Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Miami Dolphins Week 4 NFL Power Rankings Roundup

Throughout the 2022 NFL season, we will compile a consensus NFL Power Rankings that averages the rankings of all 32 NFL teams.

Below you will find a Week 4 roundup for the Miami Dolphins in our consensus 2022 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 5

Tua Tagovailoa is off to the start every Dolphins fan dreamed of in his third NFL season. He ranks second in the league in passing yards and is already halfway to matching his career high in touchdown passes with eight. He also leads the NFL in QBR and is second in yards per attempt. The new coaching staff and improved supporting cast around him seems to have unlocked the potential Miami saw when he was drafted No. 5 overall in 2020, and it's a big reason the Dolphins are the AFC's lone unbeaten team entering Week 4.

NFL.com -- Rank: 8

The Dolphins enter Week 4 alone atop the AFC East after a stranger-than-fiction 21-19 win over the powerhouse Bills. Miami's offense possessed the ball for just under 20 minutes against Buffalo, but the quick-strike attack made the most of its limited opportunities. The biggest play of the game came on a third-and-22 in the fourth quarter, as Jaylen Waddle split the Bills' secondary for a 45-yard gain that set up the go-ahead score. Throw in a survived Butt Punt and some clock-management and special teams failures by a previously impervious opponent, and you can say the Dolphins are living a charmed life right now.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 8

At 3-0, they are off to a great start. The offense didn't do a lot against the Bills, but the defense made many key stops. They have a tough game this Thursday at Cincinnati on a short week.

USA Today -- Rank: 5

During the offseason, they upgraded a playoff-caliber roster while concurrently creating an environment to test Tua Tagovailoa and determine whether or not he's a franchise quarterback (and he better be after Miami owner Stephen Ross' tampering led to forfeiture of one of next year's first-round picks). So far, appears Tua is precisely that – though it still seems Miami has more glaring flaws (run game, pass defense) than Buffalo in light of a somewhat fluky upset of the Bills in Sunday's South Florida steam bath.

The Athletic -- Rank: 6

What is the purpose of power rankings if not to reward a team for beating the former No. 1s while remaining undefeated? The Dolphins are probably not the best team in football through three weeks — that would be one of the two teams that follows — but they're definitely fun. They've won thanks to an offensive explosion, as they did in Week 2, and they've won thanks to aggressive, timely defense and a little luck, as they had against the Bills. Buffalo outgained Miami 497-212 on Sunday, ran 90 plays to the Dolphins' 39 and possessed the ball for 40:40 of 60 minutes. Only one other time in NFL history has a team possessed the ball for 40 minutes of a non-overtime game, ran at least 85 plays and gained at least 475 yards and lost — shoutout to the 1996 Jacksonville Jaguars, who were undone by Mark Brunell throwing five interceptions in a 17-14 loss to the Rams.

Buoyed by that Week 2 performance, the Dolphins lead the league in EPA per drive on offense and rank 25th in defensive EPA per drive, which probably undersells how good they've been. Heavy is the injured back that wears the crown, though, as a difficult trip to play the Bengals on a short week looms for Tua Tagovailoa and crew.

The Ringer -- Rank: 6

Mike McDaniel, Tyreek Hill, and Jaylen Waddle have each been sensational, and Tua Tagovailoa is doing enough to maximize the opportunities he's getting in this NASA rocket of an offense. Tagovailoa completed 13 of 18 passes for 186 yards and a touchdown in the Dolphins' Week 3 win over Buffalo, including a 45-yard strike to Waddle on third-and-22 in the fourth quarter. He finished the week ranked second in yards per attempt (10.33) and third in EPA per dropback (0.35). Tagovailoa still has limitations as a passer, and the 24th-ranked defense in EPA per play gives me pause. But there's too much going right with McDaniel on the sideline and with these offensive weapons to keep Miami outside of the top tier of AFC teams right now.

Yahoo! -- Rank: 6

The Dolphins defense was on the field for 90 plays in ridiculous heat against a Bills offense that wanted to spread it out and pass it all over the place. Now the Dolphins go on the road on short rest for a Thursday night game at the Bengals. They also have injury issues, including quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (though excuse me for not worrying too much about him playing through his, ahem, back and neck injury). If the Dolphins win in that situation, it will be really impressive.

