NFL Team Grades for Week 4

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NFL Team Grades for Week 4

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    Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

    The NFL is a constantly changing league, and that fact was on full display in a wild Week 4.

    A week ago, the New England Patriots looked like a lost team. On Sunday, they looked like the best team in the NFL. In Week 3, rookie quarterbacks Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield looked like surefire superstars. Both fell back to earth in Week 4.

    Last Monday night, Ryan Fitzpatrick completed his third consecutive 400-yard game. By halftime Sunday, he was pulled from the starting lineup in favor of Jameis Winston.   

    There was no shortage of risers and fallers in Week 4. How did your favorite team grade out? Let’s take a look.

         

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    Ralph Freso/Getty Images

    Week 4 Opponent: Seattle Seahawks

    Result: Lost 20-17

    The Arizona Cardinals got their first real look at rookie quarterback Josh Rosen on Sunday against the rival Seattle Seahawks. The UCLA product played well enough for the Cardinals to win; in fact, they probably should have.

    Rosen finished 15-of-27 for 180 yards and a touchdown, but he also watched as his receiving corps repeatedly dropped passes. He also watched kicker Phil Dawson miss a 45-yard field-goal attempt with the game tied and less than two minutes remaining in regulation.

    It was an encouraging, if unspectacular, start to the Rosen era, but quarterback was never the only question for this team. The offensive line is struggling to protect and to open holes in the run game—David Johnson is averaging just 3.3 yards per carry this year—and the defense is failing to make game-changing plays.

    Arizona is minus-four in turnover differential this season and had no takeaways against Seattle.

    The Cardinals look like a better team with Rosen under center, but they’re also a long way off from being playoff contenders.

    Week 4 Grade: C

    Season Grade: D+

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    Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

    Week 4 Opponent: Cincinnati Bengals

    Result: Lost 37-36

    Things are finally coming together for Steve Sarkisian’s offense. While the Atlanta Falcons offense might not be as explosive as it was when Kyle Shanahan was coaching it to the Super Bowl a couple of years ago, it is explosive.

    A week after putting up 37 points, the Falcons hung 36 on the Cincinnati Bengals. The problem for Atlanta is that for the second consecutive week, the defense failed.

    The Falcons defense has talent. It’s fast and physical. With linebacker Deion Jones and safety Keanu Neal both on injured reserve, however, it has struggled to get off the field in the clutch. On Sunday, it allowed Andy Dalton to find A.J. Green in the end zone to go ahead with just seconds remaining.

    After giving up 28 points in the first half, the Falcons defense tightened up in the second half, surrendering just nine points and even picking off a tipped pass in Falcons territory to stall a potential scoring drive. Unfortunately, those last six points were the ones the defense couldn’t afford to surrender.

    The Falcons have an offense that should worry most defensive coordinators. Yet, they’re sitting at 1-3 and in the NFC South basement because they cannot stop anyone.

    Week 4 Grade: C-

    Season Grade: C-

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    Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

    Week 4 Opponent: Pittsburgh Steelers

    Result: Won 26-14

    When the Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers get together, it’s usually a physical, chippy and hotly contested game. This one felt different, however, as the Ravens were clearly the better team. The only time the game felt close was when Ravens running back Alex Collins fumbled near the goal line and the Steelers then scored 11 straight points to tie the game at 14.

    If not for Collins’ fumble, the Steelers were staring down a 21-3 lead. Those 11 points were the last Pittsburgh would score.

    The Ravens defense locked things down in the second half, and the Ravens never trailed. That defense limited Pittsburgh to just 284 yards of offense and 19 (!) yards rushing.

    Offensively, the Ravens moved the ball almost at will between the 20s. While the Steelers did keep the Ravens out of the end zone in the second half, four Justin Tucker field goals gave Baltimore a comfortable 12-point win. Joe Flacco finished with 363 yards passing and two touchdowns.

    The Ravens look like a complete team and one that could be dangerous down the stretch.

    Week 4 Grade: A

    Season Grade: B+

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    Dylan Buell/Getty Images

    Week 4 Opponent: Green Bay Packers

    Result: Lost 22-0

    We saw the greatness that Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen is capable of in Week 3. He flashed the arm talent. He showed off his wheels (and his leaping ability). He mostly made smart decisions with the football.

