NFL Power Rankings Heading into Week 3 of 2017
1. Atlanta Falcons - The Falcons are out to prove that they can overcome what happened in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl, and they have one of the most complete teams in football working toward that goal. Everyone knows about their offensive stars, but with significant size and athleticism at every position on defense, the Falcons are the NFL's number one team after two weeks of play. Atlanta edged out Chicago on the road in week 1, but their week 2 victory in the NFC Championship rematch against the Packers, has them at the top of this week's power rankings.
2. Kansas City Chiefs - Alex Smith is finally playing like a quarterback who was worthy of the number one overall selection. Now Kansas City's play makers are producing at a high level because of his play. Kareem Hunt has given Kansas City fans the luxury of not having to miss Jamaal Charles. On defense, the Chiefs feature one of the best array of edge rushers in the game right now, led by Justin Houston. Benny Logan has filled in admirably after the departure of Dontari Poe in the off season. Wins on the road against the Patriots and at home against the Eagles, have the Chiefs near the top of this week's power rankings.
3. New England Patriots - New England bounced back nicely from their week 1 loss to Kansas City, while showing that their defense is still a force to be reckoned with. Disruption in the secondary along with an improved pass rush had the Patriots pressuring Drew Brees often on Sunday. A sack and seven quarterback hits got the Patriots back on track defensively. Big catches by Brandin Cooks and Phillip Dorsett on Sunday, helped to offset the injury losses of Edelman and Amendola. The Patriots still have some work to do defensively, but after splitting their first two games, they should stay on track against the Texans this Sunday.
4. Pittsburgh Steelers - The offensive stars in Pittsburgh are what come to mind when thinking about this team. Early on, it has been the defense and great play from the outside linebackers that has Pittsburgh out to a 2-0 start to the season. Seven sacks in week 1 against the Browns, two more in week 2 with numerous QB hits has the Steelers defense confident heading into their week 3 match up at the Bears. A slow start from Le'Veon Bell has the Steelers offense a little out of synch, but with their full complement of receivers healthy, its only a matter of time until their offense starts scoring 30 or more points on a week to week basis.
5. Oakland Raiders - After two weeks of play, the Raiders may have the most impressive combination of wins. A ten point victory on the road at the Titans, and a blowout win over the Jets at home. Marshawn Lynch has been a valuable contributor for them on offense, and it has been more of the same from Derek Carr and his great receiving corps. Khalil Mack is working on defending his defensive player of the year award, while Karl Joseph leads a physical secondary for the Raiders. This week the Raiders head on the road to face the Redskins, looking to start the season 3-0 along with proving they are a contender in the AFC.
6. Green Bay Packers - It has been somewhat of a slow start for the Packers offense with a tough early schedule against two of the NFC's best defenses. With the Packers looking to get some players back from injury, they won't let Sunday night's set back prevent them from putting together a long stretch of good football. Coming home to face the Bengals, is just what the Packers need to get things heading back in the right direction again. A much improved secondary will help them as they work toward achieving their goals for the 2017 season.
7. Detroit Lions - The Lions have put together an impressive 2-0 start to the season, with a come from behind win against the Cardinals week 1 and a hard fought win on the road against a tough Giants defense in week 2. Darius Slay continues to make big plays in the secondary for the Lions, while Matt Stafford has made it happen for their offense. Ameer Abdullah ignited the running game late in Detroit's week 2 win, and he should prove to be a key part of the Lions attack moving forward as they establish themselves as a powerhouse in the NFC.
8. Baltimore Ravens - It has been all about defense early on for the Ravens in their first two ball games. After intercepting four Andy Dalton passes in week 1, they followed that up by intercepting three of Deshone Kizer's passes in week 2. The Baltimore defensive front has bullied opposing offenses through two games, and their secondary has been able to take advantage of errant throws from opposing quarterbacks under duress. Baltimore will look to do more of the same this week in London as they face Blake Bortles and the Jacksonville Jaguars.
9. Carolina Panthers - Like the Ravens, the Carolina Panthers have gotten off to a 2-0 start fueled by their defense. Great play by their defensive front, has helped to prevent their secondary from being tested on a regular basis. Cam Newton and the Carolina offense are off to a slow start, but by the time some of the tougher mid-season match ups are on the schedule, Carolina should have their offense more in sync. Look for Christian McCaffrey to lead the way, as the Panthers get back to being a big play offense once again.
