Originally posted on Helmet2Helmet  |  Last updated 10/3/13

Each week, various members of the Helmet2Helmet forum community — known as Team Ugly (including yours truly) — will analyze, criticize, praise, and mock all of the happenings from the prior week of NFL action in their own unique way. Previously: Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 We know have four weeks worth of numbers to look at. Not surprisingly, some of it is as expected, some not, some even shocking. For example, who woulda thunk the Giants and Steelers would be 0-4? How about the 1-3 Falcons? How about the Vikings and Redskins, playoff teams just last year, sitting firmly at 1-3 (and probably would have been 0-4 had their recent victories been against teams not drowning, themselves).  The 1-2 Pack?  And as for shockers, how ‘bout that NFC East, whose participants have 4 combined victories, but two of those are intra-division, and one each against the Rams and Raiders.  Not exactly the stuff a powerhouse division is made of. Then there are the “bright sides.” 4-0 Chiefs? 3-1 Titans, Lions, and Dolphins? The Browns with 2 wins before week 12? To a lesser magnitude, the Saints are 4-0? This NFL can indeed be a strange beast. Everyone else falls more or less in between. Most probably would not have the 49ers pegged at 2-2 at this point. Some may have doubted the Patriots could be at 4-0. Then there are the Bears at 3-1.  But those are not wild swings. Especially when the 49ers broke their recent mini-swoon and the Bears came back to earth in Detroit. The earth didn’t move much in Week 4. The headliners are probably the Browns stymieing the Bengals and the magnitudes by which the Broncos and Titans disposed of the Eagles and Jets, respectively. The margin of victory for the Chiefs over the Giants could have surprised us, except it is clear that these Giants are imposters. More or less, the rest was within the realm of what might have been expected. By the end of Week 4, we do start to feel more comfortable about identifying trends. We mentioned above that the Giants are a pretty bad football team right now. That may be one of the big surprises, but by no means are they the worst. That honor probably belongs to Jacksonville. The 0-4 cast is 0-4 for a reason, and they all have the look of teams who will struggle to post wins unless something significant changes. On the other side, there are the obvious candidates.  Denver is probably the toughest opponent to see on the schedule.  Hearing “When the Saints Come Marching In” is probably not all that soothing for opponents, either. While all unblemished, New England, KC, and Seattle have all shown moments of mortality. If you find yourself ahead of Seattle in the fourth quarter, you need to keep playing because their defense will. In between those lists are a bunch of teams defined by their records right now.  Mostly, that is a decent indicator, something that can not always be said for early in a season.  It is a fair bet that Atlanta, Green Bay, and San Francisco are a bit better than their records.  We have doubts about some others, but the remaining 12 weeks will decide whether those doubts are founded. The first of those 12 weeks starts with Buffalo at Cleveland, perhaps more intriguing than it looked when week 1 kicked off.  In fact, this week is full of good matchups, some between teams looking like contenders, some between teams trying to prove they should be respected, and some between teams trying to prove the reports of their deaths were premature. But before we turn that page, here is one last look at the week that was Week 4, courtesy of Team Ugly. Good Cleveland – We sort of blew past the Browns’ first win over Minnesota. We thought that result was more about the Vikings ineptitude than the Browns advances. That may still be true, but Cleveland’s win over Cincy at home on Sunday was much more of a statement. The Browns have a habit of forcing teams to play their game. It paid dividends in this contest. Cincinnati looked like they were trying to run on sand all day, gaining only 266 yards against the Browns defense. Meanwhile, Cleveland’s offense looke respectable, with Brian Hoyer completing about 2/3rds of his passes including a pair of touchdowns and nary an interception. Even with the relatively few yards allowed, the Bengal offense ended five drives inside Cleveland territory and had two more end just shy of midfield (48 and 49 yard line). Of those seven total drives, only three crossed the 30 resulting in two field goals and a missed fourth down. The Browns clamped down when they needed to, which was good enough for a divisional win, a share of the AFCN lead, and a spot here. San Francisco – The 49ers found themselves in need of a solid performance in St. Louis against the Rams in Week 4. Remember, the Rams apparently had 8×10 glossies on the Niners in 2012, winning one of two meetings with the second ending in a tie. Well, San Fran got their solid performance, to say the least. Frank Gore’s 153 yards rushing paced the offense, with a 34-yard TD run that may have been the tipping point. Colin Kaepernick added 167 yards through the air with a couple of TDs, including a 20-yarder to Anquan Boldin midway through the second quarter to