At the quarter-point of the season, mediocrity reigns supreme in the NFL. With 13 teams currently boasting 2-2 records trying to determine who is good and who is bad is becoming increasingly difficult. In a league that pushes parity, it is clear that there isn’t that much that separates the best and the rest.
- New England Patriots 4-0
The Bills defense gave the Patriots and Tom Brady all they could handle on Sunday, holding the greatest quarterback of all time to only 150 yards passing with no touchdowns and a pick. Fortunately for New England, Josh Allen was playing for the Bills, throwing the ball back to New England on three separate occasions before eventually being knocked out the game. His replacement, Matt Barkley, picked up where Allen left off, handing the game to the Pats with yet another interception. It was far from a clean game for the Pats but they escape Western New York with the win and, more importantly, top spot in my power rankings. A trip to the capital to face the winless Redskins next up.
2. Kansas City Chiefs 4-0
Coming into Week 4, all the talk was about how many touchdown passes Patrick Mahomes would throw for in his first start inside a dome. It turns out that the correct answer would have been zero. In what was a down week for the reigning MVP, he still passed for 315 yards and no picks while leading his team on a game-winning touchdown march. In a game that featured five third-quarter fumbles (the most in a single quarter since 1991), the Chiefs sneak out of Detroit with the win and their undefeated status intact. They play host to the Colts in Week 5.
3. New Orleans Saints 3-1
No Drew Brees, no problem for a Saints team that is simply finding ways to win each week. This week, they relied heavily on the defense to stifle a previously undefeated Cowboys team. It wasn’t always pretty but they just need to find a way every time before a fresh Brees comes back. Next up, they welcome the Bucs to the Superdome.
4. Seattle Seahawks 3-1
The Seahawks took care of business on the road against a winless Cardinals team. They were presented with an early gift when a poor pass from Kyler Murray was picked off by Jedeveon Clowney, which he duly took to the house for six. It was a lead that they were never to relinquish. This week, they host the Rams at the clink on Thursday Night Football in a big NFC West match-up.
5. Dallas Cowboys 3-1
An ugly loss in the Bayou for the boys, with the Drew Brees-less Saints taking the W. In their first game against a legitimate defense this season, the Dak Prescott and Kellen Moore offense was brought back to earth with a bump. It never helps when Ezekiel Elliot is held to a pedestrian 1.9 yards per carry. Next up, the Cowboys host the Packers at Jerry world.
6. Los Angeles Rams 3-1
A deserved drop for a Rams team that let a Jameis Winston-led Bucs team come into their building and drop a 50 burger on them. Jared Goff continues his struggles since the Super Bowl let-down, throwing for three picks and losing a fumble in a day he will want to forget. They face a tough Seattle team on a short week this week.
7. San Francisco 49ers 3-0
The Niners move up in the rankings by virtue of not playing – and thus not losing – while on their bye. They are now the only undefeated NFC team and will look to keep that status at home to the 2-2 Browns.
8. Philadelphia Eagles 2-2
A big-time win on Thursday Night Football for the injury-ravaged Eagles team on the road in Green Bay. Wentz and the offense were able to keep pace with a red-hot Aaron Rodgers and the defense was able to make two key plays to drag this team back to .500. A home game against a poor Jets team awaits the Eagles in Week 5.
9. Green Bay Packers 3-1
A disappointing performance from the Packers defense, which had been getting a lot of hype through three weeks. Aaron Rodgers and the offense (in particular, Davante Adams who caught 10 passes for a career-high 180 yards before leaving with an injury) finally got things going for more than a quarter. A tough road trip to Dallas is next up for the Packers.
10. Chicago Bears 3-1
This Bears defense may well be better than they were a year ago and that is a very scary thought for the rest of the NFL. They sacked Kirk Cousins six times on Sunday and held Dalvin Cook, the league-leading rusher coming into the game, to 35 yards on 14 carries. The fact that QB1 Mitch Trubisky was taken off the field after six plays with a dislocated shoulder and replaced with Chase Daniel may well improve this team in the short term. A trip over the pond to play the Raiders at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium in London awaits da Bears.
