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NFL Week 4 Power Rankings: Bills, Chiefs Cling to Top Spots While Jaguars Climb

It was a tough week for some of the top teams in The Ringer’s rankings, but we still believe in Buffalo and Kansas City. The Patriots and Chargers, struggling with injuries, take big falls.

Getty Images/Ringer illustration

The Philadelphia Eagles and Miami Dolphins are the only two undefeated teams in the NFL right now, and there couldn’t be better discourse around each team’s quarterback. This is what makes the NFL so damn exciting. Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady are keeping their injury-plagued teams alive in the top five of these power rankings, but their teams —along with several others still riding offseason hype—enter Week 4 hanging by a thread. Dive into my updated rankings below before more absurdity ensues next week.

The Best of the Best

1. Buffalo Bills (2-1 | last week’s ranking: 1)

Josh Allen and the Bills were a missed fourth-down throw to Isaiah McKenzie from beating the Dolphins on a sweltering day in South Florida and improving to 3-0. Injuries to safety Micah Hyde (out for the season) and other defensive backs remain a concern as Buffalo goes up against other top offenses. But none of these injuries is enough to override how well Allen is playing right now, and what happened on Sunday wasn’t enough to make me drop the Bills from the top spot in these rankings.

2. Kansas City Chiefs (2-1 | last week: 2)

Missed kicks and a questionable decision to attempt a fake field goal all fed into the randomness that ultimately led to the Chiefs’ Week 3 loss. Patrick Mahomes didn’t have the day many expected going against Gus Bradley in a dome, but he still had the Chiefs in the game until the final drive. And the Kansas City defense limited Indianapolis to the third-lowest yards per play average of any offense last week. There’s still no reason to doubt Mahomes and this Chiefs team long term.

3. Green Bay Packers (2-1 | last week: 5)

Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense are so far surviving a lack of firepower, due in large part to injuries along the offensive line and a lack of depth and experience at receiver. After a disastrous Week 1 against Minnesota, Rodgers’s yards per attempt average and expected points added per dropback average both rank top-10 over the last two weeks. He is juicing all that he can out of a battered offense desperate for playmaking talent and making up for a Green Bay defense that ranks just 17th in yards per play allowed (5.64) so far this season.

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1 | last week: 3)

Tom Brady is seemingly screaming at someone every single week, and he has a lot of reasons to be frustrated with the state of this Bucs offense. Julio Jones, Mike Evans, and Chris Godwin each missed the team’s Week 3 loss to Green Bay. Rob Gronkowski is retired. The offensive line is decimated by injuries. Brady, of course, masks a lot of the imperfections and I expect he’ll keep the team in Super Bowl contention for as long as he’s healthy. As beat up as the Bucs are, the Bucs enter Week 4 tied for second in odds to win the NFC at +400, per FanDuel.

Deep Postseason Contenders

5. Baltimore Ravens (2-1 | last week: 6)

Lamar Jackson is a cheat code. The Ravens’ inability to come to an agreement with Jackson on a long-term contract prior to the season only looks more ridiculous as Jackson continues to single-handedly propel the offense every single week. He currently ranks fifth in EPA per dropback (0.22) and first in EPA per designed rush (0.44) among all players with 20-plus carries this season. Second-year wide receiver Rashod Bateman and veteran tight end Mark Andrews have both been high-end contributors, but none of this works without Jackson. Fading Baltimore is fading Lamar, and you have to be out of your absolute gourd to do that after what we’ve seen thus far.

6. Miami Dolphins (3-0 | last week: 8)

Mike McDaniel, Tyreek Hill, and Jaylen Waddle have each been sensational, and Tua Tagovailoa is doing enough to maximize the opportunities he’s getting in this NASA rocket of an offense. Tagovailoa completed 13 of 18 passes for 186 yards and a touchdown in the Dolphins’ Week 3 win over Buffalo, including a 45-yard strike to Waddle on third-and-22 in the fourth quarter. He finished the week ranked second in yards per attempt (10.33) and third in EPA per dropback (0.35). Tagovailoa still has limitations as a passer, and the 24th-ranked defense in EPA per play gives me pause. But there’s too much going right with McDaniel on the sideline and with these offensive weapons to keep Miami outside of the top tier of AFC teams right now.

