NFL Power Rankings: Week 4

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Sports Desk

NFL POWER RANKINGS

The Appalachian Sports Desk will be releasing collaborative weekly NFL Power Rankings. The Appalachian sports reporters will be ranking NFL teams that will be averaged out to determine their rankings. Each writer will cover 2-3 teams and give their take on them.

This weeks biggest riser: Los Angeles Rams moved up 8

This weeks biggest drop: Tennessee Titans moved down 10

 

1. Kansas City Chiefs (4-0) (Last week: 1↔️)

While the score may show a nine-point Chiefs’ victory, their Monday Night Football matchup on ESPN came down to the leg of recently acquired kicker Harrison Butker. Butker’s 43-yard field goal with four seconds remaining in the game all but sealed the Chiefs’ comeback victory over the Redskins. Down 10-0 early, Kansas City struggled mightily to get their offense going. Late in the first half, Travis Kelce gave fans at Arrowhead Stadium some hope, snatching a 17-yard strike from Alex Smith. Wearing down an injury-plagued Washington defense, Kareem Hunt led the way on the ground, controlling the clock and giving the Kansas City defense time to rest. Sitting at 4-0, the Chiefs now sit as the only remaining undefeated team in the NFL, winning an astounding 26 of their last 30 regular season games.  -Tyler Hotz 

2. Atlanta Falcons (3-1) (Last week: 2↔️)

Key injuries as well as unfortunate turnovers led to Atlanta’s first loss of the season to the Buffalo Bills 23-17. Standout wide receivers such as Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu both exited the game early due to injury thus leaving Matt Ryan helpless in regards to a reliable downfield target. Thankfully, both injuries as not deemed serious. Yet again, Ryan turned the ball over by throwing two timely interceptions that crushed Atlanta’s slight momentum. To his defense, one of the interceptions was tipped into the defender’s hands. On the defensive side of the ball, the Falcons must force turnovers and capitalize on the miscues by producing points on the board. The Dirty Birds are currently minus four in the turnover differential. Atlanta, now 3-1, will look to get the losing taste out of their mouths after this week’s much needed bye when they host the 1-2 Miami Dolphins on Oct. 15. -Shane Harvell 

3. Green Bay Packers (3-1) (Last week: 4⬆️)

In what many consider the NFL’s oldest rivalry, the Chicago Bears fell to the Green Bay Packers thanks to an underwhelming performance on the offensive end. Aaron Rodgers and the high-flying Packers offense put up a solid four touchdowns against a respectable Chicago defense, two of which came from the fan favorite connection that is Jordy Nelson and Aaron Rodgers. Thanks to Mike Glennon, the Packers’ defense recovered four turnovers that directly lead to TDs on the offensive end. The Packers now lead pro football’s most storied rivalry of all time with a record of 95-94-6. -Garrett Wold

4. Detroit Lions (3-1) (Last week: 5 ⬆️)

The Lions are 3-1 and are one of the better teams in the league, but they are still lacking that signature win. They’ve beaten three subpar teams in the Cardinals, Giants and Vikings while controversially falling to the Falcons, the best team they’ve played. In Week 5, they will have a chance to knock off a tough team as they will host the Carolina Panthers, hot off a win over Brady and Belichick in Foxborough. If the Detroit defense can continue their strong play, force Cam Newton into some mistakes and try to add to their league leading 11 takeaways, they will have a chance to pick up that signature win over a top team. -Silas Albright

5. Denver Broncos (3-1) (Last week:8⬆️)

After a loss to the Bills, the Broncos bounced back with a divisional win over the Raiders. The Broncos defensively are the best in the league. Offensively, they looked about what you would expect. Not great, but not terrible. They are just good enough to win. I am high on the Broncos, they have potential but after the loss to the Bills, we will have to wait and see. The win against a good Raiders team (even though Carr got hurt) is a solid win, plus they are 3-1, so who is complaining? -Eric Jackson

6. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1) (Last week: 7⬆️)

Traveling to Baltimore is a daunting task for any NFL franchise, but for the Pittsburgh Steelers, it usually serves as one of the most pivotal matchups that determines the winner of the AFC North crown. Falling to Chicago on the road last week, the Steelers returned in dominant fashion, stomping their division rivals 26-9. Never trailing, Pittsburgh blanked the Ravens in the first half, entering halftime with a 19-0 lead thanks to touchdowns from Le’Veon Bell and JuJu Smith-Schuster. Bell served as the bell cow, carrying the ball 35 times from 144 yards and two touchdowns. While the Steelers probably want to limit his carries in the future, they will be pleased with the production their ground game gave them against a stout Baltimore defense. Next week, they return to Pittsburgh to battle the Jacksonville Jaguars, who fell victim to the Jets in overtime in Week 4. -Tyler Hotz

7. New England Patriots (2-2) (Last week: 3⬇️)

With a quarter of the season done in the NFL, the Patriots do not look like they will be repeating as champions. During all four weeks any quarterback that has wanted to, has been able to shred the mediocre defensive of the Patriots. If anyone can figure out how to fix these problems, it is Bill Belichick. That is why it is not yet time to panic for the Patriots. Other than that the Patriots offense looks good; Tom Brady is still putting up points with the best of them, he just needs a little help from the defensive side and the Patriots will be favorites once again.  -Michael Pigg

8.Philadelphia Eagles (3-1) (Last week: 11⬆️)

Philadelphia came into Week 4 with nothing but energy after winning a edge-of-your-seat OT game against the Giants, especially playing a dangerously inefficient Chargers team with a 0-3 record.  While Philly’s defense struggled and recorded zero turnovers for the first time this season, Carson Wentz, LeGarrette Blount and the Eagle’s offense more than made up for it, putting up 456 massive yards and a couple touchdowns to boot. The real difference in this game came from special teams, as Eagles kicker Jake Elliott went 4-4 in a perfect game, including a massive 53-yard screamer. The Eagles won this one 27-24. -Garrett Wold 

9. Los Angeles Rams (3-1) (Last week: 17⬆️)

Raise your hand if you thought the Rams would be 3-1 with one of the most dangerous offenses in the NFL. Yeah, me neither. The Rams continued their stellar play against the Cowboys in Week 4 and are the closest to the greatest show on turf that we’ve seen in a long time. Goff has made tremendous strides this season and put up another good performance with over 250 yards and two touchdowns. Along with the improved passing game, the running game has looked just as impressive. Todd Gurley put up another big day with 121 yards rushing and contributed with 94 yards receiving including an exciting 53 yard touchdown. The Rams are fun to watch again and Los Angeles is taking notice. -Aman Hyrams

10. Oakland Raiders (2-2) (Last week: 6⬇️)

The Raiders lost a tough game to the Broncos but that wasn’t their worst loss of the day. Star quarterback Derek Carr left the game with back spasms and will be out for anywhere from two to six weeks. This doesn’t help considering they haven’t been able to get anything from their running game in the past few weeks with Marshawn Lynch running for an uninspiring 12 yards against a stout Broncos’ front seven. There’s not much to say here with Derek Carr out of the equation, the Raiders will have to rally around E.J. Manuel if they want to get to the playoffs, if not, the Raiders may be in trouble this season. -Aman Hyrams

11. Carolina Panthers (3-1) (Last week: 18⬆️)

It was tied 3-3 during Sunday’s game in New England when Cam Newton did something that Panthers’ fans have seen all too often: throw into double-coverage deep down the field. Letting out a collective sigh, fans of the Black and Blue saw Newton picked off for the fourth time in less than six quarters of play. After Tom Brady marched down the field to take the advantage at 10-3, signs of the 2015 NFL MVP Newton reappeared. Leading the Panthers on a 27-6 scoring run from early in the second quarter to early in the game’s final period, Newton was nearly flawless. He finished the game with 360 total yards and four total touchdowns, showing the ability to push the ball down the field with his arm and pick up crucial first downs with his legs. Without a doubt, Newton was the storyline from Carolina’s 33-30 stunning win over the Patriots. For Panthers’ fans everywhere, they need to hope that this performance wasn’t an anomaly. -Tyler Hotz

