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NFL Week 3 Power Rankings: Gold Diggin’ 49ers On Top

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It’s almost as if everything that went wrong with San Francisco’s ending last year, has been their positives so far through the 2012 season. They’re the clear #1 team but #2 and #3 may be up for debate.

Power Rankings Week 3

1: 49ers (2-0)

The defense not only shut down Megatron but they weren’t the only impressive unit, as Alex Smith looked like what San Francisco wanted him to be when they drafted him #1. Randy Moss and Frank Gore look reborn, while San Francisco looks like a scary Super Bowl contender.

2: Falcons (2-0)

In a vice versa swap from San Fran to Hot-Lanta, the Falcons’ offense was never in question but their defense surprised many when they picked off Peyton Manning three times in the first half of the Monday Night game.

3: Texans (2-0)

It may be unfair to say that Houston hasn’t played anyone tough yet (Miami and Jacksonville) but the truth hurts. Only five teams are 2-0 and an NFL record 20 teams are 1-1, so Houston is in their respectful place. The running game is certainly on point as both Ben Tate (2) and Arian Foster (1) combined for three touchdowns against Jacksonville. In a weak division, Houston is the bully.

4: Packers (1-1)

Speaking of bullies, hello Clay Matthews (flex arms and scream after reading). The Packers went on a Bear hunt last week after losing a tough game to San Francisco in Week 1. With 7 sacks and 4 interceptions, the defense was at their highest level. Cedric Benson was actively involved, and Greg Jennings will be returning healthy, thus, the Packers are only getting better.

5: Giants (1-1)

Even after a close win and a memorable Eli performance, it was the aftermath of the game that catapults the Giants from 12 to 5 in these rankings. It’s come to the point that once the Giants are battled-tested or simply angry, they will find ways to win. Although Ahmad Bradshaw is hurt and rookie David Wilson is in Coughlin’s doghouse after his fumbling Week 1 performance.  With those known problems, it’s also known that Eli is clutch, and will find a way to win for this angry team.

6: Chargers (2-0)

Just like the Texans, the Chargers haven’t played much of anyone (Oakland and Tennessee) but one thing to note is Phillip Rivers. Though he is known for his half-season greatness and half-season letdown, starting off strong is a good thing for San Diego. Getting Ryan Mathews and Antonio Gates can only help this team. Now only if they can keep it up all season.

7: Ravens (1-1)

I want to make this a “replacement ref placing” meaning if it wasn’t for the replacement ref, the Ravens may have had a different outcome in their game vs Philadelphia. Baltimore still gets a high-ranking ahead of their opponent only because the game had errors, Baltimore didn’t do much to beat themselves.

8: Eagles (2-0)

Although they defeated Baltimore, video proves they had help. The offense is still not totally in sync, as turnovers have haunted them throughout the first two weeks.  In order for this team to prove their legitimate worth, they must be victorious in consecutive weeks, and there should be a blowout involved.

9: Steelers (1-1)

So much for a struggling offense and being out your best two defensive players. The Steelers made the Jets crash-land back to planet Earth, but also showed just how tough their defense is. The offense seems to move fluidly even without a stable running game. Once healthy, the have the makings of a top 5 team.

10: Broncos (1-1)

Which Peyton will they get? He’s breaking records nearly every game, but looked very un-Peyton like with his three first-half interceptions.  The defense didn’t allow Matt Ryan to get too hot against them, but the deficit was just too much for Denver to come back.

11: Cardinals (2-0)

A surprise beating of Seattle in Week 1 was followed up by a shocking upset of the New England Patriots. The quarterback is still in question as to who, Larry Fitzgerald hasn’t produced at a “Larry” level yet, and Ryan Williams may have the starting running back job.

12: Bears (1-1)

They loss to a very good Green Bay team, although the same problems arise again for Chicago as Jay Cutler has no protection. Changes must be made if this team wants to stay in contention with the Packers for the very tough NFC North division.

13: Patriots (1-1)

A more than shocking loss to Arizona has everyone wondering if the Patriots have lost their mojo. The re-signing of Deion Branch and signing of Kellen Winslow may help Tom Brady propel this offense, although a Sunday night date with Baltimore awaits. Stay tuned.

14: Cowboys (1-1)

Correct me if you’ve heard this before, the Cowboys had fumbling issues in Seattle. It’s become apparent that if the Cowboys want to be contenders, then Tony Romo must play like a MVP contender, week in and week out.

