2022 B/R NFL Power Rankings: Where Does Every Team Stand Entering Week 5?
The 2022 NFL season is a month old. And for each thing we thought we knew about how this season would pan out, there has been another that has not.
We figured the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills would be good, and they are. The Bills outlasted the Ravens in a wild one in Baltimore on Sunday, while the Chiefs posted arguably the most impressive win of Week 4, handling the Buccaneers in Tampa on Sunday night.
However, there have been surprises to be sure. Even after losing in Philadelphia on Sunday, the Jacksonville Jaguars are still tied for first place in the AFC South. Those Eagles, on the other hand, are the NFL's last remaining undefeated team.
The New York Giants are 3-1 after surviving the loss of their top two quarterbacks against the Bears. The Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots and Las Vegas Raiders are all 1-3—and the Raiders only just earned their first win of 2022 on Sunday against the Denver Broncos.
It's been a wild season, and after the fourth week of NFL action, Bleacher Report NFL analysts Brent Sobleski, Maurice Moton and Gary Davenport have gathered yet again to rank the league's teams from worst to first.
Given that there's one team without a win and one without a loss, it's not hard to figure out which squads bookend this piece.
32. Houston Texans (0-3-1)
Last Week: 32
Week 4 Result: Lost vs. Los Angeles Chargers 34-24
The Houston Texans are preciously short of things to feel good about a month into the 2022 season.
After four games, the Texans are the only team in the NFL that has yet to celebrate a victory. Houston ranks 28th in total offense, 29th in total defense and 26th in scoring offense. Houston just doesn't have many impact players on either side of the ball. This is not a problem that will be remedied any time soon, and wins will probably be few and far between this season.
Even head coach Lovie Smith admitted after the loss that his team just isn't very good.
"We're not there yet," Smith said. "We're not a good football team yet. Good football teams find a way to win at the end and we haven't been able to get over that hurdle."
However, there was one bright spot amidst the darkness. Rookie running back Dameon Pierce had a big game against the Chargers, carrying the ball 14 times for 131 yards, including a 75-yard touchdown.
When you're the NFL's worst team, you have to take good news wherever you can find it.
31. Carolina Panthers (1-3)
Last Week: 28
Week 4 Result: Lost vs. Arizona 26-16
The more things change in Carolina, the more they stay the same.
For years, the Panthers have been cycling through quarterbacks in the hope of finding a reliable option under center. This year, Carolina turned to Baker Mayfield—and after a month, it appears the team is still looking.
After yet another poor outing (197 passing yards, two interceptions, 61.9 QB rating) from Mayfield, the boos rained down at Bank of America Stadium. But Mayfield told reporters after the game that he remains confident he and the Panthers can get things going.
"I don't care about the fact that our fans are booing, or what's going on," Mayfield said. "When we figure it out and we win, it's still going to be just us in the locker room—and that's all we care about."
However, Sobleski isn't so sure.
"Mayfield is broken," Sobleski tweeted. "The once-promising QB so many saw during his rookie and '20 campaigns appears to be gone forever. At this point, it's hard to envision him ever getting back to being a serviceable player, let alone leading another team after this season."
With Sam Darnold eligible to return from injured reserve and
Carolina head coach Matt Rhule on thin ice, a change under center may be in the
offing if Mayfield doesn't get going. It won't be coming yet, though—Panthers head coach Matt Rhule indicated Monday that Darnold's high ankle sprain has not yet healed.
At this point, changing from Darnold to Mayfield feels like rearranging deck chairs on the
30. Washington Commanders (1-3)
Last Week: 25
Week 4 Result: Lost at Dallas 25-10
Since defeating the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 1, the Washington Commanders have dropped three in a row. And in each successive game, quarterback Carson Wentz has seemingly looked worse.
Sunday's listless effort in Dallas was the nadir of Wentz's time in the nation's capital. Wentz averaged a pitiful 4.0 yards per attempt against a stout Dallas defense, throwing for 170 yards with one score, two picks and a passer rating of 56.6. However, despite that miserable outing, Commanders head coach Ron Rivera expressed confidence in his signal-caller while talking to reporters after the game.
''Well, I thought he had his moments,'' Rivera said. ''But again, it's the same thing, we've got to sustain the success that we're having.''
It's getting harder by the week to see what "success" Rivera is talking about; over the last two weeks, Washington has been outscored 49-18 in two NFC East matchups, and the Commanders are all alone in the NFC East cellar. Washington's next three games are all against teams that are .500 or better, but next week's matchup with the Titans and a Week 6 trip to Chicago appear to be winnable games.
Washington has to win one (and preferably both) of those contests. Otherwise, any postseason aspirations the team may have had will be out the window before Halloween.
29. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-3)
Last Week: 26
Week 4 Result: Lost vs. New York Jets 24-20
The future is now in Pittsburgh.
After another listless first half offensively against the New York Jets, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin made the switch that fans have been clamoring for. Mitchell Trubisky was out at quarterback, and first-round rookie Kenny Pickett was in.
The results weren't what the Steelers hoped. At 1-3, Pittsburgh is alone in the AFC North cellar.
But for better or worse, there's no going back now.
