Bills 3-0! Lions 3-0! What more can I say that sums up this NFL season through Week 3? Let’s just get down to it to see where everyone landed after another unpredictable weekend. As always, let me know what you think in the comments below.
NFL Power Rankings
Last Week: 2
Green Bay Packers (3-0)The defending champs unveiled one of their biggest missing weapons from last season in their win over the Bears. Tight end Jermichael Finley only played in five games last year, but he’s quickly becoming one of Aaron Rodgers favorite targets this year. Finley has increased his catches and receiving yards in each game this season and busted out big time with three touchdowns against the Pack’s division rival in Week 3.
Last Week: 4
New Orleans Saints (2-1)There’s no doubt that Drew Brees is the key to the Saints offense, but New Orleans is also starting to develop a nice running game. The Saints have won their last two thanks to back-to-back games with 100 or more rushing yards.
Last Week: 11
Buffalo Bills (3-0)The Professor has a good friend from Buffalo who insists on calling Bills running back Fred Jackson “Fast Freddie Touchdown Jackson.” I used to think it was a little over-the-top, but you know what? This year, I think it fits. Jackson leads the league in yards per rush and is tied for second in rushing touchdowns. FFTJ has his work cut out for him this week, when Buffalo visits Cincy and the Bengals’ 7th ranked rushing defense.
Last Week: 10
Detroit Lions (3-0)3-0. First place. Detroit. You don’t often see those words anywhere near each other, and yet after that impressive 20-point comeback on the road, here we are. Now the whole NFL world wants to know if Detroit is for real. We should find out with a road contest against Dallas coming up, followed by the team’s first Monday Night appearance since the league switched away from leather helmets. (Seriously, it’s been a while.)
Last Week: 1
New England Patriots (2-1)The last time the Patriots lost to Buffalo, in 2003, Tom Brady threw four interceptions. Sound familiar? But Brady’s so good, even when he’s stinking up the joint, he’s still setting records. Brady’s 387 yards helped him throw for the most yards in the first three games of a season in NFL history (1,327). Unfortunately, the Pats’ secondary is almost as bad as Brady is good, giving up the second most yard per attempt in the league. What happened to Albert Haynesworth and that supposedly improved pass rush?
Last Week: 6
Baltimore Ravens (2-1)Torrey Smith sure knows how to make a debut. In Smith’s first career start, his first three catches all went for touchdowns. Smith also averaged 30 yards per catch while helping Joe Flacco to a career day during Baltimore’s blowout win over the Rams. Lee Evans was brought in to stretch the field for the Ravens, but it might be Smith who turns into the Ravens go-to deep threat.
Last Week: 3
Houston Texans (2-1)Hopefully for Texans fans, the Week 3 loss was just a blip on the radar and not a sign of a return to form to last year’s pathetic pass defense. The Texans gave up 23 fourth quarter points to the Saints, including Drew Brees’ 163 yards and 2 TDs. Things don’t get any easier this week with Ben Roethlisberger and Mike Wallace coming to town.
Last Week: 14
Oakland Raiders (2-1)Who needs the forward pass? The Raiders pay tribute to an era in the NFL when teams just handed the ball off and blocked you out of their way en route to the end zone. Darren McFadden is a threat to break off a touchdown run on any play from anywhere on the field for the Raiders #1 ranked rushing attack.
Last Week: 5
New York Jets (2-1)Run the ball. Stop the run. That’s what Rex Ryan has been preaching since he got to New York – and the Jets aren’t doing either this year. New York is 25th in the league in rushing yards per game and a shocking 31st in rushing yards allowed per game. The Jets aren’t going to finally break through to the Super Bowl if that keeps up.
Last Week: 16
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1)The Bucs finally knocked off the Falcons, halting a five-game losing streak to their division foe and firmly planting themselves in the race for a playoff spot heading into the season’s second month. Sure, it wasn’t pretty, but I can honestly say it was the most exciting game-winning offsides call I’ve ever seen. Get used to it, Bucs fans, Tampa will be in a lot of nail-biters this season, but it looks like Josh Freeman is the right guy to be leading the team during these close calls.
Last Week: 7
Pittsburgh Steelers (2-1)The most dangerous position to play in the NFL right now might be Steelers offensive lineman. Three of Ben Roethlisberger’s protectors went down in that way-closer-than-it-should-have-been win over the Colts. The banged up line causes two problems. 1) Big Ben is running for his life. 2) Rashard Mendenhall is barely running.
Last Week: 17
New York Giants (2-1)It was certainly a big week for big division wins and the Giants played their part in the drama by knocking off the Eagles on the road. Eli Manning is quietly putting together a hot start. Who thought heading into this season that Manning and Rex Grossman would have to best stats among the big-name quarterbacks in the NFC East?
Last Week: 12
Dallas Cowboys (2-1)Tony Romo used to put up crazy statistics and then the Cowboys would lose in the most excruciating way possible. Now we’re watching Romo suffer through injuries and struggle to generate crazy passing yardage, yet the Cowboys have gone 2-1 and look tougher than they’ve been in years. So I’m asking all you Cowboys fans out there, which version of the team do you prefer: the flashy team that has trouble winning or the boring, gritty team that continues to gut out wins?
Last Week: 15
San Diego Chargers (2-1)Finishing September with a winning record is a cause for Chargers fans to party after their recent slow starts, but should they still be worried? Philip Rivers has thrown two interceptions in each game so far this season.
