1. New England Patriots (Last week: 1)
The Patriots really never ease off and it showed with a 51-17 win over Jacksonville. Brady is off to the best statistical start of his Hall of Fame career. LeGarrette Blount had a great return to action, rattling off three touchdowns. The Pats offense seems unstoppable and the defense is definitely good enough for them to roll through the season.
2. Green Bay Packers (Last week: 2)
Only one other quarterback in NFL history started the season with 10 touchdowns and zero interceptions through his first three games. That was Peyton Manning in 2013 when he broke just about every meaningful passing record ever. Make that two now with Aaron Rodgers joining the conversation.
3. Denver Broncos (Last week: 3)
It hasn’t always been pretty but that doesn’t mean the Broncos don’t deserve a spot in the top five. Peyton Manning seems to be settling into the offense much better now and the ground game saw a slight improvement. This Denver defense has the potential to be legendary though.
4. Arizona Cardinals (Last week: 4)
Craziest stat so far of the NFL season. The Arizona Cardinals have outscored opponents by 25.3 points per game. With the hapless Rams, winless Lions, Michael Vick led Steelers and the other two AFC North teams not named the Bengals on the slate, Arizona might just continue to blow teams out.
5. Cincinnati Bengals (Last week: 5)
Playing games against division rivals always seem to be tough in the AFC North. However, the passing game looks electric with Andy Dalton leading the charge. The ground game has been mediocre at best this season. If Cincy can figure out how to punish teams on the ground, this team should wrap up the North crown easy.
6. Atlanta Falcons (Last week: 11)
For the third time in as many weeks, the Falcons pulled together a fourth quarter comeback to beat the NFC East. Atlanta is showing the mental toughness to stay in games and seems to be a good position to make a playoff push.
7. Buffalo Bills (Last week: 12)
Buffalo is looking more and more like the real deal. A dominant win against the Dolphins elevates them into the top 10 for the first time this season. I was likely too harsh on Buffalo for their loss to New England, but poor performances from Indy, Dallas and Kansas City opened the door for them.
8. Pittsburgh Steelers (Last week: 13)
The Steelers gained one star but lost another. Ben Roethlisberger is expected to miss the next 4-6 weeks for Pittsburgh but LeVeon Bell is finally back on the field. The Steelers will have to drastically change the gameplan, relying on both Bell and DeAngelo Williams to get them through. Unfortunately, their time to recover is short as the Steelers play the Ravens tomorrow night.
9. Seattle Seahawks (Last week: 7)
The defense got the boost it needed in Kam Chancellor’s return. However, the offense still seems to be spinning it’s wheels. Seattle had to settle for field goals way too often considering they were playing against the lowly Bears. Marshawn Lynch missing time won’t help anything either.
10. Kansas City Chiefs (Last week: 6)
Another week, another primetime loss. However, the pair of defeats came at the hands of Green Bay and Denver. Alex Smith finally through a touchdown to a wide receiver but the offense got things going too late. The fourth quarter saw Kansas City bully the Packers’ defense. That identity was missing though for the first three quarters of play.
11. Dallas Cowboys (Last week: 7)
So the Cowboys forgot they needed to play two halves of football this week. The defense looked helpless in the second half giving up 22 points and the offense sputtered. Joseph Randle finished the first half with 91 rushing yards. He finished the game with 87 yards. That cannot happen again if Dallas expects to win.
12. Indianapolis Colts (Last week: 10)
Well a win is a win, but that doesn’t save the Colts here. Andrew Luck proceeded to throw two more interceptions and Indy needed a furious fourth quarter comeback to beat the upstart Titans. Chuck Pagano needs to do something differently going forward.
13. New York Jets (Last week: 13)
The offense made some big mistakes and without the defense generating turnovers, the Jets found themselves on the losing end against Philly. Getting Eric Decker, Chris Ivory and Darrelle Revis has to be the priority right now if the Jets want to build on their solid start.
14. Minnesota Vikings (Last week: 14)
Sunday provided us with a second straight convincing victory from the Vikings. Adrian Peterson continued his dominance for a second straight week with 120 yards and two touchdowns. The Vikings defense also handled what has been a fairly good Chargers offense, sacking Phillip Rivers four times and bouncing him from the game.
15. Carolina Panthers (Last week: 18)
Who would have thought that through the first three weeks, the only division with multiple undefeated teams would be the NFC South. The Panthers have quietly won their first three games and face another winnable game against Tampa Bay this weekend. There is a good chance this Carolina squad stays undefeated.
