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Power rankings revisited: Week 5

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The Broncos almost have to assume a spot among the top five in ESPN.com's next power rankings, right?

Yes, in theory, but the reality might be different. The top three teams in the Week 5 rankings won convincingly, the fourth team had a bye (New Orleans) and the fifth team could win Monday night (Miami).

I might move the Broncos into the fifth spot even if the Jets beat the Dolphins. There's no arguing with 5-0.

Here's another issue for debate: Should Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton land a spot in the next MVP Watch after completing 35 of 48 passes for 330 yards in outdueling Tom Brady? You tell me.

And now, the power rankings revisited (chart shows rankings entering Week 5, with losing teams in red) ...

The reckoning: Five games featured lower-ranked teams defeating higher-ranked teams:

  • (8) Denver 20, (6) New England 17. There's no use trying to explain the Broncos this season. How many people had Josh McDaniels listed as a leading candidate for coach of the year? Not even owner Pat Bowlen could have known.

  • (11) Cincinnati 17, (7) Baltimore 14. The Bengals held Joe Flacco to a 70.1 rating with two interceptions. Against all previous form, Cincinnati is suddenly a gritty team that knows how to win.

  • (24) Seattle 41, (18) Jacksonville 0. The Jaguars should be ashamed. They managed one sack against a team playing its fourth-string left tackle and third-string left guard (counting Mike Wahle as the projected starter heading into training camp).

  • (26) Carolina 20, (22) Washington 17. More evidence I was right in ranking the Redskins 27th. This is a bad team, folks.

  • (29) Cleveland 6, (23) Buffalo 3. Nobody calls out Trent Edwards and gets away with it. Well, Rob Ryan does.

Still to play: (5) New York Jets at (21) Miami Dolphins on "Monday Night Football."

Welcome to Loserville: The Jaguars, Raiders, Bucs, Rams, 49ers and Titans lost by a combined score of 232-50. Should be an electric atmosphere in Jacksonville when the Rams visit the Jaguars in Week 6.

Doing 120 in the southbound lane: Jacksonville, San Francisco, Washington. The 49ers went from 35-point winners to 35-point losers. Mike Singletary deserves an extra defeat on his resume after losing his cool and jawing with Falcons guard Harvey Dahl. We want winners, Mike, not whiners.

Northbound in a hurry: Denver, Atlanta, Seattle. We'll be adding Matt Ryan to the MVP Watch list this week. The 49ers' defense had no chance against him.

My early favorite for the No. 1 spot: Indianapolis, again, and it's non-negotiable.