The NFL season got turned upside down in Week 3 with some unexpected outcomes. We were warned on Thursday Night Football with Tyrod Taylor getting injured, Baker Mayfield coming in and willing the Browns to their first win since 2016. From there things got crazier.
Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, and Kirk Cousins all lost in the same week. Not just lost, but got blown out and blown out by unsuspecting culprits. Cousins and the Minnesota Vikings were routed at home by the then-worst team in the NFL, the Buffalo Bills. The score was 27-6, but the game wasn’t even as close as the final score indicated. Then the one-legged Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers were mopped around a wet FedEx Field in Washington against the Redskins 31-17.
Not trying to make any excuses, as its Any Given Sunday, but both the Vikings and Packers looked flat, as if both teams suffered from hangovers from that thrilling and drama-filled overtime tie in Week 2.
Meanwhile, Brady and the New England Patriots looked overmatched, old, and at the end of their rope as they got hammered by former defensive coordinator Matt Patricia and the then-winless Detroit Lions 26-10.
Throw in that the Jacksonville Jaguars still haven’t figured out how to beat the Tennessee Titans, and Week 3 told us momentarily, just about everything we thought about the NFL may not be right. Here is how all 32 teams stack up:
32. Oakland Raiders (0-3) – Last Week: 29 ⬇️
There’s an argument for Arizona and Houston at this spot, but so far through three games, the biggest L of the season has been Raiders head coach Jon Gruden. Not just for the fact that he traded arguably the best defensive player in the NFL, but he keeps talking about how the Raiders are ineffective in the biggest area Khalil Mack has thrived at all his career and continues to do so with his new team, the Chicago Bears.
31. Arizona Cardinals (0-3) – LW: 31 ↔️
About time Cardinals head coach Steve Wilks has come to his senses, as first-round pick Josh Rosen has been named the team’s starting quarterback going forward. It’s probably not going to get much better this season, but at least there is a step towards the future.
30. San Francisco 49ers (1-2) – LW: 21 ⬇️
The biggest drop in this week’s rankings compared to the previous goes to the 49ers, who slide nine spots. The main reason, they already were a troublesome team, now they don’t have their starting quarterback as Jimmy Garoppolo is done for the season with a torn ACL.
29. Houston Texans (0-3) – LW: 28 ⬇️
Houston has been stagnant through three weeks, and winless. In all three losses, they have fell behind early by double digits. Then made a gallant effort to make the score more respectable with the game never truly being in doubt.
28. Buffalo Bills (1-2) – LW 32 ⬆️
The Bills pulled off the biggest upset of the week and possibly the season. Rookie quarterback Josh Allen is 1-0 as a starter, but it was the Bills defense that carried the team to their first win of the season, dominating the Minnesota Vikings. They forced three turnovers, two of which were fumbles lost on quarterback sacks. Can they duplicate that magic again? Their next test, the Green Bay Packers.
27. New York Giants (1-2) – LW: 27 ↔️
The Giants seem as though they have the talent to be better than one of the bottom-tier teams. Yet, they play bad in the first two games, losses to the Jaguars and division rival Dallas Cowboys. In Week 3 they manhandled the woeful Texans for three quarters. Building off their first win will be difficult as a pair of NFC South teams, the Saints and then the Panthers (road game) before playing division rivals, and currently better teams, the Eagles and Redskins in their next four games.
26. Dallas Cowboys (1-2) – LW: 25 ⬇️
Dak Prescott may be the third-worst quarterback in the NFL this year. Only Nathan Peterman and Sam Bradford have looked worse. And I know that firestorm of Cowboys Nation may follow this excerpt, but it’s the truth.
25. Detroit Lions (1-2) – LW: 30 ⬆️
Matt Patricia is off the hook for his first win, defeating his former team the Patriots pretty soundly. The Lions showed how good they can be defensively, but it remains to be seen if they can do that against an offense that Patricia has coached and practice around for the past 14 seasons.
