Going into the fourth week of the regular season, we’ve seen 12 quarters of football from each of the 32 teams (and in some cases, some over time), and that’s plenty of information with which to put together the NFL Power Rankings. As you read it, keep in mind that by responding on Facebook or Twitter, you just might get a mention in our response article and/or a retweet if it’s good enough (or clever enough).
From the top:
1 – Houston Texans (3-0)
Their resume is very similar to that of the Falcons, with sizeable wins over not-so-great, non-divisional teams. Both teams beat the Broncos by 6, but Houston’s win was in Denver, so they get extra points for that.
2 – Atlanta Falcons (3-0)
Their running game needs to improve, but their passing game looks great. They were very close to being in the top spot.
No one thought this team would be in this position at this point in the season… and some might’ve questioned their ability to get 3 wins all year. Clearly the most questionable of the undefeated trio, but they do have a signature road win against a tough Patriots team. The huge win over the Eagles looked good as well. If they’re going to be a top-tier team, they’re going to have to do better at home against teams like the Seahawks – who are a blown call away from being 1-2.
4 – Chicago Bears (2-1)
Beating Indianapolis and the Rams in Chicago by 20 and 17 respectively is what this team needs to do if the Bears are legit. Losing to the Packers in Green Bay by fewer than two touchdowns? That certainly doesn’t bother me.
5 – New York Giants (2-1)
The win in Carolina was huge, especially on a short week in a trap game coming off of a 500+ passing yard performance which could’ve easily caused Eli Manning’s arm to be tired. Their backup running back stepped up nicely, showing that they’ve got plenty of weapons.
6 – Baltimore Ravens (2-1)
Their win at home against the Bengals was a great way to open the season with a huge margin of victory, and they just barely lost on the road to Philly in week 2. Had they missed the field goal against the Patriots last week, who knows where they’d be on the list.
7 – San Francisco 49ers (2-1)
Two decent wins, but neither of them were by more than 10 points. Not surprising, considering that the Packers and Lions are two of the top teams in the NFC. The loss by 11 to the Vikings is frustrating, as that was certainly a trap game that they should’ve won.
8 – Buffalo Bills (2-1)
As the season moves forward, we’ll see if the loss to the Jets (by 20, in New York) was just a first week thing, or whether it was indicative of some systemic issues. The win in Buffalo against Kansas City was good, but only because it was by 18. There’s nothing special about a win over the Browns, though it was in Cleveland.
9 – New England Patriots (1-2)
Yes, a 1 win team is ahead of some 2 win teams, but those two losses were by a combined 3 points, and some would argue that if the Ravens’ field goal was reviewed, New England would be 2-1. The victory by 21 over the questionable Titans to open the season speaks well for the Patriots, and also helps speak to the talent of the Ravens and Cardinals.
10 – Minnesota Vikings (2-1)
An over-time win over the Jaguars at home to start the season is woeful, and the 3-point victory over the Colts was only decent because it was contested in Indianapolis. Beating the 49ers by double-digits kept Minnesota in the top half of the league.
11 – Dallas Cowboys (2-1)
No one looked good on opening night, but the record books show that Dallas did get a division road game victory that night against the Giants. Losing in Seattle isn’t a huge problem, but the 20 point differential is. Beating the Buccaneers in Dallas by a paltry 6 points isn’t inspiring, either.
12 – San Diego Chargers (2-1)
Road division win against the Raiders to start the season was decent, and the victory at home by 28 over the Titans looked nice… but the Titans aren’t good and they were coming all the way from Tennessee. Worse is the loss in San Diego to the Falcons. By 24. It could be a feast or famine type of year for San Diego if they can’t stop being a bi-polar team.
13 – Seattle Seahawks (2-1)
Losing to a divisional opponent on the road by less than a touchdown in week 1 isn’t bad, especially when you see that the Cardinals are still undefeated. Beating Dallas at home by 20 looks good on the resume, given the obvious weapons the Cowboys have. I think everyone knows that the Seahawks didn’t necessarily deserve the victory against the Packers, but they certainly did enough to make it a close game to the end by holding a potent team to less than two touchdowns.
14 – Cincinnati Bengals (2-1)
A huge loss to the Ravens during week 1 looks really bad on the resume, but it was in Baltimore so that lightens the impact. Only beating the Browns by 7 at home, and then only beating the Redskins on the road by 7? They’ll have to do better than that if they want to move into the top 10.
15 – Green Bay Packers (1-2)
Losing to the 49ers to open the season wasn’t terrible, but it was a home game that they should’ve won if they expect to be one of the top teams in the NFC. Beating Chicago by 13 at home is what they needed to do against a division opponent. Had they rightfully been given the interception at the end of the game with Seattle, they’d probably be a top 10 team.
16 – Denver Broncos (1-2)
Beating the Steelers to open the season was good. Losing in Atlanta to a talented Falcons team by less than a touchdown is an acceptable loss. Houston beating them in Denver isn’t great, but the Broncos yet again kept the margin to within a touchdown and fought to the end. They’ll likely be moving up in coming weeks.
