FOXSports.com NFL power rankings
By Brian Billick
Brian Billick is an acclaimed NFL game analyst for FOX Sports and a Super Bowl-winning coach.
Look out, that Bears defense is coming on strong. I’ve got a line on who’s hot and who’s not going into Week 6. Enjoy.
1 Texans 5-0
The JJ Watt’s weren’t overly impressive last night against the Jets, but they pulled out a win against a desperate team that was willing to use every trick in the book.
2 Falcons 5-0
You stop wide receiver Roddy White, you get receiver Julio Jones. You stop Julio Jones, you get Roddy White. You stop White and Jones, you get tight end Tony Gonzalez. Or you just get all three, like the Redskins did on Sunday.
3 49ers 4-1
621 yards of total offense while giving up just 204 yards on defense. Need I say more?
4 Bears 4-1 +3
The Bears have given up just five touchdowns on defense, and coincidentally enough, they have also scored five touchdowns on defense. That makes for a pretty good ratio.
5 Patriots 3-2 +4
The Patriots had 251 yards rushing on Sunday against the Broncos and converted 64.7 percent of their 17 third-down attempts. When the offense is rolling like that, you are lucky to even be within striking distance. It will only get better when TE Aaron Hernandez returns to the lineup.
6 Ravens 4-1 -2
The Ravens gave up 214 yards rushing on Sunday, tied for second-most in franchise history. Teams just aren’t scared to run right through the teeth of the Ravens defense like they once were, and that may come back to haunt this team late in the season.
7 Giants 3-2 +4
I have been somewhat hesitant to call Ahmad Bradshaw a feature back in the NFL, but he did his best to prove it to me on Sunday. His 200 yards rushing were good for a career day.
8 Cardinals 4-1 -3
Quarterback Kevin Kolb will rightfully take a lot of the blame for the Thursday night loss to the Rams, but it is the complete lack of a running game without Beanie Wells that is more disappointing to me. Now Ryan Williams is out for the season, but even so, the game was too big for him.
9 Vikings 4-1 +5
Quick, name another defender for the Vikings other than Jared Allen. You better get to know them, because this group is sixth-best in scoring defense and seventh in passing defense.
10 Steelers 2-2 +6
Troy Polamalu, James Harrison and Rashard Mendenhall all returned to the lineup on Sunday. Polamalu left early after re-injuring his calf muscle (out for this Thursday’s game), Harrison had little-to-no impact, but Mendenhall was the difference for the Steelers’ offense. It will only get better from here.
11 Eagles 3-2 -5
QB Michael Vick had three fumbles, two lost, on Sunday. But why is he running QB draws on the goal line if he is so prone to red-zone turnovers in the first place? If I have a running back like LeSean McCoy on my team, I give it to him as much as possible, especially on first-and-goal.
12 Packers 2-3 -2
QB Aaron Rodgers just seems to be a little off. I can’t pinpoint what it is mechanically, but he just isn’t playing with the same level of accuracy we have grown accustomed to seeing. He missed some open receivers on Sunday, specifically one deep ball to WR Jordy Nelson that surely would have been a score.
13 Bengals 3-2 -5
The Bengals had a letdown on Sunday against Miami, but they better get it squared away quickly because they have two divisional games coming up against the Browns and Steelers before their Week 8 bye.
14 Rams 3-2 +4
In Week 5 of 2012, the Rams now have more wins than they had all of last season. I still don’t like them offensively, but their defense may be the fastest in the NFL. Chris Long and Robert Quinn can really run the loop off the edge.
15 Cowboys 2-2
The Cowboys will get tested immediately coming off their bye week as they travel to Baltimore next week. Beating a solid Ravens teams on the road may give this team the confidence to carry it through the season.
16 Chargers 3-2 -4
I still don’t understand why RB Jackie Battle is starting in place of Ryan Mathews. We all see what he can do with the ball in his hands, but he is averaging just 16 touches per game . . . only 12 of those coming via handoffs.
17 Broncos 2-3 -4
There isn’t anything wrong with the health of QB Peyton Manning. His arm is fine. It wasn’t his lack of arm strength that caused Demaryius Thomas to fumble the ball, and it wasn’t his lack of arm strength that forced Willis McGahee to drop a pass in the flat on fourth down.
18 Seahawks 3-2 +1
It doesn’t come up but maybe two or three times in your entire coaching career, but Pete Carroll’s strategy to take an intentional safety was brilliant on Sunday. Being down four points instead of six is no different at that stage of the game, and kicking off gives you better field position.
19 Saints 1-4 +5
QB Drew Brees and WR Marques Colston were very much in sync on Sunday, but I still would like to see the Saints get back to using RB Darren Sproles the way they did in 2011. He is averaging just 3.4 carries per game.
20 Colts 2-2 +9
Wow. Chuck Pagano’s inspirational battle with leukemia may have kick-started the Colts’ 18-point comeback, but it was rookie QB Andrew Luck who closed it out. He is special.
21 Redskins 2-3 -4
RG3, please step out of bounds when you are running outside the numbers. You will take many hits throughout your career that you won’t be able to avoid, so why take the ones you can?
22 Dolphins 2-3 +4
Ryan Tannehill is much improved, but he and the Dolphins have just two passing touchdowns on the season, fewest in the NFL.
23 Lions 1-3 -2
The bye week came at a great time for the Lions, giving them the opportunity to self-scout and get an understanding how they went from a feared playoff contender to dead last in the division.
24 Chiefs 1-4 +4
Well said, Eric Winston. But regardless if you cheered, booed or stayed silent, Chiefs fans will get their wish for the Brady Quinn experiment next week. But they need a running back who is going to hold onto the football, no matter how many yards he rushes for.
25 Buccaneers 1-3 -3
I was a big fan of Doug Martin during the evaluation period leading up to the draft, and I still like what he brings to the Bucs offense, but I feel he may be better served in a complementary role to LaGarrette Blount. Let Blount pound early, and Martin clean up late.
26 Panthers 1-4 -3
The Panthers got just 24 yards rushing from their stable of running backs, and Cam Newton just isn’t playing well enough to be that one-dimensional on offense.
27 Jets 2-3
I give the Jets credit for pulling out all the stops . . . a fake punt, fourth-down conversions, onside kick, CB Antonio Rodgers-Cromartie on offense. But it still wasn’t enough.
28 Bills 2-3 -8
With 97 points and 1,201 yards given up during the last two games, I’m not sure the Bills could stop anyone if they put 12 players out on defense.
29 Raiders 1-3 +1
The Titans were bad enough for the Raiders to move up a spot on their bye week.
30 Titans 1-4 -5
I thought RB Chris Johnson would get more room to run as teams would respect Matt Hasselbeck’s passing ability, but I was clearly wrong. With the injury to Javon Ringer late in the game, I’m not sure they can turn to anyone else.
31 Jaguars 1-4
QB Blaine Gabbert had his worst game of the season, and he wasn’t particularly good for the first four, so do the math. His 51 percent completion rate and two interceptions, both returned for defensive touchdowns, were absolutely atrocious.
32 Browns 0-5
It’s not all bad in Cleveland. Trent Richardson is proving that he can be a top-three running back in this league, and the Browns actually have a very solid run-blocking offensive line. Problem is, they abandon it for some reason. With an early 14-point lead on Sunday, Richardson should have had 20 carries by halftime. He finished with just 17 for the entire game.