Del Pilar’s Diatribe: WEEK FOUR NFL Power Rankings Broken Down

NFL Power Rankings

After four weeks, we can see some trends and the bigger picture in our NFL Power Rankings. The Buffalo Bills made a statement, the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas Chiefs are showing chips in their armor, and the high-flying Miami Dolphins reminded us of Duck Dynasty shooting geese out of the air with ease. We’re also seeing some contenders showing themselves as pretenders and subpar teams playing lights out for their head coaches. What’s happening to the Cincinnati Bengals? Are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for real, and can the Houston Texans win the AFC South?

Since watching this game from the mid-1970s, this analyst has never seen so many Achilles injuries. It makes me wonder about fields across the nation and the turf itself, but it’s speculation. What’s not is the number of season-ending injuries we’ve seen in recent years. Off the charts, and the NFLPA and owners need to figure out why so many Achilles’ tears are happening and how to rectify it.

The final note: The article is a couple of days late and our sincere apologies. I joined the COVID club this past week. Our family reunion was a bust as the first six of us to show were exposed. We thought the person was over it but then again when you travel you never know where you may have caught it. Go figure! I’m over it, as it was about a five-day battle, and despite being unvaccinated survived. It was close with only a 99.9 percent recovery rate! That’s sarcasm, people! Seriously, s*** happens and you have to roll with it.

The only downside is that my 90-year-old father and 84-year-old mother caught it. They’ve caught it before so they’ll survive and are two strong old-world folks with the tough mentality to match. For those wondering this strain is not quite like having the flu but much worse than a cold and appears to last 3-5 days in terms of being out of action based on all of us who caught it. All right, let’s get to it!

Note: Numbers in parentheses by team name note their ranking last week.

The Elites

  1. San Francisco 49ers (2) Record: 4-0 – this was a potential trap game for the Niners, but luckily, the Arizona Cardinals upset the Dallas Cowboys, so this team knew not to get too cozy. They came out and took care of business. RB Christian McCaffrey is a beast, leading the league in rushing and scrimmage yards, but too much wear and tear on their star back may not bode well as the season progresses. That’s something to monitor (overuse). The Niners are a machine. Think of any sports movie showing the antagonist as a team of unbeatable monsters, and that’s the current Niners for now.
  2. Kansas City Chiefs (1) Record: 3-1 – the Chiefs are showing some humanity in that they’re not perfect. QB Patrick Mahomes made some blunders we rarely see. This season, the Chiefs have won and looked dominant, but after four weeks, it’s apparent that they’re not the same dominant Chiefs we’ve grown accustomed to. They escaped with a win against the New York Jets; they could’ve easily lost.
  3. Philadelphia Eagles (3) Record: 4-0 – sometimes, you can toss the records out the window regarding divisional play. Is that the case here? Who knows, but the Eagles look human. This team is dominant but allows teams to stick around, which could cost them down the road. They have an elite offense (ranked 5th overall) but a middling defense (ranked 16th). Remember, it’s a new defense coordinator in Sean Desai, and it’s showing with one-quarter of the season gone. They’re at a point where they must play better, but overall, this is an elite team. Despite beating what will be a mediocre Commanders squad, it showed they’re resilient and will find a way to win.
  4. Buffalo Bills (5) Record: 3-1 – this was a statement game by the Bills and a massive surprise by the Bills defense. The Bills defense has a well-documented recent history of letting the high-powered offenses look high-powered and shutting down the mediocre to bad teams, thus continually propelling the false belief they have an elite defense. This game showed a Bills team with resolve hitting on all cylinders, and sure, we can talk offense, but the defense made the statement this week. As the Denver Broncos saw last week, when things go wrong, they can steamroll into the depths of hell. The only negative is that CB Tre’Davious White (Achilles) went down and is gone for the season. It’s an enormous blow.

