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NFL Power Rankings: Patriots (somehow) stay in Top 10

Tim Tully
September 25, 2018 - 3:30 pm
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Week 3 in the NFL once again flipped the balance of power in the league as a handful of the top teams lost games that looked to be quite lopsided on paper. There has been a switch atop the Power Rankings once again with possibly another on the horizon as the new Top Dog Rams will face off on Thursday night against the Vikings who will have a lot to prove after getting trounced by the Bills on Sunday. Here is the new order of power in the NFL after three weeks of play:

1. Rams (2): The Rams have been the only team in the NFL that looks well above the rest of league through three weeks. They were the darling of the league last year, but now in Sean McVay’s second season, the Rams look ready for any opponent. The Rams will face Minnesota on Thursday, in a great test for McVay’s offense. 

2. Chiefs (6): Patrick Mahomes is a man on fire right now. Thirteen touchdowns through three games for the first-year starter has Mahomes poised for an MVP season as the Chiefs offense has yet to be slowed down since Tyreek Hill claimed in training camp they would be the NFL’s best offensive attack this season.

3. Eagles (8): All is well in Philadelphia as Carson Wentz returned to Lincoln Financial Field for a white-knuckle victory over Eagles’ former OC Frank Reich. Reich had the Eagles on their toes but with Wentz back in the fold Philly looked just like the team that took home the NFC’s best record in 2017. 

4. Panthers (10): A big win in Week 3 for Carolina as the Panthers took down the Bengals behind Cam Newton’s four touchdown passes, which might point towards long-term success for Newton and new OC Norv Turner. 

5. Falcons (7): Despite a loss against division foe New Orleans, the Falcons get a boost in this week’s rankings. The Falcons took New Orleans to overtime and the coin toss allowed Drew Brees and company to leave the ATL with the victory, but Matt Ryan once again looked like MVP Matt Ryan for the second straight week, and the Falcons continued their improved red-zone play once again. The Falcons are the league’s best 1-2 team with the toughest stretch of their schedule out of the way already. 

6. Jaguars (1): The Jaguars flew too close to the sun after a big win over New England and came out flat against Mike Vrabel’s Titans in Week 3. The Jags will have a chance to bounce back with the Jets and Cowboys up in the next two weeks, hopefully with Leonard Fournette back in the lineup

7. Saints (13): Once again the Saints can just flat out score. Sean Payton’s offense is clicking and Drew Brees looks as good as ever through the first few weeks of the season. The Saints 2-1 start has been in large part to Brees but also his top target Michael Thomas, who leads the league with a record 38 catches through the first three games.

8. Patriots (3): The Patriots struggles make for a national talk show host’s dream, but we’ve learned what happens when the world points to the end of the Patriots. A big game with 3-0 Miami looks like a division clash but the wise guys in Vegas already have given the Patriots over a touchdown advantage in anticipation of Sunday’s game. If the Patriots can get Josh Gordon ready for Sunday before Julian Edelman’s return the Pats should be okay on offense, which could help hide their defensive struggles going forward. 

9. Vikings (4): Josh Allen just took it to the Vikings in Week 3. It appeared Minnesota was expecting a cakewalk against the Bills on Sunday but Mike Zimmer forgot to use his old mentor Bill Parcells’ rat trap technique in anticipation of the matchup with Buffalo.Zimmer is one of the leagues toughest coaches and he will get the Vikings back on track next week. 

10. Packers (5): Take a grain of salt for a loss on the terrible playing surface that the Redskins try and pass off as a field on Sundays, but the Packers slow start earned them a drop in the rankings this week. Aaron Rodgers started a bit of a comeback but it was all for naught as the 1-1-1 Packers fell for the first time this season in Landover. 

11. Bengals (9): Marvin Lewis’ group lost a tough battle in Carolina as his defense surrendered four touchdowns through the air but the Bengals still got decent performances from Andy Dalton and Giovanni Bernard that should encourage Cincinnati fans as we approach the quarter mark in the season. 

12. Chargers (12): The Chargers lost to the NFL’s best in the battle of Los Angeles, but they did not roll over despite struggling early against the Rams. The cloudy timetable on Joey Bosa’s return will determine when the Chargers get up and rolling this year. 

13. Ravens (11): Baltimore took down Denver in a convincing home win. The Ravens continue to find ways to involve Lamar Jackson in their offense which distracted most from Joe Flacco playing a strong game against the still tough Denver defense. 

14. Steelers (15): The 2018 Steelers are going to be an on one week, off the next group all year. Their defense is porous, but with Antonio Brown and the rest of the Steeler’s offensive playmakers, they can turn any game into a shootout, like Monday night’s muddy win in Tampa. 

15. Titans (18): How about Mike Vrabel’s group? The Titans snuck out of Week 3 with the pole position in the AFC South. The Titans have taken two in a row in the division without their starting QB at full health. The Titans defense suffocated a Jacksonville offense that threw for four touchdowns against New England the week before, take that for what it’s worth with New England’s defensive woes, but the Titans can be a solid ball control team once Mariota is back to playing like himself.

16. Dolphins (25): The Dolphins took a big leap, although for an undefeated team I’m not quite sold. Their best win this season was the slop fest of a rain delay game over the Titans, but they’ll get their chance to prove their qualifications next week against a wobbling Patriots team. 

