Week 3 has wrapped up under much criticism and controversy. Nonetheless time stops for no team in the NFL and everyone must move on and look to Week 4. Here is how I stack up the league's most powerful teams.
32. Cleveland Browns (0-3)
Cleveland has yet to make a mark in the win column. However with legendary Brown running back Jim Brown fully on board and Trent Richardson appearing more legit with each week, a win should be around the corner.
31. New Orleans Saints (0-3)
Not quite Katrina, but this is a disaster and a testament to what coaching truly brings to a team. Drew Brees cannot play defense, therefore this team has no chance until further notice or more overturned decisions.
30. Indianapolis Colts (1-2)
The Colts will actually "Suck for Luck" this season. Completely blown up from anything resembling the Indy team that made 11 straight playoffs, this is going to be the beginning of a true rebuilding process for the horseshoe.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-2)
Jacksonville has had its fair share of woes early, but with an narrow victory over the Colts they just might be turning for the better. Unfortunately with a young nucleus of offensive players and next to no fan support, it's hard to imagine the Jags' finishing above .500.
28. Minnesota Vikings (2-1)
Despite a shocking win over San Francisco, having Adrian Peterson on the mend and Christian Ponder handling another tour of duty at the quarterback position impressively, the Vikes' are still in the middle of a tough NFC North battle. Minnesota will have to capture lightning in a bottle, but still might not be enough with one of the weakest defenses in football. Jared Allen cannot do it all.
27. St. Louis Rams (1-2)
Perhaps one of the most intriguing teams heading into the season, the Rams picked up an unprecedented six players in the top 96 selections according to ESPN. Sam Bradford has something to prove, without Brandon Lloyd wide receiver Danny Amendola has stepped up tremendously (25rec, 296yds, 1TD). Stephen Jackson must continue to carry a bear's share of the load. Health continues to be the biggest question on this team.
26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-2)
New Head Coach Greg Shiano is taking the NFL by storm, and it isn't a good storm. In consecutive losses, Schiano has instructed his defensive players to drive into the offense as they take a victory formation. This has sparked great debate about the unwritten rules of pro football when it appears that the team has a victory versus an "anything can happen on a given down" philosophy that Head Coach Schiano is bringing to the league. It hasn't worked yet for the Bucs' (1-2), but stay tuned as there is something actually worth watching in Tampa.
25. Miami Dolphins (1-2)
Reggie Bush being an every down running back may be coming back to bite the Dolphins. This team has the potential to be a monumental disaster or one of the most versatile, electrifying offenses of 2012. The 3rd ranked rush defense from last season returns and the 25th ranked pass defense appears to be keeping up to par. Miami appears to be another victim of the under-.500-itis. And somebody should tell Bush to keep his mouth shut and focus on leading the league in rushing (302yds-5th).
24. Buffalo Bills (2-1)
The Bills used $100mil ($50mil guaranteed) to alter the run D that plagued the team all season, and besides giving up 48pts to the Jets in Week 1, it appears to be working out for Buffalo ( held Kansas City to 17pts and Cleveland to 14pts ) in the past two weeks. However, given this teams history, it'd be best to wait until around the bye.
23. Seattle Seahawks (2-1)
Skittles, Pete Carroll, the 12th man, and replacement refs have given this team a 2-1 record. A young, physical team with great defense and a solid run game, a recipe for success. Unfortunately, a fluke and blatant miscall by the replacement refs gave Seattle a win they didn't deserve. So to keep things fair they will remain in the spot they would have been in had they lost. The Seahawks do have the biggest upside of the bottom of the rankings, but not enough fire power in the passing game to matter at this point.
22. Washington Redskins (1-2)
RGIII has showed some dents in the armor and a dose of NFL reality. It would be in the Redskins best interest to nab as many wins before the bye as possible, afterwards they face the Cowboys (2x), Eagles (2x), Giants and Ravens. Pierre Garcon, and Brandon Merriweather both appear to be on the mend.
21. Oakland Raiders (1-2)
Raiders seem to be carrying on the same tradition during A.D. as was tradition during the Davis era. Physical defense and high powered offense are the identity of this Raiders team. After a couple lopsided losses, the Raiders responded against the Steelers in a narrow victory. However, it was the fashion in which they succumbed a 10-pt deficit to defeat a downtrodden Steelers team.
20. San Diego Chargers (2-1)
The Chargers are starting out as usual (2-1). Much like the Bills, this may have to wait until the bye.
19. Carolina Panthers (1-2)
Carolina continues to find ways to lose despite Cam Newton's heroics, and timidity.
18. Tennessee Titans (1-2)
Chris Johnson continues to be ineffective. Jake Locker looks impressive and Tennessee has a favorable schedule in a favorable conference. Keep a lookout for the Locker-Kendall Wright connection.
