NFL power rankings: Dolphins overtake Bills at No. 1; Packers, Jaguars jump up as 49ers, Chargers tumble for Week 4

2 months ago 48

There's a new No. 1 team in the NFL after only three weeks of games in the 2022 regular season and it's a rather big surprise. The new-look Dolphins have splashed all the way to the top with consecutive victories over the Ravens and Bills.

As predicted, the early results have unpredictable. Although some of the familiar powers still remain close to the top, there are plenty more shockers and disappointments as all 32 teams try to figure out who they are.

From the emerging contenders to the sliding pretenders, from the most accomplished clubs to the messiest organizations on the field, here's the latest look at the league from best to worst:

MORE: Jalen Hurts, Lamar Jackson emerge as MVP front-runners after Week 3

NFL power rankings Week 4

1. Miami Dolphins 3-0 (previous ranking: 8)

The Dolphins have an impressive opening resume with Mike McDaniel with a variety of victories — rout, big comeback and grinding battle of attrition. They are maximizing their offensive efficiency and their defensive aggressiveness to be shockingly worthy of the top spot after beating the previous "best team."

2. Buffalo Bills 2-1 (1)

The Bills dominated play volume and time of possession against the Dolphins but just made a few too many critical mistakes and couldn't finish. Josh Allen is still rolling and their defense, even when well shorthanded in the secondary, was impressive in the defeat in the Miami heat.

3. Philadelphia Eagles 3-0 (4)

The Eagles have blasted through what will be a favorable schedule all season long as they want to go beyond dethroning the Cowboys in the NFC East and contend for the conference championship. Jalen Hurts and his receivers deserve plenty of credit, but now so does the loaded playmaking defense.

4. Green Bay Packers 2-1 (10)

The Packers got a disastrous Week 1 out of their system with their defensive dominance and offensive resilience to support Aaron Rodgers. They are back to prove they are a complete team and are also firmly on the short list to take the NFC title.

Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2-1 (3)

The Buccaneers did their best to also manufacture victory with limited offensive reliability around Tom Brady but just didn't have enough in relation the Packers. They are still figuring out the level of their defensive identity under Todd Bowles.

6. Kansas City Chiefs 2-1 (2)

What was that? Patrick Mahomes and the offense went through some rare dysfunction when facing a zone defense in Indianapolis. Their latest adjustment should be streamlining their weapons a little more instead of being too determined to spread the ball around.

MORE: How Chiefs' special teams mistakes cost Kansas City in stunning loss

7. Los Angeles Rams 2-1 (5)

The Rams bended a little more defensively in Arizona but kept from breaking  thanks to Aaron Donald and the rest of their front seven covering up some secondary issues. Matthew Stafford is getting the key help he needs to work him out of a mini slump, too.

8. Baltimore Ravens 2-1 (11)

How about Lamar Jackson? Jackson has become an absolute passing and running force again to make up for any other issues they might be having. The defense is giving up big plays, but they are finally coming through on their opportunistic potential of making more big plays in response.

9. Denver Broncos 2-1 (12)

The Broncos' offensive issues in trying to get Russell Wilson and Nathaniel Hackett on the same page is one thing, but they proved they still have a strong backbone of a defense to get them through it. They're back on track for a playoff push right there with the Chiefs in the AFC West.

10. Minnesota Vikings 2-1 (9)

The Vikings have been a bit all over the place with their offensive identity with Kevin O'Connell with Kirk Cousins and Justin Jefferson cooling down after Week 1 and giving way more to the rushing attack. The 3-4 defense also will be a roller coaster. But they should take their start to the season as a positive with a pair of divisional wins now under their belts.

11. San Francisco 49ers 1-2 (6)

The 49ers' offense has made a bumpy pivot back to Jimmy Garoppolo. They need to find a way to be a more complementary high-floor force minus Trent Williams support to their disruptive defense.

11. New York Giants 2-0 (13)

The Giants join the Eagles as the NFC's last remaining undefeated teams going into the Monday night matchup with the Cowboys. It will determine if Daniel Jones and the offense can be trusted to also stay in the division race.

Cooper Rush

12. Dallas Cowboys 1-1 (15)

The Cowboys shocked everyone with their strong defensive effort to make up for no Dak Prescott against the Bengals. They can keep that up with Micah Parsons and friends keeping them afloat behind the Eagles.

13. Cincinnati Bengals 1-2 (16)

The Bengals looked a lot more like the Bengals from 2021 with Joe Burrow not taking sacks and getting the downfield passing game going. Their defense also responded like the solid complementary playmaking unit it can be. The next part is getting the rushing attack rolling again.

