NFL Power Rankings and Awards: Week 3


Sep 27, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Atlanta Falcons running back Devonta Freeman (24) spikes the ball after scoring a fourth quarter touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

With the Green Bay Packers’ 10-point victory over the Kansas City Chiefs, Week 3 is now in the books. After three weeks of action, seven teams are left undefeated while four teams have yet to win their first game. Some teams are gaining momentum, while others are finally on the board after two straight losses. So with that, let’s get into the weekly awards.

AFC MVP: A.J. Green

A.J. Green went off on Sunday, posting the best game of his career with a 10 catches, 227 yards and two touchdowns in the Bengals’ 28-24 win over the Ravens. Green’s first touchdown came just seven seconds after the Bengals had been trailing for the first time of the 2015 season, and his second touchdown came just minutes later, right after Baltimore took the lead for a second time. Green’s two touchdowns sealed the Bengals’ victory in the fourth quarter, and his presence on the field is a huge reason why the Bengals have been so successful on offense thus far in 2015.

NFC MVP: Devonta Freeman

Who saw that Devonta Freeman performance coming? Taking 30 carries for 141 yards and three touchdowns against a hot Cowboys run defense coming off a week in which it allowed negative two collective yards to DeMarco Murray, Ryan Matthews and Darren Sproles was something no one imagined Freeman was even capable of doing. And in absolutely obliterating the Cowboys’ defense, Freeman helped his Falcons overcome a 14-point deficit and score 25 unanswered points in the second half to beat the Dallas Cowboys,preserving Atlanta’s undefeated record. Aaron Rodgers deserves a mention for his performance on Monday night, but I liked Freeman’s outing on Sunday more, particularly because he’s a running back and this is the first time I’ve highlighted a running back as a weekly MVP. Plus, we all already know that Rodgers is the greatest football player on the planet.

Coach of the Week: Rex Ryan

Rex’s Bills look legit. And Rex is just that kind of coach that makes football so enjoyable–he named BullyGate principal Richie Incognito a captain in his return to Sun Life Stadium; only Rex Ryan could ever think of doing something like that. To top the week off, Ryan’s Bills trounced the division rival Dolphins in a statement victory–and as a result, the Bills have jumped a spot forward in the Power Rankings.

With the awards handed out, let’s get right into it and take a look at this week’s Power Rankings. If you don’t agree with where your team is ranked, just remember that I purposely ranked them lower than they should be ranked as a personal attack on you because I don’t like your team. That being said, hit me up on Twitter @HoweNFL if you want to discuss why I ranked your team where I ranked it. Without further ado, let’s get started.

(3-0). Previous: 1st. New England Patriots. 1. team. 47. Do I even need to explain this ranking? <a href=

Previous: 2nd. Green Bay Packers. 2. team. 49. There’s not much to say about the Packers, mainly because they’re a top two NFL team. Aaron Rodgers is still the best player in the NFL, and the Packers are still a great football team. With games against the 49ers, Rams and Chargers coming up, the Packers may not lose for a while.. (3-0)

How ’bout them Cardinals? Bruce Arians’ team has humiliated all three of its opponents, outscoring its opponents by 77 points in just three weeks. That’s an average winning margin of 25.7 points per game! And although this Cardinals team hasn’t faced what many consider “serious competition,” Arizona’s ability to dismantle opponents shows that this team is much better than last year’s team–which by the way, was a dang good team.. (3-0). Previous: 3rd. Arizona Cardinals. 3. team. 32

Previous: 4th. Cincinnati Bengals. 4. team. 56. This year’s Bengals team feels a lot like last year’s team, starting with the fact that both teams jumped out to a quick 3-0 start. This year’s team, however, is much better and as of now, is the clear best team in the AFC behind the Patriots. The Bengals don’t have to deal with an early-season bye like they did in 2014, their team is healthier and they’re all-around stronger and deeper at virtually every position. It will be interesting to see if <a href=. (3-0)

45. There’s been a mess of skepticism surrounding Denver, but the Broncos are 3-0. Credit Gary Kubiak for giving the ball to <a href=. (3-0). Previous: 6th. Denver Broncos. 5. team

(2-1). Previous: 8th. Buffalo Bills. 6. team. 16. <a href=

team. 36. The ‘Hawks are finally on the board after a huge statement victory over the Chicago Bears. <a href=. (1-2). Previous: 9th. Seattle Seahawks. 7

Atlanta Falcons. 8. team. 44. Dan Quinn’s Falcons are somehow 3-0. I don’t think anyone saw it coming, but this team is on fire. <a href=. (3-0). Previous: 10th

55. Losing Ben Roethlisberger to a knee injury early on in the season could be devastating to this Steelers team that is completely reliant on its offense scoring points, but the Steelers have to be happy about two things: first, their quarterback will only miss a portion of the season and second, they somehow held on and won in St. Louis on Sunday. Michael Vick isn’t a great replacement for Big Ben, but as long as the Steelers can go .500 in Roethlisberger’s absence, they should be ok. And considering that Le’Veon Bell is already in midseason form, Pittsburgh actually has a chance to hang around, despite a pretty rough upcoming schedule.. (2-1). Previous: 5th. Pittsburgh Steelers. 9. team

124. Kansas City has dealt with a brutal schedule so far, losing a tough game against the Broncos and another in Green Bay. But a Chiefs receiver finally caught a touchdown pass, and the player to do it was <a href=. (1-2). Previous: 6th. Kansas City Chiefs. 10. team

(3-0). Previous: 12th. Carolina Panthers. 11. team. 87. <a href=

12. team. 46. <a href=. (1-2). Previous: 13th. Indianapolis Colts

13. team. 60. Minnesota had one of the worst starts of any NFL team, getting handled by the 49ers on national television. But in the two games since, Minnesota has shown a lot. <a href=. (2-1). Previous: 22nd. Minnesota Vikings

54. The Eagles got off to a slow start and have looked atrocious throughout the season. But with the Cowboys missing two Pro Bowlers, and a wide open NFC East, I have to believe that Philly has the best chance of the remaining teams to win the division. I may catch some flak from Cowboys fans for ranking Philadelphia this high, but I really do believe this team has the best chance to win the NFC East.. (1-2). Previous: 19th. Philadelphia Eagles. 14. team

San Diego Chargers. 15. team. 13. The San Diego Chargers have only held the lead for a little over 10 minutes of the 2015 season, which comes a huge surprise to most. San Diego’s offensive line is in shambles, its defense can’t stay healthy and even when healthy, the entire team has struggled. <a href=. (1-2). Previous: 11th

16. team. 123. Cowboys fans wouldn’t leave me alone last week after I ranked the Cowboys as a middle-tier team and predicted Atlanta to take them down–and look what happened. Dallas’ defense needs to get healthy, but even when healthy, it’s unreasonable to expect the defense to be anything more than a middle-of-the-pack unit. <a href=. (2-1). Previous: 15th. Dallas Cowboys

28. When the Bengals <a href=. (2-1). Previous: 25th. Oakland Raiders. 17. team

The Jets had a great 2-0 start, and many people–myself included–thought their success would continue through Week 3. With all of the optimism surrounding the Jets throughout the first two weeks of the season, people seemed to forget that the Jets still don’t have a quarterback. The Jets will travel to Miami on Sunday to face the Dolphins in what should be a great test of the team’s will and talent level. If the Jets can top the Dolphins, there could be a serious case for New York to be considered as a playoff contender.. (2-1). Previous: 18th. New York Jets. 18. team. 30

St. Louis Rams. 19. team. 51. The 2015 Rams started the season in total Rams fashion: upset the Seattle Seahawks in Week 1 and then fall apart in the two following weeks. The Rams’ offensive line is a mess, the offense lacks playmakers and <a href=. (1-2). Previous: 16th

The Texans finally won their first game of the 2015 season, but they clearly don’t have an answer at quarterback. <a href=. (1-2). Previous: 23rd. Houston Texans. 20. team. 10

New York Giants. 21. team. 31. For all of the hype surrounding <a href=. (1-2). Previous: 24th

(0-3). Previous: 14th. Baltimore Ravens. 22. team. 26. This one goes out to Baltimore fans, who are <a href=

Previous: 17th. Detroit Lions. 23. team. 50. Are we already back to the bad Lions? <a href=. (0-3)

59. I wanted to have faith in this Dolphins team for the sake of the fact that they have a decent quarterback and make moves in free agency–but the simple fact of the matter is that free agency signings rarely pan out for NFL teams. <a href=. (1-2). Previous: 20th. Miami Dolphins. 24. team

San Francisco 49ers. 25. team. 42. San Francisco got off to a hot start, but we quickly saw the 2015 49ers we had expected to see in Weeks 2 and 3. Losing two potential Hall-of-Famers and a 2014 second-rounder was huge, and San Francisco will still be in rebuilding until they can find a guy to play alongside <a href=. (1-2). Previous: 21st

52. I wasn’t willing to move the Jaguars high up in the rankings after one win, especially when I saw that the New England Patriots on the schedule in Week 3. This Jags team is better than past versions, but it still isn’t capable of taking down any of the league’s top teams. Until Jacksonville can prove it can win big-time games, it will continue to be a team viewed as a rebuilding team. But with the talent there on the roster and no significant results to show for it, Gus Bradley’s seat may be warming up.. (1-2). Previous: 26th. Jacksonville Jaguars. 26. team

27. team. 15. New Orleans looks bad. It’s time to start a complete roster overhaul, but unfortunately, there are still 13 games left in the regular season. Rob Ryan’s defense is a dumpster fire, the offense desperately needs playmakers and <a href=. (0-3). Previous: 27th. New Orleans Saints

29. team. 53. The Browns had every possible opportunity to be a 2-1 team by this point of the season, set up to play a home game against the 1-1 Oakland Raiders. Yet somehow, Cleveland managed to lose a winnable home game. <a href=. (1-2). Previous: 29th. Cleveland Browns

(1-2). Previous: 30th. Tennessee Titans. 30. team. 35. Tennessee almost upset the Indianapolis Colts at home, but it fell apart in the fourth quarter. <a href=

Previous: 31st. Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 31. team. 48. <a href=. (1-2)

team. 57. John Fox is the most boring coach in the NFL. If I were to fire any coach after Sunday, he’d be at the top of my list. The Bears punted in all 10 possessions on Sunday, even when they were around midfield and down 20 points. Is there anything else to say? This team is clearly the NFL’s worst team. They need to #FailForCardale and get <a href=. (0-3). Previous: 32nd. Chicago Bears. 32

Next: Why the 3-0 Bengals are Legit AFC Contenders