2020 NFL Power Rankings: Week 7

What a week! From start to finish, it was a wild slate of football games. There were some shocking results. Denver shutdown New England for a surprising victory and Tampa Bay blew the doors off Green Bay. There were some thrilling finishes as well. Tennessee needed overtime to hold off Houston. Washington and Philadelphia came up short after failing to convert two-point attempts. We also finally got some Tua Time!

The Fins shutout the Jets to continue New York’s embarrassing season. Tua Tagovailoa saw his first NFL action late in the game and had a truly wholesome moment after playing football for the first time since he suffered his devastating injury in 2019. Following the win, Tua walked back onto the field, he sat down on the 15-yard line and he FaceTimed his parents. They could not be there to watch him play because of the pandemic. It felt like a really relatable moment for all of us still struggling with the impact of COVID-19.

For the third straight week, the team that I moved atop the rankings lost and opened the door for a new team at No. 1. This week offered a massive shakeup the pecking order. Pittsburgh tries its hand at the top. I have a feeling this type of chaos will not stop any time soon.

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1. Pittsburgh Steelers: 5-0 (Last Week: 5)
Won 38-7 vs. Cleveland
Beating the Browns, doesn’t get you to be No. 1. Winning by 31 to stay among the NFL’s final three unbeaten teams does. It is hard to find a clear weakness for this team. They are deep at the skill positions, block well and spread the ball around on offense. Defensively, this might be the best unit in the NFL. Only the Ravens are allowing fewer points per game at this point, but the Steelers are allowing way fewer yards per game and forcing more turnovers per game. Pittsburgh now has a huge showdown between undefeated teams with the rescheduled Tennessee game up next. Baltimore is after that.

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2. Seattle Seahawks: 5-0 (Last Week: 2)
Bye Week
Without playing Seattle cemented its spot atop the NFC. Green Bay suffered its first loss of the year. Los Angeles falling to San Francisco extends Seattle’s lead atop the NFC West as well. Few teams are playing as well as the Seahawks have so far this season. If the defense can get things together on the bye and even improve to the league average, Seattle will be a Super Bowl contender. That defense is still concerning though. It ranks 32nd in yards allowed per game and 18th in points allowed per game.

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3. Kansas City Chiefs: 5-1 (Last Week: 3)
Won 26-17 at Buffalo
Kansas City put its first loss in 11 months behind it with a convincing victory. It wasn’t a dazzling victory, but the Chiefs controlled the clock with a devastating ground game. Clyde Edwards-Helaire had a big night, finishing with 161 rushing yards. As a team, KC finished with 245 yards running the ball, which was more yards than it did passing. Patrick Mahomes was still his same, lethal self, taking care of the football and tossing a pair of touchdown passes. We will see this team playing late into January at least, barring a slew of injuries.

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4. Green Bay Packers: 4-1 (Last Week: 1)
Lost 38-10 at Tampa Bay
Well that was incredibly short lived. The Packers only get one week atop the power rankings before they crash back down. Aaron Rodgers struggled, the running game was abandoned and the defense collapsed. It was honestly just a worst-case scenario on both sides of the ball for Green Bay. This was shades of San Francisco last season. The Packers simply cannot find a way to contend with the league’s elite defenses.

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5. Baltimore Ravens: 5-1 (Last Week: 4)
Won 30-28 at Philadelphia
Baltimore looked to have this game all wrapped up. Leading 24-6 on the road, the Ravens took their foot off the gas a bit too soon. The Eagles managed 22 points in the fourth quarter and were a botched two-point conversion away from tying the ball game. In addition to the defense’s inability to really close things out against the most injured offense in the NFL, Lamar Jackson needs some help. He went MVP mode with 108 yards rushing on just nine carries, but Ravens’ running backs managed just 2.7 yards per rush on their 28 attempts. The passing game was also inconsistent. This team needs a go-to playmaker outside of Jackson. So far, no one has stepped up to fill that role.

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6. Tennessee Titans: 5-0 (Last Week: 7)
Won 42-36 vs. Houston
Divisional games are always tricky. Tennessee learned that, but just managed to hang on against Houston. Derrick Henry turned in one of the best performances of any running back in the past decade. 264 total yards and two touchdowns is incredibly impressive. Ryan Tannehill balled out as well with four touchdown passes. The Titans can score. It is up to the defense start making some stops. Deshaun Watson carved up the secondary even though the Texans cannot run the ball. Houston also went three for three on fourth down and Tennessee didn’t force a turnover. This was an important win, but there is a lot Mike Vrabel’s squad still needs to focus on.

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7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 4-2 (Last Week: 16)
Won 38-10 vs. Green Bay
After an ugly loss on a Thursday night, Tampa Bay finally looked the part of the Super Bowl contender many expected at the beginning of the season. This defense might just be the best in the NFL, allowing the fewest yards per game through six weeks. Ranking them ahead of the Bears is more about what the Buccaneers look like at full strength. Getting Chris Godwin back helped the offense for sure. Mike Evans also looked a bit healthier. Smacking the previously undefeated Packers by 28 is a huge step in the right direction for Bruce Arians. A really interesting matchup with the Raiders is up next.

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8. Las Vegas Raiders: 3-2 (Last Week: 10)
Bye Week
This feels like where there is a clear drop off from the NFL’s elite to whatever you want to label the next tier. That’s not to say the Raiders are locked into this spot. Las Vegas is the only team to beat Kansas City since this past November. That’s a pretty big notch in their belt. However, losses to the Patriots and Bills show there is work to do. The defense still has a long way to go. It ranks 26th in yards per pass and 25th in yards per run allowed. Most teams know they can at least shutdown one facet of the opposing offense. So far, the Raiders have not shown the ability to slow down either. That is going to hold Las Vegas back as the season wears on.

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9. New Orleans Saints: 3-2 (Last Week: 11)
Bye Week
New Orleans gets a much needed week off with a chance to get healthy at a few key positions. Michael Thomas should finally return. Deonte Harris should be back returning punts as well and Janoris Jenkins will bolster the secondary. In addition to getting healthy, Sean Payton needs to refocus the team as a whole. The Saints have not felt like a Super Bowl contender up to this point. Even in their wins, New Orleans has not looked convincing. On one hand, being 3-2 without playing their best football is somewhat reassuring, assuming they can flip the switch and start playing much better.

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10. Chicago Bears: 5-1 (Last Week 15)
Won 23-16 at Carolina
Give this defense credit. Khalil Mack and company got after Teddy Bridgewater all afternoon. Chicago racked up four sacks and had him scrambling quite a bit. The defense also held Mike Davis, who had been playing really well in Christian McCaffrey’s absence, to just 2.9 yards per carry. This truly feels like a championship caliber defense. Unfortunately, the offense is still suspect. Nick Foles has looked nothing shy of terrible so far. He has one reliable receiver in Allen Robinson. The running game is basically non-existent. The Bears managed 63 yards and 2.5 yards per carry against a defense that was giving up 133 yards per game entering the contest. As Foles said, winning ugly is better than losing pretty, but at some point, it would be nice to see the offense put things together.

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11. Buffalo Bills: 4-2 (Last Week: 8)
Lost 26-17 vs. Kansas City
I know I asked it before, but I will ask it again: What happened to the Buffalo defense of 2019? The Bills allowed 103 yards per game last season, good for 9th in the league. Clyde Edwards-Helaire and company ran all over the defense on Monday to the tune of 245 yards. Patrick Mahomes wasn’t quiet either, going 21-for-26 passing with 225 yards and two touchdowns. Buffalo only managed to sack him once. Offensively, it was definitely a lackluster showing. Josh Allen only competed 14 passes and once again the running backs failed to produce much. After a great start, it is important for the Bills to bounce back now and not let this streak get much longer.

12. Los Angeles Rams: 4-2 (Last Week: 6)
Lost 24-16 vs. San Francisco
Will the real Rams offense please stand up? Week 4 saw this team finish with just 17 points. A week ago, L.A. dropped 30 on Washington. Back home against a reeling San Francisco defense, Sean McVay’s group was held to just 16 points. At 4-2, there is no reason to panic, but it would be nice for Jared Goff to stabilize the offense. That 2018 season is starting to feel like a really long time ago.

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13. Arizona Cardinals: 4-2 (Last Week: 13)
Won 38-10 at Dallas
Arizona took care of business on Monday Night Football with a convincing performance. Yes, it came against a terrible Cowboys team, but the Cardinals dominated. Kyler Murray struggled a lot throwing the football against possibly the worst secondary in the NFL. He completed just nine passes in the contest despite throwing it 24 times. Murray did make plenty of plays with his legs though and the defense made sure he didn’t need to be perfect. The Cards defense force three turnovers and finished with sacks, even without Chandler Jones. Kliff Kingsbury’s crew is gaining momentum.

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14. Indianapolis Colts: 4-2 (Last Week: 14)
Won 31-27 vs. Cincinnati
Indianapolis looked like they might just unraveling following its loss to Cleveland. Cincinnati jumped out to a 21-0 lead. It felt like that was when Philip Rivers and company finally woke up. The Colts were extremely lucky to be facing an inexperienced team like the Bengals. Otherwise, this would have been a blowout. The defense locked down and gave Rivers a chance to lead a comeback. Give him credit for successfully seeing it through, but it is a little concerning that he needed to lead a three-score comeback against a one-win team in the first place.

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15. New England Patriots: 2-3 (Last Week: 9)
Lost 18-12 vs. Denver
What in the world was that? If you knew the Patriots kept the Broncos out of the end zone, you would have assumed New England won comfortably. Bill Belichick is the king of bye weeks after all and the team had an extra week to prep. Yet, Cam Newton returned and somehow the offense looked much worse than it did even before the bye week. Newton was successful with his legs, but two interceptions and four sacks taken tanked the passing game. The defense did it’s job, forcing two interceptions and holding Denver to six field goals. Make no mistake, this is a setback for the Patriots. I think they will turn it around, but this was a concerning loss.

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16. Miami Dolphins: 3-3 (Last Week: 17)
Won 24-0 vs. New York
Brian Flores can add first shutout of the 2020 season to his resume. There should probably be an asterisk next to it indicating the shutout came against the Joe Flacco-led Jets’ offense. Myles Gaskin had another solid outing as the lead back, which is a great sign for the offense. Ryan Fitzpatrick was his usual gunslinger self, with three touchdowns and two interceptions. We even got a glimpse at the future! Tua Tagovailoa saw a little bit of mop up duty at the end of the contest. Miami is suddenly one game back in the AFC East. Could this team possibly be making a playoff push a year earlier than most expected?

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17. San Francisco 49ers: 3-3 (Last Week: 23)
Won 24-16 at Los Angeles
Talk about quieting the doubters. San Francisco bounced back big time with a vital win to staying in the playoff race. The defense made an about face, holding Los Angeles to 16 points. Jimmy Garoppolo reasserted himself as the clear leader of the offense with three touchdowns in the first half and an overall impressive performance. The offensive line deserves recognition as well, not allowing a single sack against a talented front seven. Unfortunately, the injuries keep piling up, as Raheem Mostert heads back to the IR. The 49ers face a motivated Patriots team in Week 7.

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18. Cleveland Browns: 4-2 (Last Week: 12)
Lost 38-7 at Pittsburgh
I would not want to be Baker Mayfield right now. He had a terrible performance against Pittsburgh and got hit, a lot. The Steelers tallied eight quarterback hits in the game. The former No. 1 pick also threw two interceptions, including a horrible pick-six. He didn’t get a tremendous amount of help from his running game, but Cleveland essentially had to abandon it after trailing 24-7 at halftime. For the second time, the Browns have come up against the elite teams in the AFC North and have walked away thoroughly embarrassed. This team has a lot of growth to do.

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19. Carolina Panthers: 3-3 (Last Week: 18)
Lost 23-16 vs. Chicago
Injuries finally caught up with Carolina. Obviously, Christian McCaffrey is still out. Eli Apple and Curtis Samuel joined him on the sideline. Teddy Bridgewater’s supporting cast totally failed him as a result. He was sacked four times and Mike Davis got stonewalled repeatedly. Bridgewater deserves some criticism as well, tossing two interceptions. Defensively, the Panthers actually took some big steps forward. Holding David Montgomery to just 2.5 yards per carry is not overly impressive, but it was a good sign of growth for a very young unit.

