• Aidan Charde

NFL Week 3 Power Rankings

Another week, another blown Falcons lead. I don’t know why we’re surprised at this point. Honestly, I was hoping that it would happen just because I wanted to make the jokes. But now that they actually did blow another lead, I almost feel...bad.

Nah, I’m just kidding. I love few things more than watching Atlanta blow leads, which might make me a bit biased, but I’m okay with that. Plus, it’s not fair to just make fun of the Falcons. There were quite a few comebacks this week, even though they didn’t all end in the same way as the Falcons game. The Bills nearly blew a 28-3 lead to the Rams, only to do what Atlanta couldn’t and finish it out at the last minute. And the Cowboys nearly overcame another large deficit, this time against the Seahawks, but D.K. Metcalf bailed out Seattle and made up for his mistake earlier in the game.

Let’s not get too in depth yet, though. I haven’t even gotten to my rankings! So let’s get to that now. There are some big risers and fallers this week, as we are finally getting to see who’s for real and who just got lucky. There are others who might not move as much as you think they should, because I don’t think their final scores fully represent the way the team has played. I’m also trying to write a bit less for each team because I was writing a lot, so I hope you enjoy it a bit more. But either way, make sure to let me know what you think.

32. New York Giants (Last Week: 32) =

Last week, the Jets lost to a 49ers team that started with a few injuries and ended with a hell of a lot. But this week, the Giants inherited the team that could barely field a team and got blown out. I know that not having Saquon is hard for them, but they were a terrible team well before he went down. They’re even more embarrassing than the Jets, and that’s why they’re staying at 32.

31. New York Jets (LW: 31) =

The Jets might have had their worst game of the season, which is really saying something when you look at their first two games. Sam Darnold looked absolutely awful and the offense couldn’t get anything going. Plus, when Philip Rivers is carving up your defense, you should be worried. There are a lot of things that need to change in this organization for them to be competitive.

30. Denver Broncos (LW: 25) -5

Denver didn’t look that terrible in their loss to Tampa Bay, but it was also very clear that injuries are starting to stack up. They’re currently paying over $50 million to injured players, the most in the league by almost double, and even when Drew Lock and Philip Lindsay come back, I think most hope is lost for any sort of postseason run. The good news for the team is that there is still a lot of hope for a postseason run in the coming few years.

29. Atlanta Falcons (LW: 20) -9

Man, that was hard to watch. Well, not hard as much as fun. But it’s a tough loss for a Falcons team that was hoping to contend, and is now sitting alone at the bottom of their division. Fortunately, not every team in the NFC South has been living up to expectations, so they’re not alone. But I think if this team wants to reestablish themselves, they need to take the big step in firing Dan Quinn. He’s overstayed his welcome and it’s time for the team to move on. With such a talented offense, they can’t be losing games like this.

28. Jacksonville Jaguars (LW: 26) -2

Gardner Minshew looked human against the Dolphins, but I don’t think his magic is gone. This Jaguars team, to put it bluntly, is terrible. But there are some players that have a lot of potential and can be very good, so it’s just a matter of building around them to win games. Right now, their defense is the thing that’s hurting them most. If they can lock up a few solid pieces in the offseason (or this season through trades, even), I think they won’t be too far away from the playoffs.

27. Detroit Lions (LW: 29) +2

Matt Prater saved a team that probably deserved to lose this game. And, honestly, losing the game probably would have helped the Lions. Matt Patricia has done nothing in his time with the Lions other than beating the Patriots once and ruining every career he comes into contact with. Like Quinn, it’s time for him to go. I really don’t know how the Lions keep losing games. Maybe this is the start of a magical run that brings them back to the playoffs! But they’re in third place in a division behind two undefeated teams, so it’ll be a tough run.

26. Carolina Panthers (LW: 30) +4

I expected a lot of other teams to get their first win before the CMC-less Panthers, but here we are. Sure, they got lucky after a blown play as time expired, but they were able to pretty effectively slow down the Chargers offense. More surprising was the fact that they were actually able to move the ball without McCaffrey, which is a win in its own right. I still don’t think the Panthers are good, mind you, but it’s nice to see them do well without their best player.

25. Philadelphia Eagles (LW: 18) -7

Yes, I am aware that the Eagles did not lose. But they tied, which I would argue is worse, and they deserved to lose, so I’m counting it. Carson Wentz had one good play all game, the game-tying touchdown at the end of the 4th. But one play isn’t enough. The Eagles looked like crap all game, and the difference between them and Cincinnati is that no one expected the Bengals to win a lot of games this year. Maybe this drop was a bit harsh, but I don’t see them improving too much, even when they are healthy.

24. Washington Football Team (LW: 23) -1

After a great week 1 win, the Football Team has looked like their usual selves in the next two games. Dwayne Haskins has not looked all too great, and while Terry Mclaurin has been a solid threat, he’s only managed to score once all season. I expected a lot more from this team, and I’m honestly a bit disappointed. I hope they can come back, which might not be too hard in the division they’re in.

