Week 5 NFL Power Rankings: 1-32 poll, plus playoff chances for every team


While the NFL Power Rankings are a weekly thing, it’s never too early to jump ahead and look toward the playoffs. With roughly a quarter of the season in the books, that’s what we’re doing.

This week, we determined each team’s postseason chances, according to the ESPN Football Power Index (FPI), then we had each NFL Nation writer talk about those percentages and how they relate to the teams they cover.

How we rank in our Power Rankings: Our power panel — a group of more than 80 writers, editors and TV personalities — evaluates how teams stack up throughout the season.

Previous rankings: 4 | 3 | 2 | Preseason

Jump to:
NE | NO | NYG | NYJ | PHI | PIT | SF

Week 4 ranking: 1

FPI chance to make playoffs: 99.5%

A lot has to go wrong for the Chiefs to miss the playoffs, but 99.5% sounds a little too high in a season where so much is unknown. The Chiefs are in the midst of a stretch in which they’re playing three games in 11 days. Could something unforeseen happen in those three games to throw off their carefully laid plans? Or, later in the season, what about COVID-19? Last year, the Chiefs hit a midseason stretch where they lost four of six games and didn’t look like legitimate Super Bowl contenders. Something similar this time is unlikely, but more than 0.5% possible. — Adam Teicher

Week 4 ranking: 3

FPI chance to make playoffs: 94.4%

Despite shaky play from their defense and a host of injuries, the unbeaten Seahawks are sitting pretty, and this figure seems just right. They’re atop of the NFC West and two games up on the 49ers. They should be heavily favored Sunday at home in prime time against the 1-3 Vikings. The Seahawks’ bye after that should help them get closer to full strength when they play Arizona in Week 7. With their strong start and quarterback Russell Wilson again playing at an MVP level, it would take something catastrophic for Seattle to miss the playoffs, especially now that seven teams make it instead of six. — Brady Henderson

Week 4 ranking: 4

FPI chance to make playoffs: 94.1%

This seems about right unless the injury bug — which the Packers largely avoided last season — keeps getting worse. Last week, they played without Davante Adams, and then his replacement, Allen Lazard, suffered a core muscle injury at some point during his big game (six catches for 146 yards and a touchdown) and had surgery. The Pack also lost ILB Christian Kirksey indefinitely, and they have played without DT Kenny Clark and RT Billy Turner. They’ve managed just fine so far, but if it continues, it will have an impact. — Rob Demovsky

Week 4 ranking: 2

FPI chance to make playoffs: 96.1%

It’s tempting to say this is too low for Baltimore. The Ravens have the second-easiest remaining schedule, according to FPI. Baltimore is favored by more than a touchdown in eight of its final 12 regular-season games. November presents the most difficult month, with games against the Steelers (twice), Colts, Patriots and Titans. But the Ravens have a favorable finish against the Jaguars, Giants and Bengals. It’s tough to discount the Ravens, especially with Lamar Jackson. He is 22-1 (.956) as an NFL starter in the regular season against teams not named the Kansas City Chiefs. — Jamison Hensley

Week 4 ranking: 5

FPI chance to make playoffs: 91.7%

This is about where it should be. The Bills are for real this season, with a high-octane offense powered by an early MVP candidate in Josh Allen. The only thing keeping this number from being even higher is Buffalo’s defensive struggles through four games, but that unit showed serious signs of life during a Week 4 win over the Raiders. The Bills have the seventh-hardest remaining schedule according to FPI, but if this defense can return to the top-three form we’ve seen from it each of the past two seasons, Buffalo will be contending for an AFC title — and possibly a Super Bowl. — Marcel Louis-Jacques

Week 4 ranking: 6

FPI chance to make playoffs: 69.5%

Considering the defense has given up 60 points over the past two games, this is just right. Fortunately, the offense put up 33 and 30 points, respectively, in those two contests. The teeth of the schedule is approaching, with games against the Bills, Steelers, Colts and Ravens coming up. It is reasonable that the Titans lose the majority of those games, though Tennessee is a team that has a habit of playing up to the competition. Perhaps the biggest obstacle is the recent coronavirus outbreak that decimated the Titans’ roster and caused last week’s game to be postponed. However, the week off did give players such as Taylor Lewan, Adoree’ Jackson and A.J. Brown additional time to get healthy. — Turron Davenport



Adam Schefter details how the NFL will handle the Titans’ coronavirus outbreak and scheduling flexibility for the rest of the season.

