NFL power rankings, Week 3: Saints make move, Vikings slide

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Week 3 of the NFL season got off to a thrilling start on Thursday night and continued with a shocker on Sunday. What do the new Power Rankings look like?

On Thursday night at Cleveland, the Browns got their first victory since Week 16 of ’16 when rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield sparked a comeback against the New York Jets. And the excitement generated by that long-awaited triumph seem to carry over throughout the league as Sunday got off to an explosive start.

It was also a week where half of the 16 games were of the interconference variety. That concludes on Monday night when the winless Pittsburgh Steelers clash with the unbeaten Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Elsewhere, it was a rough day for a bunch of clubs that had yet to taste defeat this season.

One historical note: For what it’s worth, the 1981 New York Jets, ‘82 Tampa Bay Buccaneers, ‘92 San Diego Chargers (0-4), ‘95 Detroit Lions and the Buffalo Bills from 20 years ago (1998) are the only teams in NFL history reaching the playoff following a 0-3 start.

Meanwhile, there’s a new No. 32 on the list.

GLENDALE, AZ – SEPTEMBER 23: Arizona Cardinals quarterback Sam Bradford (9) throws a pass during the NFL football game between the Arizona Cardinals and the Chicago Bears on September 23, 2018 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, AZ (Photo by Adam Bow/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)


Arizona Cardinals 0-3

Last week: L, 16-14 vs CHI
Last rank: 31st

Recap: With one touchdown and a total of 350 yards in their first two outings, the Cardinals welcomed the improving Chicago Bears to the desert. And right on cue, Steve Wilks’ team took an early 7-0 lead following a five-play, 75-yard touchdown march on the opening possession of the game and owned a 14-point advantage after less than a quarter of play. But the offense eventually succumb to the Bears’ aggressive defense and quarterback Sam Bradford and later, rookie Josh Rosen, were under siege for the vast majority of the afternoon by the Chicago pass rush. Arizona coughed up the football four times in the second half.

Next Week: The Cardinals face their second divisional foe in three weeks as they host the Seattle Seahawks. Dating back to 2011, these NFC West rivals have split their two-game set five times in seven years. And two years ago, the clubs played to an ugly 6-6 overtime tie on a Sunday night at Arizona.

Playoff hopes: It’s a season of learning in the desert for Wilks and a Cardinals’ team devoid of a lot of talent at the skill positions. But Arizona’s new-look defense looked much better against the Bears and that side of the football is the head coach’s calling card. So will we see Rosen next week in the starting lineup vs. the Seahawks?

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