NFL Power Rankings: B/R's Expert Consensus Standings Heading into Week 2

Brent Sobleski@@brentsobleskiNFL AnalystSeptember 15, 2015

NFL Power Rankings: B/R's Expert Consensus Standings Heading into Week 2

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    Each and every NFL season becomes a roller coaster ride of emotion.

    Opening weekend can be especially eye-opening after seeing one's favorite team for the first time, particularly if there is an unexpected result. And there are always unexpected results.  

    Just remember: It's only one game. There are 15 more to be played, and the season isn't over whether your team won or lost by three touchdowns. 

    Teams can look completely different from one game to the next depending on matchup, situation or inconsistent play from their starters. 

    Thus, an even-keel approach is required while the season plays itself out week by week. 

    In order to develop a weekly baseline of expectations for each NFL team, Bleacher Report provides a consensus power rankings established by the site's NFL writers—Gary Davenport, Mike Freeman, Brad Gagnon, Matt Miller, Ty Schalter, Mike Tanier, Sean Tomlinson and myself. 

    In order to build consensus, each team's ranking from individual writers was added together. The lowest totals proved to be the best teams, while the highest totals naturally fell on the other side of the spectrum. If a rare tie occurred, the team with the highest single vote got the nod as the better team.

    This week, the Buffalo Bills worked their way into the top 10 after a dominant performance against the Indianapolis Colts. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, meanwhile, found themselves in the NFL's proverbial cellar with a pitiful effort against the Tennessee Titans. 

    Click through the slideshow to find out where your favorite team fell in Bleacher Report's Expert Consensus Standings as the second week of the season approaches...

32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Chris O'Meara/Associated Press

    Current Record: 0-1

    Highest Ranking: 29 (Miller)

    Lowest Ranking: 32 (Freeman, Schalter)

    What's Good?: As the Tennessee Titans ran the Tampa Bay Buccaneers off the field in Week 1, two promising starts quickly became overlooked. Doug Martin once again looked like the running back that ran for over 1,000 yards as a rookie. He averaged 4.7 yards per carry. Second-year tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins also caught five passes for 110 yards and two touchdowns. While most of his yardage came in garbage time, the tight end is building a rapport with his rookie quarterback, Jameis Winston. 

    What's Bad?: Everything else. In all seriousness, Tampa Bay was completely overwhelmed by a team that also finished 2-14 last season. While No. 2 overall pick Marcus Mariota dominated, Winston didn't play well at all. The No. 1 overall pick finished the contest 16-of-33 passing for 210 yards, two touchdowns and a pair of interceptions (including a pick-six on his first career attempt). 

    What's Next?: NFC South play starts with Tampa Bay traveling to New Orleans to face the Saints. Both teams began the season 0-1, but the Buccaneers desperately need to show up more prepared to play their rival or a blowout will ensue for the second week in a row. 

    Last Week's Ranking: 29

31. Cleveland Browns

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    Current Record: 0-1

    Highest Ranking: 25 (Tomlinson)

    Lowest Ranking: 32 (Davenport, Sobleski)

    What's Good?: Very little good came out of the Cleveland Browns' 31-10 loss to the New York Jets. Cleveland was clearly unprepared for the start of the season. However, a handful of young players showed some promise. Quarterback Johnny Manziel didn't appear completely overwhelmed when forced into action. Wide receiver Taylor Gabriel even beat All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis a couple of times. And running Duke Johnson showed some explosive traits. It's the little things that will keep Browns fans from losing their minds. 

    What's Bad?: The most disappointing aspect of the Browns' play once again came down to the team's inability to stop the run. Last year, the team ranked dead last in this particular category. The Jets amassed 154 yards on the ground Sunday. 

    What's Next?: The Browns return home to lick their wounds only to face the 1-0 Tennessee Titans and quarterback Marcus Mariota. Defenses are usually at an advantage when rookie quarterbacks are on the field, but Mariota played as well as any first-year signal-caller in the NFL's history during his debut. 

    Last Week's Ranking: 30

30. Washington Redskins

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    Current Record: 0-1

    Highest Ranking: 28 (Schalter)

    Lowest Ranking: 32 (Gagnon)

    What's Good?: After one game, the Washington Redskins currently rank fifth overall in total defense. The team's defensive front played very well against a Miami Dolphins offense expected to be much improved this season. Ryan Kerrigan, Jason Hatcher and rookie Preston Smith each registered a sack. The play of the team's front seven has the ability to keep Washington in every game. 

    What's Bad?: While the Redskins' defensive front is impressive, the team's offensive line is still a wreck. Yes, Alfred Morris ran for 121 yards against a good Dolphins defense, those same blockers still gave up 12 quarterback hurries and only one of the linemen, left tackle Trent Williams, graded positively, according to Pro Football Focus. Center Kory Lichtensteiger clearly struggled. 

