Millenium Week 3 NFL Power Rankings
by Jennifer Jordan
And then there were five.
As week three of the 2007 NFL season comes to a close, many of the undefeated were defeated: only five teams remain unbeaten. While it is still too early for the 1972 Miami Dolphins to start breaking out in a sweat, these teams are off to a great start. As for the rest of the NFL, some teams are good, some are bad, and some are just plain hopeless.
1. New England Patriots (3-0) (Previous rank: 1): Buffalo often plays well against the Patriots: when the Bills had a lead early on, it looked as though Buffalo was out to make a statement. But, before they could say much of anything, the Pats shut ’em up. With New England winning 38-14 the first two weeks, and 38-7 this week, we can’t help but see a pattern: two weeks from now, they will defeat their opponents 38 to 3.5.
2. Indianapolis Colts (3-0) (Previous rank: 2): It was a pretty quiet day for Peyton Manning, not throwing for his usual one thousand yards and seven touchdowns. A contest that relied on the running and kicking game helped put the Colts where they are used to being: undefeated. Still, their special teams looked anything but. This game might have been different had Houston not had so many players out with injuries.
3. Dallas Cowboys (3-0) (Previous rank: 3): Not only did the Dallas Cowboys beat the Bears on the road, but they made them look the furthest thing from ferocious. The duo of Terrell Owens and Tony Romo is going to be a hard one for defenses to stop. There isn’t a better team in the NFC right now; these Cowboys aren’t horsing around. They are here to win.
4. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-0) (Previous rank: 4): Okay, okay. We get it: Pittsburgh is dominating their opponents. With another solid game from Willie Parker, and a stellar defensive showing, the 49ers struck steel instead of gold. Pittsburgh looks good, but let’s wait until they play a real contender before we jump on their bandwagon.
5. Green Bay Packers (3-0) (Previous rank: 9): It’s been a while, but people can once again be proud to be Green Bay fans. Not only have the Packers played solid football, but they have beat good teams. They are playing with emotion and heart. The Packers are the team to beat in their division: when it comes to the NFC North, the cheese stands alone.
6. Baltimore Ravens (2-1) (Previous rank: 8): Baltimore took a page from the team they were playing against: this time, the Ravens blew the big lead. Destroying the Cardinals early, Arizona came from behind to force a last minute field goal, one that Matt Stover, an excellent NFL place kicker for the past fifty or so years, nailed. It wasn’t pretty, but it was a win and, in the end, that’s what matters.
7. Carolina Panthers (2-1) (Previous rank: 12):: Carolina can, in part, thank DeAngelo Hall, the Atlanta Falcon’s cornerback, for their victory. It was his penalties that sealed the deal. While the Panther’s victory is a notch in the win column, they have to do something about their defense. Joey Harrington, yes Joey Harrington, threw for 361 yards against a Carolina defense that appeared to forget what the word “pressure” means.
8. Tennessee Titans (2-1) (Previous rank: 14): Sure, the Saints are winless, but don’t take the credit away from the Titans: going into the Superdome and dominating is no easy feat. Vince Young may be more fun to watch, but this team’s defense is going to get them to the playoffs. They are great at stealing momentum from the opposition.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-1) (Previous rank: 18): Not many teams can go into Mile High and shut down what was the NFL’s leading offense. But, apparently, the Jaguars can. They shut down the run, and intercepted the pass. Their offense did what it needed to do: it kept Jay Cutler off the field. This was a huge win for this Jacksonville team.
10. Denver Broncos (2-1) (Previous rank: 5): This game is going to leave a mark. A team that has the best home winning percentage in the NFL looked a mile low at Mile High. Jacksonville showed everyone how to beat Denver: keep the offense on the sidelines. The Broncos defense didn’t give up many big passes, but they didn’t need to: they couldn’t stop the run. Everyone on the Jaguars team, sans the water boy, ran over Denver’s lineman like they weren’t even there.
11. Seattle Seahawks (2-1) (Previous rank: 13): Their pass defense got eaten up by the Bengalis receiving corps, but their offense bailed them out. Still, if the Seahawks are going to survive in an improved NFC, they need to be a little more solid. They just can’t give up a ton of yardage to the opposition.
12. Houston Texans (2-1) (Previous rank: 10): The Texans might not win any Super Bowls this year, and maybe not even any playoff games, but in the years to come, this team is going to be good. Despite a loss to the Indianapolis Colts, the Texans played well. They kept the game close and they did it with several players injured, including star receiver Andre Johnson. A loss is a bump in the road, but this team will still surprise some people.
13. San Diego (1-2) (Previous rank: 6): The Chargers already have as many losses in just three games this season as they for the entire 2006 season. LaDainian Tomlinson can’t get going, and their pass defense can’t stop anything. Yes, somewhere Marty Schottenheimer is smiling. On the Brightside, Phillip Rivers did have a heck of a game, even if it was in vain.
14. Chicago Bears (1-2) (Previous rank: 7): After this game, everyone will surely be quick to tar and feather Rex Grossman. But, the whole team was awful. Devin Hester couldn’t get anything done on special teams, receivers dropped balls, and Chicago’s pass defense looked pathetic. This was a big game between potential NFC contenders, and Dallas easily took Chicago for a ride: they looked more like “Duh Bears” instead of “Da Bears.”
15. Philadelphia Eagles (1-2) (Previous rank: 20): Well, well, well, look who’s back. It appears as though the yellow and blue uniforms did wonders for the Eagles, it was either that, or their offense. Completely destroying the previously undefeated Detroit Lions, Philadelphia told NFL fans one thing: don’t write them off just yet; it’s a long season.
16. Cincinnati Bengals (1-2) (Previous rank: 11): A losing record this early in the season isn’t something people expected from the Bengals. While their offense didn’t help by turning the ball over, it really comes down to one thing: their defense is lousy. When they play the Patriots next week, gamblers in Vegas better take the over instead of the under. Cincinnati won’t hold New England to just 38 points.
17. San Francisco (2-1) (Previous rank: 15): On Saturday night, the 49ers were undefeated; on Sunday, they got a reality check. Though they didn’t play the worst game ever, San Francisco has to either start putting more points on the board, or start holding their opponents at bay. Until they do, the 49ers will hover right around mediocrity.
18. Tampa Bay (2-1) (Previous rank: 24): Since losing on opening day, Tampa Bay has decimated their opponents, scoring a combined 55 points and holding their opponents to just seventeen. They have some tough road game ahead; how they perform in those will tell us what this team is made of.
19. New York Giants (1-2) (Previous rank: 25): This game belongs to New York’s defense, who had a Giant of a second half. Despite some turnovers, the offense was solid. A few more wins, and New York will be right back in the swing of things.
20. Washington Redskins (2-1) (Previous rank: 16): The Redskins should really be 3-0 right now and they know it. But should of, would of, could of. Their team fell apart in the third quarter. With their schedule, they can’t fall apart in any quarter.
21. Detroit Lions (2-1) (Previous rank: 17): So much for the Lions going undefeated. Not only did the Eagles beat them, but they used them as a statement. Their offense is still good, but the Lion’s defense is sharing a lair with the Bengals. In other words, it’s bad.
22. Arizona Cardinals (1-2) (Previous rank: 22): Well Arizona fans, the bad news is your team lost. The good news is, when things looked to be over, they battled back. If Arizona could actually start to win close games, they would be contenders. Kurt Warner proved to everyone he isn’t done yet.
23. Oakland Raiders (1-2) (Previous rank: 27): There is only one thing to say about this game: Mike Shanahan is the MVP
24. New York Jets (1-2) (Previous rank: 29): With Chad Pennington back, and playing like a man who wants to win, it’s possible the Jets will find themselves soaring. But, let’s not get too carried away: their only victory is against the Dolphins. Even so, they put 31 points on the board and played great special teams. Well see how they do against a not-so-fishy opponent.
25. Kansas City Chiefs (1-2) (Previous rank: 32): With just one victory, the Chiefs find themselves in a three way tie for second place in the AFC West. What does this mean? Anything can happen. Nonetheless, this just doesn’t look like KC’s year. They did okay stopping the run, but their offense can’t do much of anything. LJ is playing like LT. This year, that isn’t a compliment.
26. Minnesota Vikings (1-2) (Previous rank: 21): It used to be losing to Kansas City at Arrowhead was to be expected: not anymore. Minnesota nearly had to beat themselves in this contest. With the exception of the fourth quarter, the Vikings’ defense played well, but their passing game isn’t doing much. This team should be Green (Bay) with envy at the success of the Packers.
27. Cleveland Browns (1-2) (Previous rank: 23): Well, so much for their unreal offense. A week after an awesome offensive performance against the Bengals, the Browns found themselves back in reality. Still, they weren’t awful and if it wasn’t for a last second blocked field goal, they may have won. Cleveland looks better than we thought they would. But, that’s not saying much.
28. New Orleans Saints (0-3) (Previous rank: 19): Oh N.O.! The Saints just can’t get anything done. Despite all the hope and emotion emanating from their fans, they were anything but “super” against the Titans. They are right on the brink of falling into a hole they won’t get out of.
29. Miami Dolphins (0-3) (Previous rank: 26): A lot of people got on the Ronnie Brown bandwagon before the season started and in Sunday’s game he proved why. Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough. Despite Brown, and a good day by Trent Green, Miami couldn’t cool the Jets. This game falls on the shoulders of Miami’s special teams. In close contests, specials teams will make or break victory.
30. Atlanta Falcons (0-3) (Previous rank: 28): On the bright side, Joey Harrington had his best game since being named Atlanta’s starter, on the bad side, everything else. A solid effort by their quarterback was wasted when Atlanta’s defense couldn’t stop the run and their cornerback couldn’t stop committing penalties. They were close, but no cigar…and no tally mark in the win column either.
31. St Louis Rams (0-3) (Previous rank: 30): Despite decent numbers by Steven Jackson, the St. Louis offense is just plain offensive: Marc Bulger’s 3 interceptions and 116 passing yards is a good way to get him MVP…of the other team. This ball club looks 180 degrees different than they did last year at this time.
32. Buffalo Bills (0-3) (Previous rank: 31): Their offense is awful, and their defense, having to play most of the game, is just plain tired. It seems that Buffalo can’t get it going. Sure, they were playing New England, one of the best teams in the league, but these Bills don’t even look like they could play football better than the original Patriots. You know, the ones led by Thomas Jefferson.