NFL Power Rankings: Baker Mayfield has fallen apart for the hopeless Panthers

Not long ago, there was some excitement over Baker Mayfield possibly reviving his career with the Carolina Panthers.

Four weeks into the season, coach Matt Rhule was asked about about his quarterback plans moving forward. He couldn't even fake his way through a confident answer.

Here are the power rankings after Week 4 of the NFL season:

32. Houston Texans (0-3-1, Last Week: 31) The Texans seem to be getting an answer on Davis Mills, and it's not a great one. He hasn't gotten better since last year's promising rookie season. Mills isn't terrible but he doesn't look like the type of quarterback that causes you to pass on a top prospect in the draft, and Houston is going to have a high pick.

31. Carolina Panthers (1-3, LW: 27) One of the most amazing ongoing stats in the NFL is that under Matt Rhule, the Panthers are 1-26 when their opponent scores 17 or more points including 24 losses in a row. That's unfathomable.

30. Washington Commanders (1-3, LW: 26) Rookie running back Brian Robinson, who was shot in the leg in a robbery attempt before the season, was taken off the non-football injury list and coach Ron Rivera said he's optimistic Robinson can play this week. For a Washington team that hasn't had a lot of positive news lately, that's great to hear.

29. Chicago Bears (2-2, LW: 28) Justin Fields has 34 completions in four games. Through Sunday's game, 16 quarterbacks had 88 or more completions this season. With that as the backdrop, here was Fields' reaction to a question following Sunday's loss:

28. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-3, LW: 25) It looks like the Steelers are making the permanent switch to rookie QB Kenny Pickett. Better late than never, I guess. Pickett looked like a rookie thrown in at halftime for his debut, with some nice plays and a few mistakes. But it's not like the Steelers had much to lose. 

27. New York Jets (2-2, LW: 32) Zach Wilson wasn't good for most of Sunday's game, but had a few brief flashes and then came through with the game-winning drive when he needed it. The last part is enough for the Jets to be happy with how Wilson's first game back went. 

26. Seattle Seahawks (2-2, LW: 30) Geno Smith has a pair of 300-yard games in a row and a 108 passer rating. Is he the next unlikely late-career breakout? It's OK to be skeptical but this is going better than anyone would have guessed, Seahawks included.

25. New England Patriots (1-3, LW: 21) The Patriots' playcalling against Green Bay was way too conservative, especially when they had the ball over midfield in overtime, but it's also tough when you have a rookie playing quarterback only because of two injuries ahead of him. 

24. Detroit Lions (1-3, LW: 19) The Lions' defense is just dreadful. The Seahawks aren't good on offense and they rang up 555 yards. Head coach Dan Campbell said he won't make a move with defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn, but it will be unavoidable if the defense keeps playing like this. The offense, on the other hand, is legit if it can put up 45 points without D'Andre Swift, Amon-Ra St. Brown and D.J. Chark. 

23. Atlanta Falcons (2-2, LW: 29) The Falcons need more than seven completions to keep winning. That's all they got on Sunday. But they are .500, which is good when you consider they were close to winning in each of their two losses. I don't know if the Falcons can sustain this, but they're finding a way. 

22. New York Giants (3-1, LW: 24) Kenny Golladay has two catches for 22 yards this season, and that all came in the opener. The last two games he has played 51 snaps without a catch. Golladay's $21.15 million cap hit this season is No. 1 among all wide receivers according to Spotrac. That signing is historically bad already.

21. Las Vegas Raiders (1-3, LW: 23) Josh Jacobs had 144 yards rushing and Davante Adams had 101 yards receiving in Sunday's win. Maxx Crosby had four tackles for loss, including two sacks. There is the top-end talent for the Raiders to get on a nice roll. 

20. Indianapolis Colts (1-2-1, LW: 13) Jonathan Taylor hasn't been ruled out of Thursday's game, but he has an ankle injury and a short turnaround. If Taylor can't play or is less than 100 percent, the Colts offense will struggle. And it's hard to imagine this team struggling much more than it has. 

19. New Orleans Saints (1-3, LW: 18) Andy Dalton doesn't bring much upside to the table anymore, but he won't throw the Saints out of games either. If the wind is blowing just a little differently on Sunday in London, Wil Lutz's 61-yard kick goes through and the Saints take a good Vikings team to overtime.

