NFL power rankings Week 5: Bills, Cowboys rise after resounding wins

NFL power rankings entering Week 5 of the 2023 season (previous rank in parentheses):

1. 49ers (1): RB Christian McCaffrey is averaging a cool 150 yards and nearly two TDs per game. It's obviously early, but he's got a shot at LaDainian Tomlinson's single-season touchdown mark (31) and probably has a much better one at Chris Johnson's record for yards from scrimmage (2,509). That said, CMC tracking toward more than 400 touches, which he did four years ago, is also slightly alarming.

2. Bills (5): Sunday was a timely reminder that they're the NFL's best home team (26-6) since 2020, and they could very well be at Highmark Stadium deep into January. Unfortunately, if that's true, they'll have to again make due without CB Tre'Davious White, now lost to an Achilles injury.

3. Eagles (2): They're the sixth team since 2000 to go 4-0 in successive seasons. Of the previous five, three won the Lombardi Trophy at some point, and all but one appeared in the Super Bowl at least once … which Philadelphia already did last season.

4. Cowboys (9): Is a pissed off Dak Prescott a better Dak Prescott? He was salty before Sunday's demolition of New England and again right afterward. Time to see how well he channels all that anger with two consecutive prime-time affairs in California – one against a Niners squad which eliminated Dallas from the playoffs the last two years, and the other against former OC Kellen Moore and the Bolts.

5. Lions (6): They've scored at least 20 points in 13 straight games. That streak should only get easier to sustain now that WR Jameson Williams has been reinstated after his gambling suspension was reduced.

6. Chiefs (4): TE Travis Kelce had six catches Sunday night, roughly matching the amount of commercials he appeared in. Still, concerning to see QB Patrick Mahomes largely outplayed by Jets counterpart Zach Wilson.

7. Dolphins (3): They've dropped five of their last seven against AFC East opponents, so maybe a plus they'll only face one in the next seven weeks.

8. Ravens (10): The list of career accomplishments just continues to grow, Lamar Jackson's 13 games with 100+ rushing yards a record among quarterbacks. But Sunday was the first time he'd ever passed and run for multiple TDs in the same day.

9. Rams (12): What can a second-ranked passing attack become with WRs Puka Nacua and Cooper Kupp? The answer should be forthcoming as Kupp's return from his hamstring injury nears.

10. Seahawks (13): They're now 29-12 all-time on Monday nights, best ever. It helps when you get 11 sacks in a building (MetLife Stadium) where you've never lost.

11. Texans (28): As generally impressive as rookie QB C.J. Stroud has been, especially behind that battered offensive line, his 151 passes without an INT are the best testament to his hot (but still measured) start. Houston embarks on a four-game tour through the NFC South having won its past two games by 44 points collectively.

12. Steelers (7): When your offense is almost completely dysfunctional, and you're turning to a backup quarterback … maybe run the ball? Pittsburgh's ground game ranks 29th and is without a TD, but it has been increasingly productive every week.

13. Browns (8): Week 5 byes are rarely desirous, but the timing is pretty good for a Cleveland team that needs to get DE Myles Garrett and QB Deshaun Watson healthy.

14. Jaguars (18): They're .500 (5-5) all time in London and 72 games below state-side. Maybe should have built that fancy new Miller Electric Center practice facility overseas while making just one trip to Jacksonville annually?

15. Commanders (25): They're 6-3 in prime time since 2020, but Thursday night's date with Chicago is Washington's only scheduled appearance in 2023.

16. Buccaneers (23): They've got sole possession of first place in the NFC South, but hard to see Tampa Bay staying there if its league-worst 3 yards per rush doesn't come up.

17. Colts (19): They're off to a generally promising start. But how will that be impacted as attention invariably shifts to RB Jonathan Taylor (PUP/ankle), who's eligible to return to the team whenever Indy brass sign off … assuming trade talks are not resuscitated?

18. Falcons (14): They're sticking with QB Desmond Ridder … for now. We'd pivot to Taylor Heinicke … until the offseason.

19. Packers (15): Only two teams are worse running the ball. Only two teams are worse stopping the run. That's called a losing formula.

20. Saints (16): How did RB Alvin Kamara catch 13 passes in his 2023 debut – 13 – and gain 33 yards? Even crazier when you consider one of those receptions went for 10 yards.

21. Titans (20): Half of RB Derrick Henry's eight career completions have produced touchdowns. Maybe he should be Tennessee's quarterback.

22. Chargers (21): Two wins in a row is nice – especially in spite of the analytics cheat sheet suggesting it was smart to sneak your franchise quarterback on fourth-and-short after he broke his finger or a defensive back giving himself up deep in his own end after an interception (with 2:33 to go) which he likely could have taken back for a 97-yard pick-six.

23. Patriots (17): Wasn't this offense supposed to be better under coordinator Bill O'Brien? At 13.8 points per game, New England is more than a full touchdown off last year's unimpressive pace. And defensively, the Pats just lost LB Matthew Judon (biceps) and CB Christian Gonzalez (shoulder) indefinitely. Woof.

24. Jets (22): Wilson plays (probably) the best game of his career – imperfect as it was – and the NYJ effectively lose on a borderline defensive penalty? Who could blame HC Robert Saleh for losing his mind given everything that's built up over the past month?

25. Vikings (24): Harrison Smith – "Harry the Hitman" – is still a lethal football assassin. The safety had three sacks Sunday, double his previous career best, including the strip-sack that led to a Minnesota recovery and TD return that finally flipped a game into the W column.

26. Bengals (11): At $55 million annually, Joe Burrow is the league's highest-paid player. His 69.1 passer rating after Sunday was also the lowest among non-rookie quarterbacks. Cincinnati is one of two teams without a TD before halftime this season.

27. Cardinals (27): Appears QB Kyler Murray (knee) won't be surfacing any time soon even though his mandatory four-week stay on the PUP list is complete. Frankly, given he's only nine months removed from ACL reconstruction, no one should be surprised … nor does Arizona need to rush him.

28. Raiders (29): They're distinguishing themselves in one area, Vegas' minus-nine turnover differential the worst in the league.

29. Broncos (31): One of the football tragedies of this young season is being deprived of Jets QB Aaron Rodgers and Denver HC Sean Payton matching wits in order to render some kind of verdict on the Nathaniel Hackett "era" in the Mile High City.

30. Giants (26): QB Daniel Jones is 0-for-7 on Monday nights, worst in league history. Also, why is the NFL force feeding us this team in prime time almost every week? It gets worse. Big Blue's next two are at Miami, followed by (sigh) a Sunday nighter in Buffalo.

31. Panthers (30): They've only got three home games before Dec. 17, not that Charlotte has been a safe haven for a team that currently can't win anywhere. Rookie QB Bryce Young is really struggling to push the ball down the field.

32. Bears (32): They extended their franchise-worst 14-game losing streak with a 21-point collapse that matched the worst in the storied club's 104 seasons. Thursday at Washington is the first of Chicago's four scheduled prime-time games. Guessing they're not gonna keep all those fancy dates.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NFL power rankings Week 5: Cowboys, Bills rise after resounding wins