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TGS WEEK 3 POWER RANKINGS: DEFENSES WINNING OUT

Let's not draw conclusions two weeks in, but it should be noted that the offensive juggernauts who usually dominate NFL power rankings in this pass-happy era have sort of taken a back seat early in 2012 to teams that are arguably more multi-faceted.

Coincidence or a sign of things to come?

1. Houston Texans (2-0, 1st last week): Another dominant performance keeps them in the top spot, but they've yet to be challenged by an NFL-caliber opponent. That'll change with Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos on deck.

2. San Francisco 49ers (2-0, 3rd last week): It's amazing how balanced attacks and teams that are probably better defensively than offensively own the top two spots on this list. Maybe it's an emerging trend, because it doesn't look as though the Texans or Niners are going anywhere any time soon.

3. Philadelphia Eagles (2-0, 10th last week): Actually, make that three straight teams that have benefited more from their defense than their offense. The Eagles really look like they're close to taking off.

4. New England Patriots (1-1, 2nd last week): This week's official "what the hell was that?" team was mediocre in their home opener against Arizona and has now lost Aaron Hernandez for at least a few weeks.

5. Green Bay Packers (1-1, 6th last week): Clay Matthews emerging as an early defensive player of the year candidate. The Packers are still a little off but you know they're close.

6. Atlanta Falcons (2-0, 7th last week): I like that Matt Ryan outplayed Peyton Manning but I don't like that they won by only six points despite winning the turnover battle 4-0 at home.

7. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1, 13th last week): Easy dismantling of the Jets, moves them back into their original spot. It'll be a battle with Baltimore until the end…again.

8. Carolina Panthers (1-1, 16th last week): Huge win over the Saints with the rest of the division losing. The Panthers can win the NFC South.

9. Denver Broncos (1-1, 4th last week): Reverse of Atlanta. If you can lose the turnover battle like that and still hang with a very talented team on the road, you're going to compete all year. Still, I'm not convinced Peyton Manning is his old self.

10. Dallas Cowboys (1-1, 5th last week): Such a Cowboys thing to do….

11. Baltimore Ravens (1-1, 8th last week): Joe Flacco just isn't consistent enough for me. That's a good Philly D, but he has to be better than that in big games.

12. Arizona Cardinals (2-0, 21st last week): I can't explain how they keep winning. I mean, this is not a team built to succeed in 2012, yet over the last half-season they have the best record in the NFL.

13. Seattle Seahawks (22nd last week): They move up nine spots along with their division rival, Arizona. The Seahawks have a great team mentality and they play hard as hell.

14. San Diego Chargers (2-0, 18th last week): I want to buy into them but I'm waiting for a real opponent.

15. Detroit Lions (1-1, 11th last week): Not piling on for a tough road loss in San Francisco. Although I do wonder how often penalties will kill the Lions in 2012.

16. New York Giants (1-1, 17th last week): The mentally-strong G-men didn't panic after six terrible quarters to start the season, bounced back and got win No. 1. Now, they're tied for seventh in the league with 19 other teams. In other words, they can pretty much start from scratch.

17. Washington Redskins (1-1, 9th last week): The Redskins are going to score, and allow, a lot of points this season. Unfortunately, I think the latter number will likely be higher, especially with Brian Orakpo going down for the year.

18. New York Jets (1-1, 14th last week): They were outclassed in Pittsburgh, but at least they have Miami next.

19. Chicago Bears (1-1, 12th last week): Only the Bears can prevent the Bears from making a playoff run. I can see this team falling apart in New York Jet-fashion.

20. New Orleans Saints (0-2, 20th last week): Carolina's good enough that a loss there doesn't send you sliding down this list. That said, it certainly isn't feeling like the Saints' year.

21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers  (1-1, 19th last week): Sooo close to starting 2-0. If only Greg Schiano's famed victory formation defensive play had succeeded….

22. St. Louis Rams (1-1, 23rd last week): I know Washington's defense was a mess, but Sam Bradford looked a lot like a No. 1 overall draft pick Sunday.

23. Cincinnati Bengals (1-1, 27th last week): Barely hanging on against the Browns at home is nothing to be proud of. This defense is not delivering for Mike Zimmer.

24. Cleveland Browns (0-2, 32nd last week): They shoot up eight spots because it's become obvious that the Cleveland defense can really ball.

25. Buffalo Bills (1-1, 28th last week): That's quite the rebound. If C.J. Spiller is truly on the verge of living up to expectations, they'll keep climbing here.

26. Kansas City Chiefs (0-2, 15th last week): The Chiefs have plummeted 20 spots in two weeks. They're so talented, but something isn't right.

27. Minnesota Vikings (2-0, 24th last week): It's hard to read into a solid Christian Ponder performance against the Colts, and Minnesota still lost the game.

28. Tennessee Titans (0-2, 25th last week): They look so very lost right now, and it's about to get a whole lot worse with Detroit and Houston on deck.

29. Indianapolis Colts (1-1, 30th last week): Andrew Luck arrives with a bit of a delay. There will be quite a few peaks and valleys this season.

30. Miami Dolphins (1-1, 31st last week): It's amazing how things can change from Week 1 to Week 2, but let's keep in mind it was the Raiders.

31. Oakland Raiders (0-2, 26th last week): That Carson Palmer trade is beginning to look bad on an historic level.

32. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2, 29th last week): The Jaguars had minus-four passing yards at halftime against Houston and finished 0-for-9 on third-down conversions. Just a terrible offense.

Brad Gagnon

About Brad Gagnon

Brad Gagnon has been passionate about both sports and mass media since he was in diapers -- a passion that won't die until he's in them again. Based in Toronto, he's worked as a national NFL blog editor at theScore.com (covering Super Bowls XLIV, XLV and XLVI), a producer and writer at theScore Television Network and a host, reporter and play-by-play voice at Rogers TV. His work has also appeared at Deadspin, FoxSports.com, The Guardian, The Hockey News and elsewhere at Bloguin, but his day gig has him covering all things NFC East for Bleacher Report.

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