NFL Power Rankings: Where Every NFL Team Stands Heading into Week 2
One week of NFL action is officially in the books.
Although there were no truly shocking upsets, there were plenty of exciting games that went right down to the wire, quickly illustrating once again why football is king.
No individual performance was enough to outshine Peyton Manning's seven touchdowns from the Thursday night opener, though. Any concerns about the veteran quarterback's ability to carry the Denver Broncos with a defense at less than full strength were immediately eliminated. As a result, Manning and the Broncos sit atop the power rankings following Week 1.
But now, let's take a look at where the other 31 teams stand heading into the second week, along with taking a deeper dive into three particular teams that stood out in their season openers.
1. Denver Broncos (1-0)
The Broncos defense is going to go through some rough patches until Champ Bailey and Von Miller are both back in the lineup and in top form, which probably isn't going to happen until the second half of the season. Until then, it's up to the offense.
Those who doubted Manning's ability to carry the team clearly forgot about his time with the Colts. For many years, Indianapolis was working with a weak defensive unit, but the team remained a contender in the AFC throughout Manning's career. At least in Denver, defensive improvement is on the horizon.
While the Broncos wait, Manning and his terrific cast of receiving options—including Wes Welker, who had an impressive debut—will continue to handle the extra pressure just fine.
2. San Francisco 49ers (1-0)
Opposing defenses know that slowing down Colin Kaepernick is going to be an uphill battle because of his dual-threat ability. But if he can continue to stand tall in the pocket and deliver strikes like he did against the Packers, the 49ers will be very tough to beat.
3. New Orleans Saints (1-0)
Sean Payton returned to the sidelines, and the Saints immediately scored an important divisional victory over the Falcons. While some may debate the overall impact that coaching has on individual results, New Orleans looked like a much more potent team with Payton leading the charge.
4. New England Patriots (1-0)
It was hardly a convincing performance to upend the Bills, but the Patriots deserve credit for earning a road victory, despite having what amounted to a C-level showing. Bill Belichick and Tom Brady will make sure the team makes steady progress.
5. Seattle Seahawks (1-0)
Here is another Super Bowl contender that had a mundane showing in their opener. The Seahawks could only put up 12 points against the Panthers and struggled to get the ground game going. But the defense still showed why they are a serious threat in the NFC.
6. Houston Texans (1-0)
The Texans are an interesting case. They don't get much attention in terms of being an elite team, but they won 12 games last season and have enough talent to match or exceed that total in 2013. That's especially true if Andre Johnson dominates like he did in Week 1.
7. Dallas Cowboys (1-0)
Even though the Cowboys have to thank the Giants for gift-wrapping a couple turnovers, the redesigned Dallas defense was clearly making a concerted effort to force them anyway. A better season from that unit paired with the star power on offense makes the Cowboys dangerous.
8. Philadelphia Eagles (1-0)
The Eagles were electric for the first 32 minutes of their Monday night opener against the Redskins. They moved at a rapid pace, catching the defense off guard at times, which resulted in a total of 33 points by the early stages of the third quarter.
Philadelphia didn't score again, though, as Washington nearly mounted a comeback. Using a more traditional approach with a big lead, Chip Kelly's crew seemingly lost the rhythm they had early on, and what amounted to a prevent offense let the Redskins back in the game.
Since the Eagles held on to win, it's not a big deal, but it shows Kelly that his unique offense is the biggest advantage he holds. Once he gives it up, the Eagles aren't nearly as dangerous. Hopes are on the rise in Philadelphia, but that's something to keep in mind.
9. Green Bay Packers (0-1)
The biggest problem for Green Bay is its schedule. It started with the 49ers in Week 1, and it really doesn't have any soft stretches. Aside from a home game against the Browns, there aren't any "easy" wins on the schedule. Perhaps that will change as the season develops, though.
10. Atlanta Falcons (0-1)
Losing on the road to the Saints won't be a major concern, as long as the Falcons level the series in the rematch. Right now, though, the biggest worry is finding enough offensive production while Roddy White is fighting through an ankle injury.
11. Indianapolis Colts (1-0)
After getting off to a great start, the Colts couldn't put the lowly Raiders away, and they even fell behind at one point in the fourth quarter. The ability to put an opponent away when they have them on the ropes is still a work in progress for an Indianapolis team on the rise.
Which 1-0 team just outside the top 10 has the most upside?
12. Detroit Lions (1-0)
Reggie Bush seems like a perfect fit alongside Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson. Everything went according to plan in Week 1, as the running back put up nearly 200 yards. The Lions offense will rank among the league's best if he can handle that workload every week.
13. Chicago Bears (1-0)
Consistency will be the biggest issue in Chicago this season. The Bears used a pair of second-half touchdowns to earn a comeback victory over the Bengals, but that was only after a lackluster showing for the first two-and-a-half quarters.
