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My 2021 Week Four NFL Power Rankings

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Rich has a Bachelor's degree in journalism from Penn State. WE ARE!!!

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2021 Week 4 NFL Power Rankings

Yes, I know. I missed last week’s rankings. I’ll try not to do that again. Except for next week. Definitely going to miss next week. After that though, I should be good. I promise. So I’m going to change things up this time around as today is my birthday! I’m still going to rank each team from best to worst, but I’m going to list what each team should wish for as if it were their birthday. Let’s see how this goes, shall we?

1. Buffalo Bills (3-1) ~ Buffalo wishes that I do not jinx them by having them in the top spot. They have been on a roll since their second half collapse in week one. The Bills have shut out two of their last three opponents, but things will get tougher this week with a visit to Kansas City. If they come out of K.C. with a W, they will cement their status atop these, and many others’, rankings. (Last Ranking 5)

2. Arizona Cardinals (4-0) ~ Arizona wishes to avoid a letdown this week against the division rival 49ers. Look, the Cards are the last unbeaten team in the NFL, and the 49ers are hurting. Literally. That said, Arizona just beat the L.A. Rams for the first time in four years and it would be easy to overlook San Fran. That would be a mistake. (LR 8)

3. Los Angeles Rams (3-1) ~ We know the Rams can score points, but I’m thinking they wish their defense would return to its 2020 form. Last season, the Rams allowed 17.4 points per game which was just a hair behind Baltimore at 17.3 for the league lead. Through four games, the Rams are allowing 24.8 points per game which is a more than a touchdown per game difference. That will have to change in the uber competitive NFC West. (LR 2)

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-1) ~ This one is easy: secondary help. When Richard Sherman, who was signed off the street last week, is your best option in the secondary, you can use all the help you can get. They are down their top three starting corners as well as safety Antoine Winfield who is dealing with a concussion. I won’ bet against Tom Brady, but the Bucs need to get healthy on defense and fast. (LR 1)

5. Cleveland Browns (3-1) ~ For Baker Mayfield to figure it out. The Browns are good. The defense is for real and Myles Garrett might be on his way to Defensive Player of the Year honors. This is all while Mayfield has struggled. He is 26th in the league in QBR after finishing in the top 10 last year. Cleveland might not need him to be top 10 again, but he certainly needs to improve if this Browns team is to be taken seriously as a contender. (LR 6)

6. Baltimore Ravens (3-1) ~ They need a running back to step up and be the lead back. Yes, Lamar Jackson is the best runner on this team even when all their running backs are healthy, but he is going to burn himself out, or get hurt, if he continues this Superman pace. Maybe Latavius Murray is ready to step up. He logged a season-high 18 carriers Sunday in a game that saw Ty’Son Williams as inactive. Will that trend continue this weekend against the Colts? (LR 9)

7. Dallas Cowboys (3-1) ~ That their defense is for real and the takeaways keep coming. Trevon Diggs has five interceptions in the first four games of the season. Last season the team has just 10 interceptions for the season which means Diggs is halfway to matching that number all on his own. Dallas leads the NFC with 10 takeaways and if that trend continues, they will be a tough team to beat. (LR 10)

8. Los Angeles Chargers (3-1) ~ That Mike Williams is ready to live up to being the number seven overall draft pick. Williams leads the team with 306 yards receiving and four scores all while tallying just one catch for 11 yards last night. If he can be a legit number one receiver, across from Keenan Allen who is also a legit number one receiver, the Chargers should be able to put up points with ease. (LR 12)

9. Kansas City Chiefs (2-2) ~ For Patrick Mahomes to throw five touchdowns every week. Look, this defense is abysmal. They are allowing 31.3 points per game which is better than only Atlanta. The Chiefs can seemingly score at will, and they might need to if they can’t keep their opponent out of the end zone. (LR 3)

