NFL Power Rankings: Week 4

NFL Power Rankings Week 4

We had some of our first scares of COVID during week 4 but that did not slow down the rest of the league from shaking up the landscape in most places excluding the top. Some teams captured their first win and now only a few are looking for their first one while an even bigger handful of teams are actively avoiding their first loss. Without further ado, let’s jump into this week’s biggest risers, losers, and those who remained the same.

Kansas City Chiefs #1 (+0)

While all fans were cheated out of a potentially electric showdown between former MVPs Cam Newton and Patrick Mahomes, this was still a solid game for the Chiefs who played like a championship defense against the Pats’ two backup QBs. The defense was opportunistic forcing pressure and capitalizing with a couple of tip-drill pics that included the game sealing pic-6 from Tyrann Mathieu. As for the offense it slowed down a bit against a stiff Pats defense that held up well and could be a lesson for the future to reduce trick plays against fundamentally sound defenses.

Green Bay Packers #2 (+0)

Another night and another absolute clinic from Aaron Rodger on offense and Za’Darius Smith on defense. Smith collected 3 sacks against the Falcons on Monday night and the rest of the defense was disciplined in the Packers’ bend, don’t break approach. The defensive showing was capped off with Adrian Amos’ deflection against Calvin Ridley that officially sealed the game and held up the standard of the Packers’ defense when it came to conversions on the night (3/12 first downs allowed on 3rd). Rodgers was also tactical and had almost as many incompletions (6) as Touchdowns (4). The Packers will enjoy the first scheduled bye of the season and be ready to host the surging Bucs.

Seattle Seahawks #3 (+0)

Maybe not the way that everyone was expecting but Seattle beat the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. The offense looked a little jostled at times including a bizarre 4th and 3 attempt in field goal range with 4 minutes left in the first half, and Russell Wilson’s interception when he threw off of his back foot at Xavien Howard. The Hawks persisted nevertheless on the heels of Chris Carson’s 19 touch, 100-yard performance. The Hawks also thrived on defense intercepting Fitz a few times including one to end the game and have continued to make plays on defense despite not having a bunch of big names making the plays. They will have to pick up their play against a more desperate Vikings team next week to win.

Buffalo Bills #4 (+0)

Another week, another absurd Josh Allen highlight reel. Josh Allen has not only continued to display his great arm strength, but his pocket awareness and movement in lightyears ahead of last year as he feels the pressure from the defense and moves so well to avoid sacks and make long completions. Allen does need to lead the offense more when the defense played the way it did against the Raiders: The Defense stuffed the Raiders on their own 34 on 4th and 1 with less than 10 minutes to play, and on the next drive they forced and recovered a fumble on Derek Carr where the offense scored 0 points between those 2 turnovers. The defense is starting to hit its stride and if the offense is just warming up this Bills team could be a potential Super Bowl threat, but they need to play more disciplined on both sides. In addition, Josh Norman made one of his first big plays as a Bill with a strip, and fumble recovery on the same play in the 4th quarter!

Pittsburgh Steelers #5 (+0)

While the COVID-inflicted bye week is not ideal for a Steelers team trying to keep an older quarterback and line healthy until the postseason, the Steelers do come back with unexpected air after closing out some close games and look to the more difficult part of their schedule. Some film time to accelerate the young offensive players technique could be very crucial as they head into a matchup against their crosstown rivals and seek out to beat their new schedule form the next 13 weeks.

Tennessee Titans #6 (+0) 

The Titans have got to be careful and keeping themselves in the butt to force a bye upon themselves as they just finished 3 clutch wins in a row and their kicker had just regained his confidence to be one of the best in the league. They will need the rest, health, and confidence heading into a game against an electrifying Bills team looking to take over the AFC East and the league.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers #7 (+3)

After so generously spotting the Chargers 21 points through most of the first half, the Bucs turned it on with half a minute left in the first half to begin to close, and then create the gap in the second half. The ball control by the Bucs was impressive as Ronald Jones ran 20 times for 111 yards and provided great balance to Brady who was 30/46 with 5 TDs (6 if you include the pic-6) and was completing deep passes, rollouts, mid-routes and everything in between. The Buccaneers ran 73 plays which was absurd compared to the Chargers and are discovering more and more ways to beat you with an offense that is stockpiled with weapons despite health on that side of the ball.

Los Angeles Rams #8 (+0)

No movement here from an LA team that vastly underwhelmed and underperformed against one of the worst teams in the NFL. The Rams squared off against the Giants in what was looking to be a potential blowout but left having only won by 8 points (1-score) following a brick wall they hit in the middle of the game for the longest time. When the game mattered, the high-profile players like Jalen Ramsey forced an interception, and Cooper Kupp provided the complementary dagger on a 55-yard catch and run TD to put the game away morally speaking. As long as their bigtime players make bigtime plays in bigtime moments, the Rams will be just fine.

