NFL 2010 Week 4 Power Rankings

October 5, 2010

It appears that parity in the NFL is more prevalent than ever, as four weeks into the 2010 season, no clear favorite has emerged. Rebuilding Kansas City remains the league's only undefeated squad, but with a road game at Indianapolis next week, that could very well change.

The rankings below do not depend solely on won-loss records, but are instead based on a variety of factors, including the talent of the personnel, strength of schedule, and current team performance.

Here are our Power Rankings after Week 4:

 1. Baltimore Ravens (3-1)

With victories over both the Jets and the Steelers, the Ravens have done enough to earn the top spot. The D remains solid, even without Ed Reed, and Joe Flacco continues to show growth at quarterback. Receiver Anquan Boldin truly has upgraded the Ravens' attack, as he has proven to be one of the league's best offseason additions.

2. New York Jets (3-1)

Coach Rex Ryan has the J-E-T-S rolling after an early loss to Baltimore. LaDainian Tomlinson apparently has found the fountain of youth, as his 19-carry, 133-yard performance against Buffalo exhibited the same type of quickness and burst that he showed in San Diego.

Quarterback Mark Sanchez has learned quickly in his second season, playing mistake-free football, and letting his supporting cast do the heavy lifting. That cast will get a further boost this week with the addition of playmaking wideout Santonio Holmes to the lineup.

3. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1)

Troy Polamalu and the defense have kept the Steelers afloat while the team awaited Ben Roethlisberger's return from suspension. Now Big Ben is back and the team has a bye week to prepare for its next game. That should mean improved production for an offense which generated only 210 total yards in a narrow loss to the Ravens.

4. Atlanta Falcons (3-1)

This young team is learning how to win, as seen by their two late-game victories over the 49ers and the Saints. Matt Ryan is off to a good start this year, and with the Browns coming up next on the schedule, everything is rosy in the ATL.

5. New England Patriots (3-1)

Defensive back Patrick Chung was a force of nature in the Patriots win last night against the Dolphins, blocking two kicks and bringing a pick six back to the house. Meanwhile, the Pats offense, while perhaps too dependent on Tom Brady and the passing game, has been solid overall.

What remains unanswered, and what will ultimately determine New England's postseason chances, is the effectiveness of their defense.

6. New Orleans Saints (3-1)

Everyone expected the Saints D to be a little down this year, but the offense has not been up to form either. Still, with Drew Brees running the show, this team is never out of any ballgame, even with running backs Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush out of the lineup. At least this week coach Sean Payton found a reliable field goal kicker.

7. Green Bay Packers (3-1)

The close win over Detroit was nothing pretty, as Aaron Rodgers, Charles Woodson, and company had to fight off a late Lions rally. For now, the offense is the primary concern, as it failed to produce a second-half score and is entirely too dependent on Rodgers.

8. Indianapolis Colts (2-2)

The Colts lost a tough one Sunday on an improbable 59-yard field goal as time expired. Their mediocre start certainly cannot be blamed on Peyton Manning, who has been lights out and racking up yards. The true culprit is the defense, which gave up 337 total yards last week to the struggling Jaguars.

9. Chicago Bears (3-1)

Da Bears had a dose of reality last week, as their horrific offensive line allowed ten sacks, including nine in the first half. That collapse caused QB Jay Cutler to be removed from the game due to injury, and put a temporary scare into their playoff hopes in the tough NFC North.

Much of the team's success this year can be credited to offensive coordinator Mike Martz. Working with that makeshift line, Martz has nevertheless improved the play of Cutler and running back Matt Forte, and has resourcefully called pass plays with quicker drops. However, if Cutler's health becomes an issue and the line continues to struggle, expect the Bears to tumble in the rankings.

10. Dallas Cowboys (1-2)

Dallas had a season-saving victory in Week 3, dominating a good Houston team in their own house. In that game, the 'Boys superior talent on paper finally matched the team's performance on the field, giving owner Jerry Jones reason for optimism going forward.

Dallas is coming off a bye where the biggest news around town has been rookie receiver Dez Bryant's huge dinner bill. But here's the truth: QB Tony Romo is playing well, DeMarcus Ware and the D have been solid, Bryant already has shown his big-play ability, and Roy Williams finally has become a part of the offense. More importantly, with Philly's Michael Vick injured for a few weeks, Dallas now looks like the class of the NFC East.

