NFL power rankings: Jalen Hurts, Darius Slay make Eagles class of the league

Detroit Free Press

Three weeks into the season, the NFL already is down to its final two unbeaten teams.

The Philadelphia Eagles have looked like the class of the NFC since the season’s opening kick and take over the No. 1 spot in this week’s power rankings. Jalen Hurts is playing at an MVP level, the offense is well-balanced with two top-tier receivers and a dangerous running game, and Darius Slay leads a defense that has allowed 14 points the past two weeks.

The Miami Dolphins have earned the second spot in the rankings with wins over two other top-10 teams, but their case as one of the NFL’s elite is a little more flimsy.

The Dolphins needed a miracle comeback to beat the Baltimore Ravens in Week 2, when they trailed by 21 points early in the fourth quarter, and they were dominated statistically in last week’s home upset of the Buffalo Bills, where the south Florida heat was a factor.

That’s not to discredit the win; the Bills will have their own homefield advantage when they host the Dolphins in the rematch in the Buffalo cold in December. But if Josh Allen hits an open Isaiah McKenzie in the end zone late in the game, Buffalo would still sit atop the rankings today.

In neutral conditions, I would bet the Bills beat the Dolphins and just about every other team in the NFL. But most early-season games are not played on neutral fields, which is why Miami must be rewarded for its fine start. At a minimum, the Dolphins look like a playoff team, but they have a tough trail ahead with a road game Thursday against the Cincinnati Bengals and a still-proving-himself quarterback in Tua Tagovailoa who is currently dealing with ankle and back (or so they claim) injuries.

More:Detroit Lions RB D’Andre Swift might sit next 2 games to rest shoulder, ankle injuries

I kept the Bills at No. 3 in this week’s rankings, and the list of true contenders drops off quickly not long after that. The top seven teams should stay in the Super Bowl hunt all season, and the Ravens at No. 8 will, too, if Lamar Jackson stays healthy.

The Dallas Cowboys and Cleveland Browns are winning with backup quarterbacks, so they could eventually join the conversation. But there are more teams with losing records (16) than winning ones (15) right now – the Indianapolis Colts are 1-1-1 – which speaks to the general mediocrity of the NFL.

Here are this week’s rankings:

1. Philadelphia Eagles

2. Miami Dolphins

3. Buffalo Bills

4. Kansas City Chiefs

5. Green Bay Packers

6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

7. Los Angeles Rams

8. Baltimore Ravens

9. Dallas Cowboys

10. Minnesota Vikings

11. Cleveland Browns

12. Jacksonville Jaguars

13. Cincinnati Bengals

14. Los Angeles Chargers

15. New Orleans Saints

16. Denver Broncos

17. San Francisco 49ers

18. Detroit Lions

19. Indianapolis Colts

20. New England Patriots

21. Pittsburgh Steelers

22. Arizona Cardinals

23. Tennessee Titans

24. Las Vegas Raiders

25. New York Giants

26. Chicago Bears

27. Washington Commanders

28. Seattle Seahawks

29. Carolina Panthers

30. Atlanta Falcons

31. New York Jets

32. Houston Texans

Contact Dave Birkett at dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

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