NFL Power Rankings: Elitism is on their Radar

  1. Dallas Cowboys (7) Record: 3-1 – talk about a comeback statement game! The Cowboys were embarrassed, and they knew and went into Foxboro and pummeled a once proud franchise. They dominated the line and hint – he who controls the trenches wins championships, which we saw this week. Overall, the team still has issues, specifically red zone offense, and they must take last week’s loss and keep building and reminding themselves every week is a battle and focus, discipline, and knowing when you must put your foot on the neck of an opponent and take them out. They’re not there yet; time will tell if they get there. Overall, it is an utter destruction of a team that believes it can compete for a playoff spot.
  2. Miami Dolphins (4) Record: 3-1 – how the mighty fall. You are the toast of the Pigskin Gods one week, with an unheard-of 70-point outing. Then, being humbled at home by your division rival, you’ve played close the past three outings. Beaten soundly by a potential Super Bowl team, the Dolphins were upstarts who put the Bills into a corner, and Buffalo responded powerfully. The question we had was if the Bills could lay the law down, and they did. It was also a product of a Dolphins team that probably believed their headlines. However, it’s an excellent loss and a lesson to learn from. Learn not to be filled with yourself too much; any opponent can take you out any week, even at home. This loss is part of the Dolphins’ growing pains in learning how to win big games. They’ll rebound and recover and compete for the division.
  3. Detroit Lions (8) Record: 3-1 – this team is methodical. They can beat you via the pass or the run and create a big play via their defense. It’s still a young team with room to improve. However, we’re also seeing QB Jared Goff round into form managing the league’s 8th-rated offense. Their defense still has room to improve (ranked 13th), specifically their pass defense (ranked 18th). Overall, this was a statement game showing the division they’re the team to beat. That’s no longer a question, considering the Green Bay Packers, Minnesota Vikings, and Chicago Bears with a combined 3-9 record. This division is theirs to lose. Remember, this team can still improve, and if all goes well, they’ll be an elite team by season’s end, competing with the Eagles, Cowboys, and Niners for the NFC crown. The only negative outside of Goff’s early interception was social media fantasy football fan-hos whining that Jahmyr Gibbs wasn’t touching the ball.
  4. The Baltimore Ravens (10) Record: 3-1 – the Ravens needed this win and now have early control in the AFC North, and after four weeks, most would deem them the favorites with the rest of the division in chaos at the quarterback position. This team came in this week against an elite defense in the Cleveland Browns, ranked No. 5 overall and No. 1 against the pass, and destroyed them. The Ravens were facing a rookie quarterback who turned the ball over and left his defense in too many challenging situations. It wasn’t a lucky win, but the Pigskin Gods favored them when Browns QB DeShaun Watson (shoulder) declared himself out of the game. They’ll take the win as they continue to learn and develop chemistry with a new offense. Remember, they’ve had a rash of injuries, too, so this team will improve as the season progresses and players get healthier. That said, rookie Browns’ quarterback or not, it was a beat down and statement to the North. The Ravens are the best in that division for the moment.

Better than Average but Still has Kinks to Work Out.

