2022 B/R NFL Power Rankings: Where Does Every Team Stand Entering Week 3?
So Week 2 of the 2022 NFL season was…something.
To say that last week's NFL action was wild is the mother of all understatements. In Cleveland, the Browns became the first team to blow a 13-point lead in the last two minutes of a game since…the Browns. In Baltimore, Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa played arguably the best game of his career in leading a wild comeback win over the Ravens. And in both Jacksonville and Detroit, two teams most expected to be tomato cans made statements that opponents who underestimate them do so at their own peril.
That was the 1:00 p.m. ET slate. The late games featured two AFC playoff teams that are now in scramble mode after last-second losses dropped them to 0-2—including the defending conference champions.
It was a week that rattled what we think about who the league's contenders and pretenders are and put the Bleacher Report NFL Power Rankings through a blender.
The top team hasn't changed, but that's about all that didn't.
32. Houston Texans (0-1-1)
Last Week: 30
Week 2 Result: Lost at Denver Broncos 16-9
On Sunday afternoon, fans of the Houston Texans were dealt a painful reminder: Their favorite team just isn't very good.
On a day when the Broncos continually shot themselves in the foot, the Texans were unable to capitalize on Denver's miscues. For the game, the Texans managed just 234 yards of offense and were held out of the end zone.
After the dispiriting loss, Texans tackle Laremy Tunsil tried to put some kind of positive spin on things.
"We've got to get better at finishing games," Tunsil said. "Once we do that, we'll be a great team."
The reality is that Houston might well have the least talented roster in the NFL. In Week 1, the Texans couldn't hold a lead against a Colts team that looks more and more deeply flawed by the week. That was followed up by a loss to a Broncos team that did everything in its power to hand the game to them.
The Texans don't play a team that made the postseason last year until a trip to Las Vegas on October 23. But given how things have gone to date, it's getting harder and harder to pinpoint weeks where the Texans have a real chance at earning wins.
31. Atlanta Falcons (0-2)
Last Week: 29
Week 2 Result: Lost at Los Angeles Rams 31-27
Two weeks into the season, the Atlanta Falcons have shown some fight.
Two weeks into the season, that hasn't much mattered.
In Week 1, the Falcons had a 26-10 fourth-quarter lead over the New Orleans Saints before eventually falling by one point. On Sunday against the Rams, the Falcons fell into a 31-10 fourth-quarter hole before eventually losing by four points.
The results admittedly haven't been there, but in his postgame presser, Atlanta head coach Arthur Smith applauded the grit that Marcus Mariota, Cordarrelle Patterson and the Falcons showed in making a game of it against the defending Super Bowl champions.
"Obviously it wasn't perfect and we need to break through, but one thing about our guys, no matter what has happened, we have a chance until the last play to win it," Smith said. "Obviously we didn't make enough plays, but the game playing gave us enough and the guys kept grinding out."
The schedule lightens up a bit from here, with the Seahawks and Browns next up on the slate. But if the Falcons can't notch a win or two there before three straight against 2021 playoff teams, it's fair to wonder if Smith's Falcons are improving after a 7-10 record last year, or just getting worse.
30. Seattle Seahawks (1-1)
Last Week: 27
Week 2 Result: Lost at San Francisco 27-7
So, um, about all that "momentum" the Seahawks built up with their Week 1 win over the Denver Broncos?
Yeah, that's gone. It went up in smoke Sunday in San Francisco. The Seahawks were drilled by the rival 49ers, with head coach Pete Carroll admitting the team was pummeled in every aspect of the game.
"Quite a distance from one week to the next," Carroll said. "This league just reminds you how you get humbled. We didn't do anything like we wanted to today at the line of scrimmage, on either side of the ball."
Carroll may actually have understated just how thoroughly the Seahawks were beaten Sunday. The Seahawks managed just 216 yards of offense and were outgained by over 150 yards. One week after playing well against the Broncos, Geno Smith failed to hit 200 passing yards. The Seahawks run game was completely shut down, tallying just 36 yards on 14 carries.
It was a painful reminder that the 2022 Seahawks just aren't an especially good football team. And it's much more likely than not going to be a long season in the Emerald City.
29. Chicago Bears (1-1)
Last Week: 28
Week 2 Result: Lost at Green Bay 27-10
In Week 1, the Bears pulled off one of the week's more surprising wins, taking down the San Francisco 49ers in Chicago.
That momentum didn't carry over to Week 2.
Granted, there were things the team did well against the Packers. David Montgomery had a good game running the ball, amassing 122 rushing yards and averaging over eight yards a carry. But Bears quarterback Justin Fields threw for just 70 yards, and the Bears defense allowed a whopping 203 yards on the ground.
For Sobleski, the performance highlighted Chicago's limitations and shined a harsh light on a team with some significant problems.
"What were all the concerns throughout the offseason about how Chicago's roster is built? Oh, yeah. The Bears don't have enough weapons on offense," he said. "The team's offensive line is marginal at best. Fields hasn't been placed in a position to succeed.
