2022 B/R NFL Power Rankings: Where Does Every Team Stand Entering Week 4?
Week 3 of the 2022 NFL season was a rough week to be one of the teams listed atop the Bleacher Report Power Rankings.
Last week's No. 1 team, the Buffalo Bills, lost a nailbiter at Miami. The No. 2 team, the Kansas City Chiefs, was stunned in Indianapolis. The No. 3 team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, struggled offensively again in a home loss to the Green Bay Packers. The No. 5 team, the Los Angeles Chargers, was stomped at home by the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Three weeks into the season, there are only two undefeated teams left in the NFL—one in each conference. If you expected the Dolphins and Philadelphia Eagles to be the last two teams with perfect records, perhaps you should invest in a Powerball ticket or two.
Week 3 shook up the NFL's pecking order like none in recent memory. The Jaguars are surging after their second blowout win in a row. The Las Vegas Raiders are in free fall after becoming the league's only winless team.
As is the case every week, B/R NFL Analysts Gary Davenport, Maurice Moton and Brent Sobleski have shaken off the vertigo and gathered to re-slot the league's teams from worst to first entering Week 4.
No. 32 remains the same. But after that? Snowglobe time—including a new No. 1.
32. Houston Texans (0-2-1)
Last Week: 32
Week 3 Result: Lost at Chicago 23-20
For lack of a more descriptive term, the Houston Texans are a mess. This is not news. But losing to a bad Bears team in Chicago still isn't a good look for the franchise.
It wasn't all doom and gloom for the Texans in Week 3, as they got big games from a pair of rookies. Running back Dameon Pierce piled up 101 total yards and a touchdown on 20 touches, while safety Jalen Pitre racked up eight total tackles, a sack and a pair of interceptions.
But second-year quarterback Davis Mills threw two interceptions of his own, including a devastating late pick that set up the Bears' game-winning field goal. Those type of mistakes are something this team just cannot afford.
The Texans aren't going to light up the scoreboard this year. Entering Week 3, no team in the AFC was averaging fewer yards per game. The defense won't bail them out, either. Despite playing a completely one-dimensional Bears offense, Houston surrendered a staggering 281 yards on the ground.
It's going to be a long season in Houston. Perhaps Texans fans should start thinking about what to do with the No. 1 overall pick in 2023.
31. New York Jets (1-2)
Last Week: 28
Week 3 Result: Lost vs. Cincinnati 27-12
The New York Jets are bad. They have been consistently bad for a good long while now. And as the Cincinnati Bengals soundly outplayed them in every facet of the game Sunday, their fans let them know it.
Veteran quarterback Joe Flacco, who has been filling in for the injured Zach Wilson, heard those boos Sunday. But while he understands them, the former Super Bowl MVP told reporters that he can't worry about the fanbase's frustration.
"Fans want to see you win football games," said Flacco. "You get the frustration, but we have more important things to worry about than listening to that stuff."
Flacco's time as the starter is coming to an end, as head coach Robert Saleh expressed optimism that Wilson will return to the field in Week 4. But quarterback isn't New York's only problem, nor is it the biggest one.
Rookies Garrett Wilson and Breece Hall have shown promise, but the Jets are 20th in the league in scoring offense and failed to find the end zone for the second time in three games Sunday. The defense is worse, allowing the seventh-most points per game.
Wilson's return won't magically fix those deficiencies. In fact, those deficiencies contributed to Wilson's struggles as a rookie in 2021.
30. Seattle Seahawks (1-2)
Last Week: 30
Week 3 Result: Lost vs. Atlanta 27-23
That the Seattle Seahawks aren't a good football team isn't really surprising. But it's at least a little surprising that it hasn't really been Geno Smith's fault.
The journeyman quarterback played well in Sunday's loss to the Falcons, passing for 325 yards and two scores with a passer rating just south of 100. Three weeks in, Smith's passer rating of 100.8 ranks seventh in the NFL.
However, while Smith has held up his end of the deal, Seattle's defense has not.
The Seahawks allowed only 17 points to the Denver Broncos in Week 1, but that appears to have been more a function of the Broncos offense being bad than Seattle's defense being good. The past two weeks, the San Francisco 49ers and Falcons did just about whatever they wanted against Seattle offensively.
After the game, head coach Pete Carroll tried to put a positive spin on another losing effort.
"Really disappointed that we weren't able to finish that game. Was a terrific football game that went back and forth, and there's a lot of good things that happened in this game. Unfortunately, we didn't finish our last drive," Seattle coach Pete Carroll said.
Platitudes aside though, Seattle's reeling defense is a huge issue. Next week's trip to Detroit has the makings of being another long day for the unit.
29. Atlanta Falcons (1-2)
Last Week: 31
Week 3 Result: Won at Seattle 27-23
In Week 1, the Atlanta Falcons couldn't hold a huge fourth-quarter lead and fell by a point at home against the New Orleans Saints. The following week, a frenzied comeback against the Los Angeles Rams came up just short.
But in Week 3, Atlanta finally closed the deal by outlasting the Seahawks in a back-and-forth affair.
