Ben Roethlisberger Matt Ryan
Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers shakes hands with Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons after the game at the Georgia Dome on December 14, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

While the likes of the Los Angeles Rams, Kansas City Chiefs and Chicago Bears have exceeded expectations with hot starts, several teams have notably underperformed through Week 4 of the 2018 NFL season. Four teams that made last year’s playoffs have just one victory and a couple of Super Bowl contenders will enter Week 5 in last place.

Here’s a ranking of the five most disappointing NFL teams, thus far:

1) Pittsburgh Steelers (1-2-1)

Pittsburgh was supposed to be the biggest threat to the New England Patriots in the AFC. Instead, they find themselves tied in last place with the Cleveland Browns, who they were unable to beat in the season opener. The Steelers have no division wins in two tries, and they’ve got a real problem in the AFC North now that the Baltimore Ravens and Cincinnati Bengals both look like the real deal. Trailing both teams by 1.5 games, the Steelers could be hard-pressed to finish in first place if they lose any more division games.

Pittsburgh can’t stop anybody, ranking second-to-last in total defense. They’ve still got plenty of firepower on offense, though they are only averaging 3.6 yards per carry in Le’Veon Bell’s absence. If the defense doesn’t improve, Ben Roethlisberger and the offense will face a tall order in trying to lead Pittsburgh to the playoffs.

2) Atlanta Falcons (1-3)

The Week 5 matchup between Atlanta and Pittsburgh could end up knocking the loser out of the playoff race. Like the Steelers, the Falcons can’t avoid many more early-season losses because their division is so strong. The New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers have just one loss apiece after going to the playoffs last season. Atlanta was a popular Super Bowl pick, but they’ve already lost two home games in a very strong conference.

Atlanta has lost to three quality opponents (Philadelphia, New Orleans, Cincinnati) and they still can score with anybody. The Falcons are fourth in yards per play, averaging 34.7 points over their last three games. But the team has suffered several key injuries on defense that are going to be difficult to overcome.

3) Minnesota Vikings (1-2-1)

Kirk Cousins was thought to be the missing piece to a team that reached the NFC Championship Game with the NFL’s best defense. It hasn’t exactly looked that way through four weeks, and Minnesota is still searching for their first win since the season opener. Failing to win on the road against the Green Bay Packers and L.A. Rams is understandable. Getting blown out at home by the Buffalo Bills is not, and it’s why the Vikings are 1.5 games behind the Bears for first place in the NFC North.

Minnesota ranks 11th in total defense and 18th in opponents’ yards per play. Twenty-one teams have given up fewer points. All-Pro defensive end Everson Griffen missed Week 4 with a mental health issue, and it’s unknown when or if he’ll be able to return. The Vikings are a different team if their defense can’t be dominant like it was a season ago, even with Cousins now under center.

4) Houston Texans (1-3)

If the Indianapolis Colts didn’t go for it on fourth down in their own territory with 24 seconds left in overtime Sunday, the Texans would probably be the AFC’s only winless team. Thought to be a potential Super Bowl contender with Deshaun Watson and J.J. Watt now healthy, Houston has lost a pair of games in which they were favored. Prior to their Week 4 victory, the Texans’ offense was a major disappointment, averaging fewer than 20 points per game in three straight losses. The defense hasn’t been much better, despite all of the big names up front, allowing 27 points per game and ranking 17th in opponents’ yards per play. Three of Houston’s opponents rank in the bottom-nine in yards per play.

Maybe Sunday’s win will propel Houston on a winning streak. They’ve got two very winnable games at home against the Dallas Cowboys and Bills coming up home. Watson and Watt are starting to look like their old selves. A 1-3 start gives the Texans a slim margin of error, especially considering the Jacksonville Jaguars might be better than they were a year ago and the Tennessee Titans are playing like a real playoff contender.

5) New York Giants (1-3)

The Giants expected to bounce back from a three-win season and compete for the NFC East title. That’s why they drafted a running back second overall and chose to stick with Eli Manning as their quarterback. Adding Saquon Barkley and a healthy Odell Beckham Jr. to the mix hasn’t done a whole lot to improve an offense that still hasn’t scored 30 points in a game since 2015. The offensive line remains one of the NFL’s worst, and Manning has been limited to mostly short passes. New York is 24th in yards per play, but they’ve also had their struggles on defense, where they rank 23rd in yards per play allowed.

The Giants are the only NFC East team that’s under .500, and things don’t get any easier over the next three weeks. Set to play at Carolina, at home against the Eagles and back on the road in Atlanta, New York’s playoff chances could effectively be done before the midway point of the season.