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NFL Power Rankings 2017: Hangover Edition

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What in the world did we just watch?

Denver Broncos v Buffalo Bills Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

What a weird, weird weekend of football. The Steelers, Raiders, and Broncos all lost games most fans thought they would cruise through. The Patriots and Packers almost joined them. And the Jets, Jaguars, Rams, and 49ers all had great games that caught the league (and fantasy football owners everywhere) by surprise. Go figure.

That said, there aren’t going to be many big changes in the power rankings after all that. Most of the teams at the top of the rankings lost, and most at the bottom won. With the options being to start knee-jerking or go minimalist, minimalist is the lesser evil.

FYI: Though I wasn’t able to do last week’s power rankings post, I did do my rankings. They didn’t match Tim’s. So be aware that this week’s rankings & change tracking are based off of my post-Week 2 rankings, not his.

Denver Broncos v Buffalo Bills Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

NFL Power Rankings, Week 3:

1. Kansas City Chiefs

Last Week: 2 (+1)

The Chiefs won comfortably over a Chargers team that’s exactly what I thought they were. They’re one of two undefeated teams still standing. Right now, they’re on top of the pile.

2. Atlanta Falcons

Last Week: 6 (+3)

I’ve been skeptical of the claims of there being no Super Bowl hangover in Atlanta. But back to back strong performances are starting to make me wonder.

3. New England Patriots

Last Week: 3 (0)

The Patriots don’t move up despite their win. They barely scraped out the home victory versus a struggling Texans team. After two iffy-to-bad home performances in three weeks, they’re lucky that so many other top teams lost this weekend. They came close to dropping a spot or two instead.

4. Pittsburgh Steelers

Last Week: 1 (-3)

What was that crap? Jordan Howard ran all over the Steelers & the Bears racked up over 200 rushing yards. They arguably beat Mike Glennon and lost to his RB anyway. That’s just embarrassing.

5. Denver Broncos

Last Week: 5 (0)

I know. Trust me, I know. And I agree. The Broncos deserve to drop after that crap show in Buffalo. But the Raiders’ loss was even worse, and the Packers’ and Titans’ victories weren’t enough to justify either of them rising to 5th. I’ve got to give someone the benefit of the doubt, so it’s going to be the Broncos. Next week’s game vs Oakland looms large.

6. Oakland Raiders

Last Week: 4 (-2)

Derek Carr threw for 6 fewer completions, almost 250 fewer yards, 2 fewer touchdowns, and 2 more interceptions than Kirk Cousins. Marshawn Lynch & company rushed for a whole 32 yards, while the Redskins almost quadrupled that on a pretty mediocre rushing day of their own. A three score loss to a middling Redskins team earns the Raiders the Dumpster Fire of the Week award.

7. Green Bay Packers

Last Week: 8 (+1)

They pulled out an overtime win vs a Bengals team that had no business hanging with them. A lot of the Packers’ struggles are due to injury, so they get a benefit of the doubt bump-up.

8. Tennessee Titans

Last Week: 10 (+2)

There aren’t many teams in this league who can rack up 195 rushing yards on the Seahawks. A lot of that came in one rumbling 75 yard chunk, but still. A balanced attack like that could take the Titans far.

9. Detroit Lions

Last Week: 11 (+2)

Count the Lions among my unexpected early risers. They played a competitive game against the defending NFC champions, despite the loss.

10. Philadelphia Eagles

Last Week: 13 (+3)

The Eagles nabbed a quality win over a division rival, shutting them out going into the 4th quarter. And 193 yards of rushing will get anyone’s attention. I’m quite interested in seeing how this Eagles team develops.

11. Dallas Cowboys

Last Week: 12 (+1)

A good recovery from last week’s beatdown, but I feel like this game was competitive for too long against an over-the-hill Cardinals squad.

12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Last Week: 7 (-5)

A terrible day for Jameis Winston. A mortifying day for the Bucs’ pass defense. And an even worse day for the Bucs’ rushing attack. Yuck.

13. Seattle Seahawks

Last Week: 9 (-4)

The Seahawks have some major issues on defense and along the offensive line. They don’t look like a playoff team to me right now, and so they’ve out of the playoffs section of the rankings.

14. Washington Redskins

Last Week: 18 (+4)

Yes, Mr. Cousins, we do like that.

15. Minnesota Vikings

Last Week: 17 (+2)

The Vikings rolled right over a surprisingly bad Bucs team. Case Keenum had a surprisingly great day. That said, this sort of success doesn’t seem sustainable and they’re currently down not one, but two starting QBs.

16. Los Angeles Rams

Last Week: 16 (+4)

Sean McVay has magically transformed Jared Goff into a competent NFL quarterback. How’d that happen? Unfortunately, the Wade Phillips-led defense is playing nothing like the Broncos’ D did under his tenure. And the competition hasn’t exactly been stiff so far for the Rams. This team is regression just waiting to happen, folks. But until then, up they go.

17. New York Giants

Last Week: 16 (-1)

It wasn’t a great showing by any means, but they bump up a bit anyway. The Eli to OBJ connection is still there, and Eli tried to do Eli things. But the Eagles aren’t the Patriots and the Giants are winless. If they don’t pick up a W soon, they’ll start dropping fast.

18. Carolina Panthers

Last Week: 15 (-3)

That anemic offense finally came back to bite them, exactly like a lot of people thought it would. Plus Drew Brees played circles around the defense from the security of his walker. And I think someone snuck kryptonite into Cam Newton’s wheaties Sunday morning.

19. Miami Dolphins

Last Week: 19 (-5)

Maybe the Dolphins got confused because of the Week 1 re-schedule and thought every other week was a bye week this year? I mean, fans joke about easy games being extra bye weeks, but damn. Or maybe Jay Cutler was just busy taking a smoke break?

20. Buffalo Bills

Last Week: 22 (+2)

Great showing by the Bills this weekend. They humbled a Broncos team that had maybe gotten a bit full of themselves. But I want to see Buffalo sustain success before they’ll make any major moves in these rankings.

21. Jacksonville Jaguars

Last Week: 23 (+2)

29 to 7

37 to 16

44 to 7

If those three scores all belonged to the same team, it’d be a tale of incredible dominance. Unfortunately, the middle one belongs to the Tennessee Titans rather than the Miami Dolphins. If you can figure this team out, feel free to write in.

22. Houston Texans

Last Week: 24 (+2)

Wow. Where did that come from?!? The Texans traveled to Foxboro and nearly bearded Tom Brady & Bill Belichick in their own den. That performance would have gotten them an even bigger jump if the Bouye-less secondary hadn’t laid out a welcome mat for Brady.

23. Baltimore Ravens

Last Week: 19 (-4)

Ah. See, this is exactly why I’ve been dogging the Ravens compared to most rankers. It all seemed too fluky. And London got a terrible, no good, very bad football game.

Well, at least the team most likely to end up over there won.

24. Los Angeles Chargers

Last Week: 21 (-3)

Five teams remain winless after three weeks of the NFL season. Of them, only one was regularly chosen by mainstream media pundits to win their division. But the Chargers remain a joke. They’re wasting Philip Rivers’ final years in the NFL.

25. New Orleans Saints

Last Week: 27 (+2)

Back to back weeks of offensive output are encouraging, as was holding the Panthers to 13 points. But New Orleans is an injury to Drew Brees away from being the Colts.

New Orleans Saints v Carolina Panthers Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

26. Arizona Cardinals

Last Week: 25 (-1)

The Cardinals played a decent enough game and fell short, exactly as expected. The rushing attack was very bad in a week that featured a lot of bad rushing attacks. The loss of David Johnson killed this team’s prospects. That said, you don’t drop far when you’re just confirming what we already knew.

27. Chicago Bears

Last Week: 28 (+1)

Welcome to bizarro world. John Fox and Mike Glennon just beat Mike Tomlin and Ben Roethlisberger. Well... actually, let’s get real. Jordan Howard beat the Steelers. Glennon and Foxy were just along for the ride.

28. Cleveland Browns

Last Week: 26 (-2)

The Browns fall back to earth a bit with a close loss to one of our lowest ranked teams, in a game they were finally favored for. But honestly, they should just be grateful that they aren’t the team on the other end of this thing.

29. Cincinnati Bengals

Last Week: 30 (+1)

Maybe this new offensive coordinator is already making the difference. Maybe Andy Dalton’s just in fear of losing his job (or even his career). Either way, the Bengals were surprisingly good competition for the Packers.

30. San Francisco 49ers

Last Week: 29 (-1)

The Niners drop mostly because the Bengals played a surprisingly competitive game. Their 39 point showing against the Rams was actually kind of impressive, though.

31. Indianapolis Colts

Last Week: 31 (0)

I sincerely believe that the Colts won this game only because the idea of losing to the Browns, at home, as underdogs, was simply too painful to bear. They didn’t dare chance that ignominy, and eked out a win.

32. New York Jets

Last Week: 32 (0)

They won. But so did the Colts and the Bears, and the Niners and Bengals also played good games. So the Jets are going nowhere for now. But here are some celebratory gift baggies for avoiding that dreaded 0-16.

Vulture Festival - Milk Studios, Day 1 Photo by Thos Robinson/Getty Images for Vulture Festival