Week 4 NFL power rankings

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Photo courtesy USA Today

We’re getting to the point of the NFL season where nearly everyone has at least one game in each column of the win-loss ledger. In Week 4, the Ravens and Patriots took their first losses of the year, leaving the Broncos, Vikings and Eagles as the only undefeated teams. Conversely, the Jaguars, Saints and Bears each got their first victory, leaving the Browns alone in the basement.

1. Denver Broncos (4-0) +1

The Denver defense has been as tenacious as advertised through Week 4. They will need to keep up the intensity in Week 5 when they take on the Falcons powerful offense led by league leading passer Matt Ryan. With Trevor Siemian likely sidelined with a shoulder injury the Broncos may have to trot out prized rookie Paxton Lynch.

2. Minnesota Vikings (4-0) +1

Sam Bradford continued to silence his critics against the Giants as he threw for 262 yards and a touchdown. With the best defense in the conference the Vikings are beginning to look like the team to beat in the NFC. The star-studded defensive backfield will have their hands full with a talented group of receivers when they face the Texans in Week 5.

3. New England Patriots (3-1) -2

With third string quarterback Jacoby Brissett under center, the Patriots suffered their first shutout at home in over two decades when they fell to the Bills 16-0 Sunday. The good news: The last time the Patriots got shut out by the Bills, they went on to win Super Bowl XXXVIII.

4. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1) +2

Pittsburgh bounced back from an embarrassing Week 3 loss to the Eagles with a complete thrashing of Kansas City Sunday night in Le’Veon Bell’s season debut. Ben Roethlisberger is leading the league in touchdown passes and he should see plenty of open receivers this week against the Jets, who have not defended the pass well this season.

5. Philadelphia Eagles (3-0) —

Carson Wentz has yet to throw an interception in his young NFL career and, after demoralizing the Steelers in Week 3, the Eagles seem to be clicking on all cylinders.  Coming off a bye week, the Eagles look to continue their perfect season as they face a mediocre Lions team this Sunday.

6. Seattle Seahawks (3-1) -2

A bye week couldn’t have come at a better time for Seattle as they have multiple key players nursing injuries, including Russell Wilson. The good news is that Wilson has been able to play well despite being banged up. Their low-scoring Week 2 loss to the Rams is beginning to look like an outlier.

7. Atlanta Falcons (3-1) +8

What a difference a week makes. In Week 3 Julio Jones caught one pass. This Sunday he hauled in an outrageous 300 yards receiving in the Falcons 48-33 win over Carolina. Now they head to the Mile-High City for a matchup with the undefeated Broncos, in what looks to be one of the better games in Week 5.

8. Green Bay Packers (2-1) —

Following their week off, the Packers will face the Giants Sunday night. It has been much of the same in Green Bay this season, with Aaron Rodgers displaying a 7:1 touchdown to interception ratio. The team will need his success to continue, as division foe Minnesota has jumped out to an early 4-0 start.

9. Oakland Raiders (3-1) +5

In Week 4 Derek Carr tossed four touchdowns with zero interceptions. With Michael Crabtree alongside Amari Cooper, the Raiders look to be a playoff contender. They are finding a way to win close games, something that will help them immensely down the road. Look for continued success, as Oakland’s next four opponents have a combined record of 5-11.

10. Cincinnati Bengals (2-2) +1

The return of suspended linebacker Vontaze Burfict was key in the Bengals surrendering just seven points in Week 4. A.J. Green is third in the NFL in receiving yards with 117 yards per game. Before they can even think about Tom Brady and the Patriots in Week 6, the Bengals head to “Jerry’s World” to take on the Cowboys Sunday.

11. Dallas Cowboys (3-1) +2

Through four games, rookie quarterback Dak Prescott has thrown 131 passes without an interception. Fellow rookie Ezekiel Elliott is also leading the league in rushing yards. However, the conversation in Dallas has been star wide out Dez Bryant, who sat out Week 4 with a knee injury. Bryant’s status for Sunday’s game against the Bengals is up in the air.

12. Houston Texans (3-1) +4

The Texans found themselves as the victims of the New England Patriots, being shutout at Gillette Stadium in Week 3. They rebounded to beat the Tennessee Titans at home last weekend with a final score of 27-20. With the Vikings coming up on Sunday, the Texans must rely on their defense without the leadership of J.J. Watt.

13. Los Angeles Rams (3-1) +6

L.A. has surpassed everyone’s expectations this season. Starting with a loss to San Fran, they have since won their last three games against much more capable opponents. This weekend they will face the Buffalo Bills, who are fresh off a win against the Patriots.  This game will show us if the Rams are pretenders or contenders.

14. Baltimore Ravens (3-1) -2

Looking to bounce back from a loss to the Raiders, the Ravens take on the Redskins on Sunday.  The Ravens have much more to prove this season, still looking to take their division. A win this Sunday and a loss for the Steelers would put them in the lead in the AFC North.

15. Carolina Panthers (1-3) -8

With a slow start after their Super Bowl appearance, the Panthers wanted to make a statement that last season wasn’t a one and done. However, their current record would say otherwise. The Panthers look to get one more win under their belt Monday night against the Buccaneers, but in order to do that, they must protect Cam Newton.

