NFL Power Rankings for Week 4: Chiefs take a tumble


Who would’ve guessed that kryptonite for Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs would be the silly Super Bowl Loser’s Curse?

Fourteen of the last 33 teams that lost a Super Bowl — like the Chiefs did to the Buccaneers in February — did not make the playoffs the following season. But few of those teams were a budding dynasty like the Chiefs (three straight AFC Championship games), with the NFL’s best quarterback (Mahomes) and a future Hall of Fame coach (Andy Reid).

And yet the Chiefs are lucky not to be winless after three games against the Browns, Ravens and Chargers, so they have tumbled way down The Post’s weekly rankings. Here is the full list:

1. Los Angeles Rams, 3-0 (Last week: 2)

The Rams won the battle of the top-two teams with relative ease, building a 17-point third-quarter lead over the Buccaneers. The Sean McVay-Matthew Stafford marriage is working out even better than the most-optimistic forecasts, after Stafford threw for 343 yards and four touchdowns with a 134.0 rating.

2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2-1 (1)

Tom Brady loses games in September. It happened frequently when he was in New England and it has happened both years in Tampa Bay. No need to panic. But Brady might need to win a few shootouts while the Buccaneers’ young secondary — so good in last year’s playoffs — gets right again.

3. Cleveland Browns, 2-1 (5)

Odell Beckham Jr. returned from his ACL tear just as his buddy Jarvis Landry went out with an injury. Baker Mayfield is playing more like a game-manager than a top-10 quarterback, but maybe that’s OK when the Browns have a dominant rushing game and a defense that held the Bears to six points.

Packers
Aaron Rodgers
EPA

4. Green Bay Packers, 2-1 (14)

There it is! The Packers’ season-opening stinker against the Saints feels like ancient history after a road win against the 49ers. Somehow, 37 seconds and no timeouts is still enough time for Aaron Rodgers to drive his team for a winning field goal. Did you see the touch on those last two passes? Wow.

5. San Francisco 49ers, 2-1 (3)

Jimmy Garoppolo held off calls for Trey Lance by leading four touchdown drives on the 49ers’ final six possessions. It should’ve been good enough to beat the Packers, but Rodgers’ magic is too much. The 49ers are much healthier through three weeks this season than last.

6. Arizona Cardinals, 3-0 (6)

Undefeated. Sixth-best team in the NFL. Third-best team in their division? That’s the cruel reality of the NFC West — and the Cardinals are not going to gain much extra credibility for beating the lowly Jaguars on the road last week. The defense is holding up its end of the bargain for an explosive offense.

7. Las Vegas Raiders, 3-0 (7)

The Raiders are 3-0 for the first time since 2002, when they went to the Super Bowl. With wins over the Ravens, Steelers and Dolphins, they are the first team to open the season 3-0 against teams that all won at least 10 games the previous season. Derek Carr is playing lights out.

8. Buffalo Bills, 2-1 (9)

Josh Allen finally looked like 2020 Josh Allen again as he notched his fifth career game with at least 300 yards passing and four touchdown passes. Buffalo proved it could both start fast — 21-0 over Washington in the first half — and respond to adversity, winning going away after it became a one-score game.

9. Los Angeles Chargers, 2-1 (18)

Taking a page from Baltimore’s book, first-year coach Brandon Staley understood it’s aggressive-or-bust against the Chiefs. He passed up a 48-yard field goal, Justin Herbert converted a fourth down by penalty and the Chargers beat the Chiefs for the third time in six meetings, which is as often as anyone can hope for these days.

Chargers
Justin Herbert
Getty Images

10. Tennessee Titans, 2-1 (10)

The Titans are going to cruise to the AFC South title and have a leg up in playoff-seed jockeying. That much is clear after Ryan Tannehill threw three touchdown passes to relative unknowns to beat the hobbled Colts. Their Week 1 loss to the Cardinals doesn’t look nearly as bad given the direction of both teams since.

11. Baltimore Ravens, 2-1 (8)

12. Carolina Panthers, 3-0 (12)

13. New Orleans Saints, 2-1 (13)

14. Dallas Cowboys (2-1) (14)

15. Kansas City Chiefs, 1-2 (4)

16. Denver Broncos, 3-0 (17)

17. Cincinnati Bengals, 2-1 (25)

18. Minnesota Vikings, 1-2 (26)

19. Seattle Seahawks, 1-2 (11)

20. Philadelphia Eagles, 1-2 (19)

21. Pittsburgh Steelers, 1-2 (15)

22. Miami Dolphins, 1-2 (21)

23. New England Patriots, 1-2 (21)

24. Washington Football Team, 1-2 (22)

25. Chicago Bears, 1-2 (24)

26. Indianapolis Colts, 1-2 (23)

27. Atlanta Falcons, 1-2 (29)

28. Houston Texans, 1-2 (27)

29. Detroit Lions, 0-3 (30)

30. New York Giants, 0-3 (28)

Still the toast of New York! OK, that’s the end of the glass-half-full view. The Giants are a mess. The offense can’t finish drives despite Daniel Jones and the offensive line — two major preseason concerns — playing better than expected. The defense can’t get a two-minute drill stop. And coach Joe Judge is conservative despite vowing not to be.

31. Jacksonville Jaguars, 0-3 (32)

32. New York Jets, 0-3 (31)

Are we sure that the Jets’ putrid offense the last two seasons was all Adam Gase and Sam Darnold? Gase is long gone. Darnold is thriving in Carolina. And the Jets still have not scored a touchdown in either of their last two games. The honeymoon ended quickly for coach Robert Saleh and, more so, for offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur.



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