24. New York Jets (1-2) – LW: 24 ↔️
The Jets culture hasn’t changed much, not enough to equate to more wins much like safety Jamal Adams boasted after their Week 1 win over the Lions. Rookie quarterback Sam Darnold has resembled, well… a rookie on a bad team, throwing three touchdowns and five interceptions through the first three weeks.
23. Seattle Seahawks (1-2) – LW: 26 ⬆️
Seahawks safety Earl Thomas played with his emotions on his sleeve against his beloved Cowboys and the Seahawks defense looked somewhat like its old self with quite a bit of new faces. Russell Wilson just needs help, and Thomas — as long as he is on the team — helps.
22. Cleveland Browns (1-1-1) – LW: 23 ⬆️
Finally, the Browns get a win, after 635 days. They also discovered they have a bright future with quarterback Baker Mayfield. Thursday night may have been a taste of what’s in store for the franchise and its fans for years to come.
21. Los Angeles Chargers (1-2) – LW: 15 ⬇️
The Chargers lost the Battle of L.A. and in the process gained a leg up on the Texans for the most overrated team in the NFL.
20. Denver Broncos (2-1) – LW: 12 ⬇️
He was facing the No. 1 defense in the NFL, but Broncos quarterback Case Keenum continued a bad trend of his, throwing more interceptions than touchdowns. Now he has three touchdown tosses to five interceptions on the season.
19. Indianapolis Colts (1-2) – LW: 19 ↔️
Even in defeat, the Colts gained some respectability hanging with the Eagles, an Eagles team with Carson Wentz under center. But, the biggest story line coming out of Naptown’s Week 3 loss was the fact head coach Frank Reich elected to have backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett throw the desperation Hail Mary over Andrew Luck, who missed all of 2017 with a shoulder injury.
18. Chicago Bears (2-1) – LW: 18 ↔️
The Bears won their second straight game with another strong defensive performance. They battled back from down 14-0 to the Cardinals, to pull off the win. The defense is proving they can hang with the best of them.
17. Baltimore Ravens (2-1) – LW: 22 ⬆️
After three weeks the Ravens have the No. 1 defense in the NFL in yards and second in passing yards allowed. However, their best performances have been against Nathan Peterman and Case Keenum. The third game, their only loss, Andy Dalton hung four touchdown passes on them. So, I still need to see more out of Baltimore but they are trending in the right direction.
16. Washington Redskins (2-1) – LW: 20 ⬆️
The Redskins are the most puzzling team in the NFL. One week, they beat the lowly Cardinals with check-down passes. Week 2, they couldn’t run or pass the football against the Colts and got pushed over to their first loss of the season. Then in Week 3, they caught the Packers off guard from the start with an impressive opening drive that culminated in a 46-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Alex Smith. One thing is constant and that’s their defense that ranks second in the NFL in yards and points allowed.
15. Miami Dolphins (3-0) – LW: 17 ⬆️
Ryan Tannehill is 11-5 as a starter with Adam Gase as his head coach in Miami. He has 26 touchdowns and 14 interceptions while completing 68 percent of his passes for 3,682 yards. That would be an impressive season for many starting quarterbacks. It’s a matter of Tannehill staying healthy to continue the upward trend.
14. Atlanta Falcons (1-2) – LW: 10 ⬇️
The Falcons lost a shootout against its rivals the New Orleans Saints 43-37 in overtime. They also lost its second starting safety, Ricardo Allen, to a season-ending injury. The constant injuries on defense may be too much to overcome.
13. Green Bay Packers (1-1-1) – LW: 7 ⬇️
Whether it was from a hangover from Week 2’s tie with the Vikings or not, the Packers don’t look as impressive as they should. Losing to the Redskins signals that this team has its flaws and with a banged up Aaron Rodgers certainly does not help.
