Each Tuesday during the regular season, FanHouse will roll out its NFL Power Rankings. Our Week 4 rankings are below. For previous editions, click here.
Just because you're undefeated doesn't mean you should take a top spot in the Power Rankings.
That said, when you're undefeated while your starting quarterback is sidelined, and you've played some pretty good competition, you probably deserve serious consideration.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are surviving without Ben Roethlisberger, to the point where you know some genius out there is going to trump up the idea of a quarterback controversy, especially if the team loses one or two games shortly after Roethlisberger returns to the lineup.
With a dominating win Sunday over previous unbeaten Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh takes over the top spot in this week's Power Rankings. It's not unreasonable to suggest that they could be there for a while.
- 1. Steelers (3-0) | Last Week: 5
The Steelers continue to thrive without Roethlisberger, and it's reasonable to suggest that their performance this year vs. what they did last year is a sign that safety Troy Polamalu is the league's most valuable defensive player. Now that he's healthy, look at what they're doing.
- 2. Bears (3-0) | Last Week: 9
It's hard to argue the Bears were dominant or even impressive in beating a mistake-prone Green Bay team Monday. But they got the job done, and they lead a division no one gave them a chance in. That has to count for something.
- 3. Colts (2-1) | Last Week: 4
With Sunday's victory at Denver, the Colts have moved even further away from what happened in Week 1 at Houston. That almost looks like it was a different football team. The Colts are the Colts, and it's full speed ahead to the playoffs at this point.
- 4. Saints (2-1) | Last Week: 1
The Saints deserved to lose Sunday, as a shaky defense and shakier kicking game finally did them in. Garrett Hartley might not get replaced right away, but he has to understand his leash is not going to get longer anytime soon ... no matter how many big kicks he makes.
- 5. Jets (2-1) | Last Week: 7
They may not have looked good after Week 1, but the Jets are now showing why many experts pegged them as legit title contenders this season. Mark Sanchez is evolving before our eyes, utilizing his tight end like all young quarterbacks should. Next week's Buffalo game should be cake. --R.J. White
- 6. Patriots (2-1) | Last Week: 8
The Patriots had a little bit of difficulty getting by Buffalo, and a leaky pass defense looks like it may doom the team this year. Never count Tom Brady or the revolving-door running game out, but a defense that allows 30 points to the Bills former backup QB isn't one I'm investing in. --RW
- 7. Texans (2-1) | Last Week: 2
Certainly, Texans fans were let down Sunday. After an impressive 2-0 start, Houston was virtually shut down by in-state rival Dallas, a team they only play once every four years, and one fans only see in Houston once every eight. The AFC South is still up for grabs, and Houston does have a leg up thanks to their win over Indy.
- 8. Packers (2-1) | Last Week: 3
What happened Monday may have been eye-opening for a lot of observers, but it was the same old song and dance for Packer fans. The team has been penalty-prone for many years now, and it doesn't seem like anything is being done about it. Here's Mike McCarthy's latest chance to fix a long-standing issue with his team.
- 9. Falcons (2-1) | Last Week: 15
Atlanta has rallied nicely after losing their opener. The Falcons have two straight wins, including their overtime escape at defending champion New Orleans Sunday. San Francisco might look like a layup this week, but don't expect a Mike Smith-coached team to take them or anyone lightly.
- 10. Titans (2-1) | Last Week: 14
Vince Young reacted well to a benching the week before, playing well in a Titans win over the Giants. At 2-1, Tennessee is right in the middle of what should be an interesting AFC South race. Their defense might give them an edge in the end.
- 11. Ravens (2-1) | Last Week: 11
While Peyton Hillis had a big day, the Ravens made enough stops to win, and Anquan Boldin had the monster game the team envisioned when they got him from Arizona. The offense still isn't a juggernaut, but Boldin makes them better.
- 12. Chargers (1-2) | Last Week: 6
Two kickoff return touchdowns led to San Diego's demise in Seattle, a game they probably shouldn't have lost. This is what the Chargers do, though. Start slow. Finish fast. Flame out in the playoffs. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
- 13. Bengals (2-1) | Last Week: 10
The Bengals really haven't impressed yet. They look shaky on offense, somewhat tough on defense, and they're finding ways to win games despite not playing really well. The offense probably needs to play better at some point, but it's working for now.
- 14. Eagles (2-1) | Last Week: 16
The Michael Vick Experience is officially back in order. The fact that it is now teamed with the DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin Experiences might mean that the second coming is even more exciting than the first time on the merry-go-round. --Josh Alper
- 15. Chiefs (3-0) | Last Week: 17
Their 3-0 start sure is a great story. If Matt Cassel can pick it up and play better, the Chiefs will become a truly dangerous team. For now, it looks like they have a tough defense and a very average offense that has some big-play ability. Given the struggles around them in the AFC West, that might be good enough.
