NFL Power Rankings, Week 4 edition
Here they are, from No. 1 to No. 32, the top teams in the NFL. Call it the real referee edition …
1. Falcons (4-0): It keeps getting better for Matty Ice and Co. They finally played in a nail-biter and pulled it out in dramatic fashion. Backed up at his own 1-yard line, Matt Ryan hit Roddy White on a 59-yard bomb to set up the game-winning field goal. The last time Atlanta started this fast? In 2004, when they reached the NFC title game. These Falcons might be better — they have no quit, and that dome is a scary, scary place to play.
2. Texans (4-0): Granted it was Tennessee, but Texans’ defense (NFL’s top-ranked unit) is a one-man wrecking crew starring MVP candidate J.J. Watt. Wade Phillips was right, get his Canton bust ready.
3. 49ers (3-1): Run the ball. Play smothering defense. Throw in a wildcat play. Rinse. Repeat. The Niners only lose when they beat themselves.
4. Ravens (3-1): Joe Flacco declared himself a top-5 quarterback and he keeps stating a strong case for that. The defense isn’t what it used to be, but Ravens are resilient.
5. Cardinals (4-0): So much for Kevin Kolb as game manager. He chucked it up 48 times, including a 22-yard TD toss to win it with 22 seconds left. This might not be fool’s gold after all.
6. Bengals (3-1): Andy Dalton to AJ Green is as potent a 1-2 combo as any in football right now. Cincy has three straight wins and leads NFL in sacks (17).
7. Eagles (3-1): Call them the Fightin’ Forrest Gumps, like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get. Need to turn field goals into touchdowns in red zone.
8. Packers (2-2): Aaron Rodgers is starting to go into Hulk mode, looking stronger and stronger by the second. Plus, remember, the Pack is really 3-1.
9. NY Giants (2-2): Bit of a tumble after tough divisional defeat, a game they lost by about two yards and some questionable coaching decisions. NY fans already calling for Tom Coughlin’s head on Twitter.
10. Patriots (2-2): Who thinks Tom Brady is soft? F—k you bitches! Brady’s second-half performance — 199 yards passing and three touchdowns — was vintage Pats. Watch out.
11. Vikings (3-1): No one expected Adrian Peterson to be this healthy, this soon — and Vikes’ special teams is a weapon in itself. We told you to believe last week. Paying attention yet?
12. Bears (3-1): Jay Cutler is still throwing tantrums (this time at Mike Tice) but when he’s on, he’s on. Defense — while very good — can thank Tony Romo for a few freebies.
13. Chargers (3-1): Yet to beat what would be considered a legit “contender” (with wins over OAK, TEN, KC) but as long as Philip Rivers is under center, San Diego is in the conversation. They get winless Saints this week.
14. Broncos (2-2): It’s going to take a few more weeks for Peyton Manning to have this offense humming … however, that was a great preview, right?
15. Seahawks (2-2): Tough spot for Seattle after controversial win. Defense is great but it’s hard to overcome three turnovers. That’s on Russell Wilson.
16. Cowboys (2-2): You can blast Dez Bryant all you want for running bad routes (and he did). But this team isn’t going anywhere until Tony Romo puts his stamp on a game that matters.
17. Redskins (2-2): Skins easily could be 4-0, Robert Griffin III looks like he’s back at Baylor, willing this team to wins. Yes, DC, you have a quarterback.
18. Steelers (1-2): We’re keeping Pittsburgh at last week’s spot since they were on bye. Only fair. Besides, Troy Polamalu and James Harrison had a week to rest up.
19. NY Jets (2-2): We’ll repeat what we said last week, only with a different name. The Jets were a very flawed team with Santonio Holmes. Without him, watch them slip lower and lower.
20. Panthers (1-3): One Cam Newton fumble away from being that powerhouse Atlanta team on the road. Quarterback needs to do a better job handling adversity.
21. Rams (2-2): When was the last time a team named its kicker the MVP? That’s what’s happening in St. Louis where rookie Greg Zuerlein is 12-for-12, with a 60-yarder last week.
22. Bills (2-2): Despite leading by 14 points, Buffalo never had control. The Pats were just toying with them, playing sloppy football, and the Bills took advantage — for two-plus quarters, at least.
23. Lions (1-3): The Madden Curse has come to Motown, thanks Calvin Johnson, and the uber-talented Lions keep finding new ways to lose.
24. Dolphins (1-3): Throw the record out the window. Miami has been competing week in and week out. Ryan Tannehill — if he can cut down the picks — could be a franchise quarterback.
25. Buccaneers (1-3): Really bad breaks bound to happen with a young team. That’s three straight losses by a 5-point average margin of defeat. Rough.
26. Oakland (1-3): If the Raiders can get their starting corners back maybe, just maybe, they can improve. Enjoy the bye week, up next is a road date with Atlanta.
27. Chiefs (1-3): You’re not going to win many games in the National Football League when you turn it over six times. Chiefs have talent, time.
28. Saints (0-4): Sean Payton’s absence on the sideline could be the best argument that he’s the best coach in football. Like the Chiefs, too much talent, too much time.
29. Jaguars (1-3): Rashean Mathis and Eben Britton still searching for their jock straps. Jags are what they are — and that’s not very good.
30. Colts (1-2): Golden rule: Thou shalt not bump a team on a bye.
31. Tennessee (1-3): Jake Locker’s shoulder injury could be one that lingers all season. If that’s the case, might be time to start thinking about 2013.
32. Browns (0-4): Actually showed poise and potential vs. Ravens. Perhaps the future is bright in Cleveland.