  1. Seattle Seahawks (11) Record: 3-1 – it’s a bird, it’s a plane, no, it’s CB Devon Witherspoon! The pigskin gods gave him their blessings, culminating with a 97-yard pick-six. Incredible night. Last week, I listed the Seahawks under pretenders or contenders, and it’s obvious they’re contenders. Pete Carroll is a vile human being but an outstanding head coach. They destroyed the subpar New York Giants as they should have, but did that with no mercy. The only negative is the loss of S Jamal Adams (concussion), but overall, this team is reminding us of the Super Bowl Seahawks.
  2. Cleveland Browns (9) Record: 2-2 – what happened to this defense this past week? Last week, I was praising this team’s defense for carrying them. Voila, they were a no-show against a Ravens team that needed a win badly. Rookie QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson also shows how a team can fall into the same idiocy as fanboys. The preseason doesn’t show how good a player is when all they face are second and third-stringers and training camp fodder. Social media has ramped up the ignorance of how much faith we give players in thinking that play will follow into the regular season. When the regular season starts, the starters are in, the complete playbook opens up, and a reality check occurs, as Thompson-Robinson saw. He looked like the classic “deer in the headlights.” It was that bad. The defense? In their defense, they were on the field more than they thought they would be. Could you tell me why is that? Starting QB, DeShaun Watson took himself out of the game and stated his medically cleared shoulder wasn’t right. That’s his call and right, but it’s rubbing some players the wrong way. He has a fully guaranteed contract, and thus, he’ll get paid regardless, so is it someone looking for No. 1 or really injured? Former head coach Mike Shanahan used to say you can play hurt but not injured, and there’s a difference. That may not be the case here, as Watson couldn’t throw the ball to play per pregame warmups, but by stating he would play, he destroyed the team’s morale, which showed. This season may be rocky for them based on personalities more than play on the field with Watson as the quarterback. This game is a bump in the road, but the Watson era is now in year two with nothing to show and a mixed future.
  3. Jacksonville Jaguars (13) Record: 2-2 – this team finally came to play this week, but it was against the Atlanta Falcons. They went to London and took care of business. Quarterbacking by Trevor Lawrence was the type of play he must have consistently, considering his pedigree, where they took him, and expectations. This game can’t be the type of game he has every few weeks. View it as a positive step. However, their defense must play better, as they’re a middle-of-the-road defense right now (17th) in total yards given up and struggle against the pass (top 10 versus the run). We need to see consistency from this unit.
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NFL Power Rankings: Pretenders or Contenders?

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (17) Record: 3-1 – QB Baker Mayfield has gone through too many controversies to the point he’s played for three teams (Browns, Panthers, and Rams) after being the overall No. 1 pick. It appears he may have finally found a home. We’ll have to wait and see, as the defense must improve for them to be legitimate contenders. We know Mayfield for the horrific throw at the worst possible time, but he also has so much versatility when healthy; he’s a gunslinger worth developing and may still have a higher ceiling. Let’s not forget the abominations he was on in soap opera drama, poor teams, losing traditions, etc., in the Browns and Panthers. The division is theirs for the taking at this point; considering their competition, the New Orleans Saints still have a way to go on offense, and their quarterback isn’t 100 percent.
  2. Los Angeles Rams (14) Record: 2-2 – the Rams show up and impress one week, then play down to their opponents the next. Or are the Indianapolis Colts that good? We’d say the latter for now, but this game epitomizes the Rams since winning the Super Bowl. You can see talent on this team, but not any consistency. This defense? To let a rookie quarterback generate three touchdown drives and, even worse, to execute two two-point conversions successfully is a mental collapse they’ve got to fix. Their saving grace right now is WR Puka Nacua, literally. He’s been the bright star for the past four weeks and secured them the overtime victory. The team is drooling to see what Puka and Cooper Kupp (hamstring) can do on the field together. I shouldn’t say Puca was their saving grace. QB Matthew Stafford is always resilient and plays hurt. Browns QB DeShaun Watson could learn from him. His leadership is clear through his play on the field. If they can keep him upright and wait for Kupp to return, that offense could be something this year. At least for some brilliant games, a few upsets, and maybe a wildcard berth. On the latter, never say never, but that’s a high ceiling for them, and we’re not sure they’ll reach it. Time will tell.
  3. Tennessee Titans (18) Record: 2-2 – I want to throw my hands up. This team is Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. This week, Mr. Hyde showed up as King Henry. Once he got rolling, there was no stopping RB Derrick Henry, who even threw for a touchdown. This type of play is what you’ll get out of the Titans this season. Outstanding play against some teams and embarrassing in others. The latter has turnovers associated with it. If they can limit turnovers and penalties, they can likely compete every week, but they’re a team with a ceiling, specifically at quarterback in Ryan Tannehill. No matter what this team does (see WR DeAndre Hopkins), it goes through King Henry. How he fares is usually associated with a win when good and a loss when shut down. Rarely an in-between. The offense must improve, with a current ranking of 23, as their defense is getting the job done with a rank of 8th overall. We’re not sure we’ll see the improvement, as the Titans’ formula for success is three yards and a cloud of dust, with Henry hitting the home run in one form or another. The downside is that Henry’s No. 3 in rush attempts but 8th in rushing. He has many miles on his wheels and is an old 29, so we’ll have to see if he can carry the team all season. If he can’t, this team is likely toast. The other downside is that they played a team this week in the Bengals, who are horrific and not as good as we thought.
  4. Los Angeles Chargers (19) Record: 2-2 – talk about an ugly team. The Chargers always play down to their opponents, which was no different. They owe their past win to the play of edge-rusher Khalil Mack with six sacks, but that’s it for Mack, who has been a non-factor with the Chargers. That said, on paper, this team has the talent, but between inept coaching, lack of discipline and inability to rise when needed, this team doesn’t have a bright future. It’s tough to tell where they stand as a team, considering they’ve faced both ends of the spectrum in quality and played all the teams down to the last minute. Their two wins this season are against teams with a combined 2-6 record. Take that for what it’s worth.

