NFL Power Rankings: Where Each Team Stands as Week 3 Winds Down

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistSeptember 23, 2013

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - SEPTEMBER 22:  Brian Hartline #82 of the Miami Dolphins reacts to scoring a touchdown pass during a game against the Atlanta Falcons at Sun Life Stadium on September 22, 2013 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Week 3 of the 2013 NFL season was as tight as the first two weeks, and the Miami Dolphins were one team that made a statement over the weekend.

The Oakland Raiders and the Denver Broncos will close the week out on Monday Night Football, but that game shouldn't have much of an impact on the rankings.

Seven undefeated teams remain, so the 1972 Miami Dolphins still have some worrying to do.

How can one separate teams that have the same record? These rankings will be based on how teams have played and whom they have played. Having a better record than another team doesn't guarantee a higher ranking. Teams with the same record will be ranked based on which ones have the potential to have better seasons.

Let's take a look at how each team stands as Week 3 nears an end.


1. Denver Broncos (2-0)

The Broncos own the NFL's top offense, so a game against the Raiders could turn ugly. Peyton Manning led the team to a 13-3 record in his first season with the team, and the Broncos look even better this year. Until a team can stay with them for four quarters, they will remain in the top spot.


2. Seattle Seahawks (3-0)

Seattle shot up to No. 2 after beating up on San Francisco last week, but it still ranked behind the Broncos. Beating up on the Jaguars did nothing to change that.


3. New England Patriots (3-0)

FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 22:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots and Kenbrell Thompkins #85 celebrate a touchdown during the first quarter in a game with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Gillette Stadium on September 22, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

A team that needed a big win this week was New England. The Patriots had squeaked out victories against the Bills and the Jets to start the season, but they dominated the Buccaneers. Their schedule may be one of the easiest in the league through three weeks, but Tom Brady has earned the right to be ranked this high.

Everyone wanted to know who would suit up for the Patriots this week. Brady again had to play without Danny Amendola and Rob Gronkowski, but it didn't matter.

They fell behind 3-0 in the first quarter, but a big second quarter showed signs of promise. Brady led the team to 17 points in the quarter, but it was the performance of rookie wideout Kenbrell Thompkins that stood out. He caught two touchdowns in the quarter and finished the game with three catches for 41 yards. He came into the game with six catches for 89 yards and no scores.

Aaron Dobson also had seven catches, so it was a big day for the receivers. Brady's confidence in them increased, and now the team will wait to see if it can get some players back in the lineup.


4. Chicago Bears (3-0)

After two fourth-quarter rallies against the Bengals and the Vikings, the Chicago Bears took it to the Pittsburgh Steelers. They were up 17-0 at the end of the first quarter and 24-3 midway through the second. The Bears had their way with the Steelers and took control of the NFC North. Chicago owns a one-game lead over Detroit and a two-game lead over Green Bay.


5. New Orleans Saints (3-0)

Sean Payton continues to work his magic. The New Orleans Saints just don't lose in the Superdome. When the game was still competitive in the second half, the Saints scored on three consecutive possessions to put the game away. They fell behind 7-0 after one drive but scored 31 unanswered points to end the game.


6. Miami Dolphins (3-0)

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - SEPTEMBER 22:  Quarterback Ryan Tannehill #17 of the Miami Dolphins scrambles away from Defensive lineman Johnathan Massaquoi #96 of the Atlanta Falcons at Sun Life Stadium on September 22, 2013 in Miami Gardens, Florida. The Dolphins
Marc Serota/Getty Images

Huge day for the Dolphins. They trailed the Atlanta Falcons by 10 two different times, including in the third quarter, but managed to win. With his team trailing late in the game, Ryan Tannehill led his team on a 75-yard drive to victory in the final minute. It was a clutch drive that should have Dolphins fans feeling good.


7. Cincinnati Bengals (2-1)

Cincinnati lost to Chicago in Week 1, but it has pulled off two consecutive wins. This time the Bengals got out to a quick 14-0 lead before allowing the Packers to score 30 straight points. However, the Bengals ended the game by scoring 20 unanswered points. Not many teams can win a game after turning the ball over six times, but the Bengals defense came through when it mattered most.

Had they held on to an 11-point lead in their opener, the Bengals could be sitting at 3-0.


8. Kansas City Chiefs (3-0)

The Chiefs are a good story so far because they have a quarterback and a coach who have something to prove. Alex Smith once led the 49ers to the NFC title game, and Andy Reid led the Eagles to a Super Bowl appearance. Now they team up in Kansas City.

After only two wins a season ago, the Chiefs have already surpassed that total through three weeks. There is plenty of talent on defense, and the offense has come through with big plays when needed.


9. Baltimore Ravens (2-1)

The defending champions faced a critical game against the Texans. A loss could have sent the season in the wrong direction, but a win gave them a boost in confidence. The way they blew the Texans out showed the rest of the league that Baltimore is still a contender.


