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WEEI NFL Power Rankings: Week 3

09.21.10 at 8:05 am ET
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The defending champs are looking down at all 32 teams once again as they pulled off another win and remain at No.1 in the WEEI NFL Power Rankings. Drew Brees and company continue to find ways to win, reminiscent of the Patriots championship teams who battled every week but prevailed at the end every time.

The Packers jump a spot and sit at No. 2 after a dominating performance over the Bills. The Colts, Steelers, and Texans round off the Top 5.

Tough decisions after that. The Ravens lost to the Bengals, but beat the Jets in Week 1, while the Patriots beat up on the Bengals but fell to the Jets. This just proves we shouldn’t over-react after two games. Baltimore remains on top of the next group followed by the Jets, Patriots and Bengals.

It’s been an interesting and exciting past couple weeks in the NFL. The Steelers are proving they don’t need  their Pro Bowl QB when they play defense like they have the past two games. Following a Week 1 loss, the Colts made a statement on Sunday Night Football by beating up on the Giants. We’ve got some major surprises early in the season with both the Tampa Bay Bucs and Kansas City Chiefs at 2-0, while teams like the Dallas Cowboys and Minnesota Vikings are 0-2.

And which head coach is first on the hot seat? Is it Wade Phillips, John Fox, Eric Mangini, or none of the above?

Lots to talk about in this week’s edition of the WEEI Power Rankings. Check em out:

1. (Last week, 1) 2-0-0 The Saints aren’t relying on one specific area. They’re getting production from all three phases of the game when they need it and find ways to win games. The loss of Reggie Bush (to what reports say is a broken bone in his leg) won’t help the Saints sputtering offense find their groove any quicker.

2. (3) 2-0-0 The Packers have play-makers on both sides of the ball. Aaron Rodgers continues to show he is an elite QB. Second-year linebacker Clay Matthews already has six sacks, 12 tackles, and one forced fumble in two games.

3. (4) 1-1-0 Did anyone really think the Colts would fall to 0-2 to start the season? Indy took a national stage Sunday night and showed the country that they will be one of the best teams in the NFL once again.

4. (7) 2-0-0 If the Steelers ‘D’ continues to play the way they have, it won’t matter who is under center. With Dennis Dixon and Charlie Batch to start the season, the Steel Crew is 2-0 and just two games away from getting their Pro Bowl quarterback back from suspension.

5. (11) 2-0-0 In the opener, we saw what the Texans running game was capable of after Arian Foster rushed for over 230 yards and three touchdowns. This week, we saw Matt Schaub throw for 497 yards and three touchdowns.

6. (2) 1-1-0 Tough loss from a team that is thought of to be one of the best in the AFC. Joe Flacco has been a major disappointment so far this season as expectations were extremely high going into the season. The Ravens’ QB needs to play a lot better if they want to contend for a title.

7. (9) 1-1-0 Really impressive showing from the Jets Sunday against the Patriots. Without Darrelle Revis, the Jets forced turnovers and shutdown Tom Brady and the Patriots offense in the second half. On the other side of the ball, Mark Sanchez played like he had something to prove. The second-year QB led his team to 21 straight points and looked like a completely different player.

8. (12) 2-0-0 Karlos Dansby and Miami’s defense stepped up when they stopped Adrian Peterson on 4th-and-goal on the 1-yard line to solidify a win. An impressive performance from the Dolphins on defense. Chad Henne has been “good enough to win” thus far. He’s protecting the football and not making bad decisions, putting his team in a position to win.

9. (5) 1-1-0 The Patriots team that showed up in New York last Sunday looked very familiar to the one we saw in 2009. Last year the Patriots struggled to win on the road and they gave up too many first-half leads. New England’s secondary couldn’t make a stop in the second half and was exposed. I can only imagine what will happen when quarterbacks like Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, and Philip Rivers challenge the Pats secondary.

10. (14) 1-1-0 A huge bounce back win against division rival Baltimore Sunday. The only problem with moving them any higher in the rankings was the way they played in Week 1 against the Patriots. The Ravens are still the better, more physical team but the Bengals proved they can play with the best on any given day.

11. (16) 1-1-0 The Falcons showed Sunday how great there offense can be. Matt Ryan got his team back on track after struggling against the Steelers. Atlanta will need production from the run game, whether it’s Michael Turner, Jason Snelling, or Jerious Norwood.

12. (13) 1-1-0 Philip Rivers picked apart the Jaguars ‘D’ while the Chargers defense picked off David Garrard four times. Extremely important bounce back game for San Diego after a tough Monday night lost against Kansas City. The “Super Chargers” will benefit the next few weeks from a very easy schedule as they will take on Seattle, Arizona, Oakland, and St.Louis.