12. Seattle Seahawks (2-2) (Last week: 15⬆️)

Seattle’s engine initially sputtered but would then go on cruise to a 46-18 victory over the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts were actually leading the Seahawks at the half by a score of 15-10. The game was arguably a must-win situation for Seattle in order to keep them from falling to 1-3 on the year, since the LA Rams currently led the NFC West. Russell Wilson was credited for 333 total yards and three touchdowns. The Seahawk’s offensive success literally revolves around the performance of Wilson. Statistically, Wilson has been one of the most pressured quarterbacks in the league. However, Seattle’s defense and special teams came to the rescue by scoring 28 of those 46 points on Sunday night. This week, the 2-2 Seahawks will travel to face the 3-1 LA Rams in a pivotal game for first place within the NFC West. -Shane Harvell

13. Buffalo Bills (3-1) (Last week: 20⬆️)

The Bills were able to knock off the Atlanta Falcons and they looked good in every aspect of the game. Tyrod Taylor was able to get the ball into the hands of the explosive playmaker LeSean McCoy and good things followed. The defensive was able to rattle Falcons’ quarterback Matt Ryan forcing an interception that ended any chance the Falcons had of winning that game. The Bills were running basic offensive plays such as a screen pass to McCoy and this caused Falcons problems, leading to big plays for the Bills. The Bills are currently 3-1 and lead the AFC East. Who would have thought? -Michael Pigg

14.Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1) (Last week: 10⬇️)

Man, Jameis Winston is a good quarterback; 22-38 for 332 yards and three TDs? I can dig that. What is concerning however is the fact that they relied on a game-winning field goal to beat the Giants. The Giants aren’t a great team, but they aren’t a bad one either. The Bucs play host to the Patriots next week. New England is in a bad place right now, and the Bucs can turn it into a major statement win. They’ll have Doug Martin back for the first time this season. Want to know who the Buccaneers are? We’ll all find out next week. -Ian Taylor

15. Houston Texans (2-2) (Last week: 16⬆️)

Wow, what an explosion from the Texans’ rook Deshaun Watson and offense; 57 points is the most the Texans have put up in a while, and the most points by an NFL since the Jags did it in 2015. Deshaun Watson proved he belonged as he broke out for five TDs against the Titans. The defense also chipped in with a pick-six. If this offense even play half as good as they did Sunday, watch out. An explosive offense, with that defense? We are talking possibly a Super Bowl run. But with a rookie QB, you may experience ups and downs, so do not take my word on that just yet. But the Texans certainly made the right decision in playing Watson. -Eric Jackson

16. Minnesota Vikings (2-2) (Last week: 12⬇️)

What else can go wrong for the Vikings? The injuries continue to pile up for them, they are already missing their starting quarterback and now they will be without rookie running back Dalvin Cook who tore his ACL. The Vikings looked like the sky was the limit Week 1 and now they might run out of players. With all that being said the Vikings were able to put up a fight against the Lions, but Matt Stafford proved to be too much and the Lions pulled out a 14-7 victory. If the Vikings can get either Sam Bradford or Teddy Bridgewater back in time then maybe they can make a push at a wild card spot. -Michael Pigg

