NFL Power Rankings - Week 4

Thu, Sep 29, 2022

Are we witnessing a changing of the guard in the National Football League. As of this writing there are only two unbeaten teams remaining—the Miami Dolphins in the AFC and the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC. Both face difficult challenges this week. After gutting out a home win against Josh Allen and the Bills, the Fins have a quick turnaround Thursday night at Cincinnati. The Eagles face the suddenly dominant Jaguars on Sunday. Four national championship quarterbacks squaring off on the same weekend. Two from the same team. There’s a statistical anomaly in there somewhere. While Brady and A-Rod grind it out in defensive slugfests, the young guns of the NFL are putting up gaudy stats. This week’s power rankings reflect the league’s youth movement.

#1. Eagles — Jalen Hurts was once looked at as a poor man’s Lamar Jackson, no more than a gimmicky placeholder to transition Philly out of the Carson Wentz era. An athletic guy who could make plays with his feet but not an elite QB. More of a thrower than a passer. Whatever. Last year, the maturation was apparent. But in the first three games of this season, Mr. Hurts has taken a sledgehammer to that ridiculous perception. Or is it a surgical knife. (up from 4th last week)

#2. Dolphins — They said Tua was a bust. He lacked fire. Two brittle. Couldn’t throw the deep ball. Similar to his former Alabama teammate above, the Dolphins QB has defied expectations and has navigated Miami through a murderers row of early opponents to a perfect 3-0 start. (up from 5th last week)

#3. Bills — Can’t drop Josh Allen too far. After a 400-yard performance in the south Florida humidity. He almost pulled it off. Didn’t help that the entire Buffalo secondary was inactive for the game. Next up: Baltimore. (dn from 1st last week)

#4. Ravens — Back-to-back games with 100 yards rushing and 3 or more passing TDs for Lamar Jackson. Dude is on yet another historic run in a contract year. Can’t wait to see him and Josh Allen battle it out this weekend in what might be a preview of the AFC championship game. (up from 10th last week)

#5. Chiefs — A loss to a desperate Colts team on the road in the final seconds does not merit a drastic drop. But stalled drives, missed field goals, a botched XP, and undisciplined penalties are all things that need to be cleaned up. That argument between Mahomes and OC Bieniemy just before the half was a bad look too. Probably just competitive fire but certainly uncharacteristic of the well-oiled Chiefs machine that we’ve come to know. (dn from 2nd last week)

#6. Packers — The late great Bobby Bowden once said in a post-game interview, “I’d rather win ugly than lose pretty.” I bet Aaron Rodgers was thinking something similar when he shook hands with Tom Brady after a 14-12 win in Tampa Bay. Offense is still a work in progress. Defense might be the best in the league. (up from 6th last week)

#7. Rams — Decisive road win against the divisional opponent. The Rams are getting incrementally better week by week. WR Cooper Cupp is indefensible. (up from 8th last week)

#8. Buccaneers — An injured receiving corps, an O-line full of unfamiliar faces, not exactly what Tampa Tom envisioned when he came out of that short retirement, but no one is running away with the NFC South. By mid-season, the Bucs should be clicking. (dn from 3rd last week)

#9. Bangles — Now that’s more like it. Offense was clicking on all cylinders and the defense was smothering. Quick turnaround though: Undefeated Miami will roll into town on Thursday night. (up from 16th last week)

#10. Vikings — Nice bounceback game against the upstart Lions. But they lose RB Dalvin Cook again. (up from 11th last week)

#11. Browns — QB Jacoby Brissettt was laser-accurate and poised against the Steelers. Run game was dominant as usual. Nice to see David Njoku finally playing like a first-round Hurricane Tight End. But a car accident involving pass rush specialist Myles Garrett bears watching. Especially with Jadeveon Clowney already down. (up from 22nd last week)

#12. Broncos — Remember all the talk about the AFC West? How electrifying it was going to be with all the offseason moves. QB Russell Wilson to Denver was one of the main reasons why. So far, not so much. Strange seeing Wilson looks so average. (up from 13th last week)

#13. 49ers — Sunday night’s game versus the Broncos was just about as exciting as watching two worms copulate. Still not sure if it was spectacular defense or inept offense. Difficult to imaging a Kyle Shanahan team struggling to score points for more than a week or two. Remember, Jimmy G didn’t take any reps in training camp. (dn from 7th last week)

#14. Jaguars — What a difference a professional coaching staff makes. It was hard watching Trevor Lawrence last year. Multiple games with multiple interceptions. The arm talent we saw in Clemson seemed to evaporate. Did he just forget how to play football? Absolutely not. Trevor is thriving in Doug Pederson’s possessive system and the Big Cats are for real. (up from 27th last week)

