Week 4 NFL power rankings

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By SAM SPIEGELMAN
XN Sports

The third week of football is officially in the books, and again we're seeing changes at the top from the Week 3 edition of the XN Sports NFL Power Rankings.

Every week, XN Sports will rank every NFL team. Here is the Week 4 edition based on the Week 3 results and the season-long potential of each team.

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Week 4 NFL Power Rankings
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Week 4 NFL power rankings

1. Seattle Seahawks (Last week: 2)

Seattle regained its post atop the NFL power rankings by taking care of business against the Broncos in overtime. Again, the champs proved they’re the bullies on the block, and showed a lot of grit being able to bounce back from Peyton Manning‘s late rally and close out the win in extra time.

What to know: Russell Wilson is 7-0 against the likes of Peyton Manning, Tom BradyDrew Brees and Aaron Rodgers. None of those wins have come on the road — six have been in Seattle, one in the Super Bowl.

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

2. Cincinnati Bengals (Last week: 3)

The Broncos are the class of the AFC, but it’s hard to argue that they’re playing better than Cincinnati, which is clicking on all cylinders heading into their Week 4 bye. The Bengals have a tough slate beginning Week 5, which will tell us even more about this AFC contender.

What to know: The vaunted Bengals defense has limited opponents to a 46.7 completion percentage on throws of five yards or more downfield, which is second best only to the Bills.

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

3. Denver Broncos (Last week: 1)

It’s only one loss, but I was impressed with Peyton Manning’s late-game moxie and his team’s ability to rally, especially after the late interception. The Broncos needed to prove the lopsided loss last February was a fluke, and they did.

What to know: Peyton Manning’s two touchdown passes against Seattle put him at 100 as a member of the Broncos and he sits at 499 in his career. Brett Favre is the only NFL player with 500+ career touchdown passes.

(Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

4. New England Patriots (Last week: 4)

New England slipped by Oakland and came up with a win after their quick West Coast swing, but the win was far from impressive. This offense has a lot of kinks to work out, and we’re not sure where the solutions are going to come from.

What to know: Vince Wilfork‘s classic end-of-the-game pick was his first since Week 4 of the 2011 season. That pick also came against the Raiders.

(AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

5. Philadelphia Eagles (Last week: 7)

It hasn’t been pretty, but the Eagles remain unbeaten through three weeks. They’ve had to rally each game, but I think that remains an overhyped fact. When you’re 3-0, things are going just fine.

What to know: Nick Foles is the only quarterback to have thrown for 300 yards or more in each game this season.

(AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

6. Arizona Cardinals (Last week: 8)

The Cardinals triumphed past division rival San Francisco and are also 3-0 after three weeks. Wins against San Diego and San Francisco are nothing to look over, especially when Drew Stanton is the starting quarterback. Perhaps there’s a bit of quarterback controversy out in the desert.

What to know: How good is Drew? Stanton hit John Brown on a pair of touchdown passes in the second half to help the Cards take the lead. The 49ers had not allowed multiple touchdowns on passes thrown 15 yards downfield in their previous 37 contests.

(AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

7. San Diego Chargers (Last week: 9)

Down to their third-string running back, San Diego still knocked Buffalo over at Ralph Wilson Stadium to move to 2-1. It doesn’t seem to matter who Philip Rivers is handing off to or targeting in the passing game. This defense is really beginning to step up, too.

What to know: Much-maligned cornerback Brandon Flowers, who was released by the Chiefs and quickly scooped up by the Chargers in the offseason, earned a +4.5 grade from Pro Football Focus. Flowers was targeted eight times, allowing four catches for 29 yards, plus a pass breakup.

(AP Photo/Gary Wiepert)

8. Chicago Bears (Last week: 11)

The Bears’ opportunistic defense has been the difference in the team’s last two victories, and the offense did just enough to get by a very good Jets D. More interesting is that Jay Cutler didn’t have to be great in order for Chicago to get to 2-1.

What to know: Bears’ first-round cornerback Kyle Fuller has registered more interceptions in the NFL (three) than he ever did in a season at Virginia Tech.

(AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

9. Pittsburgh Steelers (Last week: 12)

The Steelers made a statement by slashing Carolina’s awfully stingy defense, but it is a concern that the team lost Jarvis Jones and rookie Ryan Shazier to injury and may have to rely on the old legs of James Harrison for a few weeks.

What to know: Ben Roethlisberger to Antonio Brown — call it a lock. When targeting Brown, Big Ben was 10-of-10 with two touchdowns.

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

10. Atlanta Falcons (Last week: 13)

Atlanta made a mockery of division rival Tampa Bay, looking explosive on offense and dominant on defense. However, they did face the Bucs, so let’s not blow this one out of the water. I still think the Falcons are out to make some noise.

What to know: Falcons receiver Julio Jones has eight straight games with at least six receptions and 75 yards, the longest such streak in the NFL.

(Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

11. San Francisco 49ers (Last week: 5)

It’s discouraging to see the Niners begin 1-2, with Colin Kaepernick playing like a truly mediocre quarterback. The defensive losses are beginning to become apparent, while the offense lacks any real firepower.

