NFL Power Rankings: Week 3

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Sports Desk

NFL POWER RANKINGS

The Appalachian Sports Desk will be releasing collaborative weekly NFL Power Rankings. The Appalachian sports reporters will be ranking NFL teams that will be averaged out to determine their rankings. Each writer will cover 2-3 teams and give their take on them.

This weeks biggest riser: Redskins and Texans moved up 7

This weeks biggest drop: Baltimore Ravens moved down 8

 

1. Kansas City Chiefs (3-0) (Last week: 1↔️)

Kansas City’s unique offensive system again carried them to a smooth victory over the Los Angeles Chargers. Never trailing in the contest, the Chiefs jumped on the board quickly and never looked back, capitalizing on big plays from Tyreek Hill in the first quarter and Kareem Hunt in the game’s final period to pull away from the Chargers. Hill’s and Hunt’s explosive playmaking ability continue to turn heads across the NFL, showing that the Chiefs’ offense is not the liability that it once was. The tandem has now scored from 30 yards or longer in the same game in two of Kansas City’s first three contests. After the Broncos and Raiders both fell on the weekend, the Chiefs find themselves in sole possession of first place in the AFC West.  -Tyler Hotz 

2. Atlanta Falcons (3-0) (Last week: 2↔️)

Sometimes it is just better to be lucky than good. The Falcons won a game literally made of inches Sunday against the Lions 30-26 on a controversial game-ending play. Yet again, the Dirty Bird’s defense bent but did not break in regard to Golden Tate’s knee extension that grazed the ground before the ball crossed the plane. Matt Ryan was still able to bring home a win even after throwing three interceptions against a highly talented Detroit team. Atlanta now sits atop the summit with Kansas City as one of two remaining undefeated franchises. The Brotherhood returns to the nest this weekend to face 1-2 Buffalo Bills who are coming off a victory of their own against the Denver Broncos. -Shane Harvell 

3. New England Patriots (2-1) (Last week: 4⬆️)

It is getting hard to dispute the fact that Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback ever. At the age of 40 Brady is leading his team to dramatic wins. The Texans scored late in the game leaving a couple of minutes left for Brady and the Patriots to drive down the field for a touchdown to wide receiver Brandin Cooks. The Patriots are going to need their defense to step up in order for them to make another Super Bowl run.  -Michael Pigg

4. Green Bay Packers (2-1) (Last week: 7 ⬆️)

The Packers 24-21 victory of the Bengals Sunday night looked good at first glance, but if you look deeper you wouldn’t like what you’d find. A dismal offensive line mirrored by a sub par defense with injuries mounting, this team could very well be on the decline if they don’t right the ship. Luckily for them, Aaron Rodgers is still the captain of that ship and can will the team to victory every week. Rodgers can’t win from behind every time so if play doesn’t pick up they’re in trouble again. -Taylor Story

5. Detroit Lions (2-1) (Last week:8⬆️)

In week three, the Lions were tested. And they passed, maybe not with flying colors, but they showed the world that they are legitimate. They played well enough to beat one of the league’s top teams, the Atlanta Falcons. In fact, in everyone’s eyes but the rulebook’s they did beat the Falcons. Detroit scored a go ahead touchdown with eight seconds left on the clock, but due to a mandatory 10-second runoff, the game-winning touchdown was negated and the Falcons escaped. With games against the Vikings and Panthers in the coming weeks, the Lions should be able to prove what they are truly capable of. -Silas Albright

6. Oakland Raiders (2-1) (Last week: 3⬇️)

The Derek Carr-led Raiders put up a dud this past week against a tough Redskins team with a lot to prove. The offense found very little success if any, including a disastrous running game. Marshawn Lynch ran for only 18 yards on six carries. Don’t look too much into this game. The Raiders traveled to the East coast for this one and looked a bit disoriented. Nothing points to the Raiders playing like this consistently and even the best QBs have bad games. The defense however was torn up by the Redskins, even though Chris Thompson has torn up just about every defense he’s played this year. The Raiders don’t drop too much this week even though they are a team to keep an eye on next week, after the last uninspired effort. . -Aman Hyrams 

7. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-1) (Last week: 5⬇️)