    Against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, we saw the other end of the spectrum. Allen was inaccurate, he tried to force passes when he shouldn’t have, and he made some baffling decisions while turning the ball over three times. He completed just 16 of 33 pass attempts for 151 yards.

    The Bills shouldn’t panic, though. Allen was always an unpolished prospect, and this roller coaster is likely to continue throughout his rookie campaign. Buffalo just needs to know that it’s going to be tough to win games when Allen is having a bad outing.

    On a positive note, the defense limited Green Bay to just 22 points despite constantly being put in bad positions. This rout wasn’t as bad as the one in Week 1, so…progress?

    Week 4 Grade: D

    Season Grade: D+

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    Grant Halverson/Getty Images

    Week 4 Bye

    The Carolina Panthers carried a Week 3 win and a 2-1 record into the bye week, and they’ll be looking to build off that momentum when they face the New York Giants next Sunday.

    Carolina added a new face during the bye week too, adding safety Eric Reid to help boost a defense that has allowed an average of 356.7 yards per game thus far (15th in the NFL). If that defense can slow the Giants, the Panthers and their first-ranked rushing attack (166.0 yards per game) will have a good chance to control the game and get to 3-1.

    Getting that third win will be important, as the Panthers are chasing the 3-1 New Orleans Saints in the NFC South.

    Season Grade: B-

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Week 4 Opponent: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    Result: Won 48-10

    The Chicago Bears have looked like a strong team early in 2018, but they’ve looked one with a dominant defense covering for a middle-of-the-road offense. Well, that all changed against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, as Matt Nagy’s offense finally exploded.

    Second-year quarterback Mitchell Trubisky went from being a tentative game manager to a field general against Tampa. He consistently got the ball into the hands of playmakers like Taylor Gabriel and Tarik Cohen, each of whom finished with over 100 yards. Trubisky himself passed for 354 yards, rushed for 53 more and tossed six touchdowns.

    Not to be outshined, Chicago’s defense also had an impressive performance. It never let quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick get comfortable—he was eventually pulled for Jameis Winston—it produced four sacks and three interceptions, and it held the Buccaneers to just three points before the game was well in hand in the fourth quarter.

    We can’t expect the Chicago offense to run wild like this every week—the Buccaneers secondary is really bad—but if the Bears can play close to this level on both sides of the ball with any consistency, they will make a playoff push.

    Week 4 Grade: A+

    Season Grade: B

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    Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

    Week 4 Opponent: Atlanta Falcons

    Result: Won 37-36

    It was a tale of two halves and a story of good and bad for the Bengals against the Falcons. Cincinnati scored 28 points in the first half but then just nine in the second. The defense allowed the Falcons to amass 495 yards. The offense engineered a game-winning drive down five points and with little time on the clock.

    The good news is that the offense is doing enough—even without starting back Joe Mixon—to win in the clutch. The bad is that the defense, which came into Week 4 allowing 394 yards per game, doesn’t look like one that is going to stop elite offenses in December or January.

    The worse news is that tight end Tyler Eifert was carted off after suffering a gruesome leg injury.

    Seriously, don’t watch the replay.

    The Bengals are 3-1 and in first place in the AFC North after another wild back-and-forth game. Yet the defense isn’t dominant, and the offense just lost another playmaker. They are on shaky ground. 

    Week 4 Grade: B

    Season Grade: B

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Week 4 Opponent: Oakland Raiders

    Result: Lost 45-42 (OT)

    The Cleveland Browns should have gotten their second consecutive win Sunday. Fans will be quick to blame the officials, who appeared to miss a pair of pivotal fourth-quarter calls. However, the Browns have plenty of blame to give themselves.

    Rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield committed four turnovers, his receivers dropped passes, and coordinator Gregg Williams’ defense struggled. The unit had been solid through the first three weeks but surrendered a whopping 565 yards of offense to the Oakland Raiders. The defense also couldn’t contain Marshawn Lynch, who rumbled for 130 yards.

