Aside from the Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers who took a Week 1 bye due to Hurricane Irma, every team made their first impression on the 2017 season. Week 1 brought injuries, optimism for teams on the fence and a quarterback controversy. How did opening performances affect the latest power rankings?
One particular team, though well-coached, will take a tumble in the standings due to a significant injury to a star player. Will this club recover as the season progresses or should the fanbase fold their tents after one game?
A loss in the national spotlight often brings overreaction from fans and analysts. Should we give Big Blue a pass after the offense scored three points against the Dallas Cowboys without wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.?
Which team helped themselves the most in the Monday Night Football spotlight? You can look back at the previous rankings to add context to the listing below.
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. Carolina Panthers (1-0)
13. Baltimore Ravens (1-0)
14. Detroit Lions (1-0)
15. Minnesota Vikings (1-0)
16. Tennessee Titans (0-1)
17. Denver Broncos (1-0)
18. Philadelphia Eagles (1-0)
19. New Orleans Saints (0-1)
20. Cincinnati Bengals (0-1)
21. Los Angeles Chargers (0-1)
22. Houston Texans (0-1)
23. Washington Redskins (0-1)
24. Arizona Cardinals (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)
Minnesota Vikings Surge the Rankings
We watched the Minnesota Vikings offense sputter last season. The New Orleans Saints ranked within the top 10 in points scored and yards gained every year since the 2010 campaign. So, the Saints were sure to outscore the Vikings in their new stadium, right?
Sam Bradford became the second quarterback to throw for 300 yards and three touchdowns in a season opener for the Vikings, per ESPN Stats & Info:
ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo
Sam Bradford and Tommy Kramer are only Vikings QB to throw for 300 yards, 3 TD in season opener. Kramer did it in 1980 against the Falcons. https://t.co/lreiqMR4wl2017-9-12 01:47:22
#Vikings rookie RB Dalvin Cook sets team rookie record for most rushing yrds in opener. #Future #SKOL https://t.co/I6Iu4L7lNS2017-9-12 02:25:01
Bradford and Cook performed like the pair we thought Brees and Peterson would become in Week 1. However, the Vikings offense looked fluid to start the year. Wide receivers Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs flashed as viable threats with their quarterback slinging passes downfield.
Minnesota moves upward several spots in the rankings. While it's a terrific offensive performance, we'll see if consistency follows with Pat Shurmur's play-calling.
David Johnson Injury Buries Arizona Cardinals
For Arizona Cardinals fans and fantasy owners alike, running back David Johnson's injury forces supporters and owners to take a long hard look at the 2017 season.
According to head coach Bruce Arians (via NFL Network's Ian Rapoport), Johnson suffered a wrist injury on Sunday, which may follow the same timetable as running back T.J. Logan, who's on injured reserve:
Ian Rapoport @RapSheet
This is bad: #AZCardinals coach Bruce Arians tells reporters David Johson’s initial prognosis is the same as TJ Logan… who is out 12 weeks.2017-9-11 19:12:55
Johnson will seek a second opinion, but the initial prognosis doesn't seem encouraging, per Azcardinals.com reporter Darren Urban:
Darren Urban @Cardschatter
Arians: David Johnson seeing second opinion to determine course for wrist injury. Same prognosis as TJ Logan right now. Logan on IR.2017-9-11 19:10:59
Johnson led the team in yards from scrimmage (91) against the Lions. Last year, he accumulated 2,118 total yards, which is 1,090 more than wideout Larry Fitzgerald who placed second in the category. In total, the Cardinals racked up 5,868 yards on offense. For math majors, Johnson accounted for about 36 percent of the team's offensive yardage in 2016.
Johnson's injury, whether it's for a short or long period of time will hurt the Cardinals standing for at least a month. The team already made measures to compensate for the loss. Running back D.J. Foster will join the active roster from the New England Patriots practice squad, per Rapoport:
Ian Rapoport @RapSheet
#AZCardinals are making a RB move. Source says they are signing #Patriots RB DJ Foster off NE’s practice squad. #ASU product is flying now 🛫2017-9-11 20:40:58
The Cardinals will have to lean on the passing attack with a talented stable of wideouts, but quarterback Carson Palmer continues to age poorly after a Pro Bowl 2015 campaign. The arrow points downward for Arizona in the power rankings.
New York Giants Down, Not Out of Top 10
The Giants heard the crowd's loud roar at AT&T Stadium as the Cowboys defense put quarterback Eli Manning on skates in the pocket and stuffed a futile ground attack.
Beckham heard cha-ching cha-ching. He probably went to bed thinking about money bags because his squad could only muster 233 offensive yards and didn't cross their own 35-yard line until the third quarter.
Additionally, the Giants don't have a ground attack worth writing about. Running back Paul Perkins doesn't look capable of carrying the load, and rookie ball-carrier Wayne Gallman didn't make the active roster on Sunday. Someone call Dancing with the Stars winner Rashad Jennings!
Seriously, don't panic. The Giants haven't fielded a decent ground attack since the 2012 season in which Ahmad Bradshaw barely eclipsed 1,000 rushing yards. Though it's not a sustainable approach, Big Blue's offense relies on Beckham to create opportunities for others due to added coverage on his side of the field.
According to Rapoport, Beckham will return sooner rather than later:
Ian Rapoport @RapSheet
#Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr (high-ankle sprain) is officially inactive. He should be good to go for Week 2, though.2017-9-10 23:05:02
Once Beckham returns, the Giants offense won't look explosive, but Manning will have a top-notch receiver who can turn a quick slant route into a long touchdown. Furthermore, Brandon Marshall and Sterling Shepard will draw No. 2 and No. 3 cornerbacks in coverage.
Big Blue took a black eye on Sunday night, but they'll bounce back with their superstar receiver back on the field.