Week 5 of the 2023 NFL season was an interesting one, as we finally saw the returns of both Cooper Kupp and Jonathan Taylor, as well as quite a few upsets. Our Week 6 NFL Power Rankings was quite fluid this week, especially with who is our new clubhouse leader on the list.
It was the Miami Dolphins who put together a bounceback game after their Week 4 loss to Buffalo, the Jacksonville Jaguars sprung a surprising upset over the Bills in their second-consecutive London game, and the Falcons and Steelers both put together late-game comebacks to secure wins.
Week 5 was one of the more interesting slate of games this season so far – and our NFL Power Rankings are here to help recap everything that went on.
32. Carolina Panthers (-1)
Not much to write home about for the Carolina Panthers, and they find themselves in the last spot in our Week 6 NFL Power Rankings. While a three-touchdown performance from Bryce Young, the first of his young career, and an 11-catch affair from Adam Thielen stood out, this Panthers roster has a lot left to be desired.
Even without Jahmyr Gibbs, the Detroit Lions ran for 159 yards on the ground, a big reason why this Panthers team struggles. Miles Sanders had yet another disappointing performance, as the negative game script only allowed for him to earn seven carries (and a fumble).
31. Chicago Bears (+1)
There is now only one winless team in the NFL, as the Chicago Bears finally put a tally in the winning column. Their Thursday Night Football win over the Washington Commanders was a solid effort all around, and it marked yet another strong performance from Justin Fields.
A 282-yard, 4-TD performance from Fields, with 230 yards and three scores coming on the connection with DJ Moore, is probably near the ceiling of what Fields will produce this season, and if that’s the case, then maybe, just maybe, the Bears won’t need to take another stab at finding their next franchise quarterback in April.
30. New England Patriots (-1)
Another putrid showing from the New England Patriots, which included a goose-egg at home against the New Orleans Saints, shows that this team is far and away one of the worst under Bill Belichick’s tenure – and he’s at fault.
While it’s unlikely to see the New England decision-makers make a mid-season change, the time feels right to finally get a fresh start at HC. The talent on this roster is some of the worst in the league, and with injuries to Matthew Judon and rookie Christian Gonzalez hurting the defense, things look quite bleak in Foxborough.
29. Denver Broncos (+1)
A dreadful, dreadful loss for the Denver Broncos, as they dropped a home affair to the visiting New York Jets. A three-turnover contest was fueled by three offensive fumbles, one of which came from Russell Wilson (196 yards, 2 TDs).
In a matchup of two horrendous squads, it was Nathaniel Hackett’s current team that earned the win over Hackett’s former squad, and it was quite obvious in the waning seconds how much this victory meant to him. The only reason they moved up in our NFL Power Rankings is because of how bad a few other teams have looked.
28. New York Giants (no change)
Another week, another loss for the New York Giants, this time at the hands of the Miami Dolphins. While the offense showed a decent amount of life, Daniel Jones wasn’t able to do much of anything, although he finally established a connection with Darren Waller.
27. Arizona Cardinals (-5)
It was a hard-fought Week 5 matchup for the Arizona Cardinals, as they hosted the Cincinnati Bengals. In a matchup of two one-win teams, it was the Cardinals that came out on the losing end.
Having lost James Conner to a knee injury in the second quarter made this game even tougher for Joshua Dobbs, which was quite evident in their 294 total yards of offense. Not a lot went well for Arizona on Sunday, a constant theme for this team in 2023.
26. Minnesota Vikings (-7)
It was a struggle for the Minnesota Vikings as they hosted the Kansas City Chiefs. While being within one possession for a good chunk of the game, their fates were sealed once Justin Jefferson left the second half with an injury.
Kirk Cousins didn’t have his prototypical big-volume showing, but he did connect with rookie Jordan Addison for a score. It is still a one-win season for Minnesota, who could very well look to throw in the towel here at some point if their bad luck continues.
25. Green Bay Packers (-4)
We officially have experienced Jordan Love's first stinker of a performance, coming against the lowly Raiders on Monday Night Football. His three-interception performance, combined with poor offensive play-calling, made for a rough night for the Packers.
There needs to be a self-review done by this team moving forward, especially with how lost this offense has looked. Low energy and not showing that they want to win are tough hurdles to overcome this early in the year.
24. Las Vegas Raiders (+3)
It was far from pretty, but the Las Vegas Raiders earned their second win of the 2023 campaign over the Green Bay Packers on Monday Night Football. Jimmy Garoppolo threw another interception and Davante Adams was mostly held in check, but the combination of Jakobi Meyers and Josh Jacobs was enough to overcome Green Bay.
23. Washington Commanders (-3)
A pretty disappointing performance on Thursday night for the Commanders, as they played from behind the majority of the game and allowed the Bears to have their way on offense. Sam Howell was alright (388 yards, 2:1 TD:INT), but the defense allowed over 450 total yards of offense, which included strong efforts from Fields and Moore.
