Ooh, baby. It's not even October and the Power Rankings have been turned upside-down. Pump the chaos into my veins.
The Bucs and Chiefs both lost Sunday, paving the way for a new No. 1. We have five undefeated teams, but only two crack the top 10 this week. Go ahead: Feed me your rage. It sustains me. It's @danhanzus on Twitter.
At the bottom of the rankings, we find the darkest timeline for New York (OK, Northern New Jersey) football. Things aren't going so well for hotshot first-round quarterbacks, either.
Alright, enough buildup. Let's dive into the choppy waters. Thanks for reading.
Watch the NFL Power Rankings show with Dan and Matt "Money" Smith every Tuesday at 3 p.m. ET on NFL Network.
NOTE: Up/down arrows reflect movement from the Week 3 Power Rankings.
Previous rank: No. 4
The marriage between Sean McVay and Matthew Stafford remains firmly in the honeymoon phase. Stafford shredded the Bucs for four touchdown passes in a surprisingly easy 34-24 win over the defending champs at rocking SoFi Stadium. Tom Brady threw for more than 400 yards in his first-ever game played in Los Angeles, but the Rams stuffed the Tampa run game and clamped down on Brady in the fourth quarter to close out another win. Yes, the Matthew Stafford Revitalization Project has yet to encounter an issue: Stafford's nine touchdown passes are tied for the most by a Rams quarterback in the first three games of a season. Los Angeles has the coaching and personnel to be elite on both sides of the ball -- when they put it together, it's a lethal combination.
Previous rank: No. 1
Is it too early to panic about the defense? The Buccaneers have allowed 300-plus passing yards and at least two passing touchdowns to each QB they've faced this season. Matthew Stafford was the latest passer to light them up in a 34-24 loss, Tampa Bay's first defeat since last November. Through three weeks, the defense has allowed 29.3 points per game, a full seven points higher than what it allowed in 2020. The Tom Brady-led offense will provide cover on most weeks, but the Bucs won the Super Bowl last season because they put it together on both sides of the ball. Tampa Bay has lost that balance, and it's on Todd Bowles to figure out how to restore it. Brady vs. Belichick looms next Sunday night. Any storylines worth following there?
Previous rank: No. 6
"How can you not be romantic about football?" a whimsical Aaron Rodgers asked moments after he led the Packers on a final-minute field-goal drive to steal a win from the 49ers -- the same game the 49ers appeared ready to steal from the Packers only minutes before. It was that kind of night in Santa Clara, in the second Sunday Night Football classic in as many weeks. Rodgers was nails in those final seconds, connecting on two downfield strikes to Davante Adams to set up Mason Crosby's game-winner from 51 yards out. The icy midfield handshake between Kyle Shanahan and Matt LaFleur added even more drama to a rivalry that deserves another chapter come January.
Previous rank: No. 5
The Bills have it cooking on both sides of the ball now. Josh Allen picked apart a supposedly good Washington defense with surgical precision, cutting perfect spirals through gusting winds like Joe Namath at Shea Stadium in a casually dominant 43-21 win over the Football Team. Allen's chemistry with his receivers was palpable on Sunday: Stefon Diggs made his usual assortment of impact plays and Cole Beasley showed off his uncanny knack for finding the defense's soft underbelly, while Emmanuel Sanders has profiled as a significant upgrade over John Brown. Buffalo might have the AFC East locked up by Thanksgiving.
Previous rank: No. 3
Justin Tucker was already on a Hall of Fame track before Sunday in Detroit. He might have cemented his place in Canton with an NFL record-setting 66-yard field goal to beat the Lions and touch off a huge celebration at a suddenly silent Ford Field. Tucker's brilliance covered up for the sins of his team: Marquise Brown dropped three potential touchdown passes in the first half, and the Baltimore defense folded in the fourth quarter against a tepid Detroit offense. But the Ravens still had Tucker, the not-so-secret weapon who has dominated at his position for a decade. Said John Harbaugh: "He's the best kicker in history." There's nobody else even close.
Previous rank: No. 2
In Week 2 against the Ravens, it was a Clyde Edwards-Helaire fumble that set up a tough loss. On Sunday against the Chargers, turnovers once again served as Kansas City's downfall. The Chiefs lost two fumbles and Patrick Mahomes threw two interceptions in a 30-24 loss to the Chargers at Arrowhead. Kansas City will turn the calendar to October in last place in the AFC West -- with three extremely frisky teams ahead of them in the standings. There was more bad news after the game, when we learned Andy Reid was transported to the hospital after falling ill. The trip to the hospital was precautionary, but any Reid absence from the sideline would stand as another imposing obstacle for the defending conference champs.
Previous rank: No. 7
They left too much damn time on the clock. Kyle Juszczyk's touchdown catch capped a 75-yard drive that put the 49ers ahead late in the fourth quarter, but the Niners failed to bleed the maximum amount of time off the clock before giving the ball back to Aaron Rodgers. The final 37 seconds were just enough for the Packers to move into Niners territory and boot the game-ending field goal in a 30-28 loss for San Francisco. This had to be especially painful for Kyle Shanahan, who made Rodgers trade inquiries during the MVP's offseason of squabbling with Green Bay. He didn't get his man, and now he had to watch helplessly as Rodgers stole away a win that could have huge ramifications in the NFC.
Previous rank: No. 8
The 26-6 final score doesn't reflect just how badly the Browns beat up on the poor Bears. Cleveland was in total control from the opening kickoff, and Myles Garrett set a franchise record with 4.5 sacks, a performance that quiets talk of a slow start by the game's premier defensive end. Justin Fields was under constant duress as Chicago managed a single net yard of passing. The Browns continue to get impact performances from their running game, as well: Kareem Hunt totaled 155 total yards, including the game-sealing touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Then there's Odell Beckham, who made his season debut and looked like himself in a five-catch day. The Browns are in a good place.
Previous rank: No. 11
Pro football in Las Vegas is thriving, and the Raiders are 3-0 for the first time since their Super Bowl season of 2002. Their 31-28 OT win over the Dolphins was a weird one: Miami scored the first 14 points, the Raiders ripped off the next 25, and then the 'Phins answered with the final 11 points of regulation to force OT. Derek Carr was nails once again in money time. His gorgeous, over-the-shoulder dime to Bryan Edwards went for 34 yards on second-and-15, the key play in the drive that ended with Daniel Carlson's game-winning field goal. Two home games with a crowd at Allegiant Stadium, and two classics for anyone lucky enough to be there. The Raiders are a vibe.
Previous rank: No. 14
Brandon Staley is in love with his quarterback. Can you blame him? For the second straight week, the Chargers' head coach made a point to call Justin Herbert the best player on the field, this time after Herbert powered the Bolts to a dramatic 30-24 win over the Chiefs in Arrowhead. It's not lip service by Staley, either: On multiple occasions Sunday, Staley opted to keep his offense on the field rather than settle for sensible field-goal attempts. It was a tacit acknowledgement of Patrick Mahomes' greatness, sure, but also a showing of supreme faith in his own guy. The Chargers converted first downs in each instance. The football world is quickly learning what Staley and the Power Rankings already knew: Justin Herbert Is A Savage In The Pocket.
Previous rank: No. 10
The worst moment of Sunday was obvious: Kliff Kingsbury's misbegotten decision to let Matt Prater try a 68-yard field goal in the final seconds of the first half, a bold move rewarded with a 109-yard touchdown return by Jacksonville. Luckily for Kingsbury, the Cardinals have a superstar quarterback who can cover up for the sins of the head coach and others. Kyler Murray threw for 316 yards, and Arizona had two 100-yard receivers -- neither named DeAndre Hopkins -- in a 31-19 win over the hapless Jaguars. After the game, the Cardinals neatly spun the special teams catastrophe into an opportunity to display their apparent team growth. "The last two years," Murray said, "we would have lost that game for sure." OK.
Previous rank: No. 13
Sure, the Broncos' undefeated start has come at the expense of also-ran squads that are a combined 0-9 through three weeks, but let's give credit where credit is due: Vic Fangio has this team playing well on both sides of the football. The soft schedule is undeniable, but so too is the quality tape Denver has put out for three weeks. Fangio's balanced defense continued to feast on the top of the 2021 NFL Draft, shutting down No. 2 pick Zach Wilson one week after beating up on No. 1 pick Trevor Lawrence. The D's dominance has put Teddy Bridgewater and the offense in good position for three weeks. A Week 4 matchup against the Ravens should present a greater challenge all around.
Previous rank: No. 18
"We're a football team. We're not the Carolina Christian McCaffreys." Panthers left tackle Cameron Erving struck a tone of defiance after McCaffrey exited Thursday night's win over the Texans with a hamstring injury that will likely cost him multiple weeks. The Panthers took advantage of a soft schedule to jump to a 3-0 start, but they enter the teeth of their slate without their superstar running back or rookie first-round pick Jaycee Horn, who broke multiple bones in his foot against Houston. Carolina addressed the secondary loss with a bold trade on Monday, sending tight end Dan Arnold and a third-round pick to the Jaguars for cornerback C.J. Henderson, last year's ninth overall pick.
Previous rank: No. 17
The Cowboys look like the best team in the NFC East -- and it's not particularly close right now. America's Team had its way with the Eagles on Monday Night Football, jumping out to an early lead and never looking back in a 41-21 win at Jerrah World. How lopsided was this matchup? The 'Boys had a 19-1 advantage in first downs by the end of the first half. Dak Prescott continues to play like a legitimate MVP candidate, and big performances by running back Ezekiel Elliott (116 total yards, two TDs), tight end Dalton Schultz (6/80/2) and emerging cornerback Trevon Diggs (game-sealing pick-six) have Dallas cutting the profile of a legitimate power player in the NFC.
Previous rank: No. 16
On Sunday, the Titans lost A.J. Brown to a hamstring injury early, Mike Vrabel curiously decided to sit Julio Jones late, and they turned the ball over three times without creating a takeaway of their own. This might sound like the recipe for yet another disappointing loss to the Colts, but nope. The Titans have won back-to-back games, thanks to their dynamic stars at quarterback and running back. Ryan Tannehill made key plays with his arm and legs on a day he didn't have his usual cast of characters, while Derrick Henry grinded out 113 yards on 28 carries. Tanny & The Big Dog are more than an amazing fictional drive-time sports-radio duo -- they're the heart and soul of these Titans.
Previous rank: No. 24
Vikings coach Mike Zimmer called it the best offensive game of his Vikings tenure. Kirk Cousins led Minnesota on three touchdown drives in the first half, then engineered a trio of second-half field-goal marches that chewed up more than 20 minutes of game time in a 30-17 win over the Seahawks at raucous U.S. Bank Stadium. Cousins has been, to be blunt, one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL through three weeks. "It's been a different Kirk," wide receiver Adam Thielen said. "He's just locked in and on time, he's trusting it." Credit is due, both to the forever-scrutinized Cousins and Klint Kubiak, a first-year offensive coordinator who has found an instant groove.
Previous rank: No. 9
Hang an "Out Of Order" sign on the Seahawks' defense, because it is currently broken. A week after surrendering 532 yards in an overtime loss to the Titans, Seattle coughed up 453 yards to a Kirk Cousins-led Vikings offense that did pretty much whatever it wanted in a 30-17 win at U.S. Bank Stadium. It was a particularly distressing effort considering the Vikings played the game without Dalvin Cook, their superstar running back, who sat out with an ankle injury. Alexander Mattison stepped in and matched a career high with 112 yards running behind a line that bullied the Seahawks up front. "We got to get this s--- together," Seattle CB D.J. Reed said. "It's just what it is."
Previous rank: No. 19
For a decade and a half, the Saints' greatest strength was obvious: Put the ball in Drew Brees' hands and let him go to work. The legendary quarterback has moved to the broadcast booth, leaving Sean Payton to find a new identity for the current Saints. In two of the three weeks this season (the first rule of the 2021 New Orleans Saints: don't talk about the Panthers game), the focal point has been a defense that rattles quarterbacks and sets the tone. We saw that on Sunday, a 28-13 win that featured three Mac Jones interceptions, including a Malcolm Jenkins pick-six. After an endless road trip prompted by Hurricane Ida, the Saints are ready for a joyful homecoming against the winless Giants.
Previous rank: No. 26
Entering Week 3, only one team had allowed more sacks than the Bengals. This was a terrible trend, especially coming off a 2020 season in which No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow suffered a ghastly knee injury due to faulty blocking. Sunday's 24-10 win over the Steelers was a huge step forward for the team and an offensive line that allowed zero sacks to a Steelers defense that had registered at least one QB takedown in 75 straight regular season games, an NFL record. The Steelers played without their best pass rusher in T.J. Watt, but the Bengals deserve credit for addressing their biggest concern while picking up a huge victory against a division opponent. Cincinnati can build some honest-to-goodness momentum with the winless Jaguars up next on Thursday night.
