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SQ NFL Power Rankings Week 4

Mercury News

With the top of the NFL staying put, which teams made the biggest moves in our rankings?

For once, a little stability at the top of our rankings. While we were treated to wild finishes and wild results last week, three teams — the Falcons, Chiefs, and Patriots — are a cut above the rest. 

The biggest upward mover was the Washington Redskins. Despite being outside of our top 10, they impressed with their utterly dominant prime-time performance against a very talented Raiders team. The biggest downward mover was their divisional rivals, the New York Giants. After three straight losses to start the season, it seems that our writers have given up on Eli and the Giants.

Did they get it right? How about your favorite team’s ranking. Check below and let us know what you think.

   Ranking (Change)

1 (-)

Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons escaped Sunday’s game with a victory despite a controversial ending; a game-winning Golden Tate touchdown was overturned in the final seconds. The finish overshadows what was another impressive performance from Atlanta. Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman ran for a combined 5.6 YPC, Matt Ryan was Matt Ryan, and the defense came up big when it mattered most. The defending NFC champs look like the team to beat once again. (Kyle Trapp)

2 (-)

Kansas City Chiefs

Kansas City Chiefs

Every year the Chiefs defy expectations. Many assumed that they would take a step back in a division headlined by the Oakland Raiders and Denver Broncos, but the Chiefs have done just the opposite. They have come out the gate firing on all cylinders with an offense that looks truly terrifying. They lead the league in yards per play at 7.1, and while this may not be completely sustainable, the Chiefs and their numerous game breakers aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. (Adrian Nelson)

3 (-)

New England Patriots

New England Patriots

Even at age 40, Tom Brady is still the same Tom Brady. Despite a gutsy effort from Deshaun Watson and the Texans, Brady led yet another fourth quarter comeback as the Pats overcame another poor performance from their defense. Brandin Cooks snagged two of Brady’s five TDs as the two already have seemed to develop chemistry in their third game together. While the offense has been humming, the defense has been atrocious, letting up a staggering 31 points per game thus far. Getting Dont’a Hightower back at full strength should help. (Jesse Doe)

4 (+3)

Green Bay Packers

Green Bay Packers

Believe it or not, the Packers’ Week 3 win over the Bengals was the first overtime victory in Aaron Rodgers‘ distinguished career. It wasn’t the cakewalk many expected it to be, but as per usual, Aaron Rodgers made big throws when he needed to. With that being said, the O-line needs to do a much better job of keeping him upright. (Kyle Trapp)

5 (-1)

Oakland Raiders

Oakland Raiders

Oakland looked terrible against Washington on Sunday night, but after a strong start to the season, and after coming off a year where they impressed us all with their talent and their development, they’ve earned the benefit of the doubt. The Raiders still have one of the best offensive lines and football, and if you control the trenches, you control the game. (Adrian Nelson)

6 (+2)

Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys

After their blowout loss to the Broncos last week, the Cowboys were able to block out the noise and grab a road win against Arizona. Ezekiel Elliott got back on track with 94 yards from scrimmage, while Dak Prescott made several big plays in the second half to seal the game for Dallas. Defensively, Demarcus Lawrence racked up three sacks to bring his season total up to 6.5, good for first in the NFL. If the pass rush can continue to dominate like it did in Week 3, Dallas will be in great shape moving forward. (Nick Cardozo)

7 (-2)

Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh Steelers

It was an ugly Week 3 for the Steelers, as they fell in OT to the lowly Bears. Perhaps most concerning was the performance by the defense, as they were gashed by Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen for 218 yards on the ground at over 6 YPC. Their struggles against the run were punctuated as Howard ran for a game-winning 19-yard TD untouched. However, Pittsburgh was without both Stephon Tuitt and T.J. Watt, so we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt for now. (Kyle Trapp)

8 (+1)

Detroit Lions

Detroit Lions

The Lions were the victim of one of the most controversial calls in recent memory, falling just short of a huge upset against Atlanta. Had Golden Tate’s last-second TD stood, Detroit would be 3-0 and likely in the top five of our ranking. Either way, the team has been one of the season’s biggest surprises. Detroit currently leads the NFL in turnover differential at +6 and looks to have a legitimate shot at the division this year. (Nick Cardozo)

9 (-3)

Denver Broncos

Denver Broncos

The Broncos looked like one of the NFL’s elite teams after Week 2, but fell to the Bills this past week on the road. Trevor Siemian played more like the QB we thought he’d be coming into the season, finishing the game with two interceptions and a passer rating of 58.2. Denver’s defensive unit is still top-five in yards per game allowed and will be the strength of the team going forward, as usual. (Nick Cardozo)

10 (+5)

Tennessee Titans

Tennessee Titans

That was a statement win by Tennessee. They protected their house and beat a very good Seattle team. The Titans are favorites to win the AFC South and have yet to disappoint this season. Marcus Mariota has yet to take the leap that we were all expecting, but he is still 12th in the league in QBR and gives them a chance to win any game they play. (Adrian Nelson)

11 (+3)

