The NFL season is four weeks in. After a wacky Week 3, Week 4 provided some normalcy with the New England Patriots bouncing back with a 38-7 win over the Miami Dolphins. The impressive win let the Dolphins and the rest of the AFC East know who is still the king of the division.
Thursday Night Football provided another thriller and possible preview of the NFC Championship Game as Jared Goff outdueled Kirk Cousins to lead the Los Angeles Rams to a 38-31 win over the Minnesota Vikings. Monday Night Football tried its best to duplicate Thursday’s game, as Patrick Mahomes willed the Kansas City Chiefs from a 10-point, fourth quarter deficit to stun the Denver Broncos 27-23 in the Mile High.
Even Ryan Fitzpatrick returned to normalcy as it appears he has fizzled out, getting benched at halftime of a 48-10 drubbing at the hands of the Chicago Bears, who were led by their quarterback Mitchell Trubisky’s six touchdown passes. Jon Gruden finally got in the win column in his second stint with the Oakland Raiders, as they outlasted the Cleveland Browns in an overtime shootout 45-42. The Raiders’ win means there will be a new No. 32 for the second straight week.
Meanwhile the “Upset of the Week” belonged to the Tennessee Titans who rallied from down a 17-3 third quarter deficit to eventually clip the the Philadelphia Eagles in overtime behind Marcus Mariota’s walk-off touchdown pass to Corey Davis.
32. Arizona Cardinals (0-4) – Last Week: 31 ⬇️
Finally, the Cardinals are the holders of the No. 32 spot. Thr holders of the previous two weeks have earned their first win of the season. But watching the Cardinals, it’s hard to see them continuing the trend anytime soon.
31. Buffalo Bills (1-3) – LW: 28 ⬇️
The Bills were not going to catch the Packers napping after they defeated the Vikings a week ago. The Bills are back to being one of the worst teams in the NFL after getting shut out by Green Bay on Sunday. Quarterback Josh Allen looked much like a rookie, throwing for a pedestrian 151 yards and two interceptions. At least they got their win out of the way.
30. San Francisco 49ers (1-3) – LW: 30 ↔️
Quarterback C.J. Beathard was not half bad in his first start of the season in place of Jimmy Garoppolo — 23-of-37 for 298 yards and two touchdowns against two interceptions vs. the Chargers. And his connection with former Iowa teammate tight end George Kittle could be promising for the 49ers down the line.
29. New York Giants (1-3) – LW: 27 ⬇️
Eli Manning is the Giants biggest hold up. He is missing wide open receivers with his reads and his wild uncatchable passes. Despite having Saquon Barkley and Odell Beckham, the Giants offense is stale and it all starts with Manning.
28. New York Jets (1-3) – LW 24 ⬇️
Good news is that Sam Darnold didn’t throw an interception. However, he didn’t throw much at all. Despite 34 attempts, Darnold only mustered 167 passing yards against the most feared defense in the NFL in the Jaguars. Meanwhile, a Jets defense that was supposed to carry the team has been in a funk as of late. Giving up nearly 400 yards to Blake Bortles proves that notion.
27. Oakland Raiders (1-3) – LW: 32 ⬆
Finally Derek Carr got going with four touchdown passes against a respectable Browns defense nevertheless. Jon “Chucky” Gruden can finally smile as he gets the monkey off his back with his first win in his Raiders 2.0 stint.
26. Houston Texans (1-3) – LW: 29 ⬆
The Houston Texans should send a ‘Thank You’ card addressed to Colts head coach Frank Reich for gift-wrapping their first win of the season. To their credit, the Texans finally didn’t get outscored in the first quarter and forced to play catch-up. Now they have to build off the win.
25. Detroit Lions (1-3) – LW: 25 ↔️
A week after shutting down the Patriots offense, the Lions defense was unable to stop the Dallas Cowboys offense. Last week I posed the question if Lions defense could repeat their performance against the Patriots against a team head coach Matt Patricia didn’t coach 14 seasons with? I guess not.
