You may have noticed that I have not published power rankings for the first two weeks of the season. So why am I doing it now?
Let’s just say I decided to take a page out of the BCS standings (and what the other college polls need to do): I waited.
I waited for the dust to settle a little bit.
We all have our own set of expectations for our own teams and the other 31 teams in the NFL. I know I made my list before the preseason games started and made mild adjustments throughout August.
Then all of the hype boiled over as soon as that first game kicked off. The games concluded and we started to overreact to Week One. This over the top reaction heading into Week Two stabilized a bit once those games were played.
So now Week Three arrives and I feel a little better about my opinions of the teams in the league. However, I am still unsettled with some of my expectations, but others were confirmed. Usually, my opinions become more solid when heading into Week Five, because I have a better sampling of games by then.
Please remember this note about the rankings: I combined my preseason expectations with current performance as it prevents me from overreacting to the first two weeks of the season.
Enough of my rambling; you don’t have a lot of time to be listening to me. You have jobs and lives to lead.
Let’s get it on…
- 1. New Orleans: It is very hard to score over forty points in back-to-back weeks, no matter the opponent.
- 2. New York Giants: Giving up 250 yards rushing to Dallas is not a great thing, but the team is forcing timely turnovers and performing when it counts. Two division wins out of the gate is good to have under the belt early on.
- 3. Baltimore: Looking fantastic out of the gate with a tough offense of all things.
- 4. Pittsburgh: Struggling to run the ball and Polamalu is injured, but they still have Roethlisberger and a defense that kept Chicago in check until the very end.
- 5. New England: Could very well be 0-2 to start the year, but you have to think Belichick will get the offense back on track. Defense actually looks good despite the personnel losses.
- 6. Chicago: Could very well be 2-0 were it not for a defensive lapse against Green Bay in Week One with a minute to go.
- 7. New York Jets: Following the Ravens blueprint from last year: aggressive defense, steady rookie quarterback, and bruising running game behind a quality offensive line.
- 8. San Diego: Despite the talent, they have not looked good, particularly defensively. Injuries to both lines are a concern.
- 9. Indianapolis: Even though they are 2-0, they were pushed around by the Dolphins. However, the team has found ways to win both games, which is a testament to the coaching staff and Peyton Manning.
- 10. Tennessee: This is the best 0-2 team in the league. I never thought they would repeat 13 wins, but I did not expect them to lose to the Texans after pressing the Steelers.
- 11. Philadelphia: They would be higher up if McNabb were healthy; Kolb, Garcia, and Vick represent a level-or-two drop-off at the quarterback spot.
- 12. Atlanta: Looked very solid to begin the year against two teams I felt would decline anyway (Miami and Carolina).
- 13. Minnesota: I would be more impressed with their fast start if it was against teams I didn’t feel were absolute bottom-feeders. Still, they are 2-0.
- 14. Dallas: Romo is what he is. He’ll tear up bad teams and turn the ball over in big spots against the league’s elite.
- 15. San Francisco: A big road division win was followed up by a big home division win. This team will be a real pain all season long because of their tough, grind-it-out style.
- 16. Green Bay: I was high on Aaron Rodgers going into the year, but maybe I was just high when I thought that.
- 17. Arizona: Kurt Warner bounced back on the cross-country trip to Jacksonville before this week’s big Sunday night matchup against Indianapolis.
- 18. Seattle: Hasselbeck’s injury won’t be too big of a deal. Seneca Wallace looked more than tolerable last year on an injury-riddled team last season (87.0 QB Rating).
- 19. Houston: The Texans may have beaten the Titans on the road, but you can’t overlook their terrible run defense (allowing 6.3 yards per carry; 430 total yards ranks No. 32 in the league).
- 20. Denver: After the miracle win at Cincinnati, they took care of Cleveland easily. I want to see more from them in the coming weeks before I am sold since the schedule really toughens up.
- 21. Carolina: Looked like a total mess against Philadelphia and they are just not as good as Atlanta. This Monday-nighter at Dallas is a must-win, or the season goes on life-support.
- 22. Jacksonville: After pushing the Colts to the brink in the opener, the Jags looked like they didn’t belong on the same field as the Cards.
- 23. Cincinnati: Big, impressive win at Green Bay and now have to pull what the Jets did last week. The Bengals need to beat the Steelers in Cincinnati for me to push them up the list.
- 24. Buffalo: Remedied the brutal loss to the Pats by feasting on a subpar Tampa defense.
- 25. Miami: You can’t hold the ball for 45 minutes and lose unless you run a two-minute drill that takes three minutes.
- 26. Washington: I couldn’t understand the thought that this team is decent; the Rams helped me realize I was right.
- 27. Kansas City: Gave two really good efforts that were lost in the fourth quarter. Still a ways to go when it comes to execution.
- 28. Cleveland: If you are grossly overmatched by Denver, you are just not good enough.
- 29. Detroit: Hung for a half in each of their first two games until the defense let them down. Still working out a lot of the kinks.
- 30. Oakland: Played two really tough games against division opponents, but JaMarcus Russell is not an NFL quarterback.
- 31. Tampa Bay: Looks like they can score some points, but the defense is very bad.
- 32. St. Louis: Seven points in two games against Seattle and Washington is not good enough. We’ll try again in 2010.