Minnesota Vikings

Minnesota Vikings

After a Week 2 road loss, Minnesota came back home and demolished Tampa Bay with Case Keenum under center. The team’s skill position players are lighting up the league, as Dalvin Cook currently has the second-most rushing yards in the NFL, while Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen are both top-three in receiving yards. If that wasn’t enough, the run defense is third in the league, allowing just 62.7 yards per game on the ground. (Nick Cardozo)

12 (+7)

Washington Redskins

Washington Redskins

I don’t know what team we saw on Sunday night, but it sure didn’t look like the Redskins. They completely shut the Raiders down with their defense. Kirk Cousins has gotten the praise this week, and Chris Thompson is making a name for himself and a case for being the best pass catching back in the league, but this team will go as far as the defense takes them. They held the Raiders to 128 yards of offense, and if they can play anywhere near that level on a consistent basis, they are a scary team. (Adrian Nelson)

13 (+3)

Philadelphia Eagles

Philadelphia Eagles

Despite being the third NFC East team on this list, they actually stand atop the division, leaders of a three way tie between all teams not named the New York Giants. The Eagles look good. The defense has played well and Carson Wentz is starting to validate his status as a second overall draft choice. He is seventh in the league in QBR, and man is he hard to bring down. He has really impressed and the Eagles future looks bright. (Adrian Nelson)

14 (-1)

Seattle Seahawks

Seattle Seahawks

Seattle is getting off to one of their classic slow starts. They have started 3-3 or worse in two out of the last three seasons. But trust me, this team will right the ship. The defense looks better than ever, and the the offense seems to have figured some things out given the ending of their last game against the Titans. Plus, Seattle simply has the rest of their division outclassed. The Cardinals, Rams, and Niners just aren’t of the same caliber. (Adrian Nelson)

15 (-4)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Just a week after a blowout win at home, the Bucs were embarrassed in Minnesota. As of now, it remains unclear if Jameis Winston has taken the step forward many expected him to entering this season. Doug Martin‘s return next week should provide some balance on offense and take the load off of Winston. Defensively, the Bucs currently rank 31st against the pass and must improve if they want the rest of the league to take them seriously. (Nick Cardozo)

16 (-6)

Baltimore Ravens

Baltimore Ravens

Baltimore’s defense let Blake Bortles do anything he wanted to on Sunday, allowing 44 points after giving up just 10 total points through two weeks. Offensively, the team lacked any sort of firepower, as Joe Flacco somehow had just 28 passing yards and a QBR of 0.5. Yes, you read that right. The Ravens still have a lot to prove and will get their chance this week against Pittsburgh. (Nick Cardozo)

17 (+3)

Jacksonville Jaguars

Jacksonville Jaguars

London Bortles is gone. Murica’ Bortles is back. The Jags defense is still extremely impressive, but the story for the Jags is simple. When Bortles turns over the ball they lose. He avoided those mistakes last week, but given his track record he’ll be back to fumbles and pick 6s in no time. I wish the Jags all the best, but until I can trust Bortles, I can’t put my faith in this team. (Adrian Nelson)

18 (+5)

Buffalo Bills

Buffalo Bills

After mustering just three points against the Panthers, the Bills put up 26 points against the Bronco’s vaunted D in Week 3. At this point in the season, it’s been quite hard to get a good read on this team, but the defense has impressed. Defensive Rookie of the Month Tre’Davious White and the surprising play of the secondary has been a huge part of that success. (Kyle Trapp)

19 (-7)

Carolina Panthers

Carolina Panthers

After allowing a total of six points over their first two games, Carolina’s defense looked like it could handle Drew Brees and the Saints passing attack. They could not. Brees tossed three TDs, Cam threw three picks, and the Panthers got whooped. Last year’s top target Greg Olsen is out until midseason, and now Kelvin Benjamin could miss time as well. A road trip to New England to face the defending champs will likely sink Cam and co. to 2-2. (Jesse Doe)

20 (+2)

Houston Texans

Houston Texans

Houston nearly upset the Patriots in Foxborough until Tom Brady displayed his usual heroics and won at the last minute. DeShaun Watson made several big plays to keep the Texans in the game, and while he hasn’t been perfect, he looks suited to lead an NFL team. The defense has been middle-of-the-pack thus far, and J.J. Watt has yet to record a sack. The unit will need to round into form for the Texans to have a shot at the division, but it’s not out of reach. (Nick Cardozo)

21 (+5)

Los Angeles Rams

Los Angeles Rams

Jared Goff had the best game of his young career in what was one of the the most surprising offensive slugfests in recent memory. Todd Gurley continued to look like his rookie year self, and Sammy Watkins, before leaving the game with a concussion, looked like a true number one receiver. A bit concerning, however, has been the performance of the defense, the Rams’ supposed strength, over the past two games. (Kyle Trapp)

22 (-5)

Miami Dolphins

Miami Dolphins

I mean the Jets? Really? We all wanted to believe that this Miami team wouldn’t see much of a drop off swapping out Ryan Tannehill for Jay Cutler, but games like that make you doubt it. Miami made the playoffs last year, but it required several 200 yard games by Jay Ajayi, and with him going down with an injury in the Jets game and maybe not being 100% this season, it’s going to get a lot rougher for the Dolphins. (Adrian Nelson)

