NFL Power Rankings Week 3: Teams That Will Continue to Slide
In Week 2, I, for one, saw some losses I didn't think were coming.
Strangely enough, the quarterbacks who looked the strongest in their season-openers—and the teams that looked the toughest—were the ones that fell in their second go of it. Meanwhile, the teams that looked hapless in their kickoff games looked completely different in Week 2.
All early inconsistencies aside, some of these teams are bound to continue their downward trajectories in Week 3. Here are this week's power rankings, which a special look at the teams that will continue to drop.
1. San Francisco 49ers (2-0)
One of the only exceptions to the Week 2 stumble. After dominating the Packers in Week 1, San Fran followed up with a win over Detroit to maintain the top spot.
2. Houston Texans (2-0)
Another good week from Matt Schaub and the Texans offense, and suddenly, this looks like one of the strongest contenders in the AFC. This offense is so complete that as long as the defense continues to hold up (it held Jacksonville to seven this week), this team will continue to be in very good shape.
3. Atlanta Falcons (2-0)
I didn't see this one coming. The Falcons defense made Peyton Manning look silly on Monday night, and meanwhile, another strong performance from Matt Ryan could be a sign that this is the year he really does emerge as one of the league's elite.
4. Green Bay Packers (1-1)
We'll forgive them for that Week 1 loss to the 49ers—it was a rough first matchup. Plus, Aaron Rodgers' troops did everything they could to erase the memories of that loss with a resounding 23-10 win over the Bears.
5. Philadelphia Eagles (2-0)
Here we are heading into Week 3, and the Eagles are inexplicably 2-0. Michael Vick has already saddled himself with a boatload of turnovers, but Philly keeps finding a way to win—and taking down Baltimore was no small feat.
6. Arizona Cardinals (2-0)
I wasn't a believer, but I'm starting to be. Kevin Kolb led the Cards to a win in Foxboro in the Patriots' home opener, something that never happens. New England's offense looked awful without Aaron Hernandez—or maybe that was just the impact of the Cards' very solid defense.
7. New York Giants (1-1)
It came down to the very end, but the Giants got that first W of the season, and that's all that matters. That, and the fact that Eli Manning threw for 510 yards, proving that he'll be just fine in 2012.
8. New England Patriots (1-1)
Losing Hernandez was a huge blow to the Patriots, who looked just as bad in Week 2 as they looked good in Week 1. And what's worse is the fact that they have the Ravens coming up in Week 3.
Going on the road to face Baltimore coming off a debilitating loss that was chock full of uncharacteristic mistakes is not something any team wants to be doing—even if Baltimore is coming off a bad loss of its own. No receiver could compensate for the loss of Hernandez last Sunday, the offensive line looked weak and even Brady looked sloppy.
If the Cardinals' defense made New England's offense look this bad, what are the Ravens going to do to it?
9. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1)
Big Ben & Co. bounced back from a tough Week 1 loss to the Broncos by exposing the Jets, whose offense was rendered totally ineffective one week after putting up 48 points.
10. San Diego Chargers (2-0)
Well, look who's 2-0. Much was made this summer about a supposed lack of chemistry on the Chargers' offense, but it's working out just fine: Philip Rivers led San Diego to a 38-10 win over Tennessee in Week 2.
11. Denver Broncos (1-1)
I was very unabashedly buying into the Peyton Manning hype after what he did to the Steelers in Week 1. But after what happened to him against the Falcons on Monday Night Football, I'm no longer so sure.
In some ways, this is the same Peyton of old: still throwing hissy fits when his receivers don't make plays, still mumbling and gesticulating when his O-line doesn't hold up. But three early interceptions? Only seven first-half points? That does not look like a future AFC champion.
And even though the Broncos are at home in Week 3, they're taking on Houston and that ultra-impressive offense. That matchup could end up looking like the Falcons game all over again.
12. Baltimore Ravens (1-1)
This was a strange and unexpected loss to the Eagles, much like the Patriots' strange and unexpected loss to the Cardinals. But now that New England's offense has taken such a big hit in losing Hernandez, the Ravens have to be feeling like their defense can contain the Pats.
13. Detroit Lions (1-1)
Matthew Stafford's early heroics didn't last very long—but maybe that's because he wasn't facing the Rams in Week 2. The Lions badly wanted to beat the 49ers to make up for the way San Francisco ruined their perfect record last year, but the 49ers didn't really care what the Lions wanted.
14. Seattle Seahawks (1-1)
As bad as Russell Wilson looked in Week 1, he turned it around fast, in time to face the Cowboys. Seattle's defense held the Cowboys to a single touchdown, while Wilson rebounded from his debut disaster with a 112.7 passer rating.
