Analysis

Week 4 NFL Power Rankings: Two Surprising Unbeatens

What would the Labor Day odds have been that there would be just two unbeaten teams left three weeks into the NFL season?

And what would the sky-high odds have been that those 3-0 teams would be the Dolphins and Eagles rather than the Rams or Chiefs or Bucs or Chargers or Bengals or Ravens?

That’s where things stand, though, after another unpredictable week of upsets and close games.

The Bills, who had looked like a team that might be capable of a 17-0 run after the first two weeks, succumbed to the South Florida heat and humidity, as much as Tua Tagovailoa and the Dolphins, and suffered their first loss.

The Chiefs lost to the Colts. The Chargers suffered a 28-point beating to the Jaguars. That’s right, the Jaguars.

So, here we are. The Eagles and Dolphins are the only unbeaten teams, and the Raiders — who made the playoffs last season — are the only 0-3 team. Everybody else is either 2-1 or 1-2.

The Week 4 power rankings:

 

1. Buffalo Bills (2-1)

Previous: 1

Last week: L 19-21 v Dolphins | This week: at 2-1 Ravens

Good news: Barring a bizzarro climate-change crisis in Buffalo, the Bills won’t be playing any more of their games this season in 90-degree heat and 80 percent humidity.

Bad news: The injuries continue to mount for the Bills’ defensive secondary. Pro Bowl safety Micah Hyde is out for the year with a neck injury. Their other veteran starting safety, Jordan Poyer, missed the Dolphins game with a foot injury. And All-Pro corner Tre’Davious White will miss at least one more game before he can come off the PUP list.

2. Los Angeles Rams (2-1)

Previous: 5

Last week: W 20-12 at Cardinals | This week: at 1-2 49ers

Good news: Matthew Stafford had his best game so far, averaging 9.9 yards per attempt and not throwing an interception for the first time in three games.

Bad news: Their pass rush isn’t the same without Von Miller.

 

3. Philadelphia Eagles (3-0)

Previous: 6

Last week: W 24-8 at Commanders | This week: v. 2-1 Jaguars

Good news: The Eagles have scored 24 points in the first half in each of their first three games.

Bad news: They’ve scored a total of 14 points in the second half.

 

4. Miami Dolphins (3-0)

Previous: 7

Last week: W 21-19 v. Bills | This week: at 1-2 Bengals

Good news: Dolphins are off to their first 3-0 start since 2018.

Bad news: They lost nine of their next 13 that year and finished 7-9. So, hold your applause a little while longer.

 

5. Kansas City Chiefs (2-1)

Previous: 2

Last week: L 17-20 at Colts | This week: at 2-1 Bucs

Good news: Patrick Mahomes has thrown just one interception and been sacked only twice in the first three games.

Bad news: Take out Mahomes’ 26 rushing yards on four carries and the Chiefs averaged just 1.7 yards per carry against the Colts. Their leading rusher, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, had no yards on seven carries.

6. Baltimore Ravens (2-1)

Previous: 8

Last week: W 37-26 at Patriots | This week: v. 2-1 Bills

Good news: Lamar Jackson is on fire. He has thrown seven touchdown passes in the last two games and has had back-to-back 100-yard rushing games.

Bad news: The defense has given up 68 points in the last two games and is ranked 27th in opponent rush average (5.0).

 

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1)

Previous: 4

Last week: L 12-14 v. Packers | This week: v. 2-1 Chiefs

Good news: The Bucs’ defense has given up a total of 27 points in its first three games.

Bad news: Tom Brady, who threw 43 touchdown passes last season, has just three so far this year. An offense that averaged 30 points a game last year is averaging just 17 so far this year.

8. Denver Broncos (2-1)

Previous: 9

Last week: W 11-10 v. 49ers | This week: at 0-3 Raiders

Good news: The Broncos’ defense, which finished third in points allowed last year (18.9 per game), has given up just three touchdowns and 36 points in the first three games.

Bad news: The Broncos have committed a league-high 30 penalties in their first three games.

 

9. Los Angeles Chargers (1-2)

Previous: 3

Last week: L 10-38 v. Jaguars | This week: at 0-2-1 Texans

Good news: 74.0 passer ratings are the exception rather than the rule with Justin Herbert.

