Updated: Oct. 3
Cleveland Browns (0-4) - Previously: 32.
I don't understand how the Browns are this bad. Yes, yes, I know, they're the Browns. But their offensive line is packed with talent, and they have some viable players on their roster. They should at least be competitive, but they're not. As Matvei put it, "The Browns broke Hue Jackson." Well, they broke me, too.
Meanwhile, here was a live look at the Dawg Pound when the Browns were getting humiliated:
Miami Dolphins (1-2) - Previously: 25.
The Dolphins have to drop to No. 31. They're still better than the Browns, but they're utterly pathetic. I get that they've had tough scheduling and travel implications, but in the past two weeks, they were blown out by the horrible Jets and shut out by the defensively inept Saints. It doesn't get much worse than that, unless you're the Browns.
Then again, this is all Jay Cutler could come up with during the post-game press conference...
New York Jets (2-2) - Previously: 31.
Welp, I guess this guy wasted his money:
I don't understand what the hell the Jets are doing. Why are they murdering their long-term outlook? And it's not like they're winning legitimately. Beating the Jaguars with the help of two, fluky, long runs isn't exactly going to give the fans hope for the future. How the hell was Bilal Powell not down by contact, by the way?
San Francisco 49ers (0-4) - Previously: 30.
The 49ers have now fought hard in three of their four games, covering as underdogs. I'd like to know where this was when I picked them in Week 1 versus the Panthers. Seriously, I wrote this last week - changing the numbers - and I'm still pissed San Francisco didn't cover the +6, which I had for three units.
Indianapolis Colts (1-3) - Previously: 29.
I have no idea how the Colts didn't cover the +13 at Seattle. They were up 15-10 at halftime! It was just an avalanche, as Tony Dungy called it, in the second half. Jacoby Brissett looked good again, but obviously needs to work on the mental aspect of his game so he's not staring down receivers or holding on to the ball too long in the pocket - two problems that gave Seattle 14 free points.
Baltimore Ravens (2-2) - Previously: 22.
The Ravens are always competitive with the Steelers. Not Sunday. I think that's a clear indication that Baltimore is one of the worst teams in the NFL. Marshal Yanda's absence is enormous, and Joe Flacco clearly isn't healthy. All of the other injuries are obviously not helping, and it needs to be brought up again: Baltimore needs to change its training staff. Year after year, the Ravens are among the league leaders in number of injuries, and the only reason these guys aren't fired is because the media doesn't even know the names of these people.
Arizona Cardinals (2-2) - Previously: 24.
The Cardinals haven't held a lead after the end of regulation yet this year. Think about that for a second. They've needed overtime to beat two poor teams, the 49ers and Colts, who have a combined 1-7 record. And the only reason Indianapolis has a victory is because it had the luxury of playing the Browns!
Chicago Bears (1-3) - Previously: 26.
Underrated NFL Team: The Bears aren't nearly as bad as they looked on national TV against the Packers. They were playing on a short week, and if you take away Mike Glennon's three horrible turnovers, Chicago played almost evenly with Green Bay. The Bears defeated the Steelers and almost took down the Falcons, and now they have a healthy offensive line.
John Fox would have been a complete buffoon if he didn't make the change to Mitchell Trubisky. This picture said it all:
Fortunately for the Bears, they're moving forward with Trubisky on Monday night, and it's nice that he has extra time to prepare for that game.
Cincinnati Bengals (1-3) - Previously: 28.
Overrated NFL Team: I think people were a little too impressed by what the Bengals did at Lambeau. They were battling a skeleton-crew Packer team that basically was willing to accept a loss with a divisional game on Thursday coming up. Cincinnati then clobbered the Browns, but so did the Colts and Ravens. I still highly question the Bengals' ability to block.
Los Angeles Chargers (0-4) - Previously: 27.
Surprise, surprise, the Chargers found another way to lose. At least they were able to keep it close in Philadelphia. Or, at least that's what it felt like:
Seriously, this is embarrassing. Why did the NFL think the Chargers would get support in Los Angeles? Why would anyone in L.A. root for the Chargers? The fake people in Los Angeles don't even like professional football! The NFL needs to stop this dumb experiment and move the Chargers to a place where they'd be appreciated. Somewhere like Portland, or San Antonio, or Oklahoma City. Or maybe even London.
