The NFL is often a week-to-week league. Because of that, it is hard to gauge teams at the beginning of the season. But, this is power rankings for a reason. Here, we will do just that and rank the teams with the “what have you done for me lately” designation.
As this is the first one here at The Sports Guys, there are no risers or fallers just yet. We will get to those eventually.
There are some observations, however. The AFC West is dominating right now, while the AFC South is faltering. The Giants have dropped way below their preseason ranking, while the Lions and Ravens continue to rise.
Let’s get to the full rankings.
1. Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs are the best in football at the moment. The defensive line dominated once again in week two, and the offense came alive when it needed to. Kareem Hunt picked up where he left off 10 days earlier, and Alex Smith continued to push the ball down the field. That was a good Eagles team they beat.
2. Atlanta Falcons
It’s hard not to see the speed on both sides of the ball in Atlanta. Even though they faced two backup tackles, Takk McKinley and Vic Beasley dominated on the edge. Second year defenders Deion Jones and Keanu Neal continue to improve, and it’s nice to have Desmond Trufant back. Oh, and the offense is good too.
3. Oakland Raiders
The Raiders surprised in week one by dominating the line of scrimmage against Tennessee. Then, they beat up the Jets at home. The defense still has holes on the back end, but if the offense plays like they have, they will be tough to beat week-to-week.
4. New England Patriots
If anyone thought that opening night was a sign of decline, give me a break. The Pats looked much better against the Saints. However, it was the Saints. That defense is not improving and there were giant holes there. But, it was a much needed win to get on track. Plus, Deatrich Wise is playing real well.
5. Pittsburgh Steelers
Yes, the offense is sluggish. Yes, the defense has suspect areas. But, the Steelers are still a top team in this league. They wore the Vikings down last week, and overwhelmed Case Keenum. Martavis Bryant found a bit of himself last week, and the pieces are coming together along the defensive line.
6. Green Bay Packers
If you are worried about the Packers offense, don’t. Yes, there is a sort of “identity crisis” going around, but the kinks are easy to fix. Aaron Rodgers is still Aaron Rodgers. They just need to get healthier as a unit. On defense, Clay Matthews had a very good week against the Falcons. Rookie Kevin King did well on the outside at corner, not allowing a catch on four targets.
7. Denver Broncos
The Broncos have great balance right now. Success in the running game drives how they play offensively. That was a big key in their Super Bowl run. Trevor Siemian looked very good against the Cowboys defense, even with that bad interception. The defense is still top notch, and they are getting good production from Shaq Barrett and Adam Gotsis.
8. Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks are doing an excellent job on the defensive side of the ball. However, everyone expects them to do so. The issue lies on the offensive side of the ball. While the Packers have a decent front, they got owned by Mike Daniels and company in week one. That isn’t a dominant defense. They also struggled with the young 49ers front. A 12-9 victory at home of all places puts a cloud of doubt around Seattle.
9. Detroit Lions
How about these Lions? Many people didn’t expect a win over the Cardinals, let alone a win in East Rutherford. They kept the lethargic Giants on their heels, while also finding a semblance of a ground game. Ameer Abdullah is finally showing what he can do as a running back. Also, Jarrad Davis looks like a stud already on defense.
10. Tennessee Titans
After a tough loss to the Raiders, the Titans found themselves in a tight battle with the Jaguars. Then, they opened things up with the running game and shut down the Jaguars. Derrick Henry had a fantastic game, and the Titans are back controlling the line of scrimmage.
11. Dallas Cowboys
A tough loss in week two, but all is certainly not lost. The crazy part of the loss? That was Dak’s worst game, Zeke’s worst game, the line’s worst game, and the defense’s worst game. It’s hard to win when all of that occurs. However, the defense is something to watch going forward. They got manhandled on Sunday.
12. Philadelphia Eagles
It’s very difficult to go into Arrowhead and win. But, credit the Eagles defense and Carson Wentz for keeping things close the whole way. Wentz is showing his progress this season, while the defense is wreaking havoc up front. It’s early, but a dark horse playoff team? Don’t rule it out.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Great complete win in their first game of the season. The offense looks solid with their plethora of weapons. Running back Jacquizz Rodgers had a nice day as well. The defense is one to watch out for. We know about Gerald McCoy, Kwon Alexander, and Lavonte David. Watch for rookie linebacker Kendell Beckwith. He was good when healthy at LSU, and the Bucs may have a gem there.
14. Baltimore Ravens
The defense has suffocated their opponents so far, while the offense has done enough through two weeks. The big issue? They played Cleveland and Cincy. Those aren’t exactly quality teams at this point. They have a couple big tests coming up to prove if they actually are a playoff contender.
15. Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins looked pretty good with quarterback Jay Cutler at the helm. They are going to feed Jay Ajayi as much as possible to win games. Jarvis Landry and Devante Parker are ready to produce (did you see Parker “Moss” Casey Hayward??), while Julius Thomas may find a resurgence. The defense has some issues to clean up, especially depth at linebacker, but they held the Chargers in check.
16. Carolina Panthers
They are 2-0, yes. But their wins have been ugly. The game on Sunday was especially ugly for the offense. Cam Newton missed some guys, including Christian McCaffrey for a touchdown. McCaffrey is also struggling to find holes. We know how good the defense is, but the offense needs to put up points. It gets more difficult with tight end Greg Olsen on the shelf.
17. Minnesota Vikings
They looked dominant in week one, then vulnerable with Case Keenum at the helm. He has to hold down the fort while both Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater get healthy. The good news? The defense and stud rookie Dalvin Cook can keep them in games. They have a tough one against the Bucs this week.
