After three weeks of NFL action there’s only two undefeated teams remaining (Kansas City and Atlanta). We saw a surge in scoring throughout the league in Week 3 as overs went 11-5 (same as underdogs last week with seven winning outright). Where does everyone stand? Here’s how we see the full picture.
NFL Week 4 Power Rankings: Parity, a Rise in Scoring and the Chiefs Keep Chiefin’
MISERABLE BUT SLIGHTLY LESS MISERABLE THAN LAST WEEK TIER
32. Cleveland Browns (0-3) (LW: 30)
As road favorites (at Indy) for the first time since ‘15, things didn’t go so well in a 31-28 loss. Seven dropped passes didn’t help. They’re back at the bottom.
31. New York Jets (1-2) (Last Week: 32)
Out of the cellar and into the light! Their shutout of the Dolphins lasted 60 minutes (with a touchdown after regulation expired). Maybe another Florida guest (Jaguars in Week 4) will get the Jets to .500?
30. Indianapolis Colts (1-2) (LW: 31)
Good to get off the schneid but let’s see them against a non-misery-level football team.
THE MORAL VICTORIES TIER
29. San Francisco 49ers (0-3) (LW: 28)
Finally scored a touchdown in Week 3, several actually, and made a valiant comeback bid against the Rams but lost.
28. Cincinnati Bengals (0-3) (LW 29)
Forced overtime against Green Bay. Well, the Packers did the forcing, then the winning in OT, but the Bengals looked like a real team under new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor.
THE TALENTED DISAPPOINTMENTS
27. Los Angeles Chargers (0-3) (LW: 20)
The Chargers have way more talent than the 27th overall team but until they can figure how to win and/or not botch football games, I can’t justify putting them above anyone else.
26. New York Giants (0-3) (LW: 22)
No team has started 0-3 since 1998 (Buffalo) and come back to make the playoffs. Time to pray at the altar of David Tyree.
MEDIOCRE TEAMS RISING
25. Chicago Bears (1-2) (LW: 27)
All running game, no passing game. Apparently it can work in 2017. Great win over the Steelers despite an all-time idiotic showboating gaffe by Marcus Cooper that cost four points.
24. New Orleans Saints (1-2) (LW: 26)
A road win at Carolina keeps their hopes alive. Now it’s on to London to play Miami.
23. Buffalo Bills (2-1) (LW: 25)
The lowest-ranked team with two wins just beat the Broncos in a turnover-free, two takeaway performance and just 272 yards of offense. Just win, baby.
FLAWED, AND NOT IN AN ADORABLE OR ENDEARING WAY
22. Arizona Cardinals (1-2) (LW: 21)
If they don’t find a reliable kicker soon they may want to try and animatronic version that at least cannot get broken emotionally.
21. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-1) (LW: 24)
Maybe they should just stay in London after three straight wins there, most recently their 44-7 dismantling of the Baltimore Ravens.
20. Houston Texans (1-2) (LW: 19)
That. Was. Close. We’ve exited the moral victories tier but Houston’s ability to generate a pass rush gives them the power to beat all teams lacking a mobile QB.
19. Miami Dolphins (1-1) (LW: 18)
After only two games it’s hard to figure out what’s up here. What’s up with that?
PLAYOFFS BUBBLE BUBBLE
18. Los Angeles Rams (2-1)(LW: 23)
Ladies and gentlemen, your Los Angeles Rams are leading the NFC West heading into Week 4 (and the friggin’ Seahawks are still ranked higher). What’s up with that?
17. Baltimore Ravens (2-1) (LW: 11)
They’re certainly not as bad as we witnessed in London but the early wins came against chum, and the offense remains stuck in the mud.
16. Detroit Lions (2-1) (LW: 16)
No fourth-quarter comeback this time, Sir! Others have the Lions ranked higher but this team is still only third-best in the NFC North.
15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-1) (LW: 14)
It’s hard to grade a team that was missing so many key players on defense at Minnesota. This week’s tilt against the Giants will tell us more.
14. Seattle Seahawks (1-2) (LW: 9)
Seattle fans can’t hear us from the panic room, but they ought to see that this version of the Seahawks is missing something. Maybe an elite run defense.
13. Carolina Panthers (2-1) (LW: 8)
Downgraded because of the Saints loss of course but mainly because Cam Newton appears far from 100% still (shoulder), plus the loss of Greg Olsen and continued absence of Pro Bowl center Ryan Kalil.
UP, UP AND AWAY (OR HOME) TO THE PLAYOFFS, PROBABLY
12. Washington Redskins (2-1) (LW: 17)
The front seven was ferocious against Oakland and Kirk Cousins was at his finest, probably giving ownership indigestion for botching a half-assed effort to sign him long term.
11. Philadelphia Eagles (2-1) (LW: 15)
Carson Wentz owes rookie kicker Jake Elliott one game check for nailing that incredible 61-yard game-winning field goal against the Giants. No really, it’s on tape.
We had @cj_wentz mic'd up for #NYGvsPHI and, well, just listen for yourself. #FlyEaglesFly pic.twitter.com/jEyB1msn1o
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) September 26, 2017
10. Tennessee Titans (2-1) (LW: 13)
Nice win over the visiting Seahawks as they reasserted their Exotic Smashmouth offense and Marcus Mariota displayed a uncanny ability to hit throws on the run.
9. Denver Broncos (2-1) (LW: 7)
The No Fly Zone remains in effect while the offense must have missed the flight to Buffalo. They’ve got a big showdown against Oakland on Sunday.
8. Oakland Raiders (2-1) (LW: 6)
Well, that was a humbling trip east to Washington where we didn’t expect to see the Redskins to push around Oakland’s offense: 7 total first downs, 0-11 on third down, 128 total yards. Wow.
7. Minnesota Vikings (2-1) (LW: 12)
Case Keenum’s fine play in Week 3 comes as a relief. Meanwhile, Sam Bradford’s status remains uncertain after his visit to Dr. James “Oh Shit, This Is Serious” Andrews.
6. Dallas Cowboys (2-1) (LW: 10)
The defense is really banged up and not a force to begin with, but credit them for pressuring Carson Palmer on Monday Night even when rushing only three.
CREAM OF THE CROP
5. Green Bay Packers (2-1) (LW: 5)
They need a load of injured players back immediatley, mainly DT Mike Daniels and offensive tackles David Bakhtiari and Brian Bulaga. Both tackles were limited participants in practice on Wednesday with a Thursday game on the docket.
4. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-1) (LW: 3)
Ugly road loss to the Bears. They happen. Still an 11- or 12-win team.
3. Atlanta Falcons (3-0) (LW: 4)
Two close calls but an elite offense and a good-enough defense and perhaps some strong bourbon can get them over the Super Bowl Hangover.
2. Kansas City Chiefs (3-0) (LW: 2)
They don’t always win box scores but they’re a constant threat in every phase of the game and lead Football Outsiders’ DVOA by a large margin through their first three contests.
1. New England Patriots (2-1) (LW: 1)
Pedigree counts. The defense is still curiously leaky but deserves benefit of the doubt. And Brady still has the fourth quarter comeback gene.
See you back on Friday for the TPS report covering survivor pools and the Week 4 betting slate.