Week 3 NFL Power Rankings: Cardinals, Falcons Each Move Up 6 Spots

Torey ZiskaCorrespondent IISeptember 19, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 16: Vernon Davis #85 is congratulated by Mike Iupati #77 of the San Francisco 49ers after he scored a touchdown against the Detroit Lions at Candlestick Park on September 16, 2012 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Week 2 of the NFL is in the books and only six teams remain unbeaten. Of the six, the Packers, Patriots, Saints, and defending champion Giants are not among them.

Usually by the end of Week 2, my Super Bowl prediction has been thrown out the window. However, this time around, the two teams I picked to reach Super Sunday are into the top 3 in the rankings.

The 49ers keep hold of the top spot while the Houston Texans move up four spots to No. 3. The Eagles are sandwiched between the two after moving up four spots themselves while the Packers and Falcons round out the top 5.

In other NFL news, Patriots TE Aaron Hernandez will miss some time with an injury, Falcons RB Michael Turner was arrested on a DUI and could face suspension, and Brett Favre, thankfully, is still retired.

Here are the power rankings as we head to Week 3.

Teams’ previous ranking in ( ).


1.       San Francisco 49ers (1): San Francisco is continuing their dominance from a year ago. Absolutely no reason to believe they won’t make their second consecutive NFC Championship game.


2.       Philadelphia Eagles (6): How can a team commit nine turnovers in two games and be ranked No. 2? Win both games, including one against a tough Ravens team. They must take better care of the ball; if they do, they will be a force to be reckoned with.


3.       Houston Texans (7): With the AFC looking to be wide open, the Texans have a legitimate shot to make a deep run. Keeping Andre Johnson healthy is vital.


4.       Green Bay Packers (4): Packer Nation can breathe. After looking at a potential 0-2 start, the Packers are 1-1 and in a four-way tie for the division lead. They play their first road game on Monday night after a 10-day layoff.


5.       Atlanta Falcons (11): The Falcons defense has long been their Achilles heel. Their Monday Night performance against Peyton Manning was impressive. The rest of the NFC South should be worried.


6.       Baltimore Ravens (2): Despite the tough loss, the Ravens are still a major contender. And if nothing else, they found out they have a heck of a kicker. Justin Tucker was 3-3 on his attempts, all from 48 yards or beyond, including one from 56.


7.       New England Patriots (3): The Patriots were upended at home by the Arizona Cardinals. Tom Brady and company did not look comfortable on offense and the loss of Aaron Hernandez to an injury did not help. But have no fear New England fans, the Pats signed TE Kellen Winslow Jr. and WR Deion Branch.


8.       New York Giants (5): Despite the win, the Giants tumble three spots. Eli Manning was ungodly again in the fourth quarter, and threw for over 500 yards overall. However, the defense was badly exposed by Tampa.


9.       Pittsburgh Steelers (9): The Steelers avoided an 0-2 start by taking it to the Jets. Big Ben’s long touchdown pass to Mike Wallace in the third quarter was a thing of beauty. Pittsburgh’s lack of a running game may catch up to them soon though.


10.   Chicago Bears (8): The next time Jay Cutler sees the Packers will be too soon. Cutler has struggled mightily against Green Bay since he arrived in Chicago. Regardless, the Bears still have the talent to win the NFC North.


11.   Detroit Lions (10): It sure didn’t feel like the Lions played well on Sunday night, but the fact is they hung with the 49ers. As usual, the Lions defense will dictate how their season will go.


12.   San Diego Chargers (17): The Chargers are back. Okay, maybe it’s too early to say that but nonetheless, San Diego has gotten out to an excellent start and has kept Norv Turner off the hot seat to this point.


13.   Arizona Cardinals (19): Arizona shoots up six spots with their upset of the Patriots. It’s amazing how quickly Cardinal fans have forgotten about John Skelton, the man they were so sure was the right man for the job.


14.   Denver Broncos (12): After an impressive Week 1 performance, the Broncos took a small step back in Week 2 with a very un-Manning like performance. I expect a much different result on Sunday.


15.   Dallas Cowboys (13): After an eye-opening performance in Week 1, the Cowboys turned in a stinker in Week 2. It’s anybody’s guess as to which team will show up against Tampa Bay in Week 3.


16.   New York Jets (15): After blowing up in the opening week, the Jets offense was non-existent for most of Week 2. They travel to Miami this week and a win would keep them atop the AFC East.