What to know: Kaep completed 29-of-34 passes, but those completions traveled less than five yards beyond the line of scrimmage on average, per Pro Football Focus. The incompletions include three throwaways, a drop, and one near-pick-six by Antonio Cromartie.

(AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

12. Detroit Lions (Last week: 14)

It seems like the Lions are taking us on a roller coaster this year, kicking off 2014 with a dominating performance against the Giants before a stinker against the Panthers. They rebounded by knocking off Green Bay, again giving us a reason to put our faith in them.

What to know: The last time the Lions won consecutive games over Green Bay was whenCharlie Batch was the team’s quarterback and Bobby Ross was the head coach.

(AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

13. Carolina Panthers (Last week: 10)

This was not the effort we expected out of this Panthers defense, which was torched in primetime against a Steelers offense that the Ravens quieted the Thursday prior. Still, I think it’s a blip on the radar and Carolina is a true contender.

What to know: We had worries about Byron Bell taking over for longtime tackle Jordan Gross this offseason, and against Pittsburgh those fears became realities.

(AP Photo/Bob Leverone, File)

14. Green Bay Packers (Last week: 8)

I don’t think we overrated the Packers, but dropping a game to Detroit in this fashion really makes you wonder if they’re as elite as we might have thought. This offensive line continues to be a weak link, as it’s not helping Aaron Rodgers’ protection or Eddie Lacyfind running lanes.

What to know: The Packers have fallen victim to two safeties already this season.

(AP Photo/Scott Kane)

15. New Orleans Saints (Last week: 15)

Is it possible to be discouraged after the team’s first win? If so, then consider me in that category. The Saints should’ve wiped the slate clean with a rookie quarterback and noAdrian Peterson. Instead, they looked just average.

What to know: The last time the Saints lost at home with Sean Payton on the sidelines was Jan. 2, 2011, a 23-13 defeat. They’ve won 18 in a row, including playoffs, since.

(AP Photo/Bill Haber)

16. Baltimore Ravens (Last week: 16)

The Ravens scored six unanswered points en route to a 23-21 victory over Cleveland, moving to 2-1 on the year with their first road victory. The emergence of Lorenzo Taliaferro could be a major boost for the club.

What to know: Baltimore fullback Kyle Juszczyk became the first player from Harvard to catch a touchdown since Pat McInally did so on Dec. 21, 1980.

(AP Photo/Brandon Wade)

17. Indianapolis Colts (Last week: 21)

Indianapolis finally got off the snide with a romping of Jacksonville. Ahmad Bradshawfinally gave the team a reliable running game, while Andrew Luck admirably played the role of Andrew Luck. This one should get the ball rolling for the Colts.

What to know: Bradshaw piled up 83 total yards and a touchdown, and broke four tackles in the win. Bradshaw averaged 7.0 yards per touch and 5.3 yards per carry, compared toTrent Richardson (4.7 and 3.7, respectfully).

(Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images)

18. New York Jets (Last week: 17)

I’m still impressed by the defense’s ability to take Brandon Marshall and Matt Forte out of this game, while giving Jay Cutler fits throughout the night. This came down to good Geno vs. bad Geno, and the latter showed up too often and with the game on the line.

What to know: What are they drinking in the Big Apple? Since the start of the 2013 season,Geno Smith is tied with Eli Manning for the most multiple interception games in the league with eight.

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

19. Houston Texans (Last week: 18)

Finally, the 2-0 Texans hit a stumbling block in the form of the Giants, who held them scoreless in the first half of their loss. Without Arian Foster to pace the running game and Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing three interceptions, the Texans didn’t stand a chance.

What to know: Brian Cushing recorded a league-high 17 tackles against the Giants on Sunday, who rushed the ball 42 times.

(AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)

20. Buffalo Bills (Last week: 19)

Buffalo also fell off the undefeated train by coming up short against the Bolts. The Bills were unable to get any momentum going with their ground game, so it’s not a surprise EJ Manuel wasn’t able to single-handedly beat the Chargers.

What to know: As good as Sammy Watkins was a week ago, he was equally as bad Week 3. The rookie wideout earned a -4.0 grade from Pro Football Focus after dropping a handful of passes and coming up with two receptions out of eight targets.

(AP Photo/Bill Wippert)

21. Washington Redskins (Last week: 25)

Washington fell on the short end of the stick in their wire-to-wire shootout with Philadelphia, and is the only NFL team to move up its standings in the XN Sports power rankings without actually winning a game. I was impressed by Kirk Cousins engineering the offense

What to know:  DeSean Jackson is the third player in AFL/NFL history to have a touchdown reception of at least 80 yards both for and against the same team (Washington). The others are Art Powell for (and against) the Oakland Raiders andCharlie Joiner for (and against) the Houston Oilers, according to Elias Sports.

(Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

22. Miami Dolphins (Last week: 20)

Two weeks ago, the Dolphins pulled off the upset of Week 1 by dominating the Patriots in the second half en route to victory. Now the discussion is whether Ryan Tannehillshould be benched. That’s not a good sign for both the quarterback and coach to be on the hot seat.

