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Mason's Week 5 Power Rankings: Shuffling in the top half

Posted Oct 3, 2017

The Chiefs remain at the top, but there was plenty of shuffling right behind them.

1. KANSAS CITY (4-0)
LAST WEEK: 1

Only Detroit's Billy Sims in 1980 has ever rushed for more yardage in his first four games than Kareem Hunt, who has 502 yards, but Hunt's gaudy per-carry average of 7.4 yards is 1.7 yards more than that of Sims.

2. DENVER (3-1)
LAST WEEK: 6

Why is Denver so high? Because their combined offense/defense per-possession efficiency rank is the league's highest through four weeks.

The Broncos have the league's best record in the first quarter of the season the last five seasons, going 17-2 in Weeks 1-4 since 2013. Now they must sustain their start.

3. PITTSBURGH (3-1)
LAST WEEK: 3

With the NFL's No. 2 pass defense, the Steelers have fixed a problem that had been a trouble spot in recent years.

4. ATLANTA (3-1)
LAST WEEK: 2

The Falcons lead the league in net yardage and first downs per possession. They're fourth in net points, but with high rankings in the other two categories, high scores should eventually follow.

5. GREEN BAY (3-1)
LAST WEEK: 5

Including the postseason, the Packers have won 11 consecutive games against teams that do not have a Georgia mailing address. Their game against the Falcons already took place in Week 2.

6. DETROIT (3-1)
LAST WEEK: 9

Thanks to a pair of defensive touchdowns, the Lions lead the league in net points per possession allowed, surrendering just 1.07 net points per series.

7. PHILADELPHIA (3-1)
LAST WEEK: 12

Second-year quarterback Carson Wentz has found a steady groove; his passer rating in each game this year has been between 83.0 and 97.0. Not too high, not too low.

8. BUFFALO (3-1)
LAST WEEK: 15

The Bills are one Zay Jones near-catch away from being 4-0. Why say that? To make the point that the Bills are much closer to 4-0 than 2-2.

9. LOS ANGELES RAMS (3-1)
LAST WEEK: 18

The Rams lead the league in net points per possession, underscoring the impact of Sean McVay.

10. CAROLINA (3-1)
LAST WEEK: 20

The Panthers' inconsistent offense found life without Greg Olsen on Sunday, but how much of their success was due to going up against New England's struggling defense?

11. NEW ENGLAND (2-2)
LAST WEEK: 4

No. 1 in total offense; No. 32 in total defense. But on a per-possession basis, the Rams get more points, the Falcons and Saints generate more yards and the Falcons, Eagles and Saints produce more first downs.

12. HOUSTON (2-2)
LAST WEEK: 22

No defense is better at forcing three-and-outs than Houston's; opponents fail to get a first down 42.6 percent of the time they take possession.

13. SEATTLE (2-2)
LAST WEEK: 16

The Seahawks offense has accounted for 52 points and 783 yards in its last six quarters of play, but losing running back Chris Carson for the season could be a crushing blow.

14. WASHINGTON (2-2)
LAST WEEK: 13

A badly timed timeout and a near-catch by Josh Doctson ... the Redskins have only themselves to blame for falling at Arrowhead Stadium.

15. TAMPA BAY (2-1)
LAST WEEK: 17

Thursday's game with New England has long been anticipated, as it marks the first time a Tom Brady/Bill Belichick Patriots team has played in Tampa. The last time the Bucs hosted the Patriots, Pete Carroll was New England's head coach, Drew Bledsoe was the Pats' starting quarterback, the late Charlie Jones (the original TV voice of the playoff-bound Colorado Rockies) called the game for NBC, Raymond James Stadium was still under construction and the Broncos had yet to win a Super Bowl.

16. OAKLAND (2-2)
LAST WEEK: 7

The Raiders are in far better shape to withstand an injury to Derek Carr than they were last year; in fact, I'll argue that they could have beaten Houston last January if E.J. Manuel had worn silver and black that day.

