After an all-time great Witching Hour (where wins become losses and losses become wins), the NFL landscape suddenly looks a little topsy-turvy after Week 2. Luckily, we’re here to help you sort through the mess. These are the 100% accurate Week 3 NFL Power Rankings.
1. Buffalo Bills, 2-0 (no change from last week)
The best team in football, full stop. For evidence, just watch highlights of their 41-7 annihilation of the Tennessee Titans last night. The Bills feel more like Alabama trouncing FCS teams in non-conference games than they do an NFL team playing against their supposed peers. On a per-play basis, the Bills are the best defense in the league and second-best offense. Josh Allen is playing as well as any quarterback ever has, accounting for seven touchdowns over his last six quarters of play; Stefon Diggs is Him. Not only do they top the Week 3 NFL Power rankings, they’ll probably top the rest of them too.
2. Kansas City Chiefs, 2-0 (no change)
Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce and Andy Reid could be surrounded by preschoolers and still put up points. Even if the Chiefs were largely outplayed in their ballyhooed Thursday Night Football showdown with the Chargers, they still notched a 27-24 win because of course they did. At this point, the Chiefs core has been so successful for so long that they’ve earned the kind of positive institutional inertia that the Patriots used to have—they’ll indefinitely be at the top until somebody can forcibly remove them.
3. Philadelphia Eagles, 2-0 (+3)
Entering the season, the question in Philadelphia was whether Jalen Hurts was good enough to fully capitalize on the Super Bowl quality roster around him. He is. On Monday Night Football against the Vikings, Hurts was the best passer and the best runner on the field, throwing for 333 yards and a touchdown in the air and rushing for a pair of tuddies. Behind a dominant offensive line, Hurts gives the Eagles a necessary duality, fully taking advantage of the space that Jason Kelce and company clear up front.
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2-0 (-1)
Whereas Tampa’s defense is once again a pack of offense-devouring wildebeests, Tom Brady and their offense are riding the struggle bus. Despite starting 2-0, the Buccaneers have mustered a scant two touchdowns. Worse, there doesn’t seem to be an obvious solution to their woes as their entire receiving corps is waylaid by either injuries or bad behavior, the whole offensive line is composed of random guys and Tom Brady has decided that he no longer does Wednesdays. While Brady and the rest of the offense look for their groove, the defense has more than picked up the slack, looking like potentially the best unit in the NFL.
5. Miami Dolphins, 2-0 (+6)
TuAnon warned you. Trailing the Baltimore Ravens 14-35 heading into the fourth quarter, the Dolphins pulled off the biggest comeback since 2010, storming back to win 42-38. By doing so, Tua Tagovailoa and the Dolphins temporarily quieted the cacophony of haters. Tagovailoa’s alleged noodle arm ripped off four 20+ yard completions, including 48 yard and 60 yard heaves to Tyreek Hill in the fourth quarter. Similarly, Mike McDaniel proved that he’s not just some smelly nerd—he’s one of the brightest offensive minds in the NFL, creating the infrastructure for Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill to become the first pair of teammates to each have 170+ yards, 11 catches and two touchdowns in one game.
6. Green Bay Packers, 1-1 (+2)
Like last year, the Packers rebounded from a listless Week 1 showing to flatten a divisional rival in Week 2. On Sunday Night Football, Aaron Rodgers and the rest of the offense dispelled any notion that they needed Davante’ Adams to succeed, pouring 24 points on the Chicago Bears by halftime and coasting to a 27-10 victory. Crucially, Aaron Rodgers once again looked like Aaron Rodgers, rebounding from last week’s disaster-class by completing 19 of 25 passes for 234 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Running back Aaron Jones was even more dominant and contributed 170 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns of his own.
7. Baltimore Ravens, 1-1 (-3)
At his best, Lamar Jackson is good enough to make almost everything else irrelevant. Against the Dolphins, he was as incandescent as ever, throwing for 318 yards and three touchdowns and chipping in another 119 yards (and a touchdown) on the ground. And yet the Ravens still squandered Jackson’s performance, losing 38-42 to the Dolphins after barfing away a 35-14 fourth quarter lead. But while Jackson steers a newly dangerous downfield passing attack, Baltimore’s secondary allows for opponents to quickly strike back. Even though Baltimore has an abundance of talented safeties and cornerbacks, their inexperience makes them vulnerable against explosive offenses like Miami.
8. San Francisco 49ers, 1-1 (+2)
At what point does calamity become kismet? Midway through the first quarter of the 9ers’ 27-7 beatdown of the Seattle Seahawks, Trey Lance—their should-be quarterback of the future—suffered a season-ending broken ankle, dashing any hopes of a breakout sophomore campaign. In Lance’s stead, former long-time starter Jimmy Garropalo stepped in and once again proved that he can hold his own as long as he’s surrounded by superstars like Deebo Samuel, Nick Bosa and Fred Warner. If Lance represented a gamble for greatness, Garropalo guarantees a level of good-enough-ness. Still, Garropalo is probably still better than Lance at this point in their respective careers—after all, Garropalo came within a fourth quarter collapse of making his second Super Bowl in the last three years last season. With Garoppolo offering a basic level of competency at the helm, the 9ers are a more reliable, if less intriguing team.
