Week 4 NFL Power Rankings (From an Amateur)
by Jennifer Jordan
It was another crazy week in the NFL. One undefeated team fell and a few defeated teams found victory. The way this season is going, one thing’s for sure: anything can happen.
1. New England Patriots (4-0) (Previous rank: 1): Well, they didn’t score 38 points, but they dominated nonetheless. In a word, their offense is unstoppable. Until someone rains on Brady’s parade, the Patriots will remain on top.
2. Indianapolis Colts (4-0) (Previous rank: 2): For a quarter, it was starting to look as though Denver was finally going to beat their number one nemesis of the past few seasons. But, it’s too bad for Denver that the game lasted longer than fifteen minutes. The Colts looked like stallions against the Broncos, virtually doubling their score. Their inability to stop the run remains Indy’s only weakness.
3. Dallas Cowboys (4-0) (Previous rank: 3): It’s safe to say that Tony Romo is more than making up for his flub in the playoffs last year. Simply put, he’s playing like a man on fire. Getting it done on air and on foot, Romo is exploiting the talents of his receivers and the weakness of his opponents. The Cowboys rammed it to St. Louis. 4-0 is where they deserve to be.
4. Green Bay Packers (4-0) (Previous rank: 5): When even your punter gets away from a slug of defenders to rush for the first down, you know you’re having a good year. I’m gonna say it: the Packers are for real. As Brett Favre broke Dan Marino’s TD record, Green Bay broke the hearts of Minnesota fans. At 4-0, the NFC North is theirs to lose.
5. Seattle Seahawks (3-1) (Previous rank: 11): The Seahawks are making a statement, one that says they are still a big bird in the NFC. With a passing game, a running game, and a defense all playing well, Seattle is one of the most well rounded teams in the NFL. As they gain confidence, they will be a force to reckon with.
6. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1) (Previous rank: 4):: Last week, I got some comments about not ranking Pittsburgh higher. My reasons for this were simple: Pittsburgh, at 3-0, was overrated. Now, after a loss to Arizona, I can utter a not-at-all-obnoxious “HA!” Shutting down the Steelers, the Cardinals finally got a big lead and didn’t lose it. Pittsburgh’s offense, their defense, and their special teams were all outdone by Arizona. The steel curtain looked a little more like mini blinds.
7. Detroit Lions (3-1) (Previous rank: 21): They were once the laughing stock of the NFL: well, chuckle no more. The Detroit Lions just might be for real. When it matters most, they get things done and that, my friends, is how football games are won. They scored 37 points, including 34 in the fourth quarter, against what was once the NFL’s best defense.
8. Tennessee Titans (2-1) (Previous rank: 8): No Change: Bye Week
9. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-1) (Previous rank: 9): No Change: Bye Week.
10. Tampa Bay (3-1) (Previous rank: 18): Surprise, surprise: the Buccaneers are good again. As Cadillac Williams was carted off the field, Tampa Bay rallied around their fallen teammate, eventually cruising to an easy victory against the Panthers. This was a big road win, but the Buccaneers will be really tested next week when the travel to Indy.
11. Baltimore Ravens (2-2) (Previous rank: 6): Hmm…remember when Baltimore was known for Defense? Well, those days might be behind us. As they got walloped by the Browns, yes, the Browns, the Ravens just couldn’t keep up on offense. Despite a good game from Willis McGahee and Steve McNair, Baltimore didn’t score when they should have. They don’t look like the 13-3 team they were a year ago.
12. Arizona Cardinals (2-2) (Previous rank: 22): In the Arizona heat, the Cardinals just might have something cooking. After beating the Steelers, they are sitting 2-2, with two losses that could have been victories. The quarterback combination of Leinart and Warner is working and, once Boldin returns, it will only get better.
13. Denver Broncos (2-2) (Previous rank: 10): No one gave Denver much of a chance in this game and, it turns out, they didn’t deserve one. Despite getting off to an early lead, Peyton Manning, as he always does against the Broncos, got them in the end. While their rush defense still looks bad, their pass defense is hurting too. Where are the big plays Champ Bailey and Dre Bly are supposed to be making?
14. Carolina Panthers (2-2) (Previous rank: 7):: Um, ouch. Destroyed by Tampa Bay at home isn’t what Carolina wanted to do. David Carr was shut down and Steve Smith had a melt down. In the end, the Panthers only had 236 yards. That kind of total leaves most teams totaled themselves. They seem to have lost their groove.
15. New York Giants (2-2) (Previous rank: 19): And just like that, they are back in it. After a 0-2 start, anyone who wrote off the Giants is probably writing them back in. Not only did they beat Philadelphia in a huge NFC East contest, but their defense was spectacular. With the Giants recording 12 sacks, we can’t help but wonder how sore McNabb was on Monday morning.
16. Houston Texans (2-2) (Previous rank: 12): It was one of those games that could have been but the Texans, despite solid play from Matt Shaub, couldn’t get it done. Not only did they have to settle for field goals, but they also couldn’t convert third downs. This teams needs to get their injured players back; it’s just not the same without them.
