Week 1 NFL Power Rankings: Where Does Every Team Rank After Monday's Games?
A lot can change in one week. Especially when the NFL season finally kicks off. How does the NFL landscape look after the first weekend of play?
Will the San Francisco 49ers retake their place atop our power rankings after a move to the No. 3 spot in the preseason edition? How far will the Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints fall after losing their season openers?
A new ranking is in order. Where does your team rank?
32. Miami Dolphins
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Last week: No. 30
Ryan Tannehill didn't look bad in his first NFL start at quarterback. The Texas A&M product flashed the arm strength and accuracy that made him the No. 8 overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft, and it was enough to give Dolphins fans reason to believe in Tannehill as the future of the team.
In every aspect of the game, the Miami Dolphins were dominated.
They couldn't stop Arian Foster and the Houston run game. They couldn't cover Andre Johnson. They couldn't block J.J. Watt or Brooks Reed. From the opening kickoff, this was an all-around failure for Miami. And that's why they are ranked No. 32 overall.
31. Cleveland Browns
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Last week: No. 31
Despite their loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, the Browns were in the game the entire time.
There is not a person in Cleveland who should feel bad about a one-point loss to a team that many picked to win the NFC East. The Browns showed toughness, especially on defense, and proved their worth to pundits and fans around the league.
The Cleveland defense was outstanding. Their young linebackers and secondary will make this season a competitive one.
For as great as the defense played, the offense was equally abysmal. Rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden struggled from the first snap, completing just 12 of 35 passes for 118 yards.
In a game where the defense did their part, the offense is the sole reason for a loss and the team's No. 31 overall ranking.
30. Seattle Seahawks
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Last week: No. 30
The Seahawks won't be able to find much good in their loss to the Arizona Cardinals, but there is silver lining to this dark cloud.
Rookie quarterback Russell Wilson was solid at times, showing enough potential to likely keep his starting job past this first week; Pete Carroll had previously only proclaimed Wilson the starter for Week 1.
The defense looked solid, keeping the game close when the offense couldn't generate points. There's enough potential here that if the Seahawks can find a spark on offense, they'll be able to rise up the board.
Losing to the Arizona Cardinals is pretty bad.
The Seattle offense couldn't score when it mattered most, and they handcuffed the team's chances all game due to a dink-and-dunk offense that failed to stretch the field and take advantage of the Arizona secondary.
29. Arizona Cardinals
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Last week: No. 32
In the NFL, you take the wins when you can. The Arizona Cardinals survived an injury to quarterback John Skelton and came away with a win thanks to backup Kevin Kolb's go-ahead drive.
The Cardinals weren't great, by any means, but they were good enough to win late. The secondary stepped up in the final minutes as the Seahawks put together a drive that could have won the game.
The offense is still a huge question mark.
Skelton went out injured and the mobile Kolb had to move around in the pocket to make plays. The offensive line allowed only one sack, but that's as much a credit to the quick throws of the quarterbacks. Further complicating matters was the fact that the run game remained grounded by the same offensive line problems.
The Cardinals are 1-0, but no one should feel good about this team's chances of hitting .500.
28. Indianapolis Colts
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Last week: No. 28
A loss hurts, especially when rookie quarterback Andrew Luck turned the ball over four times (3 INT, 1 fumble).
But Luck isn't solely to blame, and he did look very good at times. Reggie Wayne had an unreal day, catching nine passes for 135 yards, showing that he's still capable of being a go-to receiver for the Indianapolis offense.
The defense played well, despite the 41 points allowed. There was solid play from the 3-4 scheme that should give Indy hope moving forward.
The talent around Luck on offense will make this a long season. Luck was never able to get comfortable in the pocket against the Chicago pass rush, and that alone shut down the Colts offense. With Luck not able to set up in the pocket or even throw on balance, the Colts offense was inept.
The season will feature plenty of bumps for Luck and the offense, though there is enough good here to build on.
