NFL Power Rankings Poll: Patriots Retake the Top Spot, Packers and 49ers Surge

New England was the overwhelming favorite for the No. 1 spot in our NFL power poll this week, while New Orleans, Green Bay and Kansas City were separated by a mere five points in the next three spots. Down at the bottom, Atlanta continues to slide, joining Miami, Washington and more of this season’s bottom-dwellers.
Author:
Publish date:

This week’s voters:

Andrew Brandt, Business of Football Columnist
Albert Breer, Senior NFL Reporter
Mitch Goldich, Producer/Writer
Gary Gramling, Senior Editor
Kalyn Kahler, Writer/Producer
Robert Klemko, Senior Writer
Bette Marston, Associate Editor
Jenny Vrentas, Senior Writer

Skinnies for each team written by Jake May.

1. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (5-0)

Previous rank: 2
Points in poll: 314
Highest-place vote: 1 (7 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 2 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat Washington, 33-7
This week: vs. N.Y. Giants (Thurs.)

After trailing for the first time all season, Tom Brady and co. hung 33 unanswered points on the lowly Redskins. Their defense continues to swarm, averaging 6.8 points allowed per game.

2. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (4-1)

Previous rank: 3
Points in poll: 239
Highest-place vote: 2 (3 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 7 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat Tampa Bay, 34-21
This week: at Jacksonville

Teddy Bridgewater had his best game in years and won his third start in a row with assists from Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas. Add him to the list of backup QBs outperforming expectations.

3. GREEN BAY PACKERS (4-1)

Previous rank: 7
Points in poll: 238
Highest-place vote: 1 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 5 (2 voters)
Last week’s result: Beat Dallas, 34-24
This week: vs. Detroit (Mon.)

Aaron Rodgers probably cost Dak Prescott some money on Sunday afternoon, but the Pack have righted the ship after stumbling against the Eagles last week.

4. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (4-1)

Previous rank: 1
Points in poll: 234
Highest-place vote: 2 (2 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 5 (3 voters)
Last week’s result: Lost to Indianapolis, 19-13
This week: vs. Houston

Patrick Mahomes’s lack of mobility against the Colts on Sunday Night Football exposed a leaky offensive line, and the defense got gashed on the ground all night. Houston will be a test for a team that looked uncharacteristically pedestrian on Sunday night. 

5. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (4-0)

Previous rank: 11
Points in poll: 208
Highest-place vote: 10 (2 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 15 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat Cleveland 31–3
This week: at L.A. Rams

One of two unbeaten teams remaining in the NFL, the Niners defense, led by Nick Bosa, smothered the Browns on Monday night. This team is clearly a force to be reckoned with—after some lack of clarity with wins over the Bucs, Bengals and Steelers followed by an early bye week—and Week 6 will be a huge test.

6. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (4-1)

Previous rank: 8
Points in poll: 213
Highest-place vote: 4 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 12 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat L.A. Rams, 30-29
This week: at Cleveland

The Seahawks snatched the catbird seat in the NFC West–if only for a moment–from the Rams on a gutsy fourth-and-goal down touchdown pass from Russell Wilson. Payback for those two losses by a combined seven points to L.A. last year.

7. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (3-2)

Previous rank: 5
Points in poll: 211
Highest-place vote: 2 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 8 (3 voters)
Last week’s result: Beat N.Y. Jets, 31-6
This week: at Minnesota

Philly shellacked what is left of the Jets and continues to play like the team most thought they would be. Another winnable game awaits this week in Minnesota.

8. LOS ANGELES RAMS (3-2)

Previous rank: 6
Points in poll: 201
Highest-place vote: 6 (4 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 12 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Lost to Seattle, 30-29
This week: vs. San Francisco

The Rams dropped their second game in five days. They can jump right back into the NFC West conversation with a win against the Niners this week.

9. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (3-2)

Previous rank: 17
Points in poll: 191
Highest-place vote: 7 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 15 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat Kansas City, 19-13
This week: Bye

Somehow, someway, a patchwork defense led by a vengeful Justin Houston took advantage of a poor O-line and kept a hobbled Patrick Mahomes under wraps for 60 minutes. A well-earned bye comes at the perfect time.

10. DETROIT LIONS (2-1-1)

Previous rank: 10
Points in poll: 174
Highest-place vote: 9 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 14 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Bye
This week: at Green Bay (Mon.)

