The S3’s NFL Power Rankings Week 3; 49ers Still On Top!
Written by Jeff Demers on 09/19/2023
While the top of The S3’s NFL Power Rankings look similar to those in Week 2, there is a lot of movement, starting with the surprising Tampa Bay Buccaneers who has moved into the top 10. And Eric Bieniemy is starting to remind people who the mastermind was behind the Chiefs offense as his and Ron Rivera’s Commanders are still undefeated and moving up the charts. Remember, my NFL Power Rankings are not based on team popularity or future projections. This is a “what have you done for me lately(?)” list. If you have not lost yet, then you moved up the list. If you get beat down, you move down. If you lose a close game to a top team, you either stay where you are or you fall, but just a bit. And if you lose a 21-POINT LEAD AT HOME (Cardinals), then you go sit in your room and don’t come out until I call on you!!
- San Francisco 49ers (2-0, E)- The 49ers look really good right now. If Joey Bosa gets back up to game speed, then the 49ers will continue to dominate at the top of the power rankings. Christian McCaffrey is still doing “Run CMC” things and appears to be unstoppable early on.
- Philadelphia Eagles (2-0, E)- Uh oh. The Philadelphia Eagles have a legit running game, and it doesn’t include their star quarterback to run for 70+ yards per game. DeAndre Swift came out swinging in his first start for the Eagles and ended with 175 yards rushing and a touchdown on 28 carries.
- Dallas Cowboys (2-0, +1)- What have you done for me lately? Well, you’ve started the season outscoring your two opponents by an average score of 35-5. And to put an early cherry on top of a hot start, the Cowboys go to Arizona in Week 3.
- Baltimore Ravens (2-0, +1)- Gus Edwards did just enough to fill in as the new #1 running back for the Ravens to keep the defense honest (6.2 YPC, 1TD). And rookie WR Zay Flowers is averaging just over 10.8 yards per reception, but still looking for his first touchdown.
- New Orleans Saints (2-0, +1)- I picked the Saints to win their division this year. I said before Week 1 that if they can come out of the Alvin Kamara suspension (3 games) with a 2-1 record, they’ll be just fine. Well, that’s now the worst-case scenario as the Saints have started off 2-0 and visit the Packers in Week 3.
- Miami Dolphins (2-0, +4)- They’re running the same play. They’re running the same play. THEY’RE RUNNING THE SAME DAMN PLAY! How many times did I yell that at the television prior to the snap of last week’s win over my Patriots? Too many to count. Dolphins look good to start the season and seeing Mostert run the ball with a purpose could spell disaster for the rest of the NFL.
- Kansas City Chiefs (1-1, E)- Travis Kelce came back. Travis Kelce scored a touchdown. Chiefs win. Wash, rinse, and repeat from here on out as long as Kelce stays healthy.
- Buffalo Bills (1-1, E)- SIT EVERYONE! That was my advice to fantasy owners who had Raiders on their roster. Everyone who knows football, and everyone who doesn’t know football knew the Raiders were going to get destroyed by the Bills this past weekend. Bills visit the undefeated Commanders in Week 3.
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-0, +6)-Baker Mayfield is the answer, said nobody….ever. Okay, maybe the Browns said it once, and maybe the Bucs are hoping that’s the case. But you must give credit where credit is due. Mayfield and Evans seem to have a great connection and the Bucs are 2-0 to start the season.
- Green Bay Packers (1-1, -1)- Textbook definition on how to blow a late-game double-digit lead. I’m going to write this one off as an upset loss to the Falcons and only that. Jordan Love needs to get back on the ball, despite his offense being hit with multiple injuries to start the season. Tough matchup against a stingy Saints defense in Week 3.
- New York Jets (1-1, -8)- This may be the last time the New York Jets are in the top 20 of my NFL Power Rankings. The “good news” is they are hosting a Patriots team that can’t run the ball and struggles with slow starts. The “bad news” is that the Jets haven’t beat the Patriots in their last 14 games, the longest current losing streak for any team against another in the NFL.
