Dolphins drop 70, Vikings drop to 0-3, Cowboys drop a steamy pile, and TayTay drops in for a football game. Week 3 set the bar extremely high, so I’m willing to accept a boring week 4 before the epic matchups coming in week 5.
As I’m 85% the sack record will be broken this season, I’m now tracking a few more players within my week 4 power rankings. This record is quite an uphill task when having the nerve to leave your feet during a tackle is a penalty, but I’m so sure this is about to be a McGwire-Sosa race, hopefully minus the enhancements.
As always, may all your teams win or give up 700 yards and get blown out by 50. Next question!
- 1. Philadelphia Eagles
- 2. Kansas City Chiefs
- 3. San Francisco 49ers ⇧1
- 4. Buffalo Bills ⇧1
- 5. Miami Dolphins ⇧3
- 6. Baltimore Ravens ⇩3
- 7. Dallas Cowboys ⇩1
- 8. Jacksonville Jaguars ⇩1
- 9. Detroit Lions ⇧3
- 10. Green Bay Packers ⇧3
- 11. Seattle Seahawks ⇧3
- 12. Cincinnati Bengals ⇩2
- 13. Atlanta Falcons ⇩4
- 14. New Orleans Saints ⇩3
- 15. Los Angeles Chargers
- 16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
- 17. Pittsburgh Steelers ⇧3
- 18. Los Angeles Rams ⇩1
- 19. New England Patriots ⇩1
- 20. Tennessee Titans ⇩1
- 21. New York Jets
- 22. Houston Texans ⇧6
- 23. Cleveland Browns
- 24. Minnesota Vikings ⇩2
- 25. Indianapolis Colts ⇧2
- 26. Washington Commanders ⇩2
- 27. Arizona Cardinals ⇧5
- 28. New York Giants ⇩3
- 29. Denver Broncos ⇩3
- 30. Carolina Panthers ⇧1
- 31. Vegas Raiders ⇩2
- 32. Chicago Bears ⇩2
1. Philadelphia Eagles
Every game they look a little more comfortable on offense. The defense is swarming. If you did a redraft right now, which sounds so crazy I might do it, Stroud goes first and Jalen Carter goes 2nd. They just keep winning.
And let’s not shortchange Jalen Hurts. This touchdown to Olamide Zaccheaus was a throw that before Monday night, I would’ve said could only come from Mahomes. Hurts is on that level, and I’m certain the rings will come.
2. Kansas City Chiefs
Not sure how much you read into a whipping delivered to what now seems to be the worst team in the league, but being able to call a game at halftime is always fun. Especially when no one is paying attention anymore because Taylor Swift is sitting in a booth next to Donna Kelce.
*Sidenote* To all the Swifties out there now watching football, welcome! But don’t think for a second that you’re a new thing here. Football fans and Swifties are not mutually exclusive. It’s me, hi. We’ve already been here.
Ugh, look what you made me do.
Honestly, I was just glad they put her up on the screen as 12-time Grammy Winner.
As for the football, Travis Kelce still looks healthy and Chris Jones still looks happy. Because you all remember they played a football game, right? It’s okay if you missed it. It was practically over before it started.
3. San Francisco 49ers ⇧1
With the Ravens flop, we’re now down to 3 interchangeable teams. Despite the final score, last Thursday might have been the first game the Niners didn’t make winning look easy. They only had a 1-score lead on the Giants going into the 4th, and the Giants are both bad and without their best offensive weapon.
I will admit I never expected to see this version of Brock Purdy. He’s very much blossoming out of the game manager role and into a guy who can drop in a deep ball dime. As he gets more comfortable, he’s expanding into more complex parts of Kyle Shanahan’s scheme and it’ll be hard to stop.
Now they need to go and not look past the Cardinals like the Cowboys did, so they can be 4-0 when they face the Cowboys, who apparently were already preparing for the Niners game cause they sure as hell didn’t prepare for the Cards.
As easy as it would be for SF to look ahead, Dallas actually did them a favor by getting caught in the Arizona trap game first.
4. Buffalo Bills ⇧1
So this is the defense without Von Miller?