PFT -- Rank: 6

To be the best, you've got to beat the best. And they did.

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Saturday, September 24, 2022

Buffalo Bills Week 3 NFL Power Rankings Roundup

Throughout the 2022 NFL season, we will compile a consensus NFL Power Rankings that averages the rankings of all 32 NFL teams.

Below you will find a Week 3 roundup for the Buffalo Bills in our consensus 2022 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 1

Biggest early adjustment: Improve the running backs production

Quarterback Josh Allen finished the Bills' season opener as the team's leading rusher. In the second game against the Titans, Buffalo struggled to pick up first downs in short-yardage situations. This Buffalo offense has high potential, there's no doubt about that, but an inability to get the running game going was an issue at times for the Bills last year. They don't need Devin Singletary to have 20-plus carries a game, but this offense could be even harder to stop if it was able to get consistent production from its running backs.

NFL.com -- Rank: 1

Monday night's 41-7 pasting of the Titans was another loud message to the NFL that the measuring stick for all teams can be found in Western New York. Josh Allen threw for 317 yards and four touchdowns in just three quarters of work, while Stefon Diggs piled up 12 catches for 148 yards and three scores ... also in just three quarters of work. Throw in a Matt Milano pick-six and a wall of blue surrounding Derrick Henry every time the Titans back touched the ball, and, well, this was as pure a distillation of dominance as we might see all season. Two weeks in, and the Bills exist in a class of their own.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 1

They left no doubt Monday night against the Titans as to who the best team is right now. But now they face a tough road test at Miami on a short week. That won't be easy.

USA Today -- Rank: 1

Their newest weapon? Rarely utilized Sam Martin, who turns punts into turnover-creating misadventures for the opposition.

The Athletic -- Rank: 1

When one team leads the NFL with a point differential of 55 through two games and the second-place teams (Kansas City and Tampa Bay) have less than half that (26), there's not much argument about who is the best team in the league. Through two weeks, the Bills have the best defense in the league by EPA per drive and are tied for fifth in EPA per drive on offense, according to TruMedia, which probably undersells how good the offense has been.

Forward-thinking hardware store managers in Glendale, Ariz., should begin marking up the price of folding tables.

Yahoo! -- Rank: 1

The Bills have been nearly perfect to start the season. They really could have the best offense and best defense in the NFL this season.

PFT -- Rank: 1

An unexpectedly huge test is looming in Miami. It's hard to see them not passing it.

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Green Bay Packers Week 3 NFL Power Rankings Roundup

Throughout the 2022 NFL season, we will compile a consensus NFL Power Rankings that averages the rankings of all 32 NFL teams.

Below you will find a Week 3 roundup for the Green Bay Packers in our consensus 2022 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 7

Biggest early adjustment: Get quarterback Aaron Rodgers in rhythm

Even Rodgers admitted his stats in Week 2 against the Bears looked a little better than he and the offense actually performed. "This was better than Week 1," Rodgers said, "but we've got to be better than this if we want to compete with Tampa." A fumbled handoff exchange by Rodgers and a mistimed shotgun snap by Josh Myers were signs the offense is still trying to work out the early-season kinks.

NFL.com -- Rank: 5

Aaron Rodgers still owns the Bears, and Matt LaFleur is still undefeated (10-0) coming off a loss as Packers head coach. Rodgers shook off the disappointments of Week 1 with an efficient performance against Chicago that included two touchdown passes and just six incompletions in 25 attempts. The ever-underrated Aaron Jones was close to unstoppable (8.8 yards per carry), and the defense stepped up with a goal-line stand against Justin Fields that short-circuited an attempt by the Bears to add some drama into this one-sided rivalry. The Packers need to clean up some things (they're up to four fumbles in two weeks), but this is not a team to worry about.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 5

They got the offense going against the Bears, which is a good sign. They will be just fine on that side of the ball.

