We're now three weeks into the season, and while most teams remain near the middle of the pack, others have begun to either pull ahead or fall behind. Bucket Squad's NFL expert, Nick Swatson, will present his full rankings right here every 3 weeks during the 2020 NFL season. The following rankings are based solely on each team's on-field performance thus far, not what is expected of them for the remainder of the season. Also, teams' records are not the sole decision factor, as there are some teams at 2-1 or 1-2 that are better than other teams with superior records; they just may have played a tougher schedule so far. Therefore, you will get a good idea of how your team's play compares with every other team in the league.
1. Kansas City Chiefs (3-0)
Kansas City at number one? I know - what a hot take. The Chiefs got off to somewhat of a slow start this season, but they asserted their dominance this past Monday night on a Baltimore team that looked unstoppable in their first two games. We knew the Chiefs' high-powered offense would be able to score with the Ravens, but it was surprising to see their defense hold Baltimore to under 300 total yards and only 20 points. We will likely see Kansas City consistently at the top of most NFL rankings for the next decade or so, as long as Patrick Mahomes stays relatively healthy.
2. Green Bay Packers (3-0)
The Packers are not far behind the Chiefs in my opinion, as their wins have been just as impressive, if not more so. They dominated the Vikings and Lions in their first two, and beat the Saints in New Orleans on Sunday night in a game that didn't really feel like it was ever in doubt. You wouldn't have even realized Davante Adams was absent this weekend just by watching Aaron Rodgers and the offense work. The defense will need to get stops on a consistent basis going forward if they are to make a deep run in the postseason, but offensively, they are at an elite level.
3. Seattle Seahawks (3-0)
The Seahawks are very similar to the Packers this year. Both have average defenses, but each offense is led by an MVP-caliber quarterback who is playing out of his mind so far in 2020. The Seahawks have two studs at receiver, and Russell Wilson is connecting with both of them on a consistent basis. I'm not a fan of either the Seahawks or Packers, but I'm honestly pulling for the two to meet in the NFC Championship game. The over/under for that game might be set at 80. Until then, I'll continue to salivate over Wilson's performances each week of the regular season.
4. Buffalo Bills (3-0)
Buffalo might be the surprise team of the season so far. Josh Allen has improved substantially in his second year and is playing as well as any other quarterback in the league. While the Bills surrendered 29 second half points to the Rams in week 3, their defense is typically stout against even good offenses. If there was a team in the AFC not named the Chiefs that I was going to bet on to make it to the Super Bowl, it would probably be the Patriots (lol). But the Bills are a close second in actuality.
5. Baltimore Ravens (2-1)
Baltimore looked like they had somehow gotten better from last season in their first two games this year, but they ran into the buzzsaw that is the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday night. Lamar Jackson said after the game that the Chiefs were their kryptonite. That's not something you want to hear if you're a Ravens fan, but I wouldn't panic. This is still a really good team that should continue to improve by the time they reach the playoffs. Hopefully we get to see a rematch of the Week 3 MNF game sometime in the postseason.
6. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-0)
The Steelers defense is legit, and after defeating the Giants and Broncos in weeks 1 and 2, they got their first semi-test in week 3 against the Texans. Houston might be winless, but they're a better team than their record shows after playing a brutal opening three games. Pittsburgh handled their business and defeated the Texans by a touchdown at home. I don't think the Steelers have been forced to open up their offense too much yet as they seem to be letting Ben Roethlisberger get back into the groove of things after missing all of last season. When they do open it up, we'll see how good this Steelers team really is.
7. Chicago Bears (3-0)
I didn't really want to rank the Bears this high, but they looked really good with Nick Foles at quarterback and have officially opted to start him over Mitchell Trubisky from this point on. It is impressive that Chicago was able to win their first two games with Trubisky, which honestly shows just how good the team is overall. Even most Bears fans hate Trubisky, and Foles is a Super Bowl winning quarterback. If the defense can get back to where they were at the beginning of last season, this team could be scary good.
8. New England Patriots (2-1)
I still can't believe 31 NFL teams let the Patriots, of all teams, bring Cam Newton to New England. Just when we all thought the Patriots dynasty was over, we may simply be seeing a new era of the same dynasty. The Patriots aren't going to be a super fun team to watch, but they'll get the job done. They'll run the ball down the defenses' throats, and Cam has shown he can pass the ball if he needs to. They played the Seahawks basically even until the final play, and will likely make it into the playoffs again for the twelfth time in a row.
9. Tennessee Titans (3-0)
The Titans have squeaked by in every game so far, as they could easily be 0-3 right now. But good teams find ways to win, and Tennessee is a good team. Opponents have been loading the box on defense to prevent Derrick Henry from running all over them, but Ryan Tannehill has been good enough to put the Titans in positions to win. This is despite the fact that A.J. Brown has missed the last two games with a bone bruise. They'll need to improve in the passing game slightly to open up the run game more, but maybe their saving their better gameplans for tougher opponents.
10. Los Angeles Rams (2-1)
Last season, it seemed as if the Sean McVay era was ending before it really ever got started. But the Rams have turned things around this season, and the offense looks significantly better after shedding Todd Gurley and his $45 million guaranteed contract. Their only loss came this past weekend against the red-hot Bills, and Los Angeles was on the wrong end of a questionable defensive pass interference call on a fourth down that set up Buffalo's game-winning score. With the strength of the teams in the NFC West, divisional wins will be hard to come by. But the Rams should be in contention for the playoffs whether that be as a division winner or as a wild card team.
11. Arizona Cardinals (2-1)
I was high on the Cardinals after week 2, but they didn't look very good in week 3 against the lowly Lions. However, I think that game will end up being a fluke, as Kyler Murray seemed to be off his game for whatever reason. When the Cardinals are playing at their best, they're undoubtedly one of the best teams in the league with explosive players on offense and some studs on defense. Even in a bad game this past Sunday, Arizona nearly came away with a win. The Cardinals will get back on track in a week 4 matchup against the Panthers.
12. Indianapolis Colts (2-1)
After a bad week 1 loss to the Jaguars, the Colts were probably viewed as the second most disappointing team, second only to the Eagles. But they have looked really good since then. They have played the Vikings and the Jets, which are two of the worst teams in the league so far, but they have won both games in dominant fashion. Philip Rivers seems to be getting settled in, Jonathan Taylor is going to be a really good workhorse back, and the defense as a whole is getting stops and forcing turnovers at higher rates than last season. Look for the Colts to be competing with the Titans for the AFC South division crown.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1)
Tom Brady got off to a rocky start in Tampa with a loss in New Orleans in week 1. However, the team has rebounded nicely and has handled their business in two consecutive games against inferior opponents. While it still doesn't seem like the offense is clicking just yet, I get the feeling that it's bound to happen soon. The Bucs have battled some injuries in the receiving core, but the offense has demonstrated their firepower in spurts. Leonard Fournette has proven himself capable of being a workhorse back in Tampa, but he will get much needed relief from Ronald Jones II and LeSean McCoy. I have a feeling this team will climb a bit higher in my next top-to-bottom rankings after week 6.
14. San Francisco 49ers (2-1)
The list of names on San Francisco's injury report is insane. It seems like every starter is out, along with each of their backups. Still, the 49ers continue to get the job done, as they have drubbed the lowly Jets and Giants in back-to-back weeks. Their ranking here may be elevated due to the strength of their last two opponents, but the 49ers have looked really good the last two weeks if you consider their injuries. They'll be getting some of their stars back in the coming weeks, but without guys like Nick Bosa for an extended period of time, San Francisco may soon fall into the bottom half of the league.
15. Las Vegas Raiders (2-1)
I'll be honest, I haven't watched much of the Raiders this year, but I do know they already have had an inconsistent start to the 2020 season. They squeaked by the Christian McCaffrey's - I mean, the Carolina Panthers - in week 1, and got beaten soundly by the Patriots in week 3. But their primetime win against the Saints in week 2 was impressive. Maybe it was just because of the aura of playing in their new stadium for the first time, but Las Vegas looked like they could be contenders after week 2. The Patriots are a good team, so there's no shame in losing to them, but I haven't yet made up my mind on how good I think this team really is.
