Which NFL Teams Remain Undefeated After Week 4?

Going into week 4, there are 7 NFL teams that are undefeated. Which teams are most likely to keep that unblemished record after week 4 play?

I’m starting with the most likely teams to win and working down to the least.

1. Denver Broncos:
Denver will be at home against the 1-2 Eagles. The Eagles come in with a defense that hasn’t been very good and the Broncos led by Manning, are capable of putting up some points in a big way. In fact, Denver is the top scoring team in the NFL (42 points/gm) while the Eagles are 28th in scoring defense. Eagle’s coach Chip Kelly will need his offense to score about 60 to have a chance and that’s not happening in this game.

Broncos move to 4-0

2. KC Chiefs:
I expected the Chiefs to be much better this season but I can’t say I thought they would be undefeated after 3 games. The Chiefs are at home against the winless Giants who were completely destroyed 38-0 last week at Carolina. If anyone knows how to get ready for the Giants, it will be the former Eagle coach Andy Reid.

The Chiefs have done a good job of getting after the QB and the Giants line has not done a good job protecting Manning. The Chiefs lead the NFL in sacks (15) while the Giants are near the top of the NFL in allowing sacks (11).

After getting sacked 7 times at Carolina, Eli Manning could be jumping from the frying pan into the fire this week against the sack leading Chiefs.

Chiefs go to 4-0.

3.Seattle Seahawks:
Seattle faces a tough road game at Houston but the Texans haven’t exactly been playing great football this season. The Texans have been just average on offense while the Seahawks are the toughest team in the NFL to score on allowing just 9 points per game. Really remarkable in the modern day scoring happy NFL.

I don’t think it will be easy but Seahawks move to 4-0.

4. Patriots:
The Patriots have enjoyed a rather soft schedule so far and while they have had issues on offense, their defense has played well enough for them to win. Playing the Falcons Sunday night in the Georgia Dome, will be a tough assignment for the Patriots in trying to remain undefeated. Atlanta has many injuries and are a disappointing 1-2 this year but I think they will come in motivated, “rise up” and play inspired ball on Sunday night against Brady.

I think the Patriots will drop to 3-1.

5 and 6. Dolphins at Saints:
Both teams come into this game undefeated and obviously one team is going to lose their first game. Quite simply I think the Saints are a very good team at home in the Super Dome especially in a Monday night game, and that will be too much for the Dolphins.

The 12th man (home crowd) comes through for the Saints as they go to 4-0 and Dolphins lose their first game.

7. Bears:
The Bears will face a tough division battle by playing at Detroit. Overall I really think the Bears are a better team than the Lions but the Lions are another team that is difficult to beat on the road and I look for them to be ready for this game.

The Bears drop this one and go to 3-1.

Four teams survive:
I think the Broncos, Seahawks, Chiefs, and Saints remain undefeated after this week with the Dolphins, Bears and Patriots losing their first games.


Cowboys Versus Chargers Preview. A lot of Points in This One?

The Dallas Cowboys play at San Diego Sunday with a good opportunity to win their 3rd game and start asserting themselves in the NFC East. While the Chargers are good on offense led by QB Phillip Rivers, their defense has weaknesses that may present opportunities for the Dallas offense.

Chargers Run Defense: NFL Rank- 28th
Last week Dallas got their run game back on track against the Rams with 194 yards and against the Chargers, they may want to keep it on the ground some more. The Chargers are allowing 130 yards/game on the ground including a very generous 5.1 yards per rush attempt.

By running the ball at least 20 times or so, Dallas can keep Phillip Rivers off the field and that’s a good thing. This is a good week for the Dallas offense to stick to the run.

Chargers Pass Defense: NFL Rank- 32nd (dead last)
If for some reason the run game isn’t working against the Chargers, the Cowboys pass game should do just fine. The Chargers defense is last in the NFL in passing yards allowed with 341 yards per game. Romo and Dez should have a good game against that defense.

Chargers Defense pressure the QB: 6 sacks (only 2/game) tied for 24th in the NFL

Now a look at when the Chargers have the ball.

Chargers rushing offense: NFL rank- 18th
The Chargers rush for 102.7 yards a game which isn’t terrible but clearly, they prefer to let Rivers throw the ball primarily. However the Chargers have more rushing attempts than the Cowboys so far this year.

