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NFL Power Rankings Week 3: Buccaneers Crash the Party while There Is a New No. 1

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Week 2 presented two marquee matchups and the results were somewhat telling. The Jacksonville Jaguars dominated the New England Patriots in a rematch of last season’s AFC Championship. Meanwhile, the Green Bay Packers choked away a golden opportunity to beat their bitter rivals the Minnesota Vikings, only to let Kirk Cousins — and a roughing the passer penalty — “Aaron Rodgers’d” Aaron Rodgers to send the game into overtime, only to see Cousins’ field goal kicker missed not one but two field goals in OT to end the game in a tie.

The Jaguars are now the superior team in the AFC, sending the Patriots back to regroup for a possible rematch in the postseason. The Vikings and Packers showed that with two elite-level quarterbacks, there is not much separating the two, and leaves much to desire as the season unfolds how the two will be positioned.

This week I rewarded the Jaguars for their big win and had an only fitting solution how to handle the outcome of the Vikings-Packers game.

The magic of Ryan Fitzpatrick is still going, as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback shredded another top-level defense from 2017 in defending Super Bowl champion, Philadelphia Eagles. The impressive win gave the Buccaneers the biggest leap in this week’s NFL Power Rankings of 16 spots.

We also learned that Buffalo and Arizona are in an early two-team race for Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa or Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver.

As for the rest, well, here is this week’s NFL Power Rankings

32. Buffalo Bills (0-2) – Last Week: 32 ↔️

Buffalo is so bad that it caused a player to retire at halftime. Vontae Davis said his body caused him to retire. He also said he couldn’t commit to a long season. Being on a team like the Bills who have been outscored 78-23 through the first two games of the season.

31. Arizona Cardinals (0-2) – LW: 31 ↔️

Sam Bradford has been a check down nightmare. Every pass seemingly is a check down and to show proof, despite him completing 61 percent of his passes Bradford has a league-worst 3.98 yards per attempt. How much longer can Arizona head coach Steve Wilks continue to avoid turning to first-round pick Josh Rosen?

30. Detroit Lions (0-2) – LW: 30 ↔️

Offensively, the Lions bounced back from their dreaded performance in Week 1. Matthew Stafford threw three touchdowns and zero interceptions. However, the defense did not fare as good allowing 190 yards on the ground and allowing 30 points. Detroit has given up 78 points on season tied with the Bills for the most allowed through two weeks.

29. Oakland Raiders (0-2) – LW: 29 ↔️

Oakland head coach Jon Gruden said following Sunday’s loss to the Broncos, the Raiders “gotta do something to get more pressure.”

Um, how about not trading the best pass rusher in the NFL?

28. Houston Texans (0-2) – LW 28 ↔️

The Texans might be the most overrated team in the NFL right now. Two losses to two tough teams, however, the Texans still look like one of the bottom-tier teams in the NFL this season.

27. New York Giants (0-2) – LW: 23 ⬇️

The Eli face said it all. This Giants team might be in trouble. And yes, they played the Jaguars and divison foe Cowboys, but the offense shouldn’t look as lethargic as they have with Saquon Barkley, Evan Engram, and Odell Beckham. A date with the Texans next Sunday should be the telling if the Giants are headed back to a top-5 pick for another year.

26. Seattle Seahawks (0-2) – LW: 26 ↔️

For years the Seattle Seahawks have failed to adequately address their offensive line and now we’re seeing the byproduct of that neglect. Good thing Russell Wilson is a dual threat quarterback or else he’d been sacked more this season — and he’s been sacked a league-high 12 times so far.

25. Dallas Cowboys (1-1) – LW: 25 ↔️

The Cowboys defense carried them in Sunday’s win over the Giants. Ezekiel Elliott looked comfortable running the football. However, Dak Prescott appears to be nothing more than a game manager — not Blake Bortles type, but the Sam Bradford. And that’s not good, at all.

24. New York Jets (1-1) – LW: 19 ⬇️

The Jets were hit with a reality check as they had a golden opportunity to establish the new culture that seemed real. A bad first half by a rookie quarterback ultimately led their their undoing against the Miami Dolphins and now they can dial back the over-hype. Sunday’s loss was a learning moment.

23. Cleveland Browns (0-1-1) – LW: 18 ⬇️

A blocked field goal and missed extra point is what stands in the way of the Browns being 2-0. Even with a chance to tie a game, the kicking game was unreliable. Now, the Browns have moved on from kicker Zane Gonzalez to Greg Jospeh.

