NFL Power Rankings: Week 3: Cowboys, Vikings Plummet
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As is par for the course every season, some teams with Super Bowl aspirations have fallen to an 0-2 start, while others have surprised and gone unbeaten through their first two games.
Eight undefeated teams remain, and of those, only New Orleans and Green Bay aren't surprises.
The other six? Pittsburgh, Miami, Houston, Kansas City, Chicago, and Tampa Bay.
Meanwhile, Dallas, Minnesota, and San Francisco are all 0-2.
We all saw that coming, right?
1. New Orleans Saints (2-0, Last Week: 1)
Week 3: vs. ATL
It certainly wasn't easy, but the Saints were able to steal one in San Francisco Monday night.
The offense doesn't look as polished and explosive as it did last year, and Reggie Bush breaking a fibula and missing the next six weeks doesn't help matters.
2. Green Bay Packers (2-0, Last Week: 2)
Week 3: at CHI
Green Bay is definitely going to be missing Ryan Grant this season, as the Brandon Jackson era got off to a rough 11-carry, 29-yard start against a weak Buffalo team.
However, with Aaron Rodgers and that offense combined with defensive playmakers like Clay Matthews and Charles Woodson, the Pack still looks strong going forward.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-0, Last Week: 8)
Week 3: at TB
With Dennis Dixon out after tearing his lateral meniscus, Mike Tomlin is going to have to choose between Charlie Batch and Byron Leftwich to start against the surprising Buccaneers Sunday.
With the way that defense looked against Tennessee, though, I could be throwing passes for the Steelers and they'd still be able to win...probably.
4. Houston Texans (2-0, Last Week: 5)
Week 3: vs. DAL
In any other year, these Texans would be 0-2 after blowing a lead to Indy at home and rolling over and dying while Donovan McNabb and company ate their lunch in Washington Sunday.
Not these Texans, who will now turn their attention to happily delivering what could be a death blow to the Dallas Cowboys Sunday at Reliant Stadium.
5. Miami Dolphins (2-0, Last Week: 12)
Week 3: vs. NYJ
Nobody saw the Dolphins marching into the Metrodome and taking down the Vikings, and now they'll have to deal with a confident Jets team down in Miami next Sunday night.
The schedule-makers didn't do the Dolphins any favors, giving them their first two games on the road before their next six against the Jets, Patriots, Packers, Steelers, Bengals, and Ravens.
6. Indianapolis Colts (1-1, Last Week: 7)
Week 3: at DEN
Indianapolis rebounded in a big way, throttling the Giants 38-14 on Sunday night.
They ran the ball like we didn't know they could, with Joe Addai and Donald Brown (plus a sprinkle of Mike Hart) combining for 160 yards on the ground.
7. Chicago Bears (2-0, Last Week: 22)
Week 3: vs. GB
The Bears' offensive line might be in shambles, but when Jay Cutler actually has enough time to throw, this offense is extremely dangerous.
Cutler has thrown just one interception through the first two games, combined with 649 yards and five touochdowns.
8. Baltimore Ravens (1-1, Last Week: 4)
Week 3: vs. CLE
Joe Flacco had a day to forget in the loss to the Bengals, going 17-39 for 154 yards with a touchdown and four interceptions.
However, a home game against Cleveland may be just what the doctor ordered.
9. New York Jets (1-1, Last Week: 11)
Week 3: at MIA
Mark Sanchez went 21-30 for 220 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions against New England, setting career highs for both completions and touchdowns.
With the Jets defense looking great through the first two games, lots of the onus will be on the offense to deliver when they have to.
10. New England Patriots (1-1, Last Week: 3)
Week 3: vs. BUF
To quote Tom Brady, the Pats' offense "sucked" in the loss to the Jets.
The running back situation is a serious concern, as Kevin Faulk, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, and Fred Taylor combined for just 52 yards on 20 carries.
11. Philadelphia Eagles (1-1, Last Week: 13)
Week 3: at JAX
Michael Vick once again looks like the most exciting player with football, but he seems destined to hit the bench after Andy Reid continues to insist that Kevin Kolb is the starter if healthy.
So, how long is Kolb's leash if Reid knows he has Vick primed and ready to go at any moment against the Jaguars?
12. Kansas City Chiefs (2-0, Last Week: 16)
Week 3: vs. SF
The Chiefs didn't score an offensive touchdown in the 16-14 win over the Browns, getting their only score on a Brandon Flowers fumble return.
If they manage to advance to 3-0 while dropping the 49ers to 0-3, we'll have to start seriously looking at this team.
13. Atlanta Falcons (1-1, Last Week: 19)
Week 3: at NO
Atlanta rebounded from a tough OT loss to the Steelers in a big way, trampling the hapless Cardinals 41-7 at home.
They and the Saints are likely the cream of the crop in the NFC South, and they'll face off Sunday in the Big Easy.
14. San Diego Chargers (1-1, Last Week: 18)
Week 3: at SEA
San Diego looked like the Chargers of old in crushing Jacksonville 38-13, and they once again appear to be the team to beat in the AFC West.
