NFL Week 3 Power Rankings
29 September 2020
One of the keys to NFL betting is power rating each team throughout the season. Doing so allows bettors to gauge where opponents stand relative to each other and the rest of the league. Each week this NFL season, I will be sharing my own power ratings, which I use to make my own NFL picks. After week three, this is where all 32 teams in the NFL stand, as the AFC occupies the top spots through three weeks.
32. New York Jets
The bottom spot in this week’s power rankings goes to the New York Jets. They are 0-3 with the worst point differential in the league at -57. Injuries to their offensive skill position players have decimated their chances to compete this season. And with head coach Adam Gase failing to get the most out of starting quarterback Sam Darnold, a coaching change could be coming after their game against the Denver Broncos this Thursday.
31. New York Giants
Against all odds, the Giants make it two teams that occupy MetLife Stadium occupying the bottom two spots in this week’s rankings. The Giants took on a 49ers team that was without its starting quarterback, both of their top running backs and their best pass rusher in week three. They responded by losing 36-9, allowing 343 passing yards to Niners backup quarterback Nick Mullens. Mullens looked miles better than Giants quarterback Daniel Jones, which is a huge concern going forward.
30. Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals played better in week three than they did in the first two weeks of the season. They scratched out a tie against the Philadelphia Eagles, with Joe Burrow showcasing his potential for the first time this season. Burrow will continue to receive little to no protection from one of the worst offensive lines in the sport, and things are likely to get worse before they get better for the Bengals as they face better competition in the future.
29. Denver Broncos
Only the Jets and Giants have scored fewer points than the Denver Broncos so far this season. The Broncos have faced a brutal schedule so far, facing the defenses of the Steelers, Titans and Buccaneers. But injuries on both sides of the ball and looming showdowns with the likes of the Chiefs and Chargers in the division make it clear that this season isn’t going to get any easier for Denver. Fortunately, they have their best chance at a win this Thursday night against the lowly Jets.
28. Atlanta Falcons
If first half performances were what power rankings were graded on, the Atlanta Falcons would be at or near the top of the NFL. But football is a 60 minute game, and the Falcons are incapable of playing well for all of them. Atlanta has blown two double digit leads in two weeks, and have one of the league’s most inept defenses to thank for that. In a season that could be Dan Quinn’s last in Atlanta as head coach, things are off to a bad start to say the least at 0-3.
27. Philadelphia Eagles
Injuries to the Philadelphia Eagles’ offensive line has made things difficult on Carson Wentz. But Wentz has committed plenty of self-inflicted mistakes as well. The Eagles are lucky not to be 0-3 this season, as they could only muster a tie at home against a Bengals team with a rookie quarterback. In a weak NFC East, the Eagles could still turn it around and make a playoff run. But they will need to figure things out on offense in a hurry to facilitate that transformation.
26. Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville was expected to be the worst team in the NFL this season, but they have looked like a viable football team for chunks of this season so far. They put a win on the board in week one and nearly beat the Titans in week two before getting blown out by the Dolphins in week three. Through three games, their point differential stands at -14, which isn’t bad even if their roster is still extremely undermanned.
25. Houston Texans
Houston has faced arguably the toughest schedule in the NFL through three weeks. Losses to the Chiefs, Ravens and Steelers are nothing to be embarrassed about. But the Texans’ offense without DeAndre Hopkins is never going to be as good as it was with him. It’s possible that the Texans turn things around as they get into an easier part of their schedule, but it might not be enough to make them a team that is worth being in the top half of the NFL hierarchy.
24. Detroit Lions
Outside of their game against the Green Bay Packers, the Detroit Lions have looked good so far this year. They should have won against a Bears team that has made multiple second half comebacks this season, and they won in Arizona against a 2-0 Cardinals team. There is a ceiling as to how good this team can be with the current coaching staff and quarterback. But the Lions have been a competitive squad in most of their action this season, and deserve credit for that.