#15. Cowboys — I admit it. I left the Cowboys for dead after week one. The loss of LT Tyron Smith was going to be hard enough to overcome. But Dak Prescott??? Along with pretty much every receiver not named CeeDee Lamb? Impossible. Yeah, not so much. QB Cooper Rush is doing his thing. Cowboys are one game out of first place. (up from 26th last week)

#16. Giants — Maybe a little over valued after two consecutive wins. The wide receiver position is clearly something that needs to be addressed in the offseason. But Saquon Barkley is officially back. He alone will win Big Blue some games. (dn from 12th last week)

#17. Colts — Way to get up off the canvas Matty Ice! I have a feeling the Colts will be battling for the AFC South title at the end of the season. No one is running away with this division either. A 100-yard game from RB Jonathan Taylor would be nice. I keep waiting for him to break out. (up from 23rd last week)

#18. Chargers — The mollywhopping the Bolts took from J-ville is not all due to QB Justin Herbert’s ailing ribcage. Herbert doesn’t play on the allegedly “loaded” defense that allowed damn near 40 points. This team is playing like a unit that is buying into their own media hype. They’ll be playing catchup all season if they don’t get it right in a hurry. (dn from 6th last week)

#19. Patriots — QB Mac Jones’s injury looks pretty serious. No way he returns for the game this Sunday in Lambeau. That leaves the Pats with… Brian Hoyer? And just when it appeared that Jones was developing some serious chemistry with WR Devante Parker. (dn from 14th last week)

#20. Titans — Finally, a win! And a Robert Woods citing. Tannehill is going to need some receiving options down the stretch if the Titans manage to find their offensive identity and climb back into the race. (up from 24th last week)

#21. Panthers — Another team that was overdue for the win column. I expect Baker Mayfield, Christian McCaffrey, and DJ Moore to right this ship and play competitive football for the duration. If they heat up, look out. (up from 30th last week)

#22. Saints — Saints on paper are not translating to Saints on the field. QB Jameis Winston is not getting it done. Much as it would limit the playbook, a Taysom Hill-led offense might put some points on the board and give the Who Dat defense a lead to protect. (dn from 17th last week)

#23. Falcons — They get better every week. HC Arthur Smith is doing an amazing job with this roster. Highly competitive team on the rise. RB Cordarrelle Patterson is one of the coolest stories in the NFL. I love taking them with the points. (up from 31st last week)

#24. Steelers — Will this be the week. HC Mike Tomlin, sits Trubisky for Pickett? This offense is sorely in need of an energy infusion. The young QB who broke Dan Marino’s passing records at Pitt University might be ready to let it rip. (dn from 15th last week)

#25. Cardinals — Could easily be sitting at 0-3 right now if now for a come-from-behind victory against the floundering Raiders. Cards returned to Texas Tech mediocrity on Sunday versus the Rams. (dn from 18th last week)

#26. Raiders — Another underperforming AFC West team. Much has been reported about how Aaron Rodgers misses Davante Adams. I wonder how much 0-3 Davante misses 2-1 Aaron right now. Luckily there are still 14 games left to play. (dn from 19th last week)

#27. Lions — They had the Viks on the ropes. Just didn’t finish. Lions feel like a young team still learning how to win. They can get back to .500 this weekend though. Seattle is coming to town. (dn from 20th last week)

#28. Bears — The worst 2-1 team in the NFL. QB Justin Fields looks nothing like his Ohio State self. 8 of 17 for 106 yards with 2 INTs will get you booed every Sunday at Soldier Field. Even in a win. Backup RB Kahlil Herbert went off though. 157 yards with 2 TDs. A Daily Fantasy steal. (up from 32nd last week)

#29. Jets — The coolest thing about last week’s game was when Jets former Pro Bowl center Nick Mangold was being honored at halftime. He cracked a beer and toasted the fans. QB Zach Wilson should return this Sunday. (dn from 28th last week)

#30. Commanders — Washington is looking like a team in line for the first overall pick in 2023. Good thing they got in the win column early this season. The wheels appear to be coming off. (dn from 21st last week)

#31. Texans — Another close loss. The Texans are in every single game. RB Dameon Pierce gets better every week. Unfortunately, QB Davis Mills looks like nothing more than a serviceable backup. (dn from 25th last week)

#32. Seahawks —Geno Smith threw for 300 yards and the loss. Another franchise already destined for a top five pick in the 2023 draft. Wonder if Pete Carroll’s coaching staff will be around to see it. (dn from 29th last week)