After a season-opening loss to the Ravens, there probably isn't a better team in the NFL than the New York Jets. Rex Ryan's bunch has beaten division rivals New England, Miami, and Buffalo on consecutive Sundays, and they played well in all three games.
With no one dominating the league at this point, everyone's sexy Super Bowl pick takes the top spot in our latest NFL Power Rankings, even ahead of the only team to beat them.
Don't sleep on Baltimore, though. The Ravens are closer to the top, and their ferocious defense is worth watching closely.
- 1. Jets (3-1) | Last Week: 7
That loss to the Ravens feels like it was a lot longer than three weeks ago and it is only moving further into the rearview with the return of Santonio Holmes, Calvin Pace and Darrelle Revis this week. Brett Favre didn't have a McNabbian influence on the Jets, but beating him in his return to Jersey would be cathartic all the same. --Josh Alper
- 2. Saints (3-1) | Last Week: 4
It wasn't impressive, but the Saints managed to hold off Carolina Sunday at the Superdome. Perhaps they were still in a bit of a funk from the Atlanta game, but the Saints are also battling some injuries that could make it hard for them to hold this spot.
- 3. Ravens (3-1) | Last Week: 11
The Ravens are going to play a lot of close games this year, because they just don't have an offense capable of averaging 30-35 points per game. Instead, they make big plays when they're needed most, like Joe Flacco's winning touchdown pass to T.J. Houshmandzadeh Sunday.
- 4. Steelers (3-1) | Last Week: 1
Pittsburgh couldn't keep Baltimore out of the end zone Sunday in the final minute, leading to their first loss of the season. Now, they get Ben Roethlisberger back, and if he's effective, there's no doubt he will make a dangerous team better.
- 5. Patriots (3-1) | Last Week: 6
Special teams keyed New England to a huge win over Miami Monday night, a win that allows the Patriots to stake their claim to a spot among the league's elite. The defense still flashes some holes, but it's hard to deal with an offense clicking like this one is.
- 6. Texans (3-1) | Last Week: 7
Houston held Arian Foster out for some time Sunday, and Foster still burned the Raiders defense. With the Colts, Titans, and even Jaguars looking like decent teams, this division is hardly a cakewalk, but Houston does indeed have the upper hand at the quarter pole.
- 7. Bears (3-1) | Last Week: 2
The Bears found a way to keep Jay Cutler off his back for large chunks of their first three games, but the offensive line fell apart against the Giants. Assuming Cutler is good to go this weekend, the Bears better get to work on finding ways to protect him better.
- 8. Colts (2-2) | Last Week: 4
Peyton Manning has been out of his mind so far this season. Somehow, the Colts are only 2-2. That's scary in a way, because their best player probably can't play much better than he has been. Instead, the rest of the team -- especially the leaky defense -- has to step up quickly, or the Colts will find themselves in unfamiliar territory.
- 9. Chiefs (3-0) | Last Week: 15
The Chiefs enjoyed their week off by watching the other undefeated teams fall, leaving them as the only remaining team with no losses after four weeks. They now have an incredibly tough test to keep that distinction, as the Chiefs travel to Indianapolis and Houston in the next two weeks. --R.J. White
- 10. Chargers (2-2) | Last Week: 12
The Chargers dominated the Cardinals from opening kickoff to the final whistle on Sunday. Norv Turner's offense is leading the league by posting over 450 offensive yards per game. The passing offense ranks third at 318.5 yards per game. Who needs Vincent Jackson, anyway? --RW
- 11. Packers (3-1) | Last Week: 8
Sunday marked one of the most underwhelming home wins in recent memory for the Packers. Fortunate as they are to have gotten so many breaks in that game, the Packers have to focus now on getting better, because the schedule is about to get really tough in a hurry.
- 12. Falcons (3-1) | Last Week: 9
Rallying from 14-0 down at home to win is always nice, even when it's a game as flawed as the Falcons' effort against winless San Francisco. Atlanta can be happy with the win, but like so many teams that won Sunday, it wasn't exactly a great performance.
- 13. Rams (2-2) | Last Week: 20
Unbelievable as it may sound, the Rams look to be the favorites to win the West. Coming off a 1-15 season, St. Louis has rattled off two consecutive wins and held opponents to under 17 points in each of their four games this season. Nice job, coach Spags! --RW
- 14. Redskins (2-2) | Last Week: 22
You'll never see a quarterback get more praise for completing 8-of-19 passes than Donovan McNabb got in the hours after the victory against the Eagles. We know, we know: It was about a lot more than simple statistics, but let's not mistake an emotional win for a particularly impressive one. --JA
- 15. Broncos (2-2) | Last Week: 21
Kyle Orton made history on Sunday by posting the second best yardage total through four games of a season. He can partially thank back-to-back games with at least 50 pass attempts. The offense can't get Knowshon Moreno back quickly enough, and the Broncos face a tough test next week against the Ravens. --RW
- 16. Vikings (1-2) | Last Week: 16
The Vikings took the week off, allowing them to try to get their offense more in sync. So far, Brett Favre looks old and his receivers look average. If that continues, this will become Adrian Peterson's team more than it already has.
