NFL Power Rankings: B/R's Expert Consensus Standings Heading into Week 3

Brent Sobleski@@brentsobleskiNFL AnalystSeptember 22, 2015

NFL Power Rankings: B/R's Expert Consensus Standings Heading into Week 3

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    Bill Wippert/Associated Press

    With Week 2 officially in the books, the 2015 NFL season is starting to take shape. 

    Some teams are exceeding expectations, while others are already falling short. But which squads are the league's best and worst?

    Eight Bleacher Report NFL writers—Gary Davenport, Mike Freeman, Brad Gagnon, Matt Miller, Ty Schalter, Mike Tanier, Sean Tomlinson and myself—sat down to determine exactly which teams deserve these designations after two weeks of play. 

    In order to build a consensus for Bleacher Report's power rankings, each team's rankings from individual writers were added together. The lowest totals proved to be the best units, while the highest totals naturally fell on the other side of the spectrum. If a rare tie occurred, the club with the highest single vote got the nod.

    The top two teamsthe Green Bay Packers and New England Patriotsremain the same from the previous two editions. A run then ensues of deeply flawed squads that make up the rest of the top 10. 

    But a new bottom dweller emerged this week. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cleveland Browns and Washington Redskins previously served as the likely suspects to be named the NFL's worst, but each won this past weekend. Another team surrendered 48 points and dropped to 0-2 overall to earn the designation.

    Click through the slideshow to find out where your favorite team fell in Bleacher Report's Expert Consensus Standings as Week 3 approaches.

32. Chicago Bears

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    David Banks/Associated Press

    Current Record: 0-2

    Highest Ranking: 27 (Schalter)

    Lowest Ranking: 32 (5 voters)

    What's Good?: While the the defense as a whole continues to struggle, free-agent acquisition Pernell McPhee is a bright spot. The former member of the Baltimore Ravens registered four quarterback hurries, three quarterback hits and received the highest grade on the defense (5.3) against the Arizona Cardinals, according to Pro Football Focus

    What's Bad?: Some may view this as a positive, but quarterback Jay Cutler is out of the lineup for at least the next two weeks because of a hamstring injury. Enter Jimmy Clausen. While Clausen could become a more efficient option behind center, he's clearly a step down in talent and served as the team's backup for a reason. Despite Cutler's problems, the Bears currently rank eighth overall in total offense.

    What's Next?: After facing two of the NFL's best offenses in the Green Bay Packers and Arizona Cardinals, the Bears finally get a reprieve against the Seattle Seahawks, who continue to struggle mightily on that side of the ball. The game will come down to whether Clausen and the offense can move the ball against the Seattle defense.

    Last Week's Ranking: 27

31. Houston Texans

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    Bob Leverone/Associated Press

    Current Record: 0-2

    Highest Ranking: 22 (Schalter)

    Lowest Ranking: 32 (Tomlinson)

    What's Good?: Jadeveon Clowney is slowly starting to look like the player the Houston Texans envisioned they were getting when the organization selected him No. 1 overall in the 2014 NFL draft. Clowney started his first game Sunday since having microfracture surgery on his knee. According to Pro Football Focus, the ubertalented outside linebacker played 49 of 78 total snaps and managed five quarterback hurries and a batted pass. If the Texas defense is going to carry the team this season, Clowney's continued improvement is a must. 

    What's Bad?: Where does head coach Bill O'Brien go from here? O'Brien pulled his handpicked quarterback after only three quarters into his first start. The team then asked new starter Ryan Mallett to throw the ball 58 times in its 24-17 loss to the Carolina Panthers. Mallett completed only 46.6 percent of his passes at 4.2 yards per attempt. The Texans must find some way to get better at quarterback, or they'll continue to be one of the worst teams in the league. 

    What's Next?: Two weeks ago, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' appearance on the schedule would have been a welcome sight. The Buccaneers, though, are rejuvenated after their 26-19 victory over the New Orleans Saints. Clowney and J.J. Watt can and must make life miserable for rookie quarterback Jameis Winston. 

    Last Week's Ranking: 26

30. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Bill Haber/Associated Press

    Current Record: 1-1

    Highest Ranking: 27 (Miller)

    Lowest Ranking: 32 (Schalter)

    What's Good?: Who currently leads the NFL in sacks? It's not the Houston Texans' J.J. Watt, Kansas Chiefs' Justin Houston or even the St. Louis Rams' Aaron Donald. The honor belongs to Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Jacquies Smith. The journeyman defender finally found a home, and he fits nicely into Lovie Smith's Cover 2 defense. Jacquies Smith already notched four sacks in the team's first two games. 

    What's Bad?: While the Buccaneers defense dramatically improved from the first to second contest, the offense is still struggling at certain areas. Rookie left tackle Donovan Smith, in particular, has been overwhelmed during his first two starts. Veteran right tackle Gosder Cherilus hasn't been much better. Even former All-Pro guard Logan Mankins isn't the same run-blocker he once was. Quarterback Jameis Winston simply needs to survive this season behind the shoddy offensive line, because it's going to be a continuous problem.