9. Los Angeles Rams, 1-1 (-1)
In a dominating 21-3 first half, the Rams demonstrated why they’re the reigning Super Bowl champs; in the second half that saw the Falcons outscore them 10-24, the Rams demonstrated why they’re unlikely to repeat. The end result: an uninspired 31-27 home win against one of the NFL’s bottomfeeders.
10. Los Angeles Chargers, 1-1 (-5)
There are two wolves inside you—one is Justin Herbert, the all-galaxy quarterback who looks ready to contend for Super Bowls; the other is years of being the Chargers, the NFL’s ultimate bunglers. With Herbert on a rookie deal and a loaded roster surrounding him, the Chargers thoroughly outplayed the Chiefs on Thursday Night Football, but still lost because of untimely turnovers.
11. Minnesota Vikings, 1-1 (-4)
The coronation of Kevin O’Connell as an offensive super-genius was probably a bit premature. Whereas the Vikings looked unstoppable against the Packers, they were quite easily stopped by the Eagles as they lost 7-24.
12. Denver Broncos, 1-1 (+2)
If head coach Nathaniel Hackett can count backwards from 10 without giving himself an aneurysm, it would be cause for a parade. Despite their obvious talent, the Broncos scraped by the lowly Texans 16-9 because of their sloppiness and carelessness. The offense needed the fans to count down the play clock because they took so many delay of game penalties; Hackett somehow burned through all three timeouts in the second half before the midpoint of the fourth quarter. If the Broncos can’t pull it together, their playoff chances grow slimmer by the day.
13. Arizona Cardinals, 1-1 (+6)
There’s an old viral video of a kid running around an above-ground swimming pool—the mom asks “what are you holding?” and the kid responds with a massive smile across his face “A knife!” as the adults understandably panic. This is what every Cardinals game is like. Despite being smaller and slighter than just about every other NFL player, Kyler Murray is a positive chaos agent, scooting and scampering around. Nothing Murray does—like scrambling for over 20 seconds on a two-point conversion—seems like it should work until it does. The Cardinals’ 29-23 overtime win against the Raiders was proof of concept.
14. New York Giants, 2-0 (+8)
Aided by a fairly plush schedule, the Giants have leaned on some late game heroics to get off to their first 2-0 start since 2016. After Saquon Barkley played the hero in Week 1, kicker Graham Gano sealed a 19-16 win over the Carolina Panthers in Week 2. Outside of Barkley, the Giants lack true star power; instead, their early success has stemmed from their depth, which has most clearly manifested itself in their attacking, stifling defense.
15. Cincinnati Bengals, 0-2 (-6)
Having started the season 0-2, the Bengals have more than just a Super Bowl hangover—they have a Super Bowl waking up the next morning on somebody’s porch without your contact lenses or phone or wallet. Despite revamping their offensive line over the offseason, the Bengals still can’t protect Joe Burrow; in Cincinnati’s 17-20 upset against Dallas, Burrow was sacked six times.
16. Detroit Lions, 1-1 (+9)
At the risk of jinxing the NFL’s most jinxable team, the Lions might be good. Certainly, they’re not bad. Even if Hard Knocks is the NFL’s most convincing propaganda machine, the as-seen-on-TV good vibes emanating from Detroit seem to be the real deal. Whether you have three toes or one ass cheek, the Lions are coming for you. Up front, their offensive line clears hectares of space in the run game—the Lions average a league-leading 3.2 yards before contact on rushing attempts. The real story, though, has been the breakout of Amon-ra St. Brown, who has transformed from a fourth-round afterthought into a bona fide number one receiver over his last eight games dating back to last year. During Detroit’s 36-27 win over Washington, St. Brown fueled the winning effort with 184 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns for the Lions.
17. New Orleans Saints, 1-1 (-5)
Jameis Winston’s back is borked and Marshon Lattimore got his shit packed by Mike Evans. At least the defense is great.
18. Dallas Cowboys, 1-1 (+9)
Is Cooper Rush the next Tom Brady??? In a rebound effort from an abysmal Week 1 loss to the Buccaneers, Rush led Dallas to a potentially season-saving 20-17 victory against the Cincinnati Bengals. Although Rush lacks Dak Prescott’s arm strength or pre-snap mastery or track record of success, he’s shown that he has the moxy and wherewithal to ably pilot the offense. In the first start of his NFL career, Rush threw for 235 yards and a touchdown while not turning the ball over. His connection with Noah Brown (five catches, 91 yards, one touchdown) is worth watching, considering Dallas’ paucity of healthy wide receivers.
19. Washington Commanders, 1-1 (no change)
Through two games, the Commies’ passing game looks downright incendiary. Even in their 26-37 loss to the Lions on Sunday, Carson Wentz threw for 337 yards and three touchdowns against just one interception. Through two games, Wentz is second league-wide in passing yards (650) and tied for first in touchdown passes (seven).
