NFL Power Rankings Week 4: Niners take top spot, Dolphins dip as Bills make a statement
The San Francisco 49ers take the top spot in our newest addition of Power Rankings after yet another blowout win to keep their undefeated record.
We are about just about a month into the NFL regular season and there have been loads of surprises, some good and some bad through the first four weeks of the season. The Eagles and Niners are the only remaining undefeateds, and there are only two teams still looking for their first win of the season. The Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts continue to impress with a rookie head coach and a rookie QB. On the other hand the Bengals stink, the Giants have been nothing but disappointing and the Vikings were lucky to squeak by the Panthers for their first win of the season.
Here are Week 4′s Power Rankings as we approach the one month mark in the regular season.
1. San Francisco 49ers (4-0), last week 2
Winning in the NFL shouldn’t look easy, but right now the Niners are blowing out everything and everyone in sight. They are the league’s most complete team, and there isn’t a single part of the offense or the defense that you could say is a weak spot. Finally, Niners fans in the Bay have an offense just as good if not better than their defense, and Brock Purdy looks better and better every week. He’s thrown for five TDs and no picks as he continues to spread the ball around to each and every weapon he has at his disposal. Christian McCaffery is an early season candidate for MVP, but it’s been Brandon Aiyuk that has been maybe the most crucial player through the first month of the season.
2. Philadelphia Eagles (4-0), last week 1
Not every game is going to be perfect. Not every game is going to be pretty. Not every game is going to be easy. The Eagles know that after starting last season 8-0, and this year they are half way to matching their incredible start to last year. Divisional rivals are alway tough opponents, not matter how good or bad they are. The Commanders quality has been doubted but they showed just how competitive they can be at Lincoln Financial. Jalen Hurts and the offense put up 31 points in regulation, but instead of running the clock out and kicking a field goal, A.J. Brown crossed the goal line, leaving 1:28 on the clock which was enough time for Washington to go down the field and tie the game up time expired. Their defense gave up 31 points, but in OT forced a three and out that would lead to a the game winning field goal to keep Philly undefeated.
3. Buffalo Bills (3-1), last week 5
There was a lot of talk about the Miami Dolphins being the best team in the AFC, and having the top offense in the league. I heard it. You heard it. And the Buffalo Bills heard it. They let their play do the talking on Sunday against the Dolphins when they demolished September’s Super Bowl favorites. They almost hung 50 on a Miami team that looked lost on the offensive end in the second half. They might have lost to the Jets in Week 1, but since then they have been playing at an elite level only matched by Philly and San Fran.
4. Kansas City Chiefs (3-1), last week 4
On the road, in primetime against a fantastic defense in New York, the Chiefs had to earn their win away from Arrowhead on Sunday night. They came out guns blazing, scoring 17 first quarter points, but the defense made some adjustments and made life difficult for the KC offense. Fortune might have favored Andy Reid’s team on that 3rd and 22 conversion where the holding call wasn’t seen but the Chiefs did just enough. Mahomes doesn’t have this team moving and scoring like we are accustomed to, but one thing is for sure, without Isaiah Pacheco KC probably wouldn’t be 3-1 going into Week 5.
5. Miami Dolphins (3-1), last week 3
For all the hype and all the excitement and all the points that were flying around Hard Rock Stadium it was easy to overlook one thing. The Dolphins had only beat the Chargers and the Patriots by a single possession, and right now those teams aren’t looking that competitive. Posting 70 against the Broncos made many of us, and I’m including myself in that list, forget that there are still some things that need a lot of improvement in South Beach.
6. Detroit Lions (3-1), last week 6
It would have been very easy for the Lions to not want to change the system or their way of playing from the end of last year into this year. They won eight of their last ten games and they didn’t it by lighting up the scoreboard. This year, it’s been the defense and the run game that is has turned them into one of the best teams in the league. David Montgomery scored three touchdowns and the defense held the Packers to 230 yards, while picking off Jordan Love off twice and sacked him five times.
7. Dallas Cowboys (3-1), last week 7
The Dallas D was back to it’s best after their shocking defeat to the Cardinals last week. It was a much needed blowout win to calm the nerves of their all too often over sensitive fans who elate with a win and slump into depression with a loss. The game was over in the first half after the defense scored two more TDs. Thanks to the fumble and interception returned for a TD, Dak didn’t have to be decisive, which he has really yet to be this year.