    What's Next?: The Redskins defense better step up this weekend, because their porous offensive line will face the NFL's best defensive line when the St. Louis Rams come to town. 

    Last Week's Ranking: 32

29. Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Stephen B. Morton/Associated Press

    Current Record: 0-1

    Highest Ranking: 26 (Schalter)

    Lowest Ranking: 32 (Miller)

    What's Good?: Both of the team's young running backs, T.J. Yeldon and Denard Robinson, played relatively well. Yeldon carried the ball 12 times for 51 yards in his debut, and Robinson became a presence in the team's passing attack. Unfortunately, an injury to left tackle Luke Joeckel really slowed the team's offensive progress. 

    What's Bad?: In the end, the Jacksonville Jaguars couldn't handle the the Panthers' pressure. According to's Ryan O'Halloran, Carolina rushed five or more 26.1 percent of the time. The Panthers sacked Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles five times and caused multiple poor throws. 

    What's Next?: Year three of Gus Bradley's tenure didn't start as planned even against a Carolina Panthers squad missing multiple key pieces on offenses and defense. The task of securing the team's first win of the season won't be any easier in Week 2 against the improved Miami Dolphins and their aggressive defense. 

    Last Week's Ranking: 31

28. Oakland Raiders

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    Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

    Current Record: 0-1

    Highest Ranking: 24 (Freeman)

    Lowest Ranking: 32 (Tanier)

    What's Good?: While the Oakland Raiders defensive line didn't register a sack against the Cincinnati Bengals, the unit stood tall against one of the best offensive lines in football. The group does need to finish when it applies pressure on a quarterback and be more consistent against the run, but the talent up front is obvious. It's only a matter of time before Khalil Mack, Justin Tuck and the newly acquired Aldon Smith start wreaking havoc on offenses. 

    What's Bad?: Injuries played a key role in the Raiders' loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. Quarterback Derek Carr didn't play in the second half due to a sprained hand. The second-year signal-caller's status for Sunday is still up in the air, according to's Bill Williamson. Meanwhile, safeties Charles Woodson and Nate Allen aren't expected to return any time soon. Woodson suffered a dislocated shoulder, while Allen injured his knee. 

    What's Next?: The black and bruised Raiders host the Baltimore Ravens, who also suffered a major injury Sunday when outside linebacker Terrell Suggs went down with a knee injury. 

    Last Week's Ranking: 25

27. Chicago Bears

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Current Record: 0-1

    Highest Ranking: 24 (Gagnon)

    Lowest Ranking: 27 (6 voters)

    What's Good?: Matt Forte is still really good. In fact, he's really, really good. The veteran running back ran for 105 yards in the first half against the Green Bay Packers. The Chicago Bears' 189 rushing yards were the NFL's second-best output on the ground during opening weekend. 

    What's Bad?: The right side of the Bears' offensive linefrom center Will Montgomery to right tackle Kyle Longreally struggled in pass protection. Those three linemen surrendered nine quarterback hurries, according to Pro Football Focus. Long gave up a sack. And right guard Vladimir Ducasse was called for two holding penalties. It's clear this group still needs to jell. 

    What's Next?: The irresistible force will meet the immovable object Sunday when the Bears host the Arizona Cardinals. The Bears' potent ground game will face the NFL's best run defense (at least after one week). The Cardinals surrendered only 54 rushing yards to the New Orleans Saints. 

    Last Week's Ranking: 26

26. Houston Texans

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    David J. Phillip/Associated Press

    Current Record: 0-1

    Highest Ranking: 22 (Miller, Tanier)

    Lowest Ranking: 32 (Tomlinson)

    What's Good?: J.J. Watt continues to destroy everything in his path, whether he's wearing a helmet or not. The defensive end was once again unblockable with nine total tackles, six tackles for loss and three quarterback hits and two sacks against the Kansas City Chiefs. Can we already make him the early favorite for Defensive Player of the Year and maybe even MVP? Unfortunately, he can't do it all for the Houston Texans.  

    What's Bad?: Brian Hoyer became head coach Bill O'Brien's choice to start at quarterback based on his preseason performance. In the fourth quarter of the first game, O'Brien decided to replace his starting quarterback with backup Ryan Mallett. Until the team figures out the solution to its quarterback problem, Watt and a talented roster will go to waste. 

    What's Next?: Watt should feast on the Carolina Panthers' subpar offensive tackles this Sunday, but the Texans will need to find ways to consistently move the football against a solid Panthers defense. 

