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JB’s Week Three (Un) biased NFL Power Rankings

Week two saw the NFL face about as many injuries as one can imagine happening in one week. The numbers are in and its staggering. There have been over two times as many injuries through the first two weeks of 2020, compared to 2019. Is this becasue of no preseason or real,training camp? That’s a question for another day. For now, though, the show must go on. I”ll do my best to keep your mind off of the injuries while you check out the week three NFL power rankings!

As always, while I truly am trying to be as subjective as possible during the writing of this article, I do acknowledge that it is impossible to not be biased towards your favorite NFL team, and against your rivals. With the explanation for the headline out of the way, let’s get in to what you came to see!

1 | Kansas City Chiefs | 2-0 | last week (1)

Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs seemed to have more trouble with the Chargers that anyone else they have faced in a while. The offense was a bit shell-shocked by the amount of pressures that the Chargers were able to get with only four men. It doesn’t matter if your quarterback is Pat Mahomes or Joe Montana, if you’re getting to the passer with four men, its usually a great thing for your defense in the NFL.

The Chargers do that at the best clip in the NFL. Clyde Edwards-Helaire wasn’t able to get much going on the ground either. Head Coach Andy Reid is the master of deception, and with Eric Bienemy calling plays; the dynamic duo should have the offense back on track sooner than later, hopefully this week. See Below.

2 | Baltimore Ravens | 2-0 | last week (2)

I still think this team could easily be number one by the end of the month, and they will get their shot this Sunday. Lamar Jackson is going to lead his team into battle with the Kansas City Chiefs. Wow. This way will go a long way towards AFC bragging rights, but also will give the winner some much needed confidence. That does not mean that a big week three win against a great opponent will lead tou to the promised land.

Two years ago the Rams beat the Vikings and the Chargers on their way to the Super Bowl. In 2019, the Rams beat the Seahawks and the Saints early on their way to a missed playoff spot. Anything can happen later in the season, this is just momentum building.

3 | Seattle Seahawks | 2-0 | last week (3)

Russell Wilson has been allowed to “cook” this season and he has been serving up defenses only.. If Seattle can keep this foot on the gas type approach for 16 games, they will challenge for this division. The defense is much improved because their secondary is much improved. Jamal Adams brings an element of physicality that the unit previously did not have.

The Seahawks must still play six games total against the Rams, Cardinals and the 49ers. They don’t have the luxury of coasting through any of their division games like some of their NFC brethren do. They must get their wins, and get them the right way, against good teams. Last week against New England was a big step in the right direction for Seattle. Their depth on defense may take them in the opposite way, however.

4| Los Angeles Rams | 2-0 | last week (4)

You are going to find it hard to find five teams in this league that are better than the Rams on both sides of the ball. This team seems to be on a mission to get wins. That’s it. No messing around, no time to count stats, just get to work every single day until they are hoisting the Lombardi.

Jared Goff is a top-5 quarterback in almost every metric through two games. He has not faced the toughest secondary, however that is about to change. In another great matchup, the Rams travel to Buffalo this week to take on the Bills, who boast one of the league’s best secondaries. Despite the hype, the Bills have quietly allowed the 22nd most passing first downs in the league through the first two games. The Rams have gotten the 14th most passing first downs, so they should be able to take advantage.

5| Buffalo Bills | 2-0 | last week (5)

Josh Allen seems to be liking his new addition, Stefon Diggs. The two connected eight times for 86 yards in their week one victory over the Jets and the two went off again in week two. Allen seemed to be handling the multiple blitzes and pressures that have been thrown at him. As the the Bills are signaling that they are ready to take over the AFC east, they must first get past the beasts of the NFL–the Patriots.

Buffalo has struggled with New England for almost 25 years now. It is time for Allen and the Bills Mafia to finally get their chance at the division crown. It won’t be easy, but I like the direction in which they are headed. Beating a Rams team that looks like a legitimate Super Bowl contender would be huge for the up-and-coming squad.

6 | Pittsburgh Steelers | 2-0 | last week (6)

The return of Ben Roethlisberger was the absolutely monumental for this team. He has absolutely reinvigorated JuJu Smith-Schuster, and has confidence in Diontae Johnson and James Washington. If Ben keeps getting this many possessions he’s going to get into a groove and then look out.

