NFL Power Rankings: Biggest Risers and Fallers After Week 2
After two weeks of the NFL season, it's clear which teams are rising to prominence and which aren't.
Teams like the Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears and Kansas City Chiefs are gaining credibility with their respective starts, but teams such as the Atlanta Falcons and Dallas Cowboys are quickly falling down the rankings after underachieving to start the season.
Let's take a look at the full power rankings after Week 2 and why the teams mentioned above are either rising or falling.
1. Seattle Seahawks (2-0)
With a convincing win over the San Francisco 49ers at home, the Seattle Seahawks cemented themselves as the best team in the NFL and are unbeatable at home. If this team's offense can become more consistent, it will be one tough team to beat thanks to the best defense in football.
2. Denver Broncos (2-0)
The Denver Broncos went to MetLife Stadium and took care of business against the New York Giants; however, the game was pretty competitive until the fourth quarter. Denver's offense is a well-oiled machine right now, but questions remain on defense with cornerback Champ Bailey hurt and linebacker Von Miller suspended.
3. San Francisco 49ers (1-1)
Don't read too much into the 49ers' loss to the Seahawks. Granted, it does push the Seahawks into the No. 1 spot in the power rankings, but the Seahawks were undefeated at home last season and it comes as no surprise the Niners were the latest victims of the toughest place to play in the NFL.
4. Green Bay Packers (1-1): Riser
The Green Bay Packers were somewhere in the middle of the pack to start the season with a questionable defense being the biggest problem. While that aspect of Green Bay could play better, it hasn't been bad and quarterback Aaron Rodgers is looking like he can beat any defense through the air at will.
Following a close call in Week 1 that saw the Packers fall just short against an elite squad in the 49ers, the Packers went to Washington and spanked the Redskins 38-20. Rodgers simply picked apart the Redskins defense and it was no fluke as he did the same to the Niners the week before.
Whatever their problems may be on defense, it's clear the offense has the weapons to make up for it. Because of that quality offense, the Packers can hang with any team in the NFL regardless of the concerns over their defense.
5. Chicago Bears (2-0): Riser
The Chicago Bears have started off the season with new head coach Marc Trestman on the right foot with two wins against quality opponents as the offense is looking better than it has in years.
To go along with the successes of Jay Cutler and company, the Bears defense is playing solid and should continue to get better as the year progresses. Ranked No. 2 in the NFC in takeaways, it seems the Bears defensive unit is picking up right where it left off last season.
As a more complete team, the Bears are looking like serious contenders in the NFC and could very well challenge the Packers for NFC North supremacy.
6. New England Patriots (2-0)
The Patriots are very fortunate to be 2-0 after two near losses to the Buffalo Bills and the lowly New York Jets in Week 2. The biggest problem remains an inexperienced receiving corps that can't hold onto the ball, but the Pats defense has helped pick up the slack and tight end Rob Gronkowski should return soon to give some much-needed support.
7. Atlanta Falcons (1-1): Faller
One of the favorites to win the NFC coming into this season was the Atlanta Falcons. After two weeks of play, it remains to be seen if the Falcons can get on track in order to accomplish that feat.
Atlanta should have toasted the suspect New Orleans Saints defense in its first game of the season, but that didn't happen and instead the Falcons could only muster up 17 points in the loss. Add to that a Week 2 near collapse against the St. Louis Rams and you have a team that is in panic mode right now.
Things aren't getting any better, either, as running back Steven Jackson will be out for Week 3 and Atlanta has countless other players on the injury report that could negatively affect it moving forward, per ESPN.com.
With a seemingly resurgent Saints team that is 2-0, the Falcons better figure out their issues quick otherwise the foregone conclusion that they would win the NFC South may not become a reality after all.
8. Houston Texans (2-0)
The Texans are holding steady this week, thanks to another ugly win over an inferior opponent. First it was the San Diego Chargers in Week 1 and then the Tennessee Titans in Week 2. While the Texans offense has been impressive the first two weeks, it's their defense that has fans worried about going up against more prevalent passing attacks.
9. New Orleans Saints (2-0)
Following a Week 1 upset of the Falcons, the Saints came back down to earth a bit after barely topping the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last Sunday. New Orleans' defense continues to be a pleasant surprise and the offense has yet to hit its stride. It'll be interesting to see if this defensive effort is for real or if New Orleans will revert back to ineptitude similar to last season.