7. Philadelphia Eagles (3-0 | last week: 7)

There’s nothing positive I can say about the Eagles that Philly faithful aren’t already screaming at the top of their lungs. Jalen Hurts is a legitimate MVP candidate, the A.J. Brown–DeVonta Smith receiver combination is ascending to the top of the NFL, the offensive line is a top-three unit in the league—you name it, the Eagles have it. Hell, even their defense has bounced back in impressive fashion after allowing 35 points to Detroit in Week 1. Over the last two weeks, the Eagles rank first in yards per play allowed (3.8) and second in total points allowed (15).

8. Los Angeles Rams (2-1 | last week: 9)

People were wrong to write off the Rams after a blowout Week 1 loss to the Bills. The reigning Super Bowl champions have handled the Falcons and Cardinals in the weeks since, and rank tied for sixth in point differential (12) over the two-week span. It hasn’t been mistake-free football, especially for quarterback Matthew Stafford, but it’s been good enough to pull out must-have wins and remain alone atop the NFC West as the division’s only two-win team.

Playoff Competitive

9. Los Angeles Chargers (1-2 | last week: 4)

Time (and health) is running out to live up to all of the preseason hype surrounding the Chargers, but I’m holding on for at least one more week, even after the blowout loss to Jacksonville in Week 3. The injury news is concerning: Left tackle Rashawn Slater is out for the season with a torn bicep, outside linebacker Joey Bosa is week-to-week with a reportedly “significant” groin injury, and star quarterback Justin Herbert is still working his way back from the rib injury he suffered in Week 2. Herbert, sore ribs or not, continues to make bonkers highlight throws every single week, but he’ll need to be even better for the Bolts to overcome all of the early-season adversity.

10. Cincinnati Bengals (1-2 | last week: 10)

Desperate for a get-right game after losing outright as favorites in Weeks 1 and 2, the Bengals put on a bit of a show on the road against the Jets on Sunday. Joe Burrow made multiple big plays under pressure, and the defense put a stranglehold on Joe Flacco and the New York offense. All three of Burrow’s touchdown passes came on pressured dropbacks, per TruMedia, and Cincinnati’s defense finished the week third in defensive EPA per snap (0.27) and fourth in yards per play allowed (4.32). Zac Taylor admitted the Band-Aid is off for Cincinnati now that they’ve recorded their first win, but a loss to the undefeated Dolphins on a short week could have them scrambling for answers yet again.

11. Minnesota Vikings (2-1 | last week: 11)

The Vikings’ slow start against Detroit in Week 3 was troublesome, especially after they fell completely flat on their faces against the Eagles six days prior on Monday Night Football. After lighting the Packers’ faulty zone coverage on fire in Week 1, Justin Jefferson has drawn shadow coverage in Weeks 2 and 3 that forced head coach Kevin O’Connell and quarterback Kirk Cousins out of their comfort zone. They’ll need to continue to make adjustments to set sights on a deep postseason run, but the pieces are in place for them to do so as O’Connell continues to gain play-calling reps.

12. Denver Broncos (2-1 | last week: 12)

Nothing about how they got here was pretty, and yet the Broncos are 2-1. First-year head coach Nathaniel Hackett’s disastrous game management is well documented at this point, as is Russell Wilson’s inability to, ahem, cook up anything on offense. Denver hasn’t scored more than 16 points in any game this season, and the offense has the worst red-zone efficiency (14 percent) of any team in the league, by a substantial margin. Denver’s stout defense (fourth in both defensive EPA per play, at 0.16, and first downs allowed per game, at 15.7)—and the fact that Hackett and this offense really can’t get any worse—are the only sources of light at the end of the tunnel.

13. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-1 | last week: 22)

Trevor Lawrence is playing lights-out football right now. New head coach Doug Pederson deserves some of the credit for creating easy offense and putting him in a position to succeed, but so much of Lawrence’s success comes from his ability to maximize clean pockets and make the best of his current arsenal of weapons. Free from the clutches of Urban Meyer, the second-year signal-caller ranks third behind Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa in clean-pocket EPA per dropback (0.45). The Jaguars are the biggest riser of any team on this list from last week.

14. San Francisco 49ers (1-2 | last week: 13)

Every game with Jimmy Garoppolo under center is going to be an absolute grind for the 49ers. He’s a limited, inaccurate passer still throwing the same head-scratching picks he’s been throwing for years. San Francisco’s defense is still an elite unit—they’ve allowed just 37 points in three games—but the margin for error will remain razor thin without someone that can actually elevate the offense at quarterback.

On the Bubble

15. Arizona Cardinals (1-2 | last week: 14)

Arizona simply can’t afford more slow starts. The Cardinals have been outscored by 57 points in the first three quarters of games through three weeks, which is 12 points worse than any other team in the NFL. They were able to rally back from a 16-point fourth-quarter deficit to win in Week 2, but they couldn’t summon similar magic against the Rams on Sunday; they chipped away at Los Angeles’s lead with field goals, but needed touchdowns to win and couldn’t get in the end zone. The defense can’t stop a nosebleed right now, and as electric as Kyler Murray is, he can only do so much to overcome a lackluster receiving corps without DeAndre Hopkins—and he knows it.

16. Indianapolis Colts (1-1-1 | last week: 17)

My hand’s up, I did not see the Colts picking up their first win of the season against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, whose previous two gigs were in the AFC West, has struggled against Mahomes in the past, while the Colts’ offense was shut out a week ago against Jacksonville. This was an ugly game for both teams, but Matt Ryan and the Colts ultimately shot themselves in the foot less than the Chiefs did. A questionable unsportsmanlike conduct penalty called on Chiefs’ DT Chris Jones for “abusive language” and two missed kicks—a PAT and 34-yard field goal—by backup kicker Matt Ammendola all played into the surprising loss for KC. But give credit to Ryan, who showed up when it mattered and won the game for Indy with a go-ahead touchdown to rookie Jelani Woods late in the fourth quarter. Ryan isn’t his former MVP self, but he’s still capable of being that guy whenever the Colts can find a way to keep games close.

17. Tennessee Titans (1-2 | last week: 16)

Tennessee entered Week 3 with the least efficient offense in the NFL. Star running back Derrick Henry ranked 25th in yards per carry (3.2) and 29th in yards before first contact per carry (0.12), per TruMedia. The offensive line was drastically underperforming and decimated by injuries, including left tackle Taylor Lewan, who is out for the year with a knee injury. Playing a hapless Raiders defense fixed everything—at least for one week. Ryan Tannehill and the passing attack finished Week 3 second in EPA per dropback (0.47), and vintage Henry was back, averaging more than four yards per carry for the first time this season. Still, I see the Jaguars and Colts as both better positioned to contend for the AFC South crown right now.

18. New Orleans Saints (1-2 | last week: 15)

It’s been a painful start for New Orleans. Whatever magic Jameis Winston found in the fourth quarter of Week 1 disappeared; he’s thrown an NFL-high five picks in the past two games and is battling multiple injuries. Winston and rookie wideout Chris Olave have connected on multiple shots down the field, but consistency is nowhere to be found offensively. Winston and Co. rank 30th in EPA per play over the last two weeks.

