NFL Power Rankings: Teams in Danger of Taking Massive Plunge After Week 2

Richard Langford@@noontide34Correspondent ISeptember 12, 2013

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 5:  Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos walks off after going out on downs against the Baltimore Ravens during the game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 5, 2013 in Denver Colorado. (Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)
Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

Week 1 of the NFL season was ripe with surprises. For instance, the Buffalo Bills almost beat the New England Patriots, the Pittsburgh Steelers offense was pathetic and the New York Jets actually won a game.

These results have to play into the power rankings, but it is always dangerous to base too much on any one game in the NFL. So, power rankings prior to Week 2 are a delicate balancing act.

I'm not afraid to walk that tight rope, but as a highlighted feature, I will select a few teams—and mark them in italics—that are in danger of taking big plunges with a subpar Week 2 performance. 

Langford's Week 2 Power Rankings

32. Jacksonville Jaguars

Record: 0-1

Week 1: 28-2 loss vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Week 2: at Oakland Raiders

The good news for the Jaguars is that they don't have to worry about making a plunge. Of course, that is only because I can't rank them below college teams in NFL power rankings.

The Jags scored two points in the season opener. While that is an impressive and rare feat, it does not bode well for the season. 

31. Cleveland Browns

Record: 0-1

Week 1: 23-10 loss vs. Miami Dolphins

Week 2: at Baltimore Ravens

The Cleveland Browns authored one of the most disappointing season openers of the week. With a young team and a bit of hype, the perception was the Browns could be a playoff contender. Instead, they were ineffective and embarrassed by the mediocre Miami Dolphins.

30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Record: 0-1

Week 1: 18-17 loss at New York Jets

Week 2: vs. New Orleans Saints

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers laid a giant egg in Week 1. That came after some nice offseason roster moves that had expectations rising in Tampa.

The Bucs better make quick improvements, or this is going to be a long season. 

29. Pittsburgh Steelers

Record: 0-1

Week 1: 16-9 loss vs. Tennessee Titans

Week 2: at Cincinnati Bengals

The Steelers offense was a horror show in Week 1. The offensive line couldn't block anyone, and that came against a Titans defense that doesn't figure to be among the elite. 

It is hard to see this team succeeding unless the play along the offensive line makes drastic improvements. 

28. Oakland Raiders

Record: 0-1

Week 1: 21-17 loss at Indianapolis Colts

Week 2: vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

The Raiders outperformed the expectations almost everyone had for them by taking the Colts to the wire in Indianapolis. Quarterback Terrelle Pryor turned plenty of heads as he led the Raiders up and down the field.

However, before I allow this to let me get carried away on the season predictions for the Raiders, I'm going to wait and see how this defense holds up and how teams adjust to Pryor. 

27. San Diego Chargers

Record: 0-1

Week 1: 31-28 loss vs. Houston Texans

Week 2: at Philadelphia Eagles

The Chargers looked fantastic in the first half against the Houston Texans, as Philip Rivers was moving up and down the field and protecting the ball. 

While letting their 28-7 lead slip away is discouraging, there is still signs of hope lingering from the performance. 

26. New York Jets

Record: 1-0

Week 1: 18-17 win vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Week 2: at New England Patriots

I'm shocked the Jets won. Combine that with the fact that rookie quarterback Geno Smith went 24-of-38 for 256 yards, a touchdown and an interception, and there are reasons to be optimistic that this season won't be as big a train wreck as many anticipated.

And it was anticipated to be a spectacular wreck. 

However, I'm not convinced the Jets are safe from that disastrous season. 

The Jets defense did a wonderful job of bottling up running back Doug Martin in Week 1, and if that defense continues, the season will be OK. However, Martin was a boom-or-bust runner last year, and just because New York held him to 65 yards at 2.7 yards per carry, it doesn't mean the Jets will stifle running games like they did when Rex Ryan first took this team over. 

Meanwhile, the offense still is limited, and even with Smith's fine debut, he is not enough to carry this team. 

25. Arizona Cardinals

Record: 0-1

Week 1: 27-24 loss at St. Louis Rams

Week 2: vs. Detroit Lions

The Arizona Cardinals are going to be a lot more productive on offense this year with quarterback Carson Palmer at the helm. However, I'm not sure they will be much better.

Palmer puts up more stats than wins, and that was reflected in the Cardinals blowing a lead against the Rams in Week 1.

