Updated QB Power Rankings After NFL Week 3

Matt Stein@MatthewJSteinCorrespondent IISeptember 24, 2012

Updated QB Power Rankings After NFL Week 3

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    In Week 3 of the NFL season we saw some of the best quarterback performances of the year. Whether it was Jake Locker outdueling Matthew Stafford or Eli Manning making his backups look like All-Pro players, the quarterbacks were on fire this week.

    Due to the number of great performances this week, there was quite a bit of shuffling in the quarterback power rankings this week. Let's look at who moved up and who moved down in this week's quarterback rankings.

    Note: You can see Week 2's quarterback rankings here.

32. Blaine Gabbert, Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Last Week Ranking: 29

    Week 3 Statistics: 10-of-21, 155 yards, one touchdown

    Take away Blaine Gabbert's final pass that ended in an 80-yard touchdown and you have a terrible game from the second-year quarterback. The first 59 minutes of this game for Gabbert was enough to make him the worst starting quarterback in the league.

    After showing promise in Week 1, Gabbert has put together back-to-back horrid performances. The Jacksonville Jaguars were able to sneak away with a win this week, but if Gabbert keeps playing like this they are destined for complete failure this year.

31. Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins

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    Last Week Ranking: 30

    Week 3 Statistics: 16-of-36, 196 yards, one interception

    Had Ryan Tannehill led his team to a win over the New York Jets he wouldn't have dropped in the rankings. However, that didn't happen, and now Tannehill is the lowest ranked rookie quarterback in the league.

    He does deserve some credit for not playing absolutely terrible against a talented New York defense, but Tannehill is going to need to make more plays with his arm to rise in these rankings.

30. Brandon Weeden, Cleveland Browns

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    Last Week Ranking: 32

    Week 3 Statistics: 27-of-43, 237 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions

    The only reason that Brandon Weeden moves up two spots this week is because of how poorly Ryan Tannehill and Blaine Gabbert played this week.

    Weeden has improved since Week 1, but he still has plenty of room to improve. I'm confident that Weeden will ultimately be a serviceable starter for the Cleveland Browns, but I'm not sure that it will happen this season.

29. Matt Cassel, Kansas City Chiefs

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    Last Week Ranking: 25

    Week 3 Statistics: 26-of-44, 248 yards, one interception, one fumble lost

    I really hate moving a quarterback down this far after a win, but the truth is that Matt Cassel really didn't have much to do with the Kansas City Chiefs beating the New Orleans Saints this week.

    The credit for this win belongs completely to Jamaal Charles and his 233 rushing yards. As long as Charles continues to run like that, the Chiefs won't need Cassel to be anything better than the 29th best quarterback in the league to win games.

28. Kevin Kolb, Arizona Cardinals

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    Last Week Ranking: 31

    Week 3 Statistics: 17-of-24, 222 yards, two touchdowns

    I'm guessing that this is the Kevin Kolb the Arizona Cardinals were hoping to see more of when they traded for him.

    This was easily the one of the best games that Kolb has played since coming to Arizona, and it just might have been good enough for him to hold on to the starting job once John Skelton returns. The best part of this game for Kolb was the fact that he finally was able to connect with Larry Fitzgerald.

    Fitzgerald finished the game with nine receptions for 114 yards and a touchdown. If Kolb can continue to put the ball in Fitzgerald's hands, he'll have no trouble moving up these rankings.

27. Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

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    Last Week Ranking: 28

    Week 3 Statistics: 10-of-21, 130 yards, two touchdowns

    When you look past Russell Wilson's last-second touchdown throw, his performance on Monday night is much less impressive. 

    He completed well under 50 percent of his passes and struggled to make plays with his arm. Wilson moves up a single spot simply because he won, but he can't keep on completing 47.6 percent of his passes if he wants to remain ahead of a few other quarterbacks in the league.

26. Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Last Week Ranking: 21

    Week 3 Statistics: 10-of-28, 110 yards, one touchdown, one interception

    This is the Josh Freeman that we saw all of last year, and that isn't good for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. While some of the blame belongs to Freeman's receivers, the majority of it falls straight on his shoulders.

    All Freeman had to do to win against the Dallas Cowboys this week was be less than horrific. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to do that, and he'll see a major drop in his rankings this week.

25. Mark Sanchez, New York Jets

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    Last Week Ranking: 22

    Week 3 Statistics: 21-of-45, 306 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions

    Don't let the 300 passing yards throw you off to just how poorly Mark Sanchez played on Sunday.

