Rich 10 NFL rankings: Week 5

Sean Clark provides his top 10 NFL rankings heading into Week 5 of the NFL season.

Coming into Week 4 of the NFL season, there were five undefeated teams that sought a 4-0 record.

Only one team came away successful in their quest, which came at the expense of another undefeated team.

The Arizona Cardinals made a statement on Sunday, trouncing the Los Angeles Rams 37-20 to score their first win over Rams’ head coach Sean McVay.

This weekend, Las Vegas Raiders fell on Monday Night Football to the Los Angeles Chargers 28-14, the Carolina Panthers saw their unbeaten streak end at Dallas 36-28 and the Denver Broncos failed to keep their hot streak alive with a 23-7 loss against the Baltimore Ravens.

With one unbeaten team left in the NFL, here are my top 10 teams heading into Week 5.

10. Kansas City Chiefs (2-2)

Previous Ranking: 8

Even with the offense having an explosive game at Philadelphia (five touchdown passes for Patrick Mahomes), concerns still linger for many about the prospects of the two-time defending AFC champions. Their defense has been porous through four weeks as they rank 31st in total defense. They allowed the Eagles’ offense to drop 30 points on the scoreboard and a 387-yard performance from Eagles’ quarterback Jalen Hurts. With tougher offenses on the horizon such as the Dallas Cowboys, Buffalo Bills and Green Bay Packers, their defense will need to make serious changes to take the pressure off Mahomes on a game-by-game basis. Speaking of the Bills, they will next host Buffalo on Sunday Night Football in a rematch of last year’s AFC Championship game.

9. Baltimore Ravens (3-1)

Previous Ranking: N/A

A week after Justin Tucker wowed the NFL with a 66-yard field goal to win the game at Detroit, the Ravens went into Denver and pummeled the Broncos with a strong defensive performance. The previously undefeated Broncos were held to seven points and a second-half shutout. Lamar Jackson showed that he is more than just a skilled runner with 316 passing yards, including a 49-yard bomb to Hollywood Brown. After an impressive performance on the road, the Ravens will return home for a Monday Night Football showdown against Baltimore’s former team in the Colts.

8. Green Bay Packers (3-1)

Previous Ranking: 9

Another Sunday at Lambeau Field meant another showcase for Aaron Rodgers to display his dominance on an inferior team. In front of a national television audience, the Packers took care of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first Rodgers-Roethlisberger showdown since Super Bowl 45 by a score of 27-17. Rodgers threw for two scores (both to Randall Cobb) and the defense held the Steelers to 62 rushing yards. The ship is back on course after sailing astray in Week 1 (38-3 loss against the New Orleans Saints). The Packers will attempt to continue their cruise as they head to Cincinnati on Sunday for a matchup against the 3-1 Bengals.

7. Dallas Cowboys (3-1)

Previous Ranking: N/A

Dallas is starting to assert itself as a real contender in the NFL after two disappointing seasons in 2019 and 2020. After falling just short to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFL Kickoff Game, the Cowboys have rattled off three straight wins to claim their rulership of the NFC East. They faced the 3-0 Carolina Panthers on Sunday and dominated to win 36-28 (two late TDs by the Panthers when the game was in doubt). Trevon Diggs is having a breakout 2021 season with an interception in each of their first four games, and with two on Sunday, Diggs has five on the season. Dak Prescott looks as good as ever, and should have another strong performance as the Cowboys welcome the New York Giants to town on Sunday. It will be a bittersweet game for Prescott as his season-ending ankle injury occurred in a Week 5 home game against the Giants last season.

6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-1)

Previous Ranking: 4

All eyes in Week 4 were on Tom Brady as he returned to New England for a showdown against the team he won six Super Bowl championships with. While he was not flashy and dominant like many expected to see on Sunday night, he found a way to win as the Buccaneers came away with the 19-17 victory. The defense came up clutch, forcing a long field goal attempt by Nick Folk in the wet conditions and came away with two key turnovers. After an emotional game for Brady and the Bucs, they look to push on in the grind of the regular season as on Sunday, they will host the 1-3 Miami Dolphins.

5. Los Angeles Rams (3-1)

Previous Ranking: 1

In the classic letdown game, the Los Angeles Rams followed up their huge 34-24 win over the Bucs with a stinker of a performance in their Week 4 matchup against the 3-0 Arizona Cardinals. Matthew Stafford was hit and pressured all game long, not finding any rhythm with Sean McVay’s offense. The defense looked lost against Kyler Murray as he threw daggers into the hearts of the Rams’ secondary. Arizona flexed NFC West superiority with a 37-20 win at LA, giving McVay his first loss to the Cardinals in his tenure with the Rams. LA will hit the road as they look to bounce back and win their next NFC West matchup with a Thursday night bout at Seattle.

4. Cleveland Browns (3-1)

Previous Ranking: 3

Sunday’s trip to Minnesota was a trap game for the Browns as head coach Kevin Stefanski took on the team he coached before coming to Cleveland. Baker Mayfield struggled against Mike Zimmer’s defense, but as usual, the Browns’ rushing game paved the way for the Browns’ 14-7 victory. Nick Chubb rushed for 100 yards and Kareem Hunt scored the Browns’ one touchdown to give the team their third-straight win. The defense stepped up once again, holding a team to single-digit points for the second-consecutive week. Cleveland will be tested on Sunday as they head to Inglewood and face the Los Angeles Chargers and a red-hot Justin Herbert.

3. Los Angeles Chargers (3-1)

Previous Ranking: 6

Speaking of Herbert and the Chargers, they are coming off an impressive win against the previously undefeated Las Vegas Raiders. After a lightning delay, the Chargers used that electricity to blitz the Raiders in the first half, leading 21-0 at halftime. Herbert threw for three touchdowns and Austin Ekeler balled out for LA with 145 total yards and two touchdowns. Despite it being a de-facto home game for the Raiders, the Chargers displayed their elite talent to the LA market. The tough schedule to start the season will continue for the Chargers as they will battle the Browns on Sunday in a matchup of AFC contenders.

2. Arizona Cardinals (4-0)

Previous Ranking: 5

No team in Week 4 of the NFL season was more impressive than the Cardinals. The odds were stacked against them as they took on a Rams team that not only just came off a convincing win over the defending Super Bowl champions, but had beaten them in eight-straight meetings. The Cardinals were not fazed as their high-flying defense and explosive offense were too much for the Rams to contain. Kyler Murray threw for two scores, Chase Edmonds rushed for 120 yards and Byron Murphy added to his strong 2021 campaign with another interception. As the only unbeaten team left in the NFL, expectations will start to creep in as they will face the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.

1. Buffalo Bills (3-1)

Previous Ranking: 2

While they are not unbeaten, the Bills look absolutely unstoppable after another dominant performance on Sunday, humiliating the Houston Texans 40-0 in the windy Buffalo weather. The Bills’ defense put on a show as they intercepted Texans’ QB Davis Mills four times, and held the Texans’ offense to 109 yards of total offense. It was so ugly that even Bills’ backup QB Mitchell Trubisky came in to score a touchdown for the Bills. In their last three games since the fluke opening loss to the Steelers, the Bills have outscored their opponents 118-21. Buffalo will head to Kansas City on Sunday in their quest to avenge their two losses to the Chiefs last season, including a 38-24 loss in the AFC Championship game.