A wacky and wild Week 2 is in the books, and now we’re starting to see which teams are for real, which ones are great enigmas and which ones should start mapping out their 2024 draft plans.
Two weeks of regular season chaos down, 16 to go. Here’s where all 32 teams stack up against one another in our Week 3 edition of the 2023 NFL power rankings.
32. Arizona Cardinals (32)
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why Cardinals fans may as well buy their Caleb Williams jerseys while they’re hot!
31. Houston Texans (30)
The Texans fell 31-20 at home to the division rival Indianapolis Colts, but there were a couple of bright spots. CJ Stroud had 384 yards passing and two touchdowns, and wide receiver Nico Collins went off for 146 yards and a touchdown on seven receptions.
These guys are playing hard for DeMeco Ryans. Credit where it’s due. The results just aren’t showing it.
30. Chicago Bears (29)
It’s not too early to start wondering if the Bears need to look at other QB options in the draft. Justin Fields had another frustrating outing on Sunday, a mistake-filled Week 2 road loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Also, those changes on the defense sure aren’t amounting to anything. Last year’s group allowed a league-high 27.2 points per game. Through two weeks? 32.5 points allowed per contest.
29. Carolina Panthers (28)
The Panthers showed some fight on Monday night against the Saints, but the fact of the matter is they’re just not a very good football team. And now they’re 0-and-2…without a first round pick next year.
It’s going to be a loooong season in Charlotte.
28. Denver Broncos (27)
The defense — this team’s backbone of the last four years — suddenly stinks. The Broncos blew an 18-point lead to Washington, all while making Sam Howell look like a combination of Josh Allen and Patrick Mahomes…
Yes, the Broncos got screwed when the refs missed a blatant PI call on the two-point try following their improbable Hail Mary touchdown.
But when you’re up 18 points, you simply can’t lose. So don’t blame the refs for this one.
27. New England Patriots (22)
Another case of coulda-shoulda-woulda for Bill Belichick’s Patriots. This team is just finding painful ways to lose close games that were in their grasp.
New England is 0-2 for the first time since 2001. If they can’t beat the Aaron Rodgers-less Jets in Week 3, the calls for the Patriots to do the unthinkable and fire Bill Belichick will just grow louder.
26. Minnesota Vikings (21)
Go figure. Last year’s Vikings went 11-0 in one-score games during the regular season. They’re already 0-2, with both losses coming by a single possession.
Life is cruel in the NFL. And even the all-world play of Justin Jefferson hasn’t been enough for Minny to escape this early 0-2 hole. If there’s any consolation? The NFC North is wide-open, with the Bears, Packers and Lions all displaying their fair share of glaring flaws as well.
25. Los Angeles Chargers (12)
Is anyone really surprised? The Chargers have mastered the art of losing gut-wrenching contests that were right in their grasps. Sure enough, they’ve endured two of them in as many weeks.
Justin Herbert’s MVP-level play isn’t enough to make up for Brandon Staley’s awful in-game management and the vulnerable defense. If the Bolts fall to Minnesota on Sunday, will a coaching change be in order? Stay tuned.
24. Cincinnati Bengals (10)
Well what do you know? Another ugly start to the season for the Bengals. Through two games, Ja’Marr Chase has 10 catches for just 70 yards, Joe Burrow has 304 passing yards and two touchdowns, and Lou Anarumo’s defense has allowed 51 points. Yikes!
We’re confident they’ll figure it out, especially with the Rams, Titans and Cardinals next on their schedule. But until we see it, we can’t rank them any higher than this.
23. Indianapolis Colts (31)
Anthony Richardson was off to a dazzling start in Houston before suffering a concussion that forced him out of the game: 56 passing yards, 35 rushing yards and a pair of rushing scores that propelled Indy to a 31-20 win.
Here’s hoping Richardson doesn’t miss much, if any, time. He’s giving Colts fans plenty of reason for long-term optimism already. And let’s also give a shout-out to Zack Moss, who had 107 yards of offense and a TD in Sunday’s win.
22. New York Giants (26)
It shouldn’t have taken a miracle comeback for the G-Men to upset the tanking Cardinals, but all victories — pretty or not — show up the same in the win column. Big Blue avoided a disastrous 0-2 start and saved their own season in the process.
No, it’s not an exaggeration. They next get the 49ers, Seahawks, Dolphins and Bills. Things could have gotten ugly quick with a loss in the desert.
