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  • Four different teams have led our poll in four weeks, and now it's the Rams' turn after Thursday night's display
By The MMQB Staff
October 02, 2018

We're now a quarter of the way through the season, and we've gotten there with a new team on top every single week. We've figured a few things out, but there are still some teams our panel wildly disagrees on (hello, Cincinnati and Houston). This week the Bears and Texans tied for the biggest jumps, while the Dolphins suffered the biggest drop.

This week's voters:

Andy Benoit, Staff Writer
Andrew Brandt, Business of Football Columnist
Mitch Goldich, Producer/Writer
Gary Gramling, Senior Editor
Jonathan Jones, Staff Writer
Kalyn Kahler, Writer/Producer
Robert Klemko, Staff Writer

Bette Marston, Senior Producer
Mark Mravic, Executive Editor
Jenny Vrentas, Senior Writer

1. Los Angeles Rams (4-0)

Last Week’s rank: 2
Points in poll: 317
Highest-place vote: 1 (7)
Lowest-place vote: 2 (3)
Last week’s result: Win 38-31 vs. Minnesota
Next game: at Seattle

Four weeks, four different teams atop the Power Poll. Can the Rams hang onto the spot longer than a week, unlike the Patriots, Jaguars and Chiefs?

2. Kansas City Chiefs (4-0)

Last Week’s rank: 1
Points in poll: 302
Highest-place vote: 1 (3)
Lowest-place vote: 6 (2)
Last week’s result: Win 27-23 at Denver
Next game: vs. Jacksonville

The Chiefs did enough to stay perfect, but our panel dropped them a spot after a Monday night road win over a division rival. Tough crowd.

NFL
Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs Pass Another Test

3. New Orleans Saints (3-1)

Last Week’s rank: 4
Points in poll: 295
Highest-place vote: 2 (3)
Lowest-place vote: 6 (1)
Last week’s result: Win 33-18 at New York Giants
Next game: vs. Washington

Spirits are high in New Orleans as Mark Ingram returns and Drew Brees prepares to set the all-time career passing yards record.

4. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-1)

Last Week’s rank: 5
Points in poll: 291
Highest-place vote: 3 (5)
Lowest-place vote: 7 (1)
Last week’s result: Win 31-12 vs. New York Jets
Next game: at Kansas City

You don’t move up the rankings just for beating the Jets, but that was an important bounce-back after a disappointing loss to Tennessee the week before.

5. New England Patriots (2-2)

Last Week’s rank: 11
Points in poll: 281
Highest-place vote: 3 (2)
Lowest-place vote: 8 (1)
Last week’s result: Win 38-7 vs. Miami
Next game: vs. Indianapolis

Perhaps history will chortle that we had the Patriots outside the Top 10 last week. But they totally deserved it, even though they looked like their old Top 5 selves against Miami.

6. Green Bay Packers (2-1-1)

Last Week’s rank: 10
Points in poll: 270
Highest-place vote: 4 (3)
Lowest-place vote: 9 (1)
Last week’s result: Win 22-0 vs. Buffalo
Next game: at Detroit

A nice, controversy-free win over the Bills has to have Packers fans feeling better after a wild start to the season.

7. Carolina Panthers (2-1)

Last Week’s rank: 7
Points in poll: 250
Highest-place vote: 4 (1)
Lowest-place vote: 14 (1)
Last week’s result: Bye
Next game: vs. New York Giants

Eric Reid has finally found a team, and he can really help the Panthers on the field.

8. Philadelphia Eagles (2-2)

Last Week’s rank: 3
Points in poll: 245
Highest-place vote: 5 (1)
Lowest-place vote: 15 (1)
Last week’s result: Loss 26-23 (OT) at Tennessee
Next game: vs. Minnesota

Perspective: If you had said before the season that the defending champs would start 2-2 with Nick Foles before Carson Wentz returned, I think most Eagles fans would have taken it.

9. Baltimore Ravens (3-1)

Last Week’s rank: 15
Points in poll: 231
Highest-place vote: 6 (1)
Lowest-place vote: 12 (2)
Last week’s result: Win 26-14 at Pittsburgh
Next game: at Cleveland

Baltimore has the second-best point differential in the NFL (behind the Rams), and is allowing only 16.25 points per game.