Coming off a season that saw Pittspurgh lead the league in sacks, the team was surprisingly able to retain Bud Dupree. That was a great idea. The combination that he forms with TJ Watt and Cam Heyward is electric. The Steelers have blitzed far more than any team in the league this year, and it has led to a league lead in pressures. It is going to be fun to see these pass rushers try to get after Lamar Jackson when the two teams meet twice later this season.

7 | Green Bay Packers | 2-0 | last week (11)

The Packers certainly proved me wrong. I did not know that this offense was going to be such a juggernaut without a tight end or number two receiver. How dare i ever bet against Aaron Rodgers. The man is the best QB in the history of the NFL when it comes to not turning the ball over while trying to extend plays.

As good as Aaron Rodgers is, the Packers running game is even better right now. Aaron Jones is playing possessed and the offensive line has actually gotten better sans Bryan Bulaga (Chargers). I’m still waiting for the defense to come around in the red-zone. Green Bay is ranked 30th in the league with at stopping their opponents from getting into the end zone from inside the 20. They have let their opponents score touchdowns on 83 percent of red zone trips through the first two games.

8 | Arizona Cardinals | 2-0 | last week (13)

I’m starting to admit I was wrong about Arizona. I still don’t think they have all of the pieces to compete for a long playoff run, but this start is hard to ignore. Kyler Murray is a special talent. He has seamlessly fit in with DeAndre Hopkins without any pre-season, and also has lead his team in rushing so far. This has lead to the Cardinals accumulating the second most first down runs in the league–behind only the LA Rams.

If the team can continue to build off of last year’s success with running the football, that will be their best chance at a winning season. Hopkins is about to start getting double and triple covered, you can be sure of that, so i want to see how the team handles that before they move farther up this list.

9| San Fransisco 49ers | 1-1 | last week (10)

This might be one of the teams that have been hit the hardest with injuries over the last ten years. Kyle Shanahan is going to deep to dig deep into his roster and his playbook for the next few weeks. The 49ers will be without key starters for the next month and without a few captains for the entire year.

Jimmy Garoppolo is going to be one of those players who is out, nursing a high ankle sprain. If the team can weather the storm until he is back, they should be able to challenge for a wild card. They have an easy schedule the next five weeks as well, meaning if they don’t perform, they will continue to slide down these rankings.

10 | Las Vegas Raiders | 2-0 | last week (18)

The Raiders are the one of only two teams iin the NFL who won their week one matchup, that i actually moved down in the power rankings. Like most people, I expected the Raiders defense to play much better than it did in week one against Carolina.

Monday night was a completely different story. Despite going up against an offensive mastermind on the other side, the physical Raiders were able to beat the daylights out of the finesse Saints. The score made it look closer that it was, Oakland may be on it’s way to a wild-card birth.

11 | New Orleans Saints | 1-1 | last week (7)

The Saints are ready trying to push for a Super Bowl one last time under Drew Brees, and didn’t experience any bumps in the road in regards to getting the win. Other than that, things look terrible for New Orleans. Drew Brees looks absolutely shot and the passing defense is letting the team down yet again. The team needs Michael Thomas back as soon as possible, but is there such a thing as too soon?

We all know that “Can’t guard Mike” is notorious for trying to play through pain, but will he be efficient? This doesn’t seem like something you want to rush back, but his track record shows he will try to do just that. The Saints are already dealing with the disadvantage of not having their super loud home fans in attendance for games, they don’t need to also be taking risks with their best player? They might have to if they want to keep up with the rest of the NFL.

12 | Dallas Cowboys | 1-1 | last week (8)

Against the Rams in week one, the Cowboys certainly missed Byron Jones and Robert Quinn. The injuries to Gerald McCoy and Jourdan Lewis have made this abundantly clear. To make matters worse, the team is also currently without La’el Collins, Leighton Vander Esch and Blake Jarwin. Not many teams can weather this storm with a new head coach. It is the type of stuff that breaks you.

Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliot said thats not going to happen. In one of the wildest games in recent memory, Atlanta managed to blow a 20 point lead and give Dallas its first– and much-needed–win. This team plays in the easiest division in football, bar done, so do not get this twisted: “If the Cowboys don’t win the division, it will be the biggest sports underachievement of this young decade.

13 | New England Patriots | last week (9)

Head Coach Bill Belichick is a genius. He is certainly out to prove that he can win without Tom Brady, and those of you who thought he was tanking were absolutely crazy. The man has Josh McDaniels as his offensive coordinator, who is like an offensive Belichick. The both know how to maximize their teams talent more than anyone in the league.