16. Kansas City Chiefs (2-2) -7

With a bye this weekend, the Chiefs look to gather themselves after a devastating loss against a tough Steelers team that scored 43 points to their 14. They will face the Raiders in Week 6, looking to get the upper hand on their division rival.

17. Arizona Cardinals (1-3) -7

A ranking this high is more out of respect of last season then what they’re doing this season. The Cardinals have looked awful through four games, and now Carson Palmer is out with a concussion. Things are going from bad to worse fast.

18. New York Giants (2-2) –1

Word is out on how to beat the Giants: Get inside Odell Beckham, Jr.’s head. Last week he was held to a career low 23 yards on three receptions. Head coach Ben McAdoo, quarterback Eli manning, and old coach Tom Coughlin have all come out saying he needs to control his emotions better.

19. Buffalo Bills (2-2) +3

Kudos to the Buffalo defense that shut out the Patriots in their home stadium. Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is known for not showing much emotion, so when you see him smashing tablets out of anger, you know you’re doing something right. This team clearly still has a ways to go, but the arrow is pointing up.

20. Washington Redskins (2-2) —

Josh Norman is finally looking like a good signing and the Redskins were able to put away the Browns at home. The defense forced three turnovers in a row, giving them great field position to seal the win. With the help of that weird play where Duke Johnson left the pile with his own fumble, Washington kicked it up a gear in the fourth quarter.

21. New York Jets (1-3) -3

Jets fans are remembering something very important this season, Ryan Fitzpatrick… is Ryan Fitzpatrick. Even still, this is bad even for him. Fitzpatrick has thrown nine interceptions in the past two games. He’s getting no help on the defensive side of the ball, who let a hobbled Russell Wilson throw a near perfect game.

22. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-3) +6

If it wasn’t for how bad the Panthers and Cardinals have been through four games we’d all be focusing on what a huge disappointment the Jaguars have been. The offseason champions have had their share of struggles, but beating an in-division rival in London is always nice. Yeldon and Ivory need to wake up or this team won’t get much better.

23. Detroit Lions (1-3) -2

The Bears have yet to score more than 17 points this season and the Lions still lost to them in Week 4. Calvin Johnson’s absence seems to be making a much bigger impact than anyone could have anticipated. Golden Tate was supposed to step in and fill Johnson’s role, but he only logged a season-high of 41 yards in a Week 1 win over the Colts.

24. New Orleans Saints (1-3) +5

Drew Brees threw two interceptions against the Chargers in Week 4, but he also threw two touchdowns in the closing minutes to lift the Saints 35-34 over the Bolts. A win heading into the bye week could prove beneficial for New Orleans. However, a defense that ranks last in the league may need more than a week to get right.

25. Miami Dolphins (1-3) +1

The Dolphins struggle to maintain possession of the football. They’re averaging just 4.5 plays per possession and already have nine turnovers on the young season. Ryan Tannehill will need to sort things out in a hurry as his touchdown to interception ratio is frighteningly close to one to one.

26. San Diego Chargers (1-3) -6

The Chargers don’t seem to have any issues putting points on the board. They’re averaging just over 30 points per game. The problem lies with the defense allowing more than 31 points per game in losses. Midway through the season that may not be an issue, but two of those losses are to teams that are also 1-3.

27. Indianapolis Colts (1-3) -3

A No. 27 ranking is fitting for a team that scores 27 points per game, which happens to be good enough for eighth in the league. However, a porous Colts defense ranks 30th in the league, allowing 31.25 points per game. The AFC South is wide open, but the Colts don’t seem to be in a place to contend in even the worst division in the NFL.

28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-3) -3

It’s safe to say Jameis Winston has hit the sophomore slump. It’s also safe to say he has a turnover problem. Through Week 4, Winston has thrown eight touchdowns and eight interceptions. A one to one touchdown to interception ratio isn’t what teams look for from a franchise player.

29. Tennessee Titans (1-3) -2

Winston isn’t alone, as the shine has also come off Marcus Mariota so far in year two. Mariota is having accuracy issues that weren’t there during his rookie year, and they were no clearer than his ugly interception Sunday targeting Delanie Walker. Despite having a solid run game with the resurgence of DeMarco Murray, the Titans offense can’t seem to get off the ground.

30. San Francisco 49ers (1-3) –

San Francisco’s Week 1 shutout win over the Rams is far in the rear view mirror. Their season took another big hit Sunday when their best player, NaVorro Bowman, suffered a season-ending achilles injury. You have to wonder how long it will be before Chip Kelly gives Colin Kaepernick a try.

31. Chicago Bears (1-3) +1

Quarterback controversy in Chicago? John Fox says that he won’t replace players that are playing well. Brian Hoyer just quarterbacked the Bears to their first win of the season while Jay Cutler was sidelined with a thumb injury. When Hoyer is taking your job, your days as a franchise quarterback may be over.

32. Cleveland Browns (0-4) -1

In a shocking development, the Browns are left as the only winless team in the league after four games. However, there is something to be said for Cleveland’s scrappiness. Since being blown out Week 1, they’ve been in every game until the final whistle. First-year head coach Hue Jackson is doing as well as anyone could with that roster.