NFL power rankings entering Week 4 of the 2023 season (previous rank in parentheses):
1. 49ers (1): We're nearing the realm of death, taxes, San Francisco scoring exactly 30 points (all 3 games this season), prevailing (13-game regular-season winning streak) and enjoying a TD from RB Christian McCaffrey, who's found the paint in 12 consecutive games to match Hall of Famer Jerry Rice's club record.
2. Eagles (2): They've got a Kelce (Jason) and a Pennsylvania-born Swift (D'Andre) joining forces, yet it feels like the reigning NFC champs are a bit under the radar, even at 3-0. Shake it off, boys. This could still be an – enchanted? – season once you start firing on all cylinders ... which probably won't be necessary until Week 7, when the Dolphins come to Philadelphia.
— NFL (@NFL) September 26, 2023
3. Dolphins (6): The balance in Sunday's thrashing of Denver was truly epic, Miami becoming the first team to post 350 yards rushing and passing in the same game – this while scoring five TDs on the ground and five more through the air. The Fins' 1,651 total yards through three games are a league record, and their 130 points are two shy of the mark at the same juncture. And still hard to believe they put up 70 points. Just wait until they get WR Jaylen Waddle, among others, back. Still, before we crown 'em, let's acknowledge they've got some defensive issues and have done all this damage against a trio of teams that's collectively 2-7. Let's see what happens at Buffalo.
The Dolphins scored 70 (!) points against the Broncos.
Just the 4th 70-point game in NFL history including the playoffs.
They are the only team in NFL history to record 5 Rush TD & 5 Pass TD in a single game in the Super Bowl Era. pic.twitter.com/8oFEtWXmPK
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 24, 2023
4. Chiefs (4): Looking down the road – exactly what you're supposed to do in the NFL – we're going to speculate that Taylor Swift will get the blame … if Kansas City becomes the 20th consecutive defending Super Bowl champion that fails to repeat. #ChiefsKingdom vs. Swifties (-13).
5. Bills (5): They've won their past two games by an aggregate 75-13 score. Impressive, if merely a day's work in South Florida. However the Dolphins are headed to Buffalo, where they've lost seven straight and 11 of 12.
6. Lions (9): How scary could this defense get? It's posted seven sacks twice in the past five games, something Detroit hadn't done previously since 2014. But might have to temper expectations in Week 4, given the Lions are already playing their second Thursday night game and against infrequently bagged Pack QB Jordan Love (3 sacks taken).
7. Steelers (13): OLB T.J. Watt is on pace for 34 sacks and 11 forced fumbles. (It's early). But probably more important, QB Kenny Pickett and Co. finally started showing signs of life on offense Sunday night.
8. Browns (15): Now look who's in possession of the league's top-ranked defense. And get this: Cleveland's D has allowed one touchdown this season … while the Browns offense has surrendered two.
9. Cowboys (3): Right or wrong, HC Mike McCarthy is adhering to his desire "to run the damn ball," RB Tony Pollard with a league-high 62 carries – a per-game pace more than double his career average. If only those touches could fix Dallas' woeful (40%) red-zone percentage.
10. Ravens (7): Tough to gig them too much given another inordinate pile of injuries and a bad weather day that limited K Justin Tucker's superpowers. But losing to the Colts in Baltimore … c'mon, fellas.
11. Bengals (17): Wasn't pretty for injured QB Joe Burrow (calf) on Monday night, but Cincinnati secured a desperately needed victory in its bid to reach the playoffs in successive seasons despite starting 0-2.
12. Rams (14): Contain WR Puka Nacua (5 catches for 72 yards in Monday night's loss), and you contain the Rams – NFL experts have been saying as much for months. But, in all seriousness, this crew has hung tough against some of the league's toughest customers.
13. Seahawks (16): Their next game is at MetLife Stadium, where they've never lost to the Giants (Week 4's opponent), the Jets or in the Super Bowl.