    What's Next?: The Houston Texans are one of the last teams any organization with offensive line problems wants to play, but this is the obstacle currently in front of the Buccaneers. A victory will only be achieved if the team's offensive front can slow Watt, Vince Wilfork and Jadeveon Clowney, 

    Last Week's Ranking: 32

29. New Orleans Saints

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    Bill Haber/Associated Press

    Current Record: 0-2

    Highest Ranking: 19 (Freeman)

    Lowest Ranking: 31 (Sobleski, Tanier)

    What's Good?: Despite some of the team's issues on defense, the organization should be excited about the contributions from multiple rookies on that side of the ball. Outside linebacker Hau'oli Kikaha leads the team in total tackles and already forced two fumbles. Bobby Richardson and Tyeler Davison are both providing quality reps as part of the team's defensive line rotation. And Stephone Anthony continues to grow into his role as the starting middle linebacker. 

    What's Bad?: Drew Brees' diminishing skills are becoming more evident. Last season, the first signs reared their ugly heads, but the quarterback overcame any issues and still tied for the league lead with 4,952 passing yards. However, it's obvious this season that the 15-year veteran is struggling to drive the football downfield, which severely limits the Saints offense. 

    What's Next?: The Saints are already 0-1 in divisional play after losing to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday. The Carolina Panthers are next on the docket. A 0-3 start and 0-2 in the division might dig the Saints a hole they can't get out of this season. 

    Last Week's Ranking: 21

28. Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

    Current Record: 1-1

    Highest Ranking: 24 (Freeman)

    Lowest Ranking: 30 (Miller)

    What's Good?: Here's to you, Mr. Robinson. Jaguars fans will love you more than you know. Allen Robinson burst onto the scene with a legit top-notch performance the team has been waiting for since it selected him in the second round of the 2014 NFL draft. Robinson set career highs with 155 receiving yardshis first 100-yard game as a professionaland two touchdown receptions against the Miami Dolphins. Quarterback Blake Bortles might have a true No. 1 wide receiver to target on a regular basis. 

    What's Bad?: The Jacksonville Jaguars offensive line isn't a physical group, and it struggled to move a talented Dolphins defensive front off the ball. Rookie running back T.J. Yeldon gained 70 yards Sunday, but he only averaged 2.8 yards per carry. Denard Robinson is a more explosive option out of the backfield, but he's expected to miss the next few weeks with an injured knee, according to ESPN.com's Mike DiRocco.

    What's Next?: After a big win against an in-state rival, the Jaguars must travel to Foxborough, Massachusetts, and face the New England Patriots. There might not be a bigger mismatch during this weekend's slate of games. 

    Last Week's Ranking: 29

27. Tennessee Titans

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    Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

    Current Record: 1-1

    Highest Ranking: 21 (Gagnon)

    Lowest Ranking: 29 (Schalter)

    What's Good?: The Tennessee Titans' second-round pick this year, Dorial Green-Beckham, made his first career catch in which he skied over Pro Bowl cornerback Joe Haden for a touchdown. This became particularly important, because the Titans trailed the Cleveland Browns 21-0 at halftime Sunday. After being dominated for a half, the Titans pulled within one score before the Browns finally put the game away with one last touchdown. Tennessee might not feature the most talented roster, but it's not backing down from any opponent. 

    What's Bad?: Rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota only had one way to go, and it was down. Figuratively, Mariota couldn't possibly replicate his perfect performance against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during Week 1. Literally, the quarterback learned the hard way not to hold the ball too long after the Browns sacked him seven times. They also hit him 11 more times. Mariota is talented enough to create plays, but he must also understand his offensive line isn't going to hold up for extended periods. 

    What's Next?: The Titans are actually tied for first place in the AFC South with the Jacksonville Jaguars after their 1-1 start. How good are the Titans at this point? They'll find out during the upcoming weekend against an Indianapolis Colts squad still licking its wounds after a 0-2 start.

    Last Week's Ranking: 25

26. Cleveland Browns

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    Ron Schwane/Associated Press

    Current Record: 1-1

    Highest Ranking: 21 (Freeman, Tomlinson)

    Lowest Ranking: 30 (Schalter)

    What's Good?: Wide receiver Travis Benjamin emerged as one of the NFL's true deep threats and a top offensive weapon through the first two weeks of play. "Rabbit" currently sits fourth in the NFL with 204 receiving yards. He also became the first player since the great Jim Brown in 1963 to score four touchdowns of 50 or more yards in the first two weeks, per NFL.com's Gil Brandt

    What's Bad?: While this comes as no surprise because of the team's recent history, the Cleveland Browns are ranked dead last against the run. The Browns' outside linebackers and defensive ends struggle to set the edge, and the addition of first-round nose tackle Danny Shelton hasn't made as big of a difference as the franchise expected. 