15. Chicago Bears (1-1)
This week, we learned that the Bears still aren't quite there yet, despite the way they victimized Andrew Luck in his NFL debut. Cutler's four picks certainly didn't help Chicago's cause against the Packers.
16. Dallas Cowboys (1-1)
After opening the 2012 season with perhaps the biggest bang of any team, the Cowboys thudded in a big way in Week 2. A week and a half after destroying the Giants at the Meadowlands, Dallas' offense was surprisingly stymied by Seattle, but it could very well get back on track with a home matchup against the Bucs in Week 3.
17. St. Louis Rams (1-1)
It seems like something clicked for Sam Bradford against the Redskins on Sunday, when he threw for three TDs and 310 yards. He might just be able to keep the momentum going against the Bears this weekend, though that depends on which version of Chicago we see.
18. New York Jets (1-1)
The Jets looked like two totally different teams in Weeks 1 and 2.
In Week 1, Mark Sanchez looked competent and confident, leading New York to a 48-28 statement win over the Bills. What we saw in Week 2 was that when Sanchez isn't facing the Bills, the situation is much different.
Perhaps the Jets were expecting the lackluster version of the Steelers that showed up against the Broncos in Week 1, or perhaps Sanchez was just having an off day—but whatever the case may be, a 66.6 passer rating isn't going to cut it.
This is bold, but the Dolphins looked good enough in their own Week 2 matchup that they might be able to give New York a run for its money in Week 3.
19. Miami Dolphins (1-1)
What Ryan Tannehill did in Week 1 was somewhat pathetic. What he did in Week 2 was far more impressive: He threw for 200 yards and a touchdown and ran for another in a 35-13 win over the Raiders. And he could be confident enough to keep it going against the Jets next week.
20. Washington Redskins (1-1)
Robert Griffin III didn't look quite as solid in his second game as he did in his first: He threw for 206 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 82 yards and two more TDs, but Washington still lost. On the bright side, at least he's continuing to put up the numbers.
21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-1)
One week after escaping with a close win over the Panthers, the Bucs couldn't make it two straight, blowing it late against the Giants. But with the Cowboys next up, they have at least a chance.
22. Carolina Panthers (1-1)
Which team will fall the farthest after Week 3?
Cam Newton took out his residual anger over the Panthers' Week 1 loss on the increasingly pathetic Saints, throwing for 253 yards and rushing for 71 with a total of two touchdowns. But because this is Cam Newton, we have no idea whether he'll be able to repeat his heroics in Week 3.
23. Cincinnati Bengals (1-1)
The good news is, Week 2 was a vast improvement over Week 1—the Bengals managed to put up 34 points. The bad news is, they're still allowing a whole lot of yardage, and Washington might make them pay for it.
24. Indianapolis Colts (1-1)
Luck made a big, big improvement over where he was in the season opener. Maybe there were just too many nerves in the first game. Jacksonville will present him with a good opportunity to keep rolling.
25. Cleveland Browns (0-2)
The bad news is, the Browns are still winless. The good news is, Brandon Weeden was much, much better in his second loss, throwing for 322 yards, two touchdowns, zero interceptions and a passer rating of 114.9. Things could be looking up for Cleveland.
26. New Orleans Saints (0-2)
The skid continues for the Saints, whose defense can't seem to stop anybody. Fortunately, though, they have Kansas City in Week 3.
27. Buffalo Bills (1-1)
Last week, the Bills lucked out: They got the Chiefs, which made it far easier to get that all-important first win. They might just get another one in Week 3 against the Browns.
28. Minnesota Vikings (1-1)
After opening strong with an overtime win, the Vikings fell short by three against Andrew Luck's Colts. Unfortunately, this could be the beginning of a slide for the Vikings, who have the 49ers in Week 3.
29. Oakland Raiders (0-2)
Another week, another loss for the Raiders, who fell to the Dolphins 35-13. The defense isn't working, the offense isn't working…nothing is working.
30. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2)
Speaking of struggling offenses, Jacksonville has yet to find its identity after two straight losses, but perhaps it can rebound against the up-and-down Colts in Week 3.
31. Tennessee Titans (0-2)
What is going on with the Titans? What is going on with Chris Johnson? With the Lions coming to town next week, it's shaping up that Tennessee could soon be 0-3.
32. Kansas City Chiefs (0-2)
It's always a bad sign when you're getting blown out by the Bills. The good news is, the Chiefs' offense hasn't been completely inept; the bad news is, their defense has been.
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