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Week 4 NFL Power Rankings: The West Isn't Best As Beasts From The East Battle For The No. 1 Spot

Megan Briggs. Getty Images.

What an interesting NFL landscape we have through the first three games. Only one team is 0-3, and it feels like there's usually more than two undefeated teams to this early point. Not the case, however, and you gotta love the parity to date.

You know what this is…and should you disagree with me, blame it on me being a little bit under the weather the past couple days. Or have zero understanding, and light me up in the comments, go nuts…or blast me for plugging in some of my winning Week 3 bets (along with two notable L's) to break up this text!

32. Houston Texans (Last Week: 30)

They suck. What else is there to say? Ever since that hot 20-3 start in Week 1 before collapsing and tying to the Colts, Houston has been the worst team. May be a little harsh since their last two losses were on the road. Not really, though. Until proven otherwise, the Texans are firmly at No. 32.

31. Chicago Bears (Last Week: 31)

At least the Bears can play a little defense, run the ball and have a dynamic athlete at quarterback in Justin Fields. Otherwise, this year is basically playing out how many of us suspected it would. Bad offensive personnel, Fields put in very unfavorable positions to succeed. Better luck next year, Chicago.

30. Seattle Seahawks (Last Week: 26)

The bottom of the league is difficult to figure out. I'll keep putting Geno Smith's completion percentage (77.5%) in this space until it becomes too low to matter. It's that hard to believe. I'm legitimately intrigued to see if Seattle's familiarity with Jared Goff from years of NFC West battles might help the Seahawks upset the Lions in Detroit this week.

29. New Orleans Saints (Last Week: 20)

Jameis Winston is falling apart physically. Because of that and the absence of Sean Payton, this Saints offense stands little chance. They're a dome team with a solid-enough defense and even competent play from Winston or another signal-caller could have New Orleans in the mix to win the NFC South. Instead, we have big problems.

28. New England Patriots (Last Week: 22)

Not so much the quality of the Pats or a slight to their head coach as it is an acknowledgement of the reality that Mac Jones' high ankle sprain is going to all but sink New England's season. If Brian Hoyer is who you're relying on to keep this Matt Patricia-called offense on track, well, good luck with that shit.

27. Pittsburgh Steelers (Last Week: 24)

My eyes might still be bleeding from having to watch Mitch Trubisky. As a Bengals fan I'll let Mike Tomlin keep Trubisky in there as long as his wild-ass eyes and beautiful heart desire. At some point, the keys should go over to Kenny Pickett. Pittsburgh's schedule before the bye will make even the steeliest of Steelers fans shudder. Buckle up for some serious turbulence, yinzers. Also, I hate the Steelers more than usual at this very moment.


26. Atlanta Falcons (Last Week: 29)

A fourth-quarter collapse in the season opener and one slightly inaccurate throw by Marcus Mariota stopped Atlanta from being undefeated and becoming the story of the entire NFL season. Instead, the Falcons have only one "W" over Seattle to show for their spunky efforts. They may be the best bad team going. Sunday's showdown versus the Browns serves as a good marker.

25. Carolina Panthers (Last Week: 32)

Marty Mush's hyperbolic optimism about Baker Mayfield has taken some heat off my Panthers preseason hype. I'm legitimately stunned by how bad Baker has been. Some of it is scheme, some of it is uncharacteristic inaccuracy I didn't expect with him being healthy. Carolina and its elite defense might be 3-0 with the 2020 version of Baker. Instead, they're 1-2 and he might be the worst pure passer in the NFL through three weeks.

24. New York Jets (Last Week: 25)

This is a little bit of projection, because it looks like Zach Wilson is returning at quarterback. Given that Joe Flacco was the starter in his stead, it's commendable that New York managed to avoid three straight losses out of the gates. In the event Wilson plays like the blue-chip prospect I believed him to be coming out of BYU, the Jets could ascend quickly. Should Wilson doesn't make much progress from his mostly awful rookie campaign, it'll be another long, hard year for this maligned franchise.

23. Washington Commanders (Last Week: 18) 

All the lethal pass-catchers in the world can't save Carson Wentz from himself. This is easily the most favorable supporting cast Wentz has ever had, and his inability to process fast enough was a big reason behind him taking nine sacks in Sunday's loss to the Eagles. So much for all that "revenge game" potential. 