24. Dallas Cowboys (2-2) – LW: 26 ⬆
The Cowboys smartly went through its premier running back Ezekiel Elliott. He finished as the Cowboys’ leading rusher and receiver on Sunday in their win over the Lions. He touched the ball 29 times rushing for 152 yards while adding 88 receiving yards and a touchdown. The more he gets going the more of a game manager Dak Prescott can be.
23. Indianapolis Colts (1-3) – LW: 19 ⬇️
No matter how Reich tries to spin it, his decision to go for it on 4th down on his own 42-yard line in overtime is one of the more baffling decisions in recent NFL history. And his explanation was just as dumbfounding. He is not going to play for a tie. He does know a tie is better than a loss, right?
22. Cleveland Browns (1-2-1) – LW: 22 ↔️
Browns were so close to getting back-to-back wins for the first time since 2014. Unfortunately, an erroneous call cost them victory as it sure seems as if Raiders quarterback Derek Carr fumbled as the referees blew the play dead. Nonetheless, Baker Mayfield’s insertion into the lineup has made the Browns’ offense explosive.
21. Seattle Seahawks (2-2) – LW: 23 ⬆
The Seahawks won for the second consecutive week, however, the headlines belong to the disgruntled safety Earl Thomas. Thomas suffered a broken leg in the win after holding out for a new contract or trade — he received neither. A relationship that was already strained certainly is irreparable now, especially after it appeared Thomas gave his sideline nice parting salute as he was carted off the field.
20. Los Angeles Chargers (2-2) – LW: 21 ⬆
The Chargers move to Los Angeles has been a nightmare for the franchise. They no longer have a home field advantage and that affects the play on the field. In normal circumstances the 49ers shouldn’t have been able to hang with them like they did. Doubt owner Dean Spanos has any regrets of essentially forcing a move to L.A.
19. Denver Broncos (2-2) – LW: 20 ⬆
Case Keenum had Demaryius Thomas on what would have been a go-ahead touchdown with 22 seconds remaining, however, he missed, and the Broncos missed a golden opportunity to pull off the huge win. Instead, Denver will have to look for answers after blowing a 23-13 fourth quarter lead against the Chiefs.
18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-2) – LW: 6 ⬇️
The furthest drop this week belongs to the Buccaneers. Can’t be beaten by 38 points, giving up six touchdown passes to Trubisky and not be hit hard for it. The Buccaneers defense is horrendous and throw in the fact that they have the quarterback controversy of the season, the team is trending in the wrong direction after a strong start.
17. Miami Dolphins (3-1) – LW: 15 ⬇️
The Dolphins failed to pass their first difficult test of the season, as they were pummeled by their nemesis, the Patriots. A loss doesn’t hurt, but a 31-point loss crushes the mental of a team, knowing they cannot get over the hump. Can the Dolphins shake one loss off remains to be seen.
16. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-2-1) – LW: 11 ⬇️
They need Le’Veon Bell, no if, and, or buts about it. He opens up the offense so much with defense needing to account for him. Right now without him, Big Ben has become more of “Pick Ben” and Antonio Brown is being shadowed so much he is not a factor. And all because of the absence of one man.
15. Washington Redskins (2-1) – LW: 16 ⬆️
A bye week leaves the Redskins in first place of the NFC East. The question is who are they? Their identity is still a mystery. Maybe we’ll get a glimpse Monday night as they travel to the Bayou in a showdown of first-place teams against the Saints.
14. Atlanta Falcons (1-3) – LW: 14 ↔️
Hearing the grumblings now, the Falcons still a top-14 team? Yes, they have had the most difficult schedule of any team in the NFL — at Eagles, Panthers, Saints, Bengals — to go along with a string of injuries on defense. But the schedule is about to lighten up and don’t be surprise if the Matty Ice and his star-studded offense rip off a series of wins. Again, I still believe they have more talent on offense than the Rams do.
13. Chicago Bears (3-1) – LW: 18 ⬆
It was expected that the Bears defense would put an end to FitzMagic, but I did not see Trubisky hanging six touchdown passes, even if it was against the NFL’s worst secondary. Getting that kind of production at QB with a defense led by a monster in Khalil Mack — had his fourth straight game with a sack and forced fumble — could carry the Bears a long way.