11. Detroit Lions 2-1-1
Had they held on late against the Chiefs, I would have had to have serious thoughts about how high to put this Lions team. How good are they really? After beating the Chargers in their building in Week 2, followed by a road win against the Eagles, it would have been hard to ignore them as a top 5 team if they had held on to beat the Chiefs. As it is, they sit at 11th. They are on their bye week this week so we will need to wait a little longer to find out who the real Lions are.
12. Buffalo Bills 3-1
This one will hurt a lot for the Bills. Had you told Bills Head Coach Sean McDermott before the game that they would hold Tom Brady to a 45.9 QBR, he would have snapped your hand off. Unfortunately, their offense could not get it done and will rue an opportunity missed against their division foes. They face a confusing 2-2 Titans team in Nashville this week.
13. LA Chargers 2-2
The Chargers had a nice get-right game against the hapless Dolphins in Miami. Although they made slightly harder work of it than the previous three teams, with the score tied at 10 apiece midway through the second quarter, they eventually pulled clear whilst pitching a shutout in the second half. With Melvin Gordon coming back properly this week, the Bolts look to take advantage of hosting the winless Broncos in Week 5.
14. Carolina Panthers 2-2
Don’t say it too loud but Kyle Allen is now 2-0 since taking the reigns from Cam Newton in Charlotte. How many more wins will it take for there to be a legitimate quarterback controversy remains to be seen but it is clear that Allen has something, and he has certainly provided this Panthers team with a spark. In the battle of the back-ups, Gardner Minshew and the Jags come to town in Week 5.
15. Houston Texans 2-2
A tough loss against the Panthers for the Texans going down 16-10. They seem to only play in tight games this season; there has been a total of 12 points between the Texans and their opposition. They are going to need to start pulling away from teams if they want to get above .500 in the standings. The good news is the reside in the AFC South where .500 gets you a share of first (and last) place. The Falcons travel to Houston as their opposition this week.
16. Minnesota Vikings 2-2
As Adam Thielen said this week, you can not expect to rush for 180 yards every week and you are going to need to be able to throw the ball successfully if you want to win, in a not very thinly veiled shot at his quarterback Kirk Cousins. This is the frustration for many Vikings fans as Cousins looks to have regressed further while protected (I use this in the loosest possible sense of the word) by one of the worst offensive lines in football. The face a road trip to New York to face Big Blue this week in a game they should win but I am still very unsure of the direction they are heading.
17. Tennessee Titans 2-2
‘Who are these Titans?’ is the question I ask myself most weeks. After dismantling the hype-train Browns in Week 1, I thought they had clearly been overlooked throughout the off-season. This was followed by back-to-back losses to make Week 1 look a fluke only for them to go on the road and thrash the Falcons. Any given Sunday, which Titans team will show up is anyone’s guess. Should they play anything like Weeks 1 or 4 against the Bills, expect a noticeable rise. Anything like Weeks 2 and 4, and you can expect the exact opposite.
18. Baltimore Ravens 2-2
Two defeats in a row have dropped this Ravens squad deep into obscurity in these rankings. Losing on the road against the Chiefs is nothing to be too ashamed of but getting blown out in your building against the Browns certainly is. The good news is that they are still tied with those Browns for first place in the AFC North. A road trip to face their biggest foe in the Steelers awaits this week.
19. Cleveland Browns 2-2
Going into Week 4, the Browns were lambasted throughout the media for their fairly lacklustre start to the season. They needed a big performance to silent the growing noise and they got it. They rode Nick Chubb to the tune of 120 yards and three touchdowns to take the road division win. The chorus has died down for a week but they will need another big showing this week against the undefeated Niners to keep it that way.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars 2-2
As Minshew Mania takes hold, this Jags squad has legitimate life in the AFC South filled with OK teams. The Jalen Ramsey trade saga continues to rumble on in the background with no end in sight. But things are looking up for this team. Next up, a tough trip to face the Panthers.
