The first four games of the 2022 NFL season are in the books, and the identities of some teams are starting to take shape.
The Philadelphia Eagles remain as the NFL's unbeaten team. The wild-card team from a season ago is the best team in the league with a 4-0 record. Who would have thought the '72 Dolphins would have to keep an eye on the Eagles?
The New England Patriots aren't exactly inspiring fear in opponents as in years past. Similarly their former quarterback, now with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, isn't haven't too hot of a start.
Here are the NFL power rankings at the end of Week 4.
32. Houston Texans (0-3-1)
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: 31
There is no way to sugarcoat it anymore. The Texans can't seem to get a full win and fall apart in the fourth quarter. The Davis Mills experiment is starting to look like a failure, and coach Lovie Smith's patented Tampa 2 defense is having trouble stopping the run. Unless thing turn around quick, Houston may be the new No. 32 in the NFL.
31. Carolina Panthers (1-3)
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: No. 28
It is going about as well as one could expect for a team that had a QB battle between Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold. The Panthers are good enough to kick around some of the bad teams in the NFL, but really can't even crack into the middle tier. The good news is they are trending towards a high 2023 draft pick, which will be a boon for Matt Rhule's successor.
30. New Orleans Saints (1-3)
(Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)
Last week: No. 26
It is one thing for Wil Lutz to miss a 61-yard field goal. It is another that the Saints had to settle on such long odds to send a game into overtime. New Orleans is going through more of a rebuilding year than a retooling year with Dennis Allen, and the facts are starting to manifest themselves in the win column.
29. Washington Commanders (1-3)
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: No. 25
Washington looks as bad as it did in the Taylor Heinicke era. Part of the problem is the defensive line isn't as dominant as it used to be, and won't be until Chase Young returns. Carson Wentz doesn't appear to be the boost Washington hoped for under center.
28. Seattle Seahawks (2-2)
David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: No. 32
Who would have thought the Seahawks would have the same record as the Super Bowl champions through the first four weeks? Seattle is finding ways to win ballgames, even if means winning offensive showdowns with Geno Smith - just the way prognosticators saw the Seahawks winning games in 2022.
27. Atlanta Falcons (1-3)
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Last week: No. 30
Another team that was supposed to be perpetually at the bottom all year, the Falcons are finding ways to win under Arthur Smith. The quarterback situation with Marcus Mariota is still worth watching, but Atlanta doesn't seem to be held back too much by the former Titans and Raiders signal caller. Week 5 at Tampa Bay may bring Atlanta back down to Earth.
26. Detroit Lions (1-3)
David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: No. 24
The Lions have the ignominious distinction of losing an offensive showdown with Geno Smith. The positive from the first four weeks is that Detroit's offense is more prolific than initially imagined. The downside is the Lions still struggle to close out games, which is why they keep tumbling in the power rankings.
25. Las Vegas Raiders (1-3)
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Last week: No. 29
The Raiders finally got a win, and it couldn't have come at a better time as they took some momentum out of the Denver Broncos' sails. Josh Jacobs was dominant on the ground with 28 carries for 144 yards and two touchdowns, and Maxx Crosby was intimidating with 2.0 sacks. It was the all-around win needed to get Las Vegas off the schneid.
24. Chicago Bears (2-2)
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Last week: No. 23
Chicago had an opportunity to show the world that Week 3 wasn't a battle of two bad teams, but the offense continued to sputter against the New York Giants. Khalil Herbert didn't haven't the monster game on the ground as he did a week ago, and Justin Fields remained tepid in the passing game. The defense isn't too bad, but the offense isn't close to being able to do more than burden the defense.
23. Cleveland Browns (2-2)
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: No. 16
Life comes at you fast in the NFL. A week ago the Browns had won the Amari Cooper trade and were setting themselves up for a great situation for when Deshaun Watson returned. Now, Cleveland is starting to look like Cleveland again after losing to the bottom-tier Atlanta Falcons.
