NFL Power Rankings: B/R's Expert Consensus Rank for Every Team Entering Week 4
Given how Week 3 started, we should have known it was going to be equal parts wild and wacky.
Sure enough, a week that started with the Cleveland Browns first win in 635 days was loaded with surprises. The winless Bills smacked around the unbeaten Vikings in Minnesota. The winless Lions handed Tom Brady and the Patriots a second straight loss for the first time since 2015. The Arizona Cardinals looked good.
Just kidding, Arizona's still terrible.
Not every result was a stunner though. The Kansas City Chiefs and Los Angeles Rams kept right on piling up points in decisive victories, and the Atlanta Falcons and New Orleans Saints treated us to another predictably unpredictable NFC South shootout.
As the dust settles on another week of NFL mayhem, Bleacher Report NFL analysts Gary Davenport, Brad Gagnon and Brent Sobleski have once again gathered to rank the league's teams from worst to first.
There's a new team on the bottom. An old team on the top. And all sorts of moving and shaking in-between.
32. Arizona Cardinals (0-3)
Last Week: 31
Week 3 Result: Lost vs. Chicago, 16-14
For a short time Sunday, it looked like the Arizona Cardinals were going to pull a Buffalo Bills and shock the Bears. The Redbirds raced out to a 14-0 lead early.
But unlike the Bills, the Cardinals take their status as bottom-feeders seriously. These are not amateur losers, people.
And four turnovers and 16 unanswered points later, Arizona's perfect record remained that way.
It's highly unlikely that Cardinals fans are amused by any of this. But buck up, beleaguered bird-backers—there was a sliver of promise amid all the putrid Sunday.
After another horrid performance by Sam Bradford, the Cardinals inserted rookie Josh Rosen at quarterback in the second half. Rosen struggled in limited action, but presumably he'll be the starter in Week 4.
He cannot possibly do worse than Bradford has over the past two-plus games.
31. Oakland Raiders (0-3)
Last Week: 30
Week 3 Result: Lost at Miami, 28-20
The second Jon Gruden era in Oakland is off to quite the start.
It appeared for a time that the Raiders were going to notch win No. 1 Sunday in Miami. But just like the week before in Denver, Oakland couldn't hold a double-digit second-half lead—or score more than 20 points.
That's the 2018 Raiders in a nutshell. There's always a "but."
Derek Carr threw for 345 yards against the Dolphins...but he also threw a pair of interceptions.
Marshawn Lynch finally got a decent workload of 19 carries...but he could only parlay those touches into 64 rushing yards.
Oakland's pass rush was MIA again...but—OK, there is no but there. The Raiders have no pass rush right now, because it's hard to find good pass-rushers.
After three games, Oakland ranks well outside the top 20 in both points scored and points allowed.
It's going to be a long season in the Bay Area.
30. Houston Texans (0-3)
Last Week: 28
Week 3 Result: Lost vs. New York Giants, 27-22
In Sunday's home tilt with the New York Giants, Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt finally broke his long sack-less spell, piling up three takedowns of Eli Manning.
And...that about does it for the good news for Houston.
Houston had no running game to speak of against the Giants, managing just 59 yards on 19 carries. The Texans turned the ball over twice, committed seven penalties (vs. three for New York) and lost the time-of-possession battle by over 10 minutes.
Davenport provided a postmortem for the 2018 Texans:
"Deshaun Watson. DeAndre Hopkins. J.J. Watt. So on and blah blah blah. For a team that allegedly has so much talent, the Texans sure do look like crud once the games start. Houston was just soundly outclassed in its own building by a deeply flawed Giants team. The Texans aren't doing anything well on either side of the ball. And they've earned the right to be mentioned as one of the league's worst teams."
29. Buffalo Bills (1-2)
Last Week: 32
Week 3 Result: Won at Minnesota, 27-6
"Any Given Sunday" is a cliche that gets thrown around quite a bit in the NFL—the notion that the league's bottom-feeders can rise up and topple a contender in any given week.
Even so, the number of people who thought the Buffalo Bills were going to go to Minnesota and shellack the Vikings in Week 3 numbered exactly zero—and that's counting Buffalo's players.
