ESPN has enlightened us on it being the Year of the Quarterback -- whatever that means -- but don't you believe it. It's actually shaping up as the Year of the Turnaround Team in the NFL. And I didn't even have to contrive anything to come up with that title. Just check out the standings through the season's first five weeks.
At the moment, the following clubs are all at or within a game of first place in their divisions: Detroit and Buffalo, which haven't been to the playoffs since 1999; Houston, which has never qualified for the postseason in its 10 year existence; San Francisco and Oakland, both of whom haven't had winning records and playoff runs since 2002; and Washington, which last made the postseason in 2007 and has just two playoff trips from 2000 on. And then there's Tennessee's current worst-to-first trajectory (the Titans are working on a three-year playoff drought) and Tampa Bay trying to return to the Super Bowl tournament for the first time since 2007.
So much new blood would really infuse the playoff field with great storylines, but there is the little matter of 12 weeks remaining on the regular season schedule. That's enough time for all those turnaround teams to turn around and begin losing again, wasting their strong starts. As much as optimism abounds in so many different NFL locales this season, it's good to remember that January is still a long ways away. Now onto this week's rankings....
Week 5 NFL Power Rankings