Mike Tolbert was stellar in relief of the injured Ryan Mathews, rushing 16 times for 82 yards and two touchdowns.
15. Minnesota Vikings (0-2, Last Week: 6)
Week 3: vs. DET
The Vikings' offense hasn't looked good so far, but they've gone against two solid defenses in New Orleans and Miami.
If they can't get over the Lions at home, then they should actually start to worry.
16. Cincinnati Bengals (1-1, Last Week: 15)
Week 3: at CAR
Cincinnati got an impressive 15-10 win over Baltimore, but you aren't going to win many games in which all your points come from field goals.
The defense forcing four turnovers certainly helped their cause.
17. Tennessee Titans (1-1, Last Week: 9)
Week 3: at NYG
Chris Johnson could find no running room against the stingy Steelers defense, picking up just 34 yards on 16 carries.
Have no fear, fantasy owners. He'll be going up against a Giants run defense that was gashed by the Colts this week.
18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-0, Last Week: 29)
Week 3: vs. PIT
After beating the Browns and Panthers, the Bucs will face a slightly tougher test when the Steelers come to town.
Can they possibly be for real?
19. Washington Redskins (1-1, Last Week: 21)
Week 3: at STL
Donovan McNabb and the Redskins looked to be clicking on all cylinders in the first half against the Texans, but the team then completely fell apart in the second half, coughing up a 27-10 lead before losing in overtime.
This team is certainly improved, and with the rest of the NFC East slow out of the gates, there's definitely room for the Redskins to make a charge.
20. New York Giants (1-1, Last Week: 10)
Week 3: vs. TEN
After a convincing week one win over the Panthers, Eli and the Giants were thrown back to earth in violent fashion by Peyton and the Colts.
Dealing with Chris Johnson this weekend will be quite the stiff test.
21. Dallas Cowboys (0-2, Last Week: 14)
Week 3: at HOU
The Cowboys rank fourth in the league with an average of 395 total yards through their first two games, but have just two offensive touchdowns to show for it.
They've been able to get no semblance of a running game together at all, and, unless you have Peyton Manning back there, it's tough to win in the NFL without being able to run the ball.
22. Denver Broncos (1-1, Last Week: 26)
Week 3: vs. IND
Kyle Orton had an easy time against the Seahawks, going 25-35 for 307 yards a pair of touchdowns and no interceptions.
He's quietly turned into a viable fantasy quarterback, but he could have a tougher time this weekend against Indianapolis.
23. Seattle Seahawks (1-1, Last Week: 17)
Week 3: vs. SD
After flying high against the 49ers, the Seahawks were grounded against Denver.
Amazing how much can change from one week to the next.
24. San Francisco 49ers (0-2, Last Week: 24)
Week 3: at KC
The 49ers looked much better in Monday night's loss at home against the Saints, and Alex Smith looked like a completely different player altogether.
They'll face an early must-win against the 2-0 Chiefs Sunday.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1, Last Week: 20)
Week 3: vs. PHI
After lighting up the Broncos for three touchdown passes in week one, David Garrard struggled mightily in San Diego, tossing just one touchdown to go with four interceptions.
He was benched, but backup Luke McCown suffered a torn ACL in his place. Todd Bouman may be brought back to be the backup.
26. Oakland Raiders (1-1, Last Week: 28)
Week 3: vs. ARZ
We already have a quarterback controversy in Oakland, after Jason "Jim Plunkett" Campbell was benched in favor of Bruce Gradkowski against the Rams.
Gradkowski, as he did last season, was heroic in relief, leading the Raiders to a come-from-behind victory.
27. Detroit Lions (0-2, Last Week: 27)
Week 3: at MIN
The Lions have shown some serious fight through the first two weeks, losing close games to Chicago and Philadelphia.
Rookie Jahvid Best ran wild on the Eagles, racking up 232 total yards with three scores.
28. Arizona Cardinals (1-1, Last Week: 23)
Week 3: vs. OAK
Derek Anderson averaged 5.2 yards per attempt in the blowout loss in Atlanta.
How David Carr of him.
29. St. Louis Rams (0-2, Last Week: 30)
Week 3: vs. WAS
The Rams have lost two close games, and Sam Bradford has clearly developed a rapport with fellow former Sooner Mark Clayton in the short time he's been there.
Clayton had just two catches against the Raiders, both of which went for touchdowns.
30. Carolina Panthers (0-2, Last Week: 25)
Week 3: vs. CIN
Matt Moore appears to have already flamed out as Carolina's starting quarterback, and the call has been made to start Jimmy Clausen against the Bengals.
John Fox desperately trying to save his job. I think so.
31. Cleveland Browns (0-2, Last Week: 31)
Week 3: at BAL
This team is 0-2, but they're very close to being 2-0 after losing by a combined five points to the Buccaneers and Chiefs.
32. Buffalo Bills (0-2, Last Week: 32)
Week 3: at NE
Ryan Fitzpatrick has already replaced Trent Edwards as the Bills' QB.
And...that's all I've got.
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