It’s official! The NFL has returned and I for one think we should have a double-header on Monday Night Football ever week. Anyways, the first week of the season showed us a few things. First, maybe this is the year the Houston Texans make a playoff run. Second, there are some extremely silly rules in the NFL rulebook (but rules are rules; I’m talking to you Calvin Johnson). Third, maybe the Dallas Cowboys aren’t as good as everyone thought, and lastly, maybe, just maybe, Chris Johnson can repeat his remarkable 2009 season. Without further ado, here are the power ranking following week one.
Teams’ previous ranking in ( ).
1. New Orleans Saints (1): A re-match of last year’s NFC Championship, with the same result. The Saints remain at No. 1 until somebody beats them.
2. Baltimore Ravens (3): Even without Ed Reed, the defense was still very stingy. Expect the offense to put up more points as the season progresses.
3. Green Bay Packers (5): Solid road win against the Eagles, but still some questions on defense and losing RB Ryan Grant for the year due to an ankle injury puts a serious hiccup in the Packers’ Super Bowl plans. Needless to say Brandon Jackson is the hottest fantasy football free agent out there.
4. Indianapolis Colts (2): Bob Sanders may be out for the year. Again. As usual, this team will go as far as their defense will allow.
5. Dallas Cowboys (4): I find it refreshing when a team loses a heartbreaker and can’t blame any of it on the referees. With that said, that’s the kind of loss that can kill a team’s season, even in week one.
6. New England Patriots (8): The return of Wes Welker after major knee surgery in less than nine months is nothing short of remarkable. Assuming he can hold up, and that Randy Moss isn’t a distraction, this offense will once again be near the top.
7. Minnesota Vikings (6): Nobody expects Brett Favre to perform like he did last year, especially without Sidney Rice for half the season. The defense will still keep them in games and they will still compete with Green Bay for the division.
8. New York Jets (7): I can’t justify only dropping this team one spot, other than their defense is still rock solid. Mark Sanchez took a step back in their week one loss, and along with Jets fans, he can’t wait until Santonio Holmes’ can return.
9. Houston Texans (16): I know I know, can a team really jump seven spots after one win? Probably not, but when your starting running back goes for over 200 yards and three scores, and you manhandle the defending AFC Champions, it’s possible. The Texans will undoubtedly lose a couple of bad teams, but they’ve already proven they can hang with anyone.
10. Cincinnati Bengals (9): Any more performances like that and you can be sure one or both of their diva wide receivers is going to have something to say, and it will all be downhill from there.
11. Miami Dolphins (13): Not the sexiest win but a win nonetheless. They are still an underrated team that nobody is really talking about.
12. New York Giants (14): All of you fantasy footballers, myself included, that were afraid of drafting Hakeem Nicks, fear not! Eli Manning seems to have found his new favorite target and the Giants just might be the new favorite to win the NFC East.
13. San Diego Chargers (10): The Chargers struggling early in the season? Gee, there’s something we’ve never seen. No reason to believe they won’t win the division, but it might have gotten a little bit more interesting.
14. Atlanta Falcons (11): Tough overtime loss to the Steelers. We’ll get a better idea of how good this team can be after they play a couple more games.
15. San Francisco 49ers (12): That was an ugly showing by the team I picked to not only win the division, but do so with ease. I don’t expect it to last, but then again Alex Smith is still their quarterback.
16. Pittsburgh Steelers (17): The Steelers are back, or at least their defense is. Even if they somehow lost the next three, they should still be able to make a playoff run once Big Ben returns to the lineup.
17. Philadelphia Eagles (15): Kevin Kolb was very disappointing while he was in the game. However, once Kolb suffered a concussion and Michael Vick was put in the game, the Eagles showed some serious life. Head coach Andy Reid is set on Kolb (provided he’s healthy) but after one game, there’s no doubt Vick is the guy that gives them the best chance to win.
18. Tennessee Titans (19): Is it too early to put Chris Johnson in the Hall of Fame? He may or may not reach 2,000 yards again, but he will be the best back in football for the second straight season.
19. Arizona Cardinals (18): The Cardinals are the only team that won, but fell in the rankings. When you barely beat a team that is 6-42 in the past three seasons, it’s nothing to smile about. They are still going to struggle mightily this season.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars (22): Beating the Broncos isn’t overly impressive, but the way in which they won was. David Garrard was almost flawless, going 16-21 with three touchdowns and no interceptions. Any game they can win in which Maurice Jones-Drew isn’t a major factor, is a good sign.
21. Seattle Seahawks (26): The Pete Carroll era got off to a great start with a blowout win over the favored 49ers. Whether or not Seattle can continue this remains to be seen, but perhaps the NFC West won’t be such a pushover.
22. Chicago Bears (23): Christmas came early for the Bears. However if they struggle beating the Lions, you have to imagine they won’t be able to hang with the Packers and Vikings in a division race.
23. Washington Redskins (25): The Redskins were the beneficiaries of two very stupid plays by Dallas, but the fact they even kept the game that close was impressive. If they can get a solid running attack, they might just give the other teams in the division a run for their money.
24. Carolina Panthers (20): One fumble lost and three endzone interceptions for Matt Moore. The Jimmy Clausen era may be closer than we thought.
25. Kansas City Chiefs (30): Impressive win over the heavily favored Chargers. I’m not sure if they can do that on a weekly basis, but either way the Chiefs are no longer an automatic ‘W’ on the schedule for the teams they face.
26. Denver Broncos (21): Not much of a running game, not much of a passing game, and not much of a defense. That’s not a winning recipe. Since their 6-0 start last year, Denver is 2-9 since.
27. Oakland Raiders (24): I’m disgusted for thinking the Raiders actually had a chance at the playoffs this year. They aren’t nearly as bad as their 31-6 loss would suggest, but nonetheless they probably are not playoff contenders.
28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (31): Two more wins and the Bucs match their 2009 total! Second year quarterback Josh Freeman continues to make Tampa competitive. They won’t sniff the playoffs this year, but appear to be moving in the right direction.
29. Detroit Lions (29): Good things just don’t happen to bad teams. Detroit had their game won. But because of an incredibly ridiculous rule, they didn’t have the game won. It appeared that Detroit was going to build off of their two wins from last year, but with Matthew Stafford separating his shoulder, it appears it will be another miserable year for Lions fans.
30. Buffalo Bills (27): The Bills are just not a good football team right now. They have two solid running backs, and yet decided to spend their high draft pick on C.J. Spiller. He impressed a lot of people in the pre-season but failed to show up on the big stage.
31. Cleveland Browns (28): Their best player, utility man Joshua Cribbs, threw for nine yards, rushed for 11 yards, had 11 yards receiving and was a non-factor in the return game. But on the bright side, that Lebron guy left town…
32. St. Louis Rams (32): A good first game for franchise-quarterback Sam Bradford. If the Ram’s can continue to build around him, they will become relevant in a short period of time. For the immediate future though, they aren’t winning many (or any?) games.