Quarter-Pole: NFL Power Rankings

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NFL Power Rankings
The New Orleans Saints climbed up our NFL Power Rankings following an impressive victory against the Dallas Cowboys. PC: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

With a quarter of the season completed, the picture of contenders is becoming clearer. Today we make some updates to our NFL Power Rankings. There were some significant changes. After a week of surprising finishes and shocking struggles, the latest power rankings give insight into how wild the season has been. Without further adieu, here are the latest power rankings.

*Rankings show team’s record and movement from last week’s rankings*

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Just A Bit Outside

Houston Texans (2-2, -2), Baltimore Ravens (2-2, -4), Philadelphia Eagles (2-2, +3)

Two teams drop (Houston and Baltimore) while a third begins the climb back to the top. The Texans dropped a tough game to the Kyle Allen-led Carolina Panthers. Houston’s offensive weapons need to step up to ease the pressure on quarterback Deshaun Watson. Baltimore followed their frustrating loss to the Chiefs, with a demoralizing defeat at the hands of the Browns. The Ravens defense brought down Baker Mayfield once but allowed 530 yards of total offense. No matter how good the Baltimore offense can be, the defense needs to step up. The Eagles manhandled the Packers on Thursday night. Philadelphia’s offense looks noticeably better as Jordan Howard has found his role. Defensively, the secondary remains a concern, although the pass rush is beginning to heat up.

No. 10 – Seattle Seahawks (3-1, +4)

Nothing gets the Seahawks out of their early-season blues than a trip to Arizona. Over the last seven seasons, Seattle has not lost to the Cardinals in Arizona. Sunday’s 27-10 victory helps push the Seahawks forward as teams continue to trip over themselves. The lone loss on the ledger came against the Saints, a team featured quite high on this list. Russell Wilson continues to carry the offense but receives some help from running back Chris Carson. If Carson can protect the football, the Seahawks offense is explosive. Jadeveon Clowney had a pick-six on Sunday and has been a force on the defensive front. Thursday is a test from the visiting Rams.

No. 9 – Chicago Bears (3-1, +2)

Mitch Trubisky has a separated shoulder and is likely to miss a couple of weeks. Yet the Bears climb the power rankings. The answer is simple: This defense does not stop. Chicago’s defense gives up an average of 11.3 points per game. The defense is second in the NFL with 17 sacks on the year and gets to the quarterback at a 9.7% rate on dropbacks. On offense, the Bears aren’t asking for much, even if Trubisky were healthy. The Bears have enough weapons on offense to score more than their defense allows. If the offense can be average, the Bears will continue to climb the rankings.

No. 8 – Green Bay Packers (3-1, -4)

The Packers suffered their first loss of the season and slid back in the rankings. The loss itself isn’t the reason for the significant drop but rather the way it happened. Philadelphia pushed around the Packers at the line of scrimmage. The Eagles ran for 176 yards and two touchdowns. Green Bay’s offense swung for the fences and finished with over 400 yards passing. Ultimately an end-zone interception ended any hopes of a comeback. Will the defense be able to rebound and get stronger against the run? Green Bay could see a fall outside the top-ten if they’re unable to turn it around against the Cowboys.

No. 7 – Buffalo Bills (3-1, +/-)

The defense held the Patriots offense to 224 total yards. Frank Gore rushed for over 100 yards, placing himself fourth all-time in yards rushing. Buffalo outgained the Patriots, 375-224. Oh, and Buffalo lost for the eighth time in the last ten meetings. The Bills lost due to their own mistakes on offense. Josh Allen threw three interceptions, two of which ended promising drives for the Bills. One of the interceptions came as a result of a poorly thrown deep ball to an open receiver. If Allen leads the receiver it results in a touchdown. Instead, Allen underthrew his receiver and placed it into the hands of the New England defender. Buffalo’s defense is as good as any in the NFL. If Allen can cut down on some of his mistakes, Buffalo is a real threat for a playoffs appearance.

