NFL Power Rankings 2013: Where Each Team Stands After Sunday's Week 3 Action

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistSeptember 23, 2013

Sep 22, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) reacts leaving the field after the game. The Carolina Panthers defeated the New York Giants 38-0 at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Three weeks is enough time to make concrete judgments about the NFL, right?

Let's just go ahead and brace ourselves for that inevitable Miami Dolphins/Chicago Bears Super Bowl matchup. New York Jets fans might as well buy playoff tickets too. The Washington Redskins should probably start preparing to take Teddy Bridgewater with the first over pick of the 2014 draft.

All of these are outlandish statements. After Week 3, each actually has some validity, though.

While it's still way too early to read too much into the results, three weeks does give fans enough time to get a somewhat accurate picture for how the season will unfold.

Here's where all 32 teams stand after Sunday.

*Note: The teams that received the biggest boosts are italicized.

1. Denver Broncos (2-0)

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 15:  Manny Ramirez #66 of the Denver Broncos congratulates his teammate Knowshon Moreno #27 after he scored a touchdown during the first half against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on September 15, 2013 in East Ruth
Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

The Broncos still have some work to do on Monday night, but nobody is expecting Denver to walk away with anything other than a dominating win. Until the Broncos are knocked off or somebody can prove otherwise, this is the top team in the NFL.

2. Seattle Seahawks (3-0)

Beating the Jacksonville Jaguars is a bit like beating Savannah State. Sure, you won, but does it really count? Give credit to the Seahawks, though, as they did exactly what was expected of them. Away games against the Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts will be a good way to gauge just how good Seattle is.

3. New England Patriots (3-0)

The scary thing about the Patriots is that they're only going to get better. Once Danny Amendola and Rob Gronkowski are back to full strength, New England's offense is sure to improve. It's hard to believe the way the Patriots can remain so competitive despite so many injuries. With all of its key players on the field, New England is likely the best team in the league.

4. Chicago Bears (3-0)

The Chicago Bears just keep chugging along. They rode their luck a bit in the first two weeks but were dominant in Week 3. Between Jay Cutler's continued strong performances and a ball-hawking defense, this will be a dangerous team come the postseason.

5. New Orleans Saints (3-0)

The only knock on the New Orleans Saints is the lack of a steady running game. When going against good teams in the playoffs, they can't rely too heavily on Drew Brees, or good defense will dump them out of the playoffs.

6. Cincinnati Bengals (2-1)

It's hard to read the Cincinnati Bengals. They played like crap and somehow walked away with a victory. Cincy has yet to look really good through its first three games. While it's the mark of a good team to win even when it's not its best, the Bengals have to prove they're more than just good enough or they'll get knocked out in the Wild Card Round again.

7. Miami Dolphins (3-0)

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 Ima
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

No team helped itself more in Week 3 than the Miami Dolphins. I've said before not to sleep on the Dolphins, and they demonstrated exactly why on Sunday, beating the Atlanta Falcons.

Miami spent a lot of money in the offseason to improve its team, and what a surprise, it's worked. Although Mike Wallace didn't have a huge role in the offense, Ryan Tannehill once again had a nice game. With the success of Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson, it was easy to forget about the former Texas A&M star. Tannehill is a good game manager and has tons of weapons at his disposal.

It was also good to see Lamar Miller have another strong week after his awful performance in the Dolphins' first game.

8. Kansas City Chiefs (3-0)

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 19: Head coach Andy Reid of the Kansas City Chiefs  reacts to getting a Gatorade shower with linebacker Justin Houston #50 after defeating the Philadelphia Eagles 26-16 during a game at Lincoln Financial Field on September 19,
Rich Schultz/Getty Images

The battle for the AFC West could get very interesting. The Broncos are the undisputed top team. But they're looking at some heavy competition from the Kansas City Chiefs. It's hard to believe where this franchise has gone in less than a season.

Alex Smith was the perfect choice for this team. He's not an All-Pro quarterback. Instead, he's good enough to get the Chiefs into the playoffs and beyond. The defense is looking dominant as well. There's little reason to believe Kansas City won't snatch one of the wild-card spots in the AFC.

9. Baltimore Ravens (2-1)

It's important to not get too ahead of yourself after the Ravens' 30-9 win over the Houston Texans. Baltimore was outgained and had 0.2 yards fewer per play than Houston. After a matchup with the Buffalo Bills in Week 4, the Ravens have a tricky three-game run before their bye week.

10. Indianapolis Colts (2-1)

Just like that, there's a great race going on in the AFC South. No matter how you get it done, going into Candlestick Park and beating the 49ers is a great win. Andrew Luck wasn't prolific, but he did avoid any costly mistakes. That has to be very encouraging going to forward.

11. San Francisco 49ers (1-2)

Whatever is wrong with Colin Kaepernick, Jim Harbaugh needs to figure it out fast. This is the second week in a row Kaepernick has had fewer than 200 yards passing and failed to throw a touchdown.

It's too early to hit the panic button in San Francisco. Traveling to St. Louis to take on the Rams could be tricky in Week 4, though.

12. Houston Texans (2-1)

With each week, Matt Schaub has looked less and less like a quarterback who can lead his team to the Super Bowl. He gave up a pick-six against the Ravens and threw for only 194 yards. Schaub's struggles sum up the Houston Texans as a whole. This is a team good enough to make the playoffs, but is it good enough to actually win a Super Bowl?

13. Atlanta Falcons (1-2)

The Atlanta Falcons just seem stuck in a perpetual rut. They can't make that leap to become an elite NFL team. Just when things start going right, Atlanta shoots itself in the foot.

The Falcons are still destined for the postseason. Things aren't getting that bad. The question is where exactly Atlanta's ceiling is. See Texans, Houston.

