Power rankings are slightly less dumb after just five weeks of NFL play than they were after two or three. However, it is still fun to write about who played well and who didn't on a week to week basis, which is (at its core) the reason people do all this power ranking stuff so early in the season. Until Matt Grecco's The Winning Stats system compiles enough data to provide you with true power rankings, we give you this:
Winning ugly is the mark of a good team. No, really. It is. When your team can beat another despite playing poorly, that means you've got something special. The Cardinals defense is only allowing 15 points-per-game and QBs are only completing 56% of their passes against them. When your D is that good, you win. Patrick Peterson continues to develop into a neo-Revis, and Kevin Kolb seems to have found himself in Ken Whisenhunt's offense. 8 TDs (7 passing, one rushing) and 3 turnovers (2 picks, one fumble) for Kolb in four games is outstanding. Another note on Arizona: They've beaten the Eagles and Seahawks at home, as well as the Patriots in Foxborough. These are not chump teams. The Cardinals are legit.
Leslie Frazier is in the early running for Coach of the Year. No one, absolutely NO ONE saw Minnesota on top of the NFC North after four games. If not for Andrew Luck, the Vikings are likely 4-0. The key to their fast start is Christian Ponder. 5 TDs (4 passing, one rushing) and two turnovers (both fumbles, no picks) in four games is a big reason why Minny is playing so well. Their defense is still a concern though. I must play better. expecting Ponder to play at this level all year is unrealistic. Plus, at some point, Adrian Peterson will slow down.
Drew Brees and the offense seem to have found their groove, but the defense continues to hold them back. It really is remarkable how effective Gregg Williams' supposed "bounty" program (which Jonathan Vilma and Scott Fujita still maintain does not exist) helped a talent-lacking Saints defense win games. Steve Spagnuolo is an excellent defensive coach. That the defense is playing this poorly is less a reflection on him and more on the Saints front office.
As bad as the Saints defense is, it's nowhere near as inept as the Titans. 37 points-per-game surrendered. QBs are completing 75% of their passes on their woeful secondary, and wideouts are earning 8 yards per completion. I don't care if the quarterback for the Titans is Jake Locker, Matt Hasselback, or a 25-year-old Peyton Manning. You cannot win with defense like that.
Mark Sanchez has no business as a starting NFL quarterback. He's the new Vince Young. Entitled. Lazy. Arrogant. This is it for Rex Ryan as well. His defense is giving up 172 rushing yards a game. The man boasts that he is a great defensive coach, and he is. However, numbers like that cost people like Ryan their jobs, especially when the team is playing as poorly as the Jets.
I'm still in shock that the Colts lost at home to this awful, AWFUL team. They've given up 26 points-per-game in all their loses. Blaine Gabbert continues to underwhelm. That Week Three lose could come back to bite Indianapolis if they are competing for the playoffs in December.