1. HOUSTON TEXANS (3-1)
WK 3 L v. Dallas 13-27, WK 4 W at Oakland 31-24
Offense Rank 2nd, Defense Rank 32nd
I realize this is the sexy pick to make a breakthru and get to the Super Bowl this year, but that's not going to happen with the worst defense in the league. It's not surprising with this enigmatic team that even after 4 weeks, it's really not possible to tell how good they are. They beat Indy in Week 1, but that accomplishment has dulled a little now that we see how the Colts have struggled. The last 2 weeks have brought a thorough beating at home from the Cowboys, and an uninspiring win in Oakland. Arian Foster has been the best running back in the league so far, and a revelation, helping offset Andre Johnson's slow start. That defense though, has been torched for over 400 passing yards twice already, which is ridiculous given the talent on it. Mario Williams has 5 sacks already, and Brian Cushing will return from his bout with Cushing's Disease, which I believe is caused by steroid use, so maybe there's hope. They'll have a tough matchup with the Giants in Week 5, but win or lose, I still won't really know how good they are.
2. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (2-2)
WK 3 L v. Philadelphia 3-28, WK 4 W v. Indianapolis 31-28
Offense Rank 24th, Defense Rank 30th
Here's a bit of a conundrum. Is Jack Del Rio a good coach because he's managed to be 2-2 with wins over pretty decent Denver and Indy teams despite having both an offense and defense that ranks among the worst in the league? Or is he a bad coach because this team is obviously awful despite its 2-2 record? This seems like an 0-4 team in 2-2 clothing, but then again the Jags have always been a team with wildly fluctuating performances from one week to the next. The common theme seems to be that in their 2 wins, they have 0 turnovers, and in their two losses they have 7. I guess they are to be commended for surviving the first quarter of the year despite being so bad, but I'm also thinking that the Bills get their first and possibly only win of the season against them this week.
3. TENNESSEE TITANS (2-2)
WK3 W at NY Giants 29-10, WK 4 L v. Denver 20-26
Offense Rank 27th, Defense Rank 9th
Another historically schizo team, the Titans have looked a little more like the awful team that didn't get a win until November last year than the team that couldn't stop losing after November last year. If you'll remember that pretty game in the snow in Foxboro last year, the problem with the Titans early last year was pass defense. The last 2 weeks they've given up over 300 passing yards, so it seems to be a problem again, punctuated by defensive coordinator Chuck Cecil flicking off an official during last weeks loss to the Broncos. The offense has struggled too. It's leaning heavily on Chris Johnson and he's fallen off a little, averaging under 4 yards a carry so far. Vince Young hasn't been bad, but defenses are coming out with one thought in mind against the Titans, to contain Chris Johnson any way they can. So far VY hasn't made them pay, and if he doesn't both Johnson and the T's will continue to struggle.
4. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (2-2)
WK 3 W at Denver 27-13, WK 4 L at Jacksonville 28-31
Offense Rank 3rd, Defense Rank 24th
Is this the year that Peyton Manning finally fails to carry a subpar supporting cast to the playoffs? Manning has never been better. He's putting up 300+ yards every game and making a star out of Austin Collie (although Reggie Wayne once again took center stage last weekend, catching 15 balls for almost 200 yards). So far it hasn't been enough though. The headset wearing water cooler that is Jim Caldwell actually came into play in last week's bad loss to Jacksonville, calling a stupid time out which helped leave enough time for Josh Scobee to nail a long distance field goal to win it as time expired. Combine that with a vestigial running game, and a defense which is now down to a 3rd string safety after both Bob Sanders and his replacement Melvin Bullitt go out for the year, and it's going to be a struggle all year for the Colts, who face the unbeaten Chiefs this week.