NFL Power Rankings: Chris Simms' Rankings Heading into Week 2

Chris Simms@@CSimmsQBNFL Lead AnalystSeptember 12, 2016

NFL Power Rankings: Chris Simms' Rankings Heading into Week 2

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    Take a deep breath. 

    Now, exhale.

    Good. We all need to calm down after what might've been the wildest first week in NFL play in recent memory. Eleven games were decided by one score or less—and four of those came down to just one point.

    So remember: The 32 teams I've power-ranked this week are separated by that thin a margin. I can only base my rankings on the end result of Week 1 and how I feel they're set up going forward. I don't think this list will change after Week 2—I know it for a fact.

    Are we on the same page? Good. Because after a few clicks, you might not agree with where I placed your favorite team after Week 1. (Spoiler alert: It's too low.) I know you'll find me on Twitter (@CSimmsQB) and tell me how you really feel.

32. Cleveland Browns

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    Rich Schultz/Getty Images

    Current record: 0-1

    Last week: 32 (same)

    There's no sugarcoating this one.

    The Browns were clowned by the quarterback they once dismissed as a middle-of-the-pack prospect. It looked even worse with the inconsistent play from their own passer, Robert Griffin III.

    I was expecting more from Cleveland. I thought its offensive line might handle Fletcher Cox and Co. a little better than it did. And I thought that defense, coordinated by Ray Horton, could've rattled Carson Wentz a little more. Only rookie Carl Nassib stood out to me.

    Not the best start to the Hue Jackson era.

    Next opponent: Baltimore Ravens

    Looking ahead: Joe Flacco can't wait to test his long ball out after watching Cleveland's deep-ball defense.

31. Los Angeles Rams

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Current record: 0-1

    Last week: 29 (-2)

    What the hell was that?

    I honestly don't know where to begin with this embarrassment of an offense. Todd Gurley (47 yards, 14 carries) was stuffed. Tavon Austin—the guy who just got paid $42 million—caught four passes for 13 yards. Case Keenum had 68 halftime passing yards. That's not a typo—actually 68.

    It's only Week 2, and the blueprint is out on how to beat this team. On offense, you take three steps and throw. (Where were you, Aaron Donald?) On defense, you pack the box knowing Keenum can't make you pay for it. Then you go home with a win.

    Next week: Seattle Seahawks

    Looking ahead: My very first edition of these power rankings slotted the Rams dead last. Might be time for them to reclaim that role.

30. Chicago Bears

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    Current record: 0-1

    Last week: 31 (+1)

    The Chicago Bears looked like they could hang with the Houston Texans for 30 minutes.

    Then the Bears secondary we all know and love showed up for the second half. Brock Osweiler didn't need to make tough throws downfield; receivers such as Will Fuller could catch a bubble screen and break it across the field. Bad tackling, bad coverage, just bad.

    John Fox's team just wasn't good enough to hold on to a four-point lead. Jay Cutler made some throws, but he did so behind a line that let pressure through way too often. Cutler plus pressure? Of course that'll work.

    Next opponent: Philadelphia Eagles

    Looking ahead: Carson Wentz is going to look like the second coming of Donovan McNabb when he tears another secondary up in Week 2.

29. San Diego Chargers

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    Peter Aiken/Getty Images

    Current record: 0-1

    Last week: 26 (-3) 

    Talk about adding injury to insult.

    The Chargers did what the Chargers normally do when they hold a big lead. And in yet another terrible closeout effort, they lost Philip Rivers' top target for what could be a long time. Poor Keenan Allen.

    I still like this offense without him. Rivers can make so-so receivers look good. The offensive line is healthy. And welcome to the end zone, Melvin Gordon! He's finally putting some runs together.

    You’re just not going to win many games—at Arrowhead or elsewhere—without a defensive closer. San Diego's best one was on the sideline because it couldn't iron out a rookie contract with him.

    Next opponent: Jacksonville Jaguars

    Looking ahead: Jason Verrett and Brandon Flowers are good. They're not good enough to cover Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns long enough for a pass rush to get home, though.

28. Tennessee Titans

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    Current record: 0-1

    Last week: 23 (-5)

    The Vikings didn't spoil the debut of "exotic smashmouth" football.

    That honor belongs to the Titans alone. They have no one to blame but themselves after a few silly turnovers sunk their hopes of a 1-0 start.

    Marcus Mariota committed two big ones. Quarterbacks can live with themselves when a tipped pass ends up in the opponent's hand. They can even shake it off when that opponent brings it back all the way, like Eric Kendricks did in the third quarter.

