Updated: Oct. 4
San Francisco 49ers (1-3) - Previously: 31.
The 49ers just lost at home to a team missing its best offensive and defensive players. Then again, it didn't really seem like the 49ers were at home. The players said there were more Dallas fans in the stands than 49er supporters, and the visual evidence would confirm that:
I'd bring up Colin Kaepernick perhaps affecting this, but in truth, the 49ers have had dwindling fan support at home, thanks to the growing frustration with Jed York's mismanagement. Oh, and speaking of Kaepernick, can people stop saying, "The 49ers need to see what they have in Kaepernick?" They know what they have. He was benched in favor of Gabbert last year because he couldn't read defenses and refused to study film, and he's lost about 20 pounds because of the same horrible diet that derailed Arian Foster's career.
New Orleans Saints (1-3) - Previously: 28.
I briefly wrote that the Saints were 0-4. It feels like they should be. They had no business beating the Chargers. As much as I was robbed in the Cleveland game, I'll admit that I was very fortunate to have the Saints cover the way they did. I'll still maintain that Drew Brees got too many points, but Brees didn't look like quite himself against a San Diego defense that is decent, but not overly dominant.
Chicago Bears (1-3) - Previously: 32.
The most frustrating thing ever when picking games is when you decide on something and get it wrong, and then what you expected actually happens the following week. That's what happened in the Chicago-Detroit contest. I thought the Bears would be competitive at Dallas, but they weren't. And then, they performed exactly like I thought they would versus the Lions. Granted, it was an easier opponent, but Chicago absolutely dominated Detroit, outgaining the Lions by about 150 yards and averaging 1.4 more yards per play.
Indianapolis Colts (1-3) - Previously: 27.
Jim Irsay should've hired some shady people in Europe to kidnap both Ryan Grigson and Chuck Pagano while the team was in London. It would've been the perfect move, as he'd be able to get rid of them without having to pay them. Pagano's inability to prepare his team for the Jaguars was embarrassing, while Grigson's repeated failure to fix the offensive line is a sign of utter incompetence. Seriously, how difficult is it to find five solid blockers?
London proved to be a difficult trip for Andrew Luck rather than Pagano and Grigson...
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-3) - Previously: 30.
The Jaguars still haven't won a game in the United States in 10 months, but they have this London thing down. They've prevailed in their two previous London contests. I'd suggest that they move across the pond permanently, but that would mean that they'd have to stop having a swimming pool in their stadium, and that simply is unacceptable.
Despite this victory, there's still some major concern with Blake Bortles. His accuracy woes were prevalent against the Colts, and if he were better in that department, Jacksonville would've won in a blowout.
Cleveland Browns (0-4) - Previously: 29.
Can someone explain to me what the hell happened on Duke Johnson's fumble? For those who didn't see it, here's video:
At the 13-second mark, Duke Johnson, the fumbler, is holding the ball in the air after recovering it, and the official, standing near the pile, is looking down and pointing Washington's way as if she sees who has possession. This was a turnover, and the fact that replay didn't give the Browns the ball is absolutely ridiculous and embarrassing for the NFL. This official should be suspended or perhaps even fired for incompetence. How can you give possession to a team when you clearly don't see the ball!? Look!
Ugh. Before I lose my mind, let's do an update for Terrelle Pryor, who, according to Charles Woodson, will accumulate 1,800 receiving yards this year:
Terrelle Pryor's Race for 1,800:
Current Receiving Yards: 290
Currently on Pace for: 1,160
Yards Per Game Needed for 1,800: 125.8
Call me crazy, but 46-yard performances just aren't going to cut it.
Miami Dolphins (1-3) - Previously: 26.
The Dolphins were close to being named an underrated team, given that their three losses thus far have been to the Seahawks, Patriots and Bengals - all on the road. However, their sole victory wasn't impressive, and two of their defeats were ugly. The Dolphins' back seven is horrendous, and their offensive line issues need to be resolved.
Washington Redskins (2-2) - Previously: 21.
Overrated NFL Team: The Redskins have improved to 2-2, which might have people believing that they're an average team. They're not. They could easily be 0-4 right now, as they trailed against both the Giants and Browns in the fourth quarter until those teams began self-destructing and committing stupid turnovers. Both the Giants and Browns outgained the Redskins in terms of yards and yards per play. Washington has some major injury issues on defense and some problems on the offensive line as well.
Tennessee Titans (1-3) - Previously: 20.
Underrated NFL Team: Did you know that the Titans haven't been outgained in terms of yards per play yet this year prior to Week 4? This includes their Week 1 battle against the undefeated Vikings! People may have forgotten this, but Tennessee had the lead in the third quarter versus Minnesota before two turnovers were taken back for touchdowns. The Titans also appeared to have the tie against the Raiders at the very end, but two penalties crushed them. As for the Houston game, it was a tie score in the second half until the Texans returned a punt for a touchdown, which decided the game. Marcus Mariota was awful, but despite this, the Titans hung around and nearly won.
Detroit Lions (1-3) - Previously: 13.
