It was a very interesting week of football with several upsets out of the gates. Here, you’ll see each team evaluated and ranked where they stand as of now in the NFL season. Since there’s only one week of football, their position may not reflect their record, but account for other factors, in terms of who they beat Week 1 and how they did it.
32. Cleveland Browns (0-1) — The Browns ended last season 32nd in my #D46 Power Rankings, and now they’re back to being at dead-last. Robert Griffin III got hurt in an ugly and humiliating loss in Philadelphia, so the only glimmer of hope is gone. Now it’s back to Josh McCown and potentially looking at next year’s draft already.
31. San Diego Chargers (0-1) — I drop the Chargers one spot from my preseason rankings last month because with an impressive and insurmountable lead in Kansas City proved to be temporary, losing in overtime to the Chiefs. The Chargers collapsed in the second half to a division rival, and on top of that, might have lost Keenan Allen in the process. There’s no reason to love this Chargers team.
30. Los Angeles Rams (0-1) — I ranked them 24th at the beginning of the preseason, but a huge drop after a 28-0 shutout against the rival 49ers, who I predicted to be worse than the Rams. Los Angeles quarterback Case Keenum (not Jared Goff) looked worse than Blaine Gabbert, and to accomplish that, you have to “stink, stank, stunk” as How The Grinch Stole Christmas can put it in better words than I can.
29. Detroit Lions (1-0) — In my opinion, this is the worst team that won opening weekend. Hate me if you want, but I can’t buy into the Lions just yet after barely scraping by a bad Indianapolis team. Matthew Stafford looked impressive, which is a great start, but I want to see them against more competition. They have the Titans next week (barf) but their game at Lambeau in two weeks will be a test worthy game.
28. Chicago Bears (0-1) — I didn’t value the Texans as high as I had the Bears, but I forgot this Bears team is ugly and will take a while to come together, if it ever does. Chicago, once prided on their intimidating defense, has become so lackadaisical in games, and against a Houston offense that hasn’t come together, that’s a problem.
27. Tennessee Titans (0-1) — Did anyone else expect more out of the Titans at home against a Teddy-less Vikings team? I didn’t expect Tennessee to be that good, but if they can’t make Shaun Hill look like a backup quarterback, then chances are they’ll have a rough season. They went against one of the best defenses in the NFL, so that’s a little reprieve, which is why it’s only a one-spot drop from the preseason rankings.
26. San Fransisco 49ers (1-0) — This was my second-worst team in the NFL with my preseason ranks, but a 28-0 win in your division will, more often than not, bring you back up. I’m not sold on this 49ers team, because Blaine Gabbert wasn’t even special, but it’s that Case Keenum and the Rams were worse.
25. Dallas Cowboys (0-1) — Dallas dropped a couple because of a one-point loss in the division, which easily could’ve been won, but it’s the same Dallas narrative. It came down to a couple plays, a mental error or two, and it always costs Dallas from being an 11-win team. Dallas got field goals in the red zone rather than touchdowns, which killed them later on.
24. Indianapolis Colts (0-1) — The Colts lost to the Lions at home and made Matthew Stafford look like an elite quarterback. This is what you ask for when you bring back a sub-average head coach and make little to no upgrades defensively. It’s not looking good for Indianapolis.
23. Buffalo Bills (0-1) — I had Buffalo ranked 14th in my rankings a month ago, and quickly, I regret that. I originally felt a healthy offense would help, yet on the contrary, this team couldn’t capitalize offensively at Baltimore. This could be an overreaction, but they’ll need to find a way to bounce back.
22. Philadelphia Eagles (1-0) — Philadelphia helped themselves in the rankings starting Carson Wentz and getting his first NFL career win, which I didn’t see coming. The Eagles aren’t out of the woods yet, but it instills some confidence they’ll be able to win games at this level with Wentz.
21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0) — I’d call their division road victory against the Falcons a great start to the NFL season. Offensively, Jameis Winston thrived with Mike Evans and company; while defensively, the Buccaneers held Devonta Freeman in check and earn a little more respect after the opening week.
20. Houston Texans (1-0) — Houston answered my reason for doubt in the opening week. How would this totally new-look offense mesh together? The answer is, quite well. There’s a couple kinks to work out, but so far, the Osweiler, Miller, and Fuller experiment is off to a great start.
19. New Orleans Saints (0-1) — Despite tasting defeat, they move up from the preseason rankings of mine, if that means anything. It was a tough game against the Raiders and this Saints team was able to compete. If nothing else, they re-signed Drew Brees, so that’s reason enough to move them up.
18. Atlanta Falcons (0-1) — If it wasn’t for a late lunge by the Falcons, the score would’ve resembled the lopsided game it was. The Buccaneers came into the Georgia Dome and dominated the Falcons, which means Atlanta has some problems. Atlanta’s defense hasn’t improved, based off their Week 1 performance, so it’s hard to think of this team in the top half of the league anymore.
17. Miami Dolphins (0-1) — In a losing effort, I am impressed with the Dolphins this game. This team went cross-country to Seattle and only lost 12-10. Adam Gase will have this team competing and in every game they play this year, I would guess, after their opener in Seattle. There was nothing special about the offense, but this defense showed up, and if it wasn’t for a touchdown pass by Wilson with 31 seconds to spare, the Dolphins pull off a major upset.
