NFL power rankings: Jalen Hurts, Darius Slay make Eagles class of the league

Three weeks into the season, the NFL already is down to its final two unbeaten teams.

The Philadelphia Eagles have looked like the class of the NFC since the season’s opening kick and take over the No. 1 spot in this week’s power rankings. Jalen Hurts is playing at an MVP level, the offense is well-balanced with two top-tier receivers and a dangerous running game, and Darius Slay leads a defense that has allowed 15 points the past two weeks.

The Miami Dolphins have earned the second spot in the rankings with wins over two other top-10 teams, but their case as one of the NFL’s elite is a little more flimsy.

Buffalo Bills linebacker Matt Milano (58) rushes towards Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) before he was injured on a play during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022, in Miami Gardens. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)
Buffalo Bills linebacker Matt Milano (58) rushes towards Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa (1) before he was injured on a play during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022, in Miami Gardens. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

The Dolphins needed a miracle comeback to beat the Baltimore Ravens in Week 2, when they trailed by 21 points early in the fourth quarter, and they were dominated statistically in last week’s home upset of the Buffalo Bills, where the south Florida heat was a factor.

That’s not to discredit the win; the Bills will have their own home-field advantage when they host the Dolphins in the rematch in the Buffalo cold in December. But if Josh Allen hits an open Isaiah McKenzie in the end zone late in the game, Buffalo would still sit atop the rankings today.

In neutral conditions, I would bet the Bills beat the Dolphins and just about every other team in the NFL. But most early-season games are not played on neutral fields, which is why Miami must be rewarded for its fine start. At a minimum, the Dolphins look like a playoff team, but they have a tough trail ahead with a road game Thursday against the Cincinnati Bengals and a still-proving-himself quarterback in Tua Tagovailoa who is currently dealing with ankle and back (or so they claim) injuries.

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I kept the Bills at No. 3 in this week’s rankings, and the list of true contenders drops off quickly not long after that. The top seven teams should stay in the Super Bowl hunt all season, and the Ravens at No. 8 will, too, if Lamar Jackson stays healthy.

The Dallas Cowboys and Cleveland Browns are winning with backup quarterbacks, so they could eventually join the conversation. But there are more teams with losing records (16) than winning ones (15) right now — the Indianapolis Colts are 1-1-1 — which speaks to the general mediocrity of the NFL.

Week 4 NFL power rankings

1. Philadelphia Eagles (3-0)

2. Miami Dolphins (3-0)

3. Buffalo Bills (2-1)

4. Kansas City Chiefs (1-2)

5. Green Bay Packers (2-1)

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6. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1)

7. Los Angeles Rams (2-1)

8. Baltimore Ravens (2-1)

9. Dallas Cowboys (2-1)

10. Minnesota Vikings (2-1)

Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) throws a pass during the first half against the Lions, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022, in Minneapolis.
Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) throws a pass during the first half against the Lions, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022, in Minneapolis.

11. Cleveland Browns (2-1)

12. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-1)

13. Cincinnati Bengals (1-2)

14. Los Angeles Chargers (1-2)

15. New Orleans Saints (1-2)

16. Denver Broncos (2-1)

17. San Francisco 49ers (1-2)

18. Detroit Lions (1-2)

19. Indianapolis Colts (1-1-1)

20. New England Patriots (1-2)

21. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-2)

22. Arizona Cardinals (1-2)

23. Tennessee Titans (1-2)

24. Las Vegas Raiders (1-2)

25. New York Giants (2-1)

26. Chicago Bears (2-1)

27. Washington Commanders (1-2)

28. Seattle Seahawks (1-2)

29. Carolina Panthers (1-2)

30. Atlanta Falcons (1-2)

31. New York Jets (1-2)

32. Houston Texans (0-2-1)

Contact Dave Birkett at dbirkett@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: NFL power rankings: Eagles, Dolphins last two unbeatens