8. Baltimore Ravens (3-1), last week 8
We are so used to these AFC North matchups turning into physical, smashmouth, battles of attrition that when we see a blowout like the Ravens’ over the Browns, it’s hard to digest. Granted, Baltimore played a battered Cleveland team, but you can’t take anything away from Lamar Jackson and the Ravens. They needed to bounce back after their disappointing loss to the Colts last week and that’s exactly what they did.
9. Seattle Seahawks (3-1), last week 11
For the first time in the long time we saw the Seahawks offense falter, but surprisingly their defense was there to save the day. After coming into Monday night in the bottom five of PPG allowed, they held the Giants to just three points. Granted, they did play the Giants who had no Saquon and a banged up offensive line, but they still sacked Daniel Jones 10 times and Devon Witherspoon is an absolute DAWG. Seattle are for real, and the rest of the world needs to know it.
10. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-2), last week 12
Anytime the Jags go to London, it’s going to feel like a home game. They are the most accustomed to make the overseas trip, having played 10 games on international soil. That didn’t mean that all of the offensive issues that the Jags have been dealing with over the last few weeks were going to magically be resolved. Far from it. They needed a pick six to pull away from the Falcons in the first half, and then let their defense carry them the rest of the way. Trevor Lawrence admitted it wasn’t pretty, but they will take it.
11. Los Angeles Rams (2-2), last week 17
I could sit here and tell you about the Rams complacency in giving up a 23 point first half lead and almost slumping to a third straight loss, but I’m much more interested in talking about Puka Nacua. This kid is a sensation, and it’s not just a couple of lucky games to start his career. He is here to stay. The Rams have found themselves a gem with their fifth round pick. He is impossible to cover man to man, and knows the game too well to try to stop him with a zone look. In just four games, he has 39 receptions (most in the league) and 501 yards (second only to Justin Jefferson). The Rams have done a fantastic job hanging on without one of the best receivers in the game in Cooper Kupp who will begin practicing this week. Once he pairs up with Nacua, watch out. This offense might be impossible to stop.
12. Los Angeles Chargers (2-2), last week 10
The Chargers may have won their last two games, but there is much work to be done for Brandon Staley’s side who, as he claims Jacksonville “has not carried” the devastating loss to the Jaguars into this season. That may be the case, but this team has have a tough time hanging on to a lead and that showed again against the Raiders in SoFi Stadium. Once up by 17 in the second quarter, the offense went three-and-out, three-and-out, interception, three and out, and turn over on downs as the defense seemed to relax into a prevent look as to let the Raiders move the ball, but just not concede any big plays. Good teams go out and finish games, bad teams try to hang on until the end of the game. Right now the Chargers look like the later of those two options.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-1), last week 15
Baker Mayfield’s Renaissance season continues as he and the Bucs seem to be reborn. It was a year to forget for the Bucs and a last couple seasons to forget for Mayfield. But the two parties have joined forces and seem to be on a vengeance tour, at least through the first four weeks of the season. He threw three TDs against a stingy defense, and the Bucs D held the Saints to under 200 total yards. Mayfield is always going to get his guys to rally around him with his fight and with his heart in and out of the locker room, but if he is making the right throws and winning games with his arm, that will only make the Tampa fans and players back their QB that much more.
14. Cleveland Browns (2-2), last week 13
With no Deshaun Watson and no Nick Chubb, the Browns were up S**t’s Creek without a paddle. Darion Thompson-Robinson looked great in preseason and won the back up job, but the game against the Ravens showed he is far from being ready to be a starter in the NFL. Just as Deshaun was finding a rhythm we hadn’t seen since his days in Houston, he misses the next game with a shoulder injury. How cruel it must be to be a Browns fan.
15. Green Bay Packers (2-2), last week 14
The Packers liabilities on the offensive end surfaced on Thursday night. They couldn’t move the chains, they couldn’t build a drive, much less get into the end zone in the first half of the game against the Lions. Love went into Week 4 tied for third most TD passes thrown and had just one pick which meant he had the best TD:INT ratio in the league. He’s still teething as a young QB, and the Lions exploited his inexperience, constantly pressuring him and halting the Packers offense.
