1. New England Patriots (3-0; Last Ranking: 1)
The Patriots are simply the best team in the NFL right now, and it isn’t even close. Without Brady and effectively without Gronk, this team dominated a good Houston Texans team. They are the overwhelming Super Bowl favorites right now.
2. Denver Broncos (3-0; Last Ranking: 2)
We are used to Denver winning with stout defense and low scores. However, someone decided that it was time we let Trevor Siemian loose and have him throw the ball downfield. One four-touchdown day and a victory over the Bengals might change the way this team operates moving forward.
3. Minnesota Vikings (3-0; Last Ranking: 6)
After victories over the Packers and Titans, many expected the Vikings to come back to earth in Week 3. However, Mike Zimmer is proving to be one of the elite head coaches in the NFL already. This defense might also be the best in the NFL and reminds a lot of people of the 2000 Ravens and the 2015 Broncos.
4. Philadelphia Eagles (3-0; Last Ranking: 15)
The Eagles’ defensive line completely dominated the Steelers’ offensive line (one of the better OLs in the league), and Carson Wentz looked like a 10-year veteran. The combination of Wentz, their OL and DL, and their ability to get after the quarterback makes this team really scary.
5. Green Bay Packers (2-1; Last Ranking: 8)
The Packers looked phenomenal in the first half of last week’s game. Aaron Rodgers threw four touchdowns, Lacy looked good, Jordy had a big game, and the defense played well early (they gave up some garbage time points). The Packers will take a much-needed early bye week to get healthy on defense.
6. Baltimore Ravens (3-0; Last Ranking: 12)
The Ravens have won three games by a combined 13 points, and those three wins have come against the Browns, the Jaguars, and the Bills who are a combined 1-8. While 3-0 is certainly impressive, those three teams aren’t exactly elite competition. This week against the Redskins doesn’t get much tougher.
7. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-1; Last Ranking: 3)
Pittsburgh is a Super Bowl contender and last Sunday doesn’t change that. However, that performance was simply embarrassing and they were completely dominated by the Eagles. This team did not look like they were ready to play on Sunday. That won’t work against the Chiefs this week, but having Le’Veon Bell back will help.
8. Carolina Panthers (1-2; Last Ranking: 4)
The Panthers now sit at 1-2, with their only win coming against the lowly 49ers. Carolina doesn’t seem to have that same energy and swagger as they did last year. Cam Newton looks human, the defense isn’t striking fear into anyone, and this secondary really needs some work.
9. Arizona Cardinals (1-2; Last Ranking: 5)
The Cardinals didn’t show up in Buffalo, and now they are sitting at 1-2 with their only win coming over a Buccaneers team that has struggled this year. If the Cardinals are going to turn it around, it starts with more consistent quarterback play from veteran Carson Palmer and stopping the run on defense.
10. Kansas City Chiefs (2-1; Last Ranking: 13)
The Chiefs defense is among the best in the NFL, and no one could argue against that after last Sunday. They forced eight turnovers, held the Jets to three points on offense, and controlled the game from the beginning. This team has a winning formula, and they’ve been doing it without Jamaal Charles.
11. Seattle Seahawks (2-1; Last Ranking: 14)
Some are saying that the Seahawks offense is back. However, almost any team in the NFL could score 30+ points again the 49ers. Furthermore, Russell Wilson’s knee injury isn’t serious, but it will hamper him and keep him out of a couple games.
12. Houston Texans (2-1; Last Ranking: 7)
After a nice 2-0 start, the Texans looked ready to go 3-0 against a rookie quarterback on a short week. Instead, they didn’t even belong on that field on Thursday as the Patriots completely dominated them on offense, defense, and special teams. The Texans are still good, just not New England good. Losing JJ Watt, though, will hurt.
13. Cincinnati Bengals (1-2; Last Ranking: 9)
After a disappointing loss to the Steelers last week, they Bengals came out flat against the Broncos on Sunday. A week after holding Ben Roethlisberger in check, they let Trevor Siemian throw it all over the field. They are going to need to get better this week when they play the Dolphins on Thursday night.
14. New York Jets (1-2; Last Ranking: 10)
The Jets might have had the worst day of any NFL team on Sunday. They turned the ball over eight times, including six Fitzpatrick interceptions. That was a tough loss, because their upcoming schedule is brutal: Seahawks at home, then at Pittsburgh, and at Arizona.
15. Atlanta Falcons (2-1; Last Ranking: 17)
When deciding who would make the playoffs this year, a lot of people picked the Falcons by default as the last wild card when Bridgewater got hurt. As we can all see, the Falcons have great weapons on offense. If Matty Ice can keep playing well, and the defense can hold people under 24 points, this team will win a lot.
16. Oakland Raiders (2-1; Last Ranking: 16)
Cross-country travel, coupled with an early start time usually means bad things for teams from the west coast. However, the Raiders lucked out by playing Tennessee. Their defense was able to compete for the first time this season, and now they are sitting pretty at 2-1.