20. Oakland Raiders, 0-2 (-4)
There’s no shame in losing to the Chargers and the Cardinals. But there is some shame in letting Kyler Murray flambé your defense to erase a 16 point fourth quarter deficit and then losing on a 59 yard fumble return touchdown in overtime. After their 23-29 loss to Arizona, the 0-2 Raiders are already a probably insurmountable two games behind the Chiefs in the AFC West.
21. New England Patriots, 1-1 (no change)
Going into the season, the haters and naysayers crowed that an offense does, in fact, need an offensive coordinator. Judging (or is it Patricia-ing)from the Patriots’ early returns, they were right.
22. Pittsburgh Steelers, 1-1 (-4)
If not for all the life-sustaining schadenfreude of knowing that the Steelers and Pats are both finally bad, watching these two legendarily successful teams slap fight would’ve been kind of grim. Think: a Triller boxing match between an nth-generation Kennedy and Carnegie. Although the Steelers only lost by three points, the 17-14 scoreline misrepresents how close the game really was. Over the course of their nine drives, the Steelers only earned an average of 4.2 points per play and mounted just one drive over 50 yards. On the brightside, if Mitch Trubisky keeps playing like this, it’s only a matter of time until first-round pick Kenny Pickett takes over as Pittsburgh’s starting quarterback.
23. Jacksonville Jaguars, 1-1 (+9)
Last year, the Jaguars were a professional football team purely in the sense that they were a collection of individuals who happened to be paid to play football. But now, having shed the kicker kicking and steakhouse philandering that sunk them in 2021, the Jaguars look respectable. On Sunday, they definitely proved that respectability by demolishing the Colts 24-0. The whole team ate–budding superstar quarterback Trevor Lawrence had his best game as a pro, going 25-30 for 235 yards and two touchdowns; Christian Kirk demonstrated why he was such a sought-after free agent signing by catching both of Lawrence touchdown passes; the front seven combined for five sacks and 11 quarterback hits while the secondary picked off Matt Ryan three times with 11 passes defensed for good measure.
24. New York Jets, 1-1 (+3)
For one glorious weekend, the Jets did to another team what other teams usually do to them. Trailing the Browns by 13 points with two minutes left in the game, the Jets had a 0.1% chance to win according to ESPN Analytics. They won. On back-to-back desperate touchdown drives, old fart quarterback Joe Flacco and rookie star receiver Garrett Wilson shifted into goblin mode to poach a 31-30 win from Cleveland. This will never happen again—at least, not for the Jets.
25. Indianapolis Colts, 0-1-1 (-11)
Gross. By virtue of playing in the AFC South, the Colts have the NFL’s easiest path to the playoffs, but they’re trying their best to squander it. Against the Jaguars, the Colts were shutout 24-0. The offensive line was overwhelmed by the Jags’ offensive line and the Michael Pittman-less receiver crew couldn’t create any meaningful separation. Worst of all, quarterback Matt Ryan looks irreparably washed.
26. Tennessee Titans, 0-2 (no change)
The Titans have sampled a pairing of different kinds of losses to start the year. In Week 1, they lost a heartbreaker to the Giants. In Week 2, they got their teeth kicked in by the Bills. Even with a healthy Derrick Henry back in the fold, the Titans will struggle to make the postseason, let alone repeat as the AFC’s top seed like they were last year.
27. Seattle Seahawks, 1-1 (-5)
Turns out it’s a lot harder to win when the other team doesn’t self-sabotage so badly they basically let you win. After benefitting from the Denver Broncos putting themselves in headlock and throwing themselves down a flight of stairs in Week 1, the Seahawks were demolished 27-7 by the San Francisco 49ers, which is a truer representation of their talent level.
28. Atlanta Falcons, 0-2 (+3)
Trailing the Rams 28-3 in the third quarter, the Falcons furiously rallied before they ultimately lost 27-31. Curiously, though, generationally gifted tight end Kyle Pitts was barely included in the offensive game plan, catching just two passes for 19 yards for the second straight week. Nevertheless, the Falcons offense has looked funky and explosive, averaging 26.5 points through two games, but it’s hard not to feel like they’re leaving meat on the bone by not getting their best player more involved.
29. Carolina Panthers, 0-2 (+1)
30. Houston Texans, 0-1-1 (-1)
Shockingly, trading for Baker Mayfield wasn’t the salve that the Panthers were hoping for. There’s still a gigantic gulf between being better than Sam Darnold and actually being good. Still, it’s probably too early to totally write off the Panthers—both of their losses came on last-second field goals and the team still has stars such as Christian McCaffrey, DJ Moore, Jeremy Chinn and Brian Burns.
31. Chicago Bears, 1-1 (-5)
Even when there’s not a monsoon, the Bears look like they’re playing in a monsoon. Against the Packers, the Bears’ total reluctance—and Justin Fields’ total inability— to throw the ball squandered a monstrous rushing attack that gained 180 yards on 6.7 yards per carry.
32. Cleveland Browns, 1-1 (-9)
They let the Jets—the Jets—ruin Brownie the Elf’s deb ball. Relegate them to the CFL.