After all the games from the week are in the book, Colin releases his weekly NFL Power Rankings. It’s The Herd Hierarchy. There’s a lot of movement in the Top 10 this week, with a surprise team making their first appearance, and a new team grabbing the top spot.
The Vikings are rolling. Tom Brady is finally free. And the Rams are for real.
Often imitated, but never duplicated, it’s The Herd Hierarchy after 4 weeks of the 2016 NFL season.
10. L.A. Rams – Colin doesn’t understand how the Rams are here, but here they are. The Rams are 3-1 and tied for the NFC West lead despite being last in Yards Per Play (4.62), and Yards per Game (269.0). So, who are they? Why are The Rams here? The Rams Defense, led by all-world tackle Aaron Donald, is third in the NFL in takeaways (9), and a legit force. Case Keenum has made #1 pick Jared Goff an afterthought. Since Week 14 of last season, he’s 6-2, and tied for the best winning percentage amongst all NFL quarterbacks. How long can they keep winning? Who knows. But, they’ve been better than anyone expected.
That late-game Keenum MAGIC?!
— NFL (@NFL) October 2, 2016
9. Atlanta Falcons – Colin hates dome teams, but Matty Ice has been a man on fire, leading the most potent offense in the league through 4 weeks. He leads the NFL in passer rating, completion percentage, pass yards, and passing touchdowns. The Falcons have scored the 5th most points through 4 games of any NFL team since the merger with 152. Julio Jones has been the best wideout in the NFL this season. Colin has been slow to jump on the Falcons, but he’s coming around.
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) October 2, 2016
8. Oakland Raiders – Colin’s preseason prediction that the Raiders would finish 10-6 and win the AFC West is right on track. He still doesn’t think they’re a Super Bowl team. The Raiders 3 -1 start is their best since their last Super Bowl appearance in 2002. The Silver and Black, led by emerging franchise quarterback David Carr is 2nd in the NFL in Yards Per Play, and 3rd in total offense. The Raiders o-line has only allowed two sacks on the year.
— NFL Now (@NFLNow) October 2, 2016
7. Dallas Cowboys – Dallas is 3-1 behind rookie Dak Prescott, who’s 131 pass attempts without an interception to start a career is 2nd only to Tom Brady (162). He’s also been extending drives. His 50% 3rd down conversion rate is the best in the NFL. Ezekiel Elliott started slow, but leads the NFL in rushing (412 yards). The Cowboys young roster enters the toughest portion of their schedule, facing the Bengals, Packers, Eagles and Steelers over the next 5 weeks.
— Buckeye Videos+ (@BuckeyeVideos) October 3, 2016
6. Pittsburgh Steelers – Big Ben and the Steelers have featured a heavy dose of big plays. They’re 3-1 for the 5th time since 2005, with their only loss on the year coming at the hands of the surprising Eagles. 3 of the last 4 times they started 3-1, they made it to the Super Bowl. All-Pro running back Le’Veon Bell was impressive in his return from a 3 game suspension, racking up 144 yards against the Chiefs. Pittsburgh 49% 3rd down conversion rate is 2nd in the NFL. The biggest liability for the Steelers has been their 30th ranked pass defense, which was exposed against the Eagles.
.@L_Bell26 looks to be in top form in his season debut 👌
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) October 3, 2016
5. Philadelphia Eagles – Rookie Carson Wentz has shattered the quarterback learning curve, and is an early season MVP candidate for the 3-0 Eagles. Philly is 1st in Time of Possession, and 2nd in the NFL with 30.7 Points Per Game. Colin is a believer in first year head coach Doug Pederson, who looks like an elite coach so far. The Eagles look to keep the momentum rolling in Week 5 after an early season bye week.
Shot 8 – Perfect 3-lvl stretch. Great poise by Wentz (subtle move in pocket) & great block by Sproles – not just caching passes on 3rd down! pic.twitter.com/SGztA8xZCG
— Fran Duffy (@fduffy3) September 27, 2016
4. Seattle Seahawks – The Seahawks are 3-1, but have struggled with a reorganized offensive line and a hobbled Russell Wilson. The Seahawks secured a huge 10-point road win against the Jets at MetLife in Week 4. Colin is still cautious, because their 3 wins have come against NFL bottom feeders with a combined record of 3-9. The Seahawk defense has been keeping them in close games. They’re 2nd in the NFL with 4.53 yards per game, 4th in sacks, and 3rd in the league with 13.5 Points Per Game allowed.
— #OnlyInTheNFL (@NFLUK) October 4, 2016
3. Denver Broncos – The last two times the Broncos started 4-0, they made it to the Super Bowl. Colin still has questions about the Broncos offense, which may start rookie quarterback Paxton Lynch this week. He doesn’t have any such questions about their defense, led by quarterback terrorist Von Miller. They’re 1st in the NFL in Sacks and Yards Per Play, 5th in Points Allowed Per Game, and giving up the second least Passing Yards Per Game in the league (169).
ANOTHER turnover forced by the @Broncos defense…
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) October 2, 2016
2. New England Patriots – The Pats are 3-1 through 4 games with Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett under center. This week they’ll slightly upgrade when Tom Brady makes his return from his 4-game Deflategate suspension. Defensive leader Rob Ninkovich also returns from a 4-game suspension. Gronk only has 1 catch so far this season, and has been limited by a nagging hamstring injury. He’ll need to get healthy for the Patriots to make a Super Bowl run, but don’t expect Belichick to rush him along with New England already in the driver seat for the division.
Tom Brady loosens up at practice with some downfield passing. pic.twitter.com/VzRjyIz4BZ
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) October 5, 2016
1. Minnesota Vikings – Colin has been heavy on Minnesota since the Sam Bradford trade, and he hasn’t been disappointed. Bradford has 8 touchdown passes against 0 interceptions on the season. The last time the Vikings were 4-0, they made it to the NFC Championship (2009). They have the youngest of the elite NFL defenses, and lead the NFL with a +10 turnover differential through 4 weeks. They’ve held opponents under 20 points in 8 straight games, which is the longest streak in the league. The Vikings have a Super Bowl roster, and are the new #1 in The Herd Hierarchy. Valhalla.
— uSTADIUM (@uSTADIUM) October 4, 2016
Check back next week and see who’s rising and who’s falling in The Herd Hierarchy after a massive Week 5.
— Herd w/Colin Cowherd (@TheHerd) October 5, 2016