NFL Week 2 Power Rankings: Chiefs, Raiders, Packers leapfrog to top trio
A ton of movement amongst the NFL's power structure has completely reshuffled the latest rankings.
1. Kansas City Chiefs, W at New England 42-27. Last Week: 4
Highs and lows in Week 1 for the team with the league’s most impressive victory. The Chiefs went into Foxborough and won behind an explosive offensive performance highlighted by rookie Kareem Hunt rebounding from a fumble on his first carry to rack up 246 total yards from scrimmage and score three touchdowns. They also lost star safety Eric Berry for the season to an achilles injury. A huge victory for Kansas City, but a costly one.
2. Oakland Raiders, W at Tennessee 26-16. Last Week: 3
Marshawn Lynch looked like his old self in his debut for Oakland — while racking up 76 yards on hard running and while engaging in an amusingly bizarre flip after an incomplete pass. He wasn’t the only new weapon to deliver for an already potent Raider offense either; tight end Jared Cook had 56 receiving yards. Kicker Giorgio Tavecchio, signed from the practice squad the day before Sunday’s contest due to Sebastian Janikowski’s injury, went 4-for-4, including a kick from 52 yards.
3. Green Bay Packers, W against Seattle 17-9. Last Week: 6
The Packers had a more dominating performance against the Seahawks than the final score implies. They shut down everything the Seahawks tried to do on offense, limiting them to 225 yards while sacking Russell Wilson three times and forcing a fumble. The running game didn’t impress, but that hasn’t stopped Green Bay in seasons past, not when Aaron Rodgers is shredding this secondary for 300+ yards.
4. Dallas Cowboys, W against New York Giants 19-3. Last Week: 10
The Cowboys entered Sunday Night with the good news that Ezekiel Elliott may play not just this week, but every other week in the 2017 season as his appeal goes on. That didn’t erase any plans to run him as often as possible however. Elliott's 24 carries for 104 yards and a vintage Jason Witten touchdown dispatched the Giants with ease. No signs of a sophomore slump for Dallas’ two stars.
5. Atlanta Falcons, W at Chicago 23-17. Last Week: 2
The Falcons escaped a surprising close match with the Bears on the back of perhaps the most surprising touchdown of the weekend. Tight end Austin Hooper turned up downfield wide open for a bomb into blown coverage and then —there’s really no word for it besides lumbered — the rest of the way for an 88-yard touchdown. It was one of just two receptions on the day for the second-year player, but at 128 yards, he’s almost halfway to his rookie total on 271 — after just one game.
6. New England Patriots, L to Kansas City 42-27. Last Week: 1
The Patriots have started seasons poorly before, sure. But they’ve never lost at home in Gillette Stadium after leading at the half. Until now, that is. It’s hard to blame the defense’s offensive performance on the loss of Julian Edelman. And after surrendering 537 yards and 42 points to the Chiefs, they better have used the long week to get ready for a trip to New Orleans.
7. Pittsburgh Steelers, W at Cleveland 21-18. Last Week: 5
Well, it turns out there is a point to the NFL off-season and training camp after all. The Steelers who had one — rookie T.J. Watt (two sacks and an interception in his debut,) Antonio Brown (11 catches for 182 yards,) and tight end Jesse James (two touchdowns) — performed exceptionally Sunday. For Le’Veon Bell, 13 touches led to just 45 yards, a career low in output.
8. Seattle Seahawks, L at Green Bay 17-9. Last Week: 8
After Week 1, the answer to Seattle’s question mark in the backfield is that there isn’t one — yet. Russell Wilson led the team in rushing with just 40 yards. Rookie Chris Carson was the most impressive option, taking one of his six carries for a 30-yard gain. Eddie Lacy on the other hand did not impress in his return to Green Bay, with five carries for just three yards.
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Bye (Game vs. Miami Postponed.) Last Week: 9
The Bucs will finally get to start their season at home against Chicago this week. It remains to be seen how Irma will affect their readiness to host, though reports suggest the team is leaning heavily toward playing their Week 2 game in Tampa.