27. Oakland Raiders
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Last week: No. 27
Darren McFadden is back.
The Raiders' running back was the team's offense on Monday night, setting a career high for touches in a single game while putting up 86 yards receiving on 13 catches. McFadden showed on Monday night why so many people are in love with his game-breaking potential.
The defensive front seven played very well, consistently pressuring Philip Rivers and throwing off the timing of the San Diego offense. Miles Burris, a fourth round draft pick, played very well at the outside linebacker position and Rolando McClain cleaned up at the middle linebacker spot.
The Raiders' offense stunk up the joint.
Carson Palmer went through a stretch in the second half where he threw to McFadden, and McFadden only. Palmer's trust in his receivers seemingly went out the door after bad route communication led to his yapping at Darius Heyward-Bey after two consecutive passing plays.
The offensive line did little to help. Palmer was consistently pressured by multiple defenders, and even the great McFadden struggled to find daylight.
Special teams play was atrocious for Oakland, particularly the punt team. On three straight punts there was either a bad snap or block due to the offensive line.
26. Jacksonville Jaguars
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Last week: No. 22
It all starts with Blaine Gabbert and Maurice Jones-Drew.
The second-year quarterback, Gabbert, looked very good in his first start of his second season. Gabbert was criticized by many last season for poor pocket presence and accuracy under pressure, but Gabbert showed off a new composed and accurate self versus Minnesota.
Fresh off his holdout, MJD was strong as usual. He may not have been in game shape, but Jones-Drew was able to carry the load and take pressure off Gabbert and Co. on offense.
In the end, the Jaguars couldn't hold on for the win.
The strength of this team was supposed to be the defense, but allowing the Vikings to score 26 points doesn't represent a tough defense. Allowing Adrian Peterson to rack up 84 yards, and second-year quarterback Christian Ponder to complete 20 of 26 passes, was ultimately too much for the offense to recover from.
Losing in overtime to the Vikings wasn't how the team wanted to start the year. Gabbert, while better, made too many poor decisions that kept the door open for the Vikings all day. In the end, those poor decisions were the difference in this OT decider.
25. Carolina Panthers
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Last week: No. 19
Cam Newton's sophomore slump must be on hold until Week 2.
The reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year was very good on Sunday (23-of-33, 303 yards, 1 TD), showing the same energy that fueled his excellent first season.
The Carolina defense did their job, holding the Bucs to just 16 points. The speed on defense was an issue for Tampa, limiting Josh Freeman to throw for just 136 yards.
Where was the run game?
Newton was asked to throw more in a game where the team ran the ball for just 10 yards. This isn't how the Panthers want to play football. The interior line was dominated by the Tampa defensive tackles, especially Gerald McCoy. The push from the middle was enough to throw off the Carolina run game and keep Newton from escaping through run lanes created by overaggressive pass-rushers.
The team was gouged up the middle consistently, and the Panthers must get better at defensive tackle.
24. St. Louis Rams
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Last week: No. 29
Losing by four points to the Detroit Lions is a big win for the St. Louis Rams.
The defense was very good, especially in the first half. Janoris Jenkins and Cortland Finnegan were superb in forcing Matthew Stafford into poor decisions—and that led to three first-half interceptions by the Lions quarterback.
The fact that the Rams hung around in this game for so long is a major moral victory for the team, and enough to give them momentum heading into Week 2 versus Washington.
The defense started out great, but they couldn't finish the job. By the fourth quarter, Stafford was back on track and was finding openings without missing a beat.
The Rams offense was solid, but there was too much pressure getting through to Sam Bradford, especially off the edge. For the Rams to play a complete game, and win, their outside protection has to be better.
23. Minnesota Vikings
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Last week: No. 24
Adrian Peterson is back, and the Minnesota Vikings are 1-0.
Christian Ponder had a workmanlike day, completing 20 of 27 and pushing the ball upfield effectively. The Vikings didn't have a passing touchdown, but Ponder put the team into position to run the ball in for scores.
