The first slate of Sunday NFL games is behind us, and there was certainly no shortage of entertainment on the 13-game docket.
Favorites such as the Seattle Seahawks and Indianapolis Colts suffered tough road defeats at the hands of the St. Louis Rams and Buffalo Bills, respectively. Several other teams expected to win handily, like the Green Bay Packers, Miami Dolphins and Dallas Cowboys, got some scares from their respective opponents, but each pulled out victories.
So how do each of the 32 teams stack up after Sunday? Let's check in with the league's pecking order before the Philadelphia Eagles play the Atlanta Falcons and the Minnesota Vikings visit the San Francisco 49ers Monday evening. Then, we'll discuss three squads who had fantastic showings Sunday.
|Week 1 NFL Power Rankings Heading Into Monday Night Football|
|1||New England Patriots||1-0|
|3||Green Bay Packers||1-0|
|14||St. Louis Rams||1-0|
|15||San Diego Chargers||1-0|
|16||Kansas City Chiefs||1-0|
|20||New York Jets||1-0|
|22||New Orleans Saints||0-1|
|23||New York Giants||0-1|
|27||San Francisco 49ers||0-1*|
|32||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||0-1|
Buffalo Bills (No. 6)
What a debut for new head coach Rex Ryan, huh?
The Bills won 27-14, making the Colts' vaunted offense look downright bad at Ralph Wilson Stadium, smothering running backs and receivers alike and getting all sorts of pressure on quarterback Andrew Luck. The pass-rushing contingent got only two sacks, but Luck was constantly throwing with unimpeded Buffalo defenders closing in on him, often knocking the quarterback down.
Perhaps the bigger surprise was Tyrod Taylor's stellar first NFL start. The dual-threat quarterback threw for 195 yards and one touchdown on just 19 attempts and had no interceptions or lost fumbles. He also scrambled for 41 yards on nine carries.
Offseason acquisition LeSean McCoy had a rough afternoon with just 17 rushes for 41 yards, but rookie Karlos Williams picked up the slack with six totes for 55 yards on the ground.
We knew the Buffalo defense was going to be very good—it looked great Sunday.
And we thought the Bills offense might struggle to find a rhythm in the passing game. So far, Taylor has answered the bell.
St. Louis Rams (No. 14)
The Seahawks, as the reigning NFC champions and the favorite to win the conference again in 2015, were expected to defeat the St. Louis Rams on the road Sunday. Although Seattle star safety Kam Chancellor is still holding out for a more lucrative contract and didn't play, St. Louis had to navigate the contest without its injured No. 1 and 2 running backs, Todd Gurley and Tre Mason, plus receiver Brian Quick.
But the Rams hung tough, winning the contest in overtime 34-31 after stopping Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch on fourth down to win the game.
The stars of the game for St. Louis were quarterback Nick Foles and the defensive line.
Foles delivered an exceptional performance against a stingy Seahawks pass defense with 297 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. He lost two fumbles, but one was on a bad snap and the other was the result of a blown blocking assignment.
And the Rams defensive line, led by two sacks apiece from Aaron Donald and Robert Quinn, appears to be one of those elite, team-defining positional groups that is able to make an entire defense look good.
Once Gurley and Mason return, this team should be very solid on both sides of the ball.
Tennessee Titans (No. 21)
OK, OK, it's one game. But rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota looked eons ahead in his development compared to Jameis Winston, the signal-caller selected one pick before him in the 2015 NFL draft.
|Week 1: Marcus Mariota vs. Jameis Winston|
Mariota's Titans also laid a 42-14 whipping on Winston's Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday in one of the week's more surprising results, as the game was in Tampa Bay and the teams were seen as evenly matched.
However, Tennessee made it known early that Sunday was its day, taking a 35-7 lead into the locker room at halftime. Bishop Sankey and Terrance West were running well, and the defense was extremely stout.
Granted, Winston was without injured No. 1 receiver Mike Evans, but do you think one pass-catcher could have turned this game around for the Bucs? I don't think so.
The Titans are now the only AFC South team without a loss.
Note: All statistics are from ESPN.com unless otherwise indicated.