NFL Power Rankings Week 4: Are the Pittsburgh Steelers the New No. 1 Team?

Mihir Bhagat@mihirbhagatSenior Analyst IIISeptember 28, 2010

NFL Power Rankings Week 4: Are The Pittsburgh Steelers The NFL's New No. 1 Team?

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    PITTSBURGH - SEPTEMBER 12:  Head coach Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers watches his team warmup prior to the NFL season opener game against the Atlanta Falcons on September 12, 2010 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Jared Wicker
    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    Week 3 has come to a close, which means it's time for my weekly edition of NFL Power Rankings.

    After an intriguing set of games, we've learned even more about key elements that can help us develop a better understanding of each team.

    The San Francisco 49ers continue to disappoint, the defending champion New Orleans Saints went down, and the Pittsburgh Steelers have surprisingly opened the season 3-0.

    So, let's find out how all that and more affect my weekly Power Rankings. 

32. Buffalo Bills (0-3)

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    TORONTO - DECEMBER 3:  Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick #14 of the Buffalo Bills passes the ball during their NFL game against the New York Jets on December 3, 2009  at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Jets defeated the Bills 19-13. (Photo by Ri
    Rick Stewart/Getty Images

    Last Week: Lost 38-30 to New England Patriots

    The Bills may have showed some life against the Patriots, but they're still the worst team in the league.

    However, being the worst team in the league gives them an opportunity to replace Fitzpatrick with one of the quality quarterbacks in this year's draft class. 

    This Week: vs. New York Jets

31. Carolina Panthers (0-3)

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 19:  Jimmy Clausen #2 of the Carolina Panthers against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during their game at Bank of America Stadium on September 19, 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Last Week: Lost 20-7 to Cincinnati Bengals

    There's talent on this team, but they're simply not gelling. Until they fix their quarterback problem, it'll be tough to win games.

    This Week: @ New Orleans Saints

30. Cleveland Browns (0-3)

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    CLEVELAND - SEPTEMBER 19:  Running back Peyton Hillis #40 of the Cleveland Browns celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Kansas City Chiefs at Cleveland Browns Stadium on September 19, 2010 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Imag
    Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

    Last Week: Lost 24-17 to Baltimore Ravens

    The Browns have showed signs of hope, but are winless.

    This is surely going to be a long rebuilding process. 

    This Week: vs. Cincinnati Bengals

29. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-2)

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    JACKSONVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 26:  Running back Maurice Jones-Drew #32 of the Jacksonville Jaguars sits on the sidelines watching his team take on the Philadelphia Eagles at EverBank Field on September 26, 2010 in Jacksonville, Florida. The Eagles defeated
    Doug Benc/Getty Images

    Last Week: Lost 28-3 to Philadelphia Eagles

    The Jaguars have little going with them, especially with Maurice Jones-Drew yet to score a touchdown this season.

    If they continue to play like this, Jack Del Rio could be gone. 

    This Week: vs. Indianapolis Colts

28. Denver Broncos (1-2)

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    DENVER - SEPTEMBER 26:  Quarterback Kyle Orton #8 of the Denver Broncos delivers a pass against the Indianapolis Colts at INVESCO Field at Mile High on September 26, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. Orton passed for 476 yards as the Colts defeated the Broncos 27
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Last Week: Lost 27-13 to Indianapolis Colts

    Heading into the season, I felt that the Denver Broncos were a boom or bust team.

    So far, they've been the latter. Of course, most of that is credited to their nagging injuries. 

    One clear bright spot has been Kyle Orton, who threw for 476 yards against the Colts.

    This Week: @ Tennessee Titans

27. Detroit Lions (0-3)

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    DETROIT - AUGUST 28: Calvin Johnson #81 of the Detroit Lions signals a first down after a second quarter catch during a preseason game against the Cleveland Browns on August 28, 2010 at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Imag
    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Last Week: Lost 24-10 to Minnesota Vikings

    The Lions are steadily improving, yet their porous rush defense will hinder them. 

    On the flip side, I'm really not sure what to infer from Jahvid Best's inconsistent play. 

    This Week: @ Green Bay Packers

26. Washington Redskins (1-2)

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    ST. LOUIS - SEPTEMBER 26: Donavan McNabb #5 of the Washington Redskins passes against the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome on September 26, 2010 in St. Louis, Missouri.  The Rams beat the Redskins 30-16.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Last Week: Lost 30-13 to St. Louis Rams

    When you lose to an NFL team that has won just seven games in four years, there's a problem.

