NFL Power Rankings: Where Does Every Team Stand Heading into Week 2?

Matt Miller@nfldraftscoutNFL Draft Lead WriterSeptember 9, 2013

NFL Power Rankings: Where Does Every Team Stand Heading into Week 2?

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    Which is the best team in the NFL heading into Week 2? You're about to find out.

    After big upsets, marquee showdowns and epic rivalries, we've seen what each NFL team has to offer. That means teams will be moving up and down the weekly Power Rankings chart. Where is your team ranked?

    Each week throughout the season, a new Power Rankings article will be posted following the Sunday night game. Here, you will find an updated look at how every NFL team stacks up at that time.

    Power rankings are not based on standings, though. They're based on a mixture of expectations, momentum, whom teams have beaten or lost to and each team's potential for the remainder of the season. In other words, they're completely subjective.

    We'll start at the bottom and work our way up, No. 32 all the way to No. 1, to determine the best teams the NFL has to offer.

32. Jacksonville Jaguars

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    This Week's Rank: 32

    Last Week's Rank: 31 

    Differential: -1

    A lot of teams lost on the first Sunday of the NFL regular season. No team lost as badly as the Jacksonville Jaguars did. 

    A 28-2 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs is not the right way to get the season started. And it wasn't just the score; issues from quarterback Blaine Gabbert continued to haunt the team. There weren't many bright spots—outside of the safety that netted them two points. 

    Losing to the Chiefs isn't the only reason the Jaguars fall to No. 32. It's the way they played that pushes them to the bottom of the rankings.

31. Oakland Raiders

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    This Week's Rank: 31

    Last Week's Rank: 32

    Differential: +1

    The Oakland Raiders may have something special in quarterback Terrelle Pryor. Even if they didn't win in Week 1, they put up a much better fight on the road against the Indianapolis Colts than anyone expected. That fight is something that was formerly missing from this team.

    What stood out for me was that the team didn't give up when the Colts jumped out to an early lead. The Raiders of two or three years ago would have rolled over and quit in those circumstances.

    Dennis Allen's guys are playing tough football, and that's good to see again in Oakland.

30. Cleveland Browns

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    This Week's Rank: 30

    Last Week's Rank: 24

    Differential: -6

    Week 1 was not friendly to the Cleveland Browns, and they see the second-biggest drop of any team this week because of it.

    Quarterback Brandon Weeden gave people hope with a strong preseason, but his regular-season performance was all too familiar for those who saw his 2012 tape. Weeden's three interceptions weren't all on him—there were dropped passes—but his ball placement, decision-making and telegraphed passes led to mistakes and turnovers.

    We didn't see the reinvented Browns offense in Week 1.

29. Tennessee Titans

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    This Week's Rank: 29

    Last Week's Rank: 30

    Differential: +1

    Beating the Pittsburgh Steelers is always a big deal, at least in this day and age. The Tennessee Titans got their season off to a great start.

    Much credit has to be given to the Titans defense and the work it put on Ben Roethlisberger and his offense. Defensive tackle Jurrell Casey had a monster day anchoring the line, while the back seven swarmed to the football and kept Big Ben from getting points with the passing game.

    It wasn't pretty, but it's still a win.

28. New York Jets

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    This Week's Rank: 28

    Last Week's Rank: 29

    Differential: +1

    The New York Jets needed a little help to get the job done, but a win is a win. How the game would have ended had Lavonte David not hit Geno Smith late doesn't matter, since the game did end that way. And the Jets are 1-0.

    There is much to build on from this win. Rex Ryan can breathe a little easier this week after his defense was very impressive. Even with Darrelle Revis playing for the other team, the Jets' defensive unit was the strength of the game.

    Rookie quarterback Geno Smith put the team on his back, and he deserves a ton of credit for this win. Smith played like the No. 1 quarterback I expected him to be when he came out of West Virginia.