The Dallas defense ranks a strong 2nd in the NFL in rush defense. If Dallas can shut down that Charger run game early, they can focus on bringing the pressure to Rivers.

Chargers Pass Offense: NFL rank- 12th
This is the Chargers and passing is what they do. They have passed for 257 yards a game so this will present a challenge to the Dallas defense which has allowed a lot of passing yards this season. ELi Manning threw for 450 yards in week one.

And the Chargers throw it down the field when they pass, as they rank in the top 10 in yards per attempt. Rivers has a 70% completion percentage which is 3rd highest in the NFL and just behind Romo who is second. The Dallas secondary has been a bit of a weak spot so far and Rivers is capable of exploiting that weakness.

Pressure the QB
A key for Dallas will be getting to Rivers with some pressure but so far this season he has only been sacked 5 times. Rivers is known to have a quick release throwing the ball so sacking him is not easy.

Take away/give away
The Chargers defense has only one interception this season and that one takeaway puts them at the bottom of the AFC. Rivers has only thrown 1 INT. but the offense has 3 fumbles this season.

Dallas has done a better job of taking the ball away and that may just be the key to winning this game on the road.

This match up reminds me a little of the Giants who Dallas beat in week one 36-31. I expect plenty of scoring and Rivers will make some plays on that Dallas secondary. But if Dallas can create a few turnovers from the Chargers, I really like their chances to win this one.

2013 Week 4 NFL Team Power Rankings

A power ranking of all 32 NFL teams after week 3 play.

The Twist: Each week my top 12 ranked teams will consist of 6 NFC teams and 6 AFC teams since 6 from each conference will qualify for the post season. I reflect the top 12 teams most likely to make the playoffs each week.

TOP 12:
Dropping out of top 12- Bengals, Texans, Falcons
Moving Up in top 12- Chiefs, Colts, Bears

AFC: The Bengals (down 4) didn’t do anything wrong by beating the Packers at home. Nice win. It’s more of a case of the Chiefs surging up to 3-0 and the Colts getting an impressive road win at SF. While I don’t expect the Chiefs to win their division over the Broncos, nor the Dolphins to win their division over the Patriots, I do like the Chiefs and Dolphins chances to get those two AFC wildcard spots.

The Chiefs remind me of the Colts who were in last place in 2011 and then made the playoffs in 2012.

NFC: The Packers (down 5) look solid at home but they appear beatable on the road losing at the Bengals and 49ers. Meanwhile, the Bears (up 5) just keep quietly taking care of their business and stand at 3-0. Their new coach seems to have the offense executing more effectively and more consistently. They could give the Packers a battle for the division title.

The now 1-2 Falcons (down 8) lost at Miami this week after clinging late for a win at home against the not so strong Rams, the previous week. With key injuries, the Falcons are in for a real battle with the 3-0 Saints to win the NFC South. A team they have already lost to.

NFC “Least” update- It’s starting to look like 2-1 Dallas (up 1) may win the NFC East by default, with the Giants and Redskins falling to 0-3. The Eagles lost too falling to 1-2. But it’s only September so don’t under estimate Jason Garrett’s ability to blow this thing.

WEEK 4 Previous week change. 0 = no change
1. Seahawks (3-0) 0
2. Broncos (3-0) 0
3. Saints (3-0) ↑8
4. Patriots (3-0) ↑1
5. Ravens (2-1) ↑3
6. 49ers (1-2) ↓3
7. Dolphins (3-0) ↑3
8. Bears (3-0) ↑5
9. Packers (1-2) ↓5
10. Chiefs (3-0) ↑5
11. Cowboys (2-1) ↑1
12. Colts (2-1) ↑2
13. Bengals (2-1) ↓4
14. Texans (2-1) ↓8
15. Falcons (1-2) ↓8
16. Lions (2-1) ↑4
17. Titans (2-1) ↑2
18. Chargers (1-2) ↓2
19. Eagles (1-2) ↓2
20. Jets (2-1) ↑5
21. Cardinals (1-2) ↓3
22. Panthers (1-2) ↑5
23. Rams (1-2) ↓1
24. Browns (1-2) ↑6
25. Bills (1-2) ↓1
26. Vikings (0-3) ↓5
27. Giants (0-3) ↓4
28. Redskins (0-3) ↓2
29. Steelers (0-3) ↓1
30. Raiders (1-2) ↓1
31. Bucs (0-3) 0
32. Jaguars (0-3) 0

Dallas Cowboys: After 2 Games, a Look at the Numbers.

