Larry Fitzgerald and the Cardinals bounced back in a big way in Week 2, but how far did they move up in the rankings?
Eight teams moved to 2-0 in yet another wild weekend of NFL action that had a little bit of everything on the field. Parity seems to be the name of the game across the NFL so early in the season but some big moves were made after Week 2 thanks to a few improbable wins and a handful of surprising losses.
With that in mind, it’s time to sort out the contenders from the pretenders and see how every team stacks up. Factoring in everything from overall roster strength, to quarterback play, to the head coach’s track record, here is the latest edition of NFL power rankings and where every team stacks up from 1 to 32.
Week 3 NFL Power Rankings
1. Pittsburgh Steelers
Last week: 3
The resurgence of DeAngelo Williams is the early storyline for one of the best offenses in the league but the defense allowing only 16 points in back-to-back games means this is a much more complete team than first thought.
2. New England Patriots
Last week: 2
The Patriots would be an easy pick to be atop the power rankings if it weren’t for question marks at quarterback for the next two weeks. Given how the team has looked though, it might not matter.
3. Denver Broncos
Last week: 4
Von Miller has been worth every penny of that big extension so far this season and Trevor Siemian has not lost a game for the team yet under center.
4. Carolina Panthers
Last week: 5
Everybody knew the offense would be good (and it might be even better than last year) but there are a number of defensive question marks that are not going away.
5. Houston Texans
Last week: 7
The defense is going to keep Houston in every game but as soon as the offense gets over some growing pains, watch out.
6. Minnesota Vikings
Last week: 15
Maybe the most impressive win of the week was Sam Bradford putting the Vikings on his back after just two weeks in town.
7. Arizona Cardinals
Last week: 8
Where was that during the first week Arizona? Impressive effort on both sides of the ball against Tampa Bay.
8. Green Bay Packers
Last week: 1
Mike Zimmer seems to have found the answer on how to slow down Aaron Rodgers but some of the offensive line play to start the season is something to keep an eye on.
9. New York Giants
Last week: 12
Surprise of Week 2 may have been the Giants and Saints combining for 29 points. New York’s defense has been a big early story in the NFC East battle.
10. Cincinnati Bengals
Last week: 10
Cincy’s first half schedule is brutal but it also will be revealing as to whether this team can actually win a playoff game this year.
11. Kansas City Chiefs
Last week: 6
Chiefs still haven’t put together a complete game this season and won’t be able to compete for the division until they do.
12. Dallas Cowboys
Last week: 17
Cowboys’ defense did a much better job in the red zone to help deliver a victory and Dak Prescott continues to play mistake-free.
13. Baltimore Ravens
Last week: 13
Undefeated to start the year but struggled in both wins against a pair of teams near the bottom of these rankings. Probably won’t get an accurate picture of how good the Ravens are until mid-October.
14. Seattle Seahawks
Last week: 9
The offensive line is going to continue to be the Achilles heel for Seattle the rest of the season and there’s probably not much the Seahawks will be able to do about it unless first-round pick Germain Ifedi provides a big boost when he returns from a sprained ankle. Russell Wilson’s ankle injury hurts even more as a result.
15. New York Jets
Last week: 22
Matt Forte was one of the sneaky great signings of free agency and it certainly paid off in a big way against Buffalo alongside a resurgent Ryan Fitzpatrick.
16. Oakland Raiders
Last week: 11
All of the focus is naturally on the defense and if Khalil Mack can regain his form from last season.
17. Miami Dolphins
Last week: 21
Two near wins are not going to cut it if the Dolphins are going to take the next step and things can start getting turned around with some semblance of a running game.
18. San Diego Chargers
Last week: 26
What an impressive outing to bounce back from the second half collapse against Kansas City and the loss of Keenan Allen.
19. Philadelphia Eagles
Last week: 27
Lost among the well-deserved Carson Wentz-mania is the job new defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz has done.
20. Indianapolis Colts
Last week: 20
Defense and the offensive line have been issues for years so it really shouldn’t be surprising at this point, right? At least Vontae Davis is close to returning.
21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Last week: 16
That was quite the wake-up call in the desert. Luckily the defense will be able to regroup with the Rams’ offense coming to town.
22. Detroit Lions
Last week: 18
Lions have the look of a team that will be a roller-coaster this season after letting one slip away from the Titans.
23. Atlanta Falcons
Last week: 25
Julio Jones’ calf strain is worrisome for the Falcons, which have a chance to make a statement or dig themselves a big hole in the division next week.
24. Washington Redskins
Last week: 24
The box score looks good for the Washington offense but the simple fact is Kirk Cousins has missed on a lot of key throws that have come to cost the team.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars
Last week: 14
The young core apparently didn’t make the trip to San Diego on Sunday and the calls for Gus Bradley’s job will only intensify going forward.
26. New Orleans Saints
Last week: 19
The defense looked a little better on the road against the Giants but they’re still 0-2 with a big date against a division rival looming on Monday night.
27. Tennessee Titans
Last week: 30
Marcus Mariota showed why he’s special on the game-winning touchdown drive.
28. San Francisco 49ers
Last week: 29
Not super surprising the team struggled after flying to the East Coast on a short week but even giving up 46 to the Panthers is a bit much.
29. Chicago Bears
Last week: 23
Could be a long year if the secondary is going to give up so many big plays and the team can’t establish a consistent run game.
30. Los Angeles Rams
Last week: 31
The return of the NFL to Los Angeles produced a win but no touchdowns. If things don’t get going in Week 3, changes will need to be made.
31. Buffalo Bills
Last week: 28
Firing the offensive coordinator after two games is a good way to distract from the real issues on defense.
32. Cleveland Browns
Last week: 32
On the bright side, the team can claim they’re starting Cody Kessler before No. 1 overall pick Jared Goff.
— Written by Bryan Fischer, an award-winning college football columnist and member of the Athlon Contributor Network. You can follow him from coast-to-coast on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat at @BryanDFischer.