NFL Power Rankings: New Orleans Saints sit at No. 31, but a rise may be on the way

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Oct 12, 2014; Glendale, AZ, USA; Washington Redskins injured quarterback Robert Griffin III (right) talks with quarterback Kirk Cousins on the bench in the fourth quarter against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Redskins 30-20. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

21. Washington Redskins (1-2)

"The Matt Jones touchdown-run-turned-fumble-out-of-the-end-zone almost perfectly defines Redskinsfootball since 1993. Ugh. At least he looked big and fast doing it! But yeah, maybe that’s whyAlfred Morris still gets much work. (In case you were wondering, Morris hasn’t lost a fumble since 2013.) All that talk about culture change in Washington will be tested (again) this week, per the 15-year story arc of a franchise always in need of said culture change."

22. Baltimore Ravens (0-3)

"Before we get to the Ravens‘ awful start, how about Steve Smith Sr.? He is the most competitive player I’ve ever seen. He always shows up, and he tried to singlehandedly will Baltimore to a win Sunday with 186 yards and two scores. Bravo. As for the 0-3 start, fans will have to accept that Joe Flacco needs pieces around him for Baltimore to succeed — starting with a secondary that can cover the other QB’s wideouts."

23. Detroit Lions (0-3)

"Somehow, this team moved up a spot. Not entirely sure how that happened — I blame the teams below. Watching the Lions feels like watching that scene in “Cast Away” where Tom Hanks extracts his molar with an ice skate. Many thought Detroit, fresh off the franchise’s winningest season since 1991, would continue to roll sans Ndamukong Suh. Not exactly. Suh, of course, has yet to make much of an impact in South Beach, but I’m thinking the Lions could’ve used the big man’s services to get some pressure on Peyton Manning in key moments Sunday night. (Though Suh wouldn’t have made a difference on the nail-in-the-coffin TD strike to Owen Daniels — Peyton read Detroit’s defense like a book and got the ball out of his hands before the blitz could take effect.) Felt bad for Darius Slay, though. How can you cover better than this? And that wasn’t the only time he got posterized on national TV Sunday night."

24. Tennessee Titans (1-2)

"Oh man, was that loss a heartbreaker. Significant sequence: the three-and-out following the Donte Moncrief touchdown. That’s what really did Ken Whisenhunt’s club in — three incomplete passes by Marcus Mariota. Significant silver lining: Even with the loss, Tennessee is right there with everyone else in the division at 1-2. The AFC South, everyone …"

25. Houston Texans (1-2)

"Very quietly, Houston got its first W on the books for 2015. Despite scoring a relatively underwhelming 19 points, the Texans picked up a staggering 30 first downs. Alfred Blue ran the football 31 times. The run-pass play count was 46-to-40. In some respects, Houston won with a half cup of Gary Kubiak’s formula. The beauty of it all? At 1-2, they are tied for first place in the AFC South. (And last place. But I digress.)"

26. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-2)

"Showed a lot of faith in putting the always-lousy Jaguars at No. 18 last week. I recommended Blake Bortles as a sleeper fantasy start on “NFL HQ” — which you can see weekdays at 8 a.m. ET on NFL Network. (Shameless plug? Affirmative!) Then I doubled down on Jags respect in the Game Picks, predicting Jacksonville would give New England a contest. Well, the Jaguars were absolutely terrible in a 51-17 thrashing. Bortles actually ended up being a viable fantasy start, thanks to garbage time. Still, it’d be nice to see the Jags make hay in non-garbage time versus contending teams. How about this weekend in Indy?"

27. Miami Dolphins (1-2)

"Another one of Week 3’s brutal games. In the offseason, Miami shelled out more than $200 million on Ryan Tannehill and Ndamukong Suh. Here’s the return on investment from Sunday: a 59.7 passer rating, zero impact plays and a 41-14 home loss. Dear Fin fans, We feel for you. Sincerely, Power Rankings"

28. Cleveland Browns (1-2)

"Josh McCown did his very best to make it fun late, but then he got played by one of the few guys who’s been playing professional football longer than him. No, I’m not talking about Sebastian Janikowski. Charles Woodson, two years McCown’s senior at 38, baited the quarterback into a regrettable throw, finishing off the Brownies with a majestic interception. The loss dropped Cleveland two games back of AFC North leader Cincinnati, with a challenging stretch of games on the horizon. Of the Browns‘ next seven contests before a Week 11 bye, five come on the road and five come against playoff teams from last season. Can Mike Pettine and staff prevent yet another lost season in the land of Brian Sipe jerseys?"

29. San Francisco 49ers (1-2)

"The contest down in Arizona was still slightly in doubt after the pick-six by Justin Bethel. The contest down in Arizona was decided after the pick-six by the Honey Badger. The contest down in Arizona revealed how much of a mirage the season-opening win was. The contest down in Arizona — well, I’m using “contest” pretty loosely here — was almost as good as “Maid in Manhattan.”"

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