Advertisement

NFL power rankings, Week 3: Ravens suddenly look like favorites in AFC North

Thank you for supporting our journalism. This article is available exclusively for our subscribers, who help fund our work at The Baltimore Sun.

Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow, left, and Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson talk after Baltimore's 27-24 win Sunday in Cincinnati.

Each week of the NFL season, The Baltimore Sun will rank all 32 NFL teams. The rankings will take into account not just weekly performance, injuries and roster depth, but how well each team measures up as Super Bowl contenders.

Here are the rankings heading into Week 3:

Advertisement

1. San Francisco 49ers (2-0, No. 1 last week)

Week 2: Win vs. Rams, 30-23

Up next: vs. Giants

Advertisement

It wasn’t a dominant showing against Los Angeles, but it was enough for the 49ers to earn a ninth straight regular-season win over their NFC West rivals. Two late interceptions by Isaiah Oliver and Deommodore Lenoir sealed the deal, while Christian McCaffrey and Deebo Samuel powered the offense with a combined 154 rushing and receiving yards. If quarterback Brock Purdy remains steady, San Francisco should be the favorite in the NFC.

2. Dallas Cowboys (2-0, No. 2)

Week 2: Win vs. Jets, 30-10

Up next: at Cardinals

The Cowboys’ defense predictably dominated against overmatched quarterback Zach Wilson, sacking him three times and recording three interceptions. But the offense left a lot to be desired, going 2-for-6 in the red zone and averaging 3 yards per carry. While it was a terrific performance from quarterback Dak Prescott (31-for-38 for 255 yards and 2 TDs) and wide receiver CeeDee Lamb (11 catches for 143 yards), Dallas did not get much from running back Tony Pollard and their other skill-position players. That could be a problem against elite teams.

3. Miami Dolphins (2-0, No. 3)

Week 2: Win vs. Patriots, 24-17

Up next: vs. Broncos

Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and coach Mike McDaniel proved Week 1 was no fluke, finding enough answers through the air and on the ground to overcome a good Patriots defense. Raheem Mostert (18 carries for 121 yards and 2 TDs) still has plenty of juice as the lead running back, and his health might be crucial for Miami to keep defenses from loading up to stop the pass. Credit the Dolphins’ defense, too, for limiting New England to 4.1 yards per play and bottling up running back Rhamondre Stevenson.

4. Philadelphia Eagles (2-0, No. 4)

Week 2: Win vs. Vikings, 34-28

Advertisement

Up next: at Buccaneers

Quarterback Jalen Hurts said the team is “a work in progress” after an uninspiring offensive performance that frustrated wide receiver A.J. Brown enough to shout at Hurts on the sideline. Rushing for 259 yards — including a career-high 175 from new addition D’Andre Swift — and three touchdowns is nothing to be upset about, but Hurts and his receivers have not been crisp to start the season. The defense also gave up huge gains through the air and let Minnesota go 6-for-10 on third down. The Eagles are undefeated, but something feels off.

5. Kansas City Chiefs (1-1, No. 5)

Week 2: Win vs. Jaguars, 17-9

Up next: vs. Bears

The Eagles’ Super Bowl counterpart has been sluggish to start the season too, although quarterback Patrick Mahomes said it best after Sunday’s win: “You play bad and win, it’s a lot better than playing bad and losing.” The Chiefs overcame three early turnovers to avoid becoming the first defending champions to start 0-2 since Denver in 1999. The defense has been a bright spot so far and looked even better with the return of defensive end Chris Jones, who recorded 1 1/2 sacks as Kansas City allowed just 4.2 yards per play.

Ravens wide receiver Nelson Agholor (15) is congratulated by teammate Zay Flowers after scoring as Mark Andrews (89) watches during Sunday's game in Cincinnati.

6. Ravens (2-0, No. 8)

Week 2: Win vs. Bengals, 27-24

Advertisement

Up next: vs. Colts

Now that’s the Lamar Jackson we all wanted to see. In perhaps the most impressive passing performance of his career, Jackson went 24-for-33 for 237 yards and 2 TDs, including a beautiful 17-yard strike to Nelson Agholor in the fourth quarter that put the game out of reach. According to the NFL’s Next Gen Stats, Jackson’s average time to throw through two games is 2.6 seconds, a stark contrast to his time of 2.96 last season, which ranked the longest among qualified quarterbacks. If the Ravens’ passing attack is going to be this consistent, combined with strong rushing from Jackson and lead backs Gus Edwards and Justice Hill, this team could be a much tougher playoff team than previous seasons.

