NFL Power Rankings Week 5: Where Does Every Team Stand After a Wild Week?
After a Sunday filled with nail-biters, upsets and big statements, the NFL landscape is starting to come into focus.
Week 4 gave us some classics (Detroit Lions fans, stand up), and some not-so-classics (sorry, Denver Broncos fans). It also helped clear up a lot of the confusion caused by the surprise teams of the season so far.
The Buffalo Bills aren't Super Bowl bound quite yet, the Lions are for real, and it's possible that the NFC West can actually produce a legitimate contender.
Without further ado, lets dig into the NFL Week 5 Power Rankings and see where all 32 teams stand.
32. Indianapolis Colts, 0-3 (Playing Monday Night), -38 Point Differential
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After assessing every team in the NFL, the Indianapolis Colts emerged victorious for the crown of "NFL's worst team" without even having played their Week 4 game yet.
It's Curtis Painter, of course, the incapable/nauseatingly bad Colts starting quarterback now that Kerry Collins is out. With Collins, Indy was hard to watch. Now, they're unbearable.
With my luck, Painter will probably have a breakout game Monday night and lead Indianapolis to an upset win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but don't bet on it.
Grabbing Andrew Luck in the 2012 NFL Draft wouldn't be such a bad silver lining to a winless season, would it?
31. Miami Dolphins, 0-4, -35 Point Differential
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Losing Chad Henne barely had an effect on the outcome of Sunday's disappointing 26-16 loss against the San Diego Chargers. Matt Moore played okay in relief, making the case even stronger that Miami must look elsewhere for a new starting quarterback for 2012.
Henne clearly isn't panning out, and Moore is an average-at-best talent. If Miami ever wants to be relevant, it must make QB a No. 1 priority this offseason.
The offense has struggled immensely trying to get the ball into the end zone, which is good if you own kicker Dan Carpenter on any of your fantasy teams. For real life however, sending the kicker out three or four times a game is just not going to cut it in the new, high-scoring NFL.
Miami has a bye week in Week 5, giving itself a chance to regroup. However, I don't think a bye week is going to do much for this awful Dolphins team.
30. Minnesota Vikings, 0-4, -19 Point Differential
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Well, that offense never quite materialized, and the Vikings are now staring at an extremely disappointing 0-4 hole.
The Vikings just have not been able to close out games, losing all four contests by a combined 19 points. Of course playing in one of the NFL's hardest divisions doesn't help, but it looks like Minnesota fans can write off the playoffs for this season.
With the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers playing as well as they have been, it would take a miraculous turnaround for the Vikes to even finish at .500 this year.
After losing 22-17 against the lowly Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, Minnesota has reached rock bottom.
Things don't get any easier for the purple people, as their next three games are as follows: home vs. the Arizona Cardinals, at the Chicago Bears and home vs. the Green Bay Packers.
29. Kansas City Chiefs, 1-3, -77 Point Differential
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Dwayne Bowe has been the lone bright spot for the Kansas City Chiefs.
After hauling in what would become the game-winning touchdown to preserve a 22-17 victory over the pathetic Minnesota Vikings, Bowe now has two of KC's four touchdowns this season.
That's right—through four games, the Chiefs have only four touchdowns.
What a mess.
Matt Cassel has been horrible, the running game has been non-existent after being a dominant force last year (thank you Jamal Charles' torn left ACL), and the defense hasn't been able to stop a nosebleed.
Kansas City was due for a regression this season, but I don't think anyone thought it would be this bad. Let the suck-for-Luck campaign continue.
28. St. Louis Rams, 0-4, -67 Point Differential
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Playing the Washington Redskins at home and getting Steven Jackson back from injury were supposed to be enough for the St. Louis Rams to win their first game of the season.
The offense struggled all day (again), and the defense had no answer for the great Ryan Torain, who gashed the Rams for 135 yards rushing on just 19 carries.
Sam Bradford was expected to make a leap this season. Instead, the second-year quarterback has regressed, completing less than 50 percent of his passes so far. Getting Jackson back should help moving forward, but if the Rams' offensive line continues to get mauled (Bradford was sacked seven times Sunday), it's not going to matter.