The Rest of the Best or Pretenders

  1. Washington Commanders (24) Record: 2-2 – so much for Riverboat Ron. He’s the head coach of a rebuild with a new offensive coordinator and a second-year quarterback in Sam Howell. He plays the NFC champions to a draw, but with the possibility of winning it outright, he didn’t go for two but the tie and overtime. You don’t go into overtime against the Eagles, thinking you have the guns to match them when you don’t. Rivera didn’t and should’ve known better. With the Eagles’ defense gassed, you call in the play and go for it. That’s Rivera’s rep, but he went conservative here to their detriment. This decision is one of many to come that will probably get Rivera fired and give offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy his first head coaching gig. However, give the team kudos for coming to play after the Bills blew them out. This team will not make the playoffs, but they’ll pull off an upset here or there this season. The real question is whether it is enough to save Rivera’s job and let him continue the rebuild. While the focus is on offense (ranked 16th), the defense needs to step it up as it’s ranked 29th, and Rivera’s supposedly a defensive guru.
  2. New Orleans Saints (15) Record: 2-2 – look, I said Derek Carr (shoulder) would be a surprise start with his AC sprain, and he started. To what results? A measly 23-of-37 for 127 yards. That works out to a pathetic 3.4 yards per attempt! An AC joint is a pain threshold in the eyes of idiots. They’re wrong because it’s one of those injuries where you must sit the player. He can’t work through it; time to heal is the best option. The Saints knew this and still made the terrible decision to start him. You can’t put the total loss on this move, but about 90 percent of it you can. This move tells us two things. They have no faith in backup Jameis Winston, or it’s an inept staff. We’ll take it in the middle and state a solid coaching staff made a stupid decision. This answer is what offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael wants to hear because right now, his play calling and Carr’s play on the field have them ranked 26th overall – 21st in passing and 25th in rushing. Luckily, they now have RB Alvin Kamara, but can this team get out of their two-year offensive funk? That’s the story. We’re not sure they can, but we know they won’t if Carr isn’t 100 percent. Carmichael is probably on the hot seat right now, but Carr’s not helping.

