NFL Power Rankings Week 3

Derrick GContributor IIISeptember 20, 2012

JACKSONVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 16:   Arian Foster #23 of the Houston Texans runs for yardage during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on September 16, 2012 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

If Week 1 was crazy, I'm not sure how to describe Week 2. Teams that looked great played awful (Jets, Patriots), teams that looked awful played great (Bills, Seahawks), teams that played great defense couldn't get a stop (Browns) and teams that couldn't move the ball moved it with ease (Dolphins, and again, the Browns). This was a tough week to do power rankings for, but a fun one.

Last week's rankings are in parentheses.

1. Houston Texans (6)

They’ve played some weak teams in the first two weeks, but they’ve been able to handle them both the way they should have. In Week 2, they held the Jaguars to just 117 total yards, or seven more than Arian Foster had alone. Ben Tate added 74 yards to go with his two rushing touchdowns as Houston rolled to an easy win.

2. Green Bay Packers (3)

CATCH THE DAMN BALL! If I get this frustrated with the Packers receivers, I wonder how Aaron Rodgers feels sometimes. He threw at least three first downs that were dropped in the first quarter alone. The defense was better this week, picking off Jay Cutler four times, and the offense settled down eventually and started moving the ball.

3. Philadelphia Eagles (7)

They have won both games by just a point, but they managed to win them. The Ravens were a good test, and the Eagles were able to pull through. The offense has yet to click, and Vick is still throwing bad interceptions. He is trying too hard to be a pass-first QB, even when he has an open running lane.

4. San Francisco 49ers (11)

Many power rankings are placing San Francisco at the top, but I need its offense to prove itself against at least a decent defense before I anoint it the best team in the NFL. So far, the defense has been great, and the offense has been able to avoid turning the ball over.

5. Atlanta Falcons (10)

Two wins, two impressive performances. They came through against a tough Broncos team, but almost let the game slip away late. Matt Ryan has played well so far, but Michael Turner is a concern both on and off the field. The defense picked off Peyton Manning three times in the first quarter, so they are also capable of forcing turnovers. This could be a team to watch this year.

6. Baltimore Ravens (2)

After destroying the Bengals in Week 1, the Ravens were unable to come out with the same intensity after a short week. The defense was able to force three turnovers, but couldn’t stop what would be the game-winning drive. Joe Flacco and the offense then failed to get into field-goal range for a chance to win the game.

7. New England Patriots (3)

Sure, Stephen Gostowski is in part to blame for their loss to Arizona, but the game never should have been that close to begin with. Their running game wasn’t quite as good, and they settled for field goals too many times when they were able to move the ball.

8. San Diego Chargers (15)

They weren’t particularly impressive against the Raiders in Week 1, but in Week 2, they came out and dominated the Titans. Phillip Rivers threw three touchdowns, the defense held Jake Locker to completing just 50 percent of his passes and Chris Johnson had just 17 yards rushing on the day.

9. Denver Broncos (4)

Maybe everyone was too early in declaring Peyton Manning back. After three first-quarter interceptions, he was able to bounce back and make a game out of it. The Broncos defense did a nice job holding a Falcons offense that went off for 44 points in Week 1 to just seven points in the second half.  Which one is the real Manning will be the key to their season?

10. Dallas Cowboys (9)

After looking ready to take the next step against the Giants, they fell flat against the Seahawks in Week 2.  They were not able to make up for early mistakes that gave the Seahawks an early lead. If this team is going to go anywhere this season, it will need to be able to fight through the adversity of an early deficit.

11. New York Giants (12)

Eli Manning came through in the fourth quarter once again, making up for his own early struggles. The Giants were able to escape a surprisingly close game against Tampa Bay in which Eli ended throwing for over 500 yards as Hakeem Nicks got nearly 200 of them. The scary thing is that this team isn’t at full strength.

12. New York Jets (8)

Maybe they should have let Tim Tebow play QB against the Steelers? He had much more success in the 2011 playoff than Mark Sanchez had this week. Their running game did very little, and their defense couldn’t stop Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense.

13. Chicago Bears (5)

I mentioned it before the season, and I will say it again now, Jay Cutler’s inconsistency is a huge issue. After an impressive Week 1, Cutler was awful against the Packers. He threw four interceptions and has had his leadership called into question after berating a teammate on the sideline. This team has all the talent to be something special, but I doubt it ever gets there with Cutler at QB.

14. Detroit Lions (13)

I expected them to lose to San Francisco. Their defense just isn’t good enough. Unfortunately, that forces the offense into playing catch-up, which leads to mistakes. They're still a decent team, but they have a few holes to fix before they take the next step.

15. Pittsburgh Steelers (17)

They bounced back strong against the Jets to avoid an 0-2 hole. Their defense played well in holding Mark Sanchez to just 138 yards, and Ben Roethlisberger was better. The running game still remains a concern as long as they are without Rashard Mendenhall.

16. Cincinnati Bengals (21)

They looked much better offensively against the Browns than they did against the Ravens, but Cleveland was also without starting cornerbacks Sheldon Brown and Joe Haden. The continued struggles of the defense are a concern, as a Browns offense that barely managed to move the ball at all against the Eagles was able to rack up over 400 yards. They will not beat the Ravens and Steelers if that trend continues.

