NFL Power Rankings: B/R's Expert Consensus Rank for Every Team Entering Week 5
We're one month into the 2020 NFL season, and Week 4 was a typical week across the league—in that it was anything but typical.
Some things went according to script. The undefeated Seattle Seahawks and Buffalo Bills took care of business on the road. The top-ranked Kansas City Chiefs did the same at home. The Baltimore Ravens got back on track against the Washington Football Team.
But as there usually are, there were surprises galore as well. The Carolina Panthers handled the Arizona Cardinals with relative ease. The Cleveland Browns stunned the Cowboys in Dallas, dropping 49 points on a team some labeled a Super Bowl contender before the season.
And in a surprise that probably shouldn't have been (in 2020 at least), an outbreak of COVID-19 in Nashville caused the postponement of the Pittsburgh-Tennessee game. Cam Newton's positive test in New England (and a positive case in Kansas City) pushed the Patriots-Chiefs game to Monday night, although that one at least was played.
As is the case every week during the season, Bleacher Report NFL Analysts Brad Gagnon, Brent Sobleski and Gary Davenport have gathered after Week 4 to sort through all the latest developments and rank the league's teams from worst to first.
The New York Jets still hold down the former spot. The defending Super Bowl champions still occupy the latter.
But there has been plenty of movement in between.
32. New York Jets (0-4)
Week 4 Result: Lost vs. Denver 37-28
There are multiple reasons why the New York Jets are the NFL's worst team. The roster is as bereft of talent as any in the league, and much of what little skill-position talent they have on offense has been hurt.
But a big part of what makes the Jets awful is the fact that Adam Gase is a legitimately terrible head coach. His first-down play-calling consists of having a 37-year-old running back fall forward for a yard and a half. The supposed offensive guru is ridiculously conservative—in the fourth quarter of Thursday's loss to the Denver Broncos, Gase passed on going for it on 4th-and-inches in favor of a field goal that gave New York a one-point lead.
Said lead held for all of one drive, because the Jets defense is hot garbage too.
The Jets are on a collision course with the first overall pick in 2021, which is good because a lack of blocking and pass-catchers is ruining Sam Darnold. But so long as Gase is calling the shots in New York, it won't matter who's under center.
Luckily for the team's beleaguered fanbase, it's hard to imagine a scenario where Gase isn't fired at some point this season.
That would be a bridge too far even for the Jets.
31. New York Giants (0-4)
Last Week: 31
Week 4 Result: Lost at Los Angeles Rams 17-9
It's time for the New York Giants to start worrying about young quarterback Daniel Jones.
In Sunday's loss in Los Angeles, the Giants failed to score a touchdown for the second consecutive game. On a day when the defense put forth arguably its best effort of the season, Jones and the offense couldn't get anything going. The second-year pro was 23-of-36 for just 190 yards and a late interception that sealed the team's fate.
That pick was Jones' 17th in 16 career starts. He hasn't thrown a scoring pass since the season opener. While Jones certainly isn't New York's only problem, he's certainly one of the biggest.
"The offensive line is bad, allowing five sacks to the Rams," Davenport said. "The defense is inconsistent, although it played well against L.A. And all the team's issues are causing Jones to press under center—with disastrous results."
30. Washington Football Team (1-3)
Last Week: 24
Week 4 Result: Lost vs. Baltimore 31-17
Not many people gave the Washington Football Team a chance in Week 4 against the high-flying Baltimore Ravens. Sure enough, Washington fell behind 14-0 and spent most of the afternoon in catch-up mode.
However, while Washington is now 1-3, there were a few reasons for a modest level of optimism in the loss.
Quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr. didn't throw a touchdown pass. He also didn't turn the ball over, though, and he threw for 314 yards and posted a passer rating over 90.
Washington appears to have found something in rookie running back Antonio Gibson. Playing against one of the better defenses in the league, the former Memphis standout racked up 128 yards on 17 touches. Second-year receiver Terry McLaurin caught 10 passes for 118 yards.
But per Sobleski, reality has come crashing down in the nation's capital.
"After a surprising victory to open the season," he said, "Washington settled exactly where most expected the franchise to be: counted among the league's worst squads. To make matters worse, the organization is already on the verge of giving up on last year's 15th overall pick, quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr. The franchise needs to take its lumps now because it's not built to compete and reassess where it stands after the season."