11. San Diego Chargers (2-2)

After an ugly road loss to Seattle, the Chargers bounced back with a blowout win over the Cardinals at home. Linebacker Shaun Phillips had a monster game with 4 sacks and an interception, and tight end Antonio Gates had 7 catches for 144 yards. Power running back Mike Tolbert continues to be a real find for the post-LT Chargers, gaining 100 yards on 16 carries last week.

Despite their mediocre start, expect the Chargers to start racking wins. Not only do they play in the weak AFC West, but they also have the pathetic NFC West on their schedule as well.

12. Houston Texans (3-1)

The Texans bounced back from a humiliating defeat to the Cowboys, picking up a nice 31-24 win at the Black Hole in Oakland. Powerful Arian Foster again showed that he is the real deal, steamrolling the Raiders for 131 yards on 16 carries, including a 74-yard touchdown run.

This week the defense gets a boost, as linebacker Brian Cushing returns from his drug suspension.

13. Miami Dolphins (2-2)

Miami suffered an ugly, deflating blowout loss Monday at home to the Pats, as their special teams let them down on key three plays which turned the tide of the game. As a team which does not necessarily play well from behind, that sealed their fate against their division rival.

But the Fins have no need to panic, as this team will be competing for a playoff spot until the end thanks to their clock-chewing ground attack and some occasional big plays from receiver Brandon Marshall. As for young QB Chad Henne, the jury is still out on how far he can take Miami this season.

14. Minnesota Vikings (1-2)

Brett Favre has not been himself this season, but Adrian Peterson has been a man amongst boys. The Vikes are coming off a bye this week and will travel to New York for a potential Super Bowl preview game against the Jets. This team misses the production of Sidney Rice.

15. Washington Redskins (2-2)

The 'Skins got a big win for quarterback Donovan McNabb, who did just enough to move the chains and earn the victory. Despite having a somewhat old roster, Washington sits atop the NFC East, due in part to the influence of both McNabb and coach Mike Shanahan. Whether they keep it up remains to be seen with Green Bay coming to town this week.

16. Kansas City Chiefs (3-0)

The Chiefs are undefeated, but the season is young, and team record alone does not indicate everything at this point. Kansas City will face a stiff test the next two weeks at Indy and Houston, after which we will know whether they are merely improved, or a legitimate playoff contender.

17. New York Giants (2-2)

The Giants won a critical game over Chicago, putting themselves back in the thick of NFC East race after some ugly performances earlier this year. The defense was outstanding with 10 sacks, and the offense got back on track with 189 yards on the ground. Up next: a good road test with the Texans.

18. Philadelphia Eagles (2-2)

With quarterback Michael Vick out for the next few weeks with a rib cartilage injury, the Eagles good fortunes have done a 180. Vick's mobility and laser-like passes to his young, speedy receiving corps had the Eagles looking like a playoff team. Now the offense is back in the hands of Kevin Kolb.

This season, Kolb has been awful, as he has failed to look down the field on vertical routes. If Kolb does not turn things around, expect the fickle Iggles fans to regret their Donovan McNabb trade demands of the past few years.

19. Denver Broncos (2-2)

With the way QB Kyle Orton has been playing, one could make the case that he has been the league's MVP through Week 4. Unfortunately, it appears that the parts around him leave a little something to be desired, starting with the woeful running attack.

20. Tennessee Titans (2-2)

The Titans failed to take care of business at home, losing to the mediocre Broncos, 26-20. The good news is that Vince Young has played well, more or less picking up where he left off last season. The bad news is that home run threat Chris Johnson has looked human this year, and the team must travel to Dallas to face a rested Cowboys squad.

21. Cincinnati Bengals (2-2)

Despite a 10-catch, 222-yard effort from TO, the Bengals offense again failed to hit its stride. QB Carson Palmer has only had a so-so season thus far, and Cedric Benson is a good, but not elite, runner. More worrisome for Cincy is the Bengals normally reliable defense, which gave a mediocre effort in last week's upset loss to the Browns.

22. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-2)

Jacksonville pulled off a huge win over the Colts on Sunday when kicker Josh Scobee nailed a clutch 59-yarder in the game's closing moments. Star running back Maurice Jones-Drew also came through once more with 105 yards on 26 carries.