start the resurgence. But the story in this game may have been the Niner defense, who folded, stapled, and mutilated the Rams, ceding just 188 yards of total offense and virtually nothing on the ground. The air was not much of an outlet for the Rams, with San Fran recording 5 sacks and applying pressure on Bradford most of the night. Sometimes, going on the road and getting a win is just the tonic to end a down trend. If so, the 49ers got a major dose of tonic Thursday night. Bad Atlanta – Usually, losing to Tom Brady and the Pats isn’t something to be too ashamed of, but when you enjoy one of the league’s better home field advantages, have perhaps the best collection of offensive weapons in the league, started the year with legitimate Super Bowl aspirations, but most importantly, the way the Birds lost, then this would qualify as bad. Matt Ryan lit up the Patriots secondary for 421 yards, and it appeared that each and every one of those 421 yards was between the Falcons’ 20 yard line and the Patriots 20 yard line.  Six red zone opportunities, one touchdown. Like a struggling salesman, the Falcons routinely started out great, but simply couldn’t close the deal.  It was robotic, uninspired, impotent football at its finest until it was too late.  It seemed as if the Falcons forgot they were playing a good team in a primetime night game. Another glaring issue is the Falcons’ utter lack of toughness.  The offensive line can’t open up holes for rushers, the defensive line rarely gets a push, 100+ yards given up on the ground is a given, and the secondary tackles with the effectiveness of the high school varsity squad….pom pom squad, that is.  At this rate, Mike Smith’s seat is getting slightly warm, should the Falcons not turn this around to a double digit win season. Forget the final score of 30-23, if not for the presence of Darth Belichick, Hunky McFabulous, and his anonymous band of pass catchers, this would’ve borderline qualified for ugly. New York Jets – Geno Smith put on his best Mark Sanchez impersonation, turning the ball over four times, basically sealing the fate of the Jets in their 38-13 whipping from the Titans in Nashville. It’s hard to lay the blame solely at the feet of the rookie though. Smith faced a heavy dose of pressure all day, getting sacked five times for a loss of 50 yards and even the dreaded fumble in the end zone. As poor as that was though, the Jets’ pass defense didn’t look much better, allowing Jake Locker to throw for a career high three touchdown passes and for good measure, allowing Ryan Fitzpatrick to get in on the action for a 77 yard scoring strike of his own to Nate Washington. Rex Ryan said he was ‘shocked’ at the performance of his team.  At this point, coach, you may be the only one. Ugly New York Giants – On the surface, it doesn’t seem all that ugly, but the Giants’ 31-7 loss at Kansas City takes on a certain hopeless type of depthless ugly when placed into larger context.  This game was symbolic of their season, as the outcome seemed inevitable once the Chiefs warmed up and started piling on the points. The Giants lost two fumbles, had one interception, and gave up an 89 yard touchdown on a punt return by burner Dexter McCluster in a mistake filled quagmire of a performance that makes you wonder how much steeper can the fall be for the ‘07 and ‘11 Champions? Victor Cruz (10 rec, 164 yards, 1 TD) seemed to be the only eligible receiver for the monotonous Giants’ passing attack, as Eli Manning only connected for 53 yards to anyone without a horrible Campbell’s Chunky Soup commercial. Coughlin has rarely looked more stressed, and Eli’s best work in 2013 appears to be as a cornball rapper pushing satellite providers along with his father and brother, not anything he’s done on the field to this point. The once heralded ferocious pass rush only sacked Alex Smith once, and that was essentially at the line of scrimmage. Maybe they will win the Clowney Sweepstakes? At this point, it would be the biggest win of the 2013 Giants’ season.    Jacksonville – When will it be proper time to retire their spot permanently in the “Ugly” section of the GBU? Where to start?  How about Blaine Gabbert’s three interceptions, all coming from tips from butterfingered receivers? Not good enough?  Maybe 13 carries for 23 yards for former rushing champ Maurice Jones Drew?  Still not there? How about the 37-3 final score? What reinforces the issue of just how ugly things are in Jacksonville right now is that they started the game on a bright note: intercepting Andrew Luck on both of the Colts’ first two drives. They even led the game 3-0 going into the 2nd quarter!  That proved to be a mirage of bliss in a desert of pure ugly, as the real Jags quickly came to light. Well, at least the locals at home weren’t subject to this endless and ongoing tragedy on TV, seeing how the game only had 59,000 attendees. Those who did buy a ticket and show up to EverBank were treated to a blimp flying overhead asking what’s the harm in giving Tebow a try?  Even if you are the furthest thing from a University of Florida fan, you have to seriously be pondering the thought at this point. (Photo credit: Joshua Gunter/ The Plain Dealer)

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