*Photo Credit: uwbadgers.com
The upsets continued this past weekend so now the question has to be asked, “Are these teams truly underdogs anymore?” After another crazy weekend, here is how each team stacks up.
No. 1: Kansas City Chiefs: 4-0
Last Week: No. 1
After a wild and hectic Monday night game, the Chiefs are the only undefeated team left standing. The Chiefs have been playing spectacular football this season and with the help of MVP level play from Alex Smith as well as dominant running by rookie Kareem Hunt, it so far appears that there is no team that can challenge them.
No. 2: Green Bay Packers: 3-1
Last Week: No. 8
A heated rivalry between the Bears and the Packers eventually resulted in a dominant win for Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. Rodgers only had 179 yards but not much else was needed of him as he also threw for four touchdowns. Green Bay’s defense showed improvement as well, holding the Bears offense to only two touchdowns. However, their defense will be tested against a much stronger Cowboys offense next week.
No. 3: Houston Texans: 2-2
Last Week: No. 18
Fantastic, that word is an understatement when describing how well rookie quarterback Deshaun Watson performed this past weekend. So far it seems like the Texans organization struck gold when they moved up to draft Watson, as he had a passer rating of 125 with four touchdowns through the air and one on the ground.Not to mention that he is still developing as an NFL quarterback! Watson may be the franchise quarterback that this team has been missing for so long.
No. 4: Buffalo Bills: 3-1
Last Week: No. 17
I’m not going to lie, I have been downplaying this team for the last few weeks, counting their wins as luck and moving on, but it can’t be ignored anymore, this team’s defense has been outstanding. Atlanta lost Jones and Sanu, so it’s hard to determine how the game would have turned out with them in, but Matt Ryan was pressured on nearly every snap.Their offense is still lacking but it has been steadily improving throughout the year. And yes, the Bills are, in fact, leading the AFC East.
No. 5: Atlanta Falcons: 3-1
Last Week: No. 2
The Falcons lost Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu during the game, throwing the offense off, but there was more wrong than just missing two valuable offensive weapons. Matt Ryan was pressured on nearly every snap and looked uncomfortable as he threw two interceptions in their loss to the Bills. Matt Ryan still has a chance to turn this season around and return to MVP form, but this team needs that sooner rather than later.
No. 6: Denver Broncos: 3-1
Last Week: No. 11
The Broncos defense continues to show dominance and its offense continues to give us questions. Yes, they held Oakland to 10 points, but they also only got 16 against their very poor defense. I believe Trevor Siemian has what it takes to be a good QB, but he does need to improve at running this offense and getting it to score points.
No. 7: Philadelphia Eagles: 3-1
Last Week: No. 10
Yes yes, we all know about Carson Wentz and how great he looks so far, but what about LeGarrette Blount and his dominant performance this weekend? In the Absence of Darren Sproles, big questions surrounded an already weak Eagles run game, but Blount stepped up and showed power on his runs. If the run game can remain this good and consistent then this offense will perform as well.
No. 8: Pittsburgh Steelers: 3-1
Last Week: No. 6
The Steelers showed a strong defensive performance against the Ravens, allowing only nine points. Le’Veon finally showed up and played like his dominant self, but Big Ben continues to disappoint with mediocre play. Roethlisberger’s consideration to retire this past offseason is showing, and he will have to return to his former self for this team to make the Super Bowl run it is hoping for.
No. 9: Carolina Panthers: 3-1
Last Week: No. 22
Well it looks like SuperCam is back as he led the team to an upset win over the Patriots with four total touchdowns. All things considered, the Panthers defense performed well against Brady, limiting him to only two touchdowns. It will be seen if this game was a fluke or not against the also impressive Lions next week.
No. 10: New England Patriots: 2-2
Last Week: No. 3
The Patriots continue to disappoint as they are now tied for second place in the AFC East with the New York Jets. Not a good sign. Their defense continues to allow every team’s offense to have their way with them, but at least the offense is still elite with Brady at the helm. This team’s defense will remain its Achilles heel as it will face a weapon-filled Buccaneer’s offense next week.