    What's Next?: The Oakland Raiders are coming off a thrilling 37-33 victory over the Baltimore Ravens as the Browns prepare to host the AFC West opponent. Cleveland could catch the Raiders in a letdown game after a big win, but Oakland should prove to be problematic because of its talented defensive front against the Browns' struggling offensive interior.

    Last Week's Ranking: 31

25. Oakland Raiders

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    Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

    Current Record: 1-1

    Highest Ranking: 19 (Sobleski)

    Lowest Ranking: 31 (Schalter)

    What's Good?: A sprained thumb couldn't keep Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr from playing when his team hosted the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday. In fact, the 24-year-old signal-caller played the best game of his professional career despite the lingering injury. Carr completed 30 of 46 passes for 351 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winning toss to Seth Roberts with 26 seconds left in the contest. 

    What's Bad?: The right side of the Raiders offensive line remains unsettled. Austin Howard took over for Menelik Watson at right tackle after Watson suffered a season-ending Achilles injury during the preseason. Howard improved during the Raiders' second regular-season contest, but right guard J'Marcus Webb didn't. This massive duo needs to perform better as the season progresses.  

    What's Next?: If Carr is going to repeat last week's performance, the Raiders offensive line better keep him upright vs. the Cleveland Browns. The Ohio team sacked Tennessee Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota seven times Sunday and harassed him throughout the contest. 

    Last Week's Ranking: 28

24. San Francisco 49ers

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    Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

    Current Record: 1-1

    Highest Ranking: 18 (Freeman)

    Lowest Ranking: 32 (Gagnon)

    What's Good?: Wide receiver Torrey Smith exploded onto the scene for the San Francisco 49ers in his second contest with the organization. This year's big free-agent acquisition caught six passes for 120 yards and a touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Unfortunately, it was too little, too late after the Steelers jumped on the 49ers quickly. 

    What's Bad?: The formula to beat the 49ers is pretty obvious. If a team can score on them quickly, the 49ers offense isn't built to make a big comeback. It's a run-first scheme designed to control the clock and physically beat up its opponents. If San Francisco's defense doesn't come to play, like it didn't in Pittsburgh, it's going to be a long day.

    What's Next?: A contest against the Arizona Cardinals looms. The Cardinals are another offense capable of spreading the field vertically and creating chunk plays. 

    Last Week's Ranking: 24

23. Washington Redskins

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    Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

    Current Record: 1-1

    Highest Ranking: 11 (Freeman)

    Lowest Ranking: 28 (Miller)

    What's Good?: The Washington Redskins might have found a tremendous one-two punch in the backfield with the dependable Alfred Morris and rookie Matt Jones. The first-year runner looked fantastic Sunday in a 24-10 win over the St. Louis Rams when he ran for 123 yards and two touchdowns on only 19 carries. Jones adds burst and overall explosiveness to the backfield. 

    What's Bad?: Despite a strong game, the Redskins continue to receive up-and-down performances along their offensive line. Specifically, center Kory Lichtensteiger struggled through the team's first two games. In fact, no center received a worse grade over that time from Pro Football Focus, and it's not even close. 

    What's Next?: The Redskins enter divisional play Thursday against the New York Giants. The Giants handed victories to their opponents during the first two weeks, but the Redskins will need to establish the run and play stout defense for it to happen a third straight time.  

    Last Week's Ranking: 30

22. New York Giants

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    Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

    Current Record: 0-2

    Highest Ranking: 18 (Miller)

    Lowest Ranking: 26 (Tanier)

    What's Good?: Odell Beckham Jr. continues to do it all for the New York Giants. The reigning NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year caught seven passes for 146 yards and a touchdown against the Atlanta Falcons. The second-year wide receiver must play at a high level because no other wide receiver or tight end on the roster currently has more than 49 receiving yards. 

    What's Bad?: Ereck Flowers wasn't supposed to start the season at left tackle. Unfortunately, this year's ninth overall pick was forced into blindside duties when Will Beatty suffered a torn pectoral muscle in the offseason. Clearly, there was a reason why Flowers was going to start at right tackle this season, and it became evident when he couldn't handle the speed rush of fellow rookie Vic Beasley last weekend. Flowers was quickly overwhelmed and never truly recovered.

    What's Next?: The Giants placed themselves in a 0-2 hole when they could just as easily be 2-0 overall. Instead, head coach Tom Coughlin needs another midseason turnaround starting with Sunday's contest against the rival Washington Redskins. 