Some Steelers’ doubters or die-hards may be hitting the panic button after the Steelers’ unexpected loss to the Bears, but there is little to fear in Pittsburgh … for now. As we saw in Week 1 with a close loss to the defending NFC Champions, the Bears can be difficult at home in Chicago. Concerning for the Terrible Towel faithful, however, is struggling to get the ground game going through its first three games. Le’Veon Bell finally found the end zone, but he has yet to eclipse 90 yards on the ground this season. On the other side of the ball, the Steelers gave up a whooping 220 yards and 5.8 yards per carry to the Bears’ rushing attack. With a matchup against the Ravens this weekend, the Steelers will get a chance to bounce back against their bitter rival.  -Tyler Hotz

8.Denver Broncos (2-1) (Last week: 6⬇️)

After a hot start, the Broncos were brought back down to earth after a loss to the Bills. The team was on a come back the whole game, but fell short due to a controversial call on Von Miller. Don’t expect the Broncos to fall too far after this loss. They still have talent on the defensive side of the ball and the offense is good enough to hold their own. Trevor Siemian can hold his own against anyone, but the defense is the foundation of this team. They should still be fine to make the playoffs, but we will see as time progresses.. -Eric Jackson

9. Tennessee Titans (2-1) (Last week: 13⬆️)

Ladies and gentlemen, please have your tickets ready for the Titans Hype Train. Your conductor, Marcus Mariota, will be leading us on our journey at a safe and consistent speed. OK, so Tennessee didn’t beat the Chiefs in Arrowhead or anything, but the Seahawks, no matter how bad, are still a good team. Add that to a win over the shockingly-good Jaguars and a very good game against the Raiders and you have a team that is first in the AFC South and can compete with any team in the league right now. It’s hard to find a legitimate weakness on the roster and Mariota will not cost the team a win. This team is capable to compete and next week’s away game against the Texans will show if they’re ready to.  -Ian Taylor

10. Dallas Cowboys (2-1) (Last week: 9⬇️)

Dak and the boys are back. Not to full Super Bowl-worthy status, but they played 10 times better than last week. Zeke started off slow but found his groove after the first quarter. Prescot played like a NFL quarterback this week and only looks to continue to improve for the rest of the season. The defense, though, beat the Cardinals. With the amount of players they had hurt, they played like a veteran healthy defense, which we all know is nowhere close to what they actually are. A plus grade for Big D. -Noah Gerringer

11. Philadelphia Eagles (2-1) (Last week: 14⬆️)

A division rivalry played between the Eagles and Giants this week was a must win for both. Carson Wentz’s Eagles needed to fend off Odell Beckham’s winless New York squad. It was back and forth throughout and then knotted up at 24 in the 4th quarter. Then kicker Jake Elliott nailed a 61-yarder to win the game for The City of Brotherly Love. Eagles are looking good at 2-1 and will move up in the rankings and on to next week. -Taylor Story

12. Minnesota Vikings (2-1) (Last week: 17⬆️)

The Vikings’ win over the Bucs continued the trend of upsets last weekend. Although Case Keenum has not had much success in the NFL, he has been able to find success against the Bucs going 3-0 in his career against them. For the Vikings, this is going to be their story of the year. If they can get consistent play from the quarterback position, they can make a playoff run. -Michael Pigg

13. Washington Redskins (2-1) (Last week: 20⬆️)

On Sunday night with all of America watching, the Washington Redskins made a statement, making light work of a strong Oakland Raiders squad by a final score of 27-10. Quarterback Kirk Cousins had a near perfect game, gashing the Raider defense for 365 yards and three touchdowns on 25-30 passing on his way to a 150.7 QBR. The Redskins defense held the Raiders in check, forcing three turnovers and only allowing 128 all purpose yards in the game. Superstar QB Derek Carr was held to a measly 118  yards and RB Marshawn Lynch gained just 18 yards. If Cousins and his teammates can find a way to play like this every week, the Redskins will likely surprise some people.  -Silas Albright

14.Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-1) (Last week: 10⬇️)

