NFL Power Rankings Week 3: Philly finally looks like Philly, Dolphins and Niners make case for top spot
Three weeks into the season and it’s a toss up for the top spot in this week’s NFL Power Rankings with the Dolphins and Niners knocking on the Eagles door.
Almost a month into the season, and we have just three undefeated teams remaining as the 72 Dolphins will have the Champagne already on ice, waiting for Philly, Miami and San Fran to fall and keep their only undefeated season alone on the NFL summit. On the other hand, there are only four 0-3 teams heading into Week 4, and if there’s one thing we like in the NFL, it’s parody. The Eagles haven’t done anything to lose their top spot, but there is a whole lot of shuffling in the 31 spots under them. Here are our Power Rankings after Week 3.
1) Philadelphia Eagles (3-0), last week 1
It took three weeks but we finally saw flashes of the team that took the Eagles to the Super Bowl last year. Jalen Hurts may not have been perfect, throwing interceptions on each side of the halftime break but the offense had a different look about them in Tampa Bay. They moved the ball with ease, A.J. Brown had over 100 yards receiving and D’Andre Swift one again made a claim to be the RB1 with 130 yards on 16 carries. We knew the defense was always going to hold strong, and this might just be the beginning for the Eagles offense that is starting to spread their wings.
2) San Francisco 49ers (3-0), last week 2
Ladies and gentleman, we have an early season front runner for the Super Bowl favorite. No team has looked more complete in every aspect of the game. For the first time in a long time, the offense is just a good if not better than the defense, and if that continues, there will be no stopping the Niners. If it’s not McCaffery, it’s Deebo, if it’s not Deebo, it’s Aiyuk, if it’s not Aiyuk, it’s Kittle, and if it’s none of those guys, then the defense comes in to save the day for Kyle Shanahan’s team. This is a scary looking team, that should only get better as the season goes on, and that’s a frightening scenario for the rest of the teams in the NFC.
3) Miami Dolphins (3-0), last week 3
The Miami Dolphins offense isn’t just explosive, and entertaining, it’s historic. They became just the fourth team to score 70 points in the NFL, and the first to do so since the 1960s. They could have set the all time record, but they showed mercy on the Broncos taking a knee instead of kicking a late field goal. Tua went for 309 yards on 23/26 passing for 4 TDs, and he did it without one of the best receivers in the league in Jalen Waddle. Who is going to stop the Dolphins offense this season? The Bills will get their crack at it next week.
4) Kansas City Chiefs (2-1), last week 4
Did it seem like the Chiefs were letting out a little bit of frustration against the Bears on Sunday afternoon? Patrick Mahomes and the offense had been questioned through the first two weeks of the season after a couple of underwhelming games on that side of the ball. There was nothing underwhelming about their 41-10 win over Chicago. Everyone got a piece of the pie in Arrowhead, as Mahomes spread the ball around to 10 different receivers. If the Chiefs start rolling on the offensive end we will look at this game as the game that turned things around for Andy Reid’s team.
5) Buffalo Bills (2-1), last week 7
The Week 1 choke job seems to be well in the rear view for Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills. It’s a lot easier to win games when you are the team that creates turnovers instead of giving them away. This game was over by halftime, as a consequence Allen’s numbers weren’t great because they didn’t need to be. He had 218 yards, 111 of those to Stefon Diggs which will calm the waters between those two. The run game went wild, totaling 168 yards and 2 TDs if this team can find that balance on the offensive end the defense won’t have to come up with a handful of turnovers to get wins.
6) Detroit Lions (2-1), last week 10
Sam Laporta would probably be the break out player of the first three weeks of the season if it wasn’t for Puka Nacua in LA. Jared Goff has found his new favorite weapon in Ford Field and his 45 yard TD catch and run helped push the Lions over the Falcons in a win that isn’t going to knock your socks off but Aidan Hutchinson and the Detroit D came up with a big response after giving up 37 to the Seahawks last week.
