NFL POWER RANKINGS: WEEK 3

BY ADAM GREENE

It’s time to deliver our weekly dose of praise and condemnation in the arbitrary NFL Power Rankings. It’s on odd week, as we have a handful of teams making a significant jump, causing squads that won to sometimes drop a slot or two.

Our top two should be no surprise, but we have a couple of Top 10 debuts that could hang around a while.

1. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (2-0)

The defense closed the deal against Atlanta, but Tom Brady is already on an historic tear. He’s thrown nine touchdowns in just two games. It could be the defenses he’s faced with the Cowboys and Falcons, but all that critique will mean nothing if he can put up those kind of numbers against an undefeated Rams team Sunday in Los Angeles. Fun Fact: In Brady’s 22 year career, this will be his first start in Los Angeles (or, you know, Inglewood). Last week: No. 1

2. LOS ANGELES RAMS (2-0)

With Brady and the Bucs coming to town Sunday, this is the reason the Rams traded for Matthew Stafford. It’s already made a difference, as the end of the Rams at Colts game vs the end of the Lions at Packers games show. Here’s another fun fact: This will just be the third meeting all time between Stafford and Brady. They are 1-1, with Stafford claiming a 26-10 win in their last meeting (when was with Detroit, obviously) in 2018. Last week: No. 3

3. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (2-0)

The 49ers put their own undefeated record on the line when they host the Packers Sunday. While it looks like a tough match-up on paper, the Niners are 6-3 against Green Bay since 2012 regardless of who’s coaching or who is at QB. Last week: No. 7

4. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (1-1)

The Chiefs need to hope that they got the disastrous and silly ending to their loss to the Ravens out of their system. What truly cost them the game was defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo running the D like he was still head coach of the 2011 Rams. Last week: No. 2

5. BUFFALO BILLS (1-1)

Buffalo looked a lot more like the team we expected in Week 1 in Week 2, much to the Dolphins’ chagrin. Last week: No. 5

6. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS (1-1)

Russell Wilson cooked a-plenty against the Titans, but he got way too much outside help from the ref’s food truck to get a positive Yelp! review. Last week: No. 4

7. ARIZONA CARDINALS (2-0)

The Cards are 2-0, but the Vikings game was closer than it had to be because it seemed like Kyler Murray was feeling himself a little too much. He has to be ore careful with the ball, especially with the entire NFC West schedule still ahead. Last week: No. 8

8. LAS VEGAS RAIDERS (2-0)

Historically, it feels like the Steelers have an edge on the Raiders thanks to all those 1970s NFL Films highlights, but the truth is Las Vegas has a 6-2 record against Pittsburgh since 2006 and leads the all time series 17-13. Last week: No. 16

9. PITTSBURGH STEELERS (1-1)

Speaking of losing to the Raiders, the loss doesn’t look bad considering Las Vegas knocked off the Ravens the week before, but we need to see that Najee Harris-led offense we were promised since draft day. Our fantasy teams demand it. Last week: No. 5

10. CLEVELAND BROWNS (1-1)

The Browns took out the Texans, but all it cost them was Jarvis Landry for three weeks with a knee injury. And they nearly lost Baker Mayfield too. Last week: No. 9

11. BALTIMORE RAVENS (1-1)

Lamar Jackson finally beat Patrick Mahomes, thanks to a fumble and Hollywood Brown apparently playing with an invisibility shield since the Chiefs defense couldn’t find him all night. Last week: No. 13

12. GREEN BAY PACKERS (1-1)

It was nice to see cocky Aaron Rodgers back at the podium Monday night, but let’s not act like defeating the Detroit Lions has actually put this team back on track. Last week: No. 14

13. DENVER BRONCOS (2-0)

One of the knocks on Teddy Bridgewater in the past is his urge to check down and keep his air yards low. This year in Denver, so far at least, it’s bombs away. Last week: No. 17

14. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (1-1)

For a team looking to make the next step, losing a game thanks to interceptions, both in the red zone, is not the way to do it. Now they get an angry Chiefs team coming off a stupid loss at home. Last week: No. 10

15. TENNESSEE TITANS (1-1)

To attempt that kind of screw job against the Titans without leaving some cash on the nightstand was a real slimeball move, referees. Tennessee got its season back on track and avoided an 0-2 start in spite of playing the Seahwaks, the 12th man and a seven-person NFL officiating crew. Last week: No. 15

