2019 NFL: Week 4
Who doesn’t love power rankings?
While ranking teams in the NFL can be a fun and safe way to start a conversation, it’s best to wait a few weeks before attempting them. Who needs power rankings after Week 1? Everyone is either 1-0 or 0-1. That’s just silly.
Now that we’ve reached the fourth week of the season and teams are starting to have their byes, we have a better idea of how the league is shaping up. So, let’s dive in and see where we’re at, while ignoring the bottom 22 teams.
(You can discuss this on the BSL Board here.)
NFL’S TOP 10
1) Patriots — They said hello and goodbye to Antonio Brown over two weeks. Julian Edelman is banged up, as is their offensive line, starting fullback and first-round draft pick. And yet, their schedule is pillow soft, their defense is impenetrable and of course, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are still there. There’s no reason to believe they won’t reach the AFC Championship game or even the Super Bowl again.
2) Chiefs — Who has two thumbs and thought Patrick Mahomes’ stats would regress a little this season? The dope writing these rankings, that’s who. Let me summarize: Our Mahomie has played three games and has thrown for 1,195 yards with 10 TD passes and no interceptions. Oh, his QB rating? A healthy 134.9. He’s projected to throw even more than the 50 TDs he tossed in 2018 this season and could realistically reach 6,000 yards. It doesn’t even bother me that this team still has holes defensively. There’s no team outside New England that can keep up with them.
3) Cowboys — Warning: hot take coming. This is a real Super Bowl contender. But, Sid! They’ve just played the crappy Giants (with Eli), the stinky Redskins and the hapless Dolphins! So, what? Good teams beat up on bad ones. Show me a hole on this roster. They can run the ball, have weapons on the outside and their defense is filled with studs.
4) Rams — It’s too soon to push the panic button. In fact, the panic button shouldn’t even be out yet. However, it’s clear that something is a tad off. Opposing defenses are following the lead of the Patriots and are stacking the line of scrimmage and taking away the jet sweeps and outside zone runs the Rams have done so well during the Sean McVay era. The good news is they’re still 3-0 with two wins on the road and the defense is humming with new faces Clay Matthews and Eric Weddle. Matthews, especially, is feasting with four sacks. That’s the benefit of playing alongside Aaron Donald. The latter gets so much attention that a smart veteran can take advantage and make some easy plays.
5) Ravens — There’s nothing wrong with losing at Kansas City, but while the final score seemed close, the game really wasn’t. Lamar Jackson had a rough go of it, barely completing 50 percent of his passes and had two horrible looking throws go for big yardage that should have been picked off. That being said, this is easily the strongest team in the AFC North and let’s hope their offense is more balanced going forward.
6) Packers — Let’s accentuate the positive. After three weeks of looking choppy at best, their offense looked better on Thursday night against the Eagles. However, there’s a negative as Mike Pettine’s defense, much lauded after some impressive performances, got torn apart by Philly’s running game. Maybe we can chalk this up to the short week.
7) Saints — You can’t overlook what they did in Seattle as the Seahawks have never lost a home game in September under head coach Pete Carroll. And yet, Sean Payton’s bunch got a touchdown on special teams, returned a fumble for a touchdown and relied on a heavy dose of their best weapon Alvin Kamara. And don’t sleep on Teddy Bridgewater. He once quarterbacked the Vikings to an 11-5 record and a playoff spot. He’s more than capable of keeping this team on their feet until Drew Brees returns.
8) Eagles: What a way to rebound. After losing to the Lions at home last week, they come back on short rest and pound the ball down Green Bay’s throat. And Carson Wentz threw three touchdown passes to boot. This team doesn’t have the best record, but there’s way too much talent on this roster to keep them out of the top 10.
9) 49ers: They’re unbeaten, but they need to show us more. They played a way-too-close game against a Ben-less Steelers team, turning the ball over five times to boot.
10) Bills — Is this team any good? We’ll find out for sure this weekend, but for now, they’re 3-0. And having a perfect record gets you into my top 10. Kudos!
WHAT’S THE CHATTER?
He’s back: Melvin Gordon stayed home in the hopes of landing a new, big-money contract. That didn’t happen. So, the running back folded up his protest tent and returned to the Chargers on Thursday. Something tells me Gordon got anxious watching Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson capably handle the running game as he sat on the couch.
And it appears that once again, the Chargers got away with being cheap with a player. At least head coach Anthony Lynn said Gordon will be the team’s starter when he’s ready to play.
How long will this last? Jalen Ramsey is still with the Jaguars, but that could change at a moment’s notice. He said his request to be traded “still stands,” but the team isn’t budging, at least for now.
