Wednesday, September 25, 2013

2013 NFL Power Rankings: Week 4

This past week was rather wild in the NFL and thus there is a lot of movement in my power rankings, which is usually the case early on in the season. We are three weeks into the season and history isn't very nice to teams that start 0-3 and there are a few big surprises that fall into that category. Teams that are 1-2 are in fine shape, but there are several teams that it is also surprising to see in that category, so they need to pick it up fast. Meanwhile, the Manning brothers are on completely opposite sides of the spectrum, so that should make family dinners a bit interesting. So without further ado, let's jump in.

1- Denver Broncos - 3-0 (+0) - Peyton Manning is currently playing insane football. If he were to keep on this pace that he is currently on, several records would be broken. Now he hasn't exactly played top notch opponents as of yet, even though the Ravens and Giants were thought to be better than they were, but still.

2- Seattle Seahawks - 3-0 (+0) - The Seahawks playing the Jaguars was essentially like a week off for them. It was almost quite courteous of them to allow the Jags to score 17 points after the Seahawks were already up by over 30 points.

3- Chicago Bears - 3-0 (+3) - A pounding of the embarrassing Steelers team sent the Bears cruising up this list due to all of the teams ahead of them dropping games. The Bears continue to look good and now have an early lead on the competitive NFC North.

4- New Orleans Saints - 3-0 (+3) - The strong start for the Saints appears to not be a fluke. Sean Payton is back with style as the Saints not only showed offensive prowess on Sunday, but once again dominated with their defense. With the other teams in the NFC South off to a slow start, it might be hard for them to catch this Saints team.

5- Kansas City Chiefs - 3-0 (+3) - I was high on this Chiefs team to begin with and now they have already topped last season's win total only three games into the season. And it only gets better from here on out as their next six games are against the Giants, Titans, Raiders, Texans, Browns, and Bills. Could we be seeing this team start out at 8-0? That would be quite the turnaround.

6- Miami Dolphins - 3-0 (+4) - The Patriots officially have strong competition in the AFC East for the first time in a while. After starting off the season with two straight road wins, the Dolphins made a statement at home with that impressive win over the Falcons to go 3-0. This team is for real.

7- New England Patriots - 3-0 (+4) - You can say the Patriots looked impressive for the first time on Sunday, but it was against the lowly Bucs. They better hope that Gronk and Amendola come back quick because the Dolphins are turning this into quite the chase. On the other hand, the Pats defense has been quite solid.

8- Indianapolis Colts - 2-1 (+8) - What a difference a week makes. Even though Trent Richardson didn't play great on Sunday following the surprising trade, it seems as if that rejuvenated the club and after that blowout of the Niners, the Texans better step up their game. The Colts now have a really good, balanced offense that will only get better as Trent gets used to the offense.

9- Houston Texans - 2-1 (-6) - The Texans looked impressive in the clutch their first two games and found ways to win those games and that is a great sign. This past week they looked super vulnerable and with the recent charge of the Colts, the AFC South will be a fun race so they need to make sure the Ravens game was just a fluke

10- Cincinnati Bengals - 2-1 (+2) - Too many turnovers on Sunday, but they came up with a win over a good Packers team, so there isn't much complaining in Cincinnati. Although I had mentioned in the past that the Bengals could almost win the AFC North by default, but the Ravens came alive on Sunday, so the Bengals need to fire up that offense if they plan on winning that division.

11- Dallas Cowboys - 2-1 (+7) - A dominating win over the Rams has solidified them on the top of that division at only 2-1. Anything can still happen, but currently the Giants and Redskins look like they forgot how to play football and the Eagles look like they forgot how to play defense, so in theory this could be pretty easy for the Cowboys.

12- Baltimore Ravens - 2-1 (+10) - After two lackluster weeks to start the season, the Ravens looked back at the top of their game with an impressive win over the Texans. Many people doing power ranking put them high up because they won the Super Bowl last year and while I don't think that is fair, I think they deserved a bump this week after beating up the Texans and somehow winding up with a 2-1 record.

13- Detroit Lions - 2-1 (+0) - The Lions have looked mildly impressive so far, but they will be given a huge test as they have back to back divisional games against the Bears and the Packers. If they want to be competitive, they will need to prove themselves and win at least one of these next two games.

14- Green Bay Packers - 1-2 (-9) - To be fair to the Packers, their two losses do come to playoff caliber teams and both were really close, but to be harsh, these type of close games are games that the Packers usually can pull off, but haven't this year. They'll get a week off to think of things before they host an important divisional game against the Lions.

15- San Francisco 49ers - 1-2 (-11) - I forgave the Niners for the game against the Seahawks. The Seahawks could probably do that to any team except for the Broncos, but last week's blowout loss to the hands of the Colts was unforgivable. They just simply looked lost out there on the field and they'll have to earn their way back to the top.

16- Atlanta Falcons - 1-2 (-7) - Earlier this year I was called crazy for saying the Falcons were overrated. They claimed the best record last year on the league's easiest schedule and struggled to win about every one of those games. Now with a tougher schedule, they have proven me right so far in me calling them overrated. They dropped close games to the Dolphins and Saints while almost letting the Rams come back and win last week. Not impressive so far.