The Lions will be a "bet on" team when DeAndre Levy and Ziggy Ansah return, but it's clear that they are horrible without their two stud defensive players. They lost to Brian Hoyer, for crying out loud. If the NFL had a B-league, or whatnot, losing to Brian Hoyer would be grounds for demotion.
Buffalo Bills (2-2) - Previously: 25.
I have no idea what's going on with this Buffalo team. I'm 1-3 trying to pick their games, and the one victory was a close one in Week 1 versus the Ravens.
Because I can't figure out the Bills at this moment, I'll share a conversation I had with a friend of mine while watching the pre-game promo between the Bills and Jets, which featured Jim Kelly's daughters:
My friend messaged me as this was going on:
San Diego Chargers (1-3) - Previously: 22.
It's crazy to think that the Chargers could easily be 4-0 right now. Well, not "easily" because they have a habit of shooting themselves in the foot in the final two minutes, but they've been in position to win every game. I don't want to list them as underrated, however, because of all their injuries, but I will be looking to wager on them as underdogs of more than a field goal in the near future.
New York Jets (1-3) - Previously: 19.
Underrated NFL Team: The Jets have fallen to 1-3, but let's delve into their defeats, shall we? They lost to the Bengals in Week 1, but were close and easily could've prevailed. Against the Chiefs, they committed eight turnovers, some of which came off fluke fumbles and weird bounces, and despite this, they were down just 17-3 with four minutes remaining in regulation. The Seattle game looks ugly on the surface, but the Jets were down by just a touchdown in the fourth quarter before Richard Sherman made a great play to intercept Ryan Fitzpatrick, allowing the Seahawks to seal the victory. Fitzpatrick wasn't horrible at all. So, in summary, the Jets have lost to two of the better teams in the NFL and one solid squad, being close in all three contests. Their victory, meanwhile, came against the Bills, which is looking a lot better right now.
Dallas Cowboys (3-1) - Previously: 18.
Overrated NFL Team: The Cowboys may have improved to 3-1, but did so unconvincingly. They were actually trailing the 49ers in the third quarter when NaVorro Bowman sustained an Achilles injury. With Bowman out, Dallas was able to run effectively with Ezekiel Elliott and establishing control of the game. If Bowman never left the contest, I'm not sure the Cowboys would've prevailed. Their defense had major problems against Blaine Gabbert, which is not a good sign. DeMarcus Lawrence's return will help, but the front seven still has tons of holes.
Los Angeles Rams (3-1) - Previously: 23.
MEMBER WHEN THE RAMS LOST 28-0 TO THE 49ERS AND EVERYONE THOUGHT THEY WERE THE WORST TEAM IN THE NFL? I MEMBER!
What a turn-around! I mean, sure, the Rams probably should've lost to the Buccaneers, and I don't think the Cardinals are as good as everyone thinks they are, but I'm not going to take credit away from Los Angeles for three consecutive wins (even though I just kind of did.)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-3) - Previously: 14.
Underrated NFL Team: I think I'm going to ignore the loss to Denver, as the Broncos have a way of making teams look a lot worse than they are. With that in mind, the Buccaneers previously lost to the Rams, but they were the better team. They outgained Los Angeles (who just won in Arizona) in total yards and yards per play. Had Roberto Aguayo not missed a chip-shot field goal in the second half, Tampa would've prevailed. The Buccaneers were also hurt by fluke turnovers and horrible clock management at the end. They also won in Atlanta, which looks a lot better now. They're definitely better than their 1-3 record indicates, and there will be plenty of great betting opportunities as a result going forward.
Kansas City Chiefs (2-2) - Previously: 12.
Now that's more like it. The Chiefs are not as bad as their 43-14 result indicates, but they never had a chance at Pittsburgh, considering how motivated the Steelers were in their "Redemption Sunday."
Still, it's fair to ask why Andy Reid had Alex Smith on the field in an epic blowout loss. Did he have Smith on his fantasy team? If not, there's one other explanation. I think you know what it's time for...
New York Giants (2-2) - Previously: 15.
Ben McAdoo was on to something when he said Odell Beckham Jr. needs to get his emotions in check. The Vikings got into his head, prompting Beckham to drop passes, bump into officials and then complain to the media afterward. The good news for Beckham is that he won an award for this:
Baltimore Ravens (3-1) - Previously: 17.
No one should be surprised that the Ravens lost to the Raiders, given their sketchy wins leading up to the contest. Having said that, their defense was better with Elvis Dumervil back on the field, and they were a dropped pass away from attempting the field goal for a potential victory. Many believe the Ravens are overrated because of their record, but so many people are calling them overrated that they might be trending into underrated territory.
Houston Texans (3-1) - Previously: 11.
Through four games, the Texans have been demolished by Jacoby Brissett and prevailed in underwhelming home victories against the Bears, Chiefs and Titans, who have a combined 4-8 record. Not good.
Then again, anything is possible if the Texans can do stuff like this:
Wow, one point in the second quarter? And I thought this defense would suck without J.J. Watt!
Carolina Panthers (1-3) - Previously: 6.