10. Cincinnati Bengals (1-1)
The Cincinnati Bengals are considered a favorite to win the AFC North and enjoyed a nice rebound win in Week 2 after starting the season 0-1. While the Bears were a tough opponent that resulted in a loss, the Bengals still have some proving to do after beating a horrid squad in the Pittsburgh Steelers in the second game of the season.
11. Kansas City Chiefs (2-0): Riser
Head coach Andy Reid has stepped in and taken the Kansas City Chiefs back to relevance rather quickly. After a nice warm-up win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Chiefs took on and beat a quality opponent in the Dallas Cowboys in Week 2.
Quarterback Alex Smith has done his job thus far, which is taking care of the football and moving it down field. With plenty of threats on offense, the Chiefs will be able to supplement their solid defense by putting sufficient points on the board.
On defense, the Chiefs shut down the Jags and did a great job keeping a potent Cowboys offense in check. This team has a bunch of talent on both sides of the ball and with a favorable schedule this season, the Chiefs will continue to rise as the most improved squad in 2013-14.
12. St. Louis Rams (1-1)
The St. Louis Rams are beginning to become a more balanced team. On defense, a stellar pass rush and credible cornerbacks make it a tough task for opposing offenses to beat up on the Rams defense. Quarterback Sam Bradford has put up sensational numbers during the first two weeks of the season and nearly stunned the Falcons in Week 2 by coming oh-so-close to mounting a comeback from down 24-3 at half.
13. San Diego Chargers (1-1): Riser
The San Diego Chargers are putting people on notice that they have a stellar offense that must be respected. To go along with quarterback Phillip Rivers and an excellent pass attack, the Chargers have also enjoyed some success running the football early on.
Defensively, the Chargers must get better protecting against the pass as they are ranked No. 32 in the NFL and their rush defense isn't much better with a No. 21 ranking.
Head coach Mike McCoy has done a great job resurrecting this team's offense, which has been the biggest cause of San Diego's rise in the first two weeks. Will it continue? That remains to be seen, but San Diego is far from a pushover at this point and can score a good amount of touchdowns on most defenses in this league.
14. Philadelphia Eagles (1-1)
Despite their frantically-paced offense being a force to start the season, it's defense that is the biggest issue in Philly. Sure, tiring opposing defenses out and moving the ball down field every 20 seconds has been a great strategy, but the Eagles won't go anywhere if their defense continues to let them down as it did in Week 2 against the Chargers.
15. Miami Dolphins (2-0)
Week 3 will be an opportunity for a statement game when the Miami Dolphins host the Falcons. Miami's 2-0 start certainly breeds optimism for the Dolphins faithful, but wins over the Cleveland Browns and Indianapolis Colts aren't giving much credibility to Miami's start.
16. Dallas Cowboys (1-1): Faller
Just when the Cowboys were riding high following a Week 1 win over a sloppy Giants team, the wheels came off the momentum wagon when the Chiefs abruptly shut down the Cowboys in Week 2.
Tony Romo and the passing attack has done its job for the most part; however, a lack of a rushing attack is once again making the Cowboys offense predictable. If this team hopes to make an impact this season and win the NFC East, DeMarco Murray must get going.
Until this team starts stringing together some wins and playing more consistently, it's looking like the same old underachieving song and dance from Jason Garrett's team.
17. Arizona Cardinals (1-1)
Two close games could have resulted in the Cards being 2-0 or 0-2 right now. In Week 1, it was a collapse against the Rams in the fourth quarter. In Week 2, the Cardinals were the beneficiaries of a letdown half as the Detroit Lions failed to show up in the final two quarters to seal a win.
18. Detroit Lions (1-1)
The Lions are stuck in limbo right now after a disappointing loss to the Cardinals last week. Many expected Detroit to revive itself this season and once again make the playoffs for the second time in three years; however, that thought process must be put on hold after the Lions failed to take care of business in Week 2.
