Week 3 NFL Power Rankings and Predictions

Here is what Max expects to play out in the week 3 NFL games.

This past weekend of football was another unpredictable one. Wild comebacks, upsets, and close games were the stories of week two. The Browns browned, the Colts were clobbered by the Jaguars, the Falcons ironically almost came back from a 28-3 deficit against the Rams, the Dolphins pulled off a furious comeback to stun the Ravens, and the Saints and Buccaneers got into a fight. I had mixed results with my predictions, going 8-8 overall. My biggest win was predicting Kyler Murray to will the Cardinals to an upset of the Raiders, but I failed to predict the Jaguars, Jets, and Dolphins wins, just to name a few. We’ll see if I can step up my game this week. Here are this week’s power rankings, followed by my week three predictions.

#32. Houston Texans (0-1-1, 30)

#31. Chicago Bears (1-1, 29)

#30. Seattle Seahawks (1-1, 28)

#29. New York Jets (1-1, 32)

#28. Dallas Cowboys (1-1, 31)

#27. Atlanta Falcons (0-2, 26)

#26. Carolina Panthers (0-2, 22)

#25. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1, 27)

#24. Washington Commanders (1-1, 21)

#23. New York Giants (2-0, 23)

#22. Detroit Lions (1-1, 25)

#21. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1, 18)

#20. New England Patriots (1-1, 24)

#19. Tennessee Titans (0-2, 17)

#18. Cleveland Browns (1-1, 20)

#17. Las Vegas Raiders (0-2, 16)

#16. Arizona Cardinals (1-1, 19)

#15. New Orleans Saints (1-1, 13)

#14. Indianapolis Colts (0-1-1, 11)

#13. Minnesota Vikings (1-1, 12)

#12. Miami Dolphins (2-0, 15)

#11. Philadelphia Eagles (2-0, 14)

#10. Denver Broncos (1-1, 6)

#9. Cincinnati Bengals (0-2, 7)

#8. Los Angeles Rams (1-1, 9)

#7. San Francisco 49ers (1-1, 10)

#6. Green Bay Packers (1-1, 8)

#5. Los Angeles Chargers (1-1, 5)

#4. Baltimore Ravens (1-1, 4)

#3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-0, 3)

#2. Kansas City Chiefs (2-0, 2)

#1. Buffalo Bills (2-0, 1)

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cleveland Browns:

The Steelers let me down last week, falling to the Patriots 17-14. The offense, led by quarterback Mitch Trubisky, was even uglier than New England’s offense, which is not something I expected. Hopefully coach Mike Tomlin will turn to rookie first round pick and hometown hero Kenny Pickett soon. The Browns had a routine Browns performance in week two, blowing a 13-point lead with less than two minutes to go in a 31-30 loss to the Jets. Nick Chubb carried the Cleveland offense for much of the game, running for over 100 yards and three touchdowns. It seemed as if the Browns had the game locked up when Chubb scored from 12 yards out with 1:55 left to go, but no game is ever over until the final whistle, especially when the Browns are involved. Joe Flacco connected with Correy Davis for a 66-yard touchdown, the Jets recovered an on-side kick, and Flacco engineered another touchdown drive capped off by a 15-yard strike to rookie Garrett Wilson to win it for the Jets. The Browns browned. This week, Cleveland gets another home matchup, this time with the rival, Pittsburg Steelers. The Browns, when they aren’t browning, are the better team, so I’ll take them to win. There’s no way they can do it two weeks in a row, right?

Prediction: Browns 24, Steelers 20

Houston Texans @ Chicago Bears:

This one should be a snooze fest between arguably the two worst teams in football. The Bears and Texans combined for 19 points in losses to the Packers and Broncos in week two respectively. No need to spend much time on this game. I’ll take the home team to win.