This was a Bills team that couldn't get anything going on offense or stop anyone on defense—a team that earned its spot in the basement of these power rankings.
As impressive as Sunday's win was, the Bills are still a team with a lot of problems. But perhaps even sweeter than the win itself was the performance of rookie quarterback Josh Allen, who completed 15 of 22 passes and accounted for three Bills touchdowns.
The Bills finally have something to build on this season as they continue their tour of the NFC North with a trip to Green Bay next week, and Sobleski offered the team some run.
"Buffalo deserves plenty of credit for going to Minnesota (not Wisconsin) and taking it to the Vikings, who are counted among the league's best," he said. "This won't propel the Bills past the Vikings on the power rankings for obvious reasons, but Sean McDermott's team may not be the pushover everyone thought they were through two weeks of play."
28. New York Jets (1-2)
Last Week: 26
Week 3 Result: Lost at Cleveland, 21-17
The bloom has come off the rose a bit where Sam Darnold is concerned.
After scorching the Detroit Lions in Week 1 and becoming the youngest 300-yard passer in NFL history in Week 2, it appeared Darnold and the Jets were in cruise control against the Cleveland Browns on Thursday night—up 14-0 in the second quarter and controlling the game on both sides of the ball.
But after Baker Mayfield entered the game and started bringing the Browns back, Darnold couldn't answer. The third overall pick in April's NFL draft managed just one second-half scoring drive and committed a pair of backbreaking fourth-quarter turnovers.
It's those turnovers that were Darnold's biggest problem at USC—a problem that appears to have followed him to the NFL. Darnold's thrown five interceptions in three games as a rookie, and his passer rating has fallen to a moribund 72.0.
Growing pains are to be expected. But Darnold has to stop turning the ball over...now.
27. Dallas Cowboys (1-2)
Last Week: 16
Week 3 Result: Lost at Seattle, 24-13
Three weeks into the season, it's safe to make some assessments about the NFL's teams. Assessments like this one.
The Dallas Cowboys stink offensively. Bad.
Through two games, the Cowboys were 30th in the league in total offense, gaining just 265 yards per game. They managed to bump that to 303 yards against Seattle, but a fat chunk of that yardage was picked up once the game was out of hand.
The Cowboys have no passing game to speak of. Even with the garbage time figured in, Dak Prescott threw for just 168 yards Sunday, with two interceptions against one touchdown. This against a Seattle secondary that came into the game allowing 254.5 yards a contest.
The Dallas offense is now averaging 11 points per game. Seriously. That's half a quarter for the Rams or Chiefs.
And it's getting awfully difficult to take a team with an offense that awful seriously.
26. Detroit Lions (1-2)
Last Week: 29
Week 3 Result: Won vs. New England, 26-10
The Detroit Lions were a team in disarray entering Week 3. The Lions were 0-2, having been blasted at home by the Jets on the season's first Monday night. There were reports that new head coach Matt Patricia's hard-nosed coaching style had rubbed some veteran players the wrong way.
So of course, the Lions handled the defending AFC champions Sunday night with relative ease, because that makes perfect sense.
The Lions won at the point of attack on offense and defense in the game. Rookie Kerryon Johnson became the first Lions tailback to top 100 yards on the ground in 70 games.
Is it a performance that erases all the problems the Lions appeared to have over the first two games? No. But it showed that Patricia hasn't lost the team, and a win this big should motivate them to buy in that much more.
Detroit might not be as DOA as we thought.
25. San Francisco 49ers (1-2)
Last Week: 19
Week 3 Result: Lost at Kansas City, 38-27
Losing by 11 points to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday in a game when the 49ers were absolutely ravaged defensively in the first half may turn out to be the least of the team's problems.
Because a few weeks after watching starting tailback Jerick McKinnon go down for the season with an ACL tear, it appears a similar fate has now befallen quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
Per NFL.com, San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan inferred after the game that the injury that forced Garoppolo from the game in the fourth quarter is believed to be significant.