Week 4 ranking: 7

FPI chance to make playoffs: 75.6%

With a heavy gauntlet coming up, this seems just right for the 3-0 Steelers. Between a 13-game stretch to end the season and all of their divisional games remaining, the Steelers have a tough road to reaching the playoffs for the first time since 2017. Through three games, however, they’ve shown they have the right combination of a championship-level defense and a balanced offense to navigate that difficult schedule. — Brooke Pryor

Week 4 ranking: 8

FPI chance to make playoffs: 79.0%

The Rams are potentially a questionable call away from being 4-0 after staging an impressive 25-point, come-from-behind effort in Buffalo that fell just short of a win. They are in second place behind the Seahawks in the NFC West and a game up on the 49ers and Cardinals. The remainder of their schedule, outside of the division and contests against the Buccaneers and Patriots, doesn’t appear daunting enough to keep them from securing one of seven NFC playoff spots. The offense and defense have appeared dominant at times, but finding consistency will be key in maintaining their position. And so far, injuries have not been a major concern. — Lindsey Thiry

Week 4 ranking: 10

FPI chance to make playoffs: 70.8%

Seventy percent feels a tad optimistic, considering the Saints’ lackluster start to the season. But they would actually be the final wild-card team in the NFC if the season ended today, and they have a critical head-to-head win over the division-rival Buccaneers under their belt. And the Saints are bound to get better after WR Michael Thomas and other key players return from injuries, right? The Saints are less of a “sure thing” than they appeared to be one month ago. But this remains one of the most talented and proven rosters in the league. — Mike Triplett

Week 4 ranking: 9

FPI chance to make playoffs: 70.3%

After winning the AFC East for 11 straight years, it’s notable that the Patriots don’t have the highest FPI in the division; that rightfully goes to the Bills at this time. Cam Newton‘s return to health is the key to this figure being right. They might be able to get by for a couple of games without him, but Newton puts the Patriots closer to contender status. — Mike Reiss

Week 4 ranking: 12

FPI chance to make playoffs: 87.3%

Wow, that’s high. But as Scotty Miller said of Tom Brady, “How can you not believe in him? He’s the greatest to ever do it.” Brady engineered a 17-point comeback to beat the Chargers on Sunday — the second-biggest rally in franchise history — throwing five touchdowns to five different receivers. A big part of this will be overcoming the lack of playoff experience for many on the team and injuries to key skill-position players. Brady has been without Pro Bowl wide receiver Chris Godwin for two games, tight end O.J. Howard is likely done for the season and the QB’s game-winning touchdown on Sunday was thrown to his fourth-string running back, Ke’Shawn Vaughn. They’ve going to need all their young guys to step up each week. — Jenna Laine

Week 4 ranking: 16

FPI chance to make playoffs: 72.9%

This is too high, but not by much. The Colts have taken advantage of the first part of their schedule by winning three games against teams that are a combined 4-8 this season. The Colts have proved they don’t need Philip Rivers to dominate each week. That’s because their defense has been the stingiest in the NFL so far. The Colts will need to continue to be a complete team the rest of the way because they still have Green Bay, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Tennessee (twice) coming up. — Mike Wells

Week 4 ranking: 11

FPI chance to make playoffs: 61.4%

In past years, this would probably be too high, but with seven playoff spots available for the first time, the Niners still have a good shot to get back to the postseason despite their disappointing start. This team has been ravaged by injuries but should get many of the key players back in the next few weeks. The schedule is going to get more difficult and the margin for error much smaller, but in looking around the NFC, it’s still hard to find seven teams that are undoubtedly better. Just don’t expect another NFC West title and the No. 1 seed. — Nick Wagoner

Week 4 ranking: 18

FPI chance to make playoffs: 67.8%

The Browns’ offense looks legit, even if it will have to weather losing RB Nick Chubb for the next few weeks to a knee injury. Cleveland also has the second-easiest remaining schedule. So already at 3-1, with several other expected AFC wild-card contenders such as Denver and Houston faltering, the Browns seem to have a better than 50% chance of finally snapping the league’s longest playoff drought (18 years). — Jake Trotter

Week 4 ranking: 14

FPI chance to make playoffs: 40.0%

The Bears are the softest 3-1 team in the NFL. It took a pair of improbable comebacks for Chicago to beat doormats Detroit and Atlanta, and the Bears nearly blew a 17-point lead versus the Giants, so this is too high. Sunday’s ugly 19-11 loss to the Colts confirmed that the Bears are not ready for prime time. Maybe — by virtue of getting off to such a good start — the Bears manage to sneak into the playoffs, but those odds are no higher than 25%. — Jeff Dickerson

