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NFL Power Rankings: Bills take top spot, AFC West shows strength | Week 1

The NFL season kicked off this week and there were plenty of shocking scores around the league, but the Bills bullied the Rams to take the top spot in Week 1.

The NFL season kicked off this week and there were plenty of shocking scores around the league, but the Bills bullied the Rams take the top spot in Week 1.

Drama was the name of the game in Week 1 of the NFL Regular season as overtime was necessary in two of the games. Familiar faces squared off against former teams in Carolina, and Seattle, and a battle of a couple favorites to take home the Lombardi Trophy squared off to kick off the opening week of the year. It’s early, but some teams made statements with their debut game of the season, while others failed to impress in their first showing. Here are AS English’s Power Rankings after Week 1.

Buffalo Bills - 1-0, last week: 2

I know I had the Rams above the Bills last week, and my words were: until someone knocks them off they will be at the top of the Power Rankings. Well, Buffalo made quick work of that by waxing LA on Thursday night. Josh Allen looked as close to perfection as you can get in Week 1. Going into the second week of the season there is not a shadow of a doubt who the best team in the league is.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 1-0, last week: 3

It was far from pretty for the Buccaneers in the opening game of the season. Tom Brady and the Bucs were very limited on the offensive end. Chalk that up to a new system in place, or Brady’s brief absence in preseason as he tended to family matters. The 19 points scored were enough to ease past the Cowboys because Dallas couldn’t move the football. Not sure if that was because of Tampa’s D or Dallas horrendous offense. Brady will sort the Bucs out on the offensive end, but the offensive line did look vulnerable from time to time on Sunday night.

Kansas City Chiefs - 0-1, last week: 7

The Chiefs will Chief. All talks about the KC reign over the AFC perhaps coming to an abrupt end was silenced, at least temporarily, after their beat down of the Cardinals. Patrick Mahomes posted typical numbers that we have grown accustomed to seeing, but going 30/39 for 360 yards and five touchdowns in not typical. The KC quarterback is just so good we have come to expect that on a weekly basis. Another high point for the Chiefs was their defense only allowing seven points through the first three quarters. The 14 points scored by the Cardinals were of no consequence as KC had the game in the bag and took the foot off the gas pedal.

Los Angeles Rams - 0-1, last week: 1

Chalk it up to a Super Bowl hangover. Chalk it up to the emotion of retuning the pregame celebrations before the Rams and the Bills kicked off the season on Thursday night. There was one team that was ready to play in Week 1, and it wasn’t the defending Super Bowl Champions. Cooper Kupp had an incredible game, despite the triple crown receiver’s lack of help at the wide receiver position. Aaron Donald is still Aaron Donald, but it must have hurt to see Von Miller lining up on the other side of the ball.

Los Angeles Chargers - 1-0, last week: 11

If it wasn’t for the Buffalo Bills, the Chargers might have had the performance of Week 1. They came out and moved the ball with ease against the Raiders defense. Justin Herbert has been continuously improving year by year and if Sunday afternoon was any indication, the LA QB is on the verge of being in the MVP conversation. There were a couple mistakes made by the Chargers, but nothing to be scandalized by if your a Chargers fan. And defensively the Chargers looked exponentially more dangerous with Khalil Mack on the defensive end of the ball. Mack had three sacks on Derek Carr, the last of which closed out the Raiders on 4th down late in the final quarter.

Cincinnati Bengals - 0-1, last week: 4

It’s possible that a tough preseason for Joe Burrow might have had something to do with his slow start to the season. Burrow had an emergency appendectomy in July, but came back from much worse last year when he was on the recovery road from a torn ACL. Burrow turned the ball over five times and the Bengals still had multiple chance to win the game late on. The offense will sort itself out. It’s certainly not time to press the panic button in Cincy.

Baltimore Ravens - 1-0, last week: 8

Contract negotiations are still ongoing between Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens after Jackson rejected an offer the Ravens proposed shortly before Week 1. He had a chance to showcase why Baltimore should make him one of the highest paid QBs in the league, but didn’t perform as expected in the season opener against the Jets. Baltimore looked sluggish in the opening half, which might be normal for a team just opening their season after a preseason in which not many of the starters saw much time. Let’s not be too harsh on Jackson, the Ravens won the game and the QB passed for 213 yards, and understandably rushed for only 17 as he waits to get paid.

