With the first three weeks of the NFL season behind us, it’s time for Brown Sports Convos’ power rankings. We’ll be picking out which teams have the hot hand and which teams are struggling to make it through the week. As of now, there are a few surprises that we didn’t see coming, both good (Buffalo Bills) and bad (New York Jets), as well as teams we knew would be good (New England Patriots) and bad (Miami Dolphins). While three games may not be a large enough sample for us to determine all the teams that are for real, we’ve tried to do so anyway.
Even without Antonio Brown, this team is clearly the best in the league right now (no surprise). The defense accumulated five sacks last week against the Jets, while the pass offense continued to dominate. While Sony Michel rushed for only 11 yards on nine touches, that may just be because the team hasn’t needed to get him going, considering Brady has so easily carved up defenses. The Pats will have their first real test next week against the undefeated Buffalo Bills in a matchup of division rivals.
Week 4 Matchup: [Away] Buffalo Bills
Another win for the Chiefs last week, this time against the really solid Baltimore Ravens. After giving up an early sack, the Chiefs didn’t allow another despite facing a good Baltimore pass rush. Patrick Mahomes is an early MVP candidate again this year and the backfield duo of Damien Williams and Lesean McCoy has proven effective. This team is terrifying when in a rhythm - Kansas City scored 23 unanswered points in the 2nd quarter to put the Ravens away. Even without Tyreek Hill, the Chiefs’ offensive capabilities are unmatched. And the defense is doing enough to hold off opposing teams.
Week 4 Matchup: [Away] Detroit Lions
After opening the 100th NFL season with a game that looked like it could have been played 100 years ago, the Packers decided to make up for the deficiencies of yesteryears by having a defensive renaissance. Aaron Rodgers hasn’t had any trouble finding touchdowns (and neither have Green Bay’s running backs). The Packers are looking like legit NFC contenders, but will have to knock off some tough looking competitors in the Cowboys, Lions, and Chiefs over the next five weeks if they want to have a real shot at NFC North supremacy.
Week 4 Matchup: [Home] Philadelphia Eagles
A close loss against the Kansas City Chiefs this past Sunday, as the pass pass defense did all it could against a Mahomes onslaught. The offense played a tad too aggressively in the first half, going for it twice on fourth down early in the second quarter and giving the Chiefs’ offense good field position. Despite being 17 points down in the fourth quarter, the Ravens battled back to make it a five-point game. Baltimore is one of the best teams in the league right now.
Week 4 Matchup: [Home] Cleveland Browns
Jared Goff may be great at allowing his wide receivers to shine —both Brandin Cooks and Cooper Kupp had over 100 yards receiving last week — but he still needs to clean up his play, as he also threw two interceptions. The defense was the real star, pressuring Mayfield all night and holding Cleveland off at the end of the game. Clay Matthews and Eric Weddle, both veteran signings, have proven invaluable. No flashy wins (not counting the Saints game because Brees got injured) as of yet, but the Rams will have a chance to move up in the power rankings with a game against the Buccaneers on Sunday at home.
Week 4 Matchup: [Home] Tampa Bay Buccaneers
With three consecutive wins to start the season, the Cowboys are currently riding high. Ezekiel Elliott is earning his contract, Tony Pollard is looking like a handy extra bit of firepower, Jason Witten is having a bit of a career resurgence, and Dak Prescott is rocking a 74% completion rate. However, Dallas’ three wins have come over the struggling Giants, the mediocre Redskins, and the hapless Dolphins. The Cowboys are going to have to prove that they’re legit when they face the Saints on the road and host Green Bay in upcoming weeks.
Week 4 Matchup: [Away] New Orleans Saints.
Few teams in the league are as exciting as the Texans. After a thrilling loss to the Saints in Week 1, a close win at home against the Jaguars, and a nail biting victory over the Chargers, the Texans are keeping the spotlight on themselves. Now up against the Panthers, and then the Chiefs, Deshaun Watson will have to keep pulling rabbits out of his helmet if the Texans want to stay ahead of the Colts in the AFC South.
