Just eight teams remain undefeated after two weeks of play. The Pittsburgh Steelers handled the Cincinnati Bengals and sit atop our rankings for the first time this season. The Baltimore Ravens completed the comeback victory over the Cleveland Browns to keep pace in the AFC North.
The 2-0 New England Patriots ranked as our top team in Week 2, but slid to second overall this week. After Jimmy Garoppolo suffered an injury to his AC joint, rookie quarterback Jacoby Brissett will log his first start under center as the team enters a Thursday night matchup against the 2-0 Houston Texans. With Tom Brady suspended and Garoppolo injured, wideout Julian Edelman, who played quarterback at Kent State, will serve as the emergency quarterback. Star tight end Rob Gronkowski is still dealing with a hamstring issue, and his status remains uncertain for Thursday night’s game.
Denver looks to continue its strong defensive play against the Bengals on Sunday. Von Miller tallied three of five team sacks against Andrew Luck and the Colts in Week 2. Aqib Talib registered a pick-six, and Shane Ray returned a fumble recovery for a touchdown. As a unit, the Denver defense ranks in the top three in passing yards per game, rushing yards per game, and total yards per game.
Carson Wentz led the Eagles to a 2-0 record and into a tie for the division lead with the New York Giants. After beating up on the Browns and Bears, Philadelphia faces a major test against the potent Steelers’ offense in the City of Brotherly Love. Kirk Cousins and the Redskins look for their first win of 2016 in a crucial divisional game against the Giants. Rumors are already swirling that teammates want Colt McCoy to start over Captain Kirk. Washington, my friends, has the potential to become a dumpster fire sooner rather than later.
Minnesota topped Green Bay 17-14 in Week 2 behind the arm of new quarterback Sam Bradford. Adrian Peterson left the game with a meniscus injury, and is set to undergo surgery on Thursday. He’s expected to miss three to four months. Nonetheless, AP was largely ineffective over the first two games, totaling just 50 yards on 30 carries so far. Jerick McKinnon, Matt Asiata, and newly-signed Ronnie Hillman will fill the void in Peterson’s absence. The Panthers and the NFL are coordinating security efforts with local police and government officials to ensure Bank of America stadium will have a sufficient security presence. Ongoing protests are taking place in Charlotte after an officer shot and killed unarmed Keith Lamont Scott in close proximity to the stadium earlier this week.
Several teams enter Week 3 expecting significant rebounds after disappointing performances last week. Seattle’s offense looked anemic in a 9-3 loss to the Los Angeles Rams. With quarterback Russell Wilson, wideout Doug Baldwin, and running back Thomas Rawls nursing injuries, the rest of the gang will need to step up in a big way against the Niners. Seattle also starts one of the league’s worst offensive lines that is showing no signs of improvement.
Tampa Bay was absolutely blown out by Arizona in Week 2. The Bucs are much better than they showed in the 40-7 loss, and they’ll get a great opportunity to beat up on the Rams in Week 3. Tampa Bay will have to complete the task behind the legs of backup running back Charles Sims as Doug Martin is slated to miss three weeks with an injury. The 0-2 Saints lost a tough game against the Giants, but have a chance to display air superiority against the Falcons on Monday Night Football in Week 3. The issue for New Orleans: getting stops and creating turnovers on defense.
The Cowboys looked OK against the Redskins, but can make a big statement against the injury-stricken Bears in the Big D on Sunday Night Football. Elsewhere, the Raiders play the Titans, the Jaguars get the Ravens at home, the Jets face the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium, and the Colts get the Chargers in Indianapolis.
In case you live under a rock, get up to speed by checking out our preseason divisional previews. Just click the desired link below:
Rankings for each week will be posted every Thursday around noon, and will be based on a composite score of each voter’s individual score. The rankings for Week 3 were completed by Jake DeWitt, TJ Lovenduski, and newcomer Manan Desai. Enjoy!
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Stats courtesy of ESPN.com