10. New York Giants, L at Dallas 19-3. Last Week: 7
The big concerns about the Giants were evident in their Week 1 display in Dallas. The offensive line got no push for a running game - 35 total yards and leading rusher Paul Perkins had a long carry of three — and allowed Eli Manning to be sacked three times and hurried all night. A missing Odell Beckham Jr compounded matters, but that should have been alleviated by Brandon Marshall’s arrival, and it wasn’t (one catch for Marshall, ten yards.)
11. Minnesota Vikings, W against New Orleans 29-19. Last Week: 20
The Vikings looked like one of the most complete teams in the league. We know what their defense can do. We didn’t know their offensive line was capable of pass protection or that their passing game was capable of going deep. These questions were answered, and Dalvin Cook’s potential was confirmed, against the Saints. If they keep doing it against stiffer defenses, the problems for last years Vikings seem to have melted away.
12. Philadelphia Eagles, W at Washington 30-17. Last Week: 15
The Eagles defensive line looked like the stuff of nightmares for Kirk Cousins, sacking him four times and stripping the ball twice. The other aspects of the defense had middling results, as expected. Ronald Darby’s injury is treacherous for an already paper thin cornerbacks corps. On offense it was former first round pick Nelson Agholor who stole the show (six catches, 86 yards, and one 58-yard touchdown) and not star signing Alshon Jeffery.
13. Detroit Lions, W against Arizona 35-23. Last Week: 14
That ended a lot better for Detroit than it started. Matt Stafford’s record new contract was drawing a lot of snide remarks when his season began with an 82 yard pick six and the Lions in a 10-0 hole at home. They dropped off rather quickly after his day ended with four touchdowns, a victory, and a pick six going the opposite direction.
14. Baltimore Ravens, W at Cincinnati 20-0. Last Week: 24
Joe Flacco didn’t light the world on fire, but the Ravens didn’t need him to, winning in vintage Baltimore style. They intercepted Andy Dalton four times, forced a fumble for good measure, and ran the ball into the ground and the win column even after Danny Woodhead left the game injured. Terrance West and Javorius Allen both had at least 19 carries and 71 yards, a rare sight.
15. Carolina Panthers, W at San Francisco 23-3. Last Week: 18
It's back to the ground game in Carolina, and we got an early taste of the Jonathan Stewart/Christian McCaffrey breakdown Sunday with18 carries for Stewart and 13 for the rookie. As expected, McCaffrey doing more work in the passing game. That sounds about like what we can expect this season.
16. Denver Broncos, W against Los Angeles Chargers 24-21. Last Week: 19
Opening weekend saved its best for last, as the Broncos survived a furious Charger comeback in the fourth quarter by blocking a potentially game tying field goal with one second left on the clock. The defense, 28th against the run a year ago, came up big against the LA rushing attack, locking down after a good start for Melvin Gordon and allowing just 2.9 yards per carry. Jamaal Charles, looked ready to return to action, gaining 40 yards in relief work. The line allowed four sacks and needs to tighten up.
17. Tennessee Titans, L to Oakland 26-16. Last Week: 12
Losing to a good team stings just like losing to a bad one, but the best news to come out of Week 1 for Tennessee was Marcus Mariota’s health. Their franchise qb looked completely healed from the fractured fibula that ended his 2016 season, and never more than on his 10-yard scramble to the corner of the endzone.
18. Miami Dolphins, Bye (Game vs. Tampa Postponed.) Last Week: 17
Thankfully, the Dolphins get to go on the road in Week 2. They’ll play at San Diego a week after missing their opener against Tampa.
19. Washington, L to Philadelphia 30-17. Last Week: 11
Washington’s passing game looks like it has a lot to do to catch up to where it has been in recent years. The offensive line allowed pressure nearly every play, and Cousins and his receivers — most notably new signing Terrelle Pryor — could never get on the same page, as several open deep balls fell incomplete. Jordan Reed and Jamison Crowder — the two most dangerous weapons returning to the team — combined for eight catches for 50 yards.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars, W at Houston 29-7. Last Week: 26
The Jaguars transformation into a power running team worked in Week 1, and with news that Allen Robinson will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL, it better keep working. It’s a far cry from the way the promising Jaguars played two years ago, but if Leonard Fournette can keep rushing for 100 yards and the defense can keep winning the turnover battle 4-0, this team might be even more promising in the wide open AFC South.