22. Baltimore Ravens (1-1) – LW: 15 ⬇️

Dropping the Ravens seven spots may be a bit harsh losing to a good Bengals team. But, Baltimore is struggling to run the football, their passing game is boom or bust vertically, and the secondary without Jimmy Smith (suspension) showing signs they can get torch (see A.J. Green). Must see more out of the Ravens to climb up.

21. San Francisco 49ers (1-1) – LW: 20 ⬇️

Jimmy Garoppolo is officially going through his growing pains. It does not help that his receiving core isn’t all that impressive. San Francisco is one of those NFC teams that will hover around but again in a loaded conference, hovering around makes you one of the lower-tier teams.

20. Washington Redskins (1-1) – LW: 14 ⬇️

Back to reality for the Redskins. A week after dominating the Arizona Cardinals behind great defense and a solid run game, the Redskins run game was grounded by the Colts and the dink and donk passes from Alex Smith seemed flat. The Redskins still have a great defense, in fact, its the top-ranked defense in the NFL right now. However, the offense has got to pick up the pace and threaten opposing defenses.

19. Indianapolis Colts (1-1) – LW: 19 ⬆️

Andrew Luck has had better days but he continues to knock off the rust. Through two games he has completed 71.4 percent of his passes, however, he resembles Alex Smith much like a rival AFC coach stated prior to the season — longest completion is 26 yards. One is wondering as Luck regains confidence in his shoulder and offensive line will his throws be more challenging?

18. Chicago Bears (1-1) – LW: 22 ⬆️

Khalil Mack’s presence has completely altered the mindset of the Chicago Bears defense. They seem like an elite group, especially up front. Right now they lead the NFL with 10 sacks. That can carry a defense and a team far even with a young quarterback still going through his growing pains.

17. Miami Dolphins (2-0) – LW: 24 ⬆️

The biggest positive surprise this season has been the Miami Dolphins. Sure, not many predicted Tampa Bay to be where they are, but that team has had pieces for sometime, they’re just materializing. For the Dolphins, they lost some key pieces like wide receiver Jarvis Landry and defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh and yet they seem better off. Sunday’s win over the Jets proved Week 1’s over the Titans may not have been a fluke, after all.

16. Tennessee Titans (1-1) – LW: 16 ↔️

Speaking of the Titans, they survived the Texans and bought their franchise quarterback Marcus Mariota more time to recover from his elbow injury. But, how long can the Titans, who are banged up at multiple areas, can keep up the pace in what seems to be a better-than-expected AFC?

15. Los Angeles Chargers (1-1) – LW: 17 ⬆️

Good to have the Buffalo Bills to rebound back from. The Chargers are this high off expectations more than merits. They are too talented to go through their annual stall at the beginning of the season even without edge rusher Joey Bosa. Next week’s “Battle of L.A.” with the Rams should be very telling.

14. Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1-1) – LW: 8 ⬇️

Who would have ever thought the day the Pittsburgh Steelers are the drama capital of the NFL? The Rooney’s Steelers. Le’Veon Bell is busy throwing a party on a yacht instead of reporting to the team. Now, his partner Antonio Brown is skipping team meetings. Olympus is burning…

13. New Orleans Saints (1-1) – LW: 11 ⬇️

The Saints got a much-needed win, but Sunday’s game against the Browns may have revealed how good the Browns are defensively, but also may have revealed how not good the Saints are. The Saints are still in a high-tier but in a loaded NFC they may no longer be one of those threatening teams. Only time will tell for Drew Brees and Co.

12 Denver Broncos (2-0) – LW: 10 ⬇️

The Broncos got the comeback win over the Raiders, however, quarterback Case Keenum’s interceptions are piling up. He currently has three touchdowns against four interceptions. Good thing Von Miller and Chris Harris anchor their defense.

11. Carolina Panthers (1-1) – LW: 6 ⬇️

The Panthers lead the NFL with 5.4 yards per carry, but Cam Newton leads the team in rushing. He is the best running quarterback in the NFL, however, as we’ve seen already this season, Newton may be playing with fire even with his 6-foot-5, 255-pound frame. By the way, the loss to Atlanta hurts especially in a very good NFC South where each win and loss could play a huge factor at the end of the season.

