NFL power rankings after Week 4: Chiefs jockey for No. 1 spot
Mackenzie Salmon highlights some of the biggest ups and downs in this week’s USA TODAY Sports power rankings following Week 4 NFL action.
NFL power rankings entering Week 5 of the 2022 season (previous rankings in parentheses):
1. Eagles (1): The only undefeated team in the league, arguably the most balanced team in the league and featuring MVP candidate Jalen Hurts. But if one thing sums up early season success, how about this – Philadelphia has the most shutouts in the NFL (10) and the fewest turnovers (2).
2. Accounts (3): They fell short of a regular-season record for consecutive wins by double digits, tying the existing mark of 20. The three-point win in Baltimore also ended a seven-game losing streak in games decided by seven points or less. All things considered, a shutout win – which involved QB Josh Allen’s first comeback from at least a 17-point deficit – probably bodes well for these Super Bowl contenders down the road.
3. Leaders (5): Maybe a team with two backs (Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Isiah Pacheco) averaging at least 5 yards per carry should run more than 41% of the time?
4. Dolphins (2): It should be interesting to see this offense without QB Tua Tagovailoa, who will miss Week 5 with his (last?) concussion. But backup Teddy Bridgewater, who posted a 61+-yard completion Thursday, has the arm to take advantage of this team’s speed … assuming coach Mike McDaniel can also get him to play less conservatively.
5. Ravens (4): After two games in Baltimore, they have already tied the NFL single-season record for home losses to a team led by at least 17 points. No wonder coach John Harbaugh put a premium on grades.
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6. Vikings (7): Unfortunately, literally a tough break for the first cycle S Lewis Cine. His leg injury (a compound fracture, according to NFL Network) was so severe, he remains in London for surgery and the early stages of his recovery until he’s well enough to fly home.
7. Packers (8): Their first appearance in an International Series contest this Sunday (against the Giants) is also London’s first matchup with two teams with winning records.
8. Buccaneers (9): Sunday night marked the second time Tampa Bay ran six times or fewer in a game since QB Tom Brady arrived. As expected, the Bucs lost both.
9. Cowboys (10): Cooper Rush is the first quarterback in NFL history to win his first four starts, surpassing a 90.0 passer rating in each of them. (By the way, before we ship him, it’s worth noting that Dak Prescott lost his first NFL start before winning his next 11. His QB rating during that rookie hot streak was 114.3.)
10. Bengals (12): A record crowd of 67,260 turned out on Thursday night at Paycor Stadium for the successful unveiling of the “White Bengal” team. When you look good, they pay well in the thousands.
11. 49ers (15): An already stellar defense has gotten a nice boost from second-year S Talanoa Hufanga, who had an outstanding 52-yard game on Monday.
12. Rams (6): Lack of depth, inability to run the ball or get anything out of WR2 Allen Robinson are real concerns. Otherwise, the defending champions look great.
13. Jaguars (11): Road warriors three of the first four weeks, will be the home team four of the next five – although one of those games will be in London. It’s worth noting, according to DVOA, Jacksonville is the fourth best team in the league.
14. Chargers (13): QB Justin Herbert, ribs and all, is passing for a career-best 312.5 yards per game – 105 more on the week than next Sunday’s counterpart, Jacoby Brissett.
15. Cardinals (18): DE JJ Watt is for real. He played (well) on Sunday, just days after his heart went into atrial fibrillation. Thankfully, he’s fine… and more importantly, he’ll be fine for the arrival of his son.
16. Giants (17): How little do they get from the passing game? RB Saquon Barkley and QB Daniel Jones account for 54% of the team’s yards from scrimmage – yes, that means Jones’ performance (193 yards) as a rusher.
17. Falcons (25): We slept with Arthur Smith and Co. in the off-season, but we should have known better. Beat the slated Bucs this Sunday and Atlanta takes first place in the NFC South.
18. Seahawks (31): QB Geno Smith’s 77.3% completion percentage is an NFL record through a team’s first four games of a season. WR DK Metcalf also drops it in the bucket in big moments.
19. Lions (14): They’ve scored 140 points and given up 141. Keep that up and they’ll lose a league-record 599 points … but, like Sunday, at least they’ll lose in a fun way.
20. Patriots (22): Despite their record (1-3) and likely being under rookie QB3 Bailey Zappe for the foreseeable future, they have stuck with some of the league’s best – Sunday’s OT loss at Lambeau Field being the latest example. None of New England’s next six opponents are over .500.
21. Titans (27): Maybe all they had to do was work RB Derrick Henry in the passing game. He has eight receptions over the last two weeks – both wins – and is on pace for 34 this season, which would nearly double his career best (19).
22. Jets (28): They split the season opener in the AFC North with a score of 2-2. Very good. Four of the next six games are against AFC East opponents, who would be wise not to take NYJ lightly anymore.
23. Browns (19): For his career, Nick Chubb averaged 5.3 yards per carry – better than any running back in league history except Jamaal Charles (5.4). This year, Chubb is averaging a career-best 5.7 per attempt – which coincides with the team’s decision to feed him more than ever, a career-high 20 times per game.
24. Raiders (29): CB Amik Robertson scores his first defensive touchdown in three years and Vegas is right back in the win column. Then a trip to Arrowhead, where the Silver and Black have been in the win column once in the past nine seasons.
25. Steel (20): Does it make sense to put rookie QB Kenny Pickett in the starting lineup for the first time … in Buffalo?
26. Panthers (23): Based on ESPN’s QBR metric, Baker Mayfield (15.4) is easily the worst quarterback in the league … thus raising questions about when Carolina might have injured Sam Darnold back as an option.
27. Saints (24): Four of their next five games are in the Superdome. It’s time for a team that shouldn’t be 1-3 despite its excessive number of key injuries.
28. Foals (16): Is it time to put those horses down, especially with LB Shaquille Leonard out with a concussion? Wait, are we supposed to see them on Thursday night?
29. Broncos (21): Is it time to put those horses down, especially with RB Javonte Williams (knee) out for the season? Wait, are we supposed to see them on Thursday night?
30. Commanders (26): They look less competitive by the week and have been smoked 49-18 over the past two by NFC East opponents.
31. Bears (30): It’s no shock that this team stinks, but allowing 183.3 yards on the week in Chicago – more than 10 away from the next worst team – is surprising.
32. Texans (32): Now the league’s only winless outfit, Houston is getting more and more from rookie RB Dameon Pierce, whose rushing totals are increasing weekly – including 131 yards (with a 75-yard TD) on Sunday.
Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Nate Davis on Twitter @ByNateDavis.