Last Week: 9
Philadelphia Eagles (1-2)Michael Vick is averaging an injury per week, and that is a recipe for disaster in Philadelphia. If Vick continues to get knocked out of the line-up, the Eagles might not even make the playoffs, which is completely shocking when you consider what the expectations were in Philly heading into the season.
Last Week: 19
Tennessee Titans (2-1)You cannot stop the Titans and their mighty Matt Hasselbeck-led passing attack, you can only hope to contain them. Even without the emerging Kenny Britt (who’s now out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL and MCL) Hasselbeck kept the offense clicking with his second straight 300-yard passing game.
Last Week: 14
Washington Redskins (2-1)It’s not just the mistakes that Rex Grossman makes, it’s when he makes them. Grossman’s costly unforced errors lost the Redskins a key divisional battle in Week 3. Now he and the ‘Skins need to bounce back on the road in St. Louis so the team can head into their bye week on a positive note.
Last Week: 8
Atlanta Falcons (1-2)The Falcons took a huge risk and traded way up in the draft to get Julio Jones as their official deep threat and final piece to an offense that already boasted Matt Ryan, Michael Turner and Roddy White. Well, Jones has helped stretched the field, averaging 16.5 yards per catch, but the vets have not held up their end of the bargain. They better turn it around soon, because the NFC South already has two teams looking poised for a playoff push – and the Falcons aren’t one of them.
Last Week: 13
Chicago Bears (1-2)Offensive coordinator Mike Martz has taken the idea of the NFL as a passing league a little too far. In the last two games, the Bears have called 95 PASSING PLAYS (!!!) and run the ball only 20 times. You’re just not going to win in the NFL with that type of ratio - and the Bears are proving it right now.
Last Week: 24
San Francisco 49ers (2-1)13-8? What is this, a Giants-Reds National League showdown? Oh well, the Niners surely don’t care today, as they sit atop the NFC West heading into Week 4 riding their fourth ranked scoring defense.
Last Week: 22
Cleveland Browns (2-1)Lost in all the hoopla surrounding the Lions and the Bills is that the Browns, 14-34 in the last three seasons, are off to their best start since 2002.
Last Week: 26
Cincinnati Bengals (1-2)The defense is full of feisty players who play a physical brand of football and head coach Marvin Lewis has already guaranteed a Week 4 victory. Here’s a sentence I never thought I’d type: I’m actually looking forward to Bengals-Bills this weekend.
Last Week: 23
Carolina Panthers (1-2)No, Cam Newton didn’t throw for 400 yards again, but he made enough important throws on the game-winning drive to finally nail down his first career NFL win. Up next: a homecoming for Carolina head coach Ron Rivera, who was a reserve for the Bears Super Bowl-winning 1985 team and was defensive coordinator on the 2006 Bears Super Bowl runner-up team.
Last Week: 20
Arizona Cardinals (1-2)The Cardinals are streaking…just the wrong type of streaking. They have lost six consecutive division match-ups and nine straight road games. Now’s the time of the power rankings when I remind you that if you play in the NFC West, you are not out of the playoff picture until you lose 11 games, so the Cardinals still have plenty of time to turn it around.
Last Week: 28
Seattle Seahawks (1-2)It may have been an ugly win over a struggling Arizona team, but Seattle needed that win now. In the next two weeks, the Seahawks host Atlanta and then head east to take on the Giants before their bye week. With the Seahawks still trying to find their legs on offense (31st in yards per game), the Falcons and Giants are probably going to send Seattle into their week off bruised and battered.
Last Week: 21
St. Louis Rams (0-3)Speaking of desperately holding onto hope for a division title, ladies and gentleman, the winless Rams! St. Louis brought in offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels to let Sam Bradford loose on offense. So far, St. Louis has scored three offensive touchdowns in three weeks. I think McDaniels needs to do some more loosening.
Last Week: 25
Denver Broncos (1-2)Four snaps inside the Titans 2-yard line, zero plays for Tim Tebow, zero touchdowns, another loss. Broncos head coach John Fox is going to hear it all week from angry fans who want to see their back-up quarterback get the ball down by the goal line.
Last Week: 27
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-2)For all of those Jaguars fans clamoring for rookie QB Blaine Gabbert, here’s what you asked for: 12 for 21, 139 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT. To be fair, he was playing in a near monsoon for the first half, but it’s clear Gabbert has a long ways to go before he becomes the difference-maker the Jags were looking for in the draft.
Last Week: 29
Miami Dolphins (0-3)0-3 can quickly turn into 0-5 with road trips to the Chargers and Jets coming up. The Dolphins still haven’t found out how to punch the ball in from the red zone with Reggie Bush. Bush averaged 2.2 yards per carry against the Browns and lost two fumbles.
Last Week: 30
Indianapolis Colts (0-3)The Colts just signed Dan Orlovsky, who’s career winning percentage as a starter is zero. Peyton Manning in a neck brace might actually be a better option at this point.
Last Week: 31
Minnesota Vikings (0-3)The Vikings are by far the best first half team in the NFL right now. Minny took its third consecutive double-digit lead into the second half this season…before losing their third consecutive game.
Last Week: 32
Kansas City Chiefs (0-3)Here’s how bad it is in KC so far this year: the Chiefs leading scorer is kicker Ryan Succop - and he’s missed 60 percent of his field goal attempts.