NFL Power Rankings: Week 3

Blake Bortles and the Jacksonville Jaguars made a statement in Week 2 with their win over New England

We’re two weeks into the NFL season which means we now have two games to overreact to. While it’s still a little early to throw all the preseason predictions out the window completely, now that we’ve had a chance to see teams in actual games, our opinions on them might have shifted slightly heading into Week 4.

 

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. Los Angeles Rams

Last week: 2

 

The last six quarters have shown what everybody expected the Rams to be: dominant. The offense still doesn’t seem like it’s scratching the surface of what it can do — a scary thought for the rest of the NFC.

 

T-2. Minnesota Vikings

Last week: 3


 

T-2. Green Bay Packers

NFL Power Rankings: PackersLast week: 5

 

Only fitting these two are tied in the standings after their wild game on Sunday. For the Packers, it appears as though Aaron Rodgers is just fine and those late drives (and incredible throws) from Kirk Cousins are why he also is getting paid quite handsomely. The outcome only increases the stakes for the return game in Minneapolis.

 

4. Kansas City Chiefs

NFL Power Rankings: ChiefsLast week: 4

 

Patrick Mahomes is the real deal with one of the most prolific starts to an NFL career of any quarterback. If there’s a concern with this team, it’s that lack of pass rush they had against Pittsburgh despite 60 chances to get to Big Ben.

 

5. Jacksonville Jaguars

Last week: 9

 

It appears last season was no fluke as the Jaguars laid it on the defending AFC champs even without Leonard Fournette. Blake Bortles made some big-time throws and the team just might have a star on its hands in Keelan Cole.

 

6. Philadelphia Eagles

Last week: 1

 

A shaky performance on the road, especially defensively giving up all those big plays. More concerning? The inability to run the ball even if Nick Foles’ rally was encouraging down the stretch to get the passing game going.

 

7. Atlanta Falcons

Last week: 6

 

We saw the Matt Ryan of old this weekend, even if he was far more of a dual threat than expected. And the Falcons had success in the red zone, of all places, too! It won’t be enough to get fans off OC Steve Sarkisian’s back but against a solid defense, a great effort at home.

 

8. New England Patriots

NFL Power Rankings: PatriotsLast week: 7

 

Any loss will lead to panic to New England but you know Bill Belichick won’t. Still, allowing that re-tooled defense to give up so many big plays to the Jags, complete with a number of missed tackles, won’t sit well with the franchise. The Pats should be fine going forward but sometimes those cracks in the foundation can grow.

 

9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Last week: 19

 

FitzMagic was incredible once again and now you have to wonder what the team will do when Jameis Winston is eligible to return. The front office is tied to the young guy being franchise-caliber but there’s no question Fitzpatrick gives the team a better chance to win after knocking off two NFC Super Bowl picks.

 

10. Los Angeles Chargers

Last week: 13

 

Melvin Gordon was terrific against the lowly Bills and the way he was used in the passing game really shows how much more complete a back he’s become. He forms a great one-two punch with Austin Ekeler to take the pressure of Philip Rivers.

 

11. Carolina Panthers

Last week: 11

 

Yes the team was playing from behind most of the game against Atlanta but 18 rushing attempts to 45 Cam Newton passes is not a recipe for success in Carolina.

 

12. Dallas Cowboys

NFL Power Rankings: CowboysLast week: 18

 

The Cowboys had a much better offensive game plan Sunday night but even though they dominated the game from start to finish, only scoring 20 points seems a little underwhelming. The defense though looks legit and is cause for optimism in Dallas.

 

13. New Orleans Saints

Last week: 14

 

Two home games, two near disasters for a team that was a trendy Super Bowl selection out of the NFC. Things do not get any easier next week as the Saints' defense really needs to figure out something to limit the big plays in the passing game.

 

14. Cincinnati Bengals

Last week: 27

 

Two weeks, two impressive wins for a franchise feeling the heat to make another run at the playoffs. A.J. Green remains one of the best in the game and proved it for all to see against a solid Ravens secondary but the more encouraging outing came from Andy Dalton.

 

15. Miami Dolphins

Last week: 25

 

Vegas pegged this team at 6-10 in the preseason and it rapidly looks like Miami will breeze past that number with their best start since 2013. The defense travelled and played well against a rookie QB but it was old veteran Frank Gore who deserves the game ball after moving into fourth place on the NFL’s career rushing list.

