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Week 3 Power Rankings

Matt Schaub has the Texans undefeated and atop my power rankings.

Some additions to the weekly power rankings table. After the team name, I have listed each team’s record in column two and the number of wins I’m projecting each team to finish the season with in column 3 (i.e., the power rankings and the metric by which the table is sorted). The fourth column – PWIN – shows how many wins I projected for that team last week, and the difference column represents how many wins I added or subtracted this week. The “RSOS” column stands for the remaining SOS for the team, based on the number of projected wins I’m giving to each of their opponents. The “RHG” column stands for remaining home games. Lastly, my witty and insightful comments remain in the final column.

A lot of power rankings out there had Green Bay as #1 entering week 1, New England up top before week 2, and the 49ers in the 1 spot last week. That means each week of the season, the #1 team on most power rankings have lost. I didn’t do pre-season power rankings, but I did have New England first two weeks ago and San Francisco number one last week. This week, it’s the Texans chance to disappoint their fan base.

The other surprising nugget? There are just two 0-3 teams so far this season, and one of them is the Saints. The Cleveland Browns are now everyone’s front runners to win the Matt Barkley sweepstakes. If Brandon Weeden wants to keep his job, he’ll have to earn it.

Houston Texans3-0121110.4716No compelling reason not to list the Texans as the best team in the NFL. The schedule is easy -- Houston will be favored in nearly every game -- so the Texans can easily go 9-4 the rest of the way.
San Francisco 49ers2-11112-10.5006A loss to Minnesota has to drop them a game. I'll keep them at 11 for now, but a loss to either the Jets or the Bills the next two weeks probably gets them back down to 10.
New England Patriots1-21112-10.4816By sweeping their not-so-good division, New England can go 4-3 against the rest of their schedule and get to 11 wins. A 12- or 13-win season isn't out of the question, and the Pats are only two plays away from 3-0.
Baltimore Ravens2-1111010.4907Joe Flacco was his typical inconsistent self, but Torrey Smith gets the award for performance of the week. Without Terrell Suggs I hestitate to put them at 11 wins, but their rest of season schedule is pretty manageable.
Atlanta Falcons3-0111010.4666 I still have questions about Atlanta's offensive line and defense, but they're off to a great start. With an easy schedule and three banked wins -- the Falcons are probably a favorite to get a bye.
Pittsburgh Steelers1-21011-10.4816The bye week comes at a good time for the Steelers, who should get a healthy James Harrison, Troy Polamalu and Rashard Mendenhall in week five. I'm only dropping them one win for that ugly second half against Oakland because Ben Roethlisberger had another great game.
Green Bay Packers1-21011-10.4577Technically, four of my top five teams from last week lost. And technically, Green Bay is now 1-2. Officially, the Packers passing offense looks like garbage, as Aaron Rodgers ranks 28th in ANY/A. The Packers get the Rams, Colts and Jaguars in October, which is a decent consolation prize.
Philadelphia Eagles2-1910-10.5056Yeah, they had a disaster against Arizona. And the Eagles can't protect Michael Vick. But doesn't this happen every year and then Philadelphia wins 5 in a row?
New York Giants2-19900.5347Giants looked outstanding against Carolina, but not ready to bump them to 10 wins/project a 8-5 finish against a brutal remaining schedule. A win in Philadelphia this weekend bumps them to 10 wins, but a loss probably won't drop them from 9 wins.
Dallas Cowboys2-19900.5106A 'take care of business' day against Tampa Bay. For any team in the NFC East, that's a must.
Seattle Seahawks2-19810.5007The Seahawks got a free win this week, but Russell Wilson struggled for much of the game. Still, an excellent performance by the defense against Green Bay and a strong running game show that they are a real threat in the NFC.
Arizona Cardinals3-09720.5147A two-game bump seems appropriate given how dominant the Cardinals' defense and special teams have been so far. I'm far from convinced about this team, though, which is why I'm still projecting a losing record the rest of the way.
Denver Broncos1-2910-10.4667You know, this power rankings thing is harder than I thought. There's a very strong temptation to drop losing teams by a win and bump winning teams by one. I'm trying to resist that temptation, but so far, I'm not very good at it. Expect future Chase to make fun of current Chase for really squiggly lines when I post the final win charts. Oh, and Denver is lucky the AFC West stinks and their remaining schedule is full of flour and sugar.
Chicago Bears2-19900.5107An unimpressive win against the Rams. Jay Cutler is last in the NFL in ANY/A. The Bears have already used their Rams and Colts coupons1 which means they need to play a lot better to go 7-6 the rest of the way. Fortunately the defense looks good so far.
San Diego Chargers2-189-10.4817Philip Rivers has a career high completion rate (67%) and a career low yards per attempt average (6.7). You know what that means: his anemic 10.0 yards per completion is horrible by any standard, let alone that of the guy who led the league in that metric in '09. I'm not ready to bail on the Chargers, but I'm close. Unfortunately for San Diego, I don't think an easy schedule means much for a team accustomed to shooting itself in the foot.