However, the key to this team going forward will be the play of quarterback David Garrard, who has had an up-and-down season thus far. Should he falter, Trent Edwards waits in the wings.

23. Tampa Bay Buccaneers(2-1)

The Bucs have been one of the league's big surprises this year, but surely they will come down to Earth, right? Tampa will get a good test this week, going on the road to Cincinnati to face a Bengals team hungry for a win.

24. St. Louis Rams (2-2)

Rookie quarterback Sam Bradford had another solid performance, throwing for 289 yards, two touchdowns, and only one interception. If Bradford continues to develop, and Steven Jackson's groin injury improves, the Rams could end up stealing the wide-open NFC West division crown.

25. Seattle Seahawks (2-2)

After upsetting the Chargers in Week 3 with their outstanding special teams play, the Seahawks regressed with an ugly road loss to the Rams. Injury-prone veteran QB Matt Hasselbeck was sacked four times, and the offense managed only 3 points, but at least Pete Carroll can take solace in the fact that no team is out of the race in the sub-par NFC West.

26. Oakland Raiders (1-3)

With the arrival of quarterback Jason Campbell, a retooled offensive line, and a favorable schedule, 2010 was supposed to be a year of marked improvement for the Raiders. Unfortunately, Campbell faltered quickly, forcing coach Tom Cable to promote journeyman Bruce Gradkowski to starter.

Still, there is hope on the horizon.

But for some errant Sebastian Janikowski field goals, the Raiders would be 2-2. Moreover, running back Darren McFadden has finally demonstrated that he can be an effective, consistent weapon when healthy, as he has put together a couple of 100-plus yard rushing efforts this season. They will need that type of production this week when powerful San Diego comes to town.

27. Arizona Cardinals (2-2)

The Cards were crushed on Sunday by the Chargers, looking light years removed from the team that reached the Super Bowl only two seasons ago. Worse yet, Arizona is unlikely to improve anytime soon until their quarterback search is resolved. Unproven, ex-BYU quarterback Max Hall appears to be the next guy with a shot at the job.

28. Cleveland Browns (1-3)

At least Coach Eric Mangini has a bright spot to build around in running back Peyton Hillis, who ran for 102 yards in 27 carries in the Browns win over the Bengals.

29. San Francisco 49ers (0-4)

The 49ers came up with a much better effort this week on the road against a quality Atlanta squad. They also play in the NFL's worst division, so a playoff berth still is not out of the question despite their horrific start.

Should they come up short, coach Singletary and the Niners brass finally may realize that Alex Smith is not -- and never will be -- a top 10 NFL quarterback. Smith has been as inconsistent as ever this season, in what was supposed to be another "make or break" year for him.

30. Detroit Lions (0-4)

Another competitive game for the Lions, another tough loss. However, when Matthew Stafford returns, there is reason for optimism in the Motor City, as Calvin Johnson continues to make outstanding grabs, and rookie Jahvid Best has shown his big-play burst.

31. Carolina Panthers (0-4)

The Panthers suffered a tough, close loss to the defending champs, but that does not necessarily indicate that they are turning the corner. With rookie Jimmy Clausen now learning on-the-job at quarterback, it figures to be a long season in Carolina.

32. Buffalo Bills (0-4)

After losing to the Jets by 24, coach Chan Gailey simply stated, "Today, we were awful."

Not only were they awful on Sunday, but they will not be getting better any time soon. The Trent Edwards era at quarterback is over for the Bills, and with promising rookie running back C.J. Spiller waiting for his chance, the question now becomes: how long before running back Marshawn Lynch follows Edwards out of town?

By Mike Elliott
Staff Editor for


  1. I know my Texans choked against Dallas, but we brought it this week man. Can't we get a lil more respect?

  2. Can't believe the Pats were dumb enough to trade Moss. Brady & Welker can't do it by themselves, & that defense of theirs is garbage. Jets are winning the AFC!

  3. I got to give the writer his props on this one. He said the Bills might cut Lynch and later that day he gets traded. Then he says the Vikings miss Rice, and Minnesota makes a deal for Moss the next day to fill Rice's spot.

    I guess New England will drop in the ranks


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