NFL Power Rankings: Winless Teams Look To Turn Things Around
No one wants to see their favorite NFL team at the bottom of the power rankings, especially in the early going, because those spots are reserved for the winless.
Five NFL teams entered Week 3 without a win. The Vikings, Chiefs, Dolphins, Colts and Rams have not gotten the job done yet and will continue searching for their initial 2011 victory this weekend.
Will any of these teams turn it around?
Kansas City Chiefs
Sorry Chiefs fans, but this is going to be a long year.
With Jamaal Charles done for the season, Kansas City fans would be better off getting familiar with Andrew Luck on Saturdays than watching their beloved Chiefs struggle on Sundays.
A year after surprising many with a playoff run, the Chiefs have regressed in 2011. They were going nowhere fast even before Charles went down.
The Chiefs have been outscored 119-27 in their three losses, and there is nothing to suggest their fortunes will soon change.
Andrew Luck is the light at the end of a long tunnel in Kansas City, assuming the Chiefs end up with the No.1 pick in next year's draft.
The Dolphins are not actually that bad of a team. They have played close games all season and will continue to do so. The problem in Miami is the grueling schedule the Dolphins will face the rest of the season.
Not only do the Dolphins have to deal with New England and the New York Jets, perennial AFC East powers, the Buffalo Bills have finally emerged as well. The Dolphins must also face the NFC East in their out-of-conference schedule.
The Dolphins will continue to play close games. They will not be blown out, but with their tough schedule, victories will be hard to come by.
The Dolphins will surprise a few teams, but do not look for them to put together the type of winning streak necessary to battle back from an 0-3 start.
Indianapolis fans have to be encouraged by their team's performance against the Steelers on Sunday night. The Colts battled valiantly with backup quarterback Curtis Painter in the second half. Joseph Addai showed signs of life, but the Steelers survived the upset bid with a late field goal to win 23-20.
The Colts are still developing their identity without Peyton Manning.
It is clear they are not the same team without No. 18. They must adjust their game plan, and it looks like they are doing so.
The Colts have now played two close games in a row. They face Tampa Bay on Monday Night Football in Week 4. The Bucs are off to a 2-1 start but have not blown anyone out. They will not blow the Colts out, either.
It is important to remember the Colts still have weapons without Manning. Kerry Collins was clearly not ready to take control of the offense in Week 1. His grasp of the offense has improved. The Colts need him to stay healthy the rest of the season, as he is a capable game manager.
With Collins at the helm and an increased emphasis on the run, the Colts should improve each week. They will play the Jaguars and Titans, two struggling teams, twice each. The rest of their non-divisional schedule is not that tough, either.
The Colts will certainly not make the playoffs, but they could win six or seven games. Without Peyton Manning, that would be an accomplishment.
Like the Dolphins, the Vikings have played three very close football games. Their three losses have come by a total of 14 points.
The Vikings are more likely to turn it around than the Dolphins, thanks to the presence of Adrian Peterson in their backfield. With Peterson, the Vikings have a chance to win every game they play.
Minnesota takes on the Chiefs this weekend, and it is a game they should dominate.
It is important to realize the lockout hurt Donovan McNabb's ability to learn the Vikings' offense. McNabb is no longer an elite NFL quarterback, but the Vikings have weapons in place to hide his weaknesses. As McNabb becomes better acquainted with Percy Harvin and Adrian Peterson, the wins will come in Minnesota.
A playoff berth is unlikely to come this season for the Vikings, as the Packers continue to dominate the NFC North, and the Lions are not far behind.
The Vikings do, however, have a very good chance to win eight or nine games this season.
St. Louis Rams
St. Louis has the best chance to turn their season around, thanks to their place in the NFL's weakest division, the NFC West. The Rams could sneak into the playoffs with only seven wins, just as the Seattle Seahawks did last season.
The Vikings might win more games than the Rams, but a playoff berth holds more weight.
Sam Bradford has the ability to keep the Rams in games against all but the NFL's best teams. Luckily for the Rams, none of the league's best teams call the NFC West home.
As Steven Jackson gets healthy, look for the Rams to begin beating up on their division foes. In the NFC West, winning division games is all that matters.