No. 11: Los Angeles Rams: 3-1
Last Week: No. 19
The Rams continued to surprise after a big upset win over the Cowboys (with a big kicking performance by Zuerlein). This offense is an entirely new beast than it was last year, with Jared Goff showing massive improvement, and that improvement is allowing Todd Gurley to truly showcase his talent. The Rams are definitely trending in the right direction after a pitiful 2016 endeavour.
No. 12: Seattle Seahawks: 2-2
Last Week: No. 12
After an initially close game with the Colts that, if continued, would have landed them much lower on this list, the Seahawks pulled away with a blowout win thanks to the Legion of Boom. The Legion pulled it off with two defensive touchdowns, one off a fumble and another off an interception. Russell Wilson’s two interceptions were concerning, but other than that, he was outstanding and will lead this offense to more great performances.
No. 13: Detroit Lions: 3-1
Last Week: No. 14
The Lions’ lack of movement in ranking is due to the fact that their win over the Vikings was lackluster and not much was seen. Their defense was able to limit a Bradfordless and Dalvinless team to one touchdown, the one being from Cook before he went down. This is a very talented team and they will be tested against the Panthers next week.
No. 14: Washington Redskins: 2-2
Last Week: No. 13
The Redskins came to compete against the Chiefs and boy did they compete. In fact, the game might have gone in the Redskins’ favor if Josh Doctson hadn’t dropped a touchdown pass towards the end of the fourth quarter. Everything about this team has surprised so far and it will be interesting how their rise will shake things up in the NFC East.
No. 15: Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 2-1
Last Week: No. 16
After a concerning three turnover game against Minnesota last week, Jameis Winston turned it around and had a three touchdown game against the Giants. The Buccaneers’ had big expectations after an offseason of building up the team and so far (minus a few hiccups) they are performing well. Doug Martin also returns this week and will hope to return to his former dominance.
No. 16: Dallas Cowboys: 2-2
Last Week: No. 5
The Cowboys are disappointing so far this season, but all blame can’t be placed on the offense. Their secondary is a void right now with the massive amount of injuries that have left them exposed. Ezekiel Elliott isn’t performing either, with a mediocre 3.6 yards per carry on the season. Their secondary will need to shape up if it wants to be able to defend any team competent at passing.
No. 17: Oakland Raiders: 2-2
Last Week: No. 7
Things have not been going the Raiders’ way recently, and things seem bleak with Derek Carr and Michael Crabtree injured. This team is beyond talented and is better than their last few games may indicate, but the Raiders will have to stay strong as Derek Carr nurses his back fracture.
No. 18: Minnesota Vikings: 2-2
Last Week: No. 9
The Vikings are in serious trouble after losing Dalvin Cook to the injury of the year, the ACL tear. How Jerick McKinnon and Latavius Murray pick up the slack will determine how this offense will continue but at least the team still has two very talented receivers in Diggs and Thielen.
No. 19: Tennessee Titans: 2-2
Last Week: No. 4
This game was beyond ugly for the Titans on both sides of the ball. Their defense yielded 57 points to the Texans and Mariota had two rushing touchdowns and two interceptions before going down with a hamstring injury. It will be hard for them to do much worse than they did Sunday, but it will all come down to how quickly Mariota will recover with his injury.
No. 20: New Orleans Saints: 2-2
Last Week: No. 20
The Saints shutout the Dolphins in London on Sunday morning, and for what the Dolphins have been lately, that isn’t very surprising. The team will get some needed rest and will be able to assess their defense during their bye week.
No. 21: Cincinnati Bengals: 1-3
Last Week: No. 25
The Bengals continued to improve on offense by taking it to the Browns, beating them 31-7 on Sunday. The hope for the team is that their offense just had a rough start to the year and that they are now ready to use their offensive talent.Their defense hasn’t been half bad this year, either.
