The first three weeks of the NFL regular season is in the books. Just like every season before this one, there were some surprises. Let me caution you about trying to grade a team off of one good or bad week.
Given the season is still so young, these Power Rankings will factor in teams that I believe are good but had an off week and teams that I feel won by default or overachieved. Be forewarned as you will see some teams with lesser records ranked higher than others. Matchup’s will even out over time but after just three weeks, clearly some teams have has harder schedules than others. With all that being said, I’m sure 90% of you have jumped over this entire first paragraph and just looked to see where you favorite team placed….
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1. Green Bay Packers (3-0) People have been complaining about the Packers not blowing teams out. They played every game close last year too. How did that work out? Most complete team on both sides of the ball.
2. New Orleans Saints (2-1) Like so many of my top ten teams, they have a liability on the defensive side of the ball. But they have a poised QB, that will win games they shouldn’t and overcome their bad defensive play. Drew Brees did it against Houston & almost pulled it off vs Green Bay.
3. Baltimore Ravens (2-1) Other than underestimating a better than expected Titans’ team, Baltimore has looked like the best in the AFC. Concerns surrounding this team will be the pass defense vs elite pass offenses.
4. Detroit Lions (3-0) A healthy Matt Stafford, Calvin Johnson, & Jahvid Best, that’s exactly what we’re seeing right now. Like everyone else it seems, the defense is suspect to the pass. Getting rookie Nick Fairley back and playing next to Ndamukong Suh should create pressure to protect back side.
5. Buffalo Bills (3-0) Confident and not t afraid of divisional foes, New York or New England. No reason to think this defense can’t hold Mark Sanchez in check and allow this offense to score enough against the Jets’ defense. We’ve already seen what they can do with the Patriots after spotting 21.
6. New England Patriots (2-1) Patriots held Ryan Fitzpatrick to only 369 yards. I say only because that’s the least amount of passing yards from a starting QB vs New England this year. Need to be concerned about the defense.
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1) This team is young, from the head coach, to the starting quarterback, to the explosive defensive line. They’ll only get better as the year goes on. Probably most complete team behind Green Bay. True contender in every game.
8. Houston Texans (2-1) With all of the defenses struggling this year, the Texans are catching the most flack because of their 2010 campaign. But there’s no shame in losing to the Saints in New Orleans and giving up 40, the Packers gave up almost the same in Green Bay. Main concern is Kareem Jackson.
9. Oakland Raiders (2-1) They finally found a track team that can play football and…it’s exciting as hell to watch! Jacoby Ford will only make them faster. Ford, Denarius Moore, Taiwan Jones, & Darren McFadden…forget down, set, hut,it’s more like on your mark, get set, go!
10. New York Jets (2-1) A team that has to rely on their defense. If this D struggles like this past Sunday, then they’ll lose. They don’t have the right personnel to get involved in a shootout and routinely pull it off.
11. Atlanta Falcons (1-2) Still underachieving but we were saying the same thing about the Packers last year. Don’t jump off the bandwagon Atlanta. This team will hit it’s stride and will play up to it’s talent. Key word is PATIENCE.
12. Philadelphia Eagles (1-2) Their situation is similar but different to Atlanta. There’s no chemistry but it’s due to injuries. They still have the talent to make a Super Bowl run, but if key players keep getting nicked up they’ll never build their identity. Also, they signed Vince Young so the offense would stay in same rhythm as if Vick was running it. So, why go with Mike Kafka?
13. San Diego Chargers (2-1) I’m not shocked that the Chargers are starting off slow. In fact, it would be jaw dropping if San Diego looked stellar from week 1. They do this every year and come the last half of the season, they’ll be one of the hottest teams in football. PATIENCE.
14. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-1) Serious questions in the Steel city. Ben Roethlisberger can make plays with his feet but he can’t walk on water, especially when four 300 pound men are trying to bury him without any protection. This O-line has looked awful and more injuries are piling up.
