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NFL Power 15 – Week 3

Week 3 in the NFL saw parity return! The only undefeated teams left in the NFL are the Steelers, Chiefs & Bears. The only winless teams are Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit, San Francisco & Tampa Bay. Everyone else is either 1-2 or 2-1. A lot had to happen in Week 3 for the NFL to get back to normal. Dallas & Minnesota had to get wins in order to avoid an 0-3 start. The Jets had to beat Miami in order for some levity to be had in the AFC East. The Texans had to lose in order for Indianapolis to get back to a tie for first place in the AFC South.

There were some surprises however. The Chiefs went to 3-0. The Rams got a victory. Chicago beat Green Bay on Monday Night to take a commanding lead in the NFC North. With everyone essentially being even, we are almost right back where we started in terms of power rankings. There are certainly some new faces, but we simply have to wait & see how the next couple of weeks play out before some teams start to separate themselves.

RANK TEAM COMMENTS
#1 It’s about time we start recognizing that the Steelers are the best team in the NFL. The defense ranks #1 in the NFL in scoring defense. There are also plenty of weapons on offense including Mike Wallace, Hines Ward, Rashard Mendenhall & Heath Miller. The crazy part about the Steelers is that they still haven’t played a game with the QB that has led them to 2 Super Bowl titles. I thought Pittsburgh would be lucky to go 2-2 in Big Ben’s absence. They wind up 4-0.
#2 Watching the Denver/Indy game got me thinking that Denver is a lot better team than they are being given credit for. Denver probably should win the AFC West especially considering how poorly San Diego started. The Colts essentially beat themselves in the opening loss against Houston, but like I say, I think it was a good thing for Indianapolis. The Colts embarrassed the Giants on national television & then beat a solid Broncos team in Denver. It’s back to normal in Indy.
#3 The Jets have now beaten both New England & Miami which puts them way ahead in the AFC East after only 3 weeks. Their only loss was a 10-9 opening week game against the Ravens. You can’t really hammer them for that. I think Rex Ryan did a solid job in cutting Mark Sanchez lose against the Patriots & Dolphins. Lots of stuff not necessarily working for the Jets either with the Braylon Edwards & Darrelle Revis situations. I think the Jets will be scary good by the time the playoffs roll around.
#4 It’s odd to have the Bears this high, but they are the only 3-0 team in the NFC and have beaten both Dallas & Green Bay. If they played tomorrow I’d think Dallas would probably beat them. The Packers committed 100 penalties which allowed the Bears plenty of opportunities to win. Still, the Bears are winning & every week Jay Cutler gets in Mike Martz system, every week he gets better. The defense is good enough & Matt Forte is playing like the 2008 version. The Bears have a great shot at opening up the season 8-0/7-1.
#5 The Saints win if Garrett Hartley doesn’t shank a FG in OT, but Atlanta is the real deal at 2-1. The Falcons are a stone throw’s away being 3-0 if they didn’t give one away to the Steelers in Week 1 in OT. Knowing what we know now, the Falcons have hammered Arizona, beat New Orleans and lost a close one in OT to the Steelers. Atlanta’s defense is more than good enough to win the NFC in my opinion. If Michael Turner can stay healthy then Atlanta looks very tough.
#6 Green Bay beat themselves on Monday night, but they still look like a ridiculously strong team. Defensively the Packers are rock solid & might be the best defensive team in the NFC. Aaron Rodgers isn’t going to be considered truly elite until he wins a Super Bowl, but eliminating that criteria you have to put him up there with Manning & Brady. Losing Ryan Grant could be a lot worse than I first thought. Brandon Jackson might not be the answer there which could make the Packers one dimensional. They’ll make the playoffs, but it could haunt them.
#7 I’m not sure what to think about New Orleans. Yes they just won a Super Bowl, but Drew Brees’s career record is 70-54. Before this season Brees has been a starter for 8 years with half of them being seasons of .500 or less. New Orleans is THIS close to being 0-3. The close win over SF looks horrible now after the Chiefs pasted the 49ers. The close win over Minnesota also doesn’t look great. I’m not sure what else you can say outside of the fact that New Orleans might be all smoke & mirrors at this point.
#8 Not a great win over the Browns but a win nonetheless. I still really like Joe Flacco & the weapons the Ravens have on offense. The problem might be the defense. If Cleveland can roll up yards & points on you then something might not be kosher on defense. Seneca Wallace blows you up? That’s rough! It’s weird in a way. I keep expecting Joe Flacco to start bombing away at 300+ yards a game, but it never seems to happen. Lotta juice in Baltimore, but for some reason it’s not coming out all the way 100%.
#9 Watching that Titans/Giants game was tough. There is no way Tom Coughlin is coaching in the Meadowlands next season. A couple of thoughts about the Titans. Basically New York imploded & the Titans ran Chris Johnson to a victory. They ran the ball 41 times to just 16 passes. At some point Tennessee is going to face a team that is going to take away Chris Johnson. Just look at Pittsburgh. That turned out UGLY for the Titans. The Titans can easily be a top-10 team, but not championship quality. Vince Young is going to have to prove he can beat elite teams when the pressure in on him alone.
#10 Offensively the Patriots look as good as they did in 2007. The problem is the defense which is odd given that Bill Belichick is heavily involved in the defense. Some of the problem is that the defense is pretty darn young as there has been significant turnover with the squad. The other problems is that dynasties end which is what we are seeing with New England. Giving up 30 points to Buffalo is CRAZY! That’s like giving up 75 to Indianapolis. The Patriots offense is great, but they aren’t putting up a 70-burger on the worst of defenses.
#11 I think the Chiefs have beaten both the Chargers & 49ers convincingly. Heck, Vernon Davis was talking smack about how San Francisco was definitely going to beat the Chiefs & KC murdered them 31-10. It was actually 31-3 before SF scored a garbage time TD with no time in the 4th quarter. Maybe SD & SF aren’t as good as people thought, but I think the Chiefs have a shot to be really good. They get a bye week this upcoming week before having back-to-back road games against the Colts & Texans. We’ll see after that.
#12 The Bengals went into Carolina & got a 20-7 victory over the Panthers, but that wasn’t saying much given that Jimmy Clausen was making his first NFL start. Something is off with Carson Palmer. I think the sum of the parts aren’t as good as the individual pieces. Owens & Ochocinco aren’t in their primes. Palmer has already peaked. Bernard Scott is 2nd on the depth chart. I really think the defense can be special, but at some point that offense is going to bog down. The good news is that Cincy seems to own the AFC North, but we’ll see after they play the Steelers. Cincinnati has a great chance to start 4-1, but after that it gets super tough.
#13 There is no question that Michael Vick is playing spectacularly well right now, but there are a couple of things going on with the Eagles. Vick has never been a championship level QB so moving from Atlanta to Philadelphia probably doesn’t change anything. Andy Reid has also never won the big one either so putting the two together might not exactly work. The Eagles have a solid defense & plenty of weapons. They might even be the best team in the NFC East, but my guess is that they are still behind Dallas, Green Bay, Atlanta & New Orleans. It’s an interesting story to be sure & Philly can easily be a top-15 squad. Just not a Super Bowl contender until they prove otherwise.
#14 Beating the Texans in Houston was a solid win for the Cowboys. It was a must win for them and they were able to come away with it. It would have been tough for the Cowboys in the state of Texas had they lost to start 0-3 while the Texans would have started 3-0 & beaten Dallas. The Cowboys did a great job defensively & to my thinking the reports of their demise was a bit premature. It hurts losing to Washington on opening Sunday because it puts them 0-1 within the division, but Dallas’s “best case” record is 3-0. If they play to talent, Dallas should be 5-2 when they had to Green Bay in Week 9.
#15 I still think Houston is going to be a dynamic team. If we are looking at things in a negative light then Houston probably should have lost to Washington a week ago & had to have Indianapolis essentially beat themselves along with Arian Foster having the game of his career to start 2-0. What that means is that Houston is a stone’s throw away from being 0-3 & in the AFC South basement. The Texans shouldn’t have lost to Dallas. They have a ton of talent on both sides of the ball but for some reason it doesn’t come together at times.