They are both master strategists and would rather go to battle with a college team that a pro-bowl squad, just for the challenge. The team also returns most players from a secondary that was the best in the NFL in 2019. Seattle just torched them, so Belichick will be back to the drawing board. That might be scary coming from some coaches, but Belichick will figure out exactly what to do so that no other NFL teams attack the Patriots in that way–at least not successfully.

14 | Tennessee Titans | 2-0 | last week (13)

I want to move Tennessee farther up on this list, but I just do not believe in Ryan Tannehill. That being said, their running back and defense are absolutely legit. On defense, the pass-rush was a bit of a concern, until they signed Jadeveon Clowney. The Titans are 2-0, but by the slimmest of margins. Beating a Denver squad without its top weapons by two, and beat a Jacksonville team that is supposed to be tanking by three?

This doesn’t exactly inspire confidence and is indicative of a mid-to-late year swoon for the franchise. Mike Vrabel is a great coach and recent player who knows how to keep guys motivated, but is the offense and defense going to be talented enough to carry them through the playoffs?

15 | Minnesota Vikings |0-2 | last week (4)

This new look defense led by Michael Pierce, Anthony Harris and Yannick Ngakoue has simply not been good enough. Giving up over 35 points per game, not only will it get you the loss that week, but it will make you lose your job. The good news is that the offense has been able to move the ball and score points.

The team tried to mitigate their lack of wide receiver depth by incorporating more of Irv Smith Jr, but that didn’t turn into much production from the youngster. If they can start to get both of the tight ends involved, and keep getting Dalvin Cook into the end zone, this team will be fine. The NFL added a seventh playoff team to each conference, helping out teams with bad starts.

16 | Cleveland Browns | 1-1 | last week (16)

Kevin Stefanski turned the Vikings rushing attack into one of the league’s most feared rushing attacks, but was not able to bring that to his first game as Cleveland’s head coach. To be fair, he never had much of a chance to run the ball when he was behind by double digits for most of the game. The second game of the season, however was a different story.

Because the defense played well (in the first half only) the Browns were able to keep a balanced attack that saw Nick Chubb grind down the Bengals through three quarters. Kareem Hunt mixed in on some obvious passing downs in the first three, but really started to cook in the fourth quarter.

17 | Tampa Bay Buccaneers | 1-1 | last week 17

This ranking may be one of the more fluid rankings of 2020. The Bucs’ signed Tom Brady in the off-season, as some of you may have heard, and are making a run at a Super Bowl. The offense can be as high-scoring as any in the league, but it is a vertical offense, possibly not best suited for Brady’s skill-set.

Arians has done more in the NFL with less than he has now, and he might have to start being creative. Tampa is getting Mike Evans and Chris Godwin to full health. Losing his top playmakers hurts, but this team had enough depth to handle the injuries. There are still 14 games left for the team to develop chemistry and heal their injuries. 1-1 is not bad for this team.

18 | Los Angeles Chargers | 1-1 | last week (21)

During week one, there were two teams that so thoroughly unimpressed me during wins, that they had to be moved down on the list. The “other Los Angeles team” needed a missed chip shot field goal to avoid going to overtime against a rookie who was making his first career NFL start.

This week was a little bit of the same, with a twist at the end. First, Justin Herbert made an emergency start and, with his rushing ability, can open up a whole new world for this offense. Second, the kid almost beat the Chiefs! The Chargers are also first in the league at generating pressure without a blitz. That usually translated to a top-five defense every year. Just like last week, I am not stuck to ranking teams on wins and losses. There are good losses and bad wins. The Chargers have had one of both, so far.

19 | Indianapolis Colts | 1-1 | last week (23)

The Colts could be so much higher considering I love the young, fast defense that they are building. I l also love their offensive line, running backs and head coach. What I do not love is the quarterback, and week one made me even more sure of that than I already was. A loss to a Jacksonville team that is trying to lose is as embarrassing of a way to start your season as it gets.

The Colts seemed wholly unprepared on both sides of the ball, and Philip Rivers showed me absolutely nothing to make me believe in him. I was shocked when the Colts added him and will still be shocked if he ends the year as the starter. That being said, this defense is legit! They check in first in the NFL in yards per pass attempt and tenth in yards given up per run. They are a stingy bunch that really only gets put in trouble when the offense turns the ball over–see Philip Rivers.