Bad news: Brandon Staley’s defense has given up 65 points in the last two games.

10. Cincinnati Bengals (1-2)

Previous: 10

Last week: W 27-12 at Jets | This week: v. 3-0 Dolphins.

Good news: After getting sacked 13 times the first two weeks, Joe Burrow only was sacked twice Sunday.

Bad news: It was against a Jets’ pass rush that isn’t very good. Their offensive line continues to struggle.

 

11. Minnesota Vikings (2-1)

Previous: 11

Last week: W 28-24 v. Lions | This week: at 1-2 Saints (in London)

Good news: The Vikings’ defense has allowed just two passing touchdowns in the first three games.

Bad news: Kirk Cousins has a 58.6 completion percentage in the last two games.

12. Green Bay Packers (2-1)

Previous: 14

Last week: W 14-12 at Bucs | This week: v. 1-2 Patriots

Good news: Davante Adams? Who needs Davante Adams?

Bad news: AJ Dillon and Aaron Jones, who averaged a combined six yards per carry in the Packers’ first two games, were held to 2.8 per carry by the Bucs’ formidable defense.

13. Dallas Cowboys (2-1)

Previous: 13

Last week: W 23-16 at Giants | This week: v. 1-2 Commanders

Good news: Thanks to Cooper Rush, the Cowboys have weathered Dak Prescott’s absence very well, winning both of Rush’s starts.

Bad news: The Cowboys’ defense has held its first three opponents to 52 points, but has just two takeaways so far, 32 fewer than their league-leading total from a year ago.

 

14. Indianapolis Colts (1-1-1)

Previous: 19

Last week: W 20-17 v. Chiefs | This week: v. 1-2 Titans

Good news: QB Matt Ryan had his best performance as a Colt Sunday, throwing two TD passes and recording a 105.9 passer rating.

Bad news: Ryan has been sacked 10 times in the last two games.

 

15. San Francisco 49ers (1-2)

Previous: 12

Last week: L 10-11 at Broncos | This week: v. 2-1 Rams

Good news: The Niners’ defense has given up just 37 points in the first three games. That’s the third-fewest in the league.

Bad news: Despite that, they’re still 1-2.

16. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-1)

Previous: 24

Last week: W 38-10 at Chargers | This week: at 3-0 Eagles

Good news: Doug Pederson’s hiring is the best thing that ever happened to Trevor Lawrence. Well, next to getting a Clemson education.

Bad news: Punt returner Jamal Agnew is averaging just 4.5 yards per return. Sorry. That’s the best I can do. The Jags are legit.

17. New York Giants (2-1)

Previous: 21

Last week: L 16-23 v. Cowboys | This week: v. 2-1 Bears

Good news: Even with the loss to the Cowboys, the Giants’ 2-1 start is their best since 2016.

Bad news: Questions about Daniel Jones persist. He has averaged just 5.3 yards per attempt in the last two games and didn’t have a touchdown pass against the Cowboys Monday night

18. Arizona Cardinals (1-2)

Previous: 15

Last week: L 12-20 v. Rams | This week: at 1-2 Panthers

Good news: The defense held Matthew Stafford without a touchdown pass.

Bad news: Kyler Murray has been largely ineffective so far. He’s averaging just 5.56 yards per attempt and has thrown just three touchdown passes.

19. Tennessee Titans (1-2)

Previous: 22

Last week: W 24-22 v. Raiders | This week: at 1-1-1 Colts

Good news: Derrick Henry had his most productive game of the season vs. the Raiders. It wasn’t Henry-esque, but it was a step in the right direction. He ran for a season-high 85 yards and averaged a season-high 4.3 yards per carry.

Bad news: The Titans’ run defense has allowed 5.8 yards per carry.

20. Detroit Lions (1-2)

Previous: 20

Last week: L 24-28 at Vikings | This week: v. 1-2 Seahawks

Good news: The Lions’ two losses to the Eagles and Vikings have been by a total of seven points.

Bad news: Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.

 

21. Cleveland Browns (2-1)

Previous: 27

Last week: W 29-17 v. Steelers | This week: v. 1-2 Falcons

Good news: Jacoby Brissett has done an admirable job so far as Deshaun Watson’s seat-holder. He’s thrown just one interception, been sacked just four times and has completed 66.3 percent of his passes.