10. Green Bay Packers (3-1) ~ Aaron Rodgers’ happiness has to be at the top of Green Bay’s wish list. That is the reason Randall Cobb is back in town. All Cobb did on Sunday was catch five of his six targets for 69 yards and two touchdowns. We weren’t sure if Rodgers would be a Packer this season. I am sure the Packers will do whatever they can to make sure he finishes his career in Green Bay. (LR 13)

11. Las Vegas Raiders (3-1) ~ Josh Jacobs’ health. Jacobs returned to the lineup Monday night after missing the previous two games. He appears to be back to his old self as he handled 13 of the 15 carries given to running backs. If he can be the threat out of the backfield he has been the last two years, that will open things up over the middle for all-world tight end Darren Waller. (LR 15)

12. Carolina Panthers (3-1) ~ That they made the right decision when they acquired Sam Darnold to replace Teddy Bridgewater. Both quarterbacks have their teams at 3-1 and both seem to be thriving in their new homes. Darnold leads the NFL in rushing touchdowns (what?!?) and that has to make Carolina fans think back to the good times they had with Cam Newton. While Darnold isn’t Newton, he looks like the quarterback that was taken third overall back in 2018. (LR 19)

13. Seattle Seahawks (2-2) ~ For Jamal Adams to record a sack. Last year, Adams set an NFL record with 9 ½ sacks from the safety position. Through four games this year, Adams has yet to record a single sack. He needed just 12 games last year to set that record, and there are 13 left this season, so I guess he is still on pace to break that record? Regardless, I’m sure the Seattle faithful will feel much better when they see #33 take down the opposing quarterback. (LR 7)

14. Denver Broncos (3-1) ~ For Teddy Bridgewater to pass concussion protocol. Denver has been looking for a quarterback ever since Peyton Manning led them to a Super Bowl victory back in February 2016. They appear to have found one in Bridgewater. He left Sunday’s game with a concussion and Denver suffered their first loss of the season. If he is forced to miss time, the Broncos could be in trouble. (LR 17)

15. San Francisco 49ers (2-2) ~ Another injury for Jimmy Garoppolo means rookie Trey Lance might get his first start this weekend at undefeated Arizona. Lance did alright against Seattle throwing for two touchdowns and adding 41 yards on the ground. That said, the Niners have to be wishing for Jimmy G to heal up enough for what could be a pivotal early season game. (LR 4)

16. New Orleans Saints (2-2) ~ That they can trust Jameis Winston to run this offense. The Saints knew that life after Drew Brees would be different, but this different? New Orleans is averaging just 144 passing yards per game. That cannot sustain throughout the season. Winston has three seasons in which he has thrown for more than 4,000 yards. The Saints have to open up their playbook and see what he can do. (LR 14)

17. Cincinnati Bengals (3-1) ~ Joe Mixon’s health. Their lead back left Sunday’s game with an ankle injury and is considered “week-to-week” which isn’t good. Ankle injuries can linger, are easy to aggravate and this is something that could plague Mixon the rest of the season. Their running back depth is a bit suspect with Samaje Perine and Captain America the next men up. What’s that? It’s a different Chris Evans? Damn. I was kind of hoping to see what type of fines the league would levy on that uniform. (LR 26)

18. Tennessee Titans (2-2) ~ That the Jets game didn’t happen. Yes, they can wish for something unrealistic. Don’t we all? The Titans always seem to play down to their opponent and that’s exactly what they did in New York. It didn’t help that A.J. Brown and Julio Jones missed the game. (LR 18)

19. Washington Football Team (2-2) ~ That Taylor Heinicke can keep the Football Team in it until Ryan Fitzpatrick comes back. Heinicke has done a nice job since taking over for Fitzpatrick, but I have to believe the Harvard grad gets his job back once recovered from a hip injury. If Heinicke can limit the mistakes he could make a case to be Washington’s starter for next season and beyond. (LR 22)

20. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-3) ~ A running game. The Steelers need to find their running game. This is a proud franchise that seems to always have success running the ball. They just haven’t done it yet this year. Pittsburgh is averaging just over 55 yards per game on the ground which is the worst in the NFL. First round draft pick Najee Harris’ 3.4 yards per carry is good for 46th in the league. These things have to change as it appears the clock is about to strike midnight on Ben Roethlisberger’s career. (LR 11)