Minnesota Vikings - 1-0, last week: 20

Kirk Cousins looked like the same Kirk Cousins we saw last year that led the NFL in QB efficiency. He picked apart the Packers secondary, passing for 277 yards and two TDs as Justin Jefferson had a bonkers fantasy day. The Vikings wide receiver piled up 184 yards on nine receptions and scored two touchdowns. Perhaps most impressively, the Vikings held Green Bay to just seven points and turned the Packers over twice.

Green Bay Packers: 0-1, last week: 6

Aaron Rodgers discussed the lack of playing time many of the Green Bay starters got in the preseason and blamed their Week 1 blow out loss to the Saints last year on the lack of reps the first team got. Well expect him to be giving that same speech next preseason. The defending NFL MVP no longer has his favorite receiver in Davante Adams, and passed for just 195 yards in Week 1. The Packers managed just a touchdown that came in the third quarter when they were already down 20 points. Rodgers will straighten out the offense, but when will the Packers learn from past mistakes that sitting starters all preseason may not be the most productive way to go about those exhibition games.

Miami Dolphins - 1-0, last week: 18

Fans in Miami couldn’t wait to see the wide receiving tandem of Tyreek Hill and Jalen Waddle debut in South Beach. The two lived up to the billing as Tua Tagovailoa showed flashes of the QB the Dolphins had hoped he would turn into since drafting him with the fifth overall pick in 2020. The defense forced the Patriots to commit three turnovers, held New England to under 300 total yards, and conceded just 7 points in a fantastic season debut against a playoff team last year.

Las Vegas Raiders - 0-1, last week: 10

The Raiders had their chances to beat the Chargers, but it looked like there was a missing piece to the Las Vegas puzzle. Derek Carr and Davante Adams are going to be nearly unstoppable this season. Adams had 141 yards in his Raiders debut, but Carr threw three interceptions at critical times of the game. Every time LV had a chance to get back into the game, the Raiders would commit silly mistakes that cost them the game. New head coach Josh McDaniels knows if his side can limit the mistakes the Raiders will be just fine.

San Francisco 49ers - 0-1, last week: 5

The much anticipated debut of Niners QB Trey Lance provoked more doubt than anything else in the Bay Area. After jumping out to a 10-0 lead on the Bears the Niners offense just shut off. It’s was an ugly game in the Windy City, which should have played into the Niners hands. They rushed for 176 yards, but when Lance was asked to make plays to keep the Niners in the game, the second year QB struggled at times. Jimmy Garoppolo was a game manager, and that’s what Lance has to learn how to be in a hurry. Jimmy G sitting behind Lance on the bench will be a source of constant debate this year if the Niners offense continuers to struggle.

Indianapolis Colts - 0-0-1, last week: 13

There was a whole lot of anticipation for the Colts to get their season underway with their new look offense, and veteran quarter back Matt Ryan under center. It took them forever to turn, and once they did it was almost too late. A 17 point fourth quarter saved them from dropping the opening game, but they weren’t able to close out the game in OT against a team who had everything working against them in the final 25 minutes of the game.

Denver Broncos - 0-1, last week: 9

The Russell Wilson got off on the wrong foot as his Week 1 homecoming to Seattle was spoiled by goal line turnovers and carless flags. The Broncos starters didn’t see a lot of action in the preseason and that could have been a cause of some of the mental mistakes that cost the Broncos the opener. First year head coach Nathaniel Hackett opted to go for a 64 yard field goal on 4th and 5 with 20 second left instead of trusting his former Super Bowl winning quarterback, and that might just be a story to keep an eye on over the next week.

Philadelphia Eagles - 1-0, last week: 16

Philly’s offense got a big boost when they traded for former Titan A.J. Brown and wasted no time making him the focal point of the offense. Jalen Hurts completed 18 passes on Sunday for 243 yards, 10 of those went to Brown for a total of 155 yards. Hurts also ran the ball 17 times for 90 yards. The Eagles scored with ease in Week 1, but they also gave up 35 points to the Detroit Lions.

Cleveland Browns - 1-0, last week: 25

The Browns quarterback situation may be a mess after the suspension of Deshaun Watson, but one constant Cleveland can depend on is their running game. Having Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt is a luxury of riches for the Browns in the backfield. Those two will keep the Browns in games even if Jacoby Brissett struggles, like he did on Sunday going for 147 and an interception. Let’s see how the win against public enemy number one, Baker Mayfield, spurs the Browns in the coming weeks. If the Browns can stay in the division until Watson’s return, this is going to be a very dangerous team.

New England Patriots - 0-1, last week: 19

The Patriots were coming off of a season in which their rookie quarterback led them to the playoffs, which ignited hope in Foxborough for the first time since Tom Brady left the franchise for Tampa Bay. It’s strange to see a Bill Belichick team come into a season and look out classed and out prepare in the Week 1. The Dolphins made a statement against the Patriots and NE fans should be weary. The path to the playoffs won’t be a stroll in the park in the AFC East.

Seattle Seahawks - 1-0, last week: 29

I might have got it wrong before the season started. I had very little faith in this Seahawks team coming into the season, but Geno Smith looked fantastic in his first Week 1 start in eight years. If he can look as good as he did against the Broncos all year and the defense comes up with big plays like they did on Monday night this Seattle team might surprise a few people.

New Orleans Saints - 1-0, last week: 17

The Saints got the opening day win over the Falcons thanks to a dramatic second half comeback and a last minute Wil Lutz field goal. That’s the good news, the bad news is the Saints needed a near miracle to beat a team that is only expected to win a handful of games at most this season, at most. It’s a W for the Saints, but that performance would worry me more than comfort me if I’m a New Orleans fan.

Chicago Bears - 1-0, last week: 22

The new era in Chicago got off to a successful. It was an ugly game and it was an ugly win for the Bears. Coming back on a team like the Niners is never easy, especially with the defense San Francisco has. Fields did just enough to edge the Niners, who’s offense fell asleep in the second half. I don’t think we should judge the Bears offense after the first game, because the conditions were so terrible, but the defense looked great taking advantage of a young quarterback prone to critical mistakes.

Pittsburgh Steelers - 1-0, last week: 22

There may have been uncertainty coming in to the season at the QB position in Pittsburgh, but if the defense plays like they did against the Bengals on Sunday Mitch Trubisky won’t have to carry the Steelers. The only trouble with that is J.T. Watt went down with a torn pec and that is going to have a devastating affect on this defensive unit.

Carolina Panthers - 0-1, last week: 23

There was tons of hype coming into the Panthers Browns game. Baker Mayfield may have fueled the flame with some comments regarding his former team that he may or may not have said. Let’s not forget, Baker Mayfield is a new quarterback in a new system. It doesn’t always flow smoothly from the beginning. We saw the best of Mayfield and the worst of Mayfield. The emotion got the best of him at times, but once he settled down he started hitting some deep balls down the middle and brought Carolina back in the game. Not many teams will stop the Browns running game, but the Panthers really struggled in Week 1.

Dallas Cowboys - 0-1, last week:12

There was nothing good that came out of the Cowboys Week 1 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The offense couldn’t move the ball and it became increasingly evident as the game went on that Dallas is jaw droopingly limited on the offensive end. Dak Prescott has no one to throw to except Ceedee Lamb, and now that Prescott will miss time with a broken thumb how much worse will it look for Dallas in the coming weeks. It’s already looking ugly in Big D. Just look at the fans reactions to Prescott running off the field headed to the locker room.

New York Giants - 1-0, last week: 26

Are the Giants really going to be contenders in the NFC East? The Cowboys looked dreadful and will only get worse without Dak Prescott. The Eagles will be a tough team to forecast with a young quarterback and plenty of questions surrounding them. Daniel Jones made a couple of mistakes that almost cost the Giants the game, but went 17/21 for 188 yards and two TDs. Giants fans will take those numbers every week, and with Saquon Barkley looking back to his best the there is reason for controlled excitement in the Big Apple.

