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.
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.
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.