23. Miami Dolphins (LW: 27) +4

Despite seemingly everybody picking against the Dolphins this week. Fitzmagic returned to show us why the beard is better than the mustache. Miami looked like they finally clicked as a team. The passing game worked, the run game worked, but most importantly, they kept the Jaguars from scoring. It was far from a perfect game, but it’s promising, which is what they need right now.

22. Los Angeles Chargers (LW: 24) +2

LA lost, and it wasn’t a great loss, but I’m grading them based off of if they had won because if not for Keenan Allen being unable to complete a hook and ladder, they would have. That play was drawn to PERFECTION. Austin Ekler had nothing but green in front of him but one liiiiiitle mistake cost them the game. The rest of the game, the Chargers didn’t look great. But once again, Justin Herbert looked fantastic, and perhaps more importantly, nobody expected them to even be putting up numbers!

21. Cleveland Browns (LW: 28) +7

Cleveland won two straight, meaning they are above .500 for the first time since 2014. Let that sink in. It’s been six years since they have had a winning record. Every time I think of Cleveland, I think of this video by Jon Bois on SB Nation. Because he’s right: the Browns do live in Hell. If you have a few minutes, go watch it, remember how awful the Browns are, then come back. I feel bad for Cleveland. Hopefully I won’t have to for much longer.

20. Cincinnati Bengals (LW: 21) +1

Like I mentioned when I was talking about the Eagles, I moved the Bengals up in a tie because a tie is a win for them. They were last season’s worst team, so it’s pretty reasonable to assume that they would not be at the top of the league this year, even with Joe Burrow. Speaking of Burrow, he looks like the franchise guy they thought he would be. Now it’s just about whether or not he can lead his team to a win or two. I think anything more than four wins this year is a successful season in Cleveland, especially if AJ Green, Tyler Boyd, and Joe Burrow stay healthy all 17 weeks.

19. Minnesota Vikings (LW: 14 ) -5

Minnesota probably deserved to win this game, but they blew it at the end. I expected a lot more from this team. Last year, a big narrative was that locker room conflict was causing them to lose games, but they got rid of the one instigating most of it, and they still can’t win. I really hope they can turn around, and fast, because they’re basically out of the playoff race already. Just six teams have ever started 0-3 and made it to the postseason, and I don’t think there’s gonna be a seventh this year.

18. Los Angeles Rams (LW: 19) +1

Oh, what was that Rams? You think that was a bad pass interference call? Well cry me a river, Los Angeles, because I have no sympathy. As a matter of fact, I’m mad that this happened in this game and not in a playoff game to eliminate you. It serves you right, not only because of the Saints in 2018, but also because you got away with a massive flop in week 1. I will say, however, I am pleasantly surprised with how well this team has managed to play this season. They’re a far cry from their 2018 levels, but they do look like they have some life.

17. Dallas Cowboys (LW: 16) -1

Dallas thought they could do it again, didn’t they? Well, it’s not so easy when you’re playing a good team. And yeah, the Seahawks almost blew it, but Dallas really didn’t look too great most of the day. Dak Prescott can put up all the stats he wants, but they don’t really matter if you can’t win games. I don’t want to put too much hate on Dak, as I am a fan of players who put up big stats regardless of wins, but at some point you have to prove that you’re good enough to warrant the contract you’re asking for.

16. Indianapolis Colts (LW: 22) +6

The Colts looked pretty much perfect against the Jets. So perfect, in fact, that Jacoby Brissett played the last eight minutes of the game. The defense picked off Sam Darnold three times, two going for touchdowns, and the team finally looked balanced on both sides of the ball. Indy is a big threat as the best-looking team in the AFC South (yes, I know they’re ranked well below the actual division leaders. Hold on!), and they could make a deep run if Rivers keeps it up.

15. Houston Texans (LW: 10) -5

Houston has a problem. I don’t really know why (other than trading DeAndre Hopkins), but they really can’t get anything going. And their defense looks old and weak. And their play calling is not good. There’s a lot of stuff going wrong, despite having a very good team on paper. They have a difficult schedule the rest of the season, playing four teams that are currently undefeated. It’s gonna be a tough road, and maybe the end of it for a certain head coach.

14. Chicago Bears (LW: 17) +3

Here’s one of my (many) hot takes: I still think Trubisky is better than Foles. That being said, putting Foles in when they did was the right choice. He’s very good in relief, as we’ve seen, but Trubisky has more talent. Unfortunately, he’s lost his confidence ever since getting injured a little while ago, which is why he runs a lot less now and doesn’t attempt too many deep passes that he could probably make. The Bears are the worst 3-0 team right now, but they’re still good. Maybe just not as good as they seem.

13. Las Vegas Raiders (LW: 12) -1

While it hurt to not have Ruggs, I think the Raiders’ downfall was the fact that the Patriots were able to effectively shut down Darren Waller. And another big problem was costly mistakes, especially a few key fumbles. Those types of things are not the way that you beat the Chiefs, and the Raiders are currently the only team in the division that has a chance of knocking them off their perch. But the way they looked against New England, it’s unlikely that they’ll get higher than the 5 seed.