"After a Week 3 loss to the Cleveland Browns, Tomlin said, 'I’m not in that mindset' when reporters asked him about a move at quarterback, but he changed his mind at halftime on Sunday," Moton said. "Pickett took over for Trubisky and had more success with ball movement, though he committed multiple turnovers in the process.
"Pickett finished 10-of-13 passing for 120 yards and three interceptions with two rushing touchdowns, compared to Trubisky, who completed seven of 13 passes for 84 yards and an interception in his half of action. With Pickett under center, rookie wideout George Pickens and tight end Pat Freiermuth became consistent contributors in the passing attack, which is a good sign for Pittsburgh's offense despite the turnovers."
"Pickett is now the starting quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers," Sobleski added. "He's nervous, but on the surface he looks calm and ready to drop bombs. But he keeps on forgetting opponents play good defense. As such, this year's only first-round quarterback threw an interception on his first career pass attempt. In total, the Pitt product threw three INTs in a forgettable debut.
"He's now the face of the franchise, though. The fans clamored for his arrival. They want to see Ben Roethlisberger's heir apparent play. The moment, Pickett better own it and better never let it go. He may only get one shot. This opportunity comes once in a lifetime."
28. New York Jets (2-2)
Last Week: 31
Week 4 Result: Won at Pittsburgh 24-20
Winning is all that matters in the NFL. And in that respect, the New York Jets got it done in Week 4. In Zach Wilson's first game of the season, New York outlasted the Steelers to get back to .500.
But this win was about as ugly as victories get. Wilson completed just 18 of 36 passes, threw two interceptions and posted a 59.0 passer rating. New York averaged just 3.4 yards per carry on the ground. But thanks to a defense that allowed just 297 yards and generated four takeaways, the Jets escaped with their second victory in three weeks.
However, while the Jets got the win, Moton isn't ready to go crowning anyone in the Big Apple just yet.
"Jets fans will likely feel the team’s rank shows utter disrespect after Gang Green’s 24-20 win," he said. "Let’s be honest, though: The Jets beat the Steelers, who tossed their rookie quarterback into the fray after halftime.
"Nevertheless, give the Jets credit. They pounced on opportunities and intercepted Pickett three times. In his first outing back from knee surgery, Wilson led his team down the field for a game-winning touchdown drive, too. He completed only 50 percent of his passes and threw one score along with two interceptions, but he provided an offensive spark that was on full display in wideout Braxton Berrios’ touchdown throw to him in the second quarter."
27. Chicago Bears (2-2)
Last Week: 23
Week 4 Result: Lost at New York Giants 20-12
The good news for the Chicago Bears is that quarterback Justin Fields threw for 174 yards Sunday against the Giants—well over twice what the Bears were averaging in passing yards heading into Week 4.
The bad news is that it didn't really matter. Chicago didn't find the end zone and failed to hit 20 points for the third time in four games.
Despite Chicago's continued offensive futility, Fields told reporters he remains confident the Bears can get the offense going.
“We’ve just got to be more consistent," he said. "Whether it’s me, whether it’s the O-line, whether it’s the receivers. Some plays we’re all all on the same page, we’re all executing great and some plays we aren’t. The biggest thing with that is just consistency."
Davenport isn't so sure.
"It's not all Fields' fault that the Bears are a miserable offensive football team," he said. "Week 4 was the first time Darnell Mooney has done anything this season, and there's very little at wide receiver behind him. Chicago's turnstile of an offensive line also gave up six more sacks against the Giants. Add that to Fields' deficiencies, and you have a recipe for futility."
26. Detroit Lions (1-3)
Last Week: 19
Week 4 Result: Lost vs. Seattle 48-45
On Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks, Lions quarterback Jared Goff threw for 378 yards and four touchdowns. Running back Jamaal Williams piled up 108 rushing yards and two touchdowns. Tight end T.J. Hockenson caught eight passes for 179 yards and two scores.
And the Lions lost. Again.
As it has so often this season, Detroit's defense collapsed in Week 4, allowing huge performances from Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith and running back Rashaad Penny. It marked the second time this year that Detroit has scored 35 points in a loss. For the season, the Lions are allowing almost 445 yards and over 35 points per game. The team ranks dead last in the NFL in both categories.
Despite those dismal numbers, head coach Dan Campbell said he has no plans to replace besieged defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn.
“I have to look at everything with [Aaron Glenn],” Campbell said. “We’ll look at everything we need to, from the scheme to our personnel. … I’ve got a lot of faith in AG. I’ve got a ton of faith in those assistants, and I think we sit down and look at everything together. I think more than anything, maybe it’s time for a deep dive, a real deep dive into it.”
If things continue like this, Glenn may not be the only person out of a job.
25. New Orleans Saints (1-3)
Last Week: 22
Week 4 Result: Lost 28-25 vs. Minnesota (London)
The New Orleans Saints have problems.
Sunday's loss to the Minnesota Vikings in London was a heartbreaker, with Wil Lutz's 61-yard field-goal attempt coming up just short as time expired. But that missed kick is the least of New Orleans' problems.
The Saints have been blasted by injuries on offense. New Orleans played the Vikings without starting quarterback Jameis Winston (back). And without No. 1 wide receiver Michael Thomas (foot). And without starting running back Alvin Kamara (ribs). Frankly, given all those injuries, it's somewhat impressive that the Saints were able to keep it close.
