The regular refs are back! Hooray!
Now that order has been restored with the officiating, has it returned to the NFL power rankings heading into the fifth week of the season? Not necessarily. The teams at the top are mostly the same as last week's rankings, but there was still plenty of shuffling as we hit the quarter mark in the NFL season.
You know the drill by now: we'll list the teams in order of ranking followed by their current record and how far they moved up or down compared to last week.
- Texans (4-0, NC): You can't knock them from the top spot when they keep destroying lesser competition. They're +70 in points already.
- Falcons (4-0, NC): Gutty win against a hungry divisional foe. However, they should probably send a thank you card to Carolina safety Haruki Nakamura. The poor guy was torched on nearly every big play Atlanta had.
- Ravens (3-1, NC): Should they be penalized for beating Cleveland by a mere touchdown at home? Nahhh.
- 49ers (3-1, +1): What an absolute dismantling of New York on Sunday. When this team is allowed to play their way on both sides of the ball, they're nearly impossible to beat.
- Cardinals (4-0, +1): The Cards are a lot like duct tape: it might not look pretty when the project is done, but it usually works.
- Patriots (2-2, +1): Oh hi, scary good Pats offense! We missed you the first three weeks of the season.
- Packers (2-2, +1): The offense finally looked better, but New Orleans tends to do that for teams. Still some work to do if they hope to regain last year's form.
- Bears (3-1, +3): It's just like the signs at the national parks say: don't feed the bears. Tony Romo did just that on Monday night, and Chicago's incredibly opportune defense made him pay.
- Eagles (3-1, NC): Three wins by a total of four points. They are a few inches, a bad call, and a dropped interception away from 0-4. But as Bill Parcells would say, you are what your record says you are.
- Chargers (3-1, NC): The jury's still out on San Diego. They're 3-0 against crappy teams and 0-1 against good ones.
- Giants (2-2, -7): It's almost like they're trying to sneak in with a Wild Card big instead of winning games that they should early in the season.
- Bengals (3-1, +2): See the description for the Chargers. They're winning the games they should win, but it's too early to tell whether or not Cincinnati is a contender.
- Broncos (2-2, +3): Peyton Manning pulled the Greg Maddux routine on Sunday--not a ton of velocity but he hit the corners with perfection. We'll know more about Denver after their big showdown with New England this week.
- Vikings (3-1, +3): They barely moved the ball against the lowly Detroit defense, which is a sign of a team with things to work on. They still won with special teams and defense, which is a sign of a team that's finding a way to win.
- Steelers (1-2, +1): How do you move up a spot on a bye week? When some of the teams ahead of you lay giant stink bombs.
- Seahawks (2-2, -3): Seattle seems to be doing their best Tebow impression with Russell Wilson. No, that's not a compliment.
- Cowboys (2-2, -5): Dropping them one place for each Romo interception on Monday seemed appropriate.
- Redskins (2-2, +3): Impressive comeback victory that shouldn't have been a comeback victory in Tampa. Meatloaf said that two out of three ain't bad, but one out of four is, Billy Cundiff.
- Bills (2-2, -1): Sunday was a classic display of the dichotomy that is Ryan Fitzpatrick: four touchdowns, four interceptions. They're allowing 50 points per game to divisional opponents. Not good.
- Rams (2-2, +4): And here we all thought Blair Walsh was a shoo-in for special teams rookie of the year. Enter Greg Zuerlein and his 60-yard bombs, which is apparently all the offense needed to keep St. Louis competitive.
- Jets (2-2, -2): The 49ers can make any offense look bad, but the Jets don't need much help. With Santonio Holmes out for the foreseeable future, who's going to move the ball?
- Lions (1-3, -2): Looking more and more like your father's Lions with each lackluster performance.
- Panthers (1-3, -1): That finish in Atlanta is going to haunt them. Even after Cam Newton's fumble, why not go for it on 4th down with one of the best rushing weapons in the league?
- Buccaneers (1-3, -1): Lost another close game, a sign of a team that isn't quite ready for prime time.
- Dolphins (1-3, +4): They're two botched overtimes away from a 3-1 record. I guess you could call that--wait for it--hard knocks.
- Titans (1-3, NC): They played like a team that knew what they were last week: a team that isn't nearly good enough to compete with top competition. Can they rebound on the road against the surprising Vikings next week with backup QB Matt Hasselbeck?
- Chiefs (1-3, -2): The problems start with Matt Cassel, but they certainly don't end there. Just a pitiful showing in front of their home crowd.
- Raiders (1-3, -1): How does a team with a healthy Darren McFadden rank dead last in rushing? Oh yeah, because they're always behind.
- Saints (0-4, -1): They almost stole one from Green Bay, but this isn't horseshoes or hand grenades. Almost doesn't work.
- Jaguars (1-3, NC): As if watching the Jaguars isn't bad enough on a sparse Jacksonville crowd, it has to pour for most of the game? That just isn't fair.
- Colts (1-2, NC): It wasn't about football for Indianapolis this week on any front. Get well soon, Chuck Pagano.
- Browns (0-4, NC): The only sports city that makes the Twin Cities look like Titletown brings up the caboose for another week. Next up: at the Giants. Same time, same place next week? Sounds good.