    Last Week's Ranking: 20

21. Detroit Lions

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    Ann Heisenfelt/Associated Press

    Current Record: 0-2

    Highest Ranking: 15 (Tomlinson)

    Lowest Ranking: 29 (Freeman)

    What's Good?: For years, the identity of the Detroit Lions defense was built around Ndamukong Suh. After Suh left the team via free agency to sign with the Miami Dolphins, someone needed to become the player opposing offenses must account for on a week-by-week basis. Ziggy Ansah is now capably filling the role. The former fifth overall pick currently leads the team with two sacks and continues to improve into the unit's best run defender. 

    What's Bad?: Larry Warford's return to the offensive line during Week 2 was supposed to solidify a struggling unit. After all, Warford has been the team's best lineman over the past two years. But the Kentucky product didn't look like the same player against the Minnesota Vikings. As a result, the Lions offensive line still didn't play at a high level, and Matthew Stafford continued to suffer. The quarterback is currently dealing with multiple injuries inflicted by opposing defenses, as the Detroit Free Press' Dave Birkett noted. 

    What's Next?: If the Lions thought they had trouble blocking talented defenses through the first two games, they haven't seen anything like the Denver Broncos pass-rushers. Stafford and his offensive line better be ready, because the Broncos defensive front is one of the best they'll face all season. 

    Last Week's Ranking: 19

20. St. Louis Rams

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    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Current Record: 1-1

    Highest Ranking: 16 (Miller)

    Lowest Ranking: 26 (Freeman)

    What's Good?: While nothing is definitive at this point, the St. Louis Rams targeted Week 3 for this year's 10th overall pick, running back Todd Gurley, to make his debut, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. If the rookie is finally clear to play, the Rams offense, as head coach Jeff Fisher envisioned this offseason, will finally be on the field. 

    What's Bad?: Quarterback Nick Foles needs all the help he can get. The Rams managed only 213 total yards Sunday against the Washington Redskins defense. Foles couldn't get in a rhythm and completed 17 of 32 passes for a meager 150 yards. Gurley won't be the team's savior, but the offense desperately needs some kind of spark. 

    What's Next?: As the Rams continue to struggle on offense, they'll need to rely on the team's talented defense. However, the Pittsburgh Steelers are coming to town, and Ben Roethlisberger's squad can score points in bunches. 

    Last Week's Ranking: 18

19. Philadelphia Eagles

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    James Lang-USA TODAY Sports

    Current Record: 0-2

    Highest Ranking: 14 (Tomlinson)

    Lowest Ranking: 31 (Freeman)

    What's Good?: Defensive end Fletcher Cox and nose tackle Bennie Logan are a terrific tandem along the Philadelphia Eagles defensive front. Cox is a constant disruptive force, while Logan is a solid technician who is stout at the point of attack. Cox in particular grades as one of the game's best 3-4 defensive ends, per Pro Football Focus

    What's Bad?There's no way around it: The Eagles offense is a complete and utter disaster this season. Quarterback Sam Bradford is obviously not comfortable in the system. Running back DeMarco Murray can't find any room to run. The offensive line has been overwhelmed. And head coach Chip Kelly has to be frustrated after two weeks of poor play.

    What's Next?: With all of the troubles the Eagles have experienced on offense so far, the New York Jets are the absolute worst team to face at this point in the season. The Jets forced 10 turnovers through the first two weeks, and the Eagles will need to play mistake-free football to earn their first victory. 

    Last Week's Ranking: 8

18. Miami Dolphins

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    Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

    Current Record: 1-1

    Highest Ranking: 11 (Miller)

    Lowest Ranking: 24 (Gagnon)

    What's Good?: While Ndamukong Suh draws most of the attention, linebacker Koa Misi took his game to a higher plane this season. The move from middle to weak-side linebacker certainly benefits him as he's allowed to set the edge or flow over the top to make plays. Misi's numbers won't blow anyone away, but he's become a consistent, reliable performer. 

    What's Bad?: The Miami Dolphins' running game was nonexistent against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday. In fact, quarterback Ryan Tannehill led the team with three carries for 17 yards. The rest of the Dolphins' ball-carriers combined for 25 yards on 13 carries. 

    What's Next?: If the Dolphins plan to improve their running game, it's probably not going to happen against the Buffalo Bills this weekend. The Bills defensive line will likely wreak havoc against the Dolphins' outmanned offensive line. 

    Last Week's Ranking: 16

17. Baltimore Ravens

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    Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

    Current Record: 0-2

    Highest Ranking: 8 (Schalter)

    Lowest Ranking: 22 (Tomlinson)

    What's Good?: Will Hill is quickly establishing himself as one of the NFL's premier defensive backs. The Baltimore Ravens defender currently sits atop Pro Football Focus rankings as the league's best safety. When targeting him, quarterbacks only have an 11.5 rating against Hill. 

    What's Bad?: After a stellar 2014, right tackle James Hurst is suffering through a slump. His run blocking hasn't been very good, but his pass blocking has been even worse. Granted, Hurst faced the Denver Broncos' and Oakland Raiders' edge-rushers through the first two weeks, but it won't get any easier this week against Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap.

