NFL Power Rankings Week 2: Predicting Post-Monday Night Football Standings

Maurice Moton@@MoeMotonFeatured ColumnistSeptember 11, 2017

Aug 31, 2017; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram II (22) and running back Adrian Peterson (28) huddle up with teammates before a preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

We'll cap NFL Week 1 with a doubleheader on Monday Night Football, with two intriguing matchups to conclude regular-season openers. New Orleans Saints running back Adrian Peterson travels back to Minnesota to face his former club, and AFC West rivals square off in the follow-up contest.

Both games should come down to playmakers sealing victories late in the fourth quarter. Spectators will see a clash between high-powered offenses and defenses that accumulated 27 takeaways in the previous season.

How will these contests pan out in the win-loss column and the power rankings? The listing below reflects the previous standings released after Sunday's action, with early projections on the Monday Night Football games.

       

Power Rankings 

1. Green Bay Packers (1-0)

2. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0)

3. Seattle Seahawks (0-1)

4. Kansas City Chiefs (1-0)

5. New England Patriots (0-1)

6. Dallas Cowboys (1-0)

7. Atlanta Falcons (1-0)

8. Oakland Raiders (1-0)

9. New York Giants (0-1)

10. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-0)

11. Miami Dolphins (0-0)

12. New Orleans Saints (1-0)

13. Carolina Panthers (1-0)

14. Baltimore Ravens (1-0)

15. Detroit Lions (1-0)

16. Tennessee Titans (0-1)

17. Philadelphia Eagles (1-0)

18. Los Angeles Chargers (1-0)

19. Cincinnati Bengals (0-1)

20. Arizona Cardinals (0-1)

21. Minnesota Vikings (0-1)

22. Denver Broncos (0-1)

23. Houston Texans (0-1)

24. Washington Redskins (0-1)

25. Los Angeles Rams (1-0)

26. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-0)

27. Buffalo Bills (1-0)

28. Indianapolis Colts (0-1)

29. Chicago Bears (0-1)

30. San Francisco 49ers (0-1)

31. Cleveland Browns (0-1)

32. New York Jets (0-1)

      

Adrian Peterson Gets Revenge in Victory

Aug 26, 2017; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Adrian Peterson (28) before a preseason game against the Houston Texans at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Any time a team parts ways with a player who still feels there's something left in the tank, he's going to put forth an extra effort to earn a victory against his former squad.

After a decade with the Vikings, Peterson will don a new uniform, but he retains his competitive nature, per Minneapolis Star Tribune reporter Mark Craig.

Two years removed from a rushing title, the Saints running back will likely add offensive balance via the ground attack alongside Mark Ingram and rookie Alvin Kamara in the backfield. 

Despite Peterson's offseason focus on his receiving skills during organized team activities, per Times-Picayune reporter Larry Holder, expect the physical ball-carrier to handle third-down carries as well as goal-line opportunities. For the three-time rushing champion, nothing will feel better than running over his former teammates under the bright lights.

Overall, the Saints will come into U.S. Bank Stadium with too much firepower for the home team. Quarterback Drew Brees with a three-headed monster in the backfield will fissure the Vikings' tough defense on Monday.

         

Los Angeles Chargers' New Regime Starts with a Win 

SANTA CLARA, CA - AUGUST 31:  Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn stands on the sidelines during their game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium on August 31, 2017 in Santa Clara, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Head coach Anthony Lynn takes over the Chargers roster with a veteran quarterback who's aggressive in approach but throws with deadly accuracy. Philip Rivers has completed at least 66 percent of his passes in three of the last four seasons. He also led the league in completions and attempts during the 2015 campaign.

Lynn spent 14 years in the league as a running back coach. His background should help balance the Chargers offense and take pressure off Rivers' arm. Expect tailback Melvin Gordon to take a significant step forward in progression under his new head coach. 

In 2016, Lynn took over as the offensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills after Week 1. The team finished with the best rushing offense in the league with LeSean McCoy, Mike Gillislee and mobile quarterback Tyrod Taylor accumulating a bulk of the yards on the ground.

The Chargers don't have a mobile quarterback at the helm or the same depth at the running back position, but the passing attack with an array of weapons should open wide lanes for Gordon against a porous run defense.

       

Denver Broncos Fall to AFC West Cellar with a Loss

DENVER, CO - AUGUST 26:  Head coach Vance Joseph of the Denver Broncos looks on before a Preseason game against the Green Bay Packers at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on August 26, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

The Chargers-Broncos matchup features two rookie head coaches. Denver Broncos lead skipper Vance Joseph will stand on the sideline opposite Lynn on Monday night. He earned praise for improving the Miami Dolphins defense late in the previous year.

As a former defensive backs coach, Joseph's background bodes well for the Broncos' No Fly Zone, even without safety T.J. Ward, who signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

However, the Dolphins allowed 100-plus rushing yards in eight consecutive games, including a playoff loss, under Joseph. The Broncos ranked No. 28 in run defense during the previous season. The front office added nose tackle Domata Peko to bulk up the defensive line, but is it enough? 

Offensively, Joseph will lean on offensive coordinator Mike McCoy and quarterbacks coach Bill Musgrave to develop Trevor Siemian, who didn't look sharp during the preseason but still outperformed Paxton Lynch for the starting job under center. 

While the Broncos attempt to slow the game down, the Chargers will eventually find holes in the front seven with a consistent ground attack and short passes en route to a tight victory.