7. Buffalo Bills (1-1, No. 9)

Week 2: Win vs. Raiders, 38-10

Up next: at Commanders

Josh Allen heard the criticism. After an erratic performance in the season-opening loss to the Jets, the star quarterback bounced back in a big way, completing 31 of 37 passes for 274 yards and 3 TDs. James Cook also delivered his best game as a pro, rushing for 123 yards to give the running game an explosive element it has sorely needed. Time will tell if this team can be the Super Bowl contender it believes it is.

8. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1, No. 7)

Week 2: Loss vs. Chiefs, 17-9

Advertisement

Up next: vs. Texans

The Jaguars might not be ready for prime time just yet. After an explosive team debut in Week 1, wide receiver Calvin Ridley was held to two catches for 32 yards, while Trevor Lawrence threw for just 216 yards on 41 attempts. It was a humbling performance for an offense that is expected to be among the league’s best, but it gives the Jaguars a chance to learn and make some adjustments before the high-stakes games begin.

9. Detroit Lions (1-1, No. 6)

Week 2: Loss vs. Seahawks, 31-27, OT

Up next: vs. Falcons

In some ways, Sunday’s loss should be encouraging for Detroit. The Lions had plenty of mistakes and missed opportunities, including a fumble on their opening drive of the second half, a turnover on downs near midfield at the end of the third quarter, and a pick-six — Jared Goff’s first interception in 383 attempts, 30 shy of the NFL record — that put them behind 10 points midway through the fourth quarter and still pushed the game into overtime. “This is good,” coach Dan Campbell said. “We’ll get a little humble pie.”

10. New Orleans Saints (2-0, No. 17)

Week 2: Win vs. Panthers, 20-17

Advertisement

Up next: at Packers

It was far from a dominant performance, but the Saints’ offense did enough and the defense nearly kept its opponent out of the end zone for the second straight week. Taysom Hill had a nice game running the ball, and wide receivers Chris Olave and Rashid Shaheed flashed their big-play potential with a pair of deep catches. Quarterback Derek Carr has been the steady influence this team hoped for.

11. Los Angeles Rams (1-1, No. 12)

Week 2: Loss vs. 49ers, 30-23

Up next: at Bengals

Puka Nacua deserves all the praise for setting the NFL record for most catches by a rookie through two games (25), but don’t overlook what Tutu Atwell has done. The 2022 second-round pick has nearly as many receptions (13) through two games as he did all of last season (18). When star wide receiver Cooper Kupp returns, this offense — led by a resurgent Matthew Stafford and a surprisingly good offensive line — is going to be tough to stop.

Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith throws a pass during Sunday's game in Detroit.

12. Seattle Seahawks (1-1, No. 24)

Week 2: Win vs. Lions, 31-27, OT

Advertisement

Up next: vs. Panthers

If they wrote Geno Smith off after Week 1, he didn’t write back. The veteran quarterback delivered a magnificent bounce-back performance, going 32-for-41 for 328 yards and 2 TDs, including the game-winning 6-yard pass to Tyler Lockett in overtime. Seattle gave up more than 400 total yards for the second straight week, but Smith and the offense might be good enough to give the defense time to correct its mistakes.

13. Atlanta Falcons (2-0, No. 16)

Week 2: Win vs. Packers, 25-24

Up next: at Lions

Rookie running back Bijan Robinson rushed for 124 yards on 19 carries and caught four passes for 48 yards, powering the offense on a day when second-year quarterback Desmond Ridder largely struggled. But give credit to Ridder for making some clutch plays, including a 6-yard touchdown run on fourth down that cut the deficit to 24-19 in the fourth quarter and a 4-yard scramble on the following drive to keep the chains moving. At least for one game, Atlanta proved it can play from behind, outscoring Green Bay 13-0 in the fourth quarter.

14. Washington Commanders (2-0, No. 20)

Week 2: Win vs. Broncos, 35-33

Advertisement

Up next: vs. Bills

Three starts, three wins for quarterback Sam Howell. The 2022 fifth-round pick looked confident Sunday, going 27-for-39 for 299 yards and 2 TDs, including a spectacular 30-yard strike to wide receiver Terry McLaurin to tie the game in the third quarter. Washington erased a 21-3 deficit with relative ease, taking a 35-24 lead before a Hail Mary from Russell Wilson as time expired bounced into the arms of Brandon Johnson for a touchdown. That didn’t spoil the big day, though, as Benjamin St-Juste broke up the potential game-tying 2-point conversion to seal the win.

15. Cleveland Browns (1-1, No. 11)

Week 2: Loss vs. Steelers, 26-22

Up next: vs. Titans

The Browns looked poised to start 2-0 for the first time since 1993, but a fumble by Deshaun Watson — their 38th starting quarterback in the 30 years since — was returned for a touchdown by T.J. Watt with 6:58 to go to give Pittsburgh an improbable win Monday night. Watson completed just 55% of his passes and was sacked six times, while star running back Nick Chubb was lost to a gruesome knee injury that will end his season. Jerome Ford looked like a capable backup, but without Chubb, more pressure is on Watson to lead the offense. Right now, he isn’t ready to deliver.

16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-0, No. 18)

Week 2: Win vs. Bears, 27-17

Advertisement

Up next: vs. Eagles

A poised, efficient Baker Mayfield makes Tampa Bay a dangerous team. The former Browns starter went 26-for-34 for 317 yards and one touchdown and relied on his star wideouts, connecting with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin a combined 11 times for 229 yards. We knew the Buccaneers’ defense had the talent to be good, but the offense has been better than expected.

17. Green Bay Packers (1-1, No. 10)

Week 2: Loss vs. Falcons, 25-24

Up next: vs. Saints

As disappointing as Sunday’s loss was, the Packers have to be thrilled about what they’ve seen from quarterback Jordan Love so far. The first-year starter delivered three touchdown passes for the second straight week and has yet to throw an interception while taking just two sacks. Green Bay is going to win a lot of games if Love keeps playing like this.

Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill celebrates his rushing touchdown during Sunday's game in Nashville, Tennessee.

18. Tennessee Titans (1-1, No. 21)

Week 2: Win vs. Chargers, 27-24, OT

Advertisement

Up next: at Browns

This Titans team isn’t overwhelming, but it’s tough and has enough playmakers on both sides of the ball to be competitive in every game. That’s the Mike Vrabel promise. Ryan Tannehill is still an effective quarterback with occasional moments of brilliance, including a 70-yard bomb to Treylon Burks in the second quarter that changed the game after Tennessee fell behind 11-0. More often than not, the Titans won’t beat themselves, and that goes a long way in the NFL.

19. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1, No. 25)

Week 2: Win vs. Browns, 26-22

Up next: at Raiders

A win is a win, especially against a division rival, but the Steelers have serious problems on offense. They mustered just nine first downs Monday thanks to a combination of poor play calling by Matt Canada and poor execution by quarterback Kenny Pickett, running back Najee Harris and the offensive line. T.J. Watt and Alex Highsmith look like game-wreckers, combining for a pair of defensive touchdowns, but the Steelers can’t expect 14 points from their defense every game.

20. New York Giants (1-1, No. 27)

Week 2: Win vs. Cardinals, 31-28

Advertisement

Up next: at 49ers

After falling behind 28-7 in the third quarter Sunday, the Giants were ticketed for the bottom of these rankings. But they somehow rallied to win, thanks to a standout performance from quarterback Daniel Jones and running back Saquon Barkley. Jones threw for 321 yards, rushed for 59 more and accounted for 3 TDs in one of the best games of his career, while the defense forced punts on three straight Cardinals possessions before kicking the game-winning field goal. But it’s going to be an uphill climb for the Giants without Barkley, who sprained his ankle late in the game and is reportedly out for at least three weeks.

21. Cincinnati Bengals (0-2, No. 14)

Week 2: Loss vs. Ravens, 27-24

Up next: vs. Rams

Since 2002, roughly one in 10 teams has started 0-2 and advanced to the postseason, according to ESPN. The Bengals are one of the few, finishing 12-4 last season and winning their second straight AFC North title. This year might be different, though. Quarterback Joe Burrow said he aggravated his calf injury Sunday, and the offense wasn’t exactly firing on all cylinders to begin with. Before showing some life in the second half against the Ravens, Burrow had averaged under 3 yards per dropback over the first six quarters. The Bengals have too much talent to be written off, but a tough schedule might keep them out of the postseason.

22. Los Angeles Chargers (0-2, No. 13)

Week 2: Loss vs. Titans, 27-24, OT

Advertisement

Up next: at Vikings

The days might be numbered for coach Brandon Staley. As much as he doesn’t want to talk about the playoff collapse against the Jaguars last season, it overshadows everything. The Chargers still come up short in big moments, including a hapless three-and-out to open overtime Sunday before allowing the game-winning field goal. As good as quarterback Justin Herbert is, he can’t seem to overcome this team’s shortcomings.

Jets quarterback Zach Wilson (2) is tackled during Sunday's game in Dallas.

23. New York Jets (1-1, No. 15)

Week 2: Loss vs. Cowboys, 30-10

Up next: vs. Patriots

Sooner or later the Jets will learn that Zach Wilson is not a viable starting quarterback. As much hope as Aaron Rodgers’ comments about his supposedly quick recovery from a torn Achilles tendon provide, New York is not going anywhere unless it finds someone else to lead this offense. Wide receiver Garrett Wilson, running back Breece Hall and the Jets’ defense are too good to let die on the vine.

24. Minnesota Vikings (0-2, No. 23)

Week 2: Loss vs. Eagles, 34-28

Advertisement

Up next: vs. Chargers

Luck is not on the Vikings’ side this season. There were five fumbles in Thursday night’s game — four by Minnesota and one by Philadelphia — and the Vikings didn’t recover a single one. The passing game is not at fault, with Kirk Cousins throwing for 364 yards and 4 TDs and wide receiver Justin Jefferson continuing to be the NFL’s toughest cover, but new coordinator Brian Flores’ aggressive defense has been a disappointment.

25. New England Patriots (0-2, No. 22)

Week 2: Loss vs. Dolphins, 24-17

Up next: at Jets

The Patriots’ defense is good enough to keep them in every game, but the offense hasn’t shown much potential under new coordinator Bill O’Brien. Outside of rookie wide receiver Demario Douglas, who was benched after fumbling Sunday night, and running back Stevenson, there is nobody who scares opposing defenses. Mac Jones is not going to elevate this passing attack by himself.

26. Indianapolis Colts (1-1, No. 28)

Week 2: Win vs. Texans, 31-20

Advertisement

Up next: at Ravens

Before exiting with a concussion Sunday, rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson looked like a star in the making. He rushed for a pair of touchdowns on the Colts’ first two drives, showing the speed and strength that made him such a tantalizing prospect. Gardner Minshew was solid in relief, going 19-for-23 for 171 yards and a touchdown, but this offense needs Richardson’s dual-threat ability to have any chance of competing under new coach Shane Steichen.

27. Las Vegas Raiders (1-1, No. 19)

Week 2: Loss vs. Bills, 38-10

Up next: vs. Steelers

One step forward, two steps back. After a promising win in Denver, the Raiders turned the ball over three times, allowed 450 total yards and picked up just 13 first downs in a blowout loss in Buffalo. Josh Jacobs, the NFL’s leading rusher last season, had minus-2 yards on nine carries. It’s not what you want.

Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson (3) fumbles the ball after being hit by Commanders linebacker Jamin Davis (52) during the first half Sunday in Denver.

28. Denver Broncos (0-2, No. 26)

Week 2: Loss vs. Commanders, 35-33

Advertisement

Up next: at Dolphins

A season that began with so much promise is already off the rails. Coach Sean Payton has not been able to fix quarterback Russell Wilson, and worse yet, his team looks undisciplined and sloppy. The first half against Washington provides some hope, especially Wilson’s deep passes to rookie receiver Marvin Mims, but it’s going to take a much better effort to turn this season around.

29. Arizona Cardinals (0-2, No. 32)

Week 2: Loss vs. Giants, 31-28

Up next: vs. Cowboys

The Cardinals deserve to be 1-1, and maybe even 2-0. They’ve entered the fourth quarter with a lead in both games, only to be outscored a combined 27-0. Quarterback Joshua Dobbs has played well, but not well enough to overcome the deficiencies of a roster that was considered the league’s worst entering the season.

30. Houston Texans (0-2, No. 31)

Week 2: Loss vs. Colts, 31-20

Advertisement

Up next: at Jaguars

Baltimore Ravens Insider

Weekly

Want the inside scoop on the Ravens? Become a Ravens Insider and you'll have access to news, notes and analysis from The Sun.

When kept clean in the pocket, rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud looks like the real deal, making some impressive throws over the middle to finish with 384 yards and 2 TDs. Unfortunately, a banged-up offensive line has allowed 11 sacks in two games. The defense has also offered little resistance against opposing quarterbacks, allowing a 76.4% completion rate.

31. Carolina Panthers (0-2, No. 30)

Week 2: Loss vs. Saints, 20-17

Up next: at Seahawks

Fans grew impatient with rookie quarterback Bryce Young and the Panthers’ stagnant offense Monday night, and rightfully so. Carolina has scored just two touchdowns this season, and the second came with the Saints playing a conservative defense while leading by 11 with 3:14 to go. Young does not have a reliable playmaker to throw to, and it’s hurting his development.

32. Chicago Bears (0-2, No. 29)

Week 2: Loss vs. Buccaneers, 27-17

Advertisement

Up next: at Chiefs

Justin Fields deserves some of the blame for the struggles on offense, but not all of it. There have been too many missed assignments and blown blocks for any quarterback to succeed. The defense also isn’t getting off the field on third down, and coordinator Alan Williams is out indefinitely for personal reasons. It’s too early in the season to lose all hope, but Chicago does not look ready to take the step forward many expected.


Advertisement