Week 4 ranking: 13

FPI chance to make playoffs: 17.4%

The Cardinals seemed poised for a playoff run — and a deep one at that — after starting 2-0. But now that they’ve lost two in a row to the Lions and Panthers — whom, in theory, the Cards should have beaten after their fast start — the postseason seems like a hope and a dream. There might not be enough time for Arizona to rebound for a playoff spot — even with wins in the next two contests against the Jets and Cowboys — due to a fairly tough schedule after Week 6. The first six games was the stretch of the season when Arizona could have positively determined its playoff fate. — Josh Weinfuss

Week 4 ranking: 15

FPI chance to make playoffs: 27.3%

You know what, with the Raiders now calling Las Vegas home, I’m going to gamble and say this is too low. Sure, the past two losses have been dispiriting, and another thumping at Kansas City might be in the offing. But entering the season, a 2-3 record at the bye would have been just fine, thank you very much, and a nice springboard into a schedule that lightens up a bit after said bye. So long as the Raiders’ defense can figure out some things. Otherwise, forget everything I just typed. — Paul Gutierrez



Rex Ryan blasts the Cowboys’ defensive efforts against the Browns after allowing 49 points to Cleveland and 108 over the last three games.

Week 4 ranking: 17

FPI chance to make playoffs: 68.7%

That figure represents too much faith in the returns of Leighton Vander Esch, Sean Lee, Chidobe Awuzie and Anthony Brown from injury to help the defense. The Cowboys will score points. That we know. Can they stop anybody? They have struggled in coverage in allowing too many big plays. They allowed 307 yards on the ground to Cleveland. Their saving grace is that they play in the NFC East. They will be in it until the end, but that percentage seems too high, especially with what should be a more difficult close to the season than beginning. — Todd Archer

Week 4 ranking: 19

FPI chance to make playoffs: 5.6%

This figure could be right, but as rookie quarterback Justin Herbert continues to impress and grow within the system, the Chargers very well could go on a late winning streak and squeak in. But having RB Austin Ekeler likely out with a hamstring/knee injury means that rookie Joshua Kelley needs to hang on to the ball after key fumbles in the past two games. The defense needs to get better at forcing turnovers. The Chargers have been so close — all three losses were within one score — and they need to figure out how to bust through. — Shelley Smith

Week 4 ranking: 22

FPI chance to make playoffs: 25.4%

Where’s the respect for the division-leading Birds? OK, they’re not very good, but that’s basically a requirement to play in the NFC East, which has a combined record of 3-12-1 through four weeks. The Cowboys can move the football, but their defense has allowed a league-high 146 points. Dallas doesn’t deserve to be heavy favorites in anything right now, unless we’re voting for most overhyped team of the past decade. — Tim McManus

Week 4 ranking: 21

FPI chance to make playoffs: 22.7%

The Vikings grabbed their first win of the season by beating an inept Houston squad. And still, Minnesota couldn’t close out a team it had a 31-16 lead on with 10:50 to play without a late-game scare. So this seems right. Kirk Cousins is correct: Any time a team can score 30 points and put up 400-plus yards on offense, it’s doing something right. That is part of the Vikings’ blueprint for winning games, but until this offense can routinely win shootouts against other high-octane offenses, the Vikings’ playoff chances look dim. — Courtney Cronin

Week 4 ranking: 29

FPI chance to make playoffs: 17.9%

Two wins in a row give the Panthers optimism toward sliding into the final playoff spot. And that’s possible in what appears to be a down year for the NFC. They have been in every game and shown improvement each week, which also is a good sign. The next four games against Atlanta, Chicago, New Orleans and the Falcons again will be key because it gets tougher after that; Carolina needs to go 2-2, at worst, and more likely 3-1 to have a chance to be relevant down the stretch. This is a young team with talent that should be playing its best during the second half of the season. — David Newton



Dan Orlovsky contends that the Texans firing coach and general manager Bill O’Brien is the best thing that could happen to quarterback Deshaun Watson.

Week 4 ranking: 20

FPI chance to make playoffs: 4.9%

It’s certainly not too low. Only one team in NFL history has ever started a season 0-4 and made the playoffs (the 1992 Chargers), and the Texans don’t look like the second, especially after firing head coach/general manager Bill O’Brien on Monday. Houston had a tough start to the season with games against the Chiefs, Ravens and Steelers, but their showing against the now 1-3 Vikings indicates they’re not a playoff team in 2020. — Sarah Barshop

