About midway through the third quarter on Monday night, I just couldn’t help myself anymore. So I texted Country Preacher the now famous quote from Dennis Green, “They are who we thought they were,” signaling the demise of the Miami Dolphins in their road showdown with the New Orleans Saints. The truth is that the Dolphins are a much improved team over last season, but they still aren’t quite ready for prime time. Their linebackers and secondary got torched by Drew Brees, and the offensive line gave Ryan Tannehill another difficult day at the office as the Saints trounced the Fins 38-17.
Week Five still provides us with a host of unbeaten teams, including the Kansas City Chiefs, who throttled the Giants, aggravating an already tense situation in the Big Apple. Giants’s safety Antrel Rolle tried to boost morale by predicting that the G-Men would win their final twelve games, but it’s not a convincing act; the Giants aren’t just making mental mistakes. Instead, they are getting physically dominated, which is something that can’t be corrected. The plight of the Giants is being mirrored in Pittsburgh, where the proud Steelers have tumbled into anonymity in their own city now that the Pirates have made the post-season for the first time since Bill Cowher started as Head Coach of the Steelers. Unlike the Giants however, the Steelers seem to be doing themselves in, and the team appears entirely capable of coming out of their funk, even if they lack an elite roster.
As for my Patriots, they handled the Falcons on Sunday night, but lost Vince Wilfork for the season. The offense is showing signs of life while awaiting the return of both Danny Amendola and Rob Gronkowski, but they are winning on defense, which is a wonderful thing for a Patriots’ fan to be able to see. Wilfork’s loss places pressure on the defensive line, but as always it is simply “next man up.” The Pats face the unpredictable Bengals this Sunday in Cincinnati.
With the Dolphins’ loss, the Preacher has come back into the fold and is no longer the outlier. Here are your Week Five Power Rankings.
1. Denver Broncos (4-0, 6 first place votes)  – Is there a record (or a defense) that Peyton Manning hasn’t broken?
2. Seattle Seahawks (4-0)  – They benefited from a Texans’ collapse, but 4-0 is 4-0.
3. New Orleans Saints (4-0)  – Brees to Graham should be trademarked.
4. New England Patriots (4-0)  – Coaching and defense still wins championships.
5. Kansas City Chiefs (4-0)  – The Preacher’s not a believer yet, but the rest of us are.
6. Indianapolis Colts (3-1)  – Luck + Richardson = Dangerous.
7. Miami Dolphins (3-1)  – Give them a pass for running into a buzzsaw, but no so sure that was an aberration.
8. San Francisco 49ers (2-2)  – Still poised for big noise in January.
9. Detroit Lions (3-1)  – Is it just irony that the Lions are calling the Bears a bunch of thugs?
11. Tennessee Titans (3-1)  – This may be the peak with Locker on the shelf.
12. Houston Texans (2-2)  – At least Matt Schaub still looks great in his letterman jacket.
13. Cincinnati Bengals (2-2)  – Which team shows up to face the Patriots?
14. Green Bay Packers (1-2)  – Potentially dangerous, but we think flawed.
15. Atlanta Falcons (1-3)  – They may be better than their record, but they are still a 1-3 team.
16. Dallas Cowboys (2-2)  – Just like the Bengals, but with less potential upside.
17. San Diego Chargers (2-2)  – This sleeper team is now on our radar.
18. Carolina Panthers (1-2)  – Will the early bye help propel them back into the race?
19. Baltimore Ravens (2-2)  – Just another .500 team.
20. Cleveland Browns (2-2)  – Have they finally found a quarterback? Hoyer projects confidence for a surprising rise.
21. Arizona Cardinals (2-2)  – Any given Sunday.
22. Minnesota Vikings (1-3)  – Hopefully they don’t have to wait four more weeks for a second win.
23. Buffalo Bills (2-2)  – Solid win over the Ravens; this team is showing improvement.
24. St. Louis Rams (1-3)  – A visit from the Jags offers the promise of a Week Five wake-up call.
25. New York Jets (2-2)  – New quarterback, new butt fumble.
26. Philadelphia Eagles (1-3)  – Still a few players away from being competitive.
27. New York Giants (0-4)  – First a Yankees’ collapse, and now this. Boston fans are loving this.
28. Pittsburgh Steelers (0-4)  – Who knew Pittsburgh was a baseball town?
29. Washington Redskins (1-3)  – Might still win the division, thanks to the Cowboys’ consistent mediocrity.
30. Oakland Raiders (1-3)  – This is actually a decent team that will surprise some people.
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-4)  – Once again the Bucs pulls defeat from the jaws of victory.
32. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-4)  – Hopeless.