23 (+2)

New Orleans Saints

New Orleans Saints

There’s never really anything new to say about the Saints. They have a prolific offense, led by quarterback Drew Brees, and they have a god-awful defense, headlined by… by… I don’t think I can name anyone on their defense. Seriously, one single human being. I dare you to give me the name of a single New Orleans Saints defender. Go ahead. Try. Can’t do it, can you? They suck. (Adrian Nelson)

24 (-)

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers were a trendy playoff pick entering this season, but look like a mess only three weeks in. Philip Rivers has been turnover prone once again, the defense is 31st in rushing yards allowed per game, and rookie kicker Younghoe Koo is just 2-of-5 on field goal attempts thus far. The roster has talent, but there are so many issues to address. The Chargers might have a miraculous turnaround in them, but in the AFC West the chances of that happening are slim. (Nick Cardozo)

25 (-4)

Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals

Carson Palmer seems to have gotten his costume early for Halloween and he’s dressed up like a bag of bones. He looks and old and slow, and without David Johnson to lean on, the Cardinals offense which looked spectacular just two seasons ago, now looks pretty pedestrian. Another case of a good defense saddled by an underpeforming offense, the Arizona Giants, or maybe the New York Cardinals, are off to a rough start. (Adrian Nelson)

26 (-8)

New York Giants

New York Giants

Many people are picking the Giants to win this week simply because they have to win eventually. It’s a prime example of the gambler’s fallacy and the fallacy of trusting Eli Manning outside of a few ridiculously magically and out of character Super Bowl performances. The Giants are who we think they are: a team with a strong defense, but not strong enough to carry an offense led by a washed out quarterback, no running back, and an offensive line that provides less resistance than a Old Navy windbreaker. It’s obviously still early, but the Giants look dreadful. (Adrian Nelson)

27 (+3)

Chicago Bears

Chicago Bears

In the biggest upset of the week, the Bears rode their running game to shock the Steelers in an overtime win. Mike Glennon threw for just 101 yards, but Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen combined for 268 total yards on the Steelers usually stout front seven. Even Marcus Cooper fumbling away a sure TD on a blocked FG couldn’t stop Chicago. If only Jordan Howard caught a wide open pass on the goal-line Week 1 vs the Falcons, Chicago could very easily be 2-1 with Ws over Atlanta and Pittsburgh. These guys aren’t as bad as we all thought. (Jesse Doe)

28 (-1)

Cincinnati Bengals

Cincinnati Bengals

Andy Dalton and the Bengals played well, but you can only hold off Aaron Rodgers and the Packers for so long in Green Bay. The Bengals now find themselves at 0-3 and near the bottom of our power rankings, but I wouldn’t count them out just yet. The Browns are terrible, the Ravens have yet to play a good team, and the Steelers just lost to the Bears. With Joe Mixon seemingly getting the designation of feature back, if he can live up to the hype, Dalton plays well, and A.J. Green stays healthy, this team can shoot up our rankings. (Adrian Nelson)

29 (+2)

Indianapolis Colts

Indianapolis Colts

The Colts were a home underdog against the Browns last week. They won, but it demonstrates how bad this team is when Andrew Luck is on the bench. Personally I think the Colts should rest him this year, see if they can feature Jacoby Brissett and move him for a third round pick, and tank for a top pick. But what do I know? I’ve only won three straight Super Bowls in Madden. (Adrian Nelson)

30 (-2)

San Francisco 49ers

San Francisco 49ers

In a battle of two of the best young offensive minds in the NFL, the Rams’ Sean McVay got the best of Kyle Shanahan last Thursday. What many thought would be a boring game turned out to be a 41-39 shootout. Despite a very limited offense with Brian Hoyer at the helm, San Francisco’s offense was very efficient. A questionable offensive PI call cost the Niners from winning their first game, but things are looking up for SF. (Jesse Doe)

31 (+1)

New York Jets

New York Jets

The Jets ended the 0-16 talks early with a surprising win against the Dolphins. After a blowout loss to Oakland last week, the New York defense looked lost, but bounced back in a big way to hold Miami to just six points. Josh McCown was efficient, going 18-for-23, and the Jets front seven held the Fins to just 30 rushing yards. The defense will get another test this week as the Jaguars come to New York fresh off a 44-point outburst in London. (Jesse Doe)

32 (-3)

Cleveland Browns

Cleveland Browns

There was cautious optismism surrounding the Browns heading into the season, and after nearly beating the Steelers in Week 1, they looked like they could make some noise. Flash forward two weeks, and the excitment surrounding this team has diminished, to say the least. DeShone Kizer has shown flashes, but he’s been a turnover machine, and the young defense has a ways to go as well. Cleveland won’t be terrible forever, but this doesn’t look like the season they break out. (Kyle Trapp)

Edited by Jeremy Losak.

SQuiz
What team did the Washington Redskins tie in 2016?
Created 9/29/17
  1. Arizona Carinals
  2. Cincinnati Bengals
  3. Detroit Lions
  4. Seattle Seahawks

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