1. Pittsburgh Steelers, 3-0 (6) – No team has played better than the Steelers, and they’ve done it without their starting quarterback. Charlie Batch had 3 first half touchdowns against the formerly undefeated Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The defense has been spectacular.
2. Indianapolis Colts, 2-1 (5) – The Colts’ week 1 loss at Houston seems like a distant memory. Indy has won their last two games with ease. Peyton Manning is locked onto Austin Collie. The Indy defense has been much better, and won the game against Denver with their play in the red zone.
3. New Orleans Saints, 2-1 (1) – Garrett Hartley is no longer the hero he once was. A missed 29 yard field goal in overtime was the Saints’ downfall. The New Orleans’ rush defense and offense has been awful. The magic looks to be gone. But Drew Brees is still one of the best quarterbacks in the League.
4. Baltimore Ravens, 2-1 (3) – Baltimore had some trouble with an undermanned Browns team. The vaunted Raven defense got chewed up. Joe Flacco had a better day than last Sunday. I bet he’s happy to have Anquan Boldin. The star receiver hauled in 3 touchdown passes.
5. Green Bay Packers, 2-1 (2) – The Packers had 18 penalties for 152 yards in Chicago, which set a team record. Aaron Rodgers played well, and the defense did too. But special teams, penalties, and a late fumble decided the game.
6. New England Patriots, 2-1 (4) – Like Baltimore, New England had a tough time with a low quality opponent. The Patriots’ secondary – and defense as a whole – has to start playing better. Tom Brady to Randy Moss is a winning combination. The Pats might be in some shootouts this year.
7. New York Jets, 2-1 (9) – The New York Jets are starting to play at the level of their jawing, which is actually pretty amazing. The offense seems to have found its rhythm, especially Mark Sanchez. But the Jets’ defense – in particular, the secondary – has some question marks.
8. Atlanta Falcons, 2-1 (14) – Atlanta went into the Super Dome and beat the defending champs. Considering they’re divisional rivals, that was a big psychological boost for the Falcons. When Michael Turner is healthy, this is a much more dangerous team.
9. Chicago Bears, 3-0 (16) – The Bears are one of three undefeated teams in the NFL. They were statistically dominated by the Packers, but Devin Hester was huge. So were Green Bay’s 18 penalties. Jay Cutler is starting to play like a winner.
10. Cincinnati Bengals, 2-1 (7) – Cincy played well enough to get the win against the Panthers. Carson Palmer had another pedestrian effort – how long has it been since he’s played like a top notch quarterback? His struggles can’t be blamed on a lack of talent in the receiving corps. The Bengal defense has played great the past two weeks.
11. Philadelphia Eagles, 2-1 (17) – The quarterback controversy is no more. This is Michael Vick’s team. Vick has played as well or better than anyone else in the League this year. The offense has some young playmakers and the defense had its first good game at Jacksonville. For now, this is the best team in the NFC East.
12. Tennessee Titans, 2-1 (12) – The Titans earned a nice road victory against the New York Giants. Chris Johnson is getting a lot of carries. Can he make it through the entire season? Vince Young is a winner. Even with some off season turnover, the defense is still playing well.
13. Minnesota Vikings, 1-2 (13) – Finally, the Vikings got into the win column. Brett Favre was decent, but Adrian Peterson stole the show. That guy is one of the most powerful running backs to ever play. The Minnesota defense is underrated – they haven’t given up more than 14 points in a game.
14. Kansas City Chiefs, 3-0 (23) – Who would’ve predicted that the Kansas City Chiefs would start the season 3-0? The Chief defense gave up a garbage touchdown to the Niners on the last play of the game, but that was it. Matt Cassel looks comfortable, and Dexter McCluster is dynamite. The Chiefs are two games up in the AFC West.
15. Dallas Cowboys, 1-2 (22) – The Cowboys finally showed up for a game. Last week’s ‘players only meeting’ must’ve worked. Dallas was clearly the better Texas team. Just like Minnesota, Dallas has enough talent to have a legitimate shot at coming out of the NFC.
16. Houston Texans, 2-1 (8) – The Texans were brought back to Earth by their in-state enemies, the Cowboys. Dallas dominated the game and the final score. Luckily for the Texans, they get to play at Oakland this Sunday. Houston is currently a 3 point favorite.
