Power Rankings: Week 3

| September 25, 2013

power-rank-2013-WK03Denver and Seattle took care of business against the opposite end of the list to maintain position, but a major shake-up right behind them sees three teams tumble from the Top 10.

Three games in, we’re seeing what teams are really made of as they settle into their proper spots and the cream rises, the wheat is separated from the chaff, men from boys, the best of the best from the rest…

Here’s how our analysts see the league after three weeks and the cumulative rank (below) that comes of their ballots.

  Ben Gordon Khaled Nathan Neil Rick Sam Steve
1 DEN DEN DEN DEN DEN DEN DEN DEN
2 SEA SEA SEA SEA SEA SEA SEA SEA
3 NO NE NO CIN NE NO CHI GB
4 GB NO NE GB NO GB NE NE
5 NE GB CHI MIA BAL NE KC NO
6 CHI CHI SF KC GB CHI NO SF
7 CIN BAL GB CHI CHI CIN MIA CHI
8 KC CIN BAL NO DAL KC GB CIN
9 BAL MIA CIN NE ATL MIA CIN DAL
10 DAL ATL KC BAL CIN IND DAL KC
11 MIA HOU DAL ATL KC DAL IND BAL
12 ATL SF MIA HOU HOU BAL SF HOU
13 SF KC HOU DAL MIA HOU TEN MIA
14 HOU DAL ATL DET IND ATL SD IND
15 IND SD IND IND SF SF BAL ATL
16 PHI TEN TEN SF PHI DET ATL DET
17 DET IND DET CAR TEN PHI HOU TEN
18 TEN BUF CAR TEN SD CAR PHI SD
19 SD CAR SD SD DET STL NYJ STL
20 BUF CLE PHI PHI CAR ARZ DET CAR
21 PIT PHI NYJ CLE PIT MIN BUF PIT
22 CAR DET STL STL NYG NYJ STL PHI
23 NYG STL ARZ TB STL SD CAR NYG
24 CLE NYG BUF WAS ARZ BUF ARZ BUF
25 STL NYJ CLE OAK NYJ CLE CLE WAS
26 MIN WAS MIN NYJ CLE TEN NYG MIN
27 NYJ PIT NYG PIT MIN NYG OAK TB
28 WAS MIN WAS NYG WAS WAS WAS CLE
29 ARZ ARZ PIT MIN BUF OAK PIT NYJ
30 TB OAK OAK BUF TB PIT MIN ARZ
31 OAK JAX TB ARZ OAK TB TB OAK
32 JAX TB JAX JAX JAX JAX JAX JAX

 

Tallied and put together, this is how they sift out: (last week’s rank and change in rank in parentheses)

1. Denver Broncos (1, 0)

Another dominant display in front of a primetime audience and the Broncos keep their place at the front of the line. A consensus selection for the second consecutive week, something less than a stomping of Oakland may have shaken the confidence of our voters, but Manning & Co. delivered.

2. Seattle Seahawks (2, 0)

Making a home in the No. 2 spot, Seattle also took out one of the league’s least powerful in the convincing manner expected of them. They won’t play the Broncos along the way, so Seattle will hope to hold serve with fingers crossed for a Denver stumble.

3. New Orleans Saints (8, +5)

A big jump into the Top 3 — thanks to a show of faith by our voters — the Saints handled Arizona as Brees continued to push limits and the improved defense stayed on track. A tough stretch coming up will show if they’re here just for a visit.

4. New England Patriots (6, +2)

Back in the Top 5 to help fill vacancies, the pieces seem to be coming together for New England — at least everything outside of the passing game… and you can’t help but feel they’ll figure that out at some point. If that settles soon, the Patriots could find themselves up here for the duration.

5. Green Bay Packers (4, -1)

Losing the shootout in Cincinnati cost Green Bay a place in the rankings, but due to larger slips around them they head into their bye week staying among the first five. With a group of hungry teams on their tail, the Packers will need to return with some fire in Week 5.

6. Chicago Bears (9, +3)

No last-minute win this week, but a win nonetheless… and 40 points on the scoreboard. After a week of holding flat in the rankings, Chicago leaps up another three and rests on the verge of grabbing a seat at the Top-5 table.

7. Cincinnati Bengals (10, +3)

Hitting their high-water mark at No. 7, the Bengals seem to have shook loose some of the questions that brought doubt as to their place as the season began. A win over Green Bay without a major impact from Geno Atkins suggests they belong.

8. Kansas City Chiefs (10, +2)

A steady climb that has seen them move up the rankings multiple spots each week has the Chiefs being counted among the league’s Top 10 with increasing confidence. Their recipe of conservative offense and attacking defense has worked so far, and they’ll show it at home in four of their next five contests.

