Wednesday, September 18, 2013

2013 NFL Power Rankings: Week 3

After two weeks into the NFL, the Broncos and Seahawks definitely look like the Super Bowl front runners, which makes me look like I sometimes know what I'm doing as a match-up between the two was my preseason pick. However, a lot can happen between now and then as it is still super early. Currently there are eight teams that remain winless as well as eight teams that are undefeated and there are several surprises on both ends of that spectrum. In between those, there are 16 teams that split their first two games. The NFC seemed to be the stronger conference, but it's actually the AFC that leads things with a combined 18-14 record as opposed to the NFC's 14-18 record. Amongst that, the biggest surprise so far is the AFC West, which currently is tied for the best division in football at 6-2. The biggest disappointment so far has to be the AFC North, which has only combined for a 2-6 record. With all that said, let's go to the rankings and let the fire begin!

1- Denver Broncos - 2-0 (+0) - This top spot was actually a really tough to decide as it really is #1 and #1.1 this week. But in the end, I have no reason to take the spot away from the Broncos as they looked dominate for a second straight week as Peyton beat up on his younger brother Eli. What was encouraging about this week's performance is the arrival of a running game thanks to Knowshon Moreno's big game.

2- Seattle Seahawks - 2-0 (+1) - I expected the Seahawks to pull off a win against the Niners this week due to their homefield advantage, but I did not see that spanking coming at all. If they can do that to a solid Niners team the NFC needs to fear. If the Seahawks take that homefield advantage, I have no idea who is going to walk into Seattle and knock them out of the playoffs.

3- Houston Texans - 2-0 (+1) - It may be a little discouraging to some to see the Texans not completely dominating teams like the Chargers and Titans, but what is encouraging is their ability to play well in the clutch and that will be something that will be key down the stretch. Also, DeAndre Hopkins looks like a stud. The Andre and DeAndre combo should be really scary this year going along with the Foster and Tate combo at the running back.

4- San Francisco 49ers - 1-1 (-2) - I'm not going to be too harsh on the Niners this week. I'm going to chalk that performance up to more of a Seahawks domination rather than a Niners team falling apart. I think the Niners team that we are going to see more of is the team that knocked off the Packers in week one. I don't think they should have any trouble recovering as the Colts come into town this weekend.

5- Green Bay Packers - 1-1 (+0) - After a tough season opener to the Niners, the Pack got back on track as they routed the Redskins. The final score of 38-20 doesn't even do the game justice as the Pack obviously relaxed a bit after going up 31-0.

6- Chicago Bears - 2-0 (+0) - Two weeks and two comeback victories for this Chicago Bears team and now Cutler is dawning the nickname of Comeback Cutler. Eventually they will need to learn how to start games and stay on top throughout, but I've been very impressed with this Bears team. They should be able to do that this have their best game yet this week as they travel to Pittsburgh to play the surprisingly awful Steelers.

7- New Orleans Saints - 2-0 (+0) - The scary thing with the Saints was that their offense wasn't as dominate as it should've been, but having Shawn Payton back on the sidelines has been really encouraging. Once again, their defense bailed them out in a game and a two early division wins will definitely help them down the road. And of course there is the beautiful game winning drive against the Bucs that proved the Saints are back.

8- Kansas City Chiefs - 2-0 (+6) - I've been high on the Chiefs this whole offseason and they have so far proved me right. Sure, a week one game against the Jaguars didn't say much, but I hope that people look at that Cowboys win and realize that this team is for real. No they won't win the division, but this here is a playoff team. Just remember, you heard it here first.

9- Atlanta Falcons - 1-1 (+6) - If the Falcons continue to play like they did in the first half of the Rams game, it is going to be a fun race to watch in the NFC South. Yes, I've been harsh on the Falcons and yes, I am willing to admit I'm wrong when that happens. Concerning points come with them letting the Rams back in the game after going up 20+ points early on. Also they lost Steven Jackson for the next few weeks, which is bad timing as they take a trip through the best of the AFC East in the next two weeks.

