As we head into the NFL Sunday of Week 5, Naveenan Thanendra takes an in depth look at who looks like Superbowl contenders, and who doesn't...
So most power rankings are delivered following week 1 and are delivered on a week-by-week basis. However, I have decided to make my assessment following the first 4 weeks of the season so that I can get a better grasp of the teams and this is my assessment of how things have played out thus far.
Crème’ de la Crème:
1) Atlanta Falcons 4-0
Matt Ryan, MVP. If the first four weeks of the season are any indicator, Matt Ryan looks odds on favourite for this title. This was only affirmed by the game winning drive against the Panthers, more specifically the 59-yard beauty of a pass to Roddy White, from deep within the end zone, to put the Falcons in perfect position for the winning field goal. If the Falcons can sustain this form they are well set on a Superbowl run as they are clicking in all aspects of the game.
2) Houston Texans 4-0
Last season the Texans looked destined to go deep into the playoffs until Matt Schaub picked up a season ending injury. This season they look just as good if not better. Wade Phillips continues to weave his magic on that Texans D and they should have no issues dominating the AFC South, if not the league.
3) San Francisco 49ers 3-1
If you wanted to create a textbook on how to play defence in the NFL, it would effectively be a case study on the San Francisco 49ers. Even if we look beyond that they demonstrate perfect tackling technique and that they are beastly on every down, their play means that they only need their offense to be mediocre in order to win. Completing the shut out against Rex Ryan’s Jets put on show the reason why many people had the 49ers as one of the favourites to win the Superbowl. A freakish defeat to the Vikings is the only reason why the 49ers aren’t topping this list.
4) Arizona Cardinals 4-0
Not a person associated with the NFL could have seen this coming, I’m sure even the Cardinals’ fans were expecting a mixed season. Yet, they are more than worthy of this record because while their quarterback situation is no clearer, their defence has been close to impenetrable. While I think the Cardinals can continue having a good season, I will be extremely surprised if they finish the regular season unbeaten. I project a slide down this list in the coming weeks, but for now, kudos to the Cardinals. After Thursday night's weak defeat to the Rams, they are 4-1.
5) Baltimore Ravens 3-1
Entering into the season without Terrell Suggs, it was fair to say the expectations for the Ravens were reserved to say the least. This was instantly changed following the dominant offensive showing in week 1. However, having played four games in 17 days, they can be forgiven for a sloppy showing against the Eagles and the Browns. With additional rest and more time for preparation going forward, the Ravens should not have many issues reaching the playoffs.
image: © ajguel