Dallas has been stuck at 8-8 the last two seasons and after two games, should anyone be surprised they are 1-1? On pace to win half their games.

A look at the numbers can tell what’s working early in the season and what is not working yet. It’s not all bad news but it’s not all good either. And there is time to improve.

Offense Rushing: 62 yds/game. NFL Rank: 26
Let’s start with some bad news. Dallas still hasn’t figured out how to run the ball yet and until they do, they may be fortunate to go 8-8 again. This weakness stood out in their loss to the Chiefs when they pretty much abandoned the run early and put it on Romo. How that work out? Not too good. The Cowboys are rushing for a modest 3.2 yards per attempt so far in 2013.

The blame? Plenty to go around.
-An offensive line that wasn’t as upgraded in the offseason as it should have been.
-Lack of commitment to run the ball. We are told that Callahan is calling the plays now but also that Romo has a lot of autonomy to change plays at the line. To me, it just looks like the same old mess as last year. Try a few runs then “heck with it”.
-Only Murray seems to get carries but I think it would help to get others involved like Dunbar and the rookie Randle who wasn’t even active for the game last week. Randle is not injured but word is his pass blocking needs to be better. Well if you ask me, our run game needs to be better and Randle could help the team with that.

Dishing the Real Grade: D Needs major improvement.

Offense Passing: 263 yds/game. NFL rank: 16
At first glance, this may not appear too weak but when you drill down a little farther, Dallas is only getting 6.2 yards per pass attempt which puts them at 26th in the NFL. It proves what many fans already suspect. They aren’t throwing the ball down the field. A lot of “dink and dunk” passing if you will.

Want farther proof Romo is throwing short passes? The Cowboys have the highest completion percentage in the NFL at 72.5%. No that isn’t a bad thing necessarily, but when you combine it with the 6.2 yards per pass, clearly this offense is not stretching the field at all.

Could that allow defenses to load up close to the line and stop their run game? Based on their pitiful performance of a run game, I think we are on to something.

Dallas better start taking some shots deep so safeties can’t load the box for the run.

Dishing the Real grade: C. On their way to 8-8 once again if they keep passing like this.

Defense Rushing: Allowing 82 yds/game. NFL rank: 11
This is one area where I think Dallas is doing a good job. They haven’t allowed a lot of rushing yards and have made opposing offenses fairly one-dimensional.

However late in the Chiefs game, the defense didn’t stop the run when they needed to get the ball back. Even knowing the Chiefs would run, they allowed them to pick up first downs. That is reason for concern. So far they haven’t allowed a rushing TD this season.

Dishing the Real Grade: B-. Not getting it done late in KC keeps it from a B.

Defense Passing Allowing 314 yds/game. NFL rank: 24
While the defense hasn’t been allowing many rushing yards, they have been blown up in passing yards. QB Eli Manning had an epic game passing against Dallas as far as stats go but it was the INTs that did him in. The Cowboys allow 8.6 yards per attempt which ranks a poor 28th in the NFL.

Sacks– Dallas has 7 sacks in two games which ranks them in the top 10 in that category. The new 4-3 defense does seem to pressure the QB more effectively but there are holes back in that secondary.

Take aways– Currently a good +3. But not consistent. Outstanding against the Giants with 5 turnovers but then none against the Chiefs.

Dishing the Real Grade: D. Needs to improve. Limit the big plays.

Special Teams:
Overall Dallas has done well in special teams after a shaky preseason. Dan Bailey is one of the better kickers in the NFL.

And Dallas has placed 6 punts inside the 20 which is near the top of the NFL. Dwayne Harris has been outstanding covering punts and was even recognized as NFL special teams player of the week.

Their kickoff returns could be better but they have avoided disaster so far and they have a kicker that can win a game for you.

Dishing the Real Grade: B+. Like to see a big return.

A mix bag of results thus far early in the season. Just what one might expect from a team sitting with a 1-1 record. To get over the hump, the “D” grades need to improve quickly.

Offense: Run the ball better and more frequently. Loosen up the defense with some deep shots down the field. Even incompletions serve a purpose.

Defense: Got to limit the big pass and catch. Need a few takeaways every game.

