Five of the 12 teams that reached the 2013 Playoffs heading into Week 4, in no particular order - Colts, Saints, Packers, Chiefs, 49ers - were on the brink of falling into a 1-3 pit. Yikes. Green Bay, Indianapolis and Kansas City decisively took care of business and the 49ers' goal-line stand against the Eagles' dangerous offense eeked out a meaningful victory.
On Sunday night a new-look Dallas Cowboys team disassembled the high-octane Saints.
When diagnosing NFL teams, sometimes I struggle. I, ahem, apologize in advance, hooligan20112. In Week 4's Rankings, I focused on one factor: team chemistry.
Dive with me:
1. BENGALS (3-0) EVEN
2. CHARGERS (3-1) EVEN
Their running backs (Branden Oliver and Donald Brown), averaged a combined 2.2 yards-per-carry against the stinkin' Jags. This is quarterback-friendly weather, no argument there, yet if they choose to not repair the backfield A.S.A.P., the Chargers could grow cold and potentially lose their last five games.
3. BRONCOS (2-1) EVEN
4. RAVENS (3-1) +2
Adversity builds character; character builds chemistry, or strong relationships. With all the nasty gunk that oozed (is still oozing) out of Baltimore, the team has used the gooey substance as a gel to hold them together. #RealTeamChemistry
Antonio Brown doesn't drop that perfect pass from Roethlisberger and the Bucs don't pull a rabbit out of the hat in the fourth quarter. Neither of them panned out.
10. COWBOYS (3-1) +11
After the Eagles disappointing performance in San Fran, the Cowboys are the team to beat in the NFC East. #challengeflag
11. 49ERS (2-2) +8
That cross-the-body, baseball lob to Frank Gore was a rehearsed, designed play. With a quarterback as athletic as Kaepernick is, the 49ers' offense will practice those -- disguised-to-look-like broken plays -- in the near future. Kudos to their defense for defending the goal-line on fourth down.
12. PACKERS (2-2) +6
First half: 21 Packers, 17 Bears. Second half: 17 Packers, Bears 0. Talk about making the correct halftime adjustments.
13. EAGLES (3-1) -9
The Eagles offense, thunderstruck. I see solid teams dissecting their style of play as we move forward.
14. BEARS (2-2) EVEN
When tested by elite receivers, the Bears' defense is clueless. Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson finished with a total of 17 receptions, 221 yards and four touchdowns.
15. FALCONS (2-2) -5
The Vikings speared the Falcons and cooked them for dinner on Sunday. Enough with these wishy-washy teams!?
16. PATRIOTS (2-2) -5
No quarterbacks need to be evaluated, scoff. Vince Wilforkworded it best: "they [Chiefs] beat us like we stole something."
17. SAINTS (1-3) -4
The Saints are licking their wounds. Their offense is letting the team down: allowed two sacks on Brees, Travaris Cadet and Jimmy Graham fumbled the ball and No. 9's pass intended for Robert Meachem was tipped-and-picked by Justin Durant. #SaintsSteamrollOFF
18. CHIEFS (2-2)* +7
Andy Reid got his Super Bowl-revenge with his new team against Bill Belichick Monday night. Game manager Alex Smith was efficient; Travis Kelce, along with Kniles Davis, need to stay healthy for this team to be considered competitive.
19. BROWNS (1-2) -4
Bye. Come to realize, the Browns have a long way to go before they beat the aforementioned teams.
20. GIANTS (2-2) +2
Beating Washington proved that the Redskins could use a lot more help. I can't picture the G-men beating the Browns, Chiefs, Bears, Falcons, Patriots or Saints just yet.
21. JETS (1-3) -5
How hot is Rex Ryan's seat right now?
22. PANTHERS (2-2) -5
Can't blame a team thin at the running back position. Their defense gave up 37 points in consecutive weeks (Steelers, Ravens). Why'd they let go of Steve Smith?
23. BILLS (2-2) -3
Their descension is painful to watch. Don't believe it's a quarterback issue, but Kyle Ortonwill start vs. Detroit.
24. REDSKINS (1-3) -1
I'm granting them one more shot to prove they belong in the top 50 percentile of this list.
25. VIKINGS (2-2) +3
Calm down, I don't want to commit the same mistake of yo-yo-ing with this one (one week up, next week down).
26. TEXANS (3-1) +1
The lowest-ranked 3-1 team, I'm sorry, Texans fans. Mark your calendars for backyard football in Dallas next Sunday. #mustwatch