20. Los Angeles Chargers: 1-4 (Last Week: 20)
Bye Week
Los Angeles has quickly become one of the most entertaining rebuilding teams to watch. Justin Herbert has had his fair share of growing pains, but has handling the starting role well. Especially when you consider that he has missed Austin Ekeler and, at times, Keenan Allen, Herbert has been better than advertised. Defensively, the Chargers are close, but not quite there yet. They have some talented edge rushers, but that has not translated to defensive success. However, L.A. gets a very favorable matchup against the Jaguars next.

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21. Atlanta Falcons: 1-5 (Last Week: 25)
Won 40-16 at Minnesota
Maybe the Falcons should have cleaned house sooner if this was the response they were going to get. It helped to play a young Vikings defense, but putting up 40 is a great sign for the rest of the season. It might be a bit too late for Atlanta to really make a postseason push, but this team looked a lot more competitive in all three phases. It’s great to see Matt Ryan and Julio Jones go off, but the defense is the real key here. It got key stops on fourth down, picked off Kirk Cousins three times and held Minnesota to just 32 rushing yards. The Falcons have been incapable of stopping any up to this point, so this is a good sign. Now interim coach Raheem Morris needs to find a way to build on it.

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22. Houston Texans: 1-5 (Last Week: 24)
Lost 42-36 at Tennessee
Get Deshaun Watson some help! He posted a dominant 93.2 QBR and his team lost in overtime without getting the ball. If that’s not a compelling reason to revisit NFL overtime rules, I don’t know what is. Back to Watson. He played a much smarter game, avoiding the risks he took the week before, but still could not overcome the Texans’ defensive deficiencies. After watching David Johnson run the ball 19 times for just 57 yards, Houston fans probably want to fire Bill O’Brien again. It is going to be a long few seasons while the Texans work to turn the team around.

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23. Philadelphia Eagles: 1-4-1 (Last Week: 21)
Lost 30-28 vs. Baltimore
Honestly, you could take most of what I just wrote about Deshaun Watson and apply it to Carson Wentz. No, Wentz is not as good as Watson, but if I am going to criticize Watson’s supporting cast, I need to rip Wentz’s apart. Wentz was sacked six times. His starting wide receivers are Travis Fulgham, Greg Ward and John Hightower. His starting running back became Boston Scott after Miles Sanders exited with an injury. Zach Ertz is out for three-to-four weeks as well. Four of his original five starting offensive lineman were also hurt. Somehow, Wentz staged a massive comeback bid, coming up just a two-point conversion short of forcing overtime. I know every team is battling injuries this season, but it seems like the Eagles are dealing with more than any other team. After several seasons of injuries at key positions, it might be time for the organization to look into why it keeps happening.

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24. Detroit Lions: 2-3 (Last Week: 26)
Won 34-16 at Jacksonville
The Lions built an early lead and held onto it! This is some of the best defense Detroit has played all season. It started with shutting down the run game, holding Jacksonville to just 44 yards on the ground. Matt Patricia’s team also came up with two turnovers as well. Even if this is the type of performance we would expect from the Lions facing one of the worst offenses in the league, it is important that they met expectations. That is something they have struggled to do quite a bit this season.

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25. Denver Broncos: 2-3 (Last Week: 28)
Won 18-12 at New England
Drew Lock was back in action, but honestly that didn’t really seem to matter. Denver failed to score a touchdown and Lock looked awful. He completed under 50 percent of his passes and threw two frustrating interceptions. He kept offering the Patriots a way back into the game. Thankfully, the defense played lights out. Between the four sacks, three forced turnovers and five tackles for loss, it was one of the best showings we have seen from the Broncos in years. Imagine how good this team could be if the offense got on track.

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26. Minnesota Vikings: 1-5 (Last Week: 19)
Lost 40-16 vs. Atlanta
Any optimism I had about this team after a great showing despite the final result against Seattle evaporated on Sunday. Kirk Cousins had a nightmare performance and the ground game shockingly disappeared. Between Cousins’ three interceptions and the Vikings averaging just 2.5 yards per carry, it was rough afternoon. The secondary looked lost as well. Matt Ryan played well, but his receivers were also routinely wide open. On the bright side, Minnesota succeeded in stopping the run. That is little consolation when the scoreline is this lopsided.

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27. Dallas Cowboys: 2-4 (Last Week: 22)
Lost 38-10 vs. Arizona
Jerry Jones better open up his checkbook and pay Dak Prescott whatever the hell he wants. Ezekiel Elliott looks rattled, Andy Dalton looks overmatched and the offensive line looks like a revolving door. On the other side of the ball, the Jets might even be able to score 20 points against the Cowboys defense. Somehow, Dallas still holds a playoff spot right now by virtue of leading the NFC East. There is still time for Mike McCarthy and Kellen Moore to bring Andy Dalton up to speed. However, the defense needs a jolt. It might be early, but Mike Nolan’s job should be under scrutiny. There is no reason this unit should be as bad as it has been through six games.

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28. Cincinnati Bengals: 1-4-1 (Last Week: 27)
Lost 31-27 at Indianapolis
For about 25 minutes, it looked like the Bengals were en route to a big win over a solid AFC opponent. Instead, Cincy blew a 21-0 lead, almost before reaching halftime. Joe Burrow and the offense managed just a field goal in the final 38 minutes of the game. The inability to run the football made it very difficult to protect the lead. 2020 was supposed to be a rebuilding season for the Bengals, but that does not mean that blowing massive leads does not sting.

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29. New York Giants: 1-5 (Last Week: 31)
Won 20-19 vs. Washington
It almost pains me to move the Giants up after winning. Daniel Jones managed 112 yards passing, but did show out as a running, leading the team with 74 yards. The rest of the offense did not really do much. Devonta Freeman managed three yards per carry. Kaden Smith led the team in catches with just three receptions. Darius Slayton led the team in receiving yards despite leaving in the first half with an injury. Thankfully, this continually improving Giants defense made just enough plays to drag the offense to victory.

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30. Washington: 1-5 (Last Week: 29)
Lost 20-19 at New York
No matter how you spin this, Washington looked terrible on Sunday. Kyle Allen played decently well, but still committed two turnovers. The running game was passable. Still, they somehow only managed 19 points and needed a game-winning drive to even have a chance. Defensively, Washington looked good, but that honestly might have been more about how bad New York was playing than how well Ron Rivera’s club was executing. This just has the feel of a lost season for this franchise.

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31. Jacksonville Jaguars: 1-5 (Last Week: 30)
Lost 34-16 vs. Detroit
After thinking Gardner Minshew may be the answer at quarterback early in the season, I am becoming more convinced Jacksonville just needs to hit the reset button on the franchise. Just clear everyone out. Dave Caldwell should be gone. Doug Marrone and the whole coaching staff needs to go. Maybe Jay Gruden can stay. Overall, this is just a team lacking talent, and it is showing. It makes that Week 1 win over the Colts even more difficult to understand.

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32. New York Jets: 0-6 (Last Week: 32)
Lost 24-0 at Miami
The Jets really rank 33rd in overall football power rankings at this point. I am pretty sure Clemson would be able to beat them at this point. New York would have the advantage at a few spots, but most of this Clemson roster is eventually headed to the NFL. There is no question Dabo Swinney is a better coach than Adam Gase. I honestly don’t even need to talk about how the Jets played on Sunday. Look at the scoreline, that should tell you everything you need to know. On the flip side, Clemson just hung 73 on Georgia Tech. There is a real chance the Tigers could beat the Jets if they faced off at a neutral site. I’m just hoping the Clemson-New York connection continues when the Jets use the first overall pick to take Trevor Lawrence. Knowing this franchise, they will find a way to mess it up somehow.

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2020 NFL Power Rankings: Week 5

Four weeks down and we know a lot more about the NFL than we did at the beginning of September. Some things have stayed the same. Kansas City is clearly the best team in the league and the Jets are unquestionably the worst. Others have changed quite a bit. The Bills are a Super Bowl contender while the Cowboys look like a big pretender.

The league also spent much of the week dealing with the fallout of a COVID-19 outbreak. The Titans had 18 players and staff members test positive for the coronavirus. Jeffery Simmons tested positive as recently as Monday, which puts Tennessee’s Week 5 game vs. Buffalo in jeopardy. With their game this week against the Steelers already postponed, this could be a real headache for the league office.

On top of that, Cam Newton tested positive on Saturday for the virus, ruling him out of Week 4’s matchup with the Chiefs. It also caused the game to be delayed to Monday night from it’s original Sunday afternoon start time.

In the midst of the health concerns, players still found a way to remind everyone about what is truly important. Za’Darius Smith did it best with a simple, but powerful message for Breonna Taylor written on his undershirt. Important reminder to everyone that there are much bigger things than football.

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1. Kansas City Chiefs: 4-0 (Last Week: 1)
Won 26-10 vs. New England
Patrick Mahomes and company were not quite as dynamic as we have come to expect, and yet the Chiefs still coasted to victory. Kansas City is a much more well-rounded team this season. The defense has allowed only 17.5 points per game so far, the second best average in the league. Sure, they got an easier assignment facing a Cam Newton-less Patriots offense in Week 4, but this came one week after shutting down Lamar Jackson and the Ravens. At the quarter mark of the regular season, there is a distinct gap between the Chiefs and every one else in the NFL.

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2. Seattle Seahawks: 4-0 (Last Week: 2)
Won 31-23 at Miami
Russell Wilson had a disappointing game by his standards. With only two touchdowns and his second interception of the season, Wilson needed some help from the defense. Seattle’s secondary was not perfect, but two timely interceptions of Ryan Fitzpatrick were enough to hold off the resilient Dolphins. This was a tricky game for the Seahawks, who played in the early window after traveling 3,300 miles. Taking care of business is always important as Russ and company stay unbeaten.

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3. Green Bay Packers: 4-0 (Last Week: 3)
Won 30-16 vs. Atlanta
Don’t look now but the Packers are 4-0 and seem to be gaining momentum. This team has not been at full strength in recent weeks, but that has not stopped them from comfortably winning football games. Green Bay’s has outscored opponents by an average of 12.75 points per games, the best mark in the league. With a bye week coming up, Davante Adams has a chance to get back to 100 percent before the Packers get a showdown with Tom Brady and the Buccaneers.

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4. Baltimore Ravens: 3-1 (Last Week: 4)
Won 31-17 at Washington
That is much more like it. Granted, Baltimore played a much worse opponent in Week 4 than the undefeated Chiefs, but this was the style of play we have grown accustom to for the Ravens. Lamar Jackson was off and running, including a career-long 50-yard touchdown run. Mark Andrews dominated the red zone with two touchdowns of his own. The defense also had a good outing with a forced fumble and three sacks. Baltimore is capable of playing even better than this, but this performance was more than enough to take care of Washington.

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5. Buffalo Bills: 4-0 (Last Week: 5)
Won 30-23 vs. Las Vegas
The Buffalo Bills are here to stay. Buffalo is 4-0 for the first time in 12 years. Strangely, the offense continues to carry this group. After a season where the Bills defense finished third in yards allowed and second in points allowed, coach Sean McDermott cannot run it back. Buffalo is giving up 25 points per game and the sixth-most passing yards in the process. If McDermott can get the defense back to its 2019 form, this might be the best team in the league.

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6. Pittsburgh Steelers: 3-0 (Last Week: 7)
Bye Week
It was an unexpected bye week for the Steelers. With the Titans’ COVID-19 outbreak, their Week 4 matchup was pushed to Week 7 instead. It gives the Steelers a chance to recharge before heading into a brutal 13-game stretch (not including the playoffs) without a break. Pittsburgh should still reach the postseason regardless, but the task certainly becomes tougher with this new schedule.

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7. New England Patriots: 2-2 (Last Week: 6)
Lost 26-10 at Kansas City
Cam Newton might have earned some MVP votes after we saw how badly the Patriots offense struggled without him. Brian Hoyer and Jarrett Stidham combined for four turnovers, including a horrible pick-six on a Julian Edelman dropped pass. Lost in the lackluster showing was that New England could still run the ball. The Pats racked up 185 yards on 5.1 yards per carry. Defensively, this was a solid showing as well. Take away the pick-six and the Chiefs offense only managed 19 points. A healthy Newton will get this team back on track.