NFL Power Rankings: The Get it Together or Else and Overachievers Section

  1. Houston Texans (29) Record: 2-2 – while not unique, it is still a rarity. To have a rookie quarterback, enter the league and take the NFL by storm is what QB C.J. Stroud is doing. He’s making his reads, and for a young quarterback to do that is beyond words and almost unheard of when you consider the adjustment to the speed of the game. Stroud also takes advantage of busted coverages and uses his accuracy to make great throws. He’ll have some setback games, but overall, his development gives the Houston fanbase a potential “Cinderella” war cry. The real question is when they turn back into pumpkins. They’re playing sound football and are playing tough. While nowhere near on par with the brutality and savagery of how the Seahawks play, it’s obvious head coach DeMeco Ryans is developing that type of toughness. They’re 500, and it’s not luck!
  2. Indianapolis Colts (21) Record: 2-2 – what can you say as this team looks brilliant when considering how competitive they’ve been every game this season? They’re playing hard for their head coach, Shane Steichen, gaining experience while developing chemistry, and they get RB Jonathan Taylor back this week. No one knows the future, but that Taylor is coming off the PUP list is a positive. Even if they trade him away, they’ll stockpile picks as their rebuild continues. However, Taylor’s young enough to be part of the rebuild. Despite losing, overall, this team is on track and in the weak AFC South; never say never, as the expected favorites Jaguars aren’t taking the step forward many thought they would, and this division is now up for grabs based on not only the Colts’s play but Texans too. The future is bright, and maybe even a potential playoff spot this season. Sure, that’s a long shot, but we’re talking about the AFC South, where it’s anyone’s division.
  3. The New York Jets (20) Record: 1-3 – last week, the Jets were under the “get it together” banner, and despite the loss, they got it together. However, the problem with this team is that its defense has yet to gel completely. We can talk about the offense all we want, but that rush defense ranked 28th must get it together. The defense has to carry this team until Wilson shows consistency and takes another step forward. You can’t blame these losses on them, but the talk of this being an elite defense isn’t deserving yet. It’s a wait-and-see, and if what we saw this past week indicates Wilson’s future play, then this team still has a shot, my friends.
  4. Green Bay Packers (16) Record: 2-2 – I tell you, I thought QB Jordon Love was the next coming at times over the past month, but he’s still got a long way to go. He’s holding on to the ball too long, and the offensive line isn’t protecting him as well as they can. However, holding on to the ball too long induces sacks. One week, his throws look all-world, and the next, as if he’s still a rookie learning the ropes. This team will live and die based on their offense and how quarterback-dependent it is in making the throws and being accurate. He can make the throws, but will the team lose a season in watching him develop into it? After three years, they likely expected to see him start strongly. That said, the offense is 11th overall but 19th in passing and 30th in rushing. To say there’s room to improve is an understatement. They’ll improve, but can they compete for the division? Not at this point in the season. They’ve got to improve fundamentally and get Love to the next level where they think he belongs and can get to.
  5. Pittsburgh Steelers (12) Record: 2-2 – what did we witness? An embarrassment? A trap game? An unprepared team? Probably all the above, but this offense is terrible. They’re ranked 28th overall, 25th in passing, and 29th in rushing. To say offensive coordinator Matt Canada is struggling is an understatement, and he better get it together. He’ll see the door before head coach Mike Tomlin or second-year QB Kenny Pickett (knee) gets benched. Their defense isn’t much better, ranked 23rd and 26th versus the pass and 29th versus the run. How do you even correct this team? That’s the real question, and this upcoming week against the Ravens, who have a one-game lead in the AFC North, can set the tone for the rest of the season. Pickett is also nursing a sore knee. It may be a long season for the Steelers. Also, the social media created over hype based on preseason play proves “fanboys” dominate X and other platforms with ignorance and stupidity they can’t help but show.
  6. Minnesota Vikings (25) Record: 1-3 – this offense can hang with any in the league, and the proof is in the record, losing close ones to the Eagles and Chargers, two highly explosive teams offensively. However, they lack fundamentals, crucial turnovers, and inept coaching, and that’s why the Vikings were 0-3 entering this week with a must-win game. Their opponent, the Carolina Panthers, were 0-3. The difference is that one thinks they can contend while the other is in rebuilding mode. The Vikings, who believe they can compete, had their backs against the wall, and the Panthers were the perfect remedy. That said, the sloppy play kept the Panthers in it the first half before the Vikings’ talent overcame them and finally won. This win was a combination of defense and offense and hopefully provides the team with a lift, and they’ll need it with the Chiefs coming to town next week. However, there isn’t much hope as they couldn’t take the sad sack Panthers to the woodshed. It took a red zone stand toward the end to win the game. Think about it. A rebuilding team with a rookie quarterback almost comes back to tie the game against a team that believes it can hang with the big boys. It speaks volumes about where the Vikings think they are versus where they really are. The two aren’t even close. Minnesota will probably be in for a long season unless they can stop the turnovers and lack of discipline (penalties).
  7. Cincinnati Bengals (6) Record: 1-3 – what can I say? I completely missed on the Bengals, believing last week’s hard-fought win against the Los Angeles Rams was a turning point. No, it was a must-win in order not to go 0-3, but they played for their lives and, this week, reverted to the team we saw in the first two weeks. This team can’t compete without a 100 percent healthy Joe Burrows (calf). How he fares in health is how the team will cope with wins and losses. It is that simple. The solution is to sit him for another week or two, but now they can’t afford to. They’re in last place, two games down from the division leader (the Ravens) they just lost to. That’s the main issue, with the other being a lack of protection. This defense is nothing special, and this team wins on the arm of Burrows. It’s that simple, people, and it’s not looking good for this team in the short term as their Bye Week isn’t until Week Seven. They’re a team in a free fall, and we don’t know if they can stop it.
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What the Hell, We Have No Clue or Playing for Draft Positions