14. New York Giants (0-1)
The Giants must be careful. After losing a sloppy opener, the team is set to face Eli Manning's brother and the Broncos before a pair of road games. They have to make sure they don't dig an early hole in an normally-tight NFC East race.
15. Cincinnati Bengals (0-1)
Aside from stud wide out A.J. Green, the Bengals lack star power. He tried to will them to victory against the Bears with a monster game, but it just wasn't enough in the end. Unless he gets more support on offense, it's likely going to become an up-and-down season in Cincinnati.
16. Baltimore Ravens (0-1)
The defending Super Bowl champions got off to a dreadful start. The best thing the Ravens can do is put the blowout loss behind them and start fresh next weekend, which starts a favorable stretch of the schedule where they can get back on track.
17. Kansas City Chiefs (1-0)
After a successful partnership that lasted more than a decade, it was clear that Andy Reid and the Eagles needed to go their separate ways. So they did, and, for at least one week anyway, it appears that the move is working out for everybody.
While beating the Jaguars isn't exactly a monumental achievement, the Chiefs did exactly what good teams should do: dominate the game. Aside from an early safety, Kansas City was in control throughout the contest, en route to the biggest margin of victory in Week 1.
Alex Smith was on target, Jamaal Charles looked ready for a big season, and the defense made sure a weak Jacksonville offense never gained an ounce of momentum. This was a complete performance that showed that the Chiefs are moving in the right direction.
18. Washington Redskins (0-1)
The bad news is that Robert Griffin III didn't look like his usual dynamic self in the opener. The good news is the Redskins still came within a touchdown of beating the Eagles. Questions remain for this team, but it's not time to panic quite yet.
19. St. Louis Rams (1-0)
St. Louis is a team to watch. Sam Bradford finally has weapons to utilize in the passing game, which is going to provide a huge boost to the offense. As long as the defense can also continue to show signs of progress, they could make a wild-card run.
20. Miami Dolphins (1-0)
While the Dolphins will be happy to start the season with a win, they will truly get tested over the next three weeks. Games against the Colts, Falcons and Saints will show whether Miami truly has what it takes to keep pace in the AFC.
21. Minnesota Vikings (0-1)
Last season, Adrian Peterson carried the Vikings to the playoffs. The question concerned how the team would perform in 2013 if he wasn't able to match that effort. He was held in check after a long touchdown run on the Vikings' first play from scrimmage, and the rest of the team didn't respond well.
22. Arizona Cardinals (0-1)
The Cardinals let a golden opportunity slip away, allowing the Rams to score 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter. Despite that setback, the early signs are still positive, especially on offense. Playing in a very tough division will be the biggest hurdle for this team.
23. Tennessee Titans (1-0)
Tennessee took advantage of a forgettable performance from the Steelers. It's not enough to warrant a major jump in the rankings, but the Titans have the foundation for success with a good defense and Chris Johnson in the backfield.
24. New York Jets (1-0)
The Jets didn't deserve to beat the Buccaneers, but Tampa Bay handed them the game, and the Jets were glad to accept it. Geno Smith was solid in his debut, but there are still too many question marks to count on a bounce-back season.
25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-1)
Josh Freeman needs to play a lot better; it's really that simple. He's flashed upside, but unless he proves himself as a franchise quarterback, the Bucs are going to struggle this season. He didn't get off to a good start in their Week 1 loss.
26. Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1)
The Steelers had 32 rushing yards on 15 carries; that sums up their disastrous offensive effort, which would have looked even worse if not for a late touchdown. Unless they are able to turn things around quickly, it will be a frustrating season in Pittsburgh.
27. San Diego Chargers (0-1)
San Diego is in a tough spot. It's not in total rebuilding mode with an eye toward future playoff runs, but its talent level probably isn't high enough to complete for a playoff spot at this point in time. The middle ground is the worst place for any team to sit.
28. Carolina Panthers (0-1)
Cam Newton was kept under control by the elite Seahawks defense. When he's not able to provide the big plays, it exposes the lack of explosiveness Carolina has in the backfield. It also shows how reliant they are on Newton to carry the offense.
Which team will have the worst 2013 season?
29. Buffalo Bills (0-1)
EJ Manuel didn't look out of place in his debut, which bodes well for the Bills in the future. They still aren't good enough to be anything more than an average team this season, though, and the rebuild will continue for at least another year.
30. Cleveland Browns (0-1)
Any optimism in Cleveland took a serious hit in Week 1. Brandon Weeden couldn't build off a strong preseason, and Trent Richardson wasn't able to find any space on the ground. In other words, it was more of the same from the Browns offense.
31. Oakland Raiders (0-1)
The Raiders were able to hang tough against the Colts, but they didn't show enough to believe they have a promising season ahead. They still lack the playmakers that are necessary on both sides of the ball to make a major impact.
32. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-1)
Jacksonville's main task this season is scouting college quarterbacks. Once the Jags are able to find somebody to fill the massive void under center, progress should finally begin. Right now, the team is basically stuck in neutral.
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