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Week 4 Power Rankings

Brady and Manning square off for the 13th time this weekend.

Just like last week, my #1 and #32 teams remain in the same slots. The Houston Texans continue to dominate, while the Browns are still looking for their first win. Suddenly it all makes sense, until next week.

As a reminder, after the team name column, I have listed each team’s record in the second column and the number of wins I’m projecting each team to finish the season with in column 3. The fourth column – PWIN – shows how many wins I projected for that team last week, and the difference column represents how many wins I added or subtracted this week. The “RSOS” column stands for the remaining SOS for the team, based on the number of projected wins I’m giving to each of their opponents. The “RHG” column stands for remaining home games. Lastly, my witty and insightful comments remain in the final column.

The Denver-New England game is easily the most anticipated matchup of the weekend, but it is also one of the most important. Both teams are in weak divisions, which means their main goal should really be beating out the other team and the AFC North winner for the conference’s second bye. In that vein, the loser of this matchup is going to have an uphill road to get a bye. And obviously in the event that these teams meet in the playoffs, Sunday’s game could determine home field.

Houston Texans4-0131210.4696Not a stretch to think the Texans win 75% of their remaining games. With the possible exception of a December game in Foxboro, the Texans could be favored to win every game this year.
Atlanta Falcons4-0121110.4486Atlanta looks very good and should be able to run their record to 6-0 with games against the Redskins and Raiders before the bye. Still, what could have easily been a home loss to the Panthers doesn't make me feel warm and fuzzy about them.
San Francisco 49ers3-1111100.5007Very impressive win against the Jets, and the 49ers left points on the table. The loss to Minnesota doesn't look so bad anymore; a win against the Bills bumps SF back to 12 wins.
New England Patriots2-2111100.4747The Patriots went scorched-earth on the Bills in the second half last week, but New England does appear more vulnerable than they have in recent years. Monster matchup this weekend against the Broncos.
Baltimore Ravens3-1111100.5165It's getting harder and harder to make fun of Joe Flacco's play. Can he at least grow that fu manchu again?
Pittsburgh Steelers1-2101000.4867Following a much-needed week off, Pittsburgh faces the Eagles in the battle of Pennsylvania.
Green Bay Packers2-2101000.4695Green Bay starts a three-game road trip this week, and simply must take care of business against the weaker teams on their schedule.
Philadelphia Eagles3-110910.4906The Eagles have looked far from impressive, but I have a hard time thinking they won't turn it around. Going 7-5 down the stretch is not a tall order.
Denver Broncos2-210910.4695A huge game coming up with the Patriots that could end up deciding a first-round bye. Peyton Manning looked great against the Raiders, and the schedule is cushy enough that the Broncos should win the AFC West without breaking a sweat.
Chicago Bears3-110910.5006There are still a zillion questions about this offense, but three banked wins is helpful. Chicago is good enough to go 7-5 against an average schedule the rest of the way.
New York Giants2-29900.5426Starting 0-2 in the division puts New York behind the 8-ball. They've been great at late runs, but New York may not be able to make the playoffs if they start 6-6 this year.
Arizona Cardinals4-09900.5315Roughly 20% of 4-0 teams end up with 9 or fewer wins, and Arizona certainly feels like they fit in the bottom percentile of 4-0 teams. Arizona's defense is allowing more NY/A and more YPC than the Cardinals' offense is gaining. The schedule is not going to do them any favors, either.
San Diego Chargers3-19810.4796An unimpressive 3-1 team with a struggling offensive line. I really wanted to keep them at 8 wins, but their schedule is too easy and Philip Rivers -- even in a down year -- is good enough to lead them to a .500 record the rest of the way.
Cincinnati Bengals3-19810.5107The clear favorite, in my opinion, for the AFC's 6 seed. Going 3-1 with three road games out of the way will set Cincinnati up well the rest of the way.
Dallas Cowboys2-289-10.5266Dallas remains one of the more inconsistent teams in the league. I think they're better than average, but factor in a difficult schedule and the possible meltdown, and .500 seems like the right projection for me.
Seattle Seahawks2-289-10.5166A really ugly performance against the Rams raises some questions about this team. At home, Seattle is going to be very tough, but they're not going to be a playoff contender until they can pass the ball effectively on the road.
Minnesota Vikings3-18710.5166A win against the Titans this week will prove that the Vikings are for real. The good teams take care of business at home against the weak teams.
Buffalo Bills2-278-10.4796Many people, myself included, were touting the Bills defense this year. What an utter disappointment. Buffalo is in the bottom six in points allowed, yards allowed and first downs allowed. The AFC's easiest remaining schedule is the only reason I don't drop them further.
New York Jets2-278-10.4956I had the Jets at 8 wins last week expecting losses to San Francisco and Houston, but things are spiraling downward so quickly in New York that I can't help but drop the Jets to 7 wins. Monday night could be an embarrassment.
New Orleans Saints0-47700.5476New Orleans has a horrible defense, but at some point the offense will just start winning these shoot-outs. The fact that they're favored this weekend by 3.5 points is a sign that Vegas still believes in the Saints.
Carolina Panthers1-37700.5056Ron Rivera should be ashamed of his timid decision making, but the players should be proud of their effort in Atlanta. More games like that and the Panthers will challenge for a wildcard this year.
Detroit Lions1-367-10.5736At first blush, six wins might seem low for Detroit. But the Lions have struggled every week this year and the schedule is ridiculous the rest of the way.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers1-367-10.5166The Bucs look like a team that's going to lose a lot of close games this year. This comment would have looked much more prescient three weeks ago.
Kansas City Chiefs1-367-10.4746The Tire Fire of the Year award is the only thing Kansas City is winning this year.
Washington Redskins2-26600.5527The Redskins are still a year away from being a playoff contender, but that doesn't mean they won't change the balance of power in the division by knocking off one of the other teams. I thought about bumping them a win, but if they end up losing to Atlanta, I'd probably have just ended up dropping them back down to 6 wins.
St. Louis Rams2-26510.5366I dropped the Rams from 6 to 5 wins after the Bears crushed them two weeks ago, but I don't think I'll drop them below 6 wins again this year.
Miami Dolphins1-36600.4796I like the Dolphins; they've been much more competitive than their record has been. I don't think they're going to be an easy out for many teams, but unfortunately, they seem unable to put away just about anybody.
Tennessee Titans1-356-10.4746I'm not sure if Mike Munchak will get on a hot seat, but the Titans have the worst points-differential in the league.
Oakland Raiders1-356-10.4796After that pathetic performance against the Broncos, Oakland has to drop at least one win.
Jacksonville Jaguars1-35500.4696I'm really glad I didn't bump the Jags up two weeks ago after beating Indianapolis. Blaine Gabbert somehow failed to torch a completely-decimated Bengals secondary, another bad sign for his future.
Indianapolis Colts1-25500.4716Andrew Luck-Aaron Rodgers I won't steal the spotlight from Tom Brady-Peyton Manning XIII; by the time these two teams play again in four years, we may be looking at the best two quarterbacks in the league.
Cleveland Browns0-44400.5106Tempted to bump Cleveland a win after a great effort on the road, but as I discussed on twitter during the game, Pat Shurmur's uber conservative philosophy will cost this team games.

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