16. Cleveland Browns (2-1)
After their week 1 humiliation from the Ravens, I was ready to write off Baker Mayfield and the Browns. I mean, they just looked awful on both sides of the ball. But after back-to-back wins, Cleveland has found its identity in the run game behind the tandem of Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. They've looked really good on the ground in the last two weeks against teams that aren't bad against the run, but their potential will be limited by how Mayfield performs. Will he be able to drop back and complete passes on third and longs when the defense knows what's coming? If he can, the Dawg Pound may have newfound hope in their boisterous Oklahoma prospect.
17. New Orleans Saints (1-2)
I though the Saints were going to be really good after the beat the Buccaneers in week 1, but they haven't looked good in their last two games. Granted, not many teams are going to look very good against the Packers, but their loss to the Raiders was surprising. I thought Brees would be able to win with whichever receivers Sean Payton put out there, but maybe he is missing Michael Thomas more than I thought. Luckily for Saints fans, Thomas should be back soon and there are several explosive weapons on that offense still. I won't count out Drew Brees until he's in a wheelchair, and even then, I would assume he might still have some game left.
18. Dallas Cowboys (1-2)
I predicted the Cowboys to win their division, which is still likely despite their 1-2 start due to the remaining teams in the NFC East looking like mid-major college squads. Still, I expected Dallas to look a lot better through three weeks of the season. Remember, they could very easily be 0-3 if not for the fourth quarter comeback against the Falcons, who are an absolute mess of their own. Dallas has otherwise played two apparent top-tier teams in the NFC, but the losses are concerning nonetheless. This Cowboys team has too much talent on the offensive side of the ball to keep losing consistently, so I think they're able to turn it around as long as Dak Prescott plays well.
19. Los Angeles Chargers (1-2)
The Chargers could also easily be 0-3 right now, had they not been saved by an offensive pass interference call late in the fourth quarter in week 1. On the flip side, they had the ball in overtime with a chance to defeat the Chiefs in week 2, and nearly won with a hook-and-ladder on the last play of the game in week 3. Justin Herbert has played tremendously in place of Tyrod Taylor, and LA's offense has looked substantially better in its last two contests. Herbert has fallen just short in his first two appearances, but I believe he'll start winning games soon for the Chargers with the weapons around him.
20. Washington Football Team (1-2)
Let's face it, Washington isn't as bad as we all thought they were going to be. In fact, they're currently tied for first(!!!) in the NFC East. Now, there's no way they'll actually win the division this year, but Dwayne Haskins has taken a nice step forward in his second season. If there's anyone who can turn around a franchise as bad as Washington's was, it's Ron Rivera. And he's doing a pretty good job doing that thus far. We'll see if he can continue building the team up with talent over the next few years.
21. Miami Dolphins (1-2)
I was about to start calling for Tua until Ryan Fitzpatrick absolutely torched the Jags in week 3. Even if Fitzpatrick started faltering again in the coming weeks, I don't think there's any chance Miami risks starting the future face of their franchise this season. Fortunately for Dolphins fans, I think Fitzpatrick has found his groove and will lead his team to several more wins this year. Keep in mind that Miami's two losses have come in tight contests with the Bills and the Patriots, who I have ranked at 4 and 8 respectively. The Dolphins could contend for that extra wild card spot in the AFC.
22. Detroit Lions (1-2)
Detroit finally notched its first win of the season over an impressive Cardinals team in week 3. This came as head coach Matt Patricia was probably on the hottest seat of all head coaches after week 2. It likely won't cool his seat off two much, but it was a step in the right direction. The return of Kenny Golladay aided Detroit's passing game, and the defense was able to corral Kyler Murray, who had been tearing up opposing defenses in the first two weeks. Regardless, Patricia will probably be coaching with his job on the line for the entirety of the season.
23. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-2)
The Jags have played much better in their first two games than many people expected after seemingly getting rid of every big name on their roster. But Gardner Minshew has remained, and he has shouldered the load and led his team to a divisional win over the Colts in week 1 and a near victory over the Titans in week 2. It did appear that they took a step back last game in a blowout loss to the formerly winless Dolphins. Ownership might have intended to tank this season for high draft pick, but if Minshew can keep up his impressive play, he might lead the team to mediocrity.