Bad news: After sacking the Panthers’ Baker Mayfield four times in Week 1, the Browns have recorded just three sacks in the last two games.

 

22. Chicago Bears (2-1)

Previous: 29

Last week: W 23-20 v. Texans | This week: at 2-1 Giants

Good news: The Bears’ ground game is the real deal. They rushed for 281 yards against the Bears, including 157 by Khalil Herbert. A week earlier against the Packers, David Montgomery rushed for 122 yards.

Bad news: They’re going to need to be able to run the ball, because it’s going to be a while before they’re able to beat anyone with their passing game.

 

23. Las Vegas Raiders (0-3)

Previous: 16

Last week: L 22-24 at Titans | This week: v. 2-1 Broncos

Good news: The Raiders’ three losses have been by a total of 13 points.

Bad news: See: bad news, Lions

24. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-2)

Previous: 18

Last week: L 17-29 at Browns | This week: v. 1-2 Jets

Good news: The longer rest following their Thursday night loss to the Browns should benefit RB Najee Harris’ injured foot.

Bad news: Mitchell Trubisky has thrown just two touchdown passes in 103 attempts and is averaging a puny 5.5 yards per attempt.

25. Carolina Panthers (1-2)

Previous: 28

Last week: W 22-14 v. Saints | This week: v. 1-2 Cardinals

Good news: Christian McCaffrey has had back-to-back 100-yard rushing performances.

Bad news: Baker Mayfield has a league-worst 51.9 completion percentage. He completed just 12 of 25 passes Sunday against the Saints.

26. New Orleans Saints (1-2)

Previous: 17

Last week: L 14-22 at Panthers | This week: v. 2-1 Vikings (in London)

Good news: No better time to visit London than after an ugly three-turnover loss.

Bad news: Their offense is a mess. How does Alvin Kamara get targeted seven times and catch only two passes?

 

27. New England Patriots (1-2)

Previous: 23

Last week: L 26-37 v. Ravens | This week: at 2-1 Packers

Good news: The Patriots are tied for fourth in sacks with 10.

Bad news: The Patriots designed an offense for Mac Jones. But until his ankle injury heals, Brian Hoyer will have to run it.

28. Atlanta Falcons (1-2)

Previous: 31

Last week: at Seahawks | This week: v. 2-1 Browns

Good news: The Falcons’ decision last year to make Cordarrelle Patterson a full-time running back has turned out very well. He’s had two 100-yard performances in three games this season and has nine 10-plus yard runs in 49 carries.

Bad news: The Falcons are 27th in third-down defense (47.5 percent). Opposing QBs have a 110.3 passer rating vs. the Falcons on third down.

 

29. Washington Commanders (1-2)

Previous: 26

Last week: L 8-24 v. Eagles | This week: at 2-1 Cowboys

Good news: Carson Wentz has been effective on third down. He has a 129.2 third-down passer rating, and 17 of his 32 third-down attempts have produced first downs.

Bad news: Six years into his career, Wentz still hangs on to the ball way too long. He was sacked nine times Sunday by the Eagles, though offensive coordinator Scott Turner deserves some of the blame for the plethora of seven-step-drop, long-developing pass plays in the first half.

30. Seattle Seahawks (1-2)

Previous: 25

Last week: L 23-27 v. Falcons | This week: at 1-2 Lions

Good news: Geno Smith has a league-best 77.5 completion percentage.

Bad news: The Seahawks have given up 368 rushing yards in their last two games.

 

31. New York Jets (1-2)

Previous: 30

Last week: L 12-27 v. Bengals | This week: at 1-2 Steelers

Good news: QB Zach Wilson, who missed the first three games with a knee injury, is expected to make his first start of the season this week against the Steelers.

Bad news: The defense hasn’t been very good. It has just five sacks and three takeaways and is 31st in third-down defense (51.3 percent).

32. Houston Texans (0-2-1)

Previous: 32

Last week: L 20-23 at Bears | This week: v. 1-2 Chargers

Good news: The Texans have outscored opponents in the first three quarters, 49-29.

Bad news: They’ve been outscored in the fourth quarter, 0-30.

 

WATCH MORE: The Coach’s Room Recaps NFL Week 3

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