1. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (3-0)
WK 3 W v. San Francisco 31-10, WK 4 BYE
Offense Rank 18th, Defense Rank 14th
The Chiefs are the last of the unbeatens in the NFL. Nobody would have predicted that after 4 weeks there would be only one undefeated team, and even fewer people would have predicted that team would be the Chiefs. Yes, fewer than nobody. But here we are. KC has a young and exciting team, with a pair of electrifying talents in Jamaal Charles and Dexter McCluster on offense, and a stout young front seven which ranks fourth in the league in Y/A versus the run. It's been a nice story so far, but things are about to get tougher with back to back road games at Indy and Houston, and 4 road games in the next 6 weeks. Matt Cassel has been only slightly better than horrible, Dwayne Bowe has been invisible. If the Chiefs are going to succeed in this bruising month and a half stretch coming up, they are going to have to have a respectable passing game.
2. DENVER BRONCOS (2-2)
WK 3 L v. Indianapolis 13-27, WK 4 W at Tennessee 26-20
Offense Rank 4th, Defense Rank 16th
Kyle Orton is one of the elite QBs in the NFL. Thru 4 weeks, he's throwing for over 350 yards per game, and that's insane. He's doing this with his running back out of the lineup, and a #1 receiver in Brandon Lloyd who has been released by just about every team in the NFL. As good as Orton has been, the Broncos went into last week needing a win at Tennessee to avoid a disastrous 1-3 start. They got that win though, which was essential because the next two weeks have them traveling to Baltimore and hosting the Jets. Teams don't usually come back from 1-5 starts. Sometimes the schedule maker just kicks you in the nuts, and I think that's been the case with the Broncos. They are a pretty good team, but the record doesn't show it, and probably won't show it until they can get some games against their weak division under their belts.
3. SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (2-2)
WK 3 L at Seattle 20-27, WK 4 W v. Arizona 41-10
Offense Rank 1st, Defense Rank 1st
How, you may ask, does a team that ranks 1st in the league in both offense and defense have a 2-2 record? Well, one loss was on opening night in a monsoon, and the Chargers looked well on their way to thumping the Chiefs that night until it started raining, after which point they looked hopeless. The other loss was a special teams meltdown in which they gave up 2 return TDs to Leon Washington in Seattle. Other than that, the Chargers have been dominant. Mike Tolbert has been a find in the running game, providing a bruising hammer that is opening things up for Antonio Gates, who is having a monster year with 6 receiving TDs already. The Chargers are notorious for horrible starts, and I'm sure they're disappointed with 2-2. The fact is though, they are still the best team in the division by a lot, and maybe the best team in the league, that has to show up in the record sooner or later.
4. OAKLAND RAIDERS (1-3)
WK 3 L at Arizona 23-24, WK 4 L v. Houston 24-31
Offense Rank 9th, Defense Rank 11th
Darren McFadden is finally playing up to his potential, giving the Raiders a viable offense. The defense is horrible against the run though, ranking last in the league in Y/A against, and twice getting gashed for 200+ yards, including in last weeks loss at Houston. They'll be blacked out in their home market for the 10th straight time this week, and here's what Marty Schottenheimer had to say about them on Sirius Radio this week:
“The one constant you can count on in playing the Raiders is that they don’t finish. They don’t finish plays and they don’t finish games. I always told my players that if they kept playing hard against the Raiders, they would eventually fold. That is why I knew we would always win. That is still the perception around the league.”