By Ollie Hewitt – New York Giants Writer
1. New England Patriots 3-0
Another comfortable win for the Patriots as the defense was dominant and the offense unstoppable. Headlined by a 30-0 third-quarter lead and the ability to sit Tom Brady for the fourth, despite not facing the toughest of competition so far this year the Patriots are still the favorites until someone proves otherwise.
Until then they go on the road to Buffalo next week where the Bills will get the chance to prove that the AFC East isn’t all about the Bostonians.
2. Kansas City Chiefs 3-0
A strong performance from the Chiefs against a fellow 2-0 team going into Sunday’s game, the Ravens defense was unable to stop the league’s highest-powered offense. Patrick Mahomes continues to show why he is the reigning MVP as he leads the league in passing yards and touchdowns without throwing an interception. The defense was alright as well, holding Lamar Jackson and the Ravens offense to 28 points. I almost put the Chiefs first considering the strength of their opponents but I don’t think it was enough to move the Patriots down after their dominance against the Jets.
The Chiefs take on the 2-0-1 Lions in Detroit next week, a chance for the Chiefs to give a team their first loss 4 weeks in a row.
3. Dallas Cowboys 3-0
As much as it pains me to put the Cowboys here they have been as dominant as anyone through their first 3 games, even if the competition they’ve faced has been some of the weakest in the NFL right now. They ran right through dolphins, literally. With both Ezekiel Elliot and Tony Pollard reaching more than 100 yards rushing each, the Cowboys Offensive-line is still up there for the best in the league and both Running Backs are making full use of it. Whilst the Dallas defense looked as dominant as ever. Similar situation to New England, weaker opponent than some of the other 3-0 teams but it would seem unfair to move them down after such a dominant win.
Next week holds a trip to New Orleans for the Cowboys, should be a good opportunity for Dallas to move to 4-0 if they can overcome the Superdome atmosphere.
4. Los Angeles Rams 3-0
The Rams hold on to 4th spot after their victory in Cleveland on Sunday Night Football, Brandin Cooks and Cooper Kupp were both efficient weapons in the Rams passing game. Whilst Aaron Donald had a quiet game compared to his usual disruptive self, along with the rest of the Rams Defensive-line. However, it was still enough to get past a Cleveland Browns side that has been disappointing to date.
The Rams will certainly be disappointed if the win column doesn’t show 4 by this time next week, as they will be back in front of their home crowd to take on the Bucs.
5. Green Bay Packers 3-0
The Packers are the first team in the rankings to have moved position since last week, as they were able to take advantage of the Ravens loss to the Chiefs by taking care of business at home to the Broncos. The Packers defense had a better showing than the offense in this game and Aaron Rodgers just needed to pop up with a score every now and then to keep the Packers in front, which is starting to become a trend over the first three games.
It will be interesting to see if that trend continues next week, as the Philadelphia Eagles are paying a visit to Lambeau Field.
6. Baltimore Ravens 2-1
The Ravens suffered their first loss in Week 3 to the powerhouse that is Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense, despite the strengths the Ravens have on defense they were unable to stop the Chiefs offensive juggernaut. Mark Ingram stood out with a strong performance in the running game. This was not enough for the Ravens offense however, as the Ravens fell behind early and their passing game was not at the same level as Weeks 1 and 2.
If we see a similar performance next week, when they take on the Browns at home, will there start to be questions about whether Lamar Jackson’s first two weeks were a fluke?
7. Minnesota Vikings 2-1
Another strong rushing performance from Dalvin Cook continues to alleviate any pressure from Kirk Cousins, Cook leads the league in rushing and as long as the defense continues to play well and the ball is in Cook’s hands Vikings fans can feel confident in being able to hold on to a lead. Although you probably would expect more from your franchise Quarterback, if it’s not broken don’t try and fix it.
Next week brings the Bears in a key divisional matchup to decide who can keep up with the strong pace that the entire NFC North is showing right now.
8. Chicago Bears 2-1
Speaking of the strong pace in the NFC North here is the 3rd best team in the division as of this season to date, the Bears offense finally managed to get something going for them against an average Washington defense. However a huge thanks is owed to this insane Bears defense, this was a true showcase of how they can victimize an offense which had shown signs of promise through the first two weeks.
