With two games left in NFL's Week Four, some statements league-wide -
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS - Taking over the line of scrimmage. Bullying the opposing offense. Delivering huge plays on offense. The Patriots are rebuilding their offense and the youngsters on offense are steadily getting their act together. Brady is also showing what makes him elite compared to his arch-rival Peyton Manning - where Peyton has never had to develop entire offenses, Brady has repeatedly done so and is doing so again.
NY JETS - Losing 38-13 is an appropriate Jets outcome, yet as Same Old Jets as it is, Geno Smith cannot get a definitive analysis as a quarterback until 2014, especially as that will be the presumed debut of the new Jets coach
favored by the Jets' first-year GM. In the meantime, Smith has looked bad yet also delivered enough respectable effort to think the Jets can salvage a decent season in what is clearly a transition year.
BILLS - Regardless of circumstances, defeating the defending Superbowl champs is an important step forward for EJ Manuel and the Bills, and is a sign there is something to be confident in down the road.
DOLPHINS - An ugly-looking setback to a Saints team that's becoming elite again - and fast - should not detract that much from what the Dolphins have accomplished in so short a time. 3-1, 15th in both points scored and points allowed - like the Bills the Dolphins have something to be confident in down the road.
STEELERS - While it's rash to think 0-16 for the Steelers, the bottom line remains they are a bad team, even though they made a game out of it against the Vikings. On all sides of the ball the Steelers are bad, and it's curious some analysts seem surprised since we've seen this building for several years, even when they were posting 12-4 seasons the last few years.
RAVENS - While the Ravens are in better shape, it's not that much better after blowing up the roster after winning the Superbowl. Joe Flacco kept whining that he's an elite quarterback, but he's manifestly not, and his five INTs showed that again.
BENGALS - They hit a pothole this week, and may not be quite ready to take the next step. They nonetheless are legitimate.
BROWNS - They are no longer a punchline - they're a team other teams should not want to play; 9-7 or 10-6 suddenly looks like a realistic outcome this year.
TITANS - Jake Locker seemingly cannot catch a break, and this is not intended as a pun. We hope he comes back sooner rather than later because he showed again with three touchdowns that he can become something.
COLTS - The Colts and Titans are now 3-1 and the Colts manhandled a Jaguars squad that had beaten them three times the last two seasons. The Colts are top-ten in scoring - shocker - and are 4th in points allowed.
JAGUARS - Brett Favre's agent Bus Cook has been floating word that Favre can still play - we wonder if this is aimed at the quarterback-starved Jaguars. That Blaine Gabbert appears hopeless is all too obvious.
TEXANS - Here is an ominous sign - the Texans blew a 17-point lead to a Seahawks team that had lost over fifty road games 2003-12; it looked disturbingly like those playoff collapses of the Jack Pardee Oilers era. The Texans showed no sign of advancing to the next level last week; this week they appeared to have regressed more.
BRONCOS - Lost amid the Broncos' scoring explosion (179 points) is the Broncos are mid-pack in points allowed, this with the Broncos still to face San Diego, Kansas City, Indianapolis, Tennessee, New England, and Dallas (a team that's beaten Peyton Manning the last two times the Cowboys have faced him). That the Broncos are a very good team is undeniable; what's been lost is they're not as good as people seem to think they are.
CHIEFS - 4-0 is amazing and a sign the Chiefs are for real, but they too will face some teams who've manhandled Andy Reid, notably Tennessee and Indianapolis, not to mention the rest of the AFC West, a division clearly much better than it's been the last few years.
CHARGERS - San Diego rallied to beat the Cowboys, a nice recovery from a bitter defeat last week.
RAIDERS - Not only did the Raiders blow a winnable game, their handling of Terrelle Pryor's injury was head-scratching and then some.
The Panthers and Packers had their bye week.
COWBOYS - They did it again, blowing a lead and thus falling. Tony Romo actually played well until Terence Williams fumbled late; even so Tony Romo continues not to show ability to pull off wins like this.
NY GIANTS - Andy Reid manhandled the Giants again. Only two words come to mind here - complete collapse. We're waiting for the first scuttlebutt of a successor to Tom Coughlin.
EAGLES - After so spectatcular a first half against the Redskins, the Eagles' terrible performance since then has no doubt surprised people. They may get some help as the schedule takes a potential turn for the better.
REDSKINS - They didn't look all that good beating the Raiders; that's not a good sign going forward.
VIKINGS - Lost amid everything else is the Vikings are scoring a lot, and this time they finally made a game-winning stop.
LIONS - The Lions got a needed win having lost nine of their previous eleven games against the Bears. That the Lions are winning suggests those controversies about team discipline may have brought on improved play.
BEARS - So are the Bears phonies after all? Partly. Jay Cutler threw three INTs, but overall his play has looked better and Marc Trestman is showing he's legitimate as an NFL coach.
SAINTS - New Orleans may have to change its official theme song, because right now the Saints are Breezing. There was an issue with turnovers in the Monday Night win, though.
FALCONS - Matt Ryan is not an elite quarterback. The Falcons are not an elite team. Both are good to very good, but they plateaued in 2008-9; they have shown they cannot advance to the next level.
BUCCANEERS - One has to wonder whether Greg Schiano may be in more trouble now after the switch in quarterbacks produced an ugly loss.
SEAHAWKS - The Seahawks suddenly look even better than expected in pulling off a big comeback win on the road; as mentioned above they have been one of the league's worst road teams.
49ERS - San Francisco showed a return to form in manhandling the Rams though they're not all that good at keeping points off the board (presently 18th in points allowed).
RAMS - Suddenly the Rams look like a team in freefall, and with USC's surprise coaching change the rumor of Jeff Fisher going there will likely return (though Denver's Jack Del Rio has also been mentioned for USC).
CARDINALS - The good news is they're 2-2. The bad news is they're bottom-third in offense and defense and Carson Palmer isn't particularly good.
With that, we count down to Week Five.