NFL Power Rankings: New Orleans Saints sit at No. 31, but a rise may be on the way
Sep 27, 2015; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater (5) and running back Adrian Peterson (28) before the game the San Diego Chargers at TCF Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports
11. Minnesota Vikings (2-1)
"Dominant performance in front of the home folks. The Vikes look totally unlike the guys who got their hides dusted by ‘Los Hyde a few weeks ago. While Adrian Peterson appears discernibly slower, he still clearly has the drive to finish every run like he’s 25 years old. Random note: Saw Fran Tarkenton on the CBS broadcast, and he mentioned the four Super Bowls this franchise went to under Bud Grant. Sure, the Vikes didn’t win one, but four trips toSuper Bowl Sunday in an eight-year span — from 1969 to 1976 — cannot be overlooked."
12. Kansas City Chiefs (1-2)
"So … For most of Monday night, Chiefs at Packers really was a rematch of Super Bowl I. Ugh. The Kansas City pass rush actually did pressure Aaron Rodgers at times; unfortunately, the Chiefs‘ secondary was letting receivers run around like club kids with backpacks and glowsticks. On the plus side, the Chiefs made a push at the end and actually produced a wide receiver touchdown! My goodness, was that the most tired stat in sports … Now we can all watch K.C. games in peace."
13. New York Jets (2-1)
"Please don’t worry about Jets fans. You see, years of being Jets fans prepared them forSunday’s letdown against a rudderless Eagles team. There were defensive breakdowns, special-teams breakdowns (see here) and general offensive ineptitude in the first half (five three-and-outs in the first six drives). Once they woke up, it was too late. Not shocking — again, Jets fans are used to this sort of deal. Interesting that Ryan Fitzpatrick devolved from wily veteran to Geno Smith‘s waterboy in six days. Wild spectrum there."
14. Indianapolis Colts (1-2)
"Music City Miracle: Colts edition. How Indy pulled out a win in Nashville on Sunday is anyone’s guess. Andrew Luck must have been bracing himself for some intense criticism after the two interceptions he threw, the second of which was simply inexcusable. What is admirable about Luck is that he doesn’t make excuses for his poor play. There’s a maturity with him that the Geno Smiths and RGIIIs of the world don’t have. It’s that kind of demeanor that makes us think Teddy Bridgewater and Derek Carr — two prominent guys in the next group of uber-young franchise quarterbacks — could be players."
15. Dallas Cowboys (2-1)
"Not sure if you heard, but Brandon Weeden throws the prettiest ball you’ve ever seen. Or not. Meanwhile, his awareness — particularly in the pocket — might remind Cowboys fans of that lady who holds up 26 people in the express lane at Piggly Wiggly while looking for a 20 cents offdetergent coupon. Don’t worry, though: Word out of Dallas this week is that Matt Cassel‘s custardHall of Fame jacket is the prettiest you’ve ever seen. By the way, what happened to the Cowboys‘ vaunted running game in the second half (see: -5 yards)? Speaking of running games … Hello,Devonta Freeman! The Cowboys‘ defense hasn’t been chewed up by an RB with such a low profile since Duce Staley dropped two bills at Texas Stadium back in Y2K."
16. Oakland Raiders (2-1)
"Tell you what: These aren’t your pop’s Raiders. They aren’t your older brother’s Raiders, either. These guys still might not reach nine wins (if they did, it’d be for the first time since 2002), but they ain’t going 6-10, either. (Please don’t let me down, Derek Carr.) Wonderful team win in Cleveland on Sunday, highlighted by something new and something old. Rookie Amari Cooper set the tone early, with 103 receiving yards in the first half alone, while Charles Woodson sealed the deal late, with some old-man craftsmanship on an interception in the game’s final minute. I’d like for the latter to re-caulk my bathroom. #craftsmanship"
17. St. Louis Rams (1-2)
"“Same old Rams.” It was a mantra former 49ers safety Tim McDonald delivered straight to the NFL Films camera during San Francisco’s 44-10 smackdown of St. Louis 20 years ago, which helped send the Rams spiraling from 5-1 to 7-9. In 2015, Rams faithful got all “Fifty Shades of Grey” hot over a 1-0 start after an opening win over a Kam-less Seahawks team in OT. Now, two weeks and two losses later, the reality of another 7-9ish season is starting to creep, creep, creep up on these guys. Next up: Litmus test 101, at Arizona."
18. San Diego Chargers (1-2)
"Not the way coach Mike McCoy — or the Chargers‘ run defense, or the stinkin’ offensive line — drew it up, surely. Holy cow did San Diego’s front five get blown off the ball on some key sequences. Bolts rookie Melvin Gordon is physical on certain runs, tentative on others. Meanwhile, coordinator John Pagano’s defense was mostly solid, allowing only 284 yards of offense in the loss to the Vikings. Still think the Chargers will come through. They have the Brownsand Vick-led Steelers, both at home, coming up."
19. New York Giants (1-2)
"Appropriate bounceback by the Giants, who once again entered the fourth quarter with a double-digit lead — only this time, they didn’t blow it! Nice to see Rueben Randle out there making big plays, bad knee and all. (He still looks a bit hobbled.) Andre Williams needs to take it easy on those defensive backs, man. If the second-year pro trucks any more guys like he did that poor Redskins safety, Rashad Jennings might be asked to block more punts."
20. Philadelphia Eagles (1-2)
"Respond. That’s what you do when fans are questioning your character, motives, desire and so on. Darren Sproles’ return TD was absolutely huge — and the oomph he gave the offense in the second half wasn’t discussed nearly enough, either. But the biggest props here go to the Philly defense, which forced four costly turnovers, three of which came courtesy of two rookies (Jordan Hicks and Eric Rowe)."
Next: Teams 21-29