    That defense also lost starting cornerback Terrance Mitchell, likely for the season, to a broken forearm.

    There are some positives fans can take away, though. While Mayfield’s mistakes loomed large, we also saw just how much more explosive the offense can be with him under center. The Browns’ 42 points were the most the team has scored since 2007.

    Rookie running back Nick Chubb racked up 105 yards and two touchdowns on just three carries—an NFL first.

    The Browns blew one Sunday, but they’re also just a few plays away from being 4-0. For a team that went winless last year, that’s tangible progress.

    Week 4 Grade: C-

    Season Grade: C

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    Week 4 Opponent: Detroit Lions

    Result: Won 26-24

    Last week, the Detroit Lions defense came alive and made Tom Brady and the New England Patriots offense look subpar. Therefore, you’d be forgiven for thinking the Dallas Cowboys offense, which had been subpar through three weeks, might fall flat.

    Instead, the Cowboys offense regained its identity as a powerful run-first unit and did what it needed to do to grind out a tough win.

    Now, Dallas’ offense shouldn’t be confused with that of the Los Angeles Rams. While Dak Prescott did a better job of throwing the football, he wasn’t exactly chucking it all over the field. What he did was take advantage of the favorable matchups created by Ezekiel Elliott and the attention he commanded.

    Elliott was the centerpiece of the offense against Detroit. He rushed for 152 yards and caught four passes for 88 yards, including a 34-yard grab that helped set up the game-winning field goal.

    While the Dallas defense did struggle to contain Matthew Stafford and Golden Tate—they connected for 132 yards and two touchdowns—it did enough to keep the offense within striking defense.

    Week 4 Grade: B+

    Season Grade: C+

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    Week 4 Opponent: Kansas City Chiefs

    Result: Lost 27-23

    For a while, it looked like the Denver Broncos defense would be enough to carry the day against that vaunted Kansas City Chiefs offense. It generated pressure, prevented Patrick Mahomes from getting a lot of easy looks and kept the Kansas City offense in check for most of the game. 

    Denver actually held a 10-point lead early in the fourth quarter.

    Mahomes made his magic, though, and brought the Chiefs back to take a four-point lead with less than two minutes remaining.

    It’s the execution of the offense that continues to keep the Broncos from being a legitimate playoff contender. Case Keenum threw another interception, and he overthrew a wide-open Demaryius Thomas on a potential game-winning drive near the end of regulation.

    Denver was a dismal 2-of-11 on third-down attempts.

    Yes, you can blame the Denver defense for squandering a 10-point lead, but a sharper day on offense would have resulted in a big divisional win on Monday night.

    Week 4 Grade: C-

    Season Grade: C

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    Ron Jenkins/Associated Press

    Week 4 Opponent: Dallas Cowboys

    Result: Lost 26-24

    Sometimes, it must be frustrating to be Matthew Stafford. He’s consistently been one of the better signal-callers in the game, but he’s rarely had the support of a solid defense or a strong rushing attack.

    Such was the case against Dallas.

    To be fair, rookie back Kerryon Johnson ran tremendously—he had 55 yards and a score on just nine carries—but the Lions decided not to lean on him. Instead, coordinator Jim Bob Cooter asked Stafford to carry the offense with his throwing arm.

    Stafford did exactly that, completing 24 of 30 pass attempts, including a 38-yard touchdown to Tate that gave the Lions the lead with 2:17 remaining. In response, Detroit’s defense, which allowed Elliott to run wild all day, let the Cowboys drive down the field for a game-winning kick as time expired.

    Detroit looked like a complete team in Week 3. It wasn’t one against Dallas.

    Week 4 Grade: C-

    Season Grade: C-

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    Mike Roemer/Associated Press

    Week 4 Opponent: Buffalo Bills

    Result: Won 22-0

    This year’s Packers team feels just a little different than the ones we’ve seen in recent years. It hasn’t seemed like Aaron Rodgers has been forced to carry the team every single week—and that’s important since he’s been dealing with a knee injury he suffered in Week 1.

    Yes, Rodgers’ injury played a role in Green Bay’s blowout loss in Week 3, but the Packers rebounded nicely on Sunday, thanks in large part to a defense that pitched its first shutout since 2010.

