There weren’t many surprises in Week 2, but this weekend provided plenty of eye-opening results. The Oakland Raiders, Denver Broncos and Pittsburgh Steelers all looked surprisingly vulnerable in defeats, while teams like the New York Jets and Jacksonville Jaguars won easily.
But for a lot of the league, Week 3 turned things upside down and breathed life into a few teams that had a rough start.
The Week 1 loss to the Raiders took the wind out of the sails of the Titans early, but after scoring 70 points in the last two weeks against some good defenses, Tennessee has the right to be feeling pretty good.
In the annually weak AFC South, the Titans are tied with the Jaguars for first at 2-1, but they own the tiebreaker currently after beating up Jacksonville in Week 2. Things are looking good for Tennessee.
The Raiders didn’t just lose on Sunday night, but they got dominated by Washington. A 27-10 score doesn’t even really do justice when the total yards were 472 to 128.
Kirk Cousins looked amazing, and Washington may be a real threat in an NFC East that looks completely up for grabs.
Beating the Giants wasn’t as smooth sailing for the Eagles as beating the Raiders was for Washington, but Jake Elliott came to the rescue with two field goals in the last minute, including a 61-yarder to win.
If you haven’t already, watch Elliott’s parents get to see their son make his first game winner as a professional:
That’s good stuff. Don’t you dare be mean to those nice people, Philadelphia.
The good news is that the Ravens are still undefeated in the United States. The bad news is everything that happened between 9:30 a.m. and noon ET on Sunday. What the hell was that, guys?
Joe Flacco was terrible. The defense was terrible. Running back Alex Collins looked good and literally nobody else did. Maybe it was just a London thing.
Another year, another season where Jameis Winston at quarterback is like spinning a roulette wheel. Sometimes he leads 29-7 victories like in Week 2, and other times he throws three interceptions and the Buccaneers lose badly.
Tampa Bay has been waiting for Winston to stop making silly mistakes, but it seems engrained in his DNA.
Only beating the Browns by three in Week 1 raised eyebrows, but losing to the Bears warrants sounding some alarms — especially because Chicago capitalized on Pittsburgh mistakes and bullied the Steelers with a strong rushing attack.
Giving up 220 rushing yards is almost always a losing formula. The last team to give up that much and win was ... the Steelers. They gave up 231 to the Browns in Week 17 last year but got a win in overtime.
It’s probably not a good habit to get into.
A rough start was to be expected for rebuilding teams like the 49ers and Browns. But for the Bengals, Giants, and Chargers, this is a disaster. New York, in particular, was a team many thought would be a real competitor after an 11-5 season last year.
The last team to make the playoffs following an 0-3 start was the 1998 Bills, so the reality is that all five teams that haven’t found a win yet are just about toast.
Full hope rankings
Weekly disclaimer: These aren’t your average power rankings and are instead an attempt to measure the current state of mind — or “hope” — for each team.
There will be weeks when a bad football team can come away feeling good about its future, or a good team will show serious weaknesses that damper spirits — like the Broncos and Raiders this week.
If you’re looking for a ranking of who would beat who, this isn’t always going to be the best gauge:
Hope rankings, Week 4