10. Minnesota Vikings (1-2-1)

Last Week’s rank: 6
Points in poll: 217
Highest-place vote: 9 (5)
Lowest-place vote: 16 (2)
Last week’s result: Loss 38-31 at Los Angeles Rams
Next game: at Philadelphia

The Vikings ran into a buzzsaw Thursday night in L.A. but at least they got a few extra days before having to return to the scene of last year’s NFC Championship Game embarrassment.

11. Cincinnati Bengals (3-1)

Last Week’s rank: 14
Points in poll: 212
Highest-place vote: 5 (1)
Lowest-place vote: 17 (3)
Last week’s result: Win 37-36 at Atlanta
Next game: vs. Miami

The Bengals have scored 34+ in all three of their wins.

12. Chicago Bears (3-1)

Last Week’s rank: 19
Points in poll: 211
Highest-place vote: 8 (1)
Lowest-place vote: 14 (4)
Last week’s result: Win 48-10 vs. Tampa Bay
Next game: Bye

Khalil Mack is the front-runner for Defensive Player of the Year, and would be in the conversation for MVP at the quarter mark of the season if that award didn’t go to an offensive player every year.

13. Atlanta Falcons (1-3)

Last Week’s rank: 8
Points in poll: 205
Highest-place vote: 7 (1)
Lowest-place vote: 18 (1)
Last week’s result: Loss 37-36 vs. Cincinnati
Next game: at Pittsburgh

The Falcons are a hard-luck 1-3, but they’re 1-1 in division games and will have chances to make noise in a very interesting NFC South race.

14. Los Angeles Chargers (2-2)

Last Week’s rank: 13
Points in poll: 197
Highest-place vote: 11 (3)
Lowest-place vote: 18 (1)
Last week’s result: Win 29-27 vs. San Francisco
Next game: vs. Oakland

Strange to see the Chargers win one of their kicker fiasco games for a change.

15. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-2-1)

Last Week’s rank: 12
Points in poll: 181
Highest-place vote: 12 (3)
Lowest-place vote: 21 (1)
Last week’s result: Loss 26-14 vs. Baltimore
Next game: vs. Atlanta

Le’Veon Bell will reportedly come back in Week 7. Will the Steelers trade him before then? Will he be in top shape when he returns? Will he see the field in black and gold? Many more questions than answers.

NFL
Le’Veon Bell Is Ready to Return, But Should the Steelers Let Him?

16. Tennessee Titans (3-1)

Last Week’s rank: 20
Points in poll: 174
Highest-place vote: 10 (2)
Lowest-place vote: 20 (2)
Last week’s result: Win 26-23 (OT) vs. Philadelphia
Next game: at Buffalo

The Titans should have moved up more after beating the Jaguars. They earned a little more respect from our committee after a tough comeback win against Philly.

17. Washington Redskins (2-1)

Last Week’s rank: 16

Points in poll: 156
Highest-place vote: 13 (2)
Lowest-place vote: 22 (1)
Last week’s result: Bye
Next game: at New Orleans

Philly’s loss bumped Washington up into first place in the NFC East during the bye week, but they weren’t as fortunate in our poll.

18. Miami Dolphins (3-1)

Last Week’s rank: 9
Points in poll: 155
Highest-place vote: 14 (1)
Lowest-place vote: 23 (1)
Last week’s result: Loss 38-7 at New England
Next game: at Cincinnati

Welp.

19. Dallas Cowboys (2-2)

Last Week’s rank: T-25
Points in poll: 132
Highest-place vote: 17 (2)
Lowest-place vote: 22 (2)
Last week’s result: Win 26-24 vs. Detroit
Next game: at Houston

The Cowboys have alternated wins and losses the first four weeks, and now search for the first road win in Houston.

20. Detroit Lions (1-3)

Last Week’s rank: 22
Points in poll: 122
Highest-place vote: 18 (4)
Lowest-place vote: 25 (1)
Last week’s result: Loss 26-24 at Dallas
Next game: vs. Green Bay

With a win next week, Detroit can stay right in the thick of a tight NFC North race. With a loss, they may be stuck in too big a hole to dig out of.

