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NFL Week 5 Power Rankings: All hail the NFC East (for now), as Cowboys crack top 10, Giants make sizable leap


Before the season, most laughed at the NFC East.

NFC Least, they said.

A month into the season, nobody is laughing now. The last remaining undefeated team in the league is the 4-0 Philadelphia Eagles, fresh off a comeback victory in the slosh over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday. They remain atop my Power Rankings this week, but there are two other 3-1 teams in the NFC East.

The Dallas Cowboys, who have won three straight games with backup quarterback Cooper Rush, and the New York Giants, who somehow find themselves with three victories despite being anything but pleasing to the eyes, are both one game behind the Eagles.

The Cowboys have the look of a team that will stay there, with a big game against Philadelphia on the road looming in two weeks after a tough one with the Los Angeles Rams this week. The Giants don’t have that same look, but coach Brian Daboll deserves a ton of credit for getting this team off to a fast start. We will know a lot more about the Giants this week when they play the Green Bay Packers in London this Sunday.

For now, the top of the division is a combined 10-2, with only the 1-3 Washington Commanders dragging the division down, with two of their losses having come to the Eagles and the Cowboys.

The Eagles are the story for now. They faced the NFL‘s best run defense in the Jaguars and ran through them for over 200 yards in the rain. They rallied from 14-0 down to win, 29-21, thanks to a fierce pass rush combined with that run game.

Quarterback Jalen Hurts didn’t put up gaudy numbers, but he again played a big part in the victory, which is why he’s smack dab in the middle of the MVP conversation.

The Cowboys are winning with defense and some timely throws by Rush. But any talk of a quarterback controversy when Dak Prescott is back healthy is absurd. It’s Prescott’s team and the Cowboys will be much better when he’s back.

As for the Giants, they’ve taken the old-school approach to winning, which is running the football and playing sound defense. Thanks to the resurgence of Saquon Barkley, who leads the league in rushing, the Giants have the top-ranked run offense in the league. They are also ninth in scoring defense.

At times, the Giants are ugly to watch. There is no dynamic passing game, but the old-time football has them at 3-1. I doubt they can continue to win without improving the passing game, which could be tough with their top two quarterbacks banged up. But the start deserves praise.

So, for now, let’s hail the NFC East — and especially the Eagles.

Biggest Movers

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Teams

 

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1


Eagles

After a slow start, they showed how good they are in rallying to beat the Jaguars. They are the clear top team in the league. 4-0-0

2


Bills

That was a big-time, comeback victory against the Ravens on the road. That speaks volumes about this team. 1 3-1-0

3


Chiefs

Going to Tampa Bay and beating up on the Bucs gets them back on track after that loss to the Colts. They looked like the Chiefs offense of old in that game. 2 3-1-0

4


Packers

They have to be better than what they showed against the Patriots, or they won’t be winning games against better teams down the road. The run defense isn’t good right now. 3-1-0

5


Dolphins

The Tua Tagovailoa situation clouds their fast start. It’s Teddy Bridgewater this week against the Jets, which will be a tougher game than maybe they thought. 3 3-1-0

6


Buccaneers

The defense carried this team the first three weeks, but got beat up against the Chiefs. They haven’t played a complete game yet. 2-2-0

7


Vikings

At 3-1, they are in first place after a victory over the Saints in London. The good news is they got Justin Jefferson back on track. The defense, though, has to be better. 4 3-1-0

8


Cowboys

Cooper Rush has done a great job in place of Dak Prescott as the Cowboys have won three straight. The defense is carrying the team. 5 3-1-0

9


49ers

That defense is outstanding, even with guys missing time. DeMeco Ryans is doing a great job, and they looked like a playoff team against the Rams. 6 2-2-0

10


Rams

They just don’t look good right now. Matt Stafford isn’t playing well behind a bad offensive line and they lack playmakers not named Cooper Kupp. 3 2-2-0

11


Ravens

Their defense is awful right now, which limits their chances to win. That is not a Ravens team we’ve come to expect. 3 2-2-0

12


Titans

They’ve won two straight in typical Titans fashion: Using their toughness. They have righted things since that Bills debacle. 4 2-2-0

13


Bengals

They evened up their record by beating Miami, but now face a big division game at Baltimore. They still don’t seem to be clicking on offense just yet. 5 2-2-0

14


Jaguars

They showed well early against the Eagles, but then fell apart. Trevor Lawrence has to be better, and really has to do a better job of taking care of the football. 5 2-2-0

15


Chargers

They did some good things on offense against the Texans, bouncing back from that Jaguars loss. They still need to be better on defense. 5 2-2-0

16


Giants

At 3-1, they are one of the early surprises of this season. They don’t win pretty, but they find a way. The quarterback injuries are concerning. 7 3-1-0

17


Browns

The injuries have impacted their defense, but they had their chances against the Falcons. Now 2-2, they haven’t looked like a playoff team yet. 5 2-2-0

18


Broncos

At 2-2, they haven’t come close to looking like the team many expected. They’ve been just off on both sides of the ball at different times this season. 4 2-2-0

19


Colts

At 1-2-1, they are limping into their Thursday night game with the Broncos. The Jonathan Taylor injury situation bears watching. 2 1-2-1

20


Cardinals

At 2-2, they had to have the road game at Carolina and they got it with an impressive second half. Now they face the league’s top team in the Eagles at home in prove-it game. 1 2-2-0

21


Raiders

They faced a must-win game against the Broncos, and they won it. Maybe that’s the game that gets this team going, but now they get the Chiefs on the road. 4 1-3-0

22


Falcons

At 2-2, they are tied for first place in their division. Give Arthur Smith credit for this team’s start. 4 2-2-0

23


Patriots

They showed a lot of fight against Green Bay after being forced to play Bailey Zappe at quarterback because of injuries. But they are limited in a lot of ways. 3 1-3-0

24


Saints

Injuries have hurt them a lot, but at 1-3 they are one of the early-season disappointments. The good news is nobody is running away with the division. 3 1-3-0

25


Bears

They can’t pass the football or protect their quarterback. That limits what they can do, which looks like it will be a season-long problem. 1 2-2-0

26


Jets

Zach Wilson looked good in his first game back from injury, which is encouraging for the future. Robert Saleh has this team heading in the right direction. 1 2-2-0

27


Seahawks

Geno Smith is playing outstanding football at quarterback. Their offense has become fun to watch. The defense has issues. 4 2-2-0

28


Steelers

It’s Kenny Pickett time now, which is a good thing. But at 1-3, this might be a season for him to learn and grow and not about wins and losses. 6 1-3-0

29


Lions

They are fun to watch since they score a lot, but that defense is awful. They can’t stop anybody, which is going to make for a long season. 1 1-3-0

30


Panthers

The Baker Mayfield experiment just isn’t working. He is playing poorly, and this team could be headed for a coaching change. 1 1-3-0

31


Commanders

They have lost three straight and have looked bad in doing so. Are changes coming, both with starters and coaches? 1 1-3-0

32


Texans

They showed something in coming back against the Chargers, but they aren’t good enough to win games like that. This is going to be a long season. 0-3-1





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