2013 Week 3 NFL Team Power Rankings

A power ranking of all 32 NFL teams after week two play.

The Twist: Each week my top 12 ranked teams will consist of 6 NFC teams and 6 AFC teams since 6 from each conference will qualify for the post season. I reflect the top 12 teams most likely to make the playoffs each week.

TOP 12:
The Seattle Seahawks once again beat down the 49ers in Seattle, to move into the top spot this week. It could be a different story when they meet in S.F. later, but for now, the Seahawks have an early lead to win the NFC West.

After losing 24-20 to the Dolphins, the Colts tumble out of the top 12 teams and are replaced by the 2-0 Dolphins.

The Lions fall out of the top 12 after losing to the Cardinals and are replaced by the Saints who are 2-0 in the NFC South.

The NFC “Least”
And the Cowboys stay at 12 after losing to the Chiefs 17-16. Allow me to explain, in my rankings I have at least one team from every division because eventually some team will win that division and make the playoffs.

Currently none of the NFC East teams deserve to be in the top 12. The Redskins and Giants are a dismal 0-2 and only 12% of teams starting 0-2 make the playoffs. That leaves either the Eagles and Cowboys who are very close on paper with a 1-1 overall record, both 1-0 in the division, and their only loss being out of conference.

I gave Dallas a slight edge over the Eagles for losing on the road to the 2-0 Chiefs while the Eagles lost at home to the 1-1 Chargers. Dallas should be ranked about 16 but at the moment, they have as good of a chance to win the NFC “LEast” as anyone.

WEEK 3 Change from previous week. (0 = no change)
1. Seahawks (2-0) ↑2
2. Broncos (2-0) ↑2
3. 49ers (1-1) ↓2
4. Packers (1-1) ↑5
5. Patriots (2-0) ↓3
6. Texans (2-0) ↓1
7. Falcons (1-1) 0
8. Ravens (1-1) 0
9. Bengals (1-1) ↑1
10. Dolphins (2-0) ↑7
11. Saints (2-0) ↑2
12. Cowboys (1-1) 0
13. Bears (2-0) ↑1
14. Colts (1-1) ↓8
15. Chiefs (2-0) ↑6
16. Chargers (1-1) ↑12
17. Eagles (1-1) ↓2
18. Cardinals (1-1) ↑6
19. Titans (1-1) 0
20. Lions (1-1) ↓9
21. Vikings (0-2) ↓5
22. Rams (1-1) 0
23. Giants (0-2) ↓5
24. Bills (1-1) ↑3
25. Jets (1-1) ↑1
26. Redskins (0-2) ↓6
27. Panthers (0-2) ↓4
28. Steelers (0-2) ↓3
29. Raiders (1-1) ↑2
30. Browns (0-2) ↓1
31. Bucs (0-2) ↓1
32. Jaguars (0-2) 0

These 6 Playoff Teams Can’t Afford an 0-2 Start.

The following 6 NFL teams made the playoffs last season but lost their first game last week and now face the sobering possibility of starting the season 0-2.
Bengals, Falcons, Packers, Ravens, Redskins, and Vikings.

Is it a bad omen to start a season 0-2? History would indicate that yes, starting a season 0-2 usually doesn’t lead to a good season. In the past only 12% of teams who start 0-2, go on to make the playoffs.

Consider Last Season:

Last season all 6 teams that got off to an 0-2 start finished the season with losing records and consequently, no playoffs. The teams were Browns, Chiefs, Jaguars, Raiders, Saints, and Titans.

And in 2011, 7 NFL teams started 0-2 and all 7 finished with losing records. That makes a total of 13 teams the last two seasons that could not over come an 0-2 start to have a winning season.

Once a team is 0-2, even if they win half of their remaining 14 games, they will finish with a losing record. (7-9)

A look at the games these 0-1 teams play this week as they try to become a more optimistic 1-1.

Redskins @ Packers– Without question, one of these two 0-1 teams are going to come out of this game 0-2. The Packers played well but lost on the road to a very good 49er team while the Redskins lost a home game to the fast paced Eagles. In that game, the Redskins started terribly on offense but finished the game better as RG3 warmed up. They had a chance to win had they recovered an onside kick.

I like the Packers chances of getting a needed win at home and avoid going 0-2.