29. Houston Texans (0-4)
Last Week: 25
Week 4 Result: Lost vs. Minnesota 31-23
In four of the last five seasons, the Houston Texans have captured the AFC South championship.
Barring a miracle, it ain't happening this year. Not after the Texans fell to 0-4 with a home loss to the Minnesota Vikings.
That woeful start was the end of the line for the Bill O'Brien era in Houston. The Texans fired the head coach and general manager Monday.
O'Brien finishes his tenure in Houston with a 52-48 regular-season record, and he led the Texans to the playoffs four times. But the team had little success in the postseason, and O'Brien made several puzzling moves as GM. Houston shipped wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins to Arizona in the offseason, and the Texans' first two picks next year belong the Miami Dolphins as the result of the Laremy Tunsil trade.
For a team with all the high-priced talent Houston has, the Texans are a mess.
"Everybody wants to blame the schedule," Gagnon said, "but the Texans have the second-highest-paid quarterback in league history and a tied-for-NFL-high 10 players making at least $10 million a year. They're supposed to be able to go toe-to-toe with teams like the Chiefs, Ravens, Steelers and Vikings, but instead they were owned by all four. That's an indication they just don't have it in them."
28. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-3)
Last Week: 28
Week 4 Result: Lost at Cincinnati 33-25
When the Jacksonville Jaguars stunned the Indianapolis Colts in Week 1, it appeared they might be a lot better than many pundits gave the team credit for. And to the Jaguars' credit, the team has been competitive just about every week.
But in losing to the previously winless Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday to fall to 1-3 on the season, the Jaguars reminded us of something we already knew.
This is not a good football team.
There were bright spots in the loss. Undrafted rookie free agent James Robinson topped 100 total yards again, wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. posted an 8/95/2 stat line and quarterback Gardner Minshew II threw for 351 yards and two scores.
However, the Jaguars also allowed over 500 yards of offense to the Bengals, which isn't going to get it done.
Still, the Jaguars should have a chance to notch a second win soon enough—their next four opponents (the Texans twice, the Lions and the Chargers) have a combined record of 2-10.
27. Atlanta Falcons (0-4)
Last Week: 29
Week 4 Result: Lost at Green Bay 30-16
Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn needs a hug.
Heading into Monday's game at Green Bay, fresh off back-to-back fourth-quarter collapses, Quinn insisted he wasn't concerned about his future with the franchise. In fact, he told ESPN's Vaughn McClure that it was a waste of time to even discuss it.
"Any time I take away from that, it takes away from the team and the focus for Monday night,'' Quinn said. "So, it doesn't do any value to discuss it much further than that."
Oh, it's going to be discussed now, especially after the Houston Texans fired the similarly bumbling Bill O'Brien on Monday.
Mind you, this isn't a fluke. We've seen this movie before. Yes, Quinn led the Falcons to the Super Bowl. But just last year, this same team started the season 1-7.
Right now, 1-7 looks like an optimistic projection for the 2020 iteration.
The offense is inconsistent despite being loaded with talent. The defense (Quinn's alleged specialty) is terrible—again.
The Falcons stink, and Quinn is on borrowed time.
26. Denver Broncos (1-3)
Last Week: 30
Week 4 Result: Won at New York Jets 37-28
Bright spots for the Denver Broncos have been few and far between in 2020. A multitude of Broncos starters have been felled by significant injuries, with defensive end Jurrell Casey the latest to go down with a season-ending injury.
But for one week at least, the Broncos are winners after dropping the hapless Jets in New York.
It wasn't close to a flawless performance. Making the first start of his NFL career, Brett Rypien threw three interceptions. The Denver defense allowed over 320 yards to an absolutely awful Jets offense.
But thanks to a career day from young wide receiver Tim Patrick (6/113/1) and 118 total yards and two touchdowns from running back Melvin Gordon III, the Broncos tasted victory for the first time this season.
It's likely going to be a fleeting feeling. In Week 5 the Broncos travel to New England to face the Patriots, and two weeks after that, the Kansas City Chiefs come to town.
