One quarter of the 2017 season is in the books. There's very little clarity on contenders and pretenders. As much as we'd like to think every 3-1 team looks like a legitimate challenger, it's far from the truth. The current standings and power rankings will continue to change, in some cases dramatically, throughout the season.
Typically, fanbases will bury polarizing teams with mediocre records. It's obvious the New England Patriots have issues in pass defense, but at 2-2, skeptics have already demoted the Super Bowl champions to a second-tier squad. How quickly we forget the 2014 team went 2-2, then won seven consecutive games and eventually Super Bowl XLIX.
On the other hand, another high-profile team could fall into extended mediocrity with on- and off-field issues.
Through four weeks, there's confidence coming from an unexpected .500 club that most people saw as a candidate for the No. 1 overall pick in 2018.
Which top-10 club may fall out of favor in the coming weeks? Here's a quick breakdown of each team in the power rankings and division standings with a few first-quarter reviews.
Week 5 Power Rankings
1. Kansas City Chiefs (4-0)
2. Atlanta Falcons (3-1)
3. Green Bay Packers (3-1)
4. Denver Broncos (3-1)
5. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1)
6. Carolina Panthers (3-1)
7. New England Patriots (2-2)
8. Buffalo Bills (3-1)
9. Detroit Lions (3-1)
10. Philadelphia Eagles (3-1)
11. Washington Redskins (2-2)
12. Los Angeles Rams (3-1)
13. Dallas Cowboys (2-2)
14. Oakland Raiders (2-2)
15. Houston Texans (2-2)
16. Tennessee Titans (2-2)
17. Seattle Seahawks (2-2)
18. New Orleans Saints (2-2)
19. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-2)
20. Minnesota Vikings (2-2)
21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1)
22. Baltimore Ravens (2-2)
23. Cincinnati Bengals (1-3)
24. Arizona Cardinals (2-2)
25. New York Jets (2-2)
26. New York Giants (0-4)
27. Miami Dolphins (1-2)
28. Los Angeles Chargers (0-4)
29. Indianapolis Colts (1-3)
30. Chicago Bears (1-3)
31. San Francisco 49ers (0-4)
32. Cleveland Browns (0-4)
NFL Division Standings / Points Scored / Points Allowed
1. Buffalo Bills (3-1) 73/ 54
2. New York Jets (2-2) 75/92
3. New England Patriots (2-2) 129/128
4. Miami Dolphins (1-2) 25/57
1. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1) 90/59
2. Baltimore Ravens (2-2) 60/80
3. Cincinnati Bengals (1-3) 64/67
4. Cleveland Browns (0-4) 63/107
1. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-2) 109/74
2. Houston Texans (2-2) 110/88
3. Tennessee Titans (2-2) 100/126
4. Indianapolis Colts (1-3) 71/136
1. Kansas City Chiefs (4-0) 122/77
2. Denver Broncos (3-1) 98/74
3. Oakland Raiders (2-2) 91/79
4. Los Angeles Chargers (0-4) 72/93
1. Philadelphia Eagles (3-1) 103/92
2. Dallas Cowboys (2-2) 94/97
3. Washington Redskins (2-2) 91/89
4. New York Giants (0-4) 60/95
1. Detroit Lions (3-1) 99/70
2. Green Bay Packers (3-1) 102/81
3. Minnesota Vikings (2-2) 79/76
4. Chicago Bears (1-3) 61/104
1. Atlanta Falcons (3-1) 104/89
2. Carolina Panthers (3-1) 78/70
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1) 71/64
4. New Orleans Saints (2-2) 93/78
1. Los Angeles Rams (3-1) 142/105
2. Seattle Seahawks (2-2) 94/77
3. Arizona Cardinals (2-2) 74/91
4. San Francisco 49ers (0-4) 66/94
Don't Buy the Philadelphia Eagles As Contenders Yet
The Philadelphia Eagles list No. 10 in the power rankings, and there's hype around the team as the front-runner for an NFC East division title. For those looking at this squad as a top-tier group, proceed with caution.
Despite a 3-1 record, the Eagles have one quality win against the Washington Redskins in Week 1. Other than that, they went down to the wire against two winless teams, the New York Giants and Los Angeles Chargers, in consecutive weeks.
Thus far, the Eagles' 2017 resume doesn't show much beyond their ability to beat bad football teams. Philadelphia also fields one of the worst pass defenses in the league at No. 30 in yards allowed.
In the next three weeks, this group will face three teams that can test opponents through the air in the Arizona Cardinals, Carolina Panthers and Redskins. Expect the Eagles to drop two of the next three games.
Uncertainty and Concern Surrounding the Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys don't resemble the same team from last year. Many will point to wide receiver Dez Bryant's production as a major problem, but it's the secondary that's going to hurt this club throughout the season. Unless the young defensive backs experience significant growth on the fly, opposing passing offenses will continue to pick apart the defensive backfield.
Cornerbacks Nolan Carroll and Chidobe Awuzie have battled injuries, which also thins a weak secondary. The offense isn't built to outscore opponents in high-scoring games as witnessed against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 4.
Off the field, there's litigation hanging over running back Ezekiel Elliott's head. League spokesperson Joe Lockhart expects the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to rule on the injunction against the NFL in the immediate future, via Pro Football Talk.
If the court in New Orleans reverses the injunction, Elliott would immediately serve the initial six-game suspension for violating the league's conduct policy.
The Cowboys need the 22-year-old ball-carrier to prop up the offense. Without him, Dallas will have to lean on quarterback Dak Prescott's arm, which isn't the team's recent recipe for success.
The New York Jets Laugh at Tanking
On paper, the New York Jets roster and schedule combination indicated a team on the way to a 1-15 record. Through four weeks, Gang Green has already exceeded expectations at 2-2.
According to New York Post reporter George Willis, the Jets must fend against overconfidence in a Week 5 contest against the winless Cleveland Browns.
The Jets will travel to Cleveland with Bilal Powell and Elijah McGuire leading the No. 7-ranked rushing offense against a run defense that's only allowed one team to eclipse 100 yards on the ground through four weeks. Defensively, New York hasn't allowed more than 230 passing yards in a single contest.
The Browns-Jets contest should come down to one possession, but it's clear Gang Green doesn't plan on throwing this game away for a potential shot at high-profile quarterbacks Josh Rosen or Sam Darnold.