  1. Denver Broncos (31) Record: 1-3 – what can you say when two 0-3 teams meet? Something must give, and the Bears gave this one away, but on the positive, the Broncos played with resiliency and never quit. Then again, they have a future Hall of Fame quarterback in Russell Wilson. Well, maybe the Hall of Fame. The issue is that this is a veteran team with some youth, and the plays aren’t happening. Look for a mini-youth movement, as the team is already jettisoning one mistake in DE Randy Gregory. What does this mean for QB Russell Wilson’s future at his 34-years? Maybe nothing, which is why we say a mini-youth movement. In today’s free agency, a complete rebuild no longer takes 3-5 years but 2-4, so Wilson could be part of it depending on his relationship with head coach Sean Payton. This season is a prove-it year for many as the brass reevaluates every position. Don’t look for many wins, but see which players prove themselves, and the team will want them back. The Broncos won a must-win game, but they almost didn’t, thus showing this team to be a bottom-tier team now. Specifically, they need a pass rush, reduce penalties (lack of discipline), and play consistently from start to finish.
  2. Arizona Cardinals (28) Record: 1-3 – what can you say about this team? They’re a team most will root for because they play hard despite their predicament at quarterback. They’re not very good offensively in keeping up with high-powered teams. That said, it’s tough to tell where they stand as they’ve lost to two high-powered teams in the Niners and Cowboys but also to the New York Giants and Commanders. This season continues to be what it is. A rebuilding season – learn the offense, develop team chemistry, and weed out the riffraff as you build your franchise for rookie head coach Jonathan Gannon. Regarding QB Kyler Murray? Per rumors that are dirt old but haven’t changed, we’re not likely to see him this season. There are no words to describe the stupidity in the team’s front office in giving a midget a contract that big. Especially after said midget repeatedly showed he can’t get the job done at this level.
  3. Atlanta Falcons (23) Record: 2-2 – after a 2-0 start, this team is crashing back to Earth as we knew they would. QB Desmond Ridder is a second-year player starting his first season and needs to learn and grow. It’s premature to demand his benching. This team will go through rookie RB Bijan Robinson this season, but a question that bears asking? Where is TE Kyle Pitts, and why isn’t he finding himself open much more often? All we hear is how good he is, and yes, in his defense, the quarterback must throw him the ball, but he must get open, too, and fight for it when it goes his way. One problem with the tight end position is that highly touted players have much more leeway coming into the NFL than other positions. Why? Who knows? But it seems those players get an extra year or two more before teams realize they’re a bust. Former Lions Eric Ebron is one, and former Raiders, but now with the Giants, Darren Waller has a lot of hype without the statistics to back them up outside of one season and too many other players to list. How does TE Jonnu Smith find himself open more often than Pitts? Take that for what it’s worth.
  4. New England Patriots (23) Record: 1-3 – talk about a beat down. This season could be head coach Bill Belichick’s “mulligan” season, and he’ll be gone next year if this continues. This team is learning a new offense and lacks playmakers at receiver. Overall, they’ll find their footing, but QB Mac Jones appears to be the next coming of Zach Wilson, and the team is losing patience. He needs a line to be effective, and offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien is a great coordinator and a solid head coach; thus, we play the waiting game here, but for this season, it’s not boding well. Like the New York Giants and Las Vegas Raiders, they may be in the beginning of a freefall. Their saving grace could be their coaching experience, but clearly, the Patriots are shells of Tom Brady and the Brady years.
