NFL Power Rankings for Week 3: Logjam emerges behind elite
Maybe the legacy-minded members of the 1972 Miami Dolphins will be able to celebrate a little earlier this season.
The alums from the NFL’s only perfect team always breathe a little easier after the last undefeated team loses each year. It took eight weeks last season.
Well, after just two weeks of the 2022 season, the group of unbeatens is down to six. In fact, there are more winless teams (seven) remaining. For the non-math wizards, that means 19 of 32 teams have split their first two games.
Here are The Post’s power rankings for Week 3, sorting through the logjam in the middle:
1. Buffalo Bills 2-0 (Last week: 1)
What was more impressive? An offense that scored 41 points and threw for 313 yards, with Stefon Diggs catching three touchdown passes? Or a defense that held two-time NFL rushing champion Derrick Henry to 25 yards and limited the Titans to seven points? Hard to believe the Bills lost to the Titans each of the last two years.
2. Kansas City Chiefs 2-0 (2)
There has been a lot of talk about an improved defense to go with the explosive offense. Not a lot of it focused on rookie seventh-round draft pick Jaylen Watson, whose 99-yard interception return for a touchdown broke a fourth-quarter tie and sparked a win against the Chargers. Justin Watson (no relation) caught a touchdown pass.
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2-0 (4)
Tom Brady threw a tablet to the ground in the bench area when it looked like the Buccaneers were headed to a fifth straight regular-season loss against the Saints. But then he threw a touchdown to Breshad Perriman during a decisive 17-point fourth-quarter outburst after his favorite receiver, Mike Evans, was ejected during a brawl.
4. Los Angeles Chargers 1-1 (3)
Two concerns moving forward: First, Justin Herbert suffered a fracture to his rib cartilage that severely limited his mobility — but not his ability to throw darts — late in the loss to the Chiefs. Second, head coach Brandon Staley punted twice on fourth-and-2 near midfield. The NFL’s biggest fourth-down gambler looked conservative in a 27-24 loss.
5. Philadelphia Eagles 2-0 (7)
If Jalen Hurts plays as well as he did in a 24-7 win against the Vikings, the Eagles are the NFC’s best team. Hurts completed 26 of 31 passes for 333 yards, ran for 57 yards and combined for three touchdowns. After years of cycling through cornerbacks, Darius Slay and James Bradberry make a formidable pair.
6. Los Angeles Rams 1-1 (6)
After a poor performance in the Super Bowl and a worse season-opener going against Ja’Marr Chase and Diggs, respectively, Jalen Ramsey redeemed himself with an end-zone interception to preserve a 31-27 win over the Falcons. The Rams nearly blew a 28-3 lead built on Cooper Kupp’s 11 catches and two touchdowns.
7. Miami Dolphins 2-0 (13)
Three years after a humiliating 59-10 season-opening loss to the Ravens, the Dolphins exacted revenge in equally stunning fashion. Tua Tagovailoa threw six touchdown passes, including four in the fourth quarter to erase a 21-point deficit and win, 42-38. The fastest duo in the NFL — Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle — combined for 22 catches for 361 yards and four touchdowns.
8. Minnesota Vikings 1-1 (8)
The stinker laid Monday in Philadelphia might have been worse than the one there in the NFC Championship game in January 2018. Justin Jefferson and Dalvin Cook combined for 84 yards from scrimmage, and Kirk Cousins threw three interceptions. That Week 1 rout of the Packers feels like a long time ago.
9. Green Bay Packers 1-1 (10)
Some things never change. Aaron Rodgers improved to 24-5 all time against the Bears, though he had plenty of rushing and defensive help in a 27-10 whooping. Some things change: The Packers are one win away from tying the Bears for most wins in NFL history (784) — a record held by Chicago since 1921, according to Elias Sports Bureau.
10. Baltimore Ravens 1-1 (5)
Maybe the Ravens should’ve thought twice before letting go of defensive coordinator Wink Martindale after last season. Passes were flying over the head of defensive backs as the Dolphins piled up 233 yards in the fourth quarter alone. It negated Lamar Jackson’s remarkable performance (318 passing yards, 119 rushing yards, four total touchdowns).
11. San Francisco 49ers 1-1 (17)
12. Dallas Cowboys 1-1 (20)
13. Arizona Cardinals 1-1 (22)
14. New York Giants 2-0 (23)
The Giants are 2-0 for the first time since 2016 because kickers matter. They celebrated when the Titans missed a last-second 47-yard field goal in Week 1. They beat the Panthers in Week 2 because Graham Gano went 4-for-4 on field goals, including two from 50-plus yards. A defense mostly made up of rookies and journeymen is creating havoc.
15. New England Patriots 1-1 (26)
16. Pittsburgh Steelers 1-1 (9)
17. New Orleans Saints 1-1 (14)
18. Seattle Seahawks 1-1 (18)
19. Denver Broncos 1-1 (19)
29. Cincinnati Bengals 0-2 (11)
21. Las Vegas Raiders 0-2 (16)
22. New York Jets 1-1 (30)
With 2:09 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Browns had a 99.8 percent win probability. Final score in regulation: Jets 31, Browns 30. After head coach Robert Saleh went out on a limb with his “taking receipts” rant, the Jets played hard for 60 minutes and needed every second for a miracle 13-point rally helped by an onside kick.
23. Cleveland Browns 1-1 (15)
24. Detroit Lions 1-1 (31)
25. Washington Commanders 1-1 (21)
26. Jacksonville Jaguars 1-1 (29)
27. Chicago Bears 1-1 (25)
28. Tennessee Titans 0-2 (22)
29. Indianapolis Colts 0-1-1 (12)
30. Houston Texans 0-1-1 (28)
31. Carolina Panthers 0-2 (27)
32. Atlanta Falcons 0-2 (32)
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