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8. New Orleans Saints: 2-2 (Last Week: 8)
Won 35-29 at Detroit
It was not perfect or pretty, but New Orleans got the job done to get back to .500. On one hand, you have to worry about how slow the team started. Going down 14-0 to Detroit is not a great sign. On the flip side, the Saints then rattled off 35 unanswered points before the Lions finally climbed back into it. Drew Brees was fantastic, posting an 88.2 QBR in the win. New Orleans still has a lot to work out going forward, but Michael Thomas should return to face the Chargers. That should make things run a whole lot smoother.

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9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 3-1 (Last Week: 9)
Won 38-31 vs. Los Angeles
I never thought I would write this, but if Tom Brady could just take care of the football, the Buccaneers would be winning games a lot more comfortably. But it’s 2020, so anything can happen. Brady threw yet another pick-six against the Chargers and the Bucs got off to a very rocky start, trailing 24-7. Los Angeles made enough mistakes to let Tampa back into the game though. Brady took advantage and finished the day with five touchdown passes. There are clear signs of how dominant this offense could be when healthy and clicking. I don’t know if we have seen a complete game from this Buccaneers team yet, which is scary considering the 3-1 record.

10. Los Angeles Rams: 3-1 (Last Week: 10)
Won 17-9 vs. New York
This was ugly. Los Angeles’s offense looked great on the first drive of the game and then disappeared for pretty much the rest of the contest. If not for the fact they were facing an inept Giants offense, the Rams likely would have lost this contest. Jared Goff had a pedestrian day, totaling 200 passing yards and a touchdown. The revived run game fell apart as well to the tune of 2.5 yards per carry. Give the defense credit for holding things down with five sacks and an interception, but L.A. needs to play better than this.

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11. Tennessee Titans: 3-0 (Last Week: 12)
Bye Week
The Titans will be a very interesting team to watch over the next few weeks. The league is investigating whether or not Tennessee violated coronavirus protocols in the lead up to Week 3. With more players continuing to test positive, it is possible their Week 5 game will be pushed back after the team already took an unexpected bye in Week 4. Mike Vrabel says the team has been embracing the virtual preparation, but I have to imagine there is going to be some rust to knock off once the Titans finally return to the field.

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12. Indianapolis Colts: 3-1 (Last Week: 14)
Won 19-11 at Chicago
The Colts defense looks like the real deal. Indianapolis has the second-best point differential in the league, tied with the Chiefs. Allowing a league-low 56 points through four games makes that possible. All of that should be taken with a grain of salt though. Indy has faced the Jaguars, Vikings, Jets and Bears. They have a combined record of 5-11 so far. The Colts face a much better test against the red hot Browns, fresh off a 49-point outing in Dallas. If the defense shuts down Baker Mayfield and company, then they will earn their spot among the NFL’s elite.

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13. San Francisco 49ers: 2-2 (Last Week: 13)
Lost 25-20 vs. Philadelphia
The injury bug finally caught up to the 49ers. Even with Deebo Samuel and George Kittle back in action, it was the absence of Jimmy Garoppolo that loomed large in San Francisco’s loss. Nick Mullens threw two interceptions, including the game-clinching pick-six. C.J. Beathard replaced him and sparked the offense, but it was too little, too late. The defense did its best despite playing shorthanded. Picking up three sacks and holding the Eagles offense to just 18 points is enough to win in most weeks. While the loss is disappointing, better days are on the horizon for the 49ers.

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14. Arizona Cardinals: 2-2 (Last Week: 11)
Lost 31-21 at Carolina
Arizona crumbled again as Kyler Murray continues to struggle. After two weeks as the league’s exciting young team, the Cardinals have fallen apart in back-to-back weeks. Murray does not deserve all the blame. The defense could not contain Teddy Bridgewater or slow down the running game. Arizona has a lot of young pieces playing in key positions, but this was still a letdown. The Cardinals should find the cure to all that ails them in Week 5. A trip east to face the Jets should get them back on track.

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15. Las Vegas Raiders: 2-2 (Last Week: 15)
Lost 30-23 at Buffalo
It was another close, but not good enough type performance from the Raiders. Derek Carr was spectacular, but the defense could not slow down Josh Allen. Carr also did not get much help from a usually reliable running game. Josh Jacobs managed an unimpressive 3.2 yards per carry. Las Vegas also lost the turnover battle 2-0, which was likely the difference in the game. One sack and zero turnovers is simply not enough from the defense. The Raiders are still very much in playoff contention, but definitely feel like they are on the fringes of that conversation.

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16. Cleveland Browns: 3-1 (Last Week: 19)
Won 49-38 at Dallas
Wow. For a lot of reasons, wow. Cleveland dropped 49 points on Dallas, by far the most in Week 4 and the most by any team so far this season. By the scoreline, this game looks like an old fashion shootout. However, the Browns led 41-14 entering the fourth quarter. The Cowboys cut that lead all the way down to three before Odell Beckham Jr. finally put the game away. Turnovers continue to be the key to Cleveland’s success. It owns a league-best +6 turnover margin through the first four games. There is still some bad news though. Nick Chubb is going to be out for an extended stretch. Thankfully, the Browns have one of the deepest backfields in the league. They will need it heading into a matchup with the Colts.

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17. Chicago Bears: 3-1 (Last Week 17)
Lost 19-11 vs. Indianapolis
The Nick Foles era didn’t get off to the best of starts. The veteran quarterback had his own shortcomings, averaging only 5.9 yards per attempt and throwing an interception. He got absolutely no help from his running game though. Chicago averaged a woeful 1.8 yards per carry. It went up against a tough Indianapolis defense, but that level of inefficiency is unacceptable. On the other side of the ball, the defense that Matt Nagy keeps praising needs to step up. One sack and no forced turnovers is not good enough for a team that boasts Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks, Roquan Smith, Eddie Jackson and Robert Quinn. The Bears definitely look a lot more like pretenders than contenders after Week 4.

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18. Minnesota Vikings: 1-3 (Last Week: 23)
Won 31-23 at Houston
Good to see Minnesota finally get in the win column. The Vikings rode their offensive formula to success: feed Dalvin Cook and don’t ask Kirk Cousins to do too much. Minnesota threw the ball just 22 times in the win, but put up 31 points in the process. Cook rumbled for 130 yards and two touchdowns on 27 carries, clearly leading the way for the offense. Not to be overlooked though, Adam Theilen and Justin Jefferson both went over the 100-yard mark as well. This type of big-play attack off play action feels sustainable, even against better competition.

19. Los Angeles Chargers: 1-3 (Last Week: 20)
Lost 38-31 at Tampa Bay
The Chargers looked poised to shock the NFL. Leading 24-7 with halftime closing in, Los Angeles was nearly halfway through what would have been a statement victory. This was only two weeks after the Chargers had nearly knocked off the defending champs after all. Youth and inexperience showed up again though for L.A. Tampa outscored them 31-7 the rest of the way. Losing by seven to the Buccaneers is not a bad result, but the Chargers still have a bitter taste in their mouth. On the bright side, Justin Herbert is continuing to look like a franchise quarterback in just his third NFL start. He needs to step up with Austin Ekeler out for the next four to six weeks.

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20. Carolina Panthers: 2-2 (Last Week: 26)
Won 31-21 vs. Arizona
No Christian McCaffrey, no problem! That’s not exactly fair to the reigning Offensive Player of the Year, but Carolina moved to 2-0 without their superstar running back. Teddy Bridgewater tore up the Cardinals defense and the combination of Mike Davis and Reggie Bonnafon continue to do their best to shoulder the load with McCaffrey out. Defensively, the Panthers frustrated Kyler Murray. He might have finished with three touchdown, but he lost a fumbled and managed just 4.3 yards per passing attempt. Turns out Carolina might not be tanking for Trevor Lawrence after all.

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21. Philadelphia Eagles: 1-2-1 (Last Week: 24)
Won 25-20 at San Francisco
It wasn’t pretty, but the Eagles earn an all-important win on the road to (somehow) move atop the NFC East. Despite the horrendous start from the Eagles offense this season, it’s almost as if the past three games don’t matter because Philly is back in the driver’s seat in the division. Injuries continue to plague the team, with the offensive line and receiving corps completely banged up. If the Eagles can slowly start to get healthy, specifically getting Lane Johnson, DeSean Jackson and Jason Peters back, this team should have what it takes to reach the postseason in a historically weak NFC East.

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22. Miami Dolphins: 1-3 (Last Week: 21)
Lost 31-23 vs. Seattle
Miami hung tough once again with one of the best teams in the NFL. That won’t count for much come the end of the season, but it gives Brian Flores plenty to focus on as he continues to rebuild this roster. The negative side of Ryan Fitzpatrick showed up on Sunday. His two interceptions were likely the difference in the game. A 10-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter was nice, but it was way too late for that to be the only Dolphins drive that resulted in a touchdown. Miami feels really close to breaking through to the next level, but there is still work to be done.

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23. Atlanta Falcons: 0-4 (Last Week: 22)
Lost 30-16 at Green Bay
In a nice change of pace, the Falcons never had a lead to blow in a disappointing loss to the Packers. Green Bay looks like one of the best teams in the NFL, but other clubs have had no trouble putting up big numbers on that defense. Atlanta’s offense never really got into gear. Julio Jones left with a hamstring injury. Calvin Ridley was inexplicably held without a catch. Matt Ryan was left turning to former undrafted free agent Olamide Zaccheaus in big moments. The defense was a mess, but it is hard to defend Aaron Rodgers when the entire secondary is injured. Jaylinn Hawkins and Damonate Kazee joined Keanu Neal and Ricardo Allen among the many injured Falcons defensive backs. At some point though, Dan Quinn has to be held accountable and his seat is only getting warmer.

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24. Dallas Cowboys: 1-3 (Last Week: 16)
Lost 49-38 at Cleveland
Dak Prescott is putting up video game numbers, but yet the Cowboys are a botched onsides kick away from being 0-4. He is currently on pace to shatter the single-season passing record, averaging over 400 yards per game. The issue is, he is almost always playing from behind because of Dallas’ inability to play defense. Prescott dragged the team back into the game and made the final score look somewhat respectable. In the end it was the turnovers (two by Prescott and one by Ezekiel Elliott) that killed the Cowboys’ chances. Given the defensive deficiencies, Mike McCarthy might have to focus more on establishing the run to keep his own defense off the field. There is no question Prescott can dominate through the air, but Dallas is struggling to hang on in these shootouts.

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25. Houston Texans: 0-4 (Last Week: 18)
Lost 31-23 vs. Minnesota
The first NFL coach is gone. This was probably two years after it should have happened, but better late than never. I firmly believe that Bill O’Brien the general manager ruined Bill O’Brien the coach. Houston’s roster has a ton of holes, but the team has no cap space and no draft capital. Up until this year, O’Brien had been able to coach up what talent he did have and reach the playoffs each year. His house of cards finally fell though after the Texans dropped their fourth game in a row. Perhaps this will be the shock to the system Houston needs to get going in the right direction, but there is also a good chance that a long rebuild is ahead.

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26. Cincinnati Bengals: 1-2-1 (Last Week: 29)
Won 33-25 vs. Jacksonville
Book it! Joe Burrow picked up his first NFL win on October 4, 2020. Maybe one day we will look back on this as the start of a great run for the Bengals. Until then, Burrow could use some help. He benefitted from facing a lifeless Jaguars pass rush and Joe Mixon going back to his Oklahoma days, but the defense still almost blew it. It is unlikely Mixon will rack up 180-plus yards and three touchdowns every week, but it is good to see him step up and complement Burrow in this offense.

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27. Detroit Lions: 1-3 (Last Week: 25)
Lost 35-29 vs. New Orleans
After taking a week off from blowing early leads, the Lions got back to doing what they do best. Detroit went up 14-0 quickly against New Orleans and then seemingly went into hibernation for roughly two quarters. When Matt Stafford and company finally woke up, it was 35-14 and the Lions ran out of time to pull off a comeback. Overall, it was another disappointing outing for Matt Patricia’s squad. Detroit has shown it is more than capable of hanging tough with the league’s top teams, but it just can’t seem to do so for 60 minutes.

