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WEEI NFL Power Rankings, Week 3: Seahawks soar, Pats plunge

It’s the best rivalry in football, but the Seahawks [1] made it look easy in Sunday’s 29-3 thrashing of the Niners. Seattle soars to the top of the WEEI NFL Power Rankings following the statement win while the divisional-rival Niners drop to No. 3. The Broncos [2] (2), Falcons (4) and Packers (5) round out the top five for a second straight week.

Despite being 2-0, the Patriots fall three spots to No. 9. After facing two rookie quarterbacks and two teams that combined for 20 losses in 2012, New England barely edged out victories in both games.

We’re just two weeks into the season, but if history tells us anything, the eight 0-2 teams have an uphill battle to climb. Since 1990 only 11.5 percent of teams that started 0-2 went on to make the playoffs. The Giants [3] (18), Redskins (20), Vikings (24), Steelers (25), Panthers (29), Browns (31) and Jaguars (32) all have staggered out of the gate.

1. (3) Seahawks (2-0) — Dominant. That’s the simple way to describe Seattle’s stifling defense. Pete Carroll [4]‘s D already has forced seven turnovers, allowed just one touchdown, and given up a total of 10 points.

2. (2) Broncos (2-0) — This team is so talented offensively, it can afford to be flagged 13 times and still win by 18 points.

3. (1) 49ers [5] (1-1) —  Some red flags were raised after the lopsided loss to Seattle. Colin Kaepernick already has matched his total number of interceptions all of last year with three on Sunday. Jim Harbaugh [6]‘s team has been penalized 23 times in its first two games. Turnovers and penalties usually are something the defending NFC champs are used to seeing from their opponents.

4. (4) Falcons (1-1) — The defending NFC South champs will limp into Week 3 after losing several key players to injury. Starters Kroy Biermann and Bradie Ewing are done for the season. Asante Samuel [7], Sean Weatherspoon and Steven Jackson [8] also were hurt in Sunday’s win.

5. (5) Packers (1-1) — It’s amazing the Packers [9] have been able to win so many games over the last few years without having a productive run game. It’s goes to show how explosive their offense has been. On Sunday, James Starks [10] rushed for over 100 yards, the first time a Green Bay running back has accomplished that since 2010.

6. (8) Saints (2-0) —  It’s good to be 2-0, it’s even better to be 2-0 in the division. The biggest surprise is the way last season’s 32nd-ranked defense has played. Led by Rob Ryan [11], the Saints defense has been significantly improved. Last year the Saints allowed an average of 440 yards per game; this year they are allowing 320.

7. (7 ) Texans (2-0) — The Texans are learning a lot about playing from behind. In two straight games they’ve shown resiliency and have secured comeback wins. Those wins came against two teams that missed the playoffs last year. Houston’s next three games are against the defending Super Bowl [12] champs, the defending NFC champs and the No. 1-ranked team in this week’s power rankings. The Texans will have to play with more consistency.

8. (9) Bears (2-0) — At this point last season, Jay Cutler [13] had been sacked nine times and the Bears were 1-1. In 2013, Chicago sits at 2-0 and its quarterback has only been sacked once. So far, the Bears revamped offensive line has performed well, and it has made a huge impact. 

9. (6) Patriots (2-0) — Robert Kraft should send the NFL schedule-makers a big thank you card, because his team could easily be 0-2 if it wasn’t for the overall ineptitude of the Bills and Jets organizations. 

10. (12) Bengals (1-1) — Andy Dalton [14] suddenly has a number of weapons. The tandem of Giovanni Bernard and Ben Jarvus Green-Ellis causes opposing defenses to worry about more than just AJ Green [15].

11. (11) Ravens (1-1) —  The offense is a major concern in Baltimore. The big-play threat has been diminished as Joe Flacco [16] has struggled to throw the ball successfully down the field. IRay Rice [17] misses time with his hip injury, the Ravens are in big trouble offensively.

12. (21) Dolphins (2-0) — This is what Jeff Ireland had in mind when he signed Mike Wallace [18] to a $60 million deal. The Dolphins were in desperate need of a wide receiver with great playmaking ability, and Wallace is just that. It will be interesting to see if he can play at a high level consistently.

13. (13) Colts (1-1) — Injuries are a concern in Indianapolis as the struggling offensive line lost starting guard Donald Thomas for the year. The Colts already had lost starting running back Vick Ballard earlier in the week.