"A Week 1 win in a rain-soaked contest shouldn't fool anyone. To make matters worse, the Bears coaching doesn't actively look like it even trusts Fields to shoulder the offense. The season has disaster written all over it if Chicago doesn't find a way to develop quickly on offense."
28. New York Jets (1-1)
Last Week: 32
Week 2 Result: Won at Cleveland 31-30
Credit where it's due: The New York Jets don't have any quit in them.
One week after getting waxed at home by the Baltimore Ravens, the Jets found themselves down 13 with 1:55 to go in Cleveland. But rather than pack it in and resign themselves to another defeat, the Jets kept scrapping. And after a wild finish that included a long touchdown strike to Corey Davis, a successful onside kick and Garrett Wilson's second touchdown of the afternoon, the Jets were able to stun the Browns on the road to notch their first victory of 2022.
There were positives in the game that went beyond the final score. Joe Flacco played his best game in years, topping 300 passing yards with four scores. Wilson's second NFL game featured eight catches for 102 yards and two touchdowns.
"This score probably says more about the Browns being bad than it says about the Jets being good," Davenport said. "New York allowed over 400 yards of offense, including 184 on the ground. And the Jets can't keep putting the game in Flacco's hands and expect to have sustained success. But coach Robert Saleh's bunch showed some toughness in Week 2, and for a fanbase that has had precious little to be happy about in recent years, this wild win had to feel good."
27. Carolina Panthers (0-2)
Last Week: 26
Week 2 Result: Lost at New York Giants 19-16
The Carolina Panthers have featured a carousel of quarterbacks in recent years. But whether it has been Teddy Bridgewater, Sam Darnold or now Baker Mayfield, one thing has remained the same:
The Panthers aren't winning.
After suffering a two-point setback against Cleveland in Week 1, the Panthers came up three points short on the road in New York.
However, despite the lack of success on the scoreboard. Mayfield told reporters after the game that he's confident the team is close to turning the corner.
"It's not overcomplicated, to be honest with you," Mayfield said. "We just have to come out and play. It's the mental hump of the 0-2 record, but knowing there's a lot of ball left, and you think about it, we're 6-6 at halftime when we should have been losing, if you look at the stats and situations. But we're very close; we're going to correct our mistakes, and go play. We put in the work; we deserve to have fun on Sundays and go execute."
That confidence of Mayfield's is probably going to be tested in the weeks to come. After next week's matchup against the Saints, the Panthers play four games in a row against teams that made the postseason last year.
26. Indianapolis Colts (0-1-1)
Last Week: 15
Week 2 Result: Lost at Jacksonville Jaguars 24-0
Two games into a season is awfully early to hit the panic button...unless you're the Indianapolis Colts.
The Colts opened the season with what appeared to be a pair of winnable games in the AFC South against two teams that combined to go 7-27 last year. In Week 1, the Colts needed a frenetic comeback just to tie the Texans in Houston. In Week 2, the Colts got waxed in Jacksonville by the same Jaguars team that knocked them out of the playoffs in Week 18 last year.
Simply put, this was an embarrassing loss. The Colts were a mess offensively, managing just 218 yards. Jonathan Taylor carried the ball just nine times. The Colts converted just two of 10 third-down tries and turned it over three times.
This marked the eighth straight time the Colts have come up short against the Jaguars in Jacksonville.
Yes, the Colts were shorthanded on both sides of the ball in Week 2. But after watching Indy get pushed around in successive games by two teams exactly no one expected to do anything in 2022, its status as a preseason contender seems almost laughably wrong.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1)
Last Week: 31
Week 2 Result: Won vs. Indianapolis 24-0
The Jacksonville Jaguars just might be a decent football team.
One week after nearly pulling out a win at Washington, the Jaguars decided to dispense with the drama in Week 2—by beating the brakes off their AFC South rivals in Jacksonville.
This was a game the Jaguars dominated in every way imaginable. Offensively, Trevor Lawrence was very efficient, missing on just five of his 30 pass attempts and posting a passer rating of 121.5. Defensively, the Jaguars held the Colts to just 218 yards of offense, limited Indianapolis to 54 yards on the ground, caused three turnovers and sacked Matt Ryan five times.
Earlier this week, head coach Doug Pederson told reporters that this young Jaguars team was learning what it takes to win on Sundays.
"If we control what we can control internally, I think good things can happen for this team," he said. "Are you going to win them all? No, but you're going to give yourself a chance to win them."
One game does not a turnaround make. But given that the Jaguars won just four games in 2020 and 2021 combined, from what we've seen of the Jags under Pederson, this is a drastically improved team.
24. Tennessee Titans (0-2)
Last Week: 19
Week 2 Result: Lost at Buffalo 41-7
After getting stunned at home by the Giants in Week 1, the Tennessee Titans needed to make a statement in Week 2. To show that they remained a legitimate contender in the AFC. They needed to go into Buffalo and at least give the Bills a game.
