Week three was pretty wild in the NFL. There were a plethora of games that finished with a very unexpected outcome. It has caused a shift in power rankings. It is still early and difficult to tell which teams are contenders and which teams are pretenders. The deeper the season goes the clearer the picture will be. With week three officially in the books, here are the 2017 NFL power rankings: week 4
32. Cleveland Browns (0-3)
Last week: 29 (-3)
Next opponent: home vs. Cincinnati
Losing to the Colts makes the Browns look like the worst team in the NFL. They won’t finish the season this low but right now this is where they rank. Not everything about the game on Sunday was bad. Cleveland fought back from a 28-7 deficit to lose 31-28. Saying this will get old by the end of the season but this team is young and heading in the right direction. They are still learning how to win.
31. San Fransisco 49ers (0-3)
Last week: 28 (-3)
Next opponent: away vs. Arizona
The 49ers have been battling tough in their games but are coming up short. The defense has been making strides but is too young and inexperienced. They let Todd Gurley and Jared Goff go bonkers on them. Offensively they must rely on Carlos Hyde to carry the workload and hope that Brian Hoyer doesn’t make too many mistakes.
30. Cincinnati Bengals (0-3)
Last week: 27 (-3)
Next opponent: away vs. Cleveland
The Bengals almost pulled off the upset in Lambeau Field. They even got a pick six off Aaron Rodgers. In the end, the offense was unable to close out the game. The Bengals were winning 21-17 late in the game. Had the offense driven the ball into the end zone to take a 28-17 lead they would have won the game. Instead, they had to settle for a field goal taking the lead to 24-17. They committed a cardinal sin. You should never give the ball to Aaron Rodgers with the game on the line. Rodgers drove the Packers down for a touchdown and won the game in overtime. The Bengals are in for a long season and may start a rebuild.
29. New York Jets (1-2)
Last week: 32 (+3)
Next opponent: home vs. Jacksonville
Holy crap the Jets actually won a game. They weren’t going to go 0-16 but beating the Dolphins in week three was a surprise. They don’t look the like the worst team in the NFL but can still end up there as the season progresses. Heading into week four they will play host to the Jaguars. If they find a way to win that game then the Jets will have fully messed up their tank.
28. New York Giants (0-3)
Last week: 23 (-6)
Next opponent: away vs. Tampa Bay
Who would have thought that after three weeks the winless New York team would be the Giants? Not a single person would have predicted this. The Giants are struggling to run the ball averaging just 48.7 yards per game, the worst mark in the NFL. Eli Manning isn’t able to make up for a one-dimensional offense. The defense is also underperforming giving up 23.3 points per game. Last year they gave up 17.8 points per game. The Giants are in danger of having a horrible season and if they do they will move on from Eli.
27. Indianapolis Colts
Last week: 31 (+4)
Next opponent: away vs. Seattle
Jacoby Brissett didn’t look too bad in his start against the Browns. He completed 17 of 24 passes for 259 yards and a touchdown. Brissett also added 14 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. The Colts are going to hang around with good teams but won’t have enough talent to win many games without Luck. The defense played well but it against a rookie quarterback and the Browns. Going forward this team will remain somewhere within the top 10 of the NFL draft.
26. Arizona Cardinals
Last week: 25 (-1)
Next opponent: home vs. San Fransisco
Carson Palmer had a clean pocket and found Larry Legend all night against the Cowboys. Fitzgerald had 13 receptions 149 yards and a touchdown but it wasn’t enough to get a win at home. The Cardinals defense has been considered elite but that isn’t the case anymore. They are giving up 25.3 points per game. There is nothing positive to look forward to this season for Arizona.
25. Los Angeles Chargers (0-3)
Last week: 20 (-5)
Next opponent: home vs. Philadelphia
Philip Rivers is an interception throwing machine and it is hurting the Chargers. Los Angeles has a good defense and can run the ball but still can’t win games because of Rivers and their special teams. The Chargers will continue being competitive this season but will finish fourth in their division. The next step for the Chargers is finding a replacement for Rivers as soon as possible.
