Now before you go looking back for Week 1 NFL Power Rankings, there aren’t any. Truth be told I wanted to start doing NFL Power Rankings this season but my pre-season projections give a good enough idea of where I believe teams will end up that I did not see a need to give pre-season power rankings – I thought it would be awfully redundant. A week ago I would’ve never imagined some teams as high or low as I have them and of course being early in the season we’re going to see a lot of fluctuation the first 3-4 weeks. Without further ado, my week 2 power rankings:
1. San Francisco 49ers (1-0)
Is it fair to say that Jim Harbaugh has turned Alex Smith into a QB? The glaring position of weakness from last year’s NFC Championship, wide receiver, has been overhauled. The ferocious defense is still in place. San Francisco is the team to beat in the NFL right now.
2. Atlanta Falcons (1-0)
Tony Gonzalez had the kind of homecoming in Kansas City that most only dream of – what a way to kick of his final NFL Season. The days of ground and pound are in the rearview for A-Town as this has become Matt Ryan’s team. With so many weapons on offense, it was easy to forget at times that Roddy White is still on this roster.
3. Baltimore Ravens (1-0)
We all know about what Ray Rice can do in the rushing game. We’re more than aware of Ray Lewis & Company on the other side of the ball. But now, Joe Flacco has arrived on the scene in style and has caused a Dennis Pitta waiver wire frenzy among fantasy owners. The Ravens scored at will against one of the league’s top defenses from a year ago. This is a very dangerous team.
4. Houston Texans (1-0)
The question is no longer whether or not the Texans can make the playoffs but how far they can go. As long as Matt Schaub is under center I believe this is the most complete team in the NFL and everything I saw on Sunday confirmed that.
5. New England Patriots (1-0)
This team is fresh off it’s 5th Super Bowl appearance this century so we know that the offense was already great. They focused on defense in the draft this year and their early picks are already paying dividends. If this team can continue to perform this well on both sides of the ball – watch out.
6. Green Bay Packers (0-1)
I don’t believe this is a 15-1 team anymore but I still believe the talent is there for them to win 12-13 games. The biggest question is, can this offense perform at a high enough level again to make up for the flaws of an anemic defense? We’ll get our first answer to this question against Chicago.
7. Chicago Bears (1-0)
Many are quick to forget that had Jay Cutler stayed healthy last year, this would’ve probably been a playoff team. This team is strong on defense as always and has added Michael Bush, Alshon Jeffrey, and Cutler’s all-time favorite target, Brandon Marshall on offense. The game against the Packers will give us a better idea of just how good the Bears really are.
8. Dallas Cowboys (1-0)
How ’bout dem Cowboys? It’s one game but what a huge win for Tony Romo and the boys. The offense can be explosive and the young cornerback additions of Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr may be one of the best duos in the league. DeMarco Murray picked up right where he left off and Tony Romo looked like a franchise quarterback.
9. New York Giants (0-1)
Yes the Giants dropped the ball and became the first Super Bowl Champion to drop the home opener under the present format but it’s just one game. If the Giants have not taught us anything else in the last four years they’ve at least taught us this – it’s not how you start, it’s how you finish. The Giants just better hope Victor Cruz finds his hands again and quickly.
10. Denver Broncos (1-0)
Out of what promises to be a down-to-the-wire AFC West race, Denver was clearly the cream of the crop this past weekend. Peyton Manning looked at home wearing orange for the first time in 15 years. He’s about to make Demaryius Thomas & Eric Decker household names.
11. Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1)
Big Ben lost his second straight game in Denver but this is still a very talented roster and a team to be reckoned with in the AFC.
12. Detroit Lions (1-0)
It wasn’t the prettiest thing, but the Lions got the W and at the end of the day, that’s all that matters. Against a much improved Rams defense, Stafford once again led his team to a comeback victory in dramatic fashion. He has this team ready to make another playoff push.
13. New York Jets (1-0)
Not only did the “nonexistent offense” score more points than any team in the NFL, they did it against a defense that many (myself included) projected to be among the top 5 defenses in the league this season. Sanchez didn’t just manage the game, he won it. And Stephen Hill was explosive in the tradition of Calvin Johnson and Demaryius Thomas. Who says the Georgia Tech triple option doesn’t prepare players for the NFL?
14. San Diego Chargers (1-0)
It was rough and it was ugly but the Chargers got themselves a key division win and found ways to move the ball against a tough Oakland defense. The Chargers are looking for answers in the backfield while Ryan Mathews recovers from injury. There are still plenty of other weapons on this offense to allow San Diego to contend for a playoff spot this year.
15. Washington Redskins (1-0)
I never expected to rank the Washington Redskins this high after week 1 but Robert Griffin III turned in the most impressive debut for a rookie quarterback that I can remember. This roster has gotten better and like always, Mike Shanahan took a no-name running back and has made him work in that system. The biggest question is – can this be sustained?
16. New Orleans Saints (0-1)
I do believe that New Orleans will find their rhythm and likely finish with a better record than the Redskins but after that shellacking there is no way I could rank them higher. After that performance, there have to be some major questions about that defense.
17. Philadelphia Eagles (1-0)
Prior to the season, all of the questions were about Michael Vick being able to stay healthy prior to the season. Now all of the questions are going to be about whether he can go a series without turning the ball over.
18. Kansas City Chiefs (0-1)
For the first half on Sunday, Kansas City looked like the team I expected them to be this season. Cassel was playing smart football and Charles was moving the chains. The second half was another story. This team can be competitive as long as they put together 4 quarters of football.
19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0)
Tampa Bay spent a lot of money this offseason to improve their offense. In turn, the Bucs did not get much production. It was enough to beat the Panthers but this offense has got to find a rhythm.
20. Oakland Raiders (0-1)
For this team, it’s all about staying healthy. If McFadden and Palmer can finish out this season, this team will be fighting for a playoff spot.
21. Cincinnati Bengals (0-1)
If an entire roster were ever to have a sophomore slump, it would be this team. The Bengals did much to improve this offseason but were pretty terrible on both sides of the ball on Monday. I will say the ability to convert on 4th down twice in the same drive was impressive.
22. Arizona Cardinals (1-0)
The defense picked up right where they left off at the end of last season and the offensive weapons are there. With a quarterback this could be a very good team.
23. Buffalo Bills (0-1)
I am shocked to find the Bills this low to start the season but their highly touted defense was helpless against the Jets on Sunday. And many of the teams high hopes have been dashed with the loss of Fred Jackson for the first quarter of the year. C.J. Spiller has shown he can pick up his share of the load but this team needs to get back on track fast.
24. Seattle Seahawks (0-1)
I thought Russell Wilson had the 2nd best debut of any rookie quarterback. He almost got his team a win on the road against a very tough Cardinals defense. His height is an issue though as he had trouble seeing the field. The bigger issue though is the apparent lack of an offensive line.
25. Carolina Panthers (0-1)
Ryan Kalil promised fans a Super Bowl title this offseason. In order for that to happen this team must rediscover their ground game.
26. Minnesota Vikings (1-0)
It was the strength of rookie Blair Walsh’s leg that delivered the Vikes a much-needed win at home but its Adrian Peterson’s seemingly healthy leg that has got everyone talking.
27. Tennessee Titans (0-1)
Jake Locker is tough and his shoulder injury shouldn’t sideline him for too long. This team’s fortunes though are directly tied to which version of Chris Johnson decides to show up this season.
28. St. Louis Rams (0-1)
While they have a long ways to go, Jeff Fisher has already transformed the defense of this young team. The biggest concern for this team is offensive line depth followed by finding someone for Sam Bradford to throw the ball to.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1)
The Jaguars are not going to win many games this year but Blaine Gabbert showed vast improvement from a year ago. That 4th quarter go-ahead drive took poise and that was impressive. The improvements at the wideout position may have something to do with it.
30. Cleveland Browns (0-1)
When you have a rookie quarterback in his late twenties, the plan is not to develop him – it’s to start him. Weeden posted a 5.1 passer rating which has to make Jamarcus Russell feel good about himself. He stared down receivers and showed an inability to read defenses. There is plenty of young talent on this roster but they are not going to contend in the always-difficult AFC North anytime soon.
31. Indianapolis Colts (0-1)
There remains a lot of work to be done in Indy but Pagano has the right pieces in place. Luck and Fleener are going to be the cornerstones of this offense for years to come and Reggie Wayne is the veteran presence this young team needs. The offensive line and rushing attack have to find a way to take some pressure off Luck. They face a tough test this week against Jared Allen and Chad Greenway.
32. Miami Dolphins (0-1)
Is anyone surprised that the Dolphins have once again started the year 0-1? Of all 5 rookie quarterbacks that started this weekend, there is no doubt that Ryan Tannehill has the least amount of talent surrounding him. Miami is a long ways from being significant.