There's no underselling the impact of this injury. If Garoppolo's done for the year, so are the Niners. A season that began with hopes of building on last year's hot finish has quickly disintegrated into a nightmare the Niners can't wake up from.
Just a rotten break for San Fran...and a season-killer in Gagnon's opinion.
"Honestly, they didn't look like a contender with Jimmy Garoppolo," he said. "Take him away and this is a mediocre, rebuilding team that might struggle to win a handful of games in the deep NFC."
24. New York Giants (1-2)
Last Week: 24
Week 3 Result: Won at Houston, 27-22
The New York Giants are back, baby!
OK, so "back" may be pushing it. A lot. Even in victory against the Houston Texans, there was cause for concern for Big Blue. New York's offensive line remains a hot mess, allowing four more sacks—including three by defensive end J.J. Watt.
But the Giants found a way to win. Saquon Barkley was effective running the ball, averaging 4.8 yards a carry. Wide receiver Odell Beckham topped 100 receiving yards for the second time in three weeks. And Eli Manning had by far his best game of the season, missing on just four of 29 pass attempts and posting a passer rating of 132.3.
There's been precious little to smile about in New York this season, but the Giants finally notched a "W" in Week 3.
Now, all they have to do is play four straight against teams that made the postseason in 2017.
23. Seattle Seahawks (1-2)
Last Week: 23
Week 3 Result: Won vs. Dallas, 24-13
Week 3 was gut-check time for the Seattle Seahawks. After dropping two straight on the road to open the season, the Seahawks' backs were already against the wall.
The team responded. Russell Wilson's 192 passing yards weren't a big number, but he avoided mistakes. More importantly, Wilson stayed upright—after surrendering six sacks in each of the first two games, the Seattle O-line gave up only two to Dallas.
The Seahawks also got their best effort of the season from tailback Chris Carson. Rather than alternate between Carson and rookie Rashaad Penny, Seattle rode Carson to the tune of 32 carries against the Cowboys. The result was a 102-yard stat line with a score.
By no means are Seattle's problems fixed. And to be bluntly frank (or frankly blunt), the Seahawks are more pretender than contender in 2018.
But Seattle had a more immediate problem in Week 3—stop the bleeding.
In that regard at least, it succeeded.
22. Indianapolis Colts (1-2)
Last Week: 20
Week 3 Result: Lost at Philadelphia, 20-16
The good news for the Indianapolis Colts is the team has had a second-half lead in all three games this season.
The bad news is that twice—including Sunday in Philadelphia—the Colts haven't been able to hold that lead.
Frankly, the Colts were fortunate to have ever had the lead against the Eagles. Indy's offense was downright offensive, gaining a measly 209 total yards. Quarterback Andrew Luck continued to struggle moving the ball downfield, averaging just 4.1 yards an attempt.
The most damning indictment of Luck came on the final play of the game, when the Colts brought Jacoby Brissett in off the bench to attempt a Hail Mary. After topping 300 passing yards in Week 1, Luck has just 343 over his last two games combined. Sunday also marked the second straight week the Colts failed to amass 300 yards of total offense.
That's not going to get it done.
21. Tennesee Titans (2-1)
Last Week: 25
Week 3 Result: Won at Jacksonville, 9-6
The Tennessee Titans were able to do very little offensively against Jacksonville in Week 3. The Titans had a whopping 233 yards of total offense in the game. Quarterback Marcus Mariota threw for all of 100 yards against one of the NFL's most stifling defenses. Tennessee scored nine points on the road.
And won, because we have no idea why.
For the second week in a row, the Titans "won" a game that appeared to be a battle of two teams trying to decide which club wanted to lose more. This isn't to say the Titans didn't do anything well—Tennessee held the Jags to 232 yards of total offense. And to be fair, 2-1 is 2-1 no matter how you get there.
But the Titans aren't a good team. The offense is stuck in mud, and unless they get things rolling in that regard in a hurry, these smoke-and-mirrors wins are going to dry up.
