"Ask Vic" will publish on M-W-F through the football season.
Here's what I want to see
You'll no doubt notice I've dropped the Packers below the Lions in this week's all-important power rankings. Why? Because the Lions are playing with grit, and the Packers showed me little of it in the loss to the Eagles.
Fifty-three passes isn't grit. Four passes from the one-yard line isn't grit. Allowing 5.6 yards per carry isn't grit. Your running back averaging 1.6 yards per carry isn't grit.
Against the Cowboys this Sunday, I want to see the Packers run the ball and stop the run. That's what I call "big boy football" and I need to see the Packers play it before I can pronounce them new and improved.
Why do the Jaguars agree to this?
In a weak-looking AFC South, the Jaguars are tied for the lead and, following games against Carolina and New Orleans, the schedule turns favorable with games against the currently winless Bengals and Jets.
Here's what I don't like about the Jaguars' schedule: A critically important division game against Houston on Nov. 3 will be played in London. Why do the Jaguars continue to surrender homefield advantage for division games?
Defense, defense, defense
Finally, the Steelers are playing it.
Yeah, I know, it was against the lowly Bengals, but the Bengals have put up a lot of yards and points this season and in the Steelers' 27-3 win on Monday night the Pittsburgh defense was suffocating. T.J. Watt and Devin Bush spent the night in the Bengals' backfield. The Steelers attacked the ball. Their secondary made plays.
Was it a sign of more to come, or just a one-night thing? Games against the Ravens and Chargers will answer that question.
Brady looked slow and old
I'm not predicting demise for the greatest quarterback of all time, but I couldn't help but notice Tom Brady looked especially slow and old in the Patriots' shouldn't-have-won win over the Bills. On several dropbacks, Brady couldn't get to the depth of the pocket before the rush was on him. He had a frightened look I'd never previously seen and threw the ball away at the hint of pressure.
He was 18 of 39 for 150 yards, no touchdowns and one interception. I have no doubt he'll recover statistically this weekend in Washington, but the tape of the Bills game is going to send a message to every defensive coordinator the Patriots face: Rush the quarterback.
Rankings for Packers, Jaguars and Steelers:
Here are the Week 5 "Ask Vic" all-important power rankings:
1. Patriots -- It's the defense, not Brady.
2. Chiefs -- Mahomes, offense unstoppable.
3. Saints -- Impressive grit.
4. Lions -- Playing the best football in the NFC North.
5. Rams -- Arrow beginning to sag.
6. Seahawks -- Will beat the Rams.
7. Eagles -- Best 2-2 team in the league.
8. Packers -- Soft in loss to Eagles.
9. Bears -- Better with Daniel at QB?
10. Cowboys -- Trying to find identity.
11. Bills -- They should've won that game.
12. Browns -- The real thing against the Ravens.
13. 49ers -- Fast start at test vs. Browns.
14. Colts -- Next loss, at Chiefs.
15. Chargers -- Did you enjoy your flight?
16. Bucs -- Arians making them tougher.
17. Jaguars -- Team to watch.
18. Titans -- Mariota comes to life.
19. Vikings -- They have one problem and it is great.
20. Ravens -- Should get back on track against Steelers.
21. Panthers -- Newton was the problem.
22. Giants -- Jones making them a contender.
23. Raiders -- They don't stink anymore.
24. Steelers -- Finally, they look like the Steelers.
25. Texans -- Nobody does less with more.
26. Cardinals -- Bengals will beat them.
27. Falcons -- No longer a contender.
28. Washington -- It's all about Haskins now.
29. Bengals -- Zac Taylor got schooled by Mike Tomlin.
30. Broncos -- This is going to get real bad.
31. Jets -- Next loss, at Eagles.
32. Dolphins -- Bye week? They don't need a rest.