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NFL Power Rankings: Week 5

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Posted at 8:13 AM, Oct 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-10-06 09:13:04-04

One month into the NFL season and there's still a lot we don't know. Most teams have done something to make us question what we thought we knew. 

The Steelers got blown out by the Eagles, the Patriots got shutout at home by the Bills and NFC favorites Carolina and Arizona are a combined 2-6. 

But there are two 4-0 teams that, based on history, we know are pretty good. Since 2009, 21 teams have started perfect through the first four weeks and all but four of them have gone onto make the playoffs. Three of those teams, including the Broncos last year, went on to win the Super Bowl. 

So here are my top five teams in this week's power rankings, plus where I have the Titans ranked. 

1. BRONCOS (4-0)

The champs just keep on winning, taking care of business Sunday in Tampa despite a weather delay and the loss of starting quarterback Trevor Siemian. Rookie Paxton Lynch saw meaningful action sooner than expected, replacing Siemian to throw for 170 yards and a touchdown in the 27-7 win. But make no mistake it's the Denver defense that has them at the top of this list, the same as they lead the team to the Super Bowl title a year ago. Von Miller and company are relentless in pass rush and the Broncos have the players on the back end to make skittish quarterbacks pay. 

2. VIKINGS (4-0)

Minnesota has overcome the loss of quarterback Teddy Bridgewater in the preseason and running back Adrian Peterson in week two, seemingly not missing a beat. The often criticized Sam Bradford has thrived in the offense after being acquired in the preseason, tossing four touchdowns with zero turnovers since stepping into the lineup three weeks ago. Complemented by a strong defense, just about the only concern for the Vikings right now is Blair Walsh. The fifth-highest paid kicker in the league seemingly has the yips after spending an entire offseason thinking about how his missed 27-yard field goal cost Minnesota a win in last year's NFC Wild Card game. He's just 8-11 on field goals and 6-8 on extra points this season after another field goal miss in Monday's win over the Giants. 

3. EAGLES (3-0)

Philadelphia drew the short straw when it comes to byes, receiving the week 4 hall pass. That means rookie quarterback Carson Wentz and the Eagles will have to play 13 straight weeks to close the year, but the way they handled the Steelers in week three makes them look ready. 

4. PATRIOTS (3-1)

Just when you thought New England could trot anybody out at quarterback and win, they get shutout at home by the Bills. Still, the Pats more than survived Tom Brady's four-game Deflategate suspension going 3-1. Look at Brown's this weekend in his return. 

5. STEELERS (3-1)

Pittsburgh bounced back from its 34-3 thrashing in Philadelphia in week 3 to beat Kansas City 43-14. The offense went back to looking unstoppable as Le'Veon Bell returned to the lineup to rush for 144 yards and Ben Roethlisberger threw for 300 yards and five touchdowns. There's stiff competition in the AFC North with the Ravens 3-1 and the defending division champion Bengals at 2-2, but the Steelers appear to be the class of that group for now. 

24. TITANS (1-3)

Head coach Mike Mularkey insists that Tennessee has made progress, and he's probably right. Having been in every game this season, the Titans look like a much better team than the group that won just five games total over the past two seasons. But at some point you have to show progress in the form of wins, and so far this year the Titans have done just enough to lose games, not win them. We'll find out much more about this team in the next three weeks after a trip to Miami and three home games in 12 days against the lowly Browns, Colts and Jaguars.