NFL Power Rankings, Week 3: Cowboys, Vikings Continue To Slide

ARLINGTON TX - AUGUST 12: Tony Romo #9 walks off the field after the Cowboys lost to the Oakland Raiders 17-9 in the preseason game at Dallas Cowboys Stadium on August 12 2010 in Arlington Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Our third edition of the NFL Power Rankings sees the winless Vikings and Cowboys moving backwards, while teams like the Texans, Packers and Steelers continue to move towards the top.

It's been a wild start to NFL power rankings because, as it usually goes, teams that no one expected to win are now 2-0 and teams that were tabbed preseason Super Bowl favorites are winless.

The surprise teams include the Chiefs and Bucs, who are both sitting at 2-0. Both teams were expected to be among the bottom-feeders since year, which is where they've been for a few seasons in a row. How long they can sustain that success is the question.

Then you've got teams like the Vikings and Cowboys who were popular Super Bowl picks before the season. It's very possible one (or both) of those teams don't make the playoffs.

Every year, there is on average a 50 percent turnover rate in the playoffs and the early start to the 2010 NFL season indicates we may see something like that again.

Here are SB Nation's Week 3 power rankings.

32. St. Louis Rams (0-2)

Last week's rank: 31

Last game: Raiders (lost)

SB Nation: Turf Show Times

The Rams lost to the Raiders last week so 0-16 officially becomes a possibility.

31. Buffalo Bills (0-2)

Last week's rank: 30

Last game: Packers (lost)

SB Nation: Buffalo Rumblings

The Packers manhandled the Bills 34-7 last week. Green Bay was expected to win but it's hard to get completely dominated in the NFL. Now they're switching quarterbacks...get used to this spot, Buffalo.

30. Cleveland Browns (0-2)

Last week's rank: 29

Last game: Chiefs (lost)

SB Nation: Dawgs By Nature

The Browns lost 16-14 to the Chiefs on Sunday but I can't knock 'em too bad for losing with their backup quarterback (even if he may be better than the starting quarterback).

29. Carolina Panthers (0-2)

Last week's rank: 26

Last game: Bucs (lost)

SB Nation: Cat Scratch Reader

Week 1 to Week 2 saw us drop the Panthers from 17 to 26 and I'm glad that we did. They're going to be picking in the top ten again but at least they have Jimmy Clausen playing now.

28. Oakland Raiders (1-1)

Last week's rank: 32

Last game: Rams (won)

SB Nation: Silver And Black Pride

The Raiders were ranked 32 last week and beat our 31st ranked team. I suppose that's an upset.

27. Detroit Lions (0-2)

Last week's rank: 28

Last game: Eagles (lost)

SB Nation: Pride Of Detroit

The Lions have now lost to the Bears on the controversial Calvin Johnson catch and by three in a high-scoring matchup with the Eagles. This doesn't look like the Lions of old, even if the record does.

26. Arizona Cardinals (1-1)

Last week's rank: 24

Last game: Falcons (lost)

SB Nation: Revenge Of The Birds

They squeaked by the Rams and got blown out by the Falcons. Plus they have no quarterback. The Cardinals may want to get used to the bottom of the rankings.

25. Denver Broncos (1-1)

Last week's rank: 25

Last game: Seahawks (won)

SB Nation: Mile High Report

This is another game they should have won but, unlike the Jaguars in Week 1, they actually got it done. Are the Broncos a team in the bottom third of the NFL? I'm not sure that they are but it doesn't get any easier against the Colts next week.

24. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1)

Last week's rank: 23

Last game: Chargers (lost)

SB Nation: Big Cat Country

The Jaguars are now 1-1 against the AFC West. We'll see over the next couple of weeks if this is a team in the top half of the league or the bottom half. The ceiling on David Garrard can't be that high.

23. San Francisco 49ers (0-2)

Last week's rank: 21

Last game: Saints (lost)

SB Nation: Niners Nation

So which team is this? The one that was blown out by the Seahawks or the one that drove down the field and tied the Saints with 1:19 left in the game? If Alex Smith keeps playing the way he did on Monday night against the Saints, this is a better than this ranking.

22. Seattle Seahawks (1-1)

Last week's rank: 20

Last game: Broncos (lost)

SB Nation: Field Gulls

Just like the 49ers, this team has an identity problem. Blowing out San Francisco in Week 1 and then losing by three scores to the Broncos in week. It's impossible to get a read on a team like this.

21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-0)

Last week's rank: 27

Last game: Panthers (won)

SB Nation: Bucs Nation

I'm not sure how to explain this. We'll need a couple more weeks to see what kind of team this is. The Browns and Panthers aren't impressive opponents but 2-0 is 2-0. The Bucs are getting it done early.

20. Kansas City Chiefs (2-0)

Last week's rank: 22

Last game: Browns (won)

SB Nation: Arrowhead Pride

There's some excitement building in Kansas City with two consecutive wins. Beating the Chargers is a big win and beating the Browns is expected. The Chiefs may be able to make some noise in the AFC West this year.

19. New York Giants (1-1)

Last week's rank: 16

Last game: Colts (lost)

SB Nation: Big Blue View

We're not going to be too tough on any team that loses to the Colts because they're the regular season champs but Eli and Co. didn't look sharp last Sunday night. With the Cowboys not a clear-cut NFC East division winner, the Giants can make some noise.