22. Indianapolis Colts (Last Week: 27)

Total fluke that Indianapolis knocked off the Chiefs this last weekend. I really don't like the Colts' roster. They have some quality veterans on defense here and there, but outside of Jonathan Taylor and Michael Pittman Jr., the offense is awful. I don't believe in Matt Ryan as more than an average quarterback at this stage of his career. Won't be surprised when Indy loses its next four.

21. Las Vegas Raiders (Last Week: 11)

Not looking good for Josh McDaniels in his second head coaching stint. I don't know how you so royally fuck up an offense with Derek Carr, Davante Adams, Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller spearheading your passing attack. McDaniels is somehow managing to. Carr looks like he's totally in his head. This Carr-Adams reunion was supposed to be FUN! Looks like the Patriot Way has creeped into the Raiders facility and the results are awful thus far.


20. Arizona Cardinals (Last Week: 17)

Kyler Murray is too busy playing video games to study film. Most of his production in that Rams loss — and even in the rally over the Raiders the previous time out, for that matter — came in garbage time. In the area between unscripted first 10-15 plays and garbage time, Kyler is a substandard QB for all the money Arizona just shelled out for him. I want to say, based on his upside, he has new levels to unlock to his game. On the other hand, this is his third NFL year in the same offensive system he had in college more or less…and he looks to be regressing.

19. New York Giants (Last Week: 16)

Welp, so much for a 3-0 start. That bad loss to the Cowboys may be the beginning of the end for Daniel Jones. He was so inaccurate on basic throws it was making my head spin. Saquon Barkley can only do so much. Not in love with the Giants' personnel on defense, either. It'll be an unanticipated, heroic stand if the G-Men manage to stay above .500 prior to their Week 9 bye.

18. Detroit Lions (Last Week: 15)

Jared Goff (79.0 passer rating) turned back into a pumpkin in Minnesota instead of the carriage/bandwagon driving the Lions' playoff hopes. I love Dan Campbell and the energy he's brought to Detroit. Everyone's bought in. Against higher-quality teams, save for a few luck-based outcomes, the Lions can't and won't get it done with Goff under center.

17. Tennessee Titans (Last Week: 19) 

Beating the Raiders would've been more of an achievement had Tennessee not almost dropped an 11-point lead with less than four minutes left. Still, the Titans got off the mat and got the job done in a virtual must-win contest to improve to 1-2. In two of the next three games — with a bye between the last — they're matched up with Indy and could really devastate the Colts' hopes in the AFC South with a clean sweep.

16. Denver Broncos (Last Week: 23)

The middle of the league is pretty weak and this is more a testament to how Denver's defense has dragged the Broncos to a 2-1 mark despite the collective ineptitude of head coach Nathaniel Hackett and QB Russell Wilson. In ranking them 16th, I see Denver as a fringe playoff team. Feels about right. Plenty of room to go up if the Hackett-Wilson combo pans out as the season goes.


15. Minnesota Vikings (Last Week: 12) 

Kirk Cousins sucked in Week 2's Monday night loss to Philadelphia. He wasn't amazing in the win over Detroit, yet Captain Kirk did enough to help Minnesota to a second win in the division. That's huge. Next up, the Vikings get to face the Saints' sputtering offense in London.

14. Dallas Cowboys (Last Week: 21) 

Micah Parsons is the type of hybrid defender who wrecks game plans. Dallas pounded the Giants into submission at MetLife Stadium and have managed two gritty victories as underdogs with Cooper Rush at QB. Rush has been a good decision-maker and game manager. Can he keep it up until Dak Prescott returns? This is the big question facing America's Team.

13. Los Angeles Chargers (Last Week: 6)

My belief in the Bolts has been shaken by Justin Herbert's nagging, painful ribs injury and how battered the Chargers are through only three games. Brandon Staley's defensive genius seemed to take a holiday as the Jaguars lit them up for 38 points. I still don't think his system is clicking. Between that and Herbert's dubious health, the Bolts may be in big trouble.

12. Cleveland Browns (Last Week: 27)

Can't believe I'm putting a Jacoby Brissett-quarterbacked team this high up but here we are. Impossible to deny how impressive Brissett has been in his past two starts. As long as he doesn't totally suck, the Browns have Nick Chubb and enough defensive talent to stay competitive against anyone, any given Sunday. Cleveland is a huge riser in Week 4. Whispers in prayer: Football gods, please allow the Browns to blow all this momentum and lose in Atlanta.

