Has there been a more riveting week of NFL football then we had in Week 3? Not in quite some time. Six games were decided by three points or less, three of which went to overtime, including one with two touchdowns in the final thirty seconds by the same team, thanks to a Hail Mary.
Speaking of Hail Marys… This week’s Monday game likely will go down as the most mind blowing ending in the history of Monday Night Football. But alas, this is a power rankings article, so I digress.
There were several key injuries this week, as the Jets lost Pro Bowl defensive back Darrelle Revis for the season with an ACL tear. Dolphins RB Reggie Bush suffered a knee injury that is not expected to keep him out long, if at all. Lions QB Matthew Stafford suffered a leg injury, but he too is not expected to miss any time.
The Buffalo Bills lost their second RB of the season as CJ Spiller went down, but he is expected to miss only a few games, while RB Fred Jackson is expected to return to the lineup next week.
Week 4 almost certainly will not live up to Week 3, but then again with these replacement referees, it would appear as if anything is possible.
With that, here are the latest rankings as we head to Week 4.
Teams’ previous ranking in ( ).
1. Houston Texans (3): Houston looks like a force right now. They don’t appear to have a true weakness.
2. Atlanta Falcons (5): Atlanta took it to the Chargers and now sit alone atop the NFC South. Is this the year Matt Ryan gets his first playoff win?
3. Baltimore Ravens (6): Less than a day after losing his brother to a tragic accident, Torrey Smith played the game of his life helping the Ravens beat the Patriots. I’d be shocked if we don’t see a rematch of this game in about three months.
4. San Francisco 49ers (1): They were going to lose eventually, but losing to the Vikings was a stunner. It sure looks like it won’t be a walk in the park for the 49ers in the NFC West this season.
5. Green Bay Packers (4): Despite some of the worst officiating I have ever seen, Aaron Rodgers said it best when he said Green Bay shouldn’t have even been in that position. He’s right. They left a lot of opportunities on the table.
6. Arizona Cardinals (13): The Cardinals defense has looked downright awesome since late last season. If Kevin Kolb and the offense can consistently put points on the board, they could be a playoff team.
7. New York Giants (8): After what happened this weekend, it seems like it was forever ago that the Giants absolutely torched the Panthers.
8. Chicago Bears (10): The Bears defense is as stingy as ever and the offense is improved. Getting Matt Forte back will only make them better.
9. Philadelphia Eagles (2): The Eagles committed fewer turnovers (3) than in either of their previous two games (9 combined) but got their first loss of the season. Simply put, they looked awful.
10. New England Patriots (7): Two straight tough losses for the Patriots but they have little reason to worry. I expect them to bounce back and be just fine.
11. Pittsburgh Steelers (9): Big Ben played out of his mind, but the Steelers defense looked awful. It doesn’t matter how many points they score if the defense doesn’t get it together. It could be a tough year for Pittsburgh.
12. Dallas Cowboys (15): Despite three turnovers and being sacked four times, the Cowboys walked away with a win on Sunday. They will need to clean things up as they prepare for the Bears on Monday Night Football.
13. Seattle Seahawks (17): Despite the fact that they won, even though they should have lost, the Seahawks still move up four spots because quite frankly, they played an incredible game of football. Their secondary might just be the best in football.
14. New York Jets (16): The Tim Tebow experiment was nearly non-existent as he was only on the field for two offensive snaps on Sunday. Nonetheless the Jets found a way to win and will face a tough test as they take on the 49ers this week.
15. San Diego Chargers (12): The Chargers should feel blessed to only drop three spots after that pitiful performance. The defense was bad and the offense was worse. On the bright side, the special teams played well, which is an improvement from past seasons.
16. Cincinnati Bengals (19): The Bengals jumped out to a 24-7 lead, only to see it slip away in the third quarter. Andy Dalton played great and led the Bengals to 14 points in the fourth to get the win. Dalton and AJ Green appear to have picked up where they left off last season.
17. Denver Broncos (14): Peyton Manning is still pretty good, but he’s going to have to get help from the running game if Denver is going to be successful.
18. Detroit Lions (11): In perhaps the craziest game on Sunday, the Lions scored two touchdowns in the final 20 seconds with backup QB Shaun Hill, only to lose in overtime after failing to convert on a 4th-and-1 from the Tennessee 7-yard line.
19. Buffalo Bills (23): Ryan Fitzpatrick leads the NFL in touchdown passes through three weeks. He got off to a great start last year too, but the Bills were steamrolled by injuries.
20. Minnesota Vikings (26): In perhaps the upset of the week, the Vikings really outplayed the 49ers to move to 2-1. If they can take care of the Lions on Sunday, they have a chance to sit alone in first place in the NFC North. Who would have thought that was possible at any point during the season?
21. Tennessee Titans (24): Chris Johnson has 45 rushing yards on the season. This Titan team might be a playoff contender if they had the Johnson of old, but having to rely solely on Jake Locker this early in his career might be asking too much.
22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (22): Tampa falls to 1-2 but are pretty close to being 3-0. They need to get back on track next week against the Redskins if they want to be considered as any kind of threat to win the NFC South.
23. Carolina Panthers (18): Cam Newton has suffered that famous sophomore slump through three weeks, as he has a total of 81 rushing yards and just four total touchdowns, compared to five interceptions.
24. Washington Redskins (20): RGIII has been great so far but his team only has one win. The Redskins have allowed over 31 points per game thus far and must improve the defense if they want to be a winning team.
25. Oakland Raiders (27): The Raiders proved on Sunday that they do have a very good offense. Losing WR Darrius Heyward-Bey for an extended period could hurt but shouldn’t be a vital blow.
26. New Orleans Saints (21): As if the Saints weren’t in enough of a hole starting 0-3, they must now travel to Lambeau Field to face an angry, emotional, frustrated Packers team. After everything the Saints have been accused of though, I can’t say I have any sympathy for them.
27. Miami Dolphins (25): Miami sure let one get away against the Jets. The Dolphins probably aren’t going anywhere, but starting 2-1 feels a heck of a lot better than 1-2.
28. Kansas City Chiefs (30): Jamaal Charles absolutely carried the load for the Chiefs on Sunday, finishing with 33 carries for 233 yards and a touchdown. However, kicker Ryan Succop was probably the games’ MVP as he was a perfect 6-6 on field goals as the Chiefs got their first win of the season.
29. Indianapolis Colts (28): Andrew Luck continues to play well but the Colts defense really let him down by allowing an 80-yard score in the final moments. The Colts are definitely improving, but would seem to be a year or two away from being competitive enough to be considered a playoff team.
30. Jacksonville Jaguars (32): Maurice Jones-Drew continues to be the majority of the offense in Jacksonville. The Jags should enjoy their win because it could be their only one for quite a while.
31. St. Louis Rams (29): The Rams looked awful on Sunday and will likely continue to be cellar dwellers in the NFC West.
32. Cleveland Browns (31): The Browns have been competitive so far this season but have nothing to show for it in the win column. That unfortunate trend may continue as their next three games are at the Ravens, at the Giants, and at home against the Bengals.