C.J. Anderson and the defending Super Bowl champion Broncos made a strong opening statement against the Panthers in Week 1
Our first week of real NFL action certainly delivered in terms of drama with an incredible 11 of 16 games within one score. Perhaps just as important after a long offseason full of predicting how teams will play, we’re finally able to put on the game tape and figure out how everybody stacks up with each other on the field.
With that in mind, it’s time to sort out the contenders from the pretenders. Factoring in everything from overall roster strength, to quarterback play, to the head coach’s track record, here is the latest edition of NFL power rankings and where every team stacks up from 1 to 32.
Week 2 NFL Power Rankings
1. Green Bay Packers
Last week: 2
Aaron Rodgers looked like he might have to make room for another MVP award with the way he played in hot and humid Jacksonville. Perhaps more impressive was the defense limiting the Jaguars to 1.8 yards a carry.
2. New England Patriots
Last week: 5
Tom who? Winning on the road at a NFC contender without Rob Gronkowski was probably the most impressive aspect of Jimmy Garoppolo’s debut.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers
Last week: 8
Pretty much everybody thought the offense would be one of the best in the league and that was on full display Monday night. The defense may be a few steps ahead of last season too.
4. Denver Broncos
Last week: 10
We knew the defense would be good but the offense may be ahead of schedule. Still seems like Trevor Siemian is just buying time for Paxton Lynch though.
5. Carolina Panthers
Last week: 5
Giving up two touchdowns in the fourth quarter is a troubling start but there’s still enough, especially on offense, for things to come together and start rolling again.
6. Kansas City Chiefs
Last week: 11
An incredible comeback continued the Chiefs winning ways in the regular season. When everybody’s healthy this team should be even higher in the rankings.
7. Houston Texans
Last week: 6
The offense was a bit shaky but you can see plenty of promise. J.J. Watt wasn’t as effective as he normally is but the defense still found a way to take down Jay Cutler.
8. Arizona Cardinals
Last week: 1
Forget the missed field goal at the end, no reason to lose at home to a team without its two best offensive players and give up more than seven yards per pass.
9. Seattle Seahawks
Last week: 4
They won, which was the most important thing but goodness does that offensive line look like a work in progress that’s not actually progressing
10. Cincinnati Bengals
Last week: 7
Perhaps it was fitting they were ranked No. 7 last week considering that’s the number of sacks they gave up. Aside from that, the Andy Dalton/A.J. Green pairing looks great.
11. Oakland Raiders
Last week: 12
How about the stones for Jack Del Rio? The offense may be even better than expected, which is good considering some of the defensive struggles on Sunday.
12. New York Giants
Last week: 14
Winning on the road against a division rival is nice but the ability for the offense to convert in opponent’s territory and a surprisingly solid run defense has to be just as good a sight to Giants fans. Easily the class of the NFC East after Week 1.
13. Baltimore Ravens
Last week: 13
Impressive defensive performance and it looks like Joe Flacco might have a nice connection with a rejuvenated Mike Wallace.
14. Jacksonville Jaguars
Last week: 16
Sure it was a home loss but it was an encouraging one given how the young core played against a top-tier team.
15. Minnesota Vikings
Last week: 9
The defense looked great but it’s clear the offense will be a work in progress for several more weeks.
16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Last week: 22
The run game performance was a little concerning but Jameis Winston does not appear as though he’ll be suffering from any sophomore slump.
17. Dallas Cowboys
Last week: 15
The game plan of controlling the clock and letting Dak Prescott play within the system worked ok but it was shocking how limited the team was running the ball.
18. Detroit Lions
Last week: 27
This team might be involved in a lot of shootouts. Matthew Stafford may not have Calvin Johnson anymore but he is not lacking for options.
19. New Orleans Saints
Last week: 21
They are who we thought they were: a great offensive team that will have to outscore every opponent.
20. Indianapolis Colts
Last week: 18
They have Andrew Luck and a few offensive weapons but the offensive line and pretty much every spot on defense is questionable.
21. Miami Dolphins
Last week: 23
Adam Gase can’t be happy that so many scoring opportunities resulted in no points but at least the defense stepped up.
22. New York Jets
Last week: 19
Pass rush looked really good but that didn’t seem to help out the secondary as much as one would have expected. This will always be a team that goes only as far as the offense takes it.
23. Chicago Bears
Last week: 26
Not completely surprising to see the offense struggle against the Texans’ defense but Chicago seemed like a completely different team after half time. Receiving corps will give teams trouble down the road though.
24. Washington Redskins
Last week: 17
Kirk Cousins’ inaccuracy cost several promising drives and the defense is not going to enjoy going over the Week 1 game film.
25. Atlanta Falcons
Last week: 24
Almost no running game is not going to help a defense that looks like it will continue to struggle in a division full of good offenses.
26. San Diego Chargers
Last week: 28
Good news is the Chargers were really competitive on the road at a division rival. The bad news was the double whammy of blowing a 17-point lead and losing Keenan Allen.
27. Philadelphia Eagles
Last week: 29
We’ll grade them on the curve since they played the Browns but Philly has to be thrilled with Carson Wentz’ debut.
28. Buffalo Bills
Last week: 20
One of the worst offensive performances in a long time for the Bills and now Sammy Watkins’ status is up in the air, along with left tackle Cordy Glenn. Not great for a team that will be playing on a short week.
29. San Francisco 49ers
Last week: 32
Chip Kelly’s Bay Area debut was... something for most of the game. At least the 49ers won and the defense looked ok.
30. Tennessee Titans
Last week: 30
Marcus Mariota has to be better with the football but everybody understands there’s a long way to go with this roster.
31. Los Angeles Rams
Last week: 25
That was certainly not even some 7-9, 8-8 stuff on Monday night by Jeff Fisher’s team. Something says Jared Goff will be suited up next week.
32. Cleveland Browns
Last week: 31
Still plenty of time to buy more Cavaliers gear.
— Written by Bryan Fischer, an award-winning college football columnist and member of the Athlon Contributor Network. You can follow him from coast-to-coast on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat at @BryanDFischer.