NFL Power Rankings Week 2: Assessing Each Team's Early Performance

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NFL Power Rankings Week 2: Assessing Each Team's Early Performance
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Well, we have officially watched two weeks of NFL action up until this point.

There have been some feel-good stories—like the Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins starting 2-0—and there have been some feel-bad stories—like the New York Giants and Washington Redskins starting 0-2.

One thing's for sure: The 2013 NFL season will be an exhilarating ride full of ups and downs. 

So, where does each team rank after two weeks of football?

Here's my take.

 

1. Denver Broncos (2-0)

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The Broncos have destroyed the defending champion Baltimore Ravens and New York Giants in the first two weeks of the season. They have the highest point differential in the league (plus-40). And Peyton Manning has passed for a combined 769 yards and nine touchdowns. Case. Closed.

 

2. Seattle Seahawks (2-0)

Seattle's offense hasn't been as explosive as it was last season yet, but the revamped defense has been as advertised. The 49ers scored 34 points against the Green Bay Packers in Week 1...then they scored three points in Week 2 against the Seahawks. Seattle has allowed 10 points through two weeks.

 

3. San Francisco 49ers (1-1)

The 49ers were not only embarrassed in Seattle in Week 2, but they were also exposed. Beyond Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis, nobody in the Niners receiving corps scares opponents. On top of that, Colin Kaepernick looked like an inexperienced quarterback for the first time in his young career.

 

4. Green Bay Packers (1-1)

After the explosive loss to the 49ers in Week 1, the Packers bounced back with a formidable 38-20 victory over the Redskins in Week 2. Green Bay's pass defense is concerning, but the offense is still a high-powered unit.

 

5. Houston Texans (2-0)

The Texans haven't beaten anyone that imposing yet, with close wins over the Chargers and Titans, but the emergence of rookie wideout DeAndre Hopkins opposite Andre Johnson points to a potentially lethal one-two punch down the stretch.

 

6. New England Patriots (2-0)

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The Patriots haven't exactly been that impressive in nail-biters against the Bills and Jets, but they have ultimately taken care of business. They are one of seven undefeated teams remaining in the NFL. You would think it's only a matter of time before Brady gets it going, but, then again, losing a player of Welker's caliber can be tough to make up.

 

7. Chicago Bears (2-0)

The Bears first defeated the young and talented Bengals. Then they edged the Vikings in Week 2, 31-30. Brandon Marshall is still good. The signing of former Giants tight end Martellus Bennett is paying huge dividends. And Jay Cutler has been sacked just once. It's hard to say the latter will continue after all of these years, but the offense as a whole looks good right now.

 

8. Atlanta Falcons (1-1)

The Falcons lost a tough game to the Saints at the Superdome in Week 1, but they bounced back against the Rams in Week 2. The Falcons haven't been that impressive yet, but they've also had to endure key injuries.

 

9. New Orleans Saints (2-0)

The Saints have defeated the Falcons and Buccaneers so far, but I need to see a bit more until I put them ahead of the Falcons. The New Orleans defense was torn apart last season, and I'm not yet convinced the unit has turned a 180.

 

10. Baltimore Ravens (1-1)

The decline many thought the Ravens would suffer after losing several key players in the offseason may be here. The 14-9 win over the Browns in Week 2 was hardly jaw-dropping, and the blowout loss to the Broncos may have been a telltale sign.

 

11. Cincinnati Bengals (0-1)

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Spor

The Bengals lost to the Chicago Bears in Week 1, 24-21. The running game was spotty and Andy Dalton was, well, still Andy Dalton. Cincinnati has the young talent to be a playoff contender again this season, but the team will only go as far as Dalton can take it.

 

12. Indianapolis Colts (1-1)

The Colts may be 1-1, but a four-point win over the Raiders and a four-point loss to the Miami Dolphins aren't exactly awe-inspiring performances. The good news is that young receiver T.Y. Hilton and offseason signing Ahmad Bradshaw appear to be getting into the groove.

 

13. Detroit Lions (1-1)

I don't know what it is, but there's something about a Jim Schwartz-coached Lions team that makes me nervous. Maybe it's the fact that it always loses games that it should win. The Lions lost to the Cardinals in Week 2.

 

14. St. Louis Rams (1-1)

A narrow loss to the Falcons ain't half-bad. The Rams continue to look like a team on the rise, on both sides of the ball.

 

15. Dallas Cowboys (1-1)

The Cowboys started the 2013 campaign with a spectacular win against the Giants. Then they became the Cowboys. One week later, Dallas is losing to Kansas City and Alex Smith and Co. are outshining Tony Romo and the 'Boys. You never know what to expect with this team.

 

16. Philadelphia Eagles (1-1)

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OK, so Chip Kelly has shown that he knows how to run a pro-caliber offense. But the Eagles pass defense is still mighty concerning, considering the Chargers dropped 33 points on it in Philly in Week 2.

