1. Los Angeles Rams: 3-0 (Last Week: 1)
The first battle for Los Angeles since 1994 ends in favor of the Rams. Jared Goff played a great game, save a redzone interception. The special teams bailed him out by blocking the ensuing punt and recovering for a touchdowns. There were some key injuries though. With a short week ahead and going on the road, week 4 will be very telling for Los Angeles.
2. Kansas City Chiefs: 3-0 (Last Week: 4)
Records continue to fall as Patrick Mahomes continues to ball in Kansas City. The Chiefs have dominated teams through the first three weeks of the season. All three of their wins have been solid. The Chargers, Steelers and 49ers were all considered to be among the better teams in the league this year. The secondary might be terrible, but no one has even come close to slowing down Andy Reid’s high-powered offense.
3. Philadelphia Eagles: 2-1 (Last Week: 6)
Carson Wentz was back and managed to knock off some rust. It was a bit of an ugly win for the Eagles, but a win nonetheless. Philly should be getting healthier over the next few weeks as the trio of Alshon Jeffrey, Darren Sproles and Jay Ajayi all set to return soon. With their MVP-caliber quarterback back in action, we could see the Eagles return to the form that led them to the Super Bowl in the near future.
4. Jacksonville Jaguars: 2-1 (Last Week: 2)
And this is where the parity in the NFL kicks in once again. After the Jaguars beat the Patriots, they were riding high atop the AFC. Then they crashed back down to Earth with a loss to the short-handed Titans. Jacksonville faced a lot of the issues it struggled with in the past as the defense played lights out, but the offense struggled to score points. The Jets are on the schedule next, which should be a win, but the Jags lost to New York last year and with how this NFL season is going, nothing is for certain.
5. Minnesota Vikings: 1-1-1 (Last Week 3)
In other results that continue to make no sense, Minnesota laid an egg against Buffalo. The offensive line forgot how to block and Kirk Cousins was responsible for three turnovers. The Bills deserve a lot of credit for winning, but the Vikings played like it was the NFC Championship game. With a short week, Minnesota desperately needs to turn things around quickly heading to Los Angeles for a matchup with the Rams.
6. New England Patriots: 1-2 (Last Week: 5)
Take your hand off the panic button. It was not a good week for New England. There is no question this team is not as good as it was a year ago. The Patriots still have a lot to figure out, but they are still the best team in the AFC East and one of the top three teams in the AFC. A win over the currently undefeated Dolphins would do a lot to silence doubters.
7. Chicago Bears: 2-1 (Last Week: 9)
I will be honest, after the performance the Bears put on against the Cardinals, I don’t feel great about having them at seventh. However, who would you put ahead of them? This defense has been among the best in the league. It hasn’t really beaten anyone significant yet, but will get a chance to prove itself against Tampa Bay and Miami in its next two games. Also, trust in Matt Nagy. He seems like he is going to figure out what ails the offense before too long.
8. Baltimore Ravens: 2-1 (Last Week: 14)
One week after being embarrassed by Andy Dalton, the Ravens bounced back. Bend but don’t break proved to be the solution for Balitmore’s defense en route to an important win over Denver. It seems odd to call a week 3 game important, but it was a victory over another AFC team that could be the difference in what seems like it will be a tough AFC North.
9. Pittsburgh Steelers: 1-1-1 (Last Week: 12)
That second half did not do much to comfort anyone and Pittsburgh looks as undisciplined as ever, but it picked up a win, and a road win at that. Ben Roethlisberger picked up right where he left off against Kansas City. Unfortunately, the secondary reverted to its woeful ways after halftime. Still, four forced turnovers is a good place to start for the Steelers. If they can avoid committing as many penalties, wins should become easier to come by.
10. Carolina Panthers: 2-1 (Last Week: 18)
I will admit, heading into the season, I was very skeptical of this Panthers team. Most of my concerns were with the offense though and after three weeks, a lot of them have been alleviated. Cam Newton and Christian McCaffrey work well together on the ground and Carolina can create just enough passing downfield to keep the defense honest. After intercepting Andy Dalton four times as well, it seems like this team is only getting better as the season rolls on.
11. Atlanta Falcons: 1-2 (Last Week: 8)
Even though the Falcons beat the Panthers in week 2, Atlanta has lost some big pieces in the meantime. Keanu Neal, Deion Jones, Andy Levitre, Devonta Freeman, Riccardo Allen and Takk McKinnley all find themselves on the injury report, and some of them aren’t coming back. The offense seems to be hitting its stride, scoring over 30 points each of the last two weeks, but if the defense cannot get healthy, it might not matter for the Falcons.