Indianapolis Colts #9 (+3)

In what turned out to be a tough defensive showdown, the Colts outlasted the bears on behalf of Georgia Bulldog legend Blankenship who was 4/4 on field goals and propelled the Colts to a low-scoring win following the offense going just ¼ in the RedZone. The Colts did not get a lot going on offense with Taylor being the only beacon of hope on offense averaging 4 yards per carry. I think it’s safe to say Rivers is getting into a rhythm with his receivers after 9 different pass catches caught the ball on Sunday. They will face another interesting matchup this upcoming week against a Browns team that is riding high after running all over America’s team.

Cleveland Browns #10 (+3)

If you did not catch it in the Colts paragraph or haven’t looked into the future on the Cowboys’ blurb, the Browns ran ALL OVER Dallas. And by ALL OVER, I mean the Browns rushing attack was responsible for over 300 yards and that was with Nick Chubb leaving the game early. The play calling was on another level for the Browns as they got Jarvis Landry to throw a TD and got the ball in Beckham’s hands 7 times for over 150 yards and 3 scores. While the offense was electrifying, you also have to acknowledge the efficiency from that side of the ball that did not turn the ball over and give some credit to the defense who forced 3 turnovers including the game-sealing pic from former first round pick Denzel Ward. Andrew Sendejo also showed his worth by stripping Zeke early in the game to begin the absolute tidal wave that was the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.

Baltimore Ravens #11 (+4)

The Ravens claw back up in the rankings following a solid win against a less-talented Washington Football Team. Lamar Jackson finally found the endzone with his legs this year and was straight dealing. Part of LJ’s great game probably had something to do with a more impressive Mark Andrews who caught 2 TDs in somewhat of a bounce-back week. Also, big money defensive player Matthew Judon showed out with 2 sacks, 2 TFL, 1 pass deflection, and 5 quarterback hits from himself a l o n e.

Chicago Bears #12 (-5)

The Bears take a solid fall here after an alright game against the Colts. The Colts defense is solid, but Nick Foles looked pretty shaky at times and just doesn’t offer the same mobility that Trubisky does against a more athletic defense such as the Colts. It’s hard to imagine that the Bears did not have a chance especially when Khalil Mack dropped an interception from the heavens early that would have immediately put the Bears into FG range. As for the offense they are still trying to find a way to merge the bodies and minds of Foles and Trubisky for one QB that can throw to Allen Robinson (who still managed to get over 100 yards).

Carolina Panthers #13 (+7)

One of the biggest movers this week is the new best .500 team who has developed an ever-more explosive offense without one of the most explosive weapons in the game. The Panthers were dominant on offense having to only punt once en route to 30 1st downs, 72 plays, and 37 minutes of possession. They improved on their RedZone woes from a week ago going 4/5 including a play that shook me as Teddy B weaved, bobbed, and juked his way into the endzone (since when was Teddy B an athletic, juking QB???). The only issue here was that the Panthers committed 10 penalties and will need to clean that up to compete and contend for the NFC South crown.

New Orleans Saints #14 (+3)

The Saints are back in the win column and trending following an efficient performance against Detroit. The Saints went 10/14 on 3rd down conversions and both of their running backs had stellar days with Kamara and Murray getting 33 carries for 149 yards and 3 TDs between the two of them. After a barrage of scoring that went for 5 drives the Saints calmed down a bit and let the Lions claw back into the game but not without making some plays themselves (circa, Pat Robinson’s clutch goal line interception). The wins will have to keep coming for the Saints in a division with Tom Brady.

New England Patriots #15 (-6)

Speaking of Tom Brady, the Patriots were absolutely left out to dry when Cam Newton contracted COVID-19 and left Brian Hoyer and Stidham to fend for themselves against the defending Super Bowl champions. Hoyer’s lack of athleticism bit when he took a sack with no timeouts to end the first half when they were in field goal range, and then getting stripped in the RedZone to end the 3rd quarter. The defense kept the Chiefs within an arm’s reach for most of the game but that doesn’t matter when offensive players like Julian Edelman drop a flat route right into an All Pro’s hands to seal the game. Back to the drawing board for a Pats team that could be without Cam for another week.

San Francisco 49ers #16 (-5)

This drop may seem harsh for a Niners team that was once again without their starting QB and TB, but this really was a winnable game. The 49ers had no solutions to the Philly blitz and continued to get pounded and between their two quarterbacks they got sacked 5 times (usually from the right side so I’m not sure if Right Tackle might be an area to trade for before the deadline). Nick Mullins had some really bad turnovers that cost them the game but Beathard came in and really gave San Fran a chance. Or was it George Kittle and his 15 catches for 183 yards and a touchdown? No one really knows but they’ll be happy as soon as they can get Jimmy G and Mostert back.