14. (18) Chiefs (2-0) — The Chiefs are 5-for-5 this year in the red zone, haven’t turned the ball over and have Kansas City fans excited about football.  

15. (10) Cowboys (1-1) — Dallas’ success is dependent on if it can get production from the run game. So far, it hasn’t looked good. Starter DeMarco Murray [19] averaged just 2.1 yards per carry during Sunday’s loss to the Chiefs.

16. (22) Chargers (1-1) — The Chargers got a much-needed win following a devastating loss to the Texans. Philip Rivers [20] has played like the Philip Rivers of old under new coach Mike McCoy [21]. It took Rivers five games to throw seven touchdowns last season. Rivers already has reached that mark this year.

17. (16) Eagles (1-1) —  Sunday’s game was one of the poorest defensive performances of this young season. The Eagles D was torched for 539 yards, was 5-for-15 on third down, and allowed the Chargers offense to possess the ball for over 40 minutes.

18. (14) Giants (0-2) — Eli Manning [22] leads the league with seven interceptions. One of the main reasons the Giants are 0-2 is because they’ve turned the ball over 10 times in just two games. You can’t win in the league if you’re averaging five turnovers a game.

19. (15) Rams (1-1) — Give credit to the Rams for battling back after falling behind 24-3 at halftime against the Falcons. For young teams like this, resiliency and the way adversity is handled can say a lot about where the squad is headed.

20. (17) Redskins (0-2) — Maybe we’re seeing a pattern in Washington. Last year, Mike Shanahan [23] ruled out a playoff appearance following a loss to the Panthers in early November. The Redskins went on to win seven straight games and made the playoffs after that.

21. (30) Cardinals (1-1) — We watched a very impressive performance from the Cardinals defense on Sunday. The D stepped up in a big way and didn’t allow a second-half point to the talented Lions offense.

22. (19) Lions (1-1) — Penalties and a general lack of discipline has held back the Lions during the Jim Schwartz [24] tenure in the Motor City. Early on in 2013, it looks like nothing has changed. The Lions have been flagged 19 times in just two games.

23. (24) Titans (1-1) — The Titans are in desperate need of some playmakers on offense. Kendall Wright, Kenny Britt and Nate Washington [25] have the talent, they just need to translate it onto the field.

24. (20) Vikings (0-2) — Opening up the season with two divisional losses is difficult to bounce back from — especially in the NFC North. The Vikings have to be more efficient in the red zone. They were unable to punch the ball in on three occasions, and that would have made the difference in a one-point loss to the Bears.

25. (25) Steelers (0-2) — We learned a lot about the Steelers on Monday night. They can’t run the ball, and that causes a trickle-down effect that disrupts the whole offense. Pittsburgh historically has been known for its smashmouth brand of football. The lack of success of late can be credited to eight straight games without a 100-yard rusher.

26. (27) Jets (1-1) —  Snoop’s “Drop it Like it’s Hot” would be a fitting theme song for the Jets receivers. When you have a rookie quarterback starting, there are certain things the team needs to do to help out the young passer. Dropped passes, poor play-calling and a weak offensive line will only slow down Smith’s development.

27. (26) Buccaneers [26] (0-2) — This is supposed to be the year Josh Freeman [27] takes his game to the next level. After two games, he’s headed in the wrong direction. Freeman’s 45.3 completion percentage is the worst in the league. The Bucs QB is not on the same page with the offense and his head coach, and that has shown over the first couple of weeks.

28. (29) Bills (1-1) — Doug Marrone  has to be a excited with the way his defense played Sunday. Mario Williams [28] racked up 4½ sacks and the D made two huge red zone stops to help Marrone earn his first victory as coach.

29. (23) Panthers (0-2) — The Week 2 matchup against the Bills was a game the Panthers were expected to win and should have won. However, once again the Panthers were unable to come out on top during a game decided by one score or less.

30. (31) Raiders (1-1) — It has only been two games, but the Oakland rushing attack is averaging close to six yards per carry. Terrelle Pryor did a great job protecting the ball as he adjusts to life in the NFL. Limiting turnovers and a strong run game is the only way the Raiders can remain competitive.

31. (28) Browns (0-2) — Trent Richardson [29] has been a non-factor early on after a stellar rookie campaign. Cleveland’s feeble offense desperately needs production from its young running back.

32. (32) Jaguars (0-2) — With the first pick in the 2014 NFL draft [30], the Jacksonville Jaguars [31] select …

Which NFL teams are in your top 10? Leave your opinions/comments below or send via Twitter to @JoeZWEEI.