A Week 5 bye is just what the doctor ordered for this struggling young team.
27. Denver Broncos, 1-3, -30 Point Differential
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In Weeks 1-3 the Denver Broncos were able to keep things close, even pulling out a tight win over the Cincinnati Bengals.
However, things changed in Week 4.
The Broncos got man-handled by the Green Bay Packers and quarterback Aaron Rodgers en route to a 49-23 drubbing. A-Rodge was masterful against the woefully unprepared/untalented Broncos secondary. The star QB had six touchdowns, two coming via the run.
Nonetheless, there were a few bright spots for the Broncos.
Brandon Lloyd had his first big game of the season, snatching eight balls for 136 yards, Eric Decker continued his scoring binge with two more touchdown receptions, and Willis McGahee compiled an impressive 103 yards rushing on just 15 attempts.
If Denver can't get its act together against the San Diego Chargers next week, its season is effectively over.
26. Seattle Seahawks, 1-3, -39 Point Differential
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Things would have been a lot different if Steven Hauschka's 61-yard field goal would have split the uprights. Unfortunately for Hawks' fans, it wasn't meant to be. Hauschka's kick fell short and wide, and the Tarvaris Jackson-led comeback fell just short.
Jackson was surprisingly effective, completing 65 percent of his passes while throwing for three touchdowns and over 300 yards. Still, a couple interceptions were the difference for Jackson, who almost led Seattle back from a 27-7 deficit against the solid Atlanta Falcons.
Seattle needs to make changes on both offense and defense.
The defense exudes no pressure (they have only 5 sacks in four games), and the offense is having trouble maintaining any sort of consistency.
Sidney Rice, the big-money free agent pick up, has been spectacular in his two games since returning from injury. He's compiled nearly 200 yards receiving and a touchdown. If he and Tarvaris can get on the same page, maybe Seattle can squeak out a few wins.
Until then, expect more of the same from this below-average squad.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars, 1-3, -46 Point Differential
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The Jacksonville Jaguars were simply out-slugged on Sunday by a superior New Orleans Saints team.
Maurice Jones-Drew can only bring you so far. The stud running back ran for 84 yards on just 11 carries, a remarkably low number considering Jacksonville's results through the air. MJD should have gotten at least 16 carries yesterday, and possibly even more.
Instead, Jacksonville chose to put the ball in rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert's hands.
Gabbert threw for just 196 yards on 42 attempts, while completing a measly 38 percent of his passes. Going up against a high-powered offense like the Saints, those numbers just aren't going to cut it.
So despite another praiseworthy effort by the defense, Jacksonville once again was unable to score enough on offense to make a difference.
This team has a lot of the right players, however it seems like they will need to wait for Gabbert to come into his own in order to take the next step. With games coming up against the Bengals, Steelers, Ravens and Texans, the rookie is going to have his hands full.
24. Cleveland Browns, 2-2, -19 Point Differential
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When your quarterback throws for 350 yards on 40 completions, you should be able to expect more than one touchdown throw.
Unless your a Cleveland Browns fan.
Then you can expect a mediocre-at-best performance from Colt McCoy, who has looked worse and worse as the season has worn on.
Despite a ridiculously easy schedule, it looks like Browns fans should prepare for another losing season in 2011. The offense has been unable to find its stride, thanks in part to the injuries sustained by Madden cover-boy Peyton Hillis. The defense has been spectacular, but it has yet to play an elite offensive unit.
With their easy schedule there is still a chance for this team, but it must come out after next week's bye with a better offensive game plan.
23. Carolina Panthers, 1-3, -13 Point Differential
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After collecting his first career win last week against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Cam Newton did everything he could to try and make it two-in-a-row for the Carolina Panthers.
Unfortunately, Newton's three touchdowns (two on the ground) weren't enough to overcome the despicable Carolina run-defense, which allowed the Chicago Bears' Matt Forte to run for 205 yards on just 25 carries.
