NFL Power Rankings: Week 4

Jake DeWitt

Rankings for each week will be posted every Thursday around noon, and will be based on a composite score of each voter’s individual score. The rankings for Week 4 were completed by Jake DeWitt and TJ Lovenduski. Enjoy!

The Texans looked feeble against a depleted Patriots squad led by rookie quarterback Jacoby Brissett. As expected, New England used a bevy of short passes and designed quarterback scrambles to wear out a strong Houston defense. Brissett finished Thursday night’s game going 11 for 19 and 103 yards in the air, while rushing eight times for 48 yards. Rob Gronkowski made his 2016 debut after sitting out the first two weeks with a hamstring injury. He played in just 14 total snaps, and just three in the second half. The star of the night was LeGarrette Blount, who ran for 105 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries. Houston quarterback Brock Osweiler was sacked twice and threw one interception. JJ Watt will likely be placed on IR before the Texans suit up for their Week 4 match up against the Tennessee Titans. New England plays in Foxboro against divisional rival Buffalo Bills.

Buffalo routed Arizona in a 33-18 victory at home to get its first win of 2016. After a disappointing start to his campaign, Tyrod Taylor bounced back in a big way with 119 passing yards and 76 rushing yards and a touchdown on nine scrambles. LeSean McCoy added 110 yards and two touchdowns as the workhorse Buffalo needs to rely on. Buffalo’s defense was the real story of the afternoon. The team tallied five sacks, four interceptions, and three forced fumbles to stymie a potent offense. Stephon Gilmore recorded two interceptions near the red zone to end a couple drives. Arizona gets the NFC West division leading Los Angeles Rams in Week 4.

Los Angeles defeated Tampa Bay in a game that was largely absent of any real defense. Todd Gurley contributed 85 of 137 team rushing yards, and also scored two touchdowns. On the other side, Jameis Winston passed for over 400 yards, three touchdowns, one fumble, and one interception on 58 pass attempts. The Bucs will need to establish the ground game much better (just 83 team rushing yards) if they intend to defeat the reigning Super bowl champions on Sunday in Tampa Bay.

Denver handled Cincinnati in a game that was close until the fourth quarter. Trevor Siemian led Denver with 312 passing yards and four touchdowns on a day in which the running game was not working. No Denver running back averaged more than 2.6 yards per carry. Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas both scored and topped 100 yards in the winning effort. Shane Ray and Von Miller combined for four sacks and three tackles for loss. Despite a strong performance from Jeremy Hill (97 yards, two touchdowns on 17 carries), Cincinnati dropped to 1-2. The Bengals face the Dolphins at home on Thursday night at 8:25pm EST.

Miami needed overtime to defeat Cleveland on Sunday. With Arian Foster inactive, Kenyan Drake and Jay Ajayi each averaged 4.0 yards per carry or more to lead the running back committee to a team total of 115 rushing yards.Ryan Tannehill passed for three touchdowns, but lost a fumble and threw two interceptions, including a pick-six by Boddy-Calhoun. Isaiah Crowell and Duke Johnson Jr. both turned in impressive performances on the ground, rushing for 79 yards and 69 yards, respectively. Cody Kessler looked better than expected, passing for 244 yards on 21 attempts. The real story for the Browns is the emergence of dynamic play maker Terrelle Pryor. The former Ohio State standout passed for 35 yards, rushed for 21 yards, and caught eight passes for 144 yards. He also appeared in the game on defense lining up at the safety position. He became the first player since Hall of Famer Frank Gifford in 1959 to have at least 120 receiving yards, at least 30 passing yards, and at least 20 rushing yards in a single game. While Cleveland could have played better in all facets of the game, Cody Parkey’s three missed field goals certainly hurt the most. Cleveland will face off against the Washington Redskins in Landover, Maryland on Sunday.

