NFL Power Rankings, Week Three
After two weeks, only six undefeated teams remain. Where does everybody rank?
1. San Francisco 49ers (2-0) – The defense has contained two of the league’s most explosive offensives in the Lions and the Packers. More importantly though, the offense has been efficient and difficult to stop.
2. Atlanta Falcons (2-0) – Michael Turner’s arrest and possible suspension could be a blessing in disguise for an Atlanta team that has struggles to run the ball this year (but has not struggled, by any means, to throw it). Turner is on the wrong side of 30 and averaging just 2.6 yards per carry so far this season. Meanwhile, speedster Jacquizz Rodgers (just 22 years old) could improve the rushing attack if Turner misses Sunday’s game.
3. Houston Texans (2-0) – The Texans boast the best point differential so far this season (+40), but face their first real test in Denver this Sunday.
4. Baltimore Ravens (1-1) – Losing to a potential division winner by one point on the road is not the worst thing in the world. Joe Flacco’s second half (just 8-for-25) is worrisome though.
5. Green Bay Packers (1-1) – Look a little closer. The Packers win against the Bears wasn’t that impressive. Despite four interceptions from Jay Cutler, a dropped touchdown by Brandon Marshall, and seven sacks, the Packers (whose best offensive play was a fake field goal) didn’t really blow out the Bears. Yes, they’ve played two tough defenses but Green Bay ranks 14th in passing yards. Where’s the offensive juggernaut we expected?
6. New England Patriots (1-1) – That loss was just weird. Let’s move on.
7. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1) – The running game needs to get better (ranked 30th), but a promising defensive effort against the Jets puts the Steelers back on track.
9. San Diego Chargers (2-0) - Philip Rivers is looking much more like the quarterback that were used to seeing (73.8% completion, four touchdowns, one interception). Can he keep it up against an Atlanta defense that gave Peyton Manning trouble this Sunday?
10. Chicago Bears (1-1) – Jay Cutler has one or two stinkers every year. In the grand scheme of things, is a loss at Lambeau against a Packers team that needed to win so terrible? Still sticking by my Super Bowl pick.
11. New York Giants (1-1) – For a second there it looked like the defending champs were going to be in an 0-2 hole. This much we know for sure: the defense needs to get better.
12. Detroit Lions (1-1) – The offense hasn’t scored liked it should yet, but with games against Tennessee and Minnesota upcoming, the Lions could head into their bye week with a 3-1 record.
13. Denver Broncos (1-1) – As I mentioned on my podcast with Greg Kaplan this week, I was much more concerned with Peyton Manning’s reliance on screen passes than his first-quarter interceptions.
14. Dallas Cowboys (1-1) – And the up and down season begins! Suddenly week three against Tampa Bay is a must win, with matchups against Chicago and Baltimore following.
15. Seattle Seahawks (1-1) – Realistically, Seattle could be 2-0. A win this week, at home, against a well rested Packers teams could propel the season forward.
16. New Orleans Saints (0-2) – Drew Brees and the Saints couldn’t start the season 0-3, could they?
17. Arizona Cardinals (2-0) – I know they are 2-0, but they could just as easily be 0-2. Still, they played the New England Patriots extremely well, but the offense will need to be better (rank in bottom five in passing and rushing).
18. Carolina Panthers (1-1) – Cam Newton was dynamic in week two, but is the key having him throw less (just 20 attempts)?
19. New York Jets (1-1) – The Jets could be a playoff team, but the offense needs to prove that it can score when playing from behind.
20. Washington Redskins (1-1) – Will the defense be able to hold up for the rest of the season without Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker?
21. Cincinnati Bengals (1-1) – A seven point victory over the Browns is nothing to get excited about.
22. Buffalo Bills (1-1) – That was more like what I expected from the team I picked to win a Wild Card. Also C.J. Spiller is averaging 10.1 yards per carry.
23. St. Louis Rams (1-1) – Sam Bradford is completing over 70 percent of his passes and has a quarterback rating of 112.4. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come for St. Louis.
24. Tampa Bay Bucaneers (1-1) – I’m still not sold. Too many big plays against the Giants that they won’t be able to replicate consistently.
25. Miami Dolphins (1-1) – Thanks to Reggie Bush, the Dolphins rank second in the league in rushing (171 yards per game).
26. Indianapolis Colts (1-1) – A nice game-winning drive for Andrew Luck. The fact that this is the second AFC South team listed shows how easy Houston has it this season.
27. Minnesota Vikings (1-1)- The Vikes rank in the top 15 in rushing, passing, rushing defense, and passing defense.
28. Tennessee Titans (0-2) – What happened to CJ2k? Will he even be CJ1k this season? Or CJ100 for that matter?
29. Oakland Raiders (0-2) – Letting up 35 points to the Miami Dolphins is not a good thing.
30. Kansas City Chiefs (0-2) - Two games, two blowouts.
31. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2) - Now at quarterback, Chad Henne.
32. Cleveland Browns (0-2) – Until they win a game, I’m just going to assume they aren’t going to.