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NFL Power Rankings, Week 4: ESPN Boosts Raiders, Lions, Bills The Most

ESPN released their week four NFL Power Rankings and the Oakland Raiders joined the Detroit Lions and Buffalo Bills as the biggest beneficiaries. The Lions climbed from No. 11 to No. 4, the Bills climbed from No. 16 to No. 6 and the Raiders climbed from No. 20 to No. 13. Of those three, the Raiders and Lions have the best chance to improve their position even more so as they face the Patriots and Cowboys, respectively.

The Raiders host the New England Patriots in a game that could give us a real sense of how much the Raiders belong. The win over the Jets was big and is proof they are contenders in the AFC West. However, I would argue a win over the Patriots would elevate the Raiders into the discussion for true contender in the AFC. The Raiders hung with a crazy Buffalo Bills offense, coming up just short. They've gone into a division rival (even if it's a struggling Denver) and got a win. They also showed an ability to bounce back in defeating a tough Jets squad.

On the other side of the Bay, the 49ers received a modest boost from No. 23 to No. 20 following an ugly road win over the Cincinnati Bengals. They climbed ahead of the Cardinals, Jaguars and Rams with their win. I'm a bit surprised the Rams are rated No. 31 given how tough their schedule has been to date. Eventually a team does need to start winning, but I'd still take them ahead of Indianapolis and Minnesota.

ESPN's rankings do show one of the problems with the power rankings. The Steelers remain a top ten team even though their only strong performance came against an abysmal Seattle Seahawks team. That close win over Indianapolis not worthy of a top ten spot.

ESPN Top Ten
1. Green Bay Packers
2. New Orleans Saints
3. New England Patriots
4. Detroit Lions
5. Baltimore Ravens
6. Buffalo Bills
7. New York Jets
8. Houston Texans
9. San Diego Chargers
10. Pittsburgh Steelers