However, if they do, Sobleski thinks this Titans team could make some noise in 2018:
"Amazingly, Tennesee won its last two contests with Blaine Gabbert starting at quarterback. But Gabbert suffered a concussion against the Jacksonville Jaguars, allowing Marcus Mariota (who is himself nursing an elbow injury that makes gripping the ball difficult) to reclaim the Titans offense and lead the team to a victory. Mike Vrabel's squad managed without its franchise quarterback. If Mariota figures out Matt LaFleur's offense, this could be a team about to take off."
20. Miami Dolphins (3-0)
Last Week: 21
Week 3 Result: Won vs. Oakland, 28-20
It's time to start giving the Miami Dolphins their due—sort of.
Yes, the Dolphins haven't played anyone yet. And it's been done with a special teams score, superb defense and trick plays—the Dolphins have thrown the kitchen sink at their opponents.
But 3-0 is 3-0...and after coming back to down the Raiders at home in Week 3, the Dolphins are in a position that has historically produced many more playoff trips than not.
However, the last time the Dolphins started 3-0 (2013) Miami proceeded to lose four in a row, finishing 8-8 and out of the postseason. The Dolphins haven't started 3-0 and finished the season with a winning record since all the way back in 2002.
Given that history and Miami's less-than-stellar opposition to date, Davenport remains a bit skeptical.
"The Dolphins may be better than we thought," he said. "But that doesn't make them good. You want some dap, Dolphins? Beat the Patriots in Gillette next week. Heck, just give New England a run for its money and I'll have a much easier time buying this team is for real. Right now, 3-0 or not, I don't."
Gagnon echoed those sentiments.
"They can't control who they play," he said, "but beating the Titans, Jets and Raiders by one score each doesn't mean a whole lot, especially with two of those victories coming at home. If they hang with the Patriots in Week 4, I'll move them way up in my rankings."
19. Cleveland Browns (1-1-1)
Last Week: 27
Week 3 Result: Won vs. New York Jets, 21-17
So, there was a small development in Thursday's Week 3 tilt between the Jets and Browns you may have heard about.
If you haven't (way to rock the sensory deprivation chamber), then here's the CliffsNotes version—after Tyrod Taylor was injured in the second quarter. No. 1 overall pick Baker Mayfield made his NFL debut at quarterback for the Browns.
He didn't really do much—if you call completing over 70 percent of his passes for just over 200 yards in just over a half and leading the Browns to their first win in 635 days after entering the game down 14-nada not doing much.
It was an outstanding first game—and then some. The stuff of legend. Long-suffering fans of the Browns will tell their children the story of Baker's first big comeback.
If Mayfield's performance Thursday was any indication, it won't be the last story they tell about him. The accuracy. The ball placement. The quick release. The cool under pressure.
The youngster's still got a long way to go, but Mayfield looked the part of a future star against New York.
And Gagnon thinks the Browns may have the look of a contender.
"The Browns should be 3-0, or at least 2-1, and they'll continue to get better," he said. "They're clearly in better shape at quarterback, and I fully expect them to be in the playoff mix come December."
18. Denver Broncos (2-1)
Last Week: 14
Week 3 Result: Lost at Baltimore, 27-14
Over the first two weeks of the 2018 season, the Denver Broncos overcame self-inflicted errors and turnovers.
That luck ran out Sunday in Baltimore.
Partly, Sunday's 13-point loss was the fault of quarterback Case Keenum, who threw a devastating interception late. It was Keenum's fifth pick of the year, and he's thrown at least one in all three games.
But it wasn't Keenum's fault the Broncos committed 13 penalties that cost Denver 120 yards. Or that rookie tailback (and leading rusher) Phillip Lindsay got himself tossed from the game for throwing punches.
Stay classy, kid.
Against a pair of tomato cans to open the season, the Broncos got away with that sort of nonsense at home and still eked out wins.
On the road against a better opponent, it got the Broncos beaten—and exposed in the process.
17. Washington Redskins (2-1)
Last Week: 22
Week 3 Result: Won vs. Green Bay, 31-17
Good luck figuring out the Washington Redskins.
In Week 1, the Redskins looked lights-out in trouncing the Arizona Cardinals. Then, Washington came home and laid a big fat egg against the Indianapolis Colts. So, of course the next step was to again look very impressive in taking care of the Green Bay Packers with relative ease.
