Kareem Hunt is a big reason why the Chiefs are off to a 2-0 start
The second weekend of NFL action was bookended by a couple of mediocre games but there was plenty of intriguing action on Sunday that gives us a lot better insight into teams from coast to coast. It’s still a tad early to freak out if your team is 0-2, 2-0 or right in the middle, but we’re already starting to see clear lines between the haves and the have nots around the league.
Factoring in everything from overall roster strength, to quarterback play, to the coaching staff, 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. Kansas City Chiefs
Last week: 1
Things got a little dicey against the Eagles but in the end, Kareem Hunt saved the day and Alex Smith was once again solid. The way things look so far, the Chiefs could have wins over two potential division champs in two weeks.
2. New England Patriots
Last week: 2
Tom Brady returned to being Tom Brady in that first half but the bigger development for the Pats was the defensive resurgence. Keeping Drew Brees and company in check like that was impressive.
3. Oakland Raiders
Last week: 3
Beast Mode’s return to Oakland was triumphant but it was Michael Crabtree that stole the show at the Black Hole. If the Raiders can cut down on the penalties and control their emotions better, this just might be the best team in the AFC.
4. Atlanta Falcons
Last week: 12
Now that’s how you open a new stadium. While the offense found a nice rhythm, the fact that they never quite slammed the door shut on Green Bay until late probably made more than one Atlanta fan a little nervous. Still, that win could be a crucial tie-breaker down the road.
5. Pittsburgh Steelers
Last week: 7
The offense didn’t exactly click in a way we’re accustomed to but Big Ben and Le”Veon Bell still managed some solid numbers against a good Vikings defense. If the defense can keep shutting down run games then things could be set to take off.
6. Detroit Lions
Last week: 11
A pair of touchdown passes from Matthew Stafford against New York and the Lions came close to having a 100-yard rusher against a good defensive line. Add in an all-around good defensive effort from Detroit and things have started off quite well in 2017.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Last week: 9
An impressive debut for the Bucs as they dominated in just about every area against the lowly Bears. We’ll find out soon enough if the extra rest and preparation contributed to that or if this team is set to rise up these rankings further.
8. Green Bay Packers
Last week: 4
You can probably say that things could have been a lot different had Aaron Rodgers’ pass attempt not been taken back for a touchdown early in the game. Either way, this is a team that is already banged up two weeks into the season and facing some fires on several fronts.
9. Tennessee Titans
Last week: 10
It took a full half for the Titans to get going against their division rival but perhaps we saw them turn the corner on offense. An ailing DeMarco Murray gave Derrick Henry a chance to shine. Will that continue once Murray is healthy?
10. Denver Broncos
Last week: 15
Picture-perfect game plan by the Broncos – stop their opponent from running the football and make life miserable for the quarterback the rest of the way. Nobody wants to trust Trevor Siemian quite yet but if he’s as sharp as he was on Sunday, then the team will definitely contend for the division title.
11. Seattle Seahawks
Last week: 6
Winning ugly is still winning but nobody around Seattle has to like the way the season has started. The offensive line remains atrocious and is only bailed out by Russell Wilson’s mobility.
12. Dallas Cowboys
Last week: 5
If Dallas can’t run the ball, this offense really can’t do much and you saw that up in Denver in perhaps the worst loss in two years for the Cowboys. While a bad day never got better, it’s not the end of the world for Jason Garrett’s squad.
13. Baltimore Ravens
Last week: 20
If they can continue to force turnovers like they have been, the Ravens will definitely be right in the mix in the division and for an AFC wild card spot. The offensive line woes and lack of consistent run game are still a bit concerning, especially with tougher games ahead.
14. Philadelphia Eagles
Last week: 21
Doug Pederson couldn’t quite beat his old mentor on Sunday afternoon but did put up a heck of a fight. The defense in Philly looked pretty good too, except when trying to tackle Kareem Hunt.
