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NFL Power Rankings: Week 4

NFL Power Rankings: Devonta Freeman

NFL Power Rankings: Devonta Freeman

NFL Power Rankings: Tom Brady

On and off the field, the past week in the NFL was one of the most fascinating in years. Naturally, a lot of the focus was on the pregame scene at stadiums across the country but the action between the lines was just as compelling as the best week of the season thus far had fun finishes at just about every turn. As a result, there was quite a bit of shakeup in terms of division races and the overall league pecking order.

Factoring in everything from overall roster strength, to quarterback play, to the coaching staff, here is the latest edition of NFL power rankings and where every team stacks up from 1 to 32.

Week 4 NFL Power Rankings

1. Kansas City Chiefs

NFL Power Rankings: Chiefs

Last week: 1

Yes it’s early but we’re getting close to the point where Kareem Hunt, like Ezekiel Elliott last year, will start to hear some MVP talk and not just be limited to rookie of the year.

2. Atlanta Falcons

Last week: 4

NFL Power Rankings: Falcons

Atlanta starts its NFC title defense by just about sweeping the NFC North through the first three weeks and capturing two victories over likely playoff teams in Green Bay and Detroit. Of course, this group came so, so close to suffering their first loss of the year and still need to figure out how to grind things out with the run in the fourth quarter.

3. New England Patriots

Last week: 2

NFL Power Rankings: Patriots

Nothing like a little Tom Brady magic at the end of the game huh? The veteran quarterback looked 10 years younger on that final drive and showed why he’s one of the best ever, but the concerns around this team’s play in the trenches on both sides of the ball remains a long-term issue.

4. Detroit Lions

Last week: 6

NFL Power Rankings: Detroit Lions

Not sure Lions fans will ever forget that ending against Atlanta and going from the thrill of victory to the agony of defeat in just a few minutes of replay agony. Still, it’s pretty clear this is a team that is built to get back to the postseason and do some damage.

5. Oakland Raiders

Last week: 3

NFL Power Rankings: Raiders

It’s always difficult to fly cross country for a big game if you’re a West Coast team but who knew the Raiders flew commercial and lost their offense with the rest of their bags? Perhaps that lackluster effort against Washington will wake folks up in the Bay Area and a team that is much better than what we saw Sunday night.

6. Tennessee Titans

Last week: 9

NFL Power Rankings: Tennessee Titans

Everybody’s favorite AFC dark horse looked mighty impressive in that big third quarter against Seattle. Still doesn’t seem like Marcus Mariota has the timing down just yet with his receivers so there’s still plenty more time to grow.

7. Green Bay Packers

Last week: 8

There were a dozen “wow” throws from Aaron Rodgers on Sunday afternoon and Green Bay shockingly needed every one of them. At least old No. 12 can finally claim victory in both overtime and over the Bengals for the first time in his career.

NFL Power Rankings: Packers

8. Philadelphia Eagles

Last week: 14

NFL Power Rankings: Eagles

You can probably say that things could have been a lot different had Aaron Rodgers’ pass attempt not been taken back for a touchdown early in the game. Either way, this is a team that is already banged up two weeks into the season and facing some fires on several fronts.

9. Dallas Cowboys

Last week: 12

NFL Power Rankings: Cowboys

It took a full half for the Titans to get going against their division rival but perhaps we saw them turn the corner on offense. An ailing DeMarco Murray gave Derrick Henry a chance to shine. Will that continue once Murray is healthy?

10. Minnesota Vikings

Last week: 15

NFL Power Rankings: Vikings

Case Keenum had perhaps his finest performance dating back to his days in college and the defense looked as fast as any in the league against a dangerous offense. While you still don’t know what the ceiling of this team can be, it’s pretty clear they have a fairly high floor as well.

11. Pittsburgh Steelers

Last week: 5

Sometimes a team just doesn’t have it on a Sunday afternoon and it was clear that Pittsburgh didn’t from the get-go against Chicago on the road. The lack of a run game still has to be pretty concerning if you’re a Steelers fan going forward.

NFL Power Rankings: Steelers

12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Last week: 7

NFL Power Rankings: Buccaneers

Despite playing a team with a backup quarterback, the Bucs were thoroughly embarrassed in all three phases by the Vikings on the road. While many thought this was a dark horse Super Bowl contender, they won’t be returning to Minnesota anytime soon if they play like they did on Sunday.

13. Washington Redskins

Last week: 19

NFL Power Rankings: Redskins

Two solid wins keeps Washington in a three-way tie atop the division and the way they throttled Oakland has to be a huge confidence boost to go into Kansas City for a big Monday night game next week.

14. Denver Broncos

Last week: 10

NFL Power Rankings: Broncos

Downright dreadful performance by Trevor Siemian shows what likely happens to this team on the road if the quarterback doesn’t take care of the football.

