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NFL Power Rankings through Week 4

Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions deserve a thumbs up. But are they the best team through Week 4? (Photo courtesy of Yahoo! Sports)

Welcome to my NFL Power Rankings, where I rank all 32 teams from worst to first based on their performance through the first four weeks. Where do the resurgent Detroit Lions rank? How do the New England Patriots measure up against the rest of the competition? Be not afraid, SoB readers, I have all the answers waiting for you after the break.

So without further ado, my expert NFL Power Rankings through Week 4:

32.  St. Louis Rams (0-4)

Thanks to a rash of injuries to Sam Bradford, Steven Jackson, and last year’s leading receiver, Danny Amendola, the Rams failed to score more than 16 points in any of their first four games. So much for the Greatest Show on Turf.

31.  Miami Dolphins (0-4)

After working out Trent Edwards and Brodie Croyle as potential replacements for the injured Chad Henne, Tony Sparano signed the one and only Sage Rosenfels to take over at quarterback. And that was after he was turned down by his first choice, Jake Delhomme. Yikes.

30. Indianapolis Colts (0-4)

Originally, I listed the Colts dead last out of spite, but even the concussed corpse of Kerry Collins and Curtis Painter’s flowing, golden locks aren’t enough to make the Colts the worst team in the league.

29. Seattle Seahawks (1-3)

Seattle is a cursed city for professional sports franchises. Tarvaris Jackson is the starting quarterback. Can you say, “recipe for disaster?” Somehow, they still could defend last year’s division title. I hate the NFC West.

28. Denver Broncos (1-3)

Broncos fans are clamoring for their starting quarterback, Kyle Orton, to be replaced by Tim Tebow. Their third string quarterback. Who knew Josh McDaniels could leave behind such carnage?

27. Minnesota Vikings (0-4)

Donavon McNabb may be better off filming Campbell’s Chunky Soup commercials at this point in his career (averaging a pathetic 170 passing yards per game), but they still have one of the best running backs in the NFL. Enjoy that seven year extension, Adrian Peterson!

26. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-3)

The Jaguars now rely on the rookie Blaine Gabbert after Luke McCown threw almost as many interceptions (4) as completions (6) against the New York Jets on Sept. 18. David Garrard is at home laughing right now.

25. Arizona Cardinals (1-3)

What? Another NFC West team in the bottom quarter of the NFL? What? Kevin Kolb hasn’t solved the Cardinals woes? What? The Arizona defense is worse than miserable? Cue Weezer.

24. Kansas City Chiefs (1-3)

Torn ACLs took down tight end Tony Moeaki, star running back Jamaal Charles, and top defensive player Eric Berry. It sure showed when the Chiefs had a point differential of minus 79. Yowser! The 2010 AFC West Division Champs have played slightly better lately, losing by just three to the San Diego Chargers and beating the Minnesota Adrian Peterson’s, er, Vikings.

23. Carolina Panthers (1-3)

Cam Newton has exceeded everyone’s expectations, lighting up opposing defenses for 1,386 passing yards (the third best air attack in the NFL). You could argue that’s what a top draft pick is supposed to do, but either way, it seems the Panthers found their franchise quarterback (sorry, Jimmy Clausen).

22. Philadelphia Eagles (1-3)

The signing of Nnamdi Asomugha and the trade for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was supposed to make the Eagles defense the next best thing since Philly cheesesteaks. Instead, the Eagles have allowed 140 yards per game on the ground and 29 points in their three losses. Add in the NFC East competition and Vick’s inevitable injury, and it’s time to smell the coffee. Wake up, Philadelphia, the Dream Team is over!

21. Cleveland Browns (2-2)

Madden 2012 Cover Boy Peyton Hillis has rushed for 57, 94, and 46 yards in the three games he’s played. The curse lives on.

20. Cincinnati Bengals (2-2)

With an offense led by rookies A.J. Green, Andy “The Red Rifle” Dalton, and the incarcerated Cedric Benson, the Bengals rely on a surprising shutdown defense that held the high-flying Buffalo Bills to 20 points last week.

19. Atlanta Falcons (2-2)

They got creamed 30-12 by Jay Cutler in Week 1, needed a Michael Vick injury to win in Week 2, lost to their divisional rival in Week 3, and barely eeked out a win over the Seahawks last week, surrendering 28 points to Tarvaris and company. Last year’s NFC No. 1 seed does not look to have the wings to fly far in 2011.

18. Chicago Bears (2-2)

Last week, Matt Forte ran for over 200 yards. The week before, Jay Cutler led the team with a whopping 11 rushing yards. After four weeks, this team is still searching for its identity, flip-flopping worse than John Kerry.