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28. Denver Broncos: 1-3 (Last Week: 27)
Won 37-28 at New York
Despite their best efforts to hand the Jets the game on a silver platter, the Broncos headed back to Denver with their first win of the season. Brett Rypien tossed three interceptions, including a pick-six to keep things interesting. Lucky for him, the defense made Sam Darnold’s life hell, racking up six sacks. Melvin Gordon also came to play, rolling for 107 yards and two touchdowns against a usually stout New York run defense. If Rypien can settled down and avoid committing so many turnovers, Denver should be fine to weather the storm until Drew Lock gets back.

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29. Washington: 1-3 (Last Week: 28)
Lost 31-17 vs. Baltimore
Another week of wondering when the Dwayne Haskins experiment is going to end is in the books. The second-year quarterback actually put up some good counting stats with 314 yards passing. However, his 31.5 QBR tells the full story. Washington finished 4-for-13 on third down as well. Unfortunately for Haskins, he is not getting any help from his running game. Washington managed a meager 69 yards rushing on a lowly 3.1 yards per carry. The best way to help a young quarterback is by establishing the run. Until the offense can do that, Haskins is going to continue to struggle.

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30. Jacksonville Jaguars: 1-3 (Last Week: 30)
Lost 33-25 at Cincinnati
That Week 1 win over the Colts feels like a long time ago now. Jacksonville once again could not score enough points to keep up with its porous defenese. Gardner Minshew and company once again kept things competitive, but Joe Burrow had all day to throw and Joe Mixon tore the defense to shreds. This was always going to be a rebuilding year for the Jaguars, but I think the front office would like to see a bit more fight on the defensive side of the ball.

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31. New York Giants: 0-4 (Last Week: 31)
Lost 17-9 at Los Angeles
While there are those that still question New York’s decision to draft Saquon Barkley second overall in 2018, the former Penn State running back might just be proving his worth from the sidelines. The Giants have not scored a touchdown in either game since Barkley’s injury. Daniel Jones has picked up the slack rushing the ball in a lot of ways because of the lack of proven options at running back. The Giants actually ran the ball fairly well against the Rams, but still seemed to fall apart when they needed a big play. That is Barkley’s specialty.

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32. New York Jets: 0-4 (Last Week: 32)
Lost 37-28 vs. Denver
Another week, another disappointing loss. Perhaps more disappointing for all Jets fans is that reports surfaced almost immediately after the loss to the Broncos that the team would not be firing Adam Gase. There were even some rumblings that his job might be safe for the rest of the season. Beyond that being a huge mistake, it is killing the growth of their franchise quarterback. Sam Darnold did everything he could on Thursday night to carry the Jets to a win, but his terrible supporting cast and the horrible play calling from the sidelines once again let him down. New York does not deserve a player as loyal and committed to seeing it succeed as Darnold when it clearly has not shown the same commitment to him. The six sacks he took and sprained AC joint he suffered only serve to highlight the disparity.

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2020 NFL Power Rankings: Week 4

Another week of NFL action is in the books. The Chiefs reasserted their dominance atop the league, Nick Foles reemerged as a starting quarterback and New York is really bad at football this year (well, outside of Buffalo of course).

It was also another week where the storylines of the real world clearly reached locker rooms across the league. With the news of the chargers in the case of Breonna Taylor’s murder breaking during the week, it drew a lot of reaction from athletes across all sports on social media. Players from the Washington Football Team took it a step further on Sunday with a very clear message.

Social justice continues to be a hot topic across the NFL and really every sport. I am proud of the players for making this small gesture. Breonna Taylor deserves much better than what she got.

On the football side of things, there were fewer surprising results this week. Consequentially, there is a whole lot less movement in this week’s rankings, particularly now that we have three games of work to evaluate each team off of. Let’s dive in.

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1. Kansas City Chiefs: 3-0 (Last Week: 2)
Won 34-20 at Baltimore
Clearly, I was very wrong about who the best team in the NFL was after Week 2. Kansas City smacked Baltimore in prime time to remind everyone they are still the defending champs. Patrick Mahomes was on fire, becoming the fastest player to reach 10,000 career passing yards. While Mahomes will deservedly receive most of the praise, the Chiefs defense deserves a ton of recognition for how it contained Lamar Jackson. The reigning MVP got loose on a couple of runs, but it was by far one of his most disappointing performances of his young career. KC’s defense sacked Jackson four times and forced a fumble in the process. There is a long season ahead of us still, but at this point, the Chiefs are still the team to beat.

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2. Seattle Seahawks: 3-0 (Last Week: 3)
Won 38-31 vs. Dallas
Russell Wilson is on fire. He set an NFL record with 14 touchdown passes through the first three weeks of the season. He will certainly be earning at least one MVP vote this year if he stays healthy. Ignoring his statistical dominance, his value to the Seahawks is immeasurable. The Seattle secondary looks like one of the worst in the league, giving up 80 more passing yards per game than any other team in the NFL. The defense is strong against the run, but the back end needs to sure things up to have a shot at a title.

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3. Green Bay Packers: 3-0 (Last Week: 4)
Won 37-30 at New Orleans
The NFC might just run through Green Bay once again when the regular season wraps up. Holding off the Saints in convincing fashion is another notch in Aaron Rodgers’ belt. For all those who doubted the Packers’ offseason choices of drafting his successor, the move might have just worked in the best way possible. Rodgers is humming along in his second season under Matt LaFleur. Aaron Jones is on fire. Even in Davante Adams’ absence was not enough to slow down this unit.

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4. Baltimore Ravens: 2-1 (Last Week: 1)
Lost 34-20 vs. Kansas City
Well that was short lived. The Chiefs grounded the high-flying Ravens offense in an AFC heavyweight fight. Lamar Jackson mustered just 97 yards passing, the fewest of his career. Baltimore did come up with 158 yards rushing, but managed just one offensive touchdown. John Harbaugh also had no answer for Patrick Mahomes, who racked up five total touchdowns. This Ravens team was built to compete with the Chiefs to win the AFC. So far, it seems like that plan is still a major work in progress.

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5. Buffalo Bills: 3-0 (Last Week: 5)
Won 35-32 vs. Los Angeles
No one circle the wagons (after almost completely blowing the game) like the Buffalo Bills! After leading 28-3, Buffalo inexplicably went down 32-28, before Josh Allen engineered a game-winning drive. If it was not for Russell Wilson, there is a very good chance Allen would be atop the early season MVP rankings. He has been sensational and proved it against much competition on Sunday. Beating up on the Jets and Dolphins is one thing. Topping the previously undefeated Rams shows the Bills mean business.

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6. New England Patriots: 2-1 (Last Week: 9)
Won 36-20 vs. Las Vegas
New England looked pretty formidable facing a Las Vegas squad coming off the high of knocking off New Orleans. It was thanks to the run game, and this time Cam Newton got some help. Sony Michel went over the century mark. Rex Burkhead scored three touchdowns. Even J.J. Taylor added 43 yards on a surprising 11 carries. Defensively, the Patriots recovered well from Week 2 against Russell Wilson. They held Darren Waller in check and forced three fumbles. New England has a chance to make a real statement in Week 4 with a visit to Arrowhead up next.

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7. Pittsburgh Steelers: 3-0 (Last Week: 10)
Won 28-21 vs. Houston
It hasn’t always been pretty, but the Steelers just keep winning. Pittsburgh shut out Houston in the second half to close out its toughest yet. James Conner rushed for over 100 yards once again. Ben Roethlisberger took care of the football as well. The defense got after Deshaun Watson, sacking him five times. The Texans have struggled so far this year, but this was a playoff team just a year ago. This win sets up a battle of unbeaten teams when the Steelers take on the Titans in Week 4.

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8. New Orleans Saints: 1-2 (Last Week: 6)
Lost 37-30 vs. Green Bay
Last week, it was the Saints offense that was cause for concern. Week 3, it was the defense that came up short. New Orleans has not looked the part of the Super Bowl contender we all expected entering the season. The Saints have had a tough schedule so far, but when you are gunning for a championship with a future Hall of Fame quarterback, you don’t get a pass for a tough schedule. A win against the Lions is a must.

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9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 2-1 (Last Week: 11)
Won 28-10 at Denver
The competition was not great, but Tampa handled Denver with relative ease. Tom Brady played clean, efficient football with three touchdowns to lead the offense, but it is the defense who deserves the most credit. The Buccaneers racked up six sacks, two interceptions and a safety. They also limited Melvin Gordon and the rest of the rushing game to just 42 yards at three yards per carry. This is a brand of football the Bucs will find success with, even against better competition than the banged up Broncos.

10. Los Angeles Rams: 2-1 (Last Week: 7)
Lost 35-32 at Buffalo
Los Angeles nearly pulled off one of greatest comebacks in recent memory, but could not finish the job. It is hard to know which side of this loss to focus on. The Rams came out flat and got blown out in the first half. However, they rallied to make it a game and came very closing to winning. Unfortunately, the defense could not close it out. While it seems like L.A. has rebounded from last year’s debacle, it is going to need to play better to early in games to keep pace with Seattle.

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11. Arizona Cardinals: 2-1 (Last Week: 8)
Lost 26-23 vs. Detroit
That had to be unexpected. Arizona was the up-and-coming club heading into Week 3. Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins looked unstoppable. The defense finally could make enough plays to be competitive. Instead, Murray made way too many mistakes as the Cardinals lost to a team who entered on an 11-game losing streak. His three interceptions were the biggest difference in the game. The Lions have been awful in the fourth quarter of games, but Kliff Kingsbury’s team did not get points on the board. This is still a young team with a lot to learn. Arizona does not have much margin for era as one of three NFC West squads sitting at 2-1.

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12. Tennessee Titans: 3-0 (Last Week: 12)
Won 31-30 at Minnesota
Another week, another questionable victory for Tennessee. Derrick Henry put the offense on his back with 117 yards and two touchdowns as Ryan Tannehill struggled. He did not have a touchdown pass and threw his first interception of the year. It took six Stephen Gostkowski field goals, including the game-winner with under two minutes to play, to dispatch the winless Vikings. The Titans defense has not been the fearsome unit we got used to seeing last year either. Mike Vrabel needs to get that side of the ball figured out with the Steelers up next.

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13. San Francisco 49ers: 2-1 (Last Week: 13)
Won 36-9 at New York
Who needs healthy players? It might help to play the two worst teams in the NFL right now in back-to-back weeks, but this was still an impressive showing from the 49ers. Nick Mullens played about as well as he could have in relief of Jimmy Garoppolo. The run game struggled a bit, but it got to be a bit predictable late in the game with San Francisco leading by multiple possessions the whole way. Defensively, three forced turnovers always makes it easier to win. Hopefully, a few of these injured players can return in Week 4 against the Eagles, but this team seems capable of hanging around even with its backups playing.

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14. Indianapolis Colts: 2-1 (Last Week: 17)
Won 36-7 vs. New York
Even if it was against the lowly Jets, this was an impressive showing from the Colts. The defense has stepped up each of the past two weeks following a brutal season opener. Xavier Rhodes came up with a pick-six as the defense intercepted Sam Darnold three times in the contest. Philip Rivers really did not have to do much to ensure a win in this one, but he finally took care of the football. Indy faces an undefeated Chicago team changing quarterbacks in Week 4. This cupcake schedule to open the season makes me very skeptical of how good this team really is at this point.

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15. Las Vegas Raiders: 2-1 (Last Week: 14)
Lost 36-20 at New England
Losing to the Patriots is not shocking, but I expected more from the Raiders after the performance we saw out of them in Week 2. Darren Waller disappeared and Derek Carr was nowhere near as productive. Even Josh Jacobs had a bit of a shaky game. The defense had no answer for the Pats ground game either, giving up 250 yards rushing. Las Vegas deserves some credit for containing Cam Newton, something teams have struggled to do so far, but that is not enough when it comes to facing the Patriots. Shutting down the primary option won’t be enough when playing most teams. Jon Gruden has a lot of work to do to get back on track in Week 4.