Las Vegas Raiders #17 (-3)

Another week, and another tough loss to a good team. The Raiders just continue to shoot themselves in the foot when their best players fumble. Waller and Carr both fumbled in the 4th quarter and while the Bills did not capitalize to the level they should have, time was still ripped off the clock and made it harder for the Raiders to force a game. The Raiders also had to be a bit deflated after a deep TD pass was called back for an illegal formation at the beginning of the game turning a 6-7-point drive into a field goal drive. On the flipside, Derek Carr looked very mobile in this game and displayed slightly better pocket awareness that he’ll need to improve on and carry into next week if the Raiders even want a chance against the Chiefs.

Arizona Cardinals #18 (-2)

Kyler Murray just had another elite QB experience: having the opposing team play keep away from you. With the Panthers hogging the ball for 37 minutes, the offense just never got into a rhythm and Kyler Murray only averaged 4.3 yards per completion. The defense got walked all over and only made one play all afternoon from the veteran Patrick Peterson. Other than that, the Cards did not register a single sack all day and they stayed on the field for it. The Cards can look ahead and as long as they don’t get ahead of themselves, shake this 2-game losing streak against the Jets this upcoming week.

Philadelphia Eagles #19 (+9)

Following a highly underwhelming tie against the Bengals, the Eagles went toe-to-toe with one of the deepest teams in football and beat them. Sure, the Niners were missing some starters but getting into the win column and taking control of the NFC East is a big deal. The Eagles played an older brand of Philly football by launching the blitz at the QB and capitalizing with turnovers and big hits. The Eagles also thrived on the coattails of Wentz’s athleticism where he ran the rock 7 times for 37 yards and a TD. When Wentz can run like that, it opens up the RPOs in the playbook and the Eagles just straight up move the ball better (including on 4th downs.).

Minnesota Vikings #20 (+7)

The Vikings have got to be ecstatic following their solid win against the Texans and getting Bill O’Brian fired. This came after they finally listened to my advice: Hand the ball off to Dalvin Cook. Cook ran the ball 27 times (5 more times than the Vikings passed) and ending scoring twice and racking up 130 yards. This is Dalvin’s world and Cousins is just living in it. Adam Thielen was explosive in Kirk’s transition back into a game manager and caught half of Cousins’ completions for over half of the QB’s yards and all of Kirk’s touchdowns.

Dallas Cowboys #21 (-3)

Aye aye aye. What are the Cowboys going to do? Every week they get beat in different ways and at some point, they are going to have to pull themselves up by the Spur-straps and win a football game. Stop, turning the ball over. STOP, allowing teams to run for over 300. STOP allowing teams over 500 yards of total offense. It does not help when your starting QB and RB are responsible for all of your turnovers but Dak tried to make up for it with a 502-yard, 4 TD passing game. The last turnover was the game-ender though and Boys have a lot to think about before they let the Giants try and sneak one on them.

Detroit Lions #22 (-3)

Slight drop for the Lions who showed up for the beginning and the end of their football game this past week. The Lions had a sweet tip-drill pic that position coaches dream of when they rep the drill to start the game and snatch an early lead against the Saints. The Lions then fell asleep as the Saints scored on 5 STRAIGHT drives to take a commanding lead. The offense and defense turned it on in the 4th quarter producing punts and sacks on the defensive side of the ball and converting all 3 of their 4th down attempts on offense. The timing was too little, too late as they lost this game and head into the bye week with a lot to ponder for the next 12 games on who they are and how to achieve their goals.

Cincinnati Bengals #23 (+3)

Burrow said it best when he said winning is fun. I bet he also thinks its fun to run a balanced offense that only passes it 2 more times than they run and gets Joe Mixon going who racked up over 180 all-purpose yards on 6 yards per carry and scored 3 times. The Bengals averaged 8.3 yards on pass plays and walked away with 505 yards against a Jags defense that had no answers for anyone not named AJ Green. Congrats on your first win Joe Burrow and this’ll only be the first of many (except for next week where you have to face the Ravens… Yikes).

Los Angeles Chargers #24 (-3)

New QB, New RB, New year, same problems. The Chargers took command of this game and had built quite the lead following an interception on Brady when the Bucs were driving that went all the way the other way. We could tell the difference in the dynamic of the LA offense when Ekeler left and the backup fumbled in the Chargers’ RedZone with 24 seconds left in the half and a 21-point lead. Needless to say, that lead was not safe and eventually led to a tough loss on the Chargers’ part. In hindsight, the FG attempt would have been closer when they went for it on 4th and 1 while instead, they converted, and then had a bad penalty and sack that set them back a few yards further. Up next, a Saints team that also cannot be trusted if you gain a lead.