  5. Las Vegas Raiders (26) Record: 1-3 – unbelievable. Josh Jacobs is whining to anyone willing to listen; he’s tired of losing. Why did he hold out all of training camp and come in out of shape? In his defense, anyone holding out would’ve come out of shape, but he’s part of why they’re not as competitive as they should be. This team also lacks discipline, as their penalties prove. They must first look in the mirror at themselves. That said, this coaching staff isn’t helping much by not providing the leadership a team like this needs. Head coach Josh McDaniels isn’t a disciplinarian but a bully, and there’s a difference. Think Urban Meyer with the bully tag. That’s McDaniels, possibly. If that’s the case, this team will implode. Also, look at the play calling. They never adjusted to edge rusher Khalil Mack, and he went off on them for six sacks. This team may be in a freefall, and we’re just beginning to see the unraveling. Their rookie QB Aidan O’Connell? That was a start you never want to remember. WOW! Horrifically bad! Let’s hope he can improve, but he was a frustrating player to watch if you bleed silver and black.
  6. New York Giants (27) Record: 1-3 – Talk about preseason hype! WOW, this team is horrific and falls on the doorstep of Brian Daboll and the front office. Whether you’re on the RB Saquon Barkley or QB Daniel Jones bandwagon doesn’t matter. This team’s problems are with the offensive line and a lack of a foundation of discipline. For all of Daboll’s fiery attitude on the sidelines, this team doesn’t play with his passion. That’s on Daboll. You can’t blame Jones for throwing a pick-six while running for your life. This defense? Did they forget the fundamentals of tackling? This atrocious start to the season is on the coaching staff more than the players. You see it with the lack of discipline and playing without fundamentals, as in tackling. The coaching staff and Jones aren’t always on the same page either, so toss in communication, too! Based on expectations, this team is a sad sack and arguably the most embarrassing team in the league.
  7. Carolina Panthers (30) Record: 0-4 – look, let’s be honest when a lousy team drafts an elite college quarterback, you must give him the tools to win, and I’m not talking skill positions but an offensive line. Young must also learn when to get rid of the ball. He’s making typical rookie mistakes, so losing games early on is part of being a rookie quarterback. Sad but true, people! Luckily, it’s not as bad as I’m making it sound, as he’s gone down only 11 times, but it’s a concern. He’s tied as the 8th most-sacked quarterback in the league. The Panthers need to upgrade their skill positions at receiver, too. That’ll come as this is the first year of a new regime, and they’re rebuilding. Look for more losses but improved play as the season progresses, including opening the offense up from its current conservative play calling. That’s what the Panthers brass is looking for now. Being competitive and growing, not winning.
  8. Chicago Bears (32) Record: 0-4 – this was arguably QB Justin Fields’s best game ever from the pocket, but there were still too many mistakes made by both the coaching staff and Fields. However, from a growth perspective, Fields supporters should be happy. Sure, they lost, and it’s a lost season, but if the goal is to ensure Fields is the franchise, this game may be a turning point. In the end, Fields must not only mature on the field but off the field as well, and some aren’t sure it’s possible. This analyst’s take? One step at a time. There are various forms of leadership, but the first goal is to get Fields right as a quarterback. We may have seen the beginning of that.

There you have it. My NFL Power Rankings for Week Four. Agree or not, let us know, my friends. Remember, these are fluid and will change, so don’t sweat if your team is off a slot or two. We want to hear from those who think we’re way off!

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