24. Buffalo Bills

Record: 0-1

Week 1: 23-21 loss vs. New England Patriots

Week 2: vs. Carolina Panthers

The Bills came up short against the New England Patriots in Week 1, but they were impressive nonetheless.

The defense looked vastly improved from last year, and if that form holds up, this team will be a factor in every game.

23. Tennessee Titans

Record: 1-0

Week 1: 16-9 win vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Week 2: at Houston Texans

The Titans offense didn't look much better than the Steelers' in Week 1. However, Tennessee fans must be excited with the glimpse of promise from its defense. At least that is a step in the right direction. 

22. New York Giants

Record: 0-1

Week 1: 35-31 loss at Dallas Cowboys

Week 2: vs. Denver Broncos

The Giants are going to have a hard time doing anything but pass the ball this season. And with the suspect pass blocking and lack of a run game exhibited in the first game, it is unlikely that quarterback Eli Manning will make it through the season healthy. 

21. Carolina Panthers

Record: 0-1

Week 1: 12-7 loss vs. Seattle Seahawks

Week 2: at Buffalo Bills

The Panthers' defensive front mauled the Seahawks' offensive line, and it almost resulted in a victory. If the defense can play at that level for the entire season, the Panthers will make a playoff push.  

20. Minnesota Vikings

Record: 0-1

Week 1: 24-34 loss at Detroit Lions

Week 2: at Chicago Bears

The Vikings' loss to the Lions was disheartening, but let's not read too much into it. With a strong defensive line and a good passing game, the Lions are well-suited to stifle the Vikings.

It's too early to give up on the Vikings' postseason hopes.

19. Washington Redskins

Record: 0-1

Week 1: 33-27 loss vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Week 2: at Green Bay Packers

What an emotional roller coaster Monday night must have been for Redskins fans. The team looked absolutely terrible in the first half. However, the second half revealed that Robert Griffin III and his teammates will still be a factor this season. They just needed to get on the same page.

18. St. Louis Rams

Record: 1-0

Week 1: 27-24 win vs. Arizona Cardinals

Week 2: at Atlanta Falcons

We will all learn a lot about the Rams this week. This team has the talent to make a run at the postseason, but it still remains to be seen if it can consistently put up the points needed to make that happen. 

17. Miami Dolphins

Record: 1-0

Week 1: 23-10 win at Cleveland Browns

Week 2: at Indianapolis Colts

The Dolphins laid out a solid defensive effort against the Browns. They were quick to the quarterback all game and did a nice job of clogging up rushing lanes. 

Stud running back Trent Richardson gained just 47 yards at 3.6 yards per carry. 

Meanwhile, the Dolphins also forced quarterback Brandon Weeden into three interceptions. This was an impressive showing on defense, but it was also against the Browns. 

This week, Miami will be facing a much more efficient offense. If the Dolphins can stymie Andrew Luck, this defense will prove to me it is legit. 

Meanwhile, the offense certainly has explosiveness, but it will need far more from prized offseason acquisition Mike Wallace.

If the Dolphins defense looks more pedestrian this week and Wallace struggles again, Miami will make a big drop down the power rankings.  

16. Kansas City Chiefs

Record: 1-0

Week 1: 28-2 win at Jacksonville Jaguars

Week 2: vs. Dallas Cowboys

The Chiefs looked fantastic against the Jaguars in Week 1. Alex Smith was efficient, and the defense was absolutely swarming. The problem is that it was against the Jaguars. This week will be a better proving ground for the Chiefs.  

15. Philadelphia Eagles

Record: 1-0

Week 1: 33-27 win at Washington Redskins

Week 2: vs. San Diego Chargers

After one game in the Chip Kelly era, it is wildly clear that the Eagles are going to be fun to watch. We'll see if this team can keep up this pace for a season, but whatever happens, it will be entertaining, and it will produce points—for both teams. 

14. Cincinnati Bengals

Record: 0-1

Week 1: 24-21 loss at Chicago Bears

Week 2: vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

I expected the Bengals' defensive front four to maul the Bears' offensive line. It didn't happen. The Bengals didn't register a single sack. If that trend continues for the season, Cincinnati is in for a rough ride.  

13. Detroit Lions

Record: 1-0

Week 1: 34-24 win vs. Minnesota Vikings

Week 2: at Arizona Cardinals

Calvin Johnson had just 37 receiving yards in Week 1, and the Lions still won. This is great news for Detroit, which looks to have a more balanced offense with the addition of Reggie Bush. 