    The Packers were also able to lean on their running game, which produced 141 yards in total. Aaron Jones, who had 65 yards and a touchdown on just 11 carries, is emerging as a starting-caliber back and a guy who can help bring balance to the offense.

    Rodgers wasn’t horrendous against Buffalo, but he was far from his usually efficient self. He had 298 yards through the air but also completed just over 50 percent of his passes (22-of-40). Because of the defense and the ground game, Rodgers didn’t have to be perfect.

    With other phases beginning to come together, the Packers could become dangerous if and when Rodgers gets back to 100 percent.

    Week 4 Grade: A-

    Season Grade: C+

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    Week 4 Opponent: Indianapolis Colts

    Result: Won 37-34 (OT)

    The Houston Texans got their first win of 2018 on Sunday, and it came in a wild shootout with the rival Indianapolis Colts. The good news for the Texans is that quarterback Deshaun Watson looked like the rookie phenom he was before suffering a torn ACL last season. He finished with 375 yards passing, 41 yards rushing and three total touchdowns with an interception.

    The bad news is that Watson had to play hero ball because Houston’s defense slumped in the second half.

    The Texans held a 28-10 lead in the third quarter, but then Colts quarterback Andrew Luck played a little hero ball of his own. He brought Indianapolis all the way back to force overtime. The teams traded field goals to open the extra period before Texans kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn hit a second to win the game—only after the Colts failed to convert on fourth down in their own territory.

    The Texans got something they can build on in Week 4. They got a win, of course, but they also got more reassurance that Watson is getting back to 100 percent. Rebuilding the defense needs to be the next step in the long-term process. Houston doesn’t have the feel of a playoff team this season.

    Week 4 Grade: C+

    Season Grade: D+

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    Week 4 Opponent: Houston Texans

    Result: Lost 37-34 (OT)

    Colts quarterback Andrew Luck may not have all of his arm strength back, but he looked as close to 100 percent as we’ve seen him this year against the Texans. Luck engineered a comeback from 18 points down while throwing for 464 yards and four touchdowns.

    Luck mounted his charge without starting left tackle Anthony Castonzo and without any semblance of a running game. He was sacked four times, while the Colts rushed for a mere 41 yards as a team. Luck had 11 of those.

    While Luck’s efforts weren’t enough to get a win, they should have been enough to net Indianapolis a tie. However, coach Frank Reich’s decision to go for it on 4th-and-4 from the Indianapolis 43 with just 27 seconds left in overtime gifted the Texans a field-goal opportunity.

    “We’re not playing to tie. We’re going for it 10 times out of 10,” Reich said after the game, per Zak Keefer of the Indianapolis Star.

    As is the case with the Texans, the big takeaway for Indianapolis is its quarterback is returning to form.

    Week 4 Grade: C-

    Season: C-

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    Stephen B. Morton/Associated Press

    Week 4 Opponent: New York Jets

    Result: Won 31-12

    The Jacksonville Jaguars stumbled against the upstart Tennessee Titans in Week 3. They rebounded with a blowout win over the New York Jets on Sunday. We saw the return of gunslinger Blake Bortles, which helped Jacksonville click in all phases.

    Bortles threw the ball all over the place, racking up 388 yards and two touchdowns with an interception. The ground game produced 126 yards. The defense made life miserable for rookie quarterback Sam Darnold, who completed just 50 percent of his passes and was sacked three times.

    It wasn’t all positive for the Jaguars, though, as running back Leonard Fournette reinjured his hamstring and did not return. Fournette was a central part of Jacksonville’s offense as a rookie last season but has gotten just 20 carries in 2018 because of the hamstring.

    This Jaguars team, however, doesn’t look like one that needs to lean on the physical running of Fournette to be successful. The Jaguars would obviously like to have him back for a potential playoff run, but they can win without him.

    Week 4 Grade: A-

    Season Grade: B

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    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    Week 4 Opponent: Denver Broncos

    Result: Won 27-23

    The Chiefs pulled off a thrilling comeback victory over the rival Broncos thanks largely to the fourth-quarter heroics of Mahomes. The second-year gunslinger showed on a national stage that he can make some phenomenal unorthodox plays and that he can handle the pressure of a big game.

