Each week, we will bring you staff NFL Power Rankings. The overall rankings are a combination of polls submitted by Justin Rozzero, Marc Clair, Chad Campbell, Greg Phillips, Andrew Flanagan & Maurice Pogue. Each team is assigned points based on rank and then compiled and ranked overall based on total points. Managing Editor Brad Woodling has the power to break ties.
- Seattle Seahawks (191 pts): It was business as usual for the Seahawks as they held serve at home and easily handled a disastrous Jaguars team. Russell Wilson finally broke through with a big day passing and with losses piling up around them, they have taken early control of the NFC West. Next week they need to prove they can dominate on the road as well.
- Denver Broncos (187 pts): The Bronco machine hummed along nicely on Monday night, with another convincing victory to move to 3-0. Peyton Manning is getting even more efficient, which is scary, and now has 12 touchdowns and zero interceptions. It is hard to see any flaws here yet because they haven’t been in a close battle that would have revealed any. For now, they are near perfect.
- New Orleans Saints (179 pts): The Saints quietly put hung 31 points on a good Arizona defense and now have some breathing room atop the division. The scariest part of this for the rest of the NFC: the Saints haven’t even played that well on offense yet this year, piecing wins together as they go. Once Drew Brees really gets locked in, the Saints could be targeting a division title.
- Chicago Bears (164 pts): The Bears continue to roll on, remaining undefeated after the defense dominated Pittsburgh on Sunday night. At some point, the defensive TDs may dry up, so it is imperative that the offense continue to develop and learn how to close out games. The Bears have a key divisional game with Detroit this weekend and a win will give them a comfortable division lead at the quarter mark of the season.
- New England Patriots (161 pts): The Patriots picked up their first comfortable win on the season, knocking off a dysfunctional Tampa team at home. Tom Brady’s young receivers finally provided some assistance and now with Danny Amendola and Rob Gronkowski on the road to recovery, New England sits atop the division at 3-0 despite having struggled mightily thus far. A win in Atlanta Sunday night could put the Pats back on the map as legit contenders.
- Cincinnati Bengals (158 pts): It may have been ugly, but a win is a win. The Bengals made one less mistake than Green Bay, which allowed them steal away a game in the closing quarter. Andy Dalton needs to find some consistency and if he does, the Bengals may be the biggest threat to Denver in the AFC. They need to hold serve against a suddenly frisky Browns team because that is what Championship caliber teams do.
- Kansas City Chiefs (151 pts): The Chiefs picked up another quality win against the NFC East, this time holding Michael Vick under 100 yards while winning fairly convincingly on the road. We haven’t seen this team be in a position to forge a big come from behind win, so time will tell if Alex Smith can get it done when needed, but if the defense continues to suffocate the opposition, it may not matter. The battered Giants come to Arrowhead Sunday as the Chiefs look to keep pace with Denver.
- Miami Dolphins (145 pts): Miami continues to impress, this time coming from behind to beat a depleted Atlanta team. This was a weird game, because it was a big win but also would have been a bad loss considering they were at home and the Falcons were not even close to full strength. Ryan Tannehill continues to play well and the passing game has looked like the team’s strength for the first time in a while. If they can beat New Orleans on Monday night, it will be time to put the Dolphins in the upper echelon of the AFC.
- Green Bay Packers (136 pts): The Packers gave away a very winnable game in Cincinnati by playing sloppy and not striking when the opportunity presented. There is some level of disconnect between Aaron Rodgers and the coaching staff as was evident by the bickering we saw on the sidelines. Just when it looks like they finally have a run game to back Rodgers up, injuries ravage their backfield. They suddenly find themselves looking up at two teams and this is one time when a bye week may not come at a very opportune time, as I am sure they want to get back on the field ASAP.
- Indianapolis Colts (133 pts): After a shaky first two weeks and the loss of Vick Ballard, the Colts pushed their chips all in by trading a first round pick for Trent Richardson. They then went to San Francisco and smacked the reeling 49ers in the mouth with a very convincing win. The Colts now draw the Jaguars, which should ensure they at least remain tied atop the AFC South. Time will tell if the trade was a good one for Indy, but for one week it certainly re-energized a franchise that seemed dead set for regression.