17. MINNESOTA (2-2)
LAST WEEK: 8

The pendulum swings of this team are dizzying, but without Dalvin Cook for the rest of the season because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament, it's hard to imagine the Vikings generating the kind of balance their offense needs to succeed.

18. DALLAS (2-2)
LAST WEEK: 10

Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are the last people the Cowboys' struggling secondary want to see this week.

19. NEW ORLEANS (2-2)
LAST WEEK: 25

A shutout of Miami probably says more about the Dolphins' struggling offense than the Saints' defense, but at the same time, New Orleans allowed 13 points to Carolina in its previous game. If these last two weeks are not a mirage, then the Saints have a surprise title contender, because a Drew Brees-led team competent defense = playoffs.

20. ARIZONA (2-2)
LAST WEEK: 23

The Cardinals' wins aren't all that impressive -- in overtime over the Colts and 49ers -- and their offense remains inconsistent.

21. JACKSONVILLE (2-2)
LAST WEEK: 14

With a power running game and an elite pass rush, this is a team built to play from ahead. But in their two losses, the Jaguars offense did not run a single snap while leading.

22. CINCINNATI (1-3)
LAST WEEK: 28

They've stopped the bleeding.

23. NEW YORK JETS (2-2)
LAST WEEK: 30

Whenever a team unexpectedly wins, I hear the voice of Harry Doyle, the inebriated announcer from "Major League," chronicling the surprise run of the Cleveland Indians to the 1989 National League East title. So as I watched the Jets-Jaguars game, I didn't hear the play call of CBS' Andrew Catalon. Instead, in my mind's ear, I heard Bob Uecker saying, "Hey, in case you haven't noticed -- and judging by the attendance, you haven't -- the Indians have managed to win a few here and there, and are threatening to climb out of the cellar."

24. BALTIMORE (2-2)
LAST WEEK: 21

The offense is besieged by injuries and hasn't scored a first-half point in two weeks. In total offense metrics, the Ravens rank 30th in yardage, 28th in net points per possession and 31st in net yardage per possession.

25. TENNESSEE (2-2)
LAST WEEK: 11

Burn the film.

26. MIAMI (1-2)
LAST WEEK: 19

After watching the last two weeks, I was surprised the Dolphins didn't rank dead last in the per-possession statistics across the board. Read on to find out who has that dubious distinction.

27. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (0-4)
LAST WEEK: 24

A story in The Patriot-News of Harrisburg, Pa. told it all about the Chargers' lack of a home-field advantage at StubHub Center -- specifically that Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz was able to relay play calls with his voice last Sunday and didn't need to go to a silent count. Eagles left tackle Jason Peters said he couldn't remember ever playing in a road game when the quarterback didn't need to use a silent count.

28. NEW YORK GIANTS (0-4)
LAST WEEK: 26

Every year there's a team with high expectations that starts slowly and then gives opponents fits the rest of the way. That could be the Giants, who have absorbed two consecutive losses on last-second kicks.

29. CHICAGO (1-3)
LAST WEEK: 29

When the Broncos played the Bears in the preseason, it wasn't hard to notice the near-total absence of jerseys of current Bears players on fans in the Soldier Field grandstands. Mitchell Trubisky should eventually change that.

30. SAN FRANCISCO (0-4)
LAST WEEK: 30

In three out of four games, the 49ers' offense has failed to score a touchdown. They rank 24th in net points per possession, 27th in net yards per series and 29th in first downs per series.

31. INDIANAPOLIS (1-3)
LAST WEEK: 27

The Colts are dead last in net points, net yards and first downs per possession and have gone three-and-out more often than anybody else. The last time a band of Hoosiers had this much trouble generating consistent offense, Norman Dale was content with four players on the court. Fortunately for the Colts, Jimmy Chitwood -- er, Andrew Luck -- is starting to throw in practice this week.

32. CLEVELAND (0-4)
LAST WEEK: 31

For those of us -- including myself -- who like to say "it starts up front," chew on this: The Browns are Pro Football Focus' top-rated pass-blocking team and have their third highest-rated line overall, and yet their elusive first win seems farther away than ever.

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