12. Green Bay Packers: 1-1-1 (Last Week: 7)
Sure it was a road game, but that was not the performance we are used to seeing from the Green Bay Packers. Aaron Rodgers and the offense mustered only 17 points. The defense was gashed by countless big plays. The Packers have not looked like a great team through three weeks. There are only so many times Rodgers can tell everyone to relax.
13. Miami Dolphins: 3-0 (Last Week: 17)
It is hard to know what to make of the Dolphins quite yet. They trailed at home against Oakland, but scored 21 points in the second half to pull off the comeback. Ryan Tannehill has played extremely well through the first three weeks of the season, but the running game disappeared against the Raiders. Despite being 3-0, Miami has yet to really secure a statement win. Beating the Patriots this week would certainly qualify.
14. Washington: 2-1 (Last Week: 19)
The parity in the NFL is reaching an interesting point. One week after falling flat against Indianapolis, Washington nearly doubled up Green Bay. The rushing attack came up huge as Adrian Peterson feasted on the Packers defense. Alex Smith put up solid numbers, but only completed 12 passes. It was a huge improvement, but there is still room to grow.
15. New Orleans Saints: 2-1 (Last Week: 22)
This seems a lot more like the Saints team we know. Drew Brees turned back the clocks with a vintage performance, setting the NFL record for career completions in the process. New Orleans might have the most dangerous offense in football outside of Kansas City when it gets going. Mark Ingram is only two weeks away from returning as well. Now, if someone could just teach them to play defense.
16. Cincinnati Bengals: 2-1 (Last Week: 10)
One week after tossing four touchdown passes, Andy Dalton threw four interceptions. The lack of consistency make the Bengals a tough team to trust, but they were missing Joe Mixon and A.J. Green left the game with an injury as well. Cincy still leads the suddenly very competitive AFC North, but faces a tough test with a trip to Atlanta on the horizon.
17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 2-1 (Last Week: 11)
It might seem like a bit of a steep drop, but this was exactly what every Buccaneers fan feared would happen. Tampa Bay’s offense committed four turnovers in the first half, including a pick-six by Ryan Fitzpatrick. It battled back in the second half, and the defense actually pitched a shutout, but the damage was already done. If not for some shaky kicking by Chris Boswell, this game might have even been a bit further out of reach when Tampa started to make its late push. Jameis Winston returns this week as well, potentially throwing this team into chaos about who should start at quarterback.
18. Denver Broncos: 2-1 (Last Week: 15)
A lot of the concerns about this Broncos team came to light in the loss to the Ravens. Case Keenum was rather pedestrian throwing for under 200 yards with no touchdowns and the running game could not bail Denver out. This is still a team more than capable of competing for a playoff spot, but with a trip to Arrowhead upcoming, the offense needs to get into gear.
19. Los Angeles Chargers: 1-2 (Last Week: 16)
It is easy to look at the scoreline and think the Chargers were a step below the Rams, but Anthony Lynn’s squad put up a good fight. If not for a blocked punt recovered for a touchdown, this game would’ve been a whole lot closer. Last year’s first round pick Mike Williams flashed some of his potential and the ground game looked solid. If Los Angeles can use the rushing attack early to control the tempo, the Chargers should start winning more games.
20. Tennessee Titans: 2-1 (Last Week: 23)
Thankfully for the Titans, style points are worth nothing in the NFL. The thing holding Tennessee back from being higher on this list is the battered situation of its quarterback group. Marcus Mariota can barely grip a football and Blaine Gabbert took a nasty shot to the head. The Titans will probably need to score a few more points with the defending champs coming to town.
21. Indianapolis Colts: 1-2 (Last Week: 21)
The defense came to play. The offense was almost nowhere to be found. Indy managed just 209 yards of total offense for a pathetic 3.7 yards per play. The sad truth is that Andrew Luck might never truly be the same quarterback he was back in 2015 before all these injuries piled up. The evidence was never clearer than watching Jacoby Brissett come off the bench to attempt the potential game-winning Hail Mary pass.