21. Denver Broncos (2-2)

Last Week’s rank: 18
Points in poll: 121
Highest-place vote: 18 (1)
Lowest-place vote: 24 (1)
Last week’s result: Loss 27-23 vs. Kansas City
Next game: at New York Jets

The Broncos let a great opportunity slip away, blowing a 10-point, fourth-quarter lead at home against the Chiefs. They were so close to first place, but now sit two games back.

NFL
The Roughing the Passer Rule and Football’s Unfixable Problem

22. Seattle Seahawks (2-2)

Last Week’s rank: 21
Points in poll: 109
Highest-place vote: 20 (4)
Lowest-place vote: 25 (3)
Last week’s result: Win 20-17 at Arizona
Next game: vs. Los Angeles Rams

It feels a bit lost in the Earl Thomas news cycle that the Seahawks did win a game. But it also feels like the walls are closing in.

23. Houston Texans (1-3)

Last Week’s rank: 30
Points in poll: 104
Highest-place vote: 15 (3)
Lowest-place vote: 29 (1)
Last week’s result: Win 37-34 (OT) at Indianapolis
Next game: vs. Dallas

Texans fans can exhale after finally snapping the losing streak.

24. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-2)

Last Week’s rank: 17
Points in poll: 89
Highest-place vote: 21 (1)
Lowest-place vote: 27 (1)
Last week’s result: Loss 48-10 at Chicago
Next game: Bye

If Ryan Fitzpatrick earned the starting job for his performance the first three weeks, it’s a little surprising the Bucs would yank it back so quickly. The defense was the biggest problem in Chicago.

25. New York Giants (1-3)

Last Week’s rank: 23
Points in poll: 88
Highest-place vote: 22 (3)
Lowest-place vote: 26 (4)
Last week’s result: Loss 33-18 vs. New Orleans
Next game: at Carolina

An upcoming stretch of Panthers-Eagles-Falcons-Redskins will tell us if we need to take the Giants seriously.

26. Cleveland Browns (1-2-1)

Last Week’s rank: 24
Points in poll: 82
Highest-place vote: 23 (2)
Lowest-place vote: 28 (1)
Last week’s result: Loss 45-42 (OT) at Oakland
Next game: vs. Baltimore

The Browns should have won on Sunday, but they’ve been in every game this year and they’re going to win a few more.

27. San Francisco 49ers (1-3)

Last Week’s rank: T-28
Points in poll: 67
Highest-place vote: 16 (1)
Lowest-place vote: 31 (3)
Last week’s result: Loss 29-27 at Los Angeles Chargers
Next game: vs. Arizona

If C.J. Beathard can’t lead the 49ers to a win next week, he could be in for a long season.

28. New York Jets (1-3)

Last Week’s rank: T-25
Points in poll: 56
Highest-place vote: 25 (1)
Lowest-place vote: 29 (1)
Last week’s result: Loss 31-12 at Jacksonville
Next game: vs. Denver

How long has it been the Jets’ Week 1 win? It feels like it’s been longer.

29. Indianapolis Colts (1-3)

Last Week’s rank: T-28
Points in poll: 38
Highest-place vote: 28 (2)
Lowest-place vote: 31 (1)
Last week’s result: Loss 37-34 (OT) vs. Houston
Next game: at New England

It’s early still, but Frank Reich’s fourth down decision in overtime might go down as the defining moment of this Colts season.

30. Buffalo Bills (1-3)

Last Week’s rank: 27

Points in poll: 37
Highest-place vote: 25 (1)
Lowest-place vote: 31 (1)
Last week’s result: Loss 22-0 at Green Bay
Next game: vs. Tennessee

So… the Vikings game was a fluke then?

31. Oakland Raiders (1-3)

Last Week’s rank: 31
Points in poll: 35
Highest-place vote: 27 (3)
Lowest-place vote: 31 (5)
Last week’s result: Win 45-42 (OT) vs. Cleveland
Next game: at Los Angeles Chargers

If last week was in fact the Raiders’ final game played atop the Oakland A’s infield dirt, it was a fitting and memorable one.

32. Arizona Cardinals (0-4)

Last Week’s rank: 32
Points in poll: 10
Highest-place vote: 32 (10)
Lowest-place vote: 32 (10)
Last week’s result: Loss 20-17 vs. Seattle
Next game: at San Francisco

The NFL’s only winless team remains in the bottom spot, but this week it’s unanimous.

• Question or comment? Email us at talkback@themmqb.com.

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