18. Arizona Cardinals (2-2, LW: 22) The Cardinals ran more with Kyler Murray (12 rush attempts) and they won. Go figure. The biggest question is whether the defense turned a corner after struggling most of the first three weeks, or they just happened to draw the team whose quarterback is Baker Mayfield?

17. Denver Broncos (2-2, LW: 14) Any strides the offense finally made — and there were some, Russell Wilson looked comfortable for the first time all season — were washed away with the news running back Javonte Williams has a torn ACL and will miss the rest of the season. 

16. Cleveland Browns (2-2, LW: 11) Thankfully Myles Garrett didn't sustain any serious injuries in a car accident. From a football perspective the Browns need Garrett back soon. They don't have much margin for error, and they missed his playmaking on Sunday in a loss to the Falcons.

15. Tennessee Titans (2-2, LW: 20) Mike Vrabel is a really good coach. The Titans were in some trouble at 0-2, but rebounded really well. Derrick Henry looks like he's still capable of carrying an offense. The defense made enough plays on Sunday. 

14. Los Angeles Chargers (2-2, LW: 17) It was good to see Austin Ekeler have a big game. He had more than 100 total yards and three touchdowns. With the Chargers' injury issues, they'll need their remaining stars to play their best and Ekeler is high on that list.

13. Cincinnati Bengals (2-2, LW: 15) It feels like there's an explosion coming for the offense. Joe Mixon hasn't had a big game yet. Ja'Marr Chase has been good but not great. Joe Burrow's numbers are way down across the board from last season. Playing at Baltimore on Sunday will be a huge turning point in their season.

12. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-2, LW: 10) You've have liked to have seen the Jaguars play better after taking a 14-0 lead, but the Eagles are simply better than them. The Eagles are better than most teams. The Jaguars are fine, and I'd pick them to win the AFC South based on what we've seen.

11. Minnesota Vikings (3-1, LW: 9) The Vikings didn't look great in London, but Justin Jefferson made the plays when he had to. In a league that has just about every team trending toward the middle it's not bad to be 3-1, even with some ugly wins.

10. Los Angeles Rams (2-2, LW: 6) Cooper Kupp is an amazing player. The Rams need their offense to be more than Kupp. Allen Robinson being a ghost through four games is killing their offense.

9. San Francisco 49ers (2-2, LW: 16) That was an absolutely dominant performance by the 49ers' defense. San Francisco has the best defense in the NFL. And coordinator DeMeco Ryans is probably going to be a head coach at this time next year.

8. Dallas Cowboys (3-1, LW: 12) The Cowboys are 3-0 since Dak Prescott got hurt. No, this is not a "Cooper Rush should be the QB" statement, because that's nonsensical. But it probably paves the way for Rush to have a long career as an expensive backup, and it's setting Dallas up very well for when Prescott returns. 

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-2, LW: 7) Maybe Sunday night was just a matter of the Buccaneers not being good enough to compete with the Chiefs. That's fine but not what Tampa Bay wanted this season. Injuries have been an excuse but the Bucs had most of their players back on Sunday.

6. Baltimore Ravens (2-2, LW: 8) I get why John Harbaugh went for it instead of kicking a field goal in the fourth quarter on Sunday, but I think he should have taken the points. Then again, it's hard to believe three points there was going to be enough to beat the Bills in regulation. 

5. Miami Dolphins (3-1, LW: 4) It's not the most important angle of the Tua Tagovailoa injury, but the Dolphins still have games to play and will do so for at least one week without their quarterback. 

4. Green Bay Packers (3-1, LW: 5) In a perfect world the Packers put away the Patriots much sooner than they did, and the same goes for the Buccaneers game the week before. This just isn't an offense that is capable of that, yet anyway. 

3. Kansas City Chiefs (3-1, LW: 3) The Bills play at the Chiefs in two weeks. That will be the most important game of the regular season, because neither team wants to go on the road to face the other in January. 

2. Philadelphia Eagles (4-0, LW: 2) There are no 0-4 teams in the NFL. There's only one 4-0 team. When they were behind 14-0 to the Jaguars and rallied to take the lead back before halftime, it said a lot about this Eagles team. They're here to stay this season.

1. Buffalo Bills (3-1, LW: 1) The Bills weren't at their best on Sunday, but still beat a tough Ravens team in Baltimore after falling behind 20-3. That says a lot about where they are right now. 

We're still waiting to see if the Bills can be a championship team, and a win like the one they got Sunday after facing plenty of adversity starts to lay that foundation.


NFL Predictions, Game Previews, Schedule, Lines, How To Watch: Week 5