What to know: Tampa Bay, Jacksonville, and Miami lost by a combined 88 points this week. According to Elias Sports, that is the worst point differential by the three Florida teams combined in a single week since Jacksonville became a team in 1995.

(Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

23. Dallas Cowboys (Last week: 28)

Call it a comeback, as Tony Romo and Co. overcame a 21-point deficit to defeat the Rams after it looked like Austin Davis had gotten the best of the depleted Dallas D. Speaking of that defense, two interceptions of Davis were major factors in the comeback. These Cowboys are 2-1.

What to know: Dallas’ 21-point  comeback against the Rams Sunday matched the largest comeback in franchise history. The last time was in 1984 against the Saints and 1999 against Washington, according to Elias Sports.

(Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)

24. Kansas City Chiefs (Last week: 27)

Without their most dangerous offensive player, the Chiefs knocked off Miami with unquestionably Alex Smith‘s best performance of the young season. Smith tossed three touchdowns; Knile Davis racked up 132 rushing yards and Joe McKnight came out of nowhere to score twice. Can’t blame that on Tannehill.

What to know: The Chiefs’ defense finally emerged. Allen Bailey and Dontari Poe earned a combined +7.7 grade by Pro Football Focus. The two combined for five stops, five pressures, and two batted passes.

(Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

25. Cleveland Browns (Last week: 23)

Another “close but no cigar” sort of finish for the Browns, who fared similarly against the Ravens as they did Week 1 against the Steelers. Hey, at least we saw Johnny Manziel, right?

What to know: Offensive line remains a strength of the Browns, and rookie Joe Bitonio has improved each game. This week, he earned a +2.3 Pro Football Focus grade after not allowing any pressure.

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

26. New York Giants (Last week: 28)

Finally, a win for the Giants! The running game was the best its been in recent memory, with Rashad Jennings slashing the very stout Houston defense.

What to know: Eli Manning didn’t throw an interception against the Texans, marking the first game without a pick in the last eight games.

(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

27. Minnesota Vikings (Last week: 22)

Matt Cassel is out, meaning it’s time to usher in the Teddy Bridgewater Era in Minnesota. Bridgewater fared pretty well against the Saints defense, especially considering the lack of reps he received leading up to Sunday. It’ll be interesting to see how the game plan changes for the rookie, and how the offense responds.

What to know: Bridgewater did well, but another first-round pick may have done ever better. Anthony Barr earned positive grades against the run and as a pass rusher, via Pro Football Focus, picking up a hurry, a batted pass, and his first career sack.

(AP Photo/Bill Haber)

28. Tennessee Titans (Last week: 24)

I’ve jumped further and further away from the Titans’ bandwagon since Week 1, as Jake Locker continues to flop under center and this defense looks lost week in and week out.Ken Whisenhunt will be drafting a quarterback next spring if this continues.

What to know: Jake Locker’s 6-for-20 performance, including 98 yards and two picks on pass attempts five yards or more downfield, pushed him below the NFL average on those throws.

(Photo by Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/ Getty Images)

29. St. Louis Rams (Last week: 29)

The Rams had a victory over the Cowboys but allowed Tony Romo and Co. to march right back into this one. Austin Davis cooled down, and Romo found seams in the Rams’ D. I’m not overblowing this loss because the Rams simply aren’t a good team.

What to know: Janoris Jenkins took back a Tony Romo interception for a touchdown. Jenkins has five defensive scores since entering the league in 2012, which is the most in the NFL

(Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Last week: 30)

Tampa Bay needed a mercy rule to come into play Thursday night during their beat-down at the hands of the Falcons. Neither Josh McCown or Mike Glennon fared well against the defense, but I still think it’s necessary to go with the youngster, because at least he has a higher upside than the journeyman.

What to know: Wake the Bucs up when September ends. The Bucs have lost 10 straight September games dating back to 2012. That’s tied for the third-longest such streak in the NFL in the last 25 seasons. The Rams hold the NFL record for the longest losing streak in September games with 13 from 2007-10

(AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

31. Jacksonville Jaguars (Last week: 31)

The hapless Jags got it handed to them by Andrew Luck and the much-motivated Colts looking to notch win No. 1 of the year. However, the silver lining is that it’s now Blake Bortles‘ time to shine, which bodes well for the remainder of 2014 and beyond.

What to know: Bortles has a bright future, but starting the second half didn’t go as well as planned. Bortles threw two picks, one which was returned for a touchdown, and struggled against the blitz, competing 3-of-8 passes for 54 yards.

(AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

32. Oakland Raiders (Last week: 32)

The Raiders gave New England some trouble, but still couldn’t break through with their first win of the year. Dennis Allen’s seat is certainly getting up there temperature-wise, but this team needs to carry some momentum from this contest and try and carry it over to next week.

What to know: The Rookie of the Year candidate we need to be talking about is Khalil Mack, who gave Patriots tackle Nate Solder fits all game long. Mack had four stops and hit Brady twice.

(AP Photo/Ann Heisenfelt)
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