1.Kansas City Chiefs (3-0)
Previous Rank: 2
Superstar Performance: Patrick Mahomes 31/42 385 yards 5 total touchdowns
Kansas City’s win is huge, especially with the restructured playoff format that debuts this year. Gaining the tiebreaker against the Ravens will be essential down the stretch run as the teams battle for the number 1 seed, which beginning this season will be the only team that receives a first-round bye. The last team to make the Super Bowl without a bye was Ravens in the 2012 season for Super Bowl XLVII.
2. Seattle Seahawks (3-0)
Previous Rank: 3
Russell Wilson stays hot: 27/40 315 yards 5 touchdown passes
Let Russ Cook! The Seahawks quarterback has annihilated every defense that has been presented to him. Against the Cowboys, if not for a headache-inducing DK Metcalf fumble as he was walking into the endzone, Wilson would have had himself a 6-touchdown day. Yet and still, Wilson still has attained the record for most touchdown passes through the first three games of an NFL season. The Seahawks defense has struggled with giving up yards and points, but they have continuously made timely stops to secure the win, this week doing without All-Pro safety Jamal Adams, who went out with an injury.
3. Green Bay Packers (3-0)
Previous Rank: 4
Pack offense keeps on humming as they move to 3-0
Even without fans there, going into the Superdome and beating the New Orleans Saints is a tall task, as the Buccaneers. Rodgers and the Pack went into the Superdome and hung 37 points on the Saints, and this was all without their best-receiving weapon, Davante Adams. The cause for concern from this game has to be the Packers defense. The offense has been so good that that side of the ball has been glossed over, but this was the second time in three weeks that they have given up 30 points. This week was specifically embarrassing because the Saints were just dinking and dunking their way down the field, and the Packers back in could not make a tackle to save their life. If this team wants to be seen as serious this season, the defense will have to step up, especially after we saw what the 49ers did to them in the NFC Championship.
4. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-0)
Previous Rank: 5
Steelers lock down in the second half, shutting out the Texans
The Steelers gave up 21 first half points to the Houston Texans, who were playing with the desperation of a team with zero wins, but in the second half the Steel Curtain showed up. In the second half, the Steelers allowed only two first downs and both of those came on one drive. That drive wound up with an interception on a 3rd-and-15 by Mike Hilton that allowed the Steelers offense to march down the field to score the touchdown that eventually won the game.
5. Buffalo Bills (3-0)
Previous Rank: 6
Sneaky MVP: Josh Allen puts up his second straight game of 4 TD passes
The Bills saved themselves a week of misery by putting the Rams away on a Josh Allen touchdown toss with 15 second left on the clock. The Bills at one point led their game 28-3, with offensive coordinator Brain Daboll calling an exceptional game, but then the Rams stormed back. After falling down 32-28, Josh Allen showed a lot by leading the Bills on the game-winning drive, with a little help from the refs who called pass interference on the pivotal 4th down play in the red zone.
6. Baltimore Ravens (2-1)
Previous Rank: 1
Going down: Lamar Jackson moving to 0-3 against Mahomes and the Chiefs
Lamar Jackson struggled mightily passing the ball downfield finishing with less than 100 total passing yards. The Ravens are not a team built to play from behind, as they struggle mightily in the downfield passing game. Jackson is going to have to improve in this aspect of his game, otherwise this will be another season where that first playoff win eludes him.
7. Los Angeles Rams (2-1)
Previous Rank: 8
Defensive monster: Aaron Donald attempts to join historic group
The Rams were in deep trouble with nothing going for them early on in the game at Buffalo, but with a spark from their defense they battled back. On a crucial Buffalo drive in the middle of the fourth quarter, Aaron Donald had a takeover where he willed a stop by his lonesome. Donald destroyed the Bills offensive line on 1st-and-10 by busting through and tossing Josh Allen for a 12-yard loss, and then he followed it up with a 3rd down strip sack in Bills territory to put the Rams into position to take the lead. The Rams did not finish off with the win, but the heart they showed battling back is a sign that they have all the pieces to make a serious run in the NFC.