    The New York Jets have a quarterback to build around, and he's wearing No. 7.

27. San Diego Chargers

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    This Week's Rank: 27

    Last Week's Rank: 27

    Differential: 0

    The San Diego Chargers of the first half deserve a move up the board. The San Diego Chargers of the second half keep them right here at No. 27.

    Mike McCoy's team looked amazing in the first half, running out to a big lead at home against the Houston Texans. Philip Rivers was crisp, the offensive line was giving him plenty of time and the defense made big plays. Then halftime happened.

    As has been the case in San Diego for several years now, the team crumbled in the second half. It was thought that Norv Turner was the issue, so he was fired. But now the team is back to the drawing board as they try to learn to finish games.

26. Buffalo Bills

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    This Week's Rank:  26

    Last Week's Rank:  28

    Differential:  +2

    There are times when it is justified to move up a team in the Power Rankings after a loss. That describes the Buffalo Bills this week.

    Facing an always-intimidating New England Patriots team, Doug Marrone's Bills played very good football on both offense and defense. The bright spot, though, was rookie first-rounder EJ Manuel at quarterback. The Bills have their franchise passer.

    Manuel wasn't able to outduel Tom Brady, but they made it interesting all the way down to the final seconds. That's a credit to the rookie head coach and the rookie quarterback.

25. Minnesota Vikings

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    This Week's Rank:  25

    Last Week's Rank:  23

    Differential:  -2

    Adrian Peterson nearly won this game all by himself. It's too bad he can't throw the football.

    The offensive line struggled in pass protection all day, but that doesn't excuse some of the decisions Christian Ponder made with the football in his hands. The third-year quarterback was awful at times, often failing to put the ball into the hands of his playmakers outside of a simple handoff. For all the talent on this offense, there is no one to drive the car.

    The defense was what you should have expected: good play up front and weak play in the back seven. Harrison Smith looks like a stud at safety, but the rest of the linebackers and secondary players were bigger weaknesses than strengths.

24. Detroit Lions

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    This Week's Rank:  24

    Last Week's Rank:  26

    Differential:  +2

    The Detroit Lions showed some new and some old in their Week 1 opener. In the end, all that matters is that they won.

    Defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh had another "questionable" play when he dove at the legs of center John Sullivan after a Christian Ponder interception. That aside, the defense did as well as expected against an Adrian Peterson-led offense. Aside from one 78-yard run, the Lions did a good job bottling up the reigning rushing champ.

    On offense, it was great to see Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush get into the offense and make big plays. That's the recipe for success here. The Lions have a ton of individual talent; if they can start playing like a team, they'll shoot up the rankings.

23. Arizona Cardinals

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    This Week's Rank:  23

    Last Week's Rank:  25

    Differential:  +2

    Losing in Week 1 is always tough, but fighting the St. Louis Rams tooth-and-nail on the road is not easy. The Arizona Cardinals allowed a field goal with 40 seconds that proved to be the difference, but they showed a ton of heart, toughness and potential throughout the game.

    Carson Palmer and Larry Fitzgerald look like a Pro Bowl duo. If the team can find a way to protect Palmer's blind side—Levi Brown allowed three sacks to Robert Quinn—then the offense could be very good.

    The defense has talent and will play tough, but it's hurting without Daryl Washington in the middle. Once he's back from suspension, we'll see that side of the ball start to dominate.

    Bottom line, these Cardinals are better than I expected.

22. Carolina Panthers

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    This Week's Rank: 22

    Last Week's Rank:  22

    Differential: 0

    Losing to the Seattle Seahawks isn't something to be ashamed about, especially when you hold them to 12 points. Cam Newton and Co. were only able to get seven points of their own against a top-tier Seattle defense, but there was a lot to like in this contest.

    Newton looked solid as a passer, and Steve Smith flourished in Mike Shula's offense. On defense, the front four lived in the Seahawks backfield all day. Shoring up some small problems—improving the offensive line and cornerback play, notably—will be key to moving up the board. But there's promise here.