17. Washington Redskins (2-2) (Last week: 13⬇️)

The Redskins played a really close game with the only remaining undefeated team on Monday night, putting up a strong showing and proving that their Week 3 upset of the Oakland Raiders was no fluke. Washington eventually fell to the Chiefs 29-20 in Arrowhead, but the game was much closer than the final score. The Chiefs forced a fumble on Washington’s last-second lateral play and ran it back for a touchdown as time expired. The Redskins led for the majority of the game and had a chance to score a touchdown on their second-to-last drive to go up by four but a drop in the end zone forced them to settle with a game-tying field goal. Kansas City got the ball with just 47 seconds left on the clock, marched right down the field and nailed the game-winner. The Redskins played well enough to beat the best team in football in one of the toughest places to play and although they came up short, they have nothing to hang their heads about. Silas Albright

18. Dallas Cowboys (2-2) (Last week: 10⬇️)

Dallas needs help on defense and they need it badly. Sean Lee, the leader of the defense and pretty much the whole defense itself was out and the Rams exploited that the best they could. Todd Gurley went off for 121 yards and led Los Angeles in receiving yards as well. The Dallas offense did fine and in fact even put together a nice drive at the end of the game, but a Lee-less defense didn’t stand a chance, which is not a good thing. In order for the Cowboys to have a shot at the playoffs, they need to better the defense and learn to play when Lee isn’t on the field. -Noah Gerringer 

19. Tennessee Titans (2-2) (Last week: 9⬇️)

OK, so the “Titans Hype Train” didn’t have the longest run. Tennessee ended up on the wrong end of a Texans’ statement win. The Texans are a good team, but the Titans are supposed to be just as good if not a little better. A 57-14 loss does not even show that you are a contender, let alone a good team. The Titans were a mess, but the worst part is Mariota’s injury. He’ll be day-to-day with a hamstring injury, which is the nice way to say that he hurt his hamstring and God knows how long he’ll be out. Good news though, they signed Brandon Weedon as insurance. Because, you know, when your Porsche is in the shop, get a Pinto as a backup.-Ian Taylor

20. New Orleans Saints (2-2) (Last week: 22⬆️)

The Saints were supposed to win this game. I mean, it was just the Dolphins. So I’m not impressed by this win. I’m not impressed mostly because they only scored three points against Miami in the first half. The defense managed a shutout which is great and all but again, it was just the Dolphins. All-in-all you have to give the Saints a little credit for winning the game. However, if they want to continue to win games then they need to step it up another level on both sides of the ball. Only scoring three points against one of the worst teams in the league is not what you want to see out of the Saints, especially when Adrian Peterson is one of your running backs; What’s he up to anyways? -Noah Gerringer

21. Arizona Cardinals (2-2) (Last week: 24⬆️)

A win is a win no matter how ugly it might have been. The Cardinals, now 2-2, won 18-15 in overtime last week against the 0-4 San Francisco 49ers. With only 32 seconds left on the clock, Larry Fitzgerald hauled in the game-winning touchdown pass Carson Palmer to effectively seal the deal. Arizona was able to rush for a mere 51 total yards. Hey, it’s two more whole yards than the week prior. The Cardinal’s running game is officially nonexistent when premium running back David Johnson is not present in the lineup. Along with the defense, Arizona currently relies on a 37-year-old quarterback for success. Palmer threw for 357 yards and a touchdown against the 49ers. However, the offensive line gave up six defensive sacks. Palmer has now been sacked 12 times in the last two games alone. The Cards travel to the city of brotherly love this week to face the 3-1 Philadelphia Eagles. -Shane Harvell

22. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-2) (Last week: 21⬇️)

The Jags came into Week 4 with momentum to spare after some impressive wins on the road and a blowout victory overseas. Leonard Fournette came out of the gate swinging, scoring his first career passing TD and setting a new Jaguars franchise record for opening drive touchdowns at six. Following a Jets’ touchdown and a field goal for both teams, New York heated up, scoring 10 unanswered points, putting them up 20-10. After an incredible fumble return for a TD by Myles Jacks, Jacksonville found themselves in a one possession game with not a lot of room to work.  Thanks to an interception by A.J. Bouye, the Jags were able to get off a 30-yard field goal to send the game into overtime. New York proved they had the most stamina after finally kicking a 41-yard bomb to give the Jets the win. -Garrett Wold