DROPPED OUT

#9 Washington Redskins: Losing to the St. Louis Rams? Wow. Washington goes from beating the Cowboys to open up the season, to choking to the Texans in Week 2, to losing to the Rams in Week 3! I still like the Redskins especially what Jim Haslett is doing on defense, but they might be a little too old at the offensive skill positions. The Redskins have the type of team that has the ability to beat any team on any given Sunday, but they also have the ability to lose them too. Washington is close to being 3-0, but they have Lady Luck against them then they’ll likely be better than their record will indicate. Having Donovan McNabb at QB doesn’t help either as he’s a fairly unlucky guy when it comes to professional football.

#10 New York Giants: Tom Coughlin has lost this team. Watching the Titans/Giants on Sunday was a joke in how New York beat themselves with horrific penalties and then seeing players openly disrespect Coughlin on the sidelines. The Giants shouldn’t have any problems scoring tons of points on offense, but for some reason they couldn’t get off on either Tennessee or Indianapolis. At this point I think the Giants are simply playing out the string. Coughlin has lost the team & the Giants might be the worst team in the NFC East. I don’t know if they’d jump at the chance, but you have to think either Bill Cowher or Jon Gruden could wind up being the HC for the Giants in 2011.

#13 Miami Dolphins: Selling too soon on Miami? I don’t think so. The Dolphins got close road wins over both Buffalo & Minnesota. That isn’t exactly killing it. They come home for their first home game on Sunday night & lose to the Jets. Again, that isn’t something you should kill the Dolphins over because I think the Jets are an elite football team, but take a look at Miami’s schedule! They could easily be 2-8 after 10 games. I still the Dolphins have some work to do. They are pretty good both offensively & defensively, but to me they don’t seem like an elite football team. They’ll have plenty of opportunities to win some big games in the coming weeks.

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September 28, 2010 - Posted by | Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Green Bay Packers, Indianapolis Colts, New Orleans Saints, New York Jets, NFL Power 15, Pittsburgh Steelers, Tennessee Titans, Week 3

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