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NFL Power Rankings Week 3: Vikings On the Move

Read as Nick Springer takes us through his weekly NFL Power Rankings, which are uploaded every Tuesday during the season.

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-0)- Previous rank: 1- Antonio Brown was surprisingly quiet on Sunday, but that didn’t stop Big Ben from throwing 3 touchdowns. DeAngelo Williams continues to do a remarkable job carrying the ball while Le’Veon Bell serves his suspension. The Steelers didn’t dominate Cincinnati, but they played well enough to retain the top spot.
  2. Denver Broncos (2-0)- Previous rank: 8- Trevor Siemian is undefeated in every game he’s started. I know, crazy right? So far it’s been Denver’s dominant defense that has led the Broncos to two wins over quality opponents. The only thing you can ask Trevor to do is not turn the ball over, which he’s done a pretty good job of so far. He did throw an interception against the Colts, but other than that he has played very well.
  3. Carolina Panthers (1-1)- Previous rank: 3- San Francisco played the Panthers tighter than I expected. Once again, the Carolina defense put together another sub-par performance compared to what they’re capable of. Kelvin Benjamin is certainly making his presence felt after missing last year though, as he had 2 TD catches in the game.
  4. New England Patriots (2-0)- Previous rank: 4- The Patriots escaped with a win over Miami, but that’s the least of their concerns for the next two weeks. Jimmy G went down with what appeared to be a serious shoulder injury, leaving Jacoby Brissett as the starting quarterback until Tom Brady gets back. Worst case scenario? The Pats are 2-2 when Brady returns, which really isn’t even that bad.
  5. Arizona Cardinals (1-1)- Previous rank: 7- I’m guessing Arizona wasn’t too happy after letting one slip through their fingers at home against the Patriots. They came out on a mission to reassert themselves as Super Bowl contenders. I’d say they certainly accomplished that mission on Sunday. With Seattle struggling so far this season, the door is very much open for Arizona to take the division.
  6. Green Bay Packers (1-1)- Previous rank: 2- The Packers may have underestimated Minnesota on Sunday night. Aaron Rodgers was not at his best, and he couldn’t come through in the clutch. Trae Waynes struggled all night in coverage before coming up with the game-winning pick for the Vikings. Green Bay will go the playoffs, but if Sam Bradford can stay healthy, they might not win the division.
  7. Minnesota Vikings (2-0)- Previous rank: 19- Sam Bradford performed admirably in his first start for the Vikings, which is fantastic news for Minnesota fans. However, there are two major causes for concern. Number 1: Adrian Peterson went down with a right leg injury, although Mike Zimmer claimed it’s not serious. Number 2: Sam Bradford got beat up pretty badly on Sunday night. He was sacked 4 times and on a couple of them he took some pretty big shots. Bradford’s (and now Peterson’s) health have to be of the utmost importance right now.
  8. Cincinnati Bengals (1-1)- Previous rank: 8- The Bengals hung in there against Pittsburgh. Andy Dalton played well, but more importantly the offensive line looked much better after last week’s pounding. The downside was that the Bengals run game was nonexistent.
  9. New York Giants (2-0)- Previous rank: 12- The revamped defense the front office paid all that money for seems to have worked out so far. They kept Drew Brees in check for 4 quarters which is an accomplishment in and of itself. The offense played poorly, but it’s no real cause for concern. Don’t forget your popcorn for next week’s game against the Redskins.
  10. Seattle Seahawks (1-1)- Previous rank: 5- Another shockingly poor outing leaves Seattle with more questions than answers early in the season. They had to rally to beat Miami at home, and they pretty much laid an egg against the Rams in LA. Thomas Rawls had 7 carries for -7 yards before going down with an injury. That’s bad. There’s no other way to put it. Seattle’s offense has to improve quickly.
  11. Houston Texans (2-0)- Previous rank: 16- This win was more about defensive play than anything else. J.J. Watt played well in his continued recovery from back surgery, and the Texans forced two Kansas City fumbles. Again, Brock Osweiler wasn’t flashy, but he got the job done for the second week in a row.
  12. New York Jets (11)- Previous rank: 11- The defense played pretty badly, and Darrelle Revis was burned for the second week in a row. I’m sure everyone in New York would like to see him return to form. After the win on Thursday night, they’ll have a little extra time to prepare for the Kansas City Chiefs.
  13. Kansas City Chiefs (1-1)- Previous rank: 6- Another lethargic first half ultimately led to the Chiefs’ demise against Houston. Alex Smith missed a number of throws, and the ground game struggled against the Texans defense. Maybe Jamaal Charles’s return will alleviate some pressure off of Alex Smith and the passing game. Plenty of room for improvement, but right now the Chiefs have a long way to go before they can get back to the playoffs.
  14. Oakland Raiders (1-1)- Previous rank: 10- Oakland looked like the team to beat in the AFC west after week 1. Well, the Falcons did just that. The Raiders didn’t have an answer to Julio Jones and Matt Ryan in this game. Derek Carr was lights out all day, but he didn’t receive any help from his defense. I’m guessing Oakland’s front office is starting to question the huge contract they gave Sean Smith. It’s only Week 2, but he’s looked pretty bad.
  15. New Orleans Saints (0-2)- Previous rank: 14- Even though New Orleans is sitting at 0-2, Saints fans shouldn’t have too much to worry about. The only major concern is that if teams manage to stop Drew Brees, the Saints don’t have anything to fall back on. I think the Saints should be ok as the season continues.