Goodness gracious, did they ever expose the Commanders offense. Leonard Floyd has 3.5 sacks this year, 2 in last week’s game, as his former team is weathering a $19 million dead cap hit for releasing him. Terrel Bernard, whose name is spelled wrong, is putting together one hell of a sophomore campaign after limited snaps as a rookie.
The most impressive thing I saw from this defense was coverage sacks. A few of the early sacks and pressures started as clean pockets but nowhere to throw the ball. Bernard’s interception was one of the cleanest pockets all day. They’ll need all of that next week against Miami.
- 1st Quarter, scrambles for 13 yards, SLIDES
- 2nd quarter, scrambles for 3 yards, SLIDES (penalty on play)
- 2nd quarter, 2 plays later, scrambles for 23 yards, doesn’t slide, can’t win ‘em all
- 3rd quarter, scrambles for 4 yards, runs out of bounds (penalty on play)
- 4th quarter, scrambles for 10 yards, touchdown, no slide needed
- 4th quarter, 30-0 lead, Josh Allen taken out of the game
Even on the one play where he didn’t slide, he was tackled from behind, so it’s not like he took a straight-on hit. If he wants to stay healthy and lead this team to a Super Bowl, this is the version he needs to be every week.
5. Miami Dolphins ⇧3
What? Did something happen? Oh, that. Yeah, that happened. And actually, I think the Dolphins just scored another touchdown.
I encourage you to watch the postgame press conferences of both Sean Payton and Mike McDaniel. Because Payton was super agitated and McDaniel was talking about holding his players to a standard on touchdown dances.
Now let’s talk about De’Von Achane, because I’ve already talked about him quite a bit.
From last May:
The biggest offseason addition in my book was 3rd round back Devon Achane. That is a Mike McDaniel dream pick. Remember that weird football drama show years ago where the old RB and the young RB inexplicably raced a 40 yard dash during practice? I need to see Tyreek and Achane race. That’s my point.
The things McDaniel could do with Achane’s skillset are scary. Don’t be surprised if he sneaks into offensive rookie of the year voting.2023 NFL Power Rankings: Post-Draft, May 20, 2023
Right up to my preseason award predictions:
This guy can play all over the field, and you know Mike McDaniel will find places all over the field to use him. With Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle getting all the attention, Achane will be seeing a lot of open space.NFL 2023 Completely Accurate Preseason Award Predictions, September 7, 2023
Is it okay to toot my own horn this much? Yes. Cause I got the receipts.
Btw, Achane was +3500 for Offensive Rookie of the Year when I wrote that, and since got as high as +6250. Last Sunday morning, he was +5000. As of right now, he’s +1000. Hope you got your bets in early.
6. Baltimore Ravens ⇩3
Now that I’m done gloating about a thing I got right, ugh, let’s talk about the Ravens and the many things I’ve so far gotten wrong. In my life, I don’t think I’ve ever witnessed a team deal with more injuries and mental mistakes.
Gus Edwards left with a concussion, because of course he did. Because the Ravens can’t have nice backfield things. Still, Baltimore should’ve won this game 10 times over. For today’s sermon, I’d like to go over one of those times in some detail.
It’s 17-16 in the 4th quarter and Gardner Minshew just stepped out of the back of the end zone for a safety to make it 19-16. 2:03 left and Colts have 1 timeout. It looked like Baltimore would be able to run out the last 2 minutes and sneak out with a 3 point win. And then this sequence happened:
- Colts punt off, which is what I think we should call it after a safety, with 2:03 left. Zay Flowers calls for a fair catch.
- I don’t expect a rookie to understand this, but I expect a special teams coach to tell everyone in that unit if they touch the ball, make sure those 3 seconds come off to get to the 2 minute warning.
- Instead, Baltimore’s first play is a run and the clock stops for the 2 minute warning… basically a free timeout the Colts never should’ve had. 1:59 left.
- Another run, Colts use their only timeout. 1:55 left.
- Jet sweep to Flowers, who gains 2 yards, but the play ends with a Ravens penalty for a block in the back. Clock stops, Colts decline, 4th down. 1:48 left.
