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2018 SQ NFL Power Rankings: Week 3

Turf Show Times

With a new king reaching the #1 spot, how do the NFL’s top teams shake out after Week 2?

There is a new team atop the SQ Power Rankings. After two strong weeks to open the season, the Los Angeles Rams seemed to have earned the spot. Big names that we expected to challenge for the top are a bit behind but still in striking distance. The Packers, Patriots, and Eagles have all had some early season struggles, but the NFL season is long. Find out where they and the rest of the NFL teams rank below.

   Ranking (Change)

1 (+3)

Los Angeles Rams (2-0)

Los Angeles Rams (2-0)

This team is the closest thing to the 2007 New England Patriots that I’ve seen. The Rams have the best offense, defense, and special teams in the NFL. (Hunter Bonge)

2 (+4)

Jacksonville Jaguars (2-0)

Jacksonville Jaguars (2-0)

If you weren’t already, it’s time to start taking the Jaguars seriously. This defense has proven it’s the best in the league, and Blake Bortles appears competent through the first two weeks. Last week’s score was a lot closer than the competition on the field. The Jags dominated New England for four quarters, proving they’re one of the best teams in the league. (Matt Fowler)

3 (-)

Minnesota Vikings (1-0-1)

Minnesota Vikings (1-0-1)

Week 2 was surely a week of woes for NFL kickers, including now ex-Minnesota kicker Daniel Carlson, who has been released following his abysmal performance against Green Bay. Carlson was 0-for-3 on field goals Sunday, including two missed attempts in overtime — the second of which, a 35-yarder, would have won the game for the Vikings. As a result, they signed the second-most accurate kicker in NFL history in Dan Bailey, who was released by the Cowboys during roster cuts. Kicking aside, Minnesota’s offense was dominant once again, as Kirk Cousins completed 35-of-48 passes for 425 yards and four touchdowns. Minnesota was already, arguably, the most complete team in the NFL. Now, with Bailey kicking, they should, at the very least, avoid another disappointing tie in 2018. (Ryan Grube)

4 (+3)

Kansas City Chiefs (2-0)

Kansas City Chiefs (2-0)

Kansas City’s defense isn’t doing them any favors, but if Patrick Mahomes and the offense keep dropping 40 burgers, does it really matter? The Chiefs are arguably the best team in the AFC right now, and I don’t even think they’ve reached their ceiling. (Hunter Bonge)

5 (-4)

New England Patriots (1-1)

New England Patriots (1-1)

It seems like the Patriots have at least one early season blowout loss a year now. Blake Bortles shredded New England’s defense all day long, while Jacksonville took away the run game AND Gronk, making life difficult for Tom Brady. Ultimately, the Pats will be fine, and should get a boost after acquiring Josh Gordon from Cleveland for a fifth-round pick. There’s certainly a chance things don’t work out, but if there’s a team that can return him to glory, it’s this one. (Nick Cardozo)

6 (-4)

Philadelphia Eagles (1-1)

Philadelphia Eagles (1-1)

The Eagles did not look great against the Bucs, but reinforcements are on their way. Carson Wentz returns to start against the Colts in Week 3, and WR Alshon Jeffery won’t be far behind him. The Eagles have holes, specifically at receiver, but the defending Super Bowl champs should bounce back at home. It’s not time to panic in Philadelphia. (Matt Fowler)

7 (-2)

Green Bay Packers (1-0-1)

Green Bay Packers (1-0-1)

Although he was outdueled by Vikings QB Kirk Cousins on Sunday, Aaron Rodgers proved that even on one-and-a-half legs he is one of the five best quarterbacks lacing it up any given Sunday. And while Rodgers is always great, what’s different about this Packers team is the secondary. After drafting to address that area this past year, they finally have sufficient talent there. Although they have yet to put together consecutive quality halves, this Packers team has the talent to make a deep run this year if Rodgers remains healthy and Clay Matthews stops picking up late fourth quarter roughing the passer calls. (Adrian Nelson)

8 (-)

Atlanta Falcons (1-1)

Atlanta Falcons (1-1)