Maybe it's a matter of which Adrian Peterson shows up. The Week 1 and Week 3 versions ran like a 25-year-old, piling up 216 rushing yards and scoring three touchdowns. The offense had balance, and Washington controlled both games throughout.
The Week 2 Peterson looked like he was 53 instead of 33, averaging 1.8 yards a carry—and the Redskins got thumped.
The Redskins are one of two teams that will be off next week, and had you told them they'd hit the bye with two wins in three tries, the team would no doubt take it.
The test comes when the Redskins get back—a trip to the Superdome to face the Saints followed by a home tilt with the Panthers.
16. Los Angeles Chargers (1-2)
Last Week: 8
Week 3 Result: Lost at Los Angeles Rams, 35-23
Here we go again with the Los Angeles Chargers.
This wouldn't be the first time the Chargers entered a season amid promise and buzz—only to get off to a sluggish start that ruins their chances of making the playoffs by Thanksgiving.
That isn't to say that's what happening here. The Chargers have had the scheduling misfortune of playing the NFL's two best offensive teams in the first three weeks of the season. They're far from alone in getting shredded by Jared Goff and Patrick Mahomes.
It's no stretch to call Los Angeles the best 1-2 team in the league not named the Patriots.
But the bottom line is you are exactly as good as your record says you are. Three weeks in, the Chargers are in third place in the AFC West, two back of Kansas City with a head-to-head loss.
That leaves very little margin for error for L.A. as the schedule softens up a bit over the next month.
15. Baltimore Ravens (2-1)
Last Week: 18
Week 3 Result: Won vs. Denver, 27-14
The Baltimore Ravens took care of business at home Sunday, peeling off a 13-point win against the visiting Denver Broncos.
Mind you, it wasn't an especially impressive victory. Quarterback Joe Flacco was good but not great in passing for 277 yards and a score, The Ravens struggled to run the ball, gaining just 77 yards on 28 carries.
However, the Ravens made a play when they needed to, with Patrick Onwuasor's late interception of Case Keenum essentially salting the game away.
In Davenport's opinion, the Ravens aren't a great team. But they might just be good enough to win their division:
"If the first three games of 2018 are any indication, no one's running away with the AFC North. The Steelers are a discordant mess. The Bengals were exposed a bit in Carolina on Sunday. And the Browns are, well, the Browns. If Baltimore can avoid making mistakes (like it did against Denver), this is a team that will be in the thick of the race in the AFC North."
"Defense goes a long way," he said, "and the Ravens feature the league's top-ranked unit. Joe Flacco provides just enough offensive punch with his newfound weapons at wide receiver to keep the ball moving. If not, Terrell Suggs and Co. can slow any opposing offense."
14. Atlanta Falcons (1-2)
Last Week: 9
Week 3 Result: Lost vs. New Orleans, 43-37 (OT)
Do you smell that? That aroma of burning rubber mixed with manure?
Yeah, that's the Atlanta defense.
The Falcons were smoked defensively in an overtime loss at home to the Saints to the tune of 534 yards of total offense.
Five hundred and thirty-four yards.
That huge game from Ryan got the Falcons to overtime. But the Saints took the opening kickoff and proceeded to grind their way down the field in a seven-plus-minute drive that resulted in Brees' second rushing score of the game.
The Falcons have lost their two best defensive players (linebacker Deion Jones and safety Keanu Neal) to significant injuries already this year. Sunday, those absences were painfully apparent.
So is the fact these Falcons are in trouble.
13. Cincinnati Bengals (2-1)
Last Week: 10
Week 3 Result: Lost at Carolina, 31-21
The Cincinnati Bengals may have lost the battle and the war in Week 3.
The Bengals suffered their first loss of the young season in Charlotte, falling to the Panthers in a game in which Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton threw four interceptions.
You just can't do that and win in the NFL—ever.
However, the loss itself may be the least of Cincinnati's problems. Star wide receiver A.J. Green left the game with what's being called a groin injury. Per Rebecca Toback of SB Nation, head coach Marvin Lewis indicated he's unsure if Green will be available for next week's trip to Atlanta.
