1. Kansas City Chiefs (2-0) Def. Philadelphia 27-20. Last Week: 1
This game started as differently as possible from their win over New England last week. The Chiefs, who put up 42 on the Patriots in the NFL season opener, were up 6-3 at halftime this week. Kareem Hunt is showing a serious knack for the big play. His 53-yard touchdown run sparked the Kansas City offense in the second half. If this defense can keep pressuring quarterbacks like it did Carson Wentz, it can survive Eric Berry’s injury. Chris Jones had the game of the weekend: three sacks, an interception, and two forced fumbles.
2. Oakland Raiders (2-0) Def. New York Jets 45-20. Last Week: 2
Michael Crabtree and the entire Raiders offense turned in the most impressive offensive performance of the week. Three scores for Crabtree came alongside a 53-yard Jalen Richard scoring dash and a 43-yard Cordarrelle Patterson scamper to the end zone. Marshawn Lynch didn’t miss out on the party either, getting his first score as a Raider. It’ll be a challenge to match this performance in primetime in Washington this Sunday.
3. Atlanta Falcons (2-0) Def. Green Bay 34-23. Last Week: 5
This Sunday Night duel wasn’t much of one before the Pack came storming back. Maybe it was a little too reminiscent of the Super Bowl by the end, but the Falcons pulled this one out much more impressively than last week in Chicago. You can thank getting the ground game going for that. A week after failing to notch a run longer than six yards, Devonta Freeman had 84 yards and two scores rushing for the victors - and the early class of the NFC.
4. New England Patriots (1-1) Won against New Orleans 36-20. Last Week: 6
Tom Brady took advantage of the Week 2 matchup with the Saints secondary to quiet any doubters after the Patriots Week 1 performance. 447 yards on just 39 attempts and three touchdowns to three different receivers. The Patriots offense is looking as dangerous and multi-faceted as ever, and Brandin Cooks is barely featuring.
5. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-0) Def. Minnesota 26-9. Last Week: 7
An off-season away from the team continues to display its toll on Le’Veon Bell, who had 91 yards on 31 touches and no play longer than 11 yards. Martavis Bryant however, has returned from his suspension in spectacular fashion - highlighted by his 51-yard touchdown catch Sunday.
6. Denver Broncos (2-0) Def. Dallas 42-17. Last Week: 16
That may just have been the Broncos most impressive win since the 2015 Super Bowl. It’s amazing what having a rushing game can do for your passing game, no matter who is in at quarterback. Last year, nothing was clicking for the Broncos on offense. This year everything is. Oh, and one of the league’s top defenses held Ezekiel Elliott to eight yards. Move along, nothing to see here.
7. Green Bay Packers (1-1) Lost to Atlanta 34-23. Last Week: 3
Tough first two games for Green Bay, who certainly seem more equipped to find a way to score on a defensive powerhouse than slow down an offensive one. With Aaron Rodgers at the helm, that might be to be expected. When you’re playing the Falcons, someone is going to get theirs. But you can’t let Julio Jones get his, and Mohamed Sanu get his, and Devonta Freeman...you get it. To Green Bay’s credit, this score could have finished really, really ugly, and in contrast to the Denver Dallas game, they didn’t let that happen.
8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0) Def. Chicago 29-7. Last Week: 9
The Buccaneers cruised in their 2017 debut against Chicago, but the offense will face a much tougher opponent next week when they travel to Minnesota. Keep an eye on whether Peyton Barber, who averaged 4.7 yards per carry on his ten attempts, plays a bigger role in the Doug Martin replacement committee going forward.
9. Detroit Lions (2-0) Def. New York Giants 24-10. Last Week: 13
If he’s healthy, there’s no doubt Ameer Abdullah will be the featured back in Detroit, just see his 32 carries through two games and Theo Riddick’s 10. He’ll be well appreciated too since Riddick led the team with just 357 yards rushing a year ago while Abdullah missed 14 games. He’s already got more rushing yards (116) than he had all of last season (101.)