Even though Jay Cutler completed only nine passes for 102 yards, the Bears were able to hold on for a 34-29 win over the Panthers.
Aside from Newton and Steve Smith's continued dominance, Carolina fans were finally treated to a decent day on the ground from the Jonathan Stewart/DeAngelo Williams backfield tandem. The two combined for 134 yards on 18 carries and looked sharp throughout.
If Carolina could get even decent production from its defense, they could become a pretty scary team to play. Until then, the Panthers will remain in the lower-echelon of NFL teams.
22. Arizona Cardinals, 1-3, -1 Point Differential
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The Arizona Cardinals thought they got their quarterback when they traded Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a second-round pick for Kevin Kolb.
Well, they were half right.
The former Philadelphia Eagles backup has been incredibly unpredictable for the Cards this season, costing the team at least one or two wins thus far. The connection with star wideout Larry Fitzgerald has been solid, but the turnovers and three-and-outs are really killing Kolb's progress.
His inconsistencies led to a 31-27 loss this Sunday against the New York Giants, a game that Arizona led by 10 with only five and a half minutes to go.
Arizona plays in a crappy division, so starting the season 1-3 doesn't mean that the playoffs are out of reach. However, the schedule is tough over the next month; even in the NFC West, the Cards could find themselves out of a playoff spot at the end of October unless they shape up quick.
21. Cincinnati Bengals, 2-2, +6 Point Differential
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Rookie quarterback Andy Dalton played a superb second half, and the Cincinnati Bengals were able to pull off one of the bigger upsets of the weekend when they shocked the Buffalo Bills 23-20.
Dalton helped Cinci outscore the Bills 20-3 in the second half by throwing and running for a touchdown. With only 1:48 left on the clock of a tied ball game, the red-head led the Bengals from their own 19 yard-line into Bills territory for the winning Mike Nugent field goal.
Dalton threw for nearly 300 yards, running back Cedric "can't touch me" Benson ran for 104 yards, and rookie sensation A.J. Green had another monstrous effort with 118 receiving yards on just four catches.
After losing cornerback Jonathan Joseph, one of the team's top defensive players, as well as Chad Ochocinco, Terrell Owens, and Carson Palmer from the offense, many expected a major regression from the already horrible team.
It wasn't meant to be however, as the Bengals have showed signs of life so far this season.
Cincinnati has a few very winnable games coming up against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Indianapolis Colts and Seattle Seahawks. Win those, and Cincinnati could be looking at a winning season.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2-1 (Playing Monday Night), 0 Point Differential
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When your team's point differential is zero, I think it is safe to say that your team is mediocre. With the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, I will withhold further judgement until after their Monday night game against the Curtis Painter-led Indianapolis Colts.
I expect Tampa to win big.
With the way the Atlanta Falcons are playing this year, the Bucs have a chance to compete for the top spot in the super-talented NFC South.
19. Dallas Cowboys, 2-2, -2 Point Differential
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Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy.
That's how every Dallas Cowboys fan felt after Tony Romo and the Cowboys defense blew what looked like an easy win over the surging Detroit Lions.
The Boys' led 27-3 in the third quarter until Romo gift-wrapped two pick-six's for the Lions defense. After a couple of spectacular Calvin Johnson touchdowns, Detroit completed the magnificent upset, winning 34-30.
At this point in his career, there is just no other way to put it—Tony Romo is a choke-artist.
We've said it before, and we will continue to say it as long as he is in this league. It's sad that a guy with that much talent can't just figure out the right way to close out a game.
On the bright side, Cowboys fans are going to get wide receiver Dez Bryant highlights for a long, long time. That kid is an absolute pleasure to watch.
18. Atlanta Falcons, 2-2, -15 Point Differential
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The Atlanta Falcons came "this close" to majorly blowing a game against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.
It's a good thing they didn't, because the Falcons can use every win they can get as they diagnose the problems with their talent-loaded team.