Instead, the only statement came from head coach Mike Vrabel at the conclusion of a 41-7 humiliation at the hands of the Bills.
"We got our (expletive) kicked," Vrabel said. "Plain and simple. They outcoached us; they outplayed us."
Long story short: Nothing went right for the Titans. Running back Derrick Henry carried the ball 13 times—for 25 yards. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill threw two picks and was benched in favor of rookie Malik Willis. The Titans were outgained by a ratio of more than 2-to-1 and allowed nearly twice as many first downs as they gained.
The only thing that Tennessee has going for it is playing in an AFC South that seemingly no one wants to win. But unless Tennessee can turn things around quickly, the 2022 season is going to spiral away from them.
And this week's tilt with the similarly reeling Raiders is a must-win to keep that from happening.
23. Washington Commanders (1-1)
Last Week: 22
Week 2 Result: Lost at Detroit 36-27
It's something of a coincidence that the Commanders were ranked 22nd in last week's NFL power rankings here at Bleacher Report. As it happens, that's also how many points the team allowed in the first half.
The problem is that Washington did so without scoring a single point of its own.
After the loss, Washington head coach Ron Rivera applauded his squad's fight in the second half against the Lions while bemoaning the fact the team started so slowly.
“We started making plays in the second half,” Rivera said. “If we could have done that in the second quarter, this whole day might have been different. At halftime, we talked about the fact that we don’t have a 22-point play.
“We were going to have to take our time and start making plays. I’m very, very proud of the way we responded—we know that we’re capable of playing that way—but we have to be consistent. This league is hard and we were horrible in the first half.”
The reality is that the Commanders very nearly lost to the Jaguars in Week 1—a loss that would have made the team 0-2 against teams that were 6-27-1 last year.
With the Giants finding ways to close out wins while the Commanders keep digging holes, it's not unreasonable to slot the Commanders in the back of the NFC East.
22. Cleveland Browns (1-1)
Last Week: 17
Week 2 Result: Lost vs. New York Jets 31-30
This is a game that will haunt the Cleveland Browns for a while.
The Browns did everything they needed to do to win Sunday against the New York Jets—at least for most of the game. Cleveland's run game topped 180 yards on the ground. Jacoby Brissett was efficient passing, missing on just five of 27 throws. Amari Cooper had his first 100-yard game as a member of the Browns.
And none of it mattered.
Late in the game, the defense collapsed, allowing a long touchdown pass and a desperation drive for the go-ahead score. Brissett's one real mistake on the day was an interception that sealed the game. And lest they be left out of the collapse, Cleveland's special teams allowed an onside kick recovery.
After the game, head coach Kevin Stefanski was clearly disappointed while speaking to reporters.
"Really frustrating to me," Stefanski said. "Not how we play. ... We can’t let this linger."
"A certain sentiment exists within NFL fandom of the Browns being the Browns, which means Cleveland will find a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory," Sobleski said. "In Sunday's 31-30 loss to the Joe Flacco-led Jets, the Browns became the first team since 2001 to blow a lead despite a 13-point advantage with under two minutes left to play, per ESPN Stats & Info. The last team to do so? The Browns.
"A perfect storm of defensive breakdowns, poor communication, a lack of situational awareness on offense and then asking a limited backup quarterback to win the game resulted in the historic loss. Cleveland is just trying to keep its proverbial head above water until Deshaun Watson joins the lineup. The team can't give away games like it did this past weekend and expect a positive outcome for the season."
21. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1)
Last Week: 16
Week 2 Result: Lost vs. New England 17-14
The Pittsburgh Steelers have problems.
For the second time in as many weeks, the Steelers struggled to generate offense. Pittsburgh gained just 243 total yards against the Patriots. The ground game barely cleared 90 yards. Mitchell Trubisky was mediocre under center, throwing for 168 yards with a passer rating of 73.8. And Pittsburgh's beleaguered offensive line struggled again.
While speaking to reporters after the game, Trubisky admitted the offense has to improve.
"We can be better at everything," Trubisky said. "I can be better at decision-making. We had some missed opportunities. I had some missed throws. ... Bottom line, we've got to score more points."
The Steelers have long been a team that has earned the benefit of the doubt; after all, Pittsburgh has yet to record a losing season with Mike Tomlin as head coach. The team has talent on both sides of the ball. And it's not like any one squad is running away with the AFC North after two weeks. At 1-1, Pittsburgh is in a three-way tie for first place.
But with winnable games against the Browns and Jets up next, the Steelers need to get it together before a four-week gauntlet that includes trips to Buffalo, Miami and Philadelphia and a home date with the Buccaneers.
20. Detroit Lions (1-1)
Last Week: 25
Week 2 Result: Won vs. Washington 36-27
Don't look now, but the Detroit Lions offense looks pretty dang good.
Keyed by a huge game from Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, Detroit poured on the points against the Commanders in Week 2. Detroit piled up 425 yards of offense against Washington, with St. Brown setting a new NFL record by recording eight or more catches and a touchdown in six straight games.