10. Denver Broncos - The most surprising team in the early going this season, but they have yet to play on the road. Wins at home against the Chargers and Cowboys were made possible by a defensive front that stopped the run, and strong play on the offensive side by quarterback Trevor Siemian. Keep an eye on the Broncos this week, as they take the road for the first time this season to take on the Buffalo Bills.
11. Philadelphia Eagles - Probably the most improved team in the early going this season, the Eagles look like they may be headed to the postseason led by strong play from their quarterback Carson Wentz. Right about now, Eagles fans have to be wondering why the team passed on running back Dalvin Cook to take injured cornerback Sidney Jones, but Rasul Douglass in the photo above has helped to alleviate some of that pain. Rookie receiver Mack Hollins and rookie cornerback Rasul Douglass, have already made an impact as contributors on both side of the ball for the Eagles. With no feature back to turn to early on, the Eagles may turn to rookie Corey Clement in the coming weeks to give their running game a boost.
12. Miami Dolphins - The Miami Dolphins came up with an impressive road win this past week, despite the fact that the Chargers kicker missed a field goal that could have sent the Dolphins to their first loss. Jay Cutler and the offense did just enough to get the job done, led by another great effort from the fantastic Miami defensive front. The Dolphins could slip in these rankings if they do not follow up that win with another strong performance, but for right now they should factor in the AFC East division race.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - The Buccaneers put together the most impressive win of week 2, but with that being their only game played so far this season, they open the season near the middle of these rankings. Tampa Bay's defense appears in great position to finally meet expectations, and it should be another year of positive growth for quarterback Jameis Winston and his talented teammates on the offensive side of the football.
14. Dallas Cowboys - Questions surround the Cowboys after a week 2 loss where Ezekiel Elliot took criticism for quitting on an interception that was returned for a touchdown late in the fourth quarter. With Elliot possibly having the NFL revisit his suspension in the coming weeks, Dallas will need quarterback Dak Prescott to sharpen up the passing game for the team to factor in the NFC East division race. With some new defensive personnel, the Cowboys will need to focus on improvement on that side of the ball to achieve their 2017 goals moving forward.
15. Seattle Seahawks - The Seattle Seahawks have one of the best defenses in the game of football, and that should allow them to climb in these rankings during the coming weeks. Seattle has some significant work to do on the offensive side of the ball however, and it starts with protecting their quarterback. They have scored 21 points in their first two games because they have not found an effective running game, and they have not protected Russell Wilson well enough. This week's matchup on the road against the Titans will be telling about the adjustments the Seahawks have made in those areas.
16. Tennessee Titans - After losing a tough game at home against the Raiders, the Titans bounced back with a big win against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Marcus Mariota leads what could be a potent offense, with contributions coming from youngsters Corey Davis and Derrick Henry. A big match up at home against the Seahawks will be used as a measuring stick to show where the Titans are in the early going this season.
17. Minnesota Vikings - Questions surrounding the health of Sam Bradford have the Vikings outside the top 15 in these power rankings despite an impressive week 1 win. Case Keenum gave his best effort in Pittsburgh, but lack of protection prevented him from having much of an effect on the football game. Dalvin Cook is off to a great start for the Vikings, and he should allow them to win some games in Bradford's absence, provided their defense continues the strong play they have put on display again early this season.
18. Houston Texans - Coming into this season, Houston had a roster that appeared able to compete with the best of the best in the NFL. Houston's defense has lived up to expectations with great play so far. Houston on offense has turned to rookie Deshaun Watson at quarterback, a little earlier than expected because their offensive front was not doing a good enough job protecting the less mobile Tom Savage.
19. Washington Redskins - The Redskins split their first two games, after losing big in their home opener against the Eagles. Going on the road to face a young and improved Rams team, they were able to put together the late touchdown drive needed to earn the victory. Josh Norman and Bashaud Breeland have the Redskins secondary looking strong heading into week 3, but they will have a tough test against the Oakland Raider's dynamic offense.
