Tom E. Curran's AFC Power Rankings after Week 3
It’s a mish-mash of basic. A jambalaya of mediocrity. A cornucopia of commonplace. The Texans, Chargers, Colts, Bills, Ravens, Raiders, Jaguars, Titans, Browns and Raiders are an avalanche of average and it’s not easy to come up with a pecking order between all these slaptastic franchises. We did our best. Feel good about most of them. Probably got a few of them wrong. Enjoy.
They have a touchdown this year. One. Just one. Opponents have 18.
Last three rankings: 15, 16, 16
Obviously, their offensive performance against the Patriots was one of the most embarrassing performances we’ll see all season. And defensively, Josh McDaniels confounded them on the first three drives. But they played some capable defense after the early onslaught. Cheers to a bad team that may still be heard from when Sam Darnold returns.
Last three rankings: 8, 10, 13
They were up on the Niners early in the fourth but that offense is straight chuck-and-duck right now with Mason Rudolph running things. If they lose to Cincy at home this week? Big fun.
Last three rankings: 11, 11, 14
Aside from the hammering they got from San Fran, the 0-3 Bengals have at least been in their losses at Seattle and Buffalo. A win at Pittsburgh this week will make them feel good about themselves.
Last three rankings: 16, 13, 15
Joe Flacco got sacked six times by Green Bay. They turned it over three times. The defense is showing up but the sacks and turnovers leading to bad field position killed them. Interesting game this week visiting the Jaguars.
Last three rankings: 15, 14, 11
They started their stretch of four out of five games on the road with a non-competitive loss to the Vikings. At Indy this week then back home to get chewed on by Chicago.
Last three rankings: 13, 12, 10
Freddie Kitchens is a lead weight tied to the ankle of this 1-2 Browns team. A fourth-and-9 draw against the Rams in crunch time? He’s lucky they aren’t 17th this week. They are at Baltimore, at San Fran, hosting Seattle and then playing the Patriots off their bye. That’s harsh.
Last three rankings: 6, 7, 9
A narrow loss at Houston followed by the manhandling of Tennessee for the Jags (1-2). They should really be above the Chargers and up there at No. 6. Can’t do it until I see how the Jalen Ramsey stuff goes. Three of their next four are on the road and the home game is with the Saints. Big stretch for them.
Last three rankings: 9, 14, 12
Two straight stinkbombs against the Colts and Jaguars, the most recent coming at home in the flag fest last Thursday night. They’re playing awful. But the Titans (1-2) beat the Browns so I can’t put them behind Cleveland. And I’m not leapfrogging the Jaguars all the way from 12 to eight based on one win. Leaving them here, but Marcus Mariota is on notice.
Last three rankings: 7, 5, 8
They couldn’t survive the Texans at home and last week lost to the Lions. They were lucky to beat Indy in the opener. They are getting lit up defensively (51.2 third-down conversions, opposing QB rating of 116.2) and have been outscored in second halves 45-10. Lucky for the Chargers (1-2) this tier of the conference is so mediocre to bad.
Last three rankings: 5, 4, 4
They have a comeback win against the Jets, a cuffing of the Giants and now a win over Cincy to lift them to 3-0. With the Patriots offense dinged up and what’s destined to be a volatile crowd happy to light itself on fire if things are going well, it’s a big Sunday in Western New York. Have a month, Buffalo! Have a month!
Last three rankings: 12, 9, 7
The Colts (2-1) have the narrow road loss at San Diego followed by back-to-back wins over the Falcons and at Tennessee. Jacoby Brissett is playing well, God bless him. But a quick sidenote on the erstwhile Patriot for anyone who’s saying the Patriots should have kept him around. If they had, he’d be in a contract year without having played a game except for the start of 2016 when Tom Brady was suspended. He’d be gone, right? Because he’s not beating out Brady from the bench. And does anyone think he’s in the same stratosphere as Brady now or that he will be in 2020? No. Exactly. Thank you.
Last three rankings: 3, 8, 6
They dropped to 2-1 with the loss at KC. Lamar Jackson saved face late and finished 22 for 43 for 267 after a miserable first half. John Harbaugh rolled the dice every time he could and it almost paid off but they allowed 503 yards of offense to the Chiefs. They have the Browns, Steelers and Bengals the next three weeks so there’s a chance to take strong control of the AFC North.
Last three rankings: 10, 6, 5
The Texans (2-1) picked up a huge, 27-20 win on the road in San Diego. Their only loss was a tight one in New Orleans to start the season. As much as I love Deshaun Watson, he still holds it too long – 12 sacks in three games, many coming while he’s buying time to survey. But they are at this point, the best of the mediocres. They have consecutive home games (Panthers, Falcons), before traveling to KC.
Last three rankings: 4, 3, 3
That defense in KC (3-0) is still a little shaky. They allowed 15 points in the fourth to the ultra-aggressive Ravens in a 33-28 win. But the campaign to anoint Patrick Mahomes the greatest quarterback of this or any era swallows up dissent and shoots it out the other end. They are at the Lions this week who are coming off a big win over Philly.
Last three rankings: 2, 2, 2
They are plus-89 in point differential and have allowed three points defensively so far. Offensive attrition aside, in which week will opponents cross the 100-point threshold for point scored against this defense? Week 10? The points allowed record for a defense in a 16-game season is 158 by the Ravens in 2000. The Patriots (3-0) have a 155-point cushion over their next 13 games to match that. Bills this week. A couple of 3-0 teams in the AFC East. Might be sneaky competitive.
Last three rankings: 1, 1, 1