Another wild week in the NFL means more shake up in the power rankings. Good teams lost and bad teams won. Here’s where everyone stands heading into Week 6 and one commonly held misconception about every team that needs to be forgotten:
*The individual team write ups are all countering a common misconception that NFL fans about certain teams or players. These may not be misconceptions that you often see on POD, but they’re very common on Twitter, Facebook and the general discussion of NFL fans.*
1. Los Angeles Rams (5-0; won 33-31 vs SEA) (- No change from last week)
“Jared Goff is a system quarterback.”
I know the narrative died down a little bit after the Vikings game, but in case you still happen to believe it, it’s just not true. He has a great arm and he’s incredibly accurate. While the offensive scheme is amazing the Rams still need someone to make all of the amazing throws that Goff can.
2. Kansas City Chiefs (5-0; won 30-14 vs JAX) (-)
“Tyreek Hill is just a gadget player”
Tyreek Hill isn’t just a fast gadget player, he’s actually a true WR1 who can run the full route tree and beat teams all over the field. His speed allows the Chiefs to use him in interesting ways, but that doesn't take away from his full talent as a wide out.
3. New Orleans Saints (4-1; won 43-19 vs WAS) (+1)
“The Saints creative use of their third string quarterback is good”
These Taysom Hill plays lost their allure and now they’re just dumb.
4. Cincinnati Bengals (4-1; won 27-17 vs MIA) (+2)
“Andy Dalton isn’t a good quarterback”
Andy Dalton is a fine quarterback. He will do whatever he can with the weapons around him. The weapons around him right now are really good so that means he, and the Bengals, will be a dangerous offense all season.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-2; lost 30-14 vs KC) (-)
“Leonard Fournette is an elite running back”
Leonard Fournette is not a good running back. He can’t pass protect, he’s a poor route runner and inefficient rusher. The team is a lot better without him on the field.
6. Minnesota Vikings (2-2-1; won 23-21 vs PHI) (+3)
“Kirk Cousins is not a good quarterback”
Kirk Cousins is a really good quarterback. Like, top 10 level. He has the arm to attack teams deep. Cousins is amazing when throwing with touch. If you are reading this you’re probably a Lions fan who understands how dumb the “playoff win” argument is.
7. New England Patriots (3-2; won 38-24 vs IND) (+4)
“The Patriots are fine relying on Tom Brady for the future”
Tom Brady will eventually regress and this team needs to start looking forward. He may have a few years left but it’s irresponsible for this team not to have a young back up in waiting, learning from the greatest of all time before eventually taking over when Brady leaves.
8. Baltimore Ravens (3-2; lost 12-9 vs CLE) (-5)
“The Ravens passing offense is one to be feared”
The passing offense isn’t suddenly “fixed”. Joe Flacco has always been streaky and it’s not hard to imagine that he comes back down to earth soon. John Brown is a not-good player playing incredibly well and the regression will come eventually. Michael Crabtree’s struggles are a continuation of what was happening in Oakland last year. This is still a grind-it-out team that wins with the run game and good defense.
9. Los Angeles Chargers (3-2; won 26-10 vs OAK) (+3)
Not a single person on the planet can be correct about this team which means no one can truly be wrong about them either. There are no misconceptions because literally anything you think about this team is somehow both correct and incorrect.
10. Green Bay Packers (2-2-1; lost 31-23 vs DET) (-2)
“Their is a systematic bias from the NFL towards the Packers”
The refs do not love the Packers. They have no reason to. Let this narrative die. Also, Aaron Rodgers is not a drama queen.
11. Chicago Bears (3-1; BYE) (+4)
“Mitch Trubisky throwing 6 touchdown passes is proof he’s a good quarterback”
Mitch Trubisky throwing for six touchdowns in a single game doesn’t suddenly make him a good quarterback. Also, you get to move up four spots on your bye when everyone else around you loses.
12. Tennessee Titans (3-2; 13-12 vs BUF) (-5)
“The Titans have a weak secondary”
This team has a good secondary. Videos on Twitter and out of context stats seem to have convinced everyone that they’re just getting scorched 24/7 but they aren’t. Malcolm Butler has had a few bad plays but a deep touchdown he gave up to Will Fuller in Week 2 was just the receiver making an amazing catch. Adoree Jackson has really stepped up this year. Kevin Byard is still good.
13. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-2-1; 41-17 vs ATL) (+3)
“The Steelers need Le’Veon Bell”
This team’s struggles on offense have nothing to do with Le’Veon Bell. It would be nice to have him back, yes, but he’s not going to make Ben Roethlisberger an accurate quarterback. James Conner is fine and they can survive without Bell.
14. Philadelphia Eagles (2-3; lost 23-21 vs MIN) (-4)
“The absence of Rodney McLeod is responsible for the teams defensive struggles”
While it is easy to blame their secondary struggles on the absence of Rodney McLeod, they were bad with him in the line up, too. McLeod was horrid against the Falcons and Bucs and they got scorched in those games as well. Their secondary wouldn’t be better if McLeod was healthy.
15. Carolina Panthers (3-1; won 33-31 vs NYG) (+2)
“Cam Newton is’t good”
Cam Newton is an elite quarterback. He is a elite passer with an incredible arm. The work he does on the ground brings him to the next level.
16. Miami Dolphins (3-2; lost 27-17 vs CIN) (+2)
“The Dolphins strength resides in their offense”
While Jakeem Grant and Kenny Stills capture all of the headlines, the real strength of this team resides in the defense. Ryan Tannehill still isn’t a very good quarterback and it’s easy to imagine the offense cooling off eventually. Reshad Jones is an elite safety, Minkah Fitzpatrick looks great to start his career. Robert Quinn and Cameron Wake still somehow destroying offensive lines. This team has a path to success but it will have to come through their defense.