12. New England Patriots (LW: 15) +3

Week 1, we saw Cam Newton run. Week 2, we saw Cam Newton pass. Week 3, we saw Cam Newton get completely stopped--but the Patriots still won, which just goes to show how deep this team truly is. Despite losing some big names on the defense to free agency and Covid opt-outs (especially at linebacker), they have looked pretty good in all aspects. That should scare everyone in the AFC.

11. Arizona Cardinals (LW: 11) =

As a shameless Kyler Murray fan, I will admit that he played like shit this week. The Lions picked him off three times despite missing a few big pieces in their secondary, and they couldn’t keep the ball long enough to drain the clock at the end. And while DHop has been fun to watch, it was highlighted this week how one-sided the offense is. If you can’t pass to Hopkins, scramble. If you can’t scramble, pass to Hopkins. But what if you can’t do either? The Cardinals have a bit to figure out, but are still a very scary team.

10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (LW: 12) +2

Tom Brady had his best game in the black and red and got his first convincing win as a Buccaneer. I am now a little bit afraid of this team as a Saints fan, but they are still beatable. They haven’t played a good team other than New Orleans so far and they have four very difficult games in the upcoming weeks. It’s time for them to prove they’re more than just good on paper.

9. New Orleans Saints (LW: 5) -4

The Saints looked bad. Well, actually, they looked a hell of a lot better than they did against the Raiders last week, but it still wasn’t enough to beat a Packers team missing their best player. Alvin Kamara had another career game, but Drew Brees’ age is showing and he isn’t confident enough to make throws that he did last year. I don’t know if it’s fear of injury, fear of getting intercepted, or what, but he needs to figure that out. Meanwhile, the defense needs to figure out how to not commit stupid penalties. But in the end, it came down to one unlucky play that turned the tide of the game. If Taysom Hill didn’t fumble it, the Saints would have won.

8. San Francisco 49ers (LW: 8) =

The 49ers won their second straight, but it was over a terrible team that everyone expected them to blow out. With all their injuries, I need to wait and see how they stack up against a competitive team before I can make the call about whether they’re a threat or not. For now, it’s a no, despite being in a three-way tie for second place in the NFC West. That division is loaded, and I have a hard time seeing them come out on top.

7. Pittsburgh Steelers (LW: 9) +2

Pittsburgh has surprised everybody, and they’re currently sitting atop the AFC North after Kansas City’s win over Baltimore. That’s impressive for a team that surprised us by going 8-8 last year. At this rate, they might be a top three team in the AFC, though they’re yet to play another top team. They would be doing that this week, but Covid has struck and the NFL is postponing their game against Tennessee, so we’ll have to wait a bit longer.

6. Tennessee Titans (LW: 6) =

Stephen Gostkowski is BACK, baby! After struggling week 1 and improving a bit in week 2, he reminded us why he was the best kicker to ever play in New England (that’s a joke, don’t worry). He went 6-for-6, including a game winner, to sink the Vikings 31-30. It’s weird to say that their kicker carried them this week, but Tannehill had an off game and the defense struggled. It was nice to see him back.

5. Buffalo Bills (LW: 7) +2

Dan Quinn, take note: this is how you manage a 28-3 lead. Well, not really--the Bills just scraped out a win after blowing a massive lead, but the point is, they didn’t blow the game. Josh Allen played like a stud once again for three quarters, until his team couldn’t move the ball, but he proved he could make plays when his team needed him to. And the defense looked incredible most of the game! This team is a force to be reckoned with.

4. Green Bay Packers (LW: 4) =

I hate that the Packers beat the Saints, but my one consolation is that it wasn’t easy for them. The Packers did, in my opinion, just enough to beat New Orleans, which is why I didn’t move them up past Baltimore. I still don’t think they’re that great of a team, but their record and margin of victory would argue otherwise.

3. Baltimore Ravens (LW: 1) -2

The Ravens had a tough loss, partially to blame on Jackson, but more so on his receivers. I think this week finally showed Harbaugh what we’ve all seen for a year now: the Ravens need a star wide receiver if they want to win the Super Bowl. I don’t necessarily know who, but they should target some teams that might be willing to sell, such as the Lions or Giants, or some teams that have a lot of talent like the Cowboys or Eagles (just kidding about that second one).

2. Seattle Seahawks (LW: 3) +1

Russell Wilson is firmly atop the MVP leaderboard right now, as he should be. He is playing historically great and the only thing that can stop him is his receivers. D.K. Metcalf fumbled a touchdown early in the game while showboating that proved to be very important in the fourth quarter, but he made it up with the game winning touchdown snag. The team has some defensive struggles, but they’ve dealt with it so far. I can’t wait to see their divisional matchups.

1. Kansas City Chiefs (LW: 2) +1

Pat Mahomes (sorry, Patrick) must have read my power rankings last week, because he went out and showed me why I was wrong to drop him and the Chiefs. The Ravens struggled, sure, but he played out of his mind. The Chiefs are unstoppable, but they are definitely slowable. There are cracks in this team that could prove to be significant in the upcoming weeks.

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