- Detroit Lions (1-1, -1)- After beating the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs in Week 1, the Lions found themselves in a shootout against the Seahawks and dropping their first game of the season 37-31. Jared Goff’s attempt at breaking the record for the most pass attempts without an interception crashed with a Seahawk interception for a touchdown early in the 4th quarter. Let’s see if the Lions can get back on track this week when they host the 2-0 Falcons.
- Washington Commanders (2-0, +6)- Eric Bieniemy is an offensive mastermind, perhaps the best OC in the NFL. And the Washington Commanders are reaping the benefits with their 2-0 start. Bieniemy will need one hell of a game plan this week as the Commanders host the Buffalo Bills.
- Seattle Seahawks (1-1, +9)- The Seattle Seahawks jumped a big nine spots in this week’s power rankings. And I think it’s time we put some respect on Geno Smith’s name as he continues to prove the haters wrong about his starting status. Geno Smith is a top 10 quarterback in this league, and he’ll have a shot to continue to prove the haters wrong this week as the Seahawks how a stubborn Panthers defense in Week 3.
- Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1, +6)- Let’s be honest here, Nick Chubb was on track for over a 200-yard game before he got hurt. Even with him out, the Steelers still struggled as backup Jerome Ford would rush for 106 yards on 16 attempts, and had 25 yards receiving with a score. The Steelers moved up this week based on pure luck as they were thoroughly embarrassed on the ground by Cleveland.
- Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1, -2)- The positives: Christian Kirk got on track with a 110-yards receiving day. The defense played well enough to keep the Jags in the game, only allowing 17 points to the Chiefs. The negatives: The Jaguars couldn’t get in the end zone a single time as the Chiefs defense was bolstered by the return of Chris Ford. Jacksonville will attempt to get back on track this week as they host the Houston Texans.
- Tennessee Titans (1-1, +7)- Even with the win, I’m still not convinced the Tennessee Titans are going to be a competitive team in an otherwise weak division with two rookie quarterbacks to face. Derek Henry is a shell of his former self, only averaging 3.6 yards per carry and yet to hit the 100-yard mark early on. The Titans will go up against a tough Browns defense in Week 3 who just held the Steelers top two running backs to just over 60 yards rushing.
- Los Angeles Rams (1-1, E)- Even with the one-score loss last week to the top team on my NFL Power Rankings, the Rams are still a pretty good team. To say that I’m impressed with rookie WR Puka Nacua (15 receptions, 147 yards in Week 2) is an understatement and I’m hoping that DraftKings keeps his value low (doubt it) so I can continue to put him on my DFS teams. Let’s see if he can continue to rack up the stats in Week 3 when the Rams head to Cincinnati on Monday Night Football.
- Atlanta Falcons (2-0, +6)– It showed a lot for this young team to come back in the 4th Quarter against the Packers and a double-digit deficit. I’m still nervous about picking them straight up, but picking them to cover in Week 3 might be a possibility against the Lions, a matchup usually tough for a run-first team against a throw-first offense.
- Cincinnati Bengals (0-2, -7)- How do you have that receiving corps and still struggle to put up points? The Bengals need to figure it out, and they don’t have much tome as the Rams are coming into town with their explosive rookie wide receiver.
- Cleveland Browns (1-1, -8)- The loss of Nick Chubb is absolutely devastating, there is no way around it. Maybe it’s time for the quarterback with the largest guarantee (percentage wise) in NFL history to actually look like he deserved that paycheck. The Browns have a good defensive matchup against the Titans in Week 3 and might not need too many points to pull off the win.
- Minnesota Vikings (0-2, -7)- “Do you like that?” No, Kirk, they Vikings fans don’t like that. Starting off 0-2 with arguably the best wide receiver in the NFL is not something you want to see. Plus, you went out and drafted a strong #2 WR in Addison to complement you. The positives is that Addison showed in Week 2 that he has the speed that defenses need to pay attention to and that could possibly take some of the double-team’s off of Jefferson. The Vikings look to get on track in Week 3 when they face a Chargers defense that has allowed an average of 31.5 points per game to start the season.
