NFL Power Rankings: A Quarter Of The Season Is Gone, Where Do Things Stand?
Four Weeks Into NFL Season Texans Look Best
We are now one quarter of the way through the NFL season and it’s officially ok to start forming opinions and making assumptions in the league. The standings are shaping up, even though it’s not necessarily the way they’ll end up, we can analyze where teams stand as of now. By watching the first four weeks we are starting to see trends form and there are injuries that have turned around plenty of opinions from the start of the year.
We break down the power rankings every week here at Rant Sports, so you can always see where your favorite team is ranked but I will be taking you through the league every four weeks and breaking down who stands where. I’ll be doing this at the halfway point, as well as at the three quarters point of the season for the stretch run.
Right now a few teams definitely stand out from the pack but we still don’t know everything since the NFL is such a difficult league to gauge, especially when as the saying goes, “any given Sunday,” can bring forth a surge of excitement or disappointment. Yes, we are into October and the standings may still look close but there may be a clear favorite in a particular division, the AFC South comes to mind, but things can change in the next four weeks.
Here is a look at where things stand in each conference and what the big picture looks like right now; because it’s never too early to tell a fan base they have the team to beat. Or tell another to start looking towards the draft.
Arizona Cardinals Have Been Impressive
In the NFC, there are two undefeated teams standing in the Arizona Cardinals and the Atlanta Falcons. The Cards are a complete shock and while plenty of fans and writers felt the Falcons were going to be good this year, I’m guessing now many had them undefeated through their first four games.
Are the Cards too good to be true or are they a legit threat to not only the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC West, but to the entire conference? I’m going to give them a ton of respect because they have beaten some really good teams, both on the road and at home, but I still like San Fran to win this division.
Meanwhile, the Falcons are impressing with their big play offense and an opportunistic defense. This team is in the hunt for an NFC title and there isn’t much to slow them down from dominating the NFC South.
Eagles Lead the NFC East
If you look at the other divisions in the NFC, the story in the NFC East is no different than when we started the year, who is the favorite to win it? The Philadelphia Eagles sit on top with a 3-1 record but they haven’t played as well as you would think to be leading the division. They did get some things corrected against the New York Giants and have to be considered the favorites right now.
The Giants have looked much better after a sluggish two games to start but they have turned it around and will be in the hunt until the end. The Cowboys, as always, are an enigma. Which team shows up ready to play is a mystery and they appear headed for another mediocre season and out of the playoffs. This next five game stretch after the bye week will tell us all we need to know about Dallas. And the Washington Redskins will give plenty of teams fits because of their style of offense with RGIII but their defense will keep them down.
In the NFC North, the Chicago Bears are on top and have three nice wins, along with a head scratcher at Green Bay. The Bears are still my favorite to come out of the North because they have the weapons on offense and the defense to slow the Packers down. Green Bay is trying to round into form but it may take a while. They have injury issues but I still see them making the playoffs over a surprising Minnesota Vikings team that is sitting at 3-1. They play good defense and don’t turn the ball over, always a successful formula, especially with a good running game. I’m just not sure they are ready to make too big of a leap this year. And the Detroit Lions have taken a step back this year, not a surprise to me. They don’t seem to have the defense or special teams play to get much better.
San Fran is the class of the NFC
The NFC playoff picture looks clear right now and even though the Falcons and Cardinals have the best records right now, I like San Francisco to win the conference. They beat teams up on both sides of the ball and they have the defense to slow down a team like Atlanta or Green Bay. Along with those three teams I like Bears and Eagles also to make the playoffs and win their divisions.
The last playoff spot will be a fight between the Giants, Cardinals and Vikings. I’m not sure who will end up in getting in but if history is any guide, the Giants usually play some of their best football when they need to. I don’t see the Cardinals or Vikings fading too far away but let’s see how both teams respond to some success over the early part of the season. The Cardinals have only played one road game and the Vikings have yet to play Green Bay or Chicago so expect to find out more about these teams moving forward.
San Diego leads the AFC West
In the AFC the Houston Texans are the conference’s best team and maybe the league’s best. The AFC South looks to be one of those divisions that appear over. The Texans are 4-0 and no other team has more than one win. I like the Colts to continue get better as the year goes on because Andre Luck is going to get better.
In the AFC West the San Diego Chargers are in the lead and they look to be playing good football but can you trust them? They have beaten three bad teams and lost to a good one so it’s tough to know how good they are. The Denver Broncos are also in the mix for the division and Peyton Manning is still finding his game and I expect them to stay right with the Chargers. Will Manning wear down sometime soon after the long layoff? We’ll find out.
The Ravens look good at 3-1
When you look at one the most competitive divisions in football, the AFC North is very strong. The Baltimore Ravens are on top at 3-1 and have looked very good but the Cincinnati Bengals have stuck right with them. Andy Dalton has looked very good and the Bengals have a better offense than I expected. They are more than just AJ Green and I see them staying near the top of the division. The Pittsburgh Steelers haven’t gotten off to a great start but they are getting some key pieces back this week and they are far from done.
The AFC East still hasn’t changed from the last decade, the New England Patriots are on top and there is no one to challenge them. They are only 2-2 but they may have found their offensive groove last week against Buffalo. If they can run the ball that well every week, they can have the balance needed to sustain leads and keep their defense off the field. The New York Jets are done, with no passing or run game to speak of the Tim Tebow talk gets louder everyday, the storm we all thought was coming in the summer is arriving. The Bills will battle, as will the Miami Dolphins but neither team appears ready to make a significant move.
The Houston Texans are AFC's best
The Texans look like the team to beat in the AFC and it’s hard to argue for any other team. The Ravens have shown enough to be in the conversation but I think everyone else falls behind those two. The Patriots and Bengals have the look of playoff teams and the AFC West winner should all make it in as well.
Other than that, there aren’t many teams that inspire confidence to make a strong push in the conference. The Broncos will compete and the Steelers will fight, as always. The AFC does not seem as strong as the NFC but the Houston Texans are the NFL’s best team. It’s been that way since week 1 and I haven’t seen anything to change that.