Washington secured its first victory of 2016 in a surprising win over the New York Giants. Kirk Cousins led Washington down the field late in the fourth quarter for a successful field goal try off the leg of Dustin Hopkins (5/5 on field goal attempts Sunday). New York committed three turnovers in total (two interceptions by Eli Manning and one fumble by Shane Vereen), and could not keep drives going. Odell Beckham Jr, Sterling Shepard, and Victor Cruz all turned in solid afternoons, but New York lost running back Shane Vereen for the season. With Rashad Jennings nursing an injury, the Giants will have to rely on Orleans Darkwa and Paul Perkins in Week 4 in a tough match up against the Minnesota Vikings on Monday Night Football.

The Vikings’ defense dominated Cam Newton and the Panthers in Week 3 en route to a 22-10 victory and 3-0 start. Minnesota forced three interceptions and recorded eight sacks as Carolina failed to score after the first quarter. The Vikings offense didn’t look great, but Kyle Rudolph managed to have a solid game with seven catches, 70 receiving yards, and one touchdown as his connection with Sam Bradford continues to grow. Minnesota has now defeated two 2015 NFC playoff teams, but the Panthers are headed in the opposite direction with a 1-2 record. Carolina heads to Atlanta to face the division-leading Falcons at 1:00pm EST.

Devonta Freeman led the Falcons to a 45-32 victory over the Saints with 207 combined yards from scrimmage. Tevin Coleman also added 99 yards and three rushing touchdowns. Matt Ryan, this year’s top fantasy quarterback so far, went 20 for 30 through the air with 240 yards and two touchdowns. Coby Fleener, Brandon Coleman, and Michael Thomas broke out in a big way in the absence of Willie Snead. Each receiver hauled in seven catches and combined for 258 receiving yards. At 0-3, the Saints are in the basement in the NFC South, but get a chance for a road victory against the Chargers (1-2) in Week 4.

The Chargers couldn’t muster an effective rushing attack against Indianapolis in Week 3. With Danny Woodhead out for the season, Melvin Gordon was the only running back to receive a carry, but he only managed 35 yards. Andrew Luck led the Colts to their first victory of the season with 331 passing yards, 174 of which belong to TY Hilton. Frank Gore led the ground game with 82 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries. San Diego had a good chance to win the game, but coughed up three fumbles to a lackluster defense. The Colts look to build on their Week 3 success against the Jaguars (0-3) in Jacksonville.

Blake Bortles threw an interception late in the fourth quarter and threw away Jacksonville’s chance to win in the process. He looked over-matched against a stout Baltimore defense, throwing three interceptions and taking four sacks. Good news for Jacksonville? Allen Robinson looked great in space and score both of Jacksonville’s touchdowns. Baltimore’s 3-0 start is very surprising, given the less than impressive start from Ravens’ running backs. It seems like only a matter of time before Kenneth Dixon gets the chance to supplant Justin Forsett and Terrance West for the starting job. Baltimore faces Oakland (2-1) at home in Week 4.

Derek Carr and the Oakland defense led the Raiders to victory despite the inability to score in the second half against the Titans. Marcus Mariota threw two interceptions to free-agent signs Sean Smith and Reggie Nelson. Nelson also recovered a Mariota fumble. DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry continue to impress for Tennessee. Murray racked up 114 rushing yards and a touchdown on just 16 carries, while adding 41 receiving yards through the air. Derrick Henry averaged 4.5 yards per carry in a backup role. Tennessee heads to Houston for a difficult match up against Houston (2-1)  in Week 4.

Aaron Rodgers threw four touchdowns and Eddie Lacy eclipsed 100 rushing yards as the Packers defeated the Lions 34-27. This game was far more lopsided than the score indicates, but the Lions did make a strong push in the second half. Detroit couldn’t make a third down stop in the fourth quarter to force a punt. One major highlight for the Lions is the strong rapport developing between Matthew Stafford and Marvin Jones. Of the 385 passing yards credited to Stafford, 205 belong to Jones. He’s emerging as the No. 1 wideout in his first season in Detroit after several with Cincinnati. Detroit looks to improve to 2-2 as they head to Chicago to face the lowly Bears (0-3). The Packers head into the Bye Week at 2-1.

