NFL power rankings: Detroit Lions slide after loss to Seattle Seahawks

Detroit Free Press

We’re a quarter of the way through the NFL season, or thereabouts with the 17-game schedule, which means it’s a good time to take stock in what’s happening around the league.

The Philadelphia Eagles have been the class of the NFL so far. They are the league’s only unbeaten team, their total margin of victory (44 points) is second — behind only the Buffalo Bills — and their quarterback is playing MVP-caliber football.

The Eagles are not the betting favorite to win the Super Bowl. The Bills and Kansas City Chiefs have more favorable odds. But they’ve surged to the top of the NFC and rightfully sit atop this and most power polls.

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The top three teams in the rankings seem clear, as do the favorites for most of the NFL’s major awards. Here are my picks for that hardware at the quarter poll of the season:

MVP: Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles

You could make a compelling case for Josh Allen or Patrick Mahomes, and Lamar Jackson is in the mix, too. But Hurts has been phenomenal in leading the Eagles to a 4-0 record. He leads the NFL in yards per pass attempt, is third in rushing touchdowns and his dual-threat ability is the defining characteristic of Philadelphia’s offense.

If the Eagles fade, Hurts’ MVP case will, too. But he’s been the best player on the best team in the first month of the season and that’s all there is to judge him on for now.

Defensive Player of the Year: Micah Parsons, Dallas Cowboys

Parsons finished second to T.J. Watt in voting for this award as a rookie last year, and he’s having another impactful season for a Cowboys team that has surprisingly won three straight games since losing quarterback Dak Prescott to a thumb injury.

Cooper Rush, a former Central Michigan Chippewa, has done his part as Prescott’s fill-in, but the Cowboys defense has been dominant in holding all four of its opponents under 20 points this year. Parsons has four sacks and nine quarterback hits in those games and is the most destructive player on one of the league’s best defenses.

Offensive Rookie of the Year: Chris Olave, New Orleans Saints

Barring a phenomenal showing by Kenny Pickett in the final 13 games, this award seems destined to go to a non-quarterback for the second straight year and the seventh time in the past 10 seasons. Olave leads all rookies with 21 catches and 335 yards receiving. Fellow first-round receivers Garrett Wilson and Drake London have done some good things as well, and Houston Texans running back Dameon Pierce is a darkhorse for this award as a fourth-round pick.

Defensive Rookie of the Year: Devin Lloyd, Jacksonville Jaguars

Lloyd has outplayed No. 1 overall pick Travon Walker on the Jaguars defense, though like the OROY award the DROY award is wide open at this point of the season. The Lions’ Aidan Hutchinson leads all rookies with three sacks. Hutchinson has not dominated as a pass rusher to this point in his career, though he could finish with numbers that would his candidacy tough to overlook. Lloyd already has two interceptions and two 10-tackle games and the Jaguars have been a pleasant surprise in the early part of the season.

Comeback Player of the Year: Saquon Barkley, New York Giants

Someone asked me the other day if I thought Jeff Okudah would be in the mix for this award. Okudah has played well through four games, but there are other more worthy candidates. Barkley is the most prominent of those after rushing for 627 yards in 15 games over the past two seasons. He may have played too much last season (13 games) for some voters’ liking, but Barkley looks like a different running back with a league-leading 463 yards rushing on 84 carries through four games.

Week 5 NFL power rankings

1. Philadelphia Eagles

2. Buffalo Bills

3. Kansas City Chiefs

4. Green Bay Packers

5. Dallas Cowboys

6. Minnesota Vikings

7. Miami Dolphins

8. Baltimore Ravens

9. Los Angeles Rams

10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

11. Cincinnati Bengals

12. San Francisco 49ers

13. Los Angeles Chargers

14. Tennessee Titans

15. Cleveland Browns

16. Jacksonville Jaguars

17. Arizona Cardinals

18. Denver Broncos

19. Indianapolis Colts

20. Las Vegas Raiders

21. New Orleans Saints

22. New England Patriots

23. Pittsburgh Steelers

24. Detroit Lions

25. New York Giants

26. New York Jets

27. Atlanta Falcons

28. Seattle Seahawks

29. Chicago Bears

30. Carolina Panthers

31. Washington Commanders

32. Houston Texans

Contact Dave Birkett at dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

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