23. Washington Football Team
Somehow, against all odds, the Washington Football Team finds itself at the top of the NFC East standings through three weeks. That isn’t to say that they have been good this year, as they sit at 1-2 on the year. But the Football Team has a decent enough pass rush to make things difficult on bad teams, and could compete in a weak division as the year goes on. The question for them will be if Dwayne Haskins and the offense can improve.
22. Minnesota Vikings
The most surprising 0-3 team in the NFL this year has to be the Minnesota Vikings. The favorite to win the NFC North heading into the season, Minnesota has dropped two home games and one on the road. In their defense, their schedule has been brutal thus far. But can Kirk Cousins lead the Vikings back into contention for a playoff spot after such a bad start? That might be a tough sell.
21. Miami Dolphins
Miami got their first win of the season on Thursday Night Football against the Jaguars this past week. But the Dolphins were competitive against two division opponents before that. They lost by 10 in New England against the Patriots and by three against the Buffalo Bills the week after. This isn’t a playoff team, as they are simply trying to get Tua Tagovailoa ready for action this year. But it is clear that this is a team on the rise under Brian Flores.
20. Cleveland Browns
Cleveland may never live up to the hype that this roster generated when it was first constructed. But the Browns are taking care of business against teams that they should beat. The Browns are utilizing their running game effectively instead of trying to force their offense to run through Baker Mayfield. The defense needs some work to say the least, but the Browns certainly seem to be better than the truly bad teams in the NFL.
19. Carolina Panthers
Matt Rhule’s tenure as the head coach of the Carolina Panthers got its first win in week three. The Panthers got the better of rookie quarterback Justin Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers. Carolina’s defense is stopping it from becoming a truly good team, but the Panthers have shown that they can move the ball and be competitive. As Joe Brady and Teddy Bridgewater develop a rapport this season, they should continue to improve on that side of the ball.
18. Los Angeles Chargers
If this was a power ranking of the medical staffs of each NFL team, the Los Angeles Chargers would be in last place. But the Chargers on the field have done a good job despite extenuating circumstances at the quarterback position. The Chargers have been admirable on defense, slowing down the Chiefs and Panthers in back to back weeks. If they can get some continuity at quarterback soon, the Chargers could be dangerous.
17. New Orleans Saints
Right now, the biggest question mark for the New Orleans Saints is the quarterback position. Drew Brees has not been able to push the ball down the field so far this season, which has left the Saints in a position where they have had to hope for yards after the catch on most throws. Combine that with a defense that has struggled against the Raiders and Packers, and the Saints don’t look like the team they were expected to be in the NFC South.
16. Chicago Bears
Perhaps the strangest team in the NFL this season, the Chicago Bears are 3-0 this season. But they have been outplayed for three quarters in two of their wins this year. Thanks to huge comebacks against the Lions and Falcons, the Bears are in a great spot to claim one of the seven playoff spots in the NFC. And with Nick Foles becoming the starting quarterback going forward, the Bears might keep improving as this season wears on.
15. Las Vegas Raiders
Las Vegas has enjoyed two wins through three weeks despite being expected to be bad this year. And while their wins over the Saints and Panthers were strong, their ability to compete against the Patriots for much of their game in week three was a positive sign as well. Jon Gruden was mocked for making some of the moves he did when he took over the Raiders, but the Raiders appear to be heading straight in the right direction.
14. Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys have one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL. The problem is that their defense is something that they can’t rely on at all. At 1-2 through three weeks, the Cowboys have the third-worst scoring defense in the NFL. If Dak Prescott can keep scoring, the Cowboys can keep winning games, but the defense will have to do something to prevent the season from going up in smoke.
13. Indianapolis Colts
Don’t look now, but the Indianapolis Colts have the third best point differential in the NFL. They have demolished the Vikings and Jets in consecutive weeks. Those are far from impressive wins, but winning via blowout makes those victories better than had the Colts just squeaked by. Philip Rivers has been serviceable, which is all this team should need for Indy to compete for a spot in the AFC playoffs.
12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ offense hasn’t lived up to the hype with Tom Brady at the helm. But they have done enough to pick up two wins in their first three games. The Bucs have yet to beat a team with a winning record, but there has been a lot to like so far. Tampa Bay’s defense is tied for the fewest points allowed in the NFC so far, though bigger tests are certainly on the horizon for that unit.