17- Tennessee Titans - 2-1 (+4) - With the lowly Jaguars being the only outlier, the AFC South currently has a three way tie at the top. The Titans are the most surprising of the three and although I'm not quite ready to elevate them too high, I do have my eye on them. We'll be favored on Sunday with a surprise 2-1 battle with the Titans and Jets. I'm thinking the Titans will be the team to come out of that 3-1.

18- Philadelphia Eagles - 1-2 (-4) - Well, the Eagles looked super good for one half this year, but outside that, the Chip Kelly offense has been stuffed. To make matters worse, the Eagles forgot how to play defense. With that in mind, the Eagles will embark on a three game road trip that starts with Peyton's Broncos. Yikes.

19- New York Jets - 2-1 (+8) - With all the negative drama coming the Jets' way, most people were expecting them to be 0-3 at this point, but somehow they managed to pull of a winning record to start the season. Personally I think it is more of a fluke due to an easy schedule, but Rex Ryan would love nothing more than to prove the whole country wrong.

20- Carolina Panthers - 1-2 (+4) - I don't know whether I should blame the Panthers blowout on an impressive Panthers performance or an awful Giants performance. Probably a bit of both. But one thing I am sure of is that this Panthers defense could cause a lot of problems to teams this season. And a 38-0 blowout of any team is a great way to get any team's confidence going and if they can keep that momentum going things could be good. Their current schedule has their next six opponents at a combined win total of four wins.

21- St. Louis Rams - 1-2 (-6) - The Rams looked like they were making progress this year, but last Sunday's thumping by the hands of the Cowboys definitely set them back. But don't count them out tomorrow (Thursday) against the Niners. Some people might forget that in the midst of the Niners Super Bowl run, they failed to beat the Rams in both their meetings.

22- San Diego Chargers - 1-2 (-3) - It's a different Chargers team that shows up every week. Philip Rivers and company have the potential to do some damage in the AFC if they could just play consistent. But that is a huge if right now and the Broncos and Chiefs are both still undefeated, so the Chargers need to get their head in the game. They get to play host to the Cowboys on Sunday and that could go either way in my mind.

23- Arizona Cardinals - 1-2 (-6) - I have been impressed with this Cardinals team this year, but unfortunately they came out completely flat against the Saints on Sunday. They travel to Tampa on Sunday to play the Bucs, so they need to use that as a game to get their confidence back up before their schedule gets really hard again.

24- Buffalo Bills - 1-2 (-1) - The Bills have been playing better football than I gave them credit for this year, but they really needed that win against the Jets, but they just couldn't do it. And now they get to go on a tour of the AFC North the next three weeks with the Ravens, Browns, and Bengals. They need to make their presence known in those games because after that tour is over, the following three games are against teams that are currently undefeated.

25- Minnesota Vikings - 0-3 (-5) - The Vikings have probably been the best winless team this season as all three losses were close losses. But in the end the only thing that matters is the win or the loss and the Vikings are in serious trouble at 0-3. They'll play host to the also winless Steelers this Sunday. Someone's got to win that game.

26- Oakland Raiders - 1-2 (+2) - No expected much of anything Monday night when the Raiders played the Broncos, but the good thing is that despite what the final score says, the Raiders didn't just lay over dead. With the Redskins in town Sunday, the Raiders have a good shot at jumping up to .500.

27- Cleveland Browns - 1-2 (+4) - It seemed like the perfect recipe for disaster when the Browns traded their top running back for a draft pick and started their third string quarterback. However it was the Browns that got the last laugh on Sunday as all that got them to their season's first win. Can they keep that going against the Bengals on Sunday? Probably not, but hey, I've seen crazier things happen.

28- Washington Redskins - 0-3 (-2) - It wasn't an embarrassing loss this time around, but nonetheless the Redskins have dropped to a dismal 0-3. If they don't figure out how to play football pretty soon, it'll turn out to be a very long season in Washington. If they can't pull off a win in Oakland this week, it might be a while before this team sees their first W.

29- Pittsburgh Steelers - 0-3 (+1) - The Steelers didn't look completely dead Sunday night as there was a point in the game where you actually thought they might make it a football game. But that was over about as soon as it started as the Steelers ended up enduring their third thumping of the season. Their next two games are against the Vikings and Jets, so I assume that we'll see the Steelers get their first win soon.

30- New York Giants - 0-3 (-5) - What on earth has happened with the G-Men? I'm not even sure where I want to start with pointing the blame because no one on this Giants team has played well. I don't even know how they can go about fixing this. If this continues all season, will we be seeing the end of Tom Coughlin?

31- Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 0-3 (-2) - And just like that, the Josh Freeman era is over as we get our first benched starter of the year. It's a shame really because this Bucs team has so much potential, but yet that word potential is a very scary word as they have just done nothing. Can rookie quarterback Mike Glennon pull off some Tampa magic?

32- Jacksonville Jaguars - 0-3 (+0) - The Seahawks were quite courteous to this team late in the game by allowing them to score a quick 17 points, boosting their moral a bit. But the real story was the fact that once again, the Jaguars looked like they wouldn't even be able to beat a college team at this point. I don't even see a potential win for this team until week 13 at Cleveland. But even that's a stretch.

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