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Rick’s Pigskin Piñata: Taking a Swing at the Week 4 NFL Power Rankings

So Tom Brady was getting some sunshine on his ass this past week,  while also frolicking on a boat with Giselle and what looked to be a stand-in from The Leftovers. It was an atypical moment, one that most likely conjured specific recollections about the time you were suspended from work—for the “toilet paper” incident that messed up Sheila’s perm.

Those daunting three days where you ate nothing but peanut butter and Domino’s—you developed a camaraderie with Peter the delivery boy and gained seven pounds. You broke the record for Candy Crush invites (and you don’t even play that game). By Day 2, the seams from the couch had imprinted on your back and your lint roller was exhausted. The different versions of mohawk-ish hairstyles you created were only a reminder that you eventually needed to shower. At one point, your dog shook his head in disgust.

Not once during that time, however, did you go on a quick vacation to Italy. Not. Once.

Salute to you, Tom Brady. Let’s raise an Arnold Palmer (RIP, King) and make a toast to you and Giselle.  I would put some SPF on those cheeks, though, because nothing will ruin an overseas flight and Week 5 vengeance quite like a burned ass.

Meanwhile, the NFL moves forward, causing headaches and cheer, as we enter Week 4. What do we know? Well—some of the pieces are beginning to make sense, there is a quasi-clarity, and there’s this: There are currently five teams that have a chance to go undefeated this season, and 27 teams that do not.

Yes, there will be Knee Tingles.

There will be Velveeta Wins.

It’s Week 4…Let’s rank!

32. Chicago Bears: 0-3 (last week: 31)

Ironically, most survival experts will tell you it’s not safe to run when a bear spots you.

31. Cleveland Browns: 0-3 (last week: 32)

The Browns almost had the sweet nectar of victory on their lips last week, and then they sneezed. It was a very “Browns” way to go out, no question, but they weren’t terrible enough to not jump the Bears.

30. Jacksonville Jaguars: 0-3 (last week: 28)

Last Sunday, during crunch time, the Yaguars two-minute offense went backwards. That’s no way to win a game.

29. New Orleans Saints: 0-3 (last week: 27)

The entire world—outside of fantasy owners with the Saints’ defense, Drew Brees, or some combination of both, and the city and subsequent suburbs of Atlanta—wanted to see New Orleans pull off a victory this past Monday night, ten years after the post-Katrina reopening of the Superdome.

Unfortunately, this Saints team is not that good.

Of course, Week 1 and 2 were close calls, a kicker’s game, but now it’s clear this team has not been drinking its Ovaltine.

28. San Francisco 49ers: 1-2 (last week: 26)

No more mulligans, Niners. Maybe try putt-putt first—like, a nine-hole putt-putt?

27. Tennessee Titans: 1-2 (last week: 25)

If turning the ball over was considered cool the Titans would be a combination of Jack Palance and Bryce Dallas Howard. And as confusing as that sounds to Titans fans, just imagine how Mike Mularkey feels.

26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 1-2 (last week: 22)

The first team this week that clearly has a case of the Knee Tingles. Do you feel it? Jameis Winston is tied for the NFL lead with eight touchdown passes, but also has his name near the top for interceptions. Could this team be decent? Maybe…maybe not.

The Buccaneers’ game against Denver this weekend could make or break your knees. Just saying.

25. Buffalo Bills: 1-2 (last week: 30)

The Bills came from obscurity in Week 1 and Week 2 by knocking off the Arizona Cardinals in Week 3. If they make it two in a row this week against the Patriots…well, nine months from now we’ll see a surge in newborn babies named Patriots Parking Lot.

24. Miami Dolphins: 1-2 (last week: 24)

This is the last time I’m going to stick up for this team. Those goddamn uniforms are so stylish, though, and I really like the fact the stadium is named after a cafe that makes a living selling brown-and-yellow tee-shirts to tourists. But you have to better, Dolphins! Christ.

Here’s a picture of Lauren Tannehill holding a water bottle:

23. Washington Redskins: 1-2 (last week: 29)

Remember when Steve Spurrier was the coach? Yeah, this organization has done some weird stuff. But a win against the Browns this Sunday (which is super doable) puts the ‘Skins at 2-2, and would set up the NFC East to be a real pickle come Halloween.

22. New York Jets: 1-2 (last week: 21)

The question should be: Who didn’t intercept Ryan Fitzpatrick last week?

Some have the Jets ranked at 19, 18, somewhere in that range, and that just seems crazy. They play a team this week that uses 12 people.

21. San Diego Chargers: 1-2 (last week: 19)

Yes, yes, this team has, like, four players left who aren’t injured. But dammit, Phillip Rivers has the moxy fitting for the runways of Milan and the charisma of an Englishman with veneers. This team can persevere.

20. Indianapolis Colts: 1-2 (last week: 20)

This team has all the characteristics of plain oatmeal: no spice, boring as fuck.

The good news, though: The Colts have a chance to add a little something to the oat mix when they play the Yaguars this week.

19. Detroit Lions: 1-2 (last week: 17)

Theo Riddick had his chance to run the city…he has since bequeathed it to Marvin Jones.