12. Baltimore Ravens (3-1) – LW: 17 ⬆️
I’ve been asking to see more out of the Baltimore Ravens, and they showed a glimpse of more with an impressive win over the Steelers. Joe Flacco commanded the passing game and that’s huge to see because Flacco hasn’t always been on point since the Super Bowl run — six seasons ago. Maybe having Lamar Jackson over his shoulders sparked him?
11 Green Bay Packers (2-1-1) – LW: 13 ⬆️
With their hangover finished from two weeks ago from their rumble with the Vikings, the Packers rebounded against the woeful Bills with a shutout win. The shutout was a pleasant surprise for a defense that has struggled early on in the season, even if it was against the Bills.
10. Minnesota Vikings (1-2-1) – LW: 8 ⬇️
Cousins proved against a loaded Rams defense he was worth every penny the Vikings spent on him (422 yards and three touchdowns). However, Minnesota is still 1-2-1 on the season after its defense got hammered for 556 yards by Goff and the Rams. Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer was not pleased, but the defense can be fixed, its the same core from a season ago that finished No. 1 in the league. A tough sequence of games early, just wait, the Vikings will catch fire.
9. Philadelphia Eagles (2-2) – LW: 4 ⬇️
Philadelphia is getting the best shots of everyone, and on Sunday the Titans just were more durable. But Carson Wentz is still getting the rust off, and while they don’t currently sit in first place of the NFC East, they’re still the team to beat in the division.
8. New England Patriots (2-2) – LW: 10 ⬆
Never count out the G.O.A.T. Tom Brady and the Patriots offense got back on track with a statement win over the Dolphins. And they did so without Rob Gronkowski. Meanwhile, they discovered how good rookie running back Sonny Michel can be.
7. New Orleans Saints (3-1) – LW: 9 ⬆️
Drew Brees and the Saints had their first outdoor taste of the season and they eventually survived it, topping the Giants. It took about three quarters but the offense finally proved it can be explosive on grass as Alvin Kamara took over the game late to push the Saints to victory. And what’s crazy the offense may get even better as running back Mark Ingram returns from his four-game suspension.
6. Cincinnati Bengals (3-1) – LW: 7 ⬆
The Bengals continue to justify my early confidence in the team. My dark horse of the AFC North have survived a tough four-game slate to start the season. Andy Dalton put the Bengals on his back and went blow-for-blow against Ryan and the Falcons, pulling off the win with his late touchdown pass to A.J. Green with seven seconds remaining to cap the 37-36 win.
5. Carolina Panthers (2-1) – LW: 5 ↔️
The Panthers had the dreaded early bye, and will get ready for 13 straight uninterrupted games starting with the Giants as part of a three-week tour through the NFC East.
4. Tennessee Titans (3-1) – LW: 12 ⬆
It’s time to put some respect on the Titans name and its quarterback Marcus Mariota. After a difficult Week 1 loss at Miami that was highlighted by Mariota suffering an elbow injury and the multiple weather delays, the Titans have not lost a game. Three straight wins that include wins over the Jaguars and now the Wentz-led Eagles.
3. Kansas City Chiefs (4-0) – LW: 6 ↔️
Mahomes is on an historic tear to start the season. In his toughest test thus far, he answered the bell delivering on the final two drives by going 16-of-20 and leading the Chiefs to two scores, erasing a 10-point fourth quarter deficit. Kansas City is now one of two undefeated teams remaining and they have themselves a young star in the making at quarterback.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-1) – LW: 2 ↔️
When the Jaguars are not playing the Titans, can they be beat? The Jaguars defense has been stellar all year, but Blake Bortles got back on track in Sunday’s win over the Jets, throwing for 388 yards and two touchdowns (one interception) and that was with no running game to speak off as Leonard Fournette continues to be hampered by a hamstring.
1. Los Angeles Rams (4-0) – LW: 1 ↔️
Can the Rams be beat? Running back Todd Gurley seems to think they cannot. That remains to be seen, but after scoring 30 or points for four straight games to start the season, it’s hard to see any team keep up with them. And that’s after seeing arguably the most explosive offense besides the Rams — the Vikings — fall just short.