22. Denver Broncos (2-2)
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: No. 22
There really isn't anybody too worse than the Broncos presently, and the upper twenties seems to be about right for a team that finds ways to win despite subpar offensive production. The loss to the Raiders can be chalked up to typical unpredictability that occurs in division matchups. However, the Broncos have to start exploding on offense to validate the Russell Wilson trade and the Paul Hackett hire.
21. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-3)
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Last week: No. 19
The Steelers are taking a couple steps backwards in the the hopes to take a few more forward. Rookie Kenny Pickett chucked three interceptions against the Jets, but made up for it on the ground with his two rushing touchdowns. The pass rush is still sorely missing T.J. Watt.
20. New York Jets (2-2)
(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
Last week: No. 27
Part of the rationale for why the Jets were horrible was they didn't have their true starting quarterback and the fortunes would change once Zach Wilson got back into the lineup. The former 2021 first-round pick returns, and lo and behold, the Jets add a win. With the New England Patriots tumbling and the Miami Dolphins working through quarterback issues, could the Jets surge and become a legitimate challenger to the Buffalo Bills in the AFC East?
19. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-2)
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Last week: No. 20
The Jaguars are playing with some of the tougher teams in the NFL and either hanging around or finding ways to win games. Doug Pederson may have turned around the Jaguars in a hurry. Week 5's tilt with the Texans will be an interesting test as Jacksonville hasn't beaten Houston since 2017.
18. New England Patriots (1-3)
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Last week: No. 15
It is interesting how once Bill Belichick had to work with quarterback availability issues the same as the rest of the league, the Patriots started to look very vulnerable. Even with the quarterback problems, they were able to take the Green Bay Packers into overtime at Lambeau Field. However, New England has too many issues presently to be anywhere above the top-15 in the league.
17. Indianapolis Colts (1-2-1)
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Last week: No. 14
The Colts had a chance to show they belonged atop the AFC South and the first three games were kind of fluky. However, Matt Ryan is starting to look like his "old" Atlanta self and Jonathan Taylor starting to look like a mere mortal has the Colts primed for another fall through the power rankings.
16. Arizona Cardinals (2-2)
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: No. 19
The Cardinals are at least finding ways to beat the lesser competition in the NFL as opposed to playing down to it. The win over the Panthers will help them keep pace with the rest of the NFC West, which appears to be a wide open division in 2022 as opposed to highly competitive as it was last year. Once the Cardinals' playmakers get back, it should be a much improved squad.
15. New York Giants (3-1)
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Last week: No. 18
The Giants may not have answered the bell in prime time in Week 3, but they have gotten back to their dominant ways of taking care of business against lesser teams, which has to be the new identity under coach Brian Daboll. If New York really isn't a basement dweller, why play with their food? New York will be in for a real test in London against the Green Bay Packers.
14. San Francisco 49ers (2-2)
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: No. 17
The future of the 49ers may indeed be Trey Lance, but the identity of the 2022 squad has to include Jimmy Garoppolo. San Francisco looked more like their unstoppable selves from a year ago with Garoppolo under center. It also doesn't hurt when Deebo Samuel is catching six passes for 115 yards and a score. Having Jimmy G under center is what works for the Niners this season.
13. Miami Dolphins (3-1)
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Last week: No. 1
So long as Tua Tagovailoa remains out, and the Dolphins struggle to win, they are going to be a hard sell as anything other than a mid in the power rankings. However, the situation at quarterback does present an opportunity for rookie coach Mike McDaniel to truly showcase his talents that led Miami to pick him.
12. Los Angeles Chargers (2-2)
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Last week: No. 13
The Chargers "saved" their season with a win over the Texans, but they also nearly blew a 27-7 halftime lead. There are still questions that need to be answered for Los Angeles, but at least they didn't suffer embarrassment by blowing a fourth quarter lead in Houston.
11. Tennessee Titans (2-2)
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Last week: No. 12
Tennessee answered the bell on the road as the Colts challenged them for supremacy in the division. Derrick Henry had another 100-yard game and perhaps the most important element from the win was Ryan Tannehill's efficiency, going 17-21 for 137 yards passing and two touchdowns. The old formula appears to have resurfaced for Tennessee, and it's still working.