Lions quarterback Jared Goff gushed about his top receiver while talking to reporters after the game.
"He's a very friendly target," Goff said. "That's the best way to describe it. He always comes back to the ball. Always catches the ball away from his body. Is always where he needs to be. Understands coverage. Understands what I'm looking at and what I'm looking for. Always asking questions. Comes downhill when he's breaking out. He's a guy I'm lucky to play with and the sky is the limit for him."
St. Brown wasn't the only young Lion who had a huge showing. In just his second NFL game, rookie edge-rusher Aidan Hutchinson spent most of his time in the Washington backfield, notching three sacks of Carson Wentz.
The Lions may not be good yet, but watching that young talent pile up stats, it's plainly evident the team is getting better.
19. Dallas Cowboys (1-1)
Last Week: 24
Week 2 Result: Won vs. Cincinnati 20-17
Reports of the Dallas Cowboys' demise may have been exaggerated.
After Dak Prescott went down with an injured hand, many wrote off the Cowboys. But for one week at least, the team is still afloat, and backup quarterback Cooper Rush deserves quite a bit of the credit for the win.
Rush's 235 passing yards and one touchdown aren't jaw-dropping numbers, but he outperformed Joe Burrow, earning postgame accolades from head coach Mike McCarthy.
"It's actually exciting to see him be excited after he won a game," McCarthy said. "To get a charge out of it because he is so, so consistent."
"One win over a reeling Bengals team doesn't mean the Cowboys are 'back' any more than a loss would have stuck a fork in Dallas' season," Davenport said. "But it was still impressive to see Rush play so effectively in Prescott's stead. He had help too, whether it was from Ezekiel Elliott, Tony Pollard and the ground game or Micah Parsons and a Cowboys defense that sacked Burrow six times and limited Cincinnati to 254 yards of offense.
"Three of Dallas' next four games are inside the NFC East, and if the Cowboys continue playing like they did in Week 2, the team could still be in the thick of the playoff hunt when Prescott returns."
18. Las Vegas Raiders (0-2)
Last Week: 13
Week 2 Result: Lost vs. Arizona 29-23 (OT)
The Las Vegas Raiders need a hug.
One week after losing a nail-biter to the rival Chargers, the Raiders held a 16-point lead against the Arizona Cardinals in the fourth quarter. But once again, the Raiders couldn't hold on. After allowing a pair of late touchdown drives and two two-point conversions, a Hunter Renfrow fumble returned for a score dropped the Raiders to 0-2 and into last place in the AFC West.
After the defeat, a stunned Josh McDaniels told reporters the Raiders need to learn to weather the storm better.
“[Arizona] did a few things differently in the second half, I think,” the head coach said. “At the end of the day, I think you have to learn how to handle success like we had in the first half, and/or failure if that’s you on the other end of the spectrum, if you’re behind."
However, Moton thinks the team's issues may go deeper than that.
"The Raiders had arguably the most troubling loss among teams that squandered double-digit fourth-quarter leads Sunday," he said. "They had a 20-0 advantage headed into halftime and lost 29-23 in overtime, allowing 22 unanswered points between the fourth quarter and the extra period. On top of that, the Raiders may have overcorrected their reliance on wideout Davante Adams, who converted 17 targets into 10 receptions for 141 yards and a touchdown in Week 1. He only saw seven targets and finished with two receptions for 12 yards and a score in Week 2."
"Even more troubling, McDaniels emphasized clean football and the avoidance of penalties over the summer," Moton continued. "Well, the Raiders committed 10 infractions, which cost them 68 yards Sunday. After a crushing loss, Vegas must find an offensive balance that includes more of the run game to use up the clock with positive game scripts and once again address bad habits that lead to penalties."
17. New England Patriots (1-1)
Last Week: 21
Week 2 Result: Won at Pittsburgh 17-14
After a dispiriting offensive performance in Miami in Week 1, the New England Patriots desperately needed to get the offense back on track in Week 2. The Pats didn't light the world on fire against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but there were improvements.
Mac Jones wasn't flawless, but he threw for 252 yards and a score. Running backs Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson combined for 118 yards on 24 carries. Wide receiver Nelson Agholor had a big game, catching six passes for 110 yards and a touchdown.
The Patriots defense held up their end as well, allowing just 243 yards of offense, forcing a pair of turnovers and sacking Mitchell Trubisky three times.
Still, at least one of our analysts remains dubious that the Patriots can be a legitimate threat in the AFC East this season.
"The Patriots aren't a bad team," Davenport said. "And any team with a defense run by Bill Belichick is going to be solid on that side of the ball. But I have no confidence that the New England offense can hang with the likes of the Bills and Chiefs. As a matter of fact, we saw in Week 1 that they couldn't hang with Miami. It's far more likely this team misses the postseason than makes any sort of noise in the playoffs."
