Power Ranking Rumblings: Week 3

Hello and welcome back for another week of us critiquing everyone’s favorite sports channel to hate, ESPN! Every week ESPN posts NFL Power Rankings that are generally terrible but not as bad as the commentary they provide to the rankings. So Jesse and I decided it is our duty to endlessly mock the low effort that ESPN put forth.

This week we are doing things a bit different by providing ESPN’s commentary right here on the blog with our personal commentary right below so you don’t have to click between the two articles. But for those of you who want to see the actual rankings, feel free to check them out here:

Week 3 NFL Power Rankings: Let’s be optimistic

And thanks for tuning in. Enjoy!

1. Atlanta Falcons

2017 record: 2-0
Week 2 ranking: No. 7

ESPN: Falcons fans can drop any concerns about Steve Sarkisian running the offense. FPI has the Falcons as the second-rated offense so far this season, and Matt Ryan is averaging nearly 10 yards per pass attempt. The Falcons are just the fourth Super Bowl loser to start the next season 2-0.

Jesse: I don’t know, ESPN. Can Falcons fans count on Sarkisian to not blow a 28-3 lead? That would be my main concern. Starting the season 2-0 after pissing away the Super Bowl would do nothing for me as a Falcons fan. More importantly, as a true fan of watching anything bad to happen to the Patriots, I’m not about to let this team or their new coordinator off the hook for gift-wrapping another Super Bowl for New England. You’re not going to win me over that easy, Sarkisian!

2. Kansas City Chiefs

2017 record: 2-0
Week 2 ranking: No. 3

ESPN: The Chiefs were expected to be a playoff team at the start of the season, but Kareem Hunt might have Chiefs fans aiming even higher. Hunt’s five scrimmage touchdowns are tied for second most by a player through his first two NFL games.

Kevin: So the Chiefs won the Andy Reid Bowl against his old Eagles team eh? Usually it’s the chefs that win the Andy Reid Bowl. And stop saying bowl around Andy, it makes him hungry.

3. Pittsburgh Steelers

2017 record: 2-0
Week 2 ranking: No. 1

ESPN: Le’Veon Bell might be off to a slow start, but the other Steeler B’s aren’t. Ben Roethlisberger has completed 21 passes for 16 yards per catch to Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant this season. Pittsburgh is off to a 2-0 start for the second straight year.

Jesse: So the Steelers beat the Browns (possibly due to a blocked punt) and the Sam Bradford-less Vikings, and suddenly they’re the third best team in the league? Oh but hey, they’re 2-0, so that definitely means they’re awesome and not lucky at all.

4. New England Patriots

2017 record: 1-1
Week 2 ranking: No. 4

ESPN: Tom Brady reminded everyone in Week 2 that he is still, in fact, Tom Brady, and that alone is reason for optimism. But another reason for optimism is the Patriots’ stable of running backs, who have combined for a league-best 385 yards from scrimmage this season. James White, Mike Gillislee and Rex Burkhead are all producing early on.

Kevin: One of these days we will stop having to be reminded that Tom Brady is Tom Brady because one of these days Tom Brady will stop being Tom Brady and we will live in a beautiful, blissful Tom Brady free world.

5. Oakland Raiders

2017 record: 2-0
Week 2 ranking: No. 6

ESPN: The Raiders have two wins, have yet to turn the ball over and have the best point differential through two games (plus-35). If the Raiders keep that up, there will be plenty more dancing for Marshawn Lynch this season.

Jesse: Yeah, about that plus-35 point differential: 25 of those points can be attributed to the abysmal Jets, who are currently sitting dead last in these rankings. But apparently having two wins and blowing out the worst team in the league is all it takes to move up into the top five.

6. Green Bay Packers

2017 record: 1-1
Week 2 ranking: No. 2

ESPN: Green Bay fans should be used to this kind of start, as the Packers have now opened five of the past six seasons 1-1. Considering they’ve made the playoffs in eight straight seasons, an early loss is nothing to worry about.

Kevin: Hey ESPN is actually doing much better this week than last. Maybe their AI algorithm is finally catching onto human being writing behaviors. How did that happen? Maybe someone accidentally fed the AI some non ESPN reading material.

7. Denver Broncos

2017 record: 2-0
Week 2 ranking: No. 15

ESPN: Everyone knew the defense would be good this season, but Trevor Siemian has thrown for six touchdowns, and C.J. Anderson is second in the NFL in rushing. If the offense keeps producing, the Broncos will be right back in the mix atop the AFC standings.

Jesse: Sorry Broncos, you may have whooped the Cowboys, but you didn’t have Marshawn Lynch dancing on your sideline. That is way more important than winning convincingly against one of the top contenders in the NFC, right?

