Week three in the NFL is in the books and there was more than a little upheaval in the rankings.  We have a new number one and only two teams are in the same spot as last week.  Kansas City, New England, Tennessee and the Jets were the big winners this week, all moving up two places, and Miami dropped the most, losing four spots.  Here are the complete rankings for the AFC this week.

16.  Jacksonville Jaguars (last week: 14, down two spots, season high 11, season low 16)-  Getting crushed on all sides of the ball two weeks in a row will get you to unseat Buffalo as the worst team in the conference.  How these guys even won the first game is beyond me.

15.  Buffalo Bills (last week: 16, up one spot, season high 15, season low 16)-  Trent Edwards not only lost his starting role, but his entire job as Buffalo cut him this week in favor of Ryan Fitzpatrick.  So far, so good as the Bills put up 30 on New England.  They still lost, though.

14.  Cleveland Browns (last week: 15, up one spot, season high 14, season low 16)-  The Browns were surprisingly competitive against Baltimore, but they still couldn’t quite get the job done.  Mistakes and a poorly coached offensive unit cost them another close game.

13.  Oakland Raiders (last week: 13, even, season high 13, season low 13)-  The Raiders snatched defeat from victory in handing a win to Arizona last week.  One thing the bottom teams in the AFC have in common is bad coaching.  For the Raiders, that’s a problem that never seems to go away.

12.  Denver Broncos (last week: 12, even, season high 12, season low 14)-  In the AFC, there seems to be a line between 11 and 12.  The top 11 all have legit playoff hopes.  The bottom five, starting with Denver, have no chance.  The Broncos were doubled up at home by Indianapolis last week.  With all the talk about quarterbacks in Denver this year, maybe someone should have worried about defense, or receivers, or a running game.  Just a thought.

11.  San Diego Chargers (last week: 10, down one spot, season high 10, season low 11)-  The Chargers totally handed the game to Leon Washington and Seattle last week.  This is getting to be a tired refrain, San Diego starts slow, wins 10 in a row to close out, then loses in the playoffs.  They may be the most talented team in either western division, but they’re already two games behind KC with a head to head loss.

10.  Cincinnati Bengals (last week: 9, down one spot, season high 9, season low 10)- So what do you get when you win ugly on the road against Carolina, who might be the worst team in football?  You drop in the rankings.  Has anyone seen former elite QB Carson Palmer lately, because that guy standing under center in Cincinnati certainly isn’t him?   Hard to believe his skills have fallen off this much.  If he doesn’t get it together, this will be a wasted year for the Bengals.

9.  Kansas City Chiefs (last week: 11, up two spots, season high 9, season low 12)-  Okay, I’m getting closer to believing in Kansas City, but before we get ahead of ourselves, let’s not forget Denver’s 6-0 start last year.  They looked for real, too, but are 3-10 since.  Matt Cassell played a good game for a change, and the Chiefs blew out San Fran at Arrowhead.  If the 49ers didn’t have all the earmarks of a team in total collapse, it would be more impressive.

8.  Baltimore Ravens (last week: 6, down two spots, season high 3, season low 8)-  This team has way too much talent to be struggling at home to the likes of Cleveland.  All that Superbowl talk looks like smoke right now as these guys barely look playoff caliber.  The one exception in Anquan Boldin, who has looked other-worldly so far.  Do you think Arizona misses him?

7.  Miami Dolphins (last week: 3, down four spots, season high 3, season low 7)-  Welcome to Miami, Brandon Marshall. The receiver had a huge game against the Jets, but it wasn’t enough.  The defense totally fell apart against New York, and that is troubling going forward.  And where is the running game?  If Miami needs Chad Henne to throw for 400 yards and put up 30 points each week, it could be a long season.

6.  Tennessee Titans (last week: 8, up two spots, season high 4, season low 8)-  It looks like the Pittsburgh debacle was the aberration so far this season.  Vince Young played a solid, albeit limited game and didn’t get benched as Tennessee walked into the Meadowlands and whipped the Giants.  Chris Johnson is worth every penny. 

5.  New York Jets (last week: 7, up two spots, season high 5, season low 8)-  Sanchez and the boys looked very good for the second week in a row against key division rivals.  You can’t write a better bounce back after that horrid opening game.  Still, the pass defense is concerning.  Another receiver put up a big game against them with Brandon Marshall’s 10 catches for 166 yards making that three weeks in a row.  The Jets have to fix that fast, because if the AFC is anything, it’s filled with good quarterbacks.

4.  Indianapolis Colts (last week: 5, up one spot, season high 4, season low 7)-  The defense gave up some yards but few points in a relatively easy win in Denver.  Should we just rename the MVP the Peyton Manning Award at this point?  The loss to Houston looks a lot less earth shattering after two impressive wins.

3.  Houston Texans (last week: 1, down two spots, season high 1, season low 3)-  Bad loss at home, but to be fair, it wasn’t exactly a road game for Dallas in Texas, and the Cowboys were desperate.  They gave up another big day to another quarterback, still don’t have an interception, Matt Schaub looked average again, and Andre Johnson’s hurt.  On the plus side, Arian Foster ran for over 100 yards and 6 yards per carry.  Maybe they should take a lesson from week one and just pound the ball.

2.  New England Patriots (last week: 4, up two spots, season high 2, season low 4)-  Brady and the Pats put up 38 against Buffalo coming off that bad Jets loss.  These guys can score.  The defense is troubling, however.  Buffalo was in it all game long and put up 30 themselves.  To put that in perspective, the Bills scored 17 in the first two games combined.  The Pats have allowed 24, 28 and 30 points this season.  That trend is moving the wrong way.

1.  Pittsburgh Steelers (last week: 2, up one spot, season high 1, season low 5)-  With the Houston loss and their big win over Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh takes over the top spot.  Their defense is just killing people right now.  If they can stay healthy on that side of the ball, they might stay a while on top.  Do you think Big Ben’s worried about his long-term job security if the Steelers can trot out any old retread at QB and still win games?

NFC Rankings

Five Players to Watch


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