NFL Power Rankings Week 3: Predictions for Post-Monday Night Football Standings

Steven Cook@@stevencookinFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 21, 2015

Dallas Cowboys' Tony Romo is helped off the field after an injury during the second half of an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2015, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Matt Rourke/Associated Press

After (almost) two weeks of the 2015 NFL season, we've already learned plenty about every team's chances for success throughout the year.

A poor start doesn't exactly doom an organization, while a strong one doesn't guarantee postseason inclusion. For that reason, it's important not to jump to conclusions after just two games. 

But that being said, while some of the performances should be taken with a grain of salt, others have been indicative of what we should see the entire season. Let's figure out where every team stands in the latest power rankings, taking Monday Night Football predictions into mind.

Predicting Post-Week 3 Power Rankings

1New England Patriots2-0
2Green Bay Packers2-0
3Denver Broncos2-0
4Cincinnati Bengals2-0
5Arizona Cardinals2-0
6Seattle Seahawks0-2
7Pittsburgh Steelers1-1
8Dallas Cowboys2-0
9Indianapolis Colts1-1*
10Buffalo Bills1-1
11Carolina Panthers2-0
12Kansas City Chiefs1-1
13Atlanta Falcons2-0
14Minnesota Vikings1-1
15St. Louis Rams1-1
16Philadelphia Eagles0-2
17San Diego Chargers1-1
18Miami Dolphins1-1
19Baltimore Ravens0-2
20New York Jets1-1*
21Washington Redskins1-1
22Detroit Lions0-2
23Cleveland Browns1-1
24New York Giants0-2
25Tennessee Titans1-1
26Oakland Raiders1-1
27New Orleans Saints0-2
28San Francisco 49ers1-1
29Tampa Bay Buccaneers1-1
30Jacksonville Jaguars1-1
31Houston Texans0-2
32Chicago Bears0-2
Author's rankings

Green Bay Packers (No. 2)

Jeffrey Phelps/Associated Press

One early regular-season game is never enough to wipe away the catastrophic memories of a NFC Championship Game—especially one that was right in their grasps. But the Green Bay Packers look on a mission to make up for last year.

They proved that much on Sunday Night Football, taking it to the Seattle Seahawks in another vintage Aaron Rodgers performance. After starting out hot, the Seahawks defense quelled him until he made the proper adjustments for a game-winning drive early in the fourth quarter.

Rodgers' proficiency at home is quite ridiculous, as ESPN Stats & Info noted:

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ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

Aaron Rodgers (@packers) has now thrown 545 pass attempts at home since his last interception, extending his #NFL record

The defense has improved significantly since last season, as shown by the Packers' hounding of Russell Wilson and eliminating Marshawn Lynch on the ground. If the secondary can continue to hold up with a boisterous front seven, the Packers will be in great shape.

Eddie Lacy's ankle injury doesn't include broken bones, per ESPN's Adam Schefter, and Rodgers is more than making do with the receivers he currently has. If that continues, there's no reason to think Green Bay won't be the cream of the crop in the NFC.

Dallas Cowboys (No. 8)

The Dallas Cowboys won the first two games of the 2015 season but lost two things that are probably more important than that pair of results.

Their offense took a massive hit in Week 1 with Dez Bryant breaking his foot and needing surgery, but Week 2 delivered the knockout blow. It came when quarterback Tony Romo broke his collarbone, leaving him out for an extended part of the season.

The latter injury is likely to derail their season, as Adam Schefter of ESPN noted:

Adam Schefter @AdamSchefter

How important is Tony Romo to Dallas? Since Romo’s first career start in 2006, the Cowboys are 77-48 when he plays and 6-9 when he doesn’t.

Of course, backup Brandon Weeden looked pretty good in relief of Romo late in the Cowboys' win over the Eagles. And the defense is playing at a ridiculous level, when it's compared to what the unit did in 2014.

Plus, you can't argue with a 2-0 record.

But the reality is, the Cowboys are going to have to go up against the likes of Atlanta, New England, Seattle, Philadelphia (again) and others without their best two players. 

Buffalo Bills (No. 10)

Bill Wippert/Associated Press

The Bills didn't mount the upset at home over the New England Patriots like many expected or aspired to, but that didn't keep them from proving their worth in the AFC playoff race.

After hanging around early against New England, Buffalo allowed Tom Brady to get going, and he all but put the Bills away. Buffalo did put together an improbable comeback, rallying back from three scores down to force the Patriots to get some first downs to win the game.

Still, the gravity of the moment seemed to impact this team early on, as ESPN's Mike Reiss noted:

Mike Reiss @MikeReiss

Rex Ryan had Bills hyped. Maybe overhyped? In first 20 minutes, Bills had 2 personal fouls, taunting penalty & unnecessary roughness penalty

With that being said, the Bills took an incredible gut punch from the Pats and answered it pretty convincingly. When there isn't such a high-powered offense on the other side to match the points, Tyrod Taylor and this Buffalo offense should be able to outscore a lot of the teams on their schedule.

Whether it's enough to truly battle the Pats in the AFC East is another story, but it's good enough to make the Bills unquestionable wild-card contenders.

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