8. Dallas Cowboys

2017 record: 1-1
Week 2 ranking: No. 5

ESPN: Ezekiel Elliott was bound to have a bad game at some point in his NFL career, and at least it came on the road against a special Broncos defense. Last season, Elliott started a streak of four straight 130-yard rushing games in Week 3, so he could just be warming up.

Kevin: Look, I know we all have our own way of “warming up” but rushing for 8 yards is no one’s idea of warming up. That’s like someone standing up from the couch, walking over to grab the chips bag and then claiming they are almost warmed up to go to the gym later that night.

9. Seattle Seahawks

2017 record: 1-1
Week 2 ranking: No. 8

ESPN: The Seahawks have scored just one touchdown through two games, but the offense could be getting a spark from rookie running back Chris Carson, who has seemingly taken over the top spot. Carson is averaging 2.6 yards per rush after contact this season, second best in the NFL.

Jesse: Sure, the offensive line is still terrible, Russell Wilson is still trying to overcome his melissophobia (fear of bees) despite being swarmed by defenders every play, but those 2.6 yards per rush after contact are going to save this offense. Brilliant!

10. Baltimore Ravens

2017 record: 2-0
Week 2 ranking: No. 14

ESPN: Some might argue that two wins over the dregs of Ohio are nothing to write home about, but eight interceptions, eight sacks and 10 points allowed certainly are. Only the 2006 Ravens allowed fewer points in the franchise’s first two games of the season (six).

Kevin: The dregs of Ohio? Who taught the AI to make fun of Ohio? I don’t appreciate the snark!

11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2017 record: 1-0
Week 2 ranking: No. 13

ESPN: Jameis Winston didn’t turn over the ball in Tampa Bay’s opening game, which marked the first time in his three-year career that he didn’t turn it over in the season opener. The Bucs have 15 straight games ahead, but if turnovers are limited, there’s no reason they can’t make a run at the playoffs.

Jesse: It’s probably still in bad taste to make any jokes about a team from Florida right now, right? Right. I will say though that it’s crazy that they are making the Bucs and Dolphins play 16 weeks in a row. How are they supposed to stay healthy through all that?

12. Detroit Lions

2017 record: 2-0
Week 2 ranking: No. 10

ESPN: Matthew Stafford is tied for the league lead in touchdown passes (six) and is off to the second 2-0 start of his career. That would be reason enough to be optimistic, but the defense is tied for the second-most takeaways, giving Detroit excitement on both sides of the ball.

Kevin: Stafford is doing great! The defense is doing great! The team is doing great! Everyone is excited! Let’s move them down two spots! That’ll teach Detroit to be happy.

13. Carolina Panthers

2017 record: 2-0
Week 2 ranking: No. 11

ESPN: If you’re worried about Cam Newton and the offense despite the 2-0 start, don’t be. The offense will come around, and this is only the third defense in the past 30 years to allow six or fewer points through the first two games of the season.

Jesse: I’m very confused by ESPN’s logic for ranking 2-0 teams. Ones that were expected to be good like the Steelers and Chiefs jump to the top of the list, while teams that are surprisingly successful like the Lions and Panthers get dropped down? That’s a total Vince McMahon move. Elevate the guys that you want to be successful and punish the ones who had no help from you and got over with the crowd anyway. Is the AI based off of Vince McMahon?!!

14. Tennessee Titans

2017 record: 1-1
Week 2 ranking: No. 16

ESPN: Derrick Henry provided a big spark in the second half Sunday and could find himself more involved going forward. A backfield featuring the 2014 and 2015 Heisman winners could be tough to handle for opposing defenses.

Kevin: Yes ESPN AI. That is correct. Heisman winners means they are good at football. And being good at football means they could be tough to handle in football. And having more than one is good. So yes, technically you are correct. Having two Heisman winners could be good for the Titans. #HotTake

15. Philadelphia Eagles

2017 record: 1-1
Week 2 ranking: No. 9

ESPN: How many Eagles quarterbacks have thrown for 300 yards and multiple touchdowns in each of the first two games of the season? Four. Ron Jaworski (1982), Randall Cunningham (1994), Donovan McNabb (2006) and Carson Wentz (2017). Wentz does not appear to be primed for a “sophomore slump.”

Jesse: Why did you put sophomore slump in quotes, ESPN? Are you implying that it’s not a real thing? Because I’m sure that RG3 would disagree with you. Then again, his decline was probably more of a career slump, but I digress.

16. Minnesota Vikings

2017 record: 1-1
Week 2 ranking: No. 12

ESPN: Sam Bradford’s injury is concerning, but the Vikings have to feel good about Dalvin Cook. He’s averaging 5.6 yards per rush and has the most rushing yards (191) by any Vikings player in his first two career games, topping Adrian Peterson by 22.

