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Dr. Z's NFL Power Rankings

Week 3

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Posted: Tuesday September 25, 2001 6:06 PM


Fortified with the advice to become more merciless in my rankings, to tolerate no sloppiness at the top of the chart, to allow none of those little indulgences of the past just because I kind of liked a team, I have dropped 2-0 St. Louis out of the No. 1 spot after a victory.

Those of you who have accused me of letting personal preference take the place of logic are absolutely right. No more of that. These teams will simply have to toe the mark. Anyway, that's my philosophy for this week, but as the man said, it's always subject to change.

Dr. Z's Power Rankings
Rank LW      Team
1 3
Denver Broncos (2-0)
This is what Mike Shanahan's boys showed me on that oven of a night in Tempe. The temperature hit 103 degrees, and in the first quarter the big fatsos on the Cardinals shoved the Broncs around. But it was the visitors who came on and played through it and the home team that melted. I'm greatly looking forward to Sunday's contest against Baltimore.
2 7
Indianapolis Colts (2-0)
Again the no-huddle, with Peyton Manning calling the game at the line, ran up a big tally. This reminds me of the genesis of the Buffalo hurry-up in the early '90s. It's effective when we use it so why not use it all the time? The only problem is the frenetic pace that it puts on my charting mechanism.
3 6
Miami Dolphins (2-0)
After the Raiders kicked a field goal on the opening drive of the second half, the Dolphins' defense held them to one first down in their next five series, and that, I believe, was why Miami won the game. The cavalry charge in the final minute was colorful, but the defense set the tone.
4 1
St. Louis Rams (2-0)
I'm expecting heat. For those of you who wish to get emotional about my lowering a team three notches after a victory, send along your address and I will drop by with my tape of the 49ers game and show you many examples of extreme sloppiness and unsound football habits. And I think Miami will upset the Rams Sunday -- in St. Louis.
5 11
Green Bay Packers (2-0)
Ahman Green is a punishing runner who gets into nasty moods but he drops the ball too much. Dorsey Levens is quietly effective and a better receiver. This is the platform a now-healthy Brett Favre needs to lead a high-powered offense.
6 2
Baltimore Ravens (1-1)
Let's not get hysterical about this. The Super Bowl champs turned the ball over six times and got upset by the Bengals. Oh yes, they were also outhustled and outhit. A wake-up call or a portent of things to come?
7 5
New Orleans Saints (1-0)
The bye week cost them two spots. I told you, it's a meaner system this week.
8 4
Oakland Raiders (1-1)
I would have dropped them more, except that my wife held me back because she likes the city. When's the last time you saw an Al Davis team go into one of those soft defenses at the end and let the other team come waltzing down the field?
9 10
Philadelphia Eagles (1-1)
The bad news is that Duce Staley will be out for a while. The good news is that they have Dallas at home, Arizona at home and a bye.
10 13
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-0)
They're on a mission. They don't seem to be feuding with the coach anymore. Stacey Mack had a big day in relief of injured Fred Taylor, and they're hoping that he's for real.
11 8
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0)
Interesting to see how they handle the roadie at Minnesota. The Vikings are a team they don't particularly like.
12 12
New York Giants (1-1)
The Saints, whom they face this week, seem to be a team built for the Giants' style, willing to turn the game into a defensive slugfest, which it should be.
13 9
Tennessee Titans (0-2)
This is the team I had facing the Rams in the Super Bowl. I won't fall into the trap of September hand-wringing, but it makes me wonder if old age is simply depriving me of too many brain cells.
14 21
San Diego Chargers (2-0)
Oh, it'll be a fun afternoon all right when the Superchargers face Cincinnati in the Cinderella Bowl. If the taper doesn't act up on me, I'll be recording it, and particularly noting the O-line, which I have trouble believing has finally gotten itself together.
15 16
New York Jets (1-1)
Sorry, can't raise them in the rankings after the win over the Patriots. The Monday nighter against the Niners is a different story.
16 17
San Francisco 49ers (1-1)
Jeff Garcia's a gutsy QB and fun to watch, and he gave the Rams some anxious moments. But when his go-to guy, Terrell Owens, drops four passes and his next favorite receiver, J.J. Stokes, drops two, they'd better open a new can of wideouts.
17 14
Kansas City Chiefs (0-2)
Both losses at Arrowhead, which used to be terra worriosa for visiting teams.
18 20
Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1)
They visit Buffalo, and the Bills are back on their heels, but Pittsburgh hasn't won there since the Terry Bradsaw, Jack Lambert Super Bowl era.
19 26
Atlanta Falcons (1-1)
Quietly climbing back from his knee injury, Jamal Anderson is having a spectacular year. And even without Anderson's 94-yard TD catch, Chris Chandler averaged 15 yards per completion, which means that things are happening downfield.
20 27
Cincinnati Bengals (2-0)
I have a theory about the Bengals. The young, highly drafted defensive talent is finally maturing. My players of the game against Baltimore? OLB Takeo Spikes and DT Oliver Gibson, who simply manhandled the guys trying to block him.
21 19
Buffalo Bills (0-2)
In the old days, they'd figure out a way to lasso the kind of whirlwind Indy unleashed on them, but their defensive unit has thinned out.
22 28
Chicago Bears (1-1)
Bolder approach now that Jim Miller is at QB. They'll have the bye week to figure out where their future really lies in that department, but it seems that the question has been lingering for a few years.
23 22
Carolina Panthers (1-1)
The bright spot is that Chris Weinke stayed cool and collected and remarkably poised for a rookie.
24 15
Minnesota Vikings (0-2)
Did you see those sideline shots of all the stars yapping at each other? And then they refused to talk to the press after the game. In the old days, when they were doing all that scoring, they never minded discussing it.
25 23
Seattle Seahawks (1-1)
Fans yelled for Trent Dilfer. Except in the land of dreams, he probably never heard that before.
26 24
Arizona Cardinals (0-1)
They play in the hottest place in the country, yet they have the biggest, fattest linemen on both sides of the ball. Someone needs to do a geographical research project here.
27 30
Cleveland Browns (1-1)
The seven picks off of Detroit might have used up a two-month quota. Serious consideration will follow a victory over a major opponent.
28 18
Detroit Lions (0-2)
I'd devote a lot of practice time to the running game if I were coach Mornhinweg (There! I spelled it right).
29 25
Washington Redskins (0-2)
The offensive line got overrun by the Pack. Jeff George is now a five-yard dinker. The best defensive player, Marco Coleman, is out with an elbow injury, and, of less significance but more newspaper space, LaVar Arrington is out with a bad knee. I'm looking for bright spots. Well, Stephen Davis ran well, but when put in a catch-up mode early on, his significance diminishes.
30 31
Dallas Cowboys (0-2)
There are signs of intelligent life, but not many of them. Emmitt is still running hard. Why don't they just pledge their season to getting him as many yards as they can, as he closes in on Walter Payton's record?
31 29
New England Patriots (0-2)
This is sad. Drew Bledsoe took a big hit and is out indefinitely. Honestly, I don't know what weapons they have with which to win a game.

To send a question or comment to Dr. Z, click here.

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Week 2 Power Rankings
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