Week 4 Matchup: [Home] Panthers
Who would have guessed that after three weeks the Bills would still be undefeated? While they haven’t had any truly spectacular wins, Josh Allen has looked like an actual NFL quarterback, John Brown and Cole Beasley have formed a successful duo, and Frank Gore is still proving haters wrong. While a home contest against the Patriots will likely throw a wrench in this undefeated season, the Bills are not going down without a fight this year.
Week 4 Matchup: [Away] New England Patriots
Well, at least the defense hasn’t lost a step. That’s for sure. Unfortunately, Mitchell Trubisky himself may have taken a step back; Mitch didn’t throw a touchdown until Week Three against the Skins, though to his credit he threw three. The play calling has confused many — Trubisky is being given a high volume of passing opportunities while rookie running back David Montgomery is being overlooked by head coach Matt Nagy. Still, with two wins and a competent kicker, the Bears are still in position to compete for the division title.
Week 4 Matchup: [Home] Minnesota Vikings
Their first loss of the season came at the hands of a Drew Brees-less Saints, so not the best defeat. In terms of offensive output, this team is having no trouble thanks to Russell Wilson, who threw for 400 yards and picked up two rushing touchdowns last week. However, the Seahawks seem to be struggling a little on defense and special teams. With no convincing wins, it’s hard to go all in on this team. But as long as Russell Wilson is leading the charge, we can’t count Seattle out. Note: Rashaad Penny is returning from injury and should help to balance the backfield.
Week 4 Matchup: [Away] Arizona Cardinals
A really sloppy game from the 49ers on Sunday - five turnovers should not lead to a win, but San Francisco pulled away anyhow. The backfield, split between Raheem Mostert and Matt Breida, is working well, and it will be interesting to see how Tevin Coleman factors in after their upcoming bye week. This team will need to clean up all the mistakes before facing the truly great teams in the NFL. Sidenote: the defense is for real - watch it become a clear cut top-ten unit soon.
Week 4 Matchup: BYE
A slightly confusing squad, the Lions tied with the struggling Cardinals in Kyler Murray’s first game as a pro, but beat both the Chargers and Eagles despite high expectations surrounding those teams. While Detroit is likely to take a loss on Sunday against the Chiefs, the following four games (Packers, Vikings, Giants, and Raiders) are all winnable contests that could force us to look at the Lions with a little more respect. Week 4 Matchup: [Away] Packers
The defense is looking stout, with four sacks and an interception against the Raiders. Kirk Cousins had time in the pocket all day and was able to get his team the win. Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison both enjoyed big games, and Cook has shown that he is a legitimate RB1. Meanwhile, rookie Irv Smith Jr. had the most yards from a receiver for Minnesota. The biggest concern that the team has is at the QB position; if Cousins can’t consistently show up, the Vikings could be in trouble
Week 4 Matchup: [Away] Chicago Bears
After heartbreaking playoff losses in each of the past two years, one of which inspired an entire rule change, you wouldn’t think things could get any worse for the Saints. Things were starting to look up when Drew Brees knocked off an exciting Texans squad on Thursday Night Football in Week 1. But then what should have been a fumble scoop and score got called back, and Brees was injured in a loss to the Rams. Fortunately, Teddy Bridgewater has looked solid in relief of the temporarily absent Brees, so not all hope is lost.
Week 4 Matchup: [Home] Chicago Bears
While many predicted doom and gloom when Andrew Luck announced his retirement, calmer heads pointed out that the Colts still had premier talent in many spots on the field, Frank Reich as head coach, and weak opposition in the AFC South. The Colts haven’t blown anyone out of the water, but they haven’t been blown out themselves either. So far, all of their games have been close, and Jacoby Brisset has looked like a real NFL starting quarterback. This franchise has a chance to knock off the reigning AFC South champs if they can maintain decent play.