18. Cincinnati Bengals: 1-2 (last week: 10)

I use the term Knee Tingles loosely with this team, because of the sensitivity the fan base currently has toward that part of the body, but still—the Bengals are on the verge of obscurity. If they loose against Miami this week then you better believe nothing will happen (except mean-spirited tweets and an increase in re-sale tickets).

17. Los Angeles Rams: 2-1 (last week: 23)

Well, hello there, top 20 team. Not even Tampa Bay lighting could stop the Rams from pulling off their first road win of the season against the Buccaneers. The game took 456 hours to complete—the fourth quarter alone was longer than The Revenant—but Jeff Fisher’s bunch got it done. At this pace, look for this team to have red carpets and velvet ropes at the home games very soon. TMZ trucks, food trucks, many a limo and fur-lined Hummerzines will drape the entrance like a Tuesday night at the W Hotel. It will be substantial.

And scene.

16. Atlanta Falcons: 2-1 (last week: 18)

Yep: Monday night’s win over the Saints is what you’d call a Velveeta Win.

However, the Falcons look like a team on the verge of…something. Please check back next week to see if anyone has discovered what the hell that “something” is.

15. Kansas City Chiefs: 2-1 (last week: 16)

I honestly think one of the most underrated things in football history is this video of Christian Okoye playing himself in Tecmo Super Bowl:

 

Where in the hell is his commercial, Kia?

Side note: I don’t like this team’s chances in Pittsburgh this Sunday.

14. Seattle Seahawks: 2-1 (last week: 15)

Hey, Jimmy!

This team showed some life last week—although the collective coffee buzz was siphoned out of the fan base like gasoline from an old Chevy on cinder blocks when Russell Wilson went down with a knee sprain.

The good news: You really only need a handful of players to beat the Jets.

13. Oakland Raiders: 2-1 (last week: 13)

Show of hands: How many of you thought it was David Carr?

Yeah, you better not admit to it. This team can ease an oncoming case of the Knee Tingles when they travel across the woooorrrrrrllllddd-ah on Sunday to play Baltimore.

12. New York Giants: 2-1 (last week: 8)

Like the NBA, if you can’t beat the nets, you’re fucked.

11. Houston Texans: 2-1 (last week: 6)

Plans to build the Brock Osweiler Library have gone missing—maybe forever—and now that J.J. Watt is possibly out for the season, it’s time to remember that your fantasy team probably didn’t have either, so, here’s a scene from Clifford:

10. Dallas Cowboys: 2-1 (last week: 14)

The Cowboys left Sunday night’s game with so much damn fake cheese on them that Jerry called 911, screaming that a bunch of Cheetos just boarded the bus.

This week will be a test simply based on the fact they change time zones; football-wise, well, it’s San Fran.

9. Carolina Panthers: 1-2 (last week: 5)

Um, it’s kind of difficult to throw passes when a defensive lineman is sitting on you. Right, Cam?

I’m not a big fan of putting a 1-2 team in the top 10, and I refuse to keep the Panthers there—unless they win, of course—so this weekend against the Falcons is the biggest moment in the history of North Carolina. (Yeah, I know, but I’m not interested in your goddamn airplane, sirs.)

8. Arizona Cardinals: 1-2 (last week: 3)

I’ve seen the Cardinals ranked as low as 15, and for good reason: the team lost to Buffalo. Fans are lucky the franchise wasn’t shipped off to the moon to gather samples for NASA.

Knee Tingles happen, regardless if there’s gravity or not, remember that.

7. Green Bay Packers: 2-1 (last week: 7)

This team isn’t playing in Week 4. Call back next week, please. In the meantime, here’s that scene from My So-Called Life:

 

6. Pittsburgh Steelers: 2-1 (last week: 2)

The battle of Pennsylvania went decidedly in the Eagle’s favor, but that’s OK, because most Pittsburghers think the state ends just outside of Monroeville.

5. Baltimore Ravens: 3-0 (last week: 11)

Let’s get famous Matt Lauer to give us a portrayal of the Ravens’ 3-0 start:

4. Philadelphia Eagles: 3-0 (last week: 12)

OK. I’m convinced now, thanks.

3. Minnesota Vikings: 3-0 (last week: 9)

Thank your defense, Vikings fans.

2. Denver Broncos: 3-0 (last week: 4)

Trevor Siemian’s performance against the Bengals is the difference between a plain Denver  Pop Tart and a Denver Pop Tart with icing. Both of them contain weed, though, because that state is cool with weed.

1. New England Patriots: 3-0 (last week: 1)

Surprised? The New England area did produce a janitor who was also a genius, so maybe we should shrug this off as just par for the course.

The hope—or what the experts wiggled in their seat over—was that the Patriots would hand the QB keys back to Tom Brady in Week 5 with, at best, a 2-2 record. Yet, here we are: Three. And. Zero.

Now, this team seems to be set and unscathed—start whoever the hell you want in Week 4, really. Because, very soon, the Patriots will get back a Super Bowl-winning QB who has the tannest ass in the league.

Until next week, enjoy the games.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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