September 27, 2012;Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens linebacker Courtney Upshaw (91) tackles Cleveland Browns running back Trent Richardson (33) at M

NFL Week Five: Power Rankings

First, don’t be confused that I changed the “week” to five from four in the title – I decided to use week five since that’s the week we’re in after the Monday night game is played and the power rankings reflect completed games from week four…thus, carrying their rankings into the following week. Got it? Great.

It’s funny how an early-season power rankings list generated soooo much criticism last week. Yes, I admit, I had the Jets ranked way too high but early-season rankings, AGAIN, are much like college top-25 polls in September. They often bear little resemblance to the final ones anyway, so why bother?

The reason I bother is to keep evaluating teams after each week…and only after the first few weeks are complete to have some data points to actually look at. The same people that gave me a hard time over the Jets were also giving me a hard time over ranking the Vikings as high as I did – at #22 – and for ranking St. Louis, Indy and Miami – at 20, 22 and 23 respectively – higher than the 27th-ranked Lions.

Anyone changed their mind yet?

The Vikings beat those same Lions (as I predicted), the Rams beat the Seahawks (again, as I predicted) and the Dolphins lost at undefeated Arizona in overtime by 3 points. I actually had the ‘fins pulling off a 3-point upset and it took a 4th and long TD pass from Kevin Kolb to force overtime then a turnover by the Dolphins on a floppy Tannehill pass as he was hit to set up the Cards’ game-winning field goal. The Dolphins could easily be 3-1 but lost consecutive games in overtime so they’re competing. The Lions needed to draft defense this past April so, naturally, they used their top two picks on OT Riley Reiff and WR Ryan Broyles.

Also, people just won’t be used to seeing the Steelers ranked so low. However they’re 1-2 with a loss to the Raiders and without their two best defenders (James Harrison and Troy Polamalu), top RB (Mendenhall), and top draft pick (DeCastro) so there are several reasons for the disrespect. Polamalu’s the key to their D, so they should improve when they get him back. The bye week came at a good time for them this year.

Cincy has only one loss but hasn’t beaten a team with a winning record since before Dalton and Green arrived.

Here’s this week’s list after all the week four games are in:

1) Houston Texans
2) Atlanta Falcons
3) San Francisco 49′ers
4) Baltimore Ravens
5) Arizona Cardinals
6) Denver Broncos
7) San Diego Chargers
8) New England Patriots
9) Philadelphia Eagles
10) Cincinnati Bengals
11) Green Bay Packers
12) New York Giants
13) Dallas Cowboys
14) Minnesota Vikings
15) Chicago Bears
16) St. Louis Rams
17) Pittsburgh Steelers
18) Washington Redskins
19) Seattle Seahawks
20) Tampa Bay Buccaneers
21) Carolina Panthers
22) New York Jets
23) Buffalo Bills
24) Miami Dolphins
25) Indianapolis Colts
26) New Orleans Saints
27) Tennessee Titans
28) Detroit Lions
29) Kansas City Chiefs
30) Cleveland Browns
31) Jacksonville Jaguars
32) Oakland Raiders

Fire away…

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Tags: NFL Power Rankings NFL Week 4

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