Rick’s Pigskin Piñata: Taking a Swing at the Week 5 NFL Power Rankings

Before we string up the paper-mache donkey for another swing at the unknown, the herculean cuts in the name of what teams will be in Houston in February for the Super Bowl alongside Lady Gaga and her…stuff—let’s give credit, where credit is due.

It’s been 67 years since we’ve rolled into any given NFL week without Vin Scully in the booth for the Dodgers organization. What a voice, moreover what a man, Scully encapsulated the beauty of sports in the most simplistic way: the telling of an interesting tale, or explaining the moment-to-moment action, so casually, it seemed like the entire fan base was sitting right next to him.

His style was unmistakably unique, no one could tell a story about a player’s entire, obscure history, or the history of baseball, the way Scully could. He was the Rushmore of broadcasters—long before he led us through Kevin Costner’s love of Kelly Preston, table saws, and for the game.

And his voice transcended the airwaves beyond baseball. One of the NFL’s shining moments that didn’t involve the Bears break-dancing, known as “The Catch”—the back-of-the-end-zone grab by Dwight Clark from a scurrying Joe Montana in the 1982 NFC Championship game between the 49ers and the Cowboys—was (and forever will be) narrated by Vin Scully.

What a guy…

The sports world moves on though, and that brings us to October in the NFL. It’s Week 5 and things are starting to get nutty! What do we know? Nothing, really, October in the NFL is sort of like a four-way stop sign in Los Angeles, where everyone has an idea of what should happen, but the collective understanding is generally nothing more than stalling, bird-flipping and overzealous honking.

There are currently three teams that have a chance to go undefeated, and 29 teams that do not…and that’s about as surefire as I’m willing to get. But the fun never ends with the NFL guessing game, so I’ll direct you to go around me, please, proceeding with caution to the below information highway —I’ll just be over here, fixing my bumper with some duct tape…

It’s Week 5, gang, let’s rank!

32. Cleveland Browns: 0-4 (last week: 31)

The Browns are the last team on the planet that hasn’t won a game. Last week, the refs screwed them. This week, they play New England…

31. San Francisco 49ers: 1-3 (last week: 28)

I’d say hand the ball off more to Tom Rathman, but he’s retired. Maybe just stay in the cart and keep score—while also making sure the cooler doesn’t tip? Let Blaine do that.

30. Miami Dolphins: 1-3 (last week: 24)

All right…you’ll only wear it when Aunt Clara visits.

29. Detroit Lions: 1-3 (last week: 19)

This team is officially past the Knee Tingles and on its way to obscurity. There is an odd optimism to the Lions, though—it’s like a roster filled with Wal-Mart greeters.

28. Chicago Bears: 1-3 (last week: 32)

Sometimes the best game plan is: Let’s play Detroit.

27. Tennessee Titans: 1-3 (last week: 27)

People tend to forget that Moore County, where the City of Lynchburg, Tennessee is located, is a dry county. That means no one is drinking on the job at the Ye Ole Jack Daniels homestead while they squeeze that sweet juice from…I don’t know…used wet-naps.

I’m not so sure the same thing can be said about the Titans.

26. Indianapolis Colts: 1-3 (last week: 20)

It was the Yaguars, guys. Jesus. You downgraded from plain oatmeal to the two bowls of porridge Goldilocks didn’t like, and it’s only Week 5!

25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 1-3 (last week: 26)

While the fan base, and organization, contemplates Jameis Winston’s stalled progression, Disney continues to release Pirates of the Caribbean films (if only the world knew that’s it not that easy being a Buccaneer—or a Buccaneers fan):

24. Jacksonville Jaguars: 1-3 (last week: 30)

The Kings of Foggy London Town!! I don’t have a crystal ball, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see this franchise relocate to London—if/when the NFL decided to go that route.

And really, who wouldn’t want to hear 500 million English people screaming “Onward Jag-U-wahs” six months out the year?

23. New York Jets: 1-3 (last week: 22)

If Ryan Fitzpatrick was a deliveryman, your packages would constantly get delivered to the neighbor’s house.

22. San Diego Chargers: 1-3 (last week: 21)

The Chargers’ fan base went from the Knee Tingles to a full-blown patella pop in the matter of a half-quarter last week, but I could only drop the team one spot.

Why? Because, as always, I looked deep into Phillip Rivers’ eyes, and he looked into mine, and the earth scorched with bright flames and the dogs howled to the heavens while goddamn champions voiced in  thunderous resonance: Don’t piss off Phillip Rivers.

So, they only dropped one.

21. New Orleans Saints: 1-3 (last week: 29)

On the flip-side of the Chargers’ demise lies the New Orleans Saints. Drew Brees managed to suppress his fuzzy warm feelings for the city that drafted him, and led a charge that avoided an 0-4 start for the Saints.

This team still has sweet uniforms, so there’s that, plus it employs a head coach who likes Juicy Fruit.

20. Washington Redskins: 2-2 (last week: 23)

Yeah—so Ziggy Hood was the culprit behind the famous caper known as “Who the fuck ate Josh Norman’s Life Savers?!?” which really took a load off my mind.

Speaking of Life Savers… ‘Skins fans should be giving a round of air hugs to the refs from last week’s game. Still like the team’s Huddle from the ’80s, though, otherwise I would have dropped Washington down to 25…at least.

19. Carolina Panthers: 1-3 (last week: 9)

Biggest disappointment in the NFL so far? Possibly.

I was ready to color my chin ‘stache blonde, too—the exact same way as Cam Newton.

And now? Now I’m stuck with three bottles of Blonde #6 that I will never use, AND Sears will not allow me to return the hat. Thanks a lot, Sears.