Jonathan Taylor’s return after signing his lucrative three-year deal was pretty unspectacular as he was on a pitch count, so Sunday was another case of the Zach Moss show (23/165/2).
22. Cleveland Browns (+1)
With Deshaun Watson injured, the Week 5 bye week was at a great time for the Cleveland Browns, who struggled to put anything together in their Week 4 loss to the Ravens. With a Week 6 matchup against the 49ers, they will need all hands on deck for that game.
21. Tennessee Titans (-8)
A game-sealing interception by Ryan Tannehill took care of any chances the Titans had of beating the Colts, and zero-TD affair from the Texas A&M veteran should force the coaching staff to take a hard look at who should be their starting QB moving forward.
A strong performance from DeAndre Hopkins (8 receptions for 140 yards) was the only impressive part of the offense on Sunday, which saw Derrick Henry held to only 43 yards on the ground.
20. New York Jets (-3)
It’s a win, and it was against one of the few teams that is actually worse than them, but the New York Jets finally have earned their second victory of the 2023 NFL season. Even with the win, they still fell in our Week 6 NFL Power Rankings, just because of how gross it was.
Zach Wilson put together probably his most consistent game since taking over for Aaron Rodgers amidst his injury, and Breece Hall, in his first game off a pitch-count, ran for 177 yards and looked fantastic.
19. Cincinnati Bengals (+7)
While not on a winning streak yet, the Cincinnati Bengals have shown that they are starting to somewhat put things together – and that starts with the health of Joe Burrow.
A three-touchdown day for Ja’Marr Chase shows that he is back and ready to help this team win, and if Burrow’s health continues to bounce back after every game, which is what it looks like happened after their win over the Cardinals, then this team could be very close to hitting its stride.
18. Houston Texans (-4)
A tough loss at the buzzer to the Atlanta Falcons showed that this Houston Texans team doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, bad news for the AFC South. Another turnover-free outing from C.J. Stroud (249 yards, 1 TD) helped keep the offense on track, but the defense was shredded by Desmond Ridder’s first-career, 300-yard passing game.
17. Los Angeles Rams (-5)
Welcome back Cooper Kupp – here is a heavy workload. With the Rams needing to throw the ball a healthy amount against the Philadelphia Eagles, Kupp and impressive rookie Puka Nacua combined for 15 receptions, 190 yards, and one TD (Nacua).
There is still plenty to like about this Rams team, but it is their defense that is going to be the reason they fall short – if Matthew Stafford continues to look as good as he has, then there is some hope for this team.
16. Pittsburgh Steelers (+9)
Kenny Pickett, or Kenny 2-Gloves when things are going well, came to play in the fourth quarter for the Pittsburgh Steelers, willing this team to a win. Every matchup that Pittsburgh and Baltimore have feels like something unexpected happens, and Sunday’s game was no different.
After Lamar Jackson’s weapons gave him no help, it was the Steelers defense that forced Jackson into an end zone interception – and that was all Pickett needed. Two deep connections to George Pickens changed the game in a blink of an eye, and now Pittsburgh has some momentum heading into Week 6.
15. Indianapolis Colts (+1)
While Anthony Richardson was lost yet again to an injury (AC joint sprain, right shoulder), the Indianapolis Colts were still able to pull out a crucial divisional win over the Tennessee Titans. Garner Minshew came in and led this team to its third win of the season.
14. Atlanta Falcons (+4)
A last-second field goal by the Falcons was enough to help spoil the upstart Texans, and Desmond Ridder’s career passing day was exactly why Atlanta earned their third victory on the year. A middle of the pack team in our NFL Power Rankings, Atlanta is starting to solidify itself in fringe top-10 territory, even though their offense still has some question marks.
13. New Orleans Saints (+11)
It never was a contest for the New Orleans Saints as they traveled to Foxborough to face the Patriots. Holding the New England offense to zero points on the day is a huge win for New Orleans, and the offense looked pretty solid.
Alvin Kamara’s second game after returning from his suspension showed that he is 100 percent back in his big-usage role, which is great news for anyone who has Kamara on their fantasy football roster.
12. Baltimore Ravens (-4)
Things were going well for the Ravens through the first three-plus quarters, and then the offense decided to not help out Lamar Jackson. Once the fourth quarter wrapped up, the lead for Baltimore dissipated and turned into a disappointing loss.
The defense wasn’t able to slow down George Pickens (6/130/1) when it mattered the most, as they did a good job overall of keeping Pittsburgh quiet. It was really on the offense this week, as costly drops doomed this team – scoring 10 points means you don’t deserve to win.