10. Dallas Cowboys (2-1)

An easy victory over St. Louis has Dallas atop the NFC East. Only one other team in its division, the Philadelphia Eagles, has a win. The Cowboys are the only team in the NFC East to win a game outside its division, so the Cowboys could run away with the division if that trend continues over the next few weeks. 


11. Indianapolis Colts (2-1)

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 22:  Trent Richardson #34 of the Indianapolis Colts celebrates with Stanley Havili #39 after scoring a touchdown against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on September 22, 2013 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

No team had a bigger week than the Indianapolis Colts. They lost to the Miami Dolphins last week, so they found a way to improve the team.

The Trent Richardson trade will pay off for the team over the course of the season, even if he didn't have a huge impact this week. The running back scored a touchdown from a yard out on his first carry. Other than that, he didn't have much of an impact this week.

It would've been tough for him to be heavily involved in the team's offense after coming over in the middle of the week, but look for the Colts to get him a lot more touches next week against the Jaguars.


12. Houston Texans (2-1)

The Texans made incredible rallies in the first two games, but they were unable to do anything against the Ravens. Houston led 6-0 after a few seconds went by in the second quarter, but Baltimore went on a 30-3 run to end the game.

Houston has shown a lot of vulnerabilities through two weeks, so it needs to figure out how to get back to last year's success.


13. San Francisco 49ers (1-2)

San Francisco managed to beat the Packers in its opener, but two straight losses have the team searching for answers. Colin Kaepernick has 272 yards combined in the last two weeks. He has not thrown a touchdown in either loss, and the 49ers have lost by a total of 46 points.

Their next two games will be in prime time, so the entire country will be watching to see if the 49ers have fixed their problems.


14. Atlanta Falcons (1-2)

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - SEPTEMBER 22: Roddy White #84 of the Atlanta Falcons is tackled after a catch during a game against the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium on September 22, 2013 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

At home, nobody beats the Falcons. They are a different team on the road, and they are 0-2 away from the Georgia dome. They allowed Tannehill to drive down the field for the game-winning score, but this loss shouldn't be looked at too much. It was against a quality team, and the Falcons are already banged up.

Steven Jackson did not play and will still miss another game or two. Receivers Julio Jones and Roddy White are both dealing with injuries. White's ankle injury has affected his play all season, so Atlanta will have to hope that he can recover in a hurry.

Without a healthy set of playmakers on offense, the Falcons can't be viewed as serious Super Bowl contenders. 


15. Green Bay Packers (2-1)

Green Bay allowed a long touchdown drive to open the game and then fumbled the ensuing kickoff to fall behind 14-0. After that, it appeared to be all Green Bay. Aaron Rodgers helped the Packers take advantage of six Bengals turnovers to grab a 30-14 lead. 

However, a fumble return for a touchdown on a fourth down cost the Packers the game. They could've opted for a field goal but risked it. Their two losses have come to good opponents on the road, so there's no reason to panic in Green Bay.


16. Detroit Lions (2-1)

Even without Reggie Bush, Detroit was able to win relatively easily against the Redskins. The Lions had never won in Washington, but that changed on Sunday. They sit in second place in the NFC North and could be serious contenders.


17. Tennessee Titans (2-1)

A late rally by Houston cost Tennessee a win last week. Otherwise the Titans could be one of the remaining undefeated teams. With just over two minutes remaining, Jake Locker led his team on a 94-yard touchdown drive to win the game. It's a big performance out of a quarterback who has yet to show that he can lead the team to victories.


18. San Diego Chargers (1-2)

San Diego was on the losing end of Tennessee's great comeback. This joins the opening loss to Houston as a game that the Chargers should've won. If they had been able to hold onto those two losses, they could've made a surprise playoff run. Now they've dug themselves too big of a hole to get out of in the AFC West.


19. Philadelphia Eagles (1-2)

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 19: Quarterback Michael Vick #7 of the Philadelphia Eagles looks to run as linebacker Justin Houston #50 of the Kansas City Chiefs  pursues during the fourth quarter of a game at Lincoln Financial Field on September 19, 2013 i
Rich Schultz/Getty Images

It looks like the rest of the league is adjusting to the Eagles' new offense. Philadelphia ranks last in the league in time of possession at just over 24 minutes per game. It's nice that the offense can score quickly, which could pay off in key situations later this year.

However, it puts the defense in a tough spot. There's no way for the unit to get any rest when the offense only holds onto the ball for two minutes. 

Chip Kelly's uptempo offense is explosive, but the team is prone to turnovers. Until it learns to take care of the football, it's going to be tough to win games consistently.


20. Carolina Panthers (1-2)

A blowout win over the New York Giants has to feel good. The Panthers hung tough with the Seahawks in Week 1 and lost in the final seconds to the Bills last week. Cam Newton finally looked like the quarterback that everyone expected him to be.