- 17. Titans (2-2) | Last Week: 10
With a chance to go to 3-1, Tennessee turned in another uneven performance in a home loss to Denver. The Titans are 1-2 at home, and they just don't look like a Super Bowl contender. They do, however, have a solid defense and they can run the ball, two major ingredients if they are to be around in January.
- 18. Cowboys (1-2) | Last Week: 18
Not a bad bye week for the Cowboys. Everyone but Dez Bryant got a free meal in the lap of luxury and then the whole team benefited from another weekend that made it clear that parity is back in vogue in the NFL this season. That's terrific news for a team that lost their first two games and needed help to stay in the mix at the top of the NFC. --JA
- 19. Dolphins (2-2) | Last Week: 19
After a 2-0 start, the Dolphins have dropped back-to-back nationally-televised home divisional games. That's not going to help matters, especially when they now have to look up in the standings at the two teams that beat them (New England and the Jets).
- 20. Giants (2-2) | Last Week: 25
There's a lot of backslapping going on in the wake of the victory over the Bears, but let's not lose touch with reality here. The pass rush was outstanding and deserves praise, but the Bears don't really have an offensive line and the Giants otherwise looked exactly like the team that got blown out in the two previous weeks. Tom Coughlin didn't deserve all the skewering last week, he doesn't deserve the celebration just yet either. --JA
- 21. Buccaneers (2-1) | Last Week: 23
The week off gave Tampa Bay a chance to recover from that beatdown they got from Pittsburgh the previous Sunday. With Atlanta and New Orleans both looking like potential Super Bowl teams so far, the Buccaneers have an uphill battle in the NFC South, but they're off to a good start.
- 22. Jaguars (2-2) | Last Week: 30
Josh Scobee was the hero Sunday, with his game-winning 59-yard field goal. However, the Jaguars played well to get to that spot, with David Garrard having one of his better games and Maurice Jones-Drew running for over 100 yards. It might be too much to ask of them every week, but this was a great sign for Jacksonville.
- 23. Bengals (2-2) | Last Week: 13
Terrell Owens had a big game, but the Bengals still managed to lose to Cleveland, falling to 2-2. Cincinnati can't afford many more bad losses, as the Ravens and Steelers both look like Super Bowl contenders. The Bengals do have a win over Baltimore, but that won't get them to the playoffs.
- 24. Eagles (2-2) | Last Week: 14
Was the problem on Sunday that Kevin Kolb was running Michael Vick's offense or was the problem Kolb? It looked an awful lot like the dreadful first half against the Packers in Week 1 and he seemed content to check down when the team desperately needed him to throw downfield. There's always the possibility that Andy Reid is the problem, but we kinda knew that already. --JA
- 25. Browns (1-3) | Last Week: 27
The Browns can't stop many teams' passing attacks, as evidenced by Owens' huge day Sunday. What Cleveland has done so far is play hard for Eric Mangini and Mike Holmgren, despite not being overwhelmed with talent. It won't get them far in the AFC North, but they'll be rarely embarrassed.
- 26. Seahawks (2-2) | Last Week: 17
The Seahawks entered Week 4 with the opportunity to take the lead in a subpar NFC West, but fell to the Rams in St. Louis after scoring only three points. Recently signed slot-man Brandon Stokley led the team in receiving while the running game averaged only 2.7 yards per carry. Clearly, this offense needs work. --RW
- 27. Cardinals (2-2) | Last Week: 24
The Cardinals cut bait with Matt Leinart before the season in large part because they thought undrafted rookie Max Hall had more potential. After the Derek Anderson experiment predictably failed, Hall looks to be the starter moving forward. It can't get any worse, can it? --RW
- 28. Raiders (1-3) | Last Week: 26
The Raiders may have changed quarterback, but nothing is really changing in the standings. The team dropped their second straight game, losing to the Texans at home on Sunday. If you had Week 4 in the Darren McFadden injury pool, you hit the money when he suffered a hamstring injury. --RW
- 29. Lions (0-4) | Last Week: 28
Jim Schwartz watched his team badly outplay another opponent Sunday, only to see turnovers, penalties, and missed red zone opportunities sink them in a two-point loss to Green Bay. The Lions are getting close, but it's increasingly evident that "close" won't get them anywhere until at least 2011.
- 30. 49ers (0-4) | Last Week: 29
After an athletic play by Taylor Mays to turn a blocked punt from a safety into a touchdown, it looked like the 49ers were going to earn their first win against an Atlanta team that looks like it's headed for the playoffs. The team didn't score after the first quarter, and the preseason favorite to win the division is now 0-4. --RW
- 31. Panthers (0-4) | Last Week: 31
Some rather putrid play the first three weeks was followed up by a good effort against the defending champion Saints Sunday. That good effort still translated into a loss, but it might be the start for Carolina, who is stuck with a bad record in a good division.
- 32. Bills (0-4) | Last Week: 32
The Bills didn't have much of a chance against the Jets at full strength. With several defensive starters sidelined by injury, however, it's a wonder that they were able to keep the score respectable through the first half. And thanks to Ryan Fitzpatrick, they'll at least threaten other teams when they have the ball. --JA