10- Miami Dolphins - 2-0 (+7) - Surprise team of the year so far? Not only are they 2-0, but Ryan Tannehill looked super sharp Sunday against the Colts and Mike Wallace got involved and now is plenty happy. Their schedule is far from a walk in the park, but if they keep up the good play, they could steal this division away from a depleted Patriots team.

11- New England Patriots - 2-0 (-1) - Speaking of the Patriots, I can't put them too low because they already have two divisional wins on their back after two weeks, but honestly they looked very bad this past Thursday. If they had played that way against most other teams, they would've been looking at 1-1 right now. Fortunately Gronk looks to be returning soon and Danny Amendola may not be gone as long as initially thought, so this could get better.

12- Cincinnati Bengals - 1-1 (+1) - Yes, the Bengals did get a win Monday night against the Steelers, but that game told us a lot more about the Steelers than it did the Bengals. The Bengals out of sync on offense in the first half and were very fortunate that the Steelers forgot how to play offense in the second half. They are going to need to play a lot better if they want to become the Super Bowl team many have been saying. That said, with how bad the AFC North is looking right now, playoffs should be a cinch. The Bengals could go 8-8 and still win this division at this point.

13 - Detroit Lions - 1-1 (-6) - The Lions take one of the bigger falls on my chart this week, but their biggest problem was the injury of Reggie Bush. They better hope he doesn't have to miss any time because with him they look like a playoff team, but without him they look like the same Lions team from last year that consistently came up short.

14- Philadelphia Eagles - 1-1 (-6) - Chip Kelly says he wants to get even faster with this Eagles offense, but his Eagles ran into problems as San Diego seemed to have them figured out. I still think that they are going to win their fare share of games and with the disasters that are the Giants and Redskins, it looks like it is between them and the Cowboys in the NFC East, so they are in decent shape still.

15- St. Louis Rams - 1-1 (-4) - First round pick Tavon Austin came alive against the Falcons and showed that he is probably going to be a stud in this league, which is encourage to Rams fans. Also Sam Bradford looked good in the last half of the Falcons game and that near comeback was promising. What's not promising is once again the running game or lack thereof. Also, they need to start games off lots better than they did.

16- Indianapolis Colts - 1-1 (-4) - The Colts followed up a non impressive win against the Raiders with a disappointing loss in Miami. The good part of the Miami game was that although they lost, they still looked good while doing so, which may say more about the Dolphins in that than the Colts. The Colts look like they are still in fine shape for a playoff run, but if they want to try to keep up with the Texans, they need to step it up a bit.

17- Arizona Cardinals - 1-1 (+1) - Once again, if you are writing off the Cardinals already, you might be a making a big mistake. Yes, the division is killer and a really tough schedule is no good, but Carson Palmer had a second straight good game in a win over the Lions, so that is positive. I don't think they will make the playoffs with the schedule they have in front of them, but if they keep this up, they could make the wild card race interesting.

18- Dallas Cowboys - 1-1 (-2) - I'm not quite sure what to say about this Cowboys team. They followed up an ugly win over the Giants with a loss to the Chiefs, which could turn out to be a not so embarrassing thing. With how bad the Redskins and Giants are looking right now, it seems as if things will go between them and the Eagles for the NFC East title, so they are in fine shape.

19- San Diego Chargers - 1-1 (+6) - The Charger team that showed up against the Eagles looked like the Chargers team of old and this time they didn't disappear in the second half. But I'm still not going to be quite sold on them yet because I'm nervous that the Chargers team from the second half of week one's game may show up, but if they keep up what they did last week, this could be a big surprise team.

20- Minnesota Vikings - 0-2 (-1) - I can't say the Vikings have looked bad this season, but the past two games might be a foreshadowing of things to come as they have come so close, but haven't quite been good enough. Luckily for them, they now have a stretch of games that could help them boost their confidence as their next four games are against winless teams.

21- Tennessee Titans - 1-1 (+0) - The Titans are another team that I'm not quite sure what to do with. None of their players stood out as having a good game and in two games so far, none of their players are looking like they are having a great season, but somehow they have played pretty well collectively as they beat the Steelers in week one and took the Texans to overtime in week two.