14. Dallas Cowboys (2-1)

The defense is looking better and better under Monte Kiffin. You saw signs of improvement in Week 1, along with some of the flaws from last year.

On Sunday, the Cowboys were great against a Rams offense that had been very good through the first two weeks. With the defense leading the way, Dallas is head and shoulders above its NFC East counterparts.

15. Green Bay Packers (1-2)

Defense will be the Packers' downfall. Green Bay was lucky to hold Cincinnati to just 297 total yards. It did surrender 5.3 yards a play, so when the Bengals had the ball and could sustain a drive, they had their way with the Packers.

16. Detroit Lions (2-1)

Defense is still a concern, but this is the Detroit Lions team we expected to see last year. Matthew Stafford is doing well to avoid interceptions, and Joique Bell has picked up right where Reggie Bush left off. The Lions can lay a major marker down with a win against the Bears on Sunday.

17. Tennessee Titans (2-1)

This could be a bit of a turning point for the Tennessee Titans. Jake Locker looked like somebody who can be a franchise quarterback, and he gained 68 yards on the ground. Perhaps he is the guy who will lead this organization for years to come.

18. Carolina Panthers (1-2)

Carolina Panthers fans were looking for a response, and they got one on Sunday. Cam Newton was efficient in the passing game and ate up yards on the ground. The defense was equally nasty, holding the Giants to just 3.0 yards a play.

The Panthers aren't Super Bowl contenders, but they have enough talent to be a postseason threat. In Week 3, they finally played up to their potential. It's an uphill battle to get into the playoffs. If Carolina can keep this up, it could take advantage of an NFC South that isn't looking as strong as people thought it would be coming into the season.

19. St. Louis Rams (1-2)

What happened to the St. Louis Rams? They at least looked competitive in their Week 2 loss to the Falcons. Perhaps the loss to the Cowboys was more of an anomaly and the Rams will return to form and look like a team capable of finishing .500 or better.

20. San Diego Chargers (1-2)

Things aren't going to get any better for the Chargers. San Diego's defense has been really bad through the first three weeks, and it will be facing off against the Dallas Cowboys, Oakland Raiders and Indianapolis Colts next. The Chargers could be looking at a 2-4 or 1-5 start.

21. Arizona Cardinals (1-2)

Week 3 was a good opportunity for the Cardinals to establish themselves as a threat in the NFC West. A win would have been too much to ask, but Arizona could have at least looked competitive against the Saints. Instead, it was a bad loss that just affirms this is a 6-10, 7-9 team.

22. Philadelphia Eagles (1-2)

The Philadelphia Eagles need a quarterback. Michael Vick is still not very accurate and is prone to making dumb throws. Considering he's 33 years old, there's no reason to continue relying on Vick past this season. Paging Johnny Manziel.

23. New York Jets (2-1)

Maybe the Jets aren't so bad after all. New York's defense was never really in doubt. What it needed was somebody to lead the offense, and Geno Smith seems to be that guy. Having Bilal Powell get almost 150 yards rushing doesn't hurt either. Perhaps the biggest surprise was that the Jets won despite having 20 penalties, which gave the Bills 168 free yards.

24. Cleveland Browns (1-2)

No matter what else happens this season, Browns fans will always have Minneapolis. Rob Chudzinski pulled out all the stops in order to get that win. It's still too early to rain on Cleveland's parade too much. The jury is out on whether or not it will be able to sustain its strong performance.

25. Minnesota Vikings (0-3)

CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 22:   Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers signals for a first down against the New York Giants during their game at Bank of America Stadium on September 22, 2013 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Im
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

A day later, I still can't figure out what happened in Minnesota. The Vikings should have had an easy time against the Browns, and yet they ended up getting the loss. Christian Ponder is still a problem, but Minnesota is in major trouble if the defense keeps playing like it did on Sunday.

26. New York Giants (0-3)

Nothing more really needs to be said about the New York Giants' 38-0 shellacking at the hands of the Panthers. At least David Wilson averaged 3.5 yards a carry and didn't fumble the ball. Maybe he can continue improving as the season goes on and take some pressure off Eli Manning and the passing game.

27. Buffalo Bills (1-2)

If you looked at just the score, you'd have thought Buffalo was much more competitive against the Jets. However, the Bills were helped out by New York getting flagged 20 times. All in all, EJ Manuel struggled to get going, and his offensive line gave him little help.

28. Washington Redskins (0-3)

It's hard to get too excited about the Washington Redskins right now. Robert Griffin III still isn't himself, and the defense struggled for the third game in a row. Even in a weak NFC East, there's little reason to think Washington can do anything to salvage this season.

29. Pittsburgh Steelers (0-3)

It's always a bit of a shock to watch a team that was so good for so long hit a rough patch. That's exactly what's happening with the Steelers. Pittsburgh is looking really bad at the moment. The lack of a running game is growing more apparent with each week.

30. Oakland Raiders (1-1)

The Oakland Raiders have yet to play this week, so they still have a chance to move in the standings a bit before next week. Until then, they have plenty of issues, and there's no telling how successful Terrelle Pryor can be.

31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-3)

Somebody needs to go in Tampa, whether it's Greg Schiano or Josh Freeman. Until then, the Buccaneers are going to let this turmoil continue to eat away at their performance on the field. The score against the Patriots was a bit deceiving, as the Bucs weren't a 20-point-difference bad. It's still a loss, though, with no signs of turning around.

32. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-3)

What a shock, right? The Jacksonville Jaguars are absolutely abject at the moment. The biggest question is whether they'll draft Jadeveon Clowney with the first overall pick or select a QB to be the new franchise guy.


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