By Wesley Kaminsky
If you thought you had a grasp on the 2011 NFL season than you were surely mistaken. The madness is just beginning. Week four was highlighted by two teams, the Eagles and the Cowboys staging second half collapses. Which collapse was worse?
The Cowboys led 27-3 over the Lions, while the Eagles led 23-3 over the 49ers. Now, both teams are searching for answers, and the pressure is on. The “Dream Team” as Vince Young proclaimed isn’t looking so dreamy after all. What happened to that revamped defense? People all over Philadelphia have grown more and more tired of Andy Reid every year, and this year may be the tipping point.
Should the Cowboys hit the panic button? After Tony Romo handed the game away to the Jets in week one, he had back to back gutsy performance to ease the pressure off of him. That pressure is back now, and it’s greater than ever after Romo threw three second half interceptions, with two of them going for touchdowns.
Without further ado, here are the power rankings for week five. It’s not pretty, Eagles fans.
1. Green Bay Packers (1, won 49-23): 4-0. Is there any doubt who the leagues best team is right now? Aaron Rodgers has looked perfect this season, and lit up the Broncos for six touchdowns. (Next week: at Atlanta on SNF)
2. New Orleans Saints (2, won 23-10): 3-1. The Saints took care of business in Jacksonville as expected, and have two road tests in the next two weeks. It starts with Cam Newton and the Panthers (Next week: at Carolina)
3. New England Patriots (3, won 31-19): 3-1. Did you think there was any chance of Tom Brady duplicating his four interception game last week? Now, the Patriots get a rematch with the Jets. That should be fun. (Next week: vs. NYJ)
4. Houston Texans (5, won 17-10): 3-1. Arian Foster returned to the field Sunday with a bang, carrying 30 times for 155 yards. The biggest worry for the Texans this week is the health of Andre Johnson. (Next week: vs. Oakland)
5. Detroit Lions (7, won 34-30): 4-0. For the second week in a row, the Lions overcame a 20 point deficit to remain unbeaten. With their next three games at home, could the Lions get all the way to 7-0? (Next week: vs. Chicago on MNF)
6. Baltimore Ravens (4, won 34-17): 3-1. That wasn’t the prettiest offensive performance against the Jets, but the defense was dominant, causing four turnovers. They get a bye week before the Texans come to town. (Next week: Bye)
7. New York Giants (10, won 31-27): 3-1. There’s just something about that stadium in Arizona that Eli Manning loves. Didn’t he win a Super Bowl there? (Next week: vs. Seattle)
8. New York Jets (6, lost 34-17): 2-2. Mark Sanchez was terrible in Baltimore on Sunday Night. Will he be the weak link for the Jets Super Bowl chances this season? (Next week: at New England)
9. Buffalo Bills (8, lost 20-17): 3-1. The Bills let one slip away in Cincinnati, and the dream for an undefeated season ended. Just kidding. Was week three a fluke when they shocked the Patriots? (Next week: vs. Philadelphia)
10. San Diego Chargers (13, won 26-16): 3-1. The story of the Chargers season thus far has been the emergence of Ryan Matthews. That first round pick they used on him isn’t looking too bad. (Next week: at Denver)
11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11, won 24-17): 3-1 The young Buccaneers avoided a near disaster on Monday Night against the Colts, but did what they needed to do to win. Look out New Orleans. (Next week: at San Francisco)
12. Pittsburgh Steelers (9, lost 17-10): 2-2. Something just isn’t right with the Steelers this season, and Mike Tomlin can’t be pleased. There’s a chance they are without Ben Roethlisberger this week also. If I had to guess, I’d say he plays. That’s a tough man. (Next week: vs. Tennessee)
13. Washington Redskins (16, won 17-10): 3-1. Raise your hand if you had the Redskins losing that game in St.Louis. I know I did. Rex Grossman was right; the ‘Skins are coming for the division title. (Next week: Bye)
