Power Rankings: Week 4
As the Top 5 hold their spots, the Chiefs are making a run to push their way into the group, San Francisco is right on their heels looking to regain lost ground, and both are targeting Green Bay’s No. 5 position.
The Colts and Lions are also on the move, as we’re a quarter way through the season and teams are better setting themselves into proper slots.
Here’s how our analysts see the league after three weeks, and the cumulative rank (below) that comes of their ballots.
1. Denver Broncos (1, 0)
The Denver offense continues to show itself in a class above, pulling away in the second half of games to leave no doubt. Once again they streak past an opponent, and once again they take all of our top votes. Th Broncos hold on to No. 1 for the third straight week.
2. Seattle Seahawks (2, 0)
Snaring a victory in the manner they did can only add to the confidence of this team. Hanging around long enough to create a break and then finishing the job in overtime says a lot about Seattle’s makeup. Still a solid No. 2.
3. New Orleans Saints (3, 0)
Coming into the conversation as a challenger for the top two spots but remaining at No. 3 for now, the Saints got a near-perfect performance from their quarterback and another strong showing from a defense that has adapted quickly to the change brought by Rob Ryan.
4. New England Patriots (4, 0)
They’ll now have to deal with the loss of Vince Wilfork, but the Patriots once again found a way in Week 4, this time taking one on the road in Atlanta. It hasn’t been pretty, but collecting W’s when all parts aren’t clicking hints at even better days if they do get in sync.
5. Green Bay Packers (5, 0)
Green Bay held its spot with the week off but came close to losing ground as Kansas City gained. They’ve got a hot Detroit team shooting for them in Week 5.
6. Kansas City Chiefs (8, +2)
With Alex Smith doing more than game manage, and a pass rush primed to prevent comebacks, the Chiefs’ new leadership has taken their talented roster to a new level. Charging hard up the rankings, KC looks to push their way into the Top 5.
7. San Francisco 49ers (12, +5)
Bouncing back, the 49ers got an inspired night from NaVorro Bowman who more than covered for his missing wingman. San Francisco’s ground game also reappeared and the win offered some assurance that the team is better than they had shown in the previous two. Back up five spots after falling nine.
8. Chicago Bears (6, -2)
Not quite enough in them to stage another last-minute comeback this week, the Bears slip two spots and lose ground in the rankings for the first time. Cutler will look to rebound from his rough day as Chicago welcomes the No. 3 Saints in Week 5.
9. Cincinnati Bengals (7, -2)
The Cincinnati rise up the rankings was halted this week as their loss in Cleveland saw them step back. Dalton’s third straight negatively-graded game damaged a fine performance from his offensive tackles and a typically destructive day for Atkins.
10. Indianapolis Colts (15, +5)
It’s not often a win over the Jaguars will earn a significant bump in the rankings but the Colts are showing more and more the marks of a contender. They rise above No. 15 for the first time and now look to cement their foothold at the edge of the Top 10.
11. Dallas Cowboys (11, 0)
A team with talent enough to contend, the Cowboys can’t seem to string wins together and break out of this section of the rankings. They hold at No. 11 with teams around them swapping spots, but Denver comes to town next week, carrying with them an opportunity for Dallas to make a statement… one way or the other.
12. Detroit Lions (16, +4)
Suh continued on his outstanding pace and the offense clicked along as the Lions took one from a division rival. They’ve now jumped nine spots in the last two weeks and, with an eye on the Top 10 – yes, Lions fans, the Top 10 – they’ll have an opportunity to do the same to the rested Packers next week.
13. Baltimore Ravens (9, -4)
Fending off their slide with a small gain last week, the Ravens return to their downward trend and fall four spots to their lowest rank of the year. With Flacco’s up-and-down play landing so squarely in the ‘down’ (-7.5 passing) against the Bills, it’s tough to be confident about a resurgence.
14. Houston Texans (14, 0)
Schaub’s poor play on the game-tying interception is what marked Houston’s Week 4 loss to Seattle, but it wasn’t a start-to-finish effort to drag them down in the rankings. Watt, Cushing and Mercilus had something to say from the defensive side and next week’s visit to San Francisco gives the chance to rebound against another quality opponent.