15. Dallas Cowboys (2-1) It was an ugly win on Monday night but to come out of that game as the victor with all of the injuries and errors, then Dallas is clearly better than Washington. They also need to be feared as their starters begin to get healthy.
16. Cleveland Browns (2-1) Colt McCoy is one of those players that elevates his game at key points. Cleveland looks like they’ve found Peyton Hillis’ compliment back in Montario Hardesty as long as he can stay healthy. This young defense continues to grow.
17. Washington Redskins (2-1) he media would have gotten carried away with this team if they held on to the win vs Dallas. They’ve beaten a banged up, mediocre Giants squad, snuck by a mediocre Cardinals team, and lost to a team of injury replacements in Dallas. Come back down to earth.
18. Tennessee Titans (2-1) If Chris Johnson can’t get his legs under him against Denver, then when does he get it going? The loss of Kenny Britt will set Matt Hasselbeck back to the Kerry Collins category.
19. Chicago Bears (1-2) It’s simple, pressure Jay Cutler…win. He’ll have some good games this year but it will be the exception, not the rule.
20. New York Giants (2-1) This team lives and dies with the pressure of their front four and opening up their own passing attack by having the threat of a running game. They had both going in wins vs St Louis and Philly.
21. St. Louis Rams (0-3) The best 0-3 team in the NFL. I guess that’s not saying much so maybe this is a better statement. hey’ll be the only 0-3 team to win their division this year.
22. Miami Dolphins (0-3) The glass is half full version……. Daniel Thomas will be fun to watch and Chad Henne has improved.
23. Arizona Cardinals (1-2) They should be able to beat out the Rams for the divisional crown but they won’t. They’re a one-dimensional team that can’t get their biggest playmaker, Larry Fitzgerald, enough opportunities. If they want any chance of contending, they have to find a running game.
24. Carolina Panthers (1-2) Cam Newton is able to distract defenses and make the Panthers competitive against most opponents and better than the 8 teams listed below. The Panthers do need to get DeAngelo Williams going though.
25. San Francisco 49ers (2-1) Don’t let the 2-1 record fool you. This is a bad team that beat the Seahawks & Bengals. Both are ranked lower on this list. The Rams are a much better team despite their 0-3 record vs the Eagles, Giants, & Ravens.
26. Denver Broncos (1-2) They have a blend of youthful and veteran talent. The bad part is that they don’t have an identity. Who are the Broncos? A passing team? A running team? A defensive power? None of the above, they are a top 10 draft pick team.
27. Cincinnati Bengals (1-2) The Bengals always have the talent to compete but their tabloid nonsense always drags them down. Cedric Benson had threats of jail time in-season & now faces league suspension. Jerome Simpson is working on his post football career. It won’t be this year. They need a fresh start with a new coach, a disciplinarian.
28. Minnesota Vikings (0-3) Top 10 team in the first half but worst team in the NFL in the second half. drian Peterson & a D-line can’t save this team.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-2) I don’t know where to start. No quarterback, an aging running back, no receivers, and one of the worst secondaries. Oops, left out the fact that they’re led by a head coach who reminds me of Dauber from the old TV show “Coach” (Not a compliment).
30. Seattle Seahawks (1-2) I guess by getting a win I can’t list them as the worst team in the NFL. But dammit I’m tempted. They are still a horrific football team.
31. Kansas City Chiefs (0-3) Kansas City can thank Indy for not wanting to win as the reason they aren’t listed as the worst team in football.
29. Indianapolis Colts (0-3) Peyton Manning will not play this year and the Colts probably want win a game & it’ll be the best season for the Colts. They’ll get Andrew Luck because of it and have Manning mentor him until Peyton is ready to hang it up.
Jayson Braddock is an NFL Scout / NFL Writer & On-Air Personality. Jayson is also a football insider for the Dylan Gwinn show on 790 AM in Houston, TX - Listeners NOT in the Houston metropolitan area can hear Jayson on iheart radio or sports790.com. You can also catch Jayson on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio with Scott Engel and the morning crew every Thursday at 10:30am ET. You may email Jayson directly @ firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @JaysonBraddock