    He missed numerous open receivers and barely crept away with a win against the lowly Miami Dolphins. The New York Jets will be forced to keep Sanchez as the starter as long as he wins, but if he continues to complete well under 50 percent of his passes, he won't be the starter for long.

24. Carson Palmer, Oakland Raiders

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    Last Week Ranking: 27

    Week 3 Statistics: 24-of-34, 209 yards, three touchdowns, one interception

    The preseason wasn't friendly to Carson Palmer, but now that the regular season is in full swing, he looks like a completely different player.

    Despite the Oakland Raiders losing their first two games, Palmer played well in both contests. However, his best performance of the season came this week against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

    Palmer brought his team back from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter to come away with a three-point victory. The Raiders haven't been a very good team this year, but if Palmer continues to play this well they could surprise some people as the season progresses. 

23. Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles

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    Last Week Ranking: 19

    Week 3 Statistics: 17-of-37, 217 yards, two fumbles lost

    There has to be some serious doubts for the Philadelphia Eagles concerning Michael Vick after this week's performance.

    On the season, he now has nine turnovers to only four touchdowns. As impressive as Nick Foles looked during the preseason, you have to wonder how many more terrible games Vick will get before getting replaced.

    Now that the terrible performances are resulting in losses, I can't imagine it being that many more weeks until Vick is benched for at least part of a game.

22. Jake Locker, Tennessee Titans

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    Last Week Ranking: 26

    Week 3 Statistics: 29-of-42, 378 yards, two touchdowns, one fumble lost

    The biggest knock on Jake Locker has always been his accuracy, so the fact that he completed 69 percent of his passes on Sunday is huge for the second-year quarterback.

    Of course, it helps to play against a porous defense like the Detroit Lions unit, but this was still a huge game for Locker and the Tennessee Titans. If he can continue to play with this type of accuracy and confidence, he'll continue to make huge leaps up these rankings.

21. Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams

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    Last Week Ranking: 18

    Week 3 Statistics: 18-of-35, 152 yards, two interceptions

    After looking very good in Week 1 and Week 2, Sam Bradford struggled mightily in Week 3 against the Chicago Bears.

    He barely completed 50 percent of his passes while throwing two interceptions and only averaging 4.3 yards per attempt. Let's just hope that this performance was a fluke as Bradford gets back to playing like he did as a rookie.

    If it wasn't, the St. Louis Rams will be in a heap of trouble this year.

20. Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts

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    Last Week Ranking: 20

    Week 3 Statistics: 22-of-46, 313 yards, two touchdowns, one interception

    You can't really blame Andrew Luck for losing to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday. He played extremely well and almost had his second-straight fourth-quarter comeback.

    However, his defense let him down, and the Jaguars came away with the win. Luck will continue to be considered a top-20 quarterback if he plays like he did on Sunday simply because of the lack of talent surrounding him.

19. Christian Ponder, Minnesota Vikings

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    Last Week Ranking: 24

    Week 3 Statistics: 21-of-35, 198 yards, two touchdowns, 33 rushing yards, one rushing touchdown

    After being a little conservative in ranking Christian Ponder the past two weeks, this week's performance was enough to move him way up the rankings.

    For starters, Ponder did something that neither Aaron Rodgers or Matthew Stafford was able to do in beating the San Francisco 49ers. On top of that, he did it without throwing an interception and having three total touchdowns.

    This might be the game that pushes Ponder into the status of truly legitimate starting quarterback in the NFL.

18. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo Bills

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    Last Week Ranking: 23

    Week 3 Statistics: 22-of-35, 208 yards, three touchdowns

    The Buffalo Bills have looked extremely good the past two weeks and a huge reason has been the play of Ryan Fitzpatrick.

    He makes another move up these rankings this week thanks to his three touchdowns and 107.8 quarterback rating. If he continues to play as sound as he did against the Cleveland Browns, the Bills should have no difficulties with making the playoffs.

17. Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears

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    Last Week Ranking: 14

    Week 3 Statistics: 17-of-31, 183 yards, one interception

    Well, any hopes of Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery making Jay Cutler a truly elite quarterback seems to have flown out the window.

    After one of the worst games of his career last week, Cutler came back against an average defense and played horrible for the second week in a row. He finished the game with a 58.9 quarterback rating and has thrown five interceptions in the past two games.

    He moves a few spots down the list this week, but a third straight poor performance in Week 4 will likely put him outside the top 20.

16. Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers

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    Last Week Ranking: 12

    Week 3 Statistics: 16-of-30, 242 yards, three interceptions, one rushing touchdown

    It was a hard and awful game for Cam Newton against the New York Giants this week. 

    He struggled to do anything positive through the air or on the ground and was hit over and over by an aggressive Giants defense. We all kind of expected Newton to take a huge step forward this year, but he continues to have the same issue with decision-making that he had as a rookie.

    If Cam can't cut down on his mistakes, he'll continue to slide down these rankings.

15. Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens

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    Last Week Ranking: 17

    Week 3 Statistics: 28-of-39, 382 yards, three touchdowns, one interception

    The way Joe Flacco started against the New England Patriots, it appeared as if he was going to be dropping way down these rankings this week. However, Flacco turned it around in a huge way and had one of the best games of his career.

    The best part of this game for Flacco was the poise he showed while running the two-minute offense while down by two points. He drove his team down the field and put them in position to ultimately win the game.

    This type of performance is what the Baltimore Ravens have been waiting for from Flacco, and if he can keep it up, the Ravens will be a tough team to beat in the AFC.

14. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals

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    Last Week Ranking: 16

    Week 3 Statistics: 19-of-27, 328 yards, three touchdowns, one interception

    Despite being considered a game-managing quarterback after his first year in the NFL, Andy Dalton is beginning to show that he has what it takes to be considered elite.

    On Sunday against the Washington Redskins, Dalton was accurate and did a great job of spreading the ball around the field. His three touchdown passes went to three different players. While none of those touchdowns were to A.J. Green, Dalton was still able to get the ball to his best receiver eight times for 110 yards.

    The Cincinnati Bengals continue to look like one of the better teams in the NFL and a big reason why is the impressive play of Dalton.

13. Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins

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    Last Week Ranking: 13

    Week 3 Statistics: 21-of-34, 221 yards, one touchdown, 85 rushing yards, one rushing touchdown, one fumble lost

    We couldn't move Robert Griffin III up in the rankings this week because he lost, but we also couldn't move him down because he continues to play exceptionally well.

    After being down by 14 points heading into the half, Griffin did everything in his power to bring his team back. He ultimately tied the game at 24 points in the third quarter, but the Washington Redskins defense gave up back-to-back touchdowns which sealed the loss.

    The Redskins might not win many games this year, but as long as Griffin continues to play at this high of a level they'll be must-watch football every week.

12. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions

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    Last Week Ranking: 11

    Week 3 Statistics: 33-of-42, 278 yards, one touchdown

    Had Matthew Stafford not left the game early with a leg injury, he likely would have had much better statistics. However, Shaun Hill looked great, and the Detroit Lions nearly escaped with a win.

    Stafford has yet to find the rhythm that he had last year, and this is especially true with his top wide receiver Calvin Johnson. The two have yet to hook up for a touchdown this year, and that is unacceptable for Stafford.

    He drops only one spot in the rankings this week, but if he continues to struggle it won't be long before he is passed by other quarterbacks.

11. Alex Smith, San Francisco 49ers

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    Last Week Ranking: 10

    Week 3 Statistics: 24-of-35, 204 yards, one touchdown, one interception

    After playing exceptionally well through the first two weeks of the season, Alex Smith struggled just enough to drop him one spot in the quarterback rankings this week.

    He had a tough time finding anything down the field against the Minnesota Vikings as he only averaged 5.8 yards per attempt. The San Francisco 49ers still look like one of the best teams in football, but Smith will need to be better than mediocre if they want to remain that way for much longer.

10. Matt Schaub, Houston Texans

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    Last Week Ranking: 15

    Week 3 Statistics: 17-of-30, 290 yards, four touchdowns, one interception

    Matt Schaub makes a huge leap in this week's rankings because of a fantastic performance in Week 3.

    Even though Schaub struggled with his accuracy (56.7 completion percentage), he was still able to throw three touchdowns in the first half to three different receivers. His fourth touchdown went to a fourth receiver and officially put the game away.

    Few quarterbacks have been as impressive as Schaub to start the season, and if he keeps this up he'll continue to rise up these rankings.

9. Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys

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    Last Week Ranking: 8

    Week 3 Statistics: 25-of-39, 283 yards, one interception, two fumbles lost

    It was a hard game for Tony Romo, but he needs to be thankful that he won and that he is still alive.

    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were able to get pretty consistent pressure on Romo and force him into three turnovers. However, Romo prevailed and did just enough to sneak away with a 16-10 win at home.

