2012 NFL Power Rankings Week 5: 49ers reclaim top spot in dominating fashion

Jason O. Watson - Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers are back on top of the power rankings after disposing of the Buffalo Bills like they were a high school team.

1. San Francisco 49ers (4-1) - Alex Smith is slowly creeping away from his "game-manager" tag. I mean come on; most people who lead their team to 621 yards of total offense are usually called "game-changers" guys. If Smith can keep up his end of the deal, is there a scenario in which this team isn't in the Super Bowl? Previous Ranking: 3

2. Houston Texans (5-0) - It's kind of difficult to believe you're supposed to be the AFC favorites when you barely sneak by a ransacked Jets' roster. Nevertheless, a win is a win and if the Texans have proven anything this season it's that they can be victorious in many different ways. Previous Ranking: 1

3. Atlanta Falcons (5-0) - Julio, we missed ya! Mr. Jones proved his lacerated hand is no longer an issue with 10 catches for 94 yards and an athletic touchdown grab. But Tony Gonzalez's resurgence (13 receptions, 123 yards, one TD) is the real reason why this air attack can not be stopped. Previous Ranking: 2

4. New England Patriots (3-2) - Eighteen rushing first downs and 251 yards on the ground all against a very respectable Broncos run defense. Stevan Ridley's fumble is concerning but this team will be unstoppable if Tom Brady can operate out of an effective play action attack. Previous Ranking: 6

5. Baltimore Ravens (4-1) - Let's hold off on the Joe Flacco "elite" talk after that Chiefs game. Cam Cameron is going to have to get over his QB man crush and give Ray Rice more touches if this team is going to reach its full potential. Previous Ranking: 5

6. Chicago Bears (4-1) - If you own the Bears' defense in fantasy, you're probably a very happy individual. This unit is currently the NFL's finest with Charles Tillman performing like the Defensive Player of the Year award favorite. Previous Ranking: 9

7. Arizona Cardinals (4-1) - Let's hope Thursday's loss is the low-light of the season but at least you can't debate Kevin Kolb's toughness after that Rams game. Arizona isn't as bad as they looked but perhaps they aren't as good as we hoped, especially when their already non-existent running threats are dropping like flies. Previous Ranking: 4

8. Minnesota Vikings (4-1) - I'm beginning to believe that this team could make a run at a wild card. And don't direct all the credit towards Christian Ponder, Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin; this defense is for real. Previous Ranking: 11

9. Philadelphia Eagles (3-2) - Those fourth down conversions were nice but this offense needs to begin finding the end zone more. LeSean McCoy was outplayed by a man playing his first game since tearing his ACL (Mendenhall) and that's entirely unacceptable. Previous Ranking: 7

10. New York Giants (3-2) - Will the real Ahmad Bradshaw (30 carries, 200 yards, one TD) please stand up? Good to see him get back on track but it will be interesting to see if he can hold up following the large workload. At least rookie David Wilson showed life in his legs Sunday just in case. Previous Ranking: 13

11. St. Louis Rams (3-2) - Pretty decent leap but that's what you get when you impose your will on an undefeated team. I have serious doubts that this defense can continue to play this well but their d-line might be the league's most underrated. Legatron can't be this team's only offense though so Sam Bradford is going to need to regain his rookie year form A.S.A.P. Previous Ranking: 16

12. San Diego Chargers (3-2) - Good to see Ryan Matthews (139 total yards, one TD) get back on track even if the team couldn't leave the always tough Superdome with a W. Still, you have to question this team's killer instinct losing to a 0-4 team with a chance to put an early stranglehold on the AFC West. Previous Ranking: 8

13. Seattle Seahawks (3-2) - With not much room for Marshawn Lynch to work with, Russell Wilson did a respectable job outside of that back-breaking pick-six. The real story here is a defense that held their Panthers to a mere 190 total yards in front of their Carolina crowd. Bravo gentlemen. Previous Ranking: 18

14. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-2) - Winning ugly ones is what the Steelers do best. Rashard Mendenhall's strong return (14 carries, 81 yards, one TD) is encouraging and the defense finally looked legit again with all their pieces back. Previous Ranking: 17

15. Denver Broncos (2-3) - Their record is misleading with their losses coming against the NFL's only two undefeated teams and the reigning AFC champs. Then again, that could mean that this team isn't ready to hang with the big boys quite yet. Previous Ranking: 14