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16. Dallas Cowboys: 1-2 (Last Week: 15)
Lost 38-31 at Seattle
Losing close to good teams is not going to cut it for the Cowboys. There were plenty of positives for Dallas, at it scored 31 points and watched Dak Prescott spread the ball around. However, the decision to let Byron Jones leave in free agency has come back to haunt the front office. Russell Wilson has been shredding every secondary he has faced, but this was disappointing. It is clear that the Cowboys are a good team, but it has also become clear that they are not a great team. Expectations were much higher for Dallas entering the season than where they are right now.

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17. Chicago Bears: 3-0 (Last Week 21)
Won 30-26 at Atlanta
Nick Foles came to the rescue. He had some help from the team known for blowing late-game leads, but his three touchdowns in relief of Mitch Trubisky sealed the deal. Chicago is easily the most shocking 3-0 team at this stage in the season, but the Bears have not faced great competition either. If not for two fourth-quarter meltdowns and an injury to Saquon Barkley, Chicago could easily be 0-3. None of that matters to Matt Nagy, who will be focused on building momentum. This team seems comfortable winning tight games. The Bears might just have a chance at earning a playoff spot.

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18. Houston Texans: 0-3 (Last Week: 16)
Lost 28-21 at Pittsburgh
Houston was very much in this game in the first half, leading by four at the break. Then the Texans offense disappeared, failing to score after halftime. The whole team managed a woeful 29 yards rushing at 1.9 yards per attempt. On the flip side, Houston could not stop the Pittsburgh running game. Sitting at 0-3, the trade for David Johnson looks like the worst move of the offseason. The franchise desperately needs to hire a general manager to save Bill O’Brien the coach from Bill O’Brien the general manager. Houston’s schedule finally gets a little easier as they face the also winless Vikings. Desperation to earn the first win of the season for two 2019 playoff teams makes that game one worth watching.

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19. Cleveland Browns: 2-1 (Last Week: 19)
Won 34-20 vs. Washington
By now, you have no doubt heard that this is the first time the Browns are above .500 since 2014. That level of futility is truly mind boggling, but Cleveland has to hope it is finally on the right path. Baker Mayfield took care of the ball against an underrated Washington defense. Nick Chubb looked like a franchise running back as well with 108 yards and two touchdowns. The truth is, it was the defense that stepped up with five forced turnovers. It certainly made the offense’s day a lot easier. Beating the teams with the worst two records in the league a year ago does not create believers, but it is important for the Browns to win the games they are supposed to.

20. Los Angeles Chargers: 1-2 (Last Week: 18)
Lost 21-16 at Los Angeles
Hey rookie, welcome to the NFL. Justin Herbert had a much rougher second start. After taking the Chiefs to the wire, the Chargers could not find a way to edge the Panthers. Los Angeles kept it close the whole way, but the team’s four turnovers made it difficult to get any momentum going. The defense is more than good enough to contend with the best teams in the NFL. Now the offense needs to catch up. Unfortunately, the Chargers draw a really tough matchup against the Buccaneers next.

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21. Miami Dolphins: 1-2 (Last Week: 27)
Won 31-13 at Jacksonville
Brian Flores is a heck of a coach. This team came close to knocking off the Bills a week ago and now notch their first win of the year with a complete performance against the Jaguars. Ryan Fitzpatrick was incredibly efficient, completing 18 of 20 passes and adding two touchdowns. This team is young at a number of key positions, but it is clear that Flores is building each week and this team continues to look better as a result.

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22. Atlanta Falcons: 0-3 (Last Week: 23)
Lost 30-26 vs. Chicago
No lead is safe for the Atlanta Falcons. The Bears outscored them 20-0 in the fourth quarter as the Falcons blew another late-game lead in spectacular fashion. Even after falling behind, Matt Ryan had a chance to engineer a game-winning drive, but threw an interception almost immediately. With another devastating result, it is looking like Atlanta made a mistake in hanging onto Dan Quinn. With the Packers up next, the Falcons’ road to their first win is only going to get harder. This is around the spot in the rankings where I think there is a clear drop off, but it is hard to know which one of the these disappointing teams is really worse than the other.

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23. Minnesota Vikings: 0-3 (Last Week: 24)
Lost 31-30 vs. Tennessee
I don’t care if they gave Mike Zimmer an extension before the season or that Kirk Cousins is under contract through 2022. No one’s job is safe in Minnesota right now. Cousins is tied for the league lead in interceptions and the Vikings are allowing more points per game than anyone but the Falcons. For all the Vikings fans out there wondering if drafting a quarterback is possible in the 2021 draft, there is a way out of Cousins’ contract after the 2021 season that would save the team $35 million in cap space. Finding a young quarterback to learn behind him before turning the offense over to the theoretical draft pick seems extremely possible at this stage.

Eagles Logo

24. Philadelphia Eagles: 0-2-1 (Last Week: 20)
Tied 23-23 vs. Cincinnati
I held off for the first two weeks, but now it is time to panic. Carson Wentz struggled again, with two more interceptions on Sunday. He is tied with Kirk Cousins for the most interceptions in the NFL with six through the first three weeks. The rebuilt secondary also could not slow down Joe Burrow. Give the the Eagles credit for shutting down the run as Joe Mixon averaged just 2.9 yards per carry. However, this team had clear playoff aspirations for this year. Thanks to a very weak NFC East, that is still a possibility, but Philly needs to hit the reset button after a lackluster start to the season.

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25. Detroit Lions: 1-2 (Last Week: 28)
Won 26-23 at Arizona
Ending the losing streak is huge for Matt Patricia and the Lions. Detroit finally closed out a game, outscoring Arizona 6-0 in the fourth quarter to pick up its first win since Matthew Stafford’s injury in 2019. Stafford played well and took care of the football. Adrian Peterson continues to be the most reliable option in the backfield. The talent is there for the Lions to be a competitive team. Hopefully, this allows them to flip their mentality and starting building something positive after ending this streak.

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26. Carolina Panthers: 1-2 (Last Week: 29)
Won 21-16 at Los Angeles
Matt Rhule earns his first NFL win with a gritty performance on the road. Carolina’s defense really stepped up after a disappointing first two weeks. The Panthers forced four turnovers. That coupled with Teddy Bridgewater finally getting back to ball control offense was enough for Carolina to pick up the win. Considering they managed it without their offensive superstar Christian McCaffrey, this is a good sign for how this team can cope while he is out.

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27. Denver Broncos: 0-3 (Last Week: 22)
Lost 28-10 vs. Tampa Bay
Turns out Drew Lock and Courtland Sutton make a big difference for this offense. The combination of Jeff Driskel and Brett Rypien struggled to produce consistently. Driskel was also under siege, taking five sacks and losing 45 yards in the process. Even with all the injuries, Denver has to be disappointed with how it played against Tampa. Rushing for only 42 yards and failing to generate a turnover is the opposite of how you beat Tom Brady. Vic Fangio has a really tough task ahead of him.

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28. Washington: 1-2 (Last Week: 25)
Lost 34-20 at Cleveland
Reminder: Washington is still a rebuilding team. The defense played better than the scoreline would indicate. Dwayne Haskins and the offense turned it over five times. There are only so many change-of-possession situations a team can hope to survive in a given game. Ron Rivera says he remains committed to developing Haskins, who has just edged out Sam Darnold for the worst QBR in the league through three weeks. The offense needs to change course to help him improve. Only Jeff Driskel has a worse completion percentage this year. This is going to be an uphill climb.

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29. Cincinnati Bengals: 0-2-1 (Last Week: 30)
Tie 23-23 at Philadelphia
Cincinnati draws closer still to the first win of the Joe Burrow era, but it was put on hold once again after the defense gave up a late touchdown to spoil it. Burrow seems to be settling in well though as the starter with another sharp performance. Zac Taylor was much more committed to running the ball, even if Joe Mixon struggled to do so efficiently. However, the offensive line is clearly to blame for that. Philly is solid defensively, but 2.9 yards per carry and eight sacks allowed is pushing it. There is progress, but tons of room for improvement.

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30. Jacksonville Jaguars: 1-2 (Last Week: 26)
Lost 31-13 vs. Miami
Time to kill the early season hype around the Jaguars. This was a poor showing in every sense of the word. Ryan Fitzpatrick tore up the defense and the Minshew magic never really kicked in. Gardner Minshew threw an interception and never found the end zone. Expectations are low for this team in 2020, but this was not the type of performance anyone expected from Jacksonville.

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31. New York Giants: 0-3 (Last Week: 31)
Lost 36-9 vs. San Francisco
The loss of Saquon Barkley hit this offense hard. Daniel Jones had one of the worst games of his young career. He had some moderate success running the ball, but got no help from his running backs. Devonta Freeman, Wayne Gallman and Dion Lewis combined for just 17 yards on 10 carries. Considering this 49ers team is the most injury riddled in the league at this stage, this is a major disappointment for the Giants.

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32. New York Jets: 0-3 (Last Week: 32)
Lost 36-7 at Indianapolis
Jets players continue to defend Adam Gase after another dismal performance, but it is getting harder to ignore the critics. Sam Darnold had one of the worst games of his career, with three interceptions and a poor completion percentage. Defensively, the New York continues to excel at the stopping the run. Unfortunately, it also has shown a pattern of allowing big plays. Philip Rivers averaged 10.3 yards per attempt against the secondary. The tank of Trevor Lawrence campaign seems to be gaining steam. A loss to the Broncos on Thursday night could very well be the end of Gase’s tenure as head coach.

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2020 NFL Power Rankings: Week 3

As you are reading this, another NFL player has likely suffered a season-ending injury. Injuries were undoubtedly the focal point of the second week of play. Big names like Saquon Barkley, Christian McCaffrey and Nick Bosa all suffered season-altering setbacks for their teams. The lack of proper preparation was on full display.

When players weren’t getting hurt, the NFL actually felt very familiar. The Falcons blew a massive lead in inexplicable fashion. Most of the 49ers’ roster got hurt, but they still comfortably beat the Jets. Detroit blew a double-digit lead in their fourth straight game. While the league was mostly in shambles, those trends were comforting in a strange way. At least something was normal that we could hold on to.

There is a ton of movement in this week’s rankings. Some teams that won dropped. Some teams that lost moved up a couple spots. We now have a much better sense of where each team stands following a wild Week 2.

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1. Baltimore Ravens: 2-0 (Last Week: 2)
Won 33-16 at Houston
Welcome to the top of the heap! Baltimore took care of business on the road this week. Lamar Jackson put up pedestrian numbers by his standards, but the defense came up with a number of big plays, including a pick-six. This might be the deepest team in the NFL, which might be really important at the rate these injuries are popping up. It is basically splitting hairs between the Chiefs and Ravens for the best team in the league right now. Thankfully, we will have that question answered on Monday Night Football this week.

Chiefs Logo

2. Kansas City Chiefs: 2-0 (Last Week: 1)
Won 23-20 at Los Angeles
That was ugly. Kansas City was almost upended by a rookie quarterback in his first career start. Now there is no question the Chiefs were not prepared to face Justin Herbert. Herbert himself didn’t know he was starting until after the coin toss. However, it took a really long time for the offense to get going. Patrick Mahomes played really well when it counted and Harrison Butker came up clutch from long range, twice. Still, KC cannot not afford another slow start like that on Monday night in Baltimore.

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3. Seattle Seahawks: 2-0 (Last Week: 4)
Won 35-30 vs. New England
What a thriller on Sunday night! Russell Wilson continued to cook with five more touchdowns against the vaunted Patriots defense. If you haven’t already heard, Wilson has only one more incompletion (10) than he does touchdown (9) through two weeks. DK Metcalf played like a superstar and largely won his matchup against reigning Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore. There are still plenty of concerns on the back end of the defense. Seattle lost Marquise Blair and Bruce Irvin for the season as well. Seattle has shown it can score a lot of points. The defense needs to do just enough to hang on for the win.