19. Cleveland Browns (2-1 | last week: 19)

Jacoby Brissett has very quietly exceeded expectations playing a glorified game manager role in Kevin Stefanski’s offense. The rushing attack, led by Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, couldn’t have gotten off to a better start. Cleveland currently leads the NFL in EPA per designed run (0.20). Nothing is guaranteed with Brissett under center and the Browns’ defense has severely underperformed, but the 2-1 start is promising enough to keep them in contention for a playoff spot.

20. Dallas Cowboys (2-1 | last week: 18)

Despite the win on Monday Night Football, the Cowboys are in a tough spot. The Eagles, very rightfully, clearly look like the best team in the NFC East, and Dallas’s offense without Dak Prescott still doesn’t have enough to go toe-to-toe with the best teams in the NFL. Cooper Rush is a perfectly adequate backup—especially on nights when Tony Pollard and Ezekiel Elliott can combine for 178 rushing yards—but I see the Cowboys on the outside looking in at the playoff contention until Prescott returns.

Long-Shot Playoff Hopefuls

21. Detroit Lions (1-2 | last week: 25)

Detroit is one of four teams, along with the Falcons, Dolphins, and Texans, this season that’s undefeated against the spread entering Week 4 and nearly pulled off a road upset over the Vikings as six-point dogs on Sunday. The bright spots are head coach Dan Campbell (duh), receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, cornerback Jeff Okudah, and a menacing offensive line. Jared Goff is playing with confidence and making the sporadic highlight-reel play, but he ranks bottom-10 in PFF’s grades and 25th in EPA per clean dropback (.08). Eventually the Lions will need more from a QB than the ability to cover the spread.

22. Las Vegas Raiders (0-3 | last week: 21)

Fire McDaniels” was trending on Twitter Sunday after the Raiders became the only 0-3 team in the NFL. They have lost in a variety of ways—from Derek Carr throwing multiple picks in Week 1, to a colossal defensive collapse in Week 2, to a big early deficit on Sunday against Tennessee—but the bottom line is new head coach Josh McDaniels and Co. just can’t put together a full 60 minutes. Owner Mark Davis reportedly met with McDaniels in a “lengthy closed-door meeting” following the team’s 24-22 loss to the Titans, but no amount of extra minutes spent in meetings will change the fact that less than 3 percent of teams that started the season 0-3 since 1990 have gone on to make the postseason.

23. New England Patriots (1-2 | last week: 20)

The team without a true offensive coordinator doesn’t have a good offense, and that same team will likely be without its starting quarterback for some time. Bill Belichick said Monday he had “nothing definitive” on Mac Jones’s injury, but what is definite is that New England’s playoff hopes are all but dead if Jones’s injury is as severe as it seemed when Jones was carried off the field by his teammates on Sunday. According to FanDuel, the Patriots are +280 to make the postseason entering Week 4, a marked drop-off from their preseason odds set at +160.

24. Washington Commanders (1-2 | last week: 23)

We have to stop buying tickets to ride the Carson Wentz roller coaster, man. I, too, bought into the high end of Wentz after a strong Week 1 performance, but he’s crashed back down to earth in classic Wentz fashion. He finished the first week of the season eighth in EPA per dropback after dicing up what has proven to be a stout Jaguars defense in a 28-22 win. He ranks 24th in the same stat over the last two weeks, and it tracks that Washington has lost both those games, including Sunday’s 24-8 loss to Philadelphia, when Wentz was sacked nine times by his former team. Washington’s roster simply isn’t talented enough on either side of the ball to survive nightmarish volatility under center.

25. New York Giants (2-1 | last week: 24)

The Giants came crashing back down to earth on Monday night, falling flat against a bad Cowboys team at home. The Giants’ offensive line couldn’t pass-protect (quarterback Daniel Jones was sacked five times), and none of their pass catchers could find seemingly an inch of separation all night long. And to make matters worse, veteran receiver Sterling Shepard, arguably the team’s best receiver, suffered what looked like a significant non-contact leg injury on the team’s final offensive play. New head coach Brian Daboll is building a special culture in East Rutherford, but without much elite talent, there will be more rough performances like what we saw Monday night in the near future.