- Los Vegas Raiders (1-1, -2)– Let’s just not look at the game film against the Bills (burn it) and move right into your Sunday Night matchup against the Steelers. I like the matchup for Josh Jacobs in this game against a Steelers defense who struggled against the Cleveland rushing attack.
- Los Angeles Chargers (0-2, -7)- As of right now, there is no timetable for Ekeler’s return, and that is a huge chunk out of the Chargers offense, even if it is led by Justin Herbert. On top of that, your defense is terrible and about to take on Justin Jefferson in Minnesota. Good luck with that.
- New York Giants (1-1, +2)- I took a nap with the Giants down three scores. And then I woke up and they were tying the game. But a matchup against the tough 49ers defense spells “no bueno” for the Giants, especially being without Barkley for a few weeks. Just close your eyes, Giants fans, and hope for the nightmare ride to end soon.
- Indianapolis Colts (1-1, +3)- Anthony Richardson is legit. However, Anthony Richardson is in concussion protocol this week after hitting his head on the turf after a touchdown run. The Colts will lean toward Minshew if Richardson is a no-go for Week 3 against a tough Ravens defense in Baltimore.
- New England Patriots (0-2, -5)- Here are the positives: The Patriots defense has gone up against DeVante Smith, A.J. Brown, Tyreek Hill, and Jaylen Waddle in their first two weeks and haven’t allowed any one of them over 86 yards. Christian Gonzalez is proving his worth as a 1st round pick, and they have had a chance at the end of both of their losses to either tie or take the lead on their last possession. They held Tyreek Hill to only 40 yards receiving (after 200+ in Week 1) and Tua to only 249 passing yards (after 400+ in Week 1). The negatives, the Patriots offensive line can’t block anyone, they can’t run the ball, the defense can’t stop the rush, and receivers keep fumbling the ball. But here’s another positive….the Patriots now take on a Zach Wilson led New York Jets team that they have beat 14 straight times. So we’ll see if the Patriots can get a “W” in the win column heading into New York (New Jersey) on Sunday.
- Denver Broncos (0-2, -2)- This is not the ideal start that new head coach Sean Payton wanted after taking the reins of the Denver Broncos in the offseason. They’ll try not to fall to 0-3 when they take on the high-flying Miami Dolphins offense in Miami on Sunday. As Gorilla Monsoon once said to Bobby Heenan… “Highly unlikely, Brain.”
- Chicago Bears (0-2, -1)- Justin Fields MVP talk anyone? ANYONE? Because that’s all we heard all off-season is that Justin Fields should be a front-runner for MVP. Moving on! The Bears are terrible and they take on the Chiefs in Kansas City. Justin Fields MVP anyone? Buehler?
- Carolina Panthers (0-2, +1)- The Carolina Panthers showed a lot of grit in their loss to the Saints on Monday Night. I didn’t expect them to win, but they made it interesting at the end. The Panthers will take on a tough offense in Seattle in Week 3.
- Houston Texans (0-2, +1)- To be honest, they should still be in last place. But they are thankful that the Arizona Cardinals are still an NFL team, so they get to move up this week. The Texans travel to Jacksonville and try and stop a Jaguars team from getting their offense back on track in Week 3.
- Arizona Cardinals (0-2, -2)- YOU ARE IN A TIMEOUT MISTER! You sit there in that corner and you think about what you just did and how it made people feel!! Up by three scores at home to lose to the Giants. FOR SHAME!! Cardinals have an opportunity to redeem themselves in Week 3 as they…..who am I kidding, the Cowboys are going to destroy them at State Farm Stadium in Glendale on Sunday. It’s going to be one of those times that something so bad is happening that you should look away, but at the same time you want to see more.
Host of The S3 with JD Podcast