Week 4 Matchup: [Home] Oakland Raiders
Year after year, the Chargers promise to be one of the most exciting teams in the league. Without fail, however, they end up limited by injuries and fall short of expectations. So far, this season promises more of the same. With Pro Bowl safeties and tackles on the injury report, along with promising tight ends, the Chargers are struggling. While Austin Eckler has proven to be a viable replacement for holdout Melvin Gordon, the Chargers simply have too many holes. A game against Miami looks like an easy win at least.
Week 4 Matchup: [Away] Miami Dolphins
Ask any football fan if they’d want five first round draft picks on their offensive line and they’d say ‘yes’ in a heartbeat. Ask them again how they’d feel if two of those linemen were rookies and that ‘yes’ might be a little less enthusiastic. Ask them how they’d feel if one of those rookies went down in Week 1 and suddenly that football fan is going to feel like they’ve been cheated just a little bit. Well, that’s what the Falcons have had to deal with this season. Matt Ryan has been able to keep them from falling completely off the map, but a weak running game and high pressure rate is holding the team back.
Week 4 Matchup: [Home] Tennessee Titans
After a close loss to the Lions, the Eagles are below .500 for the year. Carson Wentz looked solid with 259 passing yards, especially considering the injuries at the receiver position — Alshon Jeffery (calf) and DeSean Jackson (abdomen). While this team has the talent to be a real threat, Philly’s only win as of now is against the 0-3 Redskins. And the Eagles will have another challenge next week against the undefeated Packers.
Week 4 Matchup: [Away] Packers
The Titans seem committed to their ways of old: absolute mediocrity, interrupted by occasional flashes of brilliance that keep them on the verge of relevance. While they blew out the Browns in Week 1, the Titans dropped a close one to the Colts and struggled against the Jaguars. Mariota has looked decent, but he’s going to need to step up if he wants to stay in Tennessee past the last year of his contract.
Week 4 Matchup: [Away] Atlanta Falcons
The Browns are certainly not off to the start they wanted, nor the start that people expected of them. After losing badly to the Titans, the Browns turned around and overwhelmed the Jets in Week 2. A defeat against the Rams on SNF in Week Three was anticipated, but still hurts. None of Cleveland’s upcoming games are gimmies; the Browns will have to flip the switch in order to rise in the rankings.
Week 4 Matchup: [Away] Baltimore Ravens
Gardner Minshew, not the hero we thought we needed, but the hero we all deserve. After Nick Foles went down in Week 1, Minshew stepped in and has played extremely well for the Jaguars. With the defense already collecting 13 sacks this season and the offense doing just enough, the Jaguars have the potential to build on last week’s win over the Titans with a road win against a struggling Broncos O-line.
Week 4 Matchup: [Away] Denver Broncos
Kyle Allen led the Panthers to a statement win over the Arizona Cardinals, throwing for four touchdowns and 261 yards in his first game of the season. Christian McCaffery also had a bounceback effort with 153 rushing yards. The defensive side performed well, sacking Kyler Murray eight times. Interesting fact: Cam Newton has lost the last eight games he’s started in and Kyle Allen has won his last two.
Week 4 Matchup: [Away] Houston Texans
Daniel Jones. After what seemed like a reach in the 2019 draft, Jones paid off big time with an 18-point comeback win against the Buccaneers, throwing for over 300 yards and two touchdowns. He rushed for two touchdowns as well, including the game winner. Saquon Barkley is out for 4-6 weeks, however, so the Giants might have a rough few games, facing four teams with a winning record over the next six weeks.
Week 4 Matchup: [Home] Washington Redskins
This was supposed to be a top-ten team. Instead, the Steelers have lost three straight games. The offense struggled last week with Mason Rudolph at the helm in place of Ben Rothlisberger, who is out for the season. James Connor couldn’t get anything going on the ground. Except for a 76 yard touchdown strike, Juju Smith-Schuster has yet to find consistency in the passing game. Minkah Fitzpatrick looks like a good pick up, but that first round pick could be a high cost.