    What's Next?: A 0-2 start isn't ideal, but it's not impossible to overcome. It will be far more difficult if the Ravens fall three wins behind the Bengals in the AFC North. 

    Last Week's Ranking: 14

16. San Diego Chargers

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    Darron Cummings/Associated Press

    Current Record: 1-1

    Highest Ranking: 10 (Sobleski, Tanier)

    Lowest Ranking: 19 (Miller)

    What's Good?: First-round running back Melvin Gordon displayed impressive growth between his first and second professional contests. After running for only 51 yards on 14 carries against the Detroit Lions, Gordon carried the ball 16 times for 88 yards against a stout Cincinnati Bengals defense. Gordon appeared far more explosive and decisive after he experienced his first taste of the NFL. 

    What's Bad?: The transition from stalwart Nick Hardwick to Chris Watt was going to be difficult no matter how well Watt performed. After all, Hardwick played 11 seasons for the Chargers. Watt, though, has fallen well short of expectations. No player on the team has graded worse through two games, according to Pro Football Focus

    What's Next?: A trip to the Midwest will test how good the Chargers are at this point. The Minnesota Vikings haven't played to expectations, and San Diego has more than enough firepower to overwhelm a young, aggressive Vikings defense. 

    Last Week's Ranking: 11

15. Carolina Panthers

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    Bob Leverone/Associated Press

    Current Record: 2-0

    Highest Ranking: 7 (Freeman)

    Lowest Ranking: 20 (Tomlinson)

    What's Good?: Cam Newton continues to carry the team. His impression of Superman becomes more literal every weekend as he flies over defenders and scores with ease. Against the Houston Texans, Newton threw for two touchdown passes and ran for another. It's the 25th time in his career he's had a touchdown of each type in the same game, according to NFL Network's Rand Getlin. 

    What's Bad?: Offensive coordinator Mike Shula needs to find ways to utilize this year's second-round pick, Devin Funchess. The Panthers lack offensive weapons. Thus, the organization felt the need to trade up and acquire Funchess in the draft. One would assume he would be a big part of the Panthers' offensive plans, particularly after Kelvin Benjamin's season-ending knee injury. However, the offense has targeted the rookie just seven times.

    What's Next?: The Panthers head into divisional play after a 2-0 start. The New Orleans Saints are on the other side of the ledger, but the Panthers need another win to keep pace with the 2-0 Atlanta Falcons. 

    Last Week's Ranking: 23

14. Indianapolis Colts

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    AJ Mast/Associated Press

    Current Record: 0-2

    Highest Ranking: 9 (Tomlinson)

    Lowest Ranking: 16 (Sobleski)

    What's Good?: The Indianapolis Colts were supposed to be built around what everyone believed to be an explosive offense. Instead, two defensive rookies, nose tackle David Parry and defensive end Henry Anderson, continue to steal the spotlight because of the offense's poor play. Anderson already proved to be a consistent presence in opponents' backfields, while Parry showed during Monday Night Football he was more than capable of handling the NFL's best center, Nick Mangold.

    What's Bad?: Andrew Luck has played poorly. The quarterback's performance, though, is merely a symptom of deeply rooted issues along the offensive line. In fact, the line's disappointing play is such a problem that head coach Chuck Pagano took an indirect swipe at general manager Ryan Grigson in the coach's postgame comments, per IndySportsCentral.com's Mike Chappell, for not building the unit properly. This situation could get worse before it gets any better.

    What's Next?: The Colts can breathe a little bit easier this week after facing two stout defenses. AFC South play begins when Indy travels to Tennessee to face the Titans. While the Titans are ranked fourth overall in total defense (after facing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Cleveland Browns), they don't claim nearly as much talent on that side of the ball as the Jets or the Buffalo Bills. 

    Last Week's Ranking: 7

13. Minnesota Vikings

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    Jim Mone/Associated Press

    Current Record: 1-1

    Highest Ranking: 9 (Schalter)

    Lowest Ranking: 16 (Freeman)

    What's Good?: The Minnesota Vikings defense flies to the ball. While the unit is ranked 19th overall in total defense, head coach Mike Zimmer should enjoy the fact his top three tacklers—safety Harrison Smith, linebacker Anthony Barr and cornerback Xavier Rhodes—are all recent first-round picks. The 26-year-old Smith has performed particularly well in pass coverage as one of the NFL's best young safeties.  

    What's Bad?: Many expected a breakout campaign for Charles Johnson this year after last season's strong finish, but the wide receiver only caught five passes for 37 yards in the first two games. In fact, Johnson has been on the field more than any other Vikings wide receiver, according to Pro Football Focus, yet the team's only targeted him six times.  