17 – Pittsburgh Steelers (1-2)
The loss to the Broncos by 12 in the opener isn’t such a big deal, as it was contested in Denver. Beating the Jets by more than two touchdowns showed promise, and Steeler fans should only be slightly dissuaded by a loss to the Raiders, as most East Coast teams lose when traveling to Oakland.
18 – Detroit Lions (1-2)
Beating the Rams, in Detroit, by only 4? That’s questionable, but it was a season opener, so they get cut some slack. Losing in San Francisco by 8 isn’t bad. They should’ve beaten the Titans in week 3, and going to over-time is only acceptable because it was in Tennessee. With Mikel Leshoure coming back, they should improve… if Matthew Stafford stays healthy.
19 – New York Jets (2-1)
Beating the Bills by 20 was a great way to start the season, but losing to the Steelers by 17 was a bad follow-up… though it was in Pittsburgh. Only beating the Dolphins by 3 in over-time is rough, especially because the Dolphins should’ve won it with two missed field goals.
20 – Washington Redskins (1-2)
A victory over the Saints in New Orleans by more than a touchdown was a great way to officially start the career of Robert Griffin III. Losing to the Rams in St Louis should be considered a frustrating loss, because they could’ve had it won and the outcome was by just 3 points. Losing to the Bengals by 7 doesn’t speak too highly about the team, especially since the offense didn’t score all the points and they were basically gifted a pick-6 for their opening score. With the loss of Orakpo and Carriker, the defense is losing starters.
21 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-2)
None of their games have been contested by more than 7, and both of their losses were on the road to talented NFC East teams. Their victory was a home game against a divisional opponent, and they only won by 6.
22 – New Orleans Saints (0-3)
Sure, they haven’t won a game yet, but the losses in the first two weeks were by 8 points each, and they went to over time against the Chiefs. They get bonus points for not having their head coach… or even their replacement head coach (who is suspended for another few weeks).
23 – Philadelphia Eagles (2-1)
A victory in Cleveland by 1? Yikes. Follow that up with a win at home against Baltimore by 1 point again? That’s a questionable trend… especially when it’s followed up with a loss by 21 in Arizona. They’re dangerously close to 0-3.
24 – Miami Dolphins (1-2)
Losing to Texans by 20 in Houston is rough, but not surprising. Beating Oakland by 22 is good, though it was in Miami. The nice trend happens when you also see that they went to over time with the Jets in week 3. Keep in mind, they are still 1-2.
25 – Jacksonville Jaguars (1-2)
Starting the season with an over time loss in Minnesota by 3 isn’t terrible. Losing to Houston by 20 in Florida is bad, especially because it’s a divisional game. Beating the Colts by just 5 points was decent, especially because it’s a road divisional game.
26 – St Louis Rams (1-2)
Their loss to the Lions in Detroit by just 4 points looked alright to open the season. Beating the Redskins by 3 could’ve been better, given that it was in St Louis. Following those up with a loss to the Bears by 17? Even though it was in Chicago, it’s still a significant margin.
27 – Carolina Panthers (1-2)
They lost on the road by less than a touchdown to a divisional opponent. Not bad. Beating the Saints in Carolina by 8 looks decent, except when you consider that the Saints are still win-less. Following that up with a loss to the Giants in Carolina by 29 points is a big issue, even if the Giants are one of the more potent teams in the NFC.
28 – Kansas City Chiefs (1-2)
Their losses by 16 and 18 in the first two weeks were rough, though Atlanta is a top tier team, and the loss to the Bills was in Buffalo. The victory over the Saints could’ve very easily had been a loss, as it went to over time.
29 – Indianapolis Colts (1-2)
Losing in Chicago by 20? Not good. Beating Minnesota by 3 at home? Not inspiring. Losing to Jacksonville (a divisional opponent) by 5 at home? Not good at all. The Colts have a long way to go to prove that they’re not as bad as last year’s team.
30 – Cleveland Browns (0-3)
It’s arguable that they’re better than the Colts. They nearly beat Philadelphia, coming down to the final play and only losing by 1. It was in Cleveland, though. As was their 10 point loss in week 3 to the Bills. Losing in Cincinnati by 7 in week 2 should give them some additional confidence… and keeps them out of the bottom spot.
31 – Oakland Raiders (1-2)
Even though their loss in the opener to San Diego was only by 8, you can’t lose at home to a divisional opponent. Following that up with a loss in Miami was rough, but the 22 points that the Dolphins beat them by is more deflating. Beating Pittsburgh by just 3 points is decent, but not enough to over-shadow the other two games. It could be a signature victory if they do alright in the coming weeks.
32 – Tennessee Titans (1-2)
The huge loss by 21 at home to the Patriots was rough, despite the Patriots being one of the top teams in the league… though the record book does show that New England only has 1 win to this point. Losing in San Diego to the Chargers isn’t terrible, but the 28 point margin is. Beating the Lions by 3 in over time is decent, but it was contested in Tennessee.
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