NFL Top 10 (Week 4)

by Wayne Root

10. Green Bay Packers (2-1)

Aaron Rodgers and the Packers appear to be back on track after a clutch win over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday Night Football. Justin Tucker rightfully stole all of the headlines with his kick for the Ravens, but Mason Crosby was the hero for Green Bay with a 51-yard field goal as time expired. Good game this Sunday against a refocused Steelers team. I remember Pittsburgh at Buffalo in their first game.

9. Los Angeles Chargers (2-1)

Justin Herbert and the Chargers pulled off a huge victory over Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium, 30-24. Herbert outdueled Mahomes with four TD passes in the win. Two of them were caught by Mike Williams, who finished with a team-high seven catches and 122 yards. Their biggest game of the year this week on MNF against the Raiders.

8. Arizona Cardinals (3-0)

Arizona sure made things interesting as it entered halftime trailing Jacksonville by five, but Kyler Murray and Co. woke up in the second half to pull off a 31-19 win. Chase Edmonds has been the more efficient back for the Cardinals by about a yard per attempt, yet James Conner is still getting a more significant workload. The good news is Arizona can throw to what seems like 10 different receivers.
A tough matchup vs. the Los Angeles Rams awaits.

7. Buffalo Bills (2-1)

Josh Allen torched Washington's defense for four touchdowns through the air and one via the ground in a 43-21 win. Buffalo will look to carry its momentum into what should be an easy matchup vs. Houston. They played one bad game against Pittsburgh, and the narrative flipped on both teams for a week. Well, that’s over — and Buffalo has looked dominant the past two weeks.Their defense swarms, pairing a great back end with athletic linebackers and a pass rush that can finally hold its own. 
Practice game laying 17 this week vs Houston.

6. Cleveland Browns (2-1)

Cleveland didn’t have a great day offensively. Regardless, the offense as a whole can win through the air and on the ground, making them a versatile weapon moving forward in the AFC. The Browns defense wreaked havoc on Justin Fields and the Bears on Sunday, sacking the rookie QB nine times. Myles Garrett was responsible for 4.5 of those sacks. The dominant effort resulted in a 26-6 win for Cleveland. Browns better play hard for 60 minutes this week in Minnesota.

5. Las Vegas Raiders (3-0)

The Raiders held on to take down the Dolphins in an overtime thriller and keep their undefeated season going. It's the first time in 19 years they've started a season 3-0. Derek Carr is the best quarterback in the league in four-minute situations at the end of games. Indeed, he’s arguably the most clutch player in the league. And now, it seems his weapons finally fit him. Darren Waller is a stud, Henry Ruggs appears improved, and if Hunter Renfrow isn’t the best pure slot in the league, he’s close. The Raiders don’t make a whole lot of sense so far, but it’s difficult to argue they don’t belong this high in the NFL Power Rankings. Their center was certainly a problem last game. An anomaly? Next up is a trip to L.A., where they'll take on a Chargers team coming off a big win in Kansas City.

4. Kansas City Chiefs (1-2)

Being called “Basement Dwellers” should inspire the Chiefs this week. The Chiefs find themselves at the bottom of the AFC West following a 30-24 home loss to the Chargers. Don't expect that to last, but it's clear Kansas City has plenty to fix heading into its Week 4 meeting with the Eagles. Kansas City’s offense is good enough to win a boatload of football games. The defense, however, appears to be bad enough for the offense not to make a difference. They’ve now allowed 29, 36, and 30 points over the first three weeks of the season. Additionally, the Chiefs are giving up nearly 2 yards more per play than the NFL average.

3. Baltimore Ravens (2-1)

Lamar Jackson is still playing an incredibly carefree style of football in the pocket, and it nearly cost the Ravens on Sunday. However, you can’t just look at traditional stats to explain his performance as a passer. Yes, Jackson only completed 51.6% of his passes against the Lions. But that’s not important given he averaged nearly 20 — yes, 20 — air yards per attempt. The Ravens followed up their dramatic win over the Chiefs with one of the craziest wins you'll ever see vs. Detroit. Justin Tucker cemented his status as the best kicker of all time with a record 66-yard field goal as time expired, sealing a 19-17 victory. He might kick one of 70 yards this week in the thin air of Denver.

2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1)

This is still a dominant football team, but they ran into an absolute buzzsaw in the Los Angeles Rams in Week 3. The Buccaneers probably weren’t going undefeated in 2021. So far, they’re hovering around the top 10 in offensive and defensive efficiency. They aren’t running the ball well, but they also aren’t allowing anything on the ground. The defending champions were beat pretty handily by the Los Angeles Rams. Tom Brady will look to bounce back when he returns home to Foxboro next Sunday night. It’ll be a game that both teams really want to win it for their coach or for their quarterback. 

1. Los Angeles Rams (3-0)

The Matthew Stafford trade is looking better and better each week. The former Lions signal-caller threw for 343 yards and four touchdowns in Sunday's 34-24 win over the Bucs. His connection with Cooper Kupp has been incredible as the Rams wideout added another two TDs to his total.
Stafford looks like an MVP candidate.
Los Angeles hasn’t run the ball well yet in 2021, but they’ve dominated through the air. They’re posting 3+ yards more per pass attempt than the NFL average, and they’re averaging a first down every time Stafford drops back to pass. L.A. steals the top spot in our rankings as it prepares for a Week 4 meeting with the Cardinals.
—————
Teams looking ahead to the Top 10

11. Dallas Cowboys 
12.Denver Broncos 
13. Carolina Panthers
14. San Francisco 49ers
15. Tennessee Titans 

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

© 2021 Al McMordie's BigAl.com. All Rights Reserved.