NFL Power Rankings: Complete Outlook at Start of Week 3

Andrew Gould@AndrewGould4Featured ColumnistSeptember 19, 2013

"The more precisely the position is determined, the less precisely the momentum is known in this instant, and vice versa."

This notion provides the thesis for Werner Karl Heisenberg's uncertainty principle. You know the name as Walter White's evil alter-ego in Breaking Bad, but the German theorist can also help us understand the nature of early NFL power rankings.

What we perceive as air-tight truths will often abruptly shatter, forcing us back to square one. Teams will get situated in different places like puzzle pieces.

For now, we can only estimate which teams are the ones who knock while deciphering some lowly clubs that deserve a trip to Belize


32. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2)

It could get worse for the league's worst offense that has still not gotten a whiff of the end zone. The Jaguars could face the NFL's top defense that just crushed the reigning NFC champs by 26 points in the same venue that will host this weekend's matchup. Wait, that's happening, isn't it? Sorry, Jacksonville.


31. Cleveland Browns (0-2)

So much for Norv Turner breathing new life into this anemic offense. Tight end Jordan Cameron (14 catches, 203 yards) has made good on his preseason hype, but poor quarterback play continues to baffle the Browns.


30. Oakland Raiders (1-1)

Beating the Jaguars doesn't let the Raiders off the hook. It was, however, an encouraging sign to see the oft-injured Darren McFadden gain 129 yards on the ground with 19 carries. More performances like that from Run DMC move Oakland up a few spots. 


29. Washington Redskins (0-2)

Washington's defense is so bad. (How bad is Washington's defense?) Washington's defense is so bad that it has already allowed more than 1,000 yards after two weeks and made James Starks look like Adrian Peterson. Stop all the "Should the Redskins bench Robert Griffin III" nonsense. The defense is holding back this past playoff performer.


28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-2)

Tension is mounting between Josh Freeman and head coach Greg Schiano, who is running an offense more befitting a team from 2001. Between giving away a game to the New York Jets and doing nothing against last year's worst defense, Tampa Bay is in trouble.


27. New York Jets (1-1)

Oh how different this list may look if Geno Smith orchestrated another game-winning drive to upset the New England Patriots. The rookie instead showed his inexperience with three costly interceptions, but at least the defense looks revived behind Muhammad Wilkerson and David Harris.


26. Pittsburgh Steelers (0-2)

No team other than Jacksonville has amassed fewer total offensive yards so far than the Steelers. Ben Roethlisberger missed deep-threat Mike Wallace, while the running game and offensive line continued to underwhelm. It's safe to squash any lingering Super Bowl hopes.


25. Carolina Panthers (0-2)

Ron Rivera struck yet again when, forgetting that he has a quarterback at his disposal built to run short sneaks, he instead gave up and offered the football back to Buffalo. Rookie E.J. Manuel orchestrated a game-winning drive to lessen Rivera's record to 2-14 in games with a margin of seven points or less.


24. Minnesota Vikings (0-2)

While the Vikings hung tough with the Chicago Bears, they needed touchdowns from their defense and special teams to shorten the gap. The 0-2 start proves that they needed ample good fortune to sneak into the postseason last year. 


23. Arizona Cardinals (1-1)

The offense is operating much smoother with Carson Palmer at the helm, but the Cardinals could be sitting at 0-2 had Reggie Bush not sustained a knee injury. A win at the Superdome would certainly lift Arizona's mood before embarking on a brutal schedule.


22. Buffalo Bills (1-1)

E.J. Manuel didn't look much like a rookie when he led the Bills to a game-winning drive over the Panthers on Sunday. He has completed 68.2 percent of his passes and can propel the Bills to 2-1 with a win over the Jets.


21. New York Giants (0-2)

A week after turning the ball over six times, the Giants allowed 41 points to the Denver Broncos with the help of four more Eli Manning interceptions. Only Manning could be on pace for a season with 6,496 passing yards and 56 interceptions.


20. Tennessee Titans (1-1)

While the offense has stumbled out of the gate, Tennessee has not received a fair shake of establishing a rhythm due to facing the Steelers and Houston Texans. Then again, they came a hair away from topping the Texans and starting at 2-0.


19. Detroit Lions (1-1)

Can new acquisition Reggie Bush stay healthy this season? Detroit has all the makings of an elite offensive squad, but its running back must stay on the field while the defense does more to stymie average offenses.


18. Philadelphia Eagles (1-1)

One of the main overreactions from Week 1, Philadelphia rode a scorching first half to victory over Washington. The fanfare quickly faded after the Eagles surrendered 419 passing yards and three touchdowns in a loss to the San Diego Chargers. They're exciting, but the Eagles are far from a complete team.