25. Detroit Lions (1-3)
Last Week: 20
Week 4 Result: Lost vs. New Orleans 35-29
For a time Sunday, it looked like the Detroit Lions had an upset on their minds. Detroit scored the first two touchdowns of its matchup with a Saints team that had dropped two straight heading into Week 4.
But then Lions happened, and Detroit allowed 35 unanswered points before mounting a late comeback that came up short.
The loss dropped Matt Patricia's record as Detroit's head coach to an abysmal 10-25-1. Per Michael Rothstein of ESPN, the game was the fifth straight in which Lions had a double-digit lead and lost—a sad NFL record that serves as a metaphor for Patricia's tenure in charge.
"It all sums up the Patricia era so succinctly," Rothstein said. "The jerseys may change. The opponents inflicting the damage may be different. But the results end up the same. Loss begets loss—and Detroit will now go a calendar year without winning a game at Ford Field when the Lions next play at home on Nov. 1 against Indianapolis."
The Lions now head into the bye week in a depressingly familiar place: the NFC North basement.
And it's fair to wonder how much longer Patricia will be around as the losses mount.
24. Los Angeles Chargers (1-3)
Last Week: 21
Week 4 Result: Lost at Tampa Bay 38-31
Just before halftime of Sunday's game in Tampa, the Los Angeles Chargers held a 24-7 lead and were trying to run out the half. But then Joshua Kelley put the ball on the ground, the floodgates opened and the Buccaneers peeled off 31 of the next 38 points to stun the Chargers and steal the win.
That was unfortunate.
What wasn't unfortunate is that even in defeat, rookie quarterback Justin Herbert continued to shine. For most of the game, the sixth overall pick in the 2020 draft matched the quarterback many consider the greatest to ever play the position throw for throw. He finished the game with just five incompletions, 290 passing yards, three scores and a passer rating of 137.9.
He didn't look at all like a rookie.
With the loss, the Chargers are 1-3. The playoffs are a pipe dream. Just posting a .500 record may well be a tall order. But the Bolts may have accomplished one very important goal in 2020.
It appears that the team has found its new franchise quarterback.
23. Cincinnati Bengals (1-2-1)
Last Week: 27
Week 4 Result: Won vs. Jacksonville 33-25
Given that he's a rookie quarterback playing without much of an offseason for a team that won two games last year, Joe Burrow's performance has been impressive. On Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 draft threw for 300 yards again and notched his first win with the Cincinnati Bengals.
He credits his success to head coach Zac Taylor.
"I think Zac has done a great job of asking what I'm comfortable with and calling those plays," Burrow told reporters. "And he understands what I like in certain situations."
However, against the Jacksonville Jaguars, tailback Joe Mixon definitely deserves some run too. After a quiet start to the 2020 season, Mixon exploded against the Jags, piling up 181 total yards and scoring three touchdowns.
The Bengals might not be good yet. But Cincinnati also isn't close to being the worst team in the NFL anymore.
22. Dallas Cowboys (1-3)
Last Week: 17
Week 4 Result: Lost vs. Cleveland 49-38
The Dallas Cowboys are in Texas-sized trouble.
When Dak Prescott scorched the Cleveland Browns for 502 passing yards Sunday, it marked the first time in NFL history that a quarterback threw for at least 450 yards in three straight games.
That Dallas lost two of those three games (and very nearly lost the third) says all you need to know about the awful state of the defense.
The Cowboys have allowed at least 38 points in three straight games—the first time since 1960 that Dallas has surrendered that many points in successive contests. Dallas gave up over 500 yards of total offense to Cleveland and allowed a staggering 307 rushing yards, the most in franchise history.
That's not even the team's only problem.
"The defense in Dallas is, in the words of Charles Barkley, turrible," Davenport said. "The head coach keeps forgetting that Ezekiel Elliott is both on his team and good. And after turning it over three more times Sunday, Dallas is minus-seven for the season in that category. At this rate, Prescott will break the NFL record in passing yards in a season—for a 4-12 team."
"This just isn't their year, take 25," Gagnon added. "Too many injuries on both sides of the ball, too little discipline and too many slow starts. They might still win the terrible NFC East, but this team isn't up to the task beyond that."
21. Philadelphia Eagles (1-2-1)
Last Week: 23
Week 4 Result: Won at San Francisco 25-20
That the Philadelphia Eagles are in first place after notching their first win of 2020 in Week 4 says everything you need to know about the flaming bag of dog excrement that is the NFC East.
