In case you’re not caught up, I’m posting Power Rankings every two weeks this season. Substantial jumps and falls in the ranks should be expected. Weeks 3 and 4 didn’t clear up everything, but it certainly gave us a better indication as to where these teams stand. I’m especially excited at the prospect of unexpected success, like the kind we’re seeing in Tennessee, San Diego, Detroit, and Kansas City. Which of these teams are showing us their true colors? Weeks 5 and 6 may answer even more questions. After four weeks in the books, here’s where each team stands:
1. Denver Broncos (0)-A couple more offensive explosions–giving them 179 points scored on the year–should leave no doubt in anybody’s mind as to who’s playing the best football right now.
2. Seattle Seahawks (0)-Another road scare at Houston doesn’t exactly convince me that Seattle can excel on the road. Nevertheless, I have to give them credit for hanging in the game and winning their fourth straight.
3. New Orleans Saints (↑2)–With Sean Payton back at the helm and Drew Brees playing at his consistently elite level, it’s safe to say the Saints are back.
4. New England Patriots (↑6)–Last week I said the Pats need to figure it out on offense to stay undefeated. Racking up 30 on the road in Atlanta is exactly the kind of performance I needed to see from a resourceful New England team.
5. Indianapolis Colts (↑12)–After struggling against Oakland and losing to Miami, Indianapolis made a statement on the road in San Francisco. This team looks scary when they are on.
6. Kansas City Chiefs (↑7)–It’s an all-around effort in KC, where Alex Smith is making smart throws (only two picks) and the defense is keeping every team under 17 points thus far. That’s a formula for success. With the Titans and Raiders on the slate, a 6-0 start for these new-look Chiefs is a real possibility.
7. San Francisco 49ers (↓4)-Two bad losses to Seattle and Indy can’t be ignored, but I trust Jim Harbaugh to have this team on track following the dominating win in St. Louis.
8. Miami Dolphins (↑4)–One bad loss to the Saints is the only blemish on Miami’s otherwise great start. Picking up a win against the Ravens the following week will go a long way for the team’s psyche.
9. Baltimore Ravens (↑2)-I loved what the Ravens showed me against the Texans, but I hated what I saw against the Bills just as much. That’s a game Baltimore probably feels they could have won. Their response in Miami next week will show me if they have what it takes to go the distance this season.
10. San Diego Chargers (↑4)–With 1,199 passing yards, 11 TDs, only 2 picks, and a 118.8 passer rating, Philip Rivers is one of the top three QBs in the league right now. San Diego needs to pick up wins while Philip is hot.
11. Houston Texans (↓3)–Houston’s issues finally caught up with them. After escaping with wins against San Diego and Tennessee, the Texans paid dearly against Baltimore and got bit late by Seattle. A tough contest at San Francisco might mean a third-straight loss for the underachieving Texans.
12. Cincinnati Bengals (↓3)–At 2-2, you might say Cincinnati’s division champ bid isn’t going well so far. Lucky for them, the rest of the AFC North is struggling at 2-2 or worse. Still, I have to believe that Cincy’s play will need to improve if they want the AFC North crown.
13. Green Bay Packers (↓9)-Green Bay’s two losses have come in shootouts. A timely bye week should patch up some problems on defense. If not, it could be more of the same against a Detroit team who put up 40 on the Bears in Week 4.
14. Detroit Lions (↑6)-The one loss to Arizona is the only thing standing in the way of a 4-0 start. Hard to believe, but sure enough Detroit has come out of the gates playing tough and winning games.
15. Chicago Bears (↓8)–What looked to be a dream start for the Bears came to a screeching halt against the Lions. The 40-32 final score is a lot closer than the game really was and it might get ugly against an even better offensive Saints team next week. Can Chicago hold their own?
16. Atlanta Falcons (↓10)-Atlanta is without a doubt the best 1-3 team out there right now. They’ve lost to quality opponents, which is cause for concern come playoff time. Up next for Atlanta is the Jets, Bucs, Cards, and Panthers. If they aren’t 5-3 by Week 9, there is a real problem.
17. Tennessee Titans (↑10)–He may not have been the most accurate QB, but Jake Locker was having a strong year. His hip injury will now sideline him for 4-8 weeks. Not the best time for your QB to go down with KC, Seattle, and San Francisco coming up.
18. Buffalo Bills (↑7)–Don’t mess with the Bills at home. Unfortunately, half of Buffalo’s games are on the road and they might run into trouble. EJ Manuel’s work is cut out for him.
19. Dallas Cowboys (↓3)–The Cowboys are certainly not playing like division leaders, but that’s where they find themselves. They need to take advantage of the good standing and pick up key wins against Washington and Philly in weeks 6 and 7.
20. Cleveland Browns (↑10)-Cleveland is putting itself in a position to win most games and have come away with two straight. Brandon Weeden’s injury may have been the break Cleveland needed, as Brian Hoyer has filled in nicely. With a rugged defense behind him, Hoyer won’t have to put up spectacular numbers for Cleveland to win.
21. Carolina Panthers (↑5)-The bye week (obviously) didn’t help me figure out Carolina. The big win over the Giants could be a mirage of success. With some easy teams coming up, the Panthers have a real chance to show me that they belong in the conversation with some of the better teams in the league.
22. Arizona Cardinals (↓3)-I’m not afraid to admit that I don’t believe this team can compete until the very end. We’ll see where they are by week 10, after facing San Fran, Seattle, Atlanta, and Houston. It’s up to them to prove me wrong.
23. New York Jets (↑5)–New York’s poor performance in Tennessee was a bit of a reality check. Geno Smith is turning the ball over too much, putting immense pressure on the D to deal with tough field position.
24. Philadelphia Eagles (↓9)-It didn’t take long for Philly’s new offense to be figured out. Being efficient on offense, as Denver, KC, and San Diego were, keeps Vick and McCoy on the sidelines. This works against most teams, but Philly has yet to find a way get past it after three-straight losses.
25. Minnesota Vikings (↓4)-Minnesota finally broke out of the 0-fer club, but against the woeful Steelers. The bye week will need to be utilized well because Minnesota still has plenty of issues, starting with their worst-ranked pass defense.
26. Washington Redskins (↓2)–All of Washington let out a sigh of temporary relief as they scraped past the Raiders. Can they possibly turn this into something to work off of?
27. New York Giants (↓5)-It’s a dark time for New York after being crushed late in their last three games. The team is still hopeful, but I can’t help but wonder when there first win will come. It may sound crazy, but thanks to an awful start for the NFC East, New York isn’t completely out of it yet.
28. St. Louis Rams (↓10)–St. Louis was such a tough team to beat last year and things were sure looking up. They’ve been exposed early this season.
29. Pittsburgh Steelers (↓6)–Big Ben says Pittsburgh may be the worst team in the league. I don’t think it’s quite that bad, but he’s not far off. What is this team doing?
30. Oakland Raiders (↑1)-Oakland may not be as bad as we first thought, but then again, their one win is against Jacksonville. Oakland just needs to focus on what they can do right and build on it each game.
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (↓2)-Mike Glennon didn’t impress in his first start, but I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. How prepared will he be after a bye?
32. Jacksonville Jaguars (0)-You know it’s bad when Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, and Oakland are finding comfort in saying, “Well at least we’re not as bad as Jacksonville.”
Biggest jump: Indianapolis Colts (↑12)
Biggest fall: St. Louis Rams, Atlanta Falcons (↓10)