Prediction: Bears 19, Texans 14

Las Vegas Raiders @ Tennessee Titans:

Both of these teams are desperate for wins after 0-2 starts. The Raiders couldn’t contain Kyler Murray in the second half of their week two game against the Cardinals, blowing a 20-0 lead and falling 29-23 in overtime when Hunter Renfrow fumbled, and Byron Murphy Jr. returned it to the end zone for a walk off touchdown. The Titans were pummeled 41-7 by the mighty Bills last week. The Tennessee offense scored a touchdown on their first drive and then were not heard from for the rest of the game. The Titans had three turnovers on the night, as Ryan Tannehill threw two interceptions, and Kyle Philips muffed a punt for the second week in a row. Neither of these teams want to fall to 0-3, so this should be a physical, competitive game. I think the Raiders are the better team, especially on offense, so I’ll take them to win this battle of attrition.

Prediction: Raiders 26, Titans 24

Kansas City Chiefs @ Indianapolis Colts:

I was wrong about the Colts last week. I thought they would be able to overcome the curse that the city of Jacksonville seems to have on them, but no such thing happened, as the Colts were demolished 24-0 by the Jaguars. Matt Ryan was held under 200 yards passing and threw three interceptions in a pitiful performance. Indianapolis has not won a game in Jacksonville since 2014, a crazy statistic considering how much better the Colts have been than the Jags during that time. Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs didn’t play their cleanest game against the Chargers last week, but they were still able to win 27-24. The Chargers were about to score a go ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter, but rookie corner back Jalen Watson intercepted Justin Herbert and returned it 99 yards for a touchdown to give KC a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. I expect Mahomes and the Chiefs offense to return to form this week, even in a tough matchup against a good Indianapolis defense. The Colts will be desperate for a win, but the Chiefs simply have too much talent for Indi to overcome.

Prediction: Chiefs 28, Colts 20

Buffalo Bills @ Miami Dolphins:

This is a really intriguing matchup. The Bills have outscored their opponents 72-17 through their first two games, as their offense and defense have both been dominant. The Dolphins made a miraculous comeback last week against the Ravens, scoring 28 points in the fourth quarter to win 42-38. Miami’s incredible receiving duo of Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle combined for 361 yards and four touchdowns, and quarterback Tua Tagovailoa finished with 469 yards, six touchdowns, and two interceptions. Tagovalioa didn’t play quite as well as his stats indicate, as many of his yards came from yards after the catch from Hill and Waddle. One of his two long touchdown passes to Hill was underthrown, but Hill was so wide open that it didn’t matter. His receivers definitely helped inflate his stats, but Tagovailoa still played a good game and limited his mistakes during the second half comeback. He will face an even bigger test this week against Buffalo. I think the Bills win this one, because they have the better quarterback and defense, but Miami’s playmakers can keep them in pretty much any game.

Prediction: Bills 34, Dolphins 27

Detroit Lions @ Minnesota Vikings:

I was wrong on both of these teams last week. Although I said that the Lions could pull off an upset at any time, I still picked the Commanders to win. Instead, the Lions offense dominated all game and won a 36-27 shootout. Their defense was excellent in the first half, but not so much in the second half. Prime time Kirk made an appearance last week for the Vikings, as Kirk Cousins threw three interceptions in a 21-7 loss to the Eagles on Monday night. However, now that he is out of the prime time spotlight, I expect him to rebound this week in a much easier matchup at home. The Lions seem to be competitive in every game no matter how much better the opponent is on paper, but I think the Vikes take this one.

Prediction: Vikings 29, Lions 23

Baltimore Ravens @ New England Patriots:

Lamar Jackson and the Ravens dominated for three quarters of their game against the Dolphins in week two, carrying a 35-14 lead into the fourth quarter. However, a banged up defense collapsed and let Miami come back to win. Fortunately, they have a much easier matchup this week against the Patriots, who surprised by winning 17-14 on the road against the Steelers in week two. However, New England still has only scored 24 points in two games this season, and their defense is not equipped to keep up with Jackson and the high flying Ravens offense.

