The top of our second tier of playoff contenders written on September 9, may as well be from 2012. It's a horror show of cities where the sky is falling: Detroit, Baltimore and Miami. This means it's time for a market correction. The Around The NFL crew each ranked the 32 teams after four weeks, we put the numbers into our Commodore 64, and it spit out the rankings below. We also discussed the power poll on Tuesday's podcast.
Each team's preseason poll is in parentheses
The Patriots' offense somehow came out stronger this season than they were in their title run. ... Green Bay has survived injuries very well and has the best player in football until proven otherwise. ... Arizona's offense is more loaded than ever despite their loss to the Rams, and the defense has played aggressively. Their schedule will get tougher. ... The Broncos have turned into the team that beat them in the Super Bowl: The 2013 Seahawks. The defense could be that good. ... The Bengals are too balanced on both sides of the ball to be ignored. Andy Dalton is suddenly a mad bomber. ... The Seahawks have a lot to figure out on offense. And there's every reason to believe they will.
Playoffs or bust
The Falcons and Panthers have quickly changed expectations. After dueling 4-0 starts, anything short of a playoff appearance for either team would be a huge disappointment. ... Pittsburgh needs to survive Ben Roethlisberger's absence enough to make a late season run. They are clearly improved on defense. ... We could have made another tier after Pittsburgh. The middle of the league is wildly up for grabs with uneven teams like the Jets and Rams right in the mix for the playoffs. ... Playing in the AFC South could save Indianapolis more than ever this season. ... The Bills have looked better than any other team in this tier on its best days. ... The Vikings still have all the pieces that made them a preseason darling.
Middle of the pack
Bottom of the league
The Saints, Lions and Dolphins fell the hardest here. New Orleans' season feels all but over if they don't win this week against the Eagles. ... Detroit's offensive line has somehow made a team with Calvin Johnson, Golden Tate and Ameer Abdullah boring. ... Jacksonville, like Houston, still can dream of the playoffs because of the weak AFC South. ... Colin Kaepernick's regression is even more concerning than the 49ers' record. It gives the franchise an air of hopelessness. ... The Browns have been scrappy, but fall just short. That's been their story for too long. ... Tampa looks better than a year ago and still is the worst team in the league.