Former West Chester East star Matt Schaub has Houston 4-0 and sitting atop the Philly.com Week 5 NFL Power Rankings. (AP)
At the quarter mark of the NFL season, one thing is clear: It’s all about the quarterbacks with ties to the Philadelphia area. West Chester East’s Matt Schaub (Houston), Penn Charter’s Matt Ryan (Atlanta), and ex-Eagle Kevin Kolb (Arizona) lead undefeated teams, while Audubon and Delaware product Joe Flacco (Baltimore) directs another top-five team.
1. Houston (4-0); Last week: 1 – The NFL’s top defense — allowing just 14 points and 273 total yards per game — stifled Tennessee, 38-14. Danieal Manning and Kareem Jackson each returned interceptions for touchdowns in the win. Next up: at New York Jets.
2. Atlanta (4-0); Last week: 2 – Matt Ryan completed a 59-yard bomb from his own end zone, and Matt Bryant went on to kick a 40-yard field goal with five seconds left in Atlanta’s 30-28 victory over Carolina. The NFC’s top-scoring offense is averaging 31 points a game. Next up: at Washington.
3. San Francisco (3-1); Last week: 3 – The 49ers shut out the Jets, 34-0, in one of the season’s most lopsided games. San Francisco rushed for 245 yards, held New York to 145 yards of total offense, and had a 13-minute edge in time of possession. Next up: vs. Buffalo.
4. Baltimore (3-1); Last week: 4 – Joe Flacco completed 28-of-46 passes for 356 yards, threw for one touchdown and ran for another in a closer-than-expected 23-16 victory over winless Cleveland. Cary Williams scored off an interception, helping offset the Ravens’ 11 penalties for 100 yards. Next up: at Kansas City.
5. Arizona (4-0); Last week: 6 – Jay Feely’s 46-yard field goal kept Arizona perfect with a 24-21 overtime victory over Miami. Kevin Kolb’s 15-yard touchdown on fourth down with 22 seconds left in regulation sent the game into overtime. Kolb finished 29-of-48 passing for 324 yards and 3 touchdowns. Next up: at St. Louis.
6. Green Bay (2-2); Last week: 8 – Aaron Rodgers threw the winning fourth-quarter touchdown pass to Jordy Nelson to beat winless New Orleans, 28-27. Rodgers (31-of-41 passing, 319 yards, 4 TDs) and Cedric Benson (18 carries for 84 yards) carried the offense as the Packers became one of 10 NFL teams at .500. Next up: at Indianapolis.
7. New England (2-2); Last week: 9 – Trailing, 14-7 at halftime, the NFL’s highest-scoring offense had six straight second-half touchdown drives to rout Buffalo, 52-28. Tom Brady went 22-of-36 for 340 yards, three touchdowns, and a touchdown run, and Brandon Bolden (16 carries for 137 yards), Wes Welker (9 catches for 129 yards), and Rob Gronkowski (5 catches for 104 yards) pitched in. Next up: vs. Denver.
8. San Diego (3-1); Last week: 13 – Only Houston (56) has allowed fewer points in the AFC than the Chargers (71), who rolled past Kansas City, 37-20, thanks to six Chief turnovers. Philip Rivers went 18-of-23 passing for 209 yards and two touchdowns as San Diego led, 27-6 at halftime. Next up: at New Orleans.
9. Chicago (3-1); Last week: 14 – The defense never rests for the Bears, who once again hounded an opponent, forcing Tony Romo into five interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns by Lance Briggs and Charles Tillman in a 34-18 Bears win. Brandon Marshall had 7 catches for 138 yards and a score. Next up: at Jacksonville.
10. Philadelphia (3-1); Last week: 15 – How are the Eagles 3-1 after a 19-17 win over New York when their opponents have outscored them by 17 points — the only winning NFL team being outscored — and their quarterback is ranked 28th in passer rating at 72.7, behind three rookies? It’s because their defense is allowing four points a game less than it was through four games in 2011. Next up: at Pittsburgh.