23. Baltimore Ravens (2-2) (Last week: 19⬇️)

The Ravens had another rough week, losing to their rival Pittsburgh Steelers at home, 26-9. Baltimore’s offensive woes continue, unable to find the end zone until late in the third quarter, their second touchdown in as many games. Leading rusher Alex Collins gained 82 yards on nine carries but lost a fumble, one of three for the Ravens on the day, while Buck Allen and Terrance West combined for no gain on six carries. Quarterback Joe Flacco threw two interceptions and produced a rating of only 18.7. Baltimore’s defense, which can be very productive when healthy, hit Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger seven times and snagged one interception, but was gassed early due to the team’s offensive struggles, illustrated in allowing only three points in the first quarter but 16 in the second. The Ravens will need some serious turnaround offensively if the want to beat Oakland in Week 5. -Brooks Maynard

24. Cincinnati Bengals (1-3) (Last week: 28⬆️)

Yes, I know it was just against the Browns so I won’t get too excited BUT Andy Dalton is alive! He went 25 for 30 and had four touchdowns. FOUR! Not only that, but he connected with running back Giovani Bernard, who has also been absent, for a 61-yard touchdown pass. Dalton was able to spread the ball around and, for the most part, was able to do what he wanted. However, spreading the ball around is not what A.J. Green wants and is probably not the best game plan. Next week, they play a very good Bills team and Green has to get involved if they want to have a shot. A little 7- yard touchdown pass is not going to beat a team that took down the Broncos and Falcons in back-to-back weeks. -Noah Gerringer

25. Chicago Bears (1-3) (Last week: 27⬆️)

Well I guess it’s finally Trubisky time. After putting up a less than spectacular performance against the long-time rivals Green Bay Packers, coach Fox finally decided to pull the trigger on the one-year starter Mitch Trubisky. Glennon put up only 218 passing yards against the Packers and accounted for four of the Bear’s turnovers with two fumbles and two interceptions. The stats aren’t even the teller for how the Bear’s season has gone; if you watch the offense, you can tell they need a spark and Fox hopes Trubisky can be that spark. Aside from the quarterback play, the running game couldn’t get anything going. Jordan Howard ran for 2.9 yards per carry behind a struggling offensive line. The defense wasn’t too much more encouraging for the Bears, allowing Aaron Rodgers to carve them up to the tune of four touchdowns. The Bears will be on Primetime next week against the Vikings on Monday Night Football and we’ll see if they can get back on track. -Aman Hyrams

26. Miami Dolphins (1-2) (Last week: 25⬇️)

Before the start of their London game against the Saints, the Dolphins had already traveled over 1,000 miles in just three weeks. That’s not only the most for any team in the league, it’s just a crazy number. They should redeem those frequent-flyer miles for consistency, or a quarterback. Good ol’ Smokin’ Jay Cutler is half a drag away from losing his job, probably for the better, and it doesn’t appear that any player is playing too well around him. Tannehill isn’t coming back anytime this year and there will be no stability at quarterback for the the rest of the season, so why not look at other options? Alternatively, keep Cutler, but play for the pick. There’s no wrong options here, but no good ones either.Ian Taylor

27. New York Jets (2-2) (Last week: 31⬆️)

The Jets improved to 2-2 on the season with an overtime win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Running back Bilal Powell was the bright spot of the day, rushing for 163 yards on 21 carries, good for 7.8 yards per touch. These numbers were padded however by a Jaguars’ defensive blunder, allowing Powell to get up for a 75-yard touchdown run after he tripped with the ball with no contact, and the Jags’ team somehow forgot a player must be down by contact in the NFL. Quarterback Josh McCown completed 71 percent of his passes but threw one interception and no touchdowns while losing a fumble, good for a rating of 20.9, which was 16 points worse than his defeated opponent, Blake Bortles. The Jets’ defensive numbers were down this week, allowing nearly 100 more offensive yards than in Week 3. It will most likely be an ugly one in Week 5 when they take on the Cleveland Browns. -Brooks Maynard 