16. New York Giants (2-0)
Last Week: 23
Week 2 Result: Won vs. Carolina 19-16
The New York Giants entered Week 2 above .500 for the first time since all the way back in 2016. That was also the last time the Giants started a season 2-0.
The Giants aren't exactly piling up style points; on Sunday against the Carolina Panthers, the Giants tallied just 265 yards of offense. But the G-Men also only gave up 275 yards and won the turnover battle, and New York was able to make just enough plays to eke out a close one for the second week in a row.
For Moton, how the team is winning isn't as important as the wins themselves.
"Off to their first 2-0 start since 2016, the Giants have edged the Tennessee Titans (21-20) and Carolina Panthers (19-16) in close victories," he said. "Though they haven’t scored a lot of points, Big Blue has found ways to win under new head coach Brian Daboll, which helps change the club’s losing culture and boosts its standing in the power rankings.
"Furthermore, running back Saquon Barkley looks like a strong candidate for Comeback Player of the Year after racking up 282 yards and a touchdown from scrimmage in two outings. If healthy, he’ll remain the key to the Giants offense as quarterback Daniel Jones manages the unit from the pocket. The fourth-year signal-caller hasn’t eclipsed 188 passing yards in either of the team’s wins."
15. Cincinnati Bengals (0-2)
Last Week: 7
Week 2 Result: Lost at Dallas 20-17
The Cincinnati Bengals are in trouble.
After losing in Dallas on Sunday, the Bengals are the first reigning AFC champion to start the season 0-2 since the Denver Broncos in 1999. After signing three new veteran starters on the offensive line following a season in which Joe Burrow was sacked a whopping 70 times (including the postseason), Cincinnati has surrendered a staggering 13 sacks through two games, a number that left head coach Zac Taylor frustrated after the loss.
"I think we've given up too many sacks, absolutely," Taylor said. "It's all frustrating. We've given ourselves an opportunity to win these games against good teams, so once things settle down, I know that we're going to be a really good football team."
Sobleski isn't sure that turnaround is coming, largely because he doesn't know how much longer Burrow can keep taking this kind of weekly punishment.
"Offseason investments in the offensive line this offseason haven't been enough to change the Bengals' approach," he said. "Joe Burrow remains the league's most sacked quarterback through two games. The New Orleans Saints' Jameis Winston is the only other quarterback to reach double digits so far.
"Maybe the most disappointing aspect is how poorly left tackle Jonah Williams, who is the line's lone holdover, has played thus far. Ted Karras, Alex Cappa and La'el Collins completely rebuilt the right side of the front, while rookie Cordell Volson earned the job at left guard. Williams has been consistently beaten by his assignments through two games, which makes Burrow's blind side consistently vulnerable. Maybe this group jells over time. Burrow might not survive the experience intact, though."
14. New Orleans Saints (1-1)
Last Week: 10
Week 2 Result: Lost vs. Tampa Bay 20-10
Sunday's meeting with the rival Buccaneers was something of a measuring stick for the New Orleans Saints—an opportunity to gauge if the team was truly ready to challenge Tampa in the NFC South.
Apparently, not quite yet.
To be fair, this game was closer than the final score indicates. For most of the afternoon, the Saints held Tom Brady and the Buccaneers offense in check before a late pick-six blew things open. But New Orleans also had all kinds of trouble moving the ball, turned it over a back-breaking five times, converted just four of 13 third downs and surrendered six sacks.
Saints quarterback Jameis Winston, who was nursing a back injury entering the game, allowed to reporters that he has to do a better job taking care of the ball.
"Everyone in that locker room is playing with a banged-up something," Winston said. "What is most important is offensively I have to do a better job of executing on third downs and I can't give them the football."
"The Saints have most of the ingredients to be a contender," Davenport said, "especially once they get running back Alvin Kamara back. But they absolutely cannot afford for Winston to revert to the player he was in Tampa, the one who threw 30 interceptions in 2019. If you turn it over five times, it doesn't matter how good you are—you're going to lose."
13. Arizona Cardinals (1-1)
Last Week: 18
Week 2 Result: Won at Las Vegas 29-23 (OT)
For most of Sunday's matchup with the Las Vegas Raiders, it appeared the Arizona Cardinals were headed for the spot no team wants to be in: a 0-2 hole. With about nine minutes left in the game, the Cardinals trailed 23-7.
But that's when Kyler Murray strapped on his cape and saved the day. The Cardinals quarterback led the team on two late touchdown drives that included two two-point conversions before Byron Murphy's fumble return for a touchdown in overtime secured Arizona's first win of the season.
Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury touted his quarterback's heroics while speaking to reporters after the game.
"He's a special talent," Kingsbury said. "You can see when he's able to do his thing, that's what he does, and he had some tremendous plays, and the numbers may not be great, [but] we don't care about numbers."
The Cardinals now have renewed life, but the celebration in the desert could be short-lived. Arizona's difficult early-season schedule rolls on next week with a third straight matchup against a 2021 playoff team when the Cardinals host the Los Angeles Rams.
