Breakdowns

Domo’s NFL Power Rankings: Cardinals Surging, but Not Yet No. 1

Domo's NFL Power Rankings: Cardinals Surging, but Not Yet No. 1

After calling it a career after 45 years of sports writing — including 36 Super Bowls covered — former Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Paul Domowitch is bringing his weekly power rankings to the 33rd Team. This week, he gives us the skinny on the good news and bad news that each of the 32 NFL teams is dealing with.

1)     Bucs (3-1)

Good news: Bucs defense has held opponents to a league-best 2.7 yards per carry and has five interceptions.

Bad news: Injuries. Tight end Rob Gronkowski is out indefinitely with multiple cracked ribs, and the Bucs’ top three cornerbacks all are hurt.

This week: v. 1-3 Dolphins

2)     Bills (3-1)

Good news: They are second in the league in scoring (33.5 points per game) and have outscored their last three opponents, 118-21. Defense has a league-best 11 takeaways.

Bad news: Bills still haven’t played a good team. The combined record of their first four opponents: 5-11.

This week: at 2-2 Chiefs

3)     Cowboys (3-1)

Good news: Cowboys have the most balanced offense in the league. They’re second in rushing (165.8) and Dak Prescott is tied for third in TD passes (10).

Bad news: Not a lot. Even though they have an NFL-high eight interceptions, they still can be exploited through the air. They’ve given up 19 pass plays of 20 yards or more and are 26th in touchdown passes allowed (9).

This week: v. 1-3 Giants

4)     Cardinals (4-0)

Good news: Cardinals are averaging a league-high 35 points per game. Kyler Murray has taken his game to a new level. He’s first in completion percentage (76.1) and second in yards per attempt (9.5).

Bad news: The Cardinals can be run on. They’re 30th in yards allowed per carry (5.4). The Vikings put up 177 rushing yards on them and the Jaquars 159.

This week: v. 2-2 49ers

5)     Chargers (3-1)

Good news: Chargers have moved to the front of the line in the AFC West with impressive wins over the Chiefs and Raiders.

Bad news: Run defense still is iffy. Gave up 384 yards and 6.3 yards per carry to Dallas and Kansas City. Have lost LB Kenneth Murray to a knee injury.

This week: v. 3-1 Browns

6)     Packers (3-1)

Good news: Aaron Rodgers has a 119.4 passer rating in the Packers’ three straight wins, including eight touchdown passes and no interceptions.

Bad news: The defense has had trouble getting off the field on third down. They are 28th in third down defense (48.8).

This week: at 3-1 Bengals

7)     Rams (3-1)

Good news: Matthew Stafford has been everything Sean McVay had hoped he’d be. He’s already thrown 11 TD passes and just two picks. He has a 127.2 third-down passer rating.

Bad news: Defense gave up 215 rushing yards to the Cardinals Sunday. It hasn’t had an interception in the last 10 quarters.

This week: at 2-2 Seahawks.

8)     Chiefs (2-2)

Good news: Patrick Mahomes has an NFL-high 14 touchdown passes, including five against the Eagles Sunday.

The bad news: Chiefs have given up 29 or more points in all four of their games. They’ve been outscored in the first half in two of their four games.

This week: v. 3-1 Bills

9)     Raiders (3-1)

Good news: Derek Carr has thrown multiple TD passes in four straight games. He’s got three dependable targets in Darren Waller, Henry Ruggs and slot guy Hunter Renfrow.

Bad news: Not much balance to Raiders offense right now. They have had just one game with more than 82 rushing yards (140 v. Dolphins).

This week: v. 2-2 Bears

10)  Ravens (3-1)

Good news: Ravens have reeled off three straight wins since a season-opening road loss to the Raiders. QB Lamar Jackson is eighth in the league in rushing.

Bad news: Jackson has just four touchdown passes in the first four games. He has struggled on third down (70.4 passer rating), with three interceptions and seven sacks on third down.

This week: v. 1-3 Colts

11)  Browns (3-1)

Good news: They’ve only given up 13 points in their last two games. They lead the NFL in rushing, averaging 177 yards per game on the ground.

Bad news: The Browns’ passing game hasn’t been much to look at. Baker Mayfield has thrown just two TD passes. He was just 15-for-33 for 155 yards and no TDs in Sunday’s closer-than-it-should’ve-been 14-7 win over the Vikings.

This week: at 3-1 Chargers

12)  Panthers (3-1)

Good news: Offensive coordinator Joe Brady has done a pretty job with reclamation project Sam Darnold. He had just one interception in his first three starts before throwing two in Sunday’s loss to the Cowboys.

Bad news: The Panthers’ run defense, which gave up just 135 yards in the first three games, was gashed for 245 by the Cowboys Sunday.

This week: v. 1-3 Eagles

13)  49ers (2-2)

Good news: Deebo Samuel had 8 catches for 156 yards and 2 TDs v. Seattle Sunday. He leads the league in receiving yards (490). Niners offensive line has allowed just seven sacks.

Bad news: Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo missed the second half of the Seattle game with a calf injury. Defense has given up 28 or more points in three of four games.

This week: at 4-0 Cardinals

14)  Bengals (3-1)

Good news: The Bengals are 3-1 for the first time since 2018. QB Joe Burrow is third in completion percentage (72.9), fourth in yards per attempt (9.2) and sixth in passer rating (113.8).

Bad news:  Slow-starting Bengals have scored just seven points in the first quarter. Ground game has struggled lately. They’re averaging just 3.7 yards per carry the last three games.

This week: v. 3-1 Packers

15)  Seahawks (2-2)

Good news: Russell Wilson leads the league in passing and has yet to throw an interception.

