As the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens kick off the NFL’s Week 4 tonight, we take a look at this week’s NFL Power Rankings.
SuperBowl XLIX champions the New England Patriots remain in the top spot among most major NFL Power Rankings for Week 4, including those from Sports Illustrated, CBS Sports and Bleacher Report. The “mother ship” actually has the Pats at No. 2, with the Arizona Cardinals at the top of ESPN‘s NFL Power Rankings for Week 4.
The undefeated Patriots travel to Dallas this week, where the Cowboys are ranked 13th in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game. In the breakdown of their Week 4 NFL Power Rankings, Sports Illustrated compared the 3-0 Pats to the 2007 Pats that ended up 16-0 in the regular season. CBS Sports noted that New England seems to be playing with a chip on their shoulder after all of the post-season drama, and Bleacher Report notes that Vegas has the odds of New England winning back-to-back SuperBowls at 4:1.
ESPN bumped New England to No. 2 in favor of the Arizona Cardinals, who they only had at No. 5 for Week 3’s NFL Power Rankings. They reported that the Cardinals jumped from 5th to 1st on their Week 4 NFL Power Rankings due in large part to their defense, currently ranked 5th overall in offensive yards allowed per game and 3rd in points allowed. New England, who ESPN had at the No. 2 spot for last week’s NFL Power Rankings as well, are still listed as the best offense in the NFL.
Since ESPN is the only one of these four topping their NFL Power Rankings with the Cardinals, let’s take a look at how the others have rated them. Sports Illustrated ranked them No. 3 for Week 4, acknowledging three defensive touchdowns in three games, and the surprising performances by Carson Palmer, Larry Fitzgerald and Chris Johnson. CBS Sports had them at No. 4 in their NFL Power Rankings, reminding us that they are coming off of three straight wins with double-digit differences. Bleacher Report — basing their NFL Power Rankings on 2015 record and Vegas’ odds of winning this year’s SuperBowl (currently 9:1 for Arizona) — has them at No. 5.
While still near the bottom of the NFL Power Rankings this week for ESPN and Bleach Report, both Sports Illustrated and CBS Sports gave big bumps to the Oakland Raiders, moving from No. 26 to No. 18 on the SI list, and from No. 28 to No. 17 on the CBS list. With the struggling Bears coming up in Week 4 and Derek Carr coming into his own, the Oakland Raiders could be in for the best season the franchise has had in a very long time.
The 49ers were big movers this week in the NFL Power Rankings, just in the opposite direction. Sports Illustrated dropped them six spots (from No. 21 to No. 27), CBS thirteen spots (No. 16 to No. 29), but just three spots (No. 25 to No. 28) for ESPN. As the Bleacher Report rankings show, San Francisco is just No. 26 on their NFL Power Rankings this week, with the odds of Kaepernick leading them to the Lombardi Trophy at 200:1.
Giving equal weight to all four of these sources, the conglomerate Top 5 spots for the NFL Power Rankings in Week 4 would be as follows:
- New England Patriots — average ranking 1.25
- Green Bay Packers — average ranking 2.25
- Arizona Cardinals — average ranking 3.25
- Denver Broncos — average ranking 4.25
- Cincinnati Bengals — average ranking 4.40
All five of these teams cracked all four of the Week 4 NFL Power Rankings discussed here, except for the ESPN list, which did not include Cincinnati or Denver. While New England has a bye for Week 4, all four other teams are scheduled to play Sunday, with the following match-ups: Kansas City Chiefs at Cincinnati, Green Bay at San Francisco 49ers, St. Louis Rams at Arizona and the Minnesota Vikings at Denver.
With New England getting a chance to rest, will they still be at the top of the NFL Power Rankings for Week 5?
[Image credit Maddie Meyer/Getty Images]