Week 3 is in the books and there was a lot of changes in the power rankings. Some teams that we knew were bad have proven to be bad, and some teams that we knew were good have proven to be good. And there have been other teams that have straight up surprised the hell out of us.
The Minnesota Vikings have lost their starting quarterback, their Hall-Of-Fame running back, and yet they continue to beat good teams and look good in the process.
Arizona was a Super Bowl favorite entering week 1, and now they find themselves at 1-2. Do they fall out of the Top 10?
Here are my Power Rankings after week 3 of the NFL season.
32. Chicago Bears (0-3) Last Week – 31 ↓
As predicted this team seems to be a trainwreck. Jay Cutler’s very poor play has caused the question to swirl if the starting QB job is even his when he returns from injury. RB Jeremy Langford will miss 4-6 weeks with an ankle injury. This team is a long way off from returning to the glory years of Ditka, and I think will require a long-term change at the quarterback position. Could DeShaun Watson be the face of the Windy City next season?
31. Cleveland Browns (0-3) Last Week – 32 ↑
The Browns have actually looked competitive in their last two games, losing both in the final possession (last game in overtime). I think that Hue Jackson is definitely the long-term solution for this team, but Rome wasn’t built in a day. If Cleveland can at least be competitive in every game, it will be a successful season in my opinion, especially after playing three different quarterbacks in as many games.
30. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-3) Last Week – 23 ↓
Gus Bradley can’t be feeling real confident in his job security right now. The Jaguars have way to much talent to be an 0-3 team. Bradley is a defensive minded coach that has been unable to get the offensive rolling until it is too late (oh and the defense has not been all that stellar either). Jacksonville ranks 27th in the NFL in 1st quarter points with an average of 2.3. The offense is full of weapons that would play much better if they could play with a lead for once.
29. San Francisco 49ers (1-2) Last Week – 29 ↔
The 49ers are becoming the team that we thought they would be at the start of the season. A defense that has a ton of pride and will play hard for 60 minutes, but just doesn’t have quite enough talent to stave off the elite offenses. And an offense that doesn’t have good enough skill players (aside from Carlos Hyde) to truly run Chip Kelly’s high-octane system. A few more games of Gabbert’s stats resembling that of a running back, and we might see Kaepernick get a shot after all.
28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-2) Last Week – 22 ↓
Talented roster that can get back on track, but left me scratching my head after giving up 37 points to a Rams offense that had yet to score a touchdown through 2 games. If he plays smart football, Winston can sling it with the best of them and the offense can score a bunch of points, but the defense needs to re-evaluate themselves after back-to-back weeks of giving up 35+ points.
27. San Diego Chargers (1-2) Last Week – 26 ↓
Once again the Chargers have been riddled with injuries which will make it extremely difficult for them to do anything in the talented AFC West. Mike McCoy has done a decent job with what he has had to work with and shouldn’t get all the blame if the team finishes under .500 yet again. Number 3 overall pick Joey Bosa sitting out all of training camp has been a disaster, as he still has yet to take the field due to hamstring injury that he has been nursing since he finally decided to start practicing. I’m guessing management isn’t too thrilled with their investment at this point.
26. New Orleans Saints (0-3) Last Week – 20 ↓
Drew Brees is still a viable quarterback, but this defense is still a terrible defense. They proved that giving up 45 points to the Atlanta Falcons on Monday night. The formula seems to be, stop Drew Brees and the offense ONCE, and you should have no problem putting away the game.
25. Miami Dolphins (1-2) Last Week – 27 ↑
Snuck out a win in overtime over the lowly Cleveland Browns. You can start to see Adam Gase’s offense at work here, but Ryan Tannehill is still making too many mistakes to give the Dolphins a viable shot at competing in their division. If Arian Foster can stay healthy, it will give them a little more consistency in the backfield, but that is a big if.
24. Los Angeles Rams (2-1) Last Week – 30 ↑
I still can’t really put my finger on this team. They have definitely rebounded since their week 1 debacle in San Francisco. The offense got something going this week putting up 37 points against what we thought to be a decent defense in Tampa Bay. Todd Gurley finally got over 20 carries and it paid off as he found the end zone twice. Rob Boras must have finally realized that his best offensive weapon is number 30. It only took him 3 weeks.
23. Tennessee Titans (1-2) Last Week – 25 ↑
Dick Lebeau has proven yet again that he is a defensive mastermind turning the Tennessee defense into a real Titan…like what I did there. They are ninth in the league giving up 19 points per game against very good offenses in Minnesota, Detroit, and Oakland (Detroit and Oakland both rank top 5 in total offense). The running game has been prolific with the two-headed attack of Murray and Henry, but the Titans will need more consistent play out of Marcus Mariota if they want to compete in the very weak AFC North.