Credit where it's due—the Eagles notched their first win against an injury-ravaged San Francisco 49ers team, but it's not like Philly doesn't have issues in that regard. The wide receivers and offensive line have been decimated.
Thanks to gutsy play from quarterback Carson Wentz and some timely defense, the Eagles finally broke into the win column. The bigger problem is going to be building on that win. Over the next two weeks, the Eagles play at the 3-0 Pittsburgh Steelers and then host the 3-1 Baltimore Ravens.
It's going to take an admittedly unlikely win against one of those AFC North powers for us to start truly taking the Eagles seriously.
20. Carolina Panthers (2-2)
Last Week: 26
Week 4 Result: Won vs. Arizona 31-21
Break up the Panthers!
After dropping their first two games of the season, the Carolina Panthers now have their first winning streak of Matt Rhule's tenure as head coach and their most convincing win of the season after handling the Arizona Cardinals at Bank of America Stadium.
Rhule was careful to downplay the significance of the Panthers' ending the first quarter of the season at .500.
"If this is the high point of the season, then we won't have a very good season," Rhule told reporters. "I will say this: The coaches aren't any different. I just think the players getting more and more comfortable with what we do and how we do it. And then more and more making it how they do it. And that, to me, is the mark of a winner."
Still, this was an impressive win from a Panthers team without its best offensive player in Christian McCaffrey. Teddy Bridgewater threw for 276 yards and two scores and ran for another. Reserve running back Mike Davis topped 110 total yards and found the end zone. And the Panthers defense held the Cardinals to 262 total yards.
These Panthers are better than many folks (including us) gave them credit for.
And they earned their bump in these rankings.
19. Miami Dolphins (1-3)
Last Week: 19
Week 4 Result: Lost vs. Seattle 31-23
The good news for Ryan Fitzpatrick against the Seattle Seahawks is that the veteran journeyman topped 300 passing yards, ran for 47 yards and a score, and kept the Miami Dolphins in the game much of the afternoon.
The bad news for Fitzpatrick was that he threw two interceptions, and he was the first to admit after Sunday's loss that he didn't play well enough.
"Red-zone execution really falls on the quarterback," Fitzpatrick told the media. "So for me, I walk out of this game really feeling terrible because I felt a lot of the guys on our team played well enough to win and I, unfortunately, was not one of them."
The Dolphins are sitting at 1-3, and there will no doubt be calls for rookie Tua Tagovailoa to get his chance under center—especially given how well Joe Burrow and Justin Herbert have played.
But with a trip to San Francisco to play the defending NFC champs up next, odds are we'll see at least one more week of the bearded one before Brian Flores considers a switch.
18. Minnesota Vikings (1-3)
Last Week: 22
Week 4 Result: Won at Houston 31-23
When the 2020 season started, this looked like one of Week 4's bigger matchups—a clash between two teams that each won a playoff game last year.
Instead, both teams had yet to taste victory this season.
The visiting Vikings were able to get win No. 1 thanks to a huge game from tailback Dalvin Cook, who amassed 146 total yards and two scores. The team also got some clutch play from quarterback Kirk Cousins, who found star wideout Adam Thielen for a big second-half score.
However, at least one of our analysts didn't see this as anything more than a mediocre Minnesota team beating a bad Houston one.
"Sure," Davenport said, "it was nice to see the Vikings finally break into the win column. But the Vikings have to travel to Seattle and to Lambeau Field over the next three weeks. 2-5 isn't going to look much better than 1-3."
However, another analyst thinks the Vikings may not be done after all.
"I still sort of believe in the Vikings because Kirk Cousins still has a super-high ceiling when things are going well, and Justin Jefferson looks like an absolute star," Gagnon said. "In a 14-team playoff field, don't count Minnesota out."
17. Las Vegas Raiders (2-2)
Last Week: 18
Week 4 Result: Lost vs. Buffalo 30-23
The Las Vegas Raiders were presented with an opportunity in Week 4. Beat a 2019 playoff team for the second straight time at Allegiant Stadium, and the Raiders would send a message to the rest of the AFC West:
The Silver and Black are back, baby!