    What's Next?: Which Vikings squad will show up this weekend: The one that sputtered against the San Francisco 49ers or the one that performed efficiently against the Detroit Lions? The San Diego Chargers are one of the league's better offensive teams, and the Vikings will need to play better than they already have to earn a victory. 

    Last Week's Ranking: 17

12. New York Jets

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    AJ Mast/Associated Press

    Current Record: 2-0

    Highest Ranking: 6 (Schalter)

    Lowest Ranking: 18 (Gagnon)

    What's Good?: The Jets defense isn't simply good; it's been historically good. The Jets are the first team since the 1992 Pittsburgh Steelers to force five turnovers in each of their first two games. The entire unit has performed well, but Muhammad Wilkerson is playing at another level altogether. No defensive endnot even J.J. Watthas played better so far this season, according to Pro Football Focus

    What's Bad?: New York features a veteran-laden offensive line. Despite their reliability, the individuals don't always play at a high level. This was the case Monday when right tackle Breno Giacomini couldn't handle the Indianapolis Colts' talented defensive line. Giacomini didn't get much push in the run game, and he was called for an unnecessary personal foul. 

    What's Next?: After creating 10 turnovers in two weeks, the Jets defense could absolutely feast on the Philadelphia Eagles offense with the way it has played of late. Sam Bradford's already thrown four interceptions and lost a fumble in his first two games.

    Last Week's Ranking: 22

11. Buffalo Bills

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    Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

    Current Record: 1-1

    Highest Ranking: 8 (Gagnon, Sobleski)

    Lowest Ranking: 15 (Tanier)

    What's Good?: Credit deserves to go where it's due. Former NFL bad boy Richie Incognito continues to experience a career revival with the Buffalo Bills. Through two weeks of play, he is ranked as the NFL's second-best guard, according to Pro Football Focus. The 32-year-old blocker is also the Bills' top overall performer to date. 

    What's Bad?: The Bills' vaunted defense still proved to be incapable of slowing the New England Patriots offense during last week's 40-32 loss. Quarterback Tom Brady threw for 466 yards and three touchdowns Sunday. Until the Bills can stand up to the AFC East bully, a glass ceiling hangs over their season.

    What's Next?: With the Patriots and New York Jets cruising along, the battle to stay out of the AFC East cellar occurs this weekend. The Bills travel to Miami to face the Dolphins in a late-afternoon meeting. Both teams are 1-1 overall, and the loser will be the only squad with a losing record in the division after three weeks of play.

    Last Week's Ranking: 6

10. Seattle Seahawks

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    Matt Ludtke/Associated Press

    Current Record: 0-2

    Highest Ranking: 7 (Miller)

    Lowest Ranking: 14 (Sobleski)

    What's Good?: Not much is going right for the Seattle Seahawks, but the team can still rely on its talented defense to make some plays. Defensive end Cliff Avril was one of the few Seahawks to show up and perform at a high level against the Green Bay Packers. The pass-rusher registered nine quarterback hurries during the game, according to Pro Football Focus. It didn't prove to be enough, but it was a much better effort than most of his teammates gave. 

    What's Bad?: Russell Wilson's one completion on two pass attempts to All-Pro tight end Jimmy Graham is simply a pitiful attempt to get the ball into the hands of an elite offensive weapon. The fact the team targeted fellow tight end Luke Willson four times in the same game is disgraceful. Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell must find ways to incorporate Graham. 

    What's Next?: The Seahawks welcome the Chicago Bears to Seattle. Both teams desperately need a win after 0-2 starts. According to our experts, Seattle is believed to be a far superior team despite remaining winless. 

    Last Week's Ranking: 5

9. Kansas City Chiefs

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    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    Current Record: 1-1

    Highest Ranking: 2 (Schalter)

    Lowest Ranking: 13 (Davenport)

    What's Good?: Marcus Peters is an early candidate for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. The Washington product is tied for the team lead with 12 total tackles. He also snagged a pair of interceptions, including a 55-yard pick-six against the Denver Broncos. Peters' aggressive nature allows the Chiefs to increase their use of man coverage, which makes the unit even more dangerous. 

    What's Bad?: It's hardly believable, but Chiefs wide receivers still haven't scored a touchdown. After the team had the same problem last year, one would think it would be a priority to include the receivers early this season. While quarterback Alex Smith continues to try to get Jeremy Maclin involved, the offense as a whole has been unsuccessful capitalizing on the its talent at the position. Instead, head coach Andy Reid continues to rely too heavily on Jamaal Charles, and it cost him this past weekend. 

    What's Next?: A Monday night affair against the Green Bay Packers is on tap for the Chiefs. Kansas City should be able to move the ball against the Packers, but stopping Aaron Rodgers is nearly impossible.