20 | Houston Texans | 0-2 | last week (24)

The Texans had to deal with the elite of the elite in their first two games. They were not particularly competitive, but there are some bright spots. One, their receivers seem to be healthy, something each of them has struggled with in their NFL careers. Second, they still have DeShaun Watson. Third, they don’t have to play the Ravens or Chiefs again this year?

I guess i was reaching for that one, but seriously, the Texans are very hard to evaluate right now. They are obviously not yet on the level of the best two teams in the league, but it remains to be seen what their true potential is.

21 | Jacksonville Jaguars | 1-1 | last week (25)

Gardner Minshew is starting to make me a believer. The sophomore quarterback set the league on fire in 2019 with a surprising mix of accuracy and swag. He doesn’t have the biggest arm, but is a tough son of a gun and seems to be carrying it all over to a new season. Minshew is also a leader on the field. Not even those traits, combined with the elite facial furniture, seemed like it could bring this team out of the depths of despair, though.

Wrong. The Jaguars pulled the biggest upset of NFL week one and then almost upset the Titans in week two. Even though they seemed to be tanking when the year started, no one told the players. This group has energy every week and it is a testament to Doug Marrone— and to a lesser extent defensive coordinator Todd Walsh and offensive coordinator Jay Gruden.

22 | Chicago Bears | 2-0 | last week (26)

If there ever were an uglier two wins, i would like to see them. First, let’s give the bears their credit, they’re 2-0. They have also already won a division game on the road while making a 4th quarter comeback. The defense ranks fifth in the whole NFL in yards per play given up. This team has all the potential of a wild-card team, but one huge thing holding them back. Their quarterback is Mitch Trubisky. Mr inconsistent himself, Trubisky stayed true to form in week two.

After a great first half where he looked like the competent quarterback that he was during the second half of week one, he disappeared. Much like the first half of game one, the second half of game two had “Mitch” looking like he needs to “switch” to a new career. I have them here out of respect for the defense and the 2-0 record, but it is tentative. If Chicago faces some injuries on defense and isn’t able to hold their opponent under 20 points per game anymore, this team will be in the Trevor Lawrence sweepstakes when it comes time for the 2021 NFL draft.

23 | Denver Broncos | 0-2 | last week (15)

Drew Lock and Courtland Sutton went down on Sunday and this team’s hopes may have gone with it. John Elway has brought in many, many offensive weapons, but not enough depth. On defense, losing Von Miller is tough. Others, like Bradley Chubb, really need to step up and get after the quarterback if Denver wants to stay out of the top ten of the draft. They need to start picking up some wins before the other NFL teams get on a roll, though that appears unlikely.

NFL

24 | Philadelphia Eagles | 0-2 | last week (21)

This team might want to hire an entirely new training staff. Despite one of the best coach/QB combos in the NFL, the Eagles are not really a contender. This is because the team can seemingly never stay healthy. Before the season has even started they have lost pro-bowl guard Brandon Brooks and starting left-tackle Andre Dillard for the season. This is terrible luck for a team that dealt with major injury problems in 2019 and is also trying to work back their first-round pick into game shape.

Just when things seemed like they couldn’t get any worse, the Eagles went and blew a second half lead to a team called “The Washington Football Team”. Just unreal. Things didn’t get better in week two, as the Eagles had to meet the Rams who are playing amazing football at the moment. There are some silver linings on this team, like running back Miles Sanders, cornerback Darius Slay and the amazing front four that they possess. This team will need better linebacker play down the stretch, though, if they want to have a chance to catch the Cowboys.

25 | Atlanta Falcons | 0-2 | last week (22)

Despite a bad showing against a very good Seattle team, there was still hope for the Falcons. Atlanta has a great quarterback and two great receivers to go along with trade acquisition Hayden Hurst. The team also improved along both lines, getting key pieces back along the offensive line, and signing Dante Fowler to come off the edge. Much of the NFL was high on the Falcons, especially their offense.

The improvements to the team needed a game to gel, and the good news for Atlanta is that their division is not as strong as people think.They started off great against the Cowboys and had a 20 point lead early and late into the game. Then, they remembered that they are the Falcons. Team”28-3″ wasn’t satisfied with blowing the biggest lead in Super Bowl history, they also had to blow the biggest lead in the history of Dallas’ new stadium

26 | Washington Football Team | 1-1 | last week (24)

Wow. What a job by the coaching staff in the nation’s capital. With all of the distractions that this team has faced, to come out week one and play that well is very impressive. This team is going to be fun, but might end up becoming as big of a joke as their owner. The pass-rush is top notch and the team seems to be playing together very well.

