NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks at top, Bears and Steelers rise - Metro US

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks at top, Bears and Steelers rise

Russell Wilson Seahawks Russell Wilson and the Seahawks regain their spot at the top after one week off. Credit: Getty Images

1. Seattle (2-1): Yes, the Seahawks gave up 17 fourth quarter points at home Sunday. And yes, people are actually throwing on Richard Sherman again. But if your life was on the line, would you pick the Broncos or Bengals over this team at a neutral site? The champs still look like the champs.

2. Broncos (2-1): We’re absolutely sure that Peyton Manning is 38-years-old, right? Any “Manning birthers” out there with me? A guy that age, with that neck, is not supposed march his team 80 yards in one minute, on the road, against the best defense in the league.

3. Bengals (3-0): This may be seen as disrespect to Cincinnati. But is what they’ve done so far – a seven point win over Baltimore and two home wins over Atlanta and Tennessee – really that impressive? More impressive than Seattle’s 2-1 record after it went through a Green Bay-San Diego-Denver meat-grinder?

4. Cardinals (3-0): How impressive does Arizona’s Week 1 win over San Diego look now? The only thing that may upset the apple cart is a potential QB controversy when Carson Palmer returns. Palmer may lose his job to a guy who used to back up immortals like Dan Orlovsky and Shaun Hill. The Drew Stanton era is here!

5. Eagles (3-0): As expected, the Eagles are fun as hell to watch. Jeremy Maclin, Jordan Matthews and Riley Cooper are all capable of 100-yard receiving days any given week. The question here, of course, is can the defense do just enough? Philly is allowing 26.0 points per game so far this season, tied for 26th worst in the NFL.

6. Chargers (2-1): San Diego could very well be atop these rankings by mid-October. The Chargers host the Jaguars and Jets in the next two weeks and then go on the road to face the Raiders in Week 6. And if Keenan Allen gets going? Look out.

7. Bears (2-1): After losing at home to the Bills in Week 1, Chicago has won night games at San Francisco and at the Jets. You figure it out. The Bears have proven that they don’t need a dominant day from Matt Forte to win a big game.

8. Falcons (2-1): Atlanta put up 56 points at home to Tampa Bay and totaled only 10 points on the road against the Bengals. They’re the early candidate for “bully team of the year.” They’re at the Vikings this weekend, so expect them to get up for that one.

9. Ravens (2-1): Baltimore has played three division games to start the year and it has come out of it 2-1. Not bad at all. We’ll take some of what Steve Smith Sr. is having.

10. Bills (2-1): Were we fooled by the traditional Buffalo September surge? Maybe. E.J. Manuel completed just 59 percent of his passes against the Chargers on Sunday.

11. Steelers (2-1): We heard it all pre-season: Ben Roethlisberger. Contract year. Big Ben only had 196 yards passing against Carolina Sunday night, but his two touchdown passes were pinpoint and he finished with a rating of 112.6 in Pittsburgh’s blowout road win.

12. Panthers (2-1): So much for that vaunted Carolina defense. Le’Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount smoked the Panthers ‘D’ Sunday night, each rushing for over 100 yards. Offensively, Carolina attempted running the ball just 10 times and were outrushed 264-42 by Pittsburgh.

13. Lions (2-1): Detroit is one of the tougher teams to figure out so far. The Lions’ offense looked phenomenal in Week 1 against the Giants but they’ve scored just 26 points since. A home win over Green Bay is nice, but they should be scoring more than 19 points against that defense.

14. Patriots (2-1): There’s no doubt the Raiders would have gone for two and won the game in the final minute against the Patriots Sunday had it not been for a holding penalty. Oakland had all the momentum at the time. Is New England, specifically Tom Brady, finally slipping?

15. Colts (1-2): It looks as though there’s no shame in losing to either the Broncos or Eagles this season, which is what Indy did the first two weeks. Andrew Luck looked like Andrew Luck again on Sunday as he finished with a 140.4 rating in a blowout win over the poor Jags.

16. 49ers (1-2): It was feared in August that the 49ers defense would take a big step back due to injuries and off-the-field issues. That looks to be the case. San Fran is allowing 22.7 points per game, which is the 17th worst mark in the league.

17. Jets (1-2): The Jets should be frisky all season long, but “frisky” seems to be the ceiling. Geno Smith and the team as a whole make far too many mistakes for New York to be taken seriously. Jets fans would probably sign for a 9-7 year right now, no?

18. Saints (1-2): Sunday’s home opening win over the Vikings wasn’t too impressive. Drew Brees and the offense didn’t exactly light it up, scoring just 20 points – its lowest output of the season so far.

19. Cowboys (2-1): Dallas has two road wins on the season. Though they came against the Titans and Rams, that’s the bottom line. DeMarco Murray is 3-for-3 this season when it comes to 100-yard rushing days.

20. Packers (1-2): Unquestionably, the biggest disappointment of the season so far. Eddie Lacy heads the 2014 bust list, as he has just 113 rushing yards TOTAL this year.

21. Redskins (1-2): Kirk Cousins won over plenty of RGIII supporters Sunday as he racked up 427 yards through the air, with three touchdowns. He threw just one interception and finished with a 103.4 rating.

22. Texans (2-1): One would have thought the Texans defense would be able to contain Eli Manning and the new-look Giants offense after it allowed just 20 points total in the first two weeks. Not the case. Manning tossed a pair of touchdowns and looked quite comfortable.

23. Vikings (1-2): Mike Zimmer’s defense should keep the Vikings in a lot of games but the rest of 2014 will be a long, learning process for Teddy Bridgewater and the offense.

24. Giants (1-2): It was easy to forget that New York has some decent weapons during the first two weeks of the season. Rashad Jennings (176 yards rushing) and Victor Cruz (five catches, 107 yards) made us remember.

25. Browns (1-2): Cleveland has performed above expectations so far and Brian Hoyer will keep Johnny Manziel (the quarterback, not the receiver) on the bench for a while.

26. Dolphins (1-2): Ryan Tannehill did not throw an interception in Sunday’s home loss to the Chiefs, but he did see his QB rating tumble for the third straight week.

27. Titans (1-2): Jake Locker has an injured right wrist, but Tennessee fans aren’t completely devastated. Locker passed for only 185 yards and threw two picks in Sunday’s loss to the Bengals.

28. Chiefs (1-2): Andy Reid loves to run the ball and he has the backs to pull it off. Kansas City will get Jamaal Charles back next Monday against the Patriots and Knile Davis is fresh off a 132-yard rushing day.

29. Rams (1-2): The Zac Stacy buzz is long gone. The back rushed for just 67 yards on 12 carries against Dallas.

30. Raiders (0-3): How fickle are these rankings? If it wasn’t for that holding penalty near the goal line, Oakland is at least at No. 25 this week.

31. Buccaneers (0-3): What exactly was that last Thursday night? We’re sure that was a sanctioned NFL contest, right?

32. Jaguars (0-3): Picking the Jags to finish with the worst record in the NFL, like we did a few weeks back, was just too easy. We did it anyway and will do so for the foreseeable future.

Follow Metro Boston sports editor and columnist Matt Burke on Twitter: @BurkeMetroBOS

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