17.   Seattle Seahawks (21): The Seahawks appear to be a pretty good team and through two weeks have flown under the radar. Don’t be surprised if they pull off an upset this week on Monday Night Football as they host the Packers.


18.   Carolina Panthers (20): Cam Newton has only rushed for 75 yards this season. Though that is low, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. However, he is the team’s leading rusher. That is a bad thing. They must get more from their ground game if they want to take things to the next level and compete for a playoff spot.


19.   Cincinnati Bengals (18): The Bengals have allowed 71 points through their first two games. In a division with defensive powerhouses, they must tighten things up.


20.   Washington Redskins (16): Prior to the season, many would have called the Saints one of the best teams and the Rams one of the worst. Yet, the Redskins took care of the Saints and got beat by the Rams. So after two weeks, I’m not really sure what we’ve learned about Washington, other than RGIII is a special talent.


21.   New Orleans Saints (14): The Saints drop seven spots, the most of any team this week. They sit in dead last in the NFC South but should be able to right the ship in Week 3 as they face the Chiefs.


22.   Tampa Bay Buccaneers (26): The Bucs move up four spots, despite losing and allowing over 40 points. After last season, the fact that the Bucs have been this competitive to this point is impressive. They have a tough road test this week as they travel to Dallas.


23.   Buffalo Bills (27): The Bills are No. 1 in the NFL in rushing through two weeks and overall have scored nine touchdowns. They look to improve to 2-1 this week as they face the Browns.


24.   Tennessee Titans (22): Through two games, the Titans have allowed 72 points, and are averaging less than 30 yards rushing per game. If they don’t improve in Week 3, they could find themselves dropping to the bottom of the rankings.


25.   Miami Dolphins (28): Reggie Bush is picking up where he left off last year, as he has led the way for Miami through two games and has helped the Dolphins average 171 rushing yards per game. The more Bush can carry the load, the easier things will be for rookie QB Ryan Tannehill.


26.   Minnesota Vikings (25): Even though they haven’t really played any solid teams yet, the Vikings are oh-so-close to being 2-0 and leading the tough NFC North. As it is, they are 1-1 and have a very tough match-up against the 49ers this week.


27.   Oakland Raiders (23): The Raiders have one of the better running backs in football and are 31st in rushing yards. And though they do have Carson Palmer, it would be silly to call him one of the better quarterbacks in the league, yet he’s third in passing yards per game after two weeks. If the Raiders can get Darren McFadden going, they could be a very good offensive team.


28.   Indianapolis Colts (31): The Colts have looked significantly better than last year. Andrew Luck appears to be the real deal and if the Colts can get some serious weapons around him, they could be really good in a few years.


29.   St. Louis Rams (32): The Rams finally won!  It’s been a tough go of it in recent years for the Rams, but with a new coach and a healthy Sam Bradford, it seems as if the Rams may be competitive this season. It would appear the 49ers will have a hold of the top spot but the rest of the division is wide open.


30.   Kansas City Chiefs (24): The Chiefs are in the top 10 in passing offense and top 5 in rushing offense. But they have allowed 75 points in two games and thus are sitting at 0-2 and dropped six spots this week. They were pummeled by injuries last year but have gotten off to a disappointing start this year.


31.   Cleveland Browns (30): Trent Richardson is an early candidate for Rookie of the Year. Despite being 0-2, the Browns have lost both games by a combined eight points. I like them to get their first win of the year this week against the Bills.


32.   Jacksonville Jaguars (29): The Jags are 31st in passing offense and as expected, Maurice Jones-Drew has struggled a little bit after getting to camp late. If they can slow down Andrew Luck this week, they could get their first win and move out of the bottom spot.


    Report: NFL to Ban Winston 3 Games

    NFL logo

    Report: NFL to Ban Winston 3 Games

    Alec Nathan
    via Bleacher Report

    Tyrod, Yes Tyrod, Can Get Browns to the Playoffs

    NFL logo

    Tyrod, Yes Tyrod, Can Get Browns to the Playoffs

    Mike Freeman
    via Bleacher Report

    Baker Wasn't Taking Any S--t from Cowherd

    NFL logo

    Baker Wasn't Taking Any S--t from Cowherd

    Joseph Zucker
    via Bleacher Report

    NFL Players Respond to Trump's Pardon Request

    NFL logo

    NFL Players Respond to Trump's Pardon Request

    Mike Chiari
    via Bleacher Report