Week 3 NFL Power Rankings: Patriots, Steelers power up to 1-2

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Who says the Patriots need Tom Brady to be No. 1? ESPN's power panel (a group of more than 80 writers, editors and TV personalities) rewards New England with top billing this week following a 2-0 start to the season. Last week's No. 1, the Packers, dropped all the way to No. 9 following a Week 2 loss at Minnesota.

Check out the rest of the league and where each team ranks.

Previous rankings: Week 2 | Week 1 | Preseason

ESPN Stats & Information contributed the following information.

1. New England Patriots

2016 record: 2-0
Week 2 ranking: No. 2

Jimmy Garoppolo was rolling, but it appears it will be Jacoby Brissett's turn to run the Patriots' offense. Good news is that the Patriots host the Texans, a team they've lost to only once before ... in an essentially meaningless Week 17 game for the Patriots in the 2009 season.

2. Pittsburgh Steelers

2016 record: 2-0
Week 2 ranking: No. 4

DeAngelo Williams is the second-oldest running back in the NFL behind John Kuhn, but that hasn't stopped him from leading the league in touches through two games. He'll lead the unbeaten Steelers against the Eagles in Week 3.

3. Arizona Cardinals

2016 record: 1-1
Week 2 ranking: No. 5

Even at 1-1, the Cardinals are the top-ranked team according to our NFL Football Power Index (FPI). Ball control (zero turnovers) is a major reason behind that. A reeling Bills team is up next for the Cards.

4. Carolina Panthers

2016 record: 1-1
Week 2 ranking: No. 6

There's no place like home. The Panthers got their first win of the season at home in Week 2 and host the Vikings in Week 3. In their past seven home games (including playoffs), the Panthers are averaging 40.4 points per game.

5. Denver Broncos

2016 record: 2-0
Week 2 ranking: No. 8

How good is the Broncos' defense? Their past five games (including playoffs) have been against Cam Newton (twice), Ben Roethlisberger, Tom Brady and Andrew Luck. Those QBs combined for three passing touchdowns, five interceptions and 21 sacks. Next up? Andy Dalton and the Bengals.

6. Houston Texans

2016 record: 2-0
Week 2 ranking: No. 7

The unbeaten Texans have some nice assets on offense, but the defense is fueling the start, allowing 26 points in two games (second fewest in franchise history). The Texans may be lucking out with the Patriots' QB situation entering Week 3.

7. Minnesota Vikings

2016 record: 2-0
Week 2 ranking: No. 12

Maybe Sam Bradford is good? Or maybe Stefon Diggs is just that good. Bradford was 9-of-10 for 182 yards when targeting Diggs in his Vikings debut. Bradford will need another big game from Diggs to win at Carolina in Week 3.

8. Cincinnati Bengals

2016 record: 1-1
Week 2 ranking: No. 9

The Bengals are averaging 2.8 yards per rush this season and have 103 rushing yards in two games. That is a far cry from what the Bengals are trying to do offensively, and could hurt them mightily against the stout Broncos defense this week.

9. Green Bay Packers

2016 record: 1-1
Week 2 ranking: No. 1

Aaron Rodgers is completing 57.1 percent of his passes for the Packers this season, which is alarming considering before last season, he was a career 65.9 percent passer. Can he improve against the Lions in Week 3?

10. Seattle Seahawks

2016 record: 1-1
Week 2 ranking: No. 3

Fifteen points. That's all Seattle's offense has been able to muster this season, a franchise low for the first two games of the season. We'd say the 49ers allow a perfect opportunity to remedy those woes, but the Seahawks' first two games were against the Dolphins and Rams, so ...

11. Kansas City Chiefs

2016 record: 1-1
Week 2 ranking: No. 11

What is going on with the Chiefs? Outside of the fourth quarter/overtime of the Chargers game in Week 1, this team has been outscored by 19 points and struggled offensively. The Jets' front seven will put the Chiefs' offense to the test again this week.

12. New York Giants

2016 record: 2-0
Week 2 ranking: No. 16

The Giants were 1-5 in games decided by three or fewer points last season. They are 2-0 in such games this season. They aren't pulling away from teams, but wins are wins. The winless Redskins provide another chance for victory in Week 3.

13. Baltimore Ravens

2016 record: 2-0
Week 2 ranking: No. 13

The 2-0 Ravens should be thankful to the schedule-makers. After wins against the Bills and Browns to start the season, the Ravens get the Jaguars, Raiders and Redskins the next three weeks, and don't play another division game until Week 9. The top of the North just got more crowded.

14. New York Jets

2016 record: 1-1
Week 2 ranking: No. 15

The Jets are 1-1, but they should be concerned about their secondary. They've allowed four 50-plus yard pass plays already this season, one shy of their 2015 total. There will be more cause for concern if they allow more against the Chiefs' limited aerial attack in Week 3.

15. Philadelphia Eagles

2016 record: 2-0
Week 2 ranking: No. 20

It's hard to have as impressive a start to a pro career as Carson Wentz, who has yet to throw an interception despite attempting 71 passes. But the 2-0 Steelers will likely provide a tougher test in Week 3 than the winless Browns and Bears did.