Tennessee Titans - 0-1, last week: 15

Will this be the year the Titans drop out of the discussion of AFC contender? Losing A.J. Brown and Julio Jones will not be an easy void to fill, and the Titans offense looked flat against the Giants in Week 1. The defense pitched a shutout in the first half, but then had loads of trouble containing Saquon Barkley who had 194 yards of total offense, and averaged 9.1 yards a carry. If Randy Bullock hits the game winning field goal we’d be talking about another gritty win for the Titans who are used to winning ugly. Instead we are talking about a team that looks like they are fading quickly.

Arizona Cardinals - 0-1, last week: 14

The Cardinals late season slump last year carried into the beginning of this season. Arizona is used to starting hot and cooling down later on in the season, but if they can’t get the ship straightened soon, jobs will be on the line sooner rather than later. It’s true they were playing against the Kansas City Chiefs, and they can make any team look silly if they aren’t 100% focused to start the season.

Washington Commanders - 1-0, last week: 27

The Carson Wentz era in the nation’s capital got off to a successful start at FedEx Field. There were some bumps in the road, but despite his two interceptions, the former Colt went 27/41 with 313 yards and four touchdowns. Washington’s defense should get better as the year goes on as Ron Rivera whips them into shape, but if Wentz can deliver similar numbers the Commanders will surprise a lot of teams this season.

Houston Texans: 0-0-1, last week: 31

A tie is a tie. They stink. No one is ever happy about sharing the spoils at the end of a 70 minute game, but the Texans should be quite pleased to have jumped up on the Colts and controlled that game for three and a half quarters. They couldn’t close out the game, and we can chalk that up to a young team that doesn’t have the experience winning tight games late in the fourth or overtime, but there will be plenty of positives to take out of the tie against the Colts in Week 1.

Detroit Lions - 0-1, last week: 28

Stop me if this sounds familiar. The Detroit Lions dropped a heart breaker late in the game to start their season off much like all of last season. They hung tight in so many games last year, but lacked that killer instinct to finish off games. This year it was Jared Goff and the Lions who made a fourth quarter comeback to get back into the game. If they are going to win more games this year they will need to learn how to stop the run. They gave up over 200 yards and four rushing touchdowns on the ground.

New York Jets - 0-1, last week: 24

After an undefeated preseason, the Jets were handed a heavy dose of reality in Week 1 against the Ravens. With no Zach Wilson, it was Joe Flacco under center. The veteran was forced to throw it almost 60 times as the Ravens went up big from the get go. The defense kept one of the most explosive quarterbacks quiet for the better part of the first half, but It appears the Jets problems that always seem to plague them aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Jacksonville Jaguars - 0-1, last week: 30

The Jags Commanders game was the least enticing game coming into the opening week of the season, but despite the turnovers and missed opportunities from each team. The Jags only turned the ball over once, but their third down efficiency was their achilles tendon in Week 1. They totaled 383 yards, but were just 3/12 on third down conversions. Many of those third downs came in, or close, to the red zone and a team that needs as many breaks as possible can’t afford to flirt with the end zone and not come up out with 7 points. The highlights of the opener was Travon Walker looked like a five year vet in his NFL debut. If he comes and becomes a leader on that defense in his first year, the Jags will be more than satisfied with their No. 1 overall pick that surprised a lot of people.

Atlanta Falcons - 0-1, last week: 32

There was a lot to be pleasantly surprised about if you are a Falcons fan. I don’t think much is expected of this team, even if you are a die hard Atlanta fan, but Marcus Mariotta and the Falcons jumped out to a 26-10 lead over the Saints into the second half. Cordarrelle Patterson was phenomenal in Week 1, as he was all of last year and Mariota showed he’s still got some gas in the tank, throwing for 215 yards and running for another 72. Despite all of these positives, the Falcons still gave up a 16 point second half lead to a team that looked lost in the opening quarter of the game.


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