New England, Kansas City and Los Angeles Rams are Top Three Teams in King’s Power Ranking
“Football needed Week 4…you know how the NFL likes to pull the good teams to the middle. There was a lot of pulling this weekend” – King
“We’re kind of getting like the NBA. But I do think players having more power is good thing.” – Larry Fitzgerald on Player Movement in the NFL
“I don’t think he’s a great quarterback. I think he’s a good quarterback in a great system with a great offensive mind with a lot of weapons around him.” – Rodney Harrison on Jared Goff on The Mike Tirico Podcast
STAMFORD, Conn. – September 30, 2019 – Peter King provides his updated NFL power rankings through the season’s first four weeks in this week’s edition of Football Morning in America, available now exclusively on NBCSports.com. King also shares his thoughts from this weekend, hands out his Week 4 awards and speaks with Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald and Chicago quarterback Chase Daniel and.
Additionally, across NBC Sports, on The Mike Tirico Podcast, Mike Tirico, Tony Dungy, Rodney Harrison and Mike Florio recap Week 4, while Florio and Chris Simms break down all of the action across the NFL on PFT Live and Chris Simms Unbuttoned.
The following are highlights from this week’s edition of Football Morning in America:
KING’S POWER RANKINGS
1. New England 4-0 (May ranking: 2). This likely isn’t Bill Belichick’s best Patriots team—yet—because they don’t have the offensive weapons they’ve had in many prior years. But the defense is so good it can afford to go without a top-three defensive piece in Dont’a Hightower and still have enough great contributors to shut down another foe.
5. Dallas 3-1 (May ranking: 16). The loss at New Orleans doesn’t bother me much. It was a quicksand game for the offense, with nine possessions and only one gaining more than 35 yards, and Ezekiel Elliott the most pedestrian he’s looked all season. Too many pluses here in the first month to get overwhelmed with a road loss to a very good team.
11. Detroit 2-1-1 (May ranking: 27). They were a misguided Kerryon Johnson stretch-the-ball-for-the-goal-line dumb play from shocking the world Sunday. I don’t know if the Lions’ can play January football this season, because of their division and because, well, they’re the Lions, but I watched 75 percent of their game Sunday and they’re legit.
25. Atlanta 1-3 (May ranking: 17). And the seat gets scalding for coach Dan Quinn. Arthur Blank didn’t pay Matt Ryan and Julio Jones a jillion dollars to be 1-3…or to be absolutely mediocre in the past 39 games.
|1: New England (2)||9: Green Bay (14)||17: Indianapolis (3)||25: Atlanta (17)|
|2: Kansas City (1)||10: Seattle (13)||18: Houston (15)||26: Pittsburgh (18)|
|3: LA Rams (4)||11: Detroit (27)||19: Tampa Bay (29)||27: Denver (24)|
|4: New Orleans (6)||12: Buffalo (23)||20: Jacksonville (20)||28: Cincinnati (30)|
|5: Dallas (16)||13: Cleveland (11)||21: Tennessee (25)||29: Arizona (31)|
|6: Chicago (9)||14: Baltimore (12)||22: Oakland (19)||30: Washington (22)|
|7: San Francisco (7)||15: Minnesota (10)||23: Carolina (21)||31: NY Jets (26)|
|8: Philadelphia (8)||16: LA Chargers (5)||24: NY Giants (28)||32: Miami (32)|
*King’s offseason ranking from May in parenthesis
KING’S WEEK 4 THOUGHTS
King: “Football needed Week 4. It was getting a little too easy for the Patriots and Chiefs. The Rams, Green Bay, Detroit, Dallas and Buffalo hadn’t lost yet, and you know how the NFL likes to pull the good teams to the middle. There was a lot of pulling this weekend.”
King: “Thirteen teams are 2-2, including every one in the AFC South. As I watched football Sunday, with the great teams and the great players struggling in so many games, I thought: That’s part of what makes it fun.”
King: “J.C. Jackson of the Patriots had two interceptions and a blocked punt-turned-touchdown in New England’s surprisingly hard 16-10 win at Buffalo. For a day, the undrafted cornerback from Maryland was the best player on the best team in football.”
King: “The 2015 1-2 draft twins, Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota, had stunning road wins. The careers of both are on the line in this last year before free agency. Winston put up 55 points and shocked the Rams. Mariota beat the Falcons by 14.”
King: “Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes and Jared Goff and Zeke Elliott and Dak Prescott and Matt Ryan and Deshaun Watson and Lamar Jackson did not star Sunday. Mahomes went touchdown-less, in fact.”
King: “Chasing Jerry Rice is a long and lonely road. With five catches Sunday giving him 1,326 for his 16-year career, Larry Fitzgerald passed Tony Gonzalez into second place on the all-time receptions list.”
Fitzgerald on his motivation: “One of the things I want to be known for is my reliability…So I want this new coach [Kliff Kingsbury] and this new quarterback [Kyler Murray] to know that about me. I’ll be here every day, working, and they can count on me.”