16. Green Bay Packers (2-3) - Five weeks in the season and the Packers are under .500? Scary thought. Won't be any easier next week in Houston but these gentlemen are still the eventual NFC North champs. Previous Ranking: 12

17. Cincinnati Bengals (3-2) - Andy Dalton proved Sunday that he can't carry this team without some semblance of a run game. That's bad news considering Benjarvus Green-Ellis already looks out of steam. Previous Ranking: 10

18. Miami Dolphins (2-3) - Weird to think Miami is two overtime losses away from being 4-1. This team doesn't do anything with much grace but they're creative and the defense is better than most think. They'll hang around if you let ‘em. Previous Ranking: 24

19. Dallas Cowboys (2-2) - Ready for the Cowboys next five games: At Baltimore, at Carolina, New York, at Atlanta and at Philadelphia. Whoever makes the schedules sure hates Dallas. The Cowboys could be heading towards a top-10 draft pick. Previous Ranking: 15

20. New York Jets (2-3) - The fact that New York had a chance at beating the undefeated Texans with three minutes left with an island of misfit toys offense is absolutely incredible. Then again, they might have only been there because of Rex Ryan's successful gambles so don't expect this to keep up unless Lady Luck is permanently outfitted in Jets' green. Previous Ranking: 20

21. Washington Redskins (2-3) - Say it ain't so RGII!?! Robert Griffin suffered a mild concussion but expects to play in Week 6. Alfred Morris (115 yards) continues to be a pleasant surprise but they'll need the man they gave up three first rounders for to have a chance against the Vikings. Previous Ranking: 19

22. Indianapolis Colts (2-2) - Packers, Colts: it's the game of the week. Never thought that sentence would be uttered this season but believe it or not it's true. Andrew Luck played out of his mind Sunday and Reggie Wayne proved he's still a force when properly motivated. #ChuckStrong Previous Ranking: 26

23. Detroit Lions (1-3) - The bye week might help Matthew Stafford get back on track but it's not going to improve the talent level of this secondary. The Lions' game will routinely be 30+ point affairs so it's just a matter of the offense being able to not slip up in shootouts. Previous Ranking: 21

24. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-3) - Don't you doubt for a second that Greg Schiano has this Bucs heading in the right direction. Nevertheless, fans probably won't see the results this season with Doug Martin not looking prepared to put this ground-oriented team on his back. Previous Ranking: 25

25. New Orleans Saints (1-4) - Just because Drew Brees now owns nearly every mind-blowing record known to man doesn't mean he can will this team to being relevant again. The Saints already signed their death wish with four losses this early in a top heavy NFC. Oh yeah, and their defense is in the running for the worst in NFL history. Ouch. Previous Ranking: 30

26. Kansas City Chiefs (1-4) - If there are moral victories in the NFL, the Chiefs had one Sunday. Kansas City's defense held an explosive Ravens offense to three field goals despite their offense coughing up the ball four times. Maybe Brady Quinn can do a little better for these boys (ha). Previous Ranking: 28

27. Carolina Panthers (1-4) - Isn't it funny that when a Jon Beason-less defense decides to step up and smother the NFC's leading rusher, the offense disappears? Cam Newton (12-of-29, 183 total yards) turned in a stinker and neither of their running backs were anywhere to be found. Inexcusable. Previous Ranking: 23

28. Buffalo Bills (2-3) - In the past two weeks combined, the Buffalo Bills have allowed 1,201 total yards and 97 points. Looks like that Mario Williams investment was worth every penny. Previous Ranking: 22

29. Oakland Raiders (1-3) - That win against the Steelers was cute and all yet I have a hard time thinking this team can be competitive week in and week out. That could change if Darren McFadden can figure out this power rushing scheme though. Previous Ranking: 29

30. Tennessee Titans (1-4) - Well, that Chris Johnson thing was fun while it lasted. CJ0K piled up an eye-popping 24 yards on 15 carries and lost a fumble in the process. The Titans' offensive line isn't the best but it's not 1.6 yards per carry bad. Previous Ranking: 31

31. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-4) - If you haven't already put it together, Blaine Gabbert is officially a lost cause. I brought it up a few weeks back, but this team is one fluky Hail Mary away from being in the same breathe as this next team. Previous Ranking: 27

32. Cleveland Browns (0-5) - Trent Richardson (81 yards, one touchdown) continues to prove why he can be a franchise player but there aren't many bright spots on this team. Eleven straight losses and counting, folks. Previous Ranking: 32

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