11. San Francisco 49ers (Last Week: 8)

Please keep telling me that, "Oh Jimmy didn't practice all offseason and that's why he played poorly in Denver." Give me a big, fat break. Jimmy Garoppolo has been in this offense for years. He's had plenty of reps with all of San Francisco's most important pass-catchers. He sucked on Sunday night. No two ways about it. Jimmy G seems to succeed when literally no one expects him to, so I wouldn't put it past him to somehow pull off a 17-14 win over the Rams this Monday. Then again, he had the chance to make a real statement and fell on his face.


10. Green Bay Packers (Last Week: 7)

Digging the defense. Still dig Aaron Rodgers. But damn, the pass-catching talent of this crew is ass. I assume that'll get better as the season goes on and as rookie Romeo Doubs keeps developing. Still, it's a major concern for an offense that's struggled of late in the postseason with Davante Adams as Rodgers' go-to guy.

9. Cincinnati Bengals (Last Week: 13)

A huge get-right game against the Jets sets the Bengals up for Thursday's huge home duel against the 3-0 Dolphins. Cincinnati has failed to capitalize on some pretty favorable scheduling breaks in the early going. Getting a prime-time victory over Miami to improve to get back to .500 would go a long way toward redeeming that disappointing 0-2 start.

8. Los Angeles Rams (Last Week: 10)

The good news for the reigning Super Bowl champs is they haven't played anywhere near their best football in a single, sustained game and are still 2-1. No time like Monday night in San Francisco to do that and gain even more leverage in the NFC West and potentially own a two-game lead and a tiebreaker over the 49ers.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars (Last Week: 14)

Doug Pederson is such an upgrade over Urban Meyer. That Jags defense isn't messing around. I was pretty high on Jacksonville before its Week 1 loss to Washington, which gave me pause. Now it's like, "Holy shit!" following that 38-10 beatdown of the banged-up Chargers. Trevor Lawrence is a dark-horse MVP candidate, provided the Jags keep trending this way. Week 4's road trip to Philly will reveal a lot about this team.

6. Baltimore Ravens (Last Week: 9) 

Speaking of MVP candidates, Lamar Jackson may be coming for his second such award. Whatever question marks the Ravens have in the backfield, on the o-line or across their defense in general, Jackson is a game-breaker who can race to the end zone at any moment. It seems he has two legit weapons in tight end Mark Andrews and second-year wideout Rashod Bateman. That's enough for me to boost Baltimore into the top six.


5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Last Week: 4)

Mike Evans' suspension cost the Bucs a victory over Green Bay. Tom Brady can make it work with damn near anyone you throw out there, but even the GOAT has a limit. Mother Nature is threatening to move the Bucs away from their home stadium for Sunday's huge clash with Kansas City, yet even with a loss there, I still think as the year goes on and Tampa gets healthier, they'll prove to be a top-five team.

4. Kansas City Chiefs (Last Week: 2)

Few teams earn the benefit of the doubt with how volatile the NFL is. Kansas City is one of those select few. Not overreacting to that loss in Indy. It was a debacle. Stupid fake field goal, missed kick, bad late defense. You name it. The Chiefs suffered a classic letdown looking ahead to their Super Bowl rematch versus Tampa Bay.

3. Buffalo Bills (Last Week: 1)

The entire top three of these NFL power rankings comes from the Beasts of the EAST! No question who the top 2-1 team in football is. The Bills had so many injuries going into Miami and just didn't have enough juice to pull out the "W". I think they'll be eager for a rematch in Buffalo. Josh Allen is still incredible and can basically carry the offense by himself. I can't wait for that Ravens matchup on Sunday to see where both these teams are at.

2. Miami Dolphins (Last Week: 5)

Mike McDaniel. Total boss. But it was more about how Miami's defense held Buffalo to only 17 points on a whopping 90 plays. The fact is the Dolphins have faced three excellent defensive fronts to kick off the season. Although their D will be gassed in Cincinnati on Thursday, this might be the time where McDaniel's schematic prowess in the running game really shines through.

1. Philadelphia Eagles (Last Week: 3)

There's something to be said for dominating both sides of the line of scrimmage. Nobody's doing that better than the Eagles. This is also the first time since high school Jalen Hurts has played in the same offense for a second straight year. Looks to be working. With Philly's skill position talent, front seven defensive depth and overall swagger, you have to say they're the best team in the NFL through three weeks and that their 3-0 record isn't a mirage.

Twitter @MattFitz_gerald/TikTok