17. New York Giants (2-1; Last Ranking: 11)
The Giants had a great chance to knock the Redskins out of the division race with a win on Sunday. However, Eli proved that he will always have a couple bad games a year and it will be tough for New York to win those games. This team is clearly way more talented than last year and that bodes well moving forward.
18. Indianapolis Colts (1-2; Last Ranking: 19)
The Colts are a weird team to figure out. With Andrew Luck at quarterback, this team can win any game they play in. However, outside of the quarterback position, this is one of the 10 worst rosters in the NFL. Until this roster gets overhauled with talent, they won’t be the perennial division champs like they were under The Sheriff.
19. Los Angeles Rams (2-1; Last Ranking: 20)
Guess who enters this week in first place of the NFC West? The Los Angeles Rams. Just like the 49ers, the Rams have proved their Week 1 performance to be a fluke. Since then they have defeated the Seahawks and the Buccaneers. Last week they more than tripled their offensive scoring output for the season.
20. Dallas Cowboys (2-1; Last Ranking: 21)
The Cowboys are stuck without Tony Romo, but luckily they found Dak Prescott to lead them. In case you can’t remember last year, the Cowboys could not win a game without Romo. With their rookie quarterback, rookie running back, and revitalized defense, the Cowboys looks like NFC East contenders already.
21. Washington Redskins (1-2; Last Ranking: 23)
Dead in the water last week, now the Redskins are right back in the NFC East mix. Their victory over the Giants in MetLife Stadium shows why this division will be unpredictable until the end. Division match ups are often slug-fests, and the undefeated team (Philly) is the only one to not play an NFC East game yet.
22. Detroit Lions (1-2; Last Ranking: 18)
After one week, the Lions looked like a potential playoff team. Since then they have simply looked like the Lions. The score yesterday is not indicative of the game that the Lions played. Green Bay pounced on them in the first half and barely threw the ball in the second half.
23. San Diego Chargers (1-2; Last Ranking: 22)
Many expected the Chargers to be largely noncompetitive this season, but they have played solid football through the first three weeks of the season. Even though they are 1-2, they should still feel good about the way they have played. Phillip Rivers is one of the most underrated NFL players of this generation.
24. Buffalo Bills (1-2; Last Ranking: 26)
A week after being declared one of the biggest disappointments in the NFL, the Bills came back and absolutely slaughtered the Cardinals at home. In all three phases of the game, the Bills dominated the game and never gave the Cardinals a chance. This week they travel to Foxborough.
25. Miami Dolphins (1-2; Last Ranking: 24)
A road win that goes into overtime is usually not a bad thing. However, when it is against a 3rd round draft pick, and (arguably) the worst team in the NFL, you would hope for a better result. In fact, had the Browns’ kicker Cody Parkey made his field goal attempt (or the other two he missed) as time expired, the Dolphins would have lost.
26. Tennessee Titans (1-2; Last Ranking: 25)
In Week 2, the Titans had a huge emotional victory against a surging Detroit team on the road. This past week, they struggled offensively against a Raiders defense that had been porous the two weeks before. Unlike other young teams like Jacksonville and Tampa Bay, Tennessee needs to add a lot more talent to their roster before being contenders.
27. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-3; Last Ranking: 27)
Even with a tall task going against a Ravens team that hadn’t lost yet, you were still hoping the Jaguars would avoid an 0-3 start. A trendy playoff pick in August, this team has dashed those hopes in September. The focus for this season should be about experimenting with different combinations of players, and developing their young guys.
28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-3; Last Ranking: 28)
While many were excited to see the Buccaneers take a big leap this season, it is obvious that they just are not there yet. It is no surprise to see why this team finished 2-14 a couple years ago. As these young guys get older and they round out the roster, this team will be competitive.
29. New Orleans Saints 0-3; (Last Ranking: 29)
There is a legitimate case to be made that the Saints are the worst team in the NFL. Yes they have Drew Brees and some really good pieces on offense, but to call this defense bad would be an understatement. They aren’t going to win many games giving up 200 yards rushing.
30. Chicago Bears (0-3; Last Ranking: 30)
This could be the year that the Bears get the high draft pick you need to draft a franchise quarterback. It is clear (and has been for years) that the people of Chicago don’t want Jay Cutler to be their quarterback. With the worst point differential in the NFL, it is not hard to see why.
31. San Francisco 49ers (1-2; Last Ranking: 31)
Remember Week 1 when they won by four touchdowns? Well now they are sitting at 1-2, and have been outscored by 48 points in the first three quarters of their last two games. Even though this team has a couple of elite level talents on their roster, this team is filled with holes throughout the roster.
32. Cleveland Browns (0-3; Last Ranking: 32)
The Browns are on their third quarterback, but they are still competitive and have Terrelle Pryor to play every position on offense.
Photo courtesy of the New York Daily News.