12. Denver Broncos (1-1)
Last Week: 14
Week 2 Result: Won vs. Houston 16-9
In the NFL, winning is all that matters. And in that regard, the Broncos were successful in Week 2, earning the first victory of the Nathaniel Hackett era against the Houston Texans. But the way the Broncos won is more than a little concerning.
To say they won ugly in Week 2 is an understatement. Russell Wilson completed less than half of his passes and posted a passer rating of just 66.5. After multiple clock management gaffes in a season-opening loss to Seattle, the Broncos again had issues with getting plays off on time. Denver was awful again on third down and committed a whopping 13 penalties for 100 yards.
All in all, it was an effort that makes it very hard for Moton to take the team seriously as a contender.
"Even though the Broncos won on Sunday, how can anyone feel excited about them after a 16-9 victory over the Texans? They trailed 9-6 at the beginning of the fourth quarter," he said. "Sure, Russell Wilson lost wideout Jerry Jeudy (rib) early in the game, but Denver’s offense converted on just three of 12 third-down situations and settled for two field goals in the red zone to mark another inefficient outing.
"Perhaps Coach Hackett and his staff need time to get the offense on the right track, but the Broncos have underwhelmed with a top-tier quarterback in Wilson and a talented group of skill players that includes Jeudy, Courtland Sutton, Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon III."
11. San Francisco 49ers (1-1)
Last Week: 20
Week 2 Result: Won vs. Seattle 27-7
The 49ers notched their first victory of 2022 in emphatic fashion Sunday, but that win came at a cost. With quarterback Trey Lance out for the season after fracturing his ankle, the past is the present again in San Francisco.
The Jimmy Garoppolo show is back in town.
After throwing for 154 yards and a score and running for another in relief of Lance, Garoppolo told reporters he feels for the team's young signal-caller, but he appreciated being back under center.
"Just like riding a bike," Garoppolo said. "It felt good to be back out there. Feel terrible for Trey. I've been on that side of it. This league is tough. That sucks for him."
However, while Lance's injury was a blow, Moton believes that in the short term, at least, the 49ers may actually be better off with Jimmy G.
"On one hand, the 49ers have to pause the on-field development of Lance," he said. "Yet San Francisco may be a stronger contender with Garoppolo back in the huddle. This year, the 49ers would’ve had to take the good with the bad as Lance went through growing pains in his first season as a full-time starter. Now, the team can pick up where it left off as one of the top NFC teams with Garoppolo back under center. Because he’s led San Francisco to the playoffs in two of the last three seasons, this club belongs in the top 10 of these power rankings."
10. Baltimore Ravens (1-1)
Last Week: 6
Week 2 Result: Lost vs. Miami 42-38
The Baltimore Ravens are probably still trying to figure out what happened in Week 2.
Against the Miami Dolphins, the Ravens logged a 103-yard kick return on the opening kickoff. Lamar Jackson became the first player in NFL history to throw a 75-yard touchdown pass and log a 75-yard TD run in the same game. Jackson peeled off 119 yards on the ground on just nine carries, topped 300 passing yards, threw for three scores and posted a passer rating of over 140. Entering the final quarter, the Ravens were up three touchdowns.
And Baltimore lost the game.
There are multiple reasons for the stunning setback—the biggest being a pass defense that surrendered 461 yards and six touchdowns. Davenport sees some frightening similarities between the 2022 Ravens and the 2021 iteration that missed the playoffs.
"The Ravens aren't decimated by injuries this year as they were in 2021, but the ones they do have are having an impact," Davenport said. "Baltimore's banged-up secondary was obliterated by Tua Tagovailoa, Jaylen Waddle and Tyreek Hill, and outside of Jackson, the team's leading rusher had all of 16 yards Sunday. As fantastic as Jackson is, he can't be expected to throw for 300 yards and rush for 100 every week—and even that wasn't enough against the Dolphins."
9. Green Bay Packers (1-1)
Last Week: 12
Week 2 Result: Won vs. Chicago 27-10
After an ugly Week 1 loss in Minnesota, the Green Bay Packers got back on track Sunday night in the most recent chapter of what has become a one-sided rivalry with the Chicago Bears. And as Sobleski wrote, Green Bay got untracked in something of an uncharacteristic manner.
"An interesting changing of the guard appears to be happening in Green Bay," he said. "The NFL's back-to-back MVP is no longer the focal point of the offense. Aaron Rodgers hasn't taken a massive step back or anything. But the team's current roster construction benefits greatly from running backs Aaron Jones and AJ Dillion as the primary threats. Green Bay's much-maligned wide receiver corps needs time to grow and get on the same page with Rodgers. Rookies Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs will be worked into game plans, but they're not ready to fill the major void left by Davante Adams. Instead, Jones and Dillion are interchangeable chess pieces that head coach/play-caller Matt LaFleur can use together on the field, line them up as receivers or just impose Green Bay's will onto opponents. The two have combined to gain 404 yards from scrimmage through the first two games."
