ESPN NFL Power Rankings – Week 3

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Sep 14, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Arizona Cardinals running back Andre Ellington (38) runs the ball against the New York Giants during the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

8. Green Bay Packers

For Aaron Rodgers, it’s another feather in the cheesehead, which had been looking a bit moldy following a poor kickoff-night performance. Lost in all the highlights against the Jets and Randall Cobb‘s two scores were the two bills Jordy Nelson put up for Green Bay. How about this stat line: Nine catches for 209 yards and a big touchdown?

7. Seattle Seahawks

Guessing the “perfect season” stuff can come to a merciful end. Seattle looked fatigued in the San Diego heat and in those dark blues. Give the Chargers credit for a) making the Seahawks wear those insulated heat packs and b) outplaying them in all three phases of the game. Percy Harvin‘s fumble on a second-quarter kick return was a huge play in a quality early-season matchup.

6. San Diego Chargers

Big-league win over the Seahawks. How the 34-year-old Antonio Gates still gets open is absolutely, utterly amazing. Can you imagine what his combine numbers would be now? It doesn’t matter; he’s still good and shifty in a way that only the 55-year-old who embarrasses you at the rec center can be. 

5. Arizona Cardinals 

Maybe Drew Stanton didn’t light it up — OK, he really didn’t light it up at all — but that was a nice winfor a veteran backup quarterback placed in a tough spot. He got a lift from the Cardinals‘ run game, which posted 124 yards against the Giants, and from the fact that Andre Ellington didn’t put the ball on the turf. Oh, and after Arizona’s Ted Ginn fair-caught several punts despite having about 20 yards of open space around him in Week 1, he actually fielded one against the Giants, and went on to reward himself — and his team — for it.

4. Carolina Panthers 

Well. Those who think Carolina doesn’t have what it takes to compete for a Super Bowl should consider that the Panthers‘ defense has forced six turnovers, given up 21 points and allowed opposing quarterbacks to gain a little more than 5 yards per attempt through two games. That is a certifiable championship-caliber unit, folks.