    Donovan McNabb has played well so far, but the defense has to do its part. 

    This Week: @ Philadelphia Eagles 

25. St. Louis Rams (1-2)

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    OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 19:  Sam Bradford #8 of the St. Louis Rams in action during their game against the Oakland Raiders at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on September 19, 2010 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Last Week: Won 30-16 over Washington Redskins

    Congratulations on your seventh win in four years. 

    Anytime a team matches that statement, they can't be ranked much higher than this.

    On the bright side, No. 1 overall pick Sam Bradford is looking solid. 

    This Week: vs. Seattle Seahawks

24. San Francisco 49ers (0-3)

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    SAN FRANCISCO - SEPTEMBER 20:  Vernon Davis #85 of the San Francisco 49ers runs on to the field for their game against the New Orleans Saints at Candlestick Park on September 20, 2010 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Last Week: Lost 31-10 to Kansas City Chiefs

    San Francisco has lost its identity, and is playing well below expectations right now.

    However, I do project them to turn things around. Firing offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye is a good start. 

    This Week: @ Atlanta Falcons

23. Oakland Raiders (1-2)

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    GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 26:  Runningback Darren McFadden #20 of the Oakland Raiders celebrates with teammate Zach Miller #80 after McFadden scored a 2 yard rushing touchdown against the Arizona Cardinals during the second quarter of the NFL game at the U
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Last Week: Lost 24-23 to Arizona Cardinals

    The Raiders have been competitive in their past two games, and I like their nucleus of talent.

    Despite what their critics will say, this is a team on the rise.

    This Week: vs. Houston Texans

22. New York Giants (1-2)

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 26:  Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants passes during a game against the Tennessee Titans at New Meadowlands Stadium on September 26, 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Last Week: Lost 29-10 to Tennessee Titans

    The Giants need to get back to playing the style of football that won them the Super Bowl three seasons ago if they want to turn things around.

    Until then, they'll have to settle for mediocrity. 

    This Week: vs. Chicago Bears

21. Arizona Cardinals (2-1)

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    ST. LOUIS - SEPTEMBER 12: Larry Fitzgerald #11 of the Arizona Cardinals looks to haul in a touchdown pass against Ron Bartell #24 of the St. Louis Rams during the NFL season opener at the Edward Jones Dome on September 12, 2010 in St. Louis, Missouri.  Th
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Last Week: Won 24-23 over Oakland Raiders

    This is a team that barely squeezed by victories over the Rams and Raiders. Honestly, you've got to feel some pity for receiver Larry Fitzgerald because he's stuck in this situation

    This Week: @ San Diego Chargers

20. San Diego Chargers (1-2)

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    SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 26:  Quarterback Philip Rivers #17 of the San Diego Chargers passes against the Seattle Seahawks at Qwest Field on September 26, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks defeated the Chargers 27-20. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Imag
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Last Week: Lost 27-20 to Seattle Seahawks

    I hate to put a Philip Rivers-led team this low, but the rest of their team leaves me no choice.

    The biggest issues, in my opinion, has been their scoring defense and special teams.

    This Week: vs. Arizona Cardinals 

19. Seattle Seahawks (2-1)

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    SEATTLE - SEPTEMBER 26:  Earl Thomas #29 of the Seattle Seahawks returns an interception against the San Diego Chargers at Qwest Field on September 26, 2010 in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks defeated the Chargers 27-20. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty I
    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Last Week: Won 27-20 over San Diego Chargers

    Those offseason acquisitions truly paid off this week, as Leon Washington returned two kickoffs for a score and Earl Thomas made two critical interceptions.

    If the 49ers don't clean up their act, the Seahawks could be a dark horse to reclaim the NFC West.

    This Week: @ St. Louis Rams

18. Minnesota Vikings (1-2)

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    MINNEAPOLIS - SEPTEMBER 26:  Running back Adrian Peterson #28 of the Minnesota Vikings carries the ball around C.C. Brown #39 of the Detroit Lions for a touchdown during the second half at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome on September 26, 2010 in Minneapolis,
    Jeff Gross/Getty Images

    Last Week: Win over Detroit Lions 24-10

    Adrian Peterson has amassed 477 yards from scrimmage this season and is carrying this football team.

    Brett Favre needs to step up his game if they want to get back to playoff contention. 