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4. Green Bay Packers: 2-0 (Last Week: 5)
Won 42-21 vs. Detroit
Remember when we thought the Packers were foolish for not drafting a receiver? Or for not signing one other than Devin Funchess? Aaron Rodgers probably does. Aaron Jones likely does as well. The latter rumbled for 236 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns. Green Bay leads the league in yards and points through two weeks. The defense is no joke either. Year 2 under Matt LaFleuer is off to an incredibly fast start. The Pack host the Saints in a Sunday night showdown in Week 3.

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5. Buffalo Bills: 2-0 (Last Week: 6)
Won 31-28 at Miami
This was definitely closer than it should have been, but Buffalo was largely in control of this game throughout. Josh Allen continues to put up MVP-type numbers and the defense is making enough plays for the Bills to win. Devin Singletary and Zack Moss were also much more efficient running the ball, even if they didn’t put up gaudy numbers. After coasting past two rebuilding teams, Sean McDermott’s squad will get a much tougher test with the Rams coming to visit. Time for them to prove they are legitimate against better competition.

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6. New Orleans Saints: 1-1 (Last Week: 3)
Lost 34-24 at Las Vegas
Father Time seems to have come for Drew Brees. The 41-year-old quarterback was off the mark on Monday night against the Raiders. On a night where Alvin Kamara posts 180-plus yards from scrimmage and scores two touchdowns, a few missed throws wouldn’t matter. However, the defense had no answer for Darren Waller and Derek Carr carved New Orleans up on third down. There were just too many mistakes in big moments, as New Orleans racked up 129 penalties yards This was supposed to be the big push for a title before Brees rode into the sunset. Even though Michael Thomas was hurt, the Saints do not get a pass for a poor performance.

7. Los Angeles Rams: 2-0 (Last Week: 11)
Won 37-19 at Philadelphia
Well then. I guess the Rams mean business. Beating up on the banged up Eagles doesn’t make you a Super Bowl contender, but back-to-back impressive weeks from the defense has me believing in this team’s potential. The backfield is deep and reliable. Jared Goff looks to be back in his 2018 groove as he completed his first 13 passes of the game. That doesn’t even cover Tyler Higbee’s breakout, three-touchdown game. Both Dallas and Philadelphia have struggled out of the gate, but Los Angeles looks it belongs in the playoff conversation.

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8. Arizona Cardinals: 2-0 (Last Week: 14)
Won 30-15 vs. Washington
Arizona followed up their statement win in Week 1 with another solid outing. Kyler Murray continues to look dynamic with his arm and his legs. He accounted for three touchdowns and over 350 yards of offense. Washington did sack him three times, but Murray limited the damage by losing just eight yards on those sacks. DeAndre Hopkins has been exactly what the Cardinals hoped for when they traded for him as well. The defense also looks a lot better than last year, racking up four sacks and forcing two fumbles. It would not be a shock to see the Cardinals start 5-0 or even 6-0 with the Lions, Panthers, Jets and Cowboys coming up on the schedule.

Patriots Logo

9. New England Patriots: 1-1 (Last Week: 12)
Lost 35-30 at Seattle
I don’t care that it was a loss. New England showed it can hang tough with the best teams in the NFL. Cam Newton truly silenced the doubters with 397 passing yards and three total touchdowns. Julian Edelman continues to defy logic with an eight-catch, 179-yard performance. The Patriots got impressive outings from N’Keal Harry and Damiere Byrd as well. Surprisingly, it was the defense that let the team down. With so many new faces on that side of the ball, it is going to take the unit a few more games to really gel. Still, I was impressed by what I saw from the Pats.

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10. Pittsburgh Steelers: 2-0 (Last Week: 8)
Won 26-21 vs. Denver
Pittsburgh was facing a Denver team playing without Drew Lock, Courtland Sutton, Phillip Lindsay or Von Miller and still almost lost this game. It was a tough reminder for Big Ben that he is still getting back into football shape. On the other hand, the defense came up when it mattered and James Conner bounced back from a disappointing start with a huge performance. The Steelers seem to have a deep group of playmakers with Diontae Johnson, Juju Smith-Schuster, Chase Claypool, Eric Ebron and James Washington all getting involved quite a bit on Sunday. There is still room for improvement, but Pittsburgh sits at 2-0 with a visit from Houston up next.

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11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 1-1 (Last Week: 9)
Won 31-17 vs. Carolina
This team has the feel of some of those early Brady-Belichick teams. A great pass rush and a disruptive, opportunistic defense leads the way. There are a ton of options out of the backfield. The receivers on the outside are talented. Tom Brady simply needs to manage the offense. He has struggled to do that through two games as he now has four total turnovers after an interception and a fumble on Sunday. It is clear this team can win with Brady under center. They might just not win because of him. The Bucs travel to Mile High to face Jeff Driskel next.

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12. Tennessee Titans: 2-0 (Last Week: 10)
Won 33-30 vs. Jacksonville
How is it that I feel worse about this team at 2-0 than I did at the start of the season? Tennessee is finding a way to win tight games, which is important. The question that hovers over these first two weeks is why were they so close to begin with. Ryan Tannehill is playing some great football, which he will need to continue as teams zero in on stopping Derrick Henry. Where Tannehill really needs some help is on the other side of the ball. The defense came up with a late interception to seal the game, but giving up 30 points and close to 500 yards of offense to the Jaguars is not good enough. Luckily, the Titans get a hapless Vikings team up next.

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13. San Francisco 49ers: 1-1 (Last Week: 7)
Won 31-13 at New York
As they say, the 49ers won the battle, but likely lost the war. San Francisco picked up its first win of the season. However, they lost Jimmy Garoppolo, Nick Bosa, Raheem Mostert, Tevin Coleman and Solomon Thomas in the process. Bosa and Thomas are done for the year. There is some hope Garoppolo can play as early as this week. He should also get George Kittle back in the fold as well. No team has been hurt worse than the 49ers by injuries, which is why they drop so much despite the impressive performance. There is one stroke of good fortune. The Saquon Barkley-less Giants are up next.

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14. Las Vegas Raiders: 2-0 (Last Week: 20)
Won 34-24 vs. New Orleans
What a performance from the Las Vegas Raiders. It was about the best possible way the Raiders could have opened their new stadium. Derek Carr played great, as did Darren Waller. Josh Jacobs put on another gutsy performance as well, even if he was not overly efficient. After a bit of a rocky start, the defense settled in, limiting Drew Brees and coming up big on third down. There are certainly some areas I’m sure Jon Gruden would like to sure up on that side of the ball, but it a great win for the relocated franchise. Vegas does not get any time to rest though with New England on the horizon.

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15. Dallas Cowboys: 1-1 (Last Week: 13)
Won 40-39 vs. Atlanta
Mike McCarthy should send flowers to every single member of the Falcons onside kick recovery team. Without some truly astounding mistakes, there is no way the Cowboys could have come back in this game. Dallas found itself down 20-0 early on after a series of fumbles. The Cowboys coughed it up three times in total. Defensively, they had no answer for Matt Ryan or Calvin Ridley. Somehow, Dallas pulled off the comeback and avoided the embarrassment of starting 0-2. I wouldn’t count on too many more 20-point turnarounds this season though, particularly with a trip to Seattle coming up.

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16. Houston Texans: 0-2 (Last Week: 17)
Lost 33-16 vs. Baltimore
It is hard to rip the Texans anymore than I already have. We know they made a bad offseason trade to acquire David Johnson and ship out DeAndre Hopkins. We also know they faced the particularly brutal task of playing the Chiefs and Ravens to open the year. They don’t get a complete pass for starting 0-2, but even with Hopkins, they likely would have lost both of these games. There were certainly some positives to this one. The defense limited Lamar Jackson and came up with four sacks. Unfortunately, it also gave up 240 yards rushing. Houston’s schedule does not let up either with Pittsburgh on the docket.

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17. Indianapolis Colts: 1-1 (Last Week: 24)
Won 28-11 vs. Minnesota
In a battle of two struggling teams, the Colts quieted their concerns for at least one week. The defense stepped up and delivered three interceptions. Indy also kept Minnesota out of the end zone until the fourth quarter. It still wasn’t a great performance from Philip Rivers, but the offense was able to ride Jonathan Taylor to paydirt. The offense will have to truly round into form at some point, especially with Malik Hooker and Paris Campbell out for a while, but the Colts can get away with just good enough for this week.

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18. Los Angeles Chargers: 1-1 (Last Week: 22)
Lost 23-20 vs. Kansas City
There are no such thing as good losses in the NFL, but the Chargers came as close as you can to having one in Week 2. Justin Herbert got the surprise start after Tyrod Taylor was ruled out pregame with a chest injury. The rookie from Oregon played extremely well, throwing for over 300 yards and a touchdown. He added one on the ground as well. Defensively, Los Angeles limited Clyde Edwards-Helaire and did its best to slow down Patrick Mahomes. It worked really well for three quarters. This is a team in flux though, so the loss does not really feel too painful. Anthony Lynn has said Taylor will be the starter when healthy, but the offense looked much better under Hebert. That will be a situation to watch.

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19. Cleveland Browns: 1-1 (Last Week: 23)
Won 35-30 vs. Cincinnati
Beating the Bengals does not erase the memory of Week 1’s debacle against the Ravens, but it does put the Browns back on the right track. Baker Mayfield played much better. Meanwhile, Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt showed why they are the best running back duo in the sport. Defensively, Cleveland struggled to slow down Joe Burrow. However, the defense could get reinforcements soon with Mack Wilson, Greedy Williams and Kevin Johnson all returning to practice on Monday. Cleveland will still have its hands full with Washington in Week 3.

Eagles Logo

20. Philadelphia Eagles: 0-2 (Last Week: 15)
Lost 37-19 vs. Los Angeles
If you haven’t already hit the panic button, you are probably hovering right over it as an Eagles fan. Carson Wentz looked downright terrible at home on Sunday. The offensive line actually held up decently well. The Rams did not record a sack or register a tackle for loss, but it still felt like this offense was struggling to get going. Defensively, Philly looks like a mess. It had no answer for Tyler Higbee or Darrell Henderson Jr. throughout much of the second half. The silver lining here is that Washington lost, so Philadelphia is only one game back in the division. The season is not over yet, but a Week 3 loss to the Bengals would really set off some alarms.

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21. Chicago Bears: 2-0 (Last Week 21)
Won 17-13 vs. New York
Don’t ask me to explain how the Bears are 2-0. They just are. It was another uninspiring victory over one of the teams in the NFL’s basement. Mitchell Trubisky played poorly and the defense caught a big break when Saquon Barkley tore his ACL. Chicago seems to have simply lucked its way into two wins to open the year. That luck will likely run out against the Falcons in Week 3, but Atlanta has a propensity for blowing games, so who really knows what will happen.

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22. Denver Broncos: 0-2 (Last Week: 18)
Lost 26-21 at Pittsburgh
Courtland Sutton is done for the year and Drew Lock is out for the next two-to-six weeks. That’s a major blow for the offense. And yet, the Denver was very much in the game on Sunday despite those injuries. Jeff Driskel played surprisingly well in relief of Lock, but showed his inexperience late in the game taking a sack on fourth down, failing to identify the pressure off the edge. Driskel might be able to keep the Broncos afloat until Lock can return, but this team’s playoff hopes took a huge hit.

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23. Atlanta Falcons: 0-2 (Last Week: 19)
Lost 40-39 at Dallas
I’ve gotta say it. This was the worst blown lead in a game, well since the Falcons blew a 28-3 lead in the Super Bowl. It was a staggering collapse for Atlanta, complete with dropped touchdowns, botched onside kick recoveries and bad coaching. The Falcons continue to waste incredible performances from Matt Ryan and the offense. Atlanta is fourth in total yards and sixth in points, but inexplicably finds itself at 0-2. Whatever trust Dan Quinn earned with the Falcons’ 6-2 finish to 2019 is definitely gone and the pressure is on for him to turn this around, fast.

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24. Minnesota Vikings: 0-2 (Last Week: 16)
Lost 28-11 at Indianapolis
Talk about an offseason refresh gone wrong. Minnesota made some major changes with hopes of pushing itself over the hump. Gone was the unreliable secondary and disgruntled playmaker. In came the young wave of talent and the late addition of a star pass rusher. Turns out the Vikings could have used Stefon Diggs on Sunday. Adam Thielen is back to being a one-man show as Kirk Cousins flounders in the offense. Cousins posted an abysmal 15.9 passer rating. He owns the worst passer rating and third-worst QBR through two weeks of action. If Minnesota loses to Tennessee, it might not be much longer before we start to see some changes made to the coaching staff and front office.