16. Washington Commanders (2-2), last week 20
Give credit to Sam Howell and the Commanders. They went into Philly and gave the Eagles a fight. There was a lot of shade thrown at the Commanders after they were blown out by the Bills last week following a 2-0 start. People wanted to know if they were for real or not, and as much as the blowout to Buffalo would make you think they aren’t, their overtime loss to Philly would tell you they might just be.
17. Indianapolis Colts (2-2), last week 22
The Colts are a bit of an anomaly threw the first month of the year, and their loss against the Rams only reinforces that argument. Are they the team that gave up 23 straight first half points at home? Or are they the team that tied the game with three TDs and two two-point conversions, forcing overtime at Lucas Oil? The good thing for the Colts is they are competing in these games, which is probably more than a lot of fans in Indy we expecting.
18. Houston Texans (2-2), last week 29
Not since Cam Newton has a rookie quarterback had as brilliant of a start as C.J. Stroud is having in Houston. His 1,212 are fourth most in the league, and he is yet to throw an interception. I must apologize to the Texans, I thought they would be a bad team because they are young, they have a rookie head coach and a first year QB under center. But we shouldn’t be surprised that DeMeco Ryans has this team primed to compete for the AFC South title in his debut year in Houston. The Texans have been the surprise of the season and are only going to get better as the season goes on.
19. New Orleans Saints (2-2), last week 19
Somehow, someway Derek Carr’s sprained AC joint in his shoulder was recovered enough for the Saints divisional battle against the Bucs, but he looked nowhere near healthy enough to make a difference. The Saints have already had trouble putting the ball in the end zone, and have scored no more than 20 points in a game. At home on Sunday, they went up a against a Bucs team that looks to have found their edge yet again. The Saints need Carr to be 100% healthy, but even more than that New Orleans has to figure out a way to do a better job of scoring TDs.
20. Cincinnati Bengals (1-3), last week 9
I’m done. I’m officially done with overestimating the Bengals just because of the team that we think they can be. Burrow has been nothing short of terrible in the first four games of the season. Even in the win last week it was the defense that won the game against the Rams. Burrow is averaging 182 yards which is second to last among all starting QBs that have played all four games, trailing only Zach Wilson. He also has as many INTs (2) as he does TDs (2). If we are going to look to his calf as the reason for his poor play, than it’s time to sit him until he is back to 100%.
21. Atlanta Falcons (2-2), last week 18
These London games can be tricky. It’s a lot of travel. The time difference takes a while to adjust to, and if you aren’t used to these challenges it can become very evident on the field. The Falcons were lost, especially on the offensive end, and after winning their first two games, concern should be starting to rise in ATL as this team looks to be trending down.
22. Arizona Cardinals (1-3), last week 24
I doubt too many people thought the Cardinals were going to come up with two shocking wins in back to back weeks, but week by week this team is earning a their respect around the league. They could have thrown in the towel after going down 21-3 to the Niners, but they fought back and never let the best team in the league take their foot off the gas.
23. Tennessee Titans (2-2), last week 28
Who knows what to think about the Tennessee Titans. They rebound from a 27-3 loss with a 27-3 win over the Bengals, as the offense finally used Derek Henry as he should have been used in the first three games of the season. When he gets over 20 carries the Titans win, but inexplicably that’s not always the case. Even when he’s rolling it doesn’t mean the offense is firing on all cylinders, and that’s why drew up a play that let him play QB to close the half with a TD pass that stretched their advantage over Cincy to 24-3. I’m not sure if their win says more about Cincinnati or Tennessee, but the Titans be more than thrilled with the win that puts everyone in the AFC South at 2-2.
24. Minnesota Vikings (1-3), last week 26
What in the world is going on with the Vikings offense? I can’t imagine what Minnesota fans were thinking after turning the ball over nine times in the first three games of the season, Kirk Cousins throws an opening drive pick six from the opponents 1 yard line to start he game. It took a scoop and score on a fumble to wake the Vikings up and do just enough to beat the lowly Carolina Panthers. They may be in the win column, but Kevin O’Connell can’t be happy with what he is seeing on a week-to-week basis.