12. Tennessee Titans (2-1) – LW: 16 ⬆️
Marcus Mariota and the Titans just have the Jaguars’ number. In seven games Mariota has played against the Jaguars, the Titans have won five of those meetings, including each of the last three.
11 Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1-1) – LW: 14 ⬆️
The Steelers got the win over Tampa but they are still flawed, especially on defense which ranks 29th in the NFL in yards allowed, 28th in points allowed. If that does not improve no Le’Veon Bell would be the least of their worries.
10. New England Patriots (1-2) – LW: 4 ⬇️
Tom Brady has made wine out of water much of his career. But at the age of 41 and all the behind-the-scenes drama within the Patriots’ walls, the five-time Super Bowl champion may be running out of wine.
9. New Orleans Saints (2-1) – LW: 13 ⬆️
After a hiccup against a very good Browns defense, Drew Brees and the Saints offense seemed to get back on track in Sunday’s win over the Falcons. Of course, Brees’ connection with wide receiver Michael Thomas was never off track. Brees has connected with Thomas on 38-of-40 passes. Thomas leads the NFL in catches and receiving yards through three weeks.
8. Minnesota Vikings (1-1-1) – LW: 3 ⬇️
The Vikings didn’t fall much this week, just five spots, despite losing to the worst team in the NFL coming into Week 3. But all can be forgotten soon with a win this Thursday against the Rams. What cannot be forgotten is the struggles of its offensive line. Against the Bills, Kirk Cousins was pressured 32 times. He was sacked four times, and lost two fumbles. And to think they got Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh next.
7. Cincinnati Bengals (2-1) – LW: 7 ⬆️
First week without running back Joe Mixon (knee), the Bengals were not committed to the run. Despite averaging 5.1 yards per carry, they had just 13 rushes in a loss to the Panthers. When they can keep teams off balance and work off the play-action of Andy Dalton is when the offense is at their best.
6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1) – LW: 5 ⬇️
Famous Jameis Winston is back in the Buccaneers facility after serving a three-game suspension stemming from his inappropriate behavior with a female Uber driver. Despite returning, it appears he won’t be Tampa’s signal caller no time soon, as they are sticking with Fitzpatrick, who became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for 400 yards or more each of the first three games of a season.
5. Carolina Panthers (2-1) – LW: 11 ⬆️
The Panthers loss to Atlanta seems like an aberration. Christian McCaffrey is the perfect complement for quarterback Cam Newton, as the two have the Panthers at the top of the NFL in rushing yards.
4. Philadelphia Eagles (2-1) – LW: 9 ⬇️
Carson Wentz’s return to the field only boosts the Eagles, a team that won the Super Bowl last season while Wentz missed the final three regular season games and all of the postseason run. His presence makes the Eagles a threat to repeat.
3. Kansas City Chiefs (3-0) – LW: 6 ⬆️
What more can be said about Patrick Mahomes. The young quarterback now has 13 touchdowns and zero interceptions. The Chiefs lead the NFL in points scored. They’ll need the firepower on offense because the defense continues to get torched. Still their wins are impressive and until they get halted on offense, they are one of the top teams this season.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-1) – LW: 1 ⬇️
The Jaguars drop wasn’t far, considering they seem to always lose to Mariota and the Titans. Heck, last season Tennessee won both meetings and the Jaguars still were one bad quarter away from the Super Bowl. Only issue is not letting their shortcomings against the Titans derail them for the rest of the season.
1. Los Angeles Rams (3-0) – LW: 2 ⬆️
The Rams are probably everyone’s top pick for No. 1 and it’s more so based on talent, because their schedule has not provided much insight. Wins over the Raiders (No. 32), Cardinals (No. 31) and the Chargers, who stay in purgatory, aren’t all that impressive. Then again, they could be the Vikings or Patriots, who lost to teams they had no business losing to. Nonetheless, the Rams first challenge of the season comes against the Vikings on TNF. And L.A. will have to conquer it without its top two cornerbacks Aqib Talib (ankle) and Marcus Peters (calf)