USA Today -- Rank: 10

Balanced offense not overly reliant on QB Aaron Rodgers and second-tier receivers and a defense that plays up to its talent level — this is the Pack's best path back to the Super Bowl after their pass-heavy approach from recent years consistently came up short when it mattered.

The Athletic -- Rank: 10

In terms of offensive improvement, only the Rams, 49ers and Jets made a bigger jump in EPA per drive rank from Week 1 to Week 2. That's what getting Aaron Jones more involved and playing a worse defense will do for you. This week will figure to be a much tougher test.

Yahoo! -- Rank: 7

Aaron Jones is a really good player, and the Packers were right to admit their Week 1 mistake in not getting him involved more. He was the focal point on Sunday night, which he should be most weeks. It will be interesting to see how the Packers do Sunday against a Buccaneers defense that has been phenomenal this season.

PFT -- Rank: 7

They got the win, but are they ready to compete with the Bucs? We'll find out on Sunday.

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Jacksonville Jaguars Week 3 NFL Power Rankings Roundup

Throughout the 2022 NFL season, we will compile a consensus NFL Power Rankings that averages the rankings of all 32 NFL teams.

Below you will find a Week 3 roundup for the Jacksonville Jaguars in our consensus 2022 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 24

Biggest early adjustment: Use Travis Etienne Jr. a little more in the pass game

The Jaguars did a good job Sunday against the Colts by getting Etienne involved in screens, but he needs more touches. Get him in space and let him use his speed to try to generate big plays. He hasn't been used as heavily in the first two games -- just 18 touches -- as many anticipated. Coach Doug Pederson is working to spread the ball around. A lot of it is matchup-oriented, so Etienne will likely have more work in some games than others, but averaging just nine touches per game seems low.

NFL.com -- Rank: 28

Now that's the version of Trevor Lawrence the Jaguars are looking for. Last year's No. 1 overall pick played smart and efficient football in his second start of the season, avoiding the mistakes of last week's loss in Washington and letting the Jacksonville defense do the rest in a 24-0 win over the sagging Colts. Lawrence had completions to seven different receivers, including two passing scores to Christian Kirk. Credit Doug Pederson for cooking up a sound game plan that gave Lawrence good looks and open receivers as Jacksonville built up a 17-0 lead at the half. Embarrassing a supposedly superior division rival should be all the evidence the Jags need that the AFC South is there for the taking.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 22

The defense really impressed in shutting out the Colts. This team is going to be a problem for a lot of teams, but they do face a tough test this week at the Chargers.

USA Today -- Rank: 22

Pitching the season's first shutout notched Jacksonville the AFC South's only victory to date, hence sole ownership of first place.

The Athletic -- Rank: 19

Does this look like a man who's ever going to take a separate flight home from his team?


Trevor Lawrence completed 25 of 30 passes for 235 yards and two touchdowns in what was the best game of his young career by EPA per dropback (0.54, more than twice as good as his second-best game, the 2021 regular-season finale, also against the Colts). Developing Lawrence is Doug Pederson's No. 1 job, so that's a very positive early step. Less important but perhaps more sustainable is the work Mike Caldwell has done so far with a Jaguars defense that ranks fifth in the league in EPA per drive. That group is loaded with early-round draft picks, and with the division seemingly there for the taking, it could be good enough to make the Jaguars surprise AFC South favorites.

Yahoo! -- Rank: 25

OK, Trevor Lawrence. That's better. Lawrence missed too many throws in Week 1 and it seemed like an extension of his rookie season. Then in Week 2 he made several big throws, including many off-platform, in a very good win for the Jags. It helps to have Christian Kirk, who is still overpaid but a big addition in the offense.

PFT -- Rank: 18

First place in the AFC South? First place in the AFC South.

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Kansas City Chiefs Week 3 NFL Power Rankings Roundup

Throughout the 2022 NFL season, we will compile a consensus NFL Power Rankings that averages the rankings of all 32 NFL teams.