17. San Diego Chargers, 1-2 (10) – The Chargers did the little things all wrong at Seattle. Costly turnovers and two kick return touchdowns decided the game. The offense has gotten yards, so it’s hard to point to Vincent Jackson’s absence as the reason for the Chargers’ struggles. Injuries on the defense and offensive line don’t help.
18. Miami Dolphins, 2-1 (11) – Miami lost a key AFC East game to the Jets at home. It’s still early in the season, but that might end up being a big game. Chad Henne had a successful night against a quality defense. Ricky Williams needs to stop fumbling. The defense had a tough night, but they’ll be ok.
19. Seattle Seahawks, 2-1 (24) – Pete Carroll got another big home win, this time against the powerful Chargers. The Seahawk defense has played well. Seattle always seems to be a tough place to play, but time will tell if this team can win on the road.
20. New York Giants, 1-2 (15) – Has Tom Coughlin lost control of his team? Too many personal fouls and an overrated defense are hurting this team. If the G-men don’t get it together, Coughlin might be on his way out. Bill Cowher rumors are starting to float.
21. Denver Broncos, 1-2 (20) – The Broncos moved the ball, but once they got into the red zone things fell apart. Kyle Orton had a lot of yards, but not enough points. If Knowshon Moreno was healthy, maybe the game would’ve been different. The defense didn’t have an answer for Austin Collie.
22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2-1 (25) – The Bucs were manhandled by a superior Steeler squad, which came as no surprise. Tampa Bay is clearly a better football team this year, but they’re still a year or two away from becoming a playoff contender.
23. Arizona Cardinals, 2-1 (26) – The Cards snuck out a close win against the Raiders, thanks to Sebastian Janikowski’s missed 32 yard chip shot. Even though they won, Arizona looks nothing like a playoff team. Maybe they can talk Kurt Warner into coming out of retirement.
24. Washington Redskins, 1-2 (19) – Ouch. The Redskins got kicked by the Rams. Mike Shanahan is discovering how difficult it is to win in Washington. Having Donovan McNabb certainly helps, but the ‘Skins can’t run the ball and their defense is terrible. McNabb goes back to Philly this Sunday for a showdown with Michael Vick.
25. San Francisco 49ers, 0-3 (18) – After an 0-3 start, the Niners fired offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye. But the defense gave up 31 points to the Chiefs, so perhaps problems run deeper than the o-coordinator. Lucky for San Fran, they play in the NFC West.
26. Jacksonville Jaguars, 1-2 (21) – Jacksonville got smoked by the Eagles at home. Jack Del Rio has to be on the hot seat, and if the Jags don’t start playing better he probably won’t make it through the season. David Garrard might be looking for a new home, too.
27. Oakland Raiders, 1-2 (27) – Leave it to the Raiders. They had the game won. Down a point, they drove down the field to the 15 yard line so the NFL’s highest paid kicker could win the game. And he blew it. Tom Cable shouldn’t be blamed for the loss, but he probably will be.
28. St. Louis Rams, 1-2 (32) – Sam Bradford and the Rams earned a nice victory over Washington, and they’re 2-1 ats. Stephen Jackson left the game in the second quarter with a groin injury, and the Rams still managed to win easily. Jackson appears to be ok, and should play against the Seahawks. Can the Rams go to 2-2? Very possibly.
29. Carolina Panthers, 0-3 (29) – Jimmy Clausen had his first start, which didn’t help. What ever happened to the Panther’s running game? The defense isn’t too bad, but the offense is. John Fox’s job security might not be that secure.
30. Cleveland Browns, 0-3 (30) – Hats off to the Cleveland Browns. Even though they lost at Baltimore, they played much better. Once they get healthy, don’t be surprised to see the Browns beat someone they shouldn’t.
31. Detroit Lions, 0-3 (28) – The Lions were never really in the game at Minnesota. Adrian Peterson might be the best running back in the League, but Detroit’s rush defense has to start playing better. Getting Matthew Stafford back will help the offense, but the Lions look to be a ways off from being a good football team.
32. Buffalo Bills, 0-3 (31) – After the Rams win over Washington, the Bills now own the bottom spot in our NFL Power Rankings. Buffalo gave New England a game effort, and the offense somehow put up 30 points. Ryan Fitzpatrick is clearly the starting quarterback in Buffalo after Trent Edwards was released. C.J. Spiller is reason for hope.
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