Close doesn't matter in the NFL, though. And since beating the Atlanta Falcons by a point in Week 1, the Saints have been their own worst enemy. New Orleans entered Week 4 with the most giveaways in the league and turned it over twice more in London. The Saints were also flagged for 10 penalties and 102 yards.
After the loss, Saints head coach Dennis Allen acknowledged the team can't keep committing the same mistakes over and over again.
"We still have to find a way to not hurt ourselves with penalties and the turnovers, and that's got to change," Allen said.
Of course, knowing there's a problem and being able to fix it aren't necessarily the same thing.
24. New England Patriots (1-3)
Last Week: 24
Week 4 Result: Lost at Green Bay 27-24 (OT)
Given all the Patriots endured in Week 4, the fact that they were able to take a good Packers team to overtime is a testament to the team's resiliency. The Patriots were already down starting quarterback Mac Jones and then lost veteran backup Brian Hoyer in the first half. That left rookie Bailey Zappe as the last man standing under center, and while Zappe only threw for 99 yards, he helped keep the Patriots in the game.
Zappe told reporters after the game that it was a dream come true to take the field in the pros, although he wished this particular story could have had a better ending.
"Of course, it was exciting at first," he said. "It was a dream come true to play in an NFL game. It's obviously not the outcome we wanted at all."
At 1-3, the reeling Patriots have now fallen two games off the pace in the AFC East and may have to prepare Zappe to make his first career start at Gillette Stadium on Sunday against the Lions. But if there's a silver lining for Bill Belichick's boys, the team won't face an opponent that currently sports a winning record until playing the Minnesota Vikings on November 24.
23. Las Vegas Raiders (1-3)
Last Week: 27
Week 4 Result: Won vs. Denver 32-23
There wasn't a team entering Week 4 that was more desperate for a win than the Las Vegas Raiders—largely because there wasn't a team in the league that entered Week 4 with a worse record.
Thanks to a huge game from running back Josh Jacobs and another outstanding performance from edge-rusher Maxx Crosby, the Raiders got win No. 1 of the season. After that most desperately needed of victories, quarterback Derek Carr saluted his teammates for stepping up.
"[Head coach Josh McDaniels] said it to the offense and defense: You should want the burden to finish the game, not hoping that someone else does their thing or they fix the problem," Carr said. "Whatever the game asked for, it's our turn to do our job."
Next up for the Raiders is a matchup with Patrick Mahomes and the soaring Chiefs. But Moton believes the Raiders may have found the recipe for hanging with Kansas City.
"In Week 4 against the Broncos, cornerback Amik Robertson scored the Raiders’ first defensive touchdown since 2019 when he returned a fumble for 68 yards," he said. "More importantly, McDaniels leaned on the ground attack to the tune of 38 carries for 212 yards and two touchdowns. Jacobs carried the majority load with 144 yards and a pair of scores.
"With a more balanced attack, the Raiders should play up to their full offensive potential and rattle off more wins after a 0-3 start to the season. McDaniels should stick to this formula going into a Week 5 matchup with the Chiefs."
22. Indianapolis Colts (1-2-1)
Last Week: 16
Week 4 Result: Lost vs. Tennessee 24-17
After downing the Kansas City Chiefs at home last week, the Indianapolis Colts appeared to have turned a corner. There was a light at the end of the tunnel after a rough start to the season.
That light was an oncoming freight train.
On Sunday in Indianapolis, the Colts reverted to a team that just cannot put together a complete effort. Quarterback Matt Ryan had a big day, passing for 356 yards. But the run game managed just 38 yards on 23 carries. The Colts held the Titans to just 243 yards of offense and converted over half of their third downs. But they also turned the ball over three times.
Head coach Frank Reich admitted after the game that the Colts are making far too many mistakes and leaving too many plays on the field.
"We feel like we're seeing some things we want to see," Reich said. "But in the end we need to play better, we need to execute better, we need to stop turning the ball over, we need to start getting turnovers, we need to run the football a little bit better and start faster."
As rough as the Colts have looked so far this season, the team is still just a half-game back in the NFL's worst division. Two of their next three games are against the two teams ahead of them—home against the Jaguars in Week 6 and at Tennessee the following week.
But given how the team has played so far in 2022, it's hard to be confident in their ability to right the ship.
21. Seattle Seahawks (2-2)
Last Week: 30
Week 4 Result: Won at Detroit 48-45
Before the season, much was made of the dire state of the quarterback position in Seattle. But a funny thing has happened in recent weeks.
Geno Smith hasn't been bad.
In Sunday's shootout win over the Detroit Lions, Smith completed 23 of 30 passes for 320 yards and two scores, with a passer rating of 132.6. It was Smith's second 300-yard effort in a row, and the journeyman veteran has a passer rating of 108.0 for the year.
After the game, head coach Pete Carroll raved about the play of his 31-year-old quarterback.
"He played pretty good football, man," Carroll said. "I'm just thrilled for him and for our guys that he's had this kind of early success to jumpstart this season and show us that we can play really good football with him at the helm. He's just been so rock steady throughout this whole process, and then he's playing and doing it, taking it on the road."
