• Ben Matthews

NFL Power Rankings: Week 3

Updated: Oct 13, 2020

32. (= Last wk.) New York Jets (0-3)

No change for the Jets in what was another dismal showing. An insipid 7-36 loss to a Colts squad was downright depressing for the New Jersey faithful. Adam Gase is on borrowed time and protests will only get louder and more vociferous against the head coach in a year where it is almost impossible to see where improvement is coming from. Sam Darnold has talent and made some dazzling throws in week 2, but he was poor in week 3 and needs a much more inspiring leadership structure to flourish as opposed to the current regime which is severely stunting his growth.

31. (-1) New York Giants (0-3)

Saquon Barkley’s loss for the season is devastating for Big Blue. It jeopardizes the chances of a respectable win total, as well as the development of second year QB Daniel Jones. Jones cannot be expected to do everything himself and struggled all game against a 49ers team who is ravaged by injuries, turning the ball over twice. The Giants were never in this game and it was alarming that there was a distinct lack of fight from this team. There will be more games like this in store until the Giants can get fully healthy because Jones cannot carry this team alone.

30. (-6) Washington Football Team (1-2)

This is a very uneven team at the moment. Dwayne Haskins has no weapons outside of terrific Terry McLaurin and this is forcing the QB to try and push the issue too much. The Football Team must simplify things for their young signal caller and his raw supporting cast if they are to fulfil their potential. The D-line lost 2nd overall pick Chase Young to injury, but it is still a fearsome unit and Washington were still in the game late on against the Browns, holding a lead in the fourth quarter that they just could not see through. It could come together eventually, but we get the impression that Ron Rivera may be losing patience with the team in its current makeup.

29. (-3) Jacksonville Jaguars (1-2)

The Jags’ defense struggled to contain the Dolphins last Thursday night. Minshew Mania subsided on a night where a slow start on both offense and defense killed this team early. They never recovered. Some momentum has been lost after a positive start to the season, but this young team is bound to have some struggles throughout the year as they continue to gel. James Robinson remains a breath of fresh air, leading the team in rushing and receiving.

28. (+3) Carolina Panthers (1-2)

An injury to Christian McCaffrey means that Teddy Bridgewater may have to put this team on his back at times this season. It will be too much to expect for him to be able to do this week-in-week-out and the Panthers could fade into obscurity with a mediocre record when all is said and done. However, week 3 showed the green sprouts of a future for this team. Jeremy Chinn continues to show why he was worth a second round pick this year as he flew around the field on Sunday to the tune of 12 total tackles, a tackle for loss and a quarterback hit. Snapping a 10-game losing streak will inspire confidence and lay the foundation for a competitive future for Matt Rhule and his team as they head towards a tough week 4 matchup with the Cardinals.

27. (-8) Denver Broncos (0-3)

An uninspiring start to the season has befallen Denver. Drew Lock could be out for up to 6 weeks, Courtland Sutton has been placed on IR, and Von Miller was lost prior to the season beginning. The Broncos have kept two out of three games against the Titans and Steelers close before losing easily to the Bucs which highlights the learning curve for this young team. They will learn from these losses though and this season is all about building for 2021 and beyond.

26. (-6) Philadelphia Eagles (0-2-1)

Nothing is coming together for the Eagles. Defensively they look poor. The linebacking group is a liability and along with a suspect secondary, they will get scorched from time to time this season. Carson Wentz does not look himself either and appears to be regressing. It is doubtful that this team can make their usual second-half-of-the-season comeback this time around though; there are just too many holes.

25. (+3) Cincinnati Bengals (0-2-1)

Joe Burrow again had an impressive performance but will not be satisfied with a tie. Burrow outplayed Carson Wentz and the Bengals now need to build their roster around their franchise cornerstone. The Eagles sacked the rookie 7 times and so Cincy must improve their offensive line in order to protect their investment.

24. (-1) Minnesota Vikings (0-3)

The Vikings should have beaten the Titans this weekend. Kirk Cousins looked better than he has all season but blew a chance at a fourth quarter comeback with less than 2 minutes to go with a botched snap on second-and-10, followed by a game-killing interception. A huge positive was the emergence of rookie wide receiver Justin Jefferson who snagged 7 balls for 175 yards and a touchdown. Dalvin Cook also ran for 181 yards and a score and the offense looks like it is finally starting to click, but they must eliminate silly mistakes before they can be taken as a serious threat to most teams on their schedule.

23. (-1) Atlanta Falcons (0-3)

The only team in history to blow back-to-back 15-point, fourth quarter leads. That is all that really needs to be said and the clock is ticking on Dan Quinn. He seems like a nice guy and is thought of as a players’ coach, but these players are quitting on him late in games. The defense is not as talented as many once believed and could get severely exposed by Aaron Rodgers in week 4.