8. Tennessee Titans (3-0)
Previous Rank: 9
Gostkowski saves the Titans for the third week in a row
I called for Stephen Gostkowski’s job in week one even though he managed to hit the field goal to win the game. Last week, he made me look wrong by hitting another game winning field goal, but this week he made me look foolish with the way he performed. Gostkowski, who hit a third straight game winner, accounted for 19 of the Titans points and they needed every single one in their one-point win. Something that has piqued my interest about Tennessee is that their downfield passing game has been very dynamic this season, ranking 11th so far this season, and they are doing so without their best receiver AJ Brown, who has not played since their week 1 at Denver.
9. Arizona Cardinals (2-1)
Previous Rank: 7
Kyler Murray has his first off game of the season
The Cardinals were killed by turnovers against the Lions, and even still it took a game-winning field goal to hand them their first loss. Kyler Murray’s three interceptions were backbreakers because they all gave the Lions a short field. The Cardinals defense was able to hold the Lions to only 10 points off those turnovers, but the true problem that those turnovers cause is that the Arizona offense could not be on the field. Most teams will not be able to keep up with Arizona’s offense if they play flawlessly, but if they turn the ball over, they give their opponents a chance.
10. New England Patriots (2-1)
Previous Rank: 10
Elite Unit: Patriots run game impresses with a 250-yard day on the ground
This was a very predictable win for the New England Patriots. They were coming off of a last-second loss, and their opponent was playing off a short week where they had a huge win on MNF. This Patriots team was able to compete in the shootout against Seattle, but it is pretty clear that these are the types of games they are more comfortable being in. With Cam Newton and their stable of running backs, they want to play ball-control offense, keeping their defense off the field, letting their strong secondary play aggressively with a lead.
11. San Francisco 49ers (2-1)
Previous Rank: 14
Depleted 9ers keep chugging along
Even with the majority of their team out, the Giants stood no chance to the 49ers who won their second consecutive game at MetLife. Nick Mullins filled in admirably for Jimmy G, passing for 343 yards and a touchdown. Kyle Shanahan’s offense has proven to be a plug and play system, and one has to wonder, if Jimmy has any struggles down the stretch this year, will Shanahan make a change to Mullins.
12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1)
Previous Rank: 15
Tompa Bay takes over the lead in the NFC South
Tampa Bay’s offense has gotten all the hype throughout this offseason and it’s easy to see why. The offense is filled with name brand players all over the field, and even if Tom Brady is not the same All-Pro caliber player he once was, all he has to do is play point guard. But the unit that needs some love is this Bucs defense. In the second half against the Broncos, the offense was not as sharp scoring only 3 points, but Tampa’s defense is smothering, shutting down a lackluster Broncos offense. The pass rush is a truly elite unit, finishing with 6 sacks and 10 QB hits on Sunday.
13. Dallas Cowboys (1-2)
Previous Rank: 11
Dallas falls back to reality with a loss in Seattle
The Cowboys came out and once again played a very sloppy game, but still found themselves in [position to win. This is a testament to the Cowboys talent because in every game this season, they have turned the ball over and committed penalties that have made the game harder on themselves. Against Seattle, the Cowboys committed 10 penalties and lost the turnover battle by 2. The Cowboys have to clean up the sloppy play, and that is when we will see the true potential of this team, but until then they will continue to be the mediocre team, they have shown thus far this season.
14. Las Vegas Raiders (2-1)
Previous Rank: 13
Raiders fall flat in the second half
The Raiders were in a battle with the Pats after the first half trailing 13-10, and on their first drive of the third quarter, they had a 41-yard field goal attempt to tie the game. They missed, and everything went downhill from there. They managed to get it back to a 10-point deficit at 23-13, but the Raiders defense was not able to get a stop in the second half. Their performance this week in their home matchup against the Bills will say a lot about how serious this Raiders team is going to be this year.
15. New Orleans Saints (1-2)
Previous Rank: 12
Gadget play comes back to bite Saints
The Saints offense got back on track this game, largely due to the production of Alvin Kamara. Kamara has been the hardest player to tackle in the NFL since his rookie year, and that was on full effect Sunday. Drew Brees has continued to show that he doesn’t feel as comfortable pushing the ball down the field, but if Kamara is going to make every defender miss when catching the ball in the flats, then it really does not matter. The turning point play was the fumble when Taysom Hill came in to take a snap early in the fourth. It is still baffling that the Saints decided to give him a $21 million deal with $16 million guaranteed for a gadget player who so far this season has only accounted for 80 yards even though the Saints are in need of production with Michael Thomas out.