The Falcons silenced the doubters from last week’s ugly 18-12 loss against the defending champion Philadelphia Eagles. They were able to secure their first victory of 2018, defeating the Panthers 31-24, and they did so without their lead tailback Devonta Freeman (knee contusion). The key: red zone offense. Atlanta ended all four of their red zone trips with touchdowns on Sunday — a huge improvement from Week 1, where they were just 1-for-5 in such scenarios. Moreover, fourth-year back Tevin Coleman filled in well for the injury-prone Freeman, rushing 16 times for 107 yards, while rookie wideout Calvin Ridley hauled in four passes for 64 yards and his first career NFL touchdown. If Ridley can develop a strong rapport with Matt Ryan opposite Julio Jones, this Falcons offense could be fun to watch throughout the season. (Ryan Grube)

9 (-)

New Orleans Saints (1-1)

New Orleans Saints (1-1)

The Saints need to thank their lucky stars (and Zane Gonzalez) for a 21-18 victory over the Browns, but even with the win it’s hard to find silver linings in their start to the 2018 season. Opening against two teams that went a combined 5-27 in 2017, few expected New Orleans to have even broken a sweat at this point, yet they’re a few kicking miscues away from an 0-2 record. Drew Brees and company are no strangers to slow starts, and on paper this is still one of the most talented teams in the NFL. But there is no denying that there are genuine concerns, especially on defense. (Kyle Trapp)

10 (+1)

Carolina Panthers (1-1)

Carolina Panthers (1-1)

After a dominant defensive effort in Week 1, the Panthers defense struggled to slow down Matt Ryan and the Falcons. This week, the 2-0 Bengals come to town, which turns out to be a huge early test for Carolina. This is a game the Panther should win, but they need their offense to be much better after averaging only 18 points per game thus far this season. (Max Vukelich)

11 (-1)

Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1-1)

Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1-1)

Dysfunction at every turn. Le’Veon Bell is hosting parties and riding jet skis, Antonio Brown is skipping practice and tweeting nonsense, and Big Ben is already banged up. It may be time to sell whatever Steelers stock we had entering the season. (Hunter Bonge)

12 (+1)

Los Angeles Chargers (1-1)

Los Angeles Chargers (1-1)

The Bolts lost to one of the league’s best teams in the Chiefs and won against one of the league’s worst teams in the Bills. That’s all to say that’s it’s really hard to say how good this team is. But here’s what we do know: 1) The offense is very good 2) The defense is not very good. Philip Rivers has weapons now, chief among them his do-it-all back in Melvin Gordon, and together this team has proven that it will get the ball into the endzone. The defense lacks star talent and really doesn’t have a strength. This Chargers team will be in a tug-a-war all season long. (Adrian Nelson)

13 (+10)

Cincinnati Bengals (2-0)

Cincinnati Bengals (2-0)

Andy Dalton might’ve just had his all-time best half of football against the Ravens in Week 2, coming out hot with four touchdowns before halftime, including three to AJ Green. Though the offensive cooled off in the second half, it was an impressive performance for a team with low expectations entering the season. Cincinnati has an early lead in a division that feels more and more up for grabs each week. (Nick Cardozo)

14 (+13)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-0)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-0)

Tampa Bay has been the NFL’s biggest surprise so far, lighting up the scoreboard against two NFC powers en route to a 2-0 record. With a slew of options at his disposal, Ryan Fitzpatrick looks unstoppable thus far, and has almost surely secured the job even once Jameis Winston returns. Another win against Pittsburgh on Monday night and we may seriously have to start considering the Bucs one of the league’s top teams. (Nick Cardozo)

15 (-3)

Baltimore Ravens (1-1)

Baltimore Ravens (1-1)

It’s amazing how good the Bills can make an opposing team look. In a Week 1 shellacking against Buffalo, the Ravens resembled a legitimate contender as Joe Flacco rewound the clock to 2012. However, a Thursday night defeat at the hands of the Cincinnati Bengals may be more indicative of this team’s overall ability. For a guy with zero support on the ground (Baltimore running backs combined for just 43 yards), Flacco had a decent game with 376 passing yards, but he also turned the ball over three times. Sunday’s matchup against the Broncos will be a good barometer for this team moving forward. (Kyle Trapp)

16 (-1)

San Francisco 49ers (1-1)

San Francisco 49ers (1-1)

The 49ers have to feel good about securing a victory in Week 2 over the Detroit Lions, but not that good. This was a game where they led 30-13 in the fourth quarter, but ended up being a picked-up flag away from blowing the game on an interception that ultimately didn’t count because of a holding penalty. Going into Kansas City is going to be a huge test for this young team and will be very telling for how the team’s season-long aspirations look. (Max Vukelich)