13. (25) 2-0-0 The Bears showed what they can do if they protect the football and don’t allow turnovers, especially in the red zone. Now let’s see if Jay Cutler can do the same thing for a second straight week.

14. (8) 1-1-0 The Colts showed Sunday night that they were on a completely different level than the Giants. Eli Manning and the Giants fell behind early and there was nothing they could do to prevent it. At least they’re still one game up on the Cowboys in the division.

15. (6) 0-2-0 Brett Favre has looked old and incapable of leading the Vikings to another magical season in 2010. Too many bad decisions and interceptions have prevented the Vikes to win over the past two weeks. A couple more games like this, and Brad Childress, Jared Allen and Minnesota fans will be wishing that Favre had retired.

16. (17) 1-1-0 The Redskins poor running game was exposed Sunday as they could not pull off the victory after jumping off to a 17-point lead. The running back duo of Clinton Portis and Larry Johnson has yet to produce this season.

17. (19) 1-1-0 The dynamic play-making Mike Vick we saw play for the Falcons was on the field this past Sunday for the Eagles. Breaking tackles, making plays with his feet — Vick put on a show. If he continues to play well it will be interesting to see what Andy Reid does with the QB situation in Philadelphia.

18. (21) 0-2-0 Alex Smith and his team battled to the end against the defending Super Bowl champs. The 49ers are one of the better 0-2 teams in the NFL.

19. (5) 0-2-0 First 0-2 start for the Cowboys since 2001. Things won’t get easier for Wade Phillips and crew next week when they take on a hot Texans team. Only three teams in the NFL have made the playoffs after starting a season 0-3 so if there is a “must win” game in Week 3, this is it.

20. (15) 1-1-0 I really disagree with the decision to bench Vince Young this early in the season because he was playing poorly against one of the best defense’s in the NFL. Hopefully for the Titans, this does not cause a distraction in the locker room.

21. (23) 2-0-0 The Chiefs start the season 2-0 for the first time since 2005–An encouraging start for a team that is on its way up. The coaching staff has done a tremendous job so far. Now they just have to get Matt Cassel back on track.

22. (26) 1-1-0 The Broncos surprisingly came out Sunday and played well on both sides of the ball. First-round draft pick Demaryius Thomas showed he could be a quality replacement for Brandon Marshall.

23. (27) 2-0-0 Who would’ve thought the Buccaneers would start the season off with a 2-0 record? The young Josh Freeman has been impressive so far and it’s fun to watch him continue to get better and improve from last year.

24. (18) 1-1-0 The Seahawks never had a chance to win their game Sunday against the Broncos. Seattle put forth a very disappointing effort against a mediocre team. Four turnovers and three interceptions proved that Pete Carroll’s team is below average, at best.

25. (20) 1-1-0 On four of their first five possessions, the Jaguars managed to turn the ball over. David Garrard’s day ended with him matching his career high in interceptions with four.

26. (28) 0-2-0 Despite the 0-2 record, the Lions play has been a pleasant surprise so far this season. They could very easily be 2-0 right now and that says a lot for a team that’s won two games in the past two seasons. Rookie Jahvid Best looks like he can be a big time play maker in the NFL.

27. (22) 0-2-0 Sloppy play and constant turnovers are the reasons why the Panthers are 0-2. The offensive line is struggling to protect the passer and now they will be relied upon to protect rookie QB Jimmy Clausen. The future looks grim for John Fox and the Panthers in Carolina.

28. (29)1-1-0 Before the season Al Davis compared Jason Campbell to Jim Plunkett. Now, after just a game and a half, Campbell was benched for Bruce Gradkowski. This offense needs to rely on their running game to put points on the board.

29. (24) 1-1-0 Seven turnovers in two games for the Cardinals. Arizona barely pulled off the victory in Week 1 against the lowly Rams and in Week 2 lost by 34 points. One good thing the Cardinals can take out of the past two weeks has been the play of Tim Hightower in Beanie Wells absence.

30. (32) 0-2-0 Sam Bradford and the Rams couldn’t beat the Raiders but the team is on the rise unlike the Browns and Bills.

31. (30) 0-2-0 Running back Jerome Harrison hasn’t been able to get things going yet for the Browns and that has really hurt them this season. Too many penalties and mental mistakes have shown that Eric Mangini might not be the right person for that job in Cleveland.

32. (31) 0-2-0 The Bills are in desperate need of a quarterback. Trent Edwards is obviously not the answer – (two interceptions and a 37.0 QB rating against the Packers). Next week they will turn to backup Ryan Fitzpatrick to take on the Patriots.

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