NFL Power Rankings Week 2: Eagles remain top, Cowboys surge, and Bengals drop
The Philadelphia Eagles remain at the top of our NFL Power Rankings after taking care of Minnesota to improve to 2-0 while dropping the Vikings to 0-2.
There are just nine teams that remain undefeated in the NFL after Week 2 and one-third of those teams come from the NFC South, which many people thought was going to be the weakest in the league. Meanwhile three playoff teams from last year have started the season 0-2. There was plenty of entertainment that led to lots of movement in our newest edition of Power Rankings after Week 2.
1. Philadelphia Eagles (2-0), last week 1
D’Andre Swift had 175 yards and a TD filling in for Kenneth Gainwell who has yet to really secure his spot as the RB1. The defense is forcing turnovers, although they aren’t the lock down unit we had become accustomed to last year. The only real question mark that surrounds the Eagles is around a quarterback who finished second in MVP voting last year. For a team that is still figuring things out, I’d say they are doing just fine.
2. San Francisco 49ers (2-0), last week 2
Aside from last year, the rivalry between the Rams and Niners is one of the fiercest, most physical in football. The Niners may be one of the best teams in the NFC, but when they match up with the Rams, nothing is a given. They were made to sweat until deep into the fourth quarter, but an interception changed the outcome of the game, as the defense yet again made the play that mattered in the second half.
3. Miami Dolphins (2-0), last week 4
For some reason everyone was taking the Patriots to top Miami in the Sunday night game from Foxborough, , but again Tua and the Dolphins made those doubters look foolish, yet again. How long is it going to be before we recognize that this is a team that is built to go deep into the playoffs? Their defense is always going to be the weak spot, but they contained Mac Jones and the Pats offense on Sunday night. Tua had a decent day, but the Dolphins will be more pleased with Raheem Mostert’s 121 yards and a TD on 18 carries. If the offense can balance itself out even a little bit it will make the passing game that much more dangerous. Another impressive performance on the road from the best looking team in the AFC.
4. Kansas City Chiefs (1-1), last week 3
Patrick Mahomes is still developing chemistry with his new receiving corp and it shows. Luckily for him and the Chiefs, Travis Kelce returned to save the day on the offensive end, but on Sunday it was the defense that held it down for KC as Chris Jones made his season debut after ending his holdout. They held the Jags out of the end zone all day, even when they had 1st and Goal from the 1. We haven’t seen the Chiefs defense win many games, but if that’s the case it’s going to give the offense a bit more leeway until they figure things out on the offensive side of the ball.
5. Dallas Cowboys (2-0), last week 5
The Cowboys made no mistake about underestimating a wounded Jets team from Dallas on Sunday afternoon. Anyone who was looking for a let down from Big D after their 40 point drubbing of the Giants is going to have to wait another week. Micah Parsons is the most dominant player in the league, and he helped his defense come up with three picks on Zach Wilson. They had one momentary lapse which led to a one play 68 yard TD, if it weren’t for that they would be going into Week 3 without allowing a touchdown in their first 120 minutes of football, not to mention the 70 points they have scored in two games.
6. Baltimore Ravens (2-0), last week 6
J.K. Dobbins went down with a season ending knee injury, but the Ravens back field by committee took care of business, which should come as no surprise for us by now. They posted 178 yards as a unit, and when it mattered most it was the run game who picked up some pivotal first downs to ice the game in Cincinnati.
7. Buffalo Bills (1-1), last week 8
The Bills returned to Orchard Park to make their home debut which was exactly the remedy the doctor prescribed after a devastating loss in New York last week. Josh Allen put his four turnover performance in the rearview and looked like an MVP type QB, missing just 6 of his 37 passes against the Raiders.
8. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1), last week 9
Hope is sky high in Jacksonville, but we have to remember how young this Jags team is. They had every opportunity to beat the Chiefs after turning them over three times, two of those giving Trevor Lawrence and the offense fantastic field position. One TD would have changed the game around, but the Jags couldn’t punch it in even with 1st and Goal from the 1. This team is loaded with talent, but it’s early and they will make mistakes. It will be Doug Pederson’s job to polish this team off before the postseason rolls around. Luckily for them they have 16 more weeks to do so.
9. Los Angeles Rams (1-1), last week 15
I must admit, the Rams have surprised me after two weeks. Even in their loss to the Niners, there are glimpses of what made this LA team so good two years ago, and they are doing it without one of the top receivers in the game. Puka Nacua is the early season candidate for rookie of the year after demolishing the rookie record for receptions in his first two games with 25. One mistake changed the game for the Rams against San Fran. Kyren Williams’ bobble that led to an interception swung the momentum in the favor of the visitors, and the Niners put them to the sword.
10. Detroit Lions (1-1), last week 7
Talk about a let down. After an offseason of hype, and a Week 1 win that only fueled the fire to that hype the Lions couldn’t wait to get home in front of their fans. Until the Lions fix their problems on the defensive end, they won’t be an elite team in the NFC. Their coach talks about biting people in the knee caps, and eating 11 raw ostrich eggs for predator protein. Maybe its time for the defense to adopt some of those routines to bring some edge to that unit.