    Last Week's Ranking: 10

8. Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

    Current Record: 1-1

    Highest Ranking: 4 (Freeman, Gagnon)

    Lowest Ranking: 13 (Miller)

    What's Good?: As poor as the Pittsburgh Steelers defense looked during the preseason and the first game, Ryan Shazier's performance against the San Francisco 49ers proved to be the shot in the arm the unit desperately needed. The linebacker registered 15 total tackles, three tackles for loss, a sack and a forced fumble. Shazier's speed and athleticism will be a crucial component to the Steelers defense for the rest of the season and beyond. 

    What's Bad?: Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert traded for kicker Josh Scobee just before the start of the season to solidify Pittsburgh's special teams after its previous two kickers suffered preseason injuries. Instead, Scobee missed his first two field goals during the season opener and an extra point against the 49ers. 

    What's Next?: Iron will sharpen iron when the Pittsburgh Steelers travel to St. Louis and face the Rams. Very few teams can slow Pittsburgh's explosive offense. Even fewer teams possess the amount of talent the Rams feature along their defensive line. Both sides are so good they just might cancel each other out, and the Steelers' defensive performance against a lackluster Rams offense could decide the contest. 

    Last Week's Ranking: 13

7. Dallas Cowboys

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    Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

    Current Record: 2-0

    Highest Ranking: 6 (5 voters)

    Lowest Ranking: 18 (Schalter)

    What's Good?: A healthy Sean Lee can make a world of difference in the Dallas Cowboys defense. Lee is currently tied for the league lead with 23 total tackles. Against the rival Philadelphia Eagles, Lee registered 14 tackles, two tackles for loss, two pass breakups and an interception. Plus, there are very few linebackers around the league as good in pass coverage. 

    What's Bad?: The Cowboys offense is currently a MASH unit. Unfortunately, Dallas doesn't have a B.J. Hunnicutt to replace its version of Trapper John McIntyre. Instead, it'll have to settle for Brandon Weeden replacing the injured Tony Romo. While Weeden performed well in spot duty last week after Romo suffered a broken collarbone, his track record of poor play speaks for itself after 21 career starts. The Cowboys will need to re-establish their dominant running game to get the most out of the offense until Romo returns. 

    What's Next?: The Cowboys don't want to get into a shootout this week with Romo and Dez Bryant out of action and a hobbled Jason Witten in the lineup. It will depend on Dallas' defense to slow the Atlanta Falcons' dynamic duo of quarterback Matt Ryan and wide receiver Julio Jones

    Last Week's Ranking: 3

6. Atlanta Falcons

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    Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

    Current Record: 2-0

    Highest Ranking: 4 (Miller)

    Lowest Ranking: 19 (Tomlinson)

    What's Good?: There is plenty to like about the Atlanta Falcons' early-season turnaround after last year's underwhelming performance. But the Falcons' renewed ability to pressure the quarterback after barely being able to do so a year ago is astonishing. They have only registered two sacks as a team, but they've also hit opposing quarterbacks 13 times and pressured them 10 more, according to Pro Football Focus. Rookie defensive end Vic Beasley led the way when he terrorized Giants first-year left tackle Ereck Flowers last Sunday. 

    What's Bad?: Julio Jones may be the NFL's best wide receiver right now, but the Falcons are getting very little from the rest their skill-position players. The team's next three leading receivers—wide receiver Leonard Hankerson, tight end Jacob Tamme and running back Devonta Freeman—combined for 22 catches, which is the same amount as Jones by himself. Plus, Freeman only averages 2.0 yards per carry when the Falcons decide to run the ball. 

    What's Next?: Just how good are the Falcons? Everyone will find out when they travel to Dallas on Sunday to face the Cowboys. If the Falcons want to be seriously considered one of the NFL's best teams, they can't falter when faced with an injury-riddled Cowboys offense. 

    Last Week's Ranking: 15

5. Cincinnati Bengals

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    Gary Landers/Associated Press

    Current Record: 2-0

    Highest Ranking: 3 (3 voters)

    Lowest Ranking: 15 (3 voters)

    What's Good?: "It seems it's the New England Patriots and Green Bay Packers and then everyone else, but the Cincinnati Bengals have quietly been fantastic and deserve to be viewed as the third-best team in football right now. Andy Dalton has a 120.3 passer rating, andalthough Jeremy Hill may be a liability—[Giovani] Bernard offers a ton of support for a loaded offense. Plus, they've given up just 32 total points to two teams (the Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers) that had huge offensive performances in their other games. Watch out for Cincinnati, man." —Brad Gagnon

    What's Bad?: While everything appears to be clicking on all cylinders for the Bengals at this point in the season, Michael Johnson's return to Cincinnati hasn't proved to be a boon to his career. Johnson left the Bengals over a year ago to sign a big free-agent contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He didn't play well, and the Bucs released him this offseason. The defensive end re-signed with the Bengals, but he looks far more like the player seen last year. 

    What's Next?: A trip to Baltimore to face the Ravens can help the Bengals establish themselves as the AFC North's premier team. The Bengals currently sit atop the division standings, but a victory will keep them at least one win ahead of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns while pushing the Ravens further into the division basement. 

