Week 3 in the NFL was one of the craziest weeks in recent memory.
Nine games decided by a field goal or less. A 15-game winning streak comes to an end. Cam Newton wins his first game. The Vikings blow another huge lead. Michael Vick suffers another injury. The Colts come oh-so-close to their first win under Kerry Collins. Tony Romo plays through a broken rib and leads Dallas to...six field goals, but it was enough to win.
After three weeks, just three teams remain undefeated, two of them in the NFC North. If the Packers and Lions continue this pace, their Thanksgiving Day game could be one of the most watched matchups of the season.
If Week 4 is anything like Week 3, we are in for a hell of a week. So, with that in mind, here are the power rankings heading into the first week of October.
Teams’ previous ranking in ( ).
1. Green Bay Packers (1): Ryan Grant and Jermichael Finley absolutely had their way against Chicago. Green Bay won the Super Bowl last year without either of them.
2. Buffalo Bills (16): It’s not often a team moves up 14 spots. However, when you move to 3-0 and break a 15-game losing streak against a team—and do so by coming back from a 21-0 deficit against one of the best teams in all of football—it’s possible.
3. New Orleans Saints (3): No Marques Colston, no problem. The Saints continue to roll on offense. Tight end Jimmy Graham is quickly becoming a favorite of Drew Brees.
4. New England Patriots (2): The Patriots put up 31 points on the road, and still lost. That won’t happen often. Something else that won’t happen often is Tom Brady throwing four interceptions.
5. Detroit Lions (9): I was laughed at when I said Detroit was the second best team in the North and might make the playoffs. The Lions are off to a 3-0 start and appear to be for real after a 20-point comeback on the road.
6. Baltimore Ravens (8): The Ravens had a huge let down after their dominant Week 1 performance. They look to avoid a repeat let down next week after a dominant Week 3 performance.
7. Pittsburgh Steelers (7): A win is a win. The Steelers got away with a win after a less-than-impressive performance against the Colts.
8. New York Jets (4): Traveling across country to play a road game is tough for every team. The Jets were no different. However, giving up 171 yards on the ground to Darren McFadden and more than 30 points to the Raiders is concerning.
9. Houston Texans (6): After two games, the Texans had the best overall defense in the league. The Saints, however, were not given that memo. Nonetheless, I like the Texans to bounce back and prove this season will be different and beat the Steelers next week.
10. New York Giants (14): Eli Manning and the Giants looked awfully good against the Eagles. Manning threw for four touchdowns and the Giants made a big statement to all the naysayers.
11. San Diego Chargers (11): As with the Steelers, a win is a win. The Chargers did not look particularly good against the Chiefs. They must play better if they want to maintain their division lead.
12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (15): After an emotional comeback win against the Vikings, I expected the Bucs to lie down against the Falcons. Instead, they end up with a 16-13 victory. Beating good teams (teams over .500) was a huge struggle for them last year. This win will do wonders for their confidence.
13. Philadelphia Eagles (5): The "Dream Team" suffers a huge fall in the rankings and will continue to suffer if Michael Vick can’t stay on the field.
14. Oakland Raiders (21): After a tough loss after travelling across country, the Raiders responded with a dominant victory over the favored New York Jets. Hue Jackson has this team playing great football. Is Jason Campbell the answer at quarterback, though?
15. Dallas Cowboys (17): Tony Romo didn’t lead Dallas to any touchdowns, but his gutsy performance was enough to skate by with an 18-16 victory on Monday Night.
16. Washington Redskins (13): The Redskins gave Dallas all it could handle on Monday Night. I think Washington is the real deal and can compete for a division title.
17. San Francisco 49ers (18): It hasn’t been pretty so far, but the 49ers are this close to 3-0. As it is, they are 2-1 and look to be the third team to take down the "Dream Team" next week.
18. Atlanta Falcons (10): The Falcons were expected to do big things this year. Their 1-2 start does not bode well, especially in that brutally tough division.
19. Chicago Bears (12): The Bears had the NFL’s toughest schedule through the first three weeks, and it showed. Next week against Cam Newton and Co. won’t exactly be a walk in the park.
20. Tennessee Titans (25): The loss of Kenny Britt for the season is a huge blow to the offense. Chris Johnson absolutely has to get it going if they want to keep pace with the Texans.
21. Cleveland Browns (27): The Browns are tied for the division lead! They could have sole possession if not for a disappointing Week 1 loss to in-state rival Cincinnati. The Browns could hang around for a while, as they have a fairly soft schedule for their next four games.
22. Jacksonville Jaguars (20): The Blaine Gabbert era got off to a rough start. Things could get downright ugly with the Saints, Steelers, Ravens and Texans are four of their next five opponents.
23. Seattle Seahawks (26): The Seahawks got their first win of the season, but not much to get excited about when it comes against Arizona.
24. Arizona Cardinals (19): Well, at least they have Larry Fitzgerald locked up for about the rest of his career.
25. Minnesota Vikings (24): The Vikings might be the best team in the NFL—in the first 30 minutes of a game. Unfortunately, games are 60 minutes, and thus the Vikes are 0-3.
26. Carolina Panthers (31): Cam Newton was far from dominant in his third NFL game. However, he committed zero turnovers and the Panthers walked away victorious.
27. Indianapolis Colts (23): If the Colts play with that much heart every week, they will win some games and have a shot at an 8-8 season. If their performance was a fluke, they could be drafting Andrew Luck as insurance to Peyton Manning.
28. St. Louis Rams (22): Sam Bradford’s 2010 magic that nearly got them into the playoffs appears to have worn off. They could be 0-7 in the blink of an eye with games against Washington, Green Bay, Dallas and New Orleans in their next four games.
29. Cincinnati Bengals (29): The Bengals played in an historic game this weekend. They lost a game in which the final score was 13-8, the first time ever a game has ended with that score.
30. Denver Broncos (30): As bad as I think the Broncos are, their two losses are by six total points. They are playing tough and they are going to have to bring everything they have next week if they have any hope of taking down the undefeated Packers.
31. Miami Dolphins (28): The Reggie Bush experiment is simply not working out in Miami. Fantasy owners must be disgusted to hear every week that Bush will get 20-plus touches and ends up with a dozen.
32. Kansas City Chiefs (32): Only the Chiefs could manage to throw an interception on a screen pass.
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