Prediction: Ravens 27, Patriots 17

Cincinnati Bengals @ New York Jets:

The Bengals early season problems continued in week two as they lost to Cooper Rush and the Cowboys. Joe Burrow and the offense have not lived up to their expectations through their first two games, scoring just 37 total points. The Jets shocked the Browns with an improbable comeback last week. Rookie wide receiver broke out for eight receptions, 102 yards, and two touchdowns including the game winner. However, we can’t forget that New York was overmatched for a vast majority of the game. The Jets beat the Bengals last season in a similar situation, with the Jets playing their backup quarterback, but the Bengals are to desperate to let that happen again. This is a great get right matchup for Cincinnati.

Prediction: Bengals 30, Jets 20

Philadelphia Eagles @ Washington Commanders:

Jalen Hurts and the Eagles are flying high after dominating the Vikings in week two. Hurts seems to have taken a step forward this year, as he has been a much more accurate passer than he was last season. His decision making also seems to be improved. Against Minnesota, he completed his first 10 passes for 154 yards and a touchdown while adding two touchdown runs. Carson Wentz and the Commanders fell behind 22-0 to the Lions by half time and weren’t able to complete the comeback, falling 36-27. Wentz threw for 337 yards and three touchdowns as Washington went pass heavy in the second half. He gets a chance for revenge against the quarterback that took his job in Philadelphia this week, but it won’t be easy. Hurts and the Eagles are more talented than the Commanders, and Wentz’s overly aggressive play style probably won’t work against an Eagles’ defense that is good at taking advantage of mistake-prone quarterbacks. This game has upset potential, but I’ll take Philadelphia.

Prediction: Eagles 27, Commanders 24

New Orleans Saints @ Carolina Panthers:

The Saints played in a slop fest last week against the Buccaneers. The game was tied 3-3 after three quarters, Saints quarterback Jameis Winston threw three awful interceptions, and New Orleans cornerback Marshawn Latimore and Tampa Bay wide receiver Mike Evans got into a fist fight in the third quarter and both were ejected. When everything was said and done, the Saints lost 20-10. The Panthers disappointed in week two, losing 19-16 to the Giants. Baker Mayfield completed less than half of his passes as Carolina continued to look like a poorly coached team. Christian McCaffrey piled up 128 total yards, but he only had 15 carries. Considering how erratic Mayfield has been through his first two games, McCaffrey should be getting more touches. This will probably be another sloppy game. I actually think the Panthers will win this game. They won’t want to start 0-3 and get to play at home for the first time this season.

Prediction: Panthers 20, Saints 19

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Los Angeles Chargers:

The Chargers lost last week in a tough matchup against the Chiefs. Without Kenan Allen, they didn’t have quite enough firepower to keep up with Kansas City, plus Justin Herbert’s pick six didn’t help matters. Mike Williams did step up with eight catches for 113 yards and a touchdown; however, a positive sign after catching only one pass in week one. Herbert suffered a rib cartilage fracture late in the game against the Chiefs, so hopefully he will be recovered enough to play this week. The Jaguars had an exciting performance in week two, dominating the Colts from start to finish in the shutout win. Trevor Lawrence threw just five incomplete passes, and the defense was dominant. This should be a good game, but the Chargers are the better team especially if Herbert plays, so they should win this one.

