Los Angeles Rams second-year QB Jared Goff now leads the league in yards per attempt with 9.16 and has been sacked only four times, a testament to scheme, the offensive line, and Goff. The Rams are Movin’ on Up faster than the Jeffersons while others who began with Super Bowl aspirations are tumbling down. Let’s get to the rundown from bottom to top:
Underdogs Reigned Again in NFL Week 4 as Unlikely Division Leaders Make Big Power Ranks Gains
32. Cleveland Browns (0-4) (Last Week: 32)
This week would be a good week to win a football game (home versus Jets, currently a pick ‘em).
31. Indianapolis Colts (1-3 )(LW: 30)
They competed for one half at Seattle before getting bulldozed. They’re on to the winless 49ers at home as 1.5-point favorites.
30. San Francisco 49ers (0-4) (LW: 29)
Indeed, it’s a football game between two bad teams. The Colts get back center Ryan Kelly at a good time against a strong Niners defensive line.
29. Miami Dolphins (1-2) (LW: 19)
The Fins have not scored a touchdown during regulation in two straight games (one garbage time TD against Jets post-0:00). Adam Gase knew what he was getting in Jay Cutler…
Cutler really selling his role in the Wildcat at the bottom of the screen pic.twitter.com/WgHxXvxlHL
— Mike Tunison (@xmasape) October 1, 2017
SOMEBODY HAS TO WIN THIS GAME, RIGHT?
28. Los Angeles Chargers (0-4) (LW: 27)
No more defending the Chargers. They have the losing gene. Heading east in Week 5 to meet the…
27. New York Giants (0-4) (LW: 26)
It would be fitting if this game ended in a tie.
FLAWED BUT NOT COMPLETE PUSHOVERS
26. Chicago Bears (1-3) (LW: 25)
John Fox, who wants to remain head coach, has announced that the The Mitch Trubisky era begins on Monday Night Football against the Vikings.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-2) (LW: 21)
The defense can only do so much and it doesn’t include playing quarterback.
24. New York Jets (2-2) (LW: 31)
Out with the old (Matt Forte), in with a rookie named Elijah McGuire, who sprung a 69-yard TD run against the Jags.
23. Cincinnati Bengals (1-3) (LW: 28)
Nothing like the Browns to get into the win column. Let’s see what happens against a competent football team on Sunday (Bills +3).
22. Baltimore Ravens (2-2) (LW: 17)
Joe Flacco’s massive contract is a noose around the organization’s neck. He’s averaging a league-worst 5.09 yards per attempt, almost a full yard behind Blake Bortles (6.05, ranked 27th).
21. Arizona Cardinals (2-2) (LW: 22)
Carson Palmer, on nearly every snap of the ‘17 season:
BRUISED AND BATTERED (IN SOME CASES, EMOTIONALLY)
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1) (LW: 15)
Rookie tight end O.J. Howard’s first career NFL touchdown is also the easiest he’ll ever score. Then again, the Patriots’ league-worst defense comes to town on Thursday night.
OJ Howard found the hole in the Giants defense pic.twitter.com/SFCZ0xo8P0
— SB Nation GIF (@SBNationGIF) October 1, 2017
19. Tennessee Titans (2-2) (LW: 10)
Marcus Mariota was pulled with a hamstring injury at Houston, where the 57-14 thrashing was not merely a bad dream.
18. Oakland Raiders (2-2) (LW: 8)
Derek Carr will miss 2-6 weeks after suffering a fracture in his back, hence the big rankings downgrade. That injury will fracture an already imperfect team with a leaky defense.
17. New Orleans Saints (2-2) (LW: 24)
While you were sleeping, the Saints pitched a shutout of Miami in London. Longtime RT Zach Streif (knee) hit the IR but Saints LT Terron Armstead is set to return from shoulder surgery.
16. Minnesota Vikings (2-2) (LW: 7)
Breakout rookie RB Dalvin Cook suffered a torn ACL against Detroit. This poor team is snakebitten and is looking more like an also-ran than a playoff squad. On to Chicago.
15. Houston Texans (2-2) (LW: 20)
The Deshaun Watson bandwagon is filling up quickly. They’re currently a home dog for the second straight week (about +1) with the undefeated Chiefs set to visit.
14. Seattle Seahawks (2-2) (LW: 14)
The Seahawks are a perplexing team and I’m always reserving judgment until next week. This is the last “next week” as they visit the NFC West leading Rams (-1) in what looks like a short line based on Seattle’s past achievements.
13. Buffalo Bills (3-1) (LW: 23)
Time to take the AFC East leaders (yeah!) seriously. Buffalo has the top-rated defense in the league (per Football Outsiders) and just enough offense.
12. Dallas Cowboys (2-2) (LW: 6)
A keepaway strategy doesn’t work when you’re hemorrhaging points and can’t get Zeke going (3.6 yards per carry).
11. Washington Redskins (2-2) (LW: 12)
The Redskins came oh-so-close at Kansas City; the bye comes at the right time so Josh Norman (ribs) can heal up.
THE OUTER VALENCE OF THE TOP CONTENDERS
10. New England Patriots (2-2) (LW: 1)
The Patriots-Bucs Thursday night game has a total of 55.5, which says the most about the state of the Patriots’ dreadful, pass-rush-less defense.
9. Carolina Panthers (3-1) (LW: 13)
Maybe Cam Newton isn’t fully recovered from that shoulder injury but the Patriots D sure made it look that way. Road trip to Detroit (-2.5).
8. Detroit Lions (3-1) (LW: 16)
Good special teams, improved defense, good Matthew Stafford. Next up: make the playoffs again and win a January game.
7. Los Angeles Rams (3-1)(LW: 18)
A 35-30 win at Dallas marks the early signature win in the Sean McVay-Jared Goff era. In Week 5 they could climb two games ahead of the Seahawks in the NFC West.
6. Philadelphia Eagles (3-1) (LW: 11)
The secondary remains a liability but one the pass rush (get well soon, Fletcher Cox) can disguise against Arizona’s (+6.5) wounded offensive line.
TOP DOGS (SUPER BOWL FAVORITES)
5. Denver Broncos (3-1) (LW: 9)
The same recipe that took the Broncos to Super Bowl 50: defense, some offense and defense.
4. Green Bay Packers (3-1) (LW: 5)
That status of both starting tackles remains unknown for Sunday at Dallas (-2), but Aaron Rodgers has beaten the Cowboys before with an offense at less than full strength.
3. Atlanta Falcons (3-1) (LW: 3)
Losing both starting wideouts in one game is tough to overcome, so the bye comes at the right time. Next up they’ll get an AFC East sandwich with slop on the outside (Miami, @Patriots, @Jets).
2. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1) (LW: 4)
Le’Veon Bell is heating up. The defense is about to eat some Bortles for lunch (Pittsburgh is favored 8.5).
1. Kansas City Chiefs (4-0) (LW: 2)
The most complete team in the NFL and they just built up rookie kicker Harrison Butker’s confidence with his game-winning field goal on Monday night. Sunday night’s tilt at Houston is the game of the week.
See you back on Friday for the TPS report on the Week 5 betting slate with game predictions and survivor pool picks.