I get things wrong all the time, so I'm going to cherish the rare great calls I make, including this one from last week's NFL Power Rankings: "The public hasn't recognized that Carolina's defense isn't the same without Josh Norman, while the offense will be exposed against teams with great pass rushes because the tackles can't block."
Yeah, I think the Panthers missed Norman just a bit when Julio Jones had 300 receiving yards against them.
Cam Newton, meanwhile, was responsible for his own concussion by slowing down before reaching the end zone. I distinctly remember Newton doing this against the Saints last year, so this was nothing new. Newton has some strange decision-making, including his outfit from last week:
I likened him to Mr. Peanut, but I saw an even better comparison:
Arizona Cardinals (1-3) - Previously: 10.
For the first time all year, I won't call the Cardinals overrated, but only because people have begun figuring out that Arizona is not that good. Here was my reasoning prior to their loss to the Rams: "I was down on the Cardinals entering the season, so this is not an overreaction to their loss at Buffalo. They crushed Tampa, but that score was misleading, thanks to Jameis Winston's shockingly sloppy play. Something wasn't quite right about Carson Palmer in the preseason, and so I wasn't surprised that he struggled this past week. Palmer had five dropped interceptions in the first two games, and the Bills finally capitalized on those horrible throws. Palmer just looks close to being done."
Oakland Raiders (3-1) - Previously: 16.
Overrated NFL Team: The Raiders are basically the opposite of the Chargers. They've been close in every game, but they've just been great in the final two minutes. The question needs to be asked, though: Why are they having so much trouble putting away bad teams like the Saints and sub-par ones like the Titans? The Raiders did just beat the Ravens, but they were outgained by about 150 net yards and lost the yards-per-play battle, 5.2-4.8. Baltimore was a drop away from attempting a field goal to win the game.
Atlanta Falcons (3-1) - Previously: 24.
Call me crazy, but I think my previous ranking of the Falcons (No. 24) was way off. And I really don't think I'm going to win my Under 8 prop of Atlanta that I made while I was in Vegas. Goodbye, sweet $350.
The Falcons look great right now, though I do wonder about the level of competition. I've been calling the Panthers overrated all year; the Saints suck; and the Raiders may not be as great as everyone thinks they are (which you can read about in the Oakland capsule).
Philadelphia Eagles (3-0) - Previously: 9.
The Lions humiliated the Eagles on Thanksgiving last year. Member that? I member. And I'm sure the Eagles member, too, and they've had the entire bye week to member it collectively. Next up on the slate? The Lions...
Cincinnati Bengals (2-2) - Previously: 8.
The Bengals still have some sketchy safety play - Kenny Stills burned them on Thursday night - but their defense looked better with Vontaze Burfict back on the field. The offense sputtered in the red zone once again, but they'll be better in that regard once Tyler Eifert returns to the lineup, which should be quite soon.
Green Bay Packers (2-1) - Previously: 5.
The Packers are coming off a bye, so I'd like to take this moment to share a text exchange I had with a friend during Detroit's furious back-door cover at Green Bay last week:
Seattle Seahawks (3-1) - Previously: 7.
I was way off on calling the Seahawks overrated, apparently. Their offensive line has improved since the Week 2 debacle, and Russell Wilson's MCL sprain apparently is a non-issue when it comes to his passing. Wilson still isn't the same because he can't scramble at all, however, but I'm sure that'll change in a few weeks.
New England Patriots (3-1) - Previously: 1.
I joked about the Patriots starting this particular person at quarterback last week...
...But perhaps they should have in the wake of Jacoby Brissett's poor performance. Brissett made some mistakes, but wasn't horrible. Still, there's no excuse for getting shut out by a defense that couldn't stop Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Anyway, it's all over because Tom Brady's suspension has concluded. Everyone expects Brady to be in classic "F-U mode," but he's a 39-year-old who spent the past month sun bathing on nude beaches in Europe. Does that sound like someone who's going to be in "F-U mode?"
Denver Broncos (4-0) - Previously: 4.
Some hate-mailing trolls have been chiding me for not ranking the Broncos No. 1 overall in my NFL Power Rankings. I get the argument for them being atop the rankings, but I just think there are teams better than them.
Besides, even some Broncos fans believe that they don't belong atop the power rankings. Here's an e-mail I received from a Denver fan a week ago:
Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1) - Previously: 3.
The blowout loss to the Eagles was definitely a fluke. As I wrote last week, the Steelers dropped some passes, including a touchdown, and had a field goal that was blocked, and they were ultimately drowned by an emotional performance. We saw what they were capable of during Mike Tomlin's "Redemption Sunday" against the Chiefs.
I love the idea of Redemption Sunday, by the way, and I have to wonder if it could've had some applications for me earlier in life. Like, when I was rejected by some girl I liked in high school, I could've declared a Redemption Sunday, gone to the mall and banged 16 chicks at the same time. Redemption Sunday!
Minnesota Vikings (4-0) - Previously: 2.
I've marked the Vikings as an underrated team all season, but that's not the case anymore because everyone saw how great they were on Monday Night Football. It's insane that they were favored by only half-a-point just prior to kickoff. Did the general public really think that Minnesota was only 0.5 points better than the mediocre Giants?