21. St. Louis Rams (1-2)

St. Louis has fallen behind 21-0 and 24-0 in the last two weeks, so it has been out of games early. A last-second field goal in Week 1 gave the Rams their lone victory. They haven't been able to stay competitive against a good opponent, so it could be a long year in St. Louis.


22. New York Jets (2-1)

Geno Smith was able to show the Buffalo Bills that they made a mistake drafting EJ Manuel over him, but the Jets will have a hard time keeping up their current pace. They committed 20 penalties, which was only a few away from the NFL record, and lost the turnover battle 2-0. The Jets have managed to beat bad opponents, but those mistakes will be exposed against good teams.


23. Arizona Cardinals (1-2)

The Cardinals took a 7-0 lead over the Saints to start the game, but they were dominated the rest of the day. A pair of interceptions by Carson Palmer in the fourth quarter ended any chance the team had of coming back. Receiver Larry Fitzgerald was battling an injury, so he wasn't as dominant as usual.


24. Buffalo Bills (1-2)

The Bills and the Jets have a lot in common. Both have rookie quarterbacks, and both have had all three games decided by one score. When it came time for the teams to play, the Bills couldn't find a way to win. This loss has the Bills poised for last place in the AFC East.


25. Pittsburgh Steelers (0-3)

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 22:  Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers is sacked by D.J. Williams #58 of the Chicago Bears during a game against at Heinz Field on September 22, 2013 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Im
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Who are these Steelers? Pittsburgh fell behind 17-0 at half and 24-3 late in the second quarter. It cut it to four in the fourth, but five turnovers cost the team the game. It's crazy to think that a team was able to come into Pittsburgh and drop 40 points on the Steelers, but it happened.

The Steelers outgained the Bears 459-258, and Antonio Brown had 196 receiving yards and two touchdowns. He made several outstanding catches, but he wasn't enough.

Pittsburgh heads to London to take on the winless Vikings before a bye week. They have only one bye week from now until Week 10, so it could be a long couple of months for Steelers fans if the team doesn't work out its issues.

They'd be lower on this list had they not been competitive against the Bengals and the Bears. The final scores indicate otherwise, but each game was close in the second half.


26. Washington Redskins (0-3)

No team has ever allowed more yards than the Redskins through three weeks. They allowed the Lions to throw all over them, but it was the best game the team has played this season.

Washington's offense scored in the second quarter, which marked the first time the offense had scored before halftime all season. It was also the first time that the team had stayed competitive throughout a game, so there are some positives to take away from Week 3.


27. New York Giants (0-3)

The Giants have allowed at least 36 points in every game this season. Eli Manning has thrown eight interceptions in three games, including seven in the last two weeks. The running game continues to be absent, so there are a lot of issues to work out in New York. 

Carolina scored 17 points in the first half, and New York gained 18 yards. That's all that needs to be said. 

The Giants have the talent on offense to turn it around, which is why they are ranked ahead of the next few teams.


28. Cleveland Browns (1-2)

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 22:  Brian Hoyer #6 of the Cleveland Browns looks to pass against the Minnesota Vikings on September 22, 2013 at Mall of America Field at the Hubert Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Im
Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

So the Browns traded their starting running back and named their third-string quarterback the starter. That didn't seem to make a difference against a bad Vikings defense. Brian Hoyer threw three touchdowns, including the game-winner in the final minute. They ran some fakes on special teams and scored 24 points in the first half.

However, Hoyer also threw three interceptions. The quarterback didn't lead the team to any points in the second half until the final drive. The Browns aren't going to be able to win many games with their quarterback turning the ball over that many times.


29. Oakland Raiders (1-1)

Terrelle Pryor has exceeded expectations through two weeks. Oakland has had an extra day to celebrate its victory over the Jaguars, but now it will have to find a way to stay competitive against the Broncos. It doesn't look pretty for the Raiders this week.


30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-3)

The Buccaneers regressed this week. They managed to put themselves in position to win their first two games before allowing last-minute field goals. This week Tom Brady torched the Buccaneers. Josh Freeman's time with the team is likely nearing an end unless the team can figure out a way to pull it together.


31. Minnesota Vikings (0-3)

The Vikings had one of the worst games of the week. They allowed the Browns to come to Minnesota with a backup quarterback and a new running back and find a way to win. Luckily the Vikings will play the winless Steelers, but this will be a long season for Minnesota.


32. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-3) 

Seattle went up 31-0 early in the third quarter. The game was over early, but there are some positive takeaways. The Jaguars outscored the Seahawks 17-14 over the final 22 minutes. This was a team that had scored only 11 points all season, and Seattle had allowed only 10 points. The Seahawks took their foot off the gas once it was up 31 points; otherwise, this game would have been a lot uglier than 45-17.

Jacksonville fans should be watching a lot of Louisville games to see Teddy Bridgewater play quarterback. Knowing that he will be a Jaguar next season should bring some excitement to the fanbase.  


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