Mind you, Cincinnati rushed for just 66 yards against the Panthers with lead back Joe Mixon on the shelf with a bad knee. Losing Green on top of that would be devastating.
Sunday marked the first of four games in five weeks for the Bengals against playoff teams from last year. The first test of just how good these Bengals are.
They failed it.
12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1)
Last Week: 11
Week 3 Result: Lost vs. Pittsburgh 30-27
The rotten thing about good things is that they invariably end.
And so it is with "Fitzmagic."
After capturing the imagination of fans everywhere with a pair of 400-yard, four-TD efforts to start the season (a first in NFL history), Buccaneers quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick came crashing back to earth in Week 3. The 35-year-old threw three first-half interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown.
That created a hole that was just too deep for the Buccaneers to dig out of—although they made the Steelers sweat late with a frenetic fourth-quarter comeback attempt.
The setback was unfortunate, but it needs to be put in perspective. The Buccaneers opened the season with three straight against teams that made the playoffs—including the defending Super Bowl champs.
That Tampa made it out of that gauntlet with two wins is equal parts surprising and impressive.
Even in defeat Fitzpatrick made a little history, becoming the first quarterback in league history to throw for over 400 yards in three straight games to open a season.
Thus, the "maybe."
Things don't get easier from here though—next up is a trip to Chicago to face Khalil Mack and the 2-1 Bears.
11. Green Bay Packers (1-1-1)
Last Week: 7
Week 3 Result: Lost at Washington, 31-17
Usually, NFL teams don't especially like having an early bye week.
However, if you offered the Green Bay Packers the opportunity to take theirs in Week 4, the Pack would probably pounce on it.
Because Aaron Rodgers just isn't right. He's not Aaron Rodgers.
No. 12's stat line against the Redskins wasn't terrible. He passed for 265 yards and two scores with no picks and a passer rating of 93.5. But in multiple occasions, Rodgers missed throws that he just doesn't miss. His knee injury has sapped his ability to extend plays with his legs. Rodgers is still really good—but right now he isn't great.
Luckily, the schedule over the next few weeks is soft—a home date with Buffalo, a trip to Detroit and a visit from the 49ers. After that comes the bye—and then a trip to L.A. to play the big bad Rams.
The odds of Green Bay beating that team with half an Aaron Rodgers aren't especially good.
10. Chicago Bears (2-1)
Last Week: 15
Week 3 Result: Won at Arizona, 16-14
The Chicago Bears might be a very good ream. Maybe.
Through three weeks, the record says Chicago is pretty good. The Bears are one Aaron Rodgers miracle this side of 3-0. The defense is most assuredly good. After a third straight big game, Khalil Mack appears bent on removing all doubt and suspense from the Defensive Player of the Year race.
But the offense has been...um...well...not so great. Jordan Howard averaged a whopping 2.5 yards a carry in Week 3 against the winless Arizona Cardinals. Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky tossed another interception and has missed as many open receivers as he's hit.
And perhaps most alarmingly, the Bears spotted a terrible Cardinals team 14 points Sunday before mounting a comeback and eking out a win.
Maybe the comeback will offer a young team a lesson in overcoming adversity. The schedule sets up well for Chicago—four of the team's next six games come against teams that missed the playoffs a year ago.
But the Bears need to even things out and play more efficient football if they're really going to contend in the NFC North over the long haul.
Still, the top 10 is a nice place to be for this team. Uncharted waters.
9. Carolina Panthers (2-1)
Last Week: 16
Week 3 Result: Won vs. Cincinnati, 31-21
When the Carolina Panthers play their brand of football, they can be a tough team to beat.
In Week 3 against the Cincinnati Bengals, Carolina was all about Panthers football.
Tailback Christian McCaffrey had more yards on the ground (184) than Cam Newton had through the air (150). Newton picked up two touchdowns with his arm and an equal number with his legs. The Panthers were actually outgained slightly by the Bengals, but the defense made big plays in big moments, forcing four Andy Dalton interceptions. Carolina also held Cincinnati under 70 yards rushing, although in fairness, the Bengals only ran the ball 13 times.