A win is a win, and the Vikings have momentum going into Week 2.
The defense was hot and cold, and the cornerback play is still an issue for the team.
For as good as the run game was, the passing game will have to be much more complex and productive to win games over the course of the season.
Where was Jared Allen? The guy who led the NFL in sacks last year and almost tied the single-season sack record was invisible on Sunday against a quarterback who couldn't stay in the pocket last year.
22. San Diego Chargers
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Last week: No. 23
A win is a win, and the San Diego Chargers will take it. Moving to 1-0 on the schedule puts the Chargers in an early tie with the Denver Broncos as the division leaders.
The San Diego defense settled down in this game, showing up in the second half and completely shutting down the Oakland run game. The ability of the Chargers' linebackers to penetrate and control the line of scrimmage made for a non-existant offensive second-half in Oakland.
You have to feel good about San Diego's special teams play. This game was won on the strength of their punt return team.
In this game, Philip Rivers looked superhuman at times, terrible at others. He struggled to set his feet in the pocket, which led to overthrows on wide-open receivers. The route communication wasn't always great, Rivers potentially missed one touchdown throw when he threw to the corner and the receiver wasn't there yet.
The offensive line let Rivers and the offense down in this one. They weren't opening holes for the run game, but they also left Rivers exposed to the Raider defense. This did improve in the second half, but against a team that can score points and force San Diego to throw the ball, this will be a problem.
21. Buffalo Bills
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Last week: No. 16
The best news for the Buffalo Bills is that the game is over.
You can't take much good away from a 48-28 thumping, especially when the game wasn't as close as the final score might indicate.
The Bills need to quickly get over this one, and fix the mistakes that led to the loss.
There was nothing good about the absolute beatdown the Bills suffered at the hands of the New York Jets.
Fred Jackson's injury is the lasting black eye from this punch in the face, and it's an injury that will severely limit what Buffalo can do over the next four to six weeks. The offense wasn't great with Jackson; \they'll be in even more serious trouble without him.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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Last week: No. 21
The defensive line played an amazing all-around game, shutting down the Carolina Panthers run game and keeping Cam Newton from getting comfortable as a runner. That was enough to get the Bucs their first win of the calender year, ending a 10-game losing streak.
Doug Martin played very well in his first outing, putting up 94 yards and proving to be the player the Buccaneers hoped they were getting late in Round 1 in April.
As great as the defense played, the passing game on offense was missing.
Josh Freeman didn't take many chances downfield, and his 16 yards passing in the second half left the door open for the Panthers. For the Buccaneers to compete in the NFC South, they need Freeman to open things up offensively.
19. Tennessee Titans
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Last week: No. 18
After a strong showing in the preseason, the Tennessee Titans pass rush looked very good against the New England Patriots.
Before going down with an injury, Jake Locker looked solid at quarterback. He was quick, efficient and accurate enough to generate 229 yards on 23 completions. Locker wasn't blowing the doors off the defense, but he was showing why the Titans made him the starting quarterback.
An injured Jake Locker and a loss isn't how the team wanted to end the first week of the season. Locker's injury, albeit to his non-throwing arm, is worrisome for a team that was ready to roll with their second-year stud quarterback.
Chris Johnson looked terrible, rushing for just four yards all game on 11 carries. The Patriots aren't known as an elite defense, but they bottled up Johnson without much trouble. The offensive line did struggle to push the Patriots defense, but Johnson was going down at first contact too often.
The Titans have talent, but with or without Locker—Locker said he expects to be ready for San Diego—the team simply did not play well enough versus the Pats, in every aspect.
18. New York Jets
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Last week: No. 26
Where do we begin?
Mark Sanchez must have been saving his touchdowns for the regular season. A team that didn't score a touchdown until the last preseason game (and even then it was third-stringers) burst out of the gate, tearing apart a Buffalo defense that was supposed to be elite.
