The Miami Dolphins have caught the attention of the entire league with their 3-0 start and by scoring 70 points and gaining more than 700 yards against the Denver Broncos on Sunday. That has led to a shakeup in these Power Rankings, but not right at the top – number one still belongs to the undefeated San Francisco 49ers.
The 49ers are absolutely humming on offense and have scored 30 points in each of their games this season. They have now won 13 regular season games in a row and have scored 30 points or more in eight of their last nine regular season contests. Oh, and they also happen to have arguably the best defense in the NFL.
The Dolphins are 3-0 and looking good… like, Super Bowl good! Their historic display against the Denver Broncos on Sunday (70 points and 726 total yards) will send shockwaves around the NFL. Mike McDaniel is having fun with all the speed players at his disposal. Only injuries will be able to slow this attack.
The Chiefs enjoyed the ultimate “get right” game against the Chicago Bears, cruising to a 41-0 middle-of-the-third-quarter lead before firmly taking the foot off the gas in a 41-10 win. The real headline is making sure Patrick Mahomes is healthy, but Taylor Swift gets the clicks. So, Taylor Swift, Taylor Swift, Taylor Swift!
Like the Dolphins last week, the Eagles can feel aggrieved for falling down the rankings when they have done nothing wrong. Philly are 3-0 and while it has not been spectacular, they are rounding into form. D’Andre Swift is proving to be a very nice addition to what was already a very good attack.
The Bills dominated both lines of scrimmage in defeating Washington 37-3 on Sunday, sacking Sam Howell nine times and rushing for 168 yards. Josh Allen had some nice moments and has now produced back-to-back wins. He will take risks with the ball, but I think Buffalo just have to live with that and let him play.
All-Pro cornerback Trevon Diggs was obviously going to be a loss in the secondary when it came to defending the pass, but I didn’t think his absence would result in the Cowboys conceding 222 yards on the ground to Arizona. Let’s chalk this up to a bad day at the office and see how Dallas bounces back.
The Lions are not spectacular, by any means, but who is once you get outside of the top five or six teams in the league? There is a bit of a drop-off then. Detroit is getting behind these Lions with weekly sell-out crowds, something that has not happened in a long time. The Lions are in decent shape at 2-1.
I’m not dinging the Ravens too hard this week for their overtime loss to the Indianapolis Colts, but there have to be some concerns about the mounting injury list and also the fact that Baltimore are playing too sloppy at times and not taking care of the football. It’s a big one in the AFC North this week at Cleveland.
Every time I look up, Jason Myers is kicking another field goal. That’s a bit unfair as Seattle have put 37 on the board in the past two weeks, both resulting in victories. And they do have weapons such as Kenneth Walker (156 scrimmage yards and 2 TD) and D.K. Metcalf (112 receiving yards) who shone in Week 3.
Joe Burrow fought his way through his calf injury and into the win column for the first time this season as the Bengals clawed their way past the Los Angeles Rams. Ja’Marr Chase had 12 catches for 141 yards and the defensive front played very well. Others will need to step up as Burrow limps to Cincy’s bye in Week 7.
The Browns are 2-1 and much of their early-season success has come down to the strength of their defense, which is shaping up as one of the best in the league. Myles Garrett already has 4 ½ sacks in three games and two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Denzel Ward is now firmly established as a true NFL star.
Jordan Love showed me something in coming back from 17-0 down to record an 18-17 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. The Packers are so young when it comes to their passing game and yet their fresh-faced players have stepped up more often than not in 2023. That is a very promising sign.
These Pittsburgh Steelers are a living and breathing example of a Mike Tomlin team. They are far from perfect and it has not been pretty, but they are 2-1 and very much alive in the race for the AFC North title. No wonder this team has not had a losing season in 16 years under Tomlin. They always compete.
The Chargers are as flaky as can be, but they did pick up their first win of the year at Minnesota last week. I trust Justin Herbert (939 passing yards and 6TDs) and Keenan Allen (32 catches for 402 yards and 2 TDs) but there is not much else I truly have faith in. And I think head coach Brandon Staley is still under pressure.
The Jaguars head to London with their tails between their legs after an embarrassing 37-17 home loss to the Houston Texans. It’s not easy to pick out the faults in this game and point to the offense or the defense. It was all bad and now the Jaguars need to show us they can get back on track against Atlanta at Wembley.
