This week’s games saw a similar occurrence as last week, with a mixture of upsets and comfortable wins, again highlighting both negatives and positives for all teams as they have finished with a quarter of their games (with the exception of Miami and Tampa Bay due to Hurricane Irma).
This week’s Power Rankings sees everyone except the Chiefs move around, with some teams dropping while their Week 4 opponents rise, giving teams like the Buffalo Bills and St. Louis Rams some surprising hope as we look ahead to Week 5.
Kansas City Chiefs (4-0) (Last Week: 1) The Chiefs kept their undefeated record on Monday night, beating the Redskins 29-20. Although penalties and poor offensive line play again proved to be an issue, the Chiefs are still the best team in the league. Their next four games will provide a great test- at Houston, hosting Pittsburgh, at Oakland, and hosting Denver, three of which will be primetime. Next week will see a Texans team eager to carry their Week 4 momentum to give the Chiefs their first loss, and it will be a great matchup on Sunday night.
Green Bay Packers (3-1)(Last Week: 4) The Packers controlled their expected-easy Thursday night game against division rival Bears, taking the lead in the iconic series. Aaron Rodgers’ four touchdowns capitalizes on their rise in the Power Rankings. Next week they visit Dallas, who is trying to avenge a disappointing 2-2 start and get back to their 2016 form, where they had the best record in the NFC.
Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1)(Last Week: 8) The Steelers took the division lead on Sunday with a comfortable 26-9 win in Baltimore, bouncing back after their surprise overtime loss in Chicago in Week 3. As the rest of their division is currently struggling, this game could solidify early confidence in another division championship for Pittsburgh, and they look to continue this streak when they host Jacksonville next Sunday.
Detroit Lions (3-1)(Last Week: 6) The Lions came out on top against division-opponent Minnesota in a low-scoring 14-7 affair, avenging their heartbreaking loss in Week 3 against the Falcons, a half-yard away from staying undefeated. Next week, they will host the full-of-momentum Panthers, in an exciting 3-1 matchup on Sunday.
Carolina Panthers (3-1)(Last Week: 18) The Panthers are this week’s highest risers in the Power Rankings, moving up 13 spots following their 33-30 victory over the defending champion New England Patriots. This game may have been just what 2015 MVP Cam Newton to get back in that exhilarating form, in next week he carries Carolina into Detroit, in a game that will hope to see one team with playoff aspirations leave 4-1.
Denver Broncos (3-1)(Last Week: 12) The Broncos defense again prevailed, with a 16-10 over Super Bowl favorite Oakland. Although having a bye this week, looking ahead at their next three games gives the Super Bowl 50 champions a great chance to go 5-1 before they visit the currently undefeated Kansas City Chiefs in Week 8, as they will see two 0-4 teams in the New York Giants and Los Angeles Chargers in consecutive matches following their bye.
Atlanta Falcons (3-1) (Last Week: 2) The Falcons suffered their first loss of the season, a 23-17 shock at home against the rising Buffalo Bills. Now three of their games within one possession, the Falcons have shown that this season will have a multitude of close games as they look to avenge last season’s crushing Super Bowl collapse. Next week they have a bye, before they continue their AFC East streak with games against the Dolphins, Patriots, and Jets .
Philadelphia Eagles (3-1)(Last Week: 11) The Eagles kept it close for their third consecutive game, prevailing against the Chargers 26-24. Although impressing with their only loss being in Kansas City, the Eagles need to stop playing down to their opponents, with their last two victories coming against teams yet to win a game. They return to Philadelphia in Week 5, hosting the 2-2 Cardinals in another expected, yet competitive, victory.
New England Patriots (2-2) (Last Week: 3) The Patriots were surprised at home on Sunday, losing 33-30 to the Panthers on a game winning field goal. The defending champions, predicted by some during preseason to go 16-0, are now at .500 and tied at second in their division. Looking to avenge and run away from the chance of a losing record, they visit Tampa Bay primetime on Thursday night.