21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    This Week's Rank:  21

    Last Week's Rank:  21

    Differential:  0

    Lavonte David's hit on New York Jets quarterback Geno Smith while Smith was out of bounds goes to show that football is a game of inches. If David hits Smith earlier, the Buccaneers likely hold on to win the game. By tackling the quarterback out of bounds, the Jets were able to gain 15 yards and get in position for a game-winning field goal.


    The Buccaneers have to be worried. Josh Freeman did not look good at quarterback. The interior of the offensive line struggled greatly with Carl Nicks out. The defense was good, but it still saw Smith, in his first regular-season start, throw for 256 yards. This all-star secondary shouldn't be allowing that from a rookie quarterback.

20. New York Giants

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    This Week's Rank:  20

    Last Week's Rank:  15

    Differential:  -5

    The New York Giants did everything they could to lose the Sunday night game against the rival Dallas Cowboys, and in the end, they did lose. Four turnovers in the first three quarters will do that to you.

    Whether it was Eli Manning throwing the first pass of the game right to the Cowboys' DeMarcus Ware or David Wilson's fumbles, mistakes added up. That led to a Week 1 loss to Dallas, which is all too familiar after the 2012 season started the same way.

    That led to the Giants missing the playoffs in a tight NFC East. This isn't the right way to start the year if Tom Coughlin's G-Men hope to get back to the postseason. If they take care of the turnovers, they could be the best team in the division.

19. Kansas City Chiefs

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    This Week's Rank:  19

    Last Week's Rank:  19

    Differential:  0

    Last season, the Kansas City Chiefs opened the year with big expectations. They limped to a two-win campaign.

    This year, expectations were notably lower. That didn't keep the Chiefs from blowing out the Jacksonville Jaguars.

    Granted, beating the Jaguars doesn't rank up there with beating the Green Bay Packers, but this is a confidence-building win for the young Chiefs. Heading home for Week 2 with one win under their belt will reinforce the team and the fans' belief in Andy Reid's philosophy.

    After watching a team slowly deteriorate under Romeo Crennel last season, any bit of positive momentum is a huge advantage for this team.

18. Miami Dolphins

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    This Week's Rank:  18

    Last Week's Rank:  17

    Differential:  -1

    Winning is always good, no matter how it happens or how pretty it looks. The Miami Dolphins are 1-0 heading into Week 2. That's the good news.

    The bad news is that the team struggled. Lamar Miller did not become the next Emmitt Smith in his first NFL start, as some expected.

    Highlighted by Cameron Wake's 2.5 sacks and Dannell Ellerbe's heads-up play, the defense was very good. That was the case against the Cleveland Browns and Brandon Weeden, though. Will it work as well against Tom Brady?

    Being in the winners' column is a great way to start the season. That momentum may lead to better things, but this is a flawed football team right now.

17. Washington Redskins

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    This Week's Rank:  17

    Last Week's Rank:  16

    Differential:  -1

    It didn't take long to tell that quarterback Robert Griffin III wasn't mentally or physically ready to take the reigns at quarterback on Monday night. It just so happens that missing an entire preseason will lead to some rust. Even from great young players.

    Griffin was, at times, a hinderance to the offense. His failure to step into throws kept the offense handcuffed on crucial downs. Another second-year player, running back Alfred Morris, struggled with two fumbles and further killed offensive momentum.

    There is nowhere to go from here but up. Griffin will settle down and fix his mechanical issues, as we saw in the fourth quarter. The offensive line will better scheme to stop inside pressure. Don't count them out just yet.

16. Pittsburgh Steelers

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    This Week's Rank:  16

    Last Week's Rank:  6

    Differential:  -10

    Sometimes, it's better to just cut your losses and start over. That's what I'm doing with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

    That's not to say this can't be a playoff team, or that they can't win the AFC North. But the team that took the field against the Tennessee Titans will not win many ballgames. Mike Tomlin, Dick LeBeau and Todd Haley need to have a serious sit-down to determine what steps can be taken schematically to improve this team.

    Losing Maurkice Pouncey at center will hurt, but it's not something they can't overcome. Ben Roethlisberger has talented targets in Antonio Brown, Markus Wheaton and Emmanuel Sanders. They have beef on the line to power the run game. They just need to make it happen.

    As of now, I still think they can. But the Steelers are on a short leash.

15. Dallas Cowboys

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    This Week's Rank:  15

    Last Week's Rank:  18

    Differential:  +3

    Beating the New York Giants at home warrants a move up the rankings. For a while, it looked like the turnovers made by Monte Kiffin's defense would all be for nothing, but the team kept creating opportunities and eventually pulled away.

    The Cowboys have to get Tony Romo healthy after he took a tough shot to the ribs to end the first half. He stayed in the game, but he looked affected the rest of the night. Romo must also work to get Dez Bryant involved more as a receiver and less as a decoy.

    Jason Garrett can feel good about the job he did as head coach in this one, though. The Cowboys created turnovers, scored points and found a way to win.

14. Houston Texans

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    This Week's Rank:  14

    Last Week's Rank:  13

    Differential:  -1

    The Houston Texans took a full half of the Monday night late game to get started, but once they got going it looked familiar.

    Gary Kubiak's team has talent, that's not an issue. The surprise of the Week 1 matchup was the struggle of the offensive line. Even All-Pro candidate Duane Brown had a rough night dealing with Dwight Freeney and the San Diego front three. That's not an issue they can afford to have on a weekly basis.

    I picked the Texans to miss the playoffs this year, and the results after Week 1 support that this could be a down year for Houston. There's a whole lot of football left to be played, though.

13. St. Louis Rams

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    This Week's Rank:  13

    Last Week's Rank:  14

    Differential:  +1

    The St. Louis Rams needed a field goal with under one minute left to beat the Arizona Cardinals. That doesn't change the fact that they won the ballgame.

    The Rams winning at home isn't enough to jump them up the board, but teams around them in the preseason rankings moved down. That opens a nice spot for them here. The win definitely helps.

    Robert Quinn was amazing against the Cardinals offensive line, notching three sacks against left tackle Levi Brown in the victory. Chris Long wasn't able to make an impact off the other edge, but Quinn was a one-man wrecking crew for the defense.

    The offense went from flashy to pedestrian, something we can expect as Sam Bradford acclimates and the young receivers jell. Better play should be expected from Jake Long at left tackle, though.

    The Rams aren't ready to challenge for the NFC West title, but they'll be a tough out every week.

12. Baltimore Ravens

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    This Week's Rank:  12

    Last Week's Rank:  10

    Differential:  -2

    I didn't have high expectations for the Baltimore Ravens this season. That said, no one saw their defense allowing seven touchdown passes against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.

    The defense was supposed to carry this team while the strong run game took over on offense. That wasn't the case Thursday night. The defense showed flashes, but missed tackles by Michael Huff and Corey Graham opened up too many big plays in the secondary.

    The offense wasn't able to help much, either. Joe Flacco sorely missed Jacoby Jones once he left with an injury, making the offense very one-dimensional as Torrey Smith was the only viable threat on every play. For the Ravens to get back on track, young players like Marlon Brown must become go-to receivers.

    This could be a rough start to the season in Baltimore, but the team is better than it looked in the opener.

11. Indianapolis Colts

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    This Week's Rank:  11

    Last Week's Rank:  11

    Differential:  0

    The Indianapolis Colts survived against Terrelle Pryor and the Oakland Raiders, but a win is a win. Andrew Luck and Co. have some messes to clean up, though.