17. New Orleans Saints (14)

We knew they had a rough offseason, but did anyone expect an 0-2 start? Drew Brees absolutely has to play better; he has had too many costly turnovers this season. Their defense has also had problems so far, and this time, were unable to stop Cam Newton both passing and scrambling.

18. Carolina Panthers (19)

They needed a win this week, and they got one. Cam Newton played well and the offense played well. The defense was a mixed bag, they gave up way too many yards and points, but forced a couple key turnovers that helped them come away with a win.

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (18)

They came close, but ultimately gave up over 500 passing yards to Eli Manning, whom they had managed to pick off three times in the first half (including a 60-yard return for a touchdown by Eric Wright). Josh Freeman wasn’t great, and neither was their rushing attack. If they are going to win games, they will need to play better in all facets of the game.

20. St Louis Rams (24)

They played well in their Week 1 loss, and it all came together in Week 2. Sam Bradford passed for over 300 yards, 160 of which to Danny Amendola. Stephen Jackson ran well before being injured, and Daryl Richardson ran well in taking over (aside from a fumble). The defense had problems stopping the combination of Alfred Morris and Griffin in the running game, but were fairly solid against the pass.

21. Arizona Cardinals (27)

A big, unexpected win against New England. Kevin Kolb wasn’t particularly good, but did enough. They almost blew the game at the end, but got lucky when Stephen Gostowski missed his game-winning attempt.

22. Washington Redskins (16)

RG3 wasn’t able to recapture his magic from Week 1, and the defense had trouble defending Danny Amendola. They also had problems stopping the rush. Don’t get me wrong, Griffin still played well, but the Rams outscored the Redskins 8-0 in the fourth quarter.

23. Seattle Seahawks (29)

The defense smothered the Cowboys, and the offense took advantage.  They are mostly riding Marshawn Lynch on offense and letting Russell Wilson act as a game manager, which is smart. The defense shut down the Dallas running game until they built up a sizeable lead and forced Tony Romo to throw 40 passes. If the defense continues to play this well, they will surprise another team or two along the way.

24. Buffalo Bills (26)

What a difference a week makes. They were blown out by the Jets in game one, but against the Chiefs, they were the ones blowing out the other team. With the score 35-3 headed into the fourth quarter, they gave up two garbage-time touchdowns late, making the score closer than the game really was.

CJ Spiller continues to take advantage of Fred Jackson’s injury, racking up 123 yards on just 15 carries. Ryan Fitzpatrick didn’t turn the ball over, and the defense created turnover when they needed them.

25. Indianapolis Colts (30)

Andrew Luck was not going to be denied his first NFL win, and Adam Vinatieri, who continues to cement his case for the best clutch kicker in league history. Their running game and defense continue to be no better than average, but their passing game is showing signs of life. This will be a tough year, but if they rebuild around Luck the right way, watch out…

26. Miami Dolphins (32)

They were much, much better than in Week 1. Ryan Tannehill didn’t throw an interception, and Reggie Bush ran great. The defense stopped the Raiders rushing attack cold, and for the most part, kept Carson Palmer out of the end zone despite giving up over 370 passing yards.

27. Minnesota Vikings (25)

They almost pulled it off, but the defense couldn’t stop Andrew Luck at the end. Percy Harvin was once again a game-changer on offense, but Adrian Peterson could not get going like he did in Week 1. The offense has a tough test ahead of them against that San Francisco defense, so I’m looking forward to seeing just what they are capable of.

28. Tennessee Titans (20)

They were awful against San Diego. Jake Locker had trouble finding receivers, and Chris Johnson continued his struggles.  The defense wasn’t great either, but given the team’s offensive struggles, it  is difficult to place too much blame on that unit.

29. Cleveland Browns (31)

The offense was much, much better in Week 2. The same can’t be said of a defense playing without their two starting cornerbacks. Brandon Weeden threw for over 300 yards and two touchdowns, bouncing back after that four-interception game against the Eagles. Trent Richardson looked like the third overall pick, breaking tackles and rumbling for 109 yards and a score and also added a touchdown on a 20-yard reception.

30. Jacksonville Jaguars (28)

So much for the offense progressing. 117 yards in a full game? That’s not going to cut it against anybody in the NFL. Blaine Gabbert left with injury early in the fourth quarter, but had only managed to pass for 53 yards up to that point. The defense had trouble containing the Texans dangerous running back duo, giving up 184 yards and two touchdowns between Arian Foster and Ben Tate.

31. Kansas City Chiefs (22)

Being blown out by the Falcons is one thing, but being blown out by the Bills? They couldn’t stop CJ Spiller, and they continued to beat themselves with costly turnovers, including a fumble by Peyton Hillis at the goal line. The question is slowly becoming how long will Matt Cassell last, and will Romeo Crennell make it past the first year of his second NFL head coaching job?

32. Oakland Raiders (23)

The Raiders scored their second touchdown of the season in the first quarter against Miami and then failed to do much the rest of the day. Darren McFadden couldn’t find any holes for the second straight week, rushing for just 22 yards on 11 carries. The defense also allowed a weak Miami offense to put up 35 points, as they couldn’t contain Reggie Bush. 


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