Speaking of the latter location, I got this text from Matvei:
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-2) - Previously: 18.
The Jaguars are going to owe Blake Bortles a ton of money next year if he suffers an injury, and you better believe he's going to fake being hurt at some point. I think the Jaguars should stage a kidnapping where Bortles suddenly "disappears" so that this doesn't happen. They could pretend they're all concerned and stuff, but they'll secretly be happy because they won't have to pay him. And they could make Bortles happy, too, by locking him inside some fake night club where he can dance to his heart's content for an entire year.
It really is a shame that Bortles is weighing the Jaguars down so much. With a competent quarterback, they'd be 3-1 right now. With a great signal-caller, they'd be 4-0.
New York Giants (0-4) - Previously: 21.
The Giants are going to be battling another desperate 0-4 team this upcoming week. A win could maybe, somehow save their season, but perhaps it would be for the best if they lost. I have them trading up for Sam Darnold in my 2018 NFL Mock Draft, but they wouldn't have to do so if they landed the No. 1 overall pick. The Giants' struggles are definitely not completely on Eli Manning, but Manning turns 37 in January, so it's time for New York to move on.
Carolina Panthers (3-1) - Previously: 23.
Overrated NFL Team: I listed the Panthers as overrated two weeks ago, and I'm ready to make that judgment once again. The Panthers caught the Patriots in a look-ahead game, as New England plays on Thursday this week. I'm still not sold that Cam Newton is healthy and if he can maintain consistent success without Greg Olsen and Ryan Kalil. I also don't trust his tackle play at all.
New Orleans Saints (2-2) - Previously: 20.
It's a shame that Zach Strief suffered an injury after returning. On the bright side, it sounds like the Saints will be getting back Terron Armstead soon, which will allow Ryan Ramczyk to move to right tackle. Things seemed so bleak for New Orleans following Week 2, but its line is getting healthier, while its defense seems to be improving every week. Sure, playing Jay Cutler helps, but a shutout is a shutout.
Minnesota Vikings (2-2) - Previously: 10.
I thought the Vikings would definitely compete for a playoff spot, and even the division, as long as Sam Bradford returned soon. Even if he didn't, Case Keenum may have been able to hold down the fort until Teddy Bridgewater's return in a month or so. However, Dalvin Cook's loss changes all of that. I posted my thoughts on that in the Disaster Grades page, and it would've been a higher number if it happened to be a longer-term injury.
Buffalo Bills (3-1) - Previously: 17.
The Bills trolled ESPN following the upset victory over the Falcons:
I actually thought this was kind of dumb for two reasons:
1. I don't think any of those people anticipated Julio Jones suffering an injury in the second quarter, and had Jones remained in the game, I highly doubt Buffalo would've won. I don't want to take away too much away from the Bills, whose defense has been incredible, but come on. I don't think many people would've picked Atlanta had they known Jones would get knocked out so early.
2. Who the hell are these people? I recognize Golic, Kimes (only from Around the Horn, which I watch once per month), Riddick and Wingo, but who the f**k are Bowen, Clay, Graziano, Kerney, Seifert and Wickersham? Has ESPN fired so many people that they don't have any recognizable names anymore? I knew it was bad, but I didn't realize ESPN was in such poor shape.
Los Angeles Rams (3-1) - Previously: 16.
You don't know how pissed I was when I saw the Seahawks-Rams spread Monday morning. I sent a mass text to my gambling buddies:
"Ugh, can't f***ing believe this Rams line. It was +3 on the advance spread! They moved it 5.5 points because the Rams beat the overrated Cowboys!?"
And yes, one of them lives in Vegas. I sent this to him before asking him if he was OK. That's how angry I was.
I really wanted to bet the Rams at +3, but not so much at -2.5. I've been on the Rams every week this year, so I was definitely not surprised that they defeated Dallas, but I definitely do not like them in the role as a favorite over a perennial playoff team. I just don't know if they're ready for that yet.
Dallas Cowboys (2-2) - Previously: 13.
