NFL Power Rankings 2.0

Big Ben might be the best quarterback in the NFL right now. We have known for several years now that the Pittsburgh offense is dangerous. The problem has been that the team has struggled to replace all of the players that got old on their once great defense. A great QB and a defense that looks strong? A deadly combination. (By the way... Le'Veon Bell still hasn't played due to his suspension... This team is going to get even better in two weeks).

2) Denver Broncos (2-0, Last Week: 1)

  • This defense is just amazing. Von Miller should be required to play with on arm tied behind his back. I bump them down a spot not so much because of something they did, but because Pittsburgh showed that they can finally play defense again. The Broncos have a tough matchup with Cincinnati this week. 

3) New England Patriots (2-0, Last Week: 2)

  • I only knock them down one spot because of the injury to Garoppolo. If the trends that we've seen in New England continue, odds are rookie Jacoby Brissett will be even better. It's really not fair. They've got a huge game, on a short week, with a rookie QB, against a hot Houston team. Everything seems to be stacked against them, right? That's why they'll win.

4) Carolina Panthers (1-1, Last Week: 5)

  • The fact that some thought the week 2 contest with the 49ers was going to be close was laughable. While the score got close for a while, the Panthers were clearly a superior team. They've got a big game against a banged up Vikings team this weekend.

5) Arizona Cardinals (1-1, Last Week: 6)

  • The Cardinals looked like we expected them to look in week 1. This team could easily be the favorite every single time they take the field this year. If they continue to perform at this level, they could put up a fight with Pittsburgh for the top spot. (PS: What was my off-season SB51 prediction? AZ & PIT)

6) Houston Texans (2-0, Last Week: 10)

  • Houston's defense looked nasty against Kansas City. The offense has a ton of potential, but needs to make the easy play more consistently. Houston finds themselves in the drivers seat of the AFC South early with both the Colts and Jags at 0-2. Their week three date in New England should be interesting, with Rookie Jacoby Brissett set to get the start on Thursday Night Football.

7) Seattle Seahawks (1-1, Last Week: 7)

  • I don't care that Russell Wilson has a bad ankle. Scoring 3 points against a Rams team that was just dominated by the 49ers is completely unacceptable. Lucky for them, the 49ers are up next. 

8) Cincinnati Bengals (1-1, Last Week: 8)

  • I don't understand why you would only target AJ Green 8 times in any game... Let alone in a game against as important as this weekend's battle with the Steelers. It won't get any easier this week with Denver's defense coming to town.
  • I would have put them up higher, but Adrian Peterson tore his meniscus on Monday. They've got two wins, but they received big contributions from their opponents in both wins (Tennessee with two bad giveaways, Green Bay going for it and failing while in field goal range). 
  • Jim Schwartz can coach a defense, man. Wentz looks like the real deal (I bet the Rams are jealous). With Pittsburgh coming to town this week, we should learn a lot about what this Eagles team can really be.
  • The Ravens didn't arrive in Cleveland until the 2nd quarter of the game. Once they did, they shut the Browns out. The Ravens' defense seemed to be caught off-guard by the aggressiveness of the Cleveland offense, but eventually settled in and locked down. The Ravens don't appear to be anything special offensively, but won't beat themselves. 
  • If this defense can just be an average one, the Raiders will be scary good. The problem is, they are downright terrible right now. You can't give up 500 yards/game and 34.5 points/game and expect to win. They get a rematch against pre-season opponent Tennessee in week 3.
  • Talk about crashing down to earth. Winston will apparently remain a volatile player with some of the highest highs and lowest lows. It also doesn't help that the Buccaneers ran into a superior Cardinals team with something to prove after underperforming in week one.
  • The Lions got decimated by injuries last weekend, were flagged an absurd 17 times for over 130 yards, and dropped 7 passes. If they want to win consistently, they need to stop helping their opponents out. If any of these injuries proves to be significant, they could struggle going forward.
  • Ezekiel Elliott is still getting outplayed on a touch-by-touch basis by Alfred Morrison. He appears to have been benched after fumbling against the Redskins. If the Cowboys truly want to compete against good teams while Romo is out, Elliott really needs to up his game. Mo Claiborne is quietly playing really good football.
  • The Falcons offense moved the ball at will against the Raiders, and their defense played just well enough to win. If Matt Ryan can avoid the costly turnovers that seemed to come every week last season, the Falcons offense will be a problem for almost everybody.
  • They go up mostly because so many other teams went down. They had a chance against the Broncos, but were undone by offensive miscues. They should put up a win against the Chargers in week 3.
  • It appears that the Redskins are just an average team. And Kirk Cousins has some work to do. He missed a few receivers on what should have been big plays. The defense doesn't look like anything special... Josh Norman is shutting down his man, though. Up next? OBJ. Must-watch matchup. 
  • In the ugliest game of the week (almost 30 penalties), the Titans found a way to complete their biggest 4th quarter comeback in almost 10 years. Their defense appears to be legit (1 offensive touchdown allowed through 2 games)... The question that needs to be answered is whether or not the offense can take the next step.
  • Maybe Jimmy Garoppolo is the second coming of Tom Brady. Maybe the Dolphins are just terrible. The Dolphins were getting absolutely manhandled before Garoppolo got injured. They should be able to stop the bleeding against the Browns this week.
  • I wrote them off after the season ending injury to Keenan Allen. They showed some fight against the Jaguars, and face another soft defense in the Colts in week 3. Their secondary has a different kind of challenge in the Colts' shifty, fast receivers.
  • The Saints appear to have the same problems that they had last year. The defense never shows up, and the offense doesn't travel. We should have an offensive explosion when Atlanta plays in New Orleans on Monday Night Football.
  • This is what I get for rating a team for a close loss to a Packers team I thought was better than they actually are. The Jags are my biggest drop after getting absolutely embarrassed by a mediocre Chargers team. 
  • Pretty much what I expected. The only thing that caught me by surprise was the amount of points the 49ers scored. This is the problem with Chip Kelly football. When the offense makes a mistake, the defense ends up getting pummeled.
  • If you are firing your offensive coordinator after week 2, you have problems. Greg Roman is out. Rex Ryan is on the hot seat. A defense that appears to have a bunch of talented players is not performing well. The offense is highly inconsistent. The Bills should be a lot better than they are playing right now.
  • I don't understand Jeff Fisher coached teams. This has been happening going back to his days as the head coach of the Titans. They stink against terrible teams, but show up for the big games. They completely shut down a Seahawks offense that has struggled through two weeks, and find a way to win a game without a touchdown. Amazing.
  • I mentioned last week that the only thing that saved the Bears from being my 32nd team was the fact that the Rams and Browns were so terrible. Well, the Bears were bad again... But the Rams beat the Seahawks. 
  • I don't see the Browns really moving from this spot in the near future. One thing they will likely be perfect on as they enter week 3? Having started a different QB for each game! They will likely be down to their third string QB for at least this week, as Josh McCown injured his shoulder in the Browns' epic collapse against Baltimore in week 2.