Below you will find a Week 3 roundup for the Kansas City Chiefs in our consensus 2022 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 2

Biggest early adjustment: Create more pressure on the pass rush

The Chiefs are 28th in the league in pressures (26.4%), according to NFL Next Gen Stats. But they are seventh in pressures when blitzing (40.9%). Other than Chris Jones, who has two sacks, the Chiefs aren't getting the job done with their front four. They need the help of sending an extra defender. The Chiefs are 17th in the league in blitz percentage at 24%.

NFL.com -- Rank: 2

It wasn't always pretty, but the Chiefs took care of business against a rival who came uncomfortably close to sending shockwaves through the AFC West. The hero of the 27-24 win over the Chargers? Jaylen Watson, of course. The seventh-round pick stepped in front of a pass from Justin Herbert for the game-turning pick-six in the fourth quarter. This game was about getting key contributions in unlikely places: In addition to Watson's INT, the Chiefs received scores from wide receiver Justin Watson and reserve running back Jerick McKinnon. After a summer of hype for the entire division, the Chiefs remain positioned as the clear kings of the West heading into Week 3.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 2

They weren't as crisp on offense against the Chargers, but they still found a way. The defense made some huge plays in that game to win it.

USA Today -- Rank: 2

Does Andy Reid really get adequate appreciation? Last week, he joined George Halas, Don Shula and Bill Belichick as the only coaches with career win-loss records 100 games over .500. Reid now sits at 235-135-1.

The Athletic -- Rank: 2

Two weeks in, the Chiefs lead the NFL in EPA per drive. Ho-hum. It really is that simple when the league's best quarterback has one of the league's best offensive lines. The defense, meanwhile, ranks 20th in EPA per drive, which is perfectly fine, especially if it's going to take advantage of opportunities to force turnovers.

As a courtesy to the editor charged with fact-checking these power rankings, let's not declaratively say that the Chiefs' Thursday night win was the first game in NFL history in which two separate J. Watsons scored touchdowns, but it definitely felt like that.

Yahoo! -- Rank: 2

The Chiefs are doing just fine, but relying more on backs and tight ends in the passing offense. JuJu Smith-Schuster has 89 yards in two games and Marquez Valdes-Scantling has 57. Eventually the Chiefs will need a receiver to emerge as a dangerous option, but this approach is working for the Chiefs so far.

PFT -- Rank: 2

The offense is great, and the defense is good enough to step up on the nights the offense isn't playing that way.

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Chicago Bears Week 3 NFL Power Rankings Roundup

Throughout the 2022 NFL season, we will compile a consensus NFL Power Rankings that averages the rankings of all 32 NFL teams.

Below you will find a Week 3 roundup for the Chicago Bears in our consensus 2022 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 28

Biggest early adjustment: Find ways to generate a passing attack

Justin Fields had 48 net passing yards against the Packers. Sure, the Bears ran the ball effectively behind David Montgomery's 15 carries for 122 yards, but Chicago's offense must generate some semblance of a passing attack to not make themselves one-dimensional and easy to defend. Through two weeks, the Bears are running just 48.5 plays per game (the second lowest in the NFL), have the highest sack rate (12.5%) and the league's lowest percentage of passing plays (32.04%). Chicago can lean predominantly on the run game with its developmental quarterback, but it can't abandon the passing game entirely the way it did against the Packers.

NFL.com -- Rank: 30

Justin Fields nearly made it a game with his doomed fourth-and-goal stretch on Sunday night, but when the dust settled on a 27-7 loss, it was clear the dynamic of the Packers-Bears "rivalry" remains unchanged. Chicago was outclassed, particularly on defense in the run game. The Packers piled up 203 rushing yards, with Aaron Jones averaging nearly 9.0 yards per attempt. David Montgomery delivered a stellar statistical performance of his own, but what's up with the Bears' passing game? Fields had just 11 pass attempts all night, while nominal No. 1 wideout Darnell Mooney has 4 yards through two games. This team will need more monsoons to make a playoff push.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 28

It was back to reality for the Bears in losing to the Packers. They did little on offense, which you can expect at times for this young group.

USA Today -- Rank: 29

They don't have a wide receiver or tight end with more than three catches this season. You're on your own, Justin Fields.

