1. Baltimore Ravens (2-0)
Previous Rank: 2
The Ravens take over the top spot due to the fact that they have the look of the most complete team early on in this NFL season. The contest against the Texans was not particularly close, with the Ravens consistently gashing the Houston defense to the tune of 230 rushing yards.
2. Kansas City Chiefs (2-0)
Previous Rank: 1
The Chiefs fall back one spot after an overtime win in their first divisional matchup at the new So-Fi Stadium. The offense took a while to get into gear with Patrick Mahomes under constant pressure from the Chargers defensive front, who totaled seven QB hits. The Chiefs have been heralded as a team returning a majority of their starters, but two of the ones missing were their starting guards from their Super Bowl team. The Chief will have an opportunity to regain their top spot going into the presumed matchup of the year at Baltimore next Monday night. They will have to keep the Baltimore pass rush at bay to give Mahomes time to find receivers downfield against a talented Ravens secondary.
3. Seattle Seahawks (2-0)
Previous Rank: 3
Russell Wilson continued his excellent play on Sunday Night football by tearing apart the Patriots defense for over 300 scrimmage yards and 5 passing touchdowns. Wilson is easily the early favorite for the MVP award, as through two weeks he has only 9 touchdown passes to only 11 incompletions. Jamal Adams has not made a significant difference regarding Seattle’s passing defense after allowing a second consecutive QB total 400 total yards, but in the box, he has been a beast. He recorded a second straight game of 10+ tackles along with a sack.
4. Green Bay Packers (2-0)
Previous Rank: 6
After their Week 1 division win where they relied on Aaron Rodgers and the pass, the Packers turned around and put this week’s game in the hands of Aaron Jones and the run. Jones totaled 236 yards from scrimmage with 3 total touchdowns, as the Packers once again topped 40 points. Green Bay has a nice test against a top competition when they head to New Orleans for SNF. If there was an award for which team is happiest there are no fans in stadiums each week, the Packers would take those honors heading to Week 3.
5. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-0)
Previous Rank: 4
The Steelers found themselves in a dog fight against an undermanned Denver team heading into the fourth quarter. A Big Ben touchdown pass followed by a safety less than a minute later was enough to put the game away. Speaking of Ben, he played well for a second consecutive week finding a connection with the Steelers war chest of young receivers. Last week’s touchdown receptions went to JuJu Smith and James Washington, so this week Chase Claypool and Dionte Johnson decided to join the party. Pittsburgh and their receivers, truly an embarrassment of riches.
6. Buffalo Bills (2-0)
Previous Rank: 7
Buffalo’s offseason trade of Stephon Diggs paid off in a big way on Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins. Diggs finished 153 yards and a touchdown, and it’s clear that the added weapons around third-year man Josh Allen has him extremely comfortable in this offense, as he passed for a cool 400 yards and 4 TD.
7. Arizona Cardinals (2-0)
Previous Rank: 10
If Russell Wilson is MVP candidate number one, then Kyler Murray has to be right behind him. Murray continues to make magic happen with his legs after rushing for another 2 touchdowns Sunday. Despite the fact that he is almost always the smallest man on the field, Kyler’s ability to move at such high speed allows him to avoid all contact that may otherwise be detrimental to his health. It also helps that his baseball background allows him to slide more effectively than any other young mobile quarterback I can remember.
8. Los Angeles Rams (2-0)
Previous Rank: 13
The Rams are legit, and it is time they start getting their flowers. They went into Philly and took it to the Eagles all day. Sean McVay has shown his creativity as an offensive mind early this season as they have switched to a running back by committee approach. The Rams had 7 players receive a carry versus the Eagles using all kinds of jet sweeps and misdirections to get their receivers involved in the run game. As always, when the Rams ran the ball successfully and allowed Jared Goff to play off the play-action, he produced with an efficient 20/27 267 yards and 3 TDs.
