Tragic news about the apparent suicide by Broncos second-year wideout Kenny McKinley was found out this week. He’s the third Broncos player in four years to lose his life. The Broncos will wear a No. 11 on their helmets the rest of the year and will leave his locker intact as well.
After two weeks, the Chiefs, Buccaneers and Bears are all 2-0 while the Cowboys, Vikings and 49ers are all 0-2. The Chiefs and 49ers square off this week, while the Bucs and Bears play tough games against the Steelers and Packers respectively. The Vikings look to get back to their winning ways against the Lions while the Cowboys try desperately to avoid their third straight loss as they face the red-hot Texans.
Teams' previous ranking in ( ).
1. New Orleans Saints (1): Champions find ways to win, and the Saints proved that in a poorly played game on Monday night.
2. Green Bay Packers (3): Sluggish in the first half, Aaron Rodgers and company came out firing in the second half and easily handled the Bills. Big showdown in week three against division rival Chicago on Monday night; winner takes the NFC division lead.
3. Houston Texans (9): Matt Schaub threw for just less than 500 yards in their week two overtime win against the Redskins. The Texans won a game that in the past they would have lost. This week, they look to move to 3-0 as they take on their in-state rival, the Dallas Cowboys.
4. Indianapolis Colts (4): Who knew the Colts could run the football so much, and so effectively? If they are able to continue that trend, they will once again be the favorite coming out of the AFC.
5. Baltimore Ravens (2): Still waiting for the Ravens offense to show up. Despite not giving up a touchdown yet this season, they are 1-1 on the season. They have an easy game this week as they look ahead to their week four showdown against the undefeated Steelers.
6. New York Jets (8): Impressive showing against the Patriots. Losing Darrelle Revis for at least one week with a hamstring injury will hurt them against Miami. However, they need to be more concerned the DWI Braylon Edwards was hit with earlier this week.
7. Pittsburgh Steelers (16): 2-0 without Ben Roethlisberger against solid opponents is an accomplishment. However, Charlie Batch gets the nod this week as Dennis Dixon is out with an injury. It’s truly amazing how dominant that defense is with a healthy Troy Polamalu.
8. Cincinnati Bengals (10): Three AFC North teams in the top eight? The Bengals need to get their offense on track if they are going to remain a contender for the rest of the season.
9. Miami Dolphins (11): Beating the Vikings on the road proved this team is for real. Their defense had Brett Favre and Co. lost for nearly the entire game.
10. New England Patriots (6): The loss of the longest tenured Patriot, Kevin Faulk, will hurt this team more than people think. With that said, Tom Brady and Randy Moss are still healthy and will continue to light up the scoreboard.
11. San Diego Chargers (13): After a poor performance week one, the Chargers looked like a whole new team in week two. Will they stay hot against the Seahawks or struggle early this season like they have the past few years?
12. Atlanta Falcons (14): Whether or not the Falcons 41-7 win over Arizona was a reflection on them or Arizona is tough to tell at this point. We’ll get a much better idea as they battle the defending Super Bowl champs this week.
13. New York Giants (12): Younger brothers usually get walked all over by their big brothers. Eli Manning was no different in week two, as older brother Peyton and the Colts had their way with the Giants. The G-Men try to rebound this week against the Titans.
14. Minnesota Vikings (7): Their defense is only allowing 14 points per game so far. That’s good. The offense has scored 19 points total, however, which is not good. If the Vikings are going to get it turned around, and there’s no reason to believe they won’t, it will start this week against the Lions. They then have a bye week in week 5 to get everything figured out.
15. Chicago Bears (22): The Bears remain relatively low, despite being 2-0, because beating a bad Lions team and a fairly overrated Cowboys team are not quite worthy of top 10. If Chicago takes care of Green Bay on Monday Night Football this week, their ranking will jump.
16. San Francisco 49ers (15): What a heartbreaking loss to the Saints. However, they can’t blame anyone but themselves. A bad snap cost them two points, and three turnovers at costly times kept them from scoring. Yet, even at 0-2 the 49ers have no reason to panic.
17. Philadelphia Eagles (17): The Eagles held off the Lions and Michael Vick played excellent again. In fact he played so well, Head Coach Andy Reid has named him the starter for the rest season. He better keep winning or Philly Fans will feed him to the dogs. Pun very much intended.
18. Dallas Cowboys (5): The Cowboys took a major plummet in the rankings. Losses to two teams that nobody expected much from will not get it done. Now they must face one of the best teams and avoid an 0-3 start, which almost puts their playoff hopes on ice after just three weeks.
19. Tennessee Titans (18): Chris Johnson proved he is at least partially human. Unfortunately for Titan’s fans, he must be superhuman on a weekly basis in order for them to win.
20. Jacksonville Jaguars (20): The Jags just seem like one of those teams that just isn’t getting better or worse. Without Maurice Jones-Drew, nobody would have a reason to watch them.
21. Kansas City Chiefs (25): The Chiefs are playing good football, and are the division leader after two weeks. I don’t expect that trend to continue, but they do seem to have re-tooled very quickly and could compete for a final playoff spot.
22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (28): Tampa Bay has as many wins in two weeks this year that they had all of last year. I expect a major week three letdown against the Steelers, but it will be a great challenge for a young quarterback.
23. Denver Broncos (26): Tragedy continues to humble this team. The loss of a teammate is sometimes the best motivation. Expect Denver to play with extra emotion this week. R.I.P. Kenny McKinley.
24. Seattle Seahawks (21): A good test this week against the Chargers to see if the Seahawks are more of the team we saw in week one (a dismantling of the 49ers) or in week two (dismantled by the Broncos).
25. Arizona Cardinals (19): After a few exciting years in the desert, it seems as if the Cardinals have returned to their usual ways.
26. Washington Redskins (23): They hung in there with a very good Texans team. They are still overlooked as a contender in their division, but with the Cowboys, Eagles and, Giants all playing average, the Redskins could surprise a lot of people.
27. Oakland Raiders (27): Jamarcus Russell was given the better part of a few years before being benched. Jason Campbell was given a game and a half. Is it just me or is that the type of move that would be made by a coach who is on the hotseat?
28. Carolina Panthers (24): The Jimmy Clausen Era has arrived, and much sooner than anyone anticipated. Don’t expect too much from him in his first start against the Bengals, but give him a few weeks and you might be surprised at his performance.
29. Detroit Lions (29): After having a win ripped from them by the officials in week one, back-up QB Shaun Hill nearly led a huge comeback against the Eagles in week two. Despite being winless, the Lions are clearly improved and would love nothing better than to get into the win column by beating the division rival Vikings in week three.
30. Buffalo Bills (30): Rumors last week had the Bills trading Marshawn Lynch to Green Bay for A.J. Hawk, but nothing serious has come from it. Rookie C.J. Spiller excited everyone in the pre-season but has yet to shine through two games.
31. Cleveland Browns (31): Like most years, the Browns are going nowhere fast. They may not even score points this week as they face that tough Ravens D.
32. St. Louis Rams (32): The Rams are 0-2, but have lost both games by a total of six points. That is vastly improved from last year. With that said, they are still going to struggle to win more than a game or two this season.