    Last Week's Ranking: 24

25. Tennessee Titans

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    Cliff McBride/Getty Images

    Current Record: 1-0

    Highest Ranking: 20 (Gagnon, Tomlinson)

    Lowest Ranking: 29 (Schalter)

    What's Good?: Marcus Mariota wasn't simply good in his first career start. The rookie quarterback was perfect. This year's No. 2 overall pick finished Sunday's contest against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with a perfect 158.3 passer rating. His four touchdown passes in a season opener tied Fran Tarkenton's rookie record. The Tennessee Titans properly built their offense around the Oregon product, and Mariota rewarded the organization with stellar play. 

    What's Bad?: Almost everything went right for the Titans during their 42-14 victory except for the defense's inability to cover Buccaneers tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins. The second-year target caught five passes for 110 yards and two touchdowns. The Titans linebackers and safeties can't allow talented tight ends to roam free throughout the rest of the season. 

    What's Next?: After facing the worst team in Bleacher Report's power rankings during opening weekend, the Titans will now travel to Cleveland and face the second-worst squad. The Browns looked completely unprepared last weekend against the New York Jets. Mariota will pick apart Cleveland's defense if it repeats the effort. 

    Last Week's Ranking: 27

24. San Francisco 49ers

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    Tony Avelar/Associated Press

    Current Record: 1-0

    Highest Ranking: 13 (Freeman)

    Lowest Ranking: 27 (Tomlinson)

    What's Good?: The more things change, the more they stay the same. Jim Tomsula's squad definitively won its Monday night contest against the Minnesota Vikings with a strong running attack and an inflexible defense. Second-year running back Carlos Hyde was particularly impressive as the team's new workhorse back. Hyde carried the ball 26 times for 168 yards and a pair of touchdowns. 

    What's Bad?: The San Francisco 49ers offense is built around its ability to run the football, and quarterback Colin Kaepernick capitalized with 10 of his 17 completions courtesy of play-action passes, per ESPN Stats & Info. It's easy to envision how the 49ers' passing attack can grow stagnant. The team's wide receivers combined to make seven catches for 52 yards Monday.  

    What's Next?: A trip to Pittsburgh to face the Steelers should prove to be an interesting meeting. The Steelers defense is atrocious, and the 49ers should be able to establish their potent ground game. But Pittsburgh also owns one of the league's most explosive offenses to test the 49ers' stingy defense.

    Last Week's Ranking: 28

23. Carolina Panthers

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    Current Record: 1-0

    Highest Ranking: 17 (Sobleski)

    Lowest Ranking: 25 (Miller)

    What's Good?: Josh Norman didn't take a step back this season after a stellar second half last year. Instead, Norman continued his development into one of the NFL's best cornerbacks. Against the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Coastal Carolina product registered five total tackles, two deflected passes, a fumble recovery and an interception returned for a touchdown. 

    What's Bad?: While Norman dazzled with his play, the heart of the defense, linebacker Luke Kuechly, was forced to leave the game due to a concussion. The former NFL Defensive Player of the Year will participate in the NFL's concussion protocol early this week before his status for Sunday's contest can be determined. 

    What's Next?: With or without Kuechly, the Carolina Panthers will face the Houston Texans and their unsettled offense. J.J. Watt will be a major concern for Carolina, but the upcoming contest will come down to which offense can actually manufacture enough points to complement its defense. 

    Last Week's Ranking: 22

22. New York Jets

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    Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

    Current Record: 1-0

    Highest Ranking: 15 (Schalter)

    Lowest Ranking: 25 (Gagnon)

    What's Good?: Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick doesn't need to be great. The veteran simply needs to get the ball to his playmakers. Those weapons were on display Sunday against the Cleveland Browns. Running back Chris Ivory was a battering ram and scored two touchdowns. Brandon Marshall continued to find ways to get open even against a good cornerback like Joe Haden. Eric Decker scored a touchdown. And even Chris Owusu got in on the action with four catches for 55 yards.  

    What's Bad?: Cornerback Antonio Cromartie crumpled to the field Sunday with what appeared to be a non-contact knee injury. Cromartie only suffered sprained knee, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter, but his status remains week-to-week. Without the veteran in the lineup, Buster Skrine will likely move from the slot to outside cornerback where he's less effective. 

    What's Next?: These improved New York Jets will be on display for everyone to see Monday night against the Indianapolis Colts. Andrew Luck and his Colts were throttled by the Buffalo Bills in Week 1, and the Jets might be getting one of the NFL's most talented teams at the wrong time. 

    Last Week's Ranking: 21

21. New Orleans Saints

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    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    Current Record: 0-1

    Highest Ranking: 14 (Tanier)

    Lowest Ranking: 25 (Sobleski)

    What's Good?: In the New Orleans Saints offense, one of the running backs always served as reliable check-down option for quarterback Drew Brees. Darren Sproles was dynamic in this role, and Pierre Thomas was a solid contributor for years as a third-down back. But the team needed a new option this season. Mark Ingram stepped up to become an every-down back. The former first-round pick led the team with eight receptions for 98 yards against the Arizona Cardinals. 