22. (+7) Detroit Lions (1-2)

Injuries galore continue to plague Detroit, but they finally managed to snap an 11-game losing streak on Sunday. This team is better than its record suggests, and it began to show during week 3 as the Lions overcame the upstart Cardinals thanks to a fourth quarter drive by Matt Stafford, capped off by a Matt Prater field goal in the dying seconds. The secondary stood up and made plays during key moments, limiting Kyler Murray to 270 yards and 3 interceptions whilst Jamie Collins made plays all over the field. Kenny Golladay is back and will return to his dominant self and if Adrian Peterson can continue his hot start, then the Lions will be a tough out going forward. Having said that, Matt Patricia and his staff must continue their aggressive play calling if his seat is to cool.

21. (+1) Miami Dolphins (1-2)

The Dolphins comfortably brushed aside the Jaguars last Thursday night. Ryan Fitzpatrick is bringing glorious joy to the NFL, so Tua can sit a little longer as far as we are concerned. Fitzmagic cruised through this matchup and has genuine weapons in DeVante Parker, Preston Williams and the excellent second-year tight end, Mike Gesicki. Myles Gaskin is THE running back for Miami at the moment, but it is an area where the Dolphins could conceivably strengthen via the 2021 NFL Draft as the entire RB room is less than inspiring. The defense needs to clean up on a few things, but Miami is starting to look the team that finished last season on a high.

20. (+3) Cleveland Browns (2-1)

A young, talented offensive line, plus two top-15 NFL running backs equals a solid floor and more wins than losses. The Browns have a positive record which has not been said often in recent times, and they have found an offensive identity through the run game. They will be truly examined by their upcoming schedule and Dallas this weekend will be a real acid test as to their credentials but for now, Cleveland fans should be allowed to enjoy this 2-1 start.

19. (+2) Chicago Bears (3-0)

Comfortably the worst 3-0 team in the league. Mitchell Trubisky and Nick Foles are both distinctly average and the Bears will not remain undefeated for much longer. The defense remains solid but it is not world beating, as some proclaim. It is possible that Chicago goes and beats the Colts this week and moves to 4-0, but a regression to the mean is imminent.

18. (=) Los Angeles Chargers (1-2)

Weeks 2 and 3 have confirmed Justin Herbert as the both the present and future of this franchise. Both weeks have highlighted some growing pains, but Herbert has looked assured in his first NFL starts. Sympathy has to go out to Tyrod Taylor who suffered a punctured lung thanks to an error from L.A’s medical staff, but Herbert has to continue to start moving forward. He certainly looks ready. There are worries about the defense’s ability to create consistent turnovers and the health of Melvin Ingram will be of grave concern here, but this defense even without star safety Derwin James looks like it can keep the rookie QB in games. The Chargers are steadily on the rise despite this loss.

17. (-1) Houston Texans (0-3)

The NFL scheduling has not been kind to the Texans. Opening the season against the reigning Super Bowl champion Chiefs, followed by matchups against the Baltimore Ravens and zero let up in week 3 as Houston chalked up a third loss to the Steelers in Pittsburgh. Deshaun Watson could not conjure up any magic in the second half after a scorching hot start against a tough D and fell to a disappointing 21-28 loss. The Texans have now dropped to 0-3 overall within their conference – this is a tough spot and something that could be key when the wild card teams are decided later in the year.

16. (-1) Las Vegas Raiders (2-1)

The Raiders systematically dismantled the Saints’ defense in their new home of Las Vegas in what was an impressive victory in week 2 over one of the pre-season Super Bowl favourites. Unfortunately, they failed their next test in Foxboro’ against a vibrant Patriots team led by Cam Newton and the point remains that the Raiders will need to string a few positive results like the Saints game together to make us believers. That D is still suspect as it appears to wear down as games progress and impact plays disappear.

15. (+2) Indianapolis Colts (2-1)

The Colts looked much better again this week, albeit against a terrible Jets team who they brushed aside with a 36-7 win. A solid performance on D, with three interceptions, limiting the Jets’ O all night. Jonathan Taylor continues to look like the elite back that he was drafted as but did not need to be run into the ground as Jordan Wilkins and Nyheim Hines eased the workload where necessary. Mo Alie-Cox continues to emerge as a viable option in the Red Zone for Philip Rivers with another touchdown and the Colts can stay hot against the overrated Bears in week 4.