"The Falcons are fun; they're just not very good," Sobleski said. "Tight end Kyle Pitts and rookie wide receiver Drake London, whom the franchise selected with this year's eighth overall pick, are a devastatingly dynamic duo. Cordarrelle Patterson's career revival as Atlanta's primary running back is something to behold. Unfortunately, the Falcons are going to be held back by the lack of quality options found elsewhere on the roster, particularly at quarterback.
"Marcus Mariota isn't going to magically turn into the player everyone envisioned when the Tennessee Titans drafted him with the second overall pick seven years ago. Third-round rookie quarterback Desmond Ridder should play at some point this season. Otherwise, the Falcons have a few emerging stars to enjoy for now, while the team struggles and goes into next offseason looking to find its new franchise player."
"The Falcons sit toward the bottom of these power rankings," Moton added, "but they’re a fun team to watch with an offense that’s scored at least 26 points in every game this year. Mariota has a pair of young, pass-catching playmakers in Pitts and London. Patterson has the second-most rushing yards (302) leaguewide. The Falcons won’t get a lot of respect for a win over the Seahawks, but this squad has shown it can hang around and battle with any team."
28. Carolina Panthers (1-1)
Last Week: 27
Week 3 Result: Won vs. New Orleans 22-14
The good news for the Carolina Panthers is that they finally, mercifully halted a nine-game losing streak Sunday, beating the Saints in a game that wasn't as close as the final score would suggest.
The bad news is that arguably the biggest reason for that skid continues to be a problem. In a league defined by quarterback play, Carolina's hasn't been good.
Sunday's win was more of the same—Baker Mayfield didn't turn the ball over, but he also didn't complete 50 percent of his passes or throw for 200 yards. The fifth-year pro told reporters after the game that he'll take the win any way he can get it, but he knows his level of play was unacceptable.
"Third downs are completely on me, just ball location, so just continue to work on that, and just harp on our passing game," Mayfield said. "Obviously, throughout the whole game, we have to be better, but especially on third down. I'm going to look back at the tape and not be real happy, honestly. Considering the third-down conversions. We'll take wins when we get them, no doubt about that."
It had to feel good to finally get a win, especially for the players who endured the entire skid. But given how the Panthers have looked through three games, it's difficult to imagine the good feelings lasting for long.
27. Las Vegas Raiders (0-3)
Last Week: 18
Week 3 Result: Lost at Tennessee 24-22
Over the past two decades, 98 NFL teams have started the season 0-3, according to ESPN's Bill Barnwell, Only one of those 98 teams (the 2018 Houston Texans) made the playoffs.
In other words, the team that lost Sunday's game between the winless Raiders and Titans was in real trouble. And the team that lostwas Las Vegas.
"I am frustrated and angry. I expect more,” Raiders wideout Davante Adams told reporters after the game. “It’s not easy to win in this league, we know that … but we expect more and we’ll do it better as we move forward.”
Meanwhile, first-year head coach Josh McDaniels spent time in a closed-door meeting with team owner Mark Davis after the game, per ESPN's Paul Gutierrez. That isn't a great sign for a coach who's only three games into his tenure.
The Raiders' next two games are against the AFC West's co-leaders—home against the Broncos and at Kansas City. At this point, Vegas has to sweep those games to get back on track.
We have seen nothing to indicate that will happen.
"Vegas’ 10th-ranked scoring offense, which features Adams, Darren Waller, Hunter Renfrow (out in Week 3 with a concussion), Mack Hollins and Josh Jacobs, has actually underachieved, ranking 26th in the red zone and scoring fewer than 24 points in all three contests this year," Moton noted. "The Raiders defense isn’t getting enough from edge-rusher Chandler Jones, who signed a three-year, $51 million deal in March. He’s recorded six tackles, one for loss, and four pressures. The same goes for defensive tackle Bilal Nichols (four tackles), who signed a two-year, $11 million contract. Vegas also has the third-worst red-zone defense in touchdowns allowed.
"As the only 0-3 team in the NFL, the Raiders have shown sparks but no consistency."
26. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-2)
Last Week: 22
Week 3 Result: Lost at Cleveland 29-17
After yet another putrid performance from the Pittsburgh Steelers offense in Week 3, the calls have grown louder for first-round rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett to replace Mitchell Trubisky. But head coach Mike Tomlin made it clear after the loss that he isn't interested in making a switch under center.
"I'm not in that mindset," Tomlin told reporters. "I'm interested in reviewing this tape and looking at the totality of it and figuring out how we collectively get better. So, the answer to that question is definitively no. I thought he made some plays, but we all collectively came up short. That's how we measure performance. Winning is our business, and we didn't handle business."
To be fair, Trubisky hasn't played especially well this season. But as Davenport pointed out, he's hardly the Steelers' only issue three weeks into the season.
"Say what you will about Trubisky, but he isn't solely responsible for Pittsburgh averaging less than 275 yards of offense per game. It isn't Trubisky's fault that Najee Harris is averaging only 3.2 yards per carry. It isn't his fault that the Steelers once again rank well outside the top 20 in run defense. Or that with T.J. Watt sidelined, Pittsburgh's pass rush has evaporated.
"The reality is that the Steelers' problems go well beyond the quarterback position—and Pickett won't fix all of them."