9. Tennessee Titans (2-0)
Previous Rank: 8
I called for Stephen Gostkowski’s job and he proved me right early on after going out and shaking another PAT, but once again he redeemed himself by hitting a long field-goal then winded up being the game-winner. Derrick Henry once again could not get much going as far as explosive play. Even though he has 200 total rushing yards through 2 games, he is only averaging 3.6 yard/carry this season, but it bodes well for the Titans to see that their big-money QB Ryan Tannehill has shown an ability to carry this team with his arm. I am not sure this strategy will work against the better teams in the league, though, so the Titans have to get their bell-cow going.
10. New England Patriots (1-1)
Previous Rank: 12
Despite the loss, Cam Newton and the Patriots continued to impress and prove that they will be a team to be reckoned with this season. The Patriots defense did not play particularly well outside of an early pick 6, but the offense was able to pick up the slack. Cam Newton passed the ball as well as he ever has, despite not having many elite receiving options out there to assist him outside of Julian Edelman. This is the reason for the final play call that was scrutinized, but I expect the Pats to scour the trade market for some more receiving options in the coming weeks.
11. Dallas Cowboys (1-1)
Previous Rank: 11
The Cowboys are flying high this week after their miraculous 20-point comeback win against the Falcons. Dallas continuously shot themselves in the foot early on with turnover that put themselves in that hole, to begin with, but when they did not turn the ball over their offense was highly efficient. Dak Prescott played a great all-around game totaling 450 passing yards, with the help of both Ceedee Lamb and Amari Cooper went over 100 yards. Even with all that offensive production, the play of the game was without a doubt the recovered onside kick, and although it is early, a play that could be a turning point in the Cowboys season.
12. New Orleans Saints (1-1)
Previous Rank: 5
I said it last week and I’ll say it again, Drew Brees is not the same quarterback you might remember. Brees is consistently looking for the underneath route, as he rarely looks to push the ball down the field anymore. Even when Michael Thomas returns, he is not the answer to this problem, seeing as how he likes to work the short to the intermediate area of the field. The Saints have to play better supportive football by running the ball more consistently and playing better defense to allow Brees to play distributor because he cannot be called on to carry this team to wins anymore.
13. Las Vegas Raiders (2-0)
Previous Rank: 16
The Raiders have been a franchise that has been historically synonymous with MNF, so it was only fitting that their opening win in Vegas was on a Monday night. The Raiders offense played very well, mainly on the production of Darren Waller. Waller had 12 catches for 103 yards and a TD, as he got whatever he wanted all night. The 3 yr/$27 million contracts the Raiders inked him to a year ago looks like a mighty fine bargain for a guy who’s in the conversation for the best player at his position.
14. San Francisco 49ers (1-1)
Previous Rank: 9
The year from hell continues for the defending NFC Champions. Despite the win against the Jets at the Meadowlands, the team was hit with the fiercest of injury bugs depleting their depth. The Niners lost both of their top 3 picks along the defensive line in Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas for the season. The Niners stay in the top half of the power rankings and will be competitive all season but given the other teams in their division, it’s hard to imagine seeing this team back in the postseason this year.
15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-1)
Previous Rank: 14
Tompa Bay is on the board. The Buccaneers are still not exactly clicking on all cylinders quite yet, but the performance against Carolina was a big improvement from a week ago. The Bucs only ran 22 times, but they were effective going for over 122 total rushing yards. Leonard Fournette went over 100 and 2 TDs, and for the Bucs to be successful this year, he and Ronald Jones are going to have to run it successfully and consistently because how effective are you going to be if you are asking Tom Brady to throw 35 times each and every game
16. Cleveland Browns (1-1)
Previous Rank: 26
The Browns make a big jump after showing off their potential on Thursday night against their in-state rivals. When Cleveland hired Kevin Stefanski, these were the type of performances they expected from the ground game. Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt make up the best backfield tandem in the NFL and they showed it on Thursday by tag-teeming to go for 32 carries for 210 yards and 3 TDs. They also controlled the line-of-scrimmage defensively by sacking Burrow 3 times and allowing less than 50 yards of rushing by Cincy running backs. Controlling the lines will be the number factor to any success Cleveland may see this year.