11. Los Angeles Chargers (no change)
As is the case with the Browns, the Week 5 bye for the Los Angeles Chargers will help their quarterback get healthy, as Justin Herbert is nursing an injured left hand. After hanging on to beat the Raiders last week, this team hopefully will also be welcoming back Austin Ekeler after the break.
10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (no change)
A bye week came at a good time for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, as they head into Week 6 with a division that saw both the Falcons and Saints win. Baker Mayfield has looked pretty solid as the team’s starter, and the duo of Mike Evans and Chris Godwin both have looked good this season, quieting a lot of the noise.
9. Dallas Cowboys (-2)
In a matchup that was billed as a battle of two NFC heavyweights, it was the Dallas Cowboys that yet again forgot to show up. Poor decision-making from Dak Prescott (three INTs) and the inability to stop the San Francisco offense (Brock Purdy 4 TDs) doomed Dallas from the start.
It seems like it is just another year for the Cowboys, who have high expectations and yet cannot get out of their own way. There is plenty of time for them to figure things out, but there are too many signs of bad habits popping up again.
8. Jacksonville Jaguars (+7)
While playing two consecutive weeks in London is not ideal for the players, the Jacksonville Jaguars have looked pretty good doing it. Two consecutive victories in London has this team on the up, and their Week 5 win over the Buffalo Bills was impressive.
Trevor Lawrence and his two main weapons, Christian Kirk and Calvin Ridley, have really begun to shine over their past few contests, making this team a tough opponent that struggled to start the year.
7. Seattle Seahawks (+2)
A Week 5 bye week looks to be at a good time for the Seattle Seahawks, as the Bengals, Cardinals, Browns, and Ravens are coming up next on the docket. Geno Smith hasn’t had the eye-popping numbers to start the 2023 season so far, but his 5:1 TD:INT ratio is exactly what this team needs.
If they can incorporate rookie Jaxon Smith-Njigba more into the passing attack, then watch out.
6. Buffalo Bills (-3)
It was an absolute struggle to actually score points Sunday morning against the Jaguars, and it looked like the jet lag for the Bills on their trek across the pond really hit them hard.
Josh Allen struggled but did his best to rally the troops in the second half, but the lack of movement from the offense was too hard to overcome. Their Week 5 game was a far cry from their Week 4 win over the Miami Dolphins, so there is a lot left for this team to figure out – and fast.
5. Kansas City Chiefs (no change)
It was a lower-scoring affair, but the Kansas City Chiefs managed to go on the road and hold off the Vikings to earn their fourth-consecutive win of the year.
A brief scare for Travis Kelce in what looked like a non-contact injury turned into nothing, as he returned and scored a second-half TD. The running game was stagnant Sunday, so that’s an area that needs to be improved if the Chiefs want to continue their winning ways.
4. Detroit Lions (no change)
Another week, another dominant win for the Lions, this time over the Panthers. Even without Amon-Ra St. Brown and Jahmyr Gibbs, Jared Goff (236 yards, 4 total TDs) and David Montgomery (19/109/1) carried the load.
The Lions are in the driver’s seat for the NFC North, as the Bears, Packers, and Vikings are all scuffling in their own rights. While there is a lot of time left in the season, don’t be surprised if you see the Lions in the top eight teams each week of our NFL Power Rankings.
3. Miami Dolphins (+3)
After their strong Week 5 victory over the Giants, the Miami Dolphins and head coach Mike McDaniel seems to be running on all cylinders.
Tyreek Hill (8 receptions, 181 yards, TD) and rookie Devon Achane (11 carries, 151 yards, TD) led the way on Sunday for the Dolphins, who withstood a two-interception performance from Tua Tagovailoa. With the AFC having an up-and-down day, it was a perfect storm for Miami to remain as one of the best teams in the AFC. However, keep an eye out for an injury update on Achane, who suffered a knee injury in Sunday's win.
2. Philadelphia Eagles (no change)
While the Rams aren’t the same team that won the Super Bowl back in February 2022, the Eagles definitely still had their hands full for the first three quarters. But their offense was able to control the game, holding onto the ball for more than 15 more minutes than the Rams.
While it was a stinker of a game for DeVonta Smith, A.J. Brown (6/127) and Dallas Goedert (8/117/1) ate in the passing attack, and D’Andre Swift (17 carries for 70 yards; 6 receptions for 38 yards) was successfully featured in a pure dual-threat role.
1. San Francisco 49ers (no change)
In the driver's seat from the first snap, the San Francisco 49ers handed everything they had to the Cowboys in their rout. Brock Purdy had one of the best professional games of his career, Christian McCaffrey found the end zone once again, George Kittle hauled in three TD passes, and the defense kept Prescott, Tony Pollard, and CeeDee Lamb in check all night.
If there were any question about who was the best team in the NFC, those were easily answered after the conclusion of this game.