- Houston Texans (133 pts): Houston, we have a very serious problem. After barely winning two games against inferior teams, the Texans got smacked down by a depleted Ravens team. Now, they return home to welcome in the dominant Seahawks. The Texans suddenly look old and one has to wonder if Matt Schaub has it in him to lead this team to the promised land. Has the window closed already? A win over Seattle can prop it open just a little bit longer.
- Dallas Cowboys (124 pts): Dallas is as frustrating as ever, which should come as no surprise. A week after struggling in KC, the Cowboys looked dominant in hosing the Rams at home. Tony Romo was efficient, the defense was stingy and DeMarco Murray looked like Emmit Smith. The NFC East is clearly there for Dallas to take, but can they show the killer instinct, consistency and maturity to get it done.
- Atlanta Falcons (124 pts): The Falcons shook off a number of injuries and played strong for a majority of their game Sunday, but in the end, the defense caved and they ate their second loss of the season. Mike Smith again showed a propensity to play things safe instead of going for the jugular, meaning piles of field goals instead of touchdowns. Those extra points add up and lead to a loss wrenched out of the hands of victory. The Falcons have a very good offense and should find a way to trust it more often.
- San Francisco 49ers (122 pts): What happened to the 49ers that waxed the Packers in week one? Since, they have been embarrassed by Seattle and humbled at home by the Colts. They have no wide receivers, leaving Colin Kaepernick hanging out to dry as teams load up to stop him at the line. Because of the lack of aerial attack, the run game has suffered too. And now with Aldon Smith out dealing with immaturity issues, the defense is looking vulnerable as well. There is plenty of time to right the ship, but the Niners clearly have legit flaws that keep them from being the cream of the crop.
- Baltimore Ravens (115 pts): The Ravens have bounced back nicely since their opening night demolition at the hands of Peyton Manning. After a narrow win over Cleveland at home, they proceeded to curb stomp the Texans to serve us a reminder who the defending champions were. The Bengals have shown some signs of vulnerability so if the Ravens can get their house in order, they can still battle for a division crown. However, they need to get Ray Rice back, healthy and at peak performance. This should be a good week for Joe Flacco as well, as he gets to pick apart a banged up Buffalo secondary.
- Detroit Lions (111 pts): Detroit barley hung on against Washington, finally winning in a place that has been a house of horrors for them. With Reggie Bush watching, Joique Bell had a big day running through the soft Redskins defense. Bush should be back Sunday and Ford Field will be rocking because the Lions can make a statement and pull into a fist place tie with a home win against the Bears.
- Tennessee Titans (90 pts): The Titans deserve a lot of credit. They have looked frisky and played very strong defense and should be alone atop the AFC South, if they could have held on in Houston. Their game Sunday with the Jets could be a big one for both teams, as they look to surprise pundits and make an unlikely wild card push. The defense and running game are in place, but the Titans really need Jake Locker to take that next step before they can really set their sights on being a consistently competitive team.
- New York Jets (88 pts): If the Jets had any hope of a playoff spot in 2013, it was imperative for them to rack up wins early because starting in week five, their schedule gets very tough. So far they have taken care of business with home wins over Tampa Bay and Buffalo, but a quality road win in Tennessee would have them sitting at 3-1 and feeling pretty good about a dominant defense and a developing rookie QB as they head to Atlanta a week from Monday.
- Philadelphia Eagles (85 pts): The Chip Kelly offense finally sputtered as the stout Chiefs defense took away their passing game and forced five turnovers. The Eagles still ran the ball well, but their defense fell apart and the Chiefs pulled away. If the Eagles want to pick up wins, they are going to need to throw effectively and build up big leads because the defense is never going to allow them to win many close games. This week, they draw Denver. Best of luck.
- San Diego Chargers (83 pts): Once again, the Chargers booted away a very winnable game in the closing minutes. This team should really be 3-0. Their offense has played very well, but their defense continues to falter down the stretch and it is costing this team a bank full of wins that could have snuck them into the wild card picture. Sunday, they are home for Dallas so the defense will need to step up big time to give the Chargers a chance to get back to .500.
- Carolina Panthers (75 pts): Despite sitting at 0-2, it was clear that Carolina had talent and could compete, but their coaching and game-planning were holding them back. Things finally changed on Sunday as Cam Newton was allowed be himself and run a muck and the coaching staff realized that they had to take some risks on a weekly basis. It all came together for a dominating home win over the Giants. They now head to the bye feeling good and having plenty of time to prepare for the week five game in Arizona.
