Week 1 of the NFL season is in the books and what a weekend it was. 13 games were decided by 9 points or less, and 4 of those contests finished with a one-point margin, all coming down to the waning seconds.
It’s pretty much impossible to truly be able to analyze every team after one game, but that’s what makes it fun. The Super Bowl rematch was brutally awesome, Belichick’s Patriots looked like, well, Belichick’s Patriots, and the Steelers’ offense looked as potent as ever.
Here are my power rankings for each team after a wild week 1 to kick off the NFL season.
1. Pittsburgh Steelers (Last Week – 4)
If you listened to our first podcast, you will remember that I predicted the Steelers to win Super Bowl 51. They had a strong outing in Week 1 on the road in Washington, a playoff team from last year, and put up 38 points. All this while arguably the best running back in the game watched from the sideline. Coach Tomlin’s team will only get better.
2. Denver Broncos (Last Week – 5)
Todd Davis looked solid in his role replacing Danny Trevathan at inside linebacker with 7.0 tackles and 0.5 sacks. The offense moved the ball extremely well against a very good Panther defense, and even with 3 turnovers, managed to pull off a win. As Trevor Siemian grows as a quarterback, this team will only get better.
3. New England Patriots (Last Week – 6)
As long as the “hoodie” is on the sideline this team will be a top contender. The ultimate plug-and-play system, the Patriots were without Tom Brady and Gronk and still managed to beat an extremely talented Cardinals team in Arizona. A very underrated defense that will probably finish in the top 5 this season.
4. Carolina Panthers (Last Week – 3)
Lost a tough fought game in Denver but demonstrated that they will still be a top contender in the league. Might have some growing pains with a young secondary but they will get stronger as the season progresses. Kelvin Benjamin proved that he is truly back and quickly became Cam Newton’s favorite target.
5. Seattle Seahawks (Last Week – 2)
Seattle dropped strictly due to the fact that they struggled mightily at home against a very suspect Miami Dolphins team. The offense really couldn’t get anything going until Russell Wilson created some magic in the final minutes of the game. The important thing is that they found a way to win and enter week 2 1-0.
6. Arizona Cardinals (Last Week – 1)
I still think this is the most talented roster in the NFL. Larry Fitzgerald proved again why he will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, but unfortunately, they were unable to get it done against a Brady-less New England team. They will get back on track, but for now had to drop them down.
7. Green Bay Packers (Last Week – 7)
This game was a scorcher down in Jacksonville reaching temperatures over 100. The Packers offense didn’t scorch the Jaguars defense, but they did show flashes of the power offense that they have the ability to be. Didn’t show me enough to move them up or down. We will wait and see if the Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson chemistry will continue to improve.
8. Cincinnati Bengals (Last Week – 8)
Tough test at Metlife Stadium against a very good Jets team and they were able to squeak out a victory. AJ Green torched Darrelle Revis for 12 receptions, 180 yards, and a touchdown. Andy Dalton looked good from the pocket, and the defense was good when it had to be. Should be a great matchup next week against the Pittsburgh Steelers and should solidify an up or down move in the rankings.
9. Houston Texans (Last Week – 9)
Started a little shakey but Brock Osweiler settled down and looked much better as the game progressed. Rookie wideout Will Fuller was a bright spot during the game and created an early connection with fellow QB Osweiler.
10. Kansas City Chiefs (Last Week – 10)
Have to credit the Chiefs with a resiliency to win as they completed their largest comeback in franchise history overcoming a 21-point deficit. Alex Smith took over the game finishing with 363 yards through the air and 2 touchdowns, along with the game-winning rushing touchdown in overtime. This team should get better when Jamaal Charles and Justin Houston return from injury.
11. Oakland Raiders (Last Week – 13)
I jumped the Raiders up two spots because of their impressive come-from-behind win in The Big Easy. Derek Carr looked like the leader that he is going to have to be, and Jack Del Rio demonstrated his confidence in this team’s ability to win by going for two after the final touchdown.
12. Philadelphia Eagles (Last Week – 14)
Carson Wentz impressed me in his first game in the NFL, even though it was against the lowly Browns. He had great zip on the ball and looked athletic outside of the pocket. The NFC East is a wide open division that has a lot of question marks, but Philadelphia had the most impressive victory in Week 1.
13. New York Jets (Last Week – 12)
Talented offense and a stout defense. Tough loss to the Bengals at home, but they battled the whole game and demonstrated that they deserved to be on the field with them, only losing by one. However, Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker will have to get more involved if this team has playoff aspirations.
14. Baltimore Ravens (Last Week – 16)
Baltimore’s defense had glimmers of Ray Lewis led defenses in Week 1 against the Buffalo Bills. The running back committee is a fantasy nightmare but if they can get some production, the offense will play smart football, and the defense will be able to protect a lead.
15. Washington Redskins (Last Week – 11)
Kirk Cousins was a fantasy surprise last season throwing for 29 touchdowns. He was unable to throw for one in Monday Night’s blowout loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers. They were beaten in all phases of the game and will have to improve quickly if they want to move back up the rankings. Lucky for them, they play in the NFC East.
16. Minnesota Vikings (Last Week – 19)
The offense looked atrocious, but the defense countered by scoring two touchdowns of their own. Adrian Peterson was held in check, but he will certainly bounce back and be the driving force of the offense. If Sam Bradford can learn the playbook and compete at a quality level, this team has a promising future. The Denver Broncos showed us last year that a powerful defense will win you close games.