That didn't happen—Josh Allen and the undefeated Buffalo Bills were too much for the Raiders to handle. But there were positive takeaways from the game. Despite an injury-depleted wideout corps, Derek Carr had a solid game against a quality defense with 311 passing yards and a passer rating north of 105. The Raiders stayed in the game throughout against a Super Bowl contender.
The Raiders aren't a serious threat to the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC West—no team in the division is. But they have shown enough to demonstrate that they are headed in the right direction.
And with an extra wild-card spot in each conference this year, a trip to the postseason is in play.
16. San Francisco 49ers (2-2)
Last Week: 15
Week 4 Result: Lost vs. Philadelphia 25-20
With any number of prominent players on both sides of the ball (including quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo) banged up, the San Francisco 49ers fell to 2-2 with their Sunday night loss against the Eagles.
According to Sobleski, trouble could be brewing for the defending NFC champions.
"Injuries finally caught up to the 49ers during San Francisco's contest with the Eagles," he said. "At 2-2 with what seems like half the team trying to get healthy, the 49ers face a brutal upcoming stretch through early December. Even with a healthy Garoppolo, it's hard to envision this squad makes another strong postseason run."
He's not exaggerating. This week's home tilt with the Dolphins looks winnable and could offer C.J. Beathard an opportunity to get comfortable at quarterback after he replaced Nick Mullens in Week 4.
But after that, it's a gauntlet: home against the Rams, at New England, at Seattle, home against Green Bay and then at New Orleans.
15. Arizona Cardinals (2-2)
Last Week: 10
Week 4 Result: Lost at Carolina 31-21
The shine came off the Arizona Cardinals quickly.
After two weeks of watching Kyler Murray scramble and DeAndre Hopkins rack up catches, the power rankings slotted the Redbirds in the top 10. Arizona stayed there entering Week 4 despite losing at home to the Detroit Lions.
That's not the case this week—not after a listless performance at Carolina in which the Cardinals trailed 28-7 and Kyler Murray averaged all of 4.3 yards a pass attempt.
The defense has also been exposed the past couple of weeks, including allowing 444 total yards and 30 first downs Sunday. However, Arizona linebacker Jordan Hicks told reporters there's no cause for panic in the desert.
"We're 2-2 [after] the first quarter of the season," Hicks said. "I don't believe there's any reason to panic."
One of our analysts isn't so sure.
"Next week's home date with the Jets should be a W," Davenport said, "and the Monday nighter the following week in Dallas is winnable. But if the Cardinals are going to survive the four-game gauntlet that comes after (a stretch that includes three games against undefeated teams) and stay in the hunt in the NFC West, there's a lot of work to do on both sides of the ball."
"They aren't as shiny anymore, are they?" Gagnon agreed. "Back-to-back losses to teams that are a combined 1-5 in the rest of their games is a concern. That defense is a liability, and the schedule will only get tougher."
14. Chicago Bears (3-1)
Last Week: 14
Week 4 Result: Lost vs. Indianapolis 19-11
There's an old saying in football regarding quarterback controversies: If you have two quarterbacks, you have no quarterbacks.
That adage was borne out Sunday in Chicago.
Making his first start in Chicago after taking over for Mitchell Trubisky the week before in Atlanta, Nick Foles was unimpressive for the Bears: 26 completions in 42 attempts for 249 yards, a touchdown and an interception. It was a performance that exposed some of Chicago's problems—issues the team had been able to paper over during its 3-0 start.
"It really doesn't matter who the Bears have behind center, because neither Trubisky nor Foles is a legitimate long-term starting quarterback," Sobleski said. "Chicago barely managed any offense against the Indianapolis Colts, aside from some garbage-time stats. If the 3-1 Bears are going to keep pace with the Green Bay Packers in the NFC North, they better find consistent offensive playmakers to rely on as the weeks progress."
The Bears don't have much time to lament their first loss—they host the 3-1 Buccaneers on Thursday night.
13. Cleveland Browns (3-1)
Last Week: 16
Week 4 Result: Won at Dallas 49-38
It's been a long time since the Cleveland Browns were 3-1. The last time the Browns opened the season with three wins in four games was 2001. But after outlasting the Dallas Cowboys in Week 4's wildest affair, that's where Kevin Stefanski and the Browns find themselves.