The Athletic -- Rank: 28

Some advanced Cole Kmetrics on the 23-year-old 2020 second-round pick:

Zero catches for zero yards and zero touchdowns with 0.0 yards per route run.

But you take that as a Bears offense as long as Darnell Mooney is getting his (two catches for four yards on the season).

The Bears rank 32nd in the league in EPA per pass play, which is disappointing in part because it was sort of the expectation heading into the season.

Yahoo! -- Rank: 29

Here's the list of Bears wide receivers who have recorded a reception this season:

Equanimeous St. Brown, three catches for 57 yards

Dante Pettis, one catch for 51 yards

Byron Pringle, one catch for 22 yards

Darnell Mooney, two catches for 4 yards

That's it. Seven catches for 134 yards over two games. One game was played in a crazy rainstorm, but it's still a troubling stat. Mooney in particular needs to get way more involved.

PFT -- Rank: 28

It wasn't as bad as the final score would suggest, but it still wasn't good.

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Dallas Cowboys Week 3 NFL Power Rankings Roundup

Throughout the 2022 NFL season, we will compile a consensus NFL Power Rankings that averages the rankings of all 32 NFL teams.

Below you will find a Week 3 roundup for the Dallas Cowboys in our consensus 2022 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 21

Biggest early adjustment: Make Micah Parsons a full-time pass-rusher

He can be an All-Pro off-the-ball linebacker, too, but pass-rushers change the game more than those guys. Against Cincinnati, Parsons almost exclusively lined up at pass-rusher and had two sacks and was credited with 10 pressures. He has four sacks in two games. He can win with speed and power. The Cowboys want to be able to line Parsons up all over the field to create mismatches, which is smart, but he is often a mismatch when he lines up solely at defensive end, too. If they do that, he might make a run at the single-season sack record. He might just do it anyway.

NFL.com -- Rank: 21

The Cowboys were left for dead by many (who, me?) after a grim Week 1 that included a non-competitive loss to the Bucs and Dak Prescott's thumb injury. But America's Team showed fight on Sunday. They jumped out to an early lead against the defending AFC champion Bengals, held off a Joe Burrow-led comeback, then got a 50-yard field goal from Brett Maher at the gun to secure a 20-17 victory at Jerrah World. Cooper Rush made several big-time throws in his first start in place of Prescott, the biggest a 10-yard connection to CeeDee Lamb that put Dallas in field-goal position in the final minute. Lamb also received some much-needed help from fellow wideout Noah Brown, who had receptions on all five of his targets for 91 yards and a touchdown. If the Rush-led offense can stay this competent, a strong Dallas defense will keep this team afloat.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 19

Cooper Rush played a solid game against the Bengals, but it was a game won by the defense. Now let's see what Rush does on the road against the Giants.

USA Today -- Rank: 16

Cooper Rush is the first Dallas quarterback to win his first two starts since ... Jason Garrett (1993-94). The Cowboys will likely be grateful if Rush doesn't approach Garrett's nine career starts with the team.

The Athletic -- Rank: 25

This is a Micah Parsons appreciation capsule.


Parsons having the most sacks of any player through his first 18 games is insane when you remember pass rushing is not his only job. Since entering the league, Parsons has sacked or hit the quarterback on 10.1 percent of his 345 pass-rush snaps, per TruMedia. The rest of the top five since last season among players with at least 300 pass-rush snaps include T.J. Watt (8.9 percent), Nick Bosa (7.4 percent), Randy Gregory (6.8 percent) and Matt Judon (6.5 percent).

Big picture, getting even one win with Rush at the helm is probably enough to keep the Cowboys in the NFC East mix until Dak Prescott returns — whenever that is.

Yahoo! -- Rank: 20

Micah Parsons is even better than last season. If he stays healthy, he looks primed to win NFL defensive player of the year. If Cooper Rush plays like he did in the win over the Bengals on Sunday, the defense will keep Dallas in games. Maybe they'll be OK by the time Dak Prescott comes back.

PFT -- Rank: 10

Every win with Cooper Rush is money in the bank for Dak's return.

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