14. Falcons (11): If you guessed their leading receiver on the season is Mack Hollins (114 yards), here's the door prize. Being a physical team is great … except when it renders you one-dimensional and tells defenses to put games on the arm of a suspect quarterback.
15. Packers (12): They were fortunate to win their home opener, but you also have to admire their grit given the continued absences of CB Jaire Alexander, LT David Bakhtiari, G Elgton Jenkins, RB Aaron Jones and WR Christian Watson.
17. Patriots (20): They head to Dallas with Ezekiel Elliott performing as their best back. But beware, New Englanders, as your team is 1-8 against the Cowboys without Tom Brady in the lineup.
18. Jaguars (10): If you stink in America – looking at you, Calvin Ridley – may as well take a two-week European vacation to try and sort things out.
19. Colts (26): Jonathan who? Indianapolis has leaned heavily on RB Zack Moss during its surprising two-game win streak to the tune of 48 carries and 210 yards.
20. Titans (18): They managed 94 yards offensively Sunday, the franchise's lowest ebb in its post-Houston iteration. Equally unimpressive were the six first downs at Cleveland on Sunday as Tennessee was shut out of the end zone for the second time in three weeks.
21. Chargers (21): Currently the league' most accurate (74.4% completion rate) and careful (0 INTs) passer, QB Justin Herbert just notched his 100th career TD pass. Too bad he won't be throwing any more this year to injured WR Mike Williams.
22. Jets (19): What better stage than Broadway on a Sunday night to watch embattled Zach Wilson oppose Patrick Mahomes in the biggest quarterback mismatch we can recall.
23. Buccaneers (22): Couldn't run the ball Monday night against Philadelphia, turned it over for the first time this season and got handled in the trenches – exactly what the Bucs (or any team) don't want to be.
24. Vikings (24): WR Justin Jefferson might be your early Offensive Player of the Year, on pace for nearly 2,600 receiving yards. Unless it's QB Kirk Cousins (league-high 96 completions, 1,075 yards and 9 TDs). Question is, will "KFC" – should he? – finish the season with presently winless Minnesota?
25. Commanders (23): They – namely QB Sam Howell (4 INTs) – got exposed in a 37-3 rout by Buffalo … but at least they staved off the first shutout of the Ron Rivera era with a last-minute field goal. Yawn.
26. Giants (25): Going back to last season's playoffs, they've trailed by double digits at halftime in four straight games, the combined score at intermission in that stretch 91-6 in favor of New York's opponents. Yes, they've faced Philadelphia, Dallas and San Francisco in that stretch … though that's another way of saying the Giants are no better than NFL welterweights.
27. Cardinals (30): Props to QB Joshua Dobbs, notching his first-ever NFL win in his seventh season – and against Dallas' vaunted defense. Dobbs will never be mistaken for Kyler Murray physically, but this team and its fans have to love the physical and mental toughness he brings on every snap.
28. Texans (32): C.J. Stroud and DeMeco Ryans became the first rookie QB-HC pairing to get a wire-to-wire win this season, and in dominant fashion. Now, if they could only get some blocking ...
29. Raiders (27): A season after being the league's most productive back, Josh Jacobs is averaging 67 yards per game – among the myriad issues arising in Vegas.
30. Panthers (29): Didn't break through for their first win Sunday, but this offense functioned at a much higher level with QB Andy Dalton filling in for injured rookie Bryce Young.
31. Broncos (28): QB Russell Wilson is 0-3 for the first time in his NFL career. Denver just became the first team to lose by 50 points in nearly nine years. But they go to Chicago this Sunday with the chance to prove they're not the worst team in the league.
32. Bears (31): QB Justin Fields is 0-3 for the first time in his NFL career. Chicago's been outscored by a league-most 59 points and outgained by 472 yards. But they host Denver on Sunday with the chance to prove they're not the worst team in the league.
Follow USA TODAY Sports' Nate Davis on X, formerly Twitter @ByNateDavis.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: NFL power rankings Week 4: Cowboys tumble, Dolphins surge into top 5