 

16. Tennessee Titans

Last week: 26

 

Nice first win for Mike Vrabel, who seemed to manage things just fine without multi-hour delays. That upcoming trip to Jacksonville looms large for a team that isn’t healthy right now.

 

17. Denver Broncos

Last week: 17

 

Nice find by the Broncos in undrafted rookie Phillip Lindsay, who was over the century mark once again on Sunday. Case Keenum wasn’t super effective but he came through at the end. We’ll see if that pass rush can return next week at Baltimore.

 

18. Pittsburgh Steelers

NFL Power Rankings: SteelersLast week: 10

 

The team re-tooled their secondary to win big games against AFC rivals… and looked just as bad against the Kansas City on Sunday. Big Ben has been keeping the team afloat at times and that loss could have serious implications come playoff time — if this team can regroup and make it there.

 

19. Baltimore Ravens

Last week: 8

 

A short week on the road early in the season will always be an issue and the Ravens ran right into it with that slow start against a division rival. The offense started to click as the game against the very familiar Bengals went on but it was quite a letdown after the season-opening romp.

 

20. Chicago Bears

Last week: 15

 

The Khalil Mack trade is looking more and more like a straight-up theft for the Bears as the defense continues to trend toward being one of the best units in the league. Matt Nagy’s play-calling starts out with a bang but both he and Mitchell Trubisky need to figure out how to sustain that opening drive magic or it could remain a very up-and-down year.

 

21. San Francisco 49ers

Last week: 23

 

It felt at times like the 49ers were trying to give away that game against the Lions but Jimmy G. and company did bounce back compared to last week. Matt Breida had some really nice runs so you wonder if he can be more of a featured weapon going forward instead of putting it all on the QB’s shoulders.

 

22. Houston Texans

Last week: 12

 

This team has the talent to challenge for the division but are now 0-2 and facing some big questions. Deshaun Watson still is a tick off despite some nice downfield throws and the offensive line remains a mess.

 

23. New York Jets

Last week: 20

 

Sam Darnold threw for 334 yards but also had a lot of rookie mistakes in his home debut. That’s part of what it will be like this year as he lives and learns under center.

 

24. Oakland Raiders

NFL Power Rankings: RaidersLast week: 21

 

It’s hard to lose games when you average 6.2 yards a play and you quarterback goes 29-of-32 without an interception. The Gruden era is off to a shaky 0-2 start and have two more difficult road trips coming up.

 

25. New York Giants

Last week: 16

 

Passing on a future franchise quarterback because you thought you can still win with Eli Manning means nothing if you can’t A) win or B) protect Eli. This is a team that’s better than the 0-2 record suggests but there are some issues that need to be corrected and soon.

 

26. Indianapolis Colts

Last week: 30

 

Andrew Luck still seems a bit rusty with his timing but you can see Frank Reich’s adjustments starting to take hold with this team. The defense isn’t there yet despite the stats but the flashes from a lot of the younger players is encouraging.

 

27. Washington Redskins

Last week: 22

 

Big step back from the Washington offensive line against a mediocre defense and the running game and Alex Smith both faltered as a result. That was ugly and probably much more in line with what D.C. fans were expecting from this group in 2018.

 

28. Seattle Seahawks

NFL Power Rankings: SeahawksLast week: 24

 

To be fair, the Seahawks have played two good defenses to start the season. Also to be fair, it looks like Russell Wilson will run for his life every single week for the seventh year in a row.

 

29. Detroit Lions

Last week: 29

 

A better effort on the road from Matthew Stafford and company but 0-2 is still 0-2 — especially pressing given the division that they’re in. The number of key injuries this team is facing puts even more of a hamper on this bad start.

 

30. Cleveland Browns

Last week: 28

 

Two weeks, two of the most Browns-like endings ever. Hue Jackson is now 1-32-1 and these kinds of things keep happening under his watch.

 

31. Arizona Cardinals

Last week: 31

 

The offense didn’t cross midfield until the final play of the game against the Rams, which is incredible to think about. The lowest-scoring offense in the league needs a jump start, which could mean it’s Josh Rosen time.

 

32. Buffalo Bills

Last week: 32

 

Life comes at you fast in the NFL. The Bills were in the playoffs last year and now look like the worst team in the league after eight quarters. Things don’t get any easier for Josh Allen the next few weeks either.

 

— 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.

Event Date: 
Tuesday, October 11, 2016 - 01:01
Include in Acu Data Feed: 
Exclude from Acu-data Feed

More Stories: