Week 1 of the NFL season has come and gone. The biggest surprise of the week, without question, was Robert Griffin III helping the Redskins put up 40 points and take down the New Orleans Saints.
It’s too hard to tell after one week if this was more of a sign of a good offense for Washington, or poor defense for the Saints. My gut tells me it has more to do with the Saints. Nonetheless, no matter how bad a defense is, the offense still has to execute, and the Redskins did so beautifully.
The ‘Skins moved up nine spots, more than any other team, while the Giants and Panthers each tumbled four spots.
After one week, my Super Bowl prediction of San Francisco vs. Houston is still looking good, which is more than I can say for some of my past predictions. Here are the rankings as we head into Week 2 with a classic Thursday night game between the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers.
Teams’ previous ranking in ( ).
1. San Francisco 49ers (2): Beating a good Packers team at Lambeau is hard enough. Doing so by keeping the Packers offense quiet is that much more impressive. Hitting a 63-yard field goal? That’s just downright nonsense. This team is going to be tough to beat.
2. Baltimore Ravens (5): Joe Flacco’s performance in Week 1 was impressive. I’m not ready to consider him elite yet though.
3. New England Patriots (4): If Stevan Ridley’s season goes anything like Week 1, the Patriots are going to find themselves in yet another Super Bowl.
4. Green Bay Packers (3): No running game, a shaky offensive line, and bad defense. Sounds like 2011 all over again. On the bright side, the Packers won’t have to think about a perfect season.
5. New York Giants (1): Another loss or two and Tom Coughlin will probably be on the hot seat again, which will probably result in another Super Bowl victory over the Patriots.
6. Philadelphia Eagles (6): The bad news for Philly is that they are on pace to surpass their impressively high turnover rate from last year. The good news for Philly is that they are on pace for a 16-0 season.
7. Houston Texans (7): As a pure football fan, I want to see Houston stay healthy for an entire season. I believe they are as good as anyone in the league.
8. Chicago Bears (9): Now that Jay Cutler has some offensive weapons, this team could be scary. They have not handled Green Bay well in the past three years, though. Will that change Thursday night?
9. Pittsburgh Steelers (8): It doesn’t matter if it’s Tim Tebow or Peyton Manning, the Steelers can’t beat the Broncos.
10. Detroit Lions (10): Kevin Smith could prove to be a huge difference maker if he can stay healthy for Detroit. If he plays an entire season, they can compete for the division.
11. Atlanta Falcons (12): Matt Ryan’s career continues be repetitive: great during the regular season, not so great during the postseason.
12. Denver Broncos (13): Manning silenced a lot of doubters with his Sunday Night performance. Denver looks like they could be a legitimate contender.
13. Dallas Cowboys (14): I can’t really think of a better way to start the season off than with a road win against a tough, divisional foe that happens to be the defending Super Bowl champs. This could be the year Dallas finally wins it all.
14. New Orleans Saints (11): The offense put up plenty of points, but they won’t win a game if they can’t improve on the defensive side of the ball.
15. New York Jets (17): Apparently the Jets were just saving all their touchdowns for when it really mattered. Their opening performance was the best of any team since 2003.
16. Washington Redskins (25): If Week 1 was a sign of things to come for Washington, then the NFC East will easily be the most competitive division of all time.
17. San Diego Chargers (19): Philip Rivers will simply not be as bad as he was last year, which means the Chargers will be a threat in the AFC West.
18. Cincinnati Bengals (15): Since 2008, the Bengals have been bad in even numbered years and good in odd numbered years. So far in 2012, that trend is continuing.
19. Arizona Cardinals (21): Kevin Kolb took full advantage of his opportunity in Week 1 and it likely made him the starter in Week 2, regardless of John Skelton's health.
20. Carolina Panthers (16): It’s too early to talk about a sophomore slump for Cam Newton, but Carolina needs to turn it around in a hurry if they have any playoff aspirations as they play in an extremely tough division.
21. Seattle Seahawks (18): For a team that many were picking to be a surprise team, losing to Arizona in Week 1 was not the way to get things started.
22. Tennessee Titans (20): Chris Johnson fantasy owners are already grumbling. If he turns in a performance similar to Week 1, I can’t imagine he will be the starter much longer.
23. Oakland Raiders (22): I’m not sure there is such a thing as a good loss, but the Raiders look to be a pretty solid team. Keeping their penalties limited will be key.
24. Kansas City Chiefs (23): For the second straight year, the Chiefs allowed over 40 points in their opening game. That’s never a good omen.
25. Minnesota Vikings (28): The return of Adrian Peterson is huge for the Vikings. However, players his age that suffer torn ACL’s don’t tend to hold up at the running back position.
26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (30): This was a great start to the season for Tampa after a miserable 2011. Some of their offseason additions are really going to help improve the offense.
27. Buffalo Bills (24): Some big defensive additions were made during the offseason. Unfortunately for the Bills, it didn’t look like it in Week 1.
28. Miami Dolphins (26): The Dolphins have lost eight of their last 10 season openers. It’s going to be a long season in South Beach.
29. Jacksonville Jaguars (27): Despite the heartbreaking loss, Blaine Gabbert actually looked like a quarterback. If Maurice Jones-Drew can quickly get into football shape, perhaps all hope is not lost in Jacksonville.
30. Cleveland Browns (29): This was not the start Brandon Weeden was looking for. I expect him to bounce back in Week 2, though, and show why the Browns took him in the draft.
31. Indianapolis Colts (31): Andrew Luck looked pretty good against a solid Bears defense but he is going to need some help from the running game.
32. St. Louis Rams (32): It looks like Jeff Fisher will help this team dramatically. I expect the Rams to get better as the season goes on, but Sam Bradford still has almost no weapons around him.