Case Keenum is not THAT good. The Buccaneers’ suspect secondary reared its ugly head this week and made the Vikings’ offense look like a top-tier unit. This was a game that Tampa Bay should have won, and dropping games like that is the difference between competing with a division-power like the Falcons or just being a thorn in their side. The Bucs host the spiraling Giants next week, which is a good opportunity for them to prove they’re legit.. -Ian Taylor

15. Seattle Seahawks (1-2) (Last week: 15↔️)

It may be time to panic if you are a Seahawks fan. Seattle is now currently 1-2 after a loss on the road to the Tennessee Titans. The Titans scored 21 consecutive points in the third quarter alone to defeat the Seahawks 33-27. However, Russell Wilson’s numbers did improve even in the defeat as he threw for 374 yards and four touchdowns. The expensive “Legion of Boom” is visibly older due to the younger players within the league gashing their coverages throughout recent games. Most of the blame can be directed toward the lackluster offense preventing the defense from having adequate rest periods. Seattle hosts the 1-2 Indianapolis Colts this week in the renowned presence of the “12th Man.”  -Shane Harvell

16. Houston Texans (1-2) (Last week: 23⬆️)

The Texans were a play away from upsetting the defending Super Bowl champs at their home field. The rookie Deshaun Watson threw for 300 yards with two touchdowns. There seemed to be a role reversal in the game against the Patriots. While the offense seemed to be moving the ball and scoring, the defense could not slow down Tom Brady. Yes, the defense scored a touchdown, but allowing five touchdowns and giving up a game winning touchdown pass from over 20 yards out does not help the team. The defense should be fine and the offense is slowing gaining the groove they need. Look for the Texans to become a force in the AFC South. -Eric Jackson

17. Los Angeles Rams (2-1) (Last week: 19⬆️)

The Rams are the most prolific offense in the NFL. Sounds weird, right? With the increased play of former number one pick Jared Goff the Rams have not so quietly tore NFL defenses up. The Rams put up 41 points against the 49ers this past Sunday and are putting together a strong season so far. Jared Goff threw for nearly 300 yards and two touchdowns, connecting with his new go-to target Sammy Watkins for two touchdowns and 106 yards. Todd Gurley has regained his form, rushing for 113 yards and two touchdowns. The defense hasn’t looked too strong, giving up 39 points to a bad 49ers team who doesn’t have a go to receiver. The offense is doing it’s job, however the defense has a lot to prove, which keeps them from looking like a true contender in the NFC West. -Aman Hyrams

18. Carolina Panthers (2-1) (Last week: 12⬇️)

If you’re a Panthers fan, then you may still be shielding your eyes from any highlights from Sunday’s blowout loss to the winless Saints. Not only did the offense look anemic, but the defense finally confirmed some doubts of their ability to compete against elite offenses. From late in the second quarter until early in the third quarter, the Saints offense exploded, putting up 17 quick points and stretching the game from 7-6 to 24-6 in less than 10 minutes of game action. The Panthers are in serious trouble if they cannot get ahead early in games, and they won’t get any more luck next week, traveling to Foxborough, Massachusetts, to take on Tom Brady and the Patriots. -Tyler Hotz

19. Baltimore Ravens (2-1) (Last week: 11⬇️)

After starting out the season 2-0 and rocketing to the 11th position in the first power rankings set, the Ravens stumbled against the Jaguars in the NFL’s first 2017 London matchup. Nearly every one of Baltimore’s offensive drives ended in disaster, racking up six punts, two interceptions and a fumble before the game was over. Joe Flacco posted a rating of only 0.5, completing eight of 18 passes for only 28 yards and threw both of the Ravens interceptions, while Jaguars general Blake Bortles found the end zone four times. They produced only 186 yards of total offense compared to Jacksonville’s 410. Defensively, Baltimore allowed 24 first downs, 13 by the air, and the Jaguars possessed the ball nearly ten minutes more. The Ravens will need to get over their jet lag quickly as they take on the Steelers at home this week, reawakening their heated rivalry.-Brooks Maynard