25. Washington Commanders (1-2)
Last Week: 24
Week 3 Result: Lost vs. Philadelphia 24-8
Sunday was an opportunity for Washington Commanders quarterback Carson Wentz. It was a chance for a bit of payback against the team that drafted him second overall in 2016 and then cast him aside.
As it turns out, payback is hard to get from your backside.
After topping 300 passing yards in each of his first two games with the Commanders and throwing seven touchdown passes over that span, Wentz was a disaster Sunday against the Eagles. Granted, it wasn't entirely his fault, as the ferocious Eagles pass rush sacked him nine times.
But all of the limitations that led to the Eagles and then the Indianapolis Colts moving on from Wentz were laid bare. The indecision. The inaccuracy.
After passing for only 24 yards in the first half, Wentz admitted that he didn't play well against his old team.
"I've got to be better," Wentz said. "They got after us and I did not play to my standards."
This marked the second straight week that Washington's offense has done nothing in the first half. Washington trailed Detroit 22-0 at halftime in Week 2 before mounting a furious rally. The Commanders are a fourth-quarter comeback against the Jaguars away from being 0-3.
If Wentz doesn't get the offense turned around in short order, his tenure as starting quarterback in the nation's capital could be a short one.
24. New England Patriots (1-2)
Last Week: 17
Week 3 Result: Lost vs. Baltimore 37-26
It's bad enough that the New England Patriots lost at home to the Baltimore Ravens, dropping them two games back of the division-leading Dolphins. But losing a single game may turn out to be the least of New England's problems.
On his last pass attempt of the game, quarterback Mac Jones suffered a "pretty severe" high ankle sprain--an injury likely to sideline him several weeks. As is usually the case with the Pats, though, Jones wasn't particularly forthcoming with further details about the injury.
"Definitely any updates, you can talk to Coach about," Jones said, per NFL Network's Mike Giardi.
Jones had a shaky effort against the Ravens. He threw for 321 yards but also tossed three interceptions and zero touchdowns. Still, losing him for any length of time may prove too much to overcome for a Pats team that doesn't have much margin for error.
"The Patriots aren't a bad football team," Davenport said. "When they run the ball, play solid defense and eliminate mistakes, they're capable of hanging with just about anyone. But we saw Sunday what happens when the Pats come up short in one of those areas.
"If New England has to go to Green Bay next week with Brian Hoyer under center, then a 1-3 start is likely. And given how well the Bills and Dolphins are playing, that's going to be an awfully big hole to dig out of in the AFC East."
23. Chicago Bears (2-1)
Last Week: 29
Week 3 Result: Won vs. Houston 23-20
The world is filled with mystery and unexplained phenomena. There's Stonehenge, the Easter Island statues and the Chicago Bears being 2-1 three weeks into the 2022 season.
Make no mistake: Sunday's last-second win over Houston says far more about the Texans being terrible than it does about the Bears being any good.
Yes, running back Khalil Herbert had a big game in place of an injured David Montgomery, rushing for 157 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries. But Justin Fields and the Bears passing game were abjectly terrible once again. Fields completed only eight of his 17 pass attempts for 106 yards with a pair of interceptions and a passer rating under 30.
“I played terrible," he told reporters after the game. I’m going to get better. We are going to get better as a whole.”
In fairness to Fields, the Bears haven't exactly put him in position to succeed. Chicago's passing-game weapons might be the worst in the league.
But Fields has continually been inaccurate and made poor decisions with the football. And if that continues, the Bears could be forced to weigh whether to punt on the quarterback they traded up to draft in 2021.
"The Bears may be the worst 2-1 team the NFL has ever seen," Sobleski said. "Maybe the previous sentence is a tad hyperbolic. But Chicago isn't particularly good in any specific area. The offense ranks dead last in total yardage through three weeks of play. The coaching staff seems reticent to even put the ball in Fields' hands. The Bears rank among the bottom half of the league defensively.
"Chicago eked out a victory against the struggling San Francisco 49ers in a wet-and-wild affair in Week 1, and the Texans are pretty much the NFL's worst team. Circumstances be what they may, the Bears do deserve some credit for winning those contests."
22. New Orleans Saints (1-2)
Last Week: 13
Week 3 Result: Lost at Carolina 22-14
So, we might have overestimated the New Orleans Saints.
At first glance, the Saints' stats don't look half bad in Week 3. Jameis Winston topped 350 passing yards. Rookie wide receiver Chris Olave had the best yardage day of any first-year receiver so far in 2022, hauling in nine passes for 147 yards.
But the shine doesn't last long. After throwing three picks in last week's loss to Tampa, Winston threw two more interceptions. The Saints couldn't generate any offense until they were in catch-up mode. And as head coach Dennis Allen told reporters after the loss, the Saints have to figure out a way to start games better after scoring three points in the first three quarters of the last two games combined.
"I just think we've got to be better early on in the game," Allen said. "We've got to execute better. Certainly that starts with us as a coaching staff. We've got to put a good plan together and give our guys a chance to be successful."
The Saints have an even bigger problem than those slow starts. Over the past two weeks, New Orleans has turned the ball over a whopping eight times.
No team is going to consistently win games while giving the ball away that much.