- Boom goes the punt.
With a 3 point lead, just over 2 minutes left, and the Colts with just 1 timeout, Baltimore ran 3 times and chewed up a total of 15 seconds. That drive was like a metaphor of what the Ravens have been for too long, and John Harbaugh needs to figure it out and he’ll start feeling some warmth under his seat.
Consecutive years now the Ravens are threatening to make me look stupid for believing in them too much. THERE WILL NOT A THIRD.
7. Dallas Cowboys ⇩1
Round 2 of teams that should’ve walked away with an easy win. Is it possible Dallas was looking ahead to the Pats and Niners the next 2 weeks? I would say probable.
And blame Dak Prescott and the offense all you want, but Arizona has no business putting up 28 points on what should be one of the league’s premier defenses. There is no universe where I would want to be anywhere near Dan Quinn after that game.
Micah Parsons Sack Watch: 4
8. Jacksonville Jaguars ⇩1
And we’ve reached round 3. What on earth was that clunker?
Offense didn’t even look that bad. Just inefficient. Missed conversions can easily be the difference between 17 and 31 points.
Not that 31 points would matter when Houston’s offense, led by a rookie QB in just his 3rd game, put up 37. Jags defense cannot walk away from that game with 0 sacks and 0 turnovers on a rookie QB.
Travon Walker especially needs to step things up cause he looks like he’s regressed in every aspect of his game. A 1st overall pick is massive trade capital that should be putting it together in his 2nd season.
9. Detroit Lions ⇧3
There go the Lions, wrecking my top 10 again.
Jahmyr Gibbs looks like he’s taking a more featured role, and definitely outperformed his 1st round backfield mate on the other side. But more importantly, Sam LaPorta delivered a huge performance as another receiving option besides Amon-Ra St. Brown. Getting Gibbs and LaPorta integrated will make this offense even more dangerous when Jameson Williams returns.
On the other side, much as we would like to see a defense dominate every week, it’s acceptable with a young team to just expect a responsive defense. After letting Seattle walk all over them a week earlier, this week’s defense had 7 sacks and only gave up 183 total yards. Now they need to start locking in those performances more consistently, which comes with experience.
10. Green Bay Packers ⇧3
Still riding bitch in this pickup.
In week 2, the Packers played the first 3 quarters and disappeared in the 4th. Last week, they fixed that by just not showing up for the first 3 quarters and only playing the 4th. So maybe let’s try putting that together now, yeah?
Again, young teams are inconsistent. Especially when they’re missing 5 of their best players. Any way you look at it, a win without Aaron Jones, Elgton Jenkins, David Bakhtiari, Christian Watson, and Jaire Alexander is impressive. That’s 4 offensive starters, missing against a very good Saints defense. It’s also a lot of missing veteran presence. Winning any game while those players rest can only be a good thing.
Now, as much fun as it was for Taylor Swift to show up at Arrowhead, it’s time to get Simone Biles at Lambeau.
11. Seattle Seahawks ⇧3
Maybe they should be higher than Detroit and Green Bay, but I just can’t get that week 1 taste out of my mouth. Last week was another win against a team they were so supposed to beat.
Geno Smith and the offense seem back in a groove and they’re still so stacked with weapons. The real concern is the defense giving up 30, 31, and 27 to the Rams, Lions, and Panthers, respectively. Those aren’t high-powered offenses. There’s a lot there that needs to be fixed before they start facing teams like the Bengals and 49ers.
12. Cincinnati Bengals ⇩2
Don’t poke the bear. Ope, too late.
Okay, maybe it wasn’t the most impressive offensive performance, but Joe Burrow finally got time to throw in the 2nd half on Monday night, and he immediately started picking apart the Rams secondary.
There’s a reason I couldn’t drop them too low, even at 0-2, and last week showed why. It was all just a matter of time. Burrow will keep healing, and he’s back on track with Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins. Joe Mixon looks like he’s got new life. And Trey Hendrickson and Sam Hubbard finally brought the pressure that was non-existent through the first 2 weeks. I think they can now safely bury the game tape from those games and move forward. However, it was a shaky enough performance to warrant a slight drop this week.