7) Dallas Cowboys (2-1), last week 5
Yikes. Trevon Diggs’ ACL injury was going to have a lasting affect on the Dallas D, but I doubt anyone thought it would affect them immediately, especially in a week that they were playing the winless Arizona Cardinals. Micah Parsons and defense will figure things out and they are still going to be a dominant force in the NFC, but there should be some serious concerns surrounding the Cowboys offense. Through two weeks Dallas scored 70 points, but more because of their defense and special teams than anything else. Late in Sundays game, down by 12 points, and inside the ARI 20, Dallas ran the ball five straight times, and on their sixth play, Dak finally went to the air and threw a pick to give the Cardinals their first win of the season.
8) Baltimore Ravens (2-1), last week 6
When Justin Tucker missed a game winning field goal at the end of the 4th quarter, the Ravens had to know what was coming. Tucker is money at the end of the game, even if the game winning kick is from 60+. You can’t blame this loss on Tucker, it comes down to the Ravens not being able to move the ball against a Colts defensive that is far from the top unit in the league. If they can’t beat the Colts, it’s hard to consider the Ravens among the best teams in the AFC.
9) Cincinnati Bengals (1-2), last week 13
This wasn’t the game that will assure Bengals fans that Burrow is back to normal, but they got a big win against the Rams and for the moment that’s all that matters for the city of Cincinnati. It seems to be a given that Joe Cool and the offense will find their stride sometime in the near future, but if their defense played like they did against the Rams until then, that will buy Burrow and the Bengals even more time.
10) Los Angeles Chargers (1-2), last week 11
Someone was going to have to win the match up between the Chargers and the Vikings in the battle of the most disappointing teams after two weeks this season. Brandon Staley almost blew the game, up by four, going for it on 4th and 1 from the MIN 21 with 1:51 to go. Instead of going up by 7, Joshua Kelly was stopped for no gain, and opened the door for a late Vikings TD, but the defense came up with a rare game winning play to secure the narrow victory on the road. LA got their first win on Sunday but took a big hit with the news that Mike Williams will miss the season with a torn ACL. That receiving corp just can’t stay healthy, you have to feel for Williams, Herbert, Brandon Staley and the Chargers fans.
11) Seattle Seahawks (2-1), last week 14
The Seahawks opening week loss to the LA Rams doesn’t seem as catastrophic as it did just 14 days ago. There are a coupe reasons for that, first of all the Rams look like a team that compete for a playoff spot. Second of all, Seattle has bounced back with back to back 37 point games as Geno Smith is looking like the franchise record setting quarterback from last year. The obvious problem is on the defensive end. Seattle has given up the fourth most points in the league, at almost 30 a game which will certainly bring up problems if they can’t sort the secondary issues out soon.
12) Jacksonville Jaguars (1-2), last week 8
The Jaguars home loss against the Chiefs in Week 2 was understandable. Their home loss to the Texans was shocking. You had to think the Jags were going to respond after getting held out of the endzone all game against the Chiefs, instead they were kept off the scoreboard for the first half hour missing a field goal and getting another field goal blocked, then giving up a kick off return to a full back who went 85 yards to the house. The offense stunk, the special teams stunk and the defense got lit up in another disappointing performance from Doug Pederson’s guys.
13) Cleveland Browns (2-1), last week 17
Finally we saw a little glimpse of the Deshaun Watson we became accustomed to seeing in Houston with the Texans. They lost Nick Chubb last week, and maybe that was the fire that needed to be lit for him to rekindle that form that has eluded him in recent years. There is still some concern surround the run game, and replacing Chubb, but if Watson can keep this up they will have time to reincorporate Kareem Hunt, who knows this offense well.
14) Green Bay Packers (2-1), last week 18
In the long and illustrious history of the Green Bay Packers franchise, no team had ever done what Jordan Love and the Pack did on Sunday afternoon. Not Aaron Rodgers, not Brett Favre, not even Vince Lombardi came back from 17 points down in the fourth quarter. We could talk about the 45 minutes of scoreless football, but let’s highlight the bright spots. They bounced back from a turn over on downs to start the fourth, and came storming back to kick a field goal and two TDs gaining 206 of their 340 yards in the final quarter of an hour.
15) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1), last week 12
The planets kind of aligned for the Bucs first loss of the season. Going into Week 3, neither Baker Mayfield nor the Bucs offense had given up a turnover, but they were playing the Eagles who have a field full of ball hawks. Philly forced a fumble and picked off Mayfield as they stifled the Bucs offense all game, holding Tampa Bay to just 174 yards of total offense.
