NFL Power Rankings Week 3: Denver Broncos, 3 NFC West teams in the top 5

Week 3's NFL power rankings look very different from last week -- the teams are tiered by their records. That's all that matters, right?

NFL Power Rankings | Tier 1: Unbeaten teams

There are a few imposters in the top tier of NFL teams, but some of these rosters could simply be surprisingly good. It took an overtime loss for the Seahawks to force the NFC West to miss out on having all four teams at 2-0.

7) Carolina Panthers

This is the kind of Carolina Panthers team I expected to see — not the 2-0 Panthers ranked high in the NFL power rankings, but the young squad that could play spoiler to better teams throughout the season as they continue to grow.

I’ve been steadfast in my opinion that Matt Rhule is a program-builder and that he is the kind of person to make that happen at the college and NFL level. They won’t win the NFC South, and they might not be a playoff contender by Week 18. But they’re high here because you are what your record says you are.

Things weren’t always pretty against the Houston Texans, but Sam Darnold and the Panthers’ offense put together a few nice drives to finish them off. Even though Carolina won the game, they lost a lot, too. Rookie standout Jaycee Horn is feared to have a broken foot. Juston Burris suffered a groin injury also. DJ Moore had a big game, but he was also banged up in the contest.

6) Las Vegas Raiders

The Raiders are one of the few 2-0 teams in the NFL, so they land toward the top of the Week 3 power rankings. Derek Carr has looked outstanding since his erratic play early in Week 1.

His offensive weapons are giving him a chance to make explosive plays, and it appears they won’t rely on the run in 2021. The Raiders barely averaged 2 yards per play on the ground, but they averaged nearly 10 net yards through the air.

The defense might survive after all, too. It’s amazing what having multiple exterior rushers can do for a defense.

5) San Francisco 49ers

The 49ers were far less explosive offensively than the Eagles. Jimmy Garoppolo struggled before turning it around in the second half.

Both of San Francisco’s touchdown drives went over 12 plays and took four-plus minutes to complete. They also had an 11-play drive that did not bear fruit due to a blocked field goal.

4) Arizona Cardinals

Kyler Murray is playing like a man possessed right now. He’s The Human Joystick, but at the quarterback position. Murray makes plays that nobody in the world, including Lamar Jackson, can make. However, the cost of playmaking is often turnovers.

The secondary is an issue outside of Byron Murphy and Budda Baker. Unfortunately, it takes five serviceable players on the back end to survive.

3) Denver Broncos

Things weren’t always pretty against the Jacksonville Jaguars, but the Denver Broncos head into Week 3 undefeated. Teddy Bridgewater is doing more than enough for this offense. Even while accounting for the 3 sacks he took, the Broncos averaged 8.2 yards through the air per pass.

It’s amazing how an offense can survive with a decent offensive line and a plethora of offensive weapons, even without Jerry Jeudy. If this defense continues to swarm, they could stay near the top of the NFL power rankings longer than we originally anticipated.

2) Los Angeles Rams

The Rams are among the best 2-0 teams in the league. The defense struggled at times against the Colts, but this team should continue to compete for the top spot in the best division in the NFL. Stafford wasn’t the MVP-caliber player in Week 2 that some believed he might be this season, but the offense still looked good on the whole.

1) Tampa Bay Buccaneers

This is the best team in football until the Kansas City Chiefs dominate Baltimore on Sunday Night Football. Well, if the Chiefs dominate the Ravens on Sunday night. Tom Brady has the fountain of youth pouring from his refrigerator filter. And with Rob Gronkowski fully involved in the Tampa Bay lifestyle, it seems Brady’s bringing him water to the facility.

The only “flaw” the Buccaneers seem to have is their running backs fumbling the football here and there.


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