    This Week: BYE

17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1)

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 19:  Josh Freeman #5 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers against the Carolina Panthers during their game at Bank of America Stadium on September 19, 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Last Week: Lost 38-6 to Pittsburgh Steelers

    The Buccaneers displayed their true colors last week, and I guess they weren't the sleeper team that many thought they were.

    Nonetheless, Josh Freeman is subtly emerging as a quality quarterback which is a great sign for the future. 

    This Week: BYE  

16. Dallas Cowboys (1-2)

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    ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 19:  Quarterback Tony Romo #9 of the Dallas Cowboys at Cowboys Stadium on September 19, 2010 in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Last Week: Won 27-13 over Houston Texans

    The Dallas Cowboys finally racked up their first win, and did so in a commanding fashion.

    However, it's still yet to be seen whether they can continue this level of play.

    This Week: BYE

15. Tennessee Titans (2-1)

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 26:  Chris Johnson #28 of the Tennessee Titans waits on the sidelines during a game against the New York Giants at New Meadowlands Stadium on September 26, 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty
    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Last Week: Won 29-10 over New York Giants

    The Titans are flying under the radar, and could pop up in the playoff hunt later this season. 

    Chris Johnson is an absolute beast, and the Titans are doing a fantastic job utilizing him. 

    This Week: vs. Denver Broncos

14. Cincinnati Bengals (2-1)

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    CANTON, OH - AUGUST 8: Terrell Owens #81 and Chad Ochocinco #85 of the Cincinnati Bengals look on against the Dallas Cowboys during the 2010 Pro Football Hall of Fame Game at the Pro Football Hall of Fame Field at Fawcett Stadium on August 8, 2010 in Cant
    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Last Week: Won 20-7 over Carolina Panthers

    Carson Palmer needs to elevate his game by maximizing the playmakers at his disposal. If he doesn't they'll be in trouble.

    This Week: @ Cleveland Browns

13. New England Patriots (2-1)

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    FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 26:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots directs the offensive line against the Buffalo Bills in the first half at Gillette Stadium on September 26, 2010 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    Last Week: Won 38-30 over Buffalo Bills

    This Pats' offense may be powerful, but their defense needs major help at all lines of the unit. There's no excuse for allowing the Bills to score 30 points.

    This Week: @ Miami Dolphins

12. Miami Dolphins (2-1)

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    MIAMI - SEPTEMBER 26:  Receiver Brandon Marshall #19 of the Miami Dolphins celebrates a touchdown against the New York Jets at Sun Life Stadium on September 26, 2010 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
    Marc Serota/Getty Images

    Last Week: Lost 27-13 to New York Jets

    In my opinion, the Miami Dolphins are one of the most underrated teams in the league.

    They play stout defense, run the ball efficiently, and have a developing aerial attack. 

    I wouldn't be surprised to see them fighting for the AFC East to the wire. 

    This Week: vs. New York Jets

11. Philadelphia Eagles (2-1)

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    JACKSONVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 26:  Quarterback Michael Vick #7 of the Philadelphia Eagles looks toward fans chanting his name before taking on the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on September 26, 2010 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Doug Benc/G
    Doug Benc/Getty Images

    Last Week: Won 28-3 over Jacksonville Jaguars

    Michael Vick has been phenomenal over the past few games, and he has the Eagles offense rolling.

    He's made the best of his second chance opportunity, and it seems like we have a Comeback Player of the Year in the making. 

    This Week: vs. Washington Redskins

10. Kansas City Chiefs (3-0)

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    KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 26: Tamba Hali #91 of the Kansas City Chiefs sacks Alex Smith #11 of the San Francisco 49ers at Arrowhead Stadium on September 26, 2010 in Kansas City, Missouri. The Chiefs won 31-10. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Last Week: Won 31-10 over San Francisco 49ers

    I'll be the first to admit that I was wrong about the Chiefs. After pounding on the 49ers, they look very impressive and it'll be interesting to see if they can keep it up.

    In my opinion, this is one of the more underrated defenses in the league. 

    This Week: BYE

9. Baltimore Ravens (2-1)

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    BALTIMORE - SEPTEMBER 26:  Ray Lewis #52 of the Baltimore Ravens is introduced before the game against the Cleveland Browns  at M&T Bank Stadium on September 26, 2010 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ravens defeated the Browns 24-17. (Photo by Larry French/Get
    Larry French/Getty Images

    Last Week: Won 24-17 over Cleveland Browns

    The Anquan Boldin trade already seems to be paying dividends as he caught three touchdowns this week.