16) Pittsburgh Steelers (2-1), last week 23
Red flags have turned to terrible towels in Pittsburgh after a Week 1 scare that had Steelers fans fearing the worst. Since their blowout loss to the Niners, the Steelers have taken down the Browns at home and the Raiders on the road. If it wasn’t for the defense, the Steelers story would be much different coming out of Week 3, but after their two defensive TD game against the Browns, Pittsburgh’s D picked off Jimmy Garoppolo three times to move to 2-1 on the young season.
17) Los Angeles Rams (1-2), last week 9
If you just watched the first two or three plays of each Rams drive on Monday night against the Bengals you would have thought they won that game in Cincy in a landslide. They moved the ball quickly and efficiently down the field, but the problem came once the started to sniff the endzone. LA got inside the 5 twice, and settled for field goals, didn’t convert a third down until the last drive of the game, and went just 1-4 in the red zone with their only TD coming much too late to make a real claim for a comeback. This team needs to sway away from the finess offense, and learn how to play smash mouth football, especially inside the 20.
18) Atlanta Falcons (2-1), last week 16
Even good teams have games where nothing goes right for them. The Falcons are not a good team just yet and their game in Detroit proved that. Even last week, we saw Atlanta struggle to get into the end zone in their comeback win over the Packers. This week Desmond Ridder and the Falcons were incapable of even knocking on the door, getting into the red zone just once, and failing to cross the goal line. There are some great teams at 2-1 through three weeks of the season, I don’t believe the Falcons are one of those teams.
19) New Orleans Saints (2-1), last week 20
The formula for beating the Saints seems pretty easy. If you are able to score more than 20 points against their defense that should be enough, because the offense doesn’t seem capable of scoring more than that, especially if Derek Carr is going to be sidelined for the next few weeks with a shoulder injury. In three games they have scored just four total TDs making it awfully difficult on their defense. For the first two games they held strong against some really bad teams (TEN and CAR), but on Sunday the Packers made them pay.
20) Washington Commanders (2-1), last week 15
A lot of people were looking forward to see if the Commanders were legit after winning their first two games, albeit against some bottom-of-the-table competition. The game against Buffalo will bring a dose of reality to the nations capital after they got waxed by the Bills on Sunday afternoon. It took them 59 minutes to get on the board, and Sam Howell’s dream start to the season was bulldozed by the Buffalo defense who picked him off 4 times. The Commanders weren’t as good as their record indicated after Week 2, but I don’t think they are as bad as the scoreboard would suggest in Week 3.
21) New England Patriots (1-2), last week 26
The Patriots went into Week 3 in desperate need of a win after their first 0-2 start since 2001, and luckily for them the schedule makers did them a favor by matching them up with the Jets. New England had a 14 game win streak against the Jets, and they extended that streak thanks to a fantastic defensive effort from Matthew Judon and company. Mac Jones was anything but spectacular, going for 201 yards and a TD, but his 58 yard pass to Pharaoh Brown made the difference in a slopfest from Metlife.
22) Indianapolis Colts (2-1), last week 29
Let’s give it up to the Colts, who followed up their first win of the season with an unexpected victory in Baltimore against what was looking like a contender in the AFC. It was Gardner Minshew who was under center, but Matt Gay was the real star of the show in a muggy Baltimore. He hit 5/5 field goals four from over 50 yards out, one which was a game tying try and the other was the walkoff winner in overtime. Indy is going to need heroic performances from their defense and special teams this year no matter if Minshew or Anthony Richardson is under center.
23) New York Giants (1-2), last week 19
The Giants elation, or relief, was short lived as New York had to play a second straight west coast game on a short week after their comeback win over the Cardinals in Week 2. With no Saquon Barkley, the offense put up just 88 yards and two field goals in the first half, and by that time the Niners were up 17-6 with the game in the bag, knowing the Giants couldn’t move the football on their top defense. Nothing is going as planned for New York through three weeks of the season, and they will be praying to the football gods that Saquon can come back before their game against the Seahawks next Monday night.