Bad news: The Seahawks have converted just 9 of 30 third-down opportunities (30%) the last three games. Wilson has a 36.4 completion percentage on third down.

This week: v. 3-1 Rams

16)  Broncos (3-1)

Good news: Broncos have given up just six touchdowns, only three through the air. They have a league-best 54.2 opponent completion percentage.

Bad news: The Broncos’ three wins are over the Giants, Jets and Jaguars, who are a combined 2-10. They have converted just 31.4 percent of their third-down opportunities.

This week: at 1-3 Steelers

17)  Patriots (1-3)

Good news: Patriots took the Bucs to the brink Sunday night, holding Tom Brady without a TD pass before losing on a field goal at the end. Mac Jones looks like the real deal. He completed 31 of 40 passes against the Bucs.

Bad news: The offense doesn’t have a lot of weapons. They don’t have a receiver averaging more than 12.7 yards per catch and they’ve averaged less than two yards per carry the last two games.

This week: at 1-3 Texans

18)  Vikings (1-3)

Good news: Vikings have allowed just 23 points in the second half in their first four games. Kirk Cousins has just one interception in 157 attempts.

Bad news: After driving 80 yards for a touchdown on their opening drive Sunday against the Browns, they were held to 183 yards and nine first downs the rest of the game.

This week: v. 0-4 Lions

19)  Saints (2-2)

Good news: They opened the season with an impressive 35-point win over the Packers. The defense has eight takeaways and has held opponents to 3.1 yards per carry.

Bad news: Lost to the previously winless Giants in overtime Sunday after blowing an 11-point fourth-quarter lead. Pass rush has produced just six sacks.

This week: at 2-2 Washington

20)  Washington (2-2)

Good news: Taylor Heinicke has done a good job since replacing Ryan Fitzpatrick. He’s thrown eight touchdown passes and been sacked just three times.

Bad news: Third down’s been a problem for Washington, on both offense and defense. They have the league’s second worst third-down conversion rate on offense (30.2) and have allowed opponents to convert a league-worst 59.7% of third downs on defense.

This week: v. 2-2 Saints

21)  Bears (2-2)

Good news: Justin Fields showed improvement Sunday. After completing just 6 of 20 passes in his first start in Week 3, he was 11-for-17 in Sunday’s win over the Lions.

Bad news: Bears have 20-point losses to the Rams and Browns. They’ve got just one touchdown pass in four games.

This week: at 3-1 Raiders

22)  Titans (2-2)

Good news: Derrick Henry leads NFL in rushing with 510 yards. He’s averaged 150.7 rush yards per game in the last three games.

Bad news: Ryan Tannehill has been sacked an NFL-high 17 times, including nine times on third down.

This week: at 1-4 Jaguars

23)  Colts (1-3)

Good news: Carson Wentz, who had fumbled 26 times the previous two seasons, has put just one ball on the ground so far this season.

Bad news: Colts are 30th in red zone touchdown percentage (40.0).

This week: at 3-1 Ravens

24)  Steelers (1-3)

Good news: The Steelers lost three of their first four in 2019 and managed to finish 8-8.

Bad news: Ben Roethlisberger is 27th in passing with a 78.9 rating.  Unlike Tom Brady, he is looking his age. Steelers have just 11 completions of 20 yards or more, the eighth fewest in the NFL.

This week: v. 3-1 Broncos

25)  Eagles (1-3)

Good news: Jalen Hurts has seven touchdown passes and just two interceptions to go with a team-high 14 rushing first downs.

Bad news: Eagles have given up 83 points in their last two games. Ten of the 13 touchdowns the defense has allowed have been on drives of 65 yards or more.

This week: at 3-1 Panthers

26)  Giants (1-3)

Good news: Daniel Jones had the first 400-yard passing game of his career in Sunday’s win over the Saints

Bad news: Opposing quarterbacks have completed 75 percent of their passes against the Giants. Pass rush has just six sacks.

This week: at 3-1 Cowboys

27)  Dolphins (1-3)

Good news: Dolphins will be without Injured QB Tua Tagovailoa for just one more week. He is expected to return in Week 6.

Bad news: Dolphins have lost three in a row since a season-opening 17-16 win over the Patriots.

This week: at 3-1 Bucs

28)  Falcons (1-3)

Good news: Matt Ryan has thrown eight touchdown passes in the last three games, including four with no interceptions in Sunday’s loss to the Colts.

Bad news: Opponents have a 120.1 passer rating v. Falcons. They’ve  allowed 11 TD passes and have zero interceptions

This week: v. 1-3 Jets

29)  Jets (1-3)

Good news: Interception-prone Zach Wilson had his best game of the season Sunday, throwing for 297 yards, averaging 8.7 yards per attempt and getting sacked just once after going down 9 times in the previous two games.

Bad news: Jets have scored just 47 points in their first four games, including only 10 in the first two quarters.

This week: at 1-3 Falcons

30)  Texans (1-3)

Good news: P Cam Johnston is seventh in the league in net average (43.3). Sorry, that’s the best I can do.

Bad news: Texans have been outscored by 55 points in their three losses

This week: v. 1-3 Patriots

31)  Lions (0-4)

Good news: None of the four teams they’ve lost to have losing records.

Bad news: Opponents are averaging 10.6 yards per pass attempt versus the Lions. They’ve given up 19 pass plays of 20 yards or more, the second most in the league.

This week: at 1-3 Vikings

32)  Jaguars (0-4)

Good news: Trevor Lawrence had his best performance of the season Sunday against a good Bengals pass defense.

Bad news: Jag defense has just one takeaway and five sacks in four games.

This week: v. 2-2 Titans

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