Power Ranking Every First Place Team in the NFL Through Week 4
A quarter of the 2010 NFL season is over as we are heading into Week 5. Virtually every division has two or more teams with identical records, but with tiebreakers, there are only eight first place teams.
How do all of them stack up and where do the 3-0 Kansas City Chiefs rank? Find out here in a power ranking of every first place team so far.
8. Arizona Cardinals (NFC West)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
The Arizona Cardinals made the Super Bowl two years ago and are off to a .500 start this season like the rest of the division. The NFC West has three teams at 2-2, as the 49ers are shockingly 0-4. Based on tiebreakers, the Cardinals are in first place, and they are the worst first place team in the league.
How fitting, that as I say that, they are making a switch at quarterback entering this week against the Saints.
Original starting quarterback Derek Anderson, who got the job this year over the departed Matt Leinart, was awful and didn't last through week's embarrassing loss to the Chargers. In the 41-10 debacle, Anderson threw two interceptions and had a QB rating of a lowly 23.2.
The Cardinals replaced him with rookie Max Hall and he was at least decent. The Cardinals, though, weren't supposed to have a good season once Kurt Warner retired, and they are only in first place because no team in the NFC West is capable of winning 10 games this season.
Projected finish: 9-7, second in NFC West, no playoffs
7. Kansas City Chiefs (AFC West)
Matt Sullivan/Getty Images
We all know by now that the Kansas City Chiefs are the final undefeated team in the NFL at 3-0 with a bye. What we don't know are two things. Are they legit and will they be this year's Cinderella team?
Logic dictates they will fall off the next two weeks and then perhaps go on a run.
That's all based on their upcoming schedule. The Chiefs have two tough road games coming up at the Colts and Texans. They could fall to 3-2 if they are a fluke.
After these next two games though, 10 of their final 11 games are fairly easy. The only remaining tough game will be in San Diego for Week 14.
So far, the Chiefs have beaten two teams who are a combined 1-7. They do have a good win against the Chargers and are third in the league in rushing yards, led by Thomas Jones.
I don't think that anyone can take them for real though, until they prove it these next two weeks against two of the best teams in the AFC.
Projected finish: 8-8, third in AFC West, no playoffs
6. Washington Redskins (NFC East)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Just like in the NFC West, the NFC East has three teams with identical 2-2 records. The Redskins are the only team in the division with a division win, and they have two.
Donovan McNabb has done well in his first season in Washington, coming off a Week 4 win against his former Eagles team in Philadelphia.
The problem for the Redskins is, they can't stop the pass at all. They are 31st in the league in opponents' passing yards, and that flaw was exposed in a big way against the Texans back in Week 2, allowing Matt Schaub to throw for nearly 500 yards.
In a division that has Eli Manning, Tony Romo, and when healthy, Michael Vick in it, a defense has to be able to stop the pass just a little bit to be successful.
The division is going to be close all season, with the Cowboys looming at 1-2 but always dangerous, so the Redskins aren't a lock to win the NFC East title.
Projected finish: 9-7, second in NFC East, no playoffs
5. Chicago Bears (NFC North)
Chris McGrath/Getty Images
The Bears had an opportunity to improve to 4-0 on Sunday night but got absolutely embarrassed by the Giants defense. Jay Cutler, who was having an awesome season up until the game, got sacked a whopping nine times and even suffered a concussion that'll keep him out of this week's game against the Panthers.
Todd Collins, who replaced Cutler in the game and didn't fare too much better, will try to lead the Bears to a win over the 0-4 Panthers in Carolina.
The Bears though, may just have the worst offensive line in football. Not only did they allow their quarterback to be sacked nine times and suffer a concussion, they're ranked 31st in the league in rushing yards.
The 3-0 start they got off to was more of a fluke and also some luck. They won the first game thanks to a Calvin Johnson foolish game-winning touchdown drop in the end zone, and won the third game thanks to a Packers record game for penalties.
They have to beat Carolina with no matter who is running the show at center, but the Bears aren't as scary as you'd think they are.
Projected finish: 9-7, second in NFC North, no playoffs
4. Atlanta Falcons (NFC South)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Looking for the defending Super Bowl champion Saints to be the leader of the NFC South? Well, they're also 3-1, but the Falcons beat them in Week 3 in New Orleans.
I still think the Saints are the team to beat in the division and entire NFC, but right now, the Falcons deserve some respect.
Matt Ryan has had a good third season so far and the Falcons are fourth in the league in rushing yards. The combination of Michael Turner and Jason Snelling has helped out Matt Ryan and the Falcons have won three games in a row.
They were my pick in preseason to win a Wild Card spot, and they are on track to do so as only one of four 3-1 teams in the NFC.
The Saints still have more talent and a more experienced quarterback, so look for them to stay right with Atlanta and eventually take over in the NFC South.
Projected finish: 10-6, second in NFC South, Wild Card spot
3. Houston Texans (AFC South)
Bob Levey/Getty Images
The Houston Texans are finally a legitimate threat in the AFC. They are 3-1 and in first place in the AFC South, having beat the Colts in Indianapolis to start the season. They do have some weird numbers statistically that makes you scratch your head.
They are, without surprise, first in the league in rushing yards. Arian Foster has had a breakout first full season, having already rushed for over 500 yards this season. The combination of the Texans ability to run the ball, and quarterback Matt Schaub's big arm has Houston thinking big and rightfully so.
The Colts are in last place in the division, and 0-2 in the AFC South, not looking sharp early on.
The head-scratching stats for Houston is that they're the worst team against the pass, but second-best against the run. They don't have stats that would make you think they're an elite team, but to me, they're among the best.
Projected finish: 10-6, second in AFC South, Wild Card spot
2. Baltimore Ravens (AFC North)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
The Baltimore Ravens are the second-best team in the NFL so far in my opinion and they got off to a great start this season. After beating the Jets at the Meadowlands in Week 1, the Ravens earned a win over the Steelers last week to hand them their first loss at Heinz Field.
The Ravens are first in the league in stopping the pass but don't really have a great offense. They rely on their secondary, which isn't even 100 percent, and they do also have a great defensive line led by Ray Lewis.
Ben Roethlisberger is coming back to Pittsburgh next week after a bye, following his four-game suspension, and that'll make the Ravens job a whole lot tougher.
The Steelers have a great defense and are going to give the Ravens a rough time at trying to win the division, but both teams are very strong in similar ways. It'll be hard to pick who will win this division, but look for a strong finish from both teams.
Projected finish: 10-6, second in AFC North, Wild Card spot
1. New York Jets (AFC East)
Rick Stewart/Getty Images
The best team in the NFL through a quarter of the season are the New York Jets. After losing the first game of the season and looking like a complete embarrassment, they have become the most elite team in the league.
I'm not just saying that because I write for the Jets, but there are plenty of stats and points to back it up. So far, the Jets are the only team to go 3-0 in a division. Two of those wins came on the road.
They're quarterback Mark Sanchez has eight touchdowns and zero interceptions, and is ranked fourth in the NFL in passer rating.
The Jets have gone 3-1 without Darrelle Revis for the majority of the time, and without Calvin Pace and Santonio Holmes at all this season. Those three guys all return this week, giving the Jets three star acquisitions, already sitting atop the AFC East.
With an offense playing stunningly solid football, with LaDainian Tomlinson performing like his Chargers days, and with Dustin Keller emerging as an elite tight end, the Jets are on their way to perhaps they're best season in ages. They are the best team with the most talent in football.
Projected finish: 12-4, first in AFC East, division champions