21. Tennessee Titans (1-2)
Last Week: 19
Week 3 Result: Won vs. Las Vegas 24-22
Break out the champagne and schedule the parade. The Tennessee Titans are back, baby!
Joking aside, Sunday's matchup with the Raiders was the definition of a must-win for both teams. After making the playoffs last year, the Titans and Raiders both started 0-2 this season.
Thanks to 143 total yards and a touchdown from running back Derrick Henry and an efficient game from quarterback Ryan Tannehill, the Titans were able to finally notch their first win of the season. Tannehill told reporters afterward that the victory gives the team something to build on.
"We got the ball rolling in the right direction," he said. "And that was our message all week is just come out, find a way to win this one game and we'll get the ball rolling in the right direction and build on it."
Now, it's a matter of trying to build on their first taste of success this season. With two of their next three games against the rival Indianapolis Colts and four straight coming up against teams that are .500 are worse at present, a month from now the Titans will either be back in the mix in the AFC South or in even deeper trouble than they were heading into Week 3.
20. Arizona Cardinals (1-2)
Week 3 Result: Lost vs. Los Angeles Rams 20-12
The last two years, the Arizona Cardinals came out of the gate red-hot only to fade badly down the stretch. In 2022, they appear to have eschewed the hot start part in favor of getting a head start on fading.
After falling to the rival Rams in Week 3 in a game that wasn't nearly as close as the final score suggests, the Cardinals are now one wild overtime victory over the Raiders away from being winless.
They flat-out haven't played consistently well on either side of the ball. The offense has been erratic, while the defense is allowing an average of 29 points per game.
While speaking to reporters, head coach Kliff Kingsbury took some of the blame for the struggles of an offense has struggled to move the ball consistently.
"I don't know if we're trying too hard to call a perfect play or do too much, but it's just been one thing after another," Kingsbury said. "We've got to get it figured out."
Next week's trip to play the 1-2 Panthers should afford the Cardinals a chance to do that. But if Arizona falls there, it could be panic time. Because in Week 5, the surging Philadelphia Eagles come to town.
19. Detroit Lions (1-2)
Last Week: 21
Week 3 Result: Lost vs. Minnesota 28-24
In the NFL, learning how to handle success can be as important as learning to overcome adversity. The Detroit Lions are still working on the former.
For most of Sunday's game in Minnesota, the Lions outplayed the Vikings. They held an early 14-point lead and led 24-14 at the outset of the fourth quarter. But the lead didn't hold, much to the chagrin of head coach Dan Campbell.
"We had our chances. We played some pretty good football for a while," Campbell told reporters. "I told the team, ‘When the downs come, we've got to handle it with composure. And when the ups come, we have to capitalize.' We didn't capitalize enough when we were on the ups."
It was a stern reminder that while these Lions may be better in years past, that doesn't make them good.
"The Lions are a first down here and a defensive stop there from being 3-0," Davenport said. "They nearly beat the surging Eagles in the opener and came close to escaping the Twin Cities with a win on Sunday. But the cold, hard truth is that the Lions couldn't seal the deal and make the late plays that needed to be made. They still need to learn how to win, and until they do that, these Lions aren't all that different than the punching bags of years past."
18. New York Giants (2-1)
Last Week: 16
Week 3 Result: Lost vs. Dallas 23-16
There are two ways to look at the Giants' first loss.
The optimist's view is that they simply lost a hard-fought game against a hated division rival. The Giants haven't been above .500 at this point in the season since 2016. They have been in every game this year. First-year head coach Brian Daboll has the team headed in the right direction. Things are looking up.
The pessimist's view is that the Giants are a mediocre team that was exposed by a team that isn't exactly firing on all cylinders. New York was gashed on the ground for 176 yards at 5.9 yards a pop. Daniel Jones failed to hit 200 passing yards, threw the game-sealing interception and posted a passer rating under 60. This game says more about the Giants than their record.
For his part, Davenport is in that second camp.
"Daboll absolutely deserves credit for getting the most out of the Giants," he said. "But they have serious offensive limitations, and those were on full display Monday night. Jones isn't the guy under center, Saquon Barkley faces constant stacked fronts, and the wideouts don't scare anyone. Given their schedule, the Giants can probably hover around .500 for a while, but anyone who thinks this team is a contender is a Giants fan, kidding themselves or both."
17. San Francisco 49ers (1-2)
Last Week: 10
Week 3 Result: Lost at Denver 11-10
Sunday night's loss to Denver was the Jimmy Garoppolo-led Niners in a nutshell.
As usual, the 49ers had success running the ball against the Broncos, averaging 4.6 yards per carry. The defense allowed only 261 yards of offense and one touchdown.
But as has so often been the case during Garoppolo's tenure with the team, if he turns the ball over, the Niners lose. Garoppolo lost a fumble and threw an interception, with the latter sealing Denver's victory in a game with a final score that looked like it was between the Giants and Rockies.
In some respects, losing the game may not even have been the worst thing that happened to the 49ers. Star left tackle Trent Williams suffered a high ankle sprain on a play in which Garoppolo ran out of the back of the end zone for a safety (thus negating a pick-six).
Following the loss, Garoppolo expressed hope that the veteran tackle wouldn't be sidelined for long.