Julio Jones has been a great addition to the offense, but it seems as if Matt Ryan and Michael Turner have regressed somewhat. The Atlanta offense just doesn't seem as dynamic as it was during last year's 14-2 masterpiece of a regular season.
The defense is definitely a cause for concern, as well.
Even with the addition of Ray Edwards during free agency, this unit has been one of the league's worst thus far, allowing 26.2 points per game and over 370 yards per game of offense.
Atlanta should be looking to make a statement at home in Week 5 against the red-hot Green Bay Packers. A win will push them into the upper echelon of NFL teams. However if they lose, it could be the game that pushes them out of the already-crowded NFC playoff picture.
17. Chicago Bears, 2-2, -4 Point Differential
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The Chicago Bears have been unable to find their identity this season.
Are they the team that crushed the Atlanta Falcons in Week 1 with swarming defense and timely offense? Are they the team that got walloped by the New Orleans Saints multi-receiver attack in Week 2? Or, could they be the run heavy team that we saw this past Sunday?
Chicago's identity is most likely a mixture of all three of those teams.
With Matt Forte in the backfield, the running game should be heavily utilized moving forward, while the passing game evolves under the watchful eye of passing-guru Mike Martz.
Anchored by Brian Urlacher, the Bears defense has been tough but very inconsistent. While it allows over 420 yards per game, the third-down defense is exceptional.
It would be unfair of me to not mention return-god Devin Hester here. The man is an unstoppable force, recording his 11th career punt return for a touchdown. At this point, I don't understand why teams don't kick it out of bounds every time against him. He's that good.
16. Oakland Raiders, 2-2, -2 Point Differential
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It was right there for the Oakland Raiders.
All Jason Campbell had to do was not throw the ball directly at Patrick Chung, and the Raiders would have had a legitimate chance at upsetting the high-flying New England Patriots attack.
But, alas, he did.
Tom Brady proceeded to march the Pats down the field for a field goal before the half, followed by a touchdown drive to start off the third quarter. The next time that Campbell touched the football, the ball game was basically over.
The Raiders looked solid, though, and their once laughingstock of a franchise has turned itself around this season.
Darren McFadden is terrific, and rookie wideout Denarius Moore has shown flashes of immense potential over the first four weeks. I would say this young, fast (thanks Al Davis) Raiders offense is one of the more exciting in the league despite Campbell's inadequacies.
It seems like every drive they pull out a perfectly executed reverse-play or some big-yardage play.
Things are finally changing in the land of silver and black. Welcome back to respectability, Raiders fans.
15. Tennessee Titans, 3-1, +32 Point Differential
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So much for Kenny Britt being the be-all-end-all for this Tennessee Titans offense.
Matt Hasselbeck may have been the key all along. The veteran quarterback threw three more touchdowns to give him eight on the season. If you consider his 66 percent completion percentage and 104.7 quarterback rating as well, Hasselbeck is having one hell of a year for a free agent scrap heap pickup.
Granted, the game—a 31-13 victory—was against the Cleveland Browns.
Still, Hasselbeck has been great all year, and despite the total lack of a running game (that's how you earn your paycheck Chris Johnson!) he has kept the Titans offense rolling to the tune of 280 passing yards per game, eighth in the NFL.
With the demise of Peyton Manning's 2011 season (and therefore the Indianapolis Colts 2011 season), paired with the slow start of the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Titans should be able to pull out a second-place finish in the AFC South this season.
A big question will be answered in Week 5 when the Titans visit the Pittsburgh Steelers: can this team compete with good teams on the road?
14. New York Giants, 3-1, +15 Point Differential
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Eli Manning has (sort of) backed up his statement of being in the "same class" as Tom Brady, and the New York Giants defense has been phenomenal so far, helping the G-men to a sturdy 3-1 record heading into a juicy three-game home-stand featuring the Seattle Seahawks, Miami Dolphins, and Buffalo Bills.
Not exactly a murderers row, if you catch my drift.
The Giants haven't been winning pretty, but you know what they say—a win is a win is a win. In retrospect, Giants wins over the struggling St. Louis Rams and Philadelphia Eagles don't look as impressive.