17. Indianapolis Colts (1-1)
Previous Rank: 22
The Colts lost Marlon Mack a week ago to a season-ending Achilles injury, but rookie running back Jonathan Taylor stepped in and balled out. Taylor had one of the most historic careers for a running back in college football history during his time at Wisconsin, and he looked just as comfortable as he did in Madison on Sunday after recording his first 100-yard game in his first NFL start. The Colts relied heavily on their elite offensive line, running the ball 40 times to only 25 pass attempts. This is a split that will be the most ideal for them, allowing Phillip Rivers to play within himself and not have to force the issue.
18. Los Angeles Chargers (1-1)
Previous rating: 27
The Chargers finally got to see their man in action, and he did not disappoint. In Justin Herbert’s first start, he was very impressive, especially for a guy who did not know he was playing until moments prior to kickoff. Coach Anthony Lynn has already stated when Tyrod Taylor is healthy enough to play he will return to the starting lineup, but I say let the guy who passed for 300 yards in his debut get the job. It’s going to his one day anyway, and who cares if you think he’s ready or not. Most young quarterbacks are getting on the job training nowadays anyway.
19. Atlanta Falcons (0-2)
Previous Rank: 18
The Falcons strike again. Another historic blown lead from the Dirty Birds, and once again they did so in epic fashion. The Falcons offense had an amazing day, totaling 380 yards and 39 points without turning the ball over once. The Falcons defense, on the other hand, decided that one quarter was enough for them because after the opening period Dallas continuously gashed them finishing with over 500 yards in total offense. Dan Quinn is a so-called defensive mind who hails from the Legion of Boom Seattle coaching staff, but he continues to run out awful defenses year after year. If a guy cannot ensure his team is sound on the side of the ball he specializes in, then what is the reason for him being employed by said team? Beats me.
20. Philadelphia Eagles (0-2)
Previous Rank: 19
The Eagles had another disappointing performance in Week 2. Carson Wentz continues to struggle to find his rhythm along with the rest of the Philly offense, as this was another week where they turned the ball over 3 times. The defense did not fare much better, as they had no answers for the Rams creative running game. They get a slight break with their game this week being against the Bengals, but one could have said the same thing about their Week 1 opponent. It goes without saying that this is a must win for this Eagles team.
21. Houston Texans (0-2)
Previous Rank: 21
Houston had nothing going for them against the Ravens. They continue to have the look of a flat football team. Their defense has yet to stop a running back this season. On the flip side it is the same old story for their offensive line, allowing Watson to get sacked 4 times while taking 13 hits. They also opened zero holes for the running game, with the team barely cracking 50 rushing yards. A matchup against the Steelers defensive front next week does not make their lives any easier.
22. Chicago Bears (2-0)
Previous Rank: 23
Chicago is 2-0 but I for one am not a believer. Mitch Trubisky had another game of ups and downs, which makes one wonder if Nick Foles sees the field at the first sign of adversity. The Bears have managed to pull these games out, but they have been by the skin of their teeth. Chicago was very fortunate that tackle Bobbie Massie was in the right place to catch the ricocheted ball that Trubisky forced into double coverage to convert the 4th-and-two with 3:58 left. Even though they wound up missing the FG that drove, that conversion allowed them to burn the clock down to 2:02. In the end, the Giants were able to get all the way to the Chicago 10-yard line, but the clock expired before they could get in, so each of those seconds burned after that conversion was precious.
23. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1)
Previous rating: 29
Even in a loss the Jaguars move up. This was a team that looked to be selling off veteran players to tank, but maybe this was all a ploy to free up playing time for their younger guys. This Jaguars team is filled with young NFL players who have high potential, and it seems as if Gardner Minshew III has something to say about all the Jaguars drafting a QB in this upcoming draft. He played another great game, but it just wasn’t enough as a batted ball was picked off as the Jags were attempting to drive for the game-tying field goal.