21. New England Patriots (1-3) ~ Closure. That’s right. The Pats should be able to put the Tom Brady era officially behind them after Brady and the Bucs visited Foxborough this past weekend. There’s a new man you can follow in New England. What say you Pats fans? (LR 16)

22. Indianapolis Colts (1-3) ~ The division to stink. Indy has started the season with a rash of injuries to key players to go along with a tough schedule. Their next game is Monday night in Baltimore. The Colts are hoping the division continues to stink on ice as it has throughout the first four weeks as it seems likely they will begin the year 1-4. (LR 23)

23. Minnesota Vikings (1-3) ~ A close game to go their way. Minnesota’s three losses are by a combined 11 points. The combined record of their opponents in those losses? 10-2. I’m looking for the Vikings to try and get their season back on track Sunday when they host Detroit. (LR 24)

24. Chicago Bears (2-2) ~ Matt Nagy to get fired. I know that Justin Fields should be the quarterback for the Bears. You know Fields should be the quarterback for the Bears. I think even Andy Dalton knows Fields should be the quarterback for the Bears. You know who doesn’t? The head coach. I think the only way Fields starts over Dalton is if Nagy is gone. (LR 25)

25. Philadelphia Eagles (1-3) ~ Fundamentals. This team is shooting itself in the foot every chance it can get. Not one, not two but THREE touchdowns were taken off the board Sunday due to penalties. It’s been a rough few weeks as an Eagles fan. (LR 21)

26. Miami Dolphins (1-3) ~ Tua Tagovailoa to make it through the rest of the season healthy once he returns from IR. This seems like a tall ask, but, that’s why it’s a wish list. Right? Tua has not been able to shake the label that he is injury prone. At least not in my eyes. The Dolphins look lost on offense with Jacoby Brissett under center and the defense hasn’t been much better. (LR 20)

27. Atlanta Falcons (1-3) ~ A number two receiver. Matt Ryan can still sling it with the best of them. He has one of the best receivers in the game in Calvin Ridley, but lost his security blanket when Julio Jones was traded to the Titans. Ridley slides up to one, but who slides up to two? No other receiver on the Falcons has double digit catches. Yes, Cordarrelle Patterson has been amazing, but he isn’t the answer at receiver. Someone needs to step it up. (LR 27)

28. New York Giants (1-3) ~ For the Daniel Jones of Sunday to be the Daniel Jones of every Sunday. And sometimes Monday. And Saturday. And Thursday. Jones brought his team back from an 11-point fourth quarter deficit against a good defense to avoid an 0-4 start to the season. Through four games, Jones has just two turnovers. If he can protect the ball, perhaps this Giants team can pick up a few more wins. (LR 29)

29. New York Jets (1-3) ~ Points. Seems pretty basic, right? Well, the 27 points they put up in getting their first win of the season was more than they had scored in the first three games combined. Maybe the Jets aren’t as bad as we thought they were? Maybe they are. Who’s to say really? I’ll leave it to the British as the Jets play this Sunday in England against the Falcons in what could be a very ugly game. (LR 31)

30. Houston Texans (1-3) ~ Deshaun Watson. Although, I’m not sure Watson can save this team. They committed five turnovers en route to a franchise worst 40-0 blowout loss to the Bills. Rookie Davis Mills does not look like he is ready for the NFL. Is Tyrod Taylor coming back soon? Asking for a friend. (LR 28)

31. Detroit Lions (0-4) ~ Help. The Lions need help. All around. They somehow managed zero points on their four red zone trips Sunday against the Bears. There was that embarrassing snap/fumble/interception thing that happened. It’s a mess. I bet Jared Goff really misses L.A. (LR 30)

32. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-4) ~ A win. Nineteen losses in a row for the Jags. (LR 32)

Comments

JOC from Syracuse, NY on October 05, 2021:

Pretty good this week. I would have put Arizona on top, they dominated the Rams.

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