"Trent's a warrior. Hopefully he bounces back fast," Garoppolo said. "It's always tough when you lose a guy like that."
Unfortunately, Williams is likely to miss some time with his injury, according to ESPN's Nick Wagoner. Given the near-constant duress that Garoppolo was under once Williams left, that could be a crushing blow to the Niners.
16. Indianapolis Colts (1-1-1)
Last Week: 26
Week 3 Result: Won vs. Kansas City 20-17
After being embarrassed in Jacksonville in Week 2, no team in the league needed to wash the stink off more than the Indianapolis Colts. But with a matchup on deck against the high-flying Chiefs, no soap appeared to be forthcoming for the Colts.
It wasn't especially pretty, but the Colts rallied Sunday to stun the Chiefs and earn their first victory of the year. After the win, Colts quarterback Matt Ryan applauded his teammates for pushing through their recent struggles.
"Sometimes you have a game where it's just not right and you have to tighten things up, but you can't be uptight," Ryan said. "You have to be loose enough to believe we're going to make these plays."
The win doesn't fix all that ails the Colts. Indy's floundering offense struggled again, barely cracking 250 yards. But on some level, that doesn't matter. How the Colts won was less important than finding a way to break into the win column.
"After needing a fourth-quarter comeback just to tie the lowly Houston Texans in Week 1 then being throttled by the Jaguars the following week, the struggling Colts managed a late comeback victory against the Chiefs despite major issues in pass protection and a stagnant offense for most of the game," Sobleski said. "Kansas City certainly made its fair share of mistakes, particularly late in the contest with a missed field goal, a backbreaking 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty after stopping Indianapolis on third down and an uncharacteristic Patrick Mahomes interception in crunch time.
"The Colts needed help to get off the schneid and got it. They still aren't the team many expected coming into the season, but a surprising victory against a top opponent could help propel Indianapolis to far better football moving forward."
15. Dallas Cowboys (2-1)
Last Week: 19
Week 3 Result: Won at New York Giants 23-16
September isn't even over yet, but the Dallas Cowboys are already in survival mode. With Dak Prescott on the shelf with an injured hand, the edict is clear: Try not to fall so far behind the surging Eagles in the NFC East that by the time Prescott returns the division race is already a foregone conclusion.
To do that, Dallas needs to win games it is "supposed" to win. And while New York actually had a better record heading into Week 3, this was a game the Cowboys were supposed to win.
Win they did—and Dallas did it by following the blueprint for weathering Prescott's absence.
The ground game was outstanding—Ezekiel Elliott and Tony Pollard combined for 178 yards on 28 carries. Cooper Rush was efficient and mistake-free, passing for 215 yards and a touchdown. And the defense was stout, holding the Giants to three third-down conversions in 11 attempts and sacking Daniel Jones five times.
Now Dallas needs to handle its business again against beatable Washington in Week 4. Because things then get hairy—Week 5 brings a date with the Rams in Los Angeles, followed by a primetime tilt in Philadelphia that could have massive ramifications.
14. Cleveland Browns (2-1)
Last Week: 23
Week 3 Result: Won vs. Pittsburgh 29-17
Could the Cleveland Browns be…good?
Granted, the Browns haven't exactly played a murderer's row of opponents. But after handling the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday night, the Browns are one epic collapse against the New York Jets away from starting the season 3-0.
After the game, head coach Kevin Stefanski lauded his team's resilience after the disaster against the Jets the week before.
"That's not an easy thing to bounce back from," Stefanski said. "We talked about it on Sunday. We talked about it on Monday. What I'm proud of with those guys is you can't let a loss linger, and we won't let this win linger either. But I'm proud of how they responded. You've got to be resilient."
The Browns appear to have found a recipe for success. Ride a ground game that piled up 171 yards against the Steelers. Get efficient play from quarterback Jacoby Brissett. And grind out wins.
With the Atlanta Falcons next on the slate, the Browns could be 3-1 before entering a much more difficult stretch of the schedule. That's about as good of a start as they could hope for.
13. Cincinnati Bengals (1-2)
Last Week: 15
Week 3 Result: Won at New York Jets 27-12
Things have not gone at all according to plan for the Cincinnati Bengals. The defending AFC champions entered Week 3 in desperation mode at 0-2. Lose again, and any hopes of getting back to the Super Bowl would be all but dead.
After the Bengals easily dispatched the Jets in New York, Bengals head coach Zac Taylor made it clear that while fans and pundits may have fretted, his players knew that they could turn things around.
"We felt like we were a good team," Bengals coach Zac Taylor said. "We weren't changing anything about us internally. We just know that the season's going to balance out. We're going to start to gather steam and that's what we did today."
Of course, there isn't much more for Taylor to say. And beating a bad Jets team doesn't fix the problems that led to the Bengals losing their first two games.
After two more sacks Sunday, Joe Burrow is on pace to be sacked 85 times this season. Cincinnati's ground game also struggled, averaging a miserable 2.5 yards per carry.
After making a major investment in the offensive line this past offseason, the Cincy front might somehow be worse than last year's sieve. If the team doesn't figure things out up front, there won't be any traveling in February this season.
12. Los Angeles Chargers (1-2)
Last Week: 5
Week 3 Result: Lost vs. Jacksonville 38-10
The Los Angeles Chargers have problems.