20. Arizona Cardinals - Despite significant efforts from JJ Nelson, the Cardinals offense has struggled early on this season. After jumping out to an early lead in Detroit, their offense has gone quiet for an extended period of time before tying the game late and winning in overtime against the Indianapolis Colts. The Cardinal defense has lived up to some of the expectations surrounding them this preseason, but a big showing by the Detroit offense has that unit looking to improve moving forward.
21. Los Angeles Chargers - The Chargers are the team this year that has two heartbreaking losses to start the season. Keenan Allen is off to a great start this season, as the Chargers have all the talent necessary on both sides of the ball, to be a force in the AFC this season. The coming weeks will determine if the Chargers are going to come out fighting to stabilize their position, or if they will become irrelevant early on in the playoff picture.
22. New York Giants - The Giants like the Chargers, are a team looking to pick up their level of play after two disappointing performances to start the season. Deficiency along their offensive front and inability to adjust at the quarterback position, have proven too much to overcome as their offense is averaging 6.5 points per game through their first two contests. Their defense has worked hard to keep them in each ball game, but they face another uphill battle this week when the visit Philadelphia for the Eagles home opener.
23. Jacksonville Jaguars - After an impressive defense-led win in week 1 over the Texans, it became evident that Blake Bortles is going to need to elevate his game, in a week 2 loss to the Titans. Leonard Fournette appears in great position to take Jacksonville's running game to the next level. A big match up with the Ravens in England, will be a good measuring stick for the Jaguars early in the 2017 season.
24. New Orleans Saints - The Saints made some significant additions to their team this past off season, but their defense still has not rounded into form the way they had envisioned. Losses to the Vikings and Patriots where the opposition lit up the scoreboard, have the Saints going back to the drawing board heading into week 3.
25. Cincinnati Bengals - The early season losses of Adam Jones and Vontaze Burfict, were supposed to have a detrimental effect on the Bengals defense. So far it has been the Bengals offense that has to shoulder the blame for their 0-2 start. Nine points in two games is not going to get it done. The Bengals need to protect Andy Dalton, and Dalton needs to protect the football to give Cincinnati a chance to win ball games moving forward.
26. Los Angeles Rams - The Rams have battled in the early going this season. Todd Gurley looks like a legitimate threat at running back and Jared Goff appears to be improving at the quarterback position. The defensive front has been the most significant unit for this team early on. A road match up against the 49ers could be just what this team needs to get to 2-1 on the season.
27. Buffalo Bills - Tyrod Taylor and LeSean McCoy give the Buffalo Bills a chance to compete on a weekly basis, but with their two best cornerbacks from last season gone, the Bills defense is no longer a significant unit. Buffalo hosts Denver this week, where home field advantage could play a role if the Bills want to earn their second win of the season.
28. Chicago Bears - After giving the Falcons a battle at Soldier Field, the Bears did not have any offensive success in their visit to Tampa Bay. If Mike Glennon does not protect the football, he could soon be replaced by rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. With very few healthy wide receivers and the Pittsburgh Steelers coming to town, it does not get any easier for the Chicago Bears in week 3.
29. San Francisco 49ers - The 49ers defense played a significant role in keeping them competitive with the Seahawks in their week 2 matchup. Lack of offense led to their demise in week 1 against the Panthers. The offense could be in for another rough night, with the Rams coming to town for a Thursday night football match up.
30. Cleveland Browns - The Browns head into their week 3 match up as a favorite on the road for the first time in years. Deshone Kizer and Kevin Hogan appear to be in a battle for the starting quarterback position. For right now Kizer will get the start as the team visits the Colts on Sunday looking to earn their first win of 2017.
31. Indianapolis Colts - The Indianapolis Colts have not changed much over the past two decades. They drafted Peyton Manning with the first overall pick, earned the first overall pick as soon as he missed a season. Now with Andrew Luck absent for two games, they look like a team worthy of earning another first overall pick. Being home home underdogs against the Browns is a new low for the Colts though.
32. New York Jets - The Jets were competitive for a while with the Bills in their season opener, but as expected they appear to be the worst team in football this season. The Jets were overwhelmed by the Raiders in their week 2 match up, but they did make progress in their quest for the number one overall pick and their hopes of drafting their franchise QB of the future. Moving forward, most every team on the Jets schedule will head into the match up expecting to win the game.