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NFL power rankings 2016, Week 3: Broncos defense is as scary as it gets

The Broncos defense doesn’t look like it has a weakness, and that’s a scary sign for the rest of the NFL.

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Denver Broncos Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Andrew Luck started his year with four touchdowns and no interceptions in a loss to the Detroit Lions, but he finished Week 2 with just one touchdown and a pair of turnovers against the Denver Broncos. With Von Miller notching three sacks and a forced fumble to help the defending Super Bowl champions to 2-0, the question now is: How in the world will anyone score enough points to beat the Broncos?

Trevor Siemian didn’t throw any touchdowns and would’ve thrown a pick-six if Darius Butler didn’t go down with a hamstring injury while returning an interception. But the Denver defense just took over the game and scored two touchdowns on its own in the fourth quarter to put the Colts away.

Is it sustainable to have a subpar offense and elite defense? Sure, why not? It worked for the Broncos a year ago, and Peyton Manning posted much worse stat lines than Siemian has through the first two weeks.

What’s especially scary about the Broncos defense is that it really doesn’t appear to have a weak spot that’s worth targeting. That’s enough to convince me that the owners of the Lombardi Trophy deserve the top spot in the power rankings, leapfrogging the New England Patriots for No. 1.

The Patriots good looked en route to a dominating win over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, but an injury to Jimmy Garoppolo gives reason to doubt the team for a couple weeks. In his absence, Jacoby Brissett wasn’t terrible and the Patriots leaned heavily on the running game, but the Dolphins came roaring back to almost pull off an incredible comeback. But Tom Brady will be back soon, so the Patriots look like they’re in good shape.

Among the big risers of the week were the Houston Texans and New York Giants. The former looks like it now has a functional offense to complement its already-good defense and the latter looks like it now has a functional defense to complement its already-good offense (albeit, one that turns the ball over a lot).

Deep falls

This isn’t the most familiar territory for perennial powers like the Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers, but neither team looked like a power in Week 2.

Maybe it was just another case of the Rams inexplicably beating the Seahawks, as they somehow have in four of the last five meetings, but Seattle’s offensive issues were apparent in Week 1, too. Yes, Russell Wilson isn’t 100 percent, but that has a lot to do with an offensive line that looks like a serious liability.

A week ago the San Francisco 49ers offense led by Blaine Gabbert managed to piece together 28 points against the Rams, so how in the world were the Seahawks held to just three?

The Packers also seem to have big issues to contend with. The team with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback is No. 31 in passing yards, and he was outplayed by Sam Bradford on Sunday night. Edging the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 1 looked more impressive before the Jaguars imploded against the San Diego Chargers.

Speaking of which, the Jaguars and Oakland Raiders were two teams full of hype to enter the year and looked like duds on Sunday. There’s a lot of young talent on both rosters, so it’s too early to throw in the towel entirely, but optimism took a hit, for sure. Particularly for the Jaguars, who once again looked lost on the West Coast.

Big jumps

The New York Jets were so close to being a playoff team a year ago thanks to a scary defensive line and efficient-enough offense. While the defense didn’t look the part against the Buffalo Bills on Thursday, the offense looks as dangerous as ever with Quincy Enunwa providing a solid third option in a wide receiver corps that already featured Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker.

There’s really not much shame in a one-point loss to the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 1, and getting a win against the Bills was important for a team that has a murderers’ row schedule to begin the year.

The Chargers were also impressive enough to take a big jump in Week 2, completely dismantling the Jaguars in every facet.

Losing Keenan Allen looked like a death sentence, but Melvin Gordon and Travis Benjamin are off to great starts to 2016. The Chargers offense chugged right along, too, even after losing Danny Woodhead on Sunday.

The bottom of the trash heap

The Cleveland Browns are a work in progress, no doubt. While Josh McCown helped lead the team to a 20-0 lead against the Baltimore Ravens in the first quarter, he opened himself up to a lot of big shots along the way. He failed to lead the team to additional points in the final 49 minutes of the game.

Baltimore eventually got the lead back, won the game, and now it looks like McCown will be out for a while. That means the Browns will turn to Cody Kessler to lead the way, just a few days after there was a report that Cleveland coaches think the rookie "isn't close to being ready to play." They added Charlie Whitehurst on Monday night.

That’s pretty rough for a team that already looked like a mess.

What’s the Colts’ excuse, though? This was supposed to be a team ready to compete for a Super Bowl last year, but Andrew Luck got hurt. He’s healthy now and the team looks as inept as ever.

Even when Luck plays well, it’s not enough, and it’s far from a sure thing that he’ll even give you that. After two weeks, the Colts are two games back in the AFC South and could get buried by the Texans pretty quick if things don’t get figured out soon.

Week 3 Team Last week
1 Denver Broncos 2
2 New England Patriots 1
3 Carolina Panthers 7
4 Pittsburgh Steelers 6
5 Minnesota Vikings 8
6 Arizona Cardinals 10
7 Cincinnati Bengals 4
8 Houston Texans 15
9 New York Giants 16
10 Baltimore Ravens 13
11 Seattle Seahawks 3
12 New York Jets 18
13 Green Bay Packers 5
14 Philadelphia Eagles 21
15 Kansas City Chiefs 11
16 Oakland Raiders 9
17 Dallas Cowboys 17
18 Atlanta Falcons 24
19 Washington NFL Team 12
20 San Diego Chargers 27
21 Miami Dolphins 20
22 Buffalo Bills 19
23 Jacksonville Jaguars 14
24 Tennessee Titans 26
25 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 23
26 Detroit Lions 22
27 New Orleans Saints 25
28 Los Angeles Rams 30
29 San Francisco 49ers 29
30 Indianapolis Colts 28
31 Chicago Bears 31
32 Cleveland Browns 32

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