    What's Bad?: Coordinator Rob Ryan hasn't rectified the team's problems after finishing 31st in total defense a year ago. The Saints surrendered 427 yards of total offense to the Cardinals. Cornerbacks Brandon Browner and Delvin Breaux particularly struggled against Arizona's talented wide receivers. 

    What's Next?: The Saints will welcome the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome with open arms. If New Orleans' defense is going to show any improvement this season, it better do so against a rookie quarterback with a shoddy offensive line protecting him. 

    Last Week's Ranking: 20

20. New York Giants

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Current Record: 0-1

    Highest Ranking: 16 (Gagnon)

    Lowest Ranking: 23 (3 voters)

    What's Good?: Centers rarely receive the recognition they deserve, but the New York Giants lay claim to one of the best young pivots in the game. Weston Richburg sets the tone up front for an offensive line that's come together relatively quickly. The team's ability to win in the trenches will provide quarterback Eli Manning with fewer opportunities to make poor decisions. 

    What's Bad?: With Jason Pierre-Paul's return in doubt, the Giants must find someone opposite Robert Ayers to create pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Ayers managed five quarterback hurries, according to Pro Football Focus, but no one sealed the deal with a sack. Another defensive end on the roster must step up for the Giants defense to be truly effective this season.  

    What's Next?: Pressure forces quarterbacks into mistakes. In order for the Giants to slow the Atlanta Falcons offense Sunday, the defense must make Matt Ryan uncomfortable. Otherwise, Ryan and wide receiver Julio Jones won't be stopped. 

    Last Week's Ranking: 19th

19. Detroit Lions

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    Denis Poroy/Associated Press

    Current Record: 0-1

    Highest Ranking: 12 (Tomlinson)

    Lowest Ranking: 26 (Freeman)

    What's Good?: Rookie running back Ameer Abdullah appears to be a star in the making. During his first NFL action, the Nebraska product amassed 94 total yards. In fact, his very first NFL carry resulted in a 24-yard touchdown. The Detroit Lions will continue to use both Abdullah and Joique Bell in a rotation, but it's already clear which one is the more dynamic presence out of the backfield. 

    What's Bad?: Lions general manager Martin Mayhew targeted and quickly acquired defensive tackles Haloti Ngata and Tyrunn Walker in the offseason to replace Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley. Their first performance wasn't very impressive since San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers was able to stand tall and pick apart Detroit's defense to the tune of 404 passing yards. 

    What's Next?: A trip to Minnesota to face the Vikings is already an important game. Neither team wants to start 0-2 overall and 0-1 in the NFC North. The Packers continue to be the favorites in the division, but this contest is the first step in claiming the No. 2 spot. 

    Last Week's Ranking: 16

18. St. Louis Rams

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    Tom Gannam/Associated Press

    Current Record: 1-0

    Highest Ranking: 8 (Freeman)

    Lowest Ranking: 21 (Schalter)

    What's Good?: The St. Louis Rams defensive line is so good, it can't be blocked. Well, it wasn't by the Seattle Seahawks. Aaron Donald, in particular, is already challenging the Houston Texans' J.J. Watt as the NFL's best defensive player. The defensive tackle led his team with nine total tackles, three tackles for loss and three quarterback hits. He provided two sacks as well.

    What's Bad?: The Rams offensive line still needs work. Rookies Rob Havenstein and Jamon Brown both struggled in their first professional starts. But the rookies weren't the only ones to struggle against the Seahawks defensive front. Both left tackle Greg Robinson and right guard Rodger Saffold gave up multiple pressures and hits on quarterback Nick Foles

    What's Next?: After the team's thrilling overtime victory, the Rams are rewarded with a trip to face the Washington Redskins. As poorly as Washington's offensive line played during Week 1, the Rams defensive front should be licking its chops. 

    Last Week's Ranking: 23rd

17. Minnesota Vikings

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    Current Record: 0-1

    Highest Ranking: 6 (Schalter)

    Lowest Ranking: 25 (Freeman)

    What's Good?: A good start to the season became vitally important for Minnesota Vikings left tackle Matt Kalil. The former top-five pick played very poorly a year ago as he struggled with nagging injuries. Thus, a positive performance even in the Vikings' first game is significant. Kalil gave up two quarterback hurries, according to Pro Football Focus, but he didn't give up a sack or a quarterback hit. 

    What's Bad?: The Vikings offense, as a whole, never got on track against the San Francisco 49ers. Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater didn't play nearly as well as he did during the team's final stretch of games last year. He completed 23-of-32 passes for 231 yards and an interception. More surprisingly, Adrian Peterson only averaged 3.1 yards per carry in his first game action since last September. 