15: Panthers (1-1)

If beating the Saints wasn’t enough to give Carolina seasonal motivation, they have an opportunistic game vs the injury plagued Giants for Thursday Night Football.  The offense is coming together, and Brandon LaFell is beginning to establish himself as a #2 wide receiver in the league. The biggest question remains their defense as a whole, the rushing defense has allowed 146.5 yards per game through two weeks.

16: Bengals (1-1)

given a scare by Cleveland. The Bengals have a game in which they can state their case against the Redskins and Robert Griffin. For this team to contend their defense must get better as they await the arrival of rookie Dre Kirkpatrick.

17: Redskins (1-1)

The Redskins should be 2-0 if it wasn’t for Josh Morgan’s mental lapse. They lost two defensive stars in Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker so there must be a new defensive leader. Perhaps, London Fletcher will finally get his well-deserved respect.

18: Jets (1-1)

Are the Jets all show and no go after their dominating performance in Week 1? They were trashed by the Steelers in Week 2, but have a make or break game against the Dolphins. This team has games they must win against weaker teams. It’s apparent that they need Darrelle Revis to lead the defense and rookie Stephen Hill must be Sanchez’s go-to deep threat.

19: Lions (1-1)

The offense in a whole, most importantly Calvin Johnson have struggled through their first two games. Help may be on the way with the return of running back Mikel LeShoure and several defensive players returning from injuries.

20: Seahawks (1-1)

Huge win against the Dallas Cowboys as their defense continues to be under the radar as a top-10 defense in the league. They will continue to have their up and down struggles with Russell Wilson at quarterback but the defense will continue to carry them.

21: Bills (1-1)

CJ Spiller is the league’s leading rusher, Mario Williams hasn’t made as much of an impact as expected and Stephon Gilmore has flown under the radar to begin the season but may be the Defensive Rookie of the Year.

22: Buccaneers (1-1)

Greg Schiano may have not made any friends with his last-second antics against the Giants, but he certainly made an impact. His tough, never back –down attitude will keep this Tampa Bay team’s head above water. Whether or not they can keep this intensity all season, will remain to be seen.

23: Vikings (1-1)

They beat Jacksonville but lost to Andrew Luck and the Colts. The good news is that Adrian Peterson continues to get better, and will continue to see increased reps. This team needs to get Christian Ponder more weapons.

24: Saints (0-2)

Ain’t much for the Saints to brag about after a horrifying 0-2 start. Their first win might come against Kansas City in a game in which someone has to win. Can Drew Brees turn this season around?

25: Colts (1-1)

Andrew Luck was very impressive in his first NFL pressure situation. That will be this team’s engine all year, if they want to win, it must be due to Andrew Luck.

26: Rams (1-1)

They certainly didn’t “win” against the Redskins, as Cortland Finnegan mentally beat Josh Morgan on the game-changing play in the fourth quarter. Bradford and the defense are making league notice but once again Steven Jackson is hurt.

27: Raiders (0-2)

An injury plagued team continues to get worse. They let Reggie Bush show shades of his USC career against their run defense, but the main positive is Darren McFadden’s impact and health.

28: Dolphins (1-1)

Reggie Bush made his mark last week vs Oakland but the only reason they’re below the Raiders is due to the fact that it took so much work from Bush to get the job done. Their lack of receivers isn’t helping rookie Ryan Tannehill. Make or break season game vs the Jets awaits.

29: Browns (0-2)

Trent Richardson and Brandon Weeden certainly increased their rookie stocks with their performances against Cincinnati. They may not win many games this year but with the young studs of Weeden, Richardson, and Joe Haden on defense, this team is on the rise.

30: Titans (0-2)

Chris Johnson’s career may be all over if he can’t produce very soon. The entire offense has struggled in what was supposed to be Jake Locker’s rising season.

31: Chiefs (0-2)

Their offense has only put up points during garbage time, and they basically wasted a pick on Jon Baldwin who has not been used to expectations, per coach’s decision.

32: Jaguars (0-2)

This team will be rebuilding for the next couple of years. Their offense has seemed to find the right pieces, now those pieces must produce, and the defense must follow. If they continue to stink it up, would they draft Matt Barkley to replace Gabbert?

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