Green Bay's new-look offense is about to get put to its stiffest test of the young season. On Sunday, the Packers travel to face a Tampa Bay Buccaneers team that has been one of the hardest to run against in recent seasons.
8. Minnesota Vikings (1-1)
Last Week: 9
Week 2 Result: Lost at Philadelphia 24-7
Monday's matchup with the Philadelphia Eagles marked the 12th time in Kirk Cousins' career that he has started a game on Monday night. In his previous 11 starts, Cousins had won twice. No quarterback in NFL history with 10 Monday night starts has a worse record.
You can make it 2-10 now.
To be fair, it's not entirely Cousins' fault that the Vikings were blasted on the road by the Eagles. He didn't allow almost 500 yards of offense or give up a huge game to Eagles signal-caller Jalen Hurts. But Cousins was abysmal, throwing three interceptions.
It's an act that has become all too familiar with the Cousins-led Vikings. They beat up on bad teams. Occasionally peel off a big win against a good team, ala Minnesota's big Week 1 win against the rival Packers. But just when you start buying into the Vikings, they lay an egg.
Minnesota will probably rebound this week against the Lions because that's what it does. The Vikings don't play another 2021 playoff team until a home date with the Cardinals on October 30.
But the confidence level in these Vikings got a lot shakier in Week 2.
7. Miami Dolphins (2-0)
Last Week: 11
Week 2 Result: Won at Baltimore 42-38
If the Miami Dolphins go on to make a playoff run in 2022, we'll look back at Week 2 as the date when things really got rolling.
For most of Sunday's matchup in Baltimore, it appeared the only thing getting rolled was the Dolphins. Miami gave up a 103-yard kickoff return to start the game, allowed a huge game from Lamar Jackson and trailed 35-14 at the outset of the fourth quarter.
But the Dolphins mounted a frenzied comeback thanks to an ever bigger game from Tua Tagovailoa, who exploded for 469 passing yards and six scores.
Yes, you read that right.
In news that should surprise exactly zero people, Dolphins head coach Mike McDaniel was pleased with his young quarterback while talking to reporters after the win.
"I think it was a moment he'll never forget and can use it moving forward," McDaniel said. "I couldn't be happier for him. His teammates learned a lot about him, and I think he learned something about himself."
Moton is buying the Dolphins.
"The Dolphins made a statement with their stunning comeback. They became the first team to erase a 21-point fourth-quarter deficit and win since the Philadelphia Eagles beat the New York Giants in Week 15 of the 2010 term, per ESPN Stats & Info, which tells you what their offense can do with wideouts Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle on the perimeter," Moton said. "On Sunday, Hill and Waddle combined for 22 receptions, 361 receiving yards and four touchdowns, splitting those catches and scores in half. Tua Tagovailoa threw for 469 yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions in his best pro performance. We should recognize the Dolphins as one of the AFC’s heavyweights because of their explosive offensive attack."
6. Philadelphia Eagles (2-0)
Last Week: 8
Week 2 Result: Won vs. Minnesota 24-7
It's just two weeks into the 2022 season, but the Philadelphia Eagles look like the class of the NFC East.
And quarterback Jalen Hurts looks like an evolving player.
It's not just that Hurts damaged the Vikings running the ball, scrambling for 57 yards and two scores on 11 carries. We've become accustomed to seeing that from the third-year pro. But Hurts also carved up the Vikings through the air, completing 26 of 31 passes for 333 yards with a passer rating of 108.7. All told, the Eagles racked up a whopping 486 yards of offense.
They also posted an impressive defensive effort against a Minnesota offense that rolled the Green Bay Packers in Week 1. The Eagles allowed just 264 yards of offense, held the Vikings to four third-down conversions on 12 attempts and picked off Kirk Cousins three times.
"The Cowboys might not be dead without Dak Prescott, but they aren't the same team," Davenport said. "The Giants aren't as good as their record. And the Commanders are, well, the Commanders. The Eagles look like the team to beat in the NFC East—and it isn't particularly close."
5. Los Angeles Chargers (1-1)
Last Week: 4
Week 2 Result: Lost at Kansas City Chiefs 27-24
It's bad enough that after five of the Chargers' eight losses in 2021 were by seven points or fewer the Bolts suffered another close defeat on Thursday—this one a three-point setback in Kansas City against the rival Chiefs.
But in defeat, the Bolts also suffered a significant injury. After taking a number of hard shots in the second half, quarterback Justin Herbert suffered fractured cartilage in his ribs. Head coach Brandon Staley expressed relief that the injury wasn't more serious but allowed that he wasn't sure about Herbert's status for Week 3's home date with the Jaguars.
"I think we got good news in terms of what the CT scan expressed," Staley said. "I think playing quarterback, you don’t want it to be the bones. The fact that it’s cartilage is a good sign. It’s just going to come down to comfort. We’re just gonna have to make sure that he’s comfortable. We’re not going to know more about how he feels until later on in the week."