    What's Next?: A pivotal contest against the rival Detroit Lions is next. The Vikings were an under-the-radar pick to be a playoff team this season. Minnesota must prove it's better than the Lions if its going to live up to those lofty expectations. 

    Last Week's Ranking: 10

16. Miami Dolphins

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    Mark Tenally/Associated Press

    Current Record: 1-0

    Highest Ranking: 7 (Schalter)

    Lowest Ranking: 22 (Gagnon)

    What's Good?: The Miami Dolphins didn't know exactly what they were getting in former Pro Bowl tight end Jordan Cameron when he signed with the organization. Cameron dealt with concussions last season before the Cleveland Browns decided to let him leave via free agency. It's always best to be cautious when anyone has a concussion history, but Cameron looked like the same tight end who once caught 80 passes for 917 yards in his first game with the Dolphins. In fact, Cameron led the team with 73 receiving yards on four catches against the Washington Redskins. 

    What's Bad?: Guard became an issue for the Dolphins throughout training camp and the preseason. If one game is any indication, Dallas Thomas is not the team's answer at left guard. Thomas couldn't handle Redskins defensive end Jason Hatcher. The lineman surrendered a pair of sacks and two more quarterback hurries, according to Pro Football Focus

    What's Next?: The Dolphins will stay in-state and face the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday. The Jaguars struggled to get anything going on both sides of the ball against the Carolina Panthers in Week 1. The Dolphins present an even more difficult matchup. 

    Last Week's Ranking: 11

15. Atlanta Falcons

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Current Record: 1-0

    Highest Ranking: 7 (Freeman)

    Lowest Ranking: 21 (Tomlinson)

    What's Good?: Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones is simply unstoppable at this point in his career. Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Byron Maxwell looked simply befuddled trying to stop the Alabama product during Monday night's contest. Jones grabbed nine passes for 141 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the Falcons 26-24 victory. As long as quarterback Matt Ryan can stay upright, Jones will be open (even if he isn't). 

    What's Bad?: New head coach Dan Quinn had his defense flying to the football throughout Monday's contest, but the unit isn't quite up to snuff after finishing 32nd overall last season. The Eagles got on track in the second half and managed to score 21 points before coming up short by two points. In the end, the Falcons won, but the defense still surrendered 399 yards of total offense. 

    What's Next?: While the Falcons held on for a victory in Week 1, Atlanta will face the New York Giants, who snatched a loss from the jaws of victory. The Giants made mistakes, particularly late in the game. The Falcons have the offensive weapons to make New York pay if it happens again,

    Last Week's Ranking: 18

14. Baltimore Ravens

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    Current Record: 0-1

    Highest Ranking: 4 (Schalter)

    Lowest Ranking: 19 (Tomlinson)

    What's Good?: The Baltimore Ravens won't miss Haloti Ngata if rookie Carl Davis continues to play at the same level he did against the Denver Broncos. Davis finished the contest with a 3.7 grade from Pro Football Focus, which ranked fourth among all 3-4 defensive ends. Once Timmy Jernigan returns to the lineup, the Ravens' defensive end rotation will be quite formidable. 

    What's Bad?: The team's inspirational leader and top pass-rusher, Terrell Suggs, suffered a torn Achilles Sunday and will be out for the rest of the season, according to ESPN's Jamison Hensley. With Suggs out of the lineup, far more will be expected of Courtney Upshaw. 

    What's Next?: Two West Coast trips in a row start the Ravens schedule. After traveling to Denver, Baltimore will now take the long flight to Oakland to play the Raiders. The last trip didn't go well for the Ravens, but the Raiders aren't nearly as difficult of a matchup as the Broncos. 

    Last Week's Ranking: 9

13. Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Current Record: 0-1

    Highest Ranking: 4 (Freeman)

    Lowest Ranking: 20 (Sobleski)

    What's Good?: The Pittsburgh Steelers were supposed to be biding their time until running back Le'Veon Bell returned to the offense. A funny thing happened on the team's way to Week 3:  Veteran DeAngelo Williams resembled the back from six years ago when he last ran for more than 1,000 yards in a season. The 32-year-old back carried the ball 21 times for 127 yards. Williams proved to be far more than a simple placeholder for Bell. 

    What's Bad?: Under defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau, the Steelers defense was known for creating confusion. During Keith Butler's first game as defensive coordinator, his unit was simply confused. The fact the team's secondary left game's best tight end, the New England Patriots' Rob Gronkowski, uncovered at any point is downright embarrassing. Yet the secondary did so on more than one occasion. The unit didn't appear prepared or even fully cognizant of what it was supposed to do at times. 

