NFL Power Rankings: Falcons, Lions, Cardinals, Eagles, Dolphins in top 10

NFL Power Rankings: Falcons, Lions, Cardinals, Eagles, Dolphins in top 10
Published : September 10, 2014

Marshawn Lynch NFL Power Rankings Seahawks The beast is back. Credit: Getty Images

 

1. Seahawks (1-0): Is it me or is Russell Wilson still underrated? Sure, Wilson didn’t have to face what could be the best NFL defense since the ’85 Bears like his Week 1 counterpart, Aaron Rodgers. But he did outperform the Green Bay QB. Wilson had a rating of 110.9 in Week 1, hitting on 19-of-28 passes for 191 yards and a pair of touchdown passes. Zero interceptions. The efficiency king.

 

2. Broncos (1-0): Our top two remains unchanged from last week, and from last year. Denver nearly allowed Indianapolis back in the game on Sunday night, but there was a league-wide trend of second half comebacks in Week 1. The Broncos were strong enough to hold off Andrew Luck. They should be able to do the same to Alex Smith and the Chiefs at home this coming Sunday.

 

3. 49ers (1-0): Rumors of their demise have been greatly exaggerated, it seems. Despite numerous absences on defense, their unit looked as good as ever against the Cowboys, picking off Tony Romo three times. The Niners open Levi’s Stadium Sunday night and will look to move to 2-0 as they host Chicago.

 

4. Falcons (1-0): There is no Hard Knocks jinx. Beating New Orleans in a shootout is a tough thing to do, but Matt Ryan was more than up to the task, passing for a franchise-record 448 yards and three touchdowns. Julio Jones racked up 116 of those yards on seven receptions.

5. Bengals (1-0): Cincy could very well have an NFC elite caliber defense. Lucky for them they’re in the AFC, which means they could be in the hunt for a playoff bye. The Bengals sacked Joe Flacco three times and intercepted him once in a big Week 1 road win.

6. Lions (1-0): Maybe it was the national TV exposure and maybe the Giants are just plain bad this season, but damn that Detroit offense looked good Monday night. Offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi (grandson of Vince) and head coach Jim Caldwell (former Colts head man) may have a record-setting offense on their hands.

7. Cardinals (1-0): Arizona had just six points at halftime against the Chargers Monday night, but its offense did show flashes. Carson Palmer finished the night with a rating of 108.4, throwing for 304 yards and two touchdowns without an interception. The Cards are in New Jersey this weekend to face the 0-1 Giants.

8. Eagles (1-0): Critics were ready to pounce on the Eagles for their poor first half showing against the Jaguars. But as bad as their first half was, their second half was dominant as they scored 34 unanswered points. A full 60 minute effort will likely be required if they want to go into Indy and win Monday night.

9. Dolphins (1-0): Ryan Tannehill wasn’t great against the Patriots, finishing with a 79.9 rating. But he won’t have to be anything close to Marino-esque if the Miami defense plays like it did against New England. Cameron Wake still looks nasty.

10. Packers (0-1): They get a pass for what transpired last Thursday night. Hell, Lombardi’s 1962 Packers weren’t going into Seattle and winning on banner night. A victory at Lambeau over the Jets this coming Sunday is kind of a must for the 2014 group, though. The NFC North looks like it could be brutal and Green Bay has three division games in a row after playing New York.

11. Panthers (1-0): Maybe we were wrong about this group. (We had them 19th in our pre-season rankings.) The defense looked as dominant as it did last season, blanking the Buccaneers for the first three quarters. Derek Anderson did a fine job filling in for Cam Newton, throwing for 230 yards and two touchdowns without an interception. If Carolina can beat Detroit at home this Sunday, it’s off to the races.

12. Saints (0-1): Jairus Byrd was supposed to shore up the New Orleans secondary. Matt Ryan would have a good laugh at that. Here’s guessing that the Saints’ offensive effort against Atlanta on Sunday would beat most teams in the league, however.

13. Steelers (1-0): It looks like it’s going to be one of those “on” years for Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers. Their second half effort against the Browns was alarming to say the least, but in the first half Big Ben looked like he was 24-years-old.

14. Bills (1-0): Most pundits had the Bears being a playoff lock and had pegged E.J. Manuel as one of the worst starters in the league. But the Buffalo defense confused Jay Cutler in Chicago Sunday, picking him off twice, and Manuel looked more than capable.

