Ken's Note: These rankings are the views of the author, and may/do not reflect the views of any other Windy City Gridiron contributor.
Welcome to Week 4's Power Rankings.
Power rankings are kind of silly and entirely meaningless, and they are also completely subjective... what one person sees as a strength another might see as a weakness. I get that. My reason for doing this feature isn't "I think I know better," but rather to entertain, hopefully amuse and also to generate friendly discussion and debate (within the site rules, of course).
My feature comes out later in the week than pretty much everybody else's on the web because I actually watch every single game I talk about BEFORE posted my rankings (as far as I know, I am the ONLY person doing this in the online media). Gamepass condensed games are the greatest tool ever made for the NFL football junkie. By doing this instead of just watching the highlights (if that) or browsing the box score, I suspect my list looks significantly different than most.
Here's how I have the league shaking out after Week 4:
1) Patriots - (Last week's rating #1 ) The shutout drubbing of a playoff caliber Texans team with New England using a third string quarterback who had one completion that flew in the air over 10 yards was amazing. It solidifies them as the team to beat.
2) Broncos - (Last week's rating #3 ) Denver took apart a good playoff caliber team in that team’s house. Quarterback Trevor Siemian looks like he belongs, and that defense is very, very good again this year.
3) Vikings - (Last week's rating #5) When the Vikings got off the plane back home in Minnesota they were STILL looking around for ways to sack Cam Newton. For their part, the Panthers offensive line gave up the same number of sacks (8) that the 1975 St. Louis Football Cardinals gave up in an entire 14 game season.
4) Chiefs - (Last week's rating #13 ) Kansas City’s defense is in full glory, and the Chief’s offense is solid with two top running backs (plus Jamaal Charles who is close to returning from injury). Alex Smith is playing well, and Travis Kelce is an elite tight end.
5) Packers - (Last week's rating #8 ) Aaron Rodgers dusted himself off after a slow start to the season, but for the Packers to be truly elite, they are going to have to fix their cornerback situation... they are very, very vulnerable to the deep pass right now. The Pack defense is good against the run, but you can abuse them deep.
6) Eagles - (Last week's rating #18 ) Best turn around story of the season, but sincerely regretting that Carson Wentz is already attaining "Golden Boy" media darling status. Nothing personal against the kid, he looks like he’s the real deal, I just find the media fawning a bit annoying. The Eagles are a far cry from the team they were last year, MUCH improved.
7) Steelers - (Last week's rating #2 ) This is the type of early season game that will send you down the power rankings in a hurry. It’s not that they lost, it’s that they looked entirely flat. They laid an egg, and down the rankings they go.
8) Cowboys - (Last week's rating #17 ) The thing about the Cowboys is that early on, there’s very little separation between them and their division mates (Giants, Washington & Philadelphia). I moved them this high because it looks like Ezekiel Eliot is the real deal, and him behind that offensive line should mean ball control and keeping that weak defense off the field. This division, on the whole, is much improved this year. So much for the Bears getting to play a "weak division".
9) Bengals - (Last week's rating #9 ) The Bengals lost and I didn’t move them down. I get that. Having said that, they are 1-2 with the two losses being very competitive games against Denver and at Pittsburgh. Two of the toughest four games on their schedule.
10) Texans - (Last week's rating #6 ) For the first time this year, Brock Osweiler looked like the inexperienced quarterback that he is, floundering around. The fearsome front seven of the Texans all but disappeared against New England, and the team was shut out on offense. Still, it was against New England and there’s no getting around the fact that Houston is head and shoulders above the rest of that very weak division (one they should sweep).
11) Cardinals - (Last week's rating #7 ) Are we going to have to break out the "Good Carson, Bad Carson" bit this season for Carson Palmer? If so, we have seen precious little Good Carson and a whole lot of Bad Carson. The Bills are not that good. They just aren’t. I know, road, out of conference, yadda yadda. This last week’s game is the kind of game that powerhouse teams win. Arizona may be the best 1-2 team in the league... or... they may still be way overrated.
12) Panthers - (Last week's rating #4 ) Eight sacks eaten. A tough to bring down, mobile quarterback. Eight. Nuff said.
13) Seahawks - (Last week's rating #10 ) I know these guys have a ton of talent, but down they go again because A) that offensive line is the worst in the league and B) Russell Wilson is hurt. Until I start to see some dominance, this slide continues.
14) Ravens - (Last week's rating #14 ) They are the only 3-0 team not in my top 10, because I have watched their games and they have been "not very good" to put it kindly. They won this week not because they were the better team, but because they played JUST SLIGHTLY above the Number 29 team on this list’s level.
15) Raiders - (Last week's rating #15 ) The Raiders won this game, on the road, at Tennessee, on a very very ticky-tacky offensive pass interference call late. Yes, the won on the road, but keep in mind it was at Tennessee, it was one score, and that score was in the end zone (but negated by a questionable call). I’ll leave the Raiders here again, still a placeholder.