Next up for the Bears is the Minnesota Vikings, in what should be an interesting matchup to not only see if they can stop Dalvin Cook in his tracks but also repeat the job on Cousins that they executed against his former team.
9. Houston Texans 2-1
Deshaun Watson was by far and away the best player on the field in this game, the stats are only a fraction of his contribution to the Texans victory over the Chargers. He showed great elusiveness on many occasions to escape sacks as his porous O-line tried to contain the pass-rushing duo of Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. The D-line also stepped up, especially JJ Watt who managed to get his first sacks of the season.
Next up for Houston is a home game against the Kyle Allen led Panthers, who showed a lot more promise after dropping the 2011 #1 overall pick, Cam Newton.
10. Detroit Lions 2-0-1
The Lions have put together back-to-back wins against two teams who were among the favorites to make the playoffs this season, including the favorites to win the NFC Championship in the Philadelphia Eagles. Jamal Agnew’s sensational kickoff return for a touchdown gave the Lions an early lead, giving them the momentum which caused them to lead for the majority of this game. A solid defensive effort by the Lions as well, meant that Philadelphia was unable to make a comeback late in the game.
Next week the Lions play host to the Kansas City Chiefs, whilst Detroit has already played spoiler to two Playoff favorites it is difficult to for-see them hanging onto their unbeaten record.
11. San Francisco 49ers 3-0
A somewhat unremarkable win for the 49ers against the Mason Rudolph-led Pittsburgh Steelers, the highlight being Jimmy Garoppolo’s game-winning drive. The 49ers may have a 100% record through three weeks but to say they looked the part in this game would not be a fair assessment, having said all that they stay above the Bills because of their comparative performances against the Bengals.
The 49ers are one of two teams to have the earliest Bye Week possible, giving them an extra week to prepare to welcome the Browns to Levi’s Stadium.
12. Buffalo Bills 3-0
The Bills managed to stay undefeated, after escaping a bit of a scare from Cincinnati’s mid-game comeback. The Bills were able to get off to a good start in this game, giving themselves a 14-0 lead at half-time. Although Cincinnati put up 17 unanswered points to give themselves a 3-point lead in the fourth quarter, Josh Allen may have been able to rescue this game with a game-winning drive leaving 1:54 on the clock but against better opposition, they can’t afford to throw away leads like that.
The Bills play host to the division bully in the Patriots next week, to decide who will sit atop the AFC East at 4-0.
13. New Orleans Saints 2-1
After losing future HOF signal-caller Drew Brees to injury, you wouldn’t have blamed the Saints for succumbing to the Russell Wilson-led-Seahawks. Yet somehow they managed to pull it off, most of the plaudits will go to Running Back Alvin Kamara. He led the team in both rushing and receiving yards, whilst Teddy Bridgewater managed to follow the Kirk Cousins blueprint and take care of the lead.
Next up the Saints welcome the Cowboys on Sunday Night Football, the Saints must be considered underdogs without Brees but that Superdome crowd seems to have a special effect on traveling teams.
14. Seattle Seahawks 2-1
Week 3’s loss to the Saints has to go down as somewhat of an embarrassment for the Seahawks, especially defensively. To give up 33 points to an offense led by Teddy Bridgewater isn’t good enough by their high standards, especially seeing as they were unable to get a single sack. Russell Wilson did his best to give the Seahawks a chance both throwing and running with the ball, but it just wasn’t quite enough.
The Seahawks should be able to bounce back with a road game against division rivals the Arizona Cardinals, the first meeting of Wilson and Kyler Murray.
15. Indianapolis Colts 2-1
Considering the Colts had to make a last-minute adjustment with Andrew Luck’s retirement and change their game plan to fit Jacoby Brissett a 2-1 start must be considered a success, especially after a confidence-boosting win against the Atlanta Falcons. The Colts took the lead after just under 6 minutes of play and never looked back from there if there’s one thing being a backup in New England can teach you it’s how to manage a game. Brissett picks up another win and the Colts go above .500 for the first time this season.