10. Atlanta Falcons (1-1) – LW: 9 ⬇️

The Falcons appear to be set on having that season in which injuries will overcome their talent. After already having two of its best defensive players placed on injured reserved — one season-ending, the team announced on Tuesday left guard Andy Levitre is going in season-ending IR. Arguably the most talented team in the NFL has gotten a lot less talented in two weeks with three crushing injuries.

9. Philadelphia Eagles (1-1) – LW: 5 ⬇️

If Nick Foles couldn’t put up 30 or more points against the Buccaneers secondary, it may be time to end the experiment, one that still garnered a Super Bowl title. Carson Wentz will start Sunday against the Colts, and its debatable if its too soon or not. However, its painfully obvious some sort of change at quarterback is needed in Philadelphia.

8. Cincinnati Bengals (2-0) – LW: 13 ⬆️

Last week, I called the Bengals one of the most underrated teams in the NFL. After Thursday’s win over Baltimore, its obvious they are the most underrated team. The Bengals have balance offensively and defense that could take them a long way. Yes, they lose running back Joe Mixon for a couple of weeks to knee surgery, but Cincinnati is right now the best team in the AFC North. And with the drama going on in Pittsburgh, the Browns being the Browns, and Baltimore a step behind, the Bengals may stay kings of the division throughout the season.

7. Green Bay Packers (1-0-1) – LW: 7 ↔️

The Packers crumbled at the end of the game. Yes, I believe Clay Matthews was correctly penalized for roughing the passer, but the Packers and Vikings tying is perfect for what’s brewed into the league’s best rivalry. Barring any devastating injuries, that Nov. 25 rematch will be a must-see.

6. Kansas City Chiefs (2-0) – LW: 12 ⬆️

Patrick Mahomes is making Andy Reid look like a very smart man. The Texas Tech product has been a welcoming delight for the Chiefs, throwing more touchdowns passes (10) than any player through his first three games in NFL history — with all 10 coming in the two games this season. The Chiefs defense needs some work, but the offense might be the most exciting to watch in the league, especially with Pittsburgh without Bell.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-0) – LW: 21 ⬆️

FitzMagic? How about Giant Slayer? While waiting for the all familiar cycle of Ryan Fitzpatrick to occur once again, can’t deny acknowledging the Buccaneers may have the two most impressive wins of the season — out-shooting the Saints in New Orleans and then lighting up the Eagles defense the way Fitzpatrick did. Jameis Winston needs to be concerned, because seems like Tampa Bay is having fun again and finally fulfilling those expectations they had in 2017.

4. New England Patriots (1-1) – LW: 4 ↔️

Is the dynasty over? No, not after two weeks, but the Jaguars delivered one helluva notice to the Patriots that they are for real. Seemingly, the Patriots are not taking the Week 2 notice lightly, landing wide receiver Josh Gordon from the Browns. Something tells me, the two teams will see each other again at some point in January.

3. Minnesota Vikings (1-0-1) – LW: 3 ↔️

Yeah, the Kirk Cousins signing was the best thing to happen to the Vikings and their chances of finally getting over the hump and reaching the Super Bowl. Cousins showed how good he is going blow-for-blow against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. That 75-yard dart to Stefon Diggs, or him threading the needle to find Adam Thielen late in the fourth quarter highlights what Cousins can do.

2. Los Angeles Rams (2-0) – LW: 1 ⬇️

The Rams are showing their dominance outscoring opponents 67-13 through two games. They are the favorite to win the Super Bowl by Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook. And it’s not hard to argue, the best team in the NFC for sure right now. Only thing that makes anyone hesitant is the fact their wins have come against two struggling bottom-feeding teams, the Raiders and Cardinals. Their more challenging games are on the way starting with the “Battle of L.A.” next week against the Chargers.

1. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-0) – LW: 2 ⬆️

The Jaguars are the team to beat in the AFC. Sorry, Patriots, one understands they are the two-time defending AFC champions, but the Jaguars snatched the crown with Sunday’s dominating win. They put a muzzle over Rob Gronkowski, the way Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey essentially bragged about. They made the Patriots look average, and they did so in last January’s AFC Championship game for about 3.5 quarters. Jacksonville seemingly has learned their lesson and are primed this go-around. And to think their offense scored four touchdowns without its best player running back Leonard Fournette.



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