21. Los Angeles Rams, W against Indianapolis 46-9. Last Week: 27
A big coming out party for Sean McVay and the Rams, and most importantly Jared Goff. Cooper Kupp, Sammy Watkins, and a competent passing game all made their debuts in Los Angeles this weekend, to great success. The Colts made their plan shutting down Todd Gurley and making Goff prove it. They succeeded, and so did he.
22. Los Angeles Chargers, L at Denver 24-21. Last Week: 22
A new season, a new city, and soon a new stadium, but one week in 2017 doesn’t seem much different than 2016 for the hard luck Chargers. Once again they were right in the game late — despite being outgained 321-249 — and came away with a loss. Philip Rivers spread the ball around, but the biggest weapons — Keenan Allen and Melvin Gordon — need to do more.
23. New Orleans Saints, L at Minnesota 29-19. Last Week: 16
Big red zone problems for the Saints Monday night. They didn’t score a touchdown until the game was 29-12 late, and Will Lutz kicked three field goals from inside 24 yards. That was great news for his fantasy owners (including yours truly) but bad news for the team that just signed Adrian Peterson. New Orleans has to figure out some more creative uses for their new weapon, and fast.
24. Houston Texans, L to Jacksonville 29-7. Last Week: 13
Pour one out for the Tom Savage era in Houston. It was the worst of halves, and it was a slightly less worse half for the Texans at home Sunday. The fans at least got to see Deshaun Watson make a debut, and show promise on an immediate touchdown drive. What’s way more concerning than any questions at qb at this point is how this defense let Jacksonville dictate an entire game.
25. Buffalo Bills, W against New York Jets 21-12. Last Week: 28
The Bills survived a Lesean McCoy injury scare and the Jets and, after the Patriots were blown out at home and the Dolphins game was postponed, find themselves first in the division. How McCoy, now 29 but one of the NFL’s most injury resilient runners, handles his workload in Buffalo (284 touches in 2016, 27 in Week 1) is sure to be a key to the Bills season.
26. Arizona Cardinals, L at Detroit 35-23. Last Week: 21
The season is off to a nightmare start for the Cardinals. After an early lead, their game against Detroit fell apart and, after a severe injury to David Johnson’s wrist, perhaps their season has too. The ugliest parts of last season — Carson Palmer’s turnovers, a porous pass defense — were all on display Sunday.
27. Chicago Bears, L to Atlanta 23-17. Last Week: 30
Rookie running back Tarik Cohen will be the most sought after player on the fantasy waiver wire this weekend after stringing together enough big plays to outperform Jordan Howard and roll up 113 yards on 13 touches.
28. Cincinnati Bengals, L to Baltimore 20-0. Last Week: 23
The ugliest performance of Week 1, flat out. At least the Colts were flying to the west coast without Andrew Luck. At least Houston scored. Five turnovers, five sacks allowed, and being shutout by a division rival at home. It’s hard to find even a bronze lining in this one. Rookie Joe Mixon had nine yards on eight carries. The defense only allowed 268 yards but let Baltimore do exactly what they wanted — run the ball down their throat.
29. Cleveland Browns, L to Pittsburgh 21-18. Last Week: 32
An inspiring debut, complete with passing and rushing touchdown for DeShone Kizer highlighted a competitive game for Cleveland. They’ve seen a lot of quarterbacks in Cleveland, but they should at least get used to this one for next week.
30. San Francisco 49ers, L to Carolina 23-3. Last Week: 29
The Kyle Shanahan era didn't get off to the hottest start, but we're not sure anyone expected it to, either. The defense, a big problem a year ago, limited the Carolina offense pretty well. But then again, the Panthers didn't have to do much to outpace an anemic 49ers offense while expected rookie contributor Joe Williams sat on injured reserve.
31. New York Jets, L at Buffalo 21-12. Last Week: 31
If the Jets plan is to win via ground and pound and protecting the football, they sure need to get better at it: outgained on the ground by the Bills 190-38 and losers of the turnover battle (and the game) in Week 1.
32. Indianapolis Colts, L at Los Angeles Rams 46-9. Last Week: 25
It’s odd to think it possible Andrew Luck could be more valuable to the Colts than Peyton Manning was, but here they sit, the NFL’s worst team without him.