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NFL - Week 4 Power Rankings

By Brad Oremland
Wednesday, October 2nd, 2002
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Five Quick Hits

* Last week, I was watching bonus coverage of the New England/Kansas City overtime game and CBS had to cut to the postgame show so they wouldn't compete with FOX's afternoon game. The same thing happened this week with the Chicago/Buffalo game on FOX. The NFL and the networks should do away with the awful rule that mandates this.

* Chris Berman's routines have gotten a little old, but I still love the Jimmy Stewart voice. I hope James Stewart makes a big play for Detroit every week.

* I am amazed at how fast Tim Dwight is.

* Senseless in Seattle: Near the end of the first half, Minnesota returner Nick Davis fumbled on a helmet-to-helmet hit by Tim Terry. Davis had to be assisted from the field, and the fumble was clearly caused by Terry's vicious hit. Minnesota appealed the fumble and lost (technically a correct call), essentially rewarding Terry's dangerous play. The NFL should fine him heavily; it's bad enough that his team benefited from the play.

* Senseless in Seattle II: When Mike Tice challenged the fumble, the ESPN announcers -- who had already correctly deduced that the play would stand -- praised him, saying that in such a big situation, he had to challenge. Let's stop praising coaches for making challenges they know they're going to lose, okay? You only get two per game and you lose a timeout when you're wrong.

Let's get on to the Power Rankings. The number in parenthesis indicates previous rank.

1) Oakland Raiders (3) -- No one looks better right now, but the schedule is threatening: games at Buffalo and St. Louis are potential upsets, while San Diego at home and away at Kansas City pit the Raiders against two of the hottest teams in the league. After that, San Francisco, at Denver, and New England at home before a much-needed break at Arizona. If they can hit December at 9-2, they'll be in good shape.

2) New England Patriots (1) -- Have been exposed as vulnerable against the run, with Ricky Williams and Ahman Green licking their chops in the next two weeks. Came out totally flat in the second half against the Chargers, with LaDainian Tomlinson running at will and the offense sputtering near the Red Zone.

3) Philadelphia Eagles (4) -- The Eagles have rebounded nicely from that Week 1 loss to Tennessee, wouldn't you say? Since then, the Eagles are 3-0 and have outscored their opponents 116-37. Donovan McNabb had what passes for a bad day for him, but the young receiving corps has come together nicely, and Antonio Freeman has been everything they hoped for.

4) Miami Dolphins (2) -- Forget the loss at Arrowhead. All is forgiven if the Dolphins beat New England at home next week, taking control of the AFC East and giving themselves an edge in the first playoff tiebreaker.

5) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7) -- Since losing their opener, Gruden and his boys have feasted on teams that are a combined 1-11. The Falcons and Browns should prove more challenging, but the real test -- and a possible playoff preview -- is at Philadelphia on October 20.

6) San Diego Chargers (15) -- Credit where credit is due, and right now that's to Tomlinson and to Marty and Kurt Schottenheimer.

7) Denver Broncos (6) -- Gave the game away in the second quarter, thanks to an absurd number of strange happenings. Also, they really ought to be using Steve Beuerlein at QB.

8) New Orleans Saints (5) -- Beat three good teams and then lost to a bad one.

9) San Francisco 49ers (9) -- Desperately need to get the offense on track.

10) Indianapolis Colts (11) -- With the Bengals and Ravens coming up, 4-1 and a commanding division lead is a distinct possibility.

11) Pittsburgh Steelers (10) -- This wounded animal plays at New Orleans next week.

12) Green Bay Packers (12) -- Struggled for the second week in a row.

13) Kansas City Chiefs (19) -- After Priest Holmes exploded against the Patriots last week, the last thing Miami expected was for Trent Green to throw for 328 yards and 5 touchdowns.

14) Chicago Bears (8) -- Highlights were invented for Mike Brown.

15) Cleveland Browns (14) -- It's only Week 4, and William Green is already a bust.

16) Buffalo Bills (20) -- Travis Henry has fumbled in every game so far. For a team that's had every game determined by six points or less, that's a big problem.

17) Atlanta Falcons (18) -- Important divisional matchup with the Bucs next week.

18) Jacksonville Jaguars (23) -- Not to argue with a strategy that worked, but is it really necessary to use Stacey Mack as the short-yardage RB? Fred Taylor scored 17 touchdowns as a rookie.

19) New York Giants (16) -- The Kerry Collins imposter went back to his native planet.

20) Carolina Panthers (24) -- John Fox has rejuvenated the defense.

21) St. Louis Rams (13) -- It's baffling that a team can fall so far, so fast.

22) Dallas Cowboys (25) -- Please shut up about Emmitt until he's somewhat close to the record.

23) Tennessee Titans (17) -- It's been all downhill since they beat Philly in the opener.

24) Washington Redskins (22) -- Steve Spurrier has pretty much admitted he didn't understand how different the NFL was from college.

25) Seattle Seahawks (27) -- When you go to your money guy -- in this case, Shaun Alexander -- you win. Are you listening, Steve Spurrier and Mike Martz?

26) Arizona Cardinals (26) -- David Boston had a breakout year in 2001, and now he's vanished.

27) Detroit Lions (30) -- At Minnesota next week, so it's not inconceivable they could win two in a row.

28) Baltimore Ravens (29) -- That shot of Brian Billick running down the sidelines yelling made my night.

29) New York Jets (21) -- The people who started the Super Bowl hype will forever live in shame.

30) Minnesota Vikings (28) -- Hurricane Randy arrived earlier than expected. So did Hurricane Shaun and Tropical Storm Trent.

31) Houston Texans (31) -- Lost by 18, but beat the spread.

32) Cincinnati Bengals (32) -- I feel really sorry for Akili Smith.

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