16. Indianapolis Colts (2-1)
Previous Rank: 17
Colts defense get on the scoreboard twice, grounding the Jets
Through three games, the Colts have the number one defense in terms of scoring and yardage. Their two key offseason additions on that side of the ball, DeForest Buckner and Xavier Rhodes, have made a big impact on that side of the ball. Rhodes had two interceptions on Sunday including a pick 6 as he looks to regain his Pro Bowl form he had in Minnesota. This Colts team will be dangerous throughout this season with their ability to run the ball and play defense, they just need their passing offense to not turn it over and make key plays.
17. Cleveland Browns (2-1)
Previous Rank: 16
Browns defense have busy day
The Cleveland Browns have two straight wins, and for the first time since 2014 they find themselves sitting about .500. This was a game that was harder than it needed to be for the Dawg Pound as they found themselves trailing 20-17 after the 3rd, but they put their foot down and put away the Football Team in the 4th. Cleveland scored on both of their 4th quarter drives, and the defense turned Washington over every time they had the ball in the fourth as well.
18. Chicago Bears (3-0)
Previous Rank: 22
Foles’ team: Foles came into the game for the second half to lead a comeback win
The Bears finally pulled the trigger and it paid off. The reason for me not being sold on this Chicago team was strictly due to their lackluster quarterback play, but with Foles in the lineup, the Bears may have something cooking. The team has always had the weapons to be a competent offense and it was evident in the second half. If not for a fourth-down drop by Anthony Miller and tie-up in the endzone that was ruled an interception, Foles would have had 5 second-half touchdowns, but he would settle for 3 and the W.
19. Detroit Lions (1-2)
Previous Rank: 24
Lions win for the first time in 11 games
After an underwhelming debut in Green Bay, Jeff Okudah came out and impressed in his second career day for the Lions defense. His first career interception was an impressive athletic play to catch the ball and get up and get a 36-yard return. Something that is shocking in Detroit is that Adrian Peterson has been given the rains as the bell-cow back 23 total touches compared to the 5 combined touches of DeAndre Swift and Kerryon Johnson.
20. Houston Texans (0-3)
Previous Rank: 21
Houston digs themselves in a deeper hole after their three-game gauntlet
The Texans have not been given any favor by the schedule makers thus far this season. Their three toughest games this season have been played in the first three weeks, and predictably they have started 0-3. The Texans are not out of the postseason picture even though they have no wins because their schedule is slated to lighten up. With the 0-3 Vikings coming up this week, this is a must-win game to try to claw out of the hole they have dug themselves.
21. Los Angeles Chargers (1-2)
Previous rating: 18
Turnovers doom the Chargers who drop their second consecutive game
The Chargers could not get out of their own way in the game against the Panthers. After getting the ball back with a 9-7 deficit at the 8:11 mark in the second quarter, the Chargers had two consecutive drives end in turnovers to end the half and found themselves trailing 18-7 heading into the locker room. The Chargers defense performed as they should have, but if the offense is going to give up short fields, it makes it difficult to keep the opponent off the scoreboard.
22. Washington Football Team (1-2)
Previous Rank: 25
Turnovers kill Washington’s chance of stealing a win
The Football Team’s offense has been a big detractor to the team thus far this season. Dwayne Haskins has not made the jump that has been expected of him, but to be fair it is his second season and first in a new offense. Once Chase Young came out of the game, it was clear that the team took a slight step back, but the defense has still been pretty impressive thus far this season, they just need some support from the offensive side of the ball.
23. Philadelphia Eagles (0-2-1)
Previous Rank: 20
Once a gambler, Doug P punts content for the tie
There is no other way around it, the Eagles offense has been flat out awful. They were playing a Cincy defense who had just come off of a game where they gave up 400 yards and 35 points, and the Eagles offense could not get much done. Carson Wentz has to produce better performances, especially against the bad defenses of the world, 29/47 with 2 interceptions will not cut it. The only positive is that it seems that the NFC East is going to be an awful division this season, so even though they sit at 0 wins through 3 games, the division title is still within reach.
24. Minnesota Vikings (0-3)
Previous Rank: 26
Vikings lose in an odd shootout
If I were to tell you that the Minnesota Vikings would score four touchdowns and that the Titans would only score two, then you would say they would have walked out of the game with their first win. That was not the case however due to 6 field goals by Tennessee. Even though their offense showed signs of life, the Vikings made too many mistakes that allowed Tennessee to stay in the game with three turnovers and a missed field goal.
25. Atlanta Falcons (0-3)
Previous Rank: 19
First coach fired: Quinn led another collapse putting him on the hottest of seats
The Falcons just cannot get out of their own way. For the second consecutive week, the Falcons led 26-10 and somehow came out the game with the L. With a trip to Lambeau for MNF on tap next week, it is just a matter of time before Quinn is on his couch watching the game like the rest of us.
26. Miami Dolphins (1-2)
Previous rating: 28
Another dose of Fitzmagic: Fitzpatrick plays well on TNF for the Dolphins first win
This was an important win for Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Dolphins, because a loss may have had them looking toward their rookie QB sooner rather than later. The Dolphins next two games are tough matchups against the Seahawks and the 49ers. Had they lost this game; a potential 0-5 start may have turned up the heat for the team to take a look at Tua Tagovailoa.
27. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-2)
Previous rating: 23
Jags get down early and find no path back
The Jaguars got jumped on early by Miami, and they were never able to battle their way back into the game. The yardage total for the Jags was solid, especially for rookie running back James Robinson who continues to impress, but they could not put points on the board. After falling down 21-7, the Jacksonville offense turned it over on downs on three drives tacked on with a fumble and an interception. This was a game that was on a short week for a very young team, but with ten days to prepare, it will be interesting to see how they perform against another team filled with youth when they travel to Cincinnati.
28. Carolina Panthers (1-2)
Previous rating: 29
Carolina defense shows up big as Panther win without McCaffery
The Carolina defense has shown steady improvement each week thus far this season, and against the Chargers rookie quarterback, they had their best performance to date. The Panthers defense forced 4 fumbles and recovered 3 of them, and they also tacked on an interception. Their first three takeaways turned into 13 points for the Panthers and the fourth iced the game for Carolina.
29. Cincinnati Bengals (0-2-1)
Previous rating: 30
Joe Burrow keeps battling despite zero help from line
Whatever the Bengals do this offseason it starts and ends with their offensive line. The offensive line was not able to create any running lanes for Joe Mixon, and it was borderline illegal what they allowed to happen to their quarterback. Joe Burrow was sacked 8 times and took 18 hits, with some of those being so nasty it was hard to imagine him getting up. But he kept peeling himself off the ground and impressed with 300 yards 2 TD and even with all the pressure he did not turn over the ball.
30. Denver Broncos (0-3)
Previous Rank: 27
Injury-depleted Broncos have zero offense
The Broncos offense has zero hope this season after injuries and opt-outs have really depleted that unit. The Broncos offense was not able to top 230 total offensive yards against Tampa. This is a team that had high hopes coming into the season, but now they are staring down a top 3 pick.
31. New York Giants (0-3)
Previous rating: 31
Tough afternoon for Daniel Jones
The 49ers were without many of their top defenders including Nick Bosa and Richard Sherman, and the Giants offense still was not able to get anything going. Daniel Jones is still a young quarterback, but he has shown that he has a propensity to turnover the ball thus far in his career. On Sunday, Jones did not even pass for over 200 yards and turned the ball over two times, which is the 10th game over his 16 career starts that he accomplished this feat.
32. New York Jets (0-3)
Previous rating: 32
Feeling for Sam Darnold as his career is off to the toughest of stars
Sam Darnold has to be looking around at his draft classmates thinking about what could have been. Josh Allen got to go to the Bills, Baker has the Browns, and Lamar has an MVP under his belt with a championship-caliber roster. Sam Darnold on the other hand… got the Jets. Darnold came into the game against the Colts with his starting running back being the 37-year-old Frank Gore, and his number one target being 6th round pick Braxton Berrios. Sigh.