18. Los Angeles Chargers
Easily the best 0-2 team of the bunch (Yes I know the Giants are right underneath). The Chargers, as Alex Smith said today, are “two kicks from 2-0”. They have looked solid on the offensive side of the ball. Gordon and Keenan Allen are back to health. The offensive line isn’t great, but it’s not awful. Plus, Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram are super off the edge. They will win games, as long as the special teams are corrected.
19. New York Giants
The Giants clearly have issues on offense. The offensive line isn’t great, of course, but the decline of Eli Manning may very well be upon us. He doesn’t move as well as he used to and his throw behind Engram hurt big time. The good news for the Giants is that their defense can keep them in games until the offense picks it up. This coming week against the Eagles signals desperation time.
20. Washington Redskins
The Redskins sit at 1-1, but the loss against Philly may be more revealing than their win in Los Angeles. Cousins doesn’t have a lot of weapons. Jordan Reed is dealing with injuries again. Luckily, the running game is picking up. However, the defense isn’t there yet. They have talent in spots, but the holes are too big right now.
21. Los Angeles Rams
The offense and Jared Goff clearly look better than last season. The arrival of Cooper Kupp, Gerald Everett, and Sammy Watkins make them dangerous. That also opens things up for Todd Gurley, who looks to be on a mission this season. However, the defense gave up big plays last week, and Aaron Donald can’t do it all. They need help on the back end.
22. Houston Texans
The win against Cincinnati last Thursday didn’t hide the issues that surround this team. DeShaun Watson is a good runner, and he made some plays, but he also stared down a couple reads and nearly threw two pick sixes. The offensive line desperately needs Duane Brown. Defensively, believe it or not, Watt, Mercilus, and Clowney all have yet to register a sack. Of course, sacks aren’t everything. Getting pressure and collapsing pockets are good things to find, but this defense isn’t what it’s been right now.
23. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jags looked great as a defensive front in week one. However, they wore down in the second half against the Titans. Leonard Fournette is going to see seven and eight man boxes as teams dare Blake Bortles to throw it. No Allen Robinson hurts this offense even more.
24. New Orleans Saints
The Saints aren’t a playoff team at this moment. The offense could have been better against what many believe is an average New England defense. Drew Brees missed some key throws, and their running game was pretty stagnant overall. The defense is also struggling to get off the field. There are bright spots. Alvin Kamara, Marshon Lattimore, and Sheldon Rankins look like good players.
25. Arizona Cardinals
Losing David Johnson basically equates to a cannonball hitting the side of a ship. The question is how long can they stay afloat. Carson Palmer looked better this week, but he still isn’t the Palmer of 2015. Barely escaping a lowly Colts team is not a good sign.
26. Buffalo Bills
The defense put in a gem against the Panthers this past week. Rookie Tre’Davious White had a very solid game, as did defensive end Shaq Lawson. The offense remains the issue. LeSean McCoy might be hitting the wall. Tyrod Taylor is struggling to find open receivers. The Bills are clearly in restart mode, so don’t expect too much this season.
27. Chicago Bears
The Bears put everything they had into the opener, and then proceeded to lay an egg in Tampa. Mike Glennon had too many turnovers, and that gave the Tampa offense short fields (not to mention Tarik Cohen’s gaffe). Jordan Howard’s injury doesn’t help the offense. While the front seven is good, they are susceptible to the run at times. The secondary has serious coverage issues.
28. Cleveland Browns
The leap for this team may still come this season. They played well with Pittsburgh, and weren’t completely out of the Baltimore game until the fourth quarter. However, rookie DeShone Kizer has work to do. He also doesn’t have a lot of weapons, especially with Corey Coleman sidelined. Isaiah Crowell isn’t stepping up in the run game. The good news is that the front seven will be very solid when Myles Garrett gets back.
29. San Francisco 49ers
Nobody expected Brian Hoyer to be the savior in San Francisco. However, a decent placeholder would be nice. The main threat for the Niners exists on the ground in Carlos Hyde. He broke off some nice runs agains the Seattle defense. Their defensive front also gave the Seahawks fits, and nearly helped them pull off an upset. When Foster comes back, that’s a sneaky good defense.
30. Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals are a mess right now. They have yet to score a TD this season. The new-look offensive line has issues. Andy Dalton is missing throws. They aren’t giving the rookies a chance to help out AJ Green. I get that fumbling is a no no, but John Ross in an electric player. One fumble does not a player make (ask Kareem Hunt). The defense isn’t bad, and getting Vontaze Burfict back makes them better. But, as long as the offense sits in limbo, they won’t win many games.
31. Indianapolis Colts
Without Andrew Luck, things are getting atrocious, which is normal. Jacoby Brissett started this past Sunday, even though he’s been in Indy for two weeks. The line is still poor, and TY Hilton needs Luck to be more productive. The defense did fine, and Malik Hooker made a good impression, but they didn’t have to face David Johnson. They didn’t make plays when they needed to. It’s going to be a long year.
32. New York Jets
Honestly, they weren’t as bad against Oakland as people thought. Jermaine Kearse looks good in this offense. Rookie Elijah McGuire should get more touches. The safety tandem in Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye looks very good. However, this league demands a competent quarterback. They don’t have that.
Jake Schyvinck covers the NFL and NFL Draft for The Sports Guys. He also dabbles in college football. Disagree with his rankings? Find him @JSchyvinck13 on Twitter.