Stefanski's identity is clearly imprinted on this team. The 2020 Browns are all about running the ball. Despite losing Nick Chubb in the first half, the Browns gashed the Cowboys for 307 yards on the ground—the most Dallas has ever allowed in a single contest.
Sunday's win was also the best game Odell Beckham Jr. has had in his year-plus with the Browns. Beckham hauled in five catches for 81 yards and two scores and scored a third touchdown on a 50-yard reverse in the fourth quarter that salted the game away.
The performance has given the long-suffering fans in Cleveland the most optimism they've had in quite some time, but Week 5 will bring a stiff test against the league's best defense when the Indianapolis Colts come to town.
"Cleveland is legit," Gagnon said. "Any team with weapons on Odell Beckham Jr. and Myles Garrett on either side of the ball can do serious damage, and the offensive depth should give the Browns room for the odd tough day from Baker Mayfield. This is an 11- or 12-win team and a Super Bowl contender."
Still, because it's Cleveland, the win came at a cost. Per ESPN's Jake Trotter, running back Nick Chubb suffered an MCL sprain that is expected to sideline him for about six weeks.
12. New England Patriots (2-2)
Last Week: 7
Week 4 Result: Lost at Kansas City 26-10
Not many folks expected the New England Patriots to have a shot against the undefeated Chiefs on Monday night. New England was without quarterback Cam Newton, who tested positive for COVID-19. The Patriots didn't even travel to Kansas City until Monday morning.
But as the game progressed Monday evening at Arrowhead, one thing became clear: The Pats really need to get Newton back as soon as possible.
Backup quarterback Brian Hoyer committed two red-zone gaffes that cost New England at least six points. Third-stringer Jarrett Stidham, who relieved Hoyer in the second half, had some moments but also threw the pick-six that salted the game away.
The Patriots played well defensively, especially in the second half. But there were mental errors, miscues and penalties galore on offense. Never mind a very un-Belichickian four turnovers.
At 2-2, the Patriots are now two games back of the surging Bills ahead of a home game with the Denver Broncos.
And while it's certainly not time to panic, the odds of New England's string of 11 straight AFC East titles extending in 2020 don't look especially good.
11. Tennessee Titans (3-0)
Last Week: 12
Week 4 Result: Postponed vs. Pittsburgh
It was bound to happen.
Despite the NFL's stringent COVID-19 protocols and how well teams have followed said protocols, it was only a matter of time until a team registered positive tests. And in Week 4, it happened.
According to Erik Bacharach of the Tennessean, the Tennessee Titans have had 20 team personnel (including 10 players) test positive for COVID-19. The team's Week 4 game with the Pittsburgh Steelers has already been rescheduled for Week 7, but if positive cases continue to mount, the Titans' Week 5 tilt with the Buffalo Bills could also be in jeopardy.
Obvious health risks aside, the outbreak puts the 3-0 Titans in quite the bind. The team will now (in a best-case scenario) have to play 13 weeks in a row. All in-person activities in Nashville are off indefinitely—making preparation for the Bills that much more difficult.
Welcome to 2020.
10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-1)
Last Week: 11
Week 4 Result: Won vs. Los Angeles Chargers 38-31
Tommy Terrific is rounding into shape.
Early in Sunday's game against the Chargers, Brady threw his fourth interception of the 2020 season. As a matter of fact, he threw a pick-six—his fourth in his past six games counting the 2019 postseason. Just before the half, the Buccaneers were trailing 24-7 and the Bolts had the ball.
Then the Chargers turned it over—and Brady got to work.
By the time the Buccaneers put the finishing touches on a seven-point win that left Tampa in first place in the NFC South, Brady had thrown for 369 yards and five touchdowns to five separate receivers. The Bucs also got 128 total yards from young running back Ronald Jones II and two sacks and two turnovers from the defense.
The Buccaneers remain a work in progress. But the fact that Tampa outscored the Chargers 31-7 to roar back for the win was impressive, especially when you consider that wide receiver Chris Godwin didn't play.
9. Los Angeles Rams (3-1)
Last Week: 9
Week 4 Result: Won vs. New York Giants 17-9
The NFL is a results-driven business, and all that matters about the Rams' sloppy Week 4 win over the New York Giants is that Los Angeles finished the game with more points than New York.
However, wide receiver Cooper Kupp allowed that the Rams didn't play close to their best game of the 2020 season.