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25. Washington: 1-1 (Last Week: 25)
Lost 30-15 at Arizona
The euphoria of Week 1’s win wore off quickly as the offense spun its wheels in Arizona. Dwayne Haskins owns a league-worst 27.8 QBR through two weeks of play and it is starting to seem like he might be the problem. He might not have the best supporting cast, but his continued accuracy issues are a red flag. On the bright side, the defense showed flashes of brilliance again, with three more sacks and an interception. Washington is starting to get the right pieces in place, but still has a major question mark at quarterback.

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26. Jacksonville Jaguars: 1-1 (Last Week: 28)
Lost 33-30 at Tennessee
So much for being the least talented team in the NFL. Jacksonville cut Leonard Fournette and traded Yannick Ngakoue less than 10 days before the start of the season. The Jaguars were a tipped pass away from forcing overtime or possibly moving to 2-0. This offense quietly has a good number of playmakers between DJ Chark, Laviska Shenault, Keelan Cole and Chris Conley. James Robinson is proving he can be an NFL back while Chris Thompson is a nice change of pace option. The offensive line has held up fairly well. It would be nice to see the defense generate a bit more pressure, but it is hard to complain as a Jaguars fan through two weeks.

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27. Miami Dolphins: 0-2 (Last Week: 30)
Lost 31-28 vs. Buffalo
That is more like the Miami team we saw in the second half of last season. Ryan Fitzpatrick was slinging the ball all over the yard, namely to Mike Gesicki, against the Bills. Unfortunately, the revamped secondary did not do its job. Byron Jones exited with an injury and Xavien Howard could not contain Stefon Diggs. It was a clear reminder that the Dolphins are still rebuilding, but seem to be on the right path.

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28. Detroit Lions: 0-2 (Last Week: 27)
Lost 42-21 at Green Bay
If the Lions fired Matt Patricia tomorrow, I wouldn’t blame them. Detroit has somehow blown a double-digit lead in four straight games. Missing Kenny Golladay did not help matters, but after being up 14-3, losing by 21 is inexcusable. The pass rush is essentially nonexistent and the run defense had no answer for Aaron Jones. After some buzz about the Lions being a dark horse playoff team, it seems like Detroit is much closer to cleaning house than making a postseason push.

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29. Carolina Panthers: 0-2 (Last Week: 29)
Lost 31-17 at Tampa Bay
Losing to a division rival is tough. Losing Christian McCaffrey in the process is much harder for the Panthers. So much of this offense runs through him. With Teddy Bridgewater suddenly unable to take care of the football, Carolina could be a in lot of trouble if their superstar is truly out for the month he is projected to miss. McCaffrey has already said he wants to beat that timeline, but if the Panthers are 1-5, there would be little use in rushing him back. This was always a multiyear rebuild for Matt Rhule anyway. This might just accelerate the tanking process.

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30. Cincinnati Bengals: 0-2 (Last Week: 31)
Lost 35-30 at Cleveland
Close only counts in horseshoes, but the Bengals have to like what they saw out of their young quarterback on Thursday night. Joe Burrow threw for three touchdowns and, mostly, took care of the football, albeit in a losing effort. Unfortunately, the defense could not slow down the Browns running game, or Baker Mayfield for that matter. Cincinnati needs better play from its front seven going forward to stay in these games. It might be good to find a bit more balance on offense as well. Burrow threw the ball an outrageous 61 times, which does not feel like a recipe for success.

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31. New York Giants: 0-2 (Last Week: 26)
Lost 17-13 at Chicago
Welcome to worst-case scenario for the New York Giants. The talk all offseason was that Daniel Jones would finally get a chance to play with all of the talent the Giants had assembled around him. That dream came crashing down when Saquon Barkley tore his ACL. Jones still led a valiant second-half comeback bid, but ultimately came up short. Sterling Shepard also suffered a toe injury that could keep him out for a few games. Hopes of turning the corner on the rebuild are crumbling as New York seems destined for a top-five pick.

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32. New York Jets: 0-2 (Last Week: 32)
Lost 31-13 vs. San Francisco
I am hard pressed to think of a time where the Jets have had less proven talent available on their offense. Sam Darnold was mostly working with Patriots castoffs Chris Hogan and Braxton Berrios after Breshad Perriman exited with an injury. Despite San Francisco losing what felt like their entire team to injury, New York had a measly three points at halftime. No matter what the injury concerns for the Jets, Adam Gase seems as good as gone and now the focus might change to what to do at quarterback if Trevor Lawrence is available when Joe Douglas gets to pick.

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2020 NFL Power Rankings: Week 2

Football is back! The NFL finally made its triumphant return. Between social justice initiatives, COVID-19 protocols and a lack of fans, it felt very different, but it was still fun to watch an entertaining weekend of football. I want to touch on those social justice initiatives before I dive into actual football. It is a nice gesture by the league and its players, but I really think more needs to be done. The conversation has been started and players are clearly passionate about the issue, but I would like to see the league do something more substantive than playing different songs and putting names on their helmets. The NFL is the most powerful sports league and one of the most powerful businesses in the world. Baltimore had one of the best calls to action of any team I have seen. I hope we see more of this. This conversation cannot afford to stop.

Amidst the conversation, hopefully we can discuss some football as well. We saw some major clashes, unexpected upsets and lots of big plays. With one week of action officially behind us, here is how the league stands.

Chiefs Logo

1. Kansas City Chiefs: 1-0 (Last Week: 1)
Won 34-20 vs. Houston
The champs are here! Kansas City opened its title defense with a convincing win over Houston. Patrick Mahomes tossed three touchdown passes and rookie running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire looked like the real deal. After one week of action, he leads the league in rushing yards. There are definitely still question marks on the defense, especially with Charvarius Ward suffering a hand injury. However, the front seven is good enough to mask some of those concerns. And if he needs to, Andy Reid can just ask the offense to outscore pretty much any team they face.

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2. Baltimore Ravens: 1-0 (Last Week: 2)
Won 38-6 vs. Cleveland
It didn’t take long for Lamar Jackson to recapture his MVP form. He completed 80 percent of his passes for 275 yards and three touchdowns. He added 45 yards rushing to lead the team. The backfield was a bit of a mess, but given the game situation, it was perhaps a little too predictable as to when Baltimore would run the ball down the stretch. Holding the Browns to just a touchdown is an impressive way for the defense to start as well. The Ravens get a tougher test with a road game against the Texans in Week 2.

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3. New Orleans Saints: 1-0 (Last Week: 3)
Won 34-23 vs. Tampa Bay
Well that should quiet the hype. After a long offseason of chatter surrounding the Buccaneers, the Saints reminded everyone that the division still belongs to them. It was about as good of a performance as New Orleans could have hoped for defensively. They picked off Tom Brady twice and sacked him three times. That doesn’t even include the recovered fumble on a nifty special teams play. For as good as the defense was though, there is some cause for concern for the offense. Drew Brees threw for 160 yards, his fewest since 2018. It was his fewest while attempting at least 30 passes since 2013. Sean Payton has already voiced his displeasure regarding how he called the game and how the offense played. On top of that, Michael Thomas suffered an ankle injury late in the game. It was nice to get a win, but there is plenty of room for improvement.

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4. Seattle Seahawks: 1-0 (Last Week: 6)
Won 38-25 at Falcons
Be prepared to hear the phrase “Let Russ Cook” a lot this season if the Seahawks keep scoring points like this. Russell Wilson threw for 322 yards and four touchdowns in a comfortable victory over the Falcons. Defensively, new addition Jamal Adams was all over the field. He racked up 12 tackles, a sack and 2.5 tackles for loss. Seattle has plenty of playmakers on both sides of the ball to win a lot of games this year. Hopefully the defense, which gave up 450 yards passing to Matt Ryan, will tighten up as the year goes on.

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5. Green Bay Packers: 1-0 (Last Week: 8)
Won 43-34 at Minnesota
Reminder: Aaron Rodgers is still really good at football. Granted, it was against a completely remodeled Vikings secondary, complete with two rookie cornerbacks, but posting a league-high 43 points in Week 1 is a good way to quiet the critics. While Rodgers made it a habit of throwing to Davante Adams early and often (17 targets for 14 catches, 156 yards and two TDs), he got some production from his other receivers too. Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdez-Scantling both found the end zone. One sign of trouble though still showed up. Green Bay’s defense gave up a leauge-worst 6.1 yards per carry and two rushing touchdowns. It is clear that the Achilles heel of the team from last year has not been fixed yet.

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6. Buffalo Bills: 1-0 (Last Week: 9)
Won 27-17 vs. New York
I am pretty sure this is the highest I have ever ranked Buffalo. The Bills comfortably cruised past the Jets in Week 1 in an impressive defensive showing. A sizable win over an inept team is nothing to get excited about, but Sean McDermott’s group took care of business. It was far from perfect though. Josh Allen fumbled twice and the running backs struggled to get on track. Buffalo running backs ran for a dismal 2.3 yards per carry. Thankfully, the Bills get another week to figure it out before their schedule really gets tough. They face a trip to Miami before hosting the Rams.

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7. San Francisco 49ers: 0-1 (Last Week: 4)
Lost 24-20 vs. Arizona
Welcome to the Super Bowl hangover. It’s important not to panic yet in San Francisco. This was a close game against an up-and-coming division rival. The 49ers have been decimated by injuries at the skill positions. Deebo Samuel hit the IR. Brandon Aiyuk is nursing a hamstring issue. George Kittle suffered a knee injury during the game. Jimmy Garoppolo does not get a free pass, but it might be a few weeks before we can really evaluate this team.

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8. Pittsburgh Steelers: 1-0 (Last Week: 10)
Won 26-16
It took quite a while for Ben Roethlisberger and the offense to knock off the rust. You could argue they never really did. Pittsburgh clearly was not hitting on all cylinders early on in the game. However, the defense stepped up like it did for much of last season. Keith Butler had the unit flying around wreaking havoc. The Steelers sacked Daniel Jones three times, hit him seven times and came up with a pair of interceptions. If the offense can find its groove earlier in games, this Steelers team is going to be tough to beat.

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9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 0-1 (Last Week: 5)
Lost 34-23 at New Orleans
Through the first few drives, it really seemed like this Bucs team was as good as advertised. Then the lack of familiarity set in. Tom Brady was not sharp, with a pick-six and some horribly thrown passes. The running game was inconsistent. Todd Bowles’ defense was asked to do too much with turnovers leading to a short field for the Saints far too often. There are still positives here. The usually high-powered New Orleans offense was held to just 271 yards. If Tampa can cut out the turnovers, it should have no problem bouncing back.

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10. Tennessee Titans: 1-0 (Last Week: 11)
Won 16-14 at Denver
The kicking woes are back! Tennessee should have comfortably won this game, but three missed field goals and one missed extra point from Stephen Gostkowski almost cost them. He just about made up for it by hitting the game-winner though. Outside of special teams woes, the Titans were not efficient offensively and had too many drives stall after reaching the opponent’s side of the field. Mike Vrabel’s defense did it’s job, limiting Melvin Gordon and stepping up near the goal line. That secondary must grow up fast though. The unit could have been hurt a lot worse if not for two Jerry Jeudy drops. This was a sluggish start to the year for Tennessee.

11. Los Angeles Rams: 1-0 (Last Week: 17)
Won 20-17 vs. Dallas
All the questions around the Rams this offseason were about the offense. Could the offensive line get back to its 2018 form? Is Jared Goff really a franchise quarterback? Who will take over in the backfield after Todd Gurley’s release? The offense is still a work in progress, but the defense showed out on Sunday night. Holding the Cowboys to just 17 points is an impressive way to get the season started. Three sacks and seven quarterback hits kept Dak Prescott from truly settling in. The offensive potential paired with this type of defensive performance is promising for the Rams going forward.