This isn't to say the Seahawks don't have problems on both sides of the ball.
But quarterback may not be as high up the list as we thought.
"A little credit is necessary when a team like the Seahawks outperform expectations at the start of the season," Sobleski said. "Seattle is now 2-2 after Sunday's victory over the Lions, who are often viewed as an up-and-coming squad. Smith's performance so far might be the biggest surprise around the league with his NFL-leading 77.3 completion percentage. Seattle could still be one of the league's worst teams when it's all said and done.
"Yet the Seahawks are not the downright awful squad many projected before the season began. Raise a glass to mediocrity. Cheers."
20. Atlanta Falcons (2-2)
Last Week: 29
Week 4 Result: Won vs. Cleveland 23-20
Not every win in the NFL is filled with well-executed game plans and big plays. Atlanta's Week 4 triumph over the Cleveland Browns is evidence of that.
This was a game where the Falcons were outgained by 70 yards. Where Atlanta converted just three third downs. And where Falcons quarterback Marcus Mariota completed just seven passes. But thanks in large part to 202 rushing yards and some timely takeaways, the Falcons were able to edge the Browns and move into a tie with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers atop the NFC South.
While talking to reporters after the game, Mariota applauded his team's ability to gut out a win despite not playing their best.
“Sometimes it’s not going to be pretty,” he said. “We’re going to do whatever we can to win these games and give our guys credit, we found ways to make plays. It was a complete team win. To be able to play all three phases that way, it’s huge for us. That’s what it takes. I don’t really care, as long as we win games.”
The victory sets up a battle for first place in Week 5 with the Buccaneers in Tampa. If Atlanta can somehow find a way to get a win there, perhaps more people will take them seriously. But for now, the Falcons have the look of a bad team that has beaten a couple other bad teams.
19. Cleveland Browns (2-2)
Last Week: 14
Week 4 Result: Lost at Atlanta 23-20
Every time it appears the Cleveland Browns might be something, the team does its level best to convince us they are not.
On Sunday, the Browns played an Atlanta Falcons team that completed seven passes all game long. The Falcons all but abandoned the pass in the second half; they were going to run the ball, and everyone knew it. But the Browns could do little to stop it, despite Atlanta running back Cordarrelle Patterson barely playing after halftime.
After the defeat, frustrated linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah told reporters the entire defense needs to up its game.
“Everybody’s got to do their job,” Owusu-Koramoah said. “We’ve got to make sure that we stick with the fundamentals. We’ve got to make sure that we fit our gaps as linebackers, safeties fit their gaps, corners do their jobs and the D-line do theirs. It’s a team game, it’s a team responsibility and that’s really what it is.”
"Cleveland opened the season with about as soft a four-game stretch as you could ask for," Davenport said. "But they couldn't take advantage of it, losing to a pair of deeply flawed teams in the Falcons and New York Jets. Now comes a six-game gauntlet that includes three 2021 playoff teams and three other teams (the Chargers, Dolphins and Ravens), generally regarded as contenders in 2022. The Browns will be lucky to split those games, and the more likely result is that by the 10-game mark, the Browns are 4-6 or 3-7 and circling the drain."
18. Denver Broncos (2-2)
Last Week: 11
Week 4 Result: Lost at Las Vegas 32-23
The good news for Denver in Week 4 was that Russell Wilson and the Broncos offense finally got it going, with Wilson throwing for 237 yards and two scores with a passer rating of 124.9 to go along with a rushing score.
The bad news for the Broncos was, well, everything else.
Offensively, Denver gained just 85 yards on the ground and lost top running back Javonte Williams for the season to a torn ACL. Defensively, the Broncos were chewed to pieces on the ground, allowing 212 yards and 5.6 yards per carry.
Edge-rusher Bradley Chubb told reporters after the game the loss was a wake-up call for a Denver defense that cruised over the first three weeks of the season.
"I think we kind of needed this, though, to see we're still human," Chubb said. "Last week, I called us the best defense in the league, and we've got to live up to that. We've got to make sure we do everything every day throughout the week to live up to that."
That defense will also be shorthanded Thursday night against the Indianapolis Colts after the team lost edge-rusher Randy Gregory to a knee injury of his own on Sunday. But with the Chiefs rolling and the Chargers back to .500 after a Week 4 win, the Broncos will have to rally quickly to avoid falling too far off the pace in the AFC West.
17. Tennessee Titans (2-2)
Last Week: 21
Week 4 Result: Won at Indianapolis 24-17
Two short weeks ago, the Tennessee Titans appeared to be dead in the water. Now, after beating the Colts in Indianapolis, the 2-2 Titans are tied for first place.
The AFC South: the division apparently no one wants to win.
The Titans beat the Colts in very Tennessee fashion. Derrick Henry had a big day running the ball, piling up 114 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries. Ryan Tannehill threw for just 137 yards, but he tossed two touchdown passes and didn't turn the ball over. And while the Titans were outgained by over 120 yards, they notched three takeaways and sacked Matt Ryan three times.
It wasn't an impressive win, but it was a badly needed one. However, at least one of our analysts remains skeptical the Titans will be atop the division for long.