    Romo will remain in the top 10 for another week, but another performance in Week 4 like this one will certainly drop him down the rankings.

8. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers

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    Last Week Ranking: 5

    Week 3 Statistics: 21-of-38, 173 yards, two interceptions

    After putting Philip Rivers in the top five last week, he comes back and rewards me with a truly terrible performance.

    He was outmatched all game long and simply couldn't get anything going on offense. He averaged only 4.6 yards per attempt and finished the game with a 45.2 quarterback rating.

    We've seen this type of performance send Rivers into a long streak of terrible games, so hopefully that doesn't happen this year for the Chargers.

7. Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Last Week Ranking: 9

    Week 3 Statistics: 36-of-49, 384 yards, four touchdowns

    What an game from Ben Roethlisberger this week. He literally did everything within his power to win this game for the Pittsburgh Steelers, but came up a little short.

    However, should Roethlisberger continue to complete 73.5 percent of his passes for 384 yards and four touchdowns, losing won't happen very often.

6. Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos

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    Last Week Ranking: 7

    Week 3 Statistics: 26-of-52, 330 yards, two touchdowns

    After a rough week last week, Peyton Manning came back to have a strong performance against a very dominant team this week.

    While Manning started a little slow against the Houston Texans, he really improved late in the game with his two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. The fact that he only completed 50 percent of his passes is a little worrisome, but Manning is still getting acquainted with the Denver Broncos offense.

    Manning will need to continue to have games like this if he wants to get back into consideration as a top-five quarterback in this league. 

5. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

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    Last Week Ranking: 4

    Week 3 Statistics: 20-of-36, 240 yards, three touchdowns, one interception

    Drew Brees drops one spot in these rankings for two reasons. The first, and most obvious, reason is that the New Orleans Saints are 0-3.

    The second reason that Brees drops is that he was unable to hold on to an 18-point lead against the Kansas City Chiefs. New Orleans was up 24-6 with just over five minutes remaining in the second quarter, but Brees couldn't do enough to keep his team ahead.

    This season is quickly spiraling downward for the Saints and Brees. Until he can win some games, he'll continue to drop down these quarterback rankings.

4. Eli Manning, New York Giants

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    Last Week Ranking: 6

    Week 3 Statistics: 27-of-35, 288 yards, one touchdown

    Another game and another simple yet stellar performance from Eli Manning. After watching Manning continue to build on last year's incredible season, it is hard to not fall in love with how he makes everyone around him better.

    There is no better example of this than backup wide receiver Ramses Barden. In four years in the league, Barden only had 16 receptions and 198 receiving yards before Thursday night's game. However, with Hakeem Nicks injured, Eli targeted Barden early and often to the tune of nine receptions and 138 yards.

    It is this ability to make a no-name receiver have that type of game that makes Manning one of the best quarterbacks in the league.

3. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons

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    Last Week Ranking: 3

    Week 3 Statistics: 30-of-40, 275 yards, three touchdowns, one interception

    Another week and another strong performance by Matt Ryan. While he still can't overtake Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers, he has put a ton of room between himself and every other quarterback in the league.

    We all knew that the Atlanta Falcons offense had the potential to by dynamic this year, but we also knew the success of this unit hinged on the play of Ryan. Well, through three games it has been rather clear that Ryan and the Falcons will be an extremely difficult team to slow down.

    As long as Ryan can keep this pace up for the entire season, there is no reason for him to not become the top quarterback in the league.

2. Tom Brady, New England Patriots

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    Last Week Ranking: 2

    Week 3 Statistics: 28-of-41, 335 yards, one touchdown

    This must have been a hard loss for Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. They were up nine points heading into the fourth quarter, but were unable to put away the game when they needed to.

    Going up against a defense like the Baltimore Ravens always seems to bring out the best from Brady and this week was no different. While he didn't play his absolute best, he certainly played well enough to keep the No. 2 spot in these rankings this week.

1. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

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    Last Week Ranking: 1

    Week 3 Statistics: 26-of-39, 223

    You may seem surprised to see Aaron Rodgers continue atop the quarterback rankings this week, but let me tell you why.

    After getting sacked eight times in the first half, Rodgers came back in the second half and led three straight scoring drives to give his team the lead in the fourth quarter. It was one of the gutsiest performances we've ever seen from a quarterback.

    At this point, Rodgers is going to need to have a truly terrible performance to lose his stop atop these rankings.