16) Falcons - (Last week's rating #19 ) OK, for sheer excitement sake, THAT was a ballgame on Monday night! At 2-1 the Falcons are atop the heap... but, honestly, their division is very much a heap. I’m not convinced, though. These guys remind me a lot of the Lions, explosive but they are just not convincing me.
17) Giants - (Last week's rating #12 ) I’m not knocking them because they lost this week, I am knocking them because they are not showing as much spark as the other teams in their division. This race is a knock-down drag-out and they missed a chance to KO Washington this weekend.
18) Redskins - (Last week's rating #24 ) This is probably too high, they SHOULD be 0-3 but for some lucky breaks in the Giants game. Honestly, there’s not much difference between any team in this division, the most improved overall division in football.
19) Rams - (Last week's rating #25 ) So yeah, the rams are 2-1, so there’s that. The beat Tampa at Tampa, so there’s that. They are starting Case Keenum, so there’s that (that first quarter pick 6 was Rex Grossman-ish). A front 7 can get you wins against bad teams. Lets see how they do against a team that isn’t terrible before we move them too far up.
20) Chargers - (Last week's rating #20 ) Still a placeholder for these people. They are 1-2, and can score a metric ton of points... they have one win, a blowout... but they have had two really ugly collapses this season. I will just leave them here for now.
21) Bills - (Last week's rating #30 ) Well, they did beat a high power ranking team, they did move to 2-1 the week after firing their offensive coordinator. But... and this is a serious but... this has more the feel of smoke and mirrors, and their coach is still very much on the hot seat.
22) Jets - (Last week's rating #11 ) Ryan Fitzpatrick had an epic, historic performance. I mean, you have to be a decent QB to have the coaches confidence to stay in the game long enough to throw that many interceptions. The rest of the team didn’t help, there were drops, and few holes for Matt Forte . The Jets D was hamstrung by field position all game, so it’s hard to blame them. I wonder at what point in time the finger pointing begins for this talented 1-2 team?
23) 49ers -(Last week's rating #21 ) Remember that huge blow-out win they had on opening day? Yeah, I don’t either.
24) Lions - (Last week's rating #23 ) Well, they can score a lot of points, can’t they? They also helped Aaron Rogers get his groove back, so thanks for that, guys. Yeah, I am still not impressed, even if they beat us this week that won’t impress me. There is something fundamentally wrong with that defense, and the offense isn’t good enough to take them to the playoffs past Minnesota and Green Bay.
25) Dolphins - (Last week's rating #22 ) I gotta be honest, I watched the Dolphin game, the whole time thinking "but yeah, this is Cleveland they are playing against... wow, it’s CLEVELAND they are losing to." Up until the end, when Cleveland proved to indeed be... well... Cleveland.
26) Buccaneers - (Last week's rating #16 ) One day this season Jameis Winston was a God. Last weekend? Strip sack hell. The bucks didn’t actually play that bad, considering everything, but losing at home to the Rams and letting Case Keenum put up that many points? Not good.
27) Colts - (Last week's rating #29 ) the Colts and Chargers are two similar teams, prone to giving up the big play, prone to scoring on long bombs, teams that turn the ball over left and right, teams with huge-armed QB’s and guys who can fly in the receiver corps. San Diego was just a bit more sloppy with the ball. Neither one of these teams is going anywhere until they clean up their ball control and play consistent defense.
28) Titans - (Last week's rating #26 ) They lost to a mid-level team at home on a questionable call. Still, they managed 10 points on a team you can score points on. If I did this like other people, I would also take off two places because their uniforms are so very ugly, but all we care about here is how they played.
29) Saints - (Last week's rating #27 ) Consider this: Averaging 423 yars per game, 341 passing yards per game, and 27 points per game. Whoa! That’s pretty impressive! Wait...wait... they are 0-3? What? Oh, giving up 32 points per game. No, not so much. If New Orleans can fix SOME of their defensive problems, they can contend. So far, so bad.
30) Jaguars - (Last week's rating #28 ) The Jaguars played the Ravens close, but please don’t misunderstand me to think that this week’s game was a good one worth watching on replay. This was a stinker, and it’s bad to lose stinkers at home to not-very-good teams.
31) Browns - (Last week's rating #32 ) - Cleveland should have passed both Chicago and Jax because they played a good game against Miami, even though they lost the game in the most "Cleveland" of ways. Missing a game winner FG in overtime plus two others during the game is very Cleveland. The reason they didn’t move past Jax, however, has to do with how the team handled that situation after the game. They kept the kicker who missed 3 field goals’s and cost them the game. That’s very, very Cleveland.
32) Bears - (Last week's rating #31 ) The Bears are playing worse than Cleveland. Nuff said.
So what do you think? Am I close? Am I entirely wrong? Spill the beans, let us know what you think & how you would rank them!