The Chargers at least caught a break with the schedule should Herbert miss time—Los Angeles doesn't play another team that made the playoffs in 2021 until facing the 49ers in San Francisco in Week 10.
But in an AFC West where no team has much margin for error, losing Herbert for any length of time would be a massive blow.
4. Los Angeles Rams (1-1)
Last Week: 5
Week 2 Result: Won vs. Atlanta 31-27
The good news for the Los Angeles Rams is they rebounded from their blowout loss to the Buffalo Bills with a win over the Atlanta Falcons in a game where Cooper Kupp exploded (again) to the tune of 11 catches for 108 yards and two touchdowns.
The bad news is…everything else.
The Rams raced out to a 31-10 lead only to have to hold on for dear life to beat a bad Falcons team. Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford threw three touchdown passes, but he also tossed two more interceptions. The Rams ground game was a non-factor, managing just 65 yards on 26 carries. Los Angeles also had a special teams meltdown in the form of a blocked punt that was returned for a touchdown.
"It's hardly time to panic for the defending Super Bowl champions," Davenport wrote. "The rest of the NFC West has been similarly uneven so far this season. But the Rams are playing sloppy football, Stafford keeps turning the ball over, the offensive line is getting pushed around and the run game is mostly invisible. The Rams' next three games are against 2021 playoff teams, including two NFC West tilts with the Cardinals and Niners. Play against those teams like they did against the Falcons, and the Rams are going to be in trouble."
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-0)
Last Week: 3
Week 2 Result: Won at New Orleans 20-10
At the end of the day, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers got what they needed in New Orleans on Sunday. For the first time in the regular season with Tom Brady at quarterback, the Buccaneers defeated the Saints to move to 2-0 and claim sole possession of first place in the NFC South.
But as was the case the week before in Dallas, the Buccaneers didn't win pretty. With the wide receiver corps depleted by injuries (and the ejection of Mike Evans after a dust-up with Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore), the Tampa offense struggled, with a visibly upset Tom Brady failing to throw for 200 yards again.
After the game, Brady downplayed his frustrations while speaking to reporters.
"It's an emotional game," Brady told reporters. "A little bit of execution helps all the way around. I thought the defense played well again and the offensive line fought hard. Tough game all around. That is a really good team, really well-coached—a team we really struggle with. So, it feels good to win."
The Buccaneers at least get to head home next week, but things aren't going to get any easier for a while—the Bucs play host to the Packers and Chiefs over the next two weeks.
2. Kansas City Chiefs (2-0)
Last Week: 2
Week 2 Result: Won vs. Los Angeles Chargers 27-24
Heading into the 2022 season, there was quite a bit of handwringing where the Kansas City Chiefs were concerned. There was no more Tyreek Hill on offense. No more Tyrann Mathieu on defense.
Patrick Mahomes' response to that? No problem.
One week after spanking the Cardinals in Arizona, the Chiefs rode an efficient effort from Mahomes and a big play on defense from rookie cornerback Jaylen Watson to a three-point win that gives Kansas City the early edge in the league's toughest division.
It was a hard-fought battle throughout, and Chiefs safety Justin Reid said afterward that the team expects that most weeks will be similarly difficult.
"This is what it's going to be. We know we're playing in the toughest division," Reid said. "We know we're going to get everyone's best shot. We have to come out and we have to perform."
"The Chiefs may not have a superstar wide receiver anymore," Davenport said. "Or arguably the league's best deep safety. But Kansas City has no shortage of talent on both sides of the ball, and the team is still led by the gold standard at the game's most important position in Mahomes. Personnel losses or no, the Chiefs haven't missed a beat. And while it's still early, it's clear that the Chiefs aren't giving up their six-year stranglehold on the AFC West without a fight."
1. Buffalo Bills (2-0)
Last Week: 1
Week 2 Result: Won vs. Tennessee 41-7
If there was any doubt that the Buffalo Bills belonged in the top spot in these power rankings, those doubts were pounded into goo Monday night—right along with the Tennessee Titans.
Mind you, this wasn't some beatdown of an overmatched tomato can—or at least it wasn't supposed to be. Last year, the Tennessee Titans won 12 games and were the AFC's No. 1 seed.
They were no match for Buffalo's juggernaut.
Offensively, the Bills piled up 414 yards of offense, with 317 of those coming courtesy of Josh Allen's right arm. Allen threw four touchdown passes, including three to star wideout Stefon Diggs.
Defensively, the Bills surrendered just 187 yards of offense and 12 first downs. Derrick Henry was limited to less than two yards per carry. Buffalo sacked Ryan Tannehill twice, picked him off twice and just didn't allow anything through the air or on the ground.
"I'm not going to sit here and say the Bills are unbeatable," Davenport said. "But I'm not not saying it either. The Bills have played two teams that both made the playoffs last season (including the defending Super Bowl champions) and beat those teams by a combined score of 72-17. Good luck Miami—you're going to need it."