26. Atlanta Falcons (1-2 | last week: 28)

The Falcons won their first game of the season, 27-23, over the Seahawks in Seattle, but they are getting bullied up front. The defense ranks 30th in pressure rate (23 percent) and 32nd in defensive EPA per rush (-0.15). Cornerbacks Casey Hayward and A.J. Terrell have both been standouts, but their efforts on the back end aren’t enough to mask the other sins on defense. Quarterback Marcus Mariota and the offense—ninth in EPA per play and total points scored—have more than exceeded expectations through three weeks, but the defense remains an obvious Achilles heel.

27. Seattle Seahawks (1-2 | last week: 27)

After allowing 27 points in back-to-back games (against, checks notes, Jimmy Garoppolo and Marcus Mariota), the Seahawks defense ranks 31st in EPA per play allowed (-0.16) and 29th in yards per play allowed (6.34) over the last two weeks. Geno Smith played well enough to beat Atlanta on Sunday, but the Seahawks’ young secondary will force him and the offense to be perfect to outduel most teams they’ll face moving forward.

28. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-2 | last week: 26)

The Kenny Pickett era can’t start soon enough in Pittsburgh. While head coach Mike Tomlin remains reluctant to hand the keys over to the rookie, veteran starter Mitchell Trubisky has been a disaster. Trubusky, who is dead last (out of 35!) in The Ringer’s quarterback rankings, is tied for 29th in EPA per dropback (-0.19) and is 29th in net yards per attempt (5.32) entering Week 4. Tomlin continuing to roll out Trubisky to run Matt Canada’s lifeless offense behind a porous offensive line is doing more harm than good right now.

Bottom of the Barrel

29. Carolina Panthers (1-2 | last week: 29)

Baker Mayfield has been hard to watch this season. No quarterback has a lower EPA per dropback average (-0.21) through three weeks, and his Week 3 stat line against New Orleans was largely saved by a heroic Laviska Shenault Jr. play; Shenault caught Mayfield’s pass behind the line of scrimmage and took it 67 yards to the end zone in the fourth quarter. Excluding the play, Mayfield completed just 11 of 24 for 103 yards without a score and took three sacks. The defense, which currently ranks top-10 in EPA per play allowed, and a rushing attack led by Christian McCaffrey will remain a volatile lifeline for the Panthers unless Mayfield turns things around.

30. Chicago Bears (2-1 | last week: 32)

The Bears have no business winning football games right now, but here they are at 2-1. Justin Fields leads a passing attack that is averaging just 78.3 yards per game through Week 3, which is 80.7 yards fewer than any other team in the NFL. David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert have both contributed to a surprisingly efficient rushing attack, but better teams will beat up on Chicago’s extremely one-dimensional offense.

31. New York Jets (1-2 | last week: 31)

An improbable comeback win over the Browns in Week 2 is the only receipt Jets head coach Robert Saleh can reference proudly right now. After blowout losses in Weeks 1 and 3, the Jets’ -29 point differential ranks 31st in the league. Saleh told reporters after Sunday’s home loss against Cincinnati that he expects second-year quarterback Zach Wilson to return for the team’s Week 4 road trip to Pittsburgh, but he’ll need to move mountains in a hurry to get the team back on track.

32. Houston Texans (0-2-1 | last week: 30)

The Texans have played three of the worst offenses in the NFL and still are without a win. The Broncos and Colts currently rank 30th and 31st, respectively, in points per game, and the Bears ranked tied for 26th before their 23-20 win over Houston on Sunday. Rookie safety Jalen Pitre was a standout performer with two picks in the Week 3 loss to Chicago, but second-year quarterback Davis Mills’s fourth-quarter interception ultimately cost the Texans a shot at their first win. Mills enters Week 4 tied for 29th in EPA per dropback among the 31 NFL quarterbacks with 60-plus dropbacks on the year.