17. Redskins (24): So I guess everyone was a little too quick to call for the Viking funeral of Adrian Peterson? The former Viking turned Redskin ground out two first-half touchdowns against his favorite opponents, the Green Bay Packers. Alex Smith was sharp early and even showed some deep ball flair on a touchdown to Paul Richardson. 

18. Bears (17): The Bears defense is one of the NFL’s best if not the best, however, it took the Bears a little while to get going against a terrible Arizona team on Sunday. Even with a great defense, the Bears offense is going to need to play much better than they did Sunday, where they could only muster 16 points. 

19. Broncos (14): The Broncos in the Case Keenum era are never going to break the NFL scoring records that they once threatened and achieved with Peyton Manning. Sunday’s game was a good look into the future for Denver, they’re going to be in a lot of close games that they are going to have to ask Case Keenum to drive the field and win, he’ll succeed half the time, but the other half will keep the Broncos in the middle of the league for the foreseeable future. 

20. Seahawks (22): Seattle rose from the dead against Dallas in Week 3. Russell Wilson wasn’t under duress like he was in the prior two games as Seattle was able to get the ball out quick and run the ball, as the Seahawks didn’t seem to concerned about Dallas scoring on the other side to challenge them. 

21. Buccaneers (21): It looked like for a good portion of the Bucs-Steelers game that the era of FitzMagic was over, but the Harvard grad kept the fire alive in a close loss to Pittsburgh. Even with Jameis Winston returning, Fitzpatrick, the journeyman should remain the Buccaneers’ starter for as long as he continues to throw for astronomical numbers, he has given Tampa Bay the spark they have been starving for quite some time. 

22. Colts (23): The Colts put up a good fight against the Eagles but fell short after a few tough breaks late. The Eagles played their style of football, and their ability to run on the Colts limited Andrew Luck’s opportunities to score. The Colts could push for the wild card or even the division if Luck continues his return to form, but its safe to say that Frank Reich won’t have to send in his ring size again after this season. 

23. Lions (30): Matt Patricia’s first win as the head coach of the Lions was a huge victory for himself and all of the ghosts of Patriots coordinators past. The Lions have flipped a 180 from Week 1 where they were deconstructed by the Lions, but if Patricia can capitalize on this momentum with a win against Dallas next week, Detroit could threaten in a wild NFC North chase.

24. Cowboys (16): Dallas has the looks of a team that is just lost. Their once dominant offensive line can’t protect their 3rdyear quarterback Dak Prescott, who has had some problems of his own, and even when things look to be going well, the Cowboys have found new ways to extinguish all forms of momentum in the first three weeks. Their head coach Jason Garrett should be placed firmly on the hot seat, but Dallas has dealt with the roller coaster with him so many times that one would have to wonder if there is anything he can do to lose his job. 

25. Giants (27): The Giants showed some life for the first time this season after facing off against two above average defenses to begin the year. Even with the Giants offensive line issues against JJ Watt and friends, Eli Manning and Saquon Barkley were able to drive the field and put some points on the board while their defense allowed the Texans to make mistake after mistake for 60 seconds. 

26.Texans (19): The Texans are a mess, Houston has become the new Chargers in the way they find ways to lose to games week after week. The Texans have been in all three contests they’ve played in this season but never made the plays necessary to get out of the loss column. Deshaun Watson may be healthy but he is nowhere near the player he was last year, as he certainly is going to need a little more time before he can get back to carrying the Texans like he did in 2018. 

27. Raiders (26): The best 30-minute team in football fell to 0-3 after another strong start on Sunday. The Raiders have the talent on offense to win games but the black hole created from moving Khalil Mack is going to haunt this team week after week as Jon Gruden tries to get his first win in his second stint with Oakland. 

28. Browns (28): The Browns have been the butt of the NFL’s jokes for years but Browns fans have to be excited about the Baker Mayfield era in Cleveland. Mayfield entered the game and set the stadium ablaze staging a double-digit comeback to get Cleveland their first win in two seasons earning him the starting job going forward. Mayfield will learn on the fly this year and it will be exciting to see how he reacts to game plan’s enacted to stop him going forward. 

29. Bills (32): The Josh Allen circus took its talents to US Bank Stadium and put on one heck of a show. Allen looks at least like he will give the Bills a chance to win each week, with based on how bad the Bills looked the first two weeks before their win over the Vikings, that’s an exciting future for Buffalo to look forward to. 

30. 49ers (20): With Jimmy Garoppolo out for the season, unless John Lynch can swing a trade for a quarterback in back to back years, the 49ers are now contenders in the Nick Bosa-Ed Oliver sweepstakes. Everybody’s sleeper team this offseason looks like they’re going to have to wait a year to see the success they appeared to be promised. 

31. Jets (29): For a quick while it seemed as if the Jets were going to avoid being in the pictures when history looks back on the Browns first win in two seasons, but down the stretch the Jets defense couldn’t slow down the momentum Baker Mayfield brought into the game and Sam Darnold had two chances to drive the field and get the win but failed twice. If the Jets cannot find their rhythm from Week 1, they could be a great spot to draft some help for Sam Darnold’s sophomore season. 

32. Cardinals (31): The Cardinals had the chance to pull away from a sleepy Chicago Bears team but fell apart at the hands of the new Monsters of the Midway in Glendale. Steve Wilks decided that late in Sunday’s close game was the best time to throw Josh Rosen into action, who then threw an interception to begin his career. Rosen is the starter from now on because frankly, it can’t get worse in the desert. 

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