11. New York Giants (2-2); Last week: 5 – The Giants couldn’t get anything going in the first half, and then ran out of time in the second half as Lawrence Tynes’ 54-yard last-second attempt fell short in the Giants’ 19-17 loss to Philadelphia. Eli Manning finished 24-of-42 passing for 309 yards and two touchdowns, and New York gained a whopping 246 yards in punt and kick returns. Next up: vs. Cleveland.
12. Pittsburgh (1-2); Last week: 10 – Pittsburgh drew the dreaded early bye week, but it helped in that injured stars Troy Polamalu and James Harrison didn’t have to miss a game. Ben Roethlisberger is second in the league in passer rating at 109.2, but the team is second-to-last in rushing offense at 65 yards per game. Next up: vs. Philadelphia.
13. Denver (2-2); Last week: 11 – Only Houston and San Diego are allowing fewer points per game (20.8) in the AFC than the stingy Broncos, who throttled Oakland, 37-6. Peyton Manning connected on 30-of-38 passes for 338 yards and three touchdowns, and Willis McGahee picked up 112 yards for his 32nd career 100-yard game. Next up: at New England.
14. Cincinnati (3-1); Last week: 12 – The Bengals are scoring — and being scored on — plenty this season as they’re both averaging and allowing 28 points a game. They thrashed lowly Jacksonville, 27-10, as Andy Dalton accounted for three scores and A.J. Green caught 6 passes for 117 yards and a touchdown. Next up: vs. Miami.
15. Minnesota (3-1); Last week: 18 – The Vikings matched last season’s victory total and snapped an 11-game NFC North losing streak with a 20-13 victory over Detroit. Percy Harvin and Marcus Sherels scored touchdowns on returns and Minnesota’s defense recorded five sacks and held the Lions to 55 rushing yards on 20 carries. Next up: vs. Tennessee.
16. Dallas (2-2); Last week: 7 – After his five-pick Monday night in a 34-18 loss to Chicago, Tony Romo is the only active quarterback with multiple five-interception games. Jason Witten had 13 catches for 112 yards and a touchdown, and Dez Bryant added 8 for 105 yards in the loss. Since the start of the 1997 season, Dallas is 122-122 in the regular season. Next up: Bye.
17. Washington (2-2); Last week: 20 – Leading 21-3 in the second quarter, Washington saw Tampa Bay take a lead with under two minutes to go, before Robert Griffin III rallied the Redskins to a 24-22 win. Griffin was spectacular, completing 26 of 35 passes for 323 yards and running for 43 yards and a score. Next up: vs. Atlanta.
18. St. Louis (2-2); Last week: 24 – Special teams carried the Rams to a 19-13 defeat of Seattle as Greg Zuerlein kicked four field goals, including a club-record 60-yarder. St. Louis also scored off a fake field goal, and the defense collected three interceptions. Next up: vs. Arizona.
19. Seattle (2-2); Last week: 17 – Seattle is only allowing an NFC-best 14.5 points per game while rookie Russell Wilson learns on the job, and it showed in a 19-13 loss to St. Louis. The Rams gained just 286 total yards, but Wilson threw three interceptions, including one at the Rams’ 25 with a minute to go. Next up: at Carolina.
20. New York Jets (2-2); Last week: 16 – The Jets crashed in a terrible 34-0 beatdown by San Francisco. Mark Sanchez completed just 13-of-29 passes for 103 yards, and New York lost three fumbles and gained only 145 yards of total offense. The defense surrendered 245 rushing yards. Next up: vs. Houston.
21. Buffalo (2-2): Last week: 21 – Tennessee and Kansas City are the only teams to allow more points in the NFL than the struggling Bills (131). New England contributed a large chunk in its 52-28 win over Buffalo, as Ryan Fitzpatrick (22-of-39 passing for 350 yards) threw four interceptions and the team lost two fumbles. Next up: at San Francisco.