25. New England Patriots (1-3), last week 21
Things have gone from bad to worse for the Patriots who barley brushed by the Jets last week and the Cowboys beat the bricks off them in Dallas on Sunday. Mac Jones is regressing, and passes like the one he made that led to a pick six only prove that as Bill Belichick is starting to lose patience with his former first round draft pick. New England might be starting to lose patience with their six time Super Bowl winning coach as nothing has been the same since Tom Brady. Dark days may lay ahead for those in Foxborough.
26. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-2), last week 16
The Steelers offense is terrible, everyone knows that. They have scored just four TDs in four games as an offensive unit, and without the defense making plays Pittsburgh has no chance to win games. On Sunday against Houston the Steelers had no chance of winning that game. Their defense got picked apart by a rookie, and the offense embarrassed themselves again in front of their home fans. Mike Tomlin affirmed to reporters after the game that “hell yes they need to make some changes.” Just what those changes are, remains to be seen.
27. New York Giants (1-3), last week 23
Another pathetic display by the New York Giants who have started this season on a free fall and there is really no end in sight. You have to start feeling bad for Daniel Jones. There really wasn’t much he could do behind a makeshift offensive line that gave him no protection, but when he did have a chance to tighten the game in the third quarter against the Seahawks he threw an 97 yard pick six and that’s what will stay in the minds of New York fans. Tough times lay ahead with the Bills and the Dolphins coming up in the next couple weeks.
28. New York Jets (1-3), last week 25
If we are being realists, we look at the Jets 1-4 record and know that this team is far from where they expected to be before the season kicked off. If we are being optimists we can say that the Jets beat Buffalo, the best looking team in the AFC, and hung tight with the second best team in the AFC, the Chiefs. Zach Wilson had his best game of the season and maybe of his career, and the defense bounced back after giving up 17 first quarter points to allow the offense to make a comeback bid. In the end the fire power has alway been lacking for a team that has scored just 5 offensive TDs in four games.
29. Las Vegas Raiders (1-3), last week 27
The Raiders might have had more fans SoFi Stadium than the Chargers did for their road game in LA on Sunday, but they didn’t give those dressed in Black and Silver much to be happy about. With Jimmy Garoppolo still going through concussion protocol, rookie Aidan O’Connell took center stage in LA, but the Raiders offense struggled to find their flow. They were down 24-7 by halftime, but they fought back and almost tied the game up late in the fourth. Unfortunately for Raiders fans in LA, the rookie’s late pick put an end to what would have been a hell of a debut.
30. Denver Broncos (1-3), last week 32
Someone had to win the game between the Broncos and the Bears and first the first three quarters, it didn’t look like Denver was at all interested in getting their first victory of the season. It’s been ugly for the Broncos through the first month, but if we ignore last weeks humiliating loss, they are a few plays away from being 3-1 on the season. They lost to the Raiders by a point and the Commanders by two. They have still yet to put a full 60 minutes of football, and that will be priority number one for Sean Payton and the Broncos.
31. Carolina Panthers (0-4), last week 30
Another week and another loss for the Carolina Panthers. There are going to be growing pains in Charlotte, and games like Sunday’s against the Vikings come with the territory. Bryce Young is improving, maybe not at the rate of C.J. Stroud or Anthony Richardson, but the offensive deficiencies can’t just be chalked up to him. The run game has yet to impose it’s self, and that means their is no margin for error for a team that already has trouble scoring. The strip sack turned TD is exactly the kind of play that Carolina needs to avoid if they are going to get their first win of the season.
32. Chicago Bears (0-4), last week 31
The Bears are a bad team. We already knew that going into Week 4, but blowing a 28-7 late in the third quarter lead isn’t just what a bad team does. It’s what a terrible team that is on the verge of having it’s city and fans turn on them does. The situation with Chase Claypool is ugly. He was told to stay home for the game against Denver, but that is just one of many problems that aren’t going to be easy to solve for Matt Eberflus who declined to take a go ahead field goal with under 3:00 to go. A team is desperate need of their first win doesn’t give up a chance to take a late lead. If you are a good team, a confident team, a team that has no problems on the offensive end, then maybe you think about going for it. But a team in the Bears situation has to kick the FG.