22. Seattle Seahawks: 1-2 (Last Week: 27)
All I’m going to say is the Seahawks better pay Earl Thomas soon. The veteran safety intercepted two passes against Dallas and made life a lot easier for the Seattle offense. Chris Carson cracked the hundred-yard mark, but it took him 32 carries. Overall, this was a massive improvement for the Seahawks, but the jump was from dreadful to below average. This team still has a lot to prove.
23. Dallas Cowboys: 1-2 (Last Week: 20)
Turnovers killed the Cowboys as the offense sputtered once again on the road. Dallas is sticking to its gameplan as Ezekiel Elliott is tied for the league lead in rushing yards through the first three weeks. However, the poor play in the secondary and the inability to generate a downfield passing threat are huge red flags. This team is missing Dez Bryant and Jason Witten.
24. New York Giants: 1-2 (Last Week: 25)
Pat Shurmer deserves a lot of praise for his handling of this game. He kept the Giants moving the ball efficiently on the ground and kept Eli Manning about as clean as possible considering the talent level on the offense line and on the Texans’ defensive front. Heading home with a win is crucial for this team, but the defense will need to turn it up a notch with the Saints coming to visit.
25. Detroit Lions: 1-2 (Last Week: 28)
Wow. This does not make up for how poorly the Lions played to open the season, but it means a lot for how Detroit fans view Matt Patricia. The Lions finally had a 100-yard rusher as rookie Kerryon Johnson crossed the century mark. Matt Stafford was solid if unspectacular. The secondary played some of the best football I’ve seen in Detroit in a long time. The win means a lot, but it will mean a lot more if the Lions can go into Dallas and build on the positives.
26. Cleveland Browns: 1-1-1 (Last Week: 29)
LeBron who? OK, that’s definitely pushing it, but it felt a bit like Cleveland found its new king on Thursday night as Baker Mayfield came off the bench to lead a second-half comeback and end the Browns’ 19-game losing streak. There is no looking back now and the extra prep the team got heading into a matchup with Oakland could have the Browns on the cusp of a winning record for the first time since November of 2014.
27. New York Jets: 1-2 (Last Week: 24)
Just in case anyone had forgotten, the Jets reminded the whole league they are still a rebuilding team after losing in Cleveland. It was part of a tough schedule to open the season travel wise as New York played it’s third game in 10 days. Still, Sam Darnold showed he is a rookie with a lot to learn and the defense still cannot generate a pass rush without blitzing. It could be a long season for the Jets.
28. Houston Texans: 0-3 (Last Week: 26)
For a team as talented as the Texans supposedly are, it is unbelievable they are one of just three teams in the league without a win. The pass rush showed up against New York, as did the passing game, but Houston still came up short. Bill O’Brien has to figure out what is holding this team back and fast. Dropping to 0-4 with a loss to the Colts would end its season.
29. Buffalo Bills: 1-2 (Last Week: 31)
I’m not going to claim for even a second that I saw this coming, but I did think the Bills looked a lot better in week 2. They looked even better thrashing Minnesota at home with a 27-6 victory. Josh Allen showed why he was a top-10 pick in the draft and Buffalo found a way to move the ball on the ground even without LeSean McCoy. This team is still far from contending, but it might be a bit more competitive than most initially thought.
30. San Francisco 49ers: 1-2 (Last Week: 13)
And with that, the 49ers hopes for a successful season end. Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a torn ACL, meaning he is done for the year. San Francisco is already at 1-2 and started 1-10 last year before Garoppolo took over as quarterback. On the bright side, a high draft pick for a team that already has a franchise quarterback can be a very valuable asset.
31. Oakland Raiders: 0-3 (Last Week: 30)
John Gruden said in an interview that he wouldn’t take the Raiders money if he wasn’t successful. It is time to start handing it back over. Oakland is arguably the worst team in the league. The major difference separating it from Arizona is the fact it is not starting a rookie quarterback. Oakland is being outscored by about 10 points per game and owns the worst turnover ratio in the league. The Raiders do have an easy schedule remaining, but need to drastically improve for this not to seem like a season that set the franchise back several years.
32. Arizona Cardinals: 0-3 (Last Week: 32)
Well, all of the rookie quarterbacks taken in the top-10 are now in control of the starting role. Josh Rosen will likely join Baker Mayfield in making his first NFL start in week 4. It was a rough start for Rosen as he threw two interceptions to close the game. One was called back for an offsides penalty, but Rosen still took a sack to eventually end the contest. Even though it was a close game, Arizona still looks like the worst team in the NFL.