17. San Diego Chargers (1-1)

On the other side of that shootout, Eddie Royal caught three touchdowns to bring his season total to five. That already matches his career high as part of an offense that is shattering expectations. Maybe San Diego isn't a lost cause.


16. Indianapolis Colts (1-1)

Let the regression begin. A year after overcoming a minus-30 point differential with 11 wins, the Colts suffered a close loss to the Miami Dolphins. Expect the San Francisco 49ers to further exploit their front seven's shortcomings.


15. St. Louis Rams (1-1)

Sam Bradford is doing his best to revive the Greatest Show on Turf, registering 651 passing yards through two games. Robert Quinn notched three sacks in the Rams' Week 1 victory, but the defense let Matt Ryan take his time in picking it apart last Sunday.


14. Dallas Cowboys (1-1)

Good thing the Giants running backs decided they had no interest in holding onto the football. Otherwise the Cowboys would be 0-2 right now. The accurate Romo (72.5 completion percentage) must now locate the end zone more often. 


13. Miami Dolphins (2-0)

The NFL's sneakiest 2-0 club, Miami improved to 2-0 with a breakout performance from newly signed Mike Wallace. Although the number will vary greatly as the season progresses, the Dolphins currently sport the AFC's third-highest point differential.


12. Baltimore Ravens (1-1)

Averaging 2.9 yards per carry, a heavy workload seems to finally have tired out Ray Rice. Bernard Pierce has not fared much better at 2.8 yards per attempt. A loss to Houston hampers the cause at 1-2, but a win makes it much easier to write off the Ravens' Week 1 trouncing to the Denver Broncos.


11. Kansas City Chiefs (2-0)

The team ranks third in total defense, but how much of that accounts for facing Jacksonville? Philadelphia will provide a tough litmus test for the crew, so a strong showing should convince skeptics that Andy Reid's club is for real.


10. Atlanta Falcons (1-1)

Despite beating St. Louis, Atlanta suffered some serious losses in Steven Jackson and Sean Weatherspoon. A defense that ranks 29th in passing yards allowed can't afford to lose such a key component to its unit.


9. New England Patriots (2-0)

Even this ranking is giving New England the benefit of the doubt after salvaging two ugly victories against the Bills and Jets. Tom Brady has completed 52.7 percent of his passes for a team that won both games by a combined four points. The Patriots should consider themselves lucky that they faced an easy early schedule in Rob Gronkowski's absence.


8. Cincinnati Bengals (1-1)

Giovani Bernard burst onto the scene with two touchdowns during the Bengals' Monday night victory over the fading Steelers. Cincinnati looked poised to win a slipping AFC North with a blossoming young nucleus.


7. New Orleans Saints (2-0)

The Saints have scooped up two wins against divisional opponents while not looking like the worst defense ever. New Orleans can do big things if the defense can continue to limit opponents to 15.5 points per game.


6. Chicago Bears (2-0)

Chicago's offense is no longer sleepwalking under Marc Trestman's watch. Martellus Bennett has especially helped ease the burden off of Brandon Marshall with three touchdown grabs. If the Bears continue to compile points, they should find their way back into the playoff mix.


5. Houston Texans (2-0)

They won ugly against two average teams, but at least the Texans demonstrated some offensive versatility in the process. Ben Tate continues to knock on the door for more playing time after averaging 8.2 yards per carry this season.


4. Green Bay Packers (1-1)

Aaron Rodgers. Need more? Fine, how about the fact that Green Bay's wide receivers have not dropped a catch all season and James Starks just rushed for 132 yards? Just keep them away from San Francisco, and the Packers will be fine.


3. San Francisco 49ers (1-1)

The 49ers get a pass for looking so bad at Seattle due to how good they looked against the Packers. Their usually dominant running game accounting for 190 yards through two games is a concern, but their squad is too loaded to drop after one loss. However, it sure made everyone look silly for building shrines to Anquan Boldin and calling that offseason trade the dumbest decision in the history of mankind after one game. 


2. Denver Broncos (2-0)

Scoring 91 points through two games makes Denver the AFC's undisputed team to beat. If the Broncos can make the Ravens and Giants look abysmal, how bad will it get against the Raiders on Monday Night Football?


1. Seattle Seahawks (2-0)

Beating the 49ers by 26 points makes you a no-brainer for the top spot. The Seahawks have allowed just 10 points all season, shutting down Colin Kaepernick a week after he went off for 412 yards and three touchdowns. Their rematch later in the season in San Francisco can challenge the power dynamic, but for now, Seattle is the team primed to build an empire. 


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