Never before have so many football fans been so happy to see certain referees out on the field. The "real refs" were far from flawless during Week 4 NFL games, but just knowing that the replacements weren't deciding games brought a sense of relief to players, coaches and those watching the action in-person and via TV. As for the Week 4 games and Week 5 NFL power rankings, the kings remained atop the throne for at least another week, while the worst team in the league is still without a win.
2012 Week 5 NFL power rankings
32. Cleveland Browns (0-4): Showed heart at Baltimore, but the Browns just don't have the weapons to compete against the best of the best in football. Things could get ugly at MetLife this coming weekend if the Giants aren't looking past Cleveland.
31. New Orleans Saints (0-4): The Saints are already four games behind Atlanta in the division race. Does anybody see New Orleans even flirting with a playoff spot this fall?
30. Indianapolis Colts (1-2): Had an extra week to prepare for Aaron Rodgers and company. I'm not sure it will matter.
29. Kansas City Chiefs (1-3): Matt Cassel could lose his starting job. To Brady Quinn. In 2012. Yep, pretty much sums up the Chiefs after September.
28. Tennessee Titans (1-3): Great that Chris Johnson finally showed up. Let's see if he can put together consecutive solid performances, especially if Jake Locker is sidelined for a significant amount of time.
27. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-3): Cincy toyed around with the Jags before finally putting Jacksonville away. When MJD isn't steamrolling over the opposition, Jacksonville isn't winning.
26. Miami Dolphins (1-3): So close. So very close. A good team doesn't let that win slip away regardless of the quality of the opponent.
25. Carolina Panthers (1-3): Nobody can put the loss at Atlanta just on Cam Newton. The defense only needed to make one play during that final drive in order to seal the deal.
24. Oakland Raiders (1-3): Oakland has no pass defense, and that win over Pittsburgh sure feels less special after being blown out by the Broncos. Even NFL RedZone stopped caring about that game before it was over.
23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-3): Tampa Bay once again seems to be able to hang with but not knock off good teams. They've now lost three contests to NFC East opponents.
22. Buffalo Bills (2-2): What happened to the defensive line advertised to be one of the best in the conference? Giving up 45 points in the second half is a great way to derail a season and quick.
21. Seattle Seahawks (2-2): Apologists can talk about Seattle's defense until they're blue in the face. The 'Hawks are really a 1-3 team, and everybody knows it.
20. Detroit Lions (1-3): The Lions could soon be in trouble. They continue to lose the first halves of games, and it's a problem they must remedy if they're going to compete for a playoff spot in 2012.
19. New York Jets (2-2): No Revis. No Holmes. Fans and analysts alike are questioning if Mark Sanchez should lose his starting job to Tim Tebow. The Jets are a mess.
18. St. Louis Rams (2-2): Good on the Rams for bringing Seattle back to reality. The St. Louis offensive line actually protected Sam Bradford, and the team's defense made plays when necessary, something that didn't happen when the Rams faced Detroit in Week 1.
17. Washington Redskins (2-2): Billy Cundiff buried a game-winning FG, the legend of RG3 continues to grow, and the defense didn't give up 30 points. I'd call that an all-around nervy but solid Sunday for the 'Skins.
16. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-2): A rested Steelers defense that's dominant at home gets to face a turnover-happy Philadelphia offense that managed to hold onto the football against the Giants. Something has got to give.
15. Dallas Cowboys (2-2): I realize that the Cowboys beat the Giants in the season opener, but does anybody actually believe Dallas has been the better team since that Wednesday night? Tony Romo has averaged a turnover per quarter in his past two games.
14. New York Giants (2-2): Shoddy play-calling and a costly penalty at the worst time cost the Giants what would have been a huge win at Philly. The defending champs are 0-2 in division play.
13. Denver Broncos (3-1): Peyton Manning did exactly what he should do, and that's light up the scoreboard when facing a bad pass defense. We're in for another edition of Manning vs. Brady this coming Sunday.
12. San Diego Chargers (3-1): A team that's very good when facing very bad teams. Let's see if that trend continues when they play against the Saints.
11. New England Patriots (2-2): Offense came to life in the second half against Buffalo, but these still don't look like your standard Patriots. I can't put them in the top ten of NFL power rankings this week.
10. Cincinnati Bengals (3-1): The Bengals, like San Diego, need to show they can beat playoff teams. Every win counts the same in the standings, of course, but I'm still unsure about Cincy finishing ahead of either Pittsburgh or Baltimore in the division race.
9. Minnesota Vikings (3-1): The Vikes absolutely deserve to be in the top ten of NFL power rankings this week. They look as capable of winning the division as does any NFC North team after four weeks.
8. Philadelphia Eagles (3-1): Philadelphia could easily be 0-4, but good teams find ways to eek out victories. It's amazing what not turning the ball over once per quarter does for your chances of winning a game.
7. Chicago Bears (3-1): I give credit to the Chicago defense for another dominating performance, but I still can't go crazy about the Bears. They've yet to beat what would today be considered to be a playoff team.
6. Green Bay Packers (2-2): First of all, the Packers absolutely should be 3-1. Second, this is quickly going to become an "us against the world" team if important calls continue to incorrectly go against them. That could be mean bad times for the rest of the NFL.
5. San Francisco 49ers (3-1): Nothing cures your woes like facing the offense of the 2012 Jets. That game could have used a mercy rule.
4. Baltimore Ravens (3-1): Baltimore survived facing the Browns on just three days of rest, and they now have a couple of extra days to prepare for lowly KC. Perhaps facing the Chiefs is just what this defense needs.
3. Arizona Cardinals (4-0): You can't rank them ahead of Houston or Atlanta, but 4-0 is 4-0. Arizona's confidence grows with each win.
2. Houston Texans (4-0): Houston is far and away the best squad in the conference. A Monday night showdown with the Jets could prove to be a trap game for the Texans, or the end of the Sanchize era in New York.
1. Atlanta Falcons (4-0): Atlanta held onto the top spot in NFL power rankings by finding a way to win when doing so seemed impossible. That's what champions do.
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