Kevin: Wait Sam Bradford is hurt? Did he get hurt or is he just continuously hurt? I guess he’s just the Sam(e) ol’ Bradford.

17. Washington Redskins

2017 record: 1-1
Week 2 ranking: No. 24

ESPN: Washington can be a force when its rushing attack gets going. Over the past three seasons, the Redskins are 15-2-1 when rushing for at least 90 yards as a team (3-13 when they don’t). The 229 rushing yards Sunday against the Rams were Washington’s second most in that span.

Jesse: 90 yards rushing per game really doesn’t seem like it should be that hard of a number to hit. Does Washington not realize how well they do when they compile a meager 90 yards on the ground? Because that sounds like some pertinent information.

18. Miami Dolphins

2017 record: 1-0
Week 2 ranking: No. 23

ESPN: Jay Cutler completed 73 percent of his passes and threw zero interceptions in his debut with the Dolphins. He might not have racked up yardage, but he also didn’t make the big mistake. With Jay Ajayi continuing to power through defenses, Cutler playing it safe might be all Miami needs.

Kevin: The best thing about Jay Cutler in Miami? Jay hands it off to Jay Ajayi. The fans should chant ‘Jay to Jay Ajayi!’ for every successful run.

19. New York Giants

2017 record: 0-2
Week 2 ranking: No. 17

ESPN: The offense is struggling right now, but if the Giants can fix their protection issues, Eli Manning could get going quickly. Manning is completing 77 percent of his passes when he isn’t pressured this season, and that’s without the help of Odell Beckham Jr. at 100 percent. Just give it (and Eli) time.

Jesse: Yeah, when your offensive line is terrible and your plan is to hope it will get better with time without making any personnel additions, it doesn’t. You can reference the 2016 Denver Broncos for that one if you want.

20. Houston Texans

2017 record: 1-1
Week 2 ranking: No. 26

ESPN: Deshaun Watson’s rushing ability could be enough to keep the Texans’ offense moving as he develops his passing skills. The rookie has scrambled for a league-high 82 yards so far this season, including a game-changing 49-yard score Thursday night.

Kevin: Do I want to explain the idea of a small sample size to a simulated AI program that writes these tidbits? Should I explain that seven runs for 82 yards is not sustainable? No I’ll let the little guy have this one.

21. Arizona Cardinals

2017 record: 1-1
Week 2 ranking: No. 20

ESPN: Carson Palmer had three completions on passes thrown 20 or more yards in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s win after starting the season 2-of-8 on such passes. If that fourth quarter is a sign of things to come for Palmer and not an aberration, the Cardinals’ offense will be just fine.

Jesse: Hmm, was Carson Palmer playing a team that wasn’t the Colts in that fourth quarter? No? Well then I guess it isn’t a sign of things to come since future fourth quarters won’t be against the fucking Colts!

22. Los Angeles Rams

2017 record: 1-1
Week 2 ranking: No. 18

ESPN: Jared Goff is showing big improvement in his second season. Sure, he has only two passing touchdowns so far, but he’s averaging 9.8 yards per attempt, up 4.5 yards from his 2016 average. That’s currently the fourth-best rate in the NFL.

Kevin:  Wow ESPN is shelling hard for Jared Goff. I guess that’s the LA effect?

23. New Orleans Saints

2017 record: 0-2
Week 2 ranking: No. 19

ESPN: The bad news is the defense in New Orleans has more holes in it than Swiss cheese. The good news is that Drew Brees still has it at 38 years old, and as long as he keeps slinging it, the Saints could have a fighting chance. Brees has thrown the most passes without a pick (82) so far this season.

Jesse: Sounds like Brees has been slinging it constantly and accurately, and yet the Saints are still losing. Maybe not much of a fighting chance then? Also, now I want some Swiss cheese.

24. Los Angeles Chargers

2017 record: 0-2
Week 2 ranking: No. 22

ESPN: Maybe the best news for the Chargers is that it would be statistically improbable to keep losing this many close games. The Chargers are 1-10 in games decided by seven or fewer points the past two seasons, and more wins are bound to come from those situations.

Kevin: Bill Barnwell is a big advocate of analyzing a team’s record in games decided by seven or fewer points. He must be losing his mind with this Chargers team.

25. Jacksonville Jaguars

2017 record: 1-1
Week 2 ranking: No. 21

ESPN: A 22-point win was followed by a 21-point loss for Jacksonville. The good news is if the Jags can get stability at quarterback, the team could really be going somewhere. Leonard Fournette is second in rushes and grinding out yards, and the pass defense has yielded the fourth-best opponent Total QBR.

Jesse: Again, bad quarterbacks don’t become less shitty just because more time passes by. You can reference the rest of Blake Bortles’ career for that. Why is ESPN expecting awful players/units to magically start playing much better?

