Don Banks: Week 5 Power Rankings - Sports Illustrated

Week 5 Power Rankings

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The NFL regular season is a long grind, but it's that four-month timeline that allows for so many unexpected plot twists to develop and surprise us. The Packers, my pick to win the Super Bowl, look like they're in trouble at the moment. They're 2-3, heading to face undefeated Houston this Sunday night, and have yet to come close to resembling the methodical and highly productive team that steamrolled to a 15-1 record a year ago.

But it is still early, even though we ignore that reality for the sake of taking our weekly ride on the NFL rollercoaster. Last year at this time, Denver was 1-4 and in last place in the AFC West. Atlanta was 2-3, and in third place in the NFC South. Both clubs rebounded and made the 12-team playoff field, with the Tebow-led Broncos even winning a postseason game.

So try to remember that in Green Bay, Detroit, Carolina, New Orleans and Buffalo, where desperation is starting to set in. Your stories aren't starting out well in 2012, to be sure, but there are plenty of chapters remaining before the ending unfolds. Now on to this week's rankings...

NFL Power Rankings