21. Las Vegas Raiders (24)
The Raiders were no match for a superior Buffalo Bills’ squad that crushed them in every department on Sunday. Don’t say we didn’t warn you…
This defense just isn’t suited to stop well-oiled machines like that of the Bills. And if stars like Josh Jacobs and Davante Adams don’t produce up to their usual standards — and they DIDN’T on Sunday — there won’t be any margin for error.
Time to turn the page and head back to Sin City for the home opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
20. New York Jets (15)
The Jets need to quit with their Wilson bias and bring in a QB who can help them win now. Why not see if Kirk Cousins is available? Or Jameis Winston even? Anybody other than Wilson — because the BYU product just isn’t it.
19. Green Bay Packers (14)
Jordan Love had another fine performance without top wideout Christian Watson, but the Packers’ defense carelessly napped throughout the fourth quarter in Atlanta. And cost the Cheeseheads a perfect 2-0 start.
Blown opportunity with their division rivals all losing. Let’s see how they rebound with the Saints coming to town in the Packers’ home opener.
18. Tennessee Titans (23)
Gutsy win for the Titans in their home opener to avoid a disastrous 0-2 start. Ryan Tannehill, DeAndre Hopkins and Derrick Henry didn’t exactly light up the box score, but the Titans still managed to claw out a 27-24 victory over a quality Chargers’ team.
If Henry and Hopkins can get going, the Titans could be a sleeper in the AFC. That fierce front seven will give them a chance to win every game, as we saw on Sunday.
17. Cleveland Browns (9)
Rough loss for the Browns. Their defense certainly came to play against the Steelers, but that Deshaun Watson offense continues to be an absolute mess.
At what point do we stop assuming Watson just needs time to learn Kevin Stefanski’s offense, and start realizing that the Browns legit made one of the worst decisions in NFL history by trading for the former Texans QB?
16. Los Angeles Rams (11)
Death, taxes, and the Rams losing to Kyle Shanahan’s 49ers in the regular season. The more that stays the same…
We suppose the Rams can take solace in the fact they put up 23 points on the league’s best defense without Cooper Kupp. But the real story here is rookie Puka Nacua, who shredded the San Fran secondary for 15 receptions, 147 yards in the 30-23 loss.
Frustrating loss for Sean McVay’s group, alright. But once Kupp returns, the sky will be the limit for this offense. The Rams are not done yet, folks. Up next, a trip to Cincinnati in a Super Bowl 56 rematch.
15. Pittsburgh Steelers (20)
Now that’s the Steelers defense we’re used to seeing. TJ Watt and company showed up on Monday night, scoring two defensive touchdowns and recording six sacks on Deshaun Watson during a big division win.
The offense is still a work in progress, but if Kenny Pickett can keep finding ways to get the ball in the hands of George Pickens, this team just might be alright after all.
14. Washington Commanders (25)
By the hairs on their chinny chin-chins, the Commanders escaped Mile High City with a thrilling 35-33 win. Who cares if they gave up that Hail Mary? The D didn’t give up the two-point conversion that would’ve forced overtime…So yeah.
Sam Howell had a near-flawless outing, completing 27 pass attempts for 299 yards, two touchdowns and zero picks in Washington’s dazzling comeback win over the Broncos.
But it’s time to get serious now with the Bills and Eagles next on the schedule. Prime opportunity for Ron Rivera to show that his team’s for real!
13. Detroit Lions (8)
Disappointing loss for a Lions team that was riding such a high with a Week 1 victory in Kansas City. The secondary looked as helpless as last year’s group, and Dan Campbell’s overly-aggressive fourth-down play-calling finally caught up to him.
We love Campbell’s risk-taking, but he’s gotta know when to hold’em, know when to fold’ em and know when to run. Detroit had its chances to put Seattle away and failed with a tough loss in OT. All they can do is learn from it and be ready for Atlanta in Week 3.
12. Seattle Seahawks (17)
While Seattle’s D slept through much of the contest, Geno Smith and the explosive Seattle offense put on their Superman capes and willed the team to a crucial OT win in Motor City.
Smith was 32-of-41 for 328 yards and two touchdowns, helping Seattle avoid a disastrous 0-2 start. Beautiful and all, but will that D wake up already? 30-plus points allowed in two straight weeks isn’t ideal for a team with championship aspirations.
11. Jacksonville Jaguars (6)
The Jaguars will be kicking themselves for failing to put KC in an 0-2 hole to start the year, no doubt. But we also don’t want to read too much into an early-season loss to the defending champs with the game’s best QB.