10. Seattle Seahawks (1-1) Def. San Francisco 12-9. Last Week: 8
The Seahawks still have great moments - see, Russell Wilson pulling a touchdown out of nowhere by escaping pressure and placing a third-down pass where only Paul Richardson could catch it - but the problem nowadays is they needed that moment to beat the 49ers at home. It was their only touchdown of the day, a week after they failed to score any in Green Bay.
11. Baltimore Ravens (2-0) Def. Cleveland 24-0. Last Week: 14
Encouraging to see Benjamin Watson fight back from his torn Achilles and lead all receivers for the Ravens in last week’s game with eight catches for 91 yards. This team is committed to running the football and after Danny Woodhead’s injury Buck Allen is the latest beneficiary. The third-year runner had 101 total yards and a score on Sunday.
12. Dallas Cowboys (1-1) Lost to Denver 42-17. Last Week: 4
Things sure can turn South quickly, huh? Riding high off news that Ezekiel Elliott would likely play the entire 2017 season while his suspension is deliberated in court and an impressive opening weekend against the Giants, the Cowboys allowed Trevor Siemian to throw four touchdown passes, C.J. Anderson to outgain Elliott 154 yards to 22 (and outscore him two touchdowns to zero) and ended the night with LaDainian Tomlinson accusing the tailback of quitting on his team.
13. Miami Dolphins (1-0) Def. Los Angeles Chargers 19-17. Last Week: 18
Both teams held up by Irma a week ago got off to a winning start this week and in Miami, it was thanks to the leg of Cody Parkey. He was perfect on four field goal attempts, the last of which came from 54 yards out with just over a minute remaining and sent Miami home with a win.
14. Carolina Panthers (2-0) Def. Buffalo 9-3. Last Week: 15
The offense might not be firing on all cylinders but the defense certainly looks like the NFC winning squad of a few seasons ago. After two games - admittedly against the 49ers and Bills - the Panthers have allowed just six points. The offensive line is a big problem: Cam Newton was sacked six times and the team managed under three yards a rush Sunday.
15. Philadelphia Eagles (1-1) Lost to Kansas City 27-20. Last Week: 12
The Eagles need to sort out their offensive line. Expected to be one of the best in the league this season, they just allowed six sacks by Kansas City and it’s anyone’s guess at this point what the running game will look like week to week. LeGarrette Blount had 14 carries in Week 1 and zero in Week 2. Carson Wentz led the team with 55 rushing yards.
16. Minnesota Vikings (1-1) Lost to Pittsburgh 26-9. Last Week: 11
Sam Bradford’s surprise absence in this game makes it hard to answer some of the leftover questions about the Vikings offense, but we’ll try. The offensive line seemingly held up fairly well against a team that wasn’t New Orleans: they allowed just two sacks and actually averaged more yards per rush (4.6) than pass (3.6) suggesting the struggles there may have been related more to their missing quarterback.
17. Tennessee Titans (1-1) Def. Jacksonville 37-16. Last Week: 17
The Titans got back to stake their claim to the division (and are the early leaders) after an opening loss to the Raiders. We’ve said this before and been wrong, but Derrick Henry (20 carries for 117 yards through two games) looks like he’s mounting an early campaign to steal Demarco Murray’s (21 for 69) role as the featured back.
18. Washington (1-1) Def. Los Angeles Rams 27-20. Last Week: 19
The news is better for Washington than it could have been: Rob Kelley and Jordan Reed are listed as day-to-day after injuries suffered against the Rams and in Reed’s case, that’s pretty par for the course. Chris Thompson’s 61-yard touchdown run was the highlight, but the final touchdown drive was where it looked like Kirk Cousins and his new receivers - looking at you, Terrelle Pryor - might finally settle into a groove and approximate something like the passing machine Washington was a season ago.
19. Los Angeles Rams (1-1) Lost to Washington 27-20. Last Week: 21
You can’t play the Colts every week. Jared Goff is basically a rookie, so he’ll have moments (like the interception) where he plays like one. There is still worlds more reason for optimism in St. Louis than there has been for years, so don’t let a close loss against one of last seasons playoff teams cloud that. Most promising: Todd Gurley finding a lot more room and doing a lot more with it than he did a week ago.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1) Lost to Tennessee 37-16. Last Week: 20
The thing about smashmouth football is you generally have to be in the game to rely on it and, after the Titans opened the second half with 27 straight points, the Jaguars no longer were. One week after just 21 pass attempts and zero turnovers, Blake Bortles was responsible for 34 of the former...and three of the latter.