15. Patriots (0-1): The Dolphins could prove to be legit and the loss of Logan Mankins could really be a haunting thing. But what about Revis Island? What about Vince Wilfork? What about that improved Pats defense? Shouldn’t defensive coordinator Matt Patricia start taking some heat?

16. Vikings (1-0): Cordarrelle Patterson was one of those “buzz” guys in the preseason and he more than lived up to the billing in Week 1. The nerve of this guy out-rushing Adrian Peterson. Minnesota hosts the Pats in Week 2.

17. Jets (1-0): A slow clap for the Jets, here. You beat the Raiders at home. Congrats …. Oh. It’s praise, you want? Fine. We’ll give Geno Smith props for looking improved.

18. Titans (1-0): The Chiefs were the team voted “most likely to regress” by an unofficial poll I just made up in my mind that surveyed zero Americans. The Titans beat them on Sunday. Jake Locker looked fine. The defense picked off Alex Smith three times. Good job, but need to see more.

19. Chargers (0-1): Old man Antonio Gates was targeted 10 times by Philip Rivers on Monday night, more than any other San Diego player. There’s no shame to losing in Glendale to what should be a good Cardinals team, but more Keenan Allen, please.

20. Colts (0-1): If it weren’t for that off-season rule that Roger Goodell installed that said every damn game on the schedule must be entertaining, the Colts were about to be blown out by the Broncos on Sunday night. Aqib Talib took T.Y. Hilton completely out of this game.

21. Texans (1-0): Ryan Fitzpatrick looked formidable as Houston’s starting quarterback but we’ve seen early season success out of him before. Houston could very well be the worst 2-0 team in football next week as they are in Oakland to face the Raiders on Sunday.

22. Bears (0-1): Chicago’s defense still looks poor and the highly regarded offense looks as though it shouldn’t have been so highly regarded. Losing your home opener to the Bills is as disturbing as it gets and now it looks as though the Bears will be 0-2 unless they can beat the 49ers in San Fran.

23. Ravens (0-1): The Ray Rice situation could definitely destroy the Ravens’ season. Baltimore’s offense was suspect enough heading into the year. They could take on an “us against the world” mantra, but here’s guessing it’s going all the way the other way.

24. Browns (0-1): Give them credit for hanging in there against the Steelers. Brian Hoyer did not turn the ball over and Terrance West rushed for 100 yards on 16 carries.

25. Rams (0-1): It was thought by some that replacing Sam Bradford wouldn’t be that big of a deal. In Week 1, Shaun Hill left with a quad injury and Austin Davis was installed as QB. It’s a miracle that Davis is in the league as this is a guy who was a walk-on at Southern Miss.

26. Giants (0-1): That new offense is one big [pardon the pun] giant work in progress. Eli Manning was picked off two times and the Lions defense held Victor Cruz to just two catches. New York hosts the Cardinals on Sunday.

27. Jaguars (0-1): We tabbed the Jags as the worst team in the NFL in the pre-season. Maybe not so. Chad Henne is the perfect quarterback for a five-win team. Rookie Allen Hurns is now a fantasy football waiver wire sensation.

28. Chiefs (0-1): Who says Arrowhead is a tough place to play? The Titans defense effectively took the crowd out of Sunday’s game and the Chiefs are 0-1 and will soon be 0-2 as they face the Broncos in Denver in Week 2.

29. Buccaneers (0-1): Lovie Smith’s defensive reputation took a small hit on Sunday as world-beater Derek Anderson coasted at Raymond James. Oh, and their quarterback is still Josh McCown.

30. Raiders (0-1): Derek Carr did some nice things in his NFL debut. Who knows? Maybe Oakland has truly found a quarterback. That running game could use some work, however, as Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew combined to rush for a whopping 26 yards.

31. Redskins (0-1): Those “Kirk Cousins is better than RGIII” whispers keep getting louder and louder. The best thing you can say about Robert Griffin against the Texans is that he didn’t throw a pick. The problem is, he didn’t throw a touchdown pass either.

32. Cowboys (0-1): It was all lined up for the Cowboys to make a statement on Sunday, facing an under-the-gun 49ers team. But San Francisco didn’t sweat in Arlington, scoring 21 first quarter points. Tony Romo was picked off three times and sacked three times for good measure. Dallas is at Tennessee this Sunday. No picnic.

Follow Metro Boston sports editor and columnist Matt Burke on Twitter: @BurkeMetroBOS

 
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