Sanchez was absolutely phenomenal in the opener, giving us all good reason to reevaluate our so-called expert opinions on the fourth-year QB. If this is the Sanchez the Jets will play with all season, a wild-card berth is an absolute possibility.
An injury to Darrelle Revis will change the fundamentals of the Jets defense in every way. Revis left the game early with an apparent head injury, and he could miss the next game if it's a concussion. Early signs from postgame are good for the Jets.
Without Revis, the Jets will have to roll coverage, which could mean more of a base nickel package. That means less pass-rushers, and less flexibility when playing the run. Without Revis, a top-10 defense becomes a bottom-10 defense.
All in all, this was a very good game for the Jets. They've quieted many of those who doubted Rex Ryan's ability to get this team playing together as a unit.
17. Kansas City Chiefs
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Last week: No. 13
If you turned off the scoreboard and just watched the Chiefs play, there was a lot of good here.
Matt Cassel played a very solid game. His stat line doesn't accurately reflect the interception that bounced off his receiver, or the dropped passes of his targets. Cassel was good, not great, in a game that showed he can be the leader of this franchise.
The best news is that Eric Berry and Jamaal Charles are back. The two missed most of the 2011 season with knee injuries, but that didn't affect their play in Week 1.
That scoreboard we mentioned above was a bit of an issue. After keeping the game close until halftime, the Chiefs rolled over and let the Atlanta Falcons run all over them.
The Chiefs defense allowed Matt Ryan to play like a mix between Jesus, John Elway and Dan Marino in this one, and that's going to be a problem if they can't find a way to frustrate opposing offenses.
The hope is that the absences of Tamba Hali, Brandon Flowers and Kendrick Lewis are to blame for the team's massive capitulation on Sunday—not a schematic or coaching problem.
16. Washington Redskins
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Last week: No. 24
This Bob Griffin kid just might be alright.
The Redskins were dominant, and even when the New Orleans Saints fought back, the team was able to fight point for point to keep their lead and win a game that no one thought they had the right of winning. A big reason for that was the rookie quarterback.
Griffin threw for 320 yards and two touchdowns, while throwing just seven incompletions. Griffin's ability as a passer, not a runner, was the catalyst on Sunday.
There's not much to pick on here. Washington upset a team with as much talent as any in the NFL, and that alone is reason to walk with heads held high this week.
Where Washington can look to get better is on defense. Allowing 25 points, even to an elite offense, is far too much. A shootout puts everyone in a bad position, and while it's great to win one when you have to, no coach wants to put his team in a position to win shootouts every week.
15. Philadelphia Eagles
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Last week: No. 10
The Eagles are 1-0. No one got hurt. LeSean McCoy proved once again that he's an elite running back.
Otherwise, there's not much good to write home about for Philadelphia. The defense allowed just 16 points, but they were playing the Cleveland Browns...with a rookie quarterback who threw for 188 yards. Philadelphia should have held the Browns to a low output offensively. That's not good; it's expected.
No, really, that's all the good from this absolute mess of a game from the Philadelphia Eagles. Rarely do you see a team try to lose like the Eagles were on Sunday.
Michael Vick threw the ball 56 times, all while Andy Reid ignored his top-ranked running back McCoy. The Eagles offense took off only when they started feeding McCoy on the final drive. The offensive ineptness from Reid was mind-boggling.
Every fan who watched the NFL in 2011 knew the Browns' strength was in their pass defense, but Reid spent 55 minutes trying to force a square peg the size of his rather large body into a very small round hole.
14. Pittsburgh Steelers
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Last week: No. 14
Ben Roethlisberger is back to being Ben Roethlisberger. In a good way.
The Steelers offense rolled—despite playing in the Mile High atmosphere, despite drops by Antonio Brown and despite multiple injuries on the offensive line. Big Ben was the captain this team needed for a tough, hard-fought game against a very good defense.
The Pittsburgh defense also looked solid in limiting Peyton Manning. Ike Taylor matched up well—save for one play—against Demaryius Thomas, and the loss of Ryan Clark and James Harrison weren't major factors throughout the game. Credit Taylor and Troy Polamalu for playing very well in this one.
