NFL Power Rankings: Cowboys, Packers, Ravens, Chargers climb - Metro US

NFL Power Rankings: Cowboys, Packers, Ravens, Chargers climb

Percy Harvin NFL Power Rankings Seahawks Percy Harvin and the Seahawks maintain their top position. Credit: Getty Images

1. Seattle Seahawks (2-1): Interesting to note that our top four teams from last week remain in that order this week. The reason? All four (Seattle, Denver, Cincinnati and Arizona) had byes. After that, however, there’s been great upheaval. As for the Seahawks: they play at Washington on Monday night, off the bye. That’s a half a month (15 days) between games for the champs.

2. Denver Broncos (2-1): The Broncos will host the undefeated Cardinals this Sunday, in what could be a Super Bowl preview. Picking nits here, but it would be nice if the Broncos could get Demaryius Thomas going. He has just 141 yards receiving total so far.

3. Cincinnati Bengals (3-0): How do the Bengals gain more respect in these rankings? Easy. Knock off the limping Patriots this Sunday night in Foxboro. While that may seem easy given the way New England looked Monday night, it’s sasquatch-sighting rare that the Pats put together back-to-back losses.

4. Arizona Cardinals (3-0): The Cardinals could also make a huge leap here next week if they were to knock off Denver. The quarterback situation remains strange. Bruce Arians said that they would have “liked to have seen a little more” from Carson Palmer during the bye week. All signs put to Peyton Manning vs. Drew Stanton as of this moment.

5. San Diego Chargers (3-1): Jacksonville actually led the Chargers midway through the second quarter Sunday, but San Diego predictably cruised in the second half. It was nice to see Keenan Allen get into the mix offensively as he caught 10 balls for 135 yards against the Jags.

6. Baltimore Ravens (3-1): It wasn’t too long ago that Baltimore was a candidate to go 3-13 this season as it lost to the Bengals in Week 1, had the Ray Rice second video scandal break, and faced a short week before playing the rival Steelers on a Thursday night. The Ravens now look like a legit Super Bowl contender after eviscerating the Panthers.

7. Philadelphia Eagles (3-1): Nick Foles’ quarterback rating against the Niners on Sunday? A cool 42.3. That’s hard to do. And LeSean McCoy’s rush yardage total has been held to less than 25 yards in back-to-back weeks, bottoming out with his 17-yard performance in San Fran.

8. Detroit Lions (3-1): How good does the Golden Tate pickup look right about now? With Calvin Johnson dinged up, Tate stepped right in and caught 116 of Matthew Stafford’s 293 passing yards against the Jets. And Detroit’s 19-7 Week 3 win over Green Bay looks a lot more impressive now as well, given what the Packers did on offense in Week 4.

9. Green Bay Packers (2-2): Marching into Soldier Field and pinning 38 points on the board against a Bears defense ain’t what it used to be, but Aaron Rodgers certainly looked like an MVP-caliber player this past Sunday. Rodgers finished with a 151.2 rating on the day, throwing four touchdowns without a pick.

10. Dallas Cowboys (3-1): We just couldn’t put the Cowboys in the single digits here. Their 3-1 record is certainly a surprise given their Week 1 home loss to San Francisco, but they’ve beaten the Titans, Rams and Saints – teams with a combined record of 3-8 this season. Dallas has another winnable game this Sunday as it hosts the Texans.

11. Houston Texans (3-1): The Texans are much like their aforementioned Texas neighbor in that they seem like a team that could go on a four or five game losing streak at moment’s notice despite their strong record through one month. Houston has beaten Washington, Oakland and Buffalo this season – teams with a combined record of 3-9 this year.

12. Indianapolis Colts (2-2): The Colts are perfectly average through four games. They’ve scored 40-plus points against dregs like the Jags and Titans but couldn’t hang with high-scoring teams like Denver and Philadelphia. The defense held both the Jags and Titans to 17 points but allowed 31 and 30 points, respectively, to Denver and Philadelphia.

13. Kansas City Chiefs (2-2): Mark it down. The Chiefs were the first team in history to force Bill Belichick to bench Tom Brady due to performance. The Pats had to have known that Jamaal Charles and Knile Davis would be getting the ball. But despite that knowledge, New England didn’t even come close to stopping the Chiefs’ rushing attack.