11. San Francisco 49ers
The San Francisco 49ers are in last place in the NFC West with a 2-1 record. In the toughest division in the league, there is no room for error whatsoever. The problem for the 49ers is that their injured list is extremely long. With names like Jimmy Garoppolo and George Kittle not certain to take the field going forward, the Niners are in danger of falling behind in this division once they play tougher teams.
10. Arizona Cardinals
Arizona has done very well in Kyler Murray’s second year as their starting quarterback. They have won two of their first three games, including a division game over the 49ers. A disappointing home loss to the Lions has prevented them from ranking higher here. But they have yet to give up a ton of points in a game on defense, while Kyler Murray has shown great improvement in his second year as a pro.
9. Los Angeles Rams
The LA Rams nearly came out of week three with a 3-0 record, but they fell late to the Buffalo Bills. Even so, they played a great game after having to travel from Philadelphia to Los Angeles to Buffalo over the course of one week. They looked fatigued from that travel schedule in the first half against the Bills, but recovered nicely. In all, these first three weeks have been a huge positive for Sean McVay’s team.
8. Tennessee Titans
The team everyone expected to regress this season has yet to do so. The Tennessee Titans are one of four teams to be undefeated in the AFC through three weeks. If there is one thing you’d like to see from them, though, it is winning with a little more margin. The Titans have won by one possession in all three games so far. Those games might not work out in their favor against tougher teams in the future, unless they raise their level.
7. Pittsburgh Steelers
Mike Tomlin’s Pittsburgh Steelers were a trendy pick to win the AFC North this season. So far, they have lived up to the hype with Ben Roethlisberger back at quarterback. They have played three teams without a win so far this season, and will need to beat some better competition before they can be at the top of these rankings. But with a healthy Roethlisberger for a change, that kind of improvement certainly feels possible.
6. Green Bay Packers
There isn’t one player who has benefitted from the lack of fans at football games more than Aaron Rodgers. On the road, he has been able to use his mastery of the snap count to manipulate defenses at will. That has helped the Packers to reel off three wins to open the season, including an impressive Sunday night performance in New Orleans against the Saints. Rodgers is on the short list of early season MVP candidates, and the Packers are in a good spot in the NFC North standings.
5. Seattle Seahawks
Also on the list of early MVP candidates is Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks. He has the Seahawks behind only the Packers on the list of the league’s highest scoring teams. Wilson’s deep ball is the most dangerous weapon in the sport, and the Seahawks have been able to overcome some shaky defense thanks to their ability to score in a hurry. As this season progresses, though, Seattle will need to play better defense.
4. Buffalo Bills
The Buffalo Bills aren’t typically found at the top of the AFC East, but they were there through three weeks this season. Josh Allen has been playing incredible football so far this season. That has helped the Bills get out to a one game lead over the New England Patriots. But the Bills will have to avoid making the mistakes that they made in the second half against the Rams if they are going to stay ahead of the Pats.
3. New England Patriots
Despite being behind the Bills in the standings right now, the Patriots are a spot ahead of Buffalo in this week’s rankings. One yard separates the Patriots from a 3-0 start, and Cam Newton looks like a top contender to win the comeback player of the year award. And with Bill Belichick in charge, the Patriots are likely to only get better on both sides of the ball as they get accustomed to their personnel.
2. Baltimore Ravens
There is no shame to losing a game to the Kansas City Chiefs. But the Baltimore Ravens are a clear number two to the Chiefs after getting blown out of their own building in the first half on Monday night. Lamar Jackson just isn’t there yet as a passer, even if the running game and defense of the Ravens are good enough to have won 14 straight regular season games leading up to this contest.
1. Kansas City Chiefs
When you go to the home field of a team that has won 14 straight regular season games and prove you are clearly better than they are, it is clear your team is the best in the NFL. The Chiefs looked unstoppable on offense for the first half against the Ravens before slowing things down in the second half. Things got tighter than they may have wanted in the second half, but the Chiefs made it clear that they are still the team to beat in the NFL in 2020.