NFL Power Rankings Week 3: Updated Standings After Thursday Night Football

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistSeptember 22, 2017

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 17: Quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks drops back to pass during a game against the San Francisco 49ers at CenturyLink Field on September 17, 2017 in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks won the game 12-9. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)
Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

Power rankings weren't going to turn upside down following the Los Angeles Rams' Thursday Night Football matchup with the San Francisco 49ers to kick off Week 3.

The two sides played in an offensive thriller—quite the change of pace compared to the season's first two weeks—with the Rams coming away the victors 41-39 behind a trio of passing scores from Jared Goff.

Two rebuilds at different stages aside, power rankings remain in catch-up mode as would-be contenders have already dropped games and others have emerged as threats to take their place.

Below, let's take a look at projected power rankings after Thursday's showdown before the weekend kicks into high gear.

             

2017 NFL Power Rankings

RankTeam
1Kansas City Chiefs
2Oakland Raiders
3Pittsburgh Steelers
4New England Patriots
5Atlanta Falcons
6Denver Broncos
7Seattle Seahawks
8Tampa Bay Buccaneers
9Tennessee Titans
10Dallas Cowboys
11Carolina Panthers
12Green Bay Packers
13Detroit Lions
14Washington Redskins
15Philadelphia Eagles
16Los Angeles Chargers
17Minnesota Vikings
18Los Angeles Rams
19Baltimore Ravens
20Miami Dolphins
21New Orleans Saints
22Buffalo Bills
23New York Giants
24Arizona Cardinals
25Houston Texans
26Chicago Bears
27Jacksonville Jaguars
28Cincinnati Bengals
29Cleveland Browns
30San Francisco 49ers
31Indianapolis Colts
32New York Jets
Author's opinion

            

Dallas Cowboys 

What's with the Cowboys? It's a question worth asking after two weeks.

The team beat up on the New York Giants in a dull 19-3 opener before being on the receiving end of similar treatment at the hands of the Denver Broncos in a 42-17 road loss.

Road game or not, getting blown away while Ezekiel Elliott rushed for eight yards on nine carries and Trevor Siemian threw for four touchdowns has created a tidal wave of concern.

Not that any of the concern stems from within the organization publicly, especially when it comes to Elliott.

"Zeke's a professional. Zeke knows how to play football at this level. He's demonstrated that over the course of his career," head coach Jason Garrett said, according to ESPN.com's Todd Archer. "He's not perfect. Nobody is perfect. When things happen, we address them. We coach them and then we move forward."

The loss wouldn't be as big a deal if the Broncos hadn't merely escaped versus the struggling Los Angeles Chargers 24-21 to open the season. Denver is good, but a team as talented as the Cowboys shouldn't be blown out.

They will look to prove the loss was an anomaly in a Monday Night Football road tilt with the Arizona Cardinals.

          

Tennessee Titans

JACKSONVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 17: Quarterback Marcus Mariota #8 of the Tennessee Titans runs out the pocket during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on September 17, 2017 in Jacksonville, Florida. The Titans defeated the Jaguars 3
Don Juan Moore/Getty Images

The Titans are another team some expected to take a big jump this year thanks to quarterback Marcus Mariota's continued development and because they were coming off a nine-win season last year.

Then Week 1 happened: The Oakland Raiders visited the Titans and cruised. Derek Carr threw two touchdowns in the 26-16 win, and the Raiders held Mariota without a passing score despite 41 pass attempts.

The Titans bounced back in Week 2 by pounding the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars 37-16 on the road. But even against the Jaguars, Mariota only went 15-of-27 for 215 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

Though we're still waiting for him to break out, Seattle Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, Mariota's Week 3 opponent, sees it differently.

"He is just going to continue to get better," Carroll said, according to Curtis Crabtree of Pro Football Talk. "I've tried to show you how Russell [Wilson] continues to improve and see and do more things and all that that happens with the young quarterbacks. He is going to be really good."

The good news? Carroll knows what he's talking about, and the Titans still happen to play in the AFC South. Mariota and the team might be off to a slow start, but a steady improvement could easily produce a postseason berth.

           

Seattle Seahawks 

Let's go ahead and chat about those Seahawks. They have a better recent track record than the Titans, but they've been up and down to start the season as well.

In Week 1, a trip to Lambeau Field had the team looking promising even in a 17-9 loss. Holding Aaron Rodgers to a single touchdown (with an interception) hinted at the team's contending status.

Then Week 2 happened.

The Seahawks welcomed the struggling 49ers to town and barely emerged with a 12-9 win. Wilson threw a touchdown, but the team ran for all of 3.5 yards per carry, and he wound up running for his life most of the night.

Below is a prime example:

It was one of the only times he managed to escape terrible conditions and make a play. Years of odd building in the offensive trenches have defenders swarming the pocket after the snap too often.

There is no easy fix. While the defense continues to perform, the offense will be under scrutiny heading into Week 3.

             

Stats courtesy of NFL.com. Odds courtesy of OddsShark.

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