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NFL Power Rankings Week 2

NFL Power Rankings

NFL Power Rankings Week One

The first week of the NFL season was alternately thrilling and weird. There was Fitzmagic, a @cheetah running wild in Los Angeles, a game that lasted almost the entire day on Sunday, a comeback for the ages in Green Bay, and unfortunate injuries to key players.

Like my Week 1 Power Rankings, these loosely reflect my current Super Bowl odds. I welcome your feedback, good or back. Let it rain.

New England Patriots

Power Ranking: 1

    • Record: 1-0
    • Previous Rank: 1
    • Week 1: Win vs Texans, 27-20
    • Week 2: @ JAC

The Patriots continue their AFC South tour with a trip to Jacksonville for a rematch of last season’s AFC Championship Game. The shortage of receiving depth proved to be much ado about nothing, as former Colts’ first-rounder Phillip Dorsett (7-66-1) and RB James White (9-38-1) chipped in to support Gronk’s typical dominance.

Philadelphia Eagles

Power Ranking: 2

  • Record: 1-0
  • Previous Rank: 2
  • Week 1: Win vs Falcons, 18-12
  • Week 2: @ TB

While the defense looked stellar, the Eagles’ shorthanded offense failed to impress on opening night. The injuries to Carson Wentz and Alshon Jeffrey will only become problematic if opponents capitalize on their absence, which Atlanta did not. 18 points will not be enough to win every game, possibly starting with this week’s matchup against a feisty Tampa Bay squad.

Los Angeles Rams

Power Ranking: 3

  • Record: 1-0
  • Previous Rank: 3
  • Week 1: Win @ Raiders, 33-13
  • Week 2: vs ARI

The Rams overcame a sluggish first half in Oakland to put the game away after halftime. The offseason overhaul of the secondary produced significant early returns, with 3 interceptions of Raiders’ QB Derek Carr, including Marcus Peters’ fourth-quarter pick-six.

Minnesota Vikings

Power Ranking: 4

  • Record: 1-0
  • Previous Rank: 5
  • Week 1: Win vs 49ers, 24-16
  • Week 2: @ GB

Very strong opening win on both sides of the ball for Minnesota against a much-improved 49ers team. New franchise QB Kirk Cousins proved worthy of the Vikings’ investment. A big trip to Lambeau in Week 2 could produce the game of the week.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Power Ranking: 5

  • Record: 1-0
  • Previous Rank: 9
  • Week 1: Win @ Giants, 20-15
  • Week 2: vs NE

The Jaguars continue to win with a suffocating, playmaking defense and very limited contributions from QB Blake Bortles. More pressing: RB Leonard Fournette’s status is unclear for this week’s AFC Championship Game rematch with the Patriots.

Green Bay Packers

Power Ranking: 6

  • Record: 1-0
  • Previous Rank: 7
  • Week 1: Win vs Bears, 24-23
  • Week 2: vs MIN

Last week I wrote, “When Aaron Rodgers is healthy, the Packers have a chance to win every game.” As if to prove my point, Green Bay was dominated by a menacing Bears’ defense early on, and even more so after Rodgers was carted to the locker room when he appeared to suffer a serious knee injury. After his surprising return in the second half, the Packers completed one of the more memorable comebacks in recent memory. Rodgers threw 3 TDs in the fourth quarter, with lots of credit to the YAC from Davante Adams and Randall Cobb, whose 75-yard catch-and-run score won the game for the Pack. A well-rounded Vikings team visits Lambeau this weekend.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Power Ranking: 7

  • Record: 0-0-1
  • Previous Rank: 4
  • Week 1: Tie @ Browns, 21-21
  • Week 2: vs KC

The Steelers’ come-from-ahead tie against Cleveland had to feel like a loss for a team that dominated most facets of the game except for turnovers. In spite of their 6 giveaways, Pittsburgh was still positioned to win the game in OT until the normally-automatic Chris Boswell missed a 42-yard field goal. Silver linings included breakout performances from LB T.J. Watt (four sacks, blocked Browns’ FG attempt in OT) and RB James Conner (192 total yards, 2 TDs), whose otherwise stellar starting debut was marred by a costly fumble. Ball security must improve for the offense, and the hamstring injury to CB Joe Haden is worth monitoring.

New Orleans Saints

Power Ranking: 8

  • Record: 0-1
  • Previous Rank: 6
  • Week 1: Loss vs Buccaneers, 48-40
  • Week 2: vs CLE

The Saints’ surprising home loss to the Jameis Winston-less Bucs was the upset of opening weekend, and it wasn’t as close as the final score. The biggest concerns have to be the pass rush and the secondary, though both should be much better against a Cleveland offense that only amassed 150 yards of passing on Sunday. LT Terron Armstead will have the unenviable task of protecting Drew Brees from emerging monster Myles Garrett.

 

 

Atlanta Falcons

Power Ranking: 9

  • Record: 0-1
  • Previous Rank: 8
  • Week 1: Loss @ Eagles, 18-12
  • Week 2: vs CAR

After failing to convert at the goal line to end their season in Philadelphia during the Divisional Round, the Falcons somehow ended Thursday night’s opener the exact same way. In the playoffs, the ball went through Julio Jones’ hands. This time, Matt Ryan inexplicably threw uncatchable balls out of bounds on consecutive plays to end the game. The defense played really well, but the loss of Pro Bowl S Keanu Neal for the season is a major blow. Matt Ryan must play better for the Falcons to beat Carolina this week.

Kansas City Chiefs

Power Ranking: 10

  • Record: 1-0
  • Previous Rank: 15
  • Week 1: Win @ Chargers, 38-28
  • Week 2: @ PIT

Andy Reid’s offense with Patrick Mahomes under center looked like a race car with the restrictor plate removed. Tyreek Hill was dynamite and the Chiefs were fun to watch, even without significant contributions from TE Travis Kelce and WR Sammy Watkins.

Baltimore Ravens

Power Ranking: 11

  • Record: 1-0
  • Previous Rank: 16
  • Week 1: Win vs Bills, 47-3
  • Week 2: Thursday Night Football @ CIN

The Ravens dominated a hapless Bills team from start-to-finish. Joe Flacco, while still not elite, made plays in the passing game and showed good rapport with his new receivers. Baltimore travels to Cincinnati for Thursday Night Football with sole possession of 1st place in the AFC North on the line.

Carolina Panthers

Power Ranking: 12

  • Record: 1-0
  • Previous Rank: 12
  • Week 1: Win vs Cowboys, 16-8
  • Week 2: @ ATL

Carolina’s excellent rushing attack was nearly upstaged by the struggles of its passing game against the Cowboys. With the news that TE Greg Olsen re-fractured his right foot, an already uphill battle just got tougher for Cam Newton and his receiving corps.

Los Angeles Chargers

Power Ranking: 13

  • Record: 0-1
  • Previous Rank: 10
  • Week 1: Loss vs Chiefs, 38-28
  • Week 2: @ BUF

Drops, special teams, and Tyreek Hill doomed the Chargers against Kansas City in Week 1. Unfortunately for Sean McDermott, the Bills don’t have Tyreek Hill, so the Chargers should have a much easier go of it in Week 2.

 

 

Houston Texans

Power Ranking: 14

  • Record: 0-1
  • Previous Rank: 11
  • Week 1: Loss vs Patriots, 27-20
  • Week 2: @ TEN

New Texan Tyrann Mathieu was a standout for a Houston defense that had an otherwise forgettable afternoon against the Patriots. The returns of Deshaun Watson and J.J. Watt were underwhelming, but a Week 2 trip to Nashville provides a good opportunity to bounce back.

San Francisco 49ers

Power Ranking: 15

  • Record: 0-1
  • Previous Rank: 14
  • Week 1: Loss @ Vikings, 24-16
  • Week 2: vs DET

Jimmy Garoppolo finally lost his first NFL game as a starter. Better days lie ahead for this team, which lost by 8 in Minnesota despite 4 turnovers.

Denver Broncos

Power Ranking: 16

  • Record: 1-0
  • Previous Rank: 19
  • Week 1: Win vs Seahawks, 27-24
  • Week 2: vs OAK

Nice opening win against Seattle in one of the weekend’s best and most entertaining games. Despite his 3 INTs, the play of new QB Case Keenum showed what the Broncos were missing on offense in 2017. Perhaps the biggest surprise: the emergence of local product Phillip Lindsay showed that Denver has not one, but two promising rookie RBs.

Chicago Bears

Power Ranking: 17

  • Record: 0-1
  • Previous Rank: 18
  • Week 1: Loss vs Packers, 24-23
  • Week 2: vs SEA

Mitchell TrubiskyFor Bears’ fans, Matt Nagy’s encouraging debut will be memorable for the wrong reasons, as the Bears blew a 20-0 lead in a game that will contribute heavily to Aaron Rodgers’ legacy. But the front seven looked as good as advertised, Khalil Mack was a monster, and Mitchell Trubisky and the offense showed obvious improvement from a year ago. Coverage and tackling must improve in the Chicago secondary or this won’t be the last time they squander the hard work of Chicago’s dominant defensive front.

Washington Redskins

Power Ranking: 18

  • Record: 1-0
  • Previous Rank: 26
  • Week 1: Win @ Cardinals, 24-6
  • Week 2: vs IND

The Redskins’ wide receivers were an afterthought in their dominant Week 1 win at State Farm Stadium. Adrian Peterson, Chris Thompson, and TE Jordan Reed provided the bulk of the production. For at least one week, Alex Smith looked like a much better fit for Jay Gruden’s offense than Kirk Cousins.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Power Ranking: 19

  • Record: 1-0
  • Previous Rank: 28
  • Week 1: Win @ Saints, 48-40
  • Week 2: vs PHI

Dirk Koetter opened his postgame presser by announcing that, “Fitzmagic is alive and well.” Without their starting quarterback, the Bucs pulled off the biggest upset of opening weekend. A much tougher defense comes to town on Sunday.

Cincinnati Bengals

Power Ranking: 20

  • Record: 1-0
  • Previous Rank: 24
  • Week 1: Win vs Colts, 34-23
  • Week 2: Thursday Night Football vs BAL

The Bengals pulled out a road win in their back-and-forth tilt with the Colts thanks to a last-minute Indianapolis turnover inside the red zone. Though Cincy played an uneven game on both sides of the ball, second-year RB Joe Mixon looks like he’s ready to be a star. They’ll need a more consistent effort to beat the Ravens on TNF.

Seattle Seahawks

Power Ranking: 21

  • Record: 0-1
  • Previous Rank: 21
  • Week 1: Loss @ Broncos, 27-24
  • Week 2: Monday Night Football @ CHI

After falling just short at Mile High, the Seahawks must now attempt to rebound on the road against a very good Bears’ defense, and without #1 WR Doug Baldwin. As has too often been the case recently for Seattle, their chances rest on the shoulders (and legs) of Russell Wilson.

Dallas Cowboys

Power Ranking: 22

  • Record: 0-1
  • Previous Rank: 13
  • Week 1: Loss @ Panthers, 16-8
  • Week 2: vs NYG

Flashes of defensive excellence were overshadowed by the Cowboys’ inability to move the ball on offense. Dez Bryant may have lost a step, but it’s hard to argue his release was addition by subtraction since Dallas only mustered 138 yards passing against Carolina.

New York Giants

Power Ranking: 23

  • Record: 0-1
  • Previous Rank: 22
  • Week 1: Loss vs Jaguars, 20-15
  • Week 2: Sunday Night Football @ DAL

The Giants played the Jaguars close on Sunday, and that’s something. More encouraging were the debut of Saquon Barkley (18-106-1) and the return of Odell Beckham Jr (11-111). A big NFC East matchup in Dallas is next.

Cleveland Browns

Power Ranking: 24

  • Record: 0-0-1
  • Previous Rank: 27
  • Week 1: Tie vs Steelers, 21-21
  • Week 2: @ NO

The streak is over! Sort of. After a wild fourth-quarter comeback, the Browns squandered a great opportunity for their first win since 2016 with an interception at the end of regulation and a blocked FG in overtime. For Browns’ fans, a non-loss may still be worth celebrating, but a Week 2 trip to New Orleans is no consolation for Hue Jackson’s team.

New York Jets

Power Ranking: 25

  • Record: 1-0
  • Previous Rank: 29
  • Week 1: Win @ Lions, 48-17
  • Week 2: vs MIA

The first pass of the Sam Darnold Era was a disaster. What happened after that had to be a revelation for Jets’ fans, as Darnold completed 16 of his next 20 passes for 198 yards and 2 touchdowns. Big plays on special teams and defense contributed to a surprising, lopsided opening win for the J-E-T-S.

Oakland Raiders

Power Ranking: 26

  • Record: 0-1
  • Previous Rank: 20
  • Week 1: Loss vs Rams, 33-13
  • Week 2: @ DEN

The Raiders dominated one of the best teams in the league for 30 minutes on Monday night. Unfortunately for the Raiders, football is a 60-minute game, and the wheels fell off in the second half. Oakland had 3 turnovers and over 150 penalty yards, and Amari Cooper continued his disappearing act from 2017.

Tennessee Titans

Power Ranking: 27

  • Record: 0-1
  • Previous Rank: 17
  • Week 1: Loss @ Dolphins, 27-20
  • Week 2: vs HOU

There’s little clarity to be taken from the seven-hour Titans-Dolphins game, but these truths are clear: the home team made more plays, Delanie Walker suffered a gruesome leg injury and is lost for the season, and Marcus Mariota was ineffective and then hurt. The Titans need him healthy and playing significantly better in a hurry in order to avoid an 0-4 start with the Texans, Jaguars, and Eagles coming up.

Indianapolis Colts

Power Ranking: 28

  • Record: 0-1
  • Previous Rank: 25
  • Week 1: Loss vs Bengals, 34-23
  • Week 2: @ WAS

Andrew Luck’s first pass since the 2016 season finale was intercepted at the Bengals’ 5-yard line. He bounced back to play well after his first series, and even appeared to be driving the Colts for the game-winning score until Jack Doyle fumbled the ball at the Bengals’ 15 with thirty seconds left to play. Luck will improve and Marlon Mack should return soon. The arrow is pointing up for the Indy offense.

Miami Dolphins

Power Ranking: 29

  • Record: 1-0
  • Previous Rank: 32
  • Week 1: Win vs Titans, 27-20
  • Week 2: @ NYJ

It’s tough to know what to make of the Dolphins’ win over Tennessee in the longest game in NFL history. On one hand, a win is a win, and Miami made several big plays in the second half. On the other, both teams looked unremarkable prior to the weather delays, and the Dolphins defense got to play nearly half the game against the inept Blaine Gabbert. RB Frank Gore needs 15 yards in Week 2 to move into fourth place on the all-time rushing list.

Detroit Lions

Power Ranking: 30

  • Record: 0-1
  • Previous Rank: 23
  • Week 1: Loss vs Jets, 48-17
  • Week 2: @ SF

The first Monday Night game of Week 1 could not have started any better for the Lions. The rest of it could not have gone much worse. Matt Stafford imploded, the defense and special teams both surrendered big plays, and after the game, Jets’ defenders said they knew the Lions’ offensive plays and hand signals. Matt Patricia and the Lions have a lot of work to do.

Arizona Cardinals

Power Ranking: 31

  • Record: 0-1
  • Previous Rank: 30
  • Week 1: Loss vs WAS, 24-6
  • Week 2: @ LAR

Almost nothing went right for the Cardinals in Week 1. The new coaching staff seemed unprepared, if not overwhelmed. The good news? Sam Bradford is still healthy. If his play doesn’t improve dramatically, that may also be bad news.

Buffalo Bills

Power Ranking: 32

  • Record: 0-1
  • Previous Rank: 31
  • Week 1: Loss @ Ravens, 47-3
  • Week 2: vs LAC

Demoralizing opening loss against the Ravens in which the Bills were dominated from start to finish. Nathan Peterman was historically bad, and somehow had a passer rating of 0.0. It’s going to be a long season in upstate New York.

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Matthew Foreman

Matthew Foreman

Matt is a Pitt graduate whose home smells of rich mahogany. His life is filled with dogs, scotch, leather-bound books, and winning fantasy football teams. When he’s not writing or thinking about fantasy football, Matt does a fine impression of a lawyer. He holds grudges in fantasy football and real life, and his heroes include Charles Barkley, George Costanza, and Ric Flair, who often told opponents, “To be the man, you’ve got to beat the man! WOOO!”

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