Week five of the NFL is upon us and it brings another week full of football cheer. The Green Bay Packers are coming off a lovely 27-24 win over the Patriots as they face the Giants in London, at 9:30 am, in what is considered a home game.
Across the league this week, the ESPN Power Rankings look fairly interesting.The Seahawks and Lions played a Big 12 game with the lack of defense. Jacksonville somehow made it interesting against the Eagles despite the turnovers, and the Bucs allowed 41 to be scored. Here’s a look at three teams looking up after this chaotic week, and three teams looking down:
Green Bay Packers: 4 (Previous: 7)
The Packers escaped the Patriots game with a narrow win. It took a late Mason Crosby field goal to win, but the biggest takeaway was the defensive play. Rashan Gary and Jarran Reed combined for 15 tackles and three sacks against a Patriots team that hammered the run game. The offense has been able to find ways to get it done each game, relying on Allen Lazard and AJ Dillon last game the most.
Christian Watson, but as a decoy🦆 pic.twitter.com/GfhQuawE2W
— IKE Packers Podcast (@IKE_Packers) October 5, 2022
Beating the Patriots no matter who their quarterback is will be an impressive win. Bill Belichick can throw anything a defense’s way and until proven otherwise, he cannot be underestimated. Even with Bailey Zappe commanding the team, they still proved to be a passionate team. Damien Harris helped carry the team on the ground with 86 yards and a touchdown.
The win gives the Packers a three rank boost. Despite the boost, the Packers need to be careful. They struggled to bring down runners against the Pats and it has been a trend this year. Green Bay needs to clean up the run defense struggles to solidify themselves higher in the rankings.
Minnesota Vikings: 7 (Previous: 9)
The Vikings sit at 3-1 after knocking off the Packers to open the season. Minnesota is fresh off a win in London against the Saints after Greg Joseph nailed the game winning field goal. The Andy Dalton led Saints had a different energy and found success limiting the run game. Cousins was forced to pass more, which led to a big 10 reception game by Justin Jefferson.
— NFL (@NFL) October 2, 2022
Ultimately, the Saints turnovers hurt them and led to the Vikings winning. However, the Vikings have some concerning issues that need to be addressed. The coverage through their first four games has been extremely soft. Opponents are completing 75% of their pass attempts against them for 1106 passing yards through four games. The pass game has been extremely effective against the Vikes this year and will continue to prove until they address the issue.
New York Jets: 23 (Previous: 31)
The Jets were the biggest riser following the completion of week four. The squad sits at 2-2 on the season now after two come from behind victories against the Browns and the Steelers. The Jets sit in fourth in the AFC East, allowing 101 points and 1306 yards so far. The Steelers proved to be a tough team, but the mid-game switch to Kenny Pickett proved to be confusing, to say the least.
— BlitzVideos✨ (@BlitzVideos) October 3, 2022
Pickett’s three interceptions involved the Jets defense capitalizing off of mistakes more than it did Pickett making a bad decision. The defense has been lost trying to find consistency this year after suffering minor injuries across the board. When it has mattered most, the Jets defense has solidified wins late in games, dropping their opponents third down percentage from 37.1% to 25.6%.
Zach Wilson is griddying.
— Jets Videos (@snyjets) October 2, 2022
The key takeaway for the Jets was the offensive cohesion. Offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur has been known for the wacky plays he designs. It takes time and effort to be able to run his offense effectively, and the injuries across the offense have made that particularly difficult. Although, with Zach Wilson back he adds more mobility and agility to the offense that vanished when Flacco was starting. Duane Brown has just recently returned to practice following his shoulder injury, as well. With a little more time and health, the Jets should continue to rise this season.
New England Patriots: 27 (Previous: 23)
It certainly was a tough one to lose for the Pats. Beating the Packers could’ve been a big break for New England, especially given the performance Bailey Zappe put together. Many analysts and fans questioned whether Bill’s new offense would work considering the changes he made. However, with Zappe and Hoyer both able to have success, the Pats seem fine on that front.
Both Rhamondre Stevenson and Damien Harris have had plenty of success running the ball. The issues on offense have regarded their big play potential. The Patriots are a team made to wear others down at this point, but they need to create some plays for themselves. Against the Packers, New England muscled up and down the field via the run, but had difficulty passing for more than 20+ yards a play. Mac Jones has been limited to three touchdowns so far as the Pats continue to struggle to break free.
The defense is showing their age and letting too many running backs through. The run defense hasn’t been effective for the Pats and the linebackers are in disarray. The Patriots are in odd territory now, and expecting the team to be this vulnerable may lead to a few sneaky New England wins.
Cleveland Browns: 18 (Previous: 11)
Cleveland could prove to be the biggest enigma this season. Sitting at 2-2, the Browns beat the Steelers and the Panthers, but lost to the Jets and the Falcons. Nick Chubb ran in a touchdown instead of going down, which ultimately resulted in the Jets having enough time to win. Deshaun Watson is still suspended for another six weeks. Also, Myles Garrett narrowly escaped a high-speed car accident with flesh wounds. What has been going on in Cleveland?
Amid the chaos, the team has still found a way to play good football. Garrett being hurt has roughed up the defensive line for the Browns, which was key to their loss to the Falcons. The biggest issue has been sticking to assignments in coverage. Last year against the Packers, the Browns allowed 24 completions to seven different receivers and Rodgers had seemingly all day in the pocket. A bit of the same has been present this year and it has led to big plays, like the Corey Davis touchdown that brought the Jets back into the game.
Corey Davis was in a different area code to all those Browns defenders…Robby Anderson hit them with one of these last week for the Panthers. pic.twitter.com/OtK5iCqlHx
— David Wyatt-Hupton (@DWyattHupton) September 18, 2022
The Browns need to find consistency to move up in the rankings. Playing like two different teams each half will continue to limit the success of the team.
Detroit Lions: 25 (Previous: 25)
The center of this season of Hard Knocks, Dan Campbell and the Detroit Lions have brought a new energy to the field. He has shown to be a highly motivating, charismatic, energetic type of person. The problem is that the offense has been the only part of the team taking after their head coach. Jared Goff is seemingly back with 1126 yards and 11 touchdowns to three interceptions thus far. Along with him, D’Andre Swift and Amon-Ra St Brown have both exploded production wise early on this year.
Despite injuries to Frank Ragnow, Penei Sewell, D’Andre Swift, and Amon-Ra St Brown the offense has still been cooking. The Lions managed to put up 45 points against the Seahawks without their top two offensive threats. They also managed to score 35 points against a serious Eagles defense. Scoring hasn’t been the problem, and Dan Campbell has been able to turn it around on that side of the ball.
The Lions are being held back by their defense currently, which is a bad sign. Jeff Okudah has stepped up a bit since his injury and tough opening to the NFL. Aidan Hutchinson has played solid so far, as well. However, if a team is going to use two top-three picks in the draft on defense, they shouldn’t be allowing other teams to score at this rate. The Seahawks have struggled offensively all season and then suddenly put together 48 points against the Lions. Detroit is continuing a scary trend from last year, as they now have nine games in the last two seasons lost by a score.