18. Tennessee Titans (1-1)

Last week's rank: 17

Last game: Steelers (lost)

SB Nation: Music City Miracles

Where would this team be without Chris Johnson? He was shut down on Sunday but watching the quarterbacks try to move the ball (and seeing one of them get benched) reminded me how important this guy is to the team.

17. Washington Redskins (1-1)

Last week's rank: 12

Last game: Texans (lost)

SB Nation: Hogs Haven

The Redskins biggest problem after their big victory over the Cowboys in Week 1 was the offense. They helped solve part of that problem putting up 27 on the Texans -- except it came in a loss. A loss is a loss but the Redskins can't feel too bad about keeping up with the Texans. Through two games, you can tell they're significantly improved.

16. Cincinnati Bengals (1-1)

Last week's rank: 18

Last game: Ravens (won)

SB Nation: Cincy Jungle

Beating the Ravens 15-10 is a big victory and it's also showing the Bengals' winning ways over the AFC North. There's no other way to look at it: Beating the Ravens, especially after they're coming off of a big win, is a nice victory for your team. This looks more like the Bengals we expected -- not the team that gave up touchdown after touchdown to the Patriots.

15. Chicago Bears (2-0)

Last week's rank: 19

Last game: Cowboys (won)

SB Nation: Windy City Gridiron

I'm buying on the Bears. Their quarterback is playing very well and is paired with an offensive coordinator that specializes in quarterbacks playing well. If Jay Cutler keeps this up, which I think he will, Chicago is going to be legit this season.

14. Philadelphia Eagles (1-1)

Last week's rank: 15

Last game: Lions (won)

SB Nation: Bleeding Green Nation

Yeah it was the Lions, but Michael Vick looked sharp nearly racking up 300 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The bad news? With Kevin Kolb healthy, you'll go back to seeing Vick in 3-5 plays per game.

13. Atlanta Falcons (1-1)

Last week's rank: 14

Last game: Cardinals (won)

SB Nation: The Falcoholic

I'm starting to think the Cardinals are just that bad after seeing the 41-7 Falcons beat down. Next week in New Orleans will provide a better barometer for what type of team this is.

12. San Diego Chargers (1-1)

Last week's rank: 13

Last game: Jaguars (won)

SB Nation: Bolts From The Blue

The Chargers always start slow and they always finish hot. Those are two things that we've become used to.

11. Dallas Cowboys (0-2)

Last week's rank: 8

Last game: Redskins (lost)

SB Nation: Blogging The Boys

0-2 is not a good way to start. Losing to the Texans week is a very real possibility which would put the Cowboys in complete meltdown mode.

10. Minnesota Vikings (0-2)

Last week's rank: 5

Last game: Dolphins (lost)

SB Nation: Daily Norseman

How far can we drop the Vikings? We know they're a good team but they haven't shown it yet. The offense has scored just 19 points in two games. That used to be a good first half last year. They need to get back into that rhythm.

9. Miami Dolphins (2-0)

Last week's rank: 11

Last game: Vikings (won)

SB Nation: The Phinsider

Last week I wasn't impressed with their five-point victory over lowly Buffalo. But beating Minnesota? Now that's impressive. It doesn't get any easier next week against the Jets. If you go 3-0 including wins over the Vikings and Jets, then you've earned your spot in the top ten.

8. Baltimore Ravens (1-1)

Last week's rank: 2

Last game: Bengals (lost)

SB Nation: Baltimore Beatdown

The Bengals are a good team in the AFC North but the Ravens are one of the best teams in the AFC. They should have won that game if they're looking to win the division.

7. New England Patriots (1-1)

Last week's rank: 4

Last game: Jets (lost)

SB Nation: Pats Pulpit

Tom Brady summed it up against the Jets: "We just sucked today." The Patriots will get back on track next week when the Bills come to Foxboro.

6. New York Jets (1-1)

Last week's rank: 7

Last game: Patriots (won)

SB Nation: Gang Green Nation

The Jets looked for real against the Patriots on Sunday winning their first division game. They'll get another crack at a division opponent on Sunday night against the Dolphins.

5. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-0)

Last week's rank: 10

Last game: Titans (won)

SB Nation: Behind The Steel Curtain

The Steelers ability to sustain their success despite missing Ben Roethlisberger is impressive. They'll have a good shot at starting 3-0 against the Bucs next week. It looks like, as usual, the Steelers will be a very good team (and even better when Roethlisberger returns).

4. Indianapolis Colts (1-1)

Last week's rank: 3

Last game: Giants (won)

SB Nation: Stampede Blue

They dismantled the Giants on Sunday Night Football. I tend to believe this team is more like the one that handily beat the Giants rather than the one that struggled against the Texans. They'll still drop one because of what the Texans, Packers and Saints have done ahead of them.

3. Houston Texans (2-0)

Last week's rank: 9

Last game: Redskins (won)

SB Nation: Battle Red Blog

That's two big victories in a row for the Texans. Maybe this is the year they get to the playoffs. Dallas next week is another big test.

2. Green Bay Packers (2-0)

Last week's rank:6

Last game: Bills (won)

SB Nation: Acme Packing Company

The Packers won the game they were supposed to against the Bills. Monday Night Football next week may be the game of the week between the 2-0 Packers and 2-0 Bears.

1. New Orleans Saints (2-0)

Last week's rank: 1

Last game: 49ers (won)

SB Nation: Canal Street Chronicles

It wasn't pretty on Monday Night Football as they barely escaped the 49ers, 25-22. The Saints did what they did best late in the game driving down the field to get in field goal range. Nice, tough win.

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