Below are our NFL Power Rankings for Week 3. For previous editions of FanHouse's NFL Power Rankings, click here.
The defending champion New Orleans Saints hold the top spot again, but not by much. They barely beat San Francisco Monday night, but they stay at No. 1 while the rest of the league continues to sort itself out.
More impressively, the rest of this week's top three had to shake off slow starts to win in different ways.
Houston fell behind by 17 and won in overtime, while Green Bay was sleepwalking through the first half against Buffalo before catching fire in the second half.
- 1. Saints (2-0) | Last Week: 1
The Saints barely survived Monday night in San Francisco, but they flashed the big-play defense we remember from last year. And Drew Brees was still Drew Brees. There is no reason to think the Saints can't again contend for a title with how well their big guns are playing.
- 2. Texans (2-0) | Last Week: 3
After rallying from 17 down to tie, Houston took advantage of a well-timed timeout by coach Gary Kubiak to ice Washington kicker Graham Gano in overtime. Hate the rule if you want, but it was fitting to see it used against Mike Shanahan for a change, and the Texans still had to drive into field goal range themselves before they won.
- 3. Packers (2-0) | Last Week: 4
A solid second half propelled the Packers to an easy win Sunday over Buffalo. Not the best opponent, but the kind of win the Packers needed because it showed they could close-out an opponent. The first big test comes Monday at fellow unbeaten Chicago.
- 4. Colts (1-1) | Last Week: 7
Peyton got the best of his little brother and the Colts showed they could both run the ball and adequately protect their meal ticket. The defense was impressive in a bounce-back performance after an awful opener in Houston.
- 5. Steelers (2-0) | Last Week: 9
The Steelers had 21 net passing yards Sunday and still won rather easily against a team picked by many to go to the playoffs. Because of injuries and heat exhaustion, Pittsburgh played at times in the second half with its fourth-string quarterback, one offensive line starter and a backup nose tackle. With the way Troy Polamalu, Lawrence Timmons and the rest of the defense are playing, it may not matter if fifth-string QB Antwaan Randle-El is handing off against the Bucs. --J.J. Cooper
- 6. Chargers (1-1) | Last Week: 12
Even with a short week, the Chargers still throttled the overmatched Jaguars Sunday. The way Philip Rivers is throwing the ball right now, it doesn't appear there is any serious need to overpay for the return of Vincent Jackson.
- 7. Jets (1-1) | Last Week: 13
Strap in and enjoy the emotional roller coaster. The Jets hit the skids in Week 1 and climbed to the mountaintop against the Patriots in Week Two. Their true place has yet to reveal itself, but with that defense it's probably closer to the top than the bottom. --Josh Alper
- 8. Patriots (1-1) | Last Week: 2
The two biggest problems with the 2009 Patriots were their inability to win games on the road and their failure to close teams out in the second half of games. After Sunday's loss to the Jets, we have to wonder if those will continue to be their biggest concerns this time around. --JA
- 9. Bears (2-0) | Last Week: 21
Jay Cutler carved up the Dallas defense Sunday and looks more than comfortable in the Mike Martz offense. The offensive line deserves credit, too, because it was able to keep Cutler upright more effectively as the game wore on. No question the Bears can be very dangerous if they continue to play like this.
- 10. Bengals (1-1) | Last Week: 15
Chad Ochocinco, Terrell Owens and Carson Palmer may get all the publicity, but it's Leon Hall, Jonathan Joseph and the rest of the Bengals' defense that deserves the credit for Cincinnati's seventh straight win over AFC Central opponents. The chance to face Jimmy Clausen in the rookie's first NFL start gives the Bengals' secondary plenty of reasons to be looking forward to Sunday. --JC
- 11. Ravens (1-1) | Last Week: 6
The Ravens gave Joe Flacco Anquan Boldin and T.J. Houshmandzadeh in an effort to turn a run-first offense into a well-balanced attack. But two games into the season, Flacco is completing just 39 percent of his passes and has five picks and one touchdown. The return of offensive tackles Oniel Cousins and Jared Gaither should help, but franchise quarterbacks aren't supposed to be last in the league in quarterback rating. --JC
- 12. Dolphins (2-0) | Last Week: 17
Cameron Wake's pass-rushing ability hasn't lost anything to the exchange rate in the move from Canada to the U.S. His sack and strip of Brett Favre in the end zone on Sunday was the key play of the Dolphins' upset victory. Sadly, Chad Henne's game is still lost in transition from Michigan. --JA
- 13. Redskins (1-1) | Last Week: 10
They blew a 17-point lead, got burned by the "timeout before the snap" trick in overtime, and couldn't stop Matt Schaub or Andre Johnson, no matter what they did. Now DeAngelo Hall is trying to take the responsibility for covering the opponent's top receiver at all times. This could be interesting.
- 14. Titans (1-1) | Last Week: 8
Not much went right for Tennessee against Pittsburgh. The Titans turned the ball over like crazy, Chris Johnson was shut down, and the Steelers beat them without scoring an offensive touchdown. Chalk it up to "one of those days," or maybe look at it as a bad sign. Either way, Tennessee is far from finished.
- 15. Falcons (1-1) | Last Week: 18
If anyone was worried about the Atlanta offense, it's time to lay those thoughts to rest. The Falcons dropped 41 on the Cardinals and could have scored more but coach Smith chose to kneel the clock away. Their defense is also performing well. Opponents have scored just 22 total points. --Knox Bardeen
- 16. Eagles (1-1) | Last Week: 16
Michael Vick threw and ran effectively against the Lions, and Philly survived a late surge to win by three. Vick's performance did nothing to change coach Andy Reid's mind about the QB position, however, as the Eagles are set to return to Kevin Kolb now that he's recovered from a concussion.
- 17. Chiefs (2-0) | Last Week: 19
2-0 is 2-0, but Kansas City has not looked terribly impressive. The Chiefs still need more efficiency out of quarterback Matt Cassel, but the defense is playing hard, allowing K.C. to stay in games.
- 18. Buccaneers (2-0) | Last Week: 24
After an inspired finish to the 2009 season and a solid draft, spirits and hopes were high that Tampa Bay was headed in the right direction. Now at 2-0, the Buccaneers need to find ways to continue to grow and not get too cocky about this early success. The Bucs might not be the floor mats of the NFC South any longer. --KB
- 19. Vikings (0-2) | Last Week: 5
Watching Brett Favre walk into the Metrodome on Sunday, you got the picture of an old man who just doesn't have the mojo he had a year ago. Only time will tell if he can get anywhere near his 2009 form, but the Favre that threw three picks and fumbled once for a Miami touchdown Sunday won't help the Vikings do anything but compete for the NFC North basement.
- 20. Broncos (1-1) | Last Week: 26
After losing in Jacksonville, the Broncos rallied and thumped Seattle Sunday. Kyle Orton is throwing the ball well, and second-year back Knowshon Moreno is starting to really come into his own. This division is not exactly owned by anyone at this point, so Denver has a real shot if it can put pieces together on defense.
- 21. Giants (1-1) | Last Week: 14
Add the Brandon Jacobs drama to a team that got absolutely scorched on national television and you have the makings of an interesting week in New York. The Giants had better figure out some things on defense, because Chris Johnson and the Titans have a few things they're going to try to prove Sunday.
- 22. Cowboys (0-2) | Last Week: 11
While most of the nation is aghast at Dallas' 0-2 start, the Cowboys are at work trying to solve their problems. They are plagued by shoddy pass coverage, untimely penalties, and inconsistent play up front. It doesn't get any easier with a trip to Houston Sunday, but this is the kind of game that a championship contender with its back up against the wall finds a way to win.
- 23. Seahawks (1-1) | Last Week: 20
Week 2 was reality-check time for a Seahawks team that destroyed division favorite San Francisco in Week 1. The Broncos jumped out to a quick 17-0 lead by halftime and never relinquished control as four turnovers doomed Seattle. Running back Justin Forsett rushed for 44 yards on eight carries to lead the team, and he may be slowly emerging as the lead dog in the RB committee. --R.J. White
- 24. Raiders (1-1) | Last Week: 28
The Raiders switched quarterbacks Sunday, as Jason Campbell gave way to Bruce Gradkowski. It seems that Campbell isn't picking up the offense as quickly as expected, and while it's not a good thing, it's also not a shock. Think for a moment about how many different offenses Campbell has learned going back to his successful career at Auburn.
- 25. Lions (0-2) | Last Week: 27
They're very competitive -- a salty bunch, if you will -- but the Lions are winless through two games because they can't make enough plays on either side of the ball. After getting carved up by Vick Sunday, the Lions have to deal with an angry and motivated (maybe) Brett Favre this weekend. Oh, and Detroit still hasn't won a road game since 2007.
- 26. Cardinals (1-1) | Last Week: 22
The Cardinals followed up a close win against what has been one of the league's worst team in recent years with a beatdown at the hands of the Atlanta Falcons. The quarterback situation is a mess, and the defense hasn't been much better. Arizona will need to learn how to contain running backs, as Atlanta backup Jason Snelling shredded the Cards for 186 yards and three TDs on 29 touches. --RW
- 27. 49ers (0-2) | Last Week: 31
San Francisco deserves credit for its gutsy effort -- especially after such a hideous start -- Monday night, but it wasn't enough to beat the defending champions. At 0-2, everyone's pick to win the NFC West is far from out of the race, because as you might know, the rest of the division is just as bad as advertised.
- 28. Jaguars (1-1) | Last Week: 23
Jacksonville didn't beat Denver by much in Week 1 and then got throttled by San Diego. As Gus Johnson noted during the CBS broadcast, it's not like this team can afford to make a lot of mistakes, and David Garrard was a turnover machine on Sunday. That won't work going forward, especially with backup Luke McCown on the shelf.
- 29. Browns (0-2) | Last Week: 29
Two games into the season and the Browns are already starting to plan ahead for 2011. At first glance, the 0-2 start doesn't seem all that bad -- Cleveland has played reasonably well in a pair of close losses. But losing to Tampa Bay and Kansas City looks really bad when you consider that Baltimore, Cincinnati, Atlanta and Pittsburgh are on deck. Hello 0-6? --JC
- 30. Rams (0-2) | Last Week: 30
Rookie Sam Bradford went into the locker room at halftime with a lead in his first road game, but the Rams weren't able to hang on for their first win of the season. St. Louis' preseason trade for Mark Clayton is looking brilliant, as the former Oklahoma Sooner hauled in two TDs from Bradford, another former Sooner. I expect this group to land a couple of wins in the next few weeks and surprise some people. --RW
- 31. Panthers (0-2) | Last Week: 25
The Panthers lost to the Buccaneers on Sunday and were only able to score seven points in the process. Smart fans knew 2010 was going to be tough for Carolina, but this is ridiculous. Oh, and by the way, the Jimmy Clausen Era has already begun. --KB
- 32. Bills (0-2) | Last Week: 32
Which was a worse sign for the Bills this week – Trent Edwards' play against the Packers or Jake Locker's play against Nebraska? Tough call. At least the Buffalo gang can take solace in how good Ryan Mallett is looking for Arkansas these days. --JA