On a day when the New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons played an overtime thriller, the Panthers notched a big win that served to remind us they're hardly an also-ran in the NFC South themselves.
What a division race that's shaping up to be.
8. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1-1)
Last Week: 12
Week 3 Result: Won at Tampa Bay 30-27
The good news for the Pittsburgh Steelers is that despite a start to the season that's been less than ideal, Monday night's road win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lifted the team to .500. Bumpy start or no, the Steelers are just a half a game out of first place in the AFC North.
It was a game in which Ben Roethlisberger put on a passing clinic in the first half, completing 21 of 25 passes for 273 yards and three scores. Per ESPN's telecast, Roethlisberger has more passing yards in the first half of the first three games this year than any quarterback over the last 25 years.
However, all that ails the Steelers has most assuredly not been fixed. James Conner had just 61 yards rushing. The NFL's most penalized team piled up 13 more for 155 yards. A defense that has struggled late in games did so again. And kicker Chris Boswell missed multiple kicks for the second time in three games—including an extra point.
Pittsburgh tried to give this game away.
The Steelers are a good team—we think. How good exactly remains a mystery…although a Week 4 fistfight with the Ravens should offer a better indication.
7. New England Patriots (1-2)
Last Week: 5
Week 3 Result: Lost at Detroit, 26-10
This ranking will no doubt rub some folks the wrong way. Despite losing back-to-back games in decisive fashion, the Patriots remain in the top 10—ahead of teams like the Baltimore Ravens, Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos, who each have two wins, and ahead of the undefeated Dolphins.
It's true, the Patriots haven't looked much like the big bad bullies of the AFC in losing to first the Jaguars and then the Lions. The defense has been porous. The offense has been hit-or-miss.
Here's the thing, though. It's the Patriots. They are like Freddie Kreuger. The first nine times you think they're dead, it turns out not so much.
Last year, the Patriots got waxed at home by the Chiefs in Week 1. Then, the Carolina Panthers beat the Pats at Gillette in Week 4. The defense was a mess. The dynasty was over. Yada yada yada.
After the first of October, the Patriots lost once the rest of the regular season. No one circles the wagons like Bill Belichick.
However, if New England loses a third straight in Week 4, it will justifiably be time to panic.
This Sunday, the Patriots host those unbeaten Dolphins.
6. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-1)
Last Week: 3
Week 3 Result: Lost vs. Tennessee, 9-6
Last week, the Jacksonville Jaguars looked like the best team in the AFC, throttling the New England Patriots in a beatdown that sent a message to the rest of the conference.
Another message got sent Sunday in Jacksonville—that maybe we overestimated just how good the Jags are.
Frankly, it's hard to believe the Jaguars who blasted the Patriots are the same team that managed just six points in Week 3 against a mediocre Tennessee Titans squad. After throwing for well over 350 yards and four touchdowns last week, Blake Bortles had just 155 passing yards against the Titans. Jacksonville had just 232 yards of total offense as a team.
Davenport was left…nonplussed.
"You know why people have a hard time taking the Jaguars seriously as a Super Bowl contender? Turkeys like this from the Jacksonville offense.' he said. "To call this disappointing after how great the Jaguars looked in Week 2 is an understatement—and then some."
5. Minnesota Vikings (1-1-1)
Last Week: 2
Week 3 Result: Lost vs. Buffalo, 27-6
After settling for a tie in Week 2, the general belief was that an angry Minnesota Vikings team would take out its frustrations Sunday on the hapless Buffalo Bills. The point spread for the game was north of two touchdowns.
Well, there was most assuredly a hapless team on the field at U.S. Bank Stadium.
It was the Vikings.
In what has to be the most bizarre NFL game in recent memory, the Vikings—a team most saw as a Super Bowl front-runner—got the snot kicked out of them by a Bills team that looked like stinky poo over the first two weeks of the season.
Minnesota's high-octane offense gained the same number of yards (292) as Buffalo's sputtering attack. The Vikings didn't cross midfield in the first half against the Bills defense that entered the week averaging also 40 points allowed per game.
