Well week one has come and gone. There were some surprises and some expectations were fulfilled. All in all a lot of teams came out more flat than expected, and I was reminded why my rule of “no gambling on week one” is such an important one to follow.
So this week’s power rankings are going to look quite a bit different than last weeks. Let’s get down to it!
1. New England
The Patriots were dynamite in week one. Tom Brady played with a chip on his shoulder, and Gronkowski showed that when healthy he is the most dominant player in the NFL. If he can stay healthy the Patriots could stay atop the power rankings all year.
2. Green Bay
The Packers didn’t put up quite as high of a point total as would have been expected. But they were playing an in division game, and they still dominated every second of the match. They are the team to beat in the NFC.
The Cardinals once again displayed their defensive prowess by suppressing the dynamic offense of the New Orleans Saints. But even more important than their strong defensive play was how effective their offense was, and how nimble and dynamic Carson Palmer played. If Palmer can stay healthy the Cardinals have a real shot at winning the toughest division in football.
It was a lackluster week one for the Seahawks, and they can’t be happy about that at all. It was still a very narrow loss, in a in-division road game, so it definitely isn’t the end of the world. But if the Seahawks would have just paid Kam Chancellor already they would have definitely won the game on Sunday.
5. Kansas City
The Chiefs looked like world beaters on Sunday. It was only a 7 point win over a problem riddled Houston team, but they were in complete control of that game from the first second. Alex Smith is playing the best football of his career and the whole Kansas offense looked amazing because of it. And this is a defensive team still!
6. San Diego
Just a shade behind Kansas for being atop the AFC West. San Diego showed a ton of resilience, not to mention great defense and offense to get the come from behind win against an extremely game Detroit Lions team. If they can put together 4 good quarters the Chargers will be a nightmare for any team to face.
7. St. Louis
You can make excuses all you want for Seattle losing the game on Sunday, but the reality is that the Rams put up 34 points against what is considered the best defense in football. With an offense that can do that, while missing key offensive players no less, things are looking up for the Rams.
The Bengals did have an easy week one matchup, but that doesn’t totally diminish how amazing they looked. They were pitching a shutout until the fourth quarter, and their offense looked like a well-oiled machine. Dalton was in control, Eifert looked like a top 5 tight end, and Gio Bernard and Jeremy Hill were dominant out of the backfield.
The Bills looked amazing week one, but I’m not sold on them yet. They really struggled to get their offensive play makers going, and really won the game based off of amazing defensive play. Which is something we really saw them do last year. If they want to hold onto the second place in the AFC East they are going to need to get LeSean McCoy and Sammy Watkins more involved.
Dem Cowboys played pretty well on Sunday night. Tony Romo looks to be on top of his game right now, Jason Witten also looked as dynamic as ever, and Joseph Randle showed he can put up good numbers from the running back position. The loss of Dez certainly hurts a lot, but the Cowboys overcame that injury and won the game without him. However, it will be interesting to see if they can continue to win without him.
A narrow loss to what I consider is the best team in football after week one isn’t that hard to swallow. Especially considering Pittsburgh did it without two of their best offensive weapons, Le’Veon Bell and Martavis Bryant. It will be very interesting to see how the Steelers play when they get those beasts back in their lineup.
Denver looked extremely flat in week one. They couldn’t get anything going offensively, but their defense looked the best it’s been since Tebow was in town. I’m not ready to give up on the Broncos yet, I think with that defense and their offensive potential the sky is the limit. Even if Denver’s offense only reaches half its potential, if their defense plays like that the Broncos should hit 10 wins.
I really feel like Buffalos team is designed to take out teams that rely heavily on their quarterback to win games, like the Colts and the Packers. Having said that I still expected more out of the Colts in week one. I didn’t think they would fail to break 20 points all season, and they went and failed to complete that goal in week one. Even with the rough week one loss the Colts are still on top of their division.
The thing that impressed me most about Atlanta last night was their defense. The Eagles are supposed to be one of the most dominant offenses in the league and the Falcons completely shut them down in the first half. The second half wasn’t as pretty, but Tevin Coleman and Julio Jones really shined offensively. I feel like Coleman is going to be a guy that is talked about a lot this season.
The Dolphins looked absolutely miserable for the majority of their week one match. Jarvis Landry and a bend but don’t break defensive effort really were the reason the Dolphins came out of week one with a win. If they play that bad all year it is going to be a long season for the Phins.
Detroit looked pretty good during week one… For the first half. Then they looked like the same old Lions, blowing a big lead by playing brutal offense and defense. It is going to be a long year for the Lions if they can’t figure out how to replace DeAndre Levy and how to get Calvin Johnson involved in the game.
Baltimore and Denver was one of the most anticipated match-ups of week one, and oh man did it disappoint. Baltimore looked extremely flat offensively, and not much better defensively. They have a lot of improving to do if they want to get back to the top of their division. The loss of Suggs for the season also hurts a lot.
The Panthers are really going to have to figure out how to be better offensively. The loss of Benjamin certainly hurt them a lot, but they need to figure out how to get Olsen and Funchess involved in the pass game to make up for it. Kuechley potentially missing time with a concussion could be a really damaging blow for the team that is competing in one of football’s weaker divisions.
19. New York Jets
The Jets are my darkhorse in the AFC East. I really feel like they aren’t that much behind Buffalo and Miami, and if they can just get their quarterback play going they could actually be a force to be reckoned with. Chris Ivory looked amazing, Brandon Marshall looked amazing, and their defense looked amazing in week one. They were playing Cleveland which is why they aren’t ranked higher, but a win next week against the Colts could really shoot them up the rankings.
The Eagles had a lackluster week one, but I still believe they can be a playoff team. Kiko Alonso and their defense really played pretty well against an extremely powerful Atlanta offense. Not to mention the teams second half offensive performance where they were seemingly able to move the ball at will. The Eagles just need to put together 4 quarters and they could be trouble for anyone.
21. San Francisco
The 49’ers and Vikings was one of the ugliest NFL games I’ve seen in years. Carlos Hyde was really the saving grace for the 9’ers who really looked bad everywhere. Playing in the toughest division in football with the unqualified Jim Tomsula as their head coach will probably spell a long year for the former perennial contenders.
22. New York Giants
Really the only reason the Giants didn’t get a huge road win against a division rival was because of poor game management on Eli Manning and the Giants part. If they were a little smarter they would have definitely won their match and would be in a much higher position on the power rankings. But mental errors in football are unacceptable, especially coming from a seasoned veteran like Eli.
23. New Orleans
The Saints had an exceptionally difficult week one match up and could easily be a playoff contender, since they are playing in one of football’s weakest divisions. They are going to need to dominate the Buccaneers next week if they want to show that they can be a playoff contender.
The Vikings are a team that I expect to heat up as the season goes on. But many did they stink up the joint in week one. Peterson looked terrible, Bridgewater looked out of synch with all of his receivers, and their defense made Carlos Hyde look like Walter Payton. I expected a slow start from the Vikings, but last night was an even slower start than I thought possible against a mediocre 49’ers squad.
The Bears really didn’t look that bad against the Packers. After all the Packers are the best team in the NFC right now (according to me) and the Bears held them to just an 8 point win. Forte, Bennet, and Jefferrey appeared to be in mid-season form already. The Bears might be a bit better than they are given credit for.
Mariota looked good week one, but I’m reserving my judgement on his skills for now. The Titans were playing the worst team in the league, who is also starting a rookie quarterback. The Titans were able to secure a pick six right away, which really put the Buc’s in a deficit and might have changed the complexion of the whole game. I’m interested to see what happens with the Titans week two when they take on a slightly tougher challenge in the Browns.
The Texans had a decent comeback against the Chiefs but ultimately it was really the Chiefs taking their foot off of the gas pedal that allowed the slight comeback for the Texans. If it weren’t for DeAndre Hopkins the Texans offense would be embarrassingly bad. It will be interesting to see what happens with the quarterback situation heading into week two.
Washington looked amazing in week one, but struggled to score points. They moved the ball phenomenally and played great defense, but were just the opposite of clutch in key situations. It doesn’t matter if you outplay your opponents, what matters is finding a way to win. Alfred Morris, Jordan Reed, and Pierre Garcon all had encouraging outings however. The Redskins just need to find a way to finish and they could really exceed the expectations people have set out for them.
The Jaguars really are an up and coming team that will gel together more as the season goes on. But for right now they are still one of the worst teams in the league. Yeldon played pretty well which is a positive sign for the Jaguars, but they need to become more consistent in all facets of the game if they want to be taken seriously.
The Raiders did take on a powerful team in the Bengals, but my goodness did they look bad doing it. McGloin might actually be better than Carr for the Raiders, I think Carr missing some time could potentially be a blessing in disguise if McGloin can play the way I think he can. I really expected more out of Latavius Murray and Amari Cooper though. But the season is still young, and they have plenty of time to impress.
Getting absolutely pounded by the Jets does not look good for your team. The Browns just have no skilled players on their offense, and because of that they will continue to struggle until they can get Duke Johnson in the game consistently. With the strength of their o-line the Browns really need to focus on running the ball and I believe Duke is the man for the job. If they can’t get Duke going it is going to be a LONG year for the Browns.
32. Tampa Bay
Tampa did get stuck playing from behind early, which can be really difficult for an inexperienced player. Although Winston is used to playing from behind in the NCAA, he is going to quickly learn that the NFL is a whole different beast. Not having Mike Evans certainly hurt a lot. I’m interested to see what this offense can do down the stretch when they are gelling together, but for now they are the worst team in football.
What do you think of these power rankings? Do you have things much different? Let us know in the comments!