    Last Week's Ranking: 9

4. Arizona Cardinals

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    David Banks/Associated Press

    Current Record: 2-0

    Highest Ranking: 3 (Freeman, Miller)

    Lowest Ranking: 12 (Gagnon)

    What's Good?: Larry Fitzgerald looks like the old version of himself. The 32-year-old wide receiver sits fifth overall with 199 receiving yards through two games. The crafty veteran showed a strong connection with Carson Palmer last season before the quarterback's knee injury. The two haven't missed a beat this year. As a result, Fitzgerald might be on track for his first 1,000-yard campaign since 2011. 

    What's Bad?: The Chicago Bears went after left guard Ted Larsen during Sunday's contest. Opponents will continue to find ways to exploit the former backup until Mike Iupati returns from his knee injury. Iupati could be close to making his debut as a member of the Arizona Cardinals. According to head coach Bruce Arians, per Fox Sports 910's Mike Jurecki, the guard still experienced "a little swelling, but it was very controllable." 

    What's Next?: With the Seattle Seahawks' 0-2 start and Arizona facing the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, the Cardinals could build an early three-game lead in the NFC West with a little help from the Pittsburgh Steelers, who play the St. Louis Rams. 

    Last Week's Ranking: 12

3. Denver Broncos

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    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    Current Record: 2-0

    Highest Ranking: 3 (3 voters)

    Lowest Ranking: 7 (Gagnon)

    What's Good?: Two teams are currently perceived as elite: the Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots. The No. 3 spot is wide-open for multiple 2-0 teams to claim despite being flawed in certain areas. The Denver Broncos hold two advantages, though. First, the Broncos defense is absolutely nasty, particularly with DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller flying off the edges. And, despite Peyton Manning's rough start, many still believe in him. At least, the belief is the quarterback will figure out to how to play in Gary Kubiak's offense. 

    What's Bad?: In order for Manning to perform well, he must get comfortable behind his offensive line. Much of the blame seems to fall on the young players, Ty Sambrailo and Matt Paradis, but the veterans around them have played just as poorly and need to provide good examples. Evan Mathis and Ryan Harris are both better than they've showed. 

    What's Next?: The Broncos desperately needed the few extra days allotted to them after playing the Kansas City Chiefs last Thursday to work out some kinks, particularly on offense. In doing so, the entire team should be far better prepared to face the winless Detroit Lions this weekend. 

    Last Week's Ranking: 4

2. New England Patriots

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    Winslow Townson/Associated Press

    Current Record: 2-0

    Highest Ranking: 1 (5 voters)

    Lowest Ranking: 5 (Schalter)

    What's Good?: No matter what opponents do, the New England Patriots hold the mental edge over all of them. Despite the drama around this franchise, Bill Belichick is still the best coach in the business, and Tom Brady continues to play at a Hall of Fame level. It's never been more obvious than when the Patriots went to Buffalo on Sunday and scored 40 points against the NFL's most talented defense. Bills head coach Rex Ryan says a lot of things, but he's never been more honest than when he admitted to reporters that Belichick "outcoached" him during the contest.

    What's Bad?: The Patriots still struggle to stop the run. Their defense is ranked 28th overall against the run, and the coaching staff needs to find a combination along its defensive front that somehow slows down opponents and their ground attacks. 

    What's Next?: The Jacksonville Jaguars come to town, and they certainly don't feature a top ground game. Belichick almost never allows his team to look beyond an upcoming opponent, but this is an instance where it could happen because this game is a major mismatch.

    Last Week's Ranking: 2

1. Green Bay Packers

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Current Record: 2-0

    Highest Ranking: 1 (3 voters)

    Lowest Ranking: 2 (5 voters)

    What's Good?: It's fair to say that Green Bay Packers nose tackle B.J. Raji has never played as well in his career as he has over the last two weeks. The 337-pound defender manhandled both Will Montgomery and Drew Nowak in the first two games. Good nose tackle play is vital in a 3-4 predominant scheme. The Packers don't own one of the NFL's stingiest defenses, but Raji helps set the tone up front to make the entire unit better overall. 

    What's Bad?Because of how good Aaron Rodgers is—and he's arguably the best in the business—he makes everyone around him appear better than they sometimes are. For example, the Packers' offensive tackles haven't played particularly well at the start of the season. David Bakhtiari and Don Barclay are the two lowest-rated players on the Packers offense, according to Pro Football Focus. Packers fans should eagerly await Bryan Bulaga's (knee) return to the lineup. 

    What's Next?: While the Packers already hold the No. 1 rankings here, Monday's opponent, the Kansas City Chiefs, can be a difficult matchup and could help Green Bay keep the top spot away from the surging New England Patriots with a victory. 

    Last Week's Ranking: 1