"Tennessee is in a manageable stretch of the schedule," Davenport said. "The Titans' next three opponents have a combined record of 2-8-2, which is…not ideal. But after those tomato cans comes a brutal stretch that includes trips to Kansas City and Green Bay and a home date with the Broncos. This division may well come down to the two matchups this season between the Jaguars and Titans, and while I can hardly believe I'm writing this, I think the Jaguars are the better team."
16. New York Giants (3-1)
Last Week: 18
Week 4 Result: Won vs. Chicago 20-12
The New York Giants probably aren't a threat to the NFC's heavyweights. OK, the New York Giants definitely aren't a threat to the NFC's heavyweights. But four games into the season, the Giants have three wins—the team's best start in over a decade.
The most recent victory was one of the strangest by any team in the league this season. After starting quarterback Daniel Jones went down with an ankle injury and backup Tyrod Taylor suffered a concussion, the Giants spent a chunk of the second half running an improvised Wildcat offense. Head coach Brian Daboll told reporters afterward that he was just playing the hand he was dealt.
"I just think that's what you do in a leadership position," Daboll said. "You don't panic. You try to stay composed. You try to give people a plan that they can go out and execute and believe in when they need to do it."
New York had no shortage of success running the ball, with Saquon Barkley keying a rushing attack that piled up 262 yards. But the Giants aren't beating the Packers in London next week with 71 passing yards. And the injuries under center could leave the G-Men in big trouble moving forward.
15. Arizona Cardinals (2-2)
Last Week: 20
Week 4 Result: Won at Carolina 26-16
On some level, it doesn't matter how you start an NFL game—only how you finish. But while the Arizona Cardinals left Charlotte with a 10-point win over the Carolina Panthers, slow starts continue to be a problem for the team. Arizona trailed Carolina 10-3 at the break before a big second half, and the Redbirds have now been outscored 66-16 in the first half of their four games.
However, while speaking to reporters after the win, Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray said that he's confident the Cardinals will get their early-game issues figured out.
“I know this can’t last forever,” Murray said. “We will figure it out. I’m not making it a thing because it’s not. We just have to execute. That’s all it comes down to is being better, everyone being better. Much better feeling finally leaving here with a win, I’ll tell you that much. Everything’s better when you win, let’s put it that way.”
Murray and the Cardinals had better hope the young quarterback is right. The Cardinals play the undefeated Eagles next, and a slow start there won't be as easy to overcome.
"The Cardinals aren't a bad team," Davenport said. "And in a few more weeks Murray will get DeAndre Hopkins back. But these slow starts are going to be Arizona's undoing. Coming back against a bad Panthers team is one thing. Doing it against the Rams of 49ers in the NFC West is quite another."
14. Dallas Cowboys (3-1)
Last Week: 15
Week 4 Result: Won vs. Washington 25-10
Sunday's matchup with the Washington Commanders marked the third game the Dallas Cowboys have played without quarterback Dak Prescott. It also marked the third game the Cowboys have won without Prescott.
Backup Cooper Rush played arguably his best game of the year against the Commanders, completing 15 of 27 passes for 223 yards and two touchdowns, However, while speaking to reporters after the win, Rush was quick to credit a Dallas defense that has held opponents to 19 or fewer points in the first four games of a season for the first time since 1973.
"I guess I would say the defense and all the breaks you catch, it's just kind of lucky," said Rush. "QB win stats, they are what they are. It's a team game, and it's nice the defense having our back like that."
The Cowboys haven't just been winning. Or playing good complementary football. They are also getting healthier. Dallas got veteran wideout Michael Gallup back Sunday for the first time since he tore his ACL last January, and according to Charean Williams of ProFootballTalk, the Cowboys have targeted Week 5 as a potential return date for Prescott.
From a quick glance at the schedule, it's not hard to see why Dallas wants Prescott back next week. Rush has played relatively well, but Dallas' next two games are both on the road against 2021 playoff teams—including a Week 6 matchup with the NFC East-leading Eagles in Philadelphia.
13. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-2)
Last Week: 10
Week 4 Result: Lost at Philadelphia 29-21
Over the first three weeks of the season, the Jacksonville Jaguars had been one of the most surprising teams in the NFL. When the Jaguars raced out to a quick 14-0 lead over the unbeaten Eagles, it appeared the surprises could be about to continue.
But from that point in the game to the final gun, Jacksonville reverted to the hapless squad of years past.
After playing clean football for most of the first three weeks, the turnovers that plagued Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence during his rookie season came roaring back—Lawrence threw a pick against the Eagles and lost a jaw-dropping four fumbles. The Jacksonville run defense took Week 4 off as well, allowing 210 yards on the ground.
After the loss, Lawrence made no excuses for his performance while speaking to reporters.
"Obviously it starts with me. All of them [the turnovers] were me today, so no one else to blame there," he said. "To let those guys down, it’s disappointing. It felt like we had a chance to win that game and we did, and the same thing at the end there. That’s really frustrating; we really felt like we started to click and get some drives going."
Despite the loss, the Jaguars are still tied for first place in the AFC South. But with the next two games for Jacksonville inside the division, Lawrence and the Jags need to shake off Sunday's shoddy showing quickly.