21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2-2
What a victory for Bruce Arians and the Buccaneers! To go on the road against the defending NFC champions and light up the scoreboard to the tune of 55 points (a franchise record). When BA was sat on the couch last season, this was what was pulling him back to the sideline. Had Matt Gay made the game-winning kick in Week 3 against the Giants, this team would be 3-1. A trip to New Orleans to face the division-leading Saints is up next.
22. Oakland Raiders 2-2
A big road win against the Colts for this Raiders team to bring them back to .500 on the year. The jumped out to an early lead and they did not let go. This week, they face the unenviable task of facing the Bears defense in London.
23. Indianapolis Colts 2-2
A big drop in these rankings for a Colts team I thought were better than an average Raiders squad. It looked as though they may come back before Jacoby Brissett threw the back-breaking pick-six late in the game. They are still very much alive in the AFC South but face a trip to Arrowhead to play the Mahomes-led Chiefs in Week 5.
24. New York Giants 2-2
The ‘Danny Dimes’ hype train continues to pick up steam as he earned his second win in only his second start. Admittedly, the win came against a lifeless Redskins team but the progress made by the defense will encourage many in the Tri-state area. They stay home to face a Vikings team with many question marks in Week 5. Can he make it three from three?
25. Pittsburgh Steelers 1-3
The Steelers picked up their first win of the season on Monday night against the Bengals. The defense came to play, sacking Dalton eight times and playing havoc in the backfield all night. Only a game back in the AFC North, could this Steelers team find some life with a win against the Ravens on Sunday?
26. Atlanta Falcons 1-3
The Falcons laid an egg against the Titans at home in Week 4. Allowing Marcus Mariota to throw for 227 yards, three touchdowns and no picks while not sacking him once is inexcusable for a quarterback that was made to look awful only one week prior by the Jags. With as much talent as this team has, they appear lifeless at this point. They travel to Houston to face the Texans this week.
27. Arizona Cardinals 0-3-1
It’s been a rough start for the Kliff Kingsbury/Kyler Murray-led Cardinals organisation. Many analysts picked the Cardinals as the sexy pick to surprise the league with their air raid offense. This has plainly has not happened so far and the Cardinals find themselves winless. They face the 0-4 Bengals in Cincinnati this week.
28. Denver Broncos 0-4
Until half-time on Sunday, the Broncos – up 17-6 – looked as though they may get their first win of the season. They fell apart in the second half and added their fourth loss on the season. The good news is they finally got to the opposition QB with Von Miller and Bradley Chubb. The bad news is Chubb tore his ACL and is now out for the season. A road trip to face the Chargers awaits this week.
29. Cincinnati Bengals 0-4
A poor MNF showing for the Bengals who seem to be regressing week on week at this stage. Against the previously winless Steelers and their backup quarterback, the Bengals got a beat down on route to a 27-3 loss. AJ Green, their star wideout, still remains on the sidelines with an injury and has been involved in a fair bit of trade speculation as the season falls away. This week, they entertain the winless Cardinals in a game that only the hardcore fans will be tuning in for.
30. New York Jets 0-3
No game for the Jets in Week 4 as they were on their bye. A road trip to Philly awaits next week.
31. Washington Redskins 0-4
So the Dwayne Haskins era has officially begun in Washington. The bad news is he looked awful in his first career appearance in relief of Case Keenum against a poor Giants defense. Outside of the tanking Dolphins, this is clearly the worst team in the NFL. The sad part is they aren’t trying to lose. The undefeated Pats roll in this week, which could get ugly.
32. Miami Dolphins 0-4
With a quarter of the season complete, so far so good for the ‘Tank for Tua’ brigade. The Dolphins actually held their first lead of the season against the Chargers but normal service was eventually resumed, going down 10-30. This week, I guarantee they will not lose as they are on their bye.