  16. Dallas Cowboys (1-1)- Previous rank: 21- Dak Prescott is legit, and as long as he doesn’t turn the ball over the Cowboys have a chance to win every weekend. They’ve got the best O-line in the league, and Zeke Elliot seems to be finding his groove although he fumbled twice against Washington. Suddenly, the Cowboys look like they could compete for the division title.
  17. Atlanta Falcons (1-1)- Previous rank: 24- Matt Ryan looked comfortable, and he got some help from Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman in the run game. I was surprised by how well the offense played against a stout Raiders D. If the running game continues to be there, expect Atlanta’s offense to get a lot better. The defense struggled to get pressure again, and Derek Carr picked them apart. But they were good enough to secure a much needed win.
  18. Indianapolis Colts (0-2)- Previous rank: 18- Andrew Luck got no help from the running game, but he played pretty well against one of the best defenses the NFL has ever seen. Pass protection was a pretty big problem last year, and so far it’s been a problem this year as well. The Colts have San Diego at home next week in what should be a must win game.
  19. Washington Redskins (0-2)- Previous rank: 13- I was pretty high on the Redskins in the preseason, and so far they’ve fallen flat on their faces first against the Steelers and now the Cowboys. Kirk Cousins threw for over 350 yards, but he only threw for 1 touchdown and had a crucial interception. The Redskins are on the road against the Giants in Week 3, which is another tough game.
  20. Baltimore Ravens (2-0)- Previous rank: 17- I didn’t think it was possible to move down in the rankings after a win, but the Ravens just proved me wrong. Any time you have to come from behind to beat the Browns, you’ve got a problem. The running game was average at best, and somehow Joe Flacco managed to pull this one out of the flames. Even though Baltimore is sitting at 2-0, there are so many better teams out there.
  21. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2)- Previous rank: 15- Any progress Jacksonville made against Green Bay was lost on Sunday during a beat down suffered at the hands of San Diego. No defense, no pass protection, and no ground game equals a 38-14 loss. The Jags have Baltimore at home next which is a must win in my eyes.
  22. Philadelphia Eagles (2-0)- Previous rank: 25- I’m still hesitant to say the Eagles are legit. They’re 2-0, but those wins have been against the Browns and the Bears. Carson Wentz has played very well and he has yet to turn the ball over. We should get a better gauge of where this team stands next week when they host Pittsburgh.
  23. Los Angeles Rams (1-1)- Previous rank: 30- Still no touchdowns for the Rams, but it turns out they didn’t need one to take down Seattle at home. After an abysmal showing last week, the Rams got their act together rather quickly. Los Angeles seemingly has Seattle’s number every time they play each other.
  24. Miami Dolphins (0-2)- Previous rank: 23- The final score doesn’t really tell the whole story of the Dolphins’ play against New England. The Pats went up big, but Miami didn’t quit, which is a good thing. For the second straight week, the Dolphins played an elite opponent pretty well. Even though they’re 0-2, the Dolphins should be feeling a little better about their team than they did at the beginning of the season.
  25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-1)- Previous rank: 20- After a stellar Week 1 performance, Jameis Winston was hailed as a budding superstar. 4 interceptions later and those who lauded him aren’t talking much anymore. The Bucs were dominated in all phases of the game by Arizona. This comes as somewhat of a shock after a solid performance last week. The Rams are coming to town next Sunday, and Tampa needs to win that one to right the ship.
  26. Tennessee Titans (11)- Previous rank: 29- Andre Johnson proved he’s still got it with a clutch touchdown grab late to seal the victory over the Detroit Lions. Slowly but surely, the Titans are getting better. The running game was better this week. DeMarco Murray racked up 89 yards on the ground. The Lions beat the Colts last week. With the victory over Detroit, could this be a sign of things to come in Nashville?
  27. San Francisco (1-1)- Previous rank: 26- Another better than expected performance from the 49ers. They hung in there with Carolina late into the game. Blaine Gabbert has, for the most part, solidified himself as the starting quarterback. The 49ers have some good things to build on here.
  28. San Diego Chargers (1-1)- Previous rank: 31- San Diego exorcized some second half demons by not letting Jacksonville climb back into the game on Sunday. After a devastating OT loss to Kansas City, the Chargers really needed this one. Phillip Rivers answered the call without star wideout Keenan Allen, but realistically how far can this team go?
  29. Detroit Lions (1-1)- Previous rank: 27- Detroit took a step back this week after a strong performance against Indianapolis last week. Marvin Jones played pretty well in this game but there wasn’t much production anywhere else on offense. This was a very winnable game for Detroit against the Titans.
  30. Chicago Bears (0-2)- Previous rank: 28- Jay Cutler left the game against the Eagles with an apparent thumb injury, and many Bears fans left the game questioning where their team is going. The Bears took an early 7-3 lead before getting shut down by the Eagles D. This was a night filled with injuries for Chicago, and now they have to travel to Dallas for a Sunday night game this week. That spells 0-3.
  31. Buffalo Bills (02)- Previous rank: 22- What is going on in Buffalo? The firing of Greg Roman certainly turned some heads around the league. The Bills offense really played quite well against New York. If the losses continue, will Rex be next?
  32. Cleveland Browns (0-2)- Previous rank: 32- After the Browns jumped out to a 20-point lead against the Ravens, I thought I might have to take them out of the cellar. Then reality hit and they collapsed in the second half allowing Baltimore to emerge with the victory. Oh well. Better luck next game, Cleveland.

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Feature photo courtesy of Jeffrey Beall.