Buffalo Bills (3-1)(Last Week: 16) The Bills continue their surprising stretch to start their 2017 season, now into the Top 10 of the Power Rankings. They upset the undefeated Falcons 23-17 on Sunday, following their surprising home win against the Broncos in Week 3. The now-AFC East leaders have a great chance to continue this streak and go 4-1 when they visit the Bengals on Sunday.
Los Angeles Rams (3-1)(Last Week: 17) The Rams impressed on Sunday, beating a quality opponent in the Dallas Cowboys 35-30. They will play their second divisional game against the defending divisional champion Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, with a chance to increase their lead atop the NFC West.
Washington Redskins (2-2) (Last Week: 9) The Redskins could not give the Chiefs their first loss, but they played it very close for nearly the entire game. This shows that the team, when healthy, can be capable of pulling off great victories. They will have a bye this week, but will be able to get back into form in Week 6 when they host the currently 0-4 49ers.
Oakland Raiders (2-2) (Last Week: 7) The Raiders again lost on Sunday, giving the Raiders back-to-back losses. Derek Carr played almost three quarters, but the Raiders were trailing the whole game and his injury did not help them come back against division rival Denver Broncos. They will have a chance to get out of this slump when they host the also 2-2 Baltimore Ravens on Sunday, however reports came out Monday that Carr will miss anywhere from 2-6 weeks, a huge blow to the Raiders’ Super Bowl aspirations.
Houston Texans (2-2)(Last Week: 19) Deshaun Watson’s valiant effort of five total touchdowns gave the Texans a 57-14 thrashing of division opponent Tennessee Titans. It now seems that the two-time defending division champions have found their stable quarterback, and he will look to lead them to a primetime upset on Sunday night when they host the Kansas City Chiefs.
Tennessee Titans (2-2) (Last Week: 5) The Titans suffered two blows Sunday: one being a 57-15 loss to the Texans, and the other a Marcus Mariota injury before the third quarter, which didn’t help Tennessee come back from a 30-14 halftime deficit. They are this week’s biggest drop, ranked at an optimistic 5 last week following impressive play against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 4. However, they have a great chance to make this only a one game slump, with their next matches being favorable games against the Dolphins, Colts, Browns, Ravens, and Bengals, with Baltimore being the sole team to win more than one game.
Seattle Seahawks (2-2)(Last Week: 20) The Seahawks took a halftime scare on Sunday night to a 36-3 run in the second half against the Colts, coming on top 46-18. Although favored to win their division, their first four games this season have shown a lot of worry, and they will be able to retain the lead at the division on Sunday when the visit the 3-1 Rams.
Minnesota Vikings (2-2)(Last Week: 10) The Vikings couldn’t deliver at home on Sunday, losing a low-scoring divisional game to the Detroit Lions 14-7. Now stuck at third in their division, they have a chance to regain ground for any playoff hopes with two consecutive divisional matches, a Week 5 matchup in Chicago on Sunday night, and hosting Green Bay in Week 6.
Dallas Cowboys (2-2) (Last Week: 13) The Cowboys so far have disappointed compared to last year’s 13-3 record. Losing at home 35-30 to the Rams has showed that this Cowboys team is not at the same dominance as they were last year, but they still have the same pieces to work on, especially in a division that is supposed to be theirs. They host a 3-1 Green Bay on Sunday in a competitive game, one that can help them gain back momentum before a Week 6 bye.
New Orleans Saints (2-2)(Last Week: 21) The Saints continued their streak with a 20-0 shutout against the Miami Dolphins in London on Sunday. Although in a division that sees the other three teams with winning records, the Saints have shown the potential they have the last two weeks. With their bye in Week 5, they will be able to rest before two back-to-back challenging matchups against the Lion and Packers of the NFC North.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1)(Last Week: 22) Although they needed a last second field goal to pull it off, the Buccaneers held off the Giants 25-23 in Tampa Bay, joining divisional opponents Atlanta and Carolina as being above .500. They will face their toughest test yet, when they host the Patriots Thursday night in a game where both teams are looking for statement wins.