9. Baltimore Ravens (12, +3)

The Ravens’ second win on the year has them looking back up toward their season-opening ranking, but not quite there yet. Taking down the Texans on the back of a strong defensive showing is a plus, but the offense has been less than inspiring with the O-line a root of their troubles.

10. Miami Dolphins (14, +4)

A third straight move up, each being bigger than the last, Miami sneaks into the Top 10’s bubble position and is poised for another bump if they can take out the Saints next week. Offseason additions are paying off and Tannehill is changing opinions of the 2012 QB class.

11. Dallas Cowboys (13, +2)

Hovering in this neighborhood for each week of the power rankings to date, Dallas has seen teams rise past and fall below, but they’ve made no ground of their own despite a convincing Week 3 victory and firm grasp of the NFC East lead. Stringing together consecutive wins may help.

12. San Francisco 49ers (3, -9)

From a consecutive-week hold on No. 1 to here in just two games, there’s been quite an unraveling. A pair of clear defeats, faltering QB play, off-field issues and key injuries have taken the air out of this preseason Super Bowl contender.

13. Atlanta Falcons (7, -6)

Manning the middle spot in this three-team free fall, Atlanta finds themselves in need of a ship-righting win at home against New England next week. The left tackle spot remains atop their list of projects – with Baker and Holmes contributing, it has leaked 23 pressures in three games.

14. Houston Texans (5, -9)

Finishing this run of Top 10 tumbles, the Texans fall all the way to 14 as questions were reinforced, and they found the game they couldn’t escape from. A capable group that can’t seem to breach the plateau, it feels as if a result like this against the Ravens was on the way.

15. Indianapolis Colts (17, +2)

In a rebound game, the Colts found form for the first time this season as Andrew Luck returned to his college stomping grounds and salted the recent wounds of his former coach. A determined ground game factored in and Indy rises back to their season-opening position.

16t. Detroit Lions (21, +5)

Their second five-spot rise in three weeks (sandwiched around a drop of three) has Detroit set squarely in the middle and looking up. They’ll have a chance to show their stripes (or their roar, whatever) against the Bears in Week 4.

16t. Tennessee Titans (23, +7)

Fitting that two teams locked in such an even battle on Sunday wind up so near each other on this list. The Titans made the bigger climb to get to the center this week, but they and San Diego both look the part of defining the middle.

18. San Diego Chargers (19, +1)

Like the Titans above them, the Chargers appear to represent the truth of middling teams. Talent to flash, but not enough put together to get hold of significant strides. Each has climbed every week, but perhaps that speaks more to their starting spots.

19. Philadelphia Eagles (15, -4)

Nearly returned now to where they began, the Eagles have followed their exciting opener with a pair of down efforts against the AFC West, and they’ll see Denver next. Offensive pace-watchers be sure to tune in.

20. Carolina Panthers (27, +7)

On the strength of a devastating pass rush and a churning ground game, the Panthers set the Giants down with ease and stepped aside to watch a handful of teams – New York included – slide down past. Carolina hops up out of the Bottom 10.

21. St. Louis Rams (18, -3)

Dismantled by Dallas, the Rams roll downward three spots ahead of their Thursday Night matchup with San Francisco. Will they catch the flailing 49ers as they did twice in 2012? Or will their own inadequacies send them further toward the Bottom 10?

22. Buffalo Bills (21, -1)

Passed by teams determined to fall faster, the Bills post another tough loss and settle in at No. 22. Playing close appears to be their theme for the year, but with five of their next six games against teams in the Top 10 here, that trend will be tested.

23t. Cleveland Browns (28, +5)

A step in the right direction, the Browns secure a win days after recouping a first-round pick for a player clearly not in their plans. Next question is at QB, and what happens after Hoyer helped them to the ‘W’.

23t. New York Jets (29, +6)

One of this week’s big jumps shows just how volatile life can be in and around the Bottom 10. The Jets tried time and again to shoot themselves in the foot with penalties but managed to get away with the win over Buffalo, and they climb over five teams.

25. New York Giants (16, -9)

Chasing Washington down this list, the Giants have lost steps each week, though they’ve avoided a major fall until now. Damage was done by the thorough thrashing that sent them reeling nine spots.

26. Pittsburgh Steelers (25, -1)

Losing nine spots in the two weeks previous, their fall is slowing. Despite Antonio Brown’s best efforts, the Steelers are finding a home in the low 20’s and are coming to grips with their current state.