New York Jets2-189-10.5106A win over Miami helps, but the Jets drop due to the Darrelle Revis injury. Even 8 wins will be tough, but I think the Jets can win 2 games against the AFC South, with 2 out of 4 against BUF/MIA/NE/NE, and then 2 out of 5 against the NFC West and San Diego.
Cincinnati Bengals2-18710.4956After an ugly week 1, Andy Dalton and the Bengals are looking better. I'm far from on the bandwagon, but they might be the favorite right now for the AFC's 6 seed.
Buffalo Bills2-18710.5006Took care of business against the Browns; hopefully the injury to C.J. Spiller doesn't cost him to miss much time. If Ryan Fitzpatrick could improve even a little, Buffalo could sneak into the playoffs.
Detroit Lions1-279-20.5386A fluky game all around in Tennessee, but that's a bad loss for the Lions. They're a last-second win against the Rams from being 0-3, a bad sign for a team with a brutal remaining schedule.
New Orleans Saints0-378-10.5487If we restarted the season, I would still like New Orleans. But I can't project them to do any better than 7-6 against the rest of the way against the toughest schedule in the league.
Carolina Panthers1-278-10.5197Projecting a 6-7 finish for a team with 6 home games left and no cupcakes until December. Playoff hopes on the brink this weekend in Atlanta.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers1-27700.4816A close in Dallas isn't anything to cry about. But if they have playoff aspirations, they'll need to beat Washington this week. Of course, the same holds true for the Redskins. Huge difference between 1-3 and 2-2.
Kansas City Chiefs1-27610.4716A save the season win in New Orleans gives them a one win bump. The good news is Jamaal Charles looks great and the AFC West is as wide open as it gets.
Minnesota Vikings2-17520.5107If we chose Pro Bowlers after week 3, Christian Ponder would make it in the NFC and Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees would not. A huge win over the 49ers at least gives the Vikings some playoff hope.
Washington Redskins1-26600.5346I'm not going to sour on Robert Griffin III, but losing to Cincinnati and dropping to 1-2 is a blow to playoff aspirations when you have a tough remaining schedule. Do-or-die game against Tampa Bay this week.
Miami Dolphins1-26600.5007The run defense has been excellent and Reggie Bush looked as good as I've seen him in the first half against the Jets; fortunately his knee injury is not expected to cause him too miss much time.
Tennessee Titans1-26510.4907Jake Locker had a great game, but the defense and Chris Johnson are very shaky. When Locker is the consistent element of your team, you're in trouble.
Oakland Raiders1-26510.4817That was a gritty win against the Steelers, but Oakland has to get a lot better if they want to make the playoffs. Their defense is not very good.
St. Louis Rams1-256-10.5536The NFC West is brutal; the Rams are going to be heavy underdogs most weeks, making even 5 wins a challenging goal. They need to win at least one game the next two week as they host Seattle and Arizona or this season could go downhill in a hurry.
Jacksonville Jaguars1-25500.4906Blaine Gabbert still has a long way to go. Before the 80-yard throw to Cecil Shorts that won the game, he was averaging fewer than five yards per attempt this year.
Indianapolis Colts1-25500.4907Tough loss to the Jaguars and one where Chuck Pagano again made some questionable strategy calls. But I think Luck and the offense has enough firepower to get them 4 more wins.
Cleveland Browns0-34400.5247The schedule doesn't lighten up, and the Browns are staring 0-6 down the hole with trips to Baltimore and New York on tap. I'll wait until they lose both of those games before dropping them to 3 wins.
  1. I liked when Mike Tanier used that line last week, so I'm going to steal it. Although I don't know if it's stealing it if I announce that I'm doing it. []
  • Danish

    Clever banner picture. Joe Mays is Tyson then I guess.

  • DB

    Chase – did my comments on Arizona from last last week’s power ranking have any influence on you? My followup comment mentioned that I expected ARI to be 6-1 after week 7. The one loss I was anticipating was to the Eagles. I’m going to stick with 6-1, the Cards will probably stumble somewhere or have a significant injury.

    Also, your comment on the Giants – “…not ready to bump them to 10 wins/project a 8-5 finish against a brutal remaining schedule…”. A projected 8-5 finish would give the Giants 10 wins.

    This is fun. Out of all the rankings out there, I like yours the best.

    • Chase Stuart

      DB – sorry for the confusion, basically I was saying I’m not ready to give them 10 wins because I don’t think they go 8-5 against that schedule. I was basically arguing against someone saying “the Giants aren’t going to win 10 games? Why not?”

      I’m not sure what to do with Arizona. Your comment did have some influence, but their destruction over Philadelphia helped too. It’s hard to project a 3-0 team to go 8-8, so I went with 9-7. I still think they’re going to struggle at times because I think the QB situation is a disaster, but a 3-0 start will give them a boost.

      Glad to hear you like the rankings!