13. Atlanta Falcons ⇩4
Look, there are few NFL writers higher on Heinicke than me. But let’s not act like last week was Ridder’s fault. He was running for his life all game long, and with one of the better RB duos in the league, they managed just 44 yards on the ground.
If you think it’s prudent to bench last week’s underperformers, you can pretty much bench everyone but the punter.
14. New Orleans Saints ⇩3
Derek Carr wouldn’t have kept the Packers from putting up 18 unanswered 4th quarter points. That’s on the defense. But I bet Carr could’ve delivered at least a single field goal drive in the 2nd half.
Jameis Winston looked like a rookie, and their actual rookie QB, Jake Haener, got suspended 6 games for failing a photoshoot. Wait, no, a drug test. He failed a drug test.
Carr will be week to week with a sprained AC joint, so Winston will have to find some way to deliver points.
15. Los Angeles Chargers
In 2016, the Cubs and the Cleveland Baseball Team went into the World Series as 2 cursed franchises. Cleveland hadn’t won a World Series since 1948, and the Cubs hadn’t since 1908. When the curses collided, we got extra innings in Game 7 as the baseball gods debated who would be offered mercy. Eventually the Cubs delivered.
That’s the best analogy I can think of for the Chargers and Vikings last week. It was like watching 2 teams dare each other to blow it. Luckily for LAC, the football gods think agitated Brandon Staley is funny, so they’re keeping him around.
His seat, however, is still searing.
16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
It’s hard to fault the Bucs much after they put up a fight against a really good team. The defense caused turnovers from an offense that doesn’t often commit them, and it took an incredible throw from Hurts to make this a 2-score game instead of 1.
Baker Mayfield wasn’t great, but he was as tough in the pocket as ever and seems to have a nice rapport building with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. If they can keep building that and sneak into the playoffs out of a weak division, a playoff run isn’t out of the question.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers ⇧3
A defensive masterpiece. 2-1 Steelers should concern the rest of the NFC. This is the kind of team you want to drop close games and always be on the edge of .500. But now they’re 2-1 with a winnable games against the Texans coming up. They could be 3-1 when the Ravens come to town. This is a dangerous team to let start stacking wins.
T.J. Watt Sack Watch: 6
18. Los Angeles Rams ⇩1
The Rams are such an enigma. I don’t think anyone ever knows what we’ll get from week to week. Or sometimes even drive to drive. The defense can shift from lockdown to sieve in an instant. A snap of the fingers and Matthew Stafford goes from brilliant to reckless. There’s still a lot of talent here, but they need to sneak more early wins and they really need to better protect Stafford.
19. New England Patriots ⇩1
A 15-10 win over the Rodgers-less Jets is less than inspiring, but also fairly Belichickian. Dominate on defense, grind it out on offense. Thankfully he let Mac Jones sling it at least a little.
Matt Judon Sack Watch: 4
20. Tennessee Titans ⇩1
Here’s an idea, maybe don’t try using multiple TEs to spy a single player. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, definitely follow that link. Or go watch the first minute if the 4th quarter. Titans offense was far too intimidated to get anything going.
21. New York Jets
Is it bad that I’m kinda loving the Joe Namath – Aaron Rodgers thing going on? There’s just something fun about it cause Namath is so revered by Jets fans, but he also can’t fathom the complexity of today’s game. And if it keeps going, I can guarantee you Aaron will subtly let that thought out there and piss off Jets fans, who will forgive him if he comes back next year.
I do get Namath’s point, but I also think Rodgers has a point that it’s not helping anything. What does this even do for Namath? It’s like he’s scared his half-century reign as the only Jets QB that matters might be in danger if Zach Wilson is allowed space to grow.
And before Jets fans come at me, maybe look inward a bit at this Joe Namath adoration. I always found it weird that New Yorkers are supposed to be this tough as nails, comeback for everything group, but say a bad word about Broadway Joe and it’s like insulting their mother. He wasn’t even that good. And he damn well better not get on Zach about interceptions.
