (-3.5) vs. Eagles

Super Bowl odds: +10000

The Panthers led Dallas at halftime but things snowballed badly in the third quarter. The Cowboys dominated on the ground, which is something Carolina must get fixed moving forward. Even so, the Panthers have been a pleasant surprise through four games.

15. Tennessee Titans (2-2)

Last Week: 14

Week 4 result: 27-24 overtime loss to the Jets

Week 5: Titans (-4) at Jaguars

Super Bowl odds: +4000

It was a bad loss for Tennessee against the Jets, although there should be an asterisk due to the absences of A.J. Brown, Julio Jones and Bud Dupree. The Titans are still the favorites to win the AFC South but do not have the look of a true conference contender at this point.

16. Las Vegas Raiders (3-1)

Last Week: 15

Week 4 result: 28-14 loss to the Chargers

Week 5: Raiders (-5) vs. Bears

Super Bowl odds: +6000

The Raiders fell from the ranks of the unbeaten, as they couldn’t rally from a huge deficit for a third time in four games. Las Vegas has some decent pieces but the fast start covered up some issues.

17. New Orleans Saints (2-2)

Last Week: 16

Week 4 result: 27-21 overtime loss to the Giants

Week 5: Saints (-2) at Washington Football Team

Super Bowl odds: +3500

This might be the most high-variance team in the league. The Saints followed up an impressive win over the Patriots with a loss to the Giants. Good luck figuring out what they will do on a weekly basis.

18. Minnesota Vikings (1-3)

Last Week: 18

Week 4 result: 14-7 loss to the Browns

Week 5: Vikings (-7) vs. Lions

Super Bowl odds: +6500

The Vikings are better than their record would indicate, but need to start racking up some wins to stay in the playoff picture. They have a favorable matchup this week against the lowly Lions.

19. Cincinnati Bengals (3-1)

Last Week: 21

Week 4 result: 24-21 win over the Jaguars

Week 5: Bengals (+3) vs. Packers

Super Bowl odds: +13000

Cincinnati is off to a nice start, but I’m not buying it. Let’s see how the Bengals do against the Green Bay Packers this week. Another win there would turn a lot of heads.

20. New England Patriots (1-3)

Last Week: 19

Week 4 result: 19-17 loss to the Buccaneers

Week 5: Patriots (-9.5) at Texans

Super Bowl odds: +8000

The defense is good, and rookie quarterback Mac Jones seems to be getting more comfortable. New England may be able to make a playoff push if it starts winning some of these close games.

21. Indianapolis Colts (1-3)

Last Week: 23

Week 4 result: 27-17 win over the Dolphins

Week 5: Colts (+7) at the Ravens

Super Bowl odds: +10000

Indianapolis picked up its first win of the year against Miami, as the defense was impressive. The Colts still have plenty of time to get back into the AFC South race despite a slow start, though a win this week will be tough.

22. Miami Dolphins (1-3)

Last Week: 20

Week 4 result: 27-17 loss to the Colts

Week 5: Dolphins (+10) at Buccaneers

Super Bowl odds: +10000

Things are falling apart quickly in Miami, as the offense is in a huge rut without starting quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. The Dolphins have talent, but without a passing game, it’s tough to win in the NFL.

23. Philadelphia Eagles (1-3)

Last Week: 24

Week 4 result: 42-30 loss to the Chiefs

Week 5: Eagles (+3.5) at Panthers

Super Bowl odds: +20000

The Eagles put up a decent showing against Kansas City last week, but Philly has allowed 83 points in its past two games after giving up 23 in its first two. A road win against Carolina this week seems imperative.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-3)

Last Week: 22

Week 4 result: 27-17 loss to the Packers

Week 5: Steelers (-1.5) vs. Broncos

Super Bowl odds: +15000

Pittsburgh’s Super Bowl odds are getting long, as quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is clearly on his last legs. A talented defense can’t make up for all the offensive issues on this team.

25. Washington Football Team (2-2)

Last Week: 24

Week 4 result: 34-30 win over the Falcons

Week 5: Washington (+2.5) vs. the Saints

Super Bowl odds: +10000

Washington has not been very impressive this year, but does sit at 2-2. The defense may be a lost cause at this point despite all the preseason hype, but at least the offense is playing pretty well.

26. Chicago Bears (2-2)

Last Week: 27

Week 4 result: 24-14 win over the Lions

Week 5: Bears (+5) at Raiders

Super Bowl odds: +20000

The Bears got back on track against the Lions, as rookie quarterback Justin Fields had a nice day. The starting quarterback this week is still an unknown, but either way, Chicago will be an underdog on the road against the Raiders.

27. New York Giants (1-3)

Last Week: 30

Week 4 result: 27-21 overtime win over the Saints

Week 5: Giants (+7) at Cowboys

Super Bowl odds: +30000

The Giants picked up a nice overtime win against the Saints. New York has looked better than its record would indicate but has a tough matchup this week in Dallas.

28. Atlanta Falcons (1-3)

Last Week: 26

Week 4 result: 34-30 loss to Washington

Week 5: Falcons (-3) vs. Jets

Super Bowl odds: +40000

At least the Washington-Atlanta game was entertaining last week. That might be all we can hope for again in Week 5 against the Jets.

29. Houston Texans (1-3)

Last Week: 28

Week 4 result: 40-0 loss to the Bills

Week 5: Texans (+9.5) vs. Patriots

Super Bowl odds: +100000

The Texans played some decent football until quarterback Tyrod Taylor got hurt, but the offense was horrible on Sunday against the Bills. Get well soon, Tyrod.

30. New York Jets (1-3)

Last Week: 32

Week 4 result: 27-24 overtime win over the Titans

Week 5: Jets (+3) at Falcons

Super Bowl odds: +100000

The Jets looked like an actual NFL team on Sunday. Rookie quarterback Zach Wilson made some nice throws and the defensive front got consistent pressure on Ryan Tannehill. Can New York build on that?

31. Detroit Lions (0-4)

Last Week: 29

Week 4 result: 24-14 loss to the Bears

Week 5: Lions (+7) at Vikings

Super Bowl odds: +100000

Well, the Lions have been decently competitive this season but don’t have any wins to show for it. Thus, they keep dropping down the power rankings.

32. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-4)

Last Week: 31

Week 4 result: 24-21 loss to the Bengals

Week 5: Jaguars (+4) vs. Titans

Super Bowl odds: +100000

The Jaguars’ recent on-field competitiveness was completely overshadowed by Urban Meyer’s controversy-filled weekend. The Jacksonville coach seems on thin ice, and the team could be in disarray.

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