The NFL tends to be unpredictable by nature of parity, but what happened in Week 2 was particularly bizarre.
Perceptions were turned on their heads as numerous upsets and 180-degree turns from the opening week's worst teams transpired. ESPN's Kevin Negandhi captured some of the more notable results:
Contained therein are three quarterbacks from the 2014 draft class. Cleveland's Johnny Manziel made his first post-rehab start and guided the Browns to victory, while Derek Carr and Blake Bortles also lit it up in respectable winning performances.
But the team atop the latest power rankings has the best in the business at the most important position. Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers are leading the way off a 27-17 victory over Seattle to improve to 2-0.
Read on to find out who the AFC front-runner is and more on why the top teams are slotted where they are.
|2015 NFL Power Rankings Post-Week 2|
|1||Green Bay Packers|
|2||New England Patriots|
|10||New York Jets|
|11||San Diego Chargers|
|13||Kansas City Chiefs|
|15||St. Louis Rams|
|19||New York Giants|
|20||San Francisco 49ers|
|27||Tampa Bay Buccaneers|
|32||New Orleans Saints|
|Rankings are personal opinion|
Analyzing Top Teams
Green Bay Packers
Rodgers has been phenomenal in recent years and has managed to offset many of the injuries that have raised concerns about Green Bay's offense. As long as Rodgers is under center, it seems the Packers will be just fine.
The MMQB's Peter King put Rodgers' greatness at Lambeau Field in particular in perspective:
One of the underrated developments from Sunday night's win over Seattle was how well the Packers played up front on defense. B.J. Raji stood out and showed flashes of the former top-10 draft pick who went to the Pro Bowl in 2011, per Pro Football Focus' Bryan Hall:
"B.J. Raji had an outstanding game. His best football game as a Green Bay Packer in my opinion," said head coach Mike McCarthy afterward, per the team's official Twitter account.
If coordinator Dom Capers' deservedly criticized defense can play at an average level for the year, there's reason to believe Green Bay will emerge as the team to beat in the NFC. Its own division features two 0-2 teams in Chicago and Detroit, while Minnesota figures to be one year away from truly threatening for the NFC North title.
It's still too early to say for sure whether the Packers' stellar defense will continue. The Seahawks were coming off a physical battle with St. Louis' terrifying front, which had to take a toll on the Lambeau visitors.
New England Patriots
For three quarters on the road against AFC East rival Buffalo, the reigning Super Bowl champions gave the Bills crowd little to cheer about. New England did well to stave off a comeback bid, but were able to thanks to how sensational Tom Brady was.
Brady picked apart the vaunted Bills defense schemed up by the brilliant mind of Rex Ryan. NFL.com's Chris Trapasso highlights how well Brady executed the Pats' precision-based short passing game en route to 466 yards passing and three scores:
Julian Edelman is a reception machine, while tight end Rob Gronkowski (seven catches, 113 yards and a touchdown versus Buffalo) is further distinguishing himself as the best player at his position—and is showing he can stay healthy.
Not to stick too close to the same structure as the breakdown of Green Bay, but there seems to be a pattern here with elite QBs and defensive fronts that have stepped up to start the 2015 campaign.
After getting gashed often by Pittsburgh in the season opener, it appeared the Patriots capitalized on the extra time to prepare for Week 2. They proceeded to bottle up dual-threat Bills QB Tyrod Taylor for much of the contest, forcing three interceptions and registering eight sacks.
If that caliber of pass rush keeps up, the loss of Darrelle Revis in the New England secondary won't sting as much as the Pats bid to guard the Lombardi Trophy.
Bruce Arians is simply one of the best coaches in football. Arians is in that elite conversation. The Cardinals have ripped off two impressive wins to ascend to the NFC West lead after two weeks.
Credit is due to the way Arians has positioned QB Carson Palmer to thrive. Coming off a devastating second torn ACL, Palmer is showing no signs of being washed up or declining. Quite the opposite, in fact.
The numbers don't lie, courtesy of Will Brinson of CBSSports.com:
Rookie RB David Johnson has also been a revelation of sorts, opening Sunday's win over Chicago with a 108-yard kickoff return for a score. Johnson found paydirt again on a 13-yard TD scamper, adding to his 55-yard scoring reception from Week 1.
B/R Insights supplied more context for Arizona's Week 2 offensive eruption—aided by points from special teams and the defense:
Any concerns that the Cardinals defense would miss departed play-caller Todd Bowles, now the head coach of the New York Jets, have been dismissed for now. No matter what the circumstances or hardships, the combination of Arians and Palmer equips Arizona with the leadership to endure.
Divisional matchups with San Francisco and St. Louis in the next two contests offer the Cardinals the chance to put some real distance between themselves and the rest of the NFC West. They have been a solid team for two years under Arians but appear primed to take that next proverbial step in 2015.