"By no means are we going to undersell the fact that we can walk off the field with a W," Kupp said in a press conference. "But at the same time, we have a bad taste in our mouth, just as an offense, how we executed today."
The Rams were actually outgained by the Giants, 295-240. They gained just 58 yards on the ground and were 5-of-13 on third down.
Against a winless Giants team, the Rams were still able to get the win. And the schedule is fairly favorable over the next month or so.
But the Rams will have to up their level of play to be taken seriously as a Super Bowl contender.
8. Indianapolis Colts (3-1)
Last Week: 13
Week 4 Result: Won at Chicago 19-11
Raise your hand if you thought the Indianapolis Colts would have the league's best defense a month into the season.
Now put your hand down, you dirty fibber.
In the offseason, the acquisition of veteran quarterback Philip Rivers got the headlines in Indianapolis. But per Sobleski, Rivers isn't the main reason the Colts are sitting in first place in the AFC South.
"Rivers was supposed to be the final piece of the puzzle for the Indianapolis Colts after Jacoby Brissett struggled last season," he wrote. "The Colts are almost winning in spite of the 38-year-old signal-caller, not because of him. Sure, Rivers is completing 72.7 percent of his passes, but Indianapolis' identity is built on the five plowhorses in front of the quarterback, a strong running attack and the game's No. 1-ranked defense."
That defense has been dominant of late—including just 269 yards allowed to the Bears. The offensive line may well be the best in the game.
And the Colts have the look of the class of their division.
7. New Orleans Saints (2-2)
Last Week: 8
Week 4 Result: Won at Detroit 35-29
After dropping two games in a row, there was some murmuring about the 2020 Saints—murmurs that grew louder when the Saints fell behind the Lions 14-0 Sunday afternoon.
Thirty-five unanswered points put a stop to that—at least for now.
As has been the case since Michael Thomas went down with a high ankle sprain, the engine that powered the Saints offense was running back Alvin Kamara. Kamara's stats weren't quite as gaudy as the past couple of games, but he did rack up 119 total yards and find the end zone.
It was a badly needed win that both stopped the Saints' skid and kept them a game back of the division-leading Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
But the Saints still don't like the dominant team that won 13 games last year. After peeling off those 35 points, the Saints let the Lions back in with 15 unanswered. Fortunately, the next three games on the slate appear winnable before a Nov. 8 trip to Tampa.
6. Buffalo Bills (4-0)
Last Week: 6
Week 4 Result: Won at Las Vegas 30-23
It's been a long time since the Buffalo Bills were a legitimate Super Bowl contender.
But after watching them peel off four straight wins to open the 2020 season, it's hard to view the Bills as anything else.
The driver of Buffalo's hot start is undoubtedly quarterback Josh Allen, who has played at an MVP level over the first month of the season. Head coach Sean McDermott raved about the growth he's seen from Allen in his third season.
"He's a competitive sucker, and he loves to win," McDermott told the media. "I can't say enough about him. He loves to play the game, loves to win, and he puts his heart and soul and body into everything in this game. How could you not love him as a teammate?"
Allen has impressed our analysts as well.
"I never thought I'd find myself saying this," Davenport said. "But Allen might be the best quarterback from the class of 2018—a class that includes the reigning MVP in Lamar Jackson. The arrival of Stefon Diggs has taken Allen's development to a whole other level, and his decision-making has improved markedly. Russell Wilson has company in the MVP race."
5. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-0)
Last Week: 5
Week 4 Result: Postponed at Tennessee
Things have gone about as well as the Pittsburgh Steelers could have hoped this season. Not only are the undefeated Steelers all alone atop the AFC North, but they have also mostly avoided the injuries that have ravaged so many teams.
Still, the COVID-19 outbreak in Tennessee that forced Pittsburgh's matchup with the Titans to be rescheduled for Week 7 presents the Steelers' first real hurdle of 2020. No NFL team wants a bye week this early in the season.
As Tim Benz reported for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, some Steelers players weren't shy about voicing their displeasure over the scheduling change.
"I'm confused on how this became our problem," tight end Eric Ebron tweeted. "My son's birthday party was (the) bye week now I'm missing his birthday & bad enough I don't even see my kids."