    This win should build confidence for the Chiefs, but it also highlighted a big issue.

    I’ve been saying that at some point, the Chiefs are going to run up against a defense that can slow them, and that when it happens, their suspect defense could cost them.

    It nearly cost the Chiefs on Monday night. While the defense did make a few opportunistic plays, it also allowed the Broncos to gash them for an average of 6.5 yards per play, build that late 10-point lead and nearly score a last-second game-winning touchdown.

    If not for an overthrown ball by Keenum and a failed hook-and-ladder play, Kansas City’s defense, and not Mahomes, would be the big story.

    Week 4 Grade: B

    Season Grade: B+

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    Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

    Week 4 Opponent: San Francisco 49ers

    Result: Won 29-27

    You might not blame the Los Angeles Chargers for overlooking a San Francisco 49ers team that just lost starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo for the season. If that is what happened Sunday, it nearly cost L.A. a win.

    San Francisco jumped out to a 14-point lead early in the first quarter after Antone Exum returned an interception for a score and CJ Beathard tossed a touchdown pass to Kendrick Bourne. The 49ers then regained the lead in the fourth after the Chargers battled back. It took a late Caleb Sturgis field goal to give the Chargers the two-point advantage.

    Still, the Chargers deserve credit for overcoming that early deficit. It took good execution in all phases—Philip Rivers passed for 250 yards and three scores, the defense snagged two interceptions, running back Melvin Gordon racked up 159 rushing and receiving yards, and Caleb Sturgis connected on three of his four field-goal attempts (despite going 0-of-2 on extra points).

    The Chargers are sitting at 2-2, which isn’t great but is much better than last year’s 0-4 start. Los Angeles came close to making the playoffs anyway, but failing to close out those early games cost the Chargers a realistic postseason shot. Closing out a close game in Week 4 is big for this team.

    Week 4 Grade: C+

    Season Grade: C

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    Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

    Week 4 Opponent: Minnesota Vikings

    Result: Won 38-31

    Defense was optional for long stretches of Thursday night’s game between the Los Angeles Rams and the Minnesota Vikings. This raises some concerns about the secondary depth of Los Angeles, which is expected to be a title contender this season.

    Yes, the Rams were without starting cornerback Aqib Talib, but championship-caliber defenses overcome injuries.

    The Rams were able to lean on their run defense (just 3.2 yards per carry allowed) and an offense that looks as good as any in the NFL right now. Jared Goff is quickly becoming a top-tier quarterback, and he showed as much Thursday while consistently whipping the ball all over the field.

    Goff finished with 465 yards and five touchdowns.

    The offense is scary-good—L.A. has only punted three times over the past two weeks—and the Rams can beat you in a variety of ways. They’ll have an easier time doing so if the back end of the defense plays better than it did Thursday.

    Week 4 Grade: B

    Season Grade: A-

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    Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

    Week 4 Opponent: New England Patriots

    Result: Lost 38-7

    The Miami Dolphins came into Week 4 riding a wave of momentum. They were undefeated, they held the lead in the AFC East, and they had an opportunity to grab a three-game lead over the hated New England Patriots in the division.

    However, the Dolphins came crashing back to the shore.

    Miami had no answers for what the Patriots were doing on either side of the ball. The defense fell apart, Ryan Tannehill threw for a mere 100 yards, and backup Brock Osweiler threw Miami’s only touchdown after the Dolphins packed it in and pulled their starting quarterback.

    It didn’t help that Miami kept setting itself back with penalties—there were 10 for 89 yards.

    The Dolphins defense did pick off Tom Brady twice, and that’s about the only thing the Dolphins can feel good about coming out of this game. If the Dolphins play like this against the Bengals next week, they’ll be staring 3-2 right in the face.

    Week 4 Grade: F

    Season Grade: C+

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    Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

    Week 4 Opponent: Los Angeles Rams

    Result: Lost 38-31

    The Vikings offense rebounded in a big way just days after being brickwalled by the Bills. Though Minnesota struggled to run the ball against L.A.’s stout defensive front, the Vikings still put up 446 yards of offense.