27. Arizona Cardinals (26, -1)

Their first slide in the rankings takes the Cardinals back just one spot as they couldn’t keep up with New Orleans in Week 3. Inconsistent play from Palmer will not help their chances of climbing.

28. Minnesota Vikings (24, -4)

Again unable to finish, the Vikings fall to 0-3 and give four spots in the rankings to land at the top of the Bottom 5. After last season’s magic, this start is far from expectations in Minnesota.

29. Washington Redskins (20, -9)

The defense showed signs of life but larger issues prevailed – QB play was still not up to speed – and the Redskins drop their third in three tries. They’ve now fallen 16 spots from their rank before the opener.

30. Oakland Raiders (31, +1)

Gaining a spot thanks to Tampa’s fall, Oakland was simply overmatched on Monday Night in Denver. A glimmer of hope here and there isn’t enough to pull them up out of the Bottom 3.

31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (30, -1)

Falling each week we’ve posted these rankings, the Bucs and their anemic offense have just one step keeping them from the floor. If looking for a bright spot, check the play of offensive tackles Penn and Dotson.

32. Jacksonville Jaguars (32, 0)

In another matchup of teams from opposite ends, Jacksonville was set down softly by Seattle. The team turns back to Blaine Gabbert next week, but eyes are shifting toward the 2014 draft.

 

Follow the team on Twitter: NeilBenSamKhaled, Steve, Nathan, Gordon, and Rick … and the main account as well: @PFF

 


 

  • Nick

    I said this last year and I’ll mention it again: I think PFF is missing a big opportunity in power rankings by not incorporating your own rating system into the power rankings.

    Seeing that Ben ranked New Orleans as #3 while Gordon ranked New England as #3 means nothing to me. It is as vague as saying “I think Tom Brady is playing well right now”. That’s what you get from most sports websites.

    Why not utilize your own unique rating system into these power rankings to give fans a different perspective?

    • Nick

      Also – something to think about. Anyone reading power rankings pretty much gets how they all go. 3-0 teams on top with a sprinkling of 2-1 teams. 0-3 on bottom with a sprinkling of 1-2 teams. People debate over the rankings at the top, middle and bottom.

      PFF is uniquely positioned to tell us which teams have a good record despite poor-playing players. Or vice versa. Which team is winning despite poor play? The Titans and Jets are ranked similarly and face off this weekend. Which team is playing better right now on offense…on defense?

      • stephenldidy@me.com

        Well put. When I look at rankings I wonder how the ‘ranker’ discerns, this early betweeen all the 2-1 and 1-2 teams. For example (and I am a Jet fan), what I like about the NYJ v SD and TENN is their defense is playing at an elite NFL level (top 5). Now, their offense is very much a work in progress, and their 2-1 record belies their -6 giveway/takeaway. However, if you’ve watched their games, their defense has been totally dominant. They’ve yet to give up 2 TDs in 1 game. They’ve had 8 TO (3 of which have put their opponent inside the 20, yet have only given up 16pts. Ok, if they continue to give the ball away like that, they’re not likely to sustain that level of dominance. However, glass half full, with a rookie QB, who should get better with more p/t, can you imagine how dominant that unit can be if they start getting takeaways (they only have 2) and start protecting the ball more? I don’t think either SD or Tennessee can point to any 1 unit being among the NFL elite.
        Again, rankings don’t mean anything, because beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But how 4 of you have the Giants ranked higher, after the absolute shellacking they took Sunday is comical. And Steve? He must either be a NE or Giant fan because he has the Jets ranked 29th behind 0-3 Tampa, who’s been so bad they’ve changed QBs and Buffalo who the Jets just trounced. I mean it counts, but if NY doesn’t give Buffalo 2 short fields (on Geno INTs) and four penalty induced 1st downs, on their lone TD drive, how would they have scored?

  • James Barr

    I thought these were supposed to be team rankings, not offense rankings, or Peyton’s Forehead rankings?

    Per points allowed, Seattle’s ranked 1st defensively, 4th offensively; but Denver’s ranked 17th defensively, and 1st offensively, plus their offense hasn’t faced a secondary that has performed even at an average level as of yet. (Ravens crapped the bed week one, then rebounded.)

    Universal consensus pick for Denver at #1 seems like offense is being weighted artificially high, especially since most of the time the more BALANCED team wins the Lombardi, not the most powerful offense.

    • Joey Gardner

      You obviously haven’t seen the Broncos play. Outside of the Ravens game, the game was clearly over before halftime and most points were scored in garbage time. The defense is not Seattle’s, but the offense more than makes up the difference.

      • James Barr

        You’re the 3rd Denver fan to tell me that in the past 36 hours. I have seen them play. Also, you are wrong. Denver’s defense has allowed 33 points in the first halves of games this year, and 38 in the second halves.

