The main focus this week was on the Seattle Seahawks beating the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl rematch, but the best team right now in the NFL looks like the Cincinnati Bengals, topping the power rankings, with the San Diego Chargers not too far behind. At the bottom? It’s a toss up between the Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
1. Cincinnati Bengals (3-0): Andy Dalton isn’t making mistakes, while the options he has in A.J. Green, Gio Bernard and Mohamed Sanu, along with one of the best defenses in the league, make the Bengals close to unstoppable at this point.
2. San Diego Chargers (2-1): If it wasn’t for one bad snap in the opening loss to the Cardinals, the Chargers would have been undefeated. Week 3 showed they can do it on the road as well, beating a tough Buffalo team 22-10 as Philip Rivers continues to show who is the best quarterback from the 2004 class.
3. Seattle Seahawks (2-1): The defense looked great for almost the entire game until Peyton Manning finally found a way to tear it apart in the fourth quarter. Russell Wilson made sure it didn’t matter, leading his team to a 26-20 overtime win.
4. Denver Broncos (2-1): Few teams are able to hang on with the Seahawks in Seattle. Manning made some costly mistakes but also had some impressive drives in a 20-26 loss.
5. Philadelphia Eagles (3-0): A 37-34 win over the Washington Redskins means the Eagles have won three consecutive games, coming back from at least 10 points down at some stage in each of them.
6. Arizona Cardinals (3-0): Drew Stanton didn’t make any mistakes and looked a lot better than he did against the Giants, leading the Cardinals to a 23-14 win over the San Francisco 49ers with some great defense and special teams play.
7. Chicago Bears (2-1): Half the defense is injured, the offensive line is patched up and the two best receivers aren’t 100%. But Jay Cutler looks different, the defense keeps making big plays (Kyle Fuller and Willie Young), leading to another tough road win, this time 27-19 over the New York Jets.
8. Baltimore Ravens (2-1): It’s hard to talk about the Ravens without mentioning Ray Rice, but for now his absence isn’t hurting the team, looking solid on both ends of the field although beating the Browns 26-24 wasn’t very easy.
9. Carolina Panthers (2-1): Losing 37-19 to the Steelers happened mostly because Cam Netwon is playing injured. If he isn’t healthy or given rest to heal up, the slide down the rankings will be much greater next time.
10. San Francisco 49ers (1-2): Colin Kaepernick is getting a lot of opportunities to throw the ball, but the 49ers make too many foolish mistakes and have stopped going to the sure hands of Frank Gore, resulting in a 14-23 loss to the Cardinals.
11. Dallas Cowboys (2-1): A soft schedule has helped them bounce back from that awful opening night performance, pulling off a massive comeback in a 34-31 win over the St. Louis Rams.
12. Buffalo Bills (2-1): Without the running game breaking loose the Bills aren’t very special, showcased in a 10-22 loss against the Chargers, with EJ Manuel unable to pick up the slac.
13. New England Patriots (2-1): If at home the Patriots look so sluggish and disjointed against the Oakland Raiders, winning 16-9, something bad is going over the Brady-Belichick connection.
14. Atlanta Falcons (2-1): It’s hard to get an indication for anything against the poor Buccaneers, but a 56-14 win in the division, once again blasting away at home, sure is impressive.
15. New Orleans Saints (1-2): After losing by a combined five points in the first two games, the Saints finally got an opponent that couldn’t fight back, beating the Vikings 20-9.
16. Indianapolis Colts (1-2): Maybe this is a change that’s here to stay; Andrew Luck playing without restraints, throwing four touchdown passes. However, a 44-17 win doesn’t sound so impressive when it’s the Jaguars you’re beating.
17. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-1): Injury crisis on defense, but after eight quarters without a touchdown, the Steelers finally started getting things clicking on offense, beating the Carolina Panthers 37-19.
18. Kansas City Chiefs (1-2): No Jamaal Charles, but a very good game for Alex Smith and Knile Davis in a 34-15 win over the Miami Dolphins, getting a terrific performance from a pass rush that struggled over the first couple of games.
19. New York Giants (1-2): In a 30-17 win over the Houston Texans, the bad luck stopped. Fewer drops, just one turnover and a breakout game for Rashard Jennings, as the offensive line looked the best it has been in a very long time.
20. Houston Texans (2-1): With Ryan Fitzpatrick starting to make his infamous mistakes, the 17-30 loss to the Giants could be the beginning of another collapse after a promising start.
21. Detroit Lions (2-1): It’s hard to say where the Lions are going this season, but at home they’re likely to be very difficult to beat, making life very difficult for the Packers in 19-7 win, mostly thanks to their defense.
22. Green Bay Packers (1-2): A second consecutive 1-2 start for the Packers who have serious issues in the offensive line, looking helpless against the pass rush as they lost 19-7 to the Detroit Lions.
23. New York Jets (1-2): The running game has its good and bad days, but the defense is solid, especially against the runs. The biggest problem? Geno Smith keeps throwing interceptions, a main problem in the 19-27 loss to the Chicago Bears.
24. Miami Dolphins (1-2): Maybe it’s just the Patriots that made the Dolphins looked good, crashing and burning at home in a 15-34 loss to the Chiefs.
25. Cleveland Browns (1-2): So far it’s been a roller-coaster ride for the Browns, winning their game by a field goal and losing the other two by a combined five points. Even Brian Hoyer suddenly looks like someone who can’t make a mistake, completing 19-of-25 passes in the loss.
26. St. Louis Rams (1-2): For a moment there, leading 21-0 over the Dallas Cowboys, it looked like the Rams were forgetting they’re playing with a third-string quarterback. But reality hit them in the face and they ended up losing by three points.
27. Washington Redskins (1-2): Few teams can keep up with the offense the Redskins put up in the 34-37 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Things will probably be better with Kirk Cousins at quarterback.
28. Tennessee Titans (1-2): Trying to make Jake Locker into a consistent, relatively mistake-free quarterback is turning out to be a difficult job as the Titans lose 33-7 to Cincinnati.
29. Minnesota Vikings (1-2): Adrian Peterson still doesn’t understand he isn’t likely to play another game for the Vikings, who looked close to pathetic in every way during a 20-9 loss to the Saints.
30. Oakland Raiders (0-3): Bad, but a visit to Foxboro didn’t go as bad as it might have been, losing “only” 16-9.
31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-3): So far the Lovie Smith era hasn’t started well, losing 56-14 at Atlanta and ranking last in the NFL in passing yards with just 163.3 per game.
32. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-3): Just getting worse for the Jags after a promising opening week, losing 17-44 to the Colts and maybe throwing Blake Bortles in there a bit too soon.