22- Baltimore Ravens - 1-1 (+0) - Yes, the Ravens got a win on Sunday, but I would be willing to dish out two losses in that Ravens/Browns game if that were up to me because both teams just looked awful. Fortunately the Ravens were less awful and thus collected the W. With how they've been playing, their next four games (Texans, Bills, Dolphins, Packers) could all easily be losses, leaving the Super Bowl champs at 1-5 after six games.

23- Buffalo Bills - 1-1 (+0)  - The Bills seem like a cursed franchise that will never be good again, but so far their first two games have actually given fans some encouragement that this EJ Manuel gamble could actually work out. With their next three games being against the Jets, Ravens, and Browns, they could start out the season with a pretty decent record before things get really tricky.

24- Carolina Panthers - 0-2 (+3) - The Panthers have played decent in their first two games, but yet both of them ended up as losses, which seems to have been the story thus far for Cam Newton in his career. If you look at their schedule, you don't see a whole lot of W's on the horizon.

25- New York Giants - 0-2 (-1) - Turnovers have been the bane of this Giant's team so far as Eli's four interceptions against the Broncos defense puts their two game total up to ten turnovers. No team is going to win very many games when they have that much trouble holding on to the ball. With the rest of the division not being too strong, they have time to turn it around, but they are going to have to work quickly.

26- Washington Redskins - 0-2 (-6) - After two games of watching RGIII play, I am now convinced that they rushed him back into the lineup too quickly and perhaps it is best to take a step back and go with Kirk Cousins for a while. RGIII's health is more important than the Skins having a sexy lineup right away. He looks nothing like the RGIII of last year and also nothing like a number two overall pick. And no, Pierre Garcon, it is not the knee brace that is the problem. It's the knee.

27- New York Jets - 1-1 (-1) - Normally I wouldn't get mad at the Jets for a loss to the Patriots, but honestly the Patriots looked pretty awful on Thursday and yet they still were better than the Jets. No, the Jets haven't been as bad as we thought and that is why they are in the 20's still, but I don't think that is a spot they will climb out of any time soon.

28- Oakland Raiders - 1-1 (+2) - The Raiders actually look like they have some promise with Terrell Pryor leading the way and if Darren McFadden stays healthy, this team could be a lot better than some thought they would. That said, it was the Jaguars they played on Sunday and the Jags are pretty good at making any team look awesome right now, so I'm going to wait and see on this before I say too much.

29- Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 0-2 (+0) - It's never a good thing when your starting quarterback and head coach have this many questions surrounding them after only two games. Before the season, I thought that the Bucs could be a breakout team, but it all relied on Josh Freeman being consistent and he has been anything but consistent this year and now I doubt that he will even last much longer as a starter the way he is going.

30- Pittsburgh Steelers - 0-2 (-2) - Thanks to a poor first half from the Bengals, it almost seemed like the Steelers were going to do something, but did you see that Steelers offense? Neither did I. It doesn't exist right now. If I was paying attention right, they got -2 yards in the whole third quarter and during the fourth quarter I was absolutely shocked when they completed two passes in a row.

31- Cleveland Browns - 0-2 (+0) - I've never liked the Brandon Weedon experiment and I haven't been shy about that. Now after two games of plain out awful play, it looks like the Brandon Weedon experiment is about over and it's sad when you realize that your second year quarterback is already on the down hill part of his career due to his age. The Browns have talent on their team, but without a quarterback that knows how to play the game, they are going to stay at the bottom of a rather depressing AFC North.

32- Jacksonville Jaguars - 0-2 (+0) - It's bad enough when you only put up two points on the board in your season opener, but it's worse when you make the Oakland Raiders look like a great football team in your second week. I'm quite confident that this is where the Jaguars are going to be the whole season. As I look at their schedule, I don't see a winnable game for them until you get to week 13. And no, they don't have that hard of a schedule. They are just really bad.

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