Miami Dolphins #25 (-3)

Things could be a lot worse for this Miami team all things considered. While considering all things however, things could also be much better. The Dolphins actually had a shot of winning this game if they did not commit so. Many. Turnovers. Fitzpatrick kept the Fins in the game by being the leading Miami rusher, but also threw some nauseating interceptions that ended up putting the nails in their own coffin. They also need to convert and not go 1/3 in the RedZone. On the bright side, DeVante Parker played like a WR1 and racked up double-digit catches for 110 yards.

Washington Football Team #26 (-3)

Just a rough matchup for a Washington team that is nowhere near as talented as the Ravens in any way/shape/form. I think that beggars can’t be choosers and that Riverboat Ron needs to settle down and take field goals on 4th and goal and just work on getting the offense’s confidence up. It’s also hard to move the ball when the only pass catcher capable of making plays is Scary Terry who put up 118 yards on 14 targets and 10 catches. Another bright spot was Kendal Fuller’s 2 interceptions and 2 pass deflections on the reigning MVP. They will definitely need more than some bright spots to capture a win against the Rams next week.

Denver Broncos #27 (+3)

FINALLY! In the win column it feels good even though it came down to the wire against the worst team in the league. The Broncos took care of business with their third string quarterback and 2nd string team against the Jets on Thursday night. The pass rush finally got going with Bradley Chubb and Josey Jewell combining for 4.5 of the 6 total sacks of the Denver defense including the one on 4th down to force a turnover on downs. Rypien was really raw but if the Broncos get Lindsay back soon and have genuine 1-2 punch in the backfield to go with Gordon’s solid performance (23 carries, 107 yards and 2 TDs), then we can talk winning against some lesser opponents more convincingly.

Jacksonville Jaguars #28 (-4)

Tough loss for the Jags who gave the Bengals their first win. Other than CJ Henderson locking up AJ Green, this defense allowed anything and everything past them when Burrow and co. put up over 500 yards. The Minshew Magic appears to be running dry when he steps back and gets blown up (3 sacks and 5 QB hits allowed to the BENGALS defense). Not to mention their 3rd down woes and this is a Jags team falling away fast from any shot at the AFC South.

Atlanta Falcons #29 (+0)

No movement here from a Falcons team that was just flat-out worse than the Packers on Monday night. The offense had to be patient and only had one play for over 20 yards all night. That play came in the 4th quarter. The defense got shredded by Rodgers and that’s no surprise when they had only one sack all game and gave Rodgers years to throw and absolutely tear them apart. On a slightly brighter note, Gurley scored twice, and Matt Ryan can run the ball past the line of scrimmage for 3 yards at a time.

Houston Texans #30 (-5)

“I’m not concerned about my job security” are famous last words in Houston now as after trading one of the best receivers in the league for a worn down running back has not worked and the Texans find themselves in an 0-4 hole in a division that is a lot stronger this year. The Texans have needed to do this move for a really long time as they just were uninspiring in this latest loss. Letting Kirk Cousins run for a first down on 4th and 1 at midfield is unacceptable and a speed option on 3rd and goal with the game on the line is also not a super great call. I think the play that really made management go through with the firing was the last offensive play of the game for the Texans where Deshaun Watson threw an absolute dime that Will Fuller could not wrangle in for a TD on 4th and goal. If you’re an NFL fan, you and I both know who would have made that catch if they were still on the team. Safe travels BILL.

New York Giants #31 (+0)

The Giants did a surprising job on defense against the Rams allowing only a couple HUGE plays in a day that was otherwise strong and uneventful. The defense held a run-first team to 2.5 yards per carry but none of that mattered with the offense continue to sputter. Simple equation to understand the Giants’ season: (Bad o-line+Great opposing D-line) *A QB that holds the ball too long=multiple sacks, hits, and a loss (5 sacks, and 9 quarterback hits this week to be precise). This same strategy will not be super effective against the Aldon Smith-led Cowboys’ pass rush.

New York Jets #32 (+0)

At home, against a horrendously ravaged Denver team and on the heels of a phenomenal kicking performance, the Jets still found a way to lose even while forming 3 interceptions on defense and scoring on one of them. Darnold was also the Jets’ leading rusher and only glimmer of life on offense rushing for 84 yards and a surprise TD in the beginning of the game. That’s really all to celebrate on a night the Jets committed 11 penalties for 118 yards and blew a turnover-winning battle into a matchup against a hungry Cardinals team on the decline.

Written by Rex Hime