Next week for the Colts is a home game against Jon Gruden’s Oakland Raiders, as they look to enhance their bid at a Playoff run.
16. Los Angeles Charger 1-2
The loss of Derwin James is proving tough for this Chargers defense, as they struggled to get to Deshaun Watson despite a lackluster O-line. Compounded by problems with their own pass-protection saw Philip Rivers without enough time to throw, seeing him sacked 4 times.
Week 4 sees the Chargers take a trip to Miami, so the starters might even be able to get out and enjoy the beach whilst the backups take care of the fourth quarter.
17. Philadelphia Eagles 1-2
Oh, how the mighty have fallen, from favorites to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl to the Falcons and Lions. No one saw it coming unless of course, you watched the difference between the Eagles offense when Nick Foles was under center compared to Carson Wentz last season. But to be fair to Wentz what can you do when you’re receivers just keep on dropping the ball, literally.
Next week sees the Eagles travel to Lambeau Field, where you would be surprised to see the Eagles receivers drop fewer balls given Green Bay’s talented secondary.
18. Atlanta Falcons 1-2
Matt Ryan had a very good game, spreading the ball out amongst his receiving corps. No surprise that Julio Jones dominated his matchups, but Austin Hooper and Mohamed Sanu both had big games as well. Devonta Freeman was also solid in the running game, despite the fact that the Falcons were playing catch-up for most of the game which usually leads to a pass-heavy offense. Unfortunately for the Falcons, it seems as though it’s going to be the same story as last year with the injuries on defense letting them down, as Keanu Neal has gone down with an injury for the second season running after tearing his Achilles tendon.
Next week the Falcons will face the Titans as both teams try to bounce back from falling to 1-2.
19. Jacksonville Jaguars 1-2
After a week of drama following fallouts between Head Coach Doug Marrone and Jalen Ramsey, both parties were able to put their differences aside to get Jacksonville the win against the Tennessee Titans on Thursday Night Football. To be fair to Ramsey, his complaints about the Jags not playing enough man coverage clearly seemed to get through to the coaching staff. As the Jags played more man coverage and as a result were able to hold the Titans to 7-points, Gardner Minshew also had a good game for his second NFL start in leading the Jags offense.
Minshew’s made a clear statement on the field so far that he wants that Jaguars starting job on a more permanent basis, he will be able to further his case when the Jags travel to Denver next week.
20. Tennessee Titans 1-2
The Titans had a disappointing offensive outing against the Jaguars, only able to score once with a rushing touchdown from Derrick Henry. The defense was also poor though, as the Titans were unable to pick up a sack or an interception to capitalize on the rookie Gardner Minshew’s inexperience.
They will have an opportunity to rebound next week on the road to the Falcons.
21. Cleveland Browns 1-2
Considering the fact that Cleveland was supposed to have one of the most exciting offenses in the league, one touchdown can only be considered a disappointment on Sunday Night Football. Nick Chubb was probably the standout player offensively for the Browns, and even he didn’t get 100 yards. Whilst The Browns were also down men defensively, with Greedy Williams and Denzel Ward both injured at Cornerback. This meant that the Browns had no chance at stopping Brandin Cooks and Cooper Kupp from just racking up yards all day, leading to a 20-13 loss for the Browns.
They will look to change their fortunes next week when they travel to Baltimore to take on the Ravens.
22. Oakland Raiders 1-2
The Raiders were well and truly beaten by the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday as they lost by a 20-point margin, Darren Waller had a standout game for the Raiders as he continues to take on a bigger role for the Raiders each week. Dalvin Cook’s running meant the play-action was more effective against Oakland’s defense, relieving pressure on Kirk Cousins and giving the Raiders D-line zero sacks.
The Raiders will try to rediscover some form as they head to Indianapolis next week to face the Colts.
23. New York Giants 1-2
Daniel Jones had an amazing debut for the Giants, as he led them to a victory over the Bucs that came right down to the last second. Evan Engram and Sterling Shepard were also vital in the passing game after Saquon Barkley sprained his ankle, there was also improvement defensively. Well from the D-line at least, Janoris Jenkins was clearly much better at motivating them than himself.
Jones will look to spark some of the magic again next week when the Giants host divisional rivals the Washington Redskins.