It's not just that the Chargers were blasted at home in Week 3 by the Jacksonville Jaguars, although that was alarming. As Moton pointed out, it was the manner in which the Chargers lost.
"Against the Jaguars, the Chargers didn’t have wideout Keenan Allen (hamstring) and quarterback Justin Herbert played through fractured rib cartilage, but they surprisingly melted down on defense, giving up 38 points," he noted. "Sure, Joey Bosa exited early with a groin injury, but fellow edge-rusher Khalil Mack and safety Derwin James Jr. couldn’t stop a red-hot Jaguars offense that ranks within the top eight in both scoring and yards.
"Coupled with Herbert’s injury, the Chargers’ alarming defensive performance raises some concerns about this squad. They aren't in good shape on either side of the ball."
The Chargers have now dropped two in a row to fall a game off the pace in the AFC West. With Herbert and Allen ailing, Bosa "week-to-week" and left tackle Rashawn Slater out for the season, the Bolts are a banged-up team heading into a game they badly need to win in Week 4.
Luckily, they're facing the hapless Houston Texans on Sunday.
11. Denver Broncos (2-1)
Last Week: 12
Week 3 Result: Won vs. San Francisco 11-10
There's winning ugly, and then there's what the Denver Broncos did Sunday against the 49ers. Although they have peeled off two wins in a row to claim a share of first place in the AFC West, they haven't looked good doing it, especially on offense.
The arrival of quarterback Russell Wilson was supposed to kick the Denver offense into an entirely new gear. Instead, the offense has been completely out of sync.
Against the 49ers on Sunday night, the Broncos tallied only 261 yards of offense. The ground game averaged only 3.1 yards per carry. Wilson averaged an atrocious 4.3 yards per pass. Corliss Waitman punted the ball a whopping 10 times.
But as Moton pointed out, Denver's defense has carried the club so far this year.
"The Broncos continue to win by the skin of their teeth as they come off an 11-10 victory over the 49ers," he said. "However, we have to give credit to the Broncos after they beat a team that could return to the playoffs with veteran quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo back under center. Denver hasn’t scored more than 16 points in any of its three games, but the team fields a top-three defense both in points and yards allowed.
Still, for Denver to be taken seriously in the AFC, Wilson and the offense have to get untracked soon.
10. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-1)
Last Week: 25
Week 3 Result: Won at Los Angeles Chargers 38-10
The time has come to start putting some respect on the Jacksonville Jaguars' name.
It isn't just that the 2-1 Jags are in first place in the AFC South. Or that they look light-years better on both offense and defense under new head coach Doug Pederson.
The Jaguars have laid the wood to two teams that many considered contenders entering the season, outscoring the Colts and Chargers 62-10 over the past two weeks. Sunday's rout of the Chargers was arguably Jacksonville's biggest win in years, and Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence believes it sent a message to the rest of the league.
"I think the way we played you can't deny that we're that we're a really good team. But at the end of the day it doesn't really matter what it says about us. We know who we are," said Lawrence. "We played a complete game, and to stack two weeks is big for us."
Moton agrees with him.
"Between Week 18 of last season to now, the Jaguars have jumped from worst to first in the AFC South," he said. "If they didn’t have the league's worst record last year, more pundits would move them in the top 10. This young squad still has a ways to go to get the benefit of the doubt, but second-year quarterback Trevor Lawrence looks like he’s arrived on the NFL level. He's thrown for 772 yards, six touchdowns and an interception in three games."
9. Minnesota Vikings (2-1)
Last Week: 8
Week 3 Result: Won vs. Detroit 28-24
The Minnesota Vikings are becoming quite the thrill ride.
In Week 1, they handled the Green Bay Packers with relative ease. In Week 2, the Philadelphia Eagles handled them with ease. And in Week 3, the Vikings opted for a bit of both.
First, Minnesota spotted the Detroit Lions a 14-point lead. Then they were down 24-14 in the fourth quarter. But the Vikings peeled off a pair of late touchdowns to emerge with a four-point win and keep pace with the Packers and Bears in the NFC North.
The Vikings overcame the loss of running back Dalvin Cook to a shoulder injury and an off day from star wideout Justin Jefferson. After the win, head coach Kevin O'Connell applauded players like quarterback Kirk Cousins and wide receiver K.J. Osborn for stepping up late.
“I thought Kirk was fantastic on that final drive,” O’Connell said. “Able to execute some things that quite honestly we didn’t necessarily have up on the call sheet but we found a way to go out there, all 11, and execute. And I thought the O-line had a huge final sequence there giving Kirk time to attack there. K.J. (Osborn) obviously showing up huge.”
Next up comes a trip to London to face the New Orleans Saints, followed by a home date with the Bears. Those games should allow the Vikings to build some positive momentum ahead of an October 16 litmus test in Miami against the undefeated Dolphins.
"Are the Vikings actually good? It's hard to tell," Sobleski said. "They deserve credit for solid victories over the Packers in Week 1 and the Lions on Sunday. They're off to a 2-0 start in the division. Yet the Eagles throttled them when the two teams met in Week 2. The Vikings' 2-1 start appears to be more of a reflection of their competition than an actual indication of Minnesota's level of play.