Previous rank: No. 12
We learned just how much T.J. Watt means to the Steelers' defense on Sunday. Pittsburgh entered its matchup against the Bengals with a sack in an NFL-record 75 straight regular season games. As Watt watched from the sideline with an injured groin, the Steelers' streak was unceremoniously halted by a pedestrian Cincinnati line that had struggled to keep Joe Burrow upright a week before against the Bears. While the defense sputtered, the offense remained stuck in neutral. This was particularly apparent on an 18-play, 88-yard, nine-minute drive that ended with a field goal in the fourth quarter. Pittsburgh was still down 24-10 after the Chris Boswell kick, with a chunk of the second half now lost for good. The Steelers have big problems on offense with no easy solutions.
Previous rank: No. 22
The Dolphins fought to the bitter end in a 31-28 overtime loss to the Raiders, and they deserve credit for fighting back in a game that appeared to have slipped away when Vegas reeled off 25 unanswered points to take an 11-point lead early in the fourth quarter. A lot of the credit has to go to Jacoby Brissett, who has followed in the footsteps of Ryan Fitzpatrick as the rock-solid backup who will keep the Dolphins from disaster while Tua Tagovailoa recuperates from broken ribs. Not enough teams put the proper value on a No. 2 QB -- the Dolphins seem to get it. The schedule softens over the next month, but a Week 4 game against the winless Colts profiles close to a must-win.
Previous rank: No. 20
The Eagles will not enjoy watching film of a dispiriting 41-21 beatdown at the hands of the Cowboys on Monday night. The Philadelphia offense never got in gear, the defense gave up too many big plays, and a general air of sloppiness permeated the air for an Eagles team that was flagged 13 times for 86 yards. A defensive touchdown early and garbage-time score late made the final tally slightly more respectable, but the Eagles need to get better on both sides of the ball if they want to stay in the NFC East race. The road ahead is foreboding: Over the next four weeks, Philly gets last season's Super Bowl teams (the Chiefs and Bucs) and two undefeated squads (Panthers and Raiders). Buckle up.
Previous rank: No. 15
The Patriots were the NFL's gold standard for so long that it's almost jarring to see how ordinary Bill Belichick's team has become. New England authored no flashbacks to former glories on Sunday, a listless 28-13 loss to the Saints that featured three Mac Jones interceptions. This uneasy period of self-reflection comes at an awkward time for the organization: Tom Brady makes his return to Gillette Stadium on Sunday night with a great chance to set the NFL's all-time passing-yardage mark. Brady continues to cast a huge shadow over the organization -- this week is going to feel like a total eclipse. "The Patriots have done nothing but win for a long time," Jones said after losing to New Orleans. "We have to get back to that." The rookie has opted into a world of impossible expectations.
Previous rank: No. 21
The Washington Football Team is one gift-wrapped victory from the Giants away from an 0-3 start, and the failure of the defense to meet expectations is the main reason why. Washington surrendered points on seven of Buffalo’s first nine possessions on Sunday, as Josh Allen picked apart the secondary without being sacked once in a 43-21 loss in Orchard Park. The Bills scored 27 points in the first half; Allen was over 300 yards passing with nine minutes to play in the third quarter. Washington has time to sort things out, but the team’s primary strength has turned into its biggest weakness. Said Ron Rivera: “We got a long way to go.”
Previous rank: No. 29
Matt Ryan and the Falcons' offense has been extremely uneven to start the season, but the Atlanta attack perked up in the final quarter of Sunday’s 17-14 comeback win over the Giants at MetLife Stadium. Ryan engineered a 72-yard touchdown drive to draw the Falcons even, then connected on big gainers to Cordarrelle Patterson and Kyle Pitts to set up Younghoe Koo’s game-winning 40-yard field goal as time expired. Koo’s boot officially put Arthur Smith in the win column as an NFL head coach, and now the Falcons have a chance to reset their season with Washington and the Jets on tap in the next two weeks.