20. Buffalo Bills (2-1) (Last week: 22⬆️)

The Bills were able to execute their gameplan and end the day with a win over the Denver Broncos. The Bills benefited from a questionable unsportsmanlike conduct call when Von Miller faked helping up Bills’ quarterback Tyrod Taylor. This drive ended up deciding who would win the game. For the Bills to keep on winning, they have to get Lesean McCoy involved more, he had another average game and it is going to be hard for the Bills to win games like this. The defense has been impressing these first three games and I see that continuing to next week. -Michael Pigg

21. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-1) (Last week: 26⬆️)

The Jaguars were in London this past week and absolutely throttled the Baltimore Ravens 44-7 with a lone touchdown coming from Ryan Mallett after Flacco was pulled. The defense once again looked stout and Blake Bortles actually put together a respectable performance against a defense that has been solid so far this year. The Jags move to 2-1 now so if they would keep playing well they should be able to stay contenders in a decision that’s up for grabs. -Taylor Story

22. New Orleans Saints (1-2) (Last week: 25⬆️)

Cam Newton had an absolutely horrible game. I’m not saying this to take away from the Saints but I would not give them too much credit. The Saints defense is still laughable. Brees can only play so well and it didn’t hurt that Cam threw three interceptions. However, they got their first win and that is something to talk about. We will see how well they perform when they actually play a well performing team … not next week against the Dolphins though. Saints should manage another win for a second week in a row. -Noah Gerringer

23. New York Giants (0-3) (Last week: 16⬇️)

Coming into the offseason with Super Bowl expectations, the Giants find themselves as one of the four remaining teams yet to win a game with an 0-3 record. It seemed as the Giants finally found their offense against the division rival Eagles this week when they stormed back with two touchdowns from Odell Beckham, but the Eagles took advantage of late Giants penalties and won on a lucky 61-yard field goal by their rookie kicker. New York had plenty of opportunities to win the game, but a called off touchdown on Sterling Shepard and a costly penalty from Eli Apple ultimately cost Big Blue the game. It may be early, but New York’s season looks bleak.Jason Huber

24. Arizona Cardinals (1-2) (Last week: 24↔️)

Arizona competed extremely well on Monday night against the Cowboys but inevitability fell short 28-17. With the lack of an effective running game due to the absence of David Johnson, the Red Birds constantly fell behind the sticks. Andre Ellington led the team in total rushing yards with only 22 yards. To make matters worse, the Cardinals’ offensive line struggled to give Carson Palmer enough time in the pocket to execute plays. Palmer was sacked six times on the night. However, on the defensive side of the ball, Arizona held Ezekiel Elliott in check for most of the game with just 80 yards on 22 carries. The Cardinals now fall to 1-2 on the year and look to right to ship next week hosting the 0-3 San Francisco 49ers. -Shane Harvell

25. Miami Dolphins (1-1) (Last week: 18⬇️)

Who are the Miami Dolphins? Are they a playoff team or will South Beach see another mediocre season? Miami definitely did not look like a playoff team in their embarrassing loss to the Jets. This is still a team looking for its direction, and it’s too early to call the Smokin’ Jay experiment a failure, but man is it close. Ultimately the Dolphins are looking at spending the rest of the season playing themselves out of a much-needed higher draft pick, or playing themselves into an unwanted pick in the top-10. The bright spot in the loss still exists though. The Jets are a division rival that no matter what always shows up to play the Dolphins, and Miami is still shaking the rust off after a rough couple of weeks. Week three however, will really show what Miami is made of. -Ian Taylor

26. Los Angeles Chargers (0-3) (Last week: 21⬇️)

Once again not having any fans to support them, the Chargers continue to gives anyone a reason to show up to games with their 0-3 start. Los Angeles stayed close against Denver and Miami to start the season, but they had no offensive fight against Kansas City, and their season is all but over. Philip Rivers has been one of the most consistent quarterbacks since entering the league in 2004, but he currently has a disappointing 51.0 quarterback rating and threw three interceptions against the Chiefs. Has age caught up to Rivers? Time will tell. But for now, Los Angeles has to start winning, or else fans will continue to not attend games. –Jason Huber