11. Los Angeles Chargers (0-2), last week 11
Losing to the Dolphins in a Week 1 shootout is understandable. Losing to the Titans after dropping the season opener is unexceptable for a team who many believed have the ability to get to the Super Bowl. LA didn’t have Austin Ekeler, which I get is a big absence in the backfield, but you would have thought the Chargers have enough weapons to make up for that. In the end, their Achilles heel is their defense who made Ryan Tannehill look like Peyton Manning in the overtime loss.
12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-0), last week 18
Who would have thoughy that the Bucs were going to be 2-0 in their first two weeks of the Post-Brady era? Give it up to Baker Mayfield who seems to have rallied the locker room with his heart and his fight as the leader of the offense. Todd Bowles defense went up against the always tricky Justin Fields and held him to 3 yards rushing. Anytime you do that against the Bears, you are going go come out of the game with a victory in your pocket.
13. Cincinnati Bengals (0-2), last week 10
It’s becoming all too common of a theme in Cincinnati. Joe Burrow gets hurt in the preseason, and it takes the Bengals offense a few games to start clicking. Last year it cost them a first round bye and home field throughout the playoffs, this year what will it cost them? Burrow admitted after the game that when the QB misses training camp “it’s tough to start fast.” The only reason they are still in the top half of this list is because of the team we think they can be and have been for the last two seasons.
14. Seattle Seahawks (1-1), last week 23
There he is! There’s the Geno Smith we were waiting to see after getting his big money deal this offseason. Seattle laid one of the biggest duds of Week 1 against the Rams, and had to go into the inferno that was Ford Field in the Lions home opener. They exchanged blows with Detroit until they got the last laugh in OT as Smith found Tyler Lockett for the game winning TD to ease the sorrows of that opening week loss.
15. Washington Commanders (2-0), last week 17
It took about 5 game minutes for the Commanders to erase a 21-3 deficit. That says a lot about the Broncos, but it should say even more about the Commanders. Sam Howell and Brian Robinson Jr. were heroic in the comeback bid in the Mile High City, but then it was Washington who almost let the Broncos make their own comeback with under two minutes to go in the fourth. After two weeks Washington has played two teams that are ranked in the bottom five of our Power Rankings, but they won those two games and that’s all Commanders fans can ask for.
16. Atlanta Falcons (2-0), last week 16
Down by 12 heading into the fourth quarter, the Falcons looked like they were on their way to their first loss of the season, but the defense clamped down on Jordan Love and the Packers holding them to zero first downs in their final three possessions which allowed Desmond Ridder to construct three scoring drives including the go ahead field goal with under a minute to go in the fourth. The ATL has brought back a style of football we haven’t seen in decades. Run the ball and defend. On Sunday the Falcons ran for 211 yards while, and held the Packers to 224 total yards.
17. Cleveland Browns (1-1), last week 13
Jim Schwartz has a good thing going in Cleveland. His defense has looked like one of the most sound units in the league through two weeks, and they did almost enough to overcome four turnovers by the Browns offense. It’s not easy to win games when you turn the ball over, it’s even harder to win games when those turnovers get taken for six. The loss hurts, but losing Nick Chubb for the rest of the season is devastating.
18. Green Bay Packers (1-1), last week 14
The Pack were on route to their second straight win in the Forget Rodgers tour, but the offense disappeared in the final 15 minutes and the Falcons came roaring back, while running all over the Green Bay defense. I get it, the Packers didn’t have Aaron Jones who would have been instrumental in getting a few first downs and keeping the clock running in the final quarter. One thing is to get beat by two TDs in two drives, but Green Bay let the Falcons win with a a TD drive and then two field goals, after having the ball for just 3:19 in the final quarter.
19. New York Giants (1-1), last week 24
New York beat writers had their pitch forks sharpened and ready after the Giants went scoreless in the first half against the Cardinals to start the year with 0 points in the first six quarters of the season. Luckily for Brian Daboll, Daniel Jones and the rest of the Giants, they were playing the Cardinals. The Giants turned on the offense going TD, TD, TD, FG in their four second half drives to complete the comeback in the desert. The bad news is Saquon Barkley took a scary hit and limped off the field with an ankle injury as the Giants looked to position themselves for a go ahead field goal. New York will be breathing a sigh of relief after their star RB’s MRI showed he suffered nothing but a sprained ankle in Sunday’s comeback win.
20. New Orleans Saints (2-0), last week 21
The Saints hit the road and played an eerily similar game to the one they played in Week 1. It was ugly for most of the night, especially on the offensive end, but the defense shut down the Panthers like the did to the Titans last week. They scored one TD but were forced to settle for field goals until late in the 4th quarter when Rashid Shaheed made a 45 yard catch to set up a TD that put that game out of reach for Carolina. They are 2-0 through two weeks, but there is a lot to improve for Derek Carr and the Saints offense.