The O-line wasn't great. Injuries are to blame, especially once Marcus Gilbert went down, but overall, this unit gets a poor grade for their play.
The Steelers were in this game all along, but the offense could have been much more effective with some strong protection of Big Ben and any semblance of a running game.
On the flip side, the Steelers were able to keep this game close, but in the fourth quarter they couldn't stop the Broncos from running through the middle of the defense.
There's a lot to like for Pittsburgh coming out of this one. The major hurdle is to find a starting five who can consistently line up and protect the passer, and then to get healthy on both sides of the ball.
13. Cincinnati Bengals
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Last week: No. 12
It's always good to escape Week 1 without any major injuries. Other than that, the Cincinnati Bengals must go back to the drawing board this week and figure out what went wrong in the second half as a close game quickly became a blowout.
If there was one bright spot for Cincinnati, it has to be slot receiver Andrew Hawkins. His ability to catch and run will give the Bengals a nice option outside of A.J. Green in the passing game.
Take the second half of this game and it's bad from start to finish.
The Bengals entered half time trailing 17-10 and managed to lose 44-13. The Baltimore Ravens took Cincy to the woodshed in the second half, pulling away in every way imaginable. Marvin Lewis' team was beaten in every aspect of the game.
The Bengals must find a way to protect Andy Dalton better. This became an issue as soon as the Ravens built a solid lead and could force Cincy into a pass-first mentality. Dalton was hit early and often once the Ravens were ahead on the scoreboard, and the rhythm of the game was controlled by Baltimore from that point on.
12. Denver Broncos
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Last week: No. 15
Peyton Manning is back.
No. 18 looked like the future Hall of Famer we saw last during the 2010 season. Manning's arm strength isn't where it used to be, but anyone over 25 can attest to natural regression not related to a neck surgery. What we saw from Manning in his debut was the intelligence, timing and accuracy that's made him great.
It helped that Demaryius Thomas and the wide receivers played great. Thomas showed the playmaking skills that will make Manning more comfortable and confident in his offense.
This may be quibbling, because the Broncos should feel pretty good about how they played, but the secondary did allow too many completions. Roethlisberger eventually cost the Steelers the game, but the team can't rely on a fourth-quarter interception to win every time.
There's really not much to complain about for Denver fans. Manning looked great, the defense won the game and the Broncos start 1-0.
11. Detroit Lions
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Last week: No. 11
You can't complain about a win, and the Detroit Lions were able to put the St. Louis Rams away. This one was too close for comfort, though.
Overcoming three Matthew Stafford interceptions is reason to celebrate, and the team has to feel good about how they played in the second half. To beat better teams, Detroit has to play four quarters of solid football, not just two.
The Lions are in a great position to rebound back up the rankings next week if Stafford and Co. are back on track.
Why do the Lions fall three spots after a win? Three interceptions by Matthew Stafford in the first half and allowing the St. Louis Rams to score 23 points.
The Lions got lucky to win this one after allowing the Rams to stick around for far too long. Most of the issues stemmed from the offense's inability to generate the ball or even protect it in the first half, and then the lack of a pass defense throughout the game. The Lions were getting to Sam Bradford, but the coverage by the secondary allowed this game to stay close.
10. New York Giants
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Last week: No. 6
It's only Week 1, so it's way too early to panic in New York.
The Giants' key players did what they're supposed to. Eli Manning, Jason Pierre-Paul and Hakeem Nicks all played well enough to win on Wednesday night. The team was in position to win several times, and as we saw last year, if the Giants aren't put away early they can hang around and make a run late.
Losing to the Dallas Cowboys always hurts, and the New York Giants' weaknesses were exposed in this one.
Eli Manning was rattled by dropped passes and hard hits, which forced him to make questionable throws that killed drives. Manning was particularly bad when throwing over the middle into double coverage, or late on timing routes.