27. Chicago Bears (1-2) (Last week: 27↔️)

Give the ball to your playmakers. That’s the key to every team’s success and was the key to the Bear’s victory over the Steelers on Saturday. Jordan Howard had a game reminiscent of last season gaining over 130 yards on over 20 carries. Tarik Cohen played well again this week providing a change of pace to the Bear’s backfield. Cohen almost won the game for the team in OT, running for a long touchdown only for it to be called back. The Bears have surprisingly played well so far, regardless of their quarterback play. Glennon may not be the answer long term, but if they can win games and let Trubisky sit and learn, they may be able to win a few games this season and set themselves up nice for next year. They head into a game with long rival Green Bay with a little momentum that they will need if they look to take care of the Aaron Rodgers-led Packers. -Aman Hyrams 

28. Cincinnati Bengals (0-3) (Last week: 30⬆️)

Andy Dalton (or whoever has been wearing his jersey) and the Bengals’ offense did better this week … but still nowhere close to calling it an offense. They took the Packers to overtime and that is something to be said in itself but we have to give that credit to the defense. The only reason the Bengals are not last in the league is because that defense keeps them alive. The Bengals still are not good and might as well call the season quits, but since it’s only week three we have to talk about something. -Noah Gerringer

29. Indianapolis Colts (1-2) (Last week: 31⬆️)

Indianapolis picked up their first win of the season in week three, but it wasn’t quite a “statement” win. The Colts needed a last second interception to hold off the Browns comeback effort before escaping with a 31-28 victory Over the Browns. Quarterback Jacoby Brissett played well for the Colts, rushing for two touchdowns while throwing for 259 yards and another touchdown in Andrew Luck’s absence. Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton had a big day, racking up 153 yards, including a 61-yard touchdown on seven catches. However, the defense will need to be better if the Colts want to make any real noise. Although they had three interceptions and forced a fumble off of rookie QB Deshone Kizer, allowing the Cleveland Browns to put up 28 points is never going to make a coach happy. -Silas Albright

30. San Francisco (0-3) (Last week: 29⬆️)

The 49ers lost another close one this week, 41-39 to the LA Rams. The story of the night was Rams running back Todd Gurley, who rushed for 113 yards and two touchdowns while also notching five receptions for 36 yards and a touchdown. Offensive stats were split right down the middle, the Rams producing only one more first down and three fewer yards. San Francisco possessed the ball slightly more, passed for more yards and rushed for 113 to the Rams 126. However, the 49ers made a few too many mistakes, with quarterback Brian Hoyer throwing an interception, his third of the season, and picking up ten team penalties to the Rams seven. Give them credit, the 49ers found themselves down 41-26 in the fourth but rallied to bring the game within two, showing character. The 49ers could find their first win this season as theytake on a Cardinals team with many questions at running back. -Brooks Maynard

31. New York Jets (1-2) (Last week: 32⬆️)

The Jets looked better this week, overcoming a week two shellacking against the Raiders for a 20-6 victory over the Dolphins in week three. At first glance, their offensive numbers are nothing special, pushing for 16 first downs, the same number as their opponent, and averaging only three yards per carry. They also sustained 10 penalties during the game. However, the Jets beat the Dolphins in several key categories, possessing the ball over 12 minutes longer and converting on four third downs. In some ways, the Dolphins were worse more so than the Jets were better, such as their two yards per carry to the Jets three, or their two turnovers to the Jets one. Even in victory, quarterback Josh McCown threw for only one touchdown and leading rusher Bilal Powell gained only 37 yards. The Jets will need more in week four against a confident Jaguars team. -Brooks Maynard

32. Cleveland Browns (0-3) (Last week: 28⬇️)

The Browns were favored to win a road game for the first time in quite a while. So in typical Browns’ form, they went out and lost to the Colts. While the game was close, they still lost a game which they were favored in. Deshone Kizer played subpar and as a rookie, he will have a few games like that. The Browns are still waiting to get back their first overall pick Myles Garrett, who will come in and make an immediate impact, but it is safe to say that the Browns are still at the bottom of the NFL and will be for a little longer.-Eric Jackson 

Rankings By: Jason Huber, Brooks Maynard, Tyler Hotz, Silas Albright, Eric Jackson, Shane Harvell, Aman Hyrams, Michael Pigg, Ian Taylor, Noah Gerringer and Taylor Story