15. Minnesota Vikings
Last week: 8
The jury will be out on the Vikings the next few weeks if they don’t get their quarterback back under center. Things are certainly not “fine” in Minnesota until that happens.
16. Miami Dolphins
Last week: 16
It wasn’t quite as pretty as Adam Gase would have liked — including having to hold on and watch that final field goal miss — but the team has been through enough that you had to like their effort. Jay Cutler was fine but the Dolphins’ pass defense has to step up going forward.
17. Carolina Panthers
Last week: 14
A 2-0 start is a 2-0 start but Cam Newton still doesn’t seem fully healthy and there’s not the grinding run game we’re used to seeing form this group.
18. Houston Texans
Last week: 19
Deshuan Watson’s first start resulted in a win but it’s pretty clear the offense will be a work in progress the rest of the year given how horrible the line has played through two weeks. At least the defense bounced back and looked better.
19. Washington Redskins
Last week: 22
That final go-ahead drive by Kirk Cousins was a nice pick-me-up after such a mediocre outing in Los Angeles but it was definitely the defense that won that game.
20. Los Angeles Rams
Last week: 13
Aaron Donald’s return didn’t quite spark a shutdown effort but as always with this squad, wins and losses will come down to how well the offense moves the ball. Jared Goff looked much more like the rookie version at QB and there was all you needed to know about the outcome in this one.
21. New York Giants
Last week: 18
The Giants’ defense can only do so much and if Eli Manning and company don’t take care of the ball, things can quickly go from bad to worse. Starting off 0-2 is bad as it is in New York but the team is staring at being 0-3 with two losses in the division if they don’t snap out of things.
22. Los Angeles Chargers
Last week: 25
Rough way to lose in your Los Angeles debut. Antonio Gates at least got that bit of history out of the way but there needs to be significant improvement across the board if they’re to notch that first win.
23. New Orleans Saints
Last week: 24
Between LSU losing and the Saints getting sliced and diced by Tom Brady, it was a pretty terrible weekend around the state of Louisiana. Probably not the best of signs when Tony Romo knows exactly what you’re going to do nearly every snap.
24. Buffalo Bills
Last week: 27
Carolina did what it could to keep Buffalo in its Week 2 game and the Bills never seemed ready to jump up and seize a win. That final two-minute drill was atrocious and is a sign of further growing pains under this new coaching staff.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars
Last week: 23
The Jags are the perfect landing spot for Colin Kaepernick at this point and everybody but this extra stubborn front office knows it.
26. Arizona Cardinals
Last week: 17
Needing a fourth quarter comeback against a team like the Colts isn’t a great sign of things ahead for Bruce Arians’ group. An extra day of prep heading into next week is definitely needed to regroup on offense.
27. Indianapolis Colts
Last week: 31
The Jacoby Brissett Show at least gives this team a chance to win on offense but it kind of feels like a one-man band at times given all the weak spots on the roster.
28. Chicago Bears
Last week: 26
Well, it took all of a week to go from Mike Glennon being okay on the field to the fan base clamoring for Mitchell Trubisky at quarterback. Things don’t get any easier the next few weeks either.
29. Cleveland Browns
Last week: 28
The Browns dropped a second straight game in the division and briefly lost their quarterback in the process, turning the ball over five times. Still, a three-game stretch with the Colts, Bengals and Jets has a chance to produce at least one win.
30. Cincinnati Bengals
Last week: 29
The offense is non-existent and while there are a few pieces on defense, they’re tired by the third quarter having to carry this team. We’ll see if a new offensive coordinator will make any difference but at this point it’s hard to go anywhere but up.
31. San Francisco 49ers
Last week: 30
Carlos Hyde getting going against that Seahawks front seven was a good sign but Brian Hoyer couldn’t do anything and remains the Achilles heel for this team.
32. New York Jets
Last week: 32
The good news for the Jets is that most of New York talk radio will be discussing their counterparts also being 0-2.
— 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.