Week 3 Power Rankings: Defending Champs Win Again, but Lose Pro Bowl Defender

Torey ZiskaCorrespondent IISeptember 20, 2011

CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 18:  Donald Driver #80 of the Green Bay Packers  of the Green Bay Packers during their game against the Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium on September 18, 2011 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Week 2 has come and gone and the injuries continue to pile up, especially to big name players on playoff caliber teams. The defending champs remain unbeaten, as do six other teams, while seven teams remain winless. Week 2 stirred up the rankings. Typically I will move teams up or down just a few spots after a win or a loss. However this week, four teams moved up or down at least seven spots, including one team dropping nearly 20 spots. The biggest storylines heading into Week 3 include the Packers and Bears squaring off for the first time since last season’s playoff game, Michael Vick’s concussion and Cam Newton seeking his first NFL win. Here are the rankings as we head into Week 3.


Teams’ previous ranking in ( ).

 1.       Green Bay Packers (1): Losing Nick Collins for the year is a devastating blow. Especially after you consider the Pack have given up the most passing yards of any NFL team through two weeks.

 2.       New England Patriots (2): Tom Brady is on pace to throw for over 7,500 yards. Just in case you were wondering, that would obliterate the previous record. It’s silly to think Brady will continue this dominance, but don’t be surprised if he challenges Dan Marino’s record of 5,084 yards in a season.

 3.       New Orleans Saints (5): The Saints rebounded nicely after a tough loss on opening night to thrash the Bears. If the Saints get a little more production from the running game, they could be unstoppable.

 4.       New York Jets (6): The Jets improved to 2-0 with an absolute beatdown of the Jags. However, they too have lacked a running game through the first two weeks. Once the weather gets colder, expect that to change.

 5.       Philadelphia Eagles (3): The Eagles only fall two spots despite losing to the Falcons. They will lose a lot more if Michael Vick is out for any extended period of time.

 6.       Houston Texans (11): The Texans avoided a letdown in Miami as they moved to 2-0. The defense is much improved through two weeks, allowing just 10 points per game.

 7.       Pittsburgh Steelers (7): The Steelers lost to the Ravens, and both teams are 1-1. However, the Steelers get the nod over Baltimore because they did what they are supposed to do against a bad team (24-0 win against Seattle) while the Ravens failed to do so (26-13 loss against Tennessee).

 8.       Baltimore Ravens (4): The Ravens simply looked bad on Sunday. Don’t expect another performance like that the rest of the season.

 9.       Detroit Lions (12): Matthew Stafford is already getting serious consideration for MVP. And why not? What player is more valuable to his team than Stafford to the Lions?

 10.   Atlanta Falcons (10): In reality, Atlanta should probably be higher than 10th, but their defense still has some question marks.

 11.   San Diego Chargers (8): In the end, it was a 14-point loss to New England. Despite the turnovers, however, the Chargers actually played pretty well. Expect them to bounce back next week.

 12.   Chicago Bears (9): They looked fantastic in Week 1 and terrible in Week 2. We’ll find out a lot about the Bears next week as they face Green Bay and look to avenge their 2010 playoff loss.

 13.   Washington Redskins (24): Even Redskins fans are shocked at the start they have gotten off to. Washington is another team that we will get a better feel for as they play their first road game next week.

 14.   New York Giants (14): The Giants got on the board with a win on Monday night. Big time test next week against division rival Philly.

 15.   Tampa Bay Buccaneers (15): Down 17-0, the Bucs’ comeback against the Vikings was downright impressive. They may still be a year away, and they play in the toughest division in football.

 16.   Buffalo Bills (26): The Bills moved up a long way, and the only thing keeping them from moving up further is the teams they’ve beaten. The Chiefs, who appear to have forgotten how to play football, and the Raiders, who had to travel all the way across the country on a short week. Nonetheless, the Bills look pretty good. Unfortunately for them, they could win 10 games and still miss the playoffs.

 17.   Dallas Cowboys (17): The Cowboys were a 48-yard field goal away from starting 0-2 and probably on their way to a disappointing season. They found a way to come back and win and keep their season alive. Injuries to Felix Jones, Tony Romo and Miles Austin could loom large.

 18.   San Francisco 49ers (18): They were this close to starting 2-0 and proving they are the favorite to win the NFC West. Regardless, they appear to have things figured out this season and have a chance to bring respectability back to the division (maybe not a lot, but at least a little bit).

 19.   Arizona Cardinals (19): Tough road loss for the redbirds. The debate continues however if trading a young defensive star for an unproven quarterback was the right move.

 20.   Jacksonville Jaguars (20): The Blaine Gabbert era has begun, and much quicker than Jags fans were expecting. With the Texans coming out of the gates on fire, it looks like it might quickly become a rebuilding year for Jacksonville.

 21.   Oakland Raiders (22): After blowing an 18-point lead, and giving up the lead for good in the final moments, the Raiders undoubtedly had a long flight home.

 22.   St. Louis Rams (21): After a surprise season last year, the Rams struggled in the first two weeks. We’ll see what Sam Bradford is made of in the next few weeks. He’s already proven his toughness, but it’s tough to win without a running game.

 23.   Indianapolis Colts (16): Unless Kerry Collins channels his inner Peyton Manning, the Colts might not win four games this season. I sympathize with all you fantasy players that drafted Reggie Wayne (and Dallas Clark).

 24.   Minnesota Vikings (23): The Vikings are facing an uphill battle as they already trail the Packers and Lions by two games. That defense is getting old and Donovan McNabb is no spring chicken. Adrian Peterson simply cannot do it by himself.

 25.   Tennessee Titans (27): Impressive victory for the Titans over a Ravens team that absolutely demolished the defending AFC Champs. If the Titans get Chris Johnson going, they could make a little noise in the division.

 26.   Seattle Seahawks (25): The Seahawks, though in a terrible division, are in for a long year. Losing Matt Hasselbeck to free agency was a huge loss.

 27.   Cleveland Browns (30): The only good news for Browns fans (and many fantasy owners) is that after two weeks, the Madden Curse has yet to rear its ugly head upon Peyton Hillis.

 28.   Miami Dolphins (28): The Dolphins trail everyone else in the division by two games. Many thought Miami might contend for a wildcard but it’s looking more and more as if they simply just don’t have the talent.

 29.   Cincinnati Bengals (29): The Bengals had their chances to start 2-0 and lead the division after two weeks. Nonetheless Andy Dalton appears to be the future and should have Bengals fans excited for the near future.

 30.   Denver Broncos (32): The Broncos get the win but it wasn’t pretty. The division is average at best but Denver just doesn’t have enough talent to compete. The defense needs improvement and they have got to get more out of the running game.

 31.   Carolina Panthers (31): Cam Newton is the real deal. The Panthers will get their first win against the Jags this week, as Newton will likely face off against fellow first round draft pick, Blaine Gabbert.

 32.   Kansas City Chiefs (13): The Chiefs fall from 13th to 32nd, the biggest jump (in either direction) ever in my rankings. The loss of Jamaal Charles for the season just adds insult to injury.