Nonetheless, the G-men are headed in the right direction.
With a nice blend of Ahmad Bradshaw, Brandon Jacobs and Hakeem Nicks, Eli Manning has been able to maneuver through every defense he's faced up until this point. He does miss Kevin Boss and Steve Smith, however, and defenses may soon catch up to his newer tendencies.
I expect the Giants to be in it for the long run, and with Osi Umenyiora making his triumphant return, the G-men are only going to get better.
13. Pittsburgh Steelers, 2-2, -8 Point Differential
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Injuries, injuries, injuries.
The Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line is just decimated by injuries, and it is really hard to score points when you don't have anyone blocking for you.
Big Ben Roethlisberger was terrific on Sunday, but he was let down by his blocking. He was constantly on the run, getting hit as he threw, and was brought down for five sacks on Sunday. The Houston Texans aren't really known for their defensive prowess, but they imposed their will on Pittsburgh this week—something that almost never happens against a tough-as-nails Steelers franchise.
But you know what?
Injuries heal, and the Steelers should be able to find a way to make it work. Roethlisberger is playing well, and Troy Polamalu has been his usual amazing self. The Steelers just find ways to win.
Pittsburgh will be there down the stretch, but it needs its offensive line to get healthy to be a serious contender this season.
12. Washington Redskins, 3-1, +20 Point Differential
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I'll be honest, I expected the Washington Redskins to be absolutely horrible this season. However, with the addition of Tim Hightower, the emergence of Rex Grossman (from the grave) and a vastly improved defense, the Skins' have been sensational in 2011.
A 17-10 win over the poor St. Louis Rams is nothing to write home about, but it is starting to feel like this team is picking up a ton of momentum and confidence going into their bye week.
With the Philadelphia Eagles coming up at home, Redskins fans will have revenge on their minds after what Michael Vick did to them last season on National TV. Vick embarrassed the Redskins, their fans and their entire organization.
If you don't believe me, listen to this guy.
With Philly's struggles and Washington's recent achievements, I imagine that a victory over the Eagles will finally put the Skins' in the NFL spot light.
A team to watch down the stretch. Smile, Washington fans, it's been a while!
11. Philadelphia Eagles, 1-3, 0 Point Differential
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I get it. The Philadelphia Eagles are 1-3. They are overrated. Blah, blah blah.
Sorry, I'm not listening to that garbage.
When healthy, this is one of the most, if not the most dangerous team in all of football. The Michael Vick injury killed them in Atlanta and against New York, and he seems to be back at full strength after throwing for over 400 yards this Sunday.
Obviously a couple of more losses here, and the Eagles will out of the playoff picture, but I just can't imagine a team this talented getting knocked out so early.
This week the Eagles travel to Buffalo to face off against the cooled-off Bills. This game is gigantic for both teams, and it will probably be the game of the week.
Give me Philadelphia and Michael Vick, and give me Philadelphia and Michael Vick for the NFC East as well. They are going to rip off a winning streak soon, and when they do...look out.
10. San Francisco 49ers, 3-1, +19 Point Differential
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Remember when I said that there might be a respectable team coming out of the NFC West?
Well, here they are—the San Francisco 49ers.
What started out as a fluky season-opening win—thanks to the special teams mastery of Ted Ginn—has turned into a full blown success story.
After the Niners knocked off the evil Philadelphia Eagles this Sunday, stunned faces across the country started to take notice. This team is the real deal. Underrate Alex Smith at your own risk.
That's right. The once butt-of-every-joke quarterback has morphed into an uber-efficient game manager who has given the 49ers a chance to win every game this season. It hasn't been pretty, but with an unheralded 67 percent completion percentage, Smith has turned into the guy that Niners fans have been waiting for all these years.
A home game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers looms. Until then, San Francisco should enjoy the upset victory and get excited for the prospect of a home playoff game in January.
9. New York Jets, 2-2, +5 Point Differential
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It's a really bad thing when your team's quarterback goes back to pass and you expect something bad to happen.