New York Jets (2-2)(Last Week: 28) The Jets impressed last week, beating the also-struggling Jaguars 23-20 in overtime. Although they do not have the skill to compete for the division, they are now tied at second in the AFC East with the Patriots, and they will have a chance to move their win streak to 3 when they visit the 0-4 Cleveland Browns on Sunday.
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-2)(Last Week: 14) Jacksonville disappointed Sunday, losing in an overtime game to the Jets 23-20. Tied with the Titans and Texans at 2-2 and atop their division, they will face a big hurdle in Week 5 when they visit the Pittsburgh Steelers, looking to pull off an upset against a team with high hopes for the season.
Baltimore Ravens (2-2)(Last Week: 15) The Ravens again struggle for the second week in a row, moving 2-1 in the division with a 26-9 loss at home against the rival Steelers. They will need to pick up where they started, visiting a hungry Raiders team on Sunday without MVP-candidate Derek Carr.
Arizona Cardinals (2-2)(Last Week: 23) The Cardinals won their overtime game 18-15 against the 49ers, however they still see a drop in the rankings. A game against San Francisco at home should not be a problem for the Cardinals, yet they still needed overtime to seal the deal against a team who has yet to win a game. Now tied at second in their division, they have a chance to steal a doable victory in Philadelphia against a good Eagles team on Sunday.
Chicago Bears (1-3) (Last Week: 24) The Bears could not carry momentum in to Green Bay on Thursday night, losing 35-14. However, next week second overall pick Mitchell Trubisky will see his first start on Monday night when the Bears host division opponent Minnesota, giving the rookie a chance to live up to expectations on primetime.
Cincinnati Bengals (1-3) (Last Week: 31) The Bengals got their first win of the season on Sunday, with a 31-7 defeat of the divisional Browns in Cleveland. Andy Dalton’s four touchdown passes gives Cincinnati some hope that they may get their winning team back after a very slow start, and the Bengals have a chance to keep this momentum going when they host the impressive Bills on Sunday.
Miami Dolphins (1-2)(Last Week: 25) Jay Cutler and the Dolphins were embarrassed in London on Sunday, shutout 20-0 against the Saints. Aiming for consecutive playoff appearances for the first time since 2001, they need much better play under center as they are now below .500. They host the 2-2 Titans on Sunday, and the Dolphins will need to step up against a talented Titans, assuming Mariota is healthy to start.
Indianapolis Colts (1-3) (Last Week: 26) The Colts surprised in the first half Sunday night in Seattle, until their 15-10 lead in halftime was broken up in the third quarter, with the Seahawks having 28 unanswered points to take the game 46-18. However, the Colts are gifted a chance next Sunday at a win, hosting San Francisco in a game that can propel them even closer in a division without a clear-cut favorite.
New York Giants (0-4) (Last Week: 27) After another close loss on Sunday, this time in Tampa Bay 25-23, the Giants are still 0-4. Now with their playoff return looking near impossible, they have no better chance to get their organization back then next week, when they host the also 0-4 Chargers on Sunday.
Los Angeles Chargers (0-4)(Last Week: 29) The Chargers, like their Week 5 opponent, are 0-4, after their third loss of three points or less on the season. Their matchup in New York on Sunday gives both teams a chance at getting their first win of the season, and both teams will be (trying at least) to give it their best.
San Francisco 49ers (0-4)(Last Week: 32) The 49ers had a chance to steal a division win in Arizona, but an overtime touchdown with 32 seconds left ruined their upset party 18-15. Rising one spot from last week, they showed that they can play it close for the third week in a row, and will have a chance to get their first win of the season in another expected-to-be-close game in Indianapolis against the struggling Colts.
Cleveland Browns (0-4) (Last Week: 30) It should be no shock the Cleveland Browns are the worst team in the NFL, but I will admit I had some hope for them coming into the season with a young roster, but their last two games were two of their best chances this season to get a win, and a 31-7 loss at home against the Bengals adds more unneeded worry for the franchise. They will get another great chance for their first win of the season against the Jets, except no one’s jaw will drop if the Browns move to 0-5 with the Jets coming off consecutive victories.