    What's Next?: While the Steelers defense needs to rapidly improve, the San Francisco 49ers might be the perfect opponent to ease some of the unit's Game 1 issues. San Francisco is a run-first (and second) team. The Steelers simply need to stop the run to limit the 49ers' offensive success. 

    Last Week's Ranking: 8

12. Arizona Cardinals

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    Current Record: 1-0

    Highest Ranking: 7 (Tomlinson)

    Lowest Ranking: 19 (Gagnon)

    What's Good?: Arizona Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer didn't look like he missed a beat after tearing an ACL last November. Palmer completed 19-of-32 passes for 307 yards and three touchdowns against the New Orleans Saints. In fact, he completed passes to eight different receivers. Veteran Larry Fitzgerald once again led the way with six catches for 87 yards. Second-year wide receiver John Brown, tight end Darren Fells and rookie running back David Johnson each caught a touchdown pass. 

    What's Bad?: Even with all of the weapons at Palmer's disposal, running back Andre Ellington is still expected to be a big part of the team's offense. Ellington, though, is injured again. Last year, the Clemson product missed four games due to injury. According to ESPN's Josina Anderson, he's already expected to miss the next two or three weeks after suffering a PCL sprain last weekend. 

    What's Next?: There is a tendency to forget the Cardinals were one of the NFL's best teams last season before Palmer's injury. A victory Sunday against the Chicago Bears will once again place them in that conversation after a 2-0 start. 

    Last Week's Ranking: 15

11. San Diego Chargers

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    Current Record: 1-0

    Highest Ranking: 4 (Sobleski)

    Lowest Ranking: 19 (Freeman)

    What's Good?: The San Diego Chargers currently own the league's No. 1 offense after a week of play. Quarterback Philip Rivers threw for 404 yards against the Detroit Lions, while wide receiver Keenan Allen caught 15 of Rivers' passes for 166 yards. Stevie Johnson also made his presence known in his first game as a member of the Chargers. The former Buffalo Bill and San Francisco 49er snagged six balls for 82 yards and a touchdown. San Diego owns a dynamic group of skill-position players that will only get better when tight end Antonio Gates returns from his four-game suspension.  

    What's Bad?: For an offense to operate smoothly, the team's offensive linemen must do their job in relative obscurity. San Diego lost one of its top blockers, D.J. Fluker, to a high ankle sprain, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport. With the team's right guard likely out for a month or more, Chris Hairston must step in and fill Fluker's massive shoes. 

    What's Next?: After facing a talented Detroit Lions squad, it doesn't get any easier for the Chargers. San Diego will make it's first trip of the season into the Eastern time zone to face recent playoff foe, the Cincinnati Bengals. Hairston will certainly have his hands full with one of the game's best defensive tackles, Geno Atkins.

    Last Week's Ranking: 17

10. Kansas City Chiefs

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    Current Record: 1-0

    Highest Ranking: 2 (Schalter)

    Lowest Ranking: 21 (Tanier)

    What's Good?: Travis Kelce introduced himself as one of the game's elite tight ends Sunday. The third-year pro opened his season against the Houston Texans with six catches for 106 yards and a pair of touchdowns. With Kelce, running back Jamaal Charles and new No. 1 wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, the Kansas City Chiefs offense is now far more potent than it's ever been during Andy Reid's tenure.  

    What's Bad?: The curious case of Eric Fisher continues. The former No. 1 overall pick was already demoted from left to right tackle. The lineman then sat out Sunday's contest against the Houston Texans due to a high ankle sprain. Rumblings began that Fisher missed the game to avoid J.J. Watt, but those were immediately denounced by his head coach, per's Pete Sweeney

    What's Next?: A quick turnaround comes Kansas City's way as the Chiefs host the Denver Broncos Thursday night. Fewer days of preparation should benefit the Chiefs since they played as well as they did against the Texans, while the Broncos struggled in certain areas this past weekend.

    Last Week's Ranking: 12

9. Cincinnati Bengals

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    Current Record: 1-0

    Highest Ranking: 4 (Davenport, Tomlinson)

    Lowest Ranking: 18 (Schalter)

    What's Good?: Former first-round pick Tyler Eifert finally came to play. After two years of dealing with injuries and very little playing time, the tight end caught nine passes for 104 yards and a pair of touchdowns against the Oakland Raiders. He wasn't the only Cincinnati Bengal finally healthy and a terror on the field Sunday. Defensive tackle Geno Atkins finally looked like his old self now that he's two years removed from ACL surgery. 

    What's Bad?: Whether he's suspended or not, Adam Jones simply cannot put himself in the same position he did Sunday against the Raiders. His reputation precedes him even if he's developed into a top-tier cornerback in recent seasons. The Bengals need him on the field, not worrying about whether he'll play due to another poor decision. 