    While the offense rebounded, the defense did not. It allowed the Rams to move the ball almost at will, and it was repeatedly gashed by chunk passing plays.

    “Probably anywhere I’ve ever been, we’ve never been this poor in pass coverage, so we’re going to look at everything we’re doing and get back to doing things correctly,” head coach Mike Zimmer said, per NFL Media’s Kevin Patra.

    It’s a testament to Kirk Cousins and the passing attack that the Vikings were able to hang in the game and give themselves a shot at the end. Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs both topped 120 yards, while Cousins threw for 422.

    When the passing attack is clicking like it was against L.A., the Vikings can match points with almost anyone. However, the defense is in need of a serious identity check.

    Week 4 Grade: C

    Season Grade: C-

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    Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

    Week 4 Opponent: Miami Dolphins

    Result: Won 38-7

    Aside from a couple of picks thrown by Tom Brady, there wasn’t much that went wrong for the Patriots on Sunday. Josh Gordon made his Patriots debut, rookie back Sony Michel ran for 112 yards and a score, the offense put up 449 yards, and the defense didn’t let Miami score until late in the fourth quarter.

    New England looked listless in its second consecutive loss last week. The Pats looked unstoppable against the Dolphins.

    “We just all performed at a higher level, which we needed to do,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said, per Mark Dunphy of Boston.com.

    The Patriots performed at a much higher level, and it shouldn’t come as a surprise. This is a team that tends to change its identity from year to year. This occasionally leads to some early-season struggles, but the Patriots typically figure out what kind of team they’re going to be by the end of September.

    New England started last season 2-2 before losing just one more game up until Super Bowl LII. The Patriots will look to start another run this Thursday when the Colts come to town.

    Week 4 Grade: A

    Season Grade: C

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    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Week 4 Opponent: New York Giants

    Result: Won 33-18

    The New Orleans Saints allowed Eli Manning and the New York Giants to start their day off with a 75-yard touchdown drive. Briefly, it looked like a Saints defense that has been a liability all season was going to make things difficult once again. However, the defense gave up just three more points until late in the fourth quarter.

    Now, we’re not going to sit here and act like New Orleans’ defensive woes are solved, as the Giants offense has been wildly inconsistent this season. Still, the Saints defense didn’t break, which is progress after it gave up 37 points to the Falcons in Week 3.

    The New Orleans offense, as might be expected, was superb. The Giants held the Saints to just four field goals in the first half, but Drew Brees and Co. exploded after the intermission. Alvin Kamara led the charge with three rushing touchdowns in the second half. He finished the day with 181 combined rushing and receiving yards.

    The defense is a work in progress, but the Saints have now won three in a row and are starting to look more like the Super Bowl contender many (myself included) believed they could be.

    Week 4 Grade: B+

    Season Grade: B-

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    Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

    Week 4 Opponent: New Orleans Saints

    Result: Lost 33-18

    The Giants were willing to use the second overall pick in the draft on running back Saquon Barkley, largely because they believed the offense could still flourish with Eli Manning under center. Partnering Barkley with Evan Engram, Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard seemed to be one way to build an explosive offense.

    After failing to top 20 points for the third time in four games, it’s clear this offense is not explosive. It’s not all Manning’s fault, though, as the offensive line has struggled to provide the time needed to attack downfield.

    Manning passed for 255 yards against the Saints, but much of that yardage came on short passes or late in garbage time.

    It was never going to be easy to contain the Saints offense, but the Giants did an admirable job early. New York simply couldn’t put enough points on the board to keep the game close, and it’s becoming increasingly clear this is a stunted offense that won’t pull the Giants into the postseason.

    Week 4 Grade: D

    Season Grade: D+

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    Week 4 Opponent: Jacksonville Jaguars

    Result: Lost 31-12

    It was another shaky outing for Jets rookie quarterback Sam Darnold, but it’s hard to put too much blame on the quarterback himself. Darnold was on the road against perhaps the best defense in the league, and he got little help from his running game.

    New York averaged just 2.4 yards per carry while rushing a mere 14 times.