It was a disaster. It was embarrassing. And it raised a whole bunch of questions about just how good these Vikings really are.
4. New Orleans Saints (2-1)
Last Week: 13
Week 3 Result: Won at Atlanta, 43-37 (OT)
The New Orleans Saints pulled off their most impressive drive of the 2018 season Sunday in Atlanta, taking the opening kickoff in overtime and methodically marching the length of the field for the winning score.
It was a thrilling end to an important divisional game. A game in which Drew Brees broke the NFL record for the most pass completions in a career.
The game was a showcase for wide receiver Michael Thomas and tailback Alvin Kamara. Thomas continued his red-hot start, catching 10 passes for 129 yards. Kamara touched the ball an eye-popping 31 times for an equally eye-popping 190 total yards.
This game made a lot of fantasy owners happy.
It did not, however, please Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen. The Saints surrendered over 400 yards of total offense and five touchdowns to quarterback Matt Ryan.
In that respect, the 2018 Saints are looking eerily like so many teams in New Orleans during the Brees era.
They can move up and down the field at will. But they can't stop opponents from doing the same.
3. Philadelphia Eagles (2-1)
Last Week: 6
Week 3 Result: Won vs. Indianapolis, 20-16
Good teams figure out a way to win even when they aren't at 100 percent.
And make no mistake: Right now, the defending Super Bowl champions are not close to 100 percent.
In a game where Carson Wentz made his return but did so without both his top tailback (Jay Ajayi) and No. 1 wide receiver (Alshon Jeffery), the Eagles offense sputtered at times. Wentz committed a pair of turnovers—both in Eagles territory.
With the passing game struggling a bit, the Eagles ground game picked things up. Using a committee attack, the Eagles rushed for 152 yards on 35 carries in the rain. The defense was stout as well, holding the Colts to only 209 total yards.
Philly didn't pile up style points. Or many points period. But when the final gun sounded, a banged-up Eagles team had four more than Indianapolis.
At the end of the day, that's all that matters.
2. Kansas City Chiefs (3-0)
Last Week: 4
Week 3 Result: Won vs. San Francisco, 38-27
So, this Patrick Mahomes kid might be legit.
One week after setting an NFL record for the most touchdown passes over the first two starts of a season, Mahomes went one better against the 49ers. His three scoring passes in the first half against San Francisco gave him 13 for the season.
Never in the history of the league has a quarterback thrown that many touchdown passes over the first three games in a season.
The Chiefs are an unstoppable buzzsaw offensively.A buzzsaw that has impressed Gagnon thoroughly.
"I feel as though Andy Reid has finally mastered offensive football," he said. "He's got the perfect toolbox and has become one of the best offensive minds in the game. This might finally be his year."
There's little question that the Chiefs appear to be the class of the AFC West. But there's one facet of the team that continues to concern Davenport.
"It's getting lost amid all the hoopla the Chiefs offense has rightly generated, but the defense is bad. Really bad. It keeps letting opponents back into games after the offense opens a huge lead. The poor defense hasn't come back to bite the Chiefs yet. But I can't shake the feeling that at some point it's going to."
1. Los Angeles Rams (3-0)
Last Week: 1
Week 3 Result: Won vs. Los Angeles Chargers, 35-23
In a week when at least one of the NFL's top contenders stumbled badly, there was no misstep by Bleacher Report's No. 1 team.
Just another beating for some hapless opponent.
The thing is, the Chargers really aren't hapless. This is a team many pundits picked to win the AFC West before the season. And yet at no point during Sunday's game did the Chargers really appear to have a chance.
The Rams are absolutely stacked offensively. Load up the box, and Jared Goff will pick you apart. Play soft and Todd Gurley will bludgeon you into submission.
The defense is similarly loaded, but in that regard, there may just a problem brewing. Per ESPN.com's Lindsey Thiry, starting cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters both left Sunday's win with injuries—and the team has a short turnaround before Thursday night's big showdown with the Vikings.
Of course, given how the two teams looked in Week 3, it's probably not the Rams who should be worried.