24. Carolina Panthers (1-2)
I was expecting better from the Panthers this season with the acquisition of Teddy Bridgewater, who played fantastically last year in Drew Brees' absence. Now, things have gone from bad to worse as Christian McCaffrey will be out for the next several weeks with a high ankle sprain. There are still weapons on offense for Matt Rhule to get production out of in McCaffrey's offense, but they'll likely have to just outscore teams to be able to win games. That won't be easy with two tough divisional opponents on the slate two times each.
25. Houston Texans (0-3)
Houston's record is obviously bad news. But these are the three teams they've played so far: Kansas City, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh. That is an absolutely brutal opening stretch, and the Texans were fairly competitive in each matchup. I didn't want to penalize the Texans too much, but it's hard for me to put a winless team over a team that has won at least one game. Therefore, in consolation, I would consider the Texans the best winless team in the league. They aren't out of the division race just yet, as the other three teams have opened with much easier opponents. They'll be fighting an uphill battle nonetheless.
26. Cincinnati Bengals (0-2-1)
It's obvious that the Bengals have improved from last season with the arrival of number one overall pick Joe Burrow. They just haven't figured out how to win games yet, despite being within a few points from being undefeated. Burrow and A.J. Green haven't been in sync yet, and they've struggled to run the ball all season. They've played pretty well defensively so far with the exception of the game against the Browns, where Cleveland slashed them on the ground. Eventually, I think the offense will open up, but Bengals fans can at least be happy knowing they've finally found their guy in Burrow.
27. Atlanta Falcons (0-3)
Being a Falcons fan must be absolutely brutal, and this season is no different. They've now blown a double-digit fourth quarter lead twice in a row, and seem to always find creative ways to lose games. The primary issue is with the defense, as they can't stop anyone right now. Matt Ryan and the offense have been able to put up points behind the weapons of Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, and Todd Gurley, but it really doesn't matter how many points they score right now. Dan Quinn better get something figured out on the defensive side of the ball, or his time in Atlanta may come to an end very soon.
28. Denver Broncos (0-3)
Denver has been fighting injuries to their offensive stars for the entirety of the young season. Courtland Sutton hasn't played a game and is out for the year, and Drew Lock and Phillip Lindsay have had injury issues of their own. They'll be starting third-stringer Brett Rypien in week 4 against the Jets, which is at least a good matchup for a new quarterback to get his feet wet. With a full roster, I like this young Broncos team, who still have a decent defense even without Von Miller. John Elway has started to build an exciting squad with definite potential as their core players gain experience.
29. Minnesota Vikings (0-3)
I expected much better out of the Vikings, but they have looked so bad so far this season. They were awful on both sides of the ball in the first two weeks, and the haven't shown any improvement on defense. At least the offense was able to get things going last week against the Titans, as a team with guys like Kirk Cousins, Dalvin Cook, and Adam Thielen isn't going to stay mediocre for long. Even if the offense continues to put up points, the defense needs to improve substantially for the Vikes to win games. They have the players to do so, so I'm really not sure what the issue is in Minnesota.
30. Philadelphia Eagles (0-2-1)
Similarly to the Vikings, the Eagles have also been a huge disappointment. Philly has just been decimated by injuries, and on top of that, they don't seem like they have a lot of team chemistry either. Carson Wentz is trying to win games by himself, which isn't a formula for a lot of success. Fortunately for the Eagles, their division is so bad that they're still only one game off the lead despite having zero wins. The fact that one of those teams will make it into the playoffs and get a first round bye sickens me, but that's a conversation for another day.
31. New York Giants (0-3)
After an abysmal start to the season, I thought the Giants would have a chance to get their first win against basically the 49ers second and third team players. Instead, they got annihilated, which shows just how bad this team is. Daniel Jones still looks promising, but he has absolutely no help, especially with Saquon Barkley out for the season now. I can't even think of anything positive to say about the Giants, as they might still not get the first pick in the next draft because the other New York team looks somehow even worse.
32. New York Jets (0-3)
Speaking of the Jets, they will unsurprisingly round out our list here, as they have just been hard to watch for their first three games. There's really not much to say about them other than the fact that they need help at literally every position. The good news is that they might land the first overall pick in the draft, which they could potentially use to gain several other draft picks through a trade if they think Sam Darnold is their guy.
Written by Nick Swatson
Expert Nick Swatson discusses all the news, predictions, and outcomes surrounding the NFL.