24) Arizona Cardinals (1-2), last week 30
Can we get a round of applause for Josh Dobbs? Sunday against the Cowboys wasn’t the first time we have seen flashes of brilliance from the former Titans back up. He had a fantastic first half against the Giants in Week 2, and followed it up with 189 yards on 17/21 passing with a TD, but the difference between their Week 2 debacle and their Week 3 win was the run game who couldn’t move the chains and keep the clock moving last week. On Sunday, against a dominant Dallas D, they went for 222 yards and iced the game with 4 first downs on the final drive to give the Cardinals their first W of the season.
25) New York Jets (1-2), last week 21
What is it going to take for the Jets to make a change at quarterback? Just because your plans of having Aaron Rodgers under center were blown up on the first series of the season doesn’t mean you have to stick with your back up for the rest of the year. Zach Wilson is not equipped to run this offense, which has scored just three TDs in the first three games of the season. I get he was a No. 2 overall pick in 2021, but if it didn’t work last year, and it’s not working this year the franchise is going to have to move on.
26) Minnesota Vikings (0-3), last week 25
It’s fitting that the Vikings lost the game on a last minute interception with a 1st and Goal from the LA 6 yard line. Minnesota has not been able to hold on to the ball this season, turning the ball over 9 times in the first three games. On Sunday, they stayed in the game because they committed just one turnover through the first 59 minutes, but again it was a giveaway that lost the game for the Vikings who lost just 4 games all season last year.
27) Las Vegas Raiders (1-2), last week 24
An offensive minded head coach should trust his offense, and from everything that we saw on Sunday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Josh McDaniels doesn’t trust his offense. I don’t care about logistics or what the analyitics say. Down by 8 with three minutes to go, McDaniels chose to take not just one but two field goals after a flag on the first field goal attempt gave the Raiders coach a chance to rethink his decision. Instead he sent his field goal unit out on 4th and 4 from the 8. Why? Who knows, but it cost them their second straight loss.
28) Tennessee Titans (1-2), last week 22
The Titans better thank the heavens that the Broncos stink so bad, because if it wasn’t for Denver, then Tennessee’s performance would have been the worst of the week. How can a team that is built around Derrick Henry only hand the ball off to him 11 times? Especially when your quarterback throws for 104 yards in four quarters? It wasn’t like the Titans were down 20+ points in the first half. It was still a close game going into halftime, but the Titans abandoned the run and got smoked in the second half against the Browns.
29) Houston Texans (1-2), last week 32
Houston, you do not have a problem at the QB position. CJ Stroud looks like the truth under center for this young team who got their first win in the DeMeco Ryans era. He went for 384 yards last week against the Colts and 280 against the Jags on Sunday. The best part of it, the Rookie has yet to throw an interception. There is still a lot of work to do, but the Texas are building a foundation, and getting a tough division win on the road will only strengthen that foundation.
30) Carolina Panthers (0-3), last week 31
With Bryce Young sidelined, the Panthers offense looked a bit more determined to get into the end zone. They traveled across the country and took the Seahawks to the finish line before dropping their third straight loss to start the season. Word in Charlotte is once Young is ready to come back from his ankle injury, he will be the starter but Carolina were more dangerous with Andy Dalton under center. That’s never an easy position to be in as a coach.
31) Chicago Bears (0-3), last week 28
Hopefully the Bears burned the game tape before leaving the locker room in KC on Sunday, because nothing good came from their loss against the Chiefs. Chicago haven’t proven to be a team worthy of being taken seriously through three weeks of the season. What’s even worse is Justin Fields was forced out of the game with some concussion like symptoms, and he may be out at least for next week.
32) Denver Broncos (0-3), last week 27
It doesn’t get much uglier or more embarrassing that what Sean Payton and the Denver Broncos went through on Sunday in Miami. I don’t know what it is about Denver, but they are anything lovable losers. Wilson went to the Broncos and automatically became a villain after his “Broncos ride” war cries and high knees on the plane. It seems like Sean Payton is going through the same thing this year. First with his comments about Nathanial Hackett, and then the clip of the Denver coach saying Tua would be a back up in Miami is making these losses easy to digest if you aren’t a Broncos fan.