19. Buffalo Bills (1-1)
The Buffalo Bills are another team that could very well be 2-0 to start the season. After nearly beating the Pats in Week 1, the Bills edged out the Carolina Panthers at home thanks to a late-scoring drive from EJ Manuel. Buffalo likely won't compete for a playoff spot this season, but the emergence of Manuel early on gives this team the hope that it has a long-term answer behind center.
20. Baltimore Ravens (1-1)
Baltimore didn't do much to improve its stock after Week 2. The Ravens' win against the Browns was a nice gimme game to have after getting creamed by the Broncos in the season opener, but a 14-6 victory was far from impressive and further outlined all the problems this team has.
21. Minnesota Vikings (0-2)
A playoff team in 2012-13, the Minnesota Vikings are not getting off to the start they had hoped. A 10-point loss to the Lions started the year on a sour note and now things have gotten worse as the Bears' last-second win in Week 2 sent the Vikings to the bottom of the NFC North standings as the worst team in the division after two weeks.
22. Indianapolis Colts (1-1)
Indianapolis' defense is a big problem for this squad and that problem has been compounded by the fact that the Colts offense hasn't gotten off to the start they had hoped. A close win against the Oakland Raiders didn't do much to create optimism, and a Week 2 loss to the Dolphins leaves the Colts in search of their first quality win of the season.
23. Washington Redskins (0-2)
With Robert Griffin III seemingly off his game, this team stands no chance of going anywhere this year should the defense continue to be porous. Green Bay tore the Washington Redskins secondary to pieces, and it's been a hideous beginning to the 2013-14 campaign for this playoff team from last season.
24. New York Giants (0-2)
Where do you even begin with the Giants? Decent defense has been something of a positive for this team, but even that aspect of the G-Men needs improvements. On offense, the Giants have been awful with countless turnovers in two games. Quarterback Eli Manning must clean his play up, because seven interceptions against the Cowboys and Broncos combined will only serve to bury his team more.
25. Tennessee Titans (1-1)
The Tennessee Titans just missed a golden opportunity against the Texans last week. A 1-1 record would normally indicate a decent start for a team, but that's a bit misleading in this instance as the Titans only win came against a struggling Steelers squad.
26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-2)
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are doing just fine defensively with their revamped secondary, but quarterback Josh Freeman hasn't played up to even average standards. Until their play on offense improves, the Bucs are in for a long season in 2013-14.
27. Carolina Panthers (0-2)
Head coach Ron Rivera's job is no doubt in question after an 0-2 start. After losing to the elite Seahawks 12-7 in Week 1, it looked like the Panthers would take that competitive result and storm into Buffalo for a win. That didn't happen and now the Panthers will face an opponent in the Giants who are as desperate for a win as they are.
28. Oakland Raiders (1-1)
Terrelle Pryor's start to the season has been promising thus far. The third-year quarterback has been able to run all over opposing defenses during the first two weeks, although neither of those units were exactly vaunted. After beating the league's worst in Week 2, the Raiders will hit the road to take on the AFC's best in what should be a long day for Oakland's defense versus a top-flight QB.
29. New York Jets (1-1)
Nobody figured the Jets stood a chance of beating the Patriots in Week 2, but head coach Rex Ryan's squad just missed out on shocking the world. Such a win was more of a result of the Pats' poor play rather than the Jets ability to hang with good teams. With all their problems, the Jets have a chance to start the season 3-1 with two winnable games in a row against the Bills and Titans.
30. Pittsburgh Steelers (0-2)
Several injuries and all-around ineptitude on offense has left the Steelers in a bad way to begin the season. After mustering up just 19 points over the course of two games, it isn't clear where the relief is coming for head coach Mike Tomlin's squad.
31. Cleveland Browns (0-2)
The Cleveland Browns defense has looked respectable thus far, but the same can't be said for the offense. With only one touchdown after two weeks and no semblance of a running game after the Trent Richardson trade to the Colts, per Adam Schefter of ESPN, the Browns are in a heap of trouble on offense, and the lackluster play from QB Brandon Weeden isn't helping at all.
32. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2)
The only thing certain about the NFL season so far is that the Jags are the worst team in the league. In fact, the Jags are so bad that television stations airing their games are feeling the need to apologize for doing so. Without an offensive touchdown yet, Jacksonville looks to be on its way to a No. 1 overall pick in next year's draft.
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