24. Carolina Panthers 1-2
The Panthers managed to pick up their first win of the season after a change of Quarterback, albeit a forced one. As Cam Newton was injured so Kyle Allen started for the Panthers and he played well, leading the Panthers to their highest points total of the season so far. The defense played well too, as they were able to take advantage of Rookie Quarterback Kyler Murray’s inexperience and intercept him twice.
The Panthers will look for back-to-back wins, seemingly with Kyle Allen under center again, when they play the Texans on the road in an attempt to get back to .500.
25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1-2
The Bucs suffered a crushing defeat on Sunday at the hands of the debuting Daniel Jones, despite this the Bucs did play well. Mike Evans absolutely shredded Janoris Jenkins throughout the game, showing he’s still got what it takes to be an all-pro Wide-Receiver. Defensively Shaquil Barrett stood out yet again, as he continues to lead the Bucs in sacks on the season. The defense overall let them down, but ultimately it was the Kicker Matt Gay who missed the potential game-winning field goal.
It doesn’t get any easier either for the Bucs, as next week sees them take a trip to the west coast to face the unbeaten LA Rams.
26. Pittsburgh Steelers 0-3
The Steelers look lost at the moment, Mason Rudolph’s uninspiring performance against the 49ers sums up their situation pretty well. Although TJ Watt had a good game on defense, as he was able to turn the ball over on two occasions. The scoring was back and forth but when it came down to it Jimmy Garoppolo had what it took to go on a game-winning drive, whereas Rudolph did not.
The Steelers will believe they have a chance to get a win next week against their division rivals and neighbors on 0-3 in the Bengals.
27. Arizona Cardinals 0-2-1
This pretty much seems like it’ll be the template game for the Cardinals this season, the defense gets picked apart and Kyler Murray’s seeing the pocket collapse around him so he tries to do too much and ends up making mistakes. This was the first time we’ve really seen Murray use his legs though, as he had highs in rushing attempts and yards.
However, apart from Murray, there isn’t any real bright spot on this team, so a loss at home to the Seahawks next week is very much expected.
28. Cincinnati Bengals 0-3
The Bengals actually played well on Sunday despite being handed their third loss in as many games, they showed character to take the lead after being down by two possessions. Auden Tate was an unexpected surprise in the passing game as he made himself known, but the Bengals defense was picked apart late in the game.
Next up is a road game against the Steelers as both teams head in 0-3, making it seem very long ago that this was the big rivalry for the AFC North title.
29. Denver Broncos 0-3
The Broncos defense was manipulated by Aaron Rodgers whenever he needed points, the fact that the Broncos are still sackless on the season has to be a big factor as to why given their best players are on the D-line. The two Running Backs formula seems to be successful for the Broncos as they are getting plenty of yards from Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman combined, although they need Joe Flacco to get going in the passing game as they are spending the majority of their games trailing.
Next week is the Jaguars at home for the Broncos.
30. New York Jets 0-3
The Jets showed on Sunday just how toothless their offense really is without Sam Darnold, as the only points they were able to score were from a Patriots muffed punt return and a pick-6 off of backup Quarterback Jarrett Stidham. Le’Veon Bell had a poor game as the main guy the Jets look to on offense, but I guess there’s a limit to how far you can go with your third-string Quarterback.
Next week the Jets have a Bye before they go to Philadelphia to try and lick up their first win.31. Washington Redskins 0-3
This Redskins offense had shown promise through the first two weeks of the season, but they were absolutely savaged by the Bears defense. Case Keenum just could not get anything going, while Adrian Peterson couldn’t get anything going due to the fact that Washington was chasing the game right from the beginning. The defense didn’t really have much of a chance as a result of the positions they were in after the offense had just turned the ball over.
Next week the Redskins play the Giants at the MetLife where Dwayne Haskins could be in with a chance of making his NFL debut against the team that passed on him for Daniel Jones.
32. Miami Dolphins 0-3
What is there to say about the Dolphins that hasn’t been said already? They have been stripped of any talent they had bar Xavien Howard, and it’s painfully evident.
This week they were battered by the Cowboys, next week the Chargers get a turn.