The first four weeks of the NFL season are in the books and most teams have played a fourth of their schedule. By now we have seen a few pretenders and some surprise contenders. Below you can read if you wish some blurbs about each team and where I feel they stand at this point in time.
1. Denver – Peyton Manning is set to have the best season any quarterback has ever had and the defense is performing well enough to make sure the games aren’t close. Don’t be shocked to see this team win every regular season game.
2. Seattle – With quite possibly the best home-field advantage in all of sports this team is all but a lock for the playoffs. If they can play well enough away from home they will make the road to the Superbowl much easier for themselves.
3. New England – Plug and play is the Belichick way. Any team that has Tom Brady at quarterback is going to produce on offense, if their defense can keep up how they’ve been playing they will challenge the Denver Manning’s in the playoffs.
4. New Orleans – Sean Payton is back and so is the Saints’ mojo. Can they go into Seattle and steal one? My guess is we will have a chance to see in January.
5. Kansas City – The most surprising team in the league rounds out the top five of these rankings. There may not be a more motivated coach and quarterback combination in the league this season than Andy Reid and Alex Smith. If they can both keep their intensity up they will be the first wildcard in the AFC.
6. Indianapolis – A new favorite in the AFC South has emerged, the exact same team that two seasons ago people were wondering at this time if they would win even two games. Andrew Luck has this team rolling and they don’t look like they’re going to be slowed down any time soon.
7. Chicago – The defense is clearly not what it once was but the Bears earn this spot due to the much improved offensive line play. They replaced four of last year’s starters and the difference is night and day. Their lone loss has come on the road to one of the leagues most balanced offenses, this rankings next team.
8. Detroit – The acquisition of Reggie Bush may be the league’s second best pickup behind only Alex Smith by the Chiefs. Finally this team has a consistent run threat to take some of the pressure off of the pass game.
9. Miami – Ryan Tannehill looks as if he learned a thing or two in the offseason and this defense looks fierce. It will be hard to overtake the Patriots but I wouldn’t be surprised to see this team gain a wildcard spot.
10. San Francisco – One of the league’s most disappointing teams has had trouble getting their offense on track since week one against a sorry Packers defense. Distractions on the defensive side of the ball shouldn’t derail this team, but we shall see over the next few weeks.
11. Green Bay – Normally you wouldn’t see a team with a .333 win percentage this high, but they have lost to two solid teams on the road. Expect them to get back on track following their bye with a home game against a team coming off a big win.
12. Dallas – It looks as if Tony Romo and Dez Bryant are finally consistently on the same page. Demarco Murray has stayed healthy and is making a difference on the ground and this team is primed to win the NFC East.
13. Cincinnati – This teams only losses coming to two teams with something to prove (Bears with a new coach and new offensive line first week of the season, Browns with a new quarterback and after trade of Trent Richardson). The good news for the Bengals is that their division looks to be incredibly weak.
14. Atlanta – If Steven Jackson can come back healthy and as productive as he has been in recent years this team will start to perform much better. Their defense has some issues in coverage but they are a great home team and will challenge the New Orleans Saints for the division crown.
15. Houston – What looked to be one of the strongest teams heading into the season is struggling to close out games. If they can figure out how to play solid football the entire four quarters they will be near the top of the league.
16. Tennessee – I bumped them down beneath Houston due to the recent injury to Jake Locker. Chris Johnson isn’t finding the holes he is sometimes accustomed to but as of he yet he hasn’t needed to for this team to win.
17. Buffalo – E.J. Manuel looks to be proving some doubters wrong and this defense is finally playing as well as advertised. Too bad for them their division is on the rise.
18. Cleveland – Brian Hoyer (the first of Tom Brady’s understudies to take over for their new team) has been playing exceptional in the wake of Brandon Weeden’s injury. The addition of Josh Gordon to this offense has opened some room for Jordan Cameron to make some noise. It will be interesting to see if they can continue to play above their potential and capture the AFC North divisional crown.
19. Minnesota – I know they have only won one game yet this season, but their point differential is only -8. If this defense can perform consistently and Matt Cassel remains the starting quarterback this team will turn their fortunes around.
20. San Diego – Philip Rivers is playing far better than I have seen him in recent years and the run game has been performing to par. They are a long shot for the playoffs being that Denver and Kansas City are in their division.
21. Baltimore – Last year’s Superbowl champions have completely lost their mojo. Memo to John Harbaugh: give the ball to Ray Rice.
22. Philadelphia – A team that looks poor on offense and dysfunctional on defense will have a rough time getting to .500 this season.
23. Washington – Robert Griffin III is having a tough time adjusting to a new style of play that is less reckless. He also has trouble trusting his knee when planting to throw. These losses are not all on him though, this defense has looked atrocious.
24. New York Jets – Hopefully for Jets fans it will not be long before Rex Ryan is given the boot and this team can start to rebuild. Their run game is inconsistent at best and Geno Smith is having troubles when facing competent defenses. As good as their defense is playing it is not enough to overcome the offense.
25. Arizona – Carson Palmer keeps showing that he is washed up and their defense is not nearly as powerful as they have been in recent years. This team will not be within shouting distance of the division at season’s end.
26. Carolina – The offense looked great, against a terrible New York Giants team.
27. St. Louis – Sure are missing Steven Jackson now. This team may surprise and win a few games, but do not have what it takes to challenge Seattle.
28. Pittsburgh – They have played somewhat competitive at times but have had too many lapses. This really is not their year.
29. Oakland – Bottom of their division for the foreseeable future.
30. New York Giants – Normally this is an area reserved for the Jets, but with the pieces missing from this offensive line this team is lucky they are not at the bottom of these rankings.
31. Tampa Bay – Turmoil doesn’t begin to describe what is going on with this team. With any luck Mike Glennon will do something Josh Freeman has had trouble doing recently, win.
32. Jacksonville – May be the first team since the Detroit Lions of a few seasons ago to go winless. Every week the safest bet to pick against.