Well, that's precisely what happened with every New York Jets fan on Sunday night with Mark Sanchez. The poor guy couldn't go five minutes without a turnover—not only turnovers, but turnovers for touchdowns.
Three of them. And that's your ball game.
For the Jets, this is just one of those games. Forget about it, and look forward to next week's wonderful matchup with the rival New England Patriots.
The last time these two met, the J-E-T-S Jets, Jets, Jets knocked the Pats out of the playoffs. This time around is certainly going to be different, especially with the way the Jets looked on Sunday night (namely, dreadful).
Expect Rex Ryan to get his troops readied for battle. For Jets fans, it's time to forget about Sunday night's disaster and look forward to next week's marquee matchup.
Like Bart Scott said, "Can't wait!"
8. San Diego Chargers, 3-1, +6 Point Differential
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As witnessed by their +6 point differential, the San Diego Chargers are not a team that blows people out. In fact, every game this season could have gone the other way if it wasn't for a bounce or two.
But hey, that's football.
And at the end of it all, the Bolts are 3-1 and looking pretty good going into an easier matchup against the Denver Broncos.
There is only one problem: quarterback Phillip Rivers can no longer count on his favorite target, tight end Antonio Gates.
Gates has been having terrible foot problems for over a year now, and it doesn't look like they are going to miraculously heal anytime soon. Instead, Rivers has been dumping the ball off to Mike Tolbert or looking for star wideout Vincent Jackson.
Not a bad backup plan, but again, no Gates.
Without him, I doubt that San Diego will be able to break through the elite teams of the AFC, even though they should be able to secure an AFC West title. No small feat.
7. Buffalo Bills, 3-1, +37 Point Differential
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The Cincinnati Bengals figured out a way to shut down the up-to-that-point-explosive Buffalo Bills offense, and eventually beat the Bills on a last second field goal kick.
Many experts foresaw the collapse of the undefeated Bills coming off of a big win over the bullish New England Patriots. And the experts were right—the Bills fell right into the trap, and blew a very winnable game.
Still, this is a great-looking team.
Running back Fred Jackson has become one of the top dual threats in the NFL, and Stevie Johnson has developed an awesome connection with quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick to make himself one of the top wide receivers in the league.
With those three guys, Buffalo has been able to dominate opponents with 33 points per game.
When the defense clicks, this team is incredibly hard to stop. Rookie Marcell Dareus is a great foundation in the middle, and the loss of Paul Posluszny hasn't been as bad as everyone expected.
Three games in a row against the tough NFC East (Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants, and Washington Redskins) will show us whether we were right in anointing this Bills team as a "team on the rise."
6. Houston Texans, 3-1, +37 Point Differential
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Unstoppable in 2010, Arian Foster's absence was really hurting the Houston Texans offense through three weeks. They were unable to finish drives, and they were relying heavily on a rookie backup, which isn't something that Super Bowl contenders usually do.
However, all those things changed on Sunday.
Foster came back with a bang, registering 155 yards on the ground. One of his runs included a dazzling cut-back, 42-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter to give the Texans the lead for good over the hated-rival Pittsburgh Steelers.
This victory signified many things for what was once considered a "soft" Texans team. Most importantly, though, is the signification that this team is here to stay—and it is here to play smash-mouth, run-the-ball-down-your-throat football with any team in the league.
There isn't supposed to be anyone tougher than Pittsburgh.
On Sunday, the Texans weren't only tougher, they were the better team. I expect this to finally be the year Houston goes deep into the playoffs.
5. Baltimore Ravens, 3-1, +62 Point Differential
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The ferocious Baltimore Ravens defense is back.
Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Haloti Ngata, Terrell Suggs, and everyone else on that defense is ready to wreak havoc on the NFL.
After single-handedly winning the Sunday night matchup against the New York Jets with their defense (which produced three defensive scores), the NFL better look out for these bad boys.
They have had three dominant games and one game where they got dominated.