The defense was supposed to anchor this team, but the feared front four produced just two sacks despite pressuring Tony Romo fairly well at times. Their inability to close the door on a sack highlights the poor coverage of the Dallas receivers. Romo was too easily finding targets when flushed from the pocket.
9. New Orleans Saints
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Last week: No. 5
The Saints put up 32 points and the offense proved it can generate yards and points without their head man.
Brees had a big day with 339 yards and three touchdowns, but ultimately that wasn't enough. The good news is that the Saints can now regroup and figure out what's working and what's not. Against the Panthers next week, they have an opportunity to get back on track.
While the offense generated a ton of points, their game plan was flawed. They failed to try and establish a run game, opting instead to continue dropping Drew Brees back against a pass rush and secondary that was causing problems.
The rhythm of the offense was terrible in Week 1, which is where the loss of Sean Payton really shows up. For the Saints to bounce back, they need the offense to find more balance, but the real key is on defense. Allowing 40 points to a rookie quarterback isn't going to cut it.
The defense never got going. Griffin was able to stand tall and find time to throw without any real struggles. The Saints defensive line generated no push, and the Steve Spagnuolo game plan never upset what Washington wanted to do.
8. Dallas Cowboys
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Last week: No. 17
A win over the reigning Super Bowl champions is a pretty good way to start the season.
The Dallas Cowboys were better than the 24-17 final score would indicate. The offensive line did a fine job protecting Tony Romo against a front four that was hyped as the best in the game, which only sacked Romo just twice all game.
The Cowboys defense did a fine job, sacking Eli Manning three times and limiting New York's time of possession to just over 25 minutes.
Can Dallas keep up with the hype? They've knocked off the defending champs, and now the target is on their back in the NFC East.
The team played well, but Romo did throw a foolish interception that was reminiscent of the type of mistake he seems to make once per game. While it didn't ultimately affect the outcome, Romo has to be more cautious.
7. Atlanta Falcons
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Last week: No. 9
The Atlanta Falcons have found their killer instinct.
Anyone who watched Atlanta during Mike Mularkey's run as offensive coordinator saw a team that was too vanilla and too conservative offensively. That's gone under Dirk Koetter.
Matt Ryan and the offense were rolling on Sunday. Julio Jones scored twice, Ryan ran another in and the passing game in general looked as good as it ever has during Ryan's time in Atlanta.
The Falcons did win, but they also beat up a Kansas City team missing three starters on defense.
If there is anything to worry about in Atlanta, it's the run defense. Jamaal Charles was able to break away for a long run while putting up a solid 86 yards total on the ground. When the Falcons run into a closer game, their inability to stop the run could be a major issue.
6. Chicago Bears
Last week: No. 7
Even when the Chicago Bears played badly in the first half, they were able to win.
The mark of a good team is that even on their worst of days, they find a way to win. The Bears didn't have their best day, especially in the first half, but they were still 20 points better than the Indianapolis Colts—a huge margin of victory no matter the opponent.
The Chicago defense did look good, despite the 21 points allowed. The pass rush was on key all day against an overmatched Indianapolis offensive line. If they can keep that up in the NFC North, 10 wins is a realistic mark.
Brandon Marshall had a big game for fantasy football players, but a look at his actual play will leave many disappointed. Marshall dropped too many passes, leaving Jay Cutler out to dry twice in the end zone. For the Bears' passing attack to really take off, Marshall can't have two dropped touchdowns.
Chicago's schedule gets much tougher than the Colts, and to win those games they have to shore up issues like Cutler's early interceptions and Marshall's drops.
5. Houston Texans
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Last week: No. 5
J.J. Watt is quickly becoming one of the NFL's most dominant defenders. We saw it in the 2011 playoffs, and that same ability was on display again in Week 1.
Watt and the Houston defense did exactly what was expected of them against the Miami Dolphins offense, but it was their execution that was most impressive. The Texans defense is very balanced—they're able to stop the run and pass without a drop-off—and that's a big reason why they're ranked as our No. 4 team.