17 (-)

Denver Broncos (2-0)

Denver Broncos (2-0)

Who saw undrafted rookie Phillip Lindsay being Denver’s leading rusher through the first two weeks of the season? The answer: not many. Lindsay has rushed for 178 yards on 29 carries (6.1 yards per carry) in two games, including 14 carries for 107 yards on Sunday. The dark horse phenom out of the University of Colorado Boulder has really come on nicely, resulting in a successful three-man running back committee in Denver. Following their 20-19 come-from-behind victory over the Raiders on Sunday, the Broncos are 2-0, and the AFC West is shaping out to be an intriguing race to watch once again in 2018. (Ryan Grube)

18 (+1)

Chicago Bears (1-1)

Chicago Bears (1-1)

Chicago, Khalil Mack has arrived. A week after recording a sack, forced fumble, and a pick-six, Mack responded with an additional sack and forced fumble, as well as five total tackles. Simply dominant. The only difference: this week resulted in a win, as the Bears, behind an overall strong defensive effort, were able to come out with a 24-17 victory over the Seahawks. On the offensive side, while Jordan Howard struggled to find running room, Mitchell Trubisky and Allen Robinson were in-sync, connecting on 10 passes (14 targets) for 83 yards. There will be better days ahead for Howard, but if Trubisky and Robinson can continue their impressive start, Chicago’s offense, coupled with their talented defense, could lead first-year head coach Matt Nagy and company to the playoffs in 2018. (Ryan Grube)

19 (-3)

Washington Redskins (1-1)

Washington Redskins (1-1)

It’s been a tale of two weeks for the Skins. In Week 1 they looked impressive and thoroughly owned both lines of scrimmage and both sides of the ball. However, in Week 2 they looked abysmal on offense and couldn’t manage to get the ball in the endzone once against a very weak Colts defense. Historically the Skins have lacked consistency and it appears again that this will be a team that you won’t know exactly what to expect from week to week. (Adrian Nelson)

20 (-)

Dallas Cowboys (1-1)

Dallas Cowboys (1-1)

The Cowboys took advantage of the Giants’ horrendous offensive line, racking up six sacks on the way to a 20-13 victory that wasn’t as close as the score appears. While the offense wasn’t spectacular, Dallas moved the ball far better than it did in Week 1. Up next are the Seahawks, another team the Cowboys’ emerging defensive line should be able to have their way with. (Nick Cardozo)

21 (-3)

Tennessee Titans (1-1)

Tennessee Titans (1-1)

Blaine Gabbert was able to step in and lead the Titans to a huge home victory over the Texans. Losing this game would’ve diminished their playoff hopes drastically, but ultimately their season lies in the health of Mariota. Despite Mariota’s flaws, he is still significantly better than Gabbert and the Titans need him to get healthy as soon as possible before the season is lost. (Max Vukelich)

22 (+7)

Miami Dolphins (2-0)

Miami Dolphins (2-0)

Don’t look now, but the Dolphins, a team picked by more than a few to finish towards the league’s cellar, hold sole possession of first place in the AFC East after a 2-0 start. They haven’t exactly played the league’s cream of the crop, but wins are wins. It was the Miami defense that stole the show in Week 2, as they held the Jets to just 12 points while forcing three turnovers. Ryan Tannehill and a solid rushing attack did just enough on the other side of the ball to ensure their effort wasn’t in vain. (Kyle Trapp)

23 (-9)

Houston Texans (0-2)

Houston Texans (0-2)

Let’s all slow down when it comes to Deshaun Watson. After a great start to his career last year, it seems as if analysts everywhere were anointing him one of the next great quarterbacks, and while he still may be, it is way too early to tell. As is often the case, NFL defenses take time to adjust to new quarterbacks and styles of play. Now that there is tape on him, it appears as if teams have adjusted. It will be up to him and Bill O’Brien to make sure that Watson can properly adjust to their adjustments. (Adrian Nelson)

24 (-2)

Seattle Seahawks (0-2)

Seattle Seahawks (0-2)

Seattle is making plays on defense, but the team can’t complete games. Wilson is running for his life and the offense hasn’t identified a playmaker. Is the door closing on the Pete Carroll era? His old job at USC may be open next season… (Hunter Bonge)

25 (+5)

Indianapolis Colts (1-1)

Indianapolis Colts (1-1)

