NFL Power Rankings: Week 2
And we’re under way. It’s natural to want to overreact to Week 1. Don’t do that. Sure, it’s the only real source of actual information we have about this year’s teams. But that doesn’t mean that’s the only thing you go off of.
The Bills are exactly who everyone thought they are — a powerhouse. Their dismantling of the Rams only solidified their top spot in the rankings and knocks the Rams down a bit. Some want to crush this Rams team after their Week 1 performance. Remember, last year this team was exposed by physical opponents as well. And they still won the Super Bowl, so calm down. The Chargers meanwhile claim the title of top team in LA for now. Khalil Mack is back. I was so impressed with the Eagles this week. Their offensive line is ridiculously good. Jalen Hurts may win MVP this year. And AJ Brown is a man. The Chiefs passed their first test without Tyreek Hill with flying colors. The Packers did what they do in Week 1 — look awful. I’m mildly concerned with them this year. I love their ground game and defense, but really think Aaron Rodgers is going to struggle.
The Buccaneers probably deserve to be in the tier above this, but these are my rankings, and I’m not a believer in them this year. Their offense is going to struggle with the offensive line the way it is. Their defense looks great, and that’s certainly enough for them to be in the mix, but I need to see it again before bumping them up. The Ravens and Vikings both had great wins in Week 1. I don’t know if they’ll ever make that top tier, but they have to be considered strong competitors until proven otherwise. On the other hand, the Raiders and Bengals both had tough losses, but remain in this tier because, again, it was Week 1. Give them a chance to bounce back and then we’ll have a clearer idea of if these teams are elite or not. They both certainly can be, but need better QB play than they had in this past week.
It was a disappointing performance, but the Saints escaped Week 1 with a win. This is a team I really like, but clearly needs to play better than they did to remain up here. The 49ers had a disastrous loss, but in the conditions they played in, it’s extremely hard to take anything from it. I’ll simply wait another week before forming an opinion on Trey Lance. The Colts tied. And it was ugly. Between last year’s Week 18 game and this year’s Week 1 game, I wouldn’t want to be a Colts fan right now. Still, that division stinks. So they’ll remain relevant. The Dolphins and Steelers both had solid wins to kick off their season. I’m not overly optimistic about either of these teams, but they’ll be in the mix.
The Broncos and Titans both had horrendous losses. They don’t really deserve to be here after those games, but have enough talent to quickly turn things around. The Browns won their first game as they try to simply stay in the mix until Deshaun Watson gets back. The AFC is competitive enough without them being relevant, so every win they get these first 11 games is extremely consequential. The Patriots and Cardinals could quickly fall out of this tier if they perform poorly this week. Neither of these teams inspire confidence in me.
The Commanders won their first game with Carson Wentz. It wouldn’t shock me if they were to be in the mix for a good chunk of the season, particularly in that division. They face off against the Lions this week, who fought hard in Week 1, albeit in a losing effort. They have a fun, exciting team this year, particularly the offense. But they still need to prove they can find ways to win before they can be taken seriously. The Cowboys season couldn’t have gotten off to a worse start. Their offense looked absolutely lifeless for 3 and a half quarters, only to then lose Dak Prescott for the foreseeable future. They seem to think he’ll return sooner than initially reported, but it’s tough to think they’ll win games without him. Hats off to the Giants, Bears and Seahawks who all won their games this week against opponents perceived to be much better than them. Much like I don’t read too much into bad performances, I also won’t credit too much the good ones. But for now, good for them.
The Panthers blew a golden opportunity to get a win. I want to believe in them, but my gut is telling me this may be a tough ride. Until Zach Wilson returns, the Jets are simply unwatchable. What’s the point? The Falcons and Texans actually impressed me this week, but they’ll need to repeat that kind of effort and performance for me to think they’ll be picking outside the top 5 next year. The Jaguars ride the caboose for now. This was a hard week for me to pick a team to be #32. I don’t think the Jags are the worst team in the league. But the other teams that may be worse, in my eyes at least, all performed adequately. And that has to count for something.