14. (=) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1)

This team was outgained by 427-339 yards in week 2, had fewer first downs than the Panthers, a poorer 3rd down efficiency and almost ten minutes fewer in time of possession. Thankfully, they won the turnover battle and the Panthers allowed the Bucs defense to sack Teddy Bridgewater 5 times whilst Tom Brady was kept relatively pressure free; not being sacked once in the game. We felt as though if the defense can stand up to the stronger teams, then we could start to see the potential for Tampa, and whilst the Broncos have been a disappointment this year, the Bucs did as was prescribed. They have an impressive front seven who produced six sacks this week and resulted in Shaq Barrett being names NFC Defensive Player of the Week. Antoine Winfield Jr continues his chase for Defensive Rookie of the Year as he tallied a sack, 6 tackles and a pass defended. He looks like a seasoned veteran and joins Tristan Wirfs as a player new to the league who have impressed so far. Chris Godwin picked up a hamstring pull and will miss a couple of weeks, but Tom Brady has plenty of other weapons that will enable him to continue to turn the Bucs in the right direction. Things are coming together for TB x TB.

13. (=) Dallas Cowboys (1-2)

Dallas remained in the game until the final drive of the game, but this was more because of the bullet holes they were able to fire into a porous Seahawks secondary missing Quinton Dunbar and Marquise Blair for the entire matchup. Furthermore, Jamal Adams was ruled out in the fourth quarter and this could have contributed to the game being closer than it perhaps should have been based on the disparity between both offenses. Dallas could not get anything going on the ground against the Seahawks, with Ezekiel Elliott mustering a mere 34 yards on 14 carries and if this defense continues to allow separation like it did on Sunday, then the Cowboys will be found out more often than not. Dak Prescott is not at the level to put his team on his back every week a la Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers or Patrick Mahomes.

12. (=) Arizona Cardinals (2-1)

The Cardinals are contenders in the NFC West despite their loss to the Lions in week 3. Already having had a win over the 49ers set them up well in week 1, and in week 2, they comfortably beat Washington in a game where they never truly appeared troubled. This week proved the fact that the Cardinals are not yet complete. The defense still has a way to go and rookie defensive Swiss-Army knife Isaiah Simmons has had a rough start. Injuries to Budda Baker and Jalen Thompson in the secondary may mean that Simmons has to play at safety, which only highlights the frailty of the defense. Offensively, Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins continue to play at a historic pace so optimism is still the prevalent feeling in Arizona but they have to put away teams that they are expected to beat in order to take that jump into the highest echelons within the NFL.

11. (=) Tennessee Titans (3-0)

The Titans are overrated. They can be considered to mildly fortunate to be this high in the rankings, as their three victories have come against teams who they were expected to beat, but did so in less than convincing fashion (by six points combined). Ryan Tannehill has had moments where he has looked very good, and other moments where he has barely looked efficient. Derrick Henry seemed to be coming back to earth through two weeks after a monster 2019 but exploded for 119 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Vikings. The schedule starts to toughen up now and it will be a real test of their defense as they contend with the Steelers, Bills and Texans in the next three weeks. Their run to the AFC Championship game was the story of last year's post season. Do not expect a similar tale again as they will start to revert to their true level soon.

10. (-2) San Francisco 49ers (2-1)

We believed in the off season that there could be a serious Super Bowl hangover for the boys from the Bay, but this issue has now been compounded by myriad serious injuries to some of the 49ers’ best players. Nick Bosa has been ruled out for the year as has Solomon Thomas, and with uncertainty surrounding Dee Ford's long-term health, that fearsome D-line looks seriously fallible at the moment. Jimmy Garoppolo was absent in week 3, as was George Kittle but Kyle Shanahan still managed to engineer a game plan that simply overwhelmed the Giants, despite missing his best two runners in Tevin Coleman and Raheem Mostert. It is difficult to see how the Niners will be able to put teams away in this manner for the rest of the season as Nick Mullens will be found out, but two wins out of three is money in the bank and they are still well in contention within the NFC West. They need to get healthy but have a lucky draw in terms of their schedule early this season as they play an ailing Eagles team next as they look to move to 3-1.

9. (-3) New Orleans Saints (1-2)

We are not ready to give up on Drew Brees and the Saints just yet. Yes – it is clear that Brees is struggling to consistently throw the ball downfield, but this has been the case for a while now. It has just started to seep into the national consciousness finally and this means that it is more of a concern to the masses than it will be for Sean Payton and the immediate future of this team. The Saints are notorious slow starters anyway and it will take more than a few sub-par showings for this site to completely write Brees off as done. More of a concern is the state of the defense. Derek Carr and Aaron Rodgers have managed to move the ball up and down the field on this unit in back-to-back weeks with relative ease.