"Jacksonville finally met a real top contender in the Philadelphia Eagles and came up short," Sobleski said. "To be fair, the Jaguars managed a 14-0 lead—which included a pick-six by safety Andre Cisco—only to see Jalen Hurts and Co. reel off 29 straight points. The Eagles are the league's only undefeated team for a reason. They win in the trenches. They have an impressive dual-threat quarterback. And their defense can be suffocating. This game served as a good litmus test for the Jags, who are better than expected but not quite as good as the previous two weeks suggested."
12. Los Angeles Chargers (2-2)
Last Week: 12
Week 4 Result: Won at Houston 34-24
After being embarrassed at home by the Jacksonville Jaguars last week, the Los Angeles Chargers badly needed a "get right" game.
As luck would have it, the hapless Houston Texans were happy to oblige.
Thanks to a 109-yard, three-touchdown all-around effort from running back Austin Ekeler and 340 passing yards from quarterback Justin Herbert, the Chargers were able to earn a win that got them back into the thick of things in an AFC West that has been somewhat underwhelming over the first month of the season. Chargers head coach Brandon Staley told reporters after the game that getting Ekeler going was a key to the Bolts getting back on track.
"To get him going today was big," Staley said. "He played like a captain today beyond his performance on the field. He really led our football team on offense and just played with the energy that he's known for and just a complete performance by him."
The victory gives the Chargers some momentum heading into a manageable second month of the season. A Week 6 showdown with Russell Wilson and the Broncos looms large, but the Chargers should be favored against the Browns, Falcons and Seahawks.
"Where there's a Justin Herbert, there's a way," Sobleski wrote. "The Chargers are banged up all over with key injuries to offensive tackle Rashawn Slater (out for the season), defensive end Joey Bosa (expected to miss eight to 10 weeks) and wide receiver Keenan Allen, who could return to the lineup sometime soon. Herbert is truly special, though. Without all three out of the lineup, the 24-year-old quarterback threw for 340 yards Sunday in a victory over the Houston Texans. Granted, the Texans are the league's only winless team, but Herbert has been making something out of nothing since he entered the league."
11. Los Angeles Rams (2-2)
Last Week: 5
Week 4 Result: Lost at San Francisco 24-9
The Los Angeles Rams have a problem on offense.
Leading up to Monday's NFC West showdown, 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans said aloud what everybody already knew—the Rams offense is all about Cooper Kupp.
"It’s the Cooper Kupp show, like no matter how you try to slice it up, whether the guys are doubling, whatever it is, the guy finds a way," he said. "I think the connection and chemistry with him and [Matthew] Stafford is one of the best I’ve seen in the league in a long time.
Sure enough, Kupp got his Monday night—a staggering 19 targets, 14 catches and 122 yards. The problem is that total was almost half of L.A.'s offensive output as a team. The Rams gained just 57 yards on the ground on 18 carries. Stafford barely had a passer rating over 70 and threw a pick-six that sealed the loss. The Rams didn't score a touchdown or gain 260 yards of offense.
This isn't a new problem, either—the Rams have topped 20 points just once in four games and have been held to 10 points or fewer twice.
The Rams have work to do on offense. Because right now, their division rivals up the coast look like the class of the NFC West.
10. San Francisco 49ers (2-2)
Last Week: 17
Week 4 Result: Won vs. Los Angeles Rams 24-9
With the exception of last year's NFC Championship Game (an admittedly large exception), Kyle Shanahan has Sean McVay's number.
Monday night in San Francisco, the 49ers continued their regular-season dominance of the Rams, handling the defending Super Bowl champions with relative ease.
Offensively, San Francisco's ground game was held largely in check. But Niners wide receiver Deebo Samuel had a huge game, and Jimmy Garoppolo outplayed Matthew Stafford.
Defensively, the 49ers continued to be absolutely stifling, holding the Rams to just 257 total yards, keeping Los Angeles out of the end zone and forcing a pair of turnovers—one of which was returned for the game-sealing touchdown.
It was a statement game for the 49ers, who served notice that in the early going at least, San Francisco is the team to beat in the NFC West.
"The loss of Trey Lance to a season-ending injury may wind up being a blessing in disguise for San Francisco—at least in the short term," Davenport wrote. "As Jimmy Garoppolo gets more comfortable, the Niners look more and more like the team that played in two of the last three NFC Championship Games. And while the Rams and Cardinals struggle to find their footing, the 49ers are getting better by the week."
9. Baltimore Ravens (2-2)
Last Week: 8
Week 4 Result: Lost vs. Buffalo 23-20
Just as they did in Week 2 against the Miami Dolphins, the Baltimore Ravens raced out to a big lead Sunday against the Bills. And just as they did in Week 2, the Ravens couldn't seal the deal.
Much will be made of John Harbaugh's curious decision to eschew a field goal in favor of going for it in the fourth quarter of a tie game—a decision that resulted in a Lamar Jackson interception that set up Buffalo's game-winning drive. But that decision had less to do with Baltimore's loss than a defense that couldn't hold a big lead for the second time in three weeks.