No. 22: Arizona Cardinals: 2-2
Last Week: No. 23
Offensive line troubles continue to haunt Carson Palmer, as he has no time in the pocket. To add to the offensive woes, the team still has no real answer for life without David Johnson (although no one could truly replace him). The defense has lost pass rusher Markus Golden to, yes, you guessed it, an ACL tear, weakening the defense significantly. If Bruce Arians truly believes this team still has a chance at the playoffs they will have to prove it on the road against the Eagles this weekend.
No. 23: New York Jets: 2-2
Last Week: No. 30
“0-16,” “1-15,” at this rate we might as well just keep counting, because the Jets continue to win games despite not being favored in a single one. This team likely doesn’t have the ability to make a playoff push, but they are tied with the Patriots right now, so there you go Jets fans.
No. 24: Jacksonville Jaguars: 2-2
Last Week: No. 15
I don’t know what to make of this team anymore as they started with a blowout win, followed by a blowout loss, followed by a blowout win, followed by an overtime loss to the Jets. The Jaguars may have the most potential of any of the bottom ranked teams, they are simply too inconsistent with their play to make any sense out of them. They will need to prove something next week against the Steelers.
No. 25: Chicago Bears: 1-3
Last Week: No. 24
You can’t say John Fox didn’t give Glennon a chance.After four consecutive games that were turnover ridden, and filled with mediocre play, Trubisky will get the start. It will be hard to judge his first performance as it will be against a stout Minnesota defense, but he couldn’t possibly do worse than Glennon.
No. 26: Baltimore Ravens: 2-2
Last Week: No. 21
Is Joe Flacco elite? I think it is safe to say that as of now, no he is not. The Ravens have a powerful defense but their offense is unresponsive. They are going through running backs like hot cakes and have no true number one receiving option. The Ravens will have a rough season in general if Flacco doesn’t improve.
No. 27: New York Giants: 0-4
Last Week: No. 26
Me oh my how the mighty have fallen. A team that in the offseason was praised for having one of the best rosters is now sitting at 0 wins after Week 4. Hope isn’t lost quite yet as the offense is starting to come to life, (see Eli running faster than he ever has for a TD) they just need to come full swing and win their first game of the season.
No. 28: Los Angeles Chargers: 0-4
Last Week: No. 28
The Chargers can’t seem to close a game out to save their lives, as they have now lost three very winnable games that came down to massive errors. These errors do show that they have the potential to win games it’s just a matter of when.
No. 29: Miami Dolphins: 1-2
Last Week: No. 28
Cutler seems like a worse and worse idea as this season goes on. He appears unable to lead this team in a drive the past two weeks and the offense as a whole seems stagnant. It is possible that being on the road for their first three weeks is weighing on the team, so it will be interesting to see how they do against the Titans.
No. 30: Indianapolis Colts: 1-3
Last Week: No. 29
After what looked like an upset in the making, the Colts got destroyed by the Seahawks in the second half of Sunday night’s game. Jacoby Brissett has been impressive, but the Seahawks exploited his inexperience and the Colts’ weak offensive line to take over. There isn’t a lot of hope for the Colts but when Andrew Luck returns things will get interesting.
No. 31: San Francisco 49ers: 0-4
Last Week: No. 31
After a thrilling overtime division rivalry game that saw no touchdowns from either teams, the Cardinals came away with a win after Larry Legend caught the walk off game winning touchdown. The 49ers can’t do a lot with Brian Hoyer at quarterback and almost no weapons for him to work with, so they will search for their first win next week against an also weak Colts team.
No. 32: Cleveland Browns: 0-4
Last Week: No. 32
The Browns appear to be back to where they were last year, bottom of the division searching for one win. However, while it may not seem like it, this team is more talented than the Cleveland Browns of yore and they are likely to get that win sooner rather than later.