16. DALLAS COWBOYS (1-1)

A last second win over the Chargers followed a last second loss to the Bucs. I think, with McCarthy as the head coach, but with the talent on this team’s offense, this is probably what it’s going to look like all year. Last week: No. 18

17. CAROLINA PANTHERS (2-0)

We are looking at the real possibility of a 3-0 start for the Panthers. Sam Darnold is playing like a first round pick. Is this that Mandella Effect everyone keeps talking about? Have I stepped through a wormhole into a new universe on accident? Last week: No. 22

18. MIAMI DOLPHINS (1-1)

Tue Tagovailoa is out this week (and probably more) with cracked ribs, but backup Jacoby Brissett isn’t a huge drop off talent wise. Brissett has plenty of good NFL starts under his belt too. Last week: No. 11

19. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (1-1)

One victory over the pathetic Jets does not a dynasty make. Let’s relax a little bit before we start sewing up Mac Jones’ Pro Football Hall of Fame jacket. Last week: No. 19

20. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (1-1)

2021 Jameis Winston looked a whole lot like 2019 Jameis Winston Sunday. I’m sure it didn’t help that 150 of New Orleans coaches were in the COVID-19 protocol. Last week: No. 12

21. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (1-1)

The Eagles might still be a mystery to me, but the team that put up 11 points this week makes a lot more sense than the team that scored 32 in Week 1. Last week: No. 20

22. WASHINGTON FOOTBALL TEAM (1-1)

Taylor Heinicke’s first starting stat line of 2021 – 34 of 46 for 336 yards, two touchdowns, one pick and a gamewinning last second drive. Not too bad. No. 24

23. CHICAGO BEARS (1-1)

It’s official. The Justin Fields era has begun with Andy Dalton banged up. Cleveland is a tough draw for a first start, but this game definitely got more interesting for Chicago. Last week: No. 27

24. CINCINNATI BENGALS (1-1)

A pick six was the difference for the Bengals against the Bears, Regardless of what it says on his stat sheet, this is still the second half of Joe Burrow’s rookie year after he missed half of last season with a knee injury. Last week: No. 21

25. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (0-2)

The reason 0-2 teams just have an 11 percent chance of making the playoffs is that they’re usually bad. The Colts aren’t, but have been stuck with an incredibly difficult opening schedule and now have to go without Carson Wentz for a while. Last week: No. 23

26. HOUSTON TEXANS (1-1)

I keep seeing Tweets about Deshaun Watson’s frustrations in not starting for the Texans, and I’m here to tell you; that ain’t what’s happening. First off, Houston isn’t going to start him, get him hurt and be stuck with him when they’re desperate to trade him. And, secondly, he doesn’t want to play either for the exact same reason. If he’s feeling anything, it’s tight muscles because there’s no way the dude can book a legitimate massage at this point. Last week: No. 25

27. MINNESOTA VIKINGS (0-2)

The Vikings have reached the “missing chip shot field goals” section of their losing strategy way earlier in the season than usual. Last week: No. 28

28. ATLANTA FALCONS (0-2)

I can’t believe some moron I read online picked the Falcons to make the NFC Wild Card as the seventh seed. Idiot. Last week: No. 29

29. NEW YORK GIANTS (0-2)

The irony that QB Daniel Jones recorded a 90-plus rating from Pro Football Focus against the WFT last Thursday and the team still lost really says something about what’s happening in New York. Last week: No. 30

30. DETROIT LIONS (0-2)

If you’re wondering why the Lions are so low this week, let me remind you that at some point in the second half, with the outcome of the game still on the line, Detroit QB Jared Goff forced his own fumble by patting the ball too hard on a drop back. Last week: No. 26

31. NEW YORK JETS (0-2)

There was a point in Sunday’s game against the Pats where I’m pretty sure Zach Wilson had thrown more interceptions than completions. I wasn’t watching and I’m not sure anyone was that wasn’t a Patriots fan or a sadomasochist. There’s probably a lot of overlap there anyway. Last week: No. 31

32. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (0-2)

There were some computer models in the preseason that had the Jaguars making the playoffs as a Wild Card just in case you were afraid SkyNet was anywhere near ready to take over the world just yet. Last week: No. 32

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