        You lose. Stop ignoring reality. The FACTS of the matter prove you wrong.

        • Joey Gardner

          Yes, 10, 7, and 6 points were scored in the second quarters of the games, respectively. However, the nature of these is important. 7 of the 10 points scored against the Broncos in the second quarter of the Ravens’ game were scored with a drive starting on the two yard line because of Welker’s muffed catch. These points are better attributed to Special Teams allowed. Also in that game, the Broncos scored another defensive touchdown that was dropped before the goal line that does not show up in your superficial examination. The other first half touchdown was given up on a play in which the safety overplayed a pass route and was taken out by the cornerback on the play. It was a flukey play and not at all an appropriate barometer for the defense. Also, that game was over in the first quarter and the Broncos went into a prevent defense.

          If you take away the special teams play, the Broncos’ DEFENSE has given up 26 points in the first half, 1/3 less than the second half which is a significant difference.

          Outside of this, the global numbers that you cite are not statistically significant because the sample size is too low. This is why PFF is a great site – it recognizes the inherent flaws in small-sample and reductionist global statistics and assesses teams on a play-by-play basis. They have determined that, on a play-by-play basis, the Broncos are a better team than the Seahawks. I would hazard to agree.

          Also, your disagreement with eight impartial judges and one biased one (me) indicates that you, sir, are the blind homer.

          • James Barr

            You do realize that PFF’s team rankings are not based on their statistics, right? Why do you think Nick, who posted above us, wants them to change how they do team rankings?

            You’re making a correlation that isn’t there. Not to mention, I specifically said it’s a small sample size.

            Also, you don’t see me making excuses for the Seahawks allowing more points to the Jaguars than they should have. We had backups on the field playing for 10 of their 17 accrued points, plus one TD was from the two-yard line off of a tipped ball that got intercepted.

          • stephenldidy@me.com

            It’s getting mean….

          • Joey Gardner

            I would expect that. I can’t see Jacksonville scoring any other way. I was responding to the assertion that Seattle is a more balanced team than the Broncos by saying that the Broncos are just as balanced. Our defense is at the same level relative to the league that your offense is; around 10-15. Our offense and your defense are easily number one, but our offense is going to be historically good while your defense is maybe the best one of the last two or three years.

            And, if you watched it play-by-play – this is a consistent criticism by Denver journalists – the Broncos’ defense has let up with a big lead. The correlation is there, but just like staring at a very small area on an overall scatter plot, you can’t see much unless you understand the underlying mechanism.

      • James Barr

        Also, here’s the Denver defense points allowed by quarter:

        Q1: 10
        Q2: 23
        Q3: 14
        Q4: 24

        Yeah, they’re giving up all their points in garbage time. The 4th quarter beats out the 2nd quarter by one point. Your argument is invalid because you’re a blind homer. Good day sir!

  • kmc1499

    I dont see how you have one win teams in the top ten. Ranking are about how there playing now. Makes no sense, does not pass the eyeball test. GB at 5 wil you have other 3 win teams lower down?

  • Jeff

    Looks like some of the writers still like the Giants over the Jets. When the Giants clearly look like a disaster in every facet of the game

    • RealMilkman

      Yeah, it’s pretty silly. As is the assertion that they got away with a win despite all those penalties, rather than the reality–that all those penalties turned what was an absolute shallacking of Buffalo into a close game.

  • Chris

    Come on now, GB ahead of Chicago with 2 losses and one against a common opponent?

    The writers are projecting past performances onto future results…GB is historically better than Chicago therefore they must rank higher even though, so far this year, they clearly are not better.

    • 85was28yrsago

      just like they clearly were not better than chicago in the first 3 games of 2010 or the first 8 weeks in 2012… what happened?
      Oh right, The Bears tebow like fluke victories stopped happening.

      • Chris

        Thank you for proving my point; 2010, 2012 has zero bearing on 2013.

        Maybe Minnesota should be ranked higher than Chicago too because they made the play offs last year…

  • donpat

    The only ranking that makes any sense is Nathan’s. How can the Packers be ranked so high when they lost to the Bengals. And why is NE ranked so high when they barley beat sub 500 teams?

  • Scott@Seattle

    Ranking Seattle vs Denver is personal choice, but it does surprise me that its unanimous. Its as questionable as saying Peyton Manning ‘shredded’ the Seattle defense. (in preseason) He scored 7 points in 6 possessions.

  • BrandRiha

    Who’s this Rick character? Explain why you have Tennessee at 26??? That is flat out laughable. This is not last year’s Titans, sir.