"In the end, quarterback Kirk Cousins is who he is—which tends to be a mediocre quarterback--and Cook is dealing with a dislocated shoulder. Minnesota's quality start can't be completely overlooked, though."
8. Baltimore Ravens (2-1)
Last Week: 11
Week 3 Result: Won at New England 37-26
The dominant storyline in Baltimore this offseason was the pending contract extension for Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson.
With each passing week, that extension is getting beefier.
Three weeks into the 2022 season, Jackson is making a case for his second MVP award. In Sunday's win over the Patriots, he threw for 218 yards, rushed for 107 more and accounted for all five of Baltimore's touchdowns.
After being stunned at home last week by the Dolphins, Jackson made it clear that he and the Ravens offense weren't about to let history repeat itself after entering halftime against the Patriots up by only one point.
"We've got to score, too," he told reporters after the game. "Last week when Miami started scoring and they went on that run, I think we put up three points. I wasn't having it. None of us on offense was having that this game."
Jackson was the star of Sunday's win, but the Ravens also got running back J.K. Dobbins back for the first time since 2020. If the Baltimore offense can get going and take some of the pressure off Jackson, the Ravens could well be the team to beat in the AFC North.
7. Green Bay Packers (2-1)
Last Week: 9
Week 3 Result: Won at Tampa Bay 14-12
Sunday's meeting in Tampa marked just the fifth time that the Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers met on the field. Entering the contest, Brady held a 3-1 edge.
Make that 3-2.
After outlasting the Buccaneers, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was quick to compliment his counterpart—while simultaneously celebrating the victory.
"It's Week 3. It feels good for sure. There could be some tiebreakers and stuff down the line when you beat a team like this," Rodgers said. "I have a ton of respect for him. He's been a trailblazer at the position for a long time. I've had a lot of fun competing against Tom over the years and it's always nice to come out on top."
After getting pasted in Week 1, the Packers have rebounded with back-to-back victories. But it hasn't been in the manner in which we're accustomed. Against Tampa, the Packers managed only 315 yards of offense and 14 points.
These Packers aren't winning with a high-flying aerial attack. Green Bay is running the ball and playing defense. Rocking it old school. Rodgers has been efficient, but not prolific.
And for the time being, at least, it's working.
6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1)
Last Week: 3
Week 3 Result: Lost vs. Green Bay 14-12
Last season, no quarterback in the NFL had more passing yards or touchdown passes than Tom Brady. But through three weeks this season, Brady is averaging less than 225 passing yards and only one touchdown pass per game.
Granted, Julio Jones and Chris Godwin have been hurt, while Mike Evans missed Sunday's loss to the Green Bay Packers due to a one-game suspension for an on-field fracas with Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore in Week 2. But Tampa's offense has struggled this season.
In 2021, the Buccaneers averaged 30.1 points per game, which ranked second leaguewide. This year, the Bucs have plummeted outside the top 20 in scoring at 17 points per game.
After the game, Brady told reporters that he and the offense let the team down in Week 3.
"Too many plays where we were behind the sticks, penalties, turnovers, missed opportunities," he said. "The defense played great. We have to do a better job. We haven't scored many points all season."
"On some level, it seems strange to worry about the Buccaneers," Davenport said. "After all, we're talking about Tom Brady. And once Tampa's receiving corps is healthy, maybe the Buccaneers will find their groove offensively. But right now, they're leaning far too heavily on the defense. Against the Packers, that caught up to them. And with Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs up next, things aren't going to get any easier."
One of B/R's analysts still believes in Tampa enough to keep them inside the top five. But unless the offense gets it going Sunday night against the Chiefs, that belief may be short-lived.
5. Los Angeles Rams (2-1)
Last Week: 4
Week 3 Result: Won at Arizona 20-12
At the end of the day in the NFL, results are all that matter. In that respect, the Los Angeles Rams have rebounded well after the Buffalo Bills shellacked them in Week 1.
After downing the Cardinals on Sunday in Arizona, the Rams have reclaimed sole possession of first place in the NFC West. But even in victory, there is some cause for concern.
Last week, the Rams nearly squandered a huge lead against the Falcons. In Week 3, they controlled the action throughout but couldn't quite put the Cardinals away.
Rams head coach Sean McVay told reporters after the win that he'll take a victory however he can get it, although he admitted the Rams have things they need to clean up.
"There are no style points in this game," McVay said. "But there are ways to play more complete games. That's what we're hunting."
Those complete efforts could become more necessity than goal for Matthew Stafford, Cooper Kupp and the Rams moving forward. Starting with the first of two meetings with the San Francisco 49ers over the next month in Week 4, five of the Rams' next six games come against teams that made the playoffs in 2021.
4. Kansas City Chiefs (2-1)
Last Week: 2
Week 3 Result: Lost at Indianapolis 20-17
Week 3 wasn't kind to the teams at the top of these power rankings. The Kansas City Chiefs were no exception.
It's not that often that the Patrick Mahomes-led Chiefs look as sloppy as they did in Indianapolis. The offense was inconsistent. Replacement kicker Matt Ammendola missed a field goal. And Mahomes threw a late interception that killed hopes of a miracle comeback.