Still, there's nothing the Steelers can do other than make the best of the hand they've been dealt and get ready to host the struggling Philadelphia Eagles in Week 5.
4. Baltimore Ravens (3-1)
Last Week: 4
Week 4 Result: Won at Washington 31-17
The Baltimore Ravens suffered their first loss of the season in Week 3—an embarrassingly lopsided affair at home in their biggest test of the season to date against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Traveling to Washington isn't the same kind of test, but it was just what the Ravens needed to get back on track.
It wasn't a dominant performance—Baltimore barely outgained Washington, lost the turnover battle and gave up a 300-yard passing day to Washington quarterback Dwayne Haskins.
The Ravens have beaten the teams they are supposed to, topping 30 points in all three wins against teams with a combined record of 4-8. And with two more games against tomato cans on tap before the bye, it's not hard to imagine the Ravens will be 5-1 when they host the currently undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 8.
"The Ravens are back on track after a blip against the Chiefs," Sobleski said. "Yes, Baltimore still needs to figure out the Rubik's cube that is the Chiefs offense, but that problem will wait for another time (namely, the postseason). Lamar Jackson and Co. are clearly a cut above everyone else in the AFC. The Ravens easily handled business against the Washington Football Team and should glide into their Week 7 bye after facing the Cincinnati Bengals and Philadelphia Eagles."
3. Seattle Seahawks (4-0)
Last Week: 2
Week 4 Result: Won at Miami 31-23
That Russell Wilson has never been named the NFL's Most Valuable Player isn't especially surprising. That the 31-year-old has never so much as received a vote for the award rather is.
The way Wilson is playing in 2020, both of those things are apt to change.
Frankly, for much of this game the Miami Dolphins were able to hold Seattle's high-octane offense in check—the score was 17-15 midway through the fourth quarter. But Wilson found David Moore for a 17-yard score to widen the lead, and then Seattle capitalized on a Ryan Fitzpatrick interception to effectively put the game out of reach.
At 4-0, the Seahawks are alone in first place in the NFC West. But it's going to take some more Wilson heroics to stay there. Over the next five games, the Seahawks will play all three of the other teams in the league's toughest division, and Seattle's out-of-division games over that span are against a Minnesota Vikings team that made the postseason last year and at the undefeated Buffalo Bills.
2. Green Bay Packers (4-0)
Last Week: 3
Week 4 Result: Won vs. Atlanta 30-16
It's Aaron Rodgers' world. We're all just living in it.
Rodgers continued his fantastic start to the 2020 season Monday night against an injury-depleted Atlanta Falcons defense, throwing for 327 yards and four scores with a filthy passer rating of 147.5. Three of those scores went to tight end Robert Tonyan, who had six catches for 98 yards and now has touchdowns in three straight games. Running back Aaron Jones chipped in 111 total yards and a score on 20 touches.
Mind you, this was without No. 1 wide receiver Davante Adams. And No. 2 wide receiver Allen Lazard. Given the way Rodgers is playing right now, the Packers could score 30 with three guys pulled out of the local Cracker Barrel catching passes.
The Packers are only technically one game up on the Chicago Bears heading into their bye week, but it feels like the race in the NFC North is already over.
The Packers are, at the very least, the best team in the division.
And with Rodgers playing out of his mind, the Packers might well be the best team in the NFC.
1. Kansas City Chiefs (4-0)
Last Week: 1
Week 4 Result: Won vs. New England 26-10
Twice in the last three weeks, the Kansas City Chiefs haven't played especially well. But in the NFL, the only thing that matters is the final score—and the Chiefs are now the first team in NFL history to start four consecutive seasons 4-0.
Against a New England Patriots team that was missing quarterback Cam Newton after a positive COVID-19 test sidelined the veteran signal-caller, the Chiefs played a lethargic first half. Had New England quarterback Brian Hoyer known how many timeouts a team gets in a half, the game likely would have been tied at intermission.
The second half was far from flawless, but thanks to a couple of Patrick Mahomes touchdown passes and a pick-six late from safety Tyrann Mathieu, the Chiefs pulled away.
The next task for the defending champs? Not looking ahead. After Sunday's home date with the rival Raiders, the Chiefs travel east on a short week to face the undefeated Buffalo Bills.
That's shaping up as quite the brouhaha.