 

17. Washington Redskins (0-2)

Washington's run defense has been awful lately. The Redskins rank last in the NFL in opponents' rushing yards per game, and James Starks—James Starks—exploded for 132 yards and a touchdown against them in Week 2.

 

18. New York Giants (0-2)

The Giants lost to the Cowboys in heartbreaking fashion. Then big brother Peyton and the Broncos picked on Eli in Week 2. If I had a dollar for every "Eli Face" produced, I would be a rich man.

 

19. Miami Dolphins (2-0)

I liked the direction the Dolphins were headed last season, and I like it even more this season. The 24-20 victory over the Colts in Week 2 was a big confidence-builder for Joe Philbin's squad after the close loss in Indianapolis last season. Ryan Tannehill is growing into a legitimate starting quarterback in the NFL. Mike Wallace got going. If rookie running back Lamar Miller can continue to produce at a reasonable level, the Dolphins could turn into one of the biggest surprises of 2013.

 

20. Tennessee Titans (1-1)

A win over the Steelers and an overtime loss to the Texans—not bad. It's progress, even if it doesn't change the fact that Jake Locker is not the answer in Tennessee. The defense has been solid.

 

21. Kansas City Chiefs (2-0)

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The win over the Jaguars wasn't much to gloat about, but defeating the Cowboys is a step in the right direction. Alex Smith is proving that he did have some hand in his success in San Francisco—as amazing as it sounds—and the Chiefs still have stars Jamaal Charles and Dwayne Bowe.

 

22. Arizona Cardinals (1-1)

I'll say this: Carson Palmer is a better quarterback than the recent string of no-names who have lined up under center in recent years for the Cardinals. New head coach Bruce Arians also showed a personal wrinkle when Palmer connected down the sideline on a 36-yard touchdown with rookie running back Andre Ellington in the win over the Lions.

 

23. Buffalo Bills (1-1)

The Bills tested the Patriots and then beat the Panthers. Rookie quarterback E.J. Manuel may have been the right pick in the first round after all.

 

24. San Diego Chargers (1-1)

Philip Rivers and the Chargers bounced back against the Eagles after blowing a 21-point lead against the Texans in Week 1. Good for them. Now they need to play consistent football...Riiiight.

 

25. Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1)

Yes, the Steelers generally find ways to win, but the 16-9 loss to Tennessee was incredibly concerning. The offensive line is a mess, and the backfield is a disaster. Good luck, Big Ben. May want to phone Jay Cutler for some advice.

 

26. Carolina Panthers (0-2)

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The 12-7 loss to the Seahawks in Week 1 wasn't that horrible—considering the Seahawks held the 49ers to three points in Week 2—but the loss to the Bills was something to be worried about. When a guy with the mobility of Cam Newton is sacked six times, you know your offensive line is bad.

 

27. Minnesota Vikings (0-2)

At some point, Christian Ponder is going to have to step up. Enough is enough. He has the game's greatest running back behind him, and he still manages to look as if the defense is stacked up against him. Unless Ponder improves, the Vikings won't be going anywhere this season.

 

28. Oakland Raiders (1-1)

The Raiders aren't the worst team in the NFL, and Terrelle Pryor looks like a capable quarterback—tell me when this fantasy is over. But, seriously, Pryor has done some good things, and the Raiders are finding ways to win. It's progress.

 

29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-2)

It's not like the Buccaneers have been embarrassed in their losses. It's just that they continue to show they don't know how to buckle down in the closing minutes. Lavonte David's late hit on Geno Smith that put the Jets in position for the game-winning field goal in Week 1 was incredibly stupid.

 

30. New York Jets (1-1)

I'm not going to give the Jets credit for "hanging in there" against the Patriots. Tom Brady and the Patriots were uncharacteristically bad in the 13-10 victory in Foxborough. Also, while I'm not giving up on Geno Smith, he certainly has plenty to learn, and it doesn't help when his backfield consists of Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell.

 

31. Cleveland Browns (0-2)

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Newsflash, Browns fans: Brandon Weeden isn't going to lead you to the promised land. In his second NFL season, Weeden has completed 49 percent of his passes for 5.5 yards per attempt while tossing one touchdown to three interceptions through the first two weeks. Oh yeah, the 2012 draft pick is also turning 30 years old in October. Happy Halloween!

 

Are the Jaguars currently the NFL's worst team?

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32. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2)

Congratulations, Jacksonville Jaguars: You are the NFL's worst team. The Jaguars kicked off their 2013 campaign by losing to the Chiefs, 28-2. Then they lost to the Raiders, 19-9. Head coach Gus Bradley has yet to announce whether young first-round draft pick Blaine Gabbert or veteran Chad Henne will start against the formidable Seahawks in Seattle next week. Yes, Henne is still in the NFL, and, yes, Gabbert is still in the NFL. Whoever starts in Seattle next week will most likely be banished to an abandoned island after the Seahawks are done with him.

 

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