WEEI NFL Power Rankings, Week 4: Seahawks, Broncos set themselves apart
|09.24.13 at 10:13 am ET|
No argument here: The two best teams in the NFL through three weeks reside in Seattle and Denver. The Seahawks latch on to the top spot in the WEEI NFL Power Rankings once again while the Broncos hold a firm grasp on the No. 2 position.
Seven undefeated teams remain, and four of them are ranked in our top five. The Saints (3) and Bears (4) claw their way in after starting the season on the outside. The Patriots (7), Dolphins (10) and Chiefs (14) still have something to prove before they can climb into elite status.
Spiraling downward are the Giants (26), Bucs (30) and Redskins (23). The G-Men fall eight slots as they prepare for the undefeated Chiefs in Week 4.
1. (1) Seahawks (3-0) — Seattle has an early two-game lead over the 49ers in the battle for the NFC West. It’s just not fair to the other teams in the league when the Seahawks play at home.
2. (2) Broncos (3-0) — To figure out how dominant this Broncos offense really is, consider these statistical comparisons:
First 3 games ’07 Patriots ’13 Broncos
Points 114 127
Total yards 1,323 1,458
QB TDs Brady 10 Manning 12
4. (8) Bears (3-0) — An argument could be made that the Bears are the most improved team from last year. Marc Trestman‘s team has played with confidence, and it has translated on the field. There is only one starting quarterback in the league that has been sacked less than Jay Cutler. That’s a remarkable turnaround for a QB who has been sacked 148 times in the last four seasons.
5. (3) 49ers (1-2) — It’s easy to see that the Niners offense is out of sync. The Seahawks defense can do that to a team. San Fran has to get back to what it does best on offense — pound the ball on the ground, have a high completion percentage and protect the football.
6. (10) Bengals (2-1) — You can’t help but notice what a tremendous job the Bengals defense did against Aaron Rodgers and an extremely potent Packers offense. For the first time since 2009, Rodgers threw more interceptions than touchdowns. That can be credited to the Bengals defensive line that constantly brought pressure and knocked down passes at the line.
7. (9) Patriots (3-0) — It’s difficult to determine whether the drastic improvement on defense should be credited more to the Patriots or their opponents. We’ll finally see what type of team the Patriots really are as they begin a challenging three-game stretch against the Falcons, Bengals and Saints.
9. (11) Ravens (2-1) – Houston was the first real test for the Ravens defense after Baltimore allowed an embarrassing seven touchdown passes to the Broncos in the season opener. Baltimore’s D has bounced back nicely since, allowing just 15 points in two games. You could multiple those 15 points by three and the total still wouldn’t be more than what the Ravens allowed to the Broncos in Week 1.
10. (12) Dolphins (3-0) — It’s time to start taking the Dolphins seriously after two wins against 2012 playoff teams. Ryan Tannehill‘s 66.4 completion percentage ties him with Aaron Rodgers and ranks him ahead of Drew Brees and Tom Brady.
11. (13) Colts (2-1) — The added element of a run game certainly is helping the young Andrew Luck. Ahmad Bradshaw was in beast mode Sunday, and Trent Richardson is one of the best young backs in the game. This new weapon in Indy will improve the pass game and keep Luck’s sack numbers from rising.
12. (4) Falcons (1-2) — The Falcons are flying in the wrong direction. Super Bowl-caliber teams finish close games.
13. (7 ) Texans (2-1) — With an offense as talented and balanced as Houston’s, the abysmal 35 percent conversion rate on third down is eye-opening.
14. (14) Chiefs (3-0) — The Chiefs turned the ball over an alarming 37 times last year. Behind the leadership of Andy Reid, they haven’t turned the ball over once in 2013 and have forced nine.
15. (15) Cowboys (2-1) – The NFC East is wide open for the Cowboys to take. They’ve been marred by mediocrity the past two seasons, posting an 8-8 record both years. This could finally be the year when Jason Garrett‘s team takes advantage of its opportunity.
16. (23) Titans (2-1) – The Titans are just one overtime loss from being 3-0. They haven’t turned the ball over once this season.
17. (16) Chargers (1-2) — Each of the Chargers’ three games has been decided by three points. Last year San Diego lost by an average of 10.4 points per game.
18. (17) Eagles (1-2) — New coach but familiar Eagles look. After watching this team over the past two years, Philly fans know better than anyone that turnovers, sacks and missed tackles were the main reason for the 12-20 record. That all returned last Thursday night when a hobbled Michael Vick was constantly pressured and careless with the football.
19. (22) Lions (2-1) — Detroit has been looking for production from the running back position for a long time. Now it looks like the Lions have some depth at the position with two very capable backs, as Reggie Bush and Joique Bell have made a tremendous impact.
20. (29) Panthers (1-2) — The buzz around the league is about how bad the Giants are, but the Panthers deserve some credit for the pounding they gave New York. Any time a defense can sack the quarterback seven times and hit the QB 10 times, that’s an impressive accomplishment.
21. (19) Rams (1-2) — Running the football — the Rams can’t do it on offense and can’t stop it on defense.
22. (26) Jets (2-1) — The quote of the week came from Rex Ryan at his press conference following Sunday’s win over the Bills: “Explain to me why when we win there’s only one camera in here and when we lose there are about 15 of them?’’
23. (20) Redskins (0-3) — Washington was successful last year because of its balanced offensive attack. This season, the pass defense has played so poorly that Washington is constantly playing from behind. As a result, Robert Griffin III is throwing the ball a lot more. In 2012, the most passes he attempted in one game was 39 in a loss to the Panthers. This year he’s attempted 49, 40, and 50 in his first three games.
24. (21) Cardinals (1-2) — The offense punted eight straight times at one point during Sunday’s loss to the Saints. Arizona continues to struggle moving the chains on third down.
25. (25) Steelers (0-3) — There is a list of reasons why the Steelers are 0-3. At the top of that list is their turnover ratio. Pittsburgh has turned the ball over nine times while forcing zero.
26. (18) Giants (0-3) — The deflated Giants have no running game, a terrible offensive line, and a minus-9 turnover ratio. Next up for the G-Men is undefeated Kansas City. Only the 1992 Chargers have made the playoffs after starting a season 0-4.
28. (28) Browns (1-2) — As the final seconds ticked off the clock, thousands of fans in survivor pools shouted in agony. No one expected the Browns to win after the deflating week they had. You can’t help but respect the way they came together and played Sunday.
31. (30) Raiders (1-2) — Oakland’s inability to run the ball with Darren McFadden was troubling to watch. The Raiders couldn’t get anything going on the ground. Now that Terrelle Pryor is battling a concussion, they’re going to need that run game even more.
32. (32) Jaguars (0-3) — I would be content with a 17-point offensive performance against the Seahawks if I were a Jags fan.
Which NFL teams are in your top 10? Leave your opinions/comments below or send via Twitter to @JoeZWEEI.
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