17. Detroit Lions (1-2)
Discipline issues and injuries continue to plague an otherwise talented team. Nonetheless as long as you have someone who can throw, Megatron will be there to catch it.
16. Denver Broncos (1-2)
Peyton Manning is shaking off obvious rust, but the Broncos appear to be in prime position to control the AFC West. A favorable schedule to end the season and the potential of Peyton in a weak conference gives the Broncos an added advantage.
15. Kansas City Chiefs (1-2)
The story is still being written on the Chiefs, but bolstering the leagues best rushing attack (191.7ypg), and a physical secondary give the Chiefs a good chance in a shaky conference. Matt Cassell also appears to be earning his money.
14. Chicago Bears (2-1)
The Bears have a host of issues to address. But if they can continue to win while they figure them out, things could click at the right time when it matters most. A litany of weapons and a defense in its prime make Chicago an attractive team, when things go right and a walking tabloid when things don't.
13. New York Jets (2-1)
The Jets are still a joke. At least they are winning though. Wake me up when the Tebow-shadow fades.
12. Philadelphia Eagles (2-1)
Until the Eagles find protection for Vick, this team will continue to be a NFL smut film.
11. Arizona Cardinals (3-0)
The Cardinals have three very sound victories over three very good opponents. A physical defense plus Larry Fitzgerald seem to be a working combination. Kevin Kolb is fighting for his quarterback career in wake of the injury to starting quarterback John Skelton. Keep an eye out for Ryan Williams.
10. Dallas Cowboys (2-1)
The Cowboys seem to be getting it. Tony Romo has started the season hot and it appears he has all of his receivers at full strength. As usual it appears that the only thing that can stop this team is themselves. And the replacement refs, of course.
9. Cincinnati Bengals (2-1)
The Bengals have earned the respect of the NFL. Young and athletic and continues to win. Cincinnati earns the respect of this Power Ranking, but their defense does not.
8. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-2)
Pittsburgh gets the "Team That Gets The Benefit Of The Doubt But Better Get Their Act Together Award" for this Power Ranking. Losses to the Broncos and the Raiders have put the Steelers in jeopardy of falling deeper within the AFC North.
7. Green Bay Packers (1-2)
The Green Bay Packers were robbed of a victory against the Seattle Seahawks on Monday Night Football. That is understood. However, the Packers looked terrible and the inability to protect Aaron Rodgers exposed a critical flaw in the otherwise unstoppable offense. The league is on notice.. Nonetheless, with a Monday Night win the Packers would be sitting among the top of the NFC North with Chicago and Minnesota. Unfortunately, now they have the task of fending off a desperate, winless New Orleans Saints team and head into Houston to face the Texans on Sunday Night Football.
6. New York Giants (2-1)
The Giants are winning, that's all that matters at this point in the season for the team with the bulls-eye on its back. The injury list looks more like the roster, but somehow this New York team finds a way. And for the record, Eli is elite.
5. Atlanta Falcons (3-0)
The Falcons are once again making believers out of the NFL. But memories of last years 24-2 loss to the Giants will still linger.
4. New England Patriots (1-2)
The Patriots have let Wes Welker out of the proverbial 'dog-house', which led to an 8 receptions, 142yd performance. Next up: Rob Gronkowski (2 receptions, 20yds). Bill Belichick could see some repercussions for the "Arm-Gate" incident following the Patriots loss to the Baltimore Ravens.
3. Baltimore Ravens (2-1)
The world was very close to watching the Harbaugh Bowl last year. However, ineptitude in special teams plagued the Ravens in the AFC Championship Game, sending the Patriots to the Super Bowl. As the window for one of the most dominant defenses in NFL History is closing, the offense seems to be picking up its prime. If Joe Flacco plays up to the level that his bravado and at times performance states that he is, than this team should have no problem making it back to the AFC Championship Game. Ray Rice is looking like the most complete back in football, fresh off a new contract.
The replacement ref God's have played in Baltimore's favor as well.
2. Houston Texans (3-0)
The Houston Texans are for real, boasting one of the league's top 5 defenses and 5th best rushing attack. It doesn't seem as if there are many flaws to point out about this team. Especially in the pitiful AFC South, the Texans are already two games ahead of the pack and it's only Week 4.
1. San Francisco 49'ers (2-1)
As long as the replacement refs don't make it to the playoffs and Kyle Williams can have a short memory, the Niners' are a lock for bare minimum a NFC title appearance. The passing attack continues to be a work in progress, but Alex Smith looks more and more for real as the weeks go by. And that is a serious issue for the rest of the NFC and NFL.
Tags: Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49'ers, Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins