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NFL Power Rankings Week 2: Steelers Take the Top Spot

Read as Nick Springer takes us through his weekly NFL Power Rankings, which are uploaded every Tuesday during the season.

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0) – Previous rank: 2- Antonio Brown and Ben Roethlisberger continue to prove that they’re the best quarterback-wide receiver combo in the league, as seen on Monday night against Washington. It helped that DeAngelo Williams added 143 yards on the ground as well. Pittsburgh has the best offense in the league right now, and they don’t even have Le’Veon Bell back yet.
  2. Green Bay Packers (1-0) – Previous rank: 3- The Packers did well enough to win against Jacksonville, and Jordy Nelson scored his first touchdown after being sidelined all of last season. The defense played decent against the formidable offense of the Jags, but they can be better. The win wasn’t super impressive, but a win’s a win.
  3. Carolina Panthers (0-1) – Previous rank: 1- Well, the Panthers played significantly better against Denver this time around than in last year’s Super Bowl. Cam Newton took a lot of heavy hits in the game, many of which probably should’ve been flagged by the referees. Either way, protecting him has to be a top priority for the offense. The Panthers D looked good for most of the game. As long as Cam’s health isn’t compromised, there’s nothing to worry about after the loss at Mile High.
  4. New England Patriots (1-0) – Previous rank: 4- Jimmy G played a fantastic game and did what he needed to do in order for New England to get a win. He looked calm, poised, and ready to strike against a talented Arizona defense. Not to mention, this game was on the road. The Pats train just keeps on rolling even without the likes of Rob Gronkowski and Tom Brady.
  5. Seattle Seahawks (1-0) – Previous rank: 5- Russell Wilson claimed this year was the best offense he’s been on. That certainly wasn’t the case on Sunday. But don’t panic yet, Seahawks fans. Although that game against Miami was much closer than anyone expected, the ‘Hawks got away with a win and can put that one behind them.
  6. Kansas City Chiefs (1-0) – Previous rank: 7- After a thrilling overtime victory against the Chargers, the Chiefs are riding high into Week 2, as Alex Smith just played one of his best games as a Chief. However, let’s not overlook the fact that the Chiefs played arguably one of their worst halves of football in the past couple of years. If KC gets off to similar starts going forward, don’t expect them to come back and win very often.
  7. Arizona Cardinals (0-1) – Previous rank: 6- This loss shouldn’t worry fans in Arizona too much. Sure, they got beat at home by a guy making his first career start, but they were in position to win late in the game. Larry Fitzgerald proved he’s immortal, and David Johnson is the best running back that not a lot of people know about. Expect Arizona to right the ship next week.
  8. Denver Broncos (1-0) – Previous rank: 9- Even if Graham Gano knocks through the field goal to win that game Thursday night, it doesn’t take away from the fact that this was an extremely impressive performance from Trevor Siemian. Many people (myself included) had questions about Denver’s offense prior to Week 1, but the Broncos looked solid in their season premiere.
  9. Cincinnati Bengals (1-0) – Previous rank: 8- Andy Dalton got pummeled by the defensive front of the Jets. Dalton was sacked 7 times in total, but the Bengals managed to escape with a win. A.J. Green got the best of Darrelle Revis, and Cincinnati’s D was good enough to come up with some stops when they needed to.
  10. Oakland Raiders (1-0) – Previous rank: 12- The Raiders proved what they’re capable of when they went into New Orleans and came away with the win after a gutsy two-point conversion late in the game. The defense was torched by Drew Brees, but Brees is known to do that to teams from time to time. Derek Carr looked outstanding, and Oakland just put the rest of the NFL on notice that they’re for real.
  11. New York Jets (0-1) – Previous rank: 10- The Jets kept it close against Cincy, and Matt Forte showed he still has some gas left in the tank. If the Jets want to challenge New England later in the season, they’re going to need better play going forward from Fitzmagic.
  12. New York Giants (1-0) – Previous rank: 15- Victor Cruz is back! Giants fans can finally rejoice as New York took the lead against Dallas and didn’t surrender it as they did in so many games last year. New York’s revamped D stuffed Ezekiel Elliot for the most part, and they got critical red zone stops. This division is very much up for grabs and the Giants may be the team to come out on top.
  13. Washington Redskins (0-1) – Previous rank: 11- Washington didn’t really live up to the hype against the Steelers. Kirk Cousins had no touchdowns and threw 2 interceptions. The ground game was nonexistent, and not even Josh Norman could shut down Antonio Brown. This isn’t a big blow to the Redskins, but they need to improve if they want to win the NFC East.
  14. New Orleans Saints (0-1) – Previous rank: 13- The Saints lost a nail-biter late to Oakland, and the defense was the issue, as usual. Not enough pressure and too many defensive miscues in the secondary caused problems for the Saints all game. Look for New Orleans to be just fine though, as Drew Brees is too good for this team not to compete in the division.
  15. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1) – Previous rank: 16- Jacksonville fought hard against the Packers, but ultimately fell short. Even with the loss, this was still a good game for the Jaguars, and they proved they can hang with the big dogs. I’m still on the Jacksonville train.
  16. Houston Texans (1-0) – Previous rank: 19- Brock Osweiler played pretty well for the most part in his Texans debut. Houston utilized a balanced attack that was successful against the Chicago Bears defense. This wasn’t a very impressive win, but as I’ve said for other teams, a win’s a win.
  17. Baltimore Ravens (1-0) – Previous rank: 17- The Ravens managed to pull out a win against Buffalo. Joe Flacco looked comfortable in his return from injury, as he connected with Mike Wallace early for a TD. This bodes well for an offense in dire need of an explosive playmaker.
  18. Indianapolis Colts (0-1) – Previous rank: 14- The horrifically bad start and loss for the Colts will overshadow the fact that Andrew Luck threw for almost 400 yards and did not commit a turnover. The defense has to improve, and a run game would be nice.
  19. Minnesota Vikings (1-0) – Previous rank: 21- The Vikes took down Tennessee with Shaun Hill at the helm. Could this create controversy as to who should get the starting job going forward? Probably not. Based on what Minnesota gave up to bring Sam Bradford in, they almost have to start him once he has a grasp on the playbook.
  20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0) – Previous rank: 24- The Bucs are sitting pretty after a solid win over Atlanta. Jameis Winston led the offense with 4 touchdown passes, and Mike Evans looked great. I’d like to see some improvement with the pass defense sooner rather than later. They still have to play Drew Brees twice.
  21. Dallas Cowboys (0-1) – Previous rank: 22- Dak Prescott played well in Tony Romo’s absence. He made some good throws, and he looked comfortable in the pocket. They lost, but Prescott’s comfort level in the offense should ease some stress among fans. Although Cowboys fans will be yelling to get out of bounds for a while.
  22. Buffalo Bills (0-1) – Previous rank: 18- The Bills looked plain bad in Baltimore, and now they have a short week against the Jets on Thursday night. Buffalo could very well open the season 0-2, which does not bode well for the Ryan bros.
  23. Miami Dolphins (0-1) – Previous rank: 28- Out of nowhere, the Dolphins were able to keep it close with the Seahawks in one of the toughest places to play in the NFL. They couldn’t complete the upset of Seattle, but they came close enough to get my attention. Overreaction? Maybe. We’ll see if this translates into wins going forward.
  24. Atlanta Falcons (0-1) – Previous rank: 20- A lack of pass rush continues to plague the Falcons D. They were unable to get Jameis Winston on the ground, as he torched their secondary. Now, with a trip to Oakland looming, Atlanta is staring down an 0-2 start. Unfortunately, Julio Jones can’t play both sides of the ball.
  25. Philadelphia Eagles (1-0) – Previous rank: 27- Rookie Carson Wentz looked cool and comfortable in route to a 29-10 victory over the Browns. Granted, it was against the Browns, but if Wentz continues to play the way he did on Sunday, things could be looking up in Philly.
  26. San Francisco 49ers (1-0) – Previous rank: 29- I’m surprised by how well San Francisco played against Los Angeles. I had the Rams winning, but the 49ers had something else to say about that. This was a very impressive performance, specifically on the defensive side of the ball. We’ll see what happens when they get tested by some better offenses and some quarterbacks not named Case Keenum.
  27. Detroit Lions (1-0) – Previous rank: 30- Probably the biggest surprise of the week was Detroit’s big win on the road against Indy. The offense ran smoothly without Megatron on the field. Honestly, Johnson’s retirement could benefit Matthew Stafford going forward because now he actually has to go through his progressions and find open guys. Overall, a strong opening day for Detroit.
  28. Chicago Bears (0-1) – Previous rank: 23- The Bears offense was pretty underwhelming against Houston. I was never a fan of Jay Cutler, and he struggled to start the season. Alshon Jeffery was the lone bright spot on offense, and there’s a strong chance he could be gone next year. The defense wasn’t horrible, but they didn’t get any help.
  29. Tennessee Titans (0-1) – Previous rank: 26- Marcus Mariota played well for Tennessee, until an ugly pick-6 that ultimately lead to the Vikings taking care of business. The Titans run game never really got going, and turnovers really hurt Tennessee in this one.
  30. Los Angeles Rams (0-1) – Previous rank: 25- Oh boy did the Rams look bad on Monday night. They got completely shut down on offense by a surprisingly much improved 49ers D. Todd Gurley was totally neutralized, and Case Keenum was Case Keenum. It doesn’t matter how could your defense is, if your offense can’t produce a single point you will lose. How much longer until Jeff Fisher tosses Jared Goff in there?
  31. San Diego Chargers (0-1) – Previous rank: 31- The Chargers imploded in the second half at KC, and now they must regroup quickly. Losing Keenan Allen for the season stings even more. The defense looked very good early before self-destructing. A dark season in San Diego just got a little darker.
  32. Cleveland Browns (0-1) – Previous rank: 32- Get used to it, Browns fans. With RG III now out, things just got even worse. I just feel bad. Not bad enough to move Cleveland out of the 32 spot though.

 

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Feature photo courtesy of Andy Truello.