NFL Power Rankings – Week 2
We’re only one week into the season, but it’s never too early for Cover The Spread 365 to compare how teams stack up against each other. These power rankings are partly based on expectations going into the season and partly based on week 1 performances. Some teams had great games last week, but we want to see more. Others simply confirmed what most NFL fans believed heading into the season. These are our power rankings as we enter week 2.
1. Philadelphia Eagles, 1-0
There’s no reason to remove the Super Bowl champions from the top spot. They faced a top 10 team and found a way to win. Nick Foles was shaky but we’ve seen what he can do at his best. The Eagles still have a championship defense, especially on key downs. The eventual return of Carson Wentz will make the Eagles even more formidable.
2. New England Patriots, 1-0
New England looks like the same Patriots team we’ve watched for the past decade. They won the AFC in back to back years and they should be the favorite to do so again. The Patriots defense made Deshaun Watson look rusty and out of sorts. New England’s offense is just as effective as it usually is despite the changes in personnel.
3. Minnesota Vikings, 1-0
This is the first team to give Jimmy Garoppolo a loss as a starting quarterback. The defense is elite and the offense is efficient. Kirk Cousins went 20/36, 244 yards, and 2 touchdowns in week 1 vs San Francisco. It’s a new offense for Minnesota, but they haven’t missed a beat.
4. Los Angeles Rams, 1-0
These Rams spoiled Jon Gruden’s big Monday night homecoming. They struggled in the 1st half, but a 23-0 second half performance in Oakland showed why they are such strong NFC contender. This is the most talented team in the NFL.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars, 1-0
Jacksonville deserves credit for containing a Giants offense with so many dangerous weapons. The Jaguars won this game in a similar fashion to the games won last season. They received unspectacular quarterback play, balanced play-calling, and a defensive touchdown. We’re going to see if this formula can carry them to a Super Bowl.
6. Kansas City Chiefs, 1-0
The sheer explosiveness of the Kansas City Chiefs offense is something that you have to see. Tyreek Hill is simply faster than everyone else on the field. Patrick Mahomes’ arm lived up to everything we heard about and his numbers were eye-popping (9.5 yard per pass, 4 touchdowns, no interceptions). I have to wonder if these are the Chiefs we’ll see all year, or was this just indicative of a one-sided Chiefs-Chargers rivalry.
7. Green Bay Packers, 1-0
It’s all about Aaron Rodgers. When Aaron Rodgers is in the game, they are a first-tier Super Bowl contender. When he’s not on the field, Green Bay is a team that could contend for a top 5 draft pick. Keep Rodgers upright.
8. Baltimore Ravens, 1-0
Beating an NFL team 47-3 is impressive no matter who you’re playing. Having said that, it makes you wonder how much of Baltimore’s week 1 success was about Baltimore and how much was about Buffalo. Joe Flacco was sharp and focused in a way we haven’t seen in a while. The Ravens defense gave me flashbacks of some of the old Ray Lewis defenses we’ve been accustomed to. I’m trying not to overreact because of who the opponent was.
9. Pittsburgh Steelers, 0-0-1
I went in to the season looking at the Steelers as the 2nd or 3rd best team in the AFC. However, it’s hard to justify Pittsburgh tying a team that’s gone 1-31 in the last 2 seasons. 6 turnovers is unacceptable for an elite football team. The bright side is that James Conner performed admirably in filling in for Le’Veon Bell. It’s only week 1, so there’s plenty of time for the Steelers to play themselves into shape.
10. Atlanta Falcons, 0-1
Atlanta went into a hostile Lincoln Financial Field and actually outgained Philadelphia 299 yards to 232. Dan Quinn has quietly turned the Falcons defense into one of the better units in the NFL. If Matt Ryan and Steve Sarkisian can get their red zone offense together, they will move into the top 5.
11. Carolina Panthers, 1-0
The Panthers have one of the best front sevens in all of football. They proved it last week when they limited Ezekiel Elliott and the Dallas run game. Cam Newton will need some time to mesh with new offensive coordinator Norv Turner. We have to see if Norv can get Cam to make the next step as a passer.
12. New Orleans Saints, 0-1
Drew Brees and the Saints offense stands ready to get into a shootout with anyone in the league. Unfortunately, they will have to do just that if the Saints defense plays the way they did against Tampa Bay. New Orleans had a successful season in 2017 because of how well the defense played. Giving up 8.5 yards per play to a Ryan Fitzpatrick-led offense is no way to start off a season.
13. Los Angeles Chargers, 0-1
Many experts have picked the Chargers to go to the Super Bowl, but their season got off to a rocky start. They lack a significant pass rush with Joey Bosa out of the game. Los Angeles, once again, feels the effect of no homefield advantage. To the Chargers’ credit, they did manage to outgain Kansas City by a whopping 179 yards.
14. Washington Redskins, 1-0
There appears to be no quarterback drop-off from Kirk Cousins to Alex Smith. Redskins fans have to be excited about the run game’s 4.3 yards per carry despite all of the upheaval in the Washington backfield. The defense put together as good of a performance as one could hope for in limiting Arizona to just 6 points.
15. Denver Broncos, 1-0
Case Keenum appears to be an upgrade over the quarterback play the Broncos had last season. Even with Keenum’s week 1 turnovers, it’s clear that Keenum has the ability to lead an offense down the field. The Broncos still have a talented, aggressive defense that can wreak havoc on an opponent. Denver has a veteran wide receiver corps and versatile stable of young running backs.
16. Houston Texans, 0-1
It’s nice to see the Texans relatively healthy. However, it’s going to take some time to get the Texans back to where they were when Deshaun Watson got hurt in 2017. Watson showed flashes of his pre-injury brilliance, but he wasn’t quite as dialed in as we’ve come to expect. J.J. Watt and the relatively healthy Texans defense were unable to give Tom Brady many problems on Sunday. I expect Houston to play themselves into form as the season goes along.
17. San Francisco 49ers, 0-1
There’s no reason to panic if you’re San Francisco. They went into Minnesota, played poorly and only lost by 8 points. Jimmy Garoppolo is still a young quarterback, so it’s not a surprise that he will have games like that against an elite defense. It was a good measuring stick game that showed they still have a ways to go before they enter the upper echelon of the NFC.
18. Cincinnati Bengals, 1-0
Andy Dalton looks to have a bounce back season and he’s off to a promising start. He threw for 21/28, 8.7 yards per pass, 2 touchdown and 1 interception vs. Indianapolis. Sunday’s stat sheet didn’t match up with the scoreline as Cincinnati was outgained 380 yards to 330 yards. If Colts tight end Jack Doyle holds on to the football in Indy’s last drive, we might be viewing Cincinnati in a less positive light.
19. Seattle Seahawks, 0-1
This is clearly a team in transition. Seattle is trying to rebuild its offense and needs Russell Wilson to carry them to where the want to go. It is nice to see Earl Thomas back with the team and making big plays, but this is not the same Seattle defense we’ve gotten used to.
20. Chicago Bears, 0-1
Khalil Mack was a 1-man wrecking crew vs the Green Bay Packers. The Bears have to be encouraged with the immediate return they got on their investment in Mack. Chicago also had an effective running game on Sunday. Bears running backs ran for 139 yards on 27 carries for a 5.1 yards per carry average. Matt Nagy needs to get Mitch Trubisky to continue growing as a quarterback if they have any hope of making a playoff run in the near future.
21. Dallas Cowboys, 0-1
The Cowboys defense has the potential to be elite if Sean Lee can stay healthy. It appears to be the strength of the team for the first time in a while. Dallas’ offensive line is banged up and their receiving corps is one of the weakest in the NFL. Dak continues to struggle after a stellar rookie season
22. Miami Dolphins, 1-0
Miami won their opener 27-20 at home against the Tennessee Titans. Ryan Tannehill played well except for his 2 interceptions. Luckily, the Dolphins defense was able to force 3 interceptions. Miami and Tennessee were evenly matched football teams, which is about what I expected.
23. New York Jets, 1-0
The Jets performance on Monday Night Football was shocking. Any time you can win on the road by 30 points with a rookie QB, you take it. Todd Bowles’ defense was in Matt Stafford’s face all game and made him look pedestrian. Sam Darnold recovered from a hideous pick-six to have a strong debut. I need to see more from them before I put my full faith in them.
24. New York Giants, 0-1
Your view of the Giants’ opener is probably colored by how you viewed them coming into the season. If you saw them as a rebuilding team, it was encouraging to watch them go toe-to-toe with a top 5 team. If you saw them as a dark-horse team to make noise in the NFC, you were frustrated to see how many chances they let slip throughout the game. Odell Beckham, Jr. and Saquon Barkley showed how talented they are, but the G-Men could only mount 15 points at home.
25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1-0
Perhaps the most stunning performance of the opening week was the 48-40 Bucs win in New Orleans. The upset was led by Ryan Fitzpatrick who was crowned NFC Offensive Player Of The Week. Jameis Winston might not have a starting job to go back to when he returns from suspension if Fitzpatrick to play like he did vs. the Saints. I still have questions about Tampa Bay’s defense, but it’s hard to be too critical of the Bucs when they win a game I thought they would lose in a blowout.
26. Cleveland Browns, 0-0-1
The Browns are a much better football team than they were last season. Their defense, led by Myles Garrett and Denzel Ward, was able to force Pittsburgh into six turnovers. The Browns’ passing game struggled, but expect it to improve as Tyrod Taylor gets more familiar with Todd Haley’s system and they fully integrate Josh Gordon back in to the offense. This team is too talented not to win 5-6 games.
27. Indianapolis Colts, 0-1
For all of the questions over the past couple of years, Andrew Luck is finally back. He played well and he was in solid command of the offense. They’re an improved with Luck at the helm. The problem is that they aren’t particularly talented elsewhere. Indy needs to make some more adjustments to their roster before I can take them that seriously.
28. Tennessee Titans, 0-1
The Mike Vrabel era begins in a disappointing way. They had their chances to beat Miami, but they suffered from lackluster quarterback play. Marcus Mariota threw for 2 interceptions and Blaine Gabbert contributed one more. The Titans executives felt that this team needed a fresh start after a 2017 playoff season. Tennessee doesn’t appear to be a team ready to contend this season.
29. Oakland Raiders, 0-1
The first half vs the Los Angeles Rams looked promising. They were up 13-10 and Derek Carr was playing at a high level. In the 2nd half, the team lost 23-0 and looked overmatched. I trust Jon Gruden has a long-term plan for turning the Raiders around. We’re not going to see the results of that plan for a year or two.
30. Detroit Lions, 0-1
Lions fans should be concerned about what they saw on Monday Night. It was an embarrassing debut for head coach Matt Patricia. The defensive guru could not find a way to slow down rookie Sam Darnold in his first NFL start. The offense fared no better as Matt Stafford threw 4 interceptions. It’s difficult to imagine a worse start for the Patricia regime.
31. Arizona Cardinals, 0-1
There was nothing encouraging Arizona could take from the game with the Redskins. Sam Bradford played poorly and the running game was disappointing. The return of David Johnson didn’t bring the production that the Cardinals would’ve hoped for. Steve Wilks took over a team with an established defense, but it wasn’t the same quality that we saw last season. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Cardinals coaches just burned the game tape this week and moved on to the next week.
32. Buffalo Bills, 0-1
When you lose 47-3, you deserve the last place spot in these power rankings. The Bills quarterback situation appears to be a disaster. Nathan Peterman had a 0.0 passer rating in week 1. That’s what happens when you go 5 for 18 with 24 yards and 2 interceptions. The running game, led by LeSean McCoy, couldn’t get anything going, either. The Bills offense managed an atrocious 2.5 yards per play. The top line defensive numbers weren’t as terrible, but they allowed the Baltimore Ravens offense to have 4 long, sustained touchdown drives. I don’t see this team turning it around this season.