22. Detroit Lions (1-2) Last Week – 24 ↑
The offense is back in Detroit ranking 4th in the NFL with 413.7 points per game. Marvin Jones Jr. has been a bright spot in the receiving corps and has become one of Stafford’s favorite targets. They do need a better presence in the rushing game after they lost Ameer Abdullah to injured reserve. Theo Riddick is a great catching threat out of the backfield but is basically a non-factor in the rushing game.
21. Buffalo Bills (1-2) Last Week – 28 ↑
Looked great this week after a surprising upset win over the Arizona Cardinals. Rex Ryan decided last week to part ways with his offensive coordinator, who was the highest paid OC in the NFL, and the offense was able to put up 33 points against a very talented Arizona defense. Rex and the boys will have an extremely tough test this week against the Patriots in Foxborough. We will see if the defense can put any kind of pressure on whoever lines up under center for the Pats.
20. Indianapolis Colts (1-2) Last Week – 21 ↑
The Colts got a much-needed win this week against the San Diego Chargers, but they still need to find a way to get QB Andrew Luck going early. His talent can only take him so far, and makes it tougher on his playmaking ability when they are constantly playing from behind. The Colts rank 24th in total defense, but luckily they play in a very weak division that hasn’t displayed any strong offenses to this point.
19. Washington Redskins (1-2) Last Week – 19 ↔
Washing pulled a division win this week against a solid Giants team. The headlines were mostly about the OBJ, Josh Norman matchup, but the real story was about Kirk Cousins, who threw for 296 yards, 2 touchdowns, and zero interceptions. This offense will ride or die by the play of Cousins who will need more outings like the one he displayed on Sunday.
18. Dallas Cowboys (2-1) Last Week – 18 ↔
The Boys’ had a very convincing win against the Chicago Bears, but it was the Chicago Bears. Dak Prescott threw his first NFL touchdown and has still yet to toss an interception. His smart play coupled with the running game getting stronger will make this team very competitive throughout the year. Still not ready to anoint them in the top half of the league like most experts have unwisely done.
17. New York Giants (2-1) Last Week – 14 ↓
Top to bottom, this is a very good roster with the exception of the running back position. Losing Shane Vereen to season-ending torn triceps stings a bit and you can expect a running back by committee approach for the remainder of the season, even when a healthy Rashad Jennings returns. The defense ranks last in the NFL in turnovers with 1 fumble recovery. This will have to improve as the season progresses.
16. Atlanta Falcons (2-1) Last Week – 17 ↑
The offense has looked electric in back to back weeks posting 35 and 45 point outings. This team is back near where I had them at the beginning of season as DeVonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman have become a very viable two headed attack. Still not a complete team but the defense has faced three very potent offenses in Tampa Bay, Oakland, and New Orleans.
15. Houston Texans (2-1) Last Week – 6 ↓
I dropped the Texans out of the top 10 after a horrible performance in Foxborough, and then dropped them a few more spots with the news of superstar J.J. Watt being put on the IR. Watt is not only the captain of the defense, but he by far the best player on team, and is in the discussion of best player in the NFL. Houston…you have a problem.
14. New York Jets (1-2) Last Week – 10 ↓
The Jets dropped out of the top 10 due to an abysmal offensive performance. Fitzpatrick threw for 188 yards and 6 interceptions. Forte rushed for 65 yards. Decker had 1 reception for 31 yards. Marshall had 3 receptions for 27 yards. Todd Bowles was completely out-coached by Andy Reid. Enough said.
13. Oakland Raiders (2-1) Last Week – 15 ↑
This team still has a long way to go but they have a winning record, have immense talent on the roster that will keep improving, and have a players coach that has the ability to get the most out of his team. My only worry, Del Rio is a defensive coach and the Raiders rank last in the NFL in total defense giving up an average of 476 yards per game.
12. Baltimore Ravens (3-0) Last Week – 16 ↑
One of the many surprises of the NFL, the Ravens are 3-0 and sit atop the AFC North division. Many will have this team in the top 10 because they are undefeated, but I haven’t seen enough from their body of work to put them with the elite teams just yet. A 6-point win over the Bills, a 5-point win over the Browns, and a 2-point win over the Jaguars doesn’t quite do it for me, but if this team continues to play solid defense and win games, I won’t be able to keep them out of the top 10 for long.
11. Cincinnati Bengals (1-2) Last Week – 7 ↓
Cinci sits with a 1-2 record but has opened the season with a brutal schedule facing the Jets in New York, traveling to Pittsburgh to play the rival Steelers, and hosting the Super Bowl Champion Broncos in week 3. Expect them to rebound this week against the Miami Dolphins.