Fresh off a bye, the Lions have a chance to build on their strong showing against the Chiefs with a primetime division matchup on Monday night in Green Bay.

11. BUFFALO BILLS (4-1)

Previous rank: 18
Points in poll: 173
Highest-place vote: 9 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 14 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat Tennessee, 14-7
This week: Bye

Win ugly seems to be the M.O. for Sean McDermott. The defense is no joke (252 total yards allowed on Sunday) but the offense might be (25 overall).

12. DALLAS COWBOYS (3-2)

Previous rank: 4
Points in poll: 170
Highest-place vote: 8 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 14 (2 voters)
Last week’s result: Lost to Green Bay, 34-24
This week: at N.Y. Jets

Here we go again. A second loss in a row to an NFC frontrunner prompts all the usual questions, but the NFC East is still up for grabs. The Jets should be a welcome reprieve.

13. HOUSTON TEXANS (3-2)

Previous rank: T-19
Points in poll: 162
Highest-place vote: 11 (2 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 16 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat Atlanta, 53-32
This week: at Kansas City

Deshaun Watson exploded for 426 yards and five touchdowns that wiped out the hapless Falcons. With the Chiefs suddenly reeling, next week’s showdown at Arrowhead should be a good gut check for Houston. 

14. MINNESOTA VIKINGS (3-2)

Previous rank: 13
Points in poll: 151
Highest-place vote: 8 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 20(1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat N.Y. Giants, 28-10
This week: vs. Philadelphia

Kirk Cousins finally used his disgruntled receiving corps with some measure of success, prompting a miraculous, completely earnest postgame change of heart from Stefon Diggs (wait, he winked).

15. BALTIMORE RAVENS (3-2)

Previous rank: 14
Points in poll: 149
Highest-place vote: 10 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 16 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat Pittsburgh, 26-23
This week: vs. Cincinnati

Baltimore gutted out an OT win over their rivals, but Lamar Jackson threw three picks and was sacked five times en route to a 54.9 quarterback rating on the day. AFC North football, baby!

16. CHICAGO BEARS (3-2)

Previous rank: 9
Points in poll: 136
Highest-place vote: 12 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 19 (2 voters)
Last week’s result: Lost to Oakland, 24-21
This week: Bye

The D is legit, but they will be hamstrung by one of the league’s worst offenses. The four teams with fewer points scored than the Bears this season are a combined 0-18.

17. CAROLINA PANTHERS (3-2)

Previous rank: T-19
Points in poll: 134
Highest-place vote: 13 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 19 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat Jacksonville, 34-27
This week: at Tampa Bay

Christian McCaffrey demonstrated once again why he is the Panthers’ MVP, and Kyle Allen did enough to knock off his flashier, mustachioed, backup QB compatriot and move to 3-0 as a starter.

18. CLEVELAND BROWNS (2-3)

Previous rank: 16
Points in poll: 116
Highest-place vote: 16 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 22 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Lost to San Francisco, 31–3
This week: vs. Seattle

A tough night on Monday Night Football for Baker Mayfield and Cleveland, who were ravaged by San Francisco, and they have a big matchup against Seattle ahead.

19. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (2-3)

Previous rank: 12
Points in poll: 110
Highest-place vote: 17 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 21 (2 voters)
Last week’s result: Lost to Denver, 20-13
This week: vs. Pittsburgh

Melvin Gordon was predictably rusty in his return, and Phillip Rivers (2 INTs, 58.6 quarterback rating) had a howler in Denver.

20. OAKLAND RAIDERS (3-2)

Previous rank: 26
Points in poll: 102
Highest-place vote: 18 (2 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 24 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Beat Chicago, 24-21
This week: Bye

Solid games from Derek Carr and Josh Jacobs (123 yards on 26 attempts, 2 TDs) against a tough Chicago defense sends Oakland to the bye with some juice.

21. TENNESSEE TITANS (2-3)

Previous rank: 15
Points in poll: 100
Highest-place vote: 17 (2 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 23 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Lost to Buffalo, 14-7
This week: at Denver

Seven points. Four missed FGs from Cairo Santos. 252 yards of total offense. Five sacks of Marcus Mariota at home. Quite the disasterpiece.

22. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (2-3)

Previous rank: 22
Points in poll: 94
Highest-place vote: 16 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 25 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Lost to Carolina, 34-27
This week: vs. New Orleans

Gardner Minshew II outplayed Kyle Allen but couldn’t manufacture any long-shot, late-game magic as the Jalen Ramsey saga rolls on.

23. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (2-3)

Previous rank: 21
Points in poll: 86
Highest-place vote: 20 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 23 (5 voters)
Last week’s result: Lost to New Orleans, 31-24
This week: vs. Carolina

Another solid day from Jameis Winston, albeit in a losing effort that wasn’t as close as the final score indicated. Still, his Arians/Leftwich-inspired revival continues.

24. NEW YORK GIANTS (2-3)

Previous rank: 24
Points in poll: 70
Highest-place vote: 19 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 26 (2 voters)
Last week’s result: Lost to Minnesota, 28-10
This week: at New England (Thurs.)

Daniel Jones lost his first start, his second running back in three games and now heads to Foxborough on a short week. At least his backup knows the opponent well.

25. PITTSBURGH STEELERS (1-4)

Previous rank: 25
Points in poll: 80
Highest-place vote: 24 (3 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 27 (2 voters)
Last week’s result: Lost to Baltimore, 26-23
This week: at L.A. Chargers

With Mason Rudolph in the concussion protocol after one of the scariest hits of the season, Pittsburgh turns to third-stringer Devlin Hodges after losing an overtime heartbreaker to their historic rival. Tough times for Mike Tomlin.

26. ATLANTA FALCONS (1-4)

Previous rank: 23
Points in poll: 56
Highest-place vote: 23 (1 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 28 (2 voters)
Last week’s result: Lost to Houston, 53-32
This week: at Arizona

Last week, the offensive line let them down. This week, the defense got carved up for 53 points by Deshaun Watson. Up next: Kyler Murray, fresh off his first win. Not great!

27. DENVER BRONCOS (1-4)

Previous rank: 27
Points in poll: 52
Highest-place vote: 24 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 28 (3 voters)
Last week’s result: Beat L.A. Chargers, 20-13
This week: vs. Tennessee

The Broncos jumped on the Chargers early and held on for their first win of the season, fueled by perennial disruptor Von Miller and a defense that held up without Bradley Chubb.

28. ARIZONA CARDINALS (1-3-1)

Previous rank: 29
Points in poll: 47
Highest-place vote: 25 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 28 (3 voters)
Last week’s result: Beat Cincinnati, 26-23
This week: vs. Falcons

Kyler Murray got his first win as a pro, setting up the game-winning kick with a brilliant 24-yard scramble. Who needs height when you’ve got feet this sweet? 

29. CINCINNATI BENGALS (0-5)

Previous rank: 28
Points in poll: 32
Highest-place vote: 29 (8 voters)
Lowest-place vote: N/A
Last week’s result: Lost to Arizona, 26-23
This week: at Baltimore

A lost season in Cincinnati somehow gets worse for Andy Dalton and Zac Taylor after watching a rookie quarterback march a winless team down the field for a game-winning field goal in the final two minutes. Woof.

30. NEW YORK JETS (0-4)

Previous rank: 30
Points in poll: 23
Highest-place vote: 30 (7 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 31 (1 voter)
Last week’s result: Lost to Philadelphia, 31-6
This week: vs. Cowboys

Sam Darnold still has mono. Adam Gase is still making ridiculous coaching decisions. But hey, the Jets notched their second offensive touchdown of the season yesterday!

31. WASHINGTON REDSKINS (0-5)

Previous rank: 31
Points in poll: 16
Highest-place vote: 31 (10 voters)
Lowest-place vote: 31 (10 voters)
Last week’s result: Lost to New England, 33-7
This week: at Miami

Well, Jay Gruden doesn’t need to pick a starter for next week anymore. That unenviable task falls to Bill Callahan, who will helm the diaper barge from here out. Silver lining? Washington is the only team to hold a lead on the Patriots this season.

32. MIAMI DOLPHINS (0-4)

Previous rank: 32
Points in poll: 9
Highest-place vote: 31 (1 voter)
Lowest-place vote: 32 (7 voters)
Last week’s result: Bye
This week: vs. Washington

The incumbent cellar-dwellers finally got to kick their feet up and take in the dysfunction swirling at the bottom of the NFL. They host their companions in crud, the Redskins, during Week 6.

Question or comment? Email us at talkback@themmqb.com.