Head coach Ron Rivera deserves more than what this franchise has thrown at him, and so do the fans. That week one win was as well deserved as any win i can remember. The current players and coaches have not brought these scandals, but are dealing with the fallout from the as perfectly as possible. Week two against Arizona showed that they have a long way to go in order to be a competitive NFL offense and secondary. The defensive front is ready to win a Super Bowl right now, but the rest of the team is a few years behind.

27 | Detroit Lions | 0-2 | last week (27)

Usually when teams that lose big leads, it becomes a season-long issue. That issue has actually carried itself from one season to another. Detroit is now the first team in the modern era to blow four straight games in which they had a ten-point lead. This is absolutely on the coaching staff, from top to bottom. The players have complained about the staff’s approach from day one, and it is now approaching the time for them to be shown the door.

Matt Patricia has not done a good enough job of hiring his assistants, empowering his assistants in the right way, and the biggest one; he has not doing a good enough job of situational preparedness and clock management.

28 | Miami Dolphins | 0-2 | last week (28)

The Dolphins have the chance, much like a few others, to make a large jump by the end of the year. The team has added some very good veteran talent to a young, up-and-coming roster that is filled with potential stars. Unlike the Bears situation, the Dolphins seem to be playing out their best-case scenario regarding their quarterbacks.

Ryan Fitzpatrick is a very good fill-in starting quarterback, but he always gets exposed. New England did that already in the first gaemof the year. Although Fitzpatrick limited his mistakes, the offense was also limited. That will happen again, at which point Tu’a Tagovailoa will come in and try to win some games before the NFL season ends.

29 | Cincinnati Bengals | 0-2 | last week (30)

The Bengals decided to use the first pick in the draft and replace Andy Dalton with Joe Burrow. The sensational rookie just led LSU to possibly its best season ever, and one of the best in NCAA history for a quarterback. The man looks like a young Tom Brady, and if he can have anywhere close to the early-career success that Brady had, the Bengals will be ecstatic.

However, much like Atlanta, the Bengals have not upgraded a secondary that was in the bottom third of the league last season. If you can’t cover in this league, you cannot win. Burrow has already shown the ability to get the ball down the field to multiple receivers. If they get an offensive line to protect him, I can see Borrow becoming a pro-bowler in short time. The key word there is “get” because team does not have enough good players currently on the line to make much noise in 2020. Maybe next year, Bengals.

30 | Carolina Panthers | 0-2 | last week (29)

The Panthers have undergone more changes than practically every team in the past few years. Not many have lost their all-time best coach, quarterback and linebacker all in one year and still have a decent outlook as a franchise. Even more, they have had to undergo an ownership change and general manager change as well. The team is in rebuild mode right now under new head coach Matt Rhule, but it seemed like it might have been able to compete.

That was before Sunday. Tampa put up easy work against them, especially after Carolina lost Christian McCaffrey. The stud running back won’t be back for a few weeks at least, providing ample opportunity for this team to move down in the rankings.

31| New York Giants | 0-2 | last week (31)

The Giants made a coaching change in the off-season, but not enough changes to the roster to make me believe in them this season. They do have the benefit of playing in possibly the worst division in football. That is still unlikely to take them above the .500 mark. New York allowed the 28th most passing yards in the league in 2019 and just lost last years first round pick to gun charges.

The coaching change didn’t make a huge difference in the first two weeks, but what can they go off of? The offensive line is one of the worst in the league, Saquon Barkley is now done for the year, and Daniel Jones might as well change his middle name to “turnover”. It seems likely the team will address the offensive line with their first round pick, but you can never rule out drafting one of the young stud quarterbacks.

32 | New York Jets | 0-2 | last week (32)

Same blurb the last three weeks. The Adam Gase experiment has been an epic failure, and Joe Douglas might be going down with him. The Jets had a huge opportunity to get the right guy in to New York to get the job done. Instead, they took a coach that they knew probably wouldn’t win anything. They’re going with the school of thought that being a bottom feeder is better than being mediocre.

That is the only explanation for why Gase got this job, and the only reason why he still has it. I feel bad for the guy, because he seems like a tireless worker, but he is not a people person. NFL coaches, especially one’s in New York, can’t be like that anymore. You have to be personable to the media and more importantly, to your team. I have zero faith in Gase changing that part of his approach, so I have zero faith in this team.

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