Fitzgerald on players trying to talk their way off of teams: “We’re kind of getting like the NBA. But I do think players having more power is good thing. Patrick Mahomes could be the first $200-million player. The numbers are getting crazy.”
Fitzgerald: “I’m not the kind of guy who thinks the grass is always greener. I’m really not that interested in moving around…In some ways, I have modeled myself after the way Jerome Bettis handled himself, handled his business…He saw the big picture about being a big part of the community. He was beloved in Pittsburgh. I watched that and I learned.”
King: “Now the reins of a very good team are (Chase) Daniel’s. This is the first time in his life he’s been handed an NFL team for any length of time…He’s playing till they take him off the field.”
Daniel on the opportunity to start after Trubisky’s injury: “I’m about to turn 33 and I’ve been in it 11 years now. But I feel like I’m 25. And I love this offense. I feel the offense. This is my fifth or sixth year in it. I was in Kansas City, in Philadelphia, and it’s basically the same offense. Very quarterback-friendly.”
Daniel: “You’re excited, of course, and it happens all of a sudden. (Bears head coach) Matt (Nagy) was like, You know the offense. Just go out there and be you. He was super-positive the whole game.”
KING’S WEEK 4 AWARDS
Offensive Players of the Week: Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville, Nick Chubb, Cleveland, & Frank Gore, Buffalo.
King on Gore: “I believe Gore is the only player in the NFL (at least in the time I’ve covered it) to have undergone reconstructive surgery on both knees and both shoulders. Did you know Sunday was his 200th game since the last of those four surgeries? That is only slightly amazing. More amazing is the fact that, at 36, Gore became the fourth player in NFL history to surpass 15,000 rushing yards—and the oldest player ever to rush for 100 yards in a game.”
Defensive Players of the Week: Shaq Barrett, Tampa Bay, Kyle Van Noy, New England, Erik Harris, Oakland & Jabrill Peppers, New York Giants.
King on Van Noy: “On a day of excellent performances across the board in Buffalo—by Patriots players and Bills players both—Van Noy stood out. Then again, he almost always does. One of the best acquisitions of the Belichick Era, Van Noy had two sacks and a team-high eight tackles as the Patriots rode the defense and special teams to a 16-10 win.”
King: “It’s very likely the NFL will play four more London games in 2020, and the league is talking to Mexico officials about playing in Azteca Stadium once in 2020. Nothing certain there.”
King: “Carolina and Houston are the 30th and 31st franchises to play outside the United States in the 38 regular-season games played internationally. The lone holdout: Green Bay… My guess: Green Bay has to be a prime contender for a game in London in 2020.”
NFL chief strategy and growth officer Chris Halpin: “Teams have fully bought in to playing internationally. The next generation of players want to be global athletes…Where do we go with the games, and the volume of games, going forward? That’s a point of discussion right now.”
The following are highlights from this week’s edition of The Mike Tirico Podcast:
Rodney Harrison on Jared Goff: “I don’t think he’s a great quarterback. I think he’s a good quarterback in a great system with a great offensive mind with a lot of weapons around him. But I don’t think he’s great.”
Tony Dungy on Kirk Cousins: “We thought that Kirk Cousins would be the answer (for the Vikings)…they have not gotten good quarterback play and now the spotlight is starting to come on him and the pressure’s coming.”
Mike Florio on the Bears: “Chase Daniel knows that offense, that’s the key. He’s been with Matt Nagy in Kansas City so maybe they can do more with him because with Trubisky, there was still that feeling of a work in progress…I think they’ll be ok.”
The following are clips from last night’s edition of Football Night in America:
- Thanks Mom: Leighton Vander Esch: Cowboys LB Leighton Vander Esch thanks his mom for all of her support, and especially her pre-game meals, during his journey to the NFL.
- Zion Williamson & New Orleans: New Orleans Pelicans’ Zion Williamson, the first overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, discusses New Orleans as his new home and becoming the newest member of ‘Who Dat’ nation.
- Sunday Night 7 Picks with Liam McHugh and Zion Williamson: McHugh and Williamson make their Sunday Night 7 picks.
The following are additional highlights of NBC Sports’ NFL coverage heading into Week 5:
- Mike Florio and Chris Simms, with guest Peter King, discuss all things NFL on PFT Live, including handing out their Week 4 superlatives, sharing updated power rankings and making their Week 5 game picks.
- On Chris Simms Unbuttoned, Simms deep dives into film of two games from Week 4 decided by the fans (Twitter poll).
A new “Football Morning in America” posts every Monday morning exclusively on NBCSports.com through the NFL season. It was announced in May that King signed an exclusive agreement with NBC Sports Group that included writing a weekly Monday morning NFL column for NBCSports.com; making regular appearances on NBCSN’s and NBC Sports Radio’s PFT Live with Mike Florio; and continuing to contribute to Football Night in America, the most-watched studio show in sports.