    Luck was his usual self in the opener, which is to say he was special. We're seeing him become more comfortable as a player, and that means more scrambling and more tough passes into tight windows. That all adds up to more yards and more touchdowns from the former No. 1 overall pick.

    On defense, there are many more questions. There was no pass rush on the mobile Pryor all day. The Colts may have been frozen by a running quarterback, but they must clean up those issues before facing Jake Locker in Tennessee. Stopping the run from the quarterback position was a nightmare all day, and in today's NFL that's a weakness a team can't afford to have. 

10. Philadelphia Eagles

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    This Week's Rank:  10

    Last Week's Rank:  20

    Differential:  +10

    Chip Kelly definitely left his mark on the NFL's opening weekend. And if you blinked, you probably missed two or three of the Eagles' plays on offense.

    The big story will be the Eagles' up-tempo offense, and they are to credit. But don't overlook what the defense and special teams did for this team. Last season's defense was atrocious, but on Monday night the squad was aggressive in swarming to the football and making good open-field tackles.

    Too many people questioned the Eagles' run defense, but they were solid as inside linebacker Mychal Kendricks made play after play. The pass rush was as good as expected, too. If not better.

    The book on Kelly's transition to the NFL can't be written yet, but the first chapter is pretty good.

9. Cincinnati Bengals

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    This Week's Rank:  9

    Last Week's Rank:  9

    Differential:  0

    The Cincinnati Bengals kept pace with the Chicago Bears for nearly four quarters. Were it not for a Rey Maualuga penalty in the fourth quarter, they could be sitting at 1-0 with a signature win over a team that won 10 games last season. Instead, they are 0-1, tied with the rest of the AFC North.

    The good news is that Andy Dalton looked fantastic. Two interceptions on the stat sheet don't tell the story of his play, as both interceptions were the fault of the receiver. Those receivers were otherwise very good.

    A.J. Green can make a case as the second-best wideout in the game. Rookie tight end Tyler Eifert played very well in his first game. There's a lot to like on this side of the ball.

    The defense is talented but must be more controlled. Maualuga cost the team a chance to win with a stupid mistake that can't come from a veteran linebacker. If the team can clean up the turnovers and penalties, it can win the AFC North.

8. Atlanta Falcons

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    This Week's Rank:  8

    Last Week's Rank:  7

    Differential:  -1

    Losing the season opener on the road in New Orleans wasn't unexpected—after all, the Atlanta Falcons were a three-point underdog in the game. That loss does move them down the board, though, as the Saints and Chicago Bears moved up.

    The Falcons don't lack talent or coaching; they just need to get healthy. A limited Roddy White slowed the offense, which could be why they scored just 17 points. Matt Ryan was forced to go to Tony Gonzalez too often, and the Saints keyed on that to stop them from getting into the red zone on their final possession.

    The season is not over in Atlanta, or any city.

7. Chicago Bears

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    This Week's Rank:  7

    Last Week's Rank:  12

    Differential:  +5

    The biggest move up the board this week comes from the Chicago Bears. After taking down the Cincinnati Bengals, they've earned it.

    Marc Trestman's offense was on display in Week 1, and we saw an efficient, composed Jay Cutler delivering dimes to Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Martellus Bennett and Matt Forte. With that cast of characters, good things are going to happen.

    One of the most notable observations in this game came in the first quarter, when rookie right guard Kyle Long and rookie right tackle Jordan Mills miscommunicated on a blitz pickup. From that play forward, the two did veteran work stopping the vaunted Bengals pass rush. That's huge for Cutler and this offense.

    The defense did not miss Brian Urlacher, and that's telling. Charles Tillman is back to his top-tier level of play, and he's surrounded by enough playmakers to shut down the majority of the offenses in the game.

6. New Orleans Saints

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    This Week's Rank:  6

    Last Week's Rank:  8

    Differential: +2

    The New Orleans Saints are back.

    One year after a historically bad defense. One year after Sean Payton's season-long suspension. One season after a losing record. The Saints are back.