14. Chicago Bears (15, won 34-29): 2-2. Matt Forte’s not going to be able to carry the Bears all season, especially in a division that includes the Packers and Lions. The Bears next game? At Detroit, on Monday Night Football. That place is going to be a mad-house. (Next week: at Detroit on MNF)
15. Tennessee Titans (19, won 31-13): 3-1. That week one loss to the Jaguars looks like it may have been a fluke for the Titans, as they have won their last three games. Another thing: Welcome to the 2011 season, Chris Johnson. (Next week: at Pittsburgh)
16. Atlanta Falcons (17, won 30-28): 2-2. That was a near disaster in Seattle on Sunday, as the Falcons nearly blew a 27-7 lead. Next they get a playoff rematch with the Packers. (Next week: vs. Green Bay on SNF)
17. San Francisco 49ers (21, won 24-23): 3-1. Who expected the 49ers to come back from a 23-3 deficit in Philadelphia on Sunday? Jim Harbaugh has this team playing football. (Next week: vs. Tampa Bay)
18. Dallas Cowboys (14, lost 34-30): 2-2. Tony Romo played that game beautifully—for two quarters. The Cowboys have some soul searching to do over this bye week. (Next week: Bye)
19. Philadelphia Eagles (12, lost 24-23): 1-3. With the Eagles next two games on the road, this team better get serious, fast. The pressure will grow more and more with each loss. Andy Reid is not a liked man in the city of Brotherly Love right now. (Next week: at Buffalo)
20. Oakland Raiders (18, lost 31-19): 2-2. The Raiders couldn’t keep Tom Brady off the field on Sunday, and that’s not how you’re going to beat the Patriots. (Next week: at Houston)
21. Cincinnati Bengals (27, won 20-17): 2-2. Give Andy Dalton credit for staying with it when he was struggling, and leading the Bengals back from 17-6 down. Can they get over .500 with a win in Jacksonville? (Next week: at Jacksonville)
22. Arizona Cardinals (22, lost 31-27): 1-3. In each loss this season, Kevin Kolb has had a chance to win the game, but failed. That $63.5 million contract isn’t looking too good right now. (Next week: at Minnesota)
23. Cleveland Browns (20, lost 31-13): 1-3. Something isn’t going right when Colt McCoy has to throw the ball 60 times. That was ugly against the Titans. (Next week: Bye)
24. Seattle Seahawks (26, lost 30-28): 1-3. Tarvaris Jackson nearly led the Seahawks back from 27-7 against the Falcons, but it wasn’t enough. They may not be as bad as people think. (Next week: at NYG)
25. Carolina Panthers (23, lost 34-29): 1-3. Cam Newton was fantastic once again, but it wasn’t enough to win in Chicago. This guy is going to be a star. Big time. (Next week: vs. New Orleans)
26. Jacksonville Jaguars (28, lost 23-10): 1-3. The rest of this season is just about seeing if Blaine Gabbert can be the quarterback of the future in Jacksonville. Can he pick up his first win of his career this week at home against the Bengals? (Next week: vs Cincinnati)
27. Denver Broncos (24, lost 49-23): 1-3. With each passing week, it’s becoming clearer and clearer that Tim Tebow is not in the Broncos plans. What a shame. That game in Lambeau was ugly. (Next week: vs. San Diego)
28. Kansas City Chiefs (32, won 22-17): 1-3. You know things are ugly in Kansas City when your starting quarterback and head coach get into a shouting match on the sidelines. But hey, at least the Chiefs won. (Next week: at Indianapolis)
29. Minnesota Vikings (25, lost 22-17): 0-4. How long until the Vikings give up on Donovan McNabb? It sure looks like he’s got nothing left in the tank. (Next week: vs. Arizona)
30. Indianapolis Colts (30, lost 24-17): 0-4. Even if Kerry Collins is healthy, are the Colts better off playing Curtis Painter? (Next week: vs. Kansas City)
31. Miami Dolphins (29, lost 26-16): 0-4. At this point, for the Dolphins sake, it’s getting to be about that time to “Suck for Luck.” Tony Sparano’s days are limited in South Beach. (Next week: Bye)
32. St. Louis Rams (31): 0-4. The bye week could not come at a better time for the Rams. Sam Bradford needs some weapons on offense, bad. (Next week: Bye)
Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.