28. Indianapolis Colts (1-3) (Last week: 29⬆️)

The Colts played pretty well on Sunday night against Seattle for the first half at least. Indianapolis actually took a 15-10 lead into the locker room at halftime before getting humiliated in the second half 36-3. Not being able to put together four solid quarters of football has been a theme so far for the Colts. Even though they escaped with a three-point victory over the Browns in Week 3, they got outscored 14-3 in the second half by the Cleveland Browns. The defense for the Colts has allowed less than 28 points just once so far, pair that with a 31st in the league 265.8 yards of total offense per game and the outcome is, well, one of the worst teams in the league. It looks like Colts fans are in for a long year. -Silas Albright

29. New York Giants (0-4) (Last week: 23⬇️)

Prior to the season, who would have thought the Giants would be one of the last four teams remaining without a win? Yep, the Giants are an appalling 0-4. For the second-straight week, New York lost on a game winning field goal by the opposing team. First Philly, now Tampa. The Giants have scored over 20 points in two straight weeks, but their run game is non-existent, and their expensive defensive line is falling apart. Eli Manning leads the team in rushing touchdowns, yes, Eli Manning. Rattled by injuries this past week, the Giants went from having Super Bowl expectations, to looking at a possible top five draft pick. New York does play the Chargers next week, who are also winless, so hey, one of them has to win. Right? -Jason Huber

30. Los Angeles Chargers (0-4) (Last week: 26⬇️)

Everyone is used to the Browns being the laughing stock of the league. But hey, at least the Browns can get fans and are used to losing. The Chargers may be in the running to take the crown of the most embarrassing NFL team. Philip Rivers played well this week after an awful performance against the Chiefs last week, but once he played well, the rest of the team was a no-show. Melvin Gordon is ailing and hasn’t contributed, and Los Angeles is now looking to make changes on both sides of the ball aside from Rivers. When your home crowd that barely has anyone there boos you, there is a problem. The problem is the Chargers and Commissioner Roger Goodell was in attendance to watch it all. Go back to San Diego and rebuild. -Jason Huber

31. San Francisco 49ers (0-4) (Last week: 30⬇️)

As predicted, the 49ers tasted victory this week against the hurting Arizona Cardinals, though maybe not because they played great. They took the game all the way to overtime but lost in stunning fashion on a leaping 19-yard Palmer-to-Fitzgerald touchdown pass. Quarterback Brian Hoyer had another rough week, completing less than half of his passes and throwing one interception. Leading rusher Carlos Hyde gained only 68 yards on 16 carries and lost a fumble. But as their luck would have it, the Cardinals played almost as bad with quarterback Carson Palmer producing a rating about 20 points higher but for only 42.6 and leading rusher Chris Johnson averaging only 2.5 yards per carry. Palmer’s prayer to Fitzgerald with 32 seconds left was the only touchdown scored by either team. 49ers’ kicker Robbie Gould had a good day, going five for five on field goal attempts, including a 49-yarder. San Francisco may have another chance at a win this week as they take on the woeful Indianapolis Colts but will need better than five field goals if they want to break their losing streak. -Brooks Maynard

32. Cleveland Browns (0-4) (Last week: 32↔️)

I mean, there is not much to say here. Like I have said the past couple weeks, they will not be winning anytime soon. It may be one or two years before they even get above .500 (maybe more.) In a loss to the Bengals, the team did not look good. Let’s face it, the Browns just are not a good team. But hey, they have a bright future! Eric Jackson 

Rankings By: Jason Huber, Brooks Maynard, Tyler Hotz, Silas Albright, Eric Jackson, Shane Harvell, Aman Hyrams, Michael Pigg, Ian Taylor, Noah Gerringer and Garrett Wold