    Darnold got even less help from the Jets defense, which struggled to contain Blake Bortles and the Jaguars offense, which amassed 503 total yards. The defense allowed the Jets to fall into a 16-0 first-half hole, which put even more pressure on the rookie.

    Darnold is going to have his ups and downs as a rookie, which is to be expected. The bigger concern is that the Jets have steadily been falling since their dominant Week 1 win.

    “I thought in the first three games, we fought and made a lot of progress,” head coach Todd Bowles said, per Darryl Slater of NJ.com. “I thought we took a step back today.”

    For his job’s sake, Bowles had better hope the Jets start showing more fight sooner than later.

    Week 4 Grade: F

    Season Grade: D+

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    Week 4 Opponent: Cleveland Browns

    Result: Won 45-42

    Whether or not you believe officials handed the Raiders opportunities late in the game against Cleveland, Oakland still had to take advantage. Raiders fans should feel good about getting the win and about seeing the offense finally come together against a good Browns defense.

    Derek Carr passed for 437 yards and four touchdowns, though he did have two picks. Marshawn Lynch rushed for 130, while pass-catchers Amari Cooper and Jared Cook both topped the 100-yard mark. It was a promising outing for a unit that hadn’t put together four full quarters all season.

    The Raiders defense, on the other hand, is still looking like a major liability. Yes, it had four takeaways, but it also allowed a rookie quarterback to lead a 42-point outburst and surrendered 6.7 yards per carry.

    Cleveland’s offense had four plays of at least 40 yards.

    A win is a win, and the Raiders will be happy to get the first one of the new Jon Gruden era. However, this is still a flawed and inconsistent group, and it’s one that may not be on the upswing until the team has relocated to Las Vegas.

    Week 4 Grade: C

    Season Grade: D+

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    Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

    Week 4 Opponent: Tennessee Titans

    Result: Lost 26-23 (OT)

    While quarterback Carson Wentz may be back to 100 percent, it still seems a bit odd that the Philadelphia Eagles asked him to throw 50 times while only rushing 22 times against the Tennessee Titans. Of course, there was a lot that felt odd in this game.

    For starters, the Eagles’ championship-caliber defense let Marcus Mariota carve it up for 344 yards and two touchdowns. Mariota doesn’t even have full feeling in his throwing hand because of a nerve issue in his elbow.

    It was also strange to see Philadelphia’s vaunted offensive line getting manhandled by Tennessee’s defensive front. Wentz was under constant pressure, was sacked four times and fumbled the ball away once.

    This was only Wentz’s second game back after tearing his ACL last season, and it’s too early to start spitting out the term “Super Bowl hangover.” However, the Eagles are still 2-2 and are not playing like title contenders.

    Week 4 Grade: C-

    Season Grade: C+

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    Fred Vuich/Associated Press

    Week 4 Opponent: Baltimore Ravens

    Result: Lost 26-14

    It’s a little wild that the Steelers are looking at the end of the Killer B’s era and have no Super Bowl appearances to show for it.

    After looking at some of the injuries around the league, running back Le’Veon Bell may decide not to come back at all this season. Ben Roethlisberger hasn’t played particularly well, and this Steelers defense isn’t good enough to deliver a championship in 2018.

    That defense surrendered 451 yards of offense to the rival Ravens on Sunday, and it will have its hands full next week against the Falcons.

    Both sides of the ball have experienced second-half slides, though, so the putrid pass defense cannot shoulder all the blame. The Steelers have been outscored 71-30 in the second half this season. That is an issue that has to be addressed.

    Pittsburgh can still hold out hope at 1-2-1, but the Steelers are a blocked field goal and a couple of Ryan Fitzpatrick turnovers away from being 0-4.

    Week 4 Grade: D-

    Season Grade: C-

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    Week 4 Opponent: Los Angeles Chargers

    Result: Lost 29-27

    Losing quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo for the season will obviously impact the 49ers season in a big way, but his is hardly the only injury they are dealing with. They lost running back Jerick McKinnon before the season started, didn’t have cornerback Richard Sherman heading into Sunday’s game against the Chargers and lost offensive tackle Joe Staley during it.