    What's Next?: The Bengals' burgeoning rivalry with the San Diego Chargers is set to renew this weekend after the Chargers managed a big win over the Detroit Lions last Sunday. These are two teams likely vying for a playoff spot this season, which makes this an important early-season contest. 

    Last Week's Ranking: 13

8. Philadelphia Eagles

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    Current Record: 0-1

    Highest Ranking: 5 (Schalter)

    Lowest Ranking: 16 (Freeman)

    What's Good?Slow starts aren't exactly conducive to establishing a fast-paced offense. Once the offense finally got going, though, the Philadelphia Eagles nearly overcame a 17-point halftime deficit against the Atlanta Falcons. When it was all said and done, Chip Kelly's crew still racked up 399 yards and finally appeared to get on track in the second half. Sam Bradford also appeared rusty at first, but the quarterback still finished the contest 36-of-52 passing for 336 yards. 

    What's Bad?: Penalties here. Penalties there. Penalties everywhere. The Eagles continually shot themselves in the foot Monday with poor decisions. Ten penalties were ultimately called and placed Philadelphia in poor down-and-distances. It's hard to establish a well-oiled machine if it's constantly sputtering. 

    What's Next?: An important meeting with the Dallas Cowboys will commence Sunday. The Cowboys are already a game up in the division, and the Eagles need to establish their offense early while not allowing the Cowboys to overwhelm the defense like the Falcons did at points Monday. 

    Last Week's Ranking: 6

7. Indianapolis Colts

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    Bill Wippert/Associated Press

    Current Record: 0-1

    Highest Ranking: 5 (Tomlinson)

    Lowest Ranking: 11 (3 voters)

    What's Good?: Two players performed well above the rest of the team Sunday for the Indianapolis Colts. Jack Mewhort's transition from guard to right tackle went particularly well when he faced Mario Williams. Mewhort didn't allow Williams to overwhelm him and prevented pressure off his edge. Meanwhile on defense, rookie Henry Anderson might have already proved himself to be a third-round steal after leading the team with nine total tackles and three tackles for loss. 

    What's Bad?: Nearly everything else went wrong for the Colts. The most surprising, though, was how veterans Andre Johnson and Frank Gore looked. Both signed with the Colts for one last shot at a Super Bowl. Neither provided the impact expected of them. Josh Robinson was on the field nearly as much as Gore, and Johnson lacked the explosiveness everyone grew accustomed to seeing during his career. 

    What's Next?: Simply put: The Colts ran into a buzz saw last weekend. Monday's opponent, the New York Jets, isn't nearly as explosive on offense or as dynamic on defense. The Jets are still a well-coached team with the ability to win if the Colts don't get their act together for the first time this season. 

    Last Week's Ranking: 3

6. Buffalo Bills

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    Bill Wippert/Associated Press

    Current Record: 1-0

    Highest Ranking: 5 (Freeman)

    Lowest Ranking: 15 (Miller)

    What's Good?: The Buffalo Bills trounced the Indianapolis Colts 27-14 to start the season (and it wasn't even that close). Rex Ryan's defense overwhelmed Andrew Luck and the Colts. Tyrod Taylor looked like a legit playmaker at quarterback. Percy Harvin is still a weapon. Richie Incognito is experiencing a career revival. Ryan simply can't help but smile from ear to ear with the way his team performed to start the season.  

    What's Bad?: Sammy Watkins was on the field Sunday, but he must have been invisible. No Bills wide receiver played more offensive snaps in the season opener than Watkins, according to Pro Football Focus, but he didn't touch the ball a single time. The team traded up in last year's draft and spent the fourth overall pick on Watkins. Offensive coordinator Greg Roman must find ways to get the ball in the receiver's hands. 

    What's Next?: As good as the Bills looked in their first contest against the Colts, a bigger obstacle awaits them. Ryan never backed down from Bill Belichick or his New England Patriots during his time with the New York Jets. This is the coach's first opportunity with the Bills to try to knock the AFC East favorite off its pedestal. 

    Last Week's Ranking: 14

5. Seattle Seahawks

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    L.G. Patterson/Associated Press

    Current Record: 0-1

    Highest Ranking: 3 (Davenport)

    Lowest Ranking: 12 (Schalter, Sobleski)

    What's Good?: Despite a loss to the St. Louis Rams, the Seattle Seahawks are still ranked seven spots higher than their divisional foe. Why? Bleacher Report's NFL writers clearly have confidence in the Seahawks' ability to overcome due to the overall talent on their roster. This is a team still coming together, but everyone basically knows what to expect of it by the end of the season. While Seattle did lose this past weekend, it was still exciting to see what tight end Jimmy Graham and wide receiver/returner Tyler Lockett could do in a Seahawks uniform.  

