The NFL in 2022 is seemingly a weekly contest of who can give away a game the worst. In week 3, there were an abundance of candidates, including two powerhouses in Buffalo and Kansas City, who, as it turns out, can look just as bad on offense as anyone on the right day. Sunday was that day, and underdogs took advantage.
Don’t be fooled, however. The good ones always figure it out, and due to the fluky nature of a few of these losses, those teams were not penalized with as much gusto as some fans of their conquerors might like. For example, despite defeating the presumed Super Bowl favorites, the Miami Dolphins do not jump the Bills in this exercise.
As it pertains to the Steelers, their stock is cascading quickly after 2 straight losses where the offense looked completely inept for the majority of the time, and the defense couldn’t quite hold up to its lofty expectations sans TJ Watt. There comes a time when a coach like Mike Tomlin must show that he’s one of the best in the business. This is that time. If Pittsburgh loses to the moribund New York Jets in the “friendly?” confines of Acrisure Stadium, you can bet golden bridges will be burnt and ledges will be leapt from.
Anyway, on to the rankings. This week, we’ll be looking at each team’s biggest strength as we approach the quarter mark of the season.
1. PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
Biggest Strength: Jalen Hurts versatility as a passer and runner is unstoppable to date. It opens up everything for this offense and allows the talented pass-catchers to run amok in opposing secondaries.
2. BUFFALO BILLS
Biggest Strength: Hard not to say Josh Allen, but this defense has looked impenetrable at times even without half their starters, and it’s one of the biggest reasons they do not drop below the Dolphins despite losing to them.
3. MIAMI DOLPHINS
Biggest Strength: Jaylen Waddle has actually benefited from the presence of Tyreek Hill, and both players’ speed make them a literal nightmare for the opposition.
4. LOS ANGELES RAMS
Biggest Strength: Matt Stafford to Cooper Kupp is unstoppable.
5. GREEN BAY PACKERS
Biggest Strength: This defense works well in unison, providing enough pressure up front to allow the secondary to shut down opposing passing games.
6. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
Biggest Strength: Mahomes continues to be a magician, putting his team in position to win every week. A bad week for 15 is so rare it’s shocking, as it was on Sunday.
7. BALTIMORE RAVENS
Biggest Strength: Lamar Jackson is on an absolute tear. combining confidence as a passer with his lethal running game is dangerous for the league.
8. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
Biggest Strength: That defensive line takes away running games, rendering offenses one dimensional. They need it to prop up a “meh” offense so far.
9. MINNESOTA VIKINGS
Biggest Strength: Pass catcher depth is real in Minnesota. Considering Justin Jefferson’s struggles the past two weeks, having players like K.J. Osborn step up is huge.
10. LOS ANGELES CHARGERS
Biggest Strength: Justin Herbert has no business playing with his cracked rib cartilage, but he’s just on another level in his ability to throw deep under pressure.
11. DENVER BRONCOS
Biggest Strength: The Broncos defense has shut down offenses for 3 straight weeks, including a Kyle Shanahan group that is always dangerous.
12. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
Previous: 23 *RISER OF THE WEEK
Biggest Strength: It’s a tie between the Defensive and Offensive lines, who are absolutely crushing opponents and driving the “out-of-nowhere” Jags to relevance.
13. CLEVELAND BROWNS
Biggest Strength: Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt continue to dominate the entire flow of the game. Against Pittsburgh, they took over and there was nothing to do but watch.
14. DALLAS COWBOYS
Biggest Strength: The Defensive line wrecks opposing offensive lines and entire offensive game plans.
15. CINCINNATI BENGALS
Biggest Strength: The pass catchers are a rare group in Cincy, with anyone of the top 3 WRs able to break one at any moment.
16. SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
Biggest Strength: It’s hard to pinpoint a real game-changing strength after 2 ugly losses, but the Defense keeps this team in games.
17. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
Biggest Strength: Mac Jones’ scrambling ability? Seriously, the defense got scrambled by the Ravens on Sunday, but Mac Jones’ ability to extend the play and work the sidelines kept them in this game.
18. TENNESSEE TITANS
Biggest Strength: It’s Derrick Henry if they’ll ride him like they did Sunday to a big win that keeps the ship from totally sinking. At least this team has an offensive identity. Hard to find that for many of the teams to follow.
19. NEW YORK GIANTS
Biggest Strength: Saquon Barkley is back for real and can make it work even behind a capital T terrible offensive line.
20. DETROIT LIONS
Biggest Strength: D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams are giving team’s fits and opening up a Jared Goff led passing game that has looked lethal at times.
21. INDIANAPOLIS COLTS
Biggest Strength: Stephon Gilmore is proving to be worth the investment, and he single-handedly shut down Travis Kelce for much of their improbable win over the Chiefs.
22. PITTSBURGH STEELERS
Biggest Strength: The Steelers aren’t really playing winning football in any phase right now, but the pass catchers continue to be a bright spot, although Mitch Trubisky and Matt Canada are finding it hard to make efficient use of them in a winning fashion.
The offensive line has been pretty good through the start of the young season, especially in Pass Pro, where Trubisky is rarely touched in the pocket. The majority of the sacks the team has surrendered have been on poor calculations by Trubisky when fleeing the pocket.
To win against the Jets, Matt Canada is going to have to trust Najee Harris and Jaylen Warren to guide this offense to victory. The passing game can’t win on it’s own.
23. ARIZONA CARDINALS
Biggest Strength: Kyler Murray. Does any team rely more on their QB to play at an All-Pro level on every down to be successful than Arizona?
24. CHICAGO BEARS
Biggest Strength: The running game is in good hands with David Montgomery and Khalil Herbert running roughshod on opponents. I talked about identity a little bit ago. Here’s another team with a true identity moving forward.
25. ATLANTA FALCONS
Biggest Strength: Young pass catchers Kyle Pitts (TE) and Drake London (WR) have opened up this offense. They are playing winning football every week so far. It’s on the Defense to finish out some of these games as they did Sunday vs. Seattle.
26. CAROLINA PANTHERS
Biggest Strength: A big win over a division rival was spurred by a defense that shut down the Saints running game and flummoxed QB Jameis Winston when it counted in scoring position.
27. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
Biggest Strength: The WR room is feisty, with Rookie sensation Chris Olave stretching the field and taking advantage of Winston’s big arm.
28. WASHINGTON COMMANDERS
Biggest Strength: Another team, another WR room that looks the part. Terry McLaurin and Curtis Samuel are feasting on secondaries, and Rookie Jahan Dotson looks every bit the 1st round pick he was made to be in April.
29. SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
Biggest Strength: Geno Smith is actually playing pretty good football, highlighted by a level of accuracy I don’t think many of us thought he had in him.
30. NEW YORK JETS
Biggest Strength: The Defensive line shuts down running games, forcing teams to beat them through the air. So far, though, Baltimore, Cleveland, and Cincinnati have all had varying levels of success in the passing game. Can the Steelers follow suit?
31. LAS VEGAS RAIDERS
Previous: 22 *FALLER OF THE WEEK
Biggest Strength: Pass catchers again. Not much else to like from a disappointing Raiders squad so far, that can’t seem to close out games on either side of the ball.
32. HOUSTON TEXANS
Biggest Strength: It’s a rough ride in Houston so far, but Dameon Pierce looks like a building block for this team. He runs hard and has good vision. Arrow pointing up for the former Gator.
Who’s too high? Too low? What did I get right? Let me know about it in the comments section!