Meanwhile, he’s doing everything possible to stay away from the team in suspicious ways that you can’t really argue with. First, he said he had the flu. Wow, how convenient. Any chance he’s lying about that? He says no way.
“Had the flu, was throwing up,” Ramsey said during a radio appearance. “Threw up at least four times, had the sh-ts, had to go to the doctor, had to get IVs, had to take all type of medicine and eat chicken noodle soup, do all the remedies that I could do.”
Cool. Then Wednesday came and the star cornerback couldn’t practice because of a previously unreported back injury. Alrighty then. Later that same day, he announced he was leaving for the birth of his second child. Nobody could really fault a man for that. However, don’t be surprised if next week, he starts losing second aunts and distant half-cousins.
Money train is coming: ESPN’s Adam Schefter had some scoopage this week, saying Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes will eventually sign a contract worth $200 million. Nobody will bat an eye, right?
Miami flavor: Looks like we’re getting J-Lo and Shakira performing at the Super Bowl halftime show, which will be held in South Florida. Allow me to rant for a minute.
I feel it’s time for the NFL to do away with this halftime extravaganza nonsense. While the league feels it’s crucial to attract viewers who may not normally watch football, I feel the experience would be better without them.
The non-football fans are always the idiots at the Super Bowl party that ruin everything with their chatter while the game is going on. Asking questions like “who made the dip?” and “how do you turn on the bathroom sink?”
Furthermore, what’s the appeal of watching J-Lo lip sync her way through “Jenny from the Block” with Shakira bleating in the background? Feh!
AB is back again: Here’s the weekly update. He announced that he was done with the NFL and was taking college classes. Then he said the league needs him and he wants to play for a fourth team in less than a calendar year. Then he got into a Twitter beef with Rams safety Eric Weddle. And finally, late Thursday, Yahoo Sports announced that Brown would likely win his grievance vs. the Patriots and will get his $9 million signing bonus. I think we’re done here.
What luck: I’m not sure what Colts fans did to deserve this. Maybe it was all those years they spent as a laughingstock in the 1980s and early-to-mid 90s. Perhaps a deal was made with Satan.
Whatever it was, they’ve had an unprecedented run of good fortune at quarterback. They went from Peyton Manning to Andrew Luck with no lag time in between. Fast forward about seven years and Luck stunned the world with his retirement, seemingly leaving the team in the lurch in the preseason.
No problem at all. Jacoby Brissett has stepped in and done a solid job and looks like he could be the guy going forward. Wow. I hope they appreciate this. It’s been a couple decades since Dan Marino retired and the Dolphins are STILL looking for a solution at this position.
WHAT TO WATCH IN WEEK 4
Patriots at Bills: Oh man, Bills Mafia is going to be ready for this one. It’s funny to say, but this is a matchup of two unbeaten teams. And Tom Brady said he’s been hobbled a bit in practice this week, saying he’s no “spring chicken” anymore. If Buffalo is going to steal one against New England, now is the time.
Chiefs at Lions: Hey, did you know Detroit is also unbeaten? Granted, they have a tie, but still. They have wins over the Chargers at home and on the road against the Eagles, who didn’t have their top two receivers. Am I predicting an upset here? No, definitely not.
Redskins at Giants: Daniel Jones part two! I’ve been rooting for him since the moment he was drafted and the nation’s media lined up with their mocking comments and idiotic takes. It was great to see him look like everything Eli Manning isn’t in a road win. Remember, this poor guy was booed at Yankee Stadium. He’s going to get a much warmer reception at home on Sunday.
Browns at Ravens: People have been piling on Cleveland for starting 1-2, but a win over Baltimore will put them in first place in the AFC North. Word of advice: No more draw plays on fourth-and-9.
Panthers at Texans: Kyle Allen threw four touchdown passes in place of the injured Cam Newton in a win over the Cardinals. Before everyone goes out and buys Allen jerseys, let’s see how he does against a tougher opponent.
Jaguars at Broncos: I’m all in on Gardner Minshew, just like the rest of the country. I want him to work out in Jacksonville and a road win will definitely add fuel to the hype train.
Cowboys at Saints: Some people are calling for New Orleans to pull off the upset in the dome. I’m not seeing that. This game will be close, but the Cowboys are probably a touchdown better.
Currently a Mobile Editor at Yahoo, Saraf spent 5.5 years (Oct. 2010 - Feb. 2016) working for FOX Sports as an NFL Editor and Writer. Prior to that, Saraf worked for CBS Interactive for 4.5 years (May 2006 - Oct. 2010) as a Staff Editor.