15. Seattle Seahawks

Last week: 11

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks

More offensive line woes are simply not surprising at this point but it was the defense getting picked apart and becoming extra emotional was a bit eye-opening. At this point, it’s a good thing the Seahawks play in the division they do because they would otherwise be in big trouble.

16. Houston Texans

Last week: 18

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Every fan in Houston probably thought the game was over as soon as Tom Brady got the ball back but that painful final drive should also be an encouraging sign of growth for this team. It’s not often that a rookie can go into Foxborough and look as good as Deshaun Watson did and the young QB still has plenty of room to grow.

NFL Power Rankings: Texans

17. Los Angeles Rams

Last week: 20

NFL Power Rankings: Rams

Well it was a little closer than the Rams would have wanted at the end but putting up 41 points on the road, on a short week, is a pretty good sign for a team that increasingly looks like they could even contend for the NFC West in 2017.

18. New Orleans Saints

Last week: 23

NFL Power Rankings: Saints

After weeks of hearing about their defensive woes, the Saints bounced back to contain Cam Newton and company to just 13 points. If that keeps up, perhaps they can claw back into things after such a difficult early schedule.

19. Baltimore Ravens

Last week: 13

NFL Power Rankings: Ravens

You can blame that absolutely dreadful performance against the Jaguars in London on jet lag but it’s pretty clear that the flaws we all saw in this team are starting to surface each passing week.

20. Carolina Panthers

Last week: 17

NFL Power Rankings: Panthers

Cam Newton still doesn’t look fully healthy at quarterback and that’s not only a concern in terms of wins and losses for the short term, but an issue for the franchise contending long term too.

21. Buffalo Bills

Last week: 24

NFL Power Rankings: Bills

That victory over the Broncos might be the early highlight of this season for the Bills and could be something to build on if Tyrod Taylor and the defense can play like that on a consistent basis. 

22. Miami Dolphins

Last week: 16

NFL Power Rankings: Dolphins

You figured this team was in for a letdown after flying across the country twice and dealing with the aftermath of a hurricane… but to nearly get shutout by the Jets? That’s all sorts of concerning and puts the Dolphins further behind the eight-ball in the division too.

23. New York Giants

Last week: 21

NFL Power Rankings: Giants

Not only are the lifeless Giants 0-3, but two of those losses are to division foes that they very likely will have to chase the rest of the year. The defense has carried them for so far but perhaps the fourth quarter signs of life for the offense mean a turnaround could be coming.

24. Chicago Bears

Last week: 28

NFL Power Rankings: Bears

Mike Glennon didn’t really quiet much of the crowd that wants Mitchell Trubisky under center but the team still got a huge win at home behind that terrific one-two punch in the run game. It won’t be easy to capitalize on a victory like that though with the short week and having to go to Lambeau.

25. Jacksonville Jaguars

Last week: 25

NFL Power Rankings: Jaguars

Can all of the Jaguars games be played in London? Nobody gets a better bounce by going across the pond than Blake Bortles and Jacksonville. The bigger question is if the Jags can take that win and build a little momentum back home — especially on offense since the defense looks more and more legit.

26. Arizona Cardinals

Last week: 26

NFL Power Rankings: Cardinals

There were some positive takeaways for the team early in that game against the Cowboys, especially in terms of shutting down the run on defense, but it just wasn’t a good enough all-around effort for one of the more disappointing teams in the NFC.

27. Los Angeles Chargers

Last week: 22

NFL Power Rankings: Chargers

New year, new city, same old Chargers it appears. To make matters worse, StubHub Center was full of opposing fans and any home-field advantage the team hoped for in the intimate environment feels like it’s already gone after two games in Los Angeles.

28. Indianapolis Colts

Last week: 27

NFL Power Rankings: Colts

Jacoby Brissett not surprisingly looked solid with additional practice time but perhaps the bigger news coming off that win at home is that it sounds as if we’re closer to finding out if Andrew Luck can hit the field shortly.

29. Cincinnati Bengals

Last week: 30

NFL Power Rankings: Bengals

Taking Green Bay to overtime in Lambeau was the best effort of the season for the Bengals but 0-3 is still 0-3 for a team that just can’t get out of its own way.

30. New York Jets

Last week: 32

More than a few New York Jets fans probably were not all that thrilled at the combination of a Jets win and a Browns loss on Sunday.

NFL Power Rankings: Jets

31. San Francisco 49ers

Last week: 31

NFL Power Rankings: 49ers

Was that fourth quarter outburst a sign of the kind of potential this team has under Kyle Shanahan or just a nice comeback against a team that took its foot off the gas? Seems more like the latter.

32. Cleveland Browns

Last week: 29

NFL Power Rankings: Cleveland Browns

While getting in a big hole contributed, DeShone Kizer can’t be throwing the ball 47 times and expect a victory for the Browns. It’s never good when the quarterback leads the team in rushing either.

— Written by Bryan Fischer, an award-winning college football columnist and member of the Athlon Contributor Network. You can follow him from coast-to-coast on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat at @BryanDFischer.