10. Minnesota Vikings (3-1)
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Last week: No. 11
The Vikings played with their food a little bit over in London, which is why they don't gain too much ground in the power rankings. Nevertheless Minnesota is proving they are contenders in the NFC North and things have changed with Kevin O'Connell. As long as they can keep pace with the Packers, the Vikings should have no problem remaining as one of the good teams in the league.
9. Dallas Cowboys (3-1)
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Last week: No. 10
As fun as the Cooper Rush versus Dak Prescott debate is, the Cowboys' defense is the real MVP through this three-game stretch. The offense is still struggling and is actually third-worst at third down conversions at 30.2%. A lot of Dallas' problems are still being masked, which is why they get a one-slot boost in the power rankings.
8. Los Angeles Rams (2-2)
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Last week: No. 3
The Rams looked like a figured out team against the 49ers, which tends to happen as Kyle Shanahan has the leg up on Sean McVay. Even so, a .500 start for the defending Super Bowl champions is not a good look. Los Angeles can rebound with a win over the Dallas Cowboys at SoFi Stadium. If not, watch the Super Bowl champs fall out of the top-10 in the power rankings.
7. Baltimore Ravens (2-2)
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: No. 7
Jim Harbaugh making wild decisions to go for it at the end of games was a novelty in 2021. It hardly worked out then, and it isn't working in 2022. The Ravens are still favorites to win the AFC North, and the showdown with the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday Night Football in Week 5 will tell a lot about where Baltimore stands.
6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-2)
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: No. 6
Taking it on the chin at home against the Kansas City Chiefs wasn't too big of a hit. After all, it is Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. However, the yo-yo aspect to the Bucs' season has to stop if they are to remain one of the top teams in the NFC. Tampa Bay hosts the Atlanta Falcons at home in Week 5 as part of a three-game stretch that includes the Pittsburgh Steelers and Carolina Panthers, both on the road. It is a nice opportunity for Tampa to fix their winning percentage.
5. Green Bay Packers (3-1)
(Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Last week: No. 5
They played with their food a little bit. Even if Brian Hoyer didn't get knocked out of the game, there was no reason for Green Bay to go into overtime against the New England Patriots at Lambeau Field. It's not like Tom Brady came out of that tunnel. The Packers are above .500, which is a positive as they deal with new challengers in the division.
4. Cincinnati Bengals (2-2)
Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: No. 9
The way the Bengals have surged back from an 0-2 start has been tremendous. The win over the Dolphins was key as it helped Cincinnati gain a little momentum over one of the hottest teams in the conference. All eyes will be on Week 5's Sunday nighter as Cincinnati will have to answer the question against Baltimore as to whether they're still kings in the AFC North.
3. Buffalo Bills (3-1)
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Last week: No. 4
It looked bleak for Buffalo down 20-3 in the second quarter to a high-powered team like the Ravens. However, the Bills were unflappable and pulled off the comeback. Buffalo still remains the best team in their division, and aside from the hiccup to the Miami Dolphins in Week 3, are still one of the best teams in the AFC. So far, it looks like another Buffalo versus Kansas City showdown in the playoffs.
2. Kansas City Chiefs (3-1)
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Last week: No. 8
The Chiefs went back to Raymond James Stadium and came away with a win. Although it was a victory over an NFC opponent in the first week of October, it was an emotional boost for Kansas City to exorcise some demons from the past two seasons. It also proved they are still one of the dominant teams in the NFL, despite what happened on the road in Week 3 at the Indianapolis Colts.
1. Philadelphia Eagles (4-0)
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Last week: No. 2
Can't argue with an undefeated record, even if it has come against teams in the mid-level to bottom-tier in the power rankings. Staying perfect after four games in the NFL isn't easy either. What it shows is Philadelphia has had the most complete team through the first month of the season. The next two games heading into Philadelphia's bye will tell the tale of what type of team they really are as they face former playoff teams in the Arizona Cardinals and Dallas Cowboys.
Story originally appeared on Touchdown Wire