WEEI NFL Power Rankings — Week 3
|09.22.09 at 12:11 am ET|
The Giants, Falcons and Saints are among a few teams that are ”Moving on Up” in WEEI’s Week 3 Power Rankings. Week 2 is in the books, and we saw a lot of surprises. Two of the top three teams (the Patriots and Steelers) tasted defeat on Sunday. The Bengals “Lambeau Leaped” up in the rankings after their big upset win in Green Bay. The Titans dropped to No. 12 after falling to 0-2.
• This week can be characterized as the week of the bounce-back — the Bills, Cardinals, Texans and Raiders all rebounded from tough losses in Week 1.
• At the bottom of the barrel you’ll still find the same teams. The Rams remain the worst team in football. The Lions are averaging a one-spot jump per week as they’ve gone from No. 32 to No. 31 and now No. 30.
• And lastly — sorry, Kristine Leahy — the Patriots have fallen to No. 10 after their loss in the Meadowlands.
1. (Last week, 2) Big win for the G-Men against a tough divisional opponent on the road. Many thought this offense would struggle without Plaxico Burress, but that certainly hasn’t been the case after watching Eli Manning and his young wide receivers go to work.
2. (1) Despite the loss to the Bears, Pittsburgh remains the best team in the AFC. The Steelers could very easily have left Chicago with the “W” if the usually reliable Jeff Reed didn’t miss two field goals down the stretch.
3. (8) Big win for the Ravens against one of the top teams in the AFC. Joe Flacco didn’t put up the same numbers as he did last week but he certainly did enough to get the job done. This is a confidence-builder win, and Ray Lewis and the Ravens are riding high.
4. (7) Atlanta is firing on all cylinders. Matt Ryan looks like a seasoned veteran. (I think it’s safe to say that trading for Tony Gonzalez was probably a good idea.) Ryan and Gonzalez have hooked up 12 times this year for 144 yards. On the defensive side of the ball, linebacker Mike Peterson has been a force, making tackles and forcing fumbles.
5. (5) It’s simply amazing that Indianapolis was able to win on Monday night after just 14:53 in time of possession. Peyton Manning and the Colts needed just 12 seconds in their opening drive to score a touchdown. The Colts get the job done on offense when they need to.
6. (14) The Saints offense is scary good. This offensive unit is the best in football, and Drew Brees is in line to break Tom Brady’s TD record. The offense isn’t the only unit doing its job. The defense forced three turnovers and returned an interception for a TD, and special teams caused a fumble. However, the defense is still the biggest question mark on this team as the Saints have yet to face a real test — Philadephia without McNabb behind center does not count as a difficult test.
7. (11) The 2-0 Vikings look good in the early going. Brett Favre isn’t hurting his team with turnovers, and is doing enough to help his team win. Adrian Peterson continues to be the biggest offensive threat in the game.
8. (6) The Chargers were forced to settle for field goals in the red zone three times. Philip Rivers was able to throw for more than 400 yards against the Ravens defense, but the Chargers weren’t able to execute when they needed it most.
9. (13) Rex Ryan has brought one hell of a defense to New York. The Jets made a statement on Sunday by not allowing Tom Brady and the Pats to score a single touchdown. Darrelle Revis has faced Andre Johnson and Randy Moss so far this season and completely shut down both of them. Mark Sanchez is a rookie starter, and has thrown just one interception.
10. (3) Brady doesn’t look comfortable in the pocket, and teams are going after No. 12 hard. It’s inevitable that future opponents will copy the Jets’ strategy and continue to pressure Brady and the offensive line. Let’s see how the the Pats respond Sunday when they face another tough test in the Falcons. Look for the Patriots to run the ball more and take advantage of their solid running backs, as I think Belichick realizes Brady has thrown the ball far too much over the past two games. The Patriots sit at No. 10 at this point, but by midseason Brady should be back in his groove and the defense will improve.
11. (18) Great win for the Bears after losing to their division rival at Green Bay last week. Jay Cutler came back this week and proved he was a lot better than his performance last week.
12. (4.) The Titans suffered a bad loss to the Texans after a solid performance against the Steelers in Week 1. Tennessee has fallen to 0-2. Matt Schaub and the Texans receivers tore up the Titans D.
13. (9) The Cowboys played the Giants tough, but Tony Romo wasn’t at the top of his game. Romo was very inaccurate, but he should be able to bounce back next week against Carolina.
14. (15) Kevin Kolb will more than likely make the start for the Eagles next week against Kansas City. In his first pro start, Kolb made some good throws but also made some bad decisions and turned the ball over three times.
15. (12) After a great win against the Bears last week, the Packers suffered a tough loss to the Bengals at home. Green Bay has to protect Aaron Rodgers better or it will be a long season. Rodgers was sacked six times on Sunday. Tackle Chad Clifton left the game in the third quarter with a sprained ankle, and it’s possible he could miss next week’s game against the Rams.
16. (16) It’s a shame that the 49ers’ great play over the last two weeks has been overshadowed by Michael Crabtree talk.
17. (17) The Cardinals bounced back well this week, and that offense finally showed what it is capable of. It will be interesting to see how Arizona plays against a tough team in the Colts next week. This will be a good test to see what this Cardinals team is made of.
18. (20) The Bills showed some character on Sunday as they bounced back and beat the Bucs. Fred Jackson turned in a very impressive performance and the Buffalo running game will only get better when Marshawn Lynch gets back from suspension. This offense is very talented.
19. (22) The Dolphins fought hard and came away from the game Monday night with some positives. Chad Pennington and the Miami offense put together some great drives and took control of the game. If it wasn’t for Ted Ginn Jr. letting a couple of balls go off his fingertips in the end zone, the Dolphins might be celebrating a win.
20. (10) Matt Hasselbeck has a fractured rib and his status is unknown for next week. Assuming he doesn’t play, the Seahawks have to rely on Julius Jones and their running game to shoulder the load while Seneca Wallace fills in for Hasselbeck.
21. (25) The Texans looked like a completely different team on Sunday, as their offense was in complete control and manhandled the Titans D.
22. (26) If there were 15 more seconds on the clock, the Bengals probably would have blown another win. Cincinnati should be riding high after upsetting the Packers in Green Bay and after great performances from Cedric Benson and Antwan Odom.
23. (24) Not many people thought the Broncos would start the season 2-0, but look at who they have defeated.
24. (19) Even though Jake Delhomme played a lot better this week he still ran into the same “ole” problems when he threw an interception in the red zone during the fourth quarter. The ’08 NFC South champs are 0-2 and it doesn’t get easier next week when they travel to Dallas to take on a hungry Cowboys team.
25. (21) The Redskins couldn’t score one touchdown against the Rams — enough said.
26. (27) It’s difficult to believe the Raiders beat the Chiefs on Sunday after a very poor performance from JaMarcus Russell.
27. (23) The Jaguars are almost as pathetic as their fans … or lack thereof. Time to move the team to Los Angeles.
28. (28) The Bucs are in for a long season. Thirteen penalties for more than 100 yards isn’t the formula for success.
29. (29) Watching Eric Mangini and the Browns struggle puts a smile on the faces of Patriots fans.
30. (31) The Detroit Lions are showing signs of improvement after jumping out to a 10-0 lead against the Vikings.
31. (30) The Chiefs continued to burn themselves with mistake after mistake — nine penalties for 70 yards and one huge personal foul penalty during the Raiders’ winning drive Sunday.
32. (32) The Rams continued to struggle on Sunday. The team has scored 7 points in the last two weeks. Steven Jackson’s performance was the one bright spot on Sunday for St. Louis.
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