Prediction: Chargers 31, Jaguars 23

Los Angeles Rams @ Arizona Cardinals:

The Rams looked good for much of their week two win over the Falcons, jumping out to a 28-3 lead in the second half. However, Atlanta almost completed a remarkable comeback, as L.A. won just 31-25 thanks to a Jalen Ramsey interception in the end zone with under two minutes to go. Matthew Stafford played much better than he did in week one, but he still threw interceptions. The defense obviously still has some things to clean up after allowing a combined 56 points in their first two games. The Cardinals looked terrible in the first half against the Raiders last week, falling behind 20-0. However, as I predicted, Kyler Murray willed his team to a huge comeback victory. Some of the plays he made in the fourth quarter to keep the Cards alive were insane, especially on a two-point conversion where he ran around for about 15 seconds before finding an opening to run the ball in to the end zone to complete the conversion, and that’s not an exaggeration or a typo. Despite the comeback however, we can’t forget how awful the Cardinals looked in the first half and in their week one loss to the Chiefs. The Rams know the Cardinals well and have the more talented roster and coaching staff. Kyler will make this game interesting, but the Rams should be able to pull out the win.

Prediction: Rams 30, Cardinals 26

Atlanta Falcons @ Seattle Seahawks:

As discussed above, the Falcons fell just short of coming back from a 28-3 deficit against the Rams. The Seahawks were crushed 27-7 by the 49ers, bringing them back to reality after their week one upset of Russell Wilson and the Broncos. Both of these teams lack talent, but are scrappy and well coached. This should be a physical game that could go either way. Ultimately, I think that Seattle’s home field advantage will be enough to propel them to a win.

Prediction: Seahawks 23, Falcons 21

Green Bay Packers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

This is a matchup between two of the greatest quarterbacks ever who are working with less than ideal receivers at the moment. Green Bay cruised past Chicago 27-10 in week two, as Aaron Jones led the way with 168 total yards and two touchdowns. The Packers are still figuring out their wide receiver situation, as five different ones were targeted at least four times against the Bears. Tom Brady’s receivers are simply banged up. Mike Evans is suspended for this game, Chris Godwin is recovering from a hamstring injury, and Julio Jones is doing the same with a knee injury. Godwin and Jones have a chance to play this week, but if they aren’t able to go, Brady’s receiving options will be lackluster. Brady has struggled through the first two weeks, throwing for just 402 yards with just two touchdown passes. However, Green Bay likes to run zone coverage on defense, a concept that a great like Brady can exploit no matter who his receivers are. Moreover, Tampa Bay’s defense has been dominant so far, holding their opponents to a measly 13 points. Rodgers will make this one close, but I think Brady’s Buccs get the win here.

Prediction: Buccaneers 24, Packers 21

San Francisco 49ers @ Denver Broncos:

‘Niners quarterback Trey Lance unfortunately broke his ankle in the first quarter of their game against the Seahawks last week and will miss the rest of the season. However, Jimmy Garoppolo is a proven starter who will keep this offense more than competent. Jimmy G led the ‘Niners to the Super Bowl in 2020 and the NFC championship game this past season. With a dominant defense in place, the ‘Niners shouldn’t miss a beat, even with the change at quarterback. Broncos rookie head coach Nathaniel Hackett had another embarrassing game in week two as he mis-managed the clock on a couple occasions, similar to what happened at the end of the week one loss to Seattle. The Broncos were able to get the win in week two against the Texans, but it wasn’t a pretty one. Russell Wilson struggled as the offense could muster only 16 points. They will probably figure things out, but San Francisco is the better and more disciplined team right now.

Prediction: 49ers 23, Broncos 17

Dallas Cowboys @ New York Giants:

Cooper Rush and the Cowboys surprisingly beat the Bengals last week thanks to a last second field goal by Brett Maher. The defense, led by second year sensation Micah Parsons, kept a potent Cincinnati offense in check for most of the game. The Giants gridded out a 19-16 win over the Panthers last week to improve to 2-0. New head coach Brian Daboll looks like the real deal. A team as talent deficient as the Giants has no business being 2-0, but here they are. They have a great chance to continue their improbable winning ways against the Cowboys, who I don’t think will be able to have as much offensive success this week. Rush can hold things together, but he is a backup for a reason. I don’t think he will play as well this week. The Giants are riding high and should be able to use that and their home field advantage to edge out a win.

Prediction: Giants 20, Cowboys 16