16. Oakland Raiders

2016 record: 1-1
Week 2 ranking: No. 10

If we told you Derek Carr was completing 69.9 percent of his passes with no interceptions, you'd probably think the Raiders were 2-0. Unfortunately the defense has allowed 69 points in two games. If it allows that many to the Titans in Week 3, Oakland may have a problem.

17. Atlanta Falcons

2016 record: 1-1
Week 2 ranking: No. 21

Matt Ryan leads all quarterbacks this season with an average of 10.0 yards per attempt. The Falcons may be 1-1, but Ryan could easily keep up that pace against the worst pass defense in the NFL (Saints) on Monday night.

18. Dallas Cowboys

2016 record: 1-1
Week 2 ranking: No. 18

The Cowboys got themselves a win Sunday and now sit at 1-1, but there has to be a little concern over Ezekiel Elliott's slow start (3.3 yards per rush, two fumbles). A soft Bears rushing defense could get Elliott going in Week 3.

19. San Diego Chargers

2016 record: 1-1
Week 2 ranking: No. 25

The Chargers are 1-1 despite outscoring their opponents 42-3 in the first half this season. In Week 3, they take on the Colts, who have been outscored by 18 in the first half this season, and against whom Philip Rivers is 5-1 in his career (including playoffs).

20. Detroit Lions

2016 record: 1-1
Week 2 ranking: No. 22

The Lions could be 2-0 had they held on against Tennessee in Week 2, but they also could be 0-2 had they failed to come back against Indy in Week 1. They've allowed a go-ahead score in the final 90 seconds of each game so far this season, and face a team in Week 3 that beat them on a Hail Mary in 2015.

21. Tennessee Titans

2016 record: 1-1
Week 2 ranking: No. 26

This team is built to run, yet they've dropped back to pass at a higher rate this season than last. A 1-1 start isn't bad, but they'll need to hit the ground running if they want to keep winning games.

22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2016 record: 1-1
Week 2 ranking: No. 14

The Buccaneers have yet to force a turnover this season, one of three teams without one so far. If QB Jameis Winston can't keep the interceptions down (five in two games), it could be another sub-.500 season for Tampa. A home game against the Rams could get them back on track.

23. Indianapolis Colts

2016 record: 0-2
Week 2 ranking: No. 19

So much for the offensive line improvements. Andrew Luck was sacked five times in Week 2 and has been pressured at one of the highest rates of his career so far this season. If the Colts can't block the Chargers' weak pass rush, Luck could be in for more struggles.

24. New Orleans Saints

2016 record: 0-2
Week 2 ranking: No. 24

This is the third straight season the Saints have started 0-2, and each of the previous two seasons ended in a 7-9 record. But feel good this week, New Orleans. We'll be seeing a lot of Steve Gleason's punt block in the buildup to Monday night's showdown against the Falcons.

25. Washington Redskins

2016 record: 0-2
Week 2 ranking: No. 17

Kirk Cousins entered this season with no interceptions on 115 red zone pass attempts. This season, Cousins has two interceptions on 17 red zone passes. The 2-0 Giants are up next for the 0-2 Redskins.

26. Chicago Bears

2016 record: 0-2
Week 2 ranking: No. 29

John Fox took the Panthers and Broncos each to the playoffs in his second year as head coach, but that's looking less and less likely in his second year with the Bears following a winless start. They'll have another crack at beating a rookie quarterback in Dallas this weekend.

27. Jacksonville Jaguars

2016 record: 0-2
Week 2 ranking: No. 23

No team has run more offensive plays while trailing than the 0-2 Jaguars this season. The Ravens could add to that total for the Jaguars in Week 3.

28. Los Angeles Rams

2016 record: 1-1
Week 2 ranking: No. 31

The Rams have not scored a touchdown of any kind this season, yet they sit at 1-1. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, if they can't find the end zone against Tampa in Week 3, they'd be the first team since the 1976 expansion Bucs to fail to score a touchdown in their first three games.

29. Miami Dolphins

2016 record: 0-2
Week 2 ranking: No. 28

Prior to the second half of Sunday's game, Ryan Tannehill was completing 55.3 percent of his passes this season for an average of 6.4 yards per attempt. Tannehill and the Dolphins need to regroup heading into their Week 3 matchup against the Browns in order to halt the two-game losing streak.

30. Buffalo Bills

2016 record: 0-2
Week 2 ranking: No. 27

The 0-2 Bills are running out of scapegoats. The team hasn't started 0-3 since 2010, and that's exactly what they're staring in the face if they can't find a way to beat the Cardinals this week.

31. San Francisco 49ers

2016 record: 1-1
Week 2 ranking: No. 30

Half of the 49ers' drives this season have failed to register a first down. Half. That's worse than the Rams, who haven't even scored a touchdown yet. The 49ers aren't likely to improve that figure against the Seahawks in Week 3.

32. Cleveland Browns

2016 record: 0-2
Week 2 ranking: No. 32

The Indians have a seven-game lead in the American League Central. The defending champion Cavaliers open training camp Sept. 27. The Browns look to avoid an 0-3 start at Miami on Sunday. It's not all bad, Cleveland.