    Drew Brees and Co. showed once again that they have the talent to get the job done on offense—even with a guy named Charles Brown starting at left tackle. Brees was surgical as always, giving the Saints one of the best assets in the NFL.

    The major difference was on defense. The Saints did give up 17 points, but that's enough when you have Brees on the other side of the ball. Rookie Kenny Vaccaro was exceptional in his first start, giving this team a much-needed, tough-as-nails enforcer on defense.

5. Green Bay Packers

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    This Week's Rank:  5

    Last Week's Rank:  5

    Differential:  0

    You will not see the Green Bay Packers move down the rankings following a Week 1 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. When the No. 5 team loses to the No. 1 team, there is no change. Especially not in the first week of the season.

    The Packers have undeniable talent, but they also struggle on defense. Some of that can be chalked up to cornerback Casey Hayward being injured, but overall, Dom Capers' squad hasn't kept up with Jim Harbaugh's offense. In the playoffs, the 49ers won on the ground, sending the Packers' coaches to Texas A&M to learn how to stop the read-option. In Week 1, the 49ers threw for over 400 yards.

    Aaron Rodgers will keep this offense in games—that's not a problem. Capers, though, has to prove that his side of the ball can at least contain opposing offenses.

4. New England Patriots

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    This Week's Rank:  4

    Last Week's Rank:  3

    Differential:  -1

    The New England Patriots didn't get lucky—any time you have Tom Brady leading you to fourth-quarter wins, it's not luck—but they earned a move down the rankings this week. Not a big move, but it's enough to signify their Week 1 struggles.

    Brady was able to get the offense into the end zone when they needed it most, but before Week 2, they must find more consistency. Relying on young players like Kenbrell Thompkins is tough, but expect to see more targets for Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola until Rob Gronkowski is able to return to the lineup.

    I never bet against Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, but they have to bounce back from this one with fewer turnovers and better precision.

3. Seattle Seahawks

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    This Week's Rank:  3

    Last Week's Rank:  2

    Differential:  -1

    How does a team win its first game and move down the rankings? By barely beating the Carolina Panthers while the Denver Broncos slaughter the Baltimore Ravens.

    The Seahawks could rebound; they have the talent. The major concern comes on the offensive line. The Panthers' pass rush was able to live in the backfield of the Seahawks. That's not good considering the team they play next week (the San Francisco 49ers) has the game's best front seven.

    Russell Wilson and the offense will get going, but until the team jells, this could be a rough start.

2. Denver Broncos

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    This Week's Rank:  2

    Last Week's Rank:  4

    Differential:  +2

    Beating the defending Super Bowl champions would have given the Denver Broncos some momentum and maybe even a move up the rankings this week. Beating the Baltimore Ravens with seven Peyton Manning touchdowns shoots them way up.

    Manning did a great job covering for a Broncos team that otherwise struggled in the Thursday night opener. Without Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil, the pass rush was invisible. Without Champ Bailey, the pass coverage struggled at times.

    However, with Manning under center, anything is possible. Even seven touchdowns.

1. San Francisco 49ers

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    This Week's Rank:  1

    Last Week's Rank:  1

    Differential:  0

    Not much changes for the No. 1 team in the league, unless it managed to separate itself from the pack after taking down Green Bay in the season opener.

    The 49ers seemed content to beat the Packers from within the pocket on offense, and it worked as Colin Kaepernick racked up 400 yards passing. That's not quite as impressive as the 181 yards rushing he had the last time these two teams met, but it was another huge day from No. 7 as the 49ers won.

    The defense got to Aaron Rodgers just enough to contain him. Finding ways to keep the Green Bay offense out of the end zone isn't easy, but the 49ers did well to limit big plays. The Packers led only briefly in the fourth quarter before the 49ers put them away.

    This is, hands down, the best team in football right now. Week 2 brings the Seattle Seahawks, though, and they're another tough test.