On a positive node, the Jaguars held KC to 17 points. Trevor Lawrence and the offense had an uncharacteristically off day, but hey, the toughest game of the year is out of the way.
10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (19)
Break up Baker’s Bucs! For the third straight year, Tampa Bay is 2-0 to begin the season.
But man, is Baker Mayfield’s strong play a fun early-season storyline. He had 317 yards on 26 completions and a touchdown. Mike Evans caught six passes for 171 yards and a touchdown, continuing his dazzling start to the year.
The D sacked Justin Fields six times, and Shaq Barrett’s four-yard pick-six sealed the deal late. Now, if they can upset the Eagles next week? It might be time to take these Bucs more seriously…
9. New Orleans Saints (16)
The Saints improved to 2-0 by beating the Panthers on Monday night, and while their competition hasn’t been great, wins are wins in the NFL.
Derek Carr has had his moments thus far as a Saint, but he’ll still need to clean things up if New Orleans wants to seriously compete in the NFC. Beating the likes of Philly, Dallas and San Fran seems unlikely, but a playoff victory or two is not out of the realm of possibilities.
8. Atlanta Falcons (18)
For the first time since 2017, the Falcons are undefeated heading into Week 3.
Four different Falcons had 40-plus yards receiving. The rushing game gashed Green Bay’s D for 211 yards and a TD on 45 carries. And just as importantly, the defense made big-time stops when it mattered most.
Arthur Smith’s Falcons certainly mean business. Desmond Ridder is doing his job protecting the ball while his skill position guys do the hard part. It’s been a successful formula thus far. Now let’s see how they do in Week 3 against a feisty Detroit team.
7. Buffalo Bill (13)
Much-needed bounce-back win for the Bills after a sloppy loss to the Jets last Monday night. Josh Allen got back to his MVP-like form, and the D made life miserable for Jimmy Garoppolo and company all night long.
Incredibly, Buffalo held reigning rushing champ Josh Jacobs had MINUS-two rushing yards on nine carries. Talk about making a statement.
6. Kansas City Chiefs (4)
It wasn’t all that pretty, but the Chiefs won’t complain about a road win in Jacksonville while also avoiding a brutal 0-and-2 start, that’s for sure.
While the offense continues to work on regaining its form, it’s sure encouraging to see that defense playing as good as ever. Just 30 points allowed against two high-powered offenses in two weeks? Andy Reid will take that all day.
5. Miami Dolphins (7)
More confirmation on Sunday night: This Dolphins offense is in its own stratosphere as long as Tua Tagoavailoa is captaining the ship.
Even Bill Belichick, the greatest defensive whiz in history, had no answer for Miami. He limited Tyreek Hill’s production, sure, but that just opened the door for Raheem Mostert to play hero with 121 rushing yards and two scores.
For those who aren’t counting: Tua is now 23-13-0 as a starter with 56 touchdowns and 25 INTs. Let’s go ahead and put some more respect on his name please, thanks.
4. Baltimore Ravens (5)
This just in: The Ravens are Super Bowl contenders when Lamar Jackson is healthy and operating the offense. Case in point: A 2-0 start thanks to a balanced offense that dropped 27 points on Cincinnati in a three-point win.
This rushing offense was scary enough to deal with. Now opposing defenses must contain an improved pocket passer in Jackson and rookie standout Zay Flowers? Good luck with that.
3. Dallas Cowboys (3)
Through two games, Dallas has outscored its opponent 70-10. That’s absolutely hysterical.
Seven takeaways and 10 sacks in two games. And while we keep raving about the D, one can’t forget that Dak Prescott, CeeDee Lamb and Tony Pollard are doing just fine on the offensive side of the ball as well, thank you very much.
2. Philadelphia Eagles (2)
It wasn’t particularly pretty, but the Eagles’ outlasted the Vikings in a high-scoring affair on Thursday night. D’Andre Swift was the start of the show with 175 yards rushing and a touchdown in the 34-28 Philly.
We haven’t seen a complete team effort yet, but the Eagles are 2-0 anyway. That’s all that matters, and it’s only a matter of time until they eliminate the mistakes and regain their superhero form on both sides of the ball.
1. San Francisco 49ers (1)
One week after humiliating the Steelers on the road, the 49ers traveled back to California and outlasted the rival Rams 30 to 23.
The 49ers were a bonafide Super Bowl contender coming into this year. Through two weeks, they’re also the only club that has played lights-out on both sides of the ball. Consider them the team to beat…for now.
What changes would you make to our Week 3 power rankings?
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