"The Ravens have some real issues," Davenport said. "Four weeks into the season, the Ravens consist of Lamar Jackson standing on his head—and that's about it. Jackson has almost three times as many rushing yards as any player on Baltimore's roster, so the Ravens can't grind out yards and burn clock with the lead. The Ravens appear to have a good defense on paper, but in big moments, that defense is coming up short. Jackson's playing at an MVP level, but he can't do it all himself."
It's hardly panic time in Baltimore—the team is in a three-way tie with Cincinnati and Cleveland atop the AFC North. But next Sunday's matchup with the Bengals just became that much more significant.
8. Cincinnati Bengals (2-2)
Last Week: 13
Week 4 Result: Won vs. Miami 27-15
The Cincinnati Bengals are back on track.
After a sloppy start to the season that included losses to the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys, the Bengals are back to .500 after downing the previously undefeated Miami Dolphins Thursday night. It was a win borne of (at least temporarily) fixing the issues that plagued the team early in the season.
After allowing 13 sacks over the first two weeks of the season, Cincinnati has allowed just three sacks the past two games—including just one against the Dolphins. After turnovers plagued the Bengals in those first two losses, Cincinnati didn't have a giveaway against Miami.
After the victory, head coach Zac Taylor lauded his team's ability to respond to adversity.
“We got a great team, man. I love this team. I love everything about them,” Taylor said. “They didn't hesitate for one second those first two weeks when all the noise was getting loud, the expectations, all that. They didn't allow that to affect them for one second. They just came out there and answered the bell for two consecutive weeks.”
At 2-2, the Bengals are right back in the mix in the AFC North. But things don't get any easier from here. After their mini-bye, the Bengals head to Baltimore for a huge divisional matchup with the Ravens.
7. Minnesota Vikings (3-1)
Last Week: 9
Week 4 Result: Won 28-25 at New Orleans (London)
The NFL's International Series kicked off on Sunday with a very London game.
That is not a compliment.
As has often been the case with games across the pond, Sunday's tilt between the Saints and Vikings wasn't an especially well-played game. It was an exciting one, though, with a double-doink on a 61-yard field goal as time expired coming up short and handing the Vikings a win that propelled Minnesota to 3-1 and kept them atop the NFC North.
After the win, Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins told reporters that while Minnesota was glad to earn the victory, the team wasn't especially happy about how they did so in a game where they were 2-of-5 in the red zone.
"You feel great about the win, but you also feel that there's a lot you leave out there," he said. "We've got to get better. I've got to get better."
The Vikings haven't exactly been piling up the style points the past couple of weeks. But those don't matter nearly as much as the final score. And with the Vikings off to their best start since 2016, that long plane ride back to the States will be a lot more pleasant.
6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-2)
Last Week: 6
Week 4 Result: Lost vs. Kansas City 41-31
It's not that often that Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady throws for 385 yards and three scores with no interceptions in a loss. It's even more rare for the Buccaneers defense to allow 28 points in a half. Or 41 points in a game.
Both happened Sunday night. Brady admitted to reporters after the game that the offense failed to hold up its end of the deal.
"We didn't do great in the first half. Too many missed opportunities on third downs, turnovers. We gotta play a lot better to be one of the good teams," Brady said. "We haven't played our best yet this year."
Head coach Todd Bowles made it clear the defense didn't either.
"Everything in this game fell on the defensive side of the ball," Bowles said. "You name it, we did it. Missed tackles. Missed assignments. Bad calls."
Despite the setback, at 2-2 the Buccaneers remain tied for first place in the NFC South. And Tampa remains (on paper at least) the best team in that division.
But Sunday's matchup with the similarly 2-2 Atlanta Falcons is more important now than it was a few days ago.
5. Miami Dolphins (3-1)
Last Week: 1
Week 4 Result: Lost at Cincinnati Bengals 27-15
So much for Miami's tenure as the No. 1 team in the Bleacher Report NFL Power Rankings. The Dolphins are undefeated no more after falling on Thursday night in Cincinnati, but losing one game is the least of the team's problems.
Four days after stumbling around the field in Miami only to clear the concussion protocol and be allowed back into the win over Buffalo, Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was hospitalized Thursday after absorbing another massive hit and laying motionless on the turf before being carried off on a stretcher. The situation provoked outrage on social media—and questions as to why Tagovailoa was playing to begin with.
Head coach Mike McDaniel insisted that the team followed correct procedures with their young quarterback.
"I get the optics. I get exactly what it looks like. ...," McDaniel told reporters Friday, via the Miami Herald. "[But] I can exude with 100 percent conviction that every person in this building had 100 percent the correct process."
Football-wise, the Dolphins caught something of a break—next week's road date with the Jets appears winnable even with Teddy Bridgewater under center.
But Tagovailoa's injuries the past two weeks (and the team's handling of them) is a cloud that likely isn't going away anytime soon.
"Well, Miami's standing as the league's No. 1 team didn't last long," Sobleski said. "Yes, the Dolphins beat the Buffalo Bills. Then, they turned around and allowed 13 points to the Cincinnati Bengals in the fourth quarter to drop their first game of the season. To make matters worse, the organization's handling of Tua Tagovailoa has been downright shameful. Instead of the quarterback getting healthy after being slammed down to the ground by the Bills, he was right back on the field four days later against the Bengals, when he took another frightening hit that required a visit to the local hospital. Tagovailoa's health is the foremost concern. He shouldn't return until he's fully cleared. The Dolphins have no choice but to be overly cautious with their franchise signal-caller. Until Tagovailoa is ready, backup Teddy Bridgewater must keep the team afloat."