8. (+2) New England Patriots (2-1)

They left Seattle with a loss in week 2 and were not truly close to the Seahawks until a rally in the fourth quarter almost enabled a comeback win. The Pats looked fragile at times on defense against the Seahawks, but that was merely one bad game and was more than likely more so because of the genius of Russell Wilson. 2019 Defensive Player of the Year, Stephon Gilmore had one of his poorer games in a Pats uniform, routinely being bullied and burned by second year wideout, D.K. Metcalf, but that should just be a blip. Bill Belichick put that right in week 3 as they welcomed the Raiders into Foxboro' in a comfortable 36-20 win. Cam Newton had a so-so game, but game winning contributions came from elsewhere this week, most notably from Rex Burkhead, who accumulated 3 total touchdowns and was their leading receiver. It just shows the genius of Belichick, why this team will not die and why they will always be contenders with the legendary head coach at the helm.

7. (+2) Los Angeles Rams (2-1)

After a ho-hum season in 2019, the Rams were not expected to be world beaters this year. Perhaps heading in with lowered expectations has done them some good and without the added pressure of home fans in a packed out and brand-new arena. They have started confidently and started well. Sean McVay is placing Jared Goff in a position to succeed. Short, quick releases and ensuring that his quarterback does not have to force difficult balls into heavily covered areas have been the name of the game for Goff and it has worked to a highly efficient level of success. So far. Who knows how far this can take them, but it still feels as though a mid-game implosion could derail the Rams at some point and their overall depth is questionable. Having said that, they can also put up points in a hurry as they did in an epic, but ultimately doomed comeback attempt this week. Their next two games against the Giants and Washington should have them feeling confident after snatching defeat from the jaws of victory against Buffalo.

6. (+1) Pittsburgh Steelers (3-0)

This offense is still yet to truly get cooking. As we said last week, it will take some time for Ben Roethlisberger et al., to truly click and a matchup against an average Texans defense this week had the potential for a get-right game but they still do not feel as though they are playing at their true potential. It is worrying that the Steelers have struggled to put away teams, including a Jeff Driskel led Broncos side in week 2, and there will be inconsistencies to come but it is clear that they are the best of the non-Chiefs/Ravens – and to a lesser extent Bills – contingent in the AFC right now.

5. (=) Buffalo Bills (3-0)

Josh Allen is making a case to be considered as a legitimate MVP contender early in the season. The ongoing concern about Allen is his perceived inability to be a consistent threat with his arm, but the mobile-QB is beginning to put these doubts to bed. Allen led his team on a game winning drive after the team surrendered a blowout lead midway through the third quarter. He put his team on his back and came through in the clutch but must tighten up on silly penalties like the ones he was guilty for this week.

4. (=) Green Bay Packers (3-0)

The Aaron Rodgers media revenge tour continues. Rodgers was again at his supreme best against the Saints and despite what draftniks proclaimed throughout the off season, has a group of weapons who are underrated. Forget about Davante Adams for the week, Rodgers has the ability to strike at any time, to any warm body masquerading as a pass catcher. He is that good. If Aaron Jones can continue his torrid pace, then the Packers will remain in the hunt for the number 1 seed in the NFC.

3. (=) Seattle Seahawks (3-0)

Russell Wilson is comfortably the league's MVP through three weeks. The Patriots only gave up 4 passing touchdowns to wide receivers throughout the whole of 2019. In week 2, the Seahawks QB passed for five touchdowns to his pass catchers. In week 3, Wilson again threw for 5 touchdowns and made history by becoming the first quarterback ever to throw 14 touchdowns across the first three games of an NFL season. His sole interception on the year was on a perfectly thrown ball to Greg Olsen that bounced off the hands of the tight end in an uncharacteristic error from the ex-Panther against New England. Wilson has been flawless and if the defense can generate some pressure from anyone not named Jamal Adams, then watch out. Adams missed the fourth quarter with an apparent groin strain and Seattle will need hm back in week 4 in order to remain competitive on defense. That may not even matter if Wilson continues on this historical tear.

2. (-1) Baltimore Ravens (2-1)

This loss to Kansas City is no reason to panic. The Ravens are still one of the top-2 teams in the league but must find a way to immunise themselves from that Kansas Kryptonite if they are to best the Chiefs in a potential AFC Championship showdown. Jackson has not been himself this season and so questions will start to be raised if he does not lift his game. The same could be said of second year receiver, Marquise Brown, who does not appear to have taken the same sort of sophomore leap that his peers DK Metcalf and Terry McLaurin have done. The Ravens will be alright but must find other ways to be effective on offense as well as defense – a unit that barely laid a glove on Patrick Mahomes on Monday night, coming away with zero sacks. A result that this usually dominant unit will despise.

1. (+1) Kansas City Chiefs (3-0)

We should not have doubted them as the Kings of the NFL. Patrick Mahomes was outstanding in a bounceback performance from the entire team that led to a comfortable victory over the formidable Ravens. The defense, so often unheralded, was almost flawless in holding Lamar Jackson and the Ravens’ offense to a mere 228 yards. There can be no disputing that for now, the Chiefs are favourites to repeat their trip to the NFL summit come February.


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