Derek Carr was not exactly assaulting the NFL record books as the quarterback of the New Orleans Saints, but he was doing enough with the help of a good defense. And it should be noted that the offense went nowhere when Jameis Winston went in last week. The state of Carr’s throwing shoulder is going to be key.
The air went out of the Falcons in Week 3. The promise shown in two season-opening victories disappeared in a heartbeat. Detroit shut down Atlanta’s rushing attack (44 yards on 20 carries). And the passing game failed to answer with Desmond Ridder sacked seven times and failing to throw for a TD.
The play-calling of Sean McVay and the arm of Matthew Stafford will always give the Rams a shot on any given Sunday. But the offensive line took some blows on Monday night and will be a concern moving forward. The Rams are showing plenty of fighting spirit, but they are still well below the NFL’s elite.
While it felt it like the whole NFL was going off last Sunday on an electrifying and memorable day, Bill Belichick was grinding out a win just the way he likes them – powered by defense. If the Pats are to pick up many more this season, that unit will need to continue to lead from the front. The offense is limited.
The Colts have one of the best backup quarterback situations in the NFL and Gardner Minshew can definitely keep the ship afloat in the absence of rookie Anthony Richardson. And it certainly helps when your defense – led by tackling machine linebacker Zaire Franklin – plays like it did at Baltimore in Week 3.
I like the way this team has been built and I genuinely came into this season feeling the Jets were Super Bowl ready. They are that good on defense that they still almost won that game against New England last weekend. But this is a quarterback-driven league and Zach Wilson doesn’t appear to be good enough.
The Bucs are coming off their first loss of the year – a sloppy, mistake-filled game in which they were out-matched by the Philadelphia Eagles. Those bad days at the office are going to happen because Tampa are not a complete team, but I did like the fact that Baker Mayfield battled throughout. He always does that.
The Vikings found ways to win games they probably shouldn’t have in 2022. This time around, they’re blowing games that they could and should be winning. Sunday’s home loss to the Chargers featured dropped passes, more fumbles and some terrible clock management at the end of the game. Horrible!
Maybe iron doesn’t sharpen iron, after all. Washington have one of the best defensive lines in football but daily practices against that unit have not helped the offensive line. The Commanders have allowed 19 sacks in three games – second-most to open an NFL season since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. It should also be noted that a lot of those sacks are on young QB Sam Howell.
The alarm bells are ringing if I’m a Titans fan who watched last week’s 27-3 loss to Cleveland. The Titans mustered just 94 yards of total offense and Derrick Henry gained 20 rushing yards on 11 carries. This plodding unit will undo the good work so often put forward by Mike Vrabel’s defense.
It was not that long ago that the whole football world was writing off the tanking Cardinals and laughing at the leadership of new head coach Jonathan Gannon. No one is laughing now. Arizona – led by Josh Dobbs at QB – should have beaten Washington and the Giants and then went and upset Dallas on Sunday.
C.J. Stroud, Dameon Pierce, Tank Dell… these are young pieces the Texans can build around, particularly when it comes to their quarterback. Stroud has looked as good as advertised, throwing for 906 yards in three games – only Cam Newton and Justin Herbert have had more to start an NFL career since 1970.
The Raiders have lost two straight to drop to 1-2 and there are some worries here. Jimmy Garoppolo is forcing too many throws and leads the NFL with six interceptions, his line is a concern and Josh Jacobs – the reigning NFL rushing champion – is averaging 2.4 yards per carry and has yet to find the end zone.
With the exception of one frantic comeback against the Arizona Cardinals, the Giants have offered little for their fans to get excited about in 2023. Saquon Barkley (ankle sprain) is such a key player for them. Without their star running back, New York don’t look capable of fielding much of an offense this season.
Andy Dalton breathed some life into Carolina’s passing attack on Sunday, but there’s no doubt this team goes back to Bryce Young when he is fully fit. His growth for the remainder of the 2023 season is the priority but it won’t be easy operating behind a struggling offensive line. The defense is also banged up.
I’m sorry, Broncos fans and I’m sorry, Sean Payton… but here is the harsh reality. It is not possible to concede 70 points and 726 offensive yards without your players giving up. Now, I know NFL players are generally proud and competitive as hell. But that group did not play for their coach on Sunday. Facts.
The Bears have now lost 13 straight dating back to last season and they have allowed at least 25 points in each of those contests. They are terrible on defense but it’s also the same story on offense where Justin Fields looks lost. We’re only heading into Week 4, but head coach Matt Eberflus is running out of time.