4. Green Bay Packers (3-1)
Last Week: 7
Week 4 Result: Won vs. New England 27-24 (OT)
These are not the Green Bay Packers of old.
Where the Green Bay offense used to focus on Aaron Rodgers and the passing attack, these Packers are all about balance. Against the Patriots, Green Bay had exactly the same number of rushes (35) as pass attempts. Aaron Jones and AJ Dillon combined for 183 yards on 33 carries, while Rodgers threw for 251 yards and two scores.
It took overtime for the Pack to outlast a surprisingly competitive Patriots team down its top two quarterbacks, but Green Bay emerged with the win that moves the team to 3-1 and helps it keep pace with the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC North.
"Packers head coach and lead play-caller Matt LaFleur isn’t running a 1970s offense with a pair of running backs who dominate the touches," Moton said. "In Week 4, after a slow start, quarterback Aaron Rodgers made big-play completions to his young wideouts and tight end Robert Tonyan. Allen Lazard caught six passes for 116 yards, rookie fourth-rounder Romeo Doubs reached paydirt for consecutive weeks and rookie second-rounder Christian Watson scored his first NFL touchdown (on a 15-yard run). Green Bay’s young receivers have shown early growth, which bodes well for its aerial attack and the team’s standing in this week’s power rankings."
3. Buffalo Bills (3-1)
Last Week: 3
Week 4 Result: Won at Baltimore 23-20
Last week in Miami, the Buffalo Bills suffered their first loss of 2022. And when the Bills fell behind the Baltimore Ravens 20-3, it appeared that loss may have lingered.
But when you have a team with Josh Allen at the helm, you're never out of it. And thanks to some timely playmaking from Allen and a pair of Jordan Poyer interceptions, the Bills were able to score the game's last 20 points and pull out the win in this potential AFC playoff preview.
After the victory, Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs told reporters that the key to the comeback was simply settling down and executing.
"When you're a good team, you've got to beat the good teams. You've got to rally," Diggs said. "We were trying to right the ship and hone in on the details. The details are what was messing us up."
Sunday's win is the kind that can give a team a head of steam moving forward, and the Bills could use all the momentum they can get—after a winnable matchup with the reeling Steelers in Week 5, the Bills travel to Kansas City to face Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, followed by a home date against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers after the bye.
2. Kansas City Chiefs (3-1)
Last Week: 4
Week 4 Result: Won at Tampa Bay 41-31
Patrick Mahomes is officially ridiculous.
One week after looking listless in a loss to the Indianapolis Colts, Mahomes and the Chiefs offense faced a daunting task Sunday night against a Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense that allowed just 27 points over the first three games of the season.
Not only did the Chiefs win the game, but Mahomes made carving the Buccaneers defense look easy, throwing for 249 yards and three touchdowns in a game that was essentially over at halftime. Mahomes told USA Today Sports after the dissection that if felt good to get some payback for Kansas City's lopsided loss at Raymond James Stadium in Super Bowl LV.
“It was a relief to play this well against this defense,” Mahomes said. “That is a heck of a defense. To be here makes it even more special because the last time we left this field it was one of the worst times of my entire life.”
For Davenport, it was one of the more impressive statement wins of the season.
"So much for the Kansas City offense being in trouble," he said. "The Chiefs were nearly unstoppable Sunday night, whether it was on the ground with Clyde Edwards-Helaire or through the air with Travis Kelce and JuJu Smith-Schuster. It's not often that you see Tampa's defense get embarrassed like that, and when Mahomes is playing at that high a level, the Chiefs are the best team in the AFC—and maybe the entire league."
1. Philadelphia Eagles (4-0)
Last Week: 2
Week 4 Result: Won vs. Jacksonville 29-21
The Philadelphia Eagles are the NFL's lone remaining undefeated team—just like exactly no one predicted.
The Eagles didn't make things easy on themselves, spotting the Jacksonville Jaguars a pair of first-quarter touchdowns in nasty weather in Philadelphia. But from there the Eagles dominated the Jags, outscoring Jacksonville 29-7 the rest of the way.
Offensively, Jalen Hurts was held in check, passing for just 204 yards and failing to throw a touchdown pass. But running back Miles Sanders picked up the slack, rumbling for 134 yards and two scores on 27 carries, Defensively, the Eagles were outstanding, allowing just 219 yards of offense, sacking Trevor Lawrence four times and forcing five Jacksonville turnovers.
Outside of the slow start, it was another impressive effort from an Eagles team that has earned the top spot in these power rankings.
"The Eagles may be the most balanced team in the league," Davenport said. "Hurts is playing the best football of his career. The team might lack an elite back, but they have depth and talent at running back. Ample passing-game weapons. Maybe the best offensive line in the league. And a defense that's playing lights-out. We may not have expected the Eagles to be the best team in the NFC. But four weeks into the season, they most assuredly are."