September 18, 2018



"Three & Out" is a weekly feature where we highlight three teams that dropped as well as three teams that moved on up in the ScouTurf team rankings formula based on their performance from their previous game.


We watch every NFL game from the previous weekend before making an assessment, and these are this week's big winners and losers:



Indianapolis Colts

Make no mistake about it, the return of Andrew Luck at quarterback with seemingly very little-to-no physical limitations on his robot shoulder is a huge boost for the Colts, but he's not the reason they are featured this week. It's actually the Colts stifling defense that was responsible for going into the nation's capital last week and getting the win in week two, and it appears they have a star in the making with second round rookie Darius Leonard, who had 18 tackles. Leonard and 2017 first round pick Malik Hooker give the Colts to cornerstone players to build around at two levels of the defense, and if they can procure a stud pass rusher to add a third on the front line, the Colts could compete. Don't look now, but Frank Reich has his squad tied for second in the AFC South after two weeks and gets the chance to square off against his former team in the Philadelphia Eagles in week three. Can they poach another win against a rusty Carson Wentz?



Miami Dolphins

Stop the press - the Fins are standing alone at the top of the AFC East. Who could have saw that coming before the season started? The Dolphins' hot start centers around the strong play of quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who is completing 73% of his passes through two weeks. If Tannehill can maintain that type of consistency and allow an underrated Dolphins defense to do their thing on the other side of the football, the Dolphins can actually contend with the Patriots in the division. Each year, there is a team that everyone predicts will be in the NFL cellar that surprises everyone, and it could very well be the Miami Dolphins this year in a put up or shut up 2018 for Adam Gase.



Dallas Cowboys

Hot boyz for life! Scott Linehan must have read the tweets this week, finally mixing it up on the offensive side of the football and scheming some Dak Prescott runs to cover up some of their injury holes along the offensive line. They are still desperately lacking a threat at wide receiver, but smart offensive game planning can ensure they move the football and unleash their rabid defensive line led by Tank Lawrence and an ascending Taco Charlton on the flip side. The biggest surprise on defense for the Cowboys has been the strong play of nose tackle Antwaun Woods, but they will need better play from Kavon Frazier in the secondary moving forward. Stock is up on Dem Boyz.




Pittsburgh Steelers

What is going on in Pittsburgh? They look absolutely broken since being handed the playoff L by the Jaguars last year, and Mike Tomlin's grip over his mercurial superstars seems to be loosening. Le'Veon Bell's hiatus is one of the biggest mysteries in the league, the offensive line is disgruntled, their star wide receiver (who they recently paid) shows up for work when he wants to, Big Ben gets caught calling said receiver a "f***ing baby" under his breath on camera after a play, and the entire defense is a sieve.  Maybe Terry Bradshaw was right. Maybe Tomlin has lost control. If Pittsburgh can't get right this week in a Monday Night match up against FitzMagic and the Bucs, the thermometer on Tomlin's seat is going to dial up to toasty. They got the Ravens, Falcons, and Bengals after that - not great, Bob.



Houston Texans

The Texans could not defeat a Blaine Gabbert-led Titans teams with fourth-string offensive tackles and a rookie head coach. Nasty stuff, but what's more concerning than their 0-2 record right now is the quality of play of Deshaun Watson, who was hotter than a Cornballer machine last year before tearing his ACL. I know, the Texans offensive line is basically five houseplants in front of him, but it's plays like burning the final 16 seconds one one play during a two minute drive to tie the game that has me questioning what the status of this team is. Also, people forget that JJ Watt hasn't had a sack in over two years, and it is more than unlikely we see the same player after severe back and leg injuries, and Clowney missing games during a pivotal contract year is a bad omen. The good news for the Texans? Their next four opponents have a combined 2-6 record in the Giants, Colts, Cowboys, and Bills.



Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals have been the most disappointing team in the NFL through two weeks. Rookie head coach Steve Wilks and defensive coordinator Al Holcomb are forcing their aggressive 4-3 scheme despite not having the personnel at linebacker to run it, and it shows. Offensively, Sam Bradford looks absolutely inept and it appears that, and stop me if you've heard this before, a Mike McCoy offense is too complicated to allow them to play fast at the moment. When a major storyline is the head coach pondering how they can get more creative in getting their franchise playmaker David Johnson the football, you have a problem. The silver lining for Cardinals fans? Maybe we get to see the Josh Rosen era started sooner rather than later.



Here are the ScouTurf Power Rankings following Week Two:







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