Arian Foster and Andre Johnson looked like their regular All-Pro selves in this one. Johnson led the way for the passing game, and Foster's two touchdowns contributed to a 20-point win.
Good luck finding much to complain about here.
The Houston Texans will win a lot of football games if they play like they did in this one.
4. Baltimore Ravens
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Last week: No. 8
Can we just say "everything"?
The Baltimore Ravens turned a seven-point game at halftime into a 44-13 beatdown on the strength of Joe Flacco, Ray Rice and a defense that didn't look like they miss Terrell Suggs at all.
The Ravens' talent level is outstanding, maybe the best in the entire NFL, and that was on showcase Monday night. Without Suggs in the lineup, Baltimore was able to get pressure off the edge by blitzing Ray Lewis more, but rolling in Paul Kruger and Albert McClellan, and by adjusting the scheme so that someone was consistently pressuring Andy Dalton. And it worked.
On offense the Ravens couldn't have looked better. Joe Flacco showed off his arm strength and Torrey Smith's first game in his second season was a great start for a player with breakout potential.
We saw this with Baltimore last year. They opened the season with a dominant win over a division rival and then limped to a loss in Week 2 over a beatable opponent. The 2012 Ravens must build off this momentum heading into Week 2.
3. Green Bay Packers
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Last week: No. 1
Aaron Rodgers is still absolutely phenomenal.
The reigning MVP was at it again, keeping the Packers in a game that the 49ers had dominated from the get-go. Rodgers' accuracy, timing and pocket protection are in an other-wordly level.
On the defensive side of the ball, Clay Matthews looked great. He's clearly in a better position this year than he was in 2011, when his production dipped. Matthews was a one-man wrecking crew at times for the defense.
Bottom line: The Packers still have more talent than most teams in the NFL. One loss is easy to overcome.
Losing at home in Week 1 is tough, but there are correctable issues here.
The Packers should start by replacing Jarrett Bush as the starting corner opposite Tramon Williams. Bush was constantly targeted by Alex Smith and never stepped up to the challenge as the weak link on defense.
The offensive line played fairly well, but the ball has to come out faster. Running against the 49ers is almost impossible, but if the Packers can establish more of a run game moving forward, it will give Rodgers more time to execute off play action and a moving pocket.
2. New England Patriots
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Last week: No. 2
The New England Patriots are still elite.
Tom Brady and the offense rolled through a very good Tennessee Titans defense en route to 34 points and an easy Week 1 win. Brady's timing with tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez was on display again, resulting in two touchdowns. Oh, and the Patriots found a run game. Stevan Ridley went over 100 yards and put the ball in the end zone.
The defense looked faster and stronger than in years past. They held Chris Johnson to four yards rushing and knocked quarterback Jake Locker from the game, all while limiting Tennessee to 13 points.
The O-line play wasn't great. Brady was constantly pressured by the Titans' front four and was even bloodied by a hard tackle in the backfield.
The Patriots' line is in flux right now due to injuries and Brian Waters' mystery disappearance, but for them to win consistently and make a Super Bowl run, the protection has to be there.
1. San Francisco 49ers
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Last week: No. 3
Knocking off Green Bay in impressive fashion puts the San Francisco 49ers in the driver's seat in the NFC. It's early, but the 49ers are clearly the team to beat in the NFC as of this morning.
The offense was very efficient on Sunday, with Alex Smith working on quick reads and making timing-based throws to keep the Packers secondary and pass rush off balance. It worked well, as San Francisco was able to keep a comfortable lead all game.
There is not much to argue about. The 49ers looked very good in all three phases of the game. To be picky, though, cornerback Perrish Cox was terrible.
Cox missed tackles in the open field and gave up a late touchdown in the end zone when he failed to step up in coverage when the safety was playing Randall Cobb in the flats. Cox is the weak link on this team right now as the No. 4 cornerback.