    What's Bad?: Head coach Pete Carroll and offensive line coach Tom Cable raved about the team's talent along its offensive line before the start of the season. The unit is essentially brand new with two returning starters even playing the same position this season. In fact, Seattle trotted out two new starters, and Justin Britt took over at left guard. It showed. The Rams defensive front registered six sacks. Only center Drew Nowak didn't give up a sack. 

    What's Next?: Life doesn't get much easier for the Seahawks this weekend when the team travels to Green Bay to face the Packers on Sunday Night Football. Instead of facing an overwhelming defense this week, Seattle will line up against Aaron Rodgers and one of the game's best offenses. 

    Last Week's Ranking: 5

4. Denver Broncos

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    Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

    Current Record: 1-0

    Highest Ranking: 4 (Miller, Schalter)

    Lowest Ranking: 8 (Davenport)

    What's Good?: The Denver Broncos defense is absolutely relentless and currently the NFL's No. 1-rated unit. A healthy combination of DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller is deadly off the edge. Even a talented offensive line like the Baltimore Ravens' couldn't handle the pass-rushing tandem. And opposing offenses won't get much of a reprieve when backups Shane Ray and Shaquil Barrett come into the game. They're nearly as athletic as the Broncos' starters.  

    What's Bad?: Quarterback Peyton Manning looked completely out of sorts in Gary Kubiak's offense. While there are questions about Manning's arm strength and footwork, he simply needs to play better than he did against the Ravens. If this requires scaling back the offense and allowing Manning to do more of what he's comfortable with, Kubiak needs to consider all of his options

    What's Next?: The Broncos don't have much time to make any adjustments to the offense since the team travels to Kansas City to face the Chiefs on Thursday Night Football

    Last Week's Ranking: 4

3. Dallas Cowboys

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    Tom Pennington/Getty Images

    Current Record: 1-0

    Highest Ranking: 3 (4 voters)

    Lowest Ranking: 16 (Schalter)

    What's Good?: Tony Romo didn't choke. While this narrative seems long outdated, everyone would have gone crazy if he didn't pick up the ball Sunday night and complete a touchdown pass to tight end Jason Witten to defeat the New York Giants. With Dez Bryant out of the lineup and a less effective running game, Romo will be more of a focal point in the offense than he was a season ago. 

    What's Bad?: Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones revealed Bryant suffered a broken bone in his foot, per SportsCenter. With Bryant's injury, the rest of Dallas' receivers now must step up in his absence. 

    What's Next?: The Cowboys found a way to win against the Giants. If they do so again this week against the Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas will be 2-0 overall with a pair of victories over division rivals. The team couldn't ask for a better start to the season if that were to happen. 

    Last Week's Ranking: 7

2. New England Patriots

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    Winslow Townson/Associated Press

    Current Record: 1-0

    Highest Ranking: 1 (5 voters)

    Lowest Ranking: 13 (Schalter)

    What's Good?: Gronk smash defenses. New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski just might be the NFL's most unstoppable offensive weapon. OK, this isn't new, but the talented tight end simply re-enforced his greatness Thursday night against the Pittsburgh Steelers with five catches for 94 yards and three touchdowns. 

    What's Bad?: The Patriots allowed both Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner to leave via free agency. This year's Super Bowl hero, Malcolm Butler, was then asked to fill the role Revis vacated. Butler failed miserably in his first attempt to do so against the Steelers' electric Antonio Brown. No cornerback in the NFL received a lower grade than Butler, according to Pro Football Focus

    What's Next?: A ferocious Buffalo Bills defense awaits the Patriots. In the never-ending quest to usurp the Patriots' rule over the AFC East, the Bills may finally be in position to do so. As well as both teams played in Week 1, this Week 2 meeting will set the tone early in the division. 

    Last Week's Ranking: 2

1. Green Bay Packers

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    Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

    Current Record: 1-0

    Highest Ranking: 1 (3 voters)

    Lowest Ranking: 2 (5 voters)

    What's Good?: Welcome home, James Jones. It appears the Green Bay Packers will be just fine without Jordy Nelson in the lineup. The 31-year-old Jones didn't miss a beat after being away from the team for over a year. He caught four passes for 51 yards and two touchdowns against the Chicago Bears. 

    What's Bad?: The Packers surrendered 105 first-half rushing yards Sunday to Matt Forte, and the Bears' running back finished the contest with 141 yards. Injuries to safety Morgan Burnett and linebacker Sam Barrington limited the defense's ability to effectively stop the run. Both will continue to nurse their injuries this week, and their status for next weekend has yet to be determined. 

    What's Next?: A monster Sunday night affair against the Seattle Seahawks is on tap. The Packers and Seahawks are considered two of the NFL's best teams. There is an opportunity in front of Green Bay to start the season 2-0 and push Seattle to 0-2 in the standings. 

    Last Week's Ranking: 1


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