24. Miami Dolphins (1-1)
Last week: 19 (-5)
Next opponent: home vs. New Orleans
Jay Cutler gets all the hype and a big win in their first game but then comes back and lays an egg against the Jets. After two weeks the Jets ranked 18th in pass defense giving up 224 yards per game. Cutler only completed 59 percent of his passes for 220 yards, one touchdown and one interception. The Jets were also allowing over 30 points per game and the Dolphins only managed to score six. It was a lousy performance that raised many questions on how good the Dolphins will be this season.
23. New Orleans Saints (1-2)
Last week: 26 (+3)
Next opponent: away vs. Miami
It was a strange week in the NFL and the Saints deserve part of the blame. They intercepted Cam Newton three times and held the Panthers to just 13 points. The defense played much better than they had in the first two weeks. Offensively, Drew Brees got the ball to a ton of different weapons and threw for 220 yards and three touchdowns. This performance might have saved the season for the Saints. If they go to Miami and get a win they will be back in the thick of the NFC.
22. Chicago Bears (1-2)
Last week: 30 (+8)
Next opponent: away vs. Green Bay
The Chicago Bears have been known as a defensive franchise for most of their history. This season they seem to have gotten back to that and it looks like the Bears are going to be better than most expected because of it. They lost a close one to Atlanta and then upset the high-powered Steelers. The Bears rank 12th in total defense allowing just 321.7 yards per game. Chicago may not make the playoffs but they are going to be a tough opponent for everyone they face.
21. Baltimore Ravens (2-1)
Last week: 13 (-8)
Next opponent: home vs. Pittsburgh
The Ravens are as bad as I thought they were and they finally showed it. Baltimore traveled to London just to get lit up by none other than Blake Bortles. The Ravens only managed to score seven points and those points came with the outcome of the game already decided. The Ravens defense was picked apart and the offense looks more basic than a middle school offense. Baltimore will not win a lot of games this year.
20. Seattle Seahawks (1-2)
Last week: 16 (-4)
Next opponent: home vs. Indianapolis
All great empires fall at some point unless you’re Bill Belichick. The Seahawks don’t look as mighty as they were expected to or have in the past. Seattle still can’t run the ball as well as they would like too and the entire offense revolves around Russell Wilson running for his life and being a playmaker. The defense is getting gashed in the run game and giving up 146 rush yards per game. As long as that continues the Seahawks are going to be in a ton of dogfights.
19. Houston Texans (1-2)
Last week: 21 (+2)
Next opponent: home vs. Tennessee
DeShaun Watson played pretty well against the Patriots but it wasn’t enough. Tom Brady drove 92 yards on the vaunted Texan’s defense to hand Houston a second loss in three games. The Texans now have to host the Titans who may be one of the true contenders in the AFC. Houston is giving up just under 100 rush yards per game. They need to do that against Tennessee in order to get a win. The Texans will either pull to .500 or fall to 1-3 and maybe too far behind in the race for the division.
18. Los Angeles Rams (2-1)
Last week: 18 (no change)
Next opponent: away vs. Dallas
Not many are going to believe this but the Rams have the number one scoring offense in the NFL at 35.7 points per game. This high point output may be a bit fluky as their 40 point outbursts came against the Colts and the 49ers. Two teams that aren’t all that good. The good sign though is that Todd Gurley and Jared Goff are off to hot starts to the season. If they play like this all year they will dethrone the Seahawks in the NFC West. The Rams will move higher in the power rankings if they can continue their success against tougher opponents.
17. Buffalo Bills (2-1)
Last week: 24 (+7)
Next Opponent: away vs. Atlanta
The Bills were able to upset the Denver Broncos and now look like a wildcard candidate in the AFC. Buffalo’s new head coach, Sean McDermott, built his reputation on defense and that is what he is excelling at in Buffalo. The Bills are first in scoring defense giving up 12.3 points per game. As long as the Bills continue to dominate on defense they will be a playoff team. On offense, Buffalo needs to focus on running the ball. Tyrod Taylor needs to manage this team and not turnover the football. After three weeks, the Bills look like they may finally end their playoff streak, but it is early and there is plenty of time for the wheels to fall off.
16. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-1)
Last week: 23 (+7)
Next opponent: away vs. New York Jets
Was that Blake Bortles at quarterback for the Jacksonville Jaguars or some new super quarterback? Bortles looked outstanding against a Ravens defense that was embarrassing opposing quarterbacks. Bortles threw for 244 yards and four touchdowns in a 44-7 rout. The real strength of this team is the defense. The Jags rank third in total yardage allowing just 259.7 per game. They can thank their amazing secondary for this third overall ranking. Jacksonville is allowing a league-best 124.3 yards per game through the air. That is nuts considering the passing era the NFL is in. If they continuing playing this well throughout the year then Jacksonville will make the playoffs.
15. Carolina Panthers (2-1)
Last week: 7 (-8)
Next opponent: away vs. New England
Cam Newton might have rushed back to quickly because he looks horrible this season. He has thrown four interceptions and just two touchdowns. His accuracy has been all over the place. Once he fixes his issues, or his should becomes fully healthy, the Panthers will become a Super Bowl contender. Until then, their defense is going to keep them competitive but they need their MVP to start playing like an MVP. The season isn’t getting any easier as they head to New England this week.
14. Green Bay (2-1)
Last week: 14 (no change)
Next opponent: home vs. Chicago
It is going to be unpopular to say, but the Packers aren’t very good this season. They got a win over Seattle in a tough fought game but the Seahawks look bad this year. That win just doesn’t look impressive. Green Bay then lost to the Falcons fairly easily. This past week they struggled to beat the Bengals at home. Their defense gave up 24 points to a team that didn’t have a touchdown through their first two games. Aaron Rodgers will win them around nine to 10 games but there will be no deep playoff run.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-1)
Last week: 8 (-5)
Next opponent: home vs. New York Giants
Tampa Bay is a tough team to figure out. They miss week one due to a hurricane the, in week two, they absolutely annihilate the Bears. The Buccaneers looked to be a real threat in the NFC. Week three their opponent was the Vikings who are down to Case Keenum at quarterback. Tampa Bay was a road favorite and nobody expected the Vikings to win. In conclusion, the Bucs lose 34-17 to the Vikings and it is still yet to be determined how good the Bucs really are.
12. Washington Redskins (2-1)
Last week: 17 (+5)
Next opponent: away vs. Kansas City
Very few saw the Redskins manhandling the Raiders the way they did. Washington held them to 10 points and a total of 128 yards. The Redskins exploded for 472 yards of offense. There is part of me that thinks this was a flukey game for Washington. This week they travel to Kansas City to take on a very good Chiefs team. If they win that game they will have proven to be a legitimate team that should be feared.
11. Denver Broncos (2-1)
Last week: 6 (-5)
Next opponent: home vs. Oakland
It was rather shocking to see the Broncos lose to the Bills but everybody in the NFL is tough if you don’t come to play. The Broncos had two turnovers, both of which were interceptions by Trevor Siemian. That proved to be the difference in the game. Denver is still playing great defense and they are finally running the ball the way they did during their Super Bowl runs. Denver has a chance to move up this week with a huge divisional game against Oakland.
10. Detroit Lions (2-1)
Last week: 9 (-1)
Next opponent: away vs. Vikings
Honestly, the Lions got robbed and should have won that game. Detroit should be 3-0 but at the end of the day, they sit at 2-1. The Lions are still a very good team and will be in the thick of the NFC North race all season but they are right around the top 10 in terms of power rankings. The only reason they aren’t higher on this list is that they haven’t played a tough schedule. Arizona and New York are bad football teams and the Falcons are overrated. A huge divisional game takes place this week for the Lions and a win could really do wonders for their playoff aspirations.
9. Minnesota Vikings (2-1)
Last week: 15 (+6)
Next opponent: home vs. Detroit
Minnesota deserves some respect. Their defense is nasty and nobody is having success running against them. The Vikings rank third in the NFL against the run allowing just 62.7 yards per game. This defense is forcing teams to become one-dimensional. Offensively there are playmakers all over the field. Dalvin Cook has adjusted to the NFL nicely and is the second leading rusher. Adam Thielen is second in receiving yards while Stephon Diggs is third. Diggs also leads the NFL in touchdown receptions. Minnesota has a divisional game at home and a win could vault them into the top five.