Previous rank: No. 23
If you're starting to feel like this is a lost season for the Colts, we're right there with you. Indy remains winless after a 25-16 loss to the rival Titans in Nashville. Carson Wentz showed grit playing on two bad ankles, but his lack of mobility is just another obstacle for a Colts offense that has to work way too hard to move the football. Wentz's miss on an end zone throw to Michael Pittman in the third quarter will stick with him during long hours in the trainer's room this week. The Colts need a win over the Dolphins to save their season in Week 4 and they might have to do it without All-Pro guard Quenton Nelson, who suffered an ankle injury against the Titans.
Previous rank: No. 31
“These fans can smell win No. 1 on the year!” CBS play-by-play man Greg Gumbel was just stating the obvious, but it all felt like a cruel jinx after Justin Tucker kicked a 66-yard field goal to hand the Lions one of the most ridiculous losses in franchise history (this is really saying something). The absurd finish spoiled an otherwise excellent fourth quarter by the Lions, who sandwiched a Lamar Jackson interception with two scoring drives that put them ahead with 64 seconds to play. But on the Ravens' final possession, Jackson moved Baltimore just inside Detroit territory, while officials appeared to miss a crucial delay of game call before Tucker made history. Impossible.
Previous rank: No. 28
The Texans feel like the AFC’s answer to the Lions: A talent-deficient roster that fights hard for its coach but ultimately lacks the firepower to keep up. Houston struggled to limit chunk gains from a Sam Darnold-led Panthers offense that played without Christian McCaffrey for most of the game, while the Texans' ground attack was practically non-existent in a 24-9 loss in prime time. Davis Mills had moments in his NFL starting debut -- most of them during Houston’s lone touchdown march late in the first half -- but he’s a third-string rookie quarterback who’s been pressed into duty before he’s ready. The kid needs help, and Mark Ingram, Phillip Lindsay and the rest of the Texans' run game couldn’t give it to him on Thursday night.
Previous rank: No. 25
The Matt Nagy era reached its nadir on Sunday. The Bears allowed rookie quarterback Justin Fields to be sacked nine times in a 26-6 loss to the Browns that featured one of the more uninspired offensive performances in recent memory. Jason Peters had no chance against Myles Garrett (4.5 sacks), as the Chicago offensive line gave Fields no opportunity to find his rhythm in a difficult environment. The defense was unable to cover for the offense, surrendering more than 5 yards per carry without forcing a turnover. Fields deserves another chance this week against the winless Lions, but Matt Nagy wouldn’t commit to any QB on Monday. This coaching staff cannot get out of its own way.
Previous rank: No. 27
You cannot let the Falcons come into your building and beat you on Eli Manning Day. It just can’t happen -- and Joe Judge is going to start feeling some heat if he can’t start producing some better results. New York is all sorts of beat up right now -- Sterling Shepherd and Darius Slayton both exited with hamstring injuries on Sunday, while linebacker Blake Martinez tore his ACL -- but the Giants let a deeply flawed Falcons team steal a road win by failing to make the big play in the fourth quarter. (I’m looking at you, Adoree' Jackson.) An 0-3 start doesn’t spell certain doom in the middling NFC East, but the Giants are a team trending in the wrong direction.
Previous rank: No. 32
The Jaguars have now lost 18 straight games, but at least Jamal Agnew guaranteed himself a prominent place in the 2021 team video with his 109-yard field-goal attempt return for a touchdown on the final play of the first half against the Cardinals. Things went downhill from there for the Jaguars, who remain very much a team under construction in the early stages of the Urban Meyer era. To wit: On Monday, the team traded cornerback C.J. Henderson and a 2022 fifth-round pick to the Panthers for tight end Dan Arnold and a 2022 third-round selection. That's not exactly a great return on investment for the ninth overall pick in last year's draft, but it's pretty obvious that in Meyer's world, there were no Jacksonville Jaguars until he took the job. Hard reboot.
Previous rank: No. 30
The Jets are 0-3 for the third consecutive season, and it’s a bad 0-3. Sunday’s shutout loss to the Broncos was filled with penalties, drops, blown assignments and turnovers. The result was a non-competitive performance that reflects badly on new head coach Robert Saleh and general manager Joe Douglas, who should start taking some heat for his construction of a Jets team that’s lost 17 of 19 games under his stewardship. Zach Wilson was far from good in his third start, but he received virtually no help from Jets teammates who weren’t ready for Denver’s intensity. In defense of Wilson and the offense, the schedule dealt them three of the best defenses in football to start the season. The Titans should present something of a respite, but nothing can be assumed in Gotham these days.