Originally posted on Fox Sports Arizona  |  Last updated 10/2/12
By Brian Billick FOXSports.com Brian Billick is an acclaimed NFL game analyst for FOX Sports and a Super Bowl-winning coach. The Texans stay on top and the Falcons are soaring. I've got a line on who's hot and who's not going into Week 5. Enjoy. 1 Texans 4-0 The Texans had three takeaways and turned them into 17 points on Sunday. And 14 of those 17 points were interception returns for touchdowns. You aren't going to lose many games with that type of scoring production from your defense. 2 Falcons 4-0 It took everything the Falcons had and six different lead changes to beat the Panthers, but that is the type of game youd expect against a divisional opponent. Two words: Matty Ice. 3 49ers 3-1 1 Colin Kaepernick looked very comfortable as the change-of-pace quarterback, and with those long strides, he looks like a deer galloping around the edge of the defense. This is a nice wrinkle that will help an already well-rounded team. 4 Ravens 3-1 -1 The Ravens have beaten the Browns in nine consecutive games, so did we really expect it to be any different last Thursday? 5 Cardinals 4-0 1 The Cardinals are just one of three undefeated teams remaining in the NFL, and of those three, they have clearly played the most difficult schedule. It is time to take them seriously. 6 Eagles 3-1 5 The Eagles finally protected Vick in the pocket and only gave up two sacks, one of which was a bailout from Vick to keep the clock running at the end of the game. Combine it with the fact they didn't turn it over at all and you have a good formula for success in Philly. 7 Bears 3-1 2 When Jay Cutler is hot, he is really hot, but this team rallies around its defense. The Bears play a vanilla base defense, but all they do is create turnovers. With pressure coming up the middle from Henry Melton and on the edge from Julius Peppers, this DL is getting sacks and hurries while only rushing four, sometimes just three. 8 Bengals 3-1 2 A.J. Green is establishing himself as possibly the second-best receiver in the NFL, behind only Calvin Johnson. He makes full-extension, diving catches look routine. The defense is playing pretty well too, even with a banged-up secondary. 9 Patriots 2-2 3 The Patriots scored 35 unanswered points to absolutely throttle the Bills on Sunday. The Pats had two 100-yard receivers and two 100-yard rushers, which has only happened one other time in NFL history. Oh yeah, so much for Wes Welker being invisible in the 2012 version of this offense. 10 Packers 2-2 3 So even the regular refs have it out for the Packers. Great teams overcome adversity and rise to the challenge, and this is the type of momentum-changing win the Packers can build upon. 11 Giants 2-2 -6 For all the hype the Giants' defensive line had leading up to the season, the only true intimidator I see in that group is Jason Paul-Pierre. Osi Umenyiora consistently lost outside containment and allowed both LeSean McCoy and Michael Vick to get to the edge throughout Sunday night's loss. 12 Chargers 3-1 4 The Chargers have some decisions to make in the backfield, and I understand they are concerned with RB Ryan Matthews' fumbling problem. But I don't think they have given him the chance to find his groove yet. Then again, when you have six takeaways in a game, it doesn't really matter who you have in the backfield. 13 Broncos 2-2 4 Welcome back, Peyton Manning. And just in time too, as the Broncos travel to Foxboro. Looking forward to another classic ManningBrady showdown. 14 Vikings 3-1 4 The Vikings didn't look as sharp offensively as they had the previous three weeks, but it takes all three phases to win a football game. When the offense is slacking, someone else needs to step up and make a play, and that is exactly what the special teams units did for the Vikings on Sunday. 15 Cowboys 2-2 -7 The first two of Tony Romo's five interceptions Monday night vs. the Bears weren't his fault, but he still threw five interceptions. Let the roller-coaster ride continue. 16 Steelers 1-2 -1 I'll admit that the Steelers' 1-2 record against opponents that have a combined losing record of 5-7 may not be deserving of this ranking, but I just can't imagine any of the teams ranked lower than them will finish with a better record. 17 Redskins 2-2 5 RG3 continues to impress, but also continues to get slaughtered when he runs the ball. See his goal-line fumble Sunday against the Bucs as evidence. 18 Rams 2-2 7 When you don't match up from a talent perspective, you must manufacture points with scheme and creativity. That is exactly what the Rams' fake field goal was on Sunday, and the greatest part about it was it was a fake that had no risk. If Amendola was covered, they just simply kick the FG. Brilliant job by Jeff Fisher. 19 Seahawks 2-2 -6 Rookie QB Russell Wilson is a good game manager, but when you ask him to do more, he just can't get it done . . . as proven by his three interceptions on Sunday. If healthy, I wouldn't be surprised to see Matt Flynn inserted as the starter before the midway point of the season. 20 Bills 2-2 -6 Can someone please tap the supposed best defensive line in the NFL on the shoulder and let them know they had a game on Sunday? Only one sack while also giving up 247 yards on the ground. 21 Lions 1-3 -1 Outside of the Saints, the Lions have to be the most disappointing team in the NFL. Playing special teams is all about "want to," and the Lions don't appear to have enough players with that type of mentality. 22 Buccaneers 1-3 -1 Tampa Bay is just the latest example proving that the best teams are built in the draft. After the most high-profile, free-agency period of this NFL offseason, the Bucs have purchased themselves a 1-3 record for the first quarter of the season. 23 Panthers 1-3 4 Cam Newton was answering all his critics during Sunday's game, right up until that fumble that cost them the game. Ron Rivera will get unfairly criticized for his punting the ball on fourth-and-1 rather than going for it, but most coaches, if not all, would have done the exact same thing. 24 Saints 0-4 4 At one point on Sunday, the Saints had a first-and-goal from the 1-yard line and passed it three times in a row. Isn't that why they drafted Mark Ingram a few years ago, to get the tough yards between the tackles and on the goal line? They have completely lost their way. 25 Titans 1-3 -1 I understand why the Titans handed over the reins to Jake Locker, but I'm not sure they aren't better off with Matt Hasselbeck under center. Locker's injury may become a blessing in disguise that helps turn the Titans' season around. 26 Dolphins 1-3 5 I have been quick to criticize QB Ryan Tannehill during the evaluation process and during the course of his previous three starts, but he came to play on Sunday and was just shy of breaking Cam Newton's rookie single-game, passing record, albeit in a loss. 27 Jets 2-2 -8 Can things really get any worse for the Jets? 28 Chiefs 1-3 -7 The Chiefs outgained the Chargers in the air and on the ground, but you simply can't win a game with six turnovers. Were those "Stanzi! Stanzi! Stanzi!" chants coming from the crowd at Arrowhead? 29 Colts 1-2 1 The Colts have an opportunity to rally for their first-year coach, Chuck Pagano as he battles his recently diagnosed leukemia. He is a great fighter and an even greater man; he will be a rock during these tough times. 30 Raiders 1-3 -4 After a win in Week 3 over the Steelers, the Raiders came back down to earth on Sunday. They are who we thought they were. 31 Jaguars 1-3 -2 Blaine Gabbert's 186 passing yards was the 14th time in 18 career starts that he failed to reach 200 yards passing. That isnt very good. 32 Browns 0-4 The Browns start the season 0-4 and are currently riding a 10-game losing streak.
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