ESPN NFL Power Rankings – Week 3

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September 14, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt (99) during the third quarter against the Oakland Raiders at Coliseum. The Texans defeated the Raiders 30-14. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

28. St. Louis Rams 

Strange football game to play in, strange football game to win. Bilbo had a better chance at taking on Smaug than Austin Davis had of winning this one, and yet, the kid delivered. Next up: the Cowboys. Let’s hope the Rams tackle DeMarco Murray this time around.

27. Washington Redskins 

It’s rare that a team has a better shot of winning when the backup quarterback comes in. We haven’t seen that since Doug Flutie was the understudy for Rob Johnson (who, by the way, is one of the many who have played quarterback for Washington since Y2K). So I guess you know where I’m headed with this. Can you blame me? Kirk Cousins‘ day against the Jaguars, with Robert Griffin IIIout: 22-of-33 passing for 250 yards and two touchdowns. That said, now Washington has little depth at QB if Cousins falters. Tough to put this team higher for now.

26. Kansas City Chiefs

I’ll tell you what, that Alex Smith has some serious athletic pride. The final aerial numbers might not have been phenomenal (26-of-42 passing for 255 yards), but the 42 yards he provided on the ground — along with some big throws — kept the Chiefs in the game against the Broncos. No. 11 isn’t perfect, but when you look at what he’s playing with (especially now that he’ll be without Jamaal Charles for a while), you realize the quality of his work.

25. Tennesse Titans 

So where was that Titans run defense we saw in Week 1? DeMarco Murray (167 yards, one touchdown) gashed the Tennessee front Sunday, then gashed it again. The Cowboys rushed for more than 200 yards while averaging more than 5 yards per carry. The Titans‘ offense could get no such traction, as play calling and game situations reduced them to a measly 13 rushing attempts. On a brighter note, Tennessee tight end Delanie Walker scored a dynamic touchdown for a second consecutive week.

24. Houston Texans

Pretty sure Texans coach Bill O’Brien realizes the best way to win is to get Arian Foster going. Foster had yet another solid outing against the Raiders, toting the rock 28 times for 138 yards and a touchdown, and adding two catches. So much for the bad back. What a damn good player he is when his body is right.