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12. New England Patriots: 1-0 (Last Week: 14)
Won 21-11 at Miami
It is a new day in New England. Gone is Tom Brady, replaced by Cam Newton. Predictably, the Patriots offense looked very different as a result. Cam ran the ball 15 times and attempted just 19 passes. He was highly effective as the Pats rumbled for over 200 yards as a team. It is too soon say if the impressive defensive showing was a product of great play or facing an overmatched Dolphins offense. New England gets a much tougher test with a trip to Seattle up next.

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13. Dallas Cowboys: 0-1 (Last Week: 7)
Lost 20-17 at Los Angeles
All the talk about this incredible offense went out the window as Dallas struggled to score in Week 1. Dak Prescott was supposed to put the league on notice with Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and CeeDee Lamb. Someone forgot to tell the Rams though. Injuries are already piling up as well. La’el Collins was already on IR. He is now joined by Leighton Vander Esch and Blake Jarwin. While there were a few bright spots, this was close to worst-case scenario for the Cowboys.

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14. Arizona Cardinals: 1-0 (Last Week: 21)
Won 24-20 at San Francisco
After a dynamic offense added a big-name playmaker in DeAndre Hopkins, the expectations started to build for Arizona. Through one week, the Cardinals delivered. Knocking off the defending NFC champions on the road (whatever that really means in 2020) is a great way to indicate that the preseason hype was well deserved. Hopkins went off for 14 catches and 151 yards. Kyler Murray was far from perfect, but made more than enough big plays to lead the offense against a good 49ers defense. This is a great start for this young Cardinals team. With a couple of winnable games coming up, Arizona might just get on a roll here.

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15. Philadelphia Eagles: 0-1 (Last Week: 12)
Lost 27-17 at Washington
That was underwhelming. Philadelphia blew a 17-0 lead and watched the injuries stack up. That second part makes this particularly difficult to evaluate. The Eagles were without Lane Johnson, Miles Sanders, Derek Barnett, Alshon Jeffrey and Javon Hargrave entering the content. Jack Driscoll, Vinny Curry and Brandon Graham all left the game on Sunday. Carson Wentz was under siege with both Johnson and Driscoll out as a result. Washington sacked him eight times in the contest. He has to play better, but he needs a lot more help from his offensive line if he is going to survive the season.

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16. Minnesota Vikings: 0-1 (Last Week: 13)
Lost 43-34 vs. Green Bay
Could you tell the Vikings were a little green in the cornerback department? Mike Hughes returned from injury. Jeff Gladney and Cameron Dantzler made their first NFL appearances. Without a preseason, the group was not ready for Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams. Unfortunately, it is going to take the young corners a few weeks to gel. Minnesota needs to improve and quickly if it hopes to keep the hopes of another postseason run alive.

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17. Houston Texans: 0-1 (Last Week: 15)
Lost 34-20 at Kansas City
It wasn’t pretty, but what did you expect from the Texans? Houston made a bad offseason trade to land David Johnson, sending DeAndre Hopkins to Arizona. It was clear right away that Deshaun Watson missed his favorite target. Being overmatched by the defending Super Bowl champions should not be a shock. What Houston does next is what matters. Unfortunately, the schedule won’t get any easier with the Ravens and Steelers up next. Things are going to get worse before they get better. Expect the pressure to keep building on Bill O’Brien with each loss.

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18. Denver Broncos: 0-1 (Last Week: 19)
Lost 16-14 vs. Tennessee
New year, same late-game heartbreak for the Broncos. Vic Fangio mismanaged the clock in the closing minutes to cost Denver a chance to come back. After all the excitement surrounding the Broncos offense, this was a bit of a lackluster debut. Drew Lock was efficient, but far from spectacular. Melvin Gordon picked up more than 30 percent of his rushing yards on one run. Thankfully, the defense picked up the slack and Stephen Gostkowski forgot how to kick. Derrick Henry did rumble for 116 yards, but it took him 31 carries. Denver kept it close, but that only counts in horseshoes.

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19. Atlanta Falcons: 0-1 (Last Week: 18)
Lost 38-25 vs. Seattle
Turns out that throwing a bunch of rookies out to defend Russell Wilson is not a great plan. Atlanta should be encouraged by the start for its offense though. Matt Ryan leads the NFL after one week with 450 yards passing. Once again, it was the secondary that held the Falcons back. Tak McKinnley was the only player to register a pass deflection for the defense. Dan Quinn saved his job last year with how the Falcons played down the stretch. Losing to one of the best teams in the league won’t put him at risk yet, but the defense needs to step up quickly. Dallas is up next.

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20. Las Vegas Raiders: 1-0 (Last Week: 22)
Lost 20-16 vs. Jacksonville
A new era is underway for the Raiders. Las Vegas won it’s first game since relocating, but it wasn’t always pretty. The Panthers were breaking in a new coach, quarterback and defense, yet the Raiders needed a late touchdown to seal the win. Josh Jacobs looked like a bellcow back, toting the rock 25 times and scoring a career-high three touchdowns. The defense is still a work in progress. Carolina tallied 31 points and hit on a 75-yard passing touchdown. In a division featuring the proven Chiefs and the promising Broncos, Vegas is going to need to figure things out on the back end.

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21. Chicago Bears: 0-1 (Last Week 23)
Won 27-23 at Detroit
For three quarters, the Bears looked hapless on offense. Detroit led 23-6 entering the fourth quarter. Mitchell Trubisky conjured up some Nick Foles-type magic with the three touchdown passes in the final period to somehow lead Chicago to a win. It helped that the Bears played a Lions team who had a tendency for collapsing late last season. Chicago almost blew the comeback too. Lions’ rookie D’Andre Swift had the game-winning touchdown in his hands with 11 seconds left and dropped it. This win should not inspire too much confidence in this team, but a road divisional victory is never a bad thing.

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22. Los Angeles Chargers: 1-0 (Last Week: 25)
Won 16-13 at Cincinnati
It was ugly, but the Chargers started their 2020 season with a win. Tyrod Taylor posted a woeful 26.5 QBR and failed to find the end zone. Thankfully, rookie running back Joshua Kelly stepped up down the stretch and scored Los Angeles’ only touchdown. The defense looked solid, forcing a fumble and holding the Bengals to just 13 points. However, this game should have gone to overtime. If not for an injury suffered by Randy Bullock on the potential game-tying field goal, Cincy would’ve extended the contest. This is still a rebuilding year for the Chargers and it looks like it is going to be rough.

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23. Cleveland Browns: 0-1 (Last Week: 16)
Lost 38-6 at Baltimore
Oh boy. Losing to the Ravens is understandable. Losing by 32 is not. Baker Mayfield struggled again and the banged up Browns secondary stood no chance against Lamar Jackson. While this was a brutal way to start the season, I don’t think we will see Cleveland blown out like this too often. Baltimore built an early lead and Kevin Stefanski had to abandon the run. If the defense can get healthy and prevent an early deficit, this team should be much more competitive. Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt combined for 132 yards rushing on 5.7 yards per carry. Unfortunately, the little bit of buzz about Cleveland turning things vanished quickly.

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24. Indianapolis Colts: 0-1 (Last Week: 20)
Lost 27-20 at Jacksonville
The Colts might be in a lot of trouble. 19.33 percent of their cap is tied up in two quarterbacks who are likely not the future at the position. Philip Rivers struggled mightily against a stripped down Jaguars defense on Sunday in his first start with the team. Those two interceptions he threw were incredibly costly as the Colts lost by seven to the team just about everyone in the football world viewed as one of the three worst in the NFL. Indy is close to having a roster capable of competing for a Super Bowl (they could use an upgrade at corner), but lack a championship-caliber quarterback. On top of that, Marlon Mack is out for the season with a torn Achilles. Terrible start for Indianapolis.

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25. Washington: 0-1 (Last Week: 31)
Won 27-17 vs. Philadelphia
Good coaching makes a huge difference apparently. That is far from a new concept in the NFL or any sport for that matter, but Ron Rivera provided a great example of it in Washington. This would have been the most shocking result of the weekend if not for the Jaguars knocking off the Colts. Even with all the Eagles’ injuries, it was an impressive showing. Washington followed San Francisco’s blueprint to defense building with a deep and talented defensive line. The offense was rough to say the least. Dwayne Haskins barely completed 50 percent of his passes and the team averaged a league-worst 2.2 yards per carry. There is room for optimism, but Washington has a lot of room for improvement as well.

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26. New York Giants: 0-1 (Last Week: 24)
Lost 26-16 vs. Pittsburgh
The Giants offensive line continues to be an issue. Dave Gettleman invested significant resources in Daniel Jones’ protection, but with Nate Solder opting out and no preseason, the unit has not had time to gel. Facing an aggressive Steelers defense was not the best way to break it in either. Pittsburgh sacked Jones three times and Saquon Barkley was held to the second-fewest rushing yards of his career with six positive yards on 15 carries. Jones had some good moments and looked much better than last year, but New York is still clearly at least a year away from truly competing.

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27. Detroit Lions: 0-1 (Last Week: 26)
Lost 27-23 vs. Chicago
Matt Patricia’s seat is unquestionably the hottest in the league right now. Detroit blew a 17-point fourth quarter lead in spectacular fashion. D’Andre Swift had the chance to be a hero and erase the collapse, but dropped the ball in the end zone. Matthew Stafford did not look sharp in his return from injury and the defense got shredded. For all the improvements the Lions made in the offseason, they are still in the NFC North cellar.

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28. Jacksonville Jaguars: 1-0 (Last Week: 32)
Won 27-20 vs. Indianapolis
Forget tanking. Trevor Lawrence can go rescue a different franchise. Gardner Minshew has this under control! I am somewhat kidding, but it was a masterful performance from the second-year quarterback. He completed 19 of his 20 passes for three touchdowns. James Robinson looked solid in NFL debut and Jacksonville suddenly has a decent group of receivers to work with. First-round pick CJ Henderson is already paying dividends with an interception in his first game. This team is definitely not built to compete for a division title, but they might not be as far away from the pack as we all initially thought.

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29. Carolina Panthers: 0-1 (Last Week: 29)
Lost 34-30 vs. Las Vegas
This was almost a dream start for the new-look Panthers. Teddy Bridgewater engineered a pair of scoring drives to take a fourth quarter lead, but the defense could not hold up down the stretch. Still, there were a lot of positives to take away from this game. Bridgewater acclimated decently well to his new system. Robby Anderson provided the field-stretching ability Carolina had been hoping for. The defense still has a long way to go though. Giving up 34 points and failing to register a sack or turnover is a tough start. With so many new starters though, there were always going to be growing pains. In time, this Panthers team should be just fine.

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30. Miami Dolphins: 0-1 (Last Week: 28)
Lost 21-11 at New England
Ryan Fitzpatrick did what he often does when he enters Year 2 with a team: he fell apart. Three interceptions and no touchdowns is not how the veteran quarterback would have wanted to start the season. Defensively, Miami held New England to just 21 points, but surrendered a league-high 217 rushing yards. However, the offensive line that was terrible a year ago gave up just one sack and Myles Gaskins flashed some potential. This rebuild was always going to take a few years, but this was an uninspiring start.

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31. Cincinnati Bengals: 0-1 (Last Week: 30)
Lost 16-13 vs. Los Angeles
The Joe Burrow era is underway and already there is more optimism around this team than there was all of last year. Burrow had his far share of mistakes, but he scored a rushing touchdown and led the team on a potential game-tying drive before Randy Bullock missed the field goal. Cincy was never going to turn things around quickly. Patience is going to be needed with this team.

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32. New York Jets: 0-1 (Last Week: 27)
Lost 27-17 at Buffalo
A quick glance at the scoreline does not tell you the full story for the Jets. New York had just three points at halftime, Sam Darnold posted a worrisome 19.3 QBR and the running game floundered even before Le’Veon Bell exited with a hamstring injury. Defensively, the Jets came up with two important fumbles, but otherwise did not have an answer for Josh Allen. Adam Gase should have been fired a year ago and the Jets seem to be set for another mediocre season. The fact that in Year 3, New York does not know if Sam Darnold is truly a franchise quarterback is pathetic. It didn’t take long for the Jets to end up back in the NFL’s basement.

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