    “We have tough guys who try as hard as they can when they’re hurt,” coach Kyle Shanahan explained, per Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle. “But it’s tough when you’re injured and you just can’t go.”

    San Francisco indeed fought hard and nearly pulled off the upset. Ultimately, though, mistakes cost the team a win.

    CJ Beathard (298 yards, two touchdowns) showed that he can lead this offense in Garoppolo’s stead. However, he also threw two picks, and one came on a potential game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter after he failed to identify a blitzing Derwin James and took a shot. The defense couldn’t protect leads.

    The 49ers are not a playoff team, but they’re not going to roll over this season.

    Week 4 Grade: C-

    Season Grade: C-

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    Ralph Freso/Getty Images

    Week 4 Opponent: Arizona Cardinals

    Result: Won 20-17

    The Seahawks got a win over a divisional foe Sunday, but it wasn’t a win that fans can possibly feel great about.

    For starters, fans had to watch as star safety Earl Thomas was carted off the field with a leg injury. According to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport, Thomas suffered a lower-leg break and should be healthy in time for next year’s free agency.

    Of course, insurance against such an injury is exactly why Thomas held out for a new contract in the offseason. It feels unlikely that he’ll ever suit up for Seattle again.

    Fans also had to watch as their once-beloved defense nearly allowed a rookie quarterback in his first start to earn a win.

    At least fans got to see a 100-yard rusher for the second consecutive week. It’s just too bad the performance came from former 49er Mike Davis and not Seattle’s first-round pick Rashaad Penny, who has just 92 yards on the season.

    Week 4 Grade: C+

    Season Grade: C

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Week 4 Opponent: Chicago Bears

    Result: Lost 48-10

    It’s hard to imagine a worse afternoon for the Buccaneers.

    The defense, which had been a sieve through the first three weeks, was again purely cosmetic. The offense, which came in ranked first overall (473.3 yards per game), couldn’t hold up its end, though, and the Buccaneers never really had a chance.

    Things were so bad that Buccaneers coach Dirk Koetter benched the bearded wonder Ryan Fitzpatrick at halftime in favor of Jameis Winston. Fitzpatrick was missing open receivers and threw an interception, but the offense wasn’t monumentally better with Winston under center—he had two picks of his own.

    In a matter of hours, Tampa suffered a blowout loss, created even more uncertainty at the quarterback position and replaced the promise of a 2-1 start with dread.

    “We should fire every person that was on that field today—starting with me,” Koetter said after the game, per ESPN’s Jenna Laine.

    Another game like this one, the Buccaneers probably will.

    Week 4 Grade: F

    Season Grade: C-

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    Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

    Week 4 Opponent: Philadelphia Eagles

    Result: Won 26-23 (OT)

    We probably shouldn’t be that surprised the Titans are stringing together wins this season. They were a playoff team last year, and they even notched a win in the postseason. Still, it feels like new head coach Mike Vrabel has his team believing in itself.

    Despite not having Marcus Mariota at 100 percent—or even on the field for part of the streak—Tennessee has now won three games in a row. The last two wins came against teams that made conference championship games last season.

    The wins haven’t been pretty, but Vrabel’s Titans keep finding ways to get them. On Sunday, the win came after Vrabel decided not to go for a potential game-tying kick late in overtime. It was a gutsy call, and the Titans are starting to have the look of a gutty team that can be dangerous in the postseason.

    The Titans should feel good about their direction. They should also feel good about second-year wideout Corey Davis (161 yards, one touchdown) and his breakout game. The Titans wouldn’t have gotten the win without him.

    Week 4 Grade: B+

    Season Grade: B

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    Todd Olszewski/Getty Images

    Week 4 Bye

    The Washington Redskins are sitting in good shape in the NFC East, as they carried a Week 3 win over the Packers and a 2-1 record into the bye week.

    Quarterback Alex Smith has the offense playing mostly efficient ball, but the real surprise is Washington’s defense, which has allowed the second-fewest points per game (14.7).

    That defense will be tested when the Redskins travel to take on the Saints next Monday night.

    Season Grade: B

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