22. Houston Texans ⇧6
I really like this team. It’s interesting to me that because of their many weaknesses, the offense has been forced to play from behind a lot and C.J. Stroud has had to throw a lot. It’s pretty much the only option cause the running game has been non-existent.
But after 2 weeks in which he threw 91 passes for 626 yards, it’s like it just clicked in place. He only had to throw it 30 times last week, cause that’s what happens when you win by 20.
And because I haven’t tooted my horn for almost 20 teams, here’s my analysis of the Texans picking him.
Stroud’s development has been much faster than even I expected. He could be a star.
23. Cleveland Browns
No, this isn’t too low. Honestly, Myles Garrett probably accounts for 5 spots. Without him, 28 would be generous. Deshaun Watson had his first decent game in like 4 years, so forgive me for not declaring him fixed. Then again, that might not be the worst idea for him. *rimshot*
Myles Garrett Sack Watch: 4.5
24. Minnesota Vikings ⇩2
Is there some kind of guarantee of targets for T.J. Hockenson in that monstrosity of a contract they gave him? Just stop throwing it to him. He’s nothing but a convenient crutch for Kirk Cousins to be like “well shucks, at least we tried.”
Hockenson is at best an above average receiving tight end. Elsewhere on the team is the underrated K.J. Osborn, the exciting rookie Jordan Addison, and you know, Justin Jefferson, aka the best receiver in the game. Plenty of targets.
STOP. THROWING. IT. TO. HOCKENSON.
Cousins is the most bizarre player. The team could go 0-17 and he’ll somehow have the stats for an MVP vote.
Danielle Hunter Sack Watch: 5
25. Indianapolis Colts ⇧2
You can’t tell me the way Gardner Minshew II has played in relief of Anthony Richardson hasn’t gotten the wheels turning a bit in Shane Steichen’s brilliant offensive mind. Maybe he got up late with a vision, a dual QB vision, so he went straight to the google machine to see if it’s ever been done before, or maybe if, I don’t know, maybe someone out there wrote about it last year because it just makes so much sense.
And that search led him here. Hey, Coach, welcome to my universe. Call me. I’m happy to share my proprietary revolutionary concepts for the right price.
26. Washington Commanders ⇩2
I want you to know I’m choosing to not declare Sam Howell exposed. I also want you to know Jacoby Brissett has never thrown 4 interceptions in a single game in his NFL career. He’s actually never thrown more than 2. I also also want you to know that the defense Howell seemingly lit up for 35 points in week 2 that got everyone excited… that same defense just gave up 70 last week.
Maybe Howell will get there, but it won’t be soon. I’ll say it again for the people in the back: This is a playoff team with Jacoby Brissett at QB! But by all means, keep pretending Howell is the answer. Enjoy your 5-12.
27. Arizona Cardinals ⇧5
I’ll tell you one thing, Dobbs can only be a good thing to have around for Kyler. It doesn’t look like there’s any intention of tanking, no matter how hard the front office tried, so maybe Kyler still is the future.
And having Dobbs around him is good. I can’t properly explain why. It’s not an experience thing cause Dobbs has less game experience than Kyler. The only thing Dobbs really has over him is years of time on the bench, which has underrated value. If Kyler is smart, he’s taking everything he can from Dobbs on how to prepare and execute games from the sidelines.
28. New York Giants ⇩3
Either Saquon Barkley is worth more than the Giants front office thought, or they’re just not a very good team. Probably little column A, little column B. Part of the reason for not wanting to pay Saquon in the first place is exactly what’s happening… he can’t stay on the field.
Daniel Jones has been disappointing. Darren Waller has been disappointing. It’s time to see what some of the youth can bring. Jalin Hyatt looks like a game-changer if they develop and use him right. The hard thing for the Giants will be trying to rebuild without looking like it’s a rebuild. Waller has an easy out after this season, so don’t expect him in NYG for long.
29. Denver Broncos ⇩3
Let’s start with the offense. Not bad. Honestly. Russell Wilson wasn’t terrible, and I weirdly appreciated his postgame press conference. He had some real, humble moments that were unlike what I’m used to seeing from him. I hope he can continue that.