No. 6 – Los Angeles Rams (3-1, -3)

Has the league adjusted to Sean McVay and the Rams offense? Truth is the league adjusts to everyone. What is more concerning is the defense. Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay offense exploded for 55 points on Sunday, handing the Rams their first loss of the season. Through four games, the Rams defense has given up an average of 26 points per game, placing Los Angeles in the bottom-ten of the league. Making matters worse, quarterback Jared Goff has regressed to his rookie year performances. Goff has thrown six interceptions to go along with his six touchdowns. He has a QBR of 38.7, just above Josh Allen and below Josh Rosen. Back to back division games against the Seahawks in Seattle and home to the 49ers will test this team’s resolve.

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No. 5 – Dallas Cowboys (3-1, +/-)

The Cowboys continue to frustrate. Absent context, a 3-1 record and a game lead in the division is nothing to frown over. However, the Cowboys have a superb roster and should be a contender for the Super Bowl. Yet here we stand with another disappointing showing by the Cowboys, under the Jason Garrett era. On paper, the Cowboys should have been able to grind out a victory in New Orleans. However, Dallas was unable to get the offense going and lost a close game to the Saints, who were playing without Drew Brees. Ezekiel Elliot should be average 20-25 carries a game for the Dallas offense but continues to be Garrett’s yo-yo. Dallas plays in a division with Washington and the Giants. Feed Elliot the football and let Kellen Moore call his offense.

No. 4 – San Francisco 49ers (3-0, +2)

A bye week maintains the perfect record. The stunning victory for Tampa Bay over the Rams helps bolster the resume. The 49ers are the lone undefeated team in the NFC. As such, they have moved up in the rankings as they prepare for a Monday night clash with the Browns. San Francisco’s defense is among the best in the league and the offense is beginning to heat up. A turnover-filled performance against the Steelers must be corrected by an impressive showing under the lights. The wide receiver group will need to continue their growth and alleviate the pressure on tight end George Kittle. This team could surprise many this season.

No. 3 – New Orleans Saints (3-1, +9)

The Saints make the biggest jump on the power rankings, moving nine spots up to third. Count us as believers in the New Orleans defense. The Saints shut down Ezekiel Elliott and the Cowboys offense on Sunday night, holding Dallas to 257 total yards while forcing three turnovers. Teddy Bridgewater did enough to get the offense on the scoreboard and managed to avoid major mistakes. Head coach Sean Payton is doing a tremendous job and has his team playing with a chip on their shoulders. If this team can manage to continue their stellar play, the return of Drew Brees puts New Orleans near the top of any contender list.

No. 2 – Kansas City Chiefs (4-0, +/-)

A last-second heave fell incomplete and the Chiefs escaped Detroit with their undefeated record. It was ugly against the Lions as Patrick Mahomes was held without a passing touchdown for the second time in his career. Mahomes was outplayed by Lions’ quarterback Matthew Stafford. The third-year quarterback finished with 315 yards through the air. Offensively, the Chiefs were hurt by three lost fumbles. The Kansas City defense surrendered 447 yards of total offense but managed to force two turnovers for themselves. Those turnovers helped keep the game close until the offense could get going. Kansas City has a pair of tough games against the Colts and Texans. Another performance like the one on Sunday will result in losses for the Chiefs.

No. 1 – New England Patriots (4-0, +/-)

The Patriots remain at the top of our power rankings after a victory over Buffalo. New England’s defense is the best they’ve ever had in the Bill Belichick era. The Patriots defense suffocated the Bills offense when it counted and forced three turnovers. New England’s special teams also pitched in a blocked punt which resulted in a touchdown. Injuries at the wide receiver position have made it tougher for the offense to function but the defense is playing well enough to negate any issues. This is a complete team and one seemingly hell-bent on repeating as Super Bowl champions. New England looks like the best team in the NFL. If the offense can get healthy, we’re looking at New England hosting the AFC championship game.

 

– Ryan Adverderada is the Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage Cardinals. Like and follow on and Facebook.

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