Week 4 Matchup: [Home] Cincinnati Bengals
Oof, what a loss. With an 18-point lead going into halftime, the Buccaneers were subsequently outscored 22-3 in the second half. Offensively, there did not seem to be any issues, with Jameis Winston connecting with his favorite target, Mike Evans, eight times for 190 yards. Ronald Jones bounced back with 80 yards on the ground. Considering the struggles the rest of the NFC South is facing, Tampa Bay can make a push, especially since the defense is stepping up—Shaquil Barrett currently leads the NFL with eight sacks.
Week 4 Matchup: [Away] L.A. Rams
After their win against the Broncos in Week 1, the Raiders have failed to put up a fight in their last two games. While they struggled offensively, the real issue is on the defensive side; Oakland had no sacks and failed to put any meaningful pressure on Kirk Cousins. Additionally, the Raiders were unable to stop Dalvin Cook (who to be fair, is hard to stop). Clelin Ferrell, the Raiders’ fourth overall pick, has failed to live up to expectations. This team doesn’t have a lot to look forward to right now.
Week 4 Matchup: [Away] Indianapolis Colts
Head Coach Zac Taylor has done surprisingly well with the Bengals — although Cincinnati is 0-3 right now, the team has played hard in all three losses. The lack of a pass rush hurts a lot; at one point last week, Josh Allen dropped the ball on the ground and no one converged on him. Additionally, the Bengals need to get Joe Mixon going. The team could be better, but still, they haven’t won yet.
Week 4 Matchup: [Away] Pittsburgh Steelers
A big game from Phillip Lindsay couldn’t help the Broncos, who lost again. Interesting fact: despite having Von Miller and Bradley Chubb, Denver’s defense group has no sacks on the season. With their talent, that statistic will change soon. The Broncos have underperformed and will look to bounce back next week against the Jaguars.
Week 4 Matchup: [Home] Jacksonville Jaguars
The New York Jets aren’t looking good, which is to be expected considering their injuries at QB: Sam Darnold (mono) and Trevor Siemian (ankle). Third-stringer Luke Falk, despite being drafted 199th like Tom Brady, was not able to channel his inner Brady to get anything going against New England. Le’Veon Bell was also pretty much stopped by the Pats. In all, the loss was not as bad as it could have been, considering both Quinnen Williams and C.J. Mosley were inactive. The Jets need to right the ship soon because the Patriots and Bills are both undefeated. It may be too long before that happens.
Week 4 Matchup: BYE
The good news: Case Keenum has been decent, Adrian Peterson played well after a Week 1 benching, and Terry Mclaurin is a rookie phenom. But without a win yet, it’s only a matter of time until first-round draft pick Dwayne Haskins gets his first start under center. There will be comparisons to fellow rookie signal caller Daniel Jones of the New York Giants.
Week 4 Matchup: [Away] New York Giants
Despite rushing for 69 yards, Kyler Murray went through growing pains last week, as he threw two interceptions and got sacked eight times. While that’s partly on Arizona’s poor O-line, it’s still up to Murray as a mobile quarterback to know when to slip out of the pocket. The Cardinals’ lack of talent makes this a hard team to have hope for; they’ll stay near the bottom regardless of how well Murray does.
Week 4 Matchup: [Home] Seattle Seahawks
The Dolphins have scored 16 points in their first three games. They’ve allowed 133 points, for a -117 point differential. That is terrible. It may be too early to call them a lock for the number one pick with so many other winless teams, but it really looks like their tanking efforts will be successful. Josh Rosen received his first start as a member of the Dolphins, but other than that, this team won’t be making any (relevant) noise soon.
Week 4 Matchup: [Home] L.A. Chargers