17. Cleveland Browns (2-2-1; won 12-9 vs BAL) (+6)
“Trading away Josh Gordon was a bad move”
Josh Gordon really isn’t that big of a loss for the team. While they could have gotten more in return, they have a receiving corps that has potential to be special. Gordon is still a great player, but it makes perfect sense that team would rather focus on the players that they can depend to be on the field regularly.
18. Washington (2-2; lost 43-19 vs NO) (-5)
“Washington isn’t a talented team that can compete with anyone”
In my power rankings two weeks ago I said I wouldn’t be surprised if they lost to the Saints by 100. I wasn’t that far off. Oh, and for a misconception, this team isn’t terrible. They have a lot of talent on the roster but can’t get out of their own way.
19. Seattle Seahawks (2-3; lost 33-31 vs LAR) (+3)
“The Seahawks aren’t a playoff team”
The Seahawks still have a very real chance to make the playoffs. Remaining games against the 49ers and Cardinals should be easy wins. Home field advantage in games against the Packers and Chargers will be huge down the stretch. Don’t count out Russell Wilson and the Seahawks just yet.
20. Dallas Cowboys (2-3; lost 19-16 vs HOU) (-)
“The problems with Dallas’ offense is the fault of the receivers”
While the Dallas Cowboys receivers are pretty bad, they are taking way too much blame for this team’s struggles on offense. Dak Prescott is a shell of his former self and can’t hit any tight throws. He underthrows half of his passes, and his mechanics need a real makeover. Better receivers would help, but the problems with this offense starts at quarterback.
21. Atlanta Falcons (1-4; lost 41-17 vs PIT) (-7)
“Matt Ryan’s 2016 was an outlier”
Matt Ryan’s incredible 2016 season wasn’t just a fluke. While it’s impossible for him to match that level of play every season, he has still been an elite quarterback. It’s easy to cite Julio Jones not catching a lot of touchdowns as Ryan’s fault, but the receiver has 564 yards this season and it’s absolutely fine that rookie Calvin Ridley is catching touchdowns instead.
22. Detroit Lions (2-3; won 31-23 vs GB) (+2)
“Kerryon Johnson needs more carries”
The last things the Lions need is to run the ball more. Please do not run the ball more. Kerryon Johnson does not need more carries. Stop giving non-goal line carries to LeGarrette Blount. Don’t run the ball more.
23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-2; BYE) (+2)
“This team isn’t trash because of a few good games”
This team is actually trash. Don’t let a few flashy plays fool you. They suck.
24. Houston Texans (2-3; won 19-16 vs DAL) (+4)
“Deshaun Watson’s struggles are the fault of the offensive line”
While the offensive line is really bad, a lot of the pressure is created by Deshaun Watson just walking into sacks or having no awareness of the pocket around him. A lot of the Texans problems would be solved if he had better pocket presence.
25. Denver Broncos (2-3; lost 34-16 vs NYJ) (-6)
“Phillip Lindsay needs more touches”
Relying on a running back that weighs 10 pounds, has terrible vision and just pinballs downfield every play is why this team is on a three-game losing streak. Letting Phillip Lindsay be a feature piece in the offense is not a good idea.
26. Buffalo Bills (2-3; won 13-12 vs TEN) (+4)
“Josh Allen has shown promise so far this season”
Josh Allen is horrible. I hope he will one day be good but both of the team’s wins this season belong to the defense.
27. New York Jets (2-3; won 34-16 vs DEN) (+2)
“Sam Darnold has been great this season”
Sam Darnold’s rookie season hasn’t been as good as he is getting credit for. His accuracy has been sporadic, and he has been gun-shy going downfield. It’s fine, as he’s a rookie who was expected to be a raw talent coming out of USC, but he hasn’t been very good this year.
28. Indianapolis Colts (1-4; lost 38-24 vs NE) (-2)
“Darius Leonard is one of the league’s best linebackers”
They have an elite tight end of the roster and his name isn’t Jack Doyle .
Darius Leonard is good. He isn’t an elite linebacker, though. Tackles are a terrible stat to judge a player on, and he still has a lot to improve on. He definitely isn’t the best rookie in the NFL this season.
29. Arizona Cardinals (1-4; won 28-18 vs SF) (+4)
“Josh Rosen is struggling in the start of his NFL career”
Josh Rosen has been REALLY good through two starts this season. While the stat line and the team's record don’t show it, he has been the most impressive rookie quarterback so far this season. If the Cardinals can get a real team around him this offseason, they can quickly be contenders once again.
30. New York Giants (1-4; lost 33-31 vs CAR) (+1)
“Saquon Barkley needs more touches”
Giving Saquon Barkley more carries is the worst possible thing the Giants could do going forward. If the plan is to draft a QB in year two of the rebuild, then the last thing you want is for your running back to have a lot of tread on the tires. Keep him healthy, keep him fresh. Shut him down for the season if you want. Do not overwork him.
31. San Francisco (1-4; lost 28-18 vs ARI) (-10)
“CJ Beathard is a terrible quarterback”
C.J. Beathard isn’t as bad a quarterback as he gets a rep for. He certainly isn’t Jimmy Garoppolo, but he is more than your typical backup. Beathard is a little reckless with the ball but that’s fine for a team whose season is already over. He is a formidable long-term backup and maybe even a future journeyman starter if he stays healthy.
32. Oakland Raiders (1-4; lost 26-10 vs LAC) (-5)
“Amari Cooper and Derek Carr are good football players”
Amari Cooper and Derek Carr are two of the most overrated players in the NFL. Carr had one kinda good season in 2016 and has fooled us ever since. Cooper seems like he just doesn’t care anymore.