– NFL Power Rankings Week 2 –
If you were able to predict the amount of crazy that happened in Week 1 of the NFL season, you might want to play the lottery tomorrow. From the Kansas City Chiefs going into New England and manhandling the defending Super Bowl champion Patriots to the Jacksonville Jaguars destroying the Houston Texans and everything in between, it was an insane week. The NFL brings nothing but chaos, but this week was something special.
I tend to lean towards this week being an anomaly. There was so much that happened that was against the grain of what many people thought. It makes me wonder if pre-season reps are maybe a little more valuable than we give credit for. Many high powered offenses were below expectation if not complete no-shows. I don’t believe these many defenses in the NFL are THIS good and suspect Week 2 brings us more scoring. On that note, let’s see how the power ranks shake out this week!
Green Bay Packers
Power Ranking: 1
- Previous Rank – 5
- Week 1 result- Win vs Seattle, 17-9
- Week 2: at Atlanta Falcons
QB Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay offense eventually wore the Seattle defense down in Week 1 for a hard fought victory. 17 points is a low total for the Packers at home, but that has more to do with just how good Seattle’s defense could be all season. What was most impressive was the Green Bay defense. After they were basically a laughingstock at the end of 2016, they held Seattle out of the end zone. In what was easily the theme of the week, nobody thought this game would be under 30 points. The over/under was around 50, so even Vegas didn’t get it right. Green Bay could make up for it next week when they travel to Atlanta. This game should be a high scoring affair. It will be fascinating to see how the defense matches up against the Falcons. All Green Bay needs is average play from that side of the ball, and they could be tough to beat.
Power Ranking: 2
- Previous Rank – 3
- Week 1 result: Win vs Chicago Bears, 23-17
- Week 2: versus Green Bay Packers
Power Ranking: 3
- Previous Rank: 4
- Week 1 Result: Win vs Cleveland Browns, 21-18
- Week 2: versus Minnesota Vikings
If anyone wanted to know if players need training camp, look at the game RB Le’Veon Bell put on film Sunday. Frankly, he played horribly. He did virtually nothing in the running game and wasn’t on the same page with QB Ben Roethlisberger on multiple targets. Pittsburgh had better hope that was just Bell being rusty. Speaking of rust, WR Martavis Bryant also laid an egg on Sunday. 14 yards on 2 receptions isn’t going to get it done. The Steelers defense racked up six sacks and an interception. Rookie T.J. Watt had himself a day with two sacks and an interception. Pittsburgh would miss DE Stephon Tuitt if he truly did tear his biceps. I tend to think this offense gets on track, especially because Big Ben played pretty well on the road. They face a large early test at home in the Vikings who are coming off a big win versus the Saints.
Power Ranking: 4
- Previous Rank: 8
- Week 1 result: W at Tennessee Titans, 26-16
- Week 2: versus New York Jets
Oakland showed off pretty much the offense most expected. QB Derek Carr played well, WR Amari Cooper dropped touchdown passes while Michale Crabtree was Mr. Reliable and RB Marshawn Lynch was effective behind a good offensive line. What was extremely impressive was their defense stepped up and held the Titans to just 16 points. That type of performance will most likely be the exception, not the norm. The good news for Oakland is the offense appears ready to pick up the slack. Another strong positive was they might not miss K Sebastian Janikowski all that much. The veteran landed on the IR with a disc issue in his back. The good news is Giorgio Tavecchio was perfect on Sunday. You never realize how important it is to have a good kicker….until it’s too late. The Raiders get an absolute cupcake matchup next week as the Jets travel cross country to Oakland.
Power Ranking: 5
- Previous Rank: 11
- Week 1 result: Win vs New York Giants, 19-3
- Week 2: at Denver Broncos
Ranking the Cowboys at the start of the year was a stiff challenge. There was no clarity on the Ezekiel Elliott case. Now that it seems he will be in the lineup for most, if not all of the 2017 season, the Cowboys are at full force. The put one demon to rest Sunday night as they rolled over the Giants. New York had the Cowboys number last year and Dallas changed that opening night. Dallas can continue to execute their offense which basically has Zeke, QB Dak Prescott and WR Dez Bryant hold the ball for 35-40 minutes a night. If they can accomplish that more often than not, they’re a team to be reckoned with. Going to Denver should be a really fun game to watch unfold. It’ll be strength on strength with the Dallas offense versus the Denver defense.
New England Patriots
Power Ranking: 6
- Previous Rank: 1
- Week 1 result: Loss vs Kansas City Chiefs, 42-27
- Week 2: at New Orleans Saints
I’d be lying through my teeth if I said I didn’t enjoy the stomping the Patriots took last Thursday. I’m a Pittsburgh fan, let me have this one game. Anyways, this feels like a complete blip on the radar. You almost never see the Pats get worked like this, especially at home. The loss of WR Julian Edelman may turn out to be bigger than anyone thought, but I’d be stunned if QB Tom Brady and company don’t rally from this game and finish around 12-4 while fighting for home field advantage in the playoffs. The biggest concern for New England isn’t Brady possibly being done at age 40 (he’s not). It’s the defense. The crew of Alex Smith, Tyreek Hill and rookie Kareem Hunt shredded them the whole game. Coach Bill Belichick will get that side of the ball on the right track. It’s what New England does. They may not do it next week in New Orleans. Brady and the offense better be a lot sharper than Thursday night.
Power Ranking: 7
- Previous Rank: 17
- Week 1 result: Win vs New England Patriots, 42-27
- Week 2: versus Philadelphia Eagles
Power Ranking: 8
- Previous Rank: 9
- Week 1 result: Win versus Washington Redskins, 30-17
- Week 2: at Kansas City Chiefs
My pre-season pick to win the NFC East doesn’t look quite as good with a full season of Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott. However, the Eagles got started on the right foot with a victory on the road in Week 1. Second year QB Carson Wentz will be the key to the Philly season, and they should have a good year if he keeps making plays like this:
The Top 5 throws from Week 1! pic.twitter.com/sU2QFPpLvQ
— NFL (@NFL) September 12, 2017
Wentz enjoyed all of his upgrades to the offense, throwing for over 300 yards and letting the Eagles defense do the rest. There’s a multitude of ways Philly can win games this season. I truly think a lot of people are sleeping on them.
Power Ranking: 9
- Previous Rank: 2
- Week 1 result: Loss versus Green Bay Packers, 17-9
- Week 2: versus San Francisco 49ers
My word did the Seattle offense fall flat on its collective face. The running game struggled mightily, and I’m not sure why rookie RB Chris Carson was not a bit more involved. Most of his yardage did come in one chunk run but he looked a lot better than Eddie Lacy. Thomas Rawls should most likely get healthy quick. QB Russell Wilson couldn’t get much going in the passing game, even though this game was thought to be an easy spot for the Seahawks. The defense played exceptionally well given the matchup. While I don’t put a ton of stock in this narrative, rumors of a rift between the offense and defense are sure to start back up. Seattle better take care of business this week against the lowly 49ers or the season could take a really bad turn.
Power Ranking: 10
- Previous Rank: 12
- Week 1 Result: Win over Saints 29-19
- Week 2: at Pittsburgh Steelers
Power Ranking: 11
- Previous Rank: 6
- Week 1 result: L versus Oakland Raiders, 26-16
- Week 2: at Jacksonville Jaguars
It’s certainly not a big deal to lose to the Raiders. They’re a good team, and they’re pretty similar. Both teams have strong offensive lines, excellent skill players, and young QBs. Sunday, Derek Carr outplayed Marcus Mariota, and that was the difference. While the Tennessee defense wasn’t anything special, this was pretty much assumed before the season started. Mariota was without WRs Eric Decker and Corey Davis for a lot of the pre-season. Davis showed great promise with six receptions. Decker struggled, as did veteran RB DeMarco Murray. The Titans do face a suddenly somewhat important game in Week 2. They have to travel to Jacksonville and try to crack the Jags defense, which looked superb on Sunday. Tennessee doesn’t want to start the season 0-2 with a division loss.
Power Ranking: 12
- Previous rank: 15
- Week 1 Result: Win at San Francisco 49ers, 23-3
- Week 2: versus Buffalo Bills
There wasn’t much that pops off the stat sheet for Carolina. QB Cam Newton and the offense didn’t seem totally synced up for most of the game, which is unsurprising. Newton virtually didn’t play in the pre-season and had limited reps in training camp. The defense can carry the weight while the offense catches up. They harassed 49ers QB Brian Hoyer through the whole game. As the season goes, WR Kelvin Benjamin and TE Greg Olsen should get more involved. Rookie RB Christian McCaffrey didn’t produce a lot but did have 18 touches. That volume should make sure he has an excellent season. The Panthers get to come home to face the Bills in Week 2. I’m not sure there’s a much easier start in the NFL for the first two weeks.
Los Angeles Chargers
Power Ranking: 13
- Previous Rank: 10
- Week 1 result: Loss to the Broncos 24-21
- Week 2: versus Miami Dolphins
The Chargers didn’t play well for the better part of 3 quarters of football Monday night. Their talented defense got worked up and down the field by the Broncos offense led by QB Trevor Siemian and…WR Benny Fowler. The Chargers defense stood up when it mattered, forcing big turnovers late. The Chargers offense looked out of sync, but what offense didn’t this week? I still think Los Angeles can make noise in the AFC and won’t hold a close loss in Denver against them that much. Let’s see what happens when they play Miami.
Power Ranking: 14
- Previous Rank: 18
- Week 1 result: Win versus Arizona Cardinals, 35-23
- Week 2: at New York Giants
The Lions shook off a slow first half and ran away with this game. QB Matthew Stafford did all of the heavy lifting, throwing for 4 touchdowns. Rookie WR Kenny Golladay snagged two touchdowns for Detroit while Golden Tate went for over 100 yards. The defense picked off QB Carson Palmer three times but I wouldn’t count on the Lions having a good defense all year. RB Ameer Abdullah had an awful game and it will most likely be a timeshare with Theo Riddick and possibly even Dwayne Washington. The Lions get a chance to prove they’re for real this upcoming Monday when they travel to New York to face the Giants and their excellent defense.
Los Angeles Rams
Power Ranking: 15
- Previous Rank: 21
- Week 1 result: Win versus Indianapolis Colts, 46-9
- Week 2: versus Washington Redskins
That’s right, get in on the Rams on the ground floor! This offense is going to be light years better after getting rid of the middle school offense they ran last season with Jeff Fisher. For those who don’t remember, those were Todd Gurley’s exact words late 2016. Gurley himself had a mixed bag. He was pedestrian on the ground but really chipped in through the passing game. QB Jared Goff has an excellent connection with rookie WR Cooper Kupp. Just wait until newly acquired WR Sammy Watkins shows what he can do.The Rams were phenomenal on defense, and that was without All-Pro DL Aaron Donald. Sean McVay and Wade Phillips are going to really change this team from a coaching standpoint. Washington comes to town next week for the Sean McVay revenge tour!
Power Ranking: 16
- Previous Rank: 13
- Week 1 result: Loss versus Jacksonville Jaguars, 29-7
- Week 2: at Cincinnati Bengals
I’m willing to give the Texans a pass for this game. They obviously had a lot on their mind with the devastation that Hurricane Harvey had brought to the city and maybe the Texans weren’t 100% focused. The real issue here is even if the defense gets their act together(and they probably will), this offense looks like a wreck. QB Tom Savage had a leash as long as one-half of football. Even though he played very poorly, neither he or rookie Deshaun Watson is going to have success if they have to look over their shoulder all year. There are issues along the offensive line, RB Lamar Miller can’t get on track, and there’s no other receiving threat past DeAndre Hopkins. Houston may not be anything more than a middle of the road team until the offense gets better. They now have to travel on a short week for a matchup with the also reeling Bengals on Thursday night.
Power Ranking: 17
- Previous Rank: 14
- Week 1 result: Loss versus Philadelphia Eagles, 30-17
- Week 2: at Los Angeles Rams
There wasn’t much to be happy about if you were a Washington fan this Sunday. The offense, which needs to be the strength of the team, wasn’t in sync. QB Kirk Cousins and WR Terrelle Pryor weren’t quite on the same page yet and neither TE Jordan Reed and WR Jamison Crowder did much to help. Both of those guys are battling injury, but the Washington offense won’t succeed if Pryor is the only weapon. The passing game will have to hum to get the running game on track, not the other way around. Washington’s defense most likely won’t be above average all season and they need the offense to click. It still could very easily happen, but it won’t be easy to fly across the country to face the Rams who should get Aaron Donald back in the fold.
Power Ranking: 18
- Previous Rank: 22
- Week 1 result: Win over the Chargers 24-21
- Week 2: versus Dallas Cowboys
The Broncos may be feeling pretty lucky Tuesday morning because they did everything possible to cough up their matchup against the Chargers. Once the fourth quarter hit, the Broncos committed two turnovers and missed a field goal, making some of their good play from the majority of the game. The defense still looked good even without safety T.J. Ward. If Denver can good even slightly above average play from QB Trevor Siemian and realize that C.J. Anderson is their best running back, they could be a good football team. The Dallas Cowboys represent an intriguing matchup since Dallas can run on basically everyone.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Power Ranking: 19
- Previous Rank 19
- Week 1 result: PPD
- Week 2: versus Chicago Bears
Since they Bucs game was postponed, they and the Miami Dolphins will retain their spot in the ranks. We here at the Gridiron Experts staff would like to extend our thoughts and prayers for anyone affected by Hurricane Irma or Harvey.
Tampa Bay will welcome in the Chicago Bears in Week 2. The Bears contained the potent Atlanta Falcon offense this past week and could give QB Jameis Winston a tougher game than some think.
Power Ranking: 20
- Previous Rank: 7
- Week 1 result: Loss at Detroit Lions, 35-23
- Week 2: at Indianapolis Colts
The Cardinals took the biggest tumble this week due to a few different factors. First and foremost, there has to be a legitimate concern the QB Carson Palmer is just flat out done. He’s been getting rest days during practice, and he looked like it Sunday. He was inaccurate and threw three interceptions. If Palmer can’t straighten out, Arizona is dead in the water. On top of that, RB David Johnson suffered a wrist injury that will reportedly cost him at least a few weeks. Oh, and the vaunted defense got scorched by Matthew Stafford and the rest of the Lions. In short, it couldn’t have gone much worse for Arizona. They need a big bounce back game versus the Colts in the worst way this week.
Power Ranking: 21
- Previous Rank: 30
- Week 1 result: Win at Houston Texans, 29-7
- Week 2: versus Tennessee Titans
Sunday was a lot of good news for the Jaguars mixed in with one piece of really bad news. The good was the defense looked every bit as good on the field as it appears on paper. Jacksonville chased Houston QB Tom Savage and racked up ten sacks in the game while shutting down the Texans run game. Rookie RB Leonard Fournette rolled to 100 yards, and QB Blake Bortles didn’t turn the ball over. That’s the exact recipe for success in Jacksonville, but it’s now even harder to pull off every week. They lost their best WR for the season when Allen Robinson suffered a torn ACL. The defense will have to keep up their good play if Jacksonville can contend for the AFC South. We’ll start to see if the Jags are for real this week when they play a second straight important divisional game against the Titans.
Power Ranking: 22
- Previous Rank: 25
- Week 1 result: Win at Cincinnati Bengals, 20-0
- Week 2: versus Cleveland Browns
Baltimore’s defense looked like the defense of old when Ray Lewis and Ed Reed were on the team. They intercepted Bengals QB Andy Dalton four times and kept the Bengals off the scoreboard entirely. The offense was relatively quiet which should not come as a surprise. QB Joe Flacco missed all of the pre-season, and he looked like it through this game. The Ravens lost RB Danny Woodhead to a non-contact hamstring injury, and those rarely turn out well. The duo of Terrance West and Buck Allen will be key cogs to the offense while Woodhead is out. The Ravens get another AFC North foe this week when Cleveland comes to town.
New York Giants
Power Ranking: 23
- Previous Rank: 16
- Week 1 result: Lost at Dallas Cowboys, 19-3
- Week 2: versus Detroit Lions
While most people will just point to the absence of star WR Odell Beckham and give the Giants a mulligan for their poor showing Sunday night, I won’t be one of them. Of course, Beckham makes a world of difference for the offense. He also doesn’t solve the issues of awful offensive line play, QB Eli Manning having very little zip on his throws, or the fact WR Brandon Marshall was completely invisible. It doesn’t work to be a pass heavy offense if your weapons are ineffective or your QB may not be able to throw the ball like he used to. The Giants defense still looked like a top unit, but they’re going to have to shoulder the load. New York goes home to play the Lions on Monday Night Football this week.
Power Ranking: 24
- Previous Rank: 24
- Week 1 result: PPD
- Week 2: at Los Angeles Chargers
Miami travels to LA to face a stout Chargers team that has talent on both sides of the ball. QB Jay Cutler and the offense had better bring their best because the Chargers can put points up with any team in the league.
New Orleans Saints
Power Ranking: 25
- Previous Rank: 18
- Week 1 result: Lost at Minnesota Vikings, 29-19
- Week 2: versus New England Patriots
Power Ranking: 26
- Previous Rank: 27
- Week 1 result: Lost versus Pittsburgh Steelers
- Week 2: at Baltimore Ravens
The Browns showed a lot of moxie Sunday as they hung around with a Super Bowl contender until the very end of the game. It was impressive especially since Cleveland couldn’t get any type of ground game moving. Rookie QB DeShone Kizer showed some promise mixed in with some typical rookie mistakes. The defense deserves a lot of credit for holding the Steelers to just 14 points and shutting down everyone except WR Antonio Brown and QB Ben Roethlisberger. NFL fans are still frantically searching box scores to see if RB Le’Veon Bell even played. Cleveland could be towards the middle by the end of the season if they potential starts to come together. The Browns could be on the right track and I’m interested to see how they play on the road at Baltimore.
Power Ranking: 27
- Previous Rank: 28
- Week 1 result: Lost versus Atlanta Falcons, 23-17
- Week 2: at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
If you didn’t know the name Tarik Cohen before Sunday, you sure know it now. The rookie RB splashed in his debut and looked electric on a bunch of different plays. He and Jordan Howard could form a poor man’s version of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman in Atlanta. The Bears have a better defense than their given credit for, especially their front seven. Chicago needs to get serviceable play from QB Mike Glennon to complement a strong running game because they have no wide receivers. Kevin White suffered another injury, leaving Kendall Wright as their alpha. Even with all their flaws, the Bears were a dropped pass by Jordan Howard away from upsetting the Atalanta Falcons. They travel to Tampa Bay and I wouldn’t be surprised if Chicago rises in the ranks in Week 3.
Power Ranking: 28
- Previous Rank: 23
- Week 1 result: Lost versus Baltimore Ravens, 20-0
- Week 2: versus Houston Texans
At least for one week, I feel pretty comfortable that I didn’t get on the “Andy Dalton is going to have a big year” train. Dalton was putrid on Sunday, throwing for under 200 yards and four interceptions. The Bengals offensive line just flat out isn’t good and the offense got zero contributions from TE Tyler Eifert or any of their three RBs. WR A.J. Green played as well as he could given the rest of the offense, but getting the threat of speedster WR John Ross could help out. The Bengals could be in for a long season and could face a coaching change if things go south. They are now on a short week and will face a cranky Houston defense Thursday night.
San Francisco 49ers
Power Ranking: 29
- Previous Rank: 29
- Week 1 result: Lost versus Carolina Panthers, 23-3
- Week 2: at Seattle Seahawks
It’s not too surprising that the 49ers didn’t look very good on Sunday. They’re in a clear rebuild and it showed. The offense just doesn’t have enough weapons to hang in games at this point. I’ll say it again, I’m not sure why they’re holding onto RB Carlos Hyde. He’s a talented back who just is going to waste away in San Francisco. The defensive side of the ball appeared to lose LB Reuben Foster to an ankle injury. X-rays were negative but it would be a big blow if Foster was sidelined for any length of time. San Francisco appears to be in the fight for the number 1 overall pick in the upcoming draft. In the short term, the 49ers travel to Seattle to face the ferocious Seahawks defense.
Power Ranking: 30
- Previous Rank: 26
- Week 1 result: Lost at Los Angeles Ram, 46-9
- Week 2: versus Arizona Cardinals
The Colts got destroyed in their opener and it’s easy to point to QB Andrew Luck and CB Vontae Davis not playing and move on. It’s not that simple. Even if these two players were in the lineup, the Colts are just not a good football team. Luck won’t solve their offensive line woes. He also won’t give them a reliable second WR. Davis won’t address the issues at the other levels of the defense. The Colts have drafted poorly and been mismanaged for years, and it’s starting to really show through. They may be down here in the ranks for most of the season. The Cardinals come to town with a lot to prove on their end.
Power Ranking: 31
- Previous Ranking: 31
- Week 1 result: Win versus New York Jets, 21-12
- Week 2: at Carolina Panthers
Buffalo looked fine and would usually see a little bump in the ranks with a win. However, it’s hard to give credit when you beat the worst team in the league. QB Tyrod Taylor is a capable starter in the NFL and it still baffles me why Buffalo seems so set to run him out of town. RB LeSean McCoy is the biggest threat in this offense and will continue to get all the work he can handle. If Buffalo can go into Carolina and be competitive, it will be time to re-evaluate where they’re at this season.
New York Jets
Power Ranking: 32
- Previous Ranking: 32
- Week 1: Loss at Buffalo Bills, 21-12
- Week 2: at Oakland Raiders
The Jets confirmed for at least one game that they are indeed the worst team in the NFL. QB Josh McCown is nothing more than a journeyman and there’s nothing behind him to take the job. RB Bilal Powell was held totally in check and there’s no real threat in receiving corps to take any attention. The defense could be led by the defensive line if those guys can stay motivated throughout the year. It’s hard to imagine the Jets rising above 28 or so in the ranks this year. They get to fly all the way to Oakland to face a daunting Raiders team this week.
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