17. Cleveland Browns (2-2) (Previous rank: 27):It’s time to throw the Cleveland Browns a bone: they deserve it. The win against the Baltimore Ravens was huge. The school bullies of the NFL looked more like the chess club against the revenge hungry Browns. They packed on points and kept on going. Derrick Anderson is making fans ask, “Brady who?”
18. Kansas City Chiefs (2-2) (Previous rank: 25): The Chiefs are making things interesting in the AFC West. A team that was supposed to be the worst in the league easily knocked off a team that was supposed to be the best in the league. And, the kicker, it wasn’t even at Arrowhead.
19. San Francisco (2-2) (Previous rank: 17): San Francisco may have been undefeated just a few weeks back, but right now, it seems like eons ago. This huge loss to the Seahawks hurt, both literally and figuratively: Alex Smith left the game with a separated shoulder. This game was either a fluke or proved the 49ers aren’t yet ready to be contenders. How they perform next week against the 2-2 Ravens will help us decide.
20. Washington Redskins (2-1) (Previous rank: 20): No change: Bye week.
21. San Diego (1-3) (Previous rank: 6): At the beginning of the season no one would have predicted this: in week four, the San Diego Chargers are the only AFC West team not in first place. Call them troubled, call them frustrated, whatever they are, they are surprising. Shocked at home by the Kansas City Chiefs, a good game from LaDainian Tomlinson wasn’t enough to get the Chargers charged. These former West winners have definitely gone south.
22. Chicago Bears (1-3) (Previous rank: 7): Different quarterback, same outcome. The Bears are the NFC’s version of the Chargers. This season, that’s not a compliment. Though the Bears held the Lions to three points through three quarters, everything fell apart in the end when Chicago gave up 34 points in the final fifteen minutes. This was a big loss to a NFC North rival.
23. Oakland Raiders (2-2) (Previous rank: 27): Yes, the Raiders are tied for first in the AFC West. It’s still early, but Oakland fans can savor away. The Raiders kept Miami’s winless streak alive in a blowout. Dante Culpepper looked good and Oakland’s rushing game left every fantasy player pondering one thing: “Who the heck is Justin Fargas and why didn’t I draft him?”
24. Philadelphia Eagles (1-3) (Previous rank: 15): Well, so much for being back to their old selves. After putting up huge numbers last week, the Eagles had their wings clipped in this week’s contest: they scored only three points. Not that it’s surprising: it’s hard to score points when your quarterback is sacked 12, yes 12, times. When the team wasn’t giving up sacks, they were committing penalties. This isn’t the way Philadelphia will catch Dallas, or anyone else, in the NFC East.
25. Cincinnati Bengals (1-3) (Previous rank: 16):The defense on this team seems to be getting worse, giving up 34 points in this week’s contest. Their offense didn’t do them any favors. It might be too soon to say, but this team looks like a lost cause.
26. Buffalo Bills (1-3) (Previous rank: 32): As a team, and as individuals, they needed this win. Getting by 17-14 against the New York Jets, Buffalo got their receivers involved in the game and started a possible quarterback controversy. With Trent Edwards subbing in for injured JP Losman, the Bills found themselves somewhere they haven’t been: in the win column.
27. Atlanta Falcons (1-3) (Previous rank: 30): It’s good to see Joey Harrington get a win, even if it may be in vain. The 26-16 romp over the Houston Texans left us wondering two things: where have the Falcon’s receivers been and exactly how old is Morten Andersen?
28. New Orleans Saints (0-3) (Previous rank: 28): Bye week: no change.
29. New York Jets (1-3) (Previous rank: 24): It was a rough landing for the Jets and it’s going to be a rough year. By not getting to the end zone and committing too many penalties, New York gave Buffalo this season’s first victory. At 1-3, New York needs to either take off, or get away from the runway
30. Minnesota Vikings (1-3) (Previous rank: 27): If the touchdown record was an Oscar, Brett Favre would have thanked Minnesota’s secondary right after thanking the academy. The Vikings, plainly put, were horrible on defense. This, coupled by the fact that the offense waited too long to get going, leaves Minnesota where they should be: out in the cold.
31. Miami Dolphins (0-4) (Previous rank: 26): Only Miami has ever gone an entire season without losing a game; could they now go the entire season without winning one? It’s not just that Miami is 0-4 – a few others are as well – but they seem to be getting worse. Despite Ronnie Brown stepping it up, they just can’t outscore their opponents. Where the heck is Miami’s defense?
32. St Louis Rams (0-4) (Previous rank: 31): When the opposing quarterback gathers a mis-snapped ball 33 yard behind the line of scrimmage and still gets the first down, you know your team’s in trouble. The Rams couldn’t do anything on offense, and did even less on defense. Right now, they probably wish it was 2006.
Week 4 NFL Power Rankings (From an Amateur)