NFL Power Rankings Week 4: Review and Reaction to 2018 League Standings

Maurice Moton@@MoeMotonFeatured ColumnistSeptember 25, 2018

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 23: Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs looks up at the scoreboard during the third quarter of the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Arrowhead Stadium on September 23rd, 2018 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images)
David Eulitt/Getty Images

For those who picked the Detroit Lions, Tennessee Titans and Buffalo Bills to win in stunning upsets, congratulations on knowing more than most viewers watching the NFL through Week 3.

The Lions lost to the New York Jets in their regular-season opener then topped the New England Patriots Sunday. The Titans beat the Jacksonville Jaguars with Marcus Mariota at much less than 100 percent with a nerve issue, which affected his throws. Bills rookie signal-caller Josh Allen logged a 111.2 quarterback rating vs. the Minnesota Vikings.

It's too early to have a firm understanding of the outlook on any team at this point in the season, but parity seems to be alive and well. The upsets added difficulty to this week's power rankings, but we'll go through each club and put them in an appropriate spot based on their resumes and season outlook. 

Looking at the big picture, three teams have stood out in a variety of ways. Which club has emerged as the best in the league? Who's the hottest squad going into Week 4? Which fanbase should be concerned after three contests?


Week 4 Standings

AFC East

1. Miami Dolphins (3-0)

2. Buffalo Bills (1-2)

3. New England Patriots (1-2)

4. New York Jets (1-2)


AFC North 

1. Cincinnati Bengals (2-1)

2. Baltimore Ravens (2-1)

3. Cleveland Browns (1-1-1)

4. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1-1)


AFC South

1. Tennessee Titans (2-1)

2. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-1)

3. Indianapolis Colts (1-2)

4. Houston Texans (0-3)



AFC West 

1. Kansas City Chiefs (3-0)

2. Denver Broncos (2-1)

3. Los Angeles Chargers (1-2)

4. Oakland Raiders (0-3)


NFC East 

1. Philadelphia Eagles (2-1)

2. Washington Redskins (2-1)

3. Dallas Cowboys (1-2)

4. New York Giants (1-2)


NFC North 

1. Chicago Bears (2-1)

2. Green Bay Packers (1-1-1)

3. Minnesota Vikings (1-1-1)

4. Detroit Lions (1-2)


NFC South

1. Carolina Panthers (2-1)

2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1)

3. New Orleans Saints (2-1)

4. Atlanta Falcons (1-2)


NFC West

1. Los Angeles Rams (3-0)

2. San Francisco 49ers (1-2)

3. Seattle Seahawks (1-2)

4. Arizona Cardinals (0-3)


Week 4 Power Rankings

1. Los Angeles Rams (3-0)

2. Philadelphia Eagles (2-1)

3. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-1)

4. Minnesota Vikings (1-1-1) 

5. Kansas City Chiefs (3-0)

6. New Orleans Saints (2-1)

7. Carolina Panthers (2-1) 

8. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1-1) 

9. Atlanta Falcons (1-2) 

10. Cincinnati Bengals (2-1)

11. Green Bay Packers (1-1-1)

12. Baltimore Ravens (2-1)

13. New England Patriots (1-2)

14. Los Angeles Chargers (1-2)

15. Miami Dolphins (3-0)

16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1)

17. Washington Redskins (2-1) 

18. Detroit Lions (1-2) 

19. Denver Broncos (2-1)

20. Indianapolis Colts (1-2) 

21. Chicago Bears (2-1) 

22. Seattle Seahawks (1-2) 

23. Tennessee Titans (2-1) 

24. Dallas Cowboys (1-2) 

25. New York Giants (1-2) 

26. Oakland Raiders (0-3) 

27. Cleveland Browns (1-1-1)

28. Houston Texans (0-3)

29. New York Jets (1-2) 

30. Buffalo Bills (1-2) 

31. San Francisco 49ers (1-2)

32. Arizona Cardinals (0-3)


No. 1 Los Angeles Rams: Best Team in the NFL

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 23:  Quarterback Jared Goff #16 of the Los Angeles Rams looks to pass during the second quarter of the game against the Los Angeles Chargers at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on September 23, 2018 in Los Angeles, California.  (P
Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

When watching the week-to-week performances, it's clear the Los Angeles Rams have the most complete squad with results to justify their place in the top spot.

The Rams outscored two winless squads in the Oakland Raiders and Arizona Cardinals with a combined score of 67-13 before facing the Los Angeles Chargers Sunday. Head coach Sean McVay's group led the contest throughout and finished with another double-digit victory. 

Unlike the Vikings at No. 4, the Rams blew out lesser competition and decisively beat a tougher opponent to show an unimpressive strength of schedule shouldn't cast doubt on their spot among the best in the league. 

The offense averages 34 points per game, picking up where it left off last season. The Rams came into Week 3 with only two sacks, but Ndamukong Suh and Ethan Westbrooks each logged one apiece against the Chargers. As the season progresses, expect to hear defensive tackle Aaron Donald emerge in the sacks category similar to previous years.

There's one development that could hurt this team's standing in the rankings going forward. Cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib suffered injuries in the last outing. 

Peters could miss two-to-four weeks with a strained calf, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. Talib's ankle ailment may require surgery, per NFL Network's Jesse Palmer. The Rams' strong front seven should help mask a hampered secondary.


No. 5 Kansas City Chiefs: Hottest Team in the NFL 

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 23: Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs throws a pass during the third quarter of the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Arrowhead Stadium on September 23rd, 2018 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by David Eulitt/
David Eulitt/Getty Images

Despite their undefeated record, the Kansas City Chiefs haven't shown enough on defense for a top-three spot. They've allowed 30.7 points per game, which ranks 29th in the NFL. It's a glaring weakness that limits their surge up the power rankings.

On the other hand, there's no doubt the Chiefs go into Week 4 as the hottest squad in the league with quarterback Patrick Mahomes breaking NFL records: 

At some point, Mahomes' touchdown rate will slow down, but he's talented enough to beat some of the better defenses in the league. With a dynamic group of receivers, which include Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins and Travis Kelce, the Chiefs have the firepower to stay within the top 10 in the power rankings throughout the year. 

Safety Eric Berry's imminent return should help boost the pass defense, specifically in the middle of the field and down the seam. If Kansas City can field an average defensive unit, the offense could outscore teams all the way through January.


No. 11 Green Bay Packers: Dropping in the Power Rankings

Mark Tenally/Associated Press

Last week, the Green Bay Packers lost their first game of the season, but there's more to worry about with this club. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers visibly limped through the contest on an ailing knee. 

The Packers defense doesn't have the assets to hold opponents to 17 points or fewer with an offense operating at less than optimal levels. The running backs have yet to score a touchdown through three weeks. 

Rodgers expressed concern that his knee will worsen as the season goes on, per's Rob Demovsky. He also spoke about the injury after a 31-17 loss to the Washington Redskins Sunday. "It can be painful sometimes, moving around, especially lateral movement. But I’m going to go out there if I’m up for it." 

On the surface, it doesn't sound good for Rodgers' mobility, which allows him to take the field as one of the best quarterbacks in the game. As he takes more hits, it's fair to wonder if he'll last through the season. The Packers take a fall in the power rankings as their signal-caller goes week-to-week on a bad leg.


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