NFL Power Rankings: Biggest Winners and Losers from Sunday's Action

Ethan GrantAnalyst ISeptember 9, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - SEPTEMBER 08:  Quarterback Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers drops back to pass against the Green Bay Packers in the fourth quarter at Candlestick Park on September 8, 2013 in San Francisco, California. The 49ers defeated the Packers 34-28.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

The Denver Broncos, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks and a host of other NFL playoff hopefuls opened their 2013 seasons on a high note by earning victories in Week 1. 

The defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals and Minnesota Vikings were among those who will have to overcome 0-1 starts to reach the promised land. 

As this ESPN Stats & Info tweet suggests, getting off to a winning start is usually a good indication of future success:

At the end of Week 1, 16 teams will be 1-0, and 16 teams will be 0-1. All 32 teams fall somewhere under the scope of collective judgement, leading to a fresh set of NFL power rankings before Monday night's games commence. 

 

Week 1 Scores

*via NFL.com

 

NFL Power Rankings (prior to Monday games)

 

Biggest Winner: Tennessee Titans

The Pittsburgh Steelers are generally heralded for their outstanding defensive efforts. 

But Sunday at Heinz Field, the Tennessee Titans put together an outstanding display of defensive prowess to hand their AFC rivals an upset loss in front of their home fans. 

As noted by John McClain of the Houston Chronicle, the offseason decision to bring former New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams on board is already paying dividends:

We won't talk as much about the Tennessee offense, which managed just over 30 total yards more than Pittsburgh did on the afternoon. Simply put, Jake Locker and Co. have some major kinks to work out if they want to contend in the AFC. 

But defense does win championships, and Tennessee put on an impressive defensive display. Playing in Pittsburgh's hostile environment is never easy, but the Titans walked away with a gritty victory that could be a catalyst for a strong season. 

Honorable Mentions: New York Jets, Detroit Lions, New Orleans Saints

 

Biggest Loser: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Poised for a strong season after acquiring Darrelle Revis and bringing back a host of talented skill players on offense, Tampa Bay threw away a sure victory in the fourth quarter against the New York Jets.

As noted by Bleacher Report's Twitter account, a late penalty cost the Buccaneers a 1-0 start:

Rookie QB Geno Smith may have gotten some help from Lavonte David's gaffe, but he did show maturity on the final drive of the game before Nick Folk booted home the game-winning field goal.

In this tough division, Tampa Bay cannot give away games to lesser opponents. As B/R's Matt Miller pontificated on Twitter, maybe it's time to re-evaluate the two teams after the Week 1 outcome:

No matter your stance on the Bucs' chances in 2013, it was frustrating to watch Josh Freeman and the offense miss chances to close the door in the second half. "Disaster" is a good word to use here, but for some reason, that definition just doesn't sufficiently describe the major letdown for Greg Schiano. 

Honorable Mentions: Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers

 

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