The Colts are still very much an enigma. In Week 1 they lost to a talented Cincinnati team in a game where Indy had a lead in the fourth quarter and after giving it away was driving and in the red zone before a Jack Doyle fumble was returned for a TD and put the game out of reach. In Week 2, they thoroughly handled the Redskins, but we don’t yet know how good Washington is. With Carson Wentz back in the saddle and an upcoming game against the defending Super Bowl champs, this week’s game will go a long way into us figuring out how for real the Colts are. (Adrian Nelson)

26 (-2)

Cleveland Browns (0-1-1)

Cleveland Browns (0-1-1)

If it weren’t for some kicking woes, the Browns would be 2-0 and the city of Cleveland would be thinking Super Bowl! OK, maybe not Super Bowl, but the Browns have proven they aren’t the laughing stock of the league anymore. The defense is much improved and Jarvis Landry is putting his stamp on the offense. The Browns’ first win since 2016 will come sooner rather than later. (Matt Fowler)

27 (-1)

New York Jets (1-1)

New York Jets (1-1)

Week 1 sure felt more like a fluke than anything else. The Jets have a good defense, but with a rookie quarterback leading their team, it’s too much to expect the Jets to be close to a playoff team this season. A short week in Cleveland against an underrated defense could be a tough showing for Darnold in what will be a long, bright career. (Max Vukelich)

28 (-7)

New York Giants (0-2)

New York Giants (0-2)

The Giants could not get anything going against a mediocre Dallas defense on Sunday, en route to a disappointing 20-13 loss. Rookie phenom Saquon Barkley rushed 11 times for just 28 yards. Although he did catch a franchise-record 14 passes, it was for 80 yards — just 5.7 yards per catch, which indicates a lot of checkdowns for Eli Manning. New York’s top two receivers in Odell Beckham and Sterling Shepard combined for a measly 75 yards on seven receptions, and simply, couldn’t find space downfield, resulting in a whopping six sacks on Manning. The Giants, who were considered a bounce-back candidate after their underwhelming 3-13 season in 2017, aren’t showing any indications of such a thing. 2018 could be another long year in the Meadowlands. (Ryan Grube)

29 (-1)

Detroit Lions (0-2)

Detroit Lions (0-2)

It may not be possible to be on the hot seat just two games into your head coaching debut, but Matt Patricia has gotten off to one of the more inauspicious starts in recent memory. In fairness, the Lions performed significantly better against the 49ers than they did in their abysmal Week 1 showing against the Jets, as they nearly pulled off a miraculous fourth-quarter comeback. But with murmurs of trouble in the locker room, things don’t look great in Detroit right now, and it doesn’t get any easier with a Week 3 matchup against the Patriots looming. (Kyle Trapp)

30 (-5)

Oakland Raiders (0-2)

Oakland Raiders (0-2)

After their embarrassing Week 1 showing, the Raiders looked to have bounced back against Denver, up nine well into the fourth. It was then that their defense fell apart, allowing Case Keenum to lead his team to 10 quick points, including the deciding field goal in the final seconds. The season is lining up to be a disaster, but it’s not like anyone is shocked. Maybe next time, don’t give a 10-year contract to a guy that hasn’t coached in a decade. (Nick Cardozo)

31 (-)

Arizona Cardinals (0-2)

Arizona Cardinals (0-2)

Across 17 games with the Vikings over the past two seasons, Sam Bradford had a passer rating well north of 100, leading many to believe he was a clean bill of health away from being an above-average NFL starter. But two games into 2018, he hasn’t even resembled a decent backup, throwing for just 243 yards and a pair of picks as the Cardinals have been outscored 58-6. With David Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald, there are simply too many playmakers for the offense to be this bad, but perhaps a quarterback change is needed to right the ship. (Kyle Trapp)

32 (-)

Buffalo Bills (0-2)

Buffalo Bills (0-2)

32 feels a bit high for this team. The Bills are easily the worst team in the league this season. They’re so bad, a player retired at halftime of their Week 2 matchup. Expect more of the same from Buffalo this week against Minnesota and moving forward into the season. The organization’s primary concern should be the development of QB Josh Allen, not how badly they’re losing football games. (Matt Fowler)

Edited by Jeremy Losak.

SQuiz
How many points have the Los Angeles Rams scored through the first two weeks of the 2018 season?
Created 9/18/18
  1. 78
  2. 67
  3. 59
  4. 48

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