26. Buffalo Bills

2017 record: 1-1
Week 2 ranking: No. 27

ESPN: Three teams have played twice this season and allowed one or fewer touchdowns: the Panthers, the Ravens and the Bills. The offense might lack some firepower, but the defense doesn’t.

Kevin: Week 1 I watched zero NFL games. Week 2 I watched the Broncos game and half of Sunday Night Football. Week 3 I am traveling to Buffalo to see the Broncos in person! Talk about a warm up. I’m going from 0-60 in three weeks. This should be exciting right? But I’ve been to Buffalo and…well…I don’t want to piss off my Buffalo friends so let’s just walk away before anyone gets hurt.

27. Chicago Bears

2017 record: 0-2
Week 2 ranking: No. 28

ESPN: The good news for Chicago is that Mitchell Trubisky doesn’t have to deal with the Bears’ issues with dropped passes (league-leading seven) or Jordan Howard’s slow start (2.7 yards per rush). He can continue to learn from the bench while the Bears develop and get healthy.

Jesse: “Hey Mitchell, you ready to get out there finally?”

Mitchell watches the receivers drop passes and Howard run for no gain.

“Nah Coach, I’m good. Don’t think I’m quite ready yet.”

28. Cincinnati Bengals

2017 record: 0-2
Week 2 ranking: No. 25

ESPN: The Bills fired their offensive coordinator following an 0-2 start last season and then averaged 31.0 PPG in their next four games (all wins). The firing of offensive coordinator Ken Zampese could kick-start Cincinnati’s offense in a similar fashion.

Kevin: “Hey Bengals fans don’t worry! The Bills also fired their offensive coordinator last season after an 0-2 start! So everything is fine. Wait, why are you crying? And why are you pouring lighter fluid everywhere? WHERE DID YOU GET THAT LIGHTER? STOP!” Yeah don’t ever try to make someone feel better by comparing them to the Bills…

29. Cleveland Browns

2017 record: 0-2
Week 2 ranking: No. 30

ESPN: Ben Roethlisberger and Joe Flacco are a combined 37-4 against the Browns in their careers, so an 0-2 start against those veterans with a rookie quarterback at the helm isn’t that surprising. Cleveland’s next three games are against the Colts, Bengals and Jets, who are a combined 0-6, so wins or even a win streak could be right around the corner.

Jesse: (Kevin’s Note: I’ve heard numerous people in Cleveland say the exact same thing this last week, counting up their 2-3 victories they are about to get. I think this AI is Cleveland born)

With that being said, good luck Kizer. The city of Cleveland is going to turn on you so fast if you don’t have at least 2 victories by week 6.

30. Indianapolis Colts

2017 record: 0-2
Week 2 ranking: No. 31

ESPN: Jacoby Brissett joined the Colts on Sept. 2 and seemed like a vast improvement over Scott Tolzien despite losing in Week 2. The good news is if Brissett can win one or two games, Andrew Luck could be healthy in time to face the entire AFC South slate. With no one currently better than 1-1, the division is very much up for grabs.

Kevin: Did no one tell the AI that the AFC South is always up for grabs? No seriously, I just had a recruiter call me up to ask if I would be interested in the AFC South title and I am considering passing up the opportunity for something for respectable.

31. San Francisco 49ers

2017 record: 0-2
Week 2 ranking: No. 29

ESPN: The offense is still searching for its first touchdown of the season. But the defense has shown a lot of improvement. The 49ers allowed the most points last season, but currently rank 10th in points allowed per game.

Jesse: “Hey guys, you are playing really well on defense. We’re really proud of you. I mean we still haven’t figured out how to get into the end zone, so we’re never going to score enough to win and your improved play is basically all for naught, but don’t let that get to you. Keep giving 110 percent out there!”

32. New York Jets

2017 record: 0-2
Week 2 ranking: No. 32

ESPN: For an offense that some thought could be among the worst all time, the Jets are scoring some points. They’ve averaged 16.0 points per game so far, which is the same as the 2-0 Panthers and better than teams such as the Seahawks, Texans and Bengals. And hey, the Jets are currently the highest-scoring team in New York, topping both the Bills and Giants.

Kevin: Whoa whoa whoa, hold up ESPN AI. We don’t defend the 32nd ranked team. We pity them maybe but we definitely don’t defend them. We make jokes about golfing and vacation plans and tanking. We say things like, “Maybe they should change their chant to ‘ J-E-T-S, 😦 😦 😦 ‘ where the sad faces are just the fans sobbing”. That kind of thing. You were doing pretty good this week ESPN AI, up until this moment.

One thought on “Power Ranking Rumblings: Week 3

  1. Pingback: Power Ranking Rumblings: Week 4 | Pegboards

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