14. San Francisco 49ers (2-2): The 49ers still have enough talent that despite any controversy, they’ll still grab wins. NFL Network’s Deion Sanders said that sources told him that 49ers players want head coach Jim Harbaugh out as head coach. Harbaugh obviously tried to downplay the story, but it’s something to keep an eye on.

15. Carolina Panthers (2-2): Steve Smith Sr. warned the Panthers in the offseason that when he faced them that they better “put goggles on, because there’s going to be blood and guts everywhere.” Guy is a damn prophet.

16. Miami Dolphins (2-2): Joe Philbin should question Ryan Tannehill every week. The Dolphins quarterback had his best game of the season this past Sunday in a win over the Raiders, throwing for 278 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

17. Atlanta Falcons (2-2): Remember last week when everyone was still buzzing about the Falcons’ explosiveness after they hung 56 points on the Buccaneers? Well, they had the ultimate let-down game after that high, losing to the blah Vikings, 41-28, in Minnesota.

18. Buffalo Bills (2-2): It seems like a decade ago that the Bills were the feel-good story in the league. Did they panic this week in benching E.J. Manuel in favor of Kyle Orton? Seems like a patchwork move from Doug Marrone, who is in full “save my own ass” mode.

19. New York Giants (2-2): The 2014 New York Giants are the best evidence yet for why you should never gamble on the NFL. Eli Manning’s QB rating in the first two games: 53.0 and 83.0. His rating in the last two games: 123.2 and 117.5.

20. New England Patriots (2-2): A month ago, crazies would call Boston sports radio stations and rave about Jimmy Garoppolo and how he was the “fut-cha!” They were quickly hung up on. They called back on Tuesday morning, and the hosts listened.

21. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-2): Looking at the box score from the Steelers’ horrible loss to the Buccaneers, one would expect to see at least an average game from Ben Roethlisberger. That was not the case. Big Ben still threw for 314 yards and three touchdowns without being picked off. Weird.

22. Chicago Bears (2-2): As has been the case for I don’t know how long in Chicago, just when you want to trust the Bears they go and poop on a pylon. The Bears shouldn’t be losing to anyone at home by 21 points, let alone a previously-unimpressive Packers team.

23. Minnesota Vikings (2-2): The Vikings received more bad news last week when it was learned that tight end Kyle Rudolph would be on the shelf for a while. They responded with a highly impressive victory, roughing up the Falcons thanks to the rushing attack of Jerick McKinnon, Matt Asiata and Teddy Bridgewater.

24. Cleveland Browns (1-2): We missed the Browns last Sunday. We really did. Don’t be surprised if this likeable group goes on a run this next month. Their next five opponents: Titans, Steelers, Jaguars, Raiders, Buccaneers.

25. St. Louis Rams (1-2): The Rams are not nearly as fortunate as the Browns, schedule-wise, as their next eight weeks look like this: at Philly, vs. San Fran, vs. Seattle, at Kansas City, at San Fran, at Arizona, vs. Denver, at San Diego. G’ damn that’s rough.

26. New Orleans Saints (1-3): It’s easy to point the finger at the quarterback when a team gets off to a bad start, but Drew Brees really hasn’t been that bad. We swear. That defense on the other hand? Yucky.

27. New York Jets (1-3): Props to Rex Ryan for sticking it out with Geno Smith and not pulling a Doug Marrone. There was a time in this league when highly drafted quarterbacks early in their second season were given some leeway.

28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-3): Mike Glennon isn’t going to win the Bucs the Super Bowl anytime soon, but he is great as a short-term fixer-upper. Glennon threw for 302 yards and two touchdowns and was only picked off once in the Bucs’ upset win over the Steelers.

29. Tennessee Titans (1-3): Do you know who Andrew Catalon is? He is a play-by-play man for the NFL on CBS and covers the sixth worst game on the CBS slate each week. In other words, he’s basically the Titans play-by-play man for 2014.

30. Washington Redskins (1-3): Someone put a body on that Larry Donnell guy!

31. Oakland Raiders (0-4): You never like to see anyone fired, as Dennis Allen was Tuesday. We can only hope that Tony Sparano gets the call to take over in the interim. Guy was born to be head coach of the Raiders.

32. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-4): A moral victory for hanging with the Chargers early last Sunday.

Follow Metro Boston sports editor Matt Burke on Twitter: @BurkeMetroBOS

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