The Cowboys dominated the Bears for much of this game on Sunday Night Football. The Bears depleted defense could not stop Ezekiel Elliot, though the rookie from Ohio State has yet to prove he’s worth the hype. Dak Prescott is now 2-1 as the Cowboys’ starter and talks of him permanently taking over for Romo are already swirling. Dez Bryant has a hairline fracture in his knee, and is questionable for Sunday’s game against the 49ers.

San Francisco was destroyed in Seattle by a score of 37-18. Christine Michael rushed for 106 yards and two touchdowns, Doug Baldwin hauled in eight passes for 164 yards and a touchdown, and Jimmy Graham returned to dominance with six catches, 100 yards, and a touchdown. Russell Wilson’s status heading into Sunday is uncertain as he’s dealing with a knee injury. In San Francisco, it’s time for Colin Kaepernick to start because Blaine Gabbert simply is not getting the job done, and Kaepernick is surely the more dynamic quarterback overall. Seattle heads to the Meadowlands in Week 4 to battle the struggling Jets.

The Jets were overwhelmed by the Kansas City Chiefs of Sunday. The Marcus Peters recorded two interceptions for the second week in a row. In all, the Chiefs tallied eight turnovers, taking two back for touchdowns. Otherwise, Alex Smith was ultra-efficient in the passing game. The 12th-year pro out of Utah University completed 25 of 33 passes for 237 yards and one touchdown pass to Travis Kelce. The Chiefs now face a tough task in Week 4 against a Steelers offense that welcomes star running back Le’Veon Bell as he returns from a three-game suspension.

The Steelers were dominated by Carson Wentz and the Eagles. The second-overall pick out of North Dakota State impressed again with 301 yards and two touchdowns. Wendell Smallwood and Kenjon Barner dominated carries out of the backfield, and should continue to have a significant role moving forward. The Eagles have now scored 29, 29, and 34 points in the first three games. Doubters were everywhere after the Eagles beat up on the Bears and Browns, but the hype should be very real now that the Birds have a quality win to their credit. The Steelers could only must three points against the Eagles defense. DeAngelo Williams gained just 21 yards on eight carries, and Antonio Brown was actually quiet all day despite his gaudy stat line. Brown caught 12 passes for 140 yards, but could not find the end zone on Sunday. The Eagles head into a Bye Week atop the NFC East.

Teams on Bye in Week 4: Green Bay Packers (2-1) and Philadelphia Eagles (3-0)

Voter Rankings
Team Jake Tj Week 4 Previous Week Change
Patriots 1 1 1 2 +1
Broncos 2 2 2 3 +1
Vikings 3 3 3 7 +4
Packers 4 4 4 6 +2
Steelers 5 8 5 1 -4
Eagles 7 6 6 15 +9
Seahawks 8 5 7 11 +4
Chiefs 6 9 8 13 +5
Cardinals 9 7 9 5 -4
Panthers 10 9 10 4 -6
Bengals 11 10 11 9 -2
Raiders 12 13 12 14 +2
Texans 13 12 13 8 -5
Giants 15 14 14 10 -4
Jets 14 15 15 12 -3
Ravens 20 11 16 16 0
Cowboys 17 16 17 17 0
Buccaneers 18 17 18 18 0
Colts 19 18 19 20 +1
Falcons 21 19 20 23 +3
Chargers 22 20 21 19 -2
Bills 23 21 22 29 +7
Rams 24 22 23 27 +4
Lions 25 24 24 21 -3
Jaguars 26 26 25 22 -3
Saints 27 28 26 24 -2
Redskins 28 28 27 30 +3
Titans 29 29 28 26 -2
49ers 30 30 29 28 -1
Dolphins 30 30 30 25 -5
Browns 31 32 31 32 +1
Bears 32 31 32 31 -1

Stats courtesy of ESPN.com

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Author: Thrive Nation

Amateur sports journalism blog, primarily posting about the latest happenings in EPL, MLB, NFL, and Boxing.

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