    Once Ed Reed returns to this defense, this team will be scary. 

    This Week: @ Pittsburgh Steelers

8. New York Jets (2-1)

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    EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 19:  Mark Sanchez #6 of the New York Jets looks on during warmups prior to the game against the New England Patriots on September 19, 2010 at the New Meadowlands Stadium  in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Al Bello/
    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Last Week: Won 31-23 over Miami Dolphins

    The one element of this team holding them back was quarterback Mark Sanchez. Interestingly enough, he has the sixth-highest passer rating in the league.

    Do note, though, that they allowed 363 yards in the air without Darrelle Revis in the lineup. They should be glad that they got the deal done. 

    This Week: @ Buffalo Bills

7. Houston Texans (2-1)

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    ST. LOUIS - DECEMBER 20: Andre Johnson #80 of the Houston Texans hauls in a pass against the St. Louis Rams at the Edward Jones Dome on December 20, 2009 in St. Louis, Missouri.  The Texans beat the Rams 16-13.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Last Week: Lost 27-13 to Dallas Cowboys

    The Houston Texans got pummeled by the Dallas Cowboys, but they still boast one of the most prolific offenses in the league.

    However, their pass defense will need to step up if they want to make a serious push. 

    This Week: @ Oakland Raiders

6. Green Bay Packers (2-1)

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    GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 19: Clay Matthews #52 of the Green Bay Packers encourages the crowd during a game against the Buffalo Bills at Lambeau Field on September 19, 2010 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers defeated the Bills 34-7.  (Photo by Jonathan
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Last Week: Lost 20-17 to Chicago Bears

    This is a complete football team with a Super Bowl caliber offense and defense. However, penalties and a terrible special teams killed them against the Bears.

    This Week: vs. Detroit Lions

5. Chicago Bears (3-0)

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    CHICAGO - SEPTEMBER 27:  Devin Hester #23 of the Chicago Bears returns a punt 62-yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field on September 27, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Last Week: Won 20-17 over Green Bay Packers

    The Bears may have some major holes to fill, but they're still the only undefeated NFC team. 

    This Week: @ New York Giants

4. New Orleans Saints (2-1)

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    SAN FRANCISCO - SEPTEMBER 20:  Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints in action during their game against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on September 20, 2010 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Last Week: Lost 27-24 to Atlanta Falcons

    Even though the defending champs got knocked down in an exciting overtime thrill, they're still one of the premier teams in the league. 

    This Week: vs. Carolina Panthers

3. Atlanta Falcons (2-1)

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    NEW ORLEANS - SEPTEMBER 26:  Tony Gonzalez #88 of the Atlanta Falcons is tackled as he makes a catch by Roman Harper #41 of the New Orleans Saints at the Louisiana Superdome on September 26, 2010 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty
    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Last Week: Won 27-24 over New Orleans Saints

    Any time a team beats the defending champs, they definitely deserve their recognition.

    Matt Ryan and Co. are looking very sharp right now. 

    This Week: vs. San Francisco 49ers

2. Indianapolis Colts (2-1)

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    DENVER - SEPTEMBER 26:  Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts drops back to pass against the Denver Broncos at INVESCO Field at Mile High on September 26, 2010 in Denver, Colorado. The Colts defeated the Broncos 27-13.  (Photo by Doug P
    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Last Week: Won 27-13 over Denver Broncos

    With Peyton Manning at the helm playing at an MVP-like level, this team will always rank amongst the league's elite. 

    This Week: @ Jacksonville Jaguars

1. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-0)

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    PITTSBURGH - SEPTEMBER 12:  Rashard Mendenhall #34 of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrates with teammates Stevenson Sylvester #55 and James Harrison #92 after scoring the game winning touchdown on a 50-yard run against the Atlanta Falcons during the NFL sea
    Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

    Last Week: Won 38-13 over Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    The Pittsburgh Steelers truly look like the best team in football. They're getting back to their traditional ways by incorporating a stingy defense and an effective rushing attack. 

    And, get this. All three of their opponents are 2-1 with the lone loss coming against the Steelers. 

    If they're looking this good now, just imagine how good they'll be when Ben Roethlisberger returns. 

    This Week: vs. Baltimore Ravens 

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