Defense… hmm… okay, it’s not just the 70 from the Dolphins. It’s also the 35 to the Commanders a week earlier. Never have I been more sure of the defensive mind of former Broncos DC Ejiro Evero, because he had almost the same Broncos defense last season absolutely dominating. Now he has a Panthers defense overperforming their skill level. coordinators can pull things out if players, and apparently Evero pulled every little bit out this defense last year and now there’s nothing left. It’s the only explanation.
I expect a few prideful defensive showings in the coming weeks. No one can be a part of that embarrassment and not be ready to take it to 11 to make the hurting stop.
30. Carolina Panthers ⇧1
Andy Dalton is a good quarterback. Always has been, even up to last season. That’s why I find it a bit odd the team is so ready to jump back to Bryce Young. Let the kid heal and learn and let the Red Rifle show him from the field. Bench time is a quality metric for young QBs.
Regarding Bryce Young, I do want to address something I heard from multiple places after the Monday night game. It seems some fans think he’s disinterested because of his lack of emotion. I can promise you, he looked like that his entire college career. He’s not unemotional, he’s unfazed. If his body holds up, he will be a good QB in this league. But he was still only the 2nd best QB in the draft.
31. Vegas Raiders ⇩2
FREE DAVANTE ADAMS.
No, seriously, someone keep an eye on this guy. If the Raiders don’t move him, he may just leave and go play USFL. He still has a handful of years left, and his game doesn’t rely on speed so he can stretch out his career better than most. But unless the season completely turns around, this offseason could be Mark Davis choosing between Davante and Josh McDaniels.
Personally, I’d take Davante.
32. Chicago Bears ⇩2
I am all about the Bring Back Lovie campaign. But seriously Bears fans, you need to start higher. Ryan Poles has run a dysfunctional front office since he got there. Most notably, this is easily the worst defense in the NFL.
Here’s why I like the Lovie Smith love: What they lost when Lovie was fired wasn’t wins. They lost the luster of a defensive powerhouse An attitude. Yes, I’m about to end this article with a lecture. But it’s a good one.
Cultivating Defensive Swagger 301
This isn’t 101 stuff. This is upper level. If someone asked you who have been the most consistently dominant defenses of the past few decades, who would you immediately think of?
It doesn’t matter if it’s statistically true, because it’s mentally true. It’s a mindset that develops over time because of an attitude. Ray Lewis, James Harrison, Kevin Greene, Ed Reed, Troy Polamalu, Rod Woodson, Haloti Ngata, Terrell Suggs. For the Steelers, it goes back another generation to Jack Lambert and Mean Joe Greene.
When you’re a talented player and you’re put in those footsteps, there’s an expectation that whatever level you think you’re at isn’t good enough. You need to transcend if you ever hope to be part of the tradition.
Why This Matters to the Bears
They’ve abandoned their spot on that list, their entire defensive tradition and identity, and it essentially ended with Lovie. You can trace a line from Dick Butkus to Mike Singletary and Richard Dent to Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs and Julius Peppers. And then it fades, and Khalil Mack gets traded away, and Roquan Smith gets traded away, and everyone who even hints at caring about that tradition is gone.
Roquan used to talk all the time about the tradition he felt like he was continuing. Butkus to Singletary to Urlacher to Smith. That’s what he saw, and he led a defense that saw it with him.
Now he’s gone, and where did he go? To carry on a different tradition in Baltimore. One that’s alive and well, with a team that values his leadership, his skills, and his swagger.
This is not the fault of Matt Eberflus. It’s not even the fault of recently resigned DC Alan Williams. This was a top-down gamble by Ryan Poles to finally bring an offense to the Bears while hoping the defense would overperform simply because of tradition. But he helped kill the tradition, and it’s not something you can just take back.
You don’t bring back Lovie because he won. You bring back Lovie because he’s the last remnant of a defensive attitude that disappeared from whatever Soldier Field is called now. It remains to be seen if the footall gods will ever let them get it back.
Make sure you check back weekly for updated power rankings and random news of the week. Hit me with your comments below. Tell me why I’m wrong. I can take it.