Overrated NFL Team: The Cowboys were definitely legitimate in 2016, but I thought they'd take a step backward this season, and that's exactly what's happening. They lost two members of their fantastic offensive line, while three key players in their secondary have departed as well. Now, Orlando Scandrick is banged up. Things won't go as smoothly for the Cowboys in 2017, and that has been apparent thus far. The Cowboys easily could've lost the Cardinals if Arizona didn't commit a billion mistakes.
Seattle Seahawks (2-2) - Previously: 15.
I considered slotting Seattle as an overrated team, but the team is an underdog at the Rams, so I'm not sure anyone is overrating them. The Seahawks destroyed the Colts in the second half, but I'm not willing to buy that they've suddenly fixed everything because of 30 minutes of football. Their offensive line is still crap, while Richard Sherman doesn't appear to be healthy. However, Russell Wilson is playing out of his mind and seems ready to go into one of those unstoppable stretches of his.
Tennessee Titans (2-2) - Previously: 8.
I didn't know where to rank the Titans in the wake of the Marcus Mariota injury. Hell, I didn't know what to do without outside of the Mariota injury. Seriously, I don't know what the heck happened. How did they get crushed so horribly? What happened to their pass rush? Why couldn't they get past Houston's offensive line?
So many things were off on that game, including one run by DeMarco Murray:
My condolences if you own Murray in a fantasy league that gives you negative points for players!
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1) - Previously: 14.
The Buccaneers were able to get away with missing several defensive starters against the Giants, but I'm not so sure that's going to fly versus Tom Brady. Then again, considering all of the defensive problems New England has, the Thursday night affair between the two teams could be the highest-scoring game in league history!
Houston Texans (2-2) - Previously: 19.
The Texans are making the greatest jump in my NFL Power Rankings, and rightfully so. Deshaun Watson is awesome. I didn't like their decision to trade a 2018 first-round choice because next year's draft is so stacked, but I think it's obvious that the front office made the right choice. Watson has improved exponentially each week, and while he still needs to work on his ball placement, he's definitely capable of leading Houston to the playoffs. Being in a horrible division helps, but still.
Washington Redskins (2-2) - Previously: 12.
I don't feel like talking about the Redskins and all of their injuries. I'll let e-mailer Chris perfectly state my thoughts:
Oh, and speaking of Terrelle Pryor (I wasn't speaking of him, but I don't feel like coming up with a segue)...
Terrelle Pryor's Race for 1,800:
Current Receiving Yards: 186
Currently on Pace for: 744
Yards Per Game Needed for 1,800: 134.5
I've called everyone I've seen on ESPN a "f***ing p***k" Monday night because of my anger toward the Chiefs-Redskins finish, so I won't even mention the analyst who inspired this segment.
Detroit Lions (3-1) - Previously: 11.
Credit the Lions for bouncing back from their brutal loss to the Falcons. We've seen teams have epic meltdowns following horrific defeats like that, but Detroit bounced back with a tough win on the road without its starting middle linebacker.
The Lions are in a good spot at 3-1. Even if they have a .500 October, they'll be in great shape because left tackle Taylor Decker will be due back in early November.
Oakland Raiders (2-2) - Previously: 5.
Underrated NFL Team: Some are talking as if they're writing off the Raiders already. As long as Derek Carr is healthy - it sounds like he'll play Sunday - I certainly will not. The Raiders hung tight in Denver despite not having Michael Crabtree and losing cornerbacks David Amerson and Gareon Conley to injury.
Philadelphia Eagles (3-1) - Previously: 9.
Underrated NFL Team: The Eagles won their season opener (against the Redskins, who haven't lost since) battled the Chiefs extremely tough, and ultimately have started 3-1, yet they still aren't recognized as one of the better teams in the NFL despite having no weaknesses outside of the secondary, which will improve once Ronald Darby returns. The Eagles could have beaten the Chiefs had a series of unfortunate events not have happened; Torrey Smith's dropped touchdown, Darren Sproles' fumbled punt return, Jake Elliott's missed 30-yard field goal, Carson Wentz's late interception off a deflection, Vinny Curry's missed sack of Alex Smith to force a punt in a tie game in the middle of the fourth quarter. I think if the Eagles and Chiefs battled each other 10 times, each team would win on five occasions. Philadelphia could be 4-0 right now, and the team would've blown out the Giants had Fletcher Cox and Jordan Hicks not left the game.