17. Jacksonville Jaguars (Last Week – 17)
Didn’t give me enough to move this team up or down. The offense and passing game looked good at times, but the running struggled without the bruising Chris Ivory in the lineup. The pass rush was non-existent and will have to improve down the stretch. The good? They only lost by 4-points to a very good Green Bay team.
18. New York Giants (Last Week – 20)
The Ben McAdoo era in New York began with a win over the rival Cowboys. We already know what the passing game will be but, the running looked better to me than I expected which is why I have moved them up two spots. The defense still needs some work but they did not break against the Cowboys. Next week should be a shootout against the Saints.
19. Indianapolis Colts (Last Week – 18)
Without the stellar play of Andrew Luck, this game would not have been as close as the final score showed. The defense looked sloppy and gave up 37 points (the final 2 points came on a safety on the final kick-off) to the Lions who moved the ball with ease. Next, they have to travel to Denver to face the defending Super Bowl Champs.
20. New Orleans Saints (Last Week – 22)
Even with the loss, I moved the Saints up two spots because of how prolific the offense is. They will go into almost every game knowing that they will pretty much have to score on every possession, but this offense actually has the ability to do that.
21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Last Week – 25)
The Jameis Winston show took place in Atlanta last weekend as he tossed 4 touchdowns in a victory over the Falcons. The team overall looked good and Dirk Koetter looks like he is going to be the perfect coach to get the most out of his quarterback. They are the only NFC South team to enter Week 2 1-0.
22. Detroit Lions (Last Week – 26)
Moving day for the Lions after a solid victory over the Colts in Indianapolis. Matthew Stafford took control of the team and was out to prove that the offense could still be very good, even without Calvin Johnson. I think 39 points proves that.
23. Atlanta Falcons (Last Week – 15)
The biggest drop in the rankings is the Atlanta Falcons. I really wanted to like this team and thought they could make good on their 6-2 start last season, but I was wrong. The defense was soft and couldn’t find an answer for Jameis Winston. Devonta Freeman was banged up and was really a non-factor as Tevin Coleman took most of the snaps. One bright spot: Mohammed Sanu looked very good in his debut as the second receiver beside Julio Jones.
24. Buffalo Bills (Last Week – 21)
The Bills could get absolutely nothing going on offense against the Baltimore Ravens. Tyrod Taylor was a huge fantasy disappointment and Sammy Watkins continues to battle a foot injury. Head Coach Rex Ryan could find himself on the hot seat if they lose to his former team on Thursday night, the New York Jets.
25. Dallas Cowboys (Last Week – 24)
The Dak Prescott debut ended with a loss but he did show a lot of promise and didn’t necessarily hurt his team. He will have to do a much better job of getting Dez Bryant involved who had 1 catch for 8 yards. The head scratcher for me was the lack of rushing attack that the ‘Boys were able to produce. Behind the league’s best offensive line, rookie Ezekiel Elliott finished with 51 yards and a poultry 2.6 yards per carry.
26. Miami Dolphins (Last Week – 27)
I move the Dolphins up one spot in the wake of their loss to the Seattle Seahawks because of their ability to hang tough with a far better team. The ‘Phins looked like they were going to pull off the upset of the week before Russell Wilson led a game-winning drive in the final minutes. I do believe Adam Gase will get the offense and Arian Foster moving the ball better as the season progresses.
27. San Francisco 49ers (Last Week – 32)
If you watched the game on Monday night, the poor play of the Los Angeles Rams made the 49ers look a lot better than they actually are, however, they are definitely worthy of moving out of the bottom spot. If Hyde can stay healthy he looked like a top NFL back, and I would put Navarro Bowman in the same conversation as guys like Luke Kuechly.
28. Tennessee Titans (Last Week – 28)
Turnovers killed the Titans as they gave up two touchdowns to the Vikings defense. The defense did look good, limiting the Vikings offense and stifling All-Pro Adrian Peterson. The chemistry between Marcus Mariota and rookie Tajae Sharpe is a bright spot along with the two-headed rushing attack of Demarco Murray and Derrick Henry.
29. Chicago Bears (Last Week – 31)
The Bears hung with the Houston Texans for most of the game but ultimately fell in the end. Langford had a strong showing as the feature back, and Alshon Jeffery looked like himself hauling in over 100 yards receiving. I think the two spot move up is fair, even after a loss.
30. San Diego Chargers (Last Week – 29)
The Chargers looked dominant in the first half against the Kansas City Chiefs, but then the offense stalled in the second half and the defense couldn’t hold off the Kansas City offense. They got pushed around in the running game and ended up losing in overtime, giving the Chiefs their greatest comeback in franchise history. To add insult to injury, star receiver Keenan Allen was lost for the season with a torn ACL.
31. Cleveland Browns (Last Week – 30)
I drop the Browns back one spot after the loss to the Philadelphia Eagles and rookie quarterback Carson Wentz. A rookie quarterback’s first NFL game is usually an opposing defenses dream, however, the Browns were unable to get any pressure on Wentz, and didn’t make him uncomfortable in any way. RGIII will be out for an extended amount of time, but Josh McCown may be an upgrade at QB, you never know.
32. Los Angeles Rams (Last Week – 23)
After one week of play, the Los Angeles Rams looked like the worst team in the NFL by far. The offense could do absolutely nothing against, what many thought, was a very mediocre 49er defense. Case Keenum couldn’t drive the ball down the field, and Todd Gurley couldn’t show off his talent against 9-man fronts. The defense, the Rams focal point, struggled against very pedestrian quarterback play by Blaine Gabbert. This team has a lot of work to do as they welcome Seattle to the Los Angeles Coliseum for the first game in LA in over 20 years.