17. New York Jets (2-2)

Mark Sanchez has given a new meaning to the term “Dirty Sanchez” through four games, so much so that Rex Ryan angrily declared that the Jets will return to their “Ground ‘N’ Pound” strategy to revamp a 30th-ranked rushing attack. Keep making those Super Bowl predictions, Rex.

16. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-2)

Speaking of faltering defenses, the Steelers all of a sudden look old and tired. A team known for pounding the ball and stopping the run, the Steelers currently rank 21st offensively and 22nd defensively when it comes to the running game.

15. Dallas Cowboys (2-2)

Tony Romo is the reason this team has won its two games, and why it lost two games, too. I tend to believe he’s going to lead the Cowboys to more wins than losses as the season progresses, mainly because he’s not dating Jessica Simpson anymore.

14. San Francisco 49ers (3-1)

Surprise! Alex Smith quarterbacks a winning team! He even orchestrated a quality comeback over the Eagles.

13. New York Giants (3-1)

Injuries struck the Giants like a plague of locusts, yet still the Giants find themselves in a tie for first place in the NFC East. I hate Eli Manning.

12. Oakland Raiders (2-2)

This team has the league’s leading ground game, led by Darren McFadden. In what seemed a lopsided loss to New England, the Raiders racked up over 500 yards of offense.  On the other hand, Al Davis still makes important personnel decisions.

11. Washington Redskins (3-1)

Washington has a top ten defense and a top ten corps of running backs, led by Tim Hightower. While Rex Grossman hasn’t done anything spectacular, he hasn’t been catastrophic either. The Redskins are in first place, and Sexy Rexy looks like a prophet.

10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-1)

I know it was against the Colts, but LeGarrette Blount was dragging three, four, five defenders an extra three, four, five yards. He was a beast. This is a young but talented team. Besides, if you hop on their bandwagon, it turns out it’s a pirate ship. How cool is that?

9. Buffalo Bills (3-1)

I never thought this team would be in first place in the AFC East after four weeks, but their quarterback and wide receivers have been prolific. Hey, Ryan Fitzpatrick, why don’t you go do something with your Harvard education other than beat the Patriots?  Smartypants.

8. Tennessee Titans (3-1)

The Titans are last in the league in rushing as Chris Johnson tries to make fans wish he were still holding out instead of $53 million richer. Luckily, Matt Hasselbeck has carried this team with a 104.7 passer rating (at least until his 36-year-old body inevitably breaks down).

7. Baltimore Ravens (3-1)

After dismantling Sanchez and the Jets, the Ravens should be higher on this list. But then Joe Flacco decided to go toe-to-toe with Sanchez in a battle to see which quarterback could flameout in a more epic fashion.

6. San Diego Chargers (3-1)

Normally the Chargers struggle out of the gate, but their only loss in September came against a Tom Brady masterpiece. Other than that, they’ve handled business against weaker competition.  Luckily, we can still count on Norv Turner to choke in the playoffs.

5. Houston Texans (3-1)

Is this the year the Texans are finally for real? They beat up the Steelers behind last year’s league-leading rusher Arian Foster. Will Andre Johnson’s injury hold them back? That’s where Wade Phillips steps in and says, “Don’t steal my thunder!”

4. New Orleans Saints (3-1)

The Saints haven’t missed a beat on offense behind Drew Brees, even with Marques Colston out for a couple of weeks. So besides the Green Bay Packers, who dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints? (I don’t get it either.)

3. New England Patriots (3-1)

I’m not trying to be a homer, I swear. Tom Terrific has played out of his mind, and the running game even showed up behind Stevan Ridley against the Raiders. The question remains if the defense can even stop a team in the Tiny Football League.

2. Detroit Lions (4-0)

You could argue the Lions resurgence has been thanks to Matthew Stafford being healthy. Or maybe their coach’s patented fist pump has motivational superpowers. I think it really comes down to one word: Megatronnnnnn!

1. Green Bay Packers (4-0)

The defending Super Bowl champions are undefeated. Need I say more? Okay, if you insist. Aaron Rodgers has thrown for 12 touchdowns with a 124.6 passer rating. He accounted for six total touchdowns last week (four passing, two rushing).  After four weeks, Rodgers and the Packers have earned that title belt.

 

About Nick Bohlen - @ndbohlen

Nick is an editor and regular contributor for the Patriots, Celtics, and Red Sox sections of SoB. (Despite growing up in Vermont, just a short drive from Canada, hockey never really caught on with him.) Follow him on twitter: @ndbohlen

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