I'm going to assume the Tennessee Titans loss was an outlier, and that this team is one of the best the AFC has to offer. Joe Flacco must improve, but boy, does Ray Rice look terrific this season. The kid can do it all.
Week 5 has a treat for us fans when the Ravens host the Houston Texans for a battle of AFC supremacy.
4. New Orleans Saints, 3-1, +29 Point Differential
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Many people forget, but if Mark Ingram would have scored on that plunge in Week 1, we would be talking about the New Orleans Saints as the best team in the NFL, not the Green Bay Packers (sorry for spoiling No. 1).
However, this Saints team has responded well with three solid wins over some good competition. Drew Brees is totally locked in, and he just got back one of his favorite targets in Marques Colston. Look for him and Jimmy Graham to be Brees' main red zone targets from here forward.
As for the running game, it still needs work. Saints fans are used to that, of course. There really hasn't been an established running back here since Ricky Williams left like 10 years ago.
It won't matter if Brees keeps playing like this, because when he does, he's impossible to stop.
New Orleans actually has a manageable schedule the rest of the way. If the offense keeps putting up 450+ yards per game, New Orleans could finish this season with 13 or 14 wins.
3. Detroit Lions, 4-0, +59 Point Differential
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Calvin Johnson is totally un-guardable. It is getting kind of unfair at this point. In case you missed it, here is his most recent gem, a ridiculous, leaping-over-three-defenders touchdown grab he made this Sunday.
The Detroit Lions as a whole?
They are definitely stoppable. In fact, they were getting crushed in the middle of the third quarter, 27-3. But the defense intercepted two awful Tony Romo passes for touchdowns, and Calvin Johnson did the rest.
It seems like this team is just destined to be in the playoffs this year.
They have won three extraordinary games and one blow out. The common denominator between all three?
You guessed it, Johnson has two touchdown receptions in each game. Yes, he's on pace for 32 touchdown catches. Let me repeat that...THIRTY TWO.
The 6'5", 235-pound receiver cannot be defended, and the Lions will continue to win as long the defense doesn't get ripped to shreds. There are three very tough games coming up that will show us whether to believe in this early-season magic or not. The Lions face the Chicago Bears, San Francisco 49ers, and the Atlanta Falcons.
Win two out of three, and I'm on the bandwagon.
2. New England Patriots, 3-1, +37 Point Differential
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Tom Brady is fun to watch, isn't he?
The man is the eighth wonder of the world. Well, it's him or Wes Welker at least. The tandem is destroying the lives of cornerbacks all across the country. Brady to Welker has accounted for more than one-third of the record breaking 1553 yards TB12 has through four weeks.
Beating the Oakland Raiders this Sunday was no small task, but with a dedication to the running game (finally) the Pats were able to squeak one out.
When the offense is firing on all cylinders, New England can not be beat by anyone. However, in what is now becoming a cliche, "if you can get pressure on Tom Brady, you can beat the New England Patriots." I hate to repeat the obvious, but its true.
Its the only way.
I feel obligated to mention the atrocity that is the Patriots defense. It's giving up 477 yards per game (worst in the NFL) and 48 percent third-down conversions (31st in the NFL).
Those numbers make me need to take a shower they are so stinky.
1. Green Bay Packers, 4-0, +51 Point Differential
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Aaron Rodgers. Better than Tom Brady? I don't know, but I'll be damned if I don't say it's a two horse race for the No. 1 spot.
With A-Rodge pulling the strings, the Green Bay Packers offense has become so insanely intricate (yet simple) that he was able to throw a touchdown to four different wide receivers this week. So besides for the great Jermichael Finley, and touchdown machine RB John Kuhn, Rodgers is able to throw it to four other guys too.
I can't even imagine how to game plan against him.
In the meantime, the defense hasn't been as good as it was last year. They are giving up over 400 yards per game, 44 percent on third-down conversions, and almost 25 points per game. For a defense that was championship-level last season, it has been a big disappointment thus far.
Lucky for them, they have Rodgers on their side.
With the way he's playing, he probably doesn't even need a defense.