24. Detroit Lions (0-2)
Previous Rank: 24
The Lions were absolutely dominated in their trip to Lambeau Field against their division rivals. Detroit’s defense was able to force Green Bay to punt late in the second but promptly went 3-and-out. Green Bay got the ball back and was able to score in just :46 seconds to take a 17-14 lead and they never looked back from there. With back-to-back matchups against the Cardinals and Saints, if the defense does not see immediate improvement, the Detroit may be staring down an 0-4 start in the opening month of the season.
25. Washington Football Team (1-1)
Previous Rank: 20
The Football Team took their first loss under their new name in the desert against the Cardinals. The offense struggled mightily, not getting their first points on the board until 3:14 left in the third quarter. Washington’s defense gave up a lot of yards and points against Arizona’s high-flying offense, but I still have faith in that unit. They just gonna need some help from their offense, because it is hard to play to their strength of getting after the passer when they are down 20 points going into halftime.
26. Minnesota Vikings (0-2)
Previous Rank: 17
Of all the 0-2 teams thus far this season, the Minnesota Vikings have to be the most disappointing. The Vikings have been thoroughly handled in both of their games thus far. Kirk Cousins played a truly horrific game against the Colts defense on Sunday completing only 11 of his 26 passes, with 3 of those attempts going to the guys in the other jersey.
27. Denver Broncos (0-2)
Previous Rank: 15
The Broncos join the 49ers as the teams who have been hit the hardest by the injury bug. Von Miller, their best defender, was already out for the season before a game was played, and now Courtland Sutton, who is their best offensive weapon, has torn his ACL. This makes matters worse for the Denver offense who will be going into the next several weeks with a backup QB after Drew Lock injured his shoulder.
28. Miami Dolphins (0-2)
Previous rating: 25
Miami was able to have a bounce back performance offensively against the Bills, with Ryan Fitzpatrick going for over 300 yards. The Dolphins have some pretty good weapons on the offensive side of the ball, including Mike Gesicki, a tight end many people may not know about, and on Sunday he impressed with 8 receptions 130 yards and a TD. If you haven’t seen it yet, go check out his one-handed snag on the move in the third quarter, an absolutely filthy play that may wind up being one of the best of the season.
29. Carolina Panthers (0-2)
Previous rating: 31
Carolina continues to battle in their games even though they may be under manned. Christian McCaffery suffered a high ankle sprain after a touchdown run early in the fourth quarter to cut the lead to 7, then Carolina’s defense was able to get a stop and force a punt. But without McCaffery the next drive the Panthers threw their chance to win out the window by compounding a 7-yard sack with a Teddy Bridgewater interception on 2nd-and-17. Carolina does not have the easiest of schedules, but their fight will get them a win or two as they continue to reshape their roster in this new era under Coach Matt Rhule.
30. Cincinnati Bengals (0-2)
Previous rating: 30
Joe Burrow threw 61 times against the Browns on Thursday night. 61! And even with all of those attempts, the rookie threw zero interceptions, although he did lose a fumble. Cincy may not be a team that finished over .500, but Burrow’s play will keep them competitive, and he may even be able carry them to some wins here and there this season.
31. New York Giants (0-2)
Previous rating: 28
Sad times for New York football fans this NFL season. The Giants were able to stay in the game against the Bears up until the final play, but they could not secure the W after a Chicago redzone stand, and somehow that was not the worst news coming out of New York. Saquon Barkley will miss the year with a torn ACL, which will severely hamper the Giants running game and offense. If there is any silver lining it’s that the Giants defense has played pretty well through 2 weeks, with them recording 4 sacks and 2 interceptions against Mitchell Trubisky.
32. New York Jets (0-2)
Previous rating: 32
The 49ers had backups all over the field, both offensively and defensively, yet the Jets still could not manage more than 1 TD. I thought Adam Gase was supposed to be an offensive coach. The defense isn’t any better. Raheem Mostert, who got hurt, and Jerrick McKinnon had 11 total carries. Those 11 carries netted 169 yards and 2 TDs. I’m sorry Jets fan, I’m so sorry.