NFL Power Rankings: Rams on the rise; Vikings, Raiders biggest fallers in Week 4
The Rams look more and more like the real deal, but they have a big test coming up in Week 5
During my summer training-camp trip, I chatted with Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff. We talked about his development, how much he liked the new offense under first-year coach Sean McVay, his confident demeanor and many other things.
As he walked away, I remember telling him that this would be a building year and that next year would be the year the Rams would compete for a playoff spot.
The Rams are 3-1, fresh off an impressive road victory over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. Goff is playing at a high level, the running game is working and they are winning despite the defense still not being up to par. The Rams' three victories have come against the Indianapolis Colts, San Francisco 49ers and Cowboys, three teams with a combined record of 3-9, so you have to temper the enthusiasm some.
But the Rams have been a disaster for a decade, so it's not hard to understand the excitement.
We will learn a lot more about the Rams next week when they play host to the Seattle Seahawks in a big early-season division game. Seattle has been the king of the division, but the Rams have beaten them three consecutive times at home.
Those Rams teams won with defense. This Rams team is winning with offense. In addition to Goff playing well, Todd Gurley is back to his 2015 form and the offensive line is much improved.
That's why the Rams and their 3-1 record are up to the 11th spot in my Power Rankings this week. If they beat Seattle next week, they would be a top-10 team and have the look of a playoff team.
Not bad for a team that I thought was a year away.
|1||Chiefs||There is little doubt now they are the class of the league heading into the next quarter of the season. Can they stay there?||1||10-6-0|
|2||Packers||They've fought through a ton of injuries to get to 3-1. They still need to get healthy at a lot of key spots.||2||7-9-0|
|3||Eagles||They won a tough road game at Los Angeles with a bunch of injuries on defense. That's impressive.||2||13-3-0|
|4||Falcons||They head to their bye with injury concerns at receiver, including Julio Jones with a hip injury. The offense hasn't quite clicked yet.||3||10-6-0|
|5||Broncos||The defense will keep him up here all season long. They still need to get more out of the offense.||6||5-11-0|
|6||Lions||They found a way to win a physical game at Minnesota, which keeps them tied for the division lead with the Packers. They could easily be 4-0.||8||9-7-0|
|7||Panthers||The offense came alive at New England, which should get them going the rest of the way. Cam Newton is back.||9||11-5-0|
|8||Bills||This team is in first place in the AFC East and impressed winning at Atlanta. Sean McDermott has done a nice job.||7||9-7-0|
|9||Patriots||Their defense is a disaster. Is it fixable? If not, can Tom Brady bail them out all season long?||6||13-3-0|
|10||Steelers||They got Le'Veon Bell going against the Ravens, which they needed to do. The defense was impressive as well.||2||13-3-0|
|11||Redskins||They showed some fight at Kansas City because the defense is getting better. They will be a tough opponent every week.||5||7-9-0|
|12||Rams||Wade Phillips has to get the defense playing better. I think it will come.||5||11-5-0|
|13||Texans||Deshaun Watson was sensational against the Titans, and he makes this a potential deep playoff team. Now comes a tough one: home against the Chiefs.||11||4-12-0|
|14||Titans||That was terrible against the Texans, but the bigger issue is the health of quarterback Marcus Mariota. They can't win with Matt Cassel.||4||9-7-0|
|15||Cowboys||The defense continues to be an issue that could derail this team's playoff chances. It has to be better.||3||9-7-0|
|16||Seahawks||They evened their record with an impressive second half against the Colts. Now comes a big one at Los Angeles against the Rams.||3||9-7-0|
|17||Buccaneers||At 2-1, they've fought through a bunch of injuries. Now they play New England on a short week.||4||5-11-0|
|18||Vikings||When do the injuries stop for this team? They lost rookie runner Dalvin Cook for the year with a torn ACL. Are they jinxed?||11||13-3-0|
|19||Raiders||Derek Carr's back injury bears watching. At 2-2, the offense hasn't looked good even with Carr the past two games.||10||6-10-0|
|20||Saints||The defense has turned it around the past two weeks, shutting out Miami Sunday. Can that unit keep it up?||2||11-5-0|
|21||Cardinals||At 2-2, they should feel good to have that record. They just haven't looked good.||1||8-8-0|
|22||Jets||They've won two straight to get to .500. Who saw that coming?||5||5-11-0|
|23||Jaguars||What happened to the defense against the Jets? Now they have to regroup on the road against the Steelers. Good luck.||4||10-6-0|
|24||Bengals||It's too bad they can't play the Browns every week. Andy Dalton has looked much better with Bill Lazor calling plays.||6||7-9-0|
|25||Ravens||Their offense is woeful. The line is putrid. The injuries might be too much to overcome.||2||9-7-0|
|26||Dolphins||They have one last-second touchdown in the past two games as their only points. The Saints shut them out Sunday, which is not a good look.||8||6-10-0|
|27||Colts||They competed for a half at Seattle, which is a good sign. But they don't have enough talent to hold up for an entire game against a quality team.||1||4-12-0|
|28||Bears||They're finally playing Mitch Trubisky, but what took John Fox so long? Let the kid take his lumps. He can't do any worse than Mike Glennon.||3||5-11-0|
|29||Giants||Is the heat on Ben McAdoo? You bet it is, and it should be. Same for general manager Jerry Reese.||1||3-13-0|
|30||Chargers||They have to be one of the bigger disappointments of the season. At 0-4, they are toast.||1||9-7-0|
|31||49ers||The defense showed improvement against Arizona, but the offense still seems limited. It's going to be a long season.||--||6-10-0|
|32||Browns||At 0-4, you have to wonder how long before owner Jimmy Haslam starts getting antsy. This team is worse than last year.||--||0-16-0|
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