- Buffalo Bills (65 pts): Despite racking up a pile of injuries, the Bills were game in a tough loss to the Jets. EJ Manuel held up best he could against a strong defense, but the run game was non existent. The injuries are piling up quickly and the Bills may just have too many holes to fill to be competitive in what is now looking like a decent division. A loss to Baltimore on Sunday would be a big blow, especially if Miami and New England continue to win.
- St. Louis Rams (62 pts): The Rams have really had issues getting on track early in games and by the time they get the engines revved up, they have been battling back from some serious deficits. One would expect a Jeff Fisher led team to be better prepared and focused but it hasn’t happened yet. Thursday night they have a golden chance to bury the 49ers and actually pull into second place in the division. They will need to play a full sixty minutes to get it done.
- Arizona Cardinals (47 pts): The Cardinals have to be a bit disappointed in how New Orleans manhandled them throughout that game. After playing well and showing a lot of spirit through two weeks, this could have been a chance for the Cardinals defense to prove they were a top level squad. Instead, Drew Brees carved them up and Carson Palmer had no chance to keep pace on the road. They stay in the NFC South this week, with a road game in Tampa Bay. The Cards have a chance to effectively end Tampa’s season and stay alive the NFC playoff hunt.
- Washington Redskins (43 pts): It is hard to believe this is the same team that dominated the second half of the season and made the playoffs in 2012. They showed some signs of life late against Detroit but they are quickly running out of time to straighten things out. It is obvious now that RG3 was not ready to play and it has cost them. Also, the defense sucks. If they lose in Oakland Sunday, the only thing keeping them alive would be a lousy division.
- Cleveland Browns (43 pts): The Browns radically shook up their franchise last week and the refresh seemed to work for at least one game, as Brian Hoyer led a heavy aerial assault in a shocking win over Minnesota. Although, we have to wonder if the plan backfired, because beating another really bad team seems counterproductive to their tanking plan. Regardless, the front office seems to have some direction for the first time since the franchise reboot, so if fans can just be patient one last time, the Brown may finally be on a firm rebuilding path.
- Minnesota Vikings (34 pts): The Vikings nightmare season continue as they lose to the Brian Hoyer-led Browns at home. This was a bad loss, no other way to look at it. The defense could not shut down one of the worst offenses in the league and Christian Ponder was unable to lead this team to a very attainable win. Since that huge opening drive TD run in week one, Adrian Peterson has looked mortal. If AP continues to struggle, this team will be looking at a top five draft pick come May.
- New York Giants (33 pts): Things have gotten very ugly, very fast for Big Blue. Eli Manning looks lost and the offense has been completely non existent and they have a net score of -61. For this team to sleepwalk through a must win game and get shellacked in Carolina, of all places, was quite the embarrassment. I would be surprised to see Tom Coughlin on the hot seat, but it is clear that changes may be coming if they can’t turn this around. A road game in KC won’t be easy, but could be a high quality win to turn the season around.
- Pittsburgh Steelers (32 pts): The Steelers are off to their worst start since 2000, racking up three losses before notching a win. Injuries and age have ripped this team apart, but they have showed some signs of progress, including a monster game from Antonio Brown on Sunday night. With Le’Veon Bell toting the rock, Sunday’s game in Minnesota is an absolute must win.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (23 pts): The only thing saving Tampa Bay from the bottom of these rankings is the hot garbage pile of teams below them. After staying competitive the first two weeks, Tampa was a no show in New England on Sunday. Mike Williams went down to injury and Vincent Jackson seemingly just decided not to play anymore, leaving Josh Freeman with nothing to work with against a good defense. Greg Schiano’s job is in serious jeopardy and word has come out that he tossed up a Hail Mary and turned to Mike Glennon in advance of their game with Arizona.
- Oakland Raiders (25 pts): Oakland deserves credit for staying competitive and not mailing in a near impossible game to win in Denver Monday night. Terrelle Pryor went down late and Oakland has to hope it’s not serious because he clearly is the best fit for this team at this point. Darren McFadden has stayed healthy and run well thus far, making Oakland an annoying team for contenders to play.
- Jacksonville Jaguars (6 pts): Cecil Shorts. Garbage time. Excellent.
Biggest Rise: New York Jets (+7)
Biggest Fall: San Francisco 49ers (-10)
PTB Game to Watch: Miami @ New Orleans, Monday Night, 8:30PM, ESPN
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