Ranking remaining undefeated NFL teams: Cowboys over Chiefs in second place behind Patriots
The Patriots are up top, but who is better after, the Cowboys or the Chiefs?
Through three weeks of NFL action, there are now eight* undefeated teams (*we're counting the Lions here, who are 2-0-1). How do these teams stack up in terms of their ability to make a playoff run? How do we view these teams against each other?
Because we couldn't fill a full show recapping that Redskins-Bears game on Sunday, we decided to rank all the undefeated teams on Tuesday's edition of the Pick Six Podcast. (It's our daily NFL show, we actually drop EIGHT episodes per week, Monday through Friday, throughout the regular season, so make sure and subscribe here.)
You can hear the rankings in the player below, or just read them after. If you hate my rankings, yell at me on Twitter @WillBrinson.
1. New England Patriots
I'm not going to spend too much time telling you why the Patriots should be the No. 1 team here. The Patriots are the defending Super Bowl champions with the greatest quarterback of all time and the greatest coach of all time, the latter of whom has managed to piece together maybe the best defense he's had in the last five years to start a season. Belichick built this unit from the back end forward and it's paying dividends as they're allowing just over 15 yards per drive to opponents.
2. Dallas Cowboys
SHOCKING, I know. The Chiefs certainly have a case to be the second team here or even the first team because Patrick Mahomes might be the most talented quarterback we've ever seen. But the Cowboys are a more complete team in my opinion. Worth noting, the other three guys on the podcast (again, listen above) all took the Chiefs here. Dak Prescott is up there with Mahomes in terms of the MVP race right now. He's had played some bad opponents so far, but he's only had one bad half. Amari Cooper is a legit No. 1 receiving option. Ezekiel Elliott is already putting up numbers and he's about to head into the middle portion of the season, which is where he usually explodes. Kellen Moore has been a revelation. We'll find out a lot more about this Cowboys defense in the next few weeks with the Saints, Packers and Eagles on deck in three of the next four but I believe it can be a top shelf unit.
3. Kansas City Chiefs
Doubting the Chiefs won't end well for me. Andy Reid is like Batman in that I don't know where he gets all these wonderful toys. Every single time a running back goes down, another one magically appears. Lose Damien Williams? Don't worry, here comes DARREL WILLIAMS. Darwin Thompson hasn't even been unleashed yet. DeMarcus Robinson and Mecole Hardman are stepping in just fine for Tyreek Hill. Just to be clear: Tyreek has been missing for weeks and the Chiefs offense has been better than it was last year. Patrick Mahomes is only getting stronger. The "greatest QB ever" takes are flying and it's kind of hard to argue with them. The defense isn't great, but it also might be better than last year (it's 21st in DVOA through three weeks).
4. Green Bay Packers
This defense is legit. In Mike Pettine's second year the defense has broken out in a big way. Brian Gutekunst deserves credit for landing Zardarius Smith and Preston Smith in free agency. Jaire Alexander is developing into one of the league's best corners. And you'll notice that we haven't even mentioned Aaron Freaking Rodgers. Is Aaron Rodgers still Aaron Rodgers? We don't know yet. Maybe the defense is carrying him this year. Or maybe I just wanted an excuse to post this meme:
He hasn't been bad, but he hasn't been unleashed either. This team might would jump into the tier above if I knew Rodgers and Matt LaFleur's offense could crank out a monster game. Maybe we see that happen on Thursday night. I wouldn't be surprised if Rodgers and Davante Adams hooked up several times for big gains off play action.
5. Los Angeles Rams
Still have the same concerns with this team -- the offensive line appears to be overcoming the changes they dealt with this offseason, but Todd Gurley isn't the same guy he was before the late season knee issues that kept him sidelined during the Super Bowl. Jared Goff's been less than sharp so far. The defense is actually the reason this team is winning games right now, which is a testament to Wade Phillips. It might say something about how good this team can be, though, because Sean McVay knows how to coach up an offense. If Goff and Gurley get rolling -- or if McVay finally unleashes Darrell Henderson? -- the offense can certainly improve. Cooper Kupp's been one of the best wide receivers in football this season. They're also in a very tough division, with the 49ers sitting at 3-0 and the Seahawks there at 2-1.
6. Buffalo Bills
Consider this the Rodney Dangerfield division of the undefeated teams. I like Buffalo. I think the Bills are going to the playoffs this year, because the defense is outstanding and Sean McDermott is a very good coach who figures out ways to squeeze out wins when you think they might not be able to pull it off. Buffalo's defense currently ranks sixth in DVOA, but i'll be curious to see what happens when the opponent adjustments are made, because the Jets/Giants/Bengals are not the toughest group to play at the outset of the season. Offensively, this is still a work in progress, but I wouldn't be surprised if Josh Allen went on a little tear. He's completing a high percentage of his passes (64%+) but isn't hitting on the deep ball yet. If that starts coming, the Bills could be a tough out on a weekly basis.
7. San Francisco 49ers
Probably undervaluing the 49ers here considering how good they've been through three weeks on defense. According to DVOA, they're the third best team in football and the second-best defense. Opponent adjustments are a factor here too, with the Buccaneers, Bengals and Mason Rudolph-led Steelers not offering the most robust offensive attacks. Still, it seems like this defensive line is legit and Richard Sherman is headlining an impressive secondary. Jimmy Garoppolo hasn't hit his stride, but he's played well for patches and it's not hard to trust a Kyle Shanahan offense to produce open throws and production out of the backfield. If this defense is for real and the offense gets going, look out. This ranking will look like an insult.
8. Detroit Lions
Technically unbeaten! The Lions tied in Week 1 against the Cardinals and have gone 2-0 since then in very close games against the Chargers and Eagles. They should be 3-0 and, all things considered, have played a pretty tough schedule. I'm impressed by this team. The defense has improved dramatically. Matthew Stafford looks healthy and Kenny Golladay looks like a true top option. T.J. Hockenson slowed down after his Week 1 explosion, but I wouldn't be surprised if he reared back up this week.
Pick Six Newsletter
Get the day's big stories + fun stuff you love like mock drafts, picks and power rankings.
Thanks for signing up!
Keep an eye on your inbox for the latest sports news.
There was an error processing your subscription.
Drastic times call for drastic measures, and teams are willing to take them
The NFL's plans to expand the regular season has thrown a wrench into one city's plans to host...
Harrison Butker has a strong leg
Rex Ryan walked back his specific insult if not his overall criticism, but the damage was already...
Plus the Broncos pivot after a receiver run, AFC favorites Ravens and Chiefs add defense and...
SportsLine's No. 1 NFL expert Mike Tierney has released his top futures bets to win the 2020...
Breaking down the latest rumors, news, signings and trades across the NFL
Check out all the picks made during the CBS Sports HQ three-hour mock draft special
Live scores, highlights and updates from the Jaguars vs. Colts football game