- 16. Vikings (1-2) | Last Week: 19
Adrian Peterson is a beast, and the Vikings need to continue riding him. It's clear Brett Favre is missing something and won't be nearly as dynamic as he was a year ago. When he showed up in 2009, he said this was Peterson's team. Now it may have to be.
- 17. Seahawks (2-1) | Last Week: 23
How about those Seahawks? The addition of Leon Washington has sparked the special teams, which can be thanked in full for Seattle's upset win over San Diego in Week 3. The offense isn't quite humming on all cylinders, but Seattle looks like they'll compete for a division title this season. --RW
- 18. Cowboys (1-2) | Last Week: 22
Rumor has it that the guy wearing No. 11, catching touchdowns and flashing the Hook 'Em Horns was once considered a decent wide receiver. We'll see if Roy Williams is actually going to build off this or if it was a one week tease. --JA
- 19. Dolphins (2-1) | Last Week: 12
Games like the one Sunday night against the Jets inevitably decide division races, and while Chad Henne and the passing game looked good for the first time this season, it's telling that they weren't able to beat the Jets without New York's best defensive player. Monday's home game against New England feels like a must-win. --RW
- 20. Rams (1-2) | Last Week: 30
Did you see that win coming? Cause I sure did. Sam Bradford looks well on his way to becoming a franchise quarterback, and the defense played very well in the red zone, holding Washington to three field goals of under 30 yards. This team looks a year or two away from winning the division. --RW
- 21. Broncos (1-2) | Last Week: 20
The Broncos simply were outclassed by Indianapolis at home Sunday. That's not a huge surprise. They are running out of time, though, because with rival Kansas City at 3-0, Denver has to get it together fast if they want to have a chance in the AFC West.
- 22. Redskins (1-2) | Last Week: 13
It's going to be a big week for Donovan McNabb. His return to Philly on Sunday is going to be fascinating to watch, especially since Vick is now at the helm of his former team. Making the stakes even higher is the fact that a loss will put the 'Skins in a tough position three weeks into the season. --JA
- 23. Buccaneers (2-1) | Last Week: 18
While Sunday's loss wasn't all that surprising, the margin may have been. Tampa Bay was a soft 2-0, and now we'll see how they respond to a pretty severe whipping at the hands of the Steelers.
- 24. Cardinals (2-1) | Last Week: 24
Is there a less inspiring 2-1 team than the Cardinals? They were an easy Sebastian Janikowski kick away from being 1-2 and didn't look all that impressive in beating the Rams in Week 1. Beanie Wells' return helps, but this Arizona team isn't quite a contender. --RW
- 25. Giants (1-2) | Last Week: 21
The Giants are 4-10 in their last 14 regular-season games, so it is probably time to stop acting surprised that they routinely make a mess of things on Sundays. Tom Coughlin has saved his job before but another magic act might be beyond his talents with this bunch of undisciplined layabouts. --JA
- 26. Raiders (1-2) | Last Week: 24
With the game gift-wrapped by silly Arizona penalties, the Raiders couldn't capitalize. Sebastian Janikowski missed three field goals and the Raiders absorbed a gut-wrenching loss to fall to 1-2.
- 27. Browns (0-3) | Last Week: 29
Despite a great effort, the Browns fell to Baltimore Sunday. On the bright side, they may have found their running back in Hillis, who is big and tough and has just enough speed to make things work. Now, about that quarterback position ...
- 28. Lions (0-3) | Last Week: 25
After showing themselves as a competitive team compared to past Detroit outfits, the Lions looked more like the Lions of old in Sunday's loss to Minnesota. They struggled to sustain any offense, and their run defense was torched by Peterson, even though the Lions were stacking the box to defend the run.
- 29. 49ers (0-3) | Last Week: 27
What is wrong in San Francisco? The easy answer is the whole offense, which is why coordinator Jimmy Raye was let go after an embarrassing loss to the Chiefs. But the right answer is everything. This was supposed to be the 49ers' year in a weak NFC West, but they're running out of time to turn it around. --RW
- 30. Jaguars (1-2) | Last Week: 28
The Jaguars looked helpless in trying to defend Vick Sunday, and their offense wasn't much better. It's clear David Garrard isn't the answer at quarterback, as the Jaguars need someone who can do more than be a caretaker of the offense. They're not good enough for that kind of quarterback.
- 31. Bills (0-3) | Last Week: 32
They weren't great, but they were better in Week 3. Baby steps, people. Ryan Fitzpatrick is nowhere near being a franchise QB, but he's several notches better than the recently released Trent Edwards. Buffalo should turn to Brian Brohm before long to see whether they need to invest heavily in a QB this offseason. --RW
- 32. Panthers (0-3) | Last Week: 31
The Panthers look sad at this point, unable to do much on offense. The defense has competed for the most part, but they can't help out much more than they are. Jimmy Clausen is the future for this team, so they might as well just let him play and hope he can turn himself into something.