Green Bay Packers (3-1) - Previously: 7.
I had the Packers as underrated last week because they would be getting everyone back from injury soon. I was hoping they would either lose or barely beat the Bears so that I could bet on them heavily in Week 5 in Dallas.
Welp, so much for that. The Packers won easily, thanks to Mike Glennon imploding. They'll be strong going forward, as David Bakhtiari, Bryan Bulaga and Mike Daniels should be back next Sunday.
Denver Broncos (3-1) - Previously: 6.
With the Bills winning in Atlanta - albeit, with the Falcons losing Julio Jones - Denver's loss at Buffalo seems more understandable. That said, they were a Jared Cook drop away from losing to E.J. Manuel at home, which was a bit eye-opening. Trevor Siemian had just 31 passing yards after halftime, and this was the second time in four weeks that the Broncos have allowed a team to nearly come back because the coaching staff didn't trust its quarterback. I think that's going to cost Denver in the long run.
New England Patriots (2-2) - Previously: 3.
I'm sure I'm higher than most on the Patriots. I'm well aware that they lost to a team lower than them in these rankings, but I think they had one eye on the Thursday game. Plus, their coaching staff and personnel are too smart for things to keep going this way. They have to figure things out.
Still, dropping a game to the Panthers like the Patriots did is worrying. I've been trying to figure out what happened, and I've come up with only one explanation:
The Adventures of Derek Anderson's Magic Flask!
Matt Patricia: Ho, ho, I am a rocket scientist and an NFL coach at the same time. No one will outsmart me and my genius game plan!
Dont'a Hightower: Jay? Jay Cutler? We don't play him this week.
Matt Patricia: Jayayy Cuututlelerr? Makakkee plalalyy tooooo stoottopp Jjaayy Cuutlrlelr!
Dont'a Hightower: OK, we'll run the play to stop Jay Cutler.
*** The Patriots run their anti-Jay Cutler play, which involves giving the opposing quarterback a cigarette. This proves to be ineffective, and the Panthers hit another big gain. ***
Dont'a Hightower: Coach, that didn't work. We couldn't stop Jay Cutler because, well, we're not playing Jay Cutler...
Matt Patricia: Stotopp tryryruinngng toooo cconnttraadidictt mememe, I'mm a rorockcket sciceintisit whicichch memeansns I knwwowo stutufuf sbaboiutt rroockketss hic!
Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1) - Previously: 4.
What I wrote last week and the week before still applies: "Ben Roethlisberger doesn't seem like himself. He hasn't been terrible, but he looks like he's regressed. Perhaps those are just early-season jitters, but Roethlisberger thought about retiring this offseason, so it's fair to wonder if his head is completely in the game right now."
I don't know. I just don't know. Roethlisberger just doesn't look right, and the Steelers haven't been punished for it because of their easy schedule. Thus far, they've "battled" the Browns, Case Keenum-led Vikings, Bears (whom they lost to) and the Ravens, who are a lot worse than everyone thought they were. The good news? The easy opponents continue, as Pittsburgh plays Jacksonville in Week 5.
Atlanta Falcons (3-1) - Previously: 1.
I hate losing because of nonsense, and seeing my survivor pools implode because the Falcons lost Julio Jones in the second quarter and Mohamed Sanu near halftime was frustrating. I'm not dropping Atlanta much, as the team will be much better when Jones and Sanu, as well as Ryan Schraeder, return from injury.
Kansas City Chiefs (4-0) - Previously: 2.
There's no doubting that the Chiefs are the best team in the NFL, but can we stop it with this silly narrative that they have a great home-field advantage? They're just 15-19 against the spread as hosts under Andy "I give teams one final chance for no reason" Reid, and they've had two lucky covers in their two home games this year.
Besides, how can they have a great home-field advantage when this happens?
That poor kid. He's going to need to talk to a psychiatrist for years after seeing that.