22. Detroit (1-3); Last week: 19 – This is not how Detroit wanted to head into a bye week as the Lions, once seen as a Super Bowl hopeful, lost to Minnesota, 20-13. Only New Orleans and Washington have allowed more points in the NFC than the Lions (114), who became the first team since at least 1940 to give up a kickoff and a punt return for a touchdown in consecutive games. Next up: Bye.
23. Carolina (1-3); Last week: 22 – The Panthers let one get away as Matt Ryan and Atlanta rallied in the final minute to win, 30-28. Cam Newton (15-of-24 passing for 215 yards) threw two touchdown passes and ran for another, while also gaining 86 yards on 9 carries. However, the defense yielded 426 yards of total offense and the team was penalized 9 times for 64 yards. Next up: vs. Seattle.
24. Tampa Bay (1-3); Last week: 23 – Despite rallying from a 21-3 second-quarter deficit to lead, 22-21 with under two minutes left, Tampa Bay lost, 24-22, thanks to Robert Griffin III’s comeback. Josh Freeman completed 24-of-39 passes for 299 yards, but, for the second straight game, the Bucs were penalized 10 times, this time totaling 107 yards. Next up: Bye.
25. Indianapolis (1-2); Last week: 25 – In a division quickly collapsing — only Houston has more than one win — the Colts gained ground only because they didn’t play. Andrew Luck and company will face a big-time challenge this week against Green Bay. Next up: vs. Green Bay.
26. Oakland (1-3); Last week: 26 – Denver more than doubled Oakland’s total yardage output (503 to 237) in a 37-6 pounding. Denver never punted and owned almost a 15-minute advantage in time of possession. But the bottom of the NFL is so bad, there’s no room any lower for the Raiders. Next up: Bye.
27. Kansas City (1-3); Last week: 27 – The Chiefs had six turnovers, nine penalties, and no chance as San Diego raced to a 27-6 halftime lead and cruised to an easy 37-20 win. Only Tennessee (151) has allowed more points than Kansas City’s 136. Next up: vs. Baltimore.
28. Miami (1-3); Last week: 31 – How bad is the bottom of the NFL? Just by forcing overtime against the Cardinals in a 24-21 loss, the Dolphins get to climb a few notches. Ryan Tannehill (26-of-41 passing for 431 yards and 1 TD) and NFL receiving yardage leader Brian Hartline (12 catches for 253 yards and 1 TD) had big days. Next up: at Cincinnati.
29. Tennessee (1-3); Last week: 29 – Adding injury to an insulting season, quarterback Jake Locker left the Houston game early after a hit to his left, non-throwing shoulder. He missed a walkover, as the Texans won, 38-14. One bright spot: Chris Johnson gained 141 yards on 25 carries. Next up: at Minnesota.
30. New Orleans (0-4); Last week: 28 – The Saints have yielded the most points in the NFC (130), but Drew Brees and the offense are keeping things close, having scored 110. That was again the case in a 28-27 loss to Green Bay, despite a 446-yard, 3-touchdown day by Brees. Next up: vs. San Diego.
31. Jacksonville (1-3); Last week: 30 – Blaine Gabbert was sacked six times and the offense had just 212 yards of total offense in a 27-10 loss to Cincinnati. Jacksonville’s NFL-worst offense is averaging just 254.3 yards and 15.5 points per game. It’s not the ideal time to face Chicago’s intimidating defense. Next up: vs. Chicago.
32. Cleveland (0-4); Last week: 32 – Phil Dawson kicked three yard field goals of at least 50 yards and Brandon Weeden connected on 25-of-52 passes for 320 yards, but the Browns lost to Baltimore, 23-16, to extend their winless streak to 10. It’s the third time since 1998 that the Browns have lost their first four games (1999 and 2009 were the others). Next up: at New York Giants.