16. Philadelphia Eagles (Last week: 17)
No matter how you spin it, the Eagles defense played much better this week in New York. The offense seemed to find some rhythm, the defense contained the Jets offense and the special teams provided some big plays. Philly gets a chance to make up some ground in the division with a game against Washington this weekend. A win would put them right back into contention for the division title.
17. San Diego Chargers (Last week: 16)
When you struggle to block, the whole team struggles. The Chargers have not had much of a run game and they allowed Minnesota to get after Phillip Rivers this weekend. With the Broncos continuing to win, San Diego needs to start earning some more wins.
18. Miami Dolphins (Last week: 15)
Many pundits thought Miami was going to be a decent team this season, potentially even challenging New England for the division title. Consecutive losses to the Jags and Bills, the latter being in the form of a blowout, have tapered those conversations.
19. Oakland Raiders (Last week: 22)
The Raiders got the win, a road win no less, to earn their first winning record in nearly four years. Derek Carr continues to show that he is every bit of the franchise quarterback Oakland drafted him to be.
20. Detroit Lions (Last week: 19)
Detroit just could not find a way to consistently move the ball against Denver. On the other hand, it was good to see Calvin Johnson get involved and dominate Aquib Talib for most of the night. The Lions need to find their ground game fast if they hope to salvage this season.
21. Baltimore Ravens (Last week: 20)
Steve Smith played lights out this Sunday but it wasn’t enough to prevent the worst start in franchise history. Looking at this Ravens team, they are tough and gritty but lack playmakers on offense.
22. St. Louis Rams (Last week: 21)
That upset of the Seahawks seems like it happened a very long time ago. The Rams defense gave Pittsburgh all it could handle but the offense has mustered just 16 points in the last two games. The next two games for St. Louis are away against Arizona and Green Bay. This team could easily be 1-4 by mid-October.
23. Houston Texans (Last week: 24)
Houston got a much needed win to keep pace in the lowly AFC South. Alfred Blue led the charge with 139 yards on the ground. The Texans should have Arian Foster back very soon, which could be just what this team needs to start winning some meaningful games.
24. New York Giants (Last week: 26)
Just when it seemed like the Giants were spiraling down, they got a much needed win over a division rival. Suddenly, with Dallas losing this weekend, the division seems much more in reach and the damage done the first two weeks looks like it can be reversed.
25. San Francisco 49ers (Last week: 23)
Well…at least things can’t get worse. This San Francisco team is not built to play from behind and when Colin Kaepernick throws two pick-sixes in the first six minutes of the game, the 49ers have no chance of winning.
26. Cleveland Browns (Last week: 26)
Josh McCown played worse than his stat line suggests. He started very slow and threw a bad late-game interception to dash the Browns chances of a comeback. The blame can’t all fall on him though. Cleveland allowed five sacks against Oakland. Not exactly a recipe for success.
27. Tennessee Titans (Last week: 30)
They might have lost, but it was by a very narrow margin. Tennessee blew a fourth quarter lead, but the fact that it had a fourth quarter lead on Indy shows that the Titans are very much in the conversation of challenging in the AFC South.
28. New Orleans Saints (Last week: 27)
Luke McCown is not Drew Brees in any shape or form. However, McCown had a very solid game on a day when the running game didn’t really bail him out. He completed 81.6 percent of his passes for 310 yards. If the running game gets going, New Orleans could start to win a couple.
29. Washington (Last week: 29)
Well it looks like I overestimated the abilities of Alfred Morris and Matt Jones. Jones could have made the game a lot closer but he fumbled as he lunged for the end zone, costing Washington seven points. The defense also had no answer for Odell Beckham Jr. all night long.
30. Jacksonville Jaguars (Last week: 28)
It seems like that win against Miami was more of an anomaly then a sign of Jacksonville turning the corner. The Jags suffered a 51-17 drubbing by the Patriots. No one expected the Jaguars to win, but any week you give up 51 points is a bad one.
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Last week: 31)
Nine points is all we got out of the Buccaneers this weekend. It was a very poor showing but the defense played decently well, limiting the Texans to field goals for the majority of the game.
32. Chicago Bears (Last week: 32)
The train wreck continues and the Bears have already started their fire sale. Rumors have placed Matt Forte and Alshon Jeffery as potential trade options. Chicago seems like it is fully embracing hitting the reset button.