NFL Power Rankings: Teams in Danger of Taking Massive Plunge After Week 2
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Week 1: 34-28 loss at San Francisco 49ers
Week 2: vs. Washington Redskins
5. Houston Texans
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
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
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
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
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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