12. Baltimore Ravens

Record: 0-1

Week 1: 49-27 loss at Denver Broncos

Week 2: vs. Cleveland Browns

It was a tale of two halves for Baltimore in its loss to the Denver Broncos. The first half played out much like last season ended. The Ravens were up 17-14 and looked poised to grind out a tough victory on the road.

However, the problem was the Ravens had yet to see the full force of the Broncos offense. Peyton Manning did everything he wanted in the second half, and he made it look easy. He wound up torching the proud Ravens defense. 

However, there are worse signs for a team than getting shredded in one game by Peyton Manning. The Ravens had a healthy amount of turnover this offseason, and this defense should get better as the season rolls along. It is certainly not time to panic yet. 

If they struggle against the Browns, however, it will be time to panic. 

11. Dallas Cowboys

Record: 1-0

Week 1: 36-31 win vs. New York Giants

Week 2: at Kansas City Chiefs

The Cowboys offense put on a good show against the Giants, as the offensive line held up surprisingly well. While the passing defense displayed a few holes, the Cowboys secondary has the talent to improve. 

10. Indianapolis Colts

Status: Postseason Contender

Record: 1-0

Week 1: 21-17 win vs. Oakland Raiders

Week 2: vs. Miami Dolphins

The Colts are still an incomplete team, and a lot will rest on how well the offensive line develops this season. With Andrew Luck at the helm, though, this team will be a factor all year. 

9. Chicago Bears

Record: 1-0

Week 1: 24-21 win vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Week 2: vs. Minnesota Vikings

The Bears didn't allow a single sack to the fearsome front of the Bengals. This is a great sign for an offense that has been limited by poor offensive line play. 

8. Atlanta Falcons

Record: 0-1

Week 1: 23-17 loss at New Orleans Saints

Week 2: vs. St. Louis Rams

Drawing the Saints in New Orleans for the return of coach Sean Payton was a tough opening setting for the Falcons.

If this offense comes out and puts on a good showing against a talented and young Rams defense, it will be safe to keep Atlanta as a Super Bowl contender.  

7. New Orleans Saints

Record: 1-0

Week 1: 23-17 win vs. Atlanta Falcons

Week 2: at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Saints defense looked dramatically better in Week 1 than the abysmal unit that dragged this team down a season ago.

If defense isn't going to be a liability in New Orleans, this team will make the postseason. 

6. Green Bay Packers

Record: 0-1

Week 1: 34-28 loss at San Francisco 49ers

Week 2: vs. Washington Redskins

The Packers still haven't figured out how to stop Colin Kaepernick, but it's also clear that no one is going to be able to stop Aaron Rodgers and Green Bay's offense. 

5. Houston Texans

Record: 1-0

Week 1: 31-28 at San Diego Chargers

Week 2: vs. Tennessee Titans

Concerns remain in Houston about the Texans' ability to stop a quality passing attack, but there are no concerns over this balanced offense that looks to be even more dangerous with the addition of rookie wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins.  

4. Seattle Seahawks

Record: 1-0

Week 1: 12-7 win at Carolina Panthers

Week 2: vs. San Francisco 49ers

Thanks to more clutch play late in the game by quarterback Russell Wilson, the Seahawks escaped with a Week 1 victory on the road. 

Seattle will need its offense to be vastly more productive going forward, but this remains a talented and deep team. 

3. New England Patriots

Status: Super Bowl Contender

Record: 1-0

Week 1: 23-21 win at Buffalo Bills

Week 2: vs. New York Jets

The New England Patriots got off to a bit of a sluggish start, but this is a team that has gotten better as the season has gone on over the past few seasons, and the Patriots still managed to pull out the win.  

2. San Francisco 49ers

Record: 1-0

Week 1: 34-28 win vs. Green Bay Packers

Week 2: at Seattle Seahawks

Anquan Boldin's prolific Week 1 performance showed that the 49ers' passing game will be dangerous despite being thin at wide receiver. 

While the pass defense was schooled a bit, there is no shame in giving up yards to Aaron Rodgers.

1. Denver Broncos

Record: 1-0

Week 1: 49-27 win vs. Baltimore Ravens 

Week 2: at New York Giants

The Denver Broncos offense was everything it was advertised to be and then some in Week 1. That unit looked completely unstoppable. A lot can happen between now and the end of the season, but there is no doubt Denver was the most impressive team in Week 1. 


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