MORE: How Doug Pederson has the AFC South-leading Jaguars firing on all cylinders

14. Jacksonville Jaguars 2-1 (25)

The Jaguars have done a complete 180 with the organized and offensive-savvy Doug Pederson flipping the script from the Urban Meyer mess. Trevor Lawrence looks the part of an elite passer to be and all the youth-related changes on defense are paying early dividends.

15. Cleveland Browns 2-1 (19)

The Browns should be 3-0 if not for a bad final two minutes in Week 2. Without Deshaun Watson, their offense has found a way to thrive more than enough with Nick Chubb, Jacoby Brissett and Amari Cooper. Myles Garrett and the defense could get a little more revved up, though.

Brandon Staley (left) and Justin Herbert (right)

16. Los Angeles Chargers 1-2 (7)

What was that? Justin Herbert plus bad ribs plus no Keenan Allen plus no real running game isn't the best formula, especially when a side of an injured Joey Bosa is added to bring down the run defense. The pressure is already on Brandon Staley for a team with massive expectations.

18. Indianapolis Colts 1-1-1 (27)

The Colts pulled a classic game under Frank Reich: Digging deep for a big win against the Chiefs at home when their backs were against the wall after two lousy road performances. They should have more confidence they can beat anybody again with a clean game plan even without a dominant Jonathan Taylor.

19. Chicago Bears 2-1 (23)

The Bears don't get any style points for Justin Fields dragging down the limited passing offense but Roquan Smith and the defense are doing their job to play off a reliable strong running game, even more so without David Montgomery.

20. Tennessee Titans 1-2 (22)

The Titans were overdue for a grinding home victory with the right offensive combination of Derrick Henry and Ryan Tannehill. They also made the right defensive plays to rattle and confuse Derek Carr. Like the Colts, they're right back in the AFC South race.

21. Pittsburgh Steelers 1-2 (14)

The Steelers don't have enough offensive juice with Mitchell Trubisky to compensate for their considerable defensive deficiencies without T.J. Watt. Matt Canada and Mike Tomlin will need to be creative and maybe make a big change to rookie Kenny Pickett.

22. Arizona Cardinals 1-2 (17)

The Cardinals are playing scrappier defense behind J.J. Watt but they still are inconsistent in stopping the run and being effective in coverage. Their real concern is the fact Kyler Murray is insistent on being pass first and not just making all the plays needed to win games, despite the big new contract.

MORE: Breaking down Patriots' QB depth chart without Mac Jones

23. New England Patriots 1-2 (18)

Credit Mac Jones and the offense for seeing the rushing attack rise again with a revolving door receiving corps. Unfortunately, just when then happened, big turnovers and Jones' ankle injury happened. Bill Belichick also isn't used to a defense with this many glaring holes.

24. New Orleans Saints 1-2 (20)

The Saints marched into the Panthers with more sloppy but also sometimes exciting offense around injured Jameis Winston, leaving questions on whether they need a QB change. They also are still figuring out their post Sean Payton identity with defensive-minded Dennis Allen.

25. Detroit Lions 1-2 (21)

The Lions will be involved in plenty more exciting close games because of an explosive offense but their defense always be a major liability behind Aidan Hutchinson. There's difference between being competitive and actually consistently winning.

26. Washington Commanders 1-2 (24)

The Commanders also aren't making a rash QB move from Carson Wentz despite the passing game having a rocky outing vs. the Eagles. The real issue is a defense that cannot stop anything putting a ton of pressure on him.

27. Las Vegas Raiders 0-3 (26)

The Raiders' offense is complicated, sure, but it's on them to not have the desired results with Derek Carr early under Josh McDaniels. They cannot afford to be so lost and figure things out only early or late in games when Maxx Crosby doesn't have much help defensively.

28. New York Jets 1-2 (28)

Joe Flacco gave them some respectable downfield passing to energize the new-look offense but it's time to see what Zach Wilson can do with higher upside. The defense has flashed a little in its still-developing stage for Robert Saleh.

Cordarrelle-Patterson-Getty-FTR-120121

29. Atlanta Falcons 1-2 (31)

Marcus Mariota has facilitated the Falcons offense with some fighting spirit to lift Cordarrelle Patterson, Drake London and Kyle Pitts. The defense has done well to overachieve as overall they are kind of like the Lions of the NFC South.

30. Carolina Panthers 1-2 (32)

The Panthers' offense with Baker Mayfield still leaves plenty to be desired but their defense and special teams was able to deliver a victory. Matt Rhule's relief is likely temporary some very tough games ahead.

31. Seattle Seahawks 1-2 (29)

The Seahawks are getting more than expected offensively around Geno Smith but their defense is as poor as advertised on every level against pass and run after the initial emotional performance in Week 1. 

32. Houston Texans 0-2-1 (30)

The Texans have found a rushing gem in Dameon Pierce and some young players on defense are performing well for Lovie Smith, too, but they have seemed to hit a QB wall with Davis Mills.

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