18. Arizona Cardinals: 1-3 (last week: 8)

Remember in Week 2’s ramble, when the Cardinals were a top team and there was bliss and memories of Jerry Maguire?  Well, those days seem to be gone and forgotten. No one had anyone at hello, apparently, and there really hasn’t been any completions.

At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that Drew Stanton is represented by Bob Sugar.

17. Kansas City Chiefs: 2-2 (last week: 15)

Men have finished the ascent to Mt. Everest with more energy than what the Chiefs started with against the Steelers last Sunday night. Yes, it was raining and soggy, and I doubt the Chiefs meant to wear those red pants, but for the love of Pete, maybe mix in an offense and just give them slickers when they are not in the game.


16. Cincinnati Bengals: 2-2 (last week: 18)

If you took Cincinnati’s famous (in that area, anyway) Skyline Chili and smeared it on the football field, the color of the stain would match the color of the Dolphins’ uniforms (See: Above). That’s oddly poetic when you consider the ass-kicking that happened last Thursday.

I’m still not sold on the Bengals as a powerhouse contender, though—and I’m struggling to understand some rankings as high as eight—but all that will change if I write the next six Power Rankings completely wasted.



Moving on…

15. New York Giants: 2-2 (last week: 12)

The world went and made football a giant (no pun, gang) pain in the ass for Odell Beckham Jr.

Looks like a guy who’s stuck looking at pictures of other people’s kids.

14. Baltimore Ravens: 3-1 (last week: 5)

The Ravens soared into Week 4 covered in so much Velveeta that fans were trying to scoop the collective efforts with Fritos. Some came with crock pots and Jimmy Dean sausage. It was chaotic—yet culinary and fattening.

The team hosts the Redskins this week—in Baltimore—which will certainly come with possible symptoms of the Knee Tingles, so it’s important the Ravens not spend too much time booking flights to Toronto to find this guy:

13. Buffalo Bills: 2-2 (last week: 25)

Applause to you, Buffalo. Just change the sheets when you’re done, please.

In fact, burn them.

12. Houston Texans: 3-1 (last week: 11)

The bad news: Even though the Texans are 3-1, the team is being aimlessly dissected like a frog at a School for the Blind.

The good news: With the current state of the AFC South, one more win might clinch the division.

11. Los Angeles Rams: 3-1 (last week: 17)

Years ago, a trucker hat was dismissed as nothing but hillbilly haberdashery, a fool’s cover that was not welcomed beyond the namesake rig-rollers.

Then, Ashton Kutcher showed up, and holy shit!! Trucker hats immediately became cool to wear. Kids, adults, nuns, grocery clerks…you name it: they were all doing it, feeding the pop-culture frenzy.

Years later, it went back to obscurity…a moron’s thinking cap.

And now? Well, I’d bet the almond farm that if a top-list celebrity started rocking one, you’d see the needle start to teeter.

What I’m trying to say is, this Los Angeles Rams organization is like a trucker hat. Stay tuned…

10. Seattle Seahawks: 3-1 (last week: 14)

Worried about Russell Wilson, you say? Well, the guy just beat the Jets without the use of any of his limbs, so I think all is well there. True, that could be more of a “Hey, these Jets really blow this season and teams don’t need arms and feet to beat them” thing, but Seattle rolls into Week 5—which just so happens to be the team’s bye week—looking a lot more promising than they did after Week 2.

9. Dallas Cowboys: 3-1 (last week: 10)

If this week’s matchup against the Cowboys and Bengals was a literal thing, I might side with the animal. But the carnage flips when you look at the aforementioned as simply mascots to a bunch of humans…I mean yeah, I think Dallas has more talented humans on their side.

8. Oakland Raiders: 3-1 (last week: 13)

Telling the Raiders’ fan base Halloween is this month is like telling an Eskimo you just bought him a really sweet ice machine for the bar.

7. Green Bay Packers: 2-1 (last week: 7)

Aaron Rogers is Mr. October!…in, like, football terms. Not Penthouse or baseball or whatever.

6. Atlanta Falcons: 3-1 (last week: 16)

Andy Dufresne crawled through 500 yards of shit on his way to freedom in the Shawshank Redemption. That’s five football fields—just shy of a half a mile (say that part in a Morgan Freeman voice).

That means Matt Ryan almost threw for half a mile against the Panthers last week.


5. Pittsburgh Steelers: 3-1 (last week: 6)

Didn’t take Yinz long to go dahn’air ‘en right dem wrongs n’at.

Le’Veon Bell was gettin’ all nebby wit’iz weed n’ at, but nowee’s back on’da straighten’arrow.

4. Philadelphia Eagles: 3-0 (last week: 4)

The Eagles will have another bye week this week—competitively speaking— when they head to Detroit to play the Lions.

3. New England Patriots: 3-1 (last week: 1)

Tom Brady is officially back, which means Deflategate is completely over, dead, gone with the dust and the wind from the Kansas song.

Now!! Make sure those balls have the desired PSI Tom talked about, and oh yeah:

2. Minnesota Vikings: 4-0 (last week: 3)

The Mall of America’s team has been a feel-good story for all Minnesotans.





Well, shit, whatever. It’s a nice story, OK, for all of you…guys…and gals…Vikings.

1. Denver Broncos: 4-0 (last week: 2)

The Broncos are 4-0 and have done so without Tom Brady. He doesn’t play for them, and neither does Peyton Manning. Melvin Bratton is not on the roster either, nor will you see sweet Vance Johnson and his amazing ponytail. This is a team of renegades, cloaked in orange and some shade of blue, and soon we will learn of their tales.

Not from Vin Scully, mind you, because he doesn’t work for the Broncos either.

But…somebody will step up.

Until next week, enjoy the games.




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