8. Dallas Cowboys (2-1)
Last week: 12 (+4)
Next opponent: home vs. Los Angeles Rams
Dak Prescott is getting the job done yet again in his second season. Dak had three total touchdowns in the Cowboys Monday night win against the Cardinals. The running game also got going this week and Dallas may be starting to hit their stride. The defense has been shaky but still held the Cardinals to just 17 points. The task will be tougher this week as they face the number one scoring team in the NFL. Dallas should be able to defend home field but if they don’t they will drop significantly in the power rankings.
7. Philadelphia Eagles (2-1)
Last week: 10 (+3)
Next opponent: away vs. Los Angeles Chargers
The Eagles are firing on all cylinders so far. Their only loss has come to the best team in the NFL in a tightly contested game. Philly is putting up the 10th most points per game (25.7). They run the ball well averaging 119.3 yards per game (9th) and pass the ball well too, averaging 252.7 passing yards per game (10th). Many, including myself, believed that the Cowboys would win the NFC East but Philadelphia has looked like the best team thus far.
6. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-1)
Last week: 3 (-3)
Next opponent: away vs. Baltimore
There is no need to have a crazy overaction to the loss the Steelers suffered in Chicago. Every season the Steelers lose games on the road they shouldn’t. Last year it was in Philadelphia 34-3. Pittsburgh just plays down to the level of their competition. By the end of the season, the Steelers will still win the division and be in the playoffs.
5. Tennessee Titans (2-1)
Last week: 11 (+6)
Next opponent: away vs. Houston
Tennesee punked a Seahawks team that never gets punked. The Titans ran the ball right down Seattle’s throat to the tune of 195 yards. Marcus Mariota also threw for 225 yards against the Legion of Boom. The Titans are really looking like the eventual AFC South champions and have a chance to create some early breathing room in the division this week. It may not seem like it but the Titans have one of the best offenses in the league scoring 28.7 points per game. Teams in the AFC should be worried about the Titans.
4. Oakland Raiders (2-1)
Last week: 2 (-2)
Next opponent: away vs. Denver
Boy, the Raiders really crapped the bed on Sunday Night Football against the Redskins. Derek Carr didn’t look like himself and the defense made Kirk Cousins look like an elite quarterback. Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree combined for two receptions and 13 yards. Marshawn Lynch had only six carries for 18 yards. There will not be another performance that bad from Oakland the rest of this season. This game will be chalked up as a flue and the Raiders will get back to looking like Super Bowl contenders.
3. New England Patriots (2-1)
Last week: 4 (+1)
Next opponent: home vs. Panthers
Tom Brady drove down 92 yards against the Texan’s defense to win the game. Even at 40, Brady can get it done when the team needs it the most. New England is still figuring out their defense but Bill Belichick always has them improving over the course of a season. As long as Brady is playing at this level the Patriots will be alright.
2. Atlanta Falcons (3-0)
Last week: 5 (+3)
Next opponent: home vs. Buffalo
Atlanta doesn’t look great but are still managing to win games. They snuck out of Chicago with a win thanks to three drops. The Falcons then beat Green Bay in week two but allowed a lot of points late in the game. On Sunday, the Falcons walked out of Detroit with an extremely controversial win against the Lions. The defense is still struggling. Atlanta has earned this rank as they remain undefeated but they won’t remain here much longer.
1. Kansas City Chiefs (3-0)
Last week: 1 (no change)
Next opponent: home vs. Washington
There is no question that the Chiefs are currently the best team in the NFL and Kareem Hunt is not only the rookie of the year but looking like the M.V.P. as well. Hunt leads the league with 401 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. Alex Smith is also playing lights out completely 77.4 percent of his passes while throwing for seven touchdowns and zero interceptions. The Chiefs defense ranks seventh in the NFL allowing 19 points per game. This team is arguably the most well-rounded team and the reason they have proven to be the best so far.
Featured image courtesy of https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4F5eI9U-J4