Week 4 ranking: 24

FPI playoff percentage: 5.0%

This might be a tad low given there are seven playoff spots this season — and Miami still gets to play the Jets twice — but this is in the ballpark. It’s unlikely the Dolphins will be a playoff team this season, as they are a bit too young with holes in key areas. Brian Flores always has the Dolphins playing hard, and they are much more competitive than the first half of the 2019 season, but this seems like a team that will beat the really bad teams and lose to the good ones. They seem on track for a six- or seven-win season. — Cameron Wolfe

Week 4 ranking: 23

FPI chance to make playoffs: 5.1%

The Lions are in a bad place at the moment at 1-3 heading into their bye. They’re unable to stop the run, and they have a largely invisible pass rush and an offense with major inconsistencies. Detroit’s biggest hope is its October and November schedule, which features only one team (Indianapolis) with a winning record through four weeks. If Detroit can capitalize, it has a chance of being able to play games that matter in December. But the Lions have to improve a lot — a lot — between now and then for that to happen. — Michael Rothstein



Former Lions QB Dan Orlovsky believes Matt Patricia was set up for success when he took the head coaching job in Detroit, but has failed to take accountability during his lackluster tenure.

Week 4 ranking: 25

FPI chance to make playoffs: 10.2%

The reason it’s this high, of course, is because of their division. Still, Dallas is a botched onside kick away from being 0-4, so there shouldn’t be such a huge gap between the Cowboys and the rest of the division. But Washington’s overall youth and inexperience at quarterback makes it a long shot even in a bad division. If Washington receives more consistent quarterback play, it has a chance. Also: In the past 20 years, Washington has started 1-3 three times and hasn’t yet finished better than 6-10. Of course, that might win the division by a game this year. — John Keim

Week 4 ranking: 30

FPI chance to make playoffs: 7.6%

The Bengals are 3-1 against the spread, which indicates they’ve been better than their record indicates and are capable of a miraculous playoff push. But this team is still just too far away from being truly competitive for a playoff berth in 2020. The Bengals need to find a way to win close games, continue QB Joe Burrow‘s development and figure out how to be more consistent on defense before a postseason push becomes a real possibility. — Ben Baby

Week 4 ranking: 28

FPI chance to make playoffs: 4.6%

History suggests this is just about right: Since 1980, only six teams have made the playoffs after starting the season 0-3, the record the Broncos were sitting on until they beat the equally struggling Jets on Thursday night. The schedule doesn’t do them any favors, with a contest at New England on Sunday, two tilts against the Chiefs and a game apiece versus the Bills and Saints. Meanwhile, there are six starters already on injured reserve, including Von Miller and Courtland Sutton, and that’s in addition to quarterback Drew Lock having already missed two games and running back Phillip Lindsay having sat out three. Even with an expanded playoff field, the Broncos have the most uphill of climbs, — Jeff Legwold

Week 4 ranking: 26

FPI chance to make playoffs: 4.5%

That figure is just right for how the Falcons had been playing through the first four weeks. When you blow two fourth-quarter leads of 15-plus points in consecutive weeks, you don’t deserve much of a pass. It might take a miracle for them to get back into playoff contention. Then again, the Falcons fully understand from Super Bowl LI that miracles do happen for some teams. — Vaughn McClure

Week 4 ranking: 27

FPI chance to make playoffs: 1.6%

The Jaguars are giving up 29.3 points and 399.5 yards per game — and they’ve got key players injured from a unit that was unable to stop anybody. When you look at the QBs the Jaguars have to face from here on out — Ben Roethlisberger, Matthew Stafford, Deshaun Watson, Aaron Rodgers, Lamar Jackson and Kirk Cousins — it’s hard to see them stopping any of them. The offense is going to have to outscore opponents every week, and while it is better than it was the past two seasons, there’s still not enough playmakers to do that. — Mike DiRocco

Week 4 ranking: 31

FPI chance to make playoffs: 1.3%

It should be zero. The Giants might be getting — incrementally — better, but they’re still a long way from being able to make the postseason. They still haven’t proved capable of winning a game, and they have to play the remainder of the season without their best player, Saquon Barkley. While the Giants might have enough playmakers to eventually score 20 points in a game (something they haven’t done yet this season), it isn’t going to be enough to produce consistent offense. Without consistent offense, you can’t produce consistent wins and make a run at the postseason. — Jordan Raanan

Week 4 ranking: 32

FPI chance to make playoffs: 0.2%

This might be too high, and that’s not a joke. The Jets are doing nothing well; they have nothing to hang their hats on as a source of optimism. They can’t score, can’t protect the quarterback, can’t cover, can’t tackle and can’t help themselves when it comes to dumb penalties. Consider: They have scored only five touchdowns, three of which came on broken plays when QB Sam Darnold made something out of nothing. Yes, they’re a mess. — Rich Cimini

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