21. New York Jets (1-1), last week 12
The Jets knew they were in for a long afternoon in Dallas, and credit to them, they hung in the game for longer than expected. There is only so much a defense can do to keep their team in the game, especially when your QB throws three picks. Either Nathaniel Hackett tweaks his offense to fit Zach Wilson’s game, or the Jets are going to have to bring in a QB that can run the offense more efficiently than the current QB1.
22. Tennessee Titans (1-1), last week 30
File that win under C for curveball. After seeing the Titans lethargic performance in the season opener, many were calling for Ryan Tannehill’s head in Tennessee, but he shut plenty of people up, going 20/24 for 246 yards with a TD and another rushing TD. I can definitely say with confidence I overreacted dropping the Titans that far down the Rankings in Week 1, but they are 1-1 this season, and Derrick Henry has yet to get the wheels turning this season.
23. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1), last week 26
Kenny Pickett should be on his hands and knees thanking the defense for saving the Steelers from dropping into an 0-2 slump to start the season. The struggles moving the ball aren’t solely on the young QBs shoulders considering the run game went for just 55 yards, but he did complete just 50% of his passes and threw an interception. The defense started the game with a bang and ended the game with a bang as Alex Highsmith began the night with a pick six and ended it with a strip sack turned touchdown by TJ Watt.
24. Las Vegas Raiders (1-1), last week 19
Las Vegas came out ready for their opening possession against the Buffalo Bills. They drove right down the field and scored a touchdown in the first three minutes to take an early 7-0 lead in Orchard Park. Unfortunately, they weren’t ready for the other 57 minutes. For the rest of the game they scored as many points as they had turnovers.
25. Minnesota Vikings (0-2), last week 20
For the second straight game, Kirk Cousins threw for over 300 yards and Justin Jefferson had over 150 yards receiving, but the Vikings ended up losing. It doesn’t matter how many yards a team throws for, if they can’t hang on to the ball it’s impossible to win. They fumbled the ball four times against the Eagles, and through two weeks they have committed seven turnovers.
26. New England Patriots (0-2), last week 22
For the second straight week the Patriots were a fourth down conversion away from potentially being 2-0 on the season, but instead they are 0-2 for the first time since 2001. They have played two really good teams, but the patience with the Pats in New England is running thin, and there is speculation that Bill Belichick’s seat in Foxborough is getting hotter and hotter.
27. Denver Broncos (0-2), last week 25
This wasn’t the plan when Sean Payton was brought in to bring Russell Wilson and the Broncos out of the Mile High rut that they were stuck in last year. In fairness, Russell Wilson looked like his old self in the first half against the Commanders, but his inexplicable fumble before halftime gave the Commanders that ray of light they needed to make a comeback in the blink of an eye. It took the Broncos 58 minute to show the sense of urgency it takes to win a football game in the NFL, and it cost them their second loss of the season.
28. Chicago Bears (0-2), last week 27
It’s no secret that the Bears live and die on Justin Fields’ ability to run the ball. This team is not equipped to win without their anchor on offense standing in the pocket and zipping it around the field. That’s exactly what the Bucs forced the Chicago QB into on Sunday and in the end, a late mistake turned into Shaquil Barrett pick six to send the Bears to 0-2 on the season.
29. Indianapolis Colts (1-1), last week 29
Indy got their first win of the season, but took a loss along the way. Rookie QB Anthony Richardson outplayed No. 2 overall pick C.J. Stroud running in two TDs before suffering a concussion in the first half. The good news is Richardson won’t be out for too long, but he’s played two games this season and he’s already taking a beating.
30. Arizona Cardinals (0-2), last week 28
Giving up a 20-0 lead hurts. There is no getting around that, but there were signs of life for the Cardinals in the first half of their game against the Giants. Josh Dobbs seemed more than capable of running the offense, and the defense dominated the Giants for a half hour in Glendale, but the Cardinals looked like a different team coming out of the halftime break. Arizona aren’t expected to win a lot of games this year, and 20 point leads aren’t easy to come by. The Cardinals missed a great chance to get a rare win in the desert on Sunday.
31. Carolina Panthers (0-2), last week 31
Bryce Young and Carolina had another rough week on the offensive side of the ball. That comes with the territory of having a rookie QB. The Panthers were in position to score inside the 20 on a couple occasions, but the offense couldn’t punch it into the end zone. The Panthers still need a little more stability in the backfield to help their young gunslinger, but if there is any good news coming out of Week 2, it’s the TD Young threw to Adam Thielen at the end of the game. Let’s see if that takes the lid off the goal line and makes scoring touchdowns a little easier for the rookie.
32. Houston Texans (0-2), last week 32
The worst spot you can put a rookie quarterback is behind an offensive line that can’t protect him. That is exactly the situation that C.J. Stroud is in at the moment in Texas. He did throw for 384 yards, but he was sacked 6 times in Week 2 and 5 times in Week 1. This lack of protection can have a serious affect on a young QB in the short term and the long term. Houston’s priority should be protecting their long term investment, or sitting him until the offensive line is able to protect him.