T.J. Houshmandzadeh is paying early dividends for the Ravens
What a crazy week four it was in the NFL; six games decided by three points or less, including three game-winning field goals.
Donovan McNabb’s return to Philly was a successful one, while his replacement Michael Vick left the game with a rib injury.
The Browns finally got into the win column while the Rams notched two straight victories for the first time since week seven of the 2008 season.
For the second straight week, the top two teams fall and a new No. 1 takes over.
Teams’ previous ranking in ( ).
1. Baltimore Ravens (5)
Last week, Ravens’ off-season free agent pick up Anquan Boldin led the Ravens to victory, while this week T. J. Houshmandzadeh (another free agent pick up) gave the Ravens a win.
Once Ray Rice gets going, they will be a scary team.
2. Atlanta Falcons (3)
Game winning field goals in back-to-back weeks has the Atlanta Falcons on top of their division. Their defense shut down the 49ers after the first quarter.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers (1)
Missed opportunities cost them a 4-0 record. They will be a whole new team coming off the bye with Ben Roethlisberger back in the mix. Expect them to be back at No. 1 in the rankings before Halloween.
4. New York Jets (6)
Defense is showing they are just fine without Darrelle Revis. Not to mention that LaDainian Tomlinson fella apparently has a lot more left in the tank than anyone thought.
Getting Santonio Holmes into the lineup will present even more problems for opposing teams.
5. Houston Texans (11)
Normally a win against the Raiders isn’t enough to vault you six spots, but the Texans’ poor play against Dallas was likely just an anomaly and they are still a team to be reckoned with.
6. Green Bay Packers (9)
Four turnovers didn’t cost them a win against Detroit. It will against most any other team, though. Losing LB Morgan Burnett for the season due to injury will hurt the defense.
7. New Orleans Saints (7)
Perhaps Drew Brees’ strained MCL is affecting him more than we thought. Saints must get him healthy to have a serious chance at defending their title.
8. New England Patriots (10)
Dominating second half by the defense and special teams got the job done in Miami.
9. Chicago Bears (4)
Jay Cutler was sacked 10 times in the first half on Sunday Night Football. Needless to say, you can find better protection at high school prom after-party.
On the bright side, Todd Collins threw his first interception in 13 seasons.
10. Indianapolis Colts (2)
Peyton Manning and the Colts came this close to pulling another win out of their you-know-what.
11. Kansas City Chiefs (17)
Even with the bye week, K.C. moves up six spots. Not even the most avid Chiefs fan predicted Kansas City would be the NFL’s last remaining undefeated team this year.
Road games against the Colts and Texans in the next two weeks will show us if this team is for real.
12. New York Giants (19)
One has to wonder how the Giants defense played so poorly against the Colts, but so incredibly fantastic against the Bears.
13. Philadelphia Eagles (12)
Losing Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy to injury could devastate this team on offense.
14. Cincinnati Bengals (8)
This team is impossible to figure out. They beat the Ravens, and lose to the Browns. They need to be beating bad teams because they play a brutal schedule down the stretch.
15. Minnesota Vikings (15)
The good news is, they are coming off a bye and should be well-rested and ready to go after a shaky start to the season.
The bad news is, their next four games (three on the road) are against the Jets, Cowboys, Packers, and Patriots.
16. Dallas Cowboys (16)
Dallas pretended during their bye week that they were 0-3 instead of 1-2. Their performance this week against the Titans will show us if they are pretenders or contenders for the rest of the season.
17. Miami Dolphins (14)
The Dolphins played okay on Monday night, leading 7-6 at halftime. Unfortunately for Miami fans they lost the second half 35-7 to fall to 2-2 on the season.
18. San Diego Chargers (18)
They did exactly what they were supposed to against Arizona: destroy them. Nonetheless, it’s hard to imagine this team has Super Bowl potential without Vincent Jackson.
For that matter, they may not have that potential even with him.
19. Jacksonville Jaguars (23)
It is impossible to bet on the Jags; you simply never know when they are going to show up.
A 59-yard field goal by Josh Scobee gave them a win against the Colts this week, but they are giving up way too many points on a weekly basis.
The defense has to tighten up for the Jaguars to even sniff the playoffs.
20. Washington Redskins (26)
Another Jekyll and Hyde team. They beat Dallas and Philly, nearly beat Houston, and laid an egg against the Rams.
When they are clicking on all cylinders, they are a tough team to beat, but any team that loses to the Rams has some things to work on.
21. Tennessee Titans (13)
Special teams’ rookie Marc Mariani looked like a hero when he returned a kick-off 98 yards for a score.
However, his rookie mistake turned him into the goat when he let a kick off bounce around and was unable to recover it before the Broncos, essentially ending the game.
22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (22)
Tampa sits at 2-1 after their bye week, and even though they’ve already matched their 2009 win total, don’t let that fool you.
The Bucs have a lot of winnable games on their schedule and they could very easily go 8-8 or better.
23. Denver Broncos (24)
Kyle Orton is putting the Broncos on his back, but he’s going to have to get some help from the running game if Denver wants to keep up with the Chiefs.
24. St. Louis Rams (28)
The St. Louis Rams have won more games in the past 10 days than they won all of last season. Sam Bradford is the real deal and is only going to get better.
25. Arizona Cardinals (21)
Anybody else think that Larry Fitzgerald is at least slightly envious of his former teammate Boldin right about now?
26. Seattle Seahawks (20)
Two wins against teams that were expected to be good (San Francisco and San Diego) and two losses against teams that were expected to struggle mightily (Denver and St. Louis). Go figure.
They face Chicago after the bye, and the Bears should be a big favorite. In other words, put your money on Seattle.
27. Oakland Raiders (27)
The Raiders have been ranked No. 27 every week so far. I’m not sure what that tells us, other than there really isn’t a whole lot to talk about with this team.
28. Cleveland Browns (32)
Nobody likes losing every week, so luckily for the Browns they got into the win column in Week 4, because they may not get another one until Thanksgiving.
29. San Francisco 49ers (25)
Leading 14-0 after the first quarter, San Fran couldn’t muster up any points the rest of the game, and lost on a field goal.
The 49ers, once thought of as division favorites, have a lot of work to do if they have any playoff aspirations.
30. Carolina Panthers (29)
Jimmy Clausen seemed to have a knack of coming up just short in every big college game he played.
That unfortunate tag followed him to the NFL, as he came up just short of taking down the defending champs in his second NFL start.
31. Detroit Lions (30)
There is a lot of fight in this team. They are one bad call, and a few bad breaks away from being 3-1.
32. Buffalo Bills (31)
Have given up 110 points in their past three games, and let L.T. run all over them this week. It doesn’t get any easier in week five as they face Maurice-Jones Drew.