15. Miami Dolphins (10, -5)
Coming up against one of the league’s best in the Saints, Miami was set back with a dose of reality. Tannehill’s mistakes were turned into points and a pass rush missing Cameron Wake didn’t dent the New Orleans passing game. The Dolphins fall back to the middle of the pack after three straight moves up.
16. San Diego Chargers (18, +2)
Marching like their efficient offense, the Chargers have climbed in four consecutive weeks and are still looking up. Facing the Raiders, Jaguars, and Redskins in three of their next four, a slide in the next month would be surprising.
17. Atlanta Falcons (13, -4)
As they’ve done in recent times, the Falcons fell short when faced with a late-game opportunity to take the win with a final score. Perhaps set too high to open the year, Atlanta has only fallen in the rankings since and now find themselves in the discussion of pack teams rather than that of the contenders.
18. Tennessee Titans (16, -2)
After three weeks that saw them continually rising to gain 12 spots in the rankings, the Titans settled here and will jockey for position among the middling bunch that haven’t fully convinced of their belonging higher up. A win against KC next week, however, would be tough to ignore.
19t. Carolina Panthers (20, +1)
After a big hop up in Week 3, the Panthers enjoy another gain during their bye week as Philadelphia drops out of their way. They’ll return to face Arizona in Week 5.
19t. Cleveland Browns (23, +4)
Having now gained nine spots in the space of two weeks, the Browns are firmly a team on the rise. Hosting the Bills on Thursday Night gives a chance for another step forward before a tougher stretch of the schedule arrives.
21. Philadelphia Eagles (19, -2)
Defense was once again the issue as no pressure and failing coverage wasn’t a good combo for the out-gunned Eagles. Watching Manning and the Broncos run past with little resistance, Philadelphia falls in the ranks for the third week in a row.
22. Buffalo Bills (22, 0)
Up and down around this spot, the Bills seem at home just above the Bottom 10. While their rookie QB is looking up at the rest of the league’s passers in our grading, flashing first-year linebacker Kiko Alonso has found his way to a place in fans’ hearts.
23. Minnesota Vikings (28, +5)
A trip to London did the Vikings good as they found their first win largely on the strength of their receivers doing well with passes from recently-inserted QB Matt Cassel. A sizable move up is their first in that direction this year.
24. Arizona Cardinals (27, +3)
A strong defensive effort against a Tampa team in turmoil was good enough for the Cardinals to essentially hold ground here as three teams pushed their way past toward the lower rungs.
25t. New York Jets (23, -2)
Despite an interior defense featuring players off to some of the league’s best starts, the Jets have been unable to take off. Geno Smith found himself unable to build on a positive showing in Week 3 and the offense faltered again.
25t. St. Louis Rams (21, -4)
With Sam Bradford flat-lined and the Quinn-Long edge rush combo negated by a determined run game, the Rams couldn’t match their 2012 magic against the 49ers. After just dodging it for the first three weeks, St. Louis becomes a member of the Bottom 10.
27. Washington Redskins (29, +2)
While their pass rush pestered Oakland’s lacking passer, the Redskins also found success in a return to form from Robert Griffin III who posted his first green grade of the young season and looked like his old self at times.
28. New York Giants (25, -3)
Faulty blocking and inconsistent quarterback play marked another down day for the Giants and their season-long slide has now officially taken them to Bottom 5 territory.
29. Pittsburgh Steelers (26, -3)
A linebacking corps hardly reminiscent of what’s been known from the Steelers speaks to the turn this team has taken. Traveling to London to take a loss has them heading to the bye licking wounds.
30. Oakland Raiders (30, 0)
Jumping out to an early 14-0 lead wasn’t enough to overcome a less-than-inspiring effort from backup QB Matt Flynn as the Raiders fizzled at home to fall to 1-3 and stay at No. 30.
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (31, 0)
Some positives on defense – namely the Revis/Banks CB pairing – were worthy of note, but their rookie QB thrust into action couldn’t spark the failing Bucs. Not bad enough to unseat Jacksonville from the final chair, but in the hunt.
32. Jacksonville Jaguars (32, 0)
Swimming in red grades, there’s a long way to go to find positives from this bunch, and, unfortunately for the Jaguars, there’s a long haul still to sort through til season’s end.