While speaking to reporters after the game, Mahomes said the Kansas City offense has work to do, starting with him:
"We've got to gel all together. It starts with me. There were certain throws I was putting on guys' back hips instead of in front of him. There were certain situations where we were just barely off of it . . . Whenever you're playing a tough game like that, you have to execute at a higher level and we have to learn from it. Our schedule gets no easier. We have a hard game Sunday (against) Tampa next week with a great defense, so we have to get better quickly. And if we don't, we don't want these (losses) to start piling up. We want to make sure we get back on that winning train.''
Given what a rough week the AFC West had as a whole, one bad effort is not a huge cause for concern in Kansas City. However, if the Chiefs play like they did Sunday over their next five games—all of which come against teams that made the playoffs last season—it will be a different story.
3. Buffalo Bills (2-1)
Last Week: 1
Week 3 Result: Lost at Miami 21-19
Sunday's loss to the Miami Dolphins notwithstanding, a compelling argument can be made that the Buffalo Bills remain the best team in the league. They have been a buzzsaw offensively, including piling up a whopping 497 yards of offense in Week 3.
But despite that yardage, the Bills scored only 19 points against the Dolphins. And while their defense held Miami to only 212 yards of offense, they could have some problems arising on that side of the ball after pacing the league in both yards and points allowed in 2021.
The Bills played Week 3 without both of their longtime safeties. Jordan Poyer was sidelined by a foot injury, while Micah Hyde will miss the rest of the season after injuring his neck in last week's win over the Tennessee Titans. Combined with the continued absence of Pro Bowl cornerback Tre'Davious White, the league's best secondary is suddenly precariously short-handed.
That banged-up defensive backfield could quickly become a real problem for the Bills. Next week, Buffalo travels to face the surging Ravens, and Week 6 brings the latest matchup between Josh Allen and the Bills and Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs.
2. Philadelphia Eagles (3-0)
Last Week: 6
Week 3 Result: Won at Washington 24-8
The Philadelphia Eagles are rolling.
It isn't just that the Eagles are the NFC's only remaining undefeated team. Or that after blasting the Washington Commanders on Sunday, the Eagles have won their last two games in blowout fashion.
It's the way they are winning.
Quarterback Jalen Hurts looks like an MVP candidate after becoming the first player in NFL history to throw for 900 yards and run for 150 yards over the first three games of the season. Wide receivers A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith have been a lethal combination. Philly's offensive line might be the NFL's best.
Defensively, the Eagles rank among the top 10 leaguewide in both yards and points allowed. The Eagles sacked Carson Wentz a whopping nine times Sunday. And Darius Slay and James Bradberry are one of the NFL's best one-two punches at cornerback.
"The Eagles are the most complete team in the NFC," Davenport said. "They may be the most complete team in the entire NFL. Hurts has taken a massive step forward as a passer. Skill-position talent. Offensive line. Defensive line. Secondary. You name it, the Eagles have it.
"It isn't a surprise that the Eagles are good. But anyone who says they thought Philly would be the NFC's best team three weeks into the season is either psychic or full of it."
1. Miami Dolphins (3-0)
Last Week: 7
Week 3 Result: Won vs. Buffalo 21-19
Last week, the Miami Dolphins torched the Baltimore Ravens for almost 470 passing yards on the way to a wild comeback win that said a lot about their validity as a playoff contender in 2022.
On Sunday against the Buffalo Bills, Miami's offense was much less explosive. But the Dolphins made an even bigger statement by knocking off a Bills team that many consider the best in the NFL.
From a look at the game stats, one would think the Bills won this game going away. Buffalo outgained the Dolphins by a margin of over 2-to-1 and enjoyed a similar advantage in first downs. The Bills possessed the ball for over 40 minutes, converted 11 of 18 third-down attempts and held Dolphins wideout Tyreek Hill to only two catches for 33 yards.
But none of that mattered. Because when the final gun sounded, the Dolphins had more points than the Bills, giving them sole possession of first place in the AFC East.
"In some respects, Sunday's win over the Bills was even more impressive than last week's offensive explosion against Baltimore," Davenport said. "If the Dolphins really are a legitimate contender, then they needed to show the ability to gut out a victory even when they aren't playing their best. Doing so against the team that spent most of this season in the top spot in these power rankings was quite the announcement that the 2022 Dolphins have arrived."
"To invoke the sage wisdom of the philosopher Ric Flair, 'To be the man, you gotta beat the man,'" Sobleski added. "Well, the Dolphins beat the consensus No. 1-ranked team on Sunday and earned a spot atop B/R's power rankings. At 3-0 in the more difficult conference, Miami deserves the recognition after outlasting the Ravens and Bills in back-to-back weeks.
"Everyone else can talk about the weapons Miami has at wide receiver or Tua Tagovailoa's improvement. But the most important aspect of those wins involves how the squad overcame adversity against quality opponents. The Dolphins trailed by two touchdowns in the fourth quarter against Baltimore and needed four scores to ultimately win the game. Against Buffalo, Mike McDaniel's team could have fallen apart after the now infamous butt punt. Instead, the defense held strong and didn't allow Josh Allen and the Bills' explosive offense to complete a game-winning drive. Impressive victories in both instances."