Vikings @ Bears– The Vikings are a QB away from being a solid contender but they lost in Detroit last week. Now they have to go play in Chicago which is no easy place to pick up a win. Peterson will do his thing but can the Vikings come up with enough of a passing game?

Steelers @ Bengals– If the Bengals want to improve their record to 1-1, playing the Steelers now may just be the answer. After the Steelers played poorly on offense losing to the Titans, they now have lost their center.

I like the Bengals chances to avoid an 0-2 start.

Rams @ Falcons– The Falcons are almost unbeatable in the Georgia Dome. And after losing to the Saints last week, I can’t see any way they lose this one.

The Falcons will avoid an 0-2 start and look for Jackson to make the Rams wish they never let him leave.

Browns @ Ravens– The defending super bowl champs got a rude congratulations in Denver last week as Manning threw a sick 7 TDs against them. I feel the Ravens are not the same team as last year but they are at home and it is the Browns.

The Ravens will avoid an 0-2 start.

So which teams will fall into the 0-2 abyss next week and spend the rest of the season trying to climb out? I think the Redskins are looking at a serious possibility as they try to find their offensive mojo in Green Bay. Also the Vikings face a serious challenge in playing the Bears in Chicago.

In my view, the other 4 teams will avoid that formidable 0-2 start.

It’s Time Cowboys Coaches Give Dwayne Harris Some Respect

Dwayne Harris

Dwayne Harris

Today Dallas Cowboys WR Dwayne Harris was named the NFL special teams player of the week. His performance on special teams really stood out to me in the Giants win Sunday night. We already knew Harris could return punts. He showed that last season with a 78 yard TD return to help defeat the Eagles. And in the Giants game, he did a good job handling punts including a 14 yard return.

But Harris gave Dallas much more than just a secure option at handling punts, he also covered punts making two tackles. Each punt he was clearly the first guy down the field as the Giants were unable to block him. He also made a tackle on a kickoff return and on the fumble, he slapped the ball where his teammate Holloman, could recover it.

But Why Wasn’t Harris the 3rd WR?
I have to say I was surprised and even disappointed when Dallas went with rookie Terrance Williams as the 3rd WR. It’s nothing against Williams the talented rookie WR from Baylor. I believe he will develop into a good NFL receiver in the future but he demonstrated in camp and preseason, that he wasn’t quite ready to go yet.

In the Giants game, Williams and Romo were clearly not on the same page when Romo threw an interception that if not for the outstanding hustle of Murray, would have resulted in a TD. The Giants ended up settling for a FG but that’s the kind of miscommunication that can lead to a turnover that ends up costing you the game. They dodged a bullet this time.

There were signs of trouble in the preseason in one game when Romo way over threw a wide open Williams. Later Romo indicated Williams was on the wrong route although with all due respect Romo, the dude was wide open on the sideline for what should have been a TD.

In the Giants game, Williams also had a dropped pass which happened frequently in preseason camp. I had pointed out back in April after analyzing video from his play at Baylor, Williams has a tendency to try to make catches close to his body instead of hands which leads to drops. HERE Again, he needs some development.

Dwayne Won the 3rd WR spot Last season:
Last year Harris was in a battle for the 3rd WR spot with Kevin Ogletree (now with the Bucs) and at the end of the 2012 preseason here at ‘DC Dishing the Real’, I said Dwayne Harris won that competition. HERE However the Cowboy coaches went with Ogletree. But as the season progressed, Harris was more productive and eventually became the 3rd WR. In limited action, he finished 2012 with 17 catches and 222 yards. It surprised me when Dallas drafted a WR. Thought they could have used a guard more. Looks like I may have been right about that too.

This season Harris finds himself dissed once more and only had four offensive plays in the Giants game which included an important 12 yard catch down to the 4 yard line setting up a TD pass to Witten. But did Harris sulk? Not at all, he went out and showed that no matter what you ask him to do, he does it well and with a lot of effort even if it’s covering punts.

Dwayne Harris runs in a very physical manner after the catch and I don’t get the impression that opposing defenders like getting in his way. Kind of like Marion “Barbarian” Barber except faster. Dallas could certainly use that ability to run after the catch on offense. And the rookie Williams could use a few more practices to get on the same page with Romo.

So today the NFL showed Harris some respect with special teams recognition but Harris finds himself in a position to prove himself as a WR once again and I got a feeling he is going to do it. Eventually these coaches will have to give him the respect he has earned.