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NFL Power Rankings, Week 3: Where Minnesota Is Mystifying

The NFL power rankings for Week 3 stay pretty similar at the top with the San Francisco 49ers in front of everyone else, but we're wondering just good the San Diego Super Chargers are this season.

Sep 16, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Minnesota Vikings fans watch their team play against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Indianapolis defeats Minnesota 23-20. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE
Sep 16, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Minnesota Vikings fans watch their team play against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Indianapolis defeats Minnesota 23-20. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

The old saying goes, "Once is an accident, twice is a coincidence, three times is a pattern". So after two weeks of NFL action, we have 32 coincidences. We're not quite at the point of the season where we can definitively pin down patterns yet, but there is a nice bit of symmetry going on in the league:

  • Six teams are undefeated at 2-0.
  • Twenty teams are even 1-1.
  • Six teams are still searching for their first win at 0-2.

But all records are not created equal. Here's our latest iteration of the NFL power rankings. After each team we provide their record and how they moved in the rankings compared to last week.

  1. 49ers (2-0, NC): Two impressive wins over NFC North teams that made the playoffs last year. Next up: another NFC North team, but one that went 3-13 last year and just lost to a team that went 2-14 last year. Something tells us that San Francisco will be in this area of the power rankings next week too.
  2. Texans (2-0, +2): They haven't really played anybody of worth yet, but they've certainly looked dominant over the two teams they faced. It'll be tough to beat Houston and their punishing running attack when they get a lead.
  3. Falcons (2-0, +2): Atlanta might just have a formidable defense to go with their high-powered passing attack.
  4. Packers (1-1, +3): They got back on track defensively against Chicago, but their offense isn't hitting on all cylinders yet.
  5. Chargers (2-0, +6): Another team that has played two bottom feeders. However, this is Norv Turner's first 2-0 start in 15 years as a head coach. Any team that can overcome that kind of ineptitude must be pretty good.
  6. Patriots (1-1, -3): Thanks for ruining half the world's suicide pools, New England! Now prove that loss to Arizona was a bizarre anomaly and not a sign of what's to come.
  7. Eagles (2-0, +7): Nine turnovers, two wins. They can obviously move the ball up and down the field if they can stop shooting themselves in the foot.
  8. Ravens (1-1, -2): Tough loss to Philly thanks to a couple very questionable calls by the replacement referees. It doesn't get any easier with New England coming to town this week.
  9. Giants (1-1, NC): Really close to being 0-2 to start the year. The offense is explosive but their vaunted pass rush has been eerily quiet. Are they just too beat up to compete at a high level right now?
  10. Steelers (1-1, +3): Great showing by their depleted defense to knock Mark Sanchez and company back to preseason form. Their offensive line is still a mess but they have the perfect quarterback to remedy the problem.
  11. Broncos (1-1, -5): Psst...Peyton Manning isn't all the way back yet. Still, it was impressive to see them fight back in the Monday night game after the worst possible start.
  12. Cardinals (2-0, +8): Their defense has just been upgraded from "legit" to "holy crap they might be one of the best in the league". If they keep the dream alive and beat Philadelphia this week, expect another big jump in the rankings.
  13. Lions (1-1, -1): Kept it respectable on the road against our top rated team. They need more consistency on both sides of the ball.
  14. Bears (1-1, -6): Good Jay Cutler showed up in Week 1. A-hole Jay Cutler reared his whiny head in Week 2. They go as far as he goes...and I'd be worried about that if I were a Chicago fan.
  15. Seahawks (1-1, +9): Classic Seattle: struggle on the road, look great at home. We'll see just how great they are in the Pacific Northwest when the Pack comes to town on Monday.
  16. Cowboys (1-1, -6): They were down 10-0 before they knew it in Seattle. They can't afford to make that many mistakes, especially on special teams.
  17. Buccaneers (1-1, -1): They gave away that game to the Giants. By allowing roughly seven miles of Eli Manning passing yards.
  18. Panthers (1-1, +5): I'm not sure if they'll make the playoffs, but I can guarantee that this is one of the most fun teams to watch in the league.
  19. Bengals (1-1, +2): Surprisingly, it's their defense that's the big concern so far. They're ranked 30th after being a top 10 unit the past few years.
  20. Redskins (1-1, -5): It felt like a pretty fluky loss to Saint Louis. The bigger issue: the horrible injuries they suffered to their defense.
  21. Jets (1-1, -4): Must...not...make...clichéd...joke...about...crowd...chanting...for...backup...quarterback...
  22. Bills (1-1, +5): There's the Buffalo team that a lot of people expected last week. Now do it against a team that isn't horrible.
  23. Rams (1-1, +2): There's a reason that people are running to pick up Danny Amendola off their fantasy football waiver wire like it was a Black Friday sale: this team might not be all that bad. I don't know how they're accomplishing anything behind their third-string offensive linemen, but they're looking competitive at the very least.
  24. Saints (0-2, -6): In the immortal words of Scooby-Doo: ruh roh. The only winless team in the NFC has alot of tough questions to answer.
  25. Colts (1-1, +5): Andrew Luck will keep this team in a lot of games they have no business winning. That said, they were obviously the better team in Indianapolis this past Sunday.
  26. Dolphins (1-1, +6): Huh?! They looked pretty darn sharp against Oakland. Reggie Bush finally played the game he was drafted to play over six years ago.
  27. Vikings (1-1, -8): So we rated them way too high last week at 19. Cut us some slack. We are a Minnesota site after all. Paging Jared sight of him yet in the 2012 season.
  28. Browns (0-2, +3): Unlike the remaining teams on this list, at least Cleveland is putting up a fight with their wildly untalented team so far.
  29. Chiefs (0-2, -7): A sleeper pick for a lot of people that's looking like a coma pick after two games. Yeesh.
  30. Titans (0-2, -6): Can we just replace the letter "O" with the number zero when we're talking about Tennessee's offense? Like this: 0ffense. Doesn't that look much more accurate?
  31. Jaguars (0-2, -3): Thanks to the rest of the AFC South, the Texans might start resting their players by Thanksgiving.
  32. Raiders (0-2, -3): Ranking them last might be a little harsh, but here are their next three opponents: Pittsburgh, Denver, Atlanta. Let's just be proactive and put them at the bottom now.

Photographs by Micah Taylor, clairity, and Fibonacci Blue used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.