21. Houston Texans (1-1) Def. Cincinnati 13-9. Last Week: 24
The Texans desperately need receiving options other than star DeAndre Hopkins, but they didn’t think they had one in Jaelen Strong. The team released their 2015 third round pick this week. The team was missing Bruce Ellington and Will Fuller against Cincinnati, so it was no surprise rookie DeShaun Watson, continued to look for his number one receiver more often than not.
22. Arizona Cardinals (1-1) Def. Indianapolis 16-13 (OT.) Last Week: 26
A better performance from Carson Palmer and a surprise one from Chris Johnson featured in this overtime victory. Two seasons ago Johnson had 814 yards in nine starts for the Cardinals before injury took him out of the equation and allowed David Johnson to flourish, but it was Kerwynn Williams getting all the hype before this game. Nevertheless Johnson out-touched Williams 11-9, and doubled his yardage (44-22.)
23. Los Angeles Chargers (0-2) Lost to Miami 19-17. Last Week: 22
It was a tale of two field goals in Los Angeles Sunday. Two game-winning field goal attempts that went very different ways, and two missed field goals by rookie kicker Younghoe Koo, who had a game-tying attempt blocked against Denver a week ago. New city, same hard luck.
24. New York Giants (0-2) Lost to Detroit 24-10. Last Week: 10
Ben McAdoo called out Eli Manning for “sloppy” play, but for the moment the quarterback is working with a line that still can’t block (five sacks, including one reversed fumble that would have spotted the Lions a 7-0 lead) and receivers who either can’t get on the field (Odell Beckham Jr. missed his second straight contest) or open. We’d talk about the running game but that’s just piling on.
25. New Orleans Saints (0-2) Lost to New England 36-20. Last Week: 23
The Saints had an easier time getting into the end zone this week but still waited until the game was well out of hand to do so. After two games, they’ve allowed quarterbacks 793 yards through the air. Even Drew Brees will have a tough time keeping up with that.
26. Buffalo Bills (1-1) Lost to Carolina 9-3. Last Week: 25
Brutal game for the Buffalo offense, which threw (or punted) away a tremendous effort from their defense that included six sacks. Hard to see Sean McDermott walking away with a win against his former squad when LeSean McCoy gets held to nine yards on 12 carries.
27. San Francisco 49ers (0-2) Lost to Seattle 12-9. Last Week: 30
For someone supposedly on the outs in San Fran Carlos Hyde sure is piling up the yards. 124 on the ground were almost enough to grind out the Seahawks, and with those coming on only 15 carries they might want to consider going to him even more. The problem for the 49ers is a lack of anyone who could create the play Wilson did to win the game.
28. Chicago Bears (0-2) Lost to Tampa Bay 29-7. Last Week: 27
Neither of the Bears dangerous running backs could get going against Tampa Bay, and the team finished with just 20 yards to show for 16 carries. Falling behind is going to be a problem for this offense if Mike Glennon has to throw 45 times a week.
29. Cleveland Browns (0-2) Lost to Baltimore 24-10. Last Week: 29
This game was the opposite of the impressive opener for DeShone Kizer. He left with a migraine after throwing three interceptions. This week’s trip to Indianapolis will be one of the best opportunities for a win all season.
30. Cincinnati Bengals (0-2) Lost to Houston 13-9. Last Week: 28
By the time they line up to play an angry Packers team this weekend, it will have been over 260 days since the Bengals last scored a touchdown.
31. Indianapolis Colts (0-2) Lost to Arizona 16-13 (OT.) Last Week: 32
Something, something Andrew Luck. Something, something existential dread.
32. New York Jets (0-2) Lost to Oakland 45-20. Last Week: 31
It’s easy to miss when the defense is allowing 6.7 yards per rush and 7.5 yards per play, but the Jets may have found a warm body at receiver: Jermaine Kearse had two touchdowns, one from 34 yards out.