10. Arizona Cardinals (1-2) Last Week – 4 ↓
I kept the Cardinals in the top 10 strictly based on talent. I am utterly confused by the way Arizona has played thus far, and Carson Palmer has looked very poor. The recipe for the Cardinals needs to be to continually feed David “LetGaryDebate” Johnson the rock. He has been the bright spot for the offense thus far and may need to carry the load if this team wants to get back into the Super Bowl discussion.
9. Carolina Panthers (1-2) Last Week – 4 ↓
The formula to beat the Carolina Panthers…hit Cam early and often and he will get rattled throughout the game. Newton couldn’t find any consistency against the Vikings, and rushed a few throws that ended with poor results. Kelvin Benjamin was a zero factor with literally a goose egg in the reception column. The Panthers still rank 7th in offense and 3rd in defense, but they will have to keep Cam upright if they want to succeed.
8. Kansas City Chiefs (2-1) Last Week – 11 ↑
The Chiefs looked very impressive this week stifling a very potent Jets offense. This is not the most exciting team to watch, but Andy Reid’s formula works. Run the ball with effectiveness, make high-percentage throws, don’t turn the ball over, and play smashmouth defense.
7. Seattle Seahawks (2-1) Last Week – 8 ↑
The Seahawks got back on track with a 37-18 blowout victory over division rival San Francisco. The offense has had some injuries and Russell Wilson has been nursing a knee injury that has clearly hindered him outside the pocket. However, the defense is still the Legion of Boom and rank 1st in total defense. The ‘Hawks have a knack for starting seasons slow causing a panic across the nation, but they always gain steam and become a playoff favorite year in and year out.
6. Philadelphia Eagles (3-0) Last Week – 13 ↑
The biggest surprise this season is in the city of Brotherly Love. According to Head Coach Doug Pederson, rookie Carson Wentz “prepares like Peyton Manning,” and according to the eye test, plays like a more mobile Ben Roethlisberger. The defense ranks 4th in total team defense, and 1st in points allowed average 9 per game. The recipe for success for a young quarterback, a great defense that can back him up.
5. Green Bay Packers (2-1) Last Week – 12 ↑
Aaron Rodgers once again looked like Aaron Rodgers, throwing for 4 early touchdowns against the Lions. Eddie Lacy ran for 103 yards on only 17 carries demonstrating that he can still be a feature back for this team. The defense ranks 1st in the NFL allowing only 42.7 yards per game on the ground. When all the pieces are working together, this is an elite team.
4. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-1) Last Week – 1 ↓
Pittsburgh was outcoached, outplayed, hell out-everythinged against the Eagles on Sunday. I dropped them 3 spots but am not willing to panic after an early season dud against an in-state rival. Le’Veon Bell returns this week and should add more firepower to Big Ben’s arsenal. One area of concern, however, the Steelers defense ranks last in the NFL with 1 measly sack. They will have to get pressure on the quarterback against a very good Chief’s team on Sunday night.
3. Minnesota Vikings (3-0) Last Week – 9 ↑
The Vikings are 1st in the NFL with 15 sacks and rank 6th in total team defense. Sam Bradford has looked very comfortable at quarterback and Stefon Diggs has become one of the great receivers in the league. Mike Zimmer is my early candidate for coach of the year, and offensive coordinator Norv Turner has worked wonders with the shuffling of personnel that he has had to deal with.
2. New England Patriots (3-0) Last Week – 3 ↑
Most people have the Patriots ranked number 1 and with very good reason. They have the best coach in the league and they seem to find a way to win no matter what player is plugged in. Obviously, Brady has been suspended since the start of the season, but phenom Rob Gronkowski has yet to record a catch in 2016, and the Pats still sit at 3-0. Just note, Brady returns from his suspension in one week but he has been away from all team activities for that entire duration, something that no one is talking about.
1. Denver Broncos (3-0) Last Week – 2 ↑
I have the Denver Broncos as my number one team after week 3 of the NFL season. The Broncos have been given very little respect since winning Super Bowl 50, and Trevor Siemian has taken a back seat to Jimmy Garrapolo, Carson Wentz, Dak Prescott, and even Jacoby Brissett. And yet, Siemian is the only quarterback in NFL history to throw for 300 yards and 4 touchdowns in his first road game. The defense still has the best secondary in the NFL shutting down the likes of Cam Newton, Andrew Luck, and Andy Dalton in the first three weeks and the pass attack ranks 2nd in the league in sacks. If Siemian continues to grow as a quarterback, this team will continue to get scarier.