16. Washington Redskins (0-1) — After feeling they’re a top ten team, the Redskins couldn’t handle the visiting Steelers at all on Monday Night Football. Are the Steelers a great team? Yes, but the Redskins should have kept up offensively. Now, Washington is in a must-win situation against Dallas this week to avoid an 0-2 start.
15. Baltimore Ravens (1-0) — Baltimore took a 13-7 win at home over the Buffalo Bills. Expecting much out of Buffalo’s offense, the Ravens were prepared and took care of business defensively. The offense wasn’t overwhelmingly impressive, but seeing Justin Forsett and Mike Wallace contribute was good. The Ravens have a division game against Cleveland this week, so it should be an easy 2-0 start.
14. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1) — In a losing effort to the Packers, Jacksonville opened eyes to what they can do as a young team. Could they have won the game at home? Absolutely, but Jacksonville has something to build on and they’ll win at least 8 games this season.
13. New York Jets (0-1) — The Jets lost a home game against the Bengals by one point, which is nothing to be ashamed of. Todd Bowles still has these guys buying in, and with Fitzpatrick missing much of the spring and summer, it’s good their offense kept up against a good team defensively. You’re allowed to get excited about the Jets today.
12. New York Giants (1-0) — If we’re honest, the Giants showed up in Dallas and got the monkey off their back, finally winning the season opener against the ‘Boys. Not only did their offense run simple plays successfully, but their defense held 4th overall pick Ezekiel Elliott in check all game. I wouldn’t place them in the top ten just yet, but they’re going in the right direction.
11. Denver Broncos (1-0) — Many will disagree leaving the defending champions outside the top ten, but moving up ten spots from the preseason rankings is a feat in itself. This team looked good against a great team in Carolina, but could have lost that game if it wasn’t for a missed field goal. I recognize the Broncos competed with Carolina and won, but let’s wait a week or two to see what happens next.
10. Minnesota Vikings (1-0) — Winning on the road opening week with Shaun Hill is the best you can ask for. Even with the win being over the Titans, we can applaud Minnesota’s defense for still looking awesome. I don’t know how far the defense can bring this team, but if they can win with Adrian Peterson doing virtually nothing, their season looks better than when the Bridgewater reports came in.
9. Arizona Cardinals (0-1) — This team SHOULD have beaten the Patriots in week one, especially hosting the Patriots without Brady and Gronk. The Cardinals failed to deliver, and though I still value this team in the top ten, needs a home win against the Buccaneers before I sell my stock.
8. Cincinnati Bengals (1-0) — Let’s give Cincinnati credit for being a regular season juggernaut. The Bengals perform well at this time of the year and came away with a road win against the Jets, another team I applauded from opening weekend. If Cincinnati can beat Pittsburgh this upcoming week, expect them to shoot up even higher in the next rankings.
7. Oakland Raiders (1-0) — Down 24-13 on the road after 45 minutes of play, Oakland’s offense was able to carry them back to win this game with a 35-34 final. Oakland’s offense looked great, their defense not so much. I’ll give the Raiders a pass because they played NOLA’s superb offensive attack, and the fact they won, but they’ll need to work on their defense if they plan on competing in the AFC West.
6. Kansas City Chiefs (1-0) — I was tempted to put them below Oakland, only because they got so far behind at home against the San Diego Chargers. However, the Chiefs found themselves down 17 points in the 4th quarter, forced overtime, and an Alex Smith touchdown run put them over. This comeback is good to have the opening week, putting a resilient mindset in place for the season ahead.
5. Carolina Panthers (0-1) — Like it or not, despite losing this past week to a Broncos team that lost a lot this offseason, the Panthers are still one of the better teams in the NFL. I expected more out of the Panthers, but if they can beat the 49ers and Vikings the next couple weeks, they should be more than fine this year.
4. Green Bay Packers (1-0) — This Packers team should not be underestimated. This cold-nature team went down to Florida to play a young and uprising Jaguars team and came away with an impressive win the first week. Green Bay usually isn’t great in openers, but to win this game was huge to set the tone for 2016.
3. Seattle Seahawks (1-0) — Despite a win, I’ll drop them one spot from my preseason rankings. Call me a tough judge, but I expected more of Seattle at home against the Miami Dolphins. I’m hoping it said more about the Dolphins and Gase than it did the Seahawks and Carroll, but I’m not sure. It’s still a premier team in the league, but the next two weeks they have division games to reassert their dominance.
2. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0) — If it wasn’t so much about Seattle, it was a lot about Pittsburgh’s 38-16 win on the road against Washington to bring the Steelers the number two spot. I valued Washington as a top ten team, with a great defense and a promising aerial assault. Pittsburgh, with a below-average secondary, handled Washington perfectly. Their main test comes next week against Cincinnati, which everyone should watch if able.
1. New England Patriots (1-0) — This was my preseason number one, and I expected them to lose against the Cardinals opening week. Without Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, Dion Lewis, Nate Solder, Jonathan Cooper, and Rob Ninkovich, this team was able to pull off the biggest “upset” of Week 1 in Arizona. Credit Bill Belichick for putting a horrific offensive line, Martellus “B-” Bennett, and Jimmy Garoppolo in position to give Jimmy G his first career win and the Patriots their first win (of many) this season.
How do you think these teams should have ranked after the first week of football being back? Of course, New England has to be at everyone’s one-spot, but did you think your team was ranked fairly? Let me know!