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Week 4 NFL Power Rankings: Refs earn stripes

Posted by Obnoxious Boston Fan  September 29, 2012 10:36 AM

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The Week 4 OBF Power Rankings come with an asterisk. The most dominant team of the season were the replacement referees, who were overmatched yet affected so many outcomes. Monday night's game was just the tipping point. Remember the good old days when the Patriots were considered a top team? At least we have Ed Hochuli and friends back in the fold. We'll start this week with a farewell to the replacements, courtesy of Saturday Night Live's "Weekend Update Thursday." Enjoy. Amazing, the regular referees got a standing ovation in Baltimore Thursday night even though the replacements helped the Ravens win their game Sunday night. Can't remember officials in any sport ever getting an ovation before a game. Good thing there will be no more bad calls for the rest of the season. We'll update the rankings each Saturday during the season. Remember, these are for entertainment purposes only. Teams are listed with record and last week's ranking.

1. Texans (3-0; 2): Arian Foster has 294 yards on a league-high 79 carries. Not even the replacements could stop that guy.

2. Falcons (3-0; 3): The top-ranked passer in the NFL doesn't play in Foxborough but he used to play his college home games at Chestnut Hill. Matt Ryan (114.0) should be able to improve that number against Carolina.

3. Cardinals (3-0; 10): Eagles knew what they were doing when they let Kevin Kolb go in favor of Michael Vick. Kolb scorched the Eagles last week (17-for-24, 222 yards, 2 TDs) as Vick was sacked five times.

4. 49ers: (2-1; 1) "Bay City Rollers" became "Pretenders" last week. But still the long-term favorite in the NFC.

5. Ravens (3-1; 7): The Ravens have played four games in 18 days and have looked good enough to return to the AFC championship in the process.

6. Giants (2-1; 8): This week's cool NFL homecoming goes to second-year Giants linebacker Mark Herzlich, who grew up as an Philadelphia Eagles fan while attending Conestoga (Pa.) High School. As you know, Herzlich missed the 2009 season at BC due to his bout with bone cancer (Ewing's sarcoma).

7. Eagles (2-1; 6): Every dog in America will be drooling Sunday night as the Giants defensive front tees off on Vick.

8. Jets (2-1; 18): The first-place Jets are holding out hope that Darrelle Revis (torn ACL in his left knee) will be back in time for the Super Bowl. Didn't know he was on the trading block.

9. Patriots (1-2; 4): 30 points wasn't enough to beat Baltimore. So far this season we've seen near perfection overall in Week 1, solid defense in Week 2 and a very productive offense in Week 3. All those same concerns about the defense came back last week. The Pats are one made and one missed field goal away from being 3-0. Of the 202 field goals attempted in the NFL this season, 186 (92 percent) have been good. Or 185 once they get around to reviewing to Justin "Mother" Tucker's boot against New England last Sunday night. This week's biggest question: Should we eat "Gronk Flakes" or one of those Dunkin' breakfast sandwiches for breakfast? Sunday, we'd take a couple of Gronk spikes before dinner.

10. Cowboys (2-1; 16): Last week, the Texans had the No. 1 ranked defense in the NFL. This week, it's the Cowboys at No. 1 (250 yards per game). Don't mess with Texas.

11. Packers (1-2; 5): Guard T.J. Lang edged out Patriots linebacker Brandon Spikes in the "NFL Tweet of the Year" competition with his profanity-filled volley against the replacement refs and Seahawks this week. He kept it up when the regular referees returned on Thursday. We won't talk about the eight sacks he and the rest of the offensive line allowed:

12. Bengals (2-1; 15): Andy Dalton put up 328 yards and 3 TDs on the Redskins last week, finding A.J. Green nine times (183 yards). And he gets the Jaguars this week. Should not be much of a cat fight.

13. Chargers (2-1; 13): Sleeper team in the AFC. At least until the games really matter.

14. Vikings (2-1; 27): Well-deserved kudos for victory over San Francisco last week. Christian Ponder and friends on verge of standing alone at 3-1 atop the NFC North. (Cue: Viking Horn.)

15. Seahawks (2-1; 19): Golden Tate finally admitted he pushed off on the final play against Green Bay Monday night. Guess he follows Lang on Twitter, too:

16. Bills (2-1; 21): The first-place Bills were the last team to beat New England and send the Pats under .500 (opening day 2003). Now, 146 games later, they have the Patriots in a "must-win situation" in Week 4 of the 2012 season. At least from what I've been told.

17. Bears (2-1; 17): Monday nighter against Dallas should provide Jay Cutler another national platform to fall flat on his face.

18: Broncos (1-2; 9): Could be a trap game for Peyton Manning aginast Oakland on Sunday as he eagerly looks forward to facing Devin McCourty and the rest of the Patriots' secondary next week.

19. Steelers (1-2; 11): Bye week comes at a perfect time - following a 34-31 loss to the Raiders that came after the Steelers blew a 10-point lead late in the game.

20: Lions (1-2; 12): The Lions gave up five touchdowns last week on plays longer than 60 yards, became the first team in NFL history to score two touchdowns in the last 18 seconds to force overtime or win (after trailing 41-27 with 1:16 to play) but then lost because they could not convert on a fourth-and-one in overtime. Yeah, saw that one coming.

21. Redskins (1-2; 14): Robert Griffin III looks good. Defense doesn't. Maybe Stephen Strasburg can play cornerback in his spare time.

22. Rams (1-2; 20): When they lose to Seattle this week it won't be the refs' fault.

23. Buccaneers (1-2; 22): Tampa Bay has the best red-zone defense in the NFL, allowing touchdowns just 18.2 percent of the time after opponents get inside their 20. Problem is they've allowed too many touchdowns from outside the 20. RGIII gets his crack this week.

24. Saints (0-3; 23): Drew Brees can tie John Unitas’ record of 47 straight games with a TD pass if he gets one against the Packers this week. Could use Art Donovan on defense.

25. Dolphins (1-2; 24): Reggie Bush is banged up but he'll get the burden against the Cardinals, assuming the Dolphins ever get a chance.

26. Colts (1-2; 25): Bye week. No one cares.

27. Chiefs (1-2; 26): Matt Cassel and Romeo Crennel now 122 regular-season victories behind Brady and Bill Belichick on all-time coach/QB tandem list after win last week. Chiefs are best rushing team in the league (191.7 yards), which may have something to do with it.

28: Titans (1-2; 28): Averted disaster against the Lions. Loss to Houston won't mathematically eliminate them from contention in the AFC South, it will just feel that way.

29. Panthers (1-2; 29): Carolina has eight turnovers - five picks, three fumbles - this season. Paws for concern.

30. Raiders (1-2; 30): Raiders have won four straight in Denver. None of those wins came against Manning.

31. Browns (0-3; 31): Browns have also played four games in 18 days. Do not look like a contender for the AFC championship game.

32. Jaguars (1-2; 32): The big news in Jacksonville this week: Laurent Robinson (8 catches, 115 yards this season) is expected to play at wide receiver after recovering from a concussion. If it wasn't for fantasy football, no one the Jaguars coaching staff would even notice.

Don't forget to join us next Sunday at 4 p.m. for our in-game Patriots-Broncos fan chat. We'll be training with the former replacement refs this week for the upcoming Lingere League season. As always, let us know what you think. Post your thoughts here, on our Obnoxious Boston Fan Facebook page or e-mail me obnoxiousbostonfan@hotmail.com. And don't forget to follow us on Twitter

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Obnoxious Boston Fan offers a fun, unique and biting perspective on the Red Sox, Celtics, Bruins, Patriots and whatever else people are talking about in the world of sports. We More »
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