    But to lose a quarterback-center exchange later on? That's on No. 8.

    Mike Mularkey's team can't afford to play from behind—it doesn't mesh with its power offense. But the Titans did because the Vikings defense is really good, and they were simply outmatched.

    Next opponent: Detroit Lions

    Looking ahead: Another week, another NFC North opponent built to stop the Titans offense. Can Tennessee get a break in Nashville?

27. Miami Dolphins

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    Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

    Current record: 0-1

    Last week: 28 (+1)

    What a gritty performance by this Miami bunch.

    The Dolphins had to go on the road. And go to Seattle. And debut a new offensive system in a very loud stadium. And play a team that probably outflanks them at most positions, talent-wise. And still...

    They were one Kenny Stills dropped ball away from an upset win. Coach Adam Gase won't like it, but that's a big step for a team that's looked so lost at times.

    His defense is a big reason why the arrow's up this week. For three-and-a-half quarters, the Dolphins out-physicaled the Seahawks. Ndamukong Suh had a field day. Their defensive backs and linebackers looked tough as well, and I'm the last one who'd point that group out. I see the upside in South Beach.

    Next opponent: New England Patriots

    Looking ahead: Jimmy Garoppolo has some mojo workin' after a big road win. The Dolphins will need to apply just as much pressure as last week to get a victory.

26. Atlanta Falcons

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    Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

    Current record: 0-1

    Last week: 22 (-4)

    Matt Ryan had a shot to pass his team back into its Week 1 game.

    It just didn't happen. Two passes sailed behind receivers, and a third flew wildly out of his hands. Game. Set. Buccaneers.

    The Falcons showed me some things. They have two backs now—Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman—who can contribute in the passing game. Mohamed Sanu looks like a Roddy White type and takes some of the pressure off Julio Jones. Both bode well for this offensive group.

    If Sunday's outcome is any indication, the Falcons can't expect to win games with Ryan's arm alone. That defense will need to play much better, and I'm not sure if it will.

    Next opponent: Oakland Raiders

    Looking ahead: Derek Carr might have even more time to throw than he did last week. That is not good for Atlanta's chances.

25. New Orleans Saints

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    Sean Gardner/Getty Images

    Current record: 0-1

    Last week: 25 (same)

    Thirty-eight attempts.

    Zero sacks.

    That should tell you all you need to know about the Saints' opening defensive effort. It also tells you why they're currently in possession of an 0-1 record.

    No Saints defender got near Derek Carr with any consistency. A two-score lead evaporated in the second half, and when the Saints corners started dropping with injuries, they were in trouble.

    A strong running game could've shortened the game and given NOLA's pass-rushers a breather. Don't expect new tight end Coby Fleener to contribute there. He's not really the best blocker. I'm also curious why C.J. Spiller wasn't a part of that attack Sunday. My guess? He's in Sean Payton's doghouse.

    Next opponent: New York Giants

    Looking ahead: Remember when these teams met up last season? We might be in for a sequel.

24. San Francisco 49ers

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    Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

    Current record: 1-0

    Last week: 30 (+6)

    Say what you want about Chip Kelly.

    The offense is better under his watch than it ever was under Jim Tomsula. Blaine Gabbert looked like a passable starting quarterback, which is all he needs to be. Let Carlos Hyde be the heavy lifter. You saw what he could do with a full game's worth of carries.

    The 49ers looked like the better defense too. I'm starting to like this Mighty Ducks front—DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead held Todd Gurley without a single memorable run. Behind them, Jimmie Ward was all over the field. He's their answer to the NFL's "Who's your Deone Bucannon?" question.

    Next opponent: Carolina Panthers

    Looking ahead: If the 49ers can leave Carolina feeling at least a little confident, Chip Kelly did his job.

23. Indianapolis Colts

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    Dylan Buell/Getty Images

    Current record: 0-1

    Last week: 20 (-3)

    I'll borrow a catchphrase from the late, great Dennis Green here.

    The Colts were who we thought they were. But the Lions didn't let them off the hook.

    Hey, Andrew Luck? Can you score 35 to 40 points a game? Can you hit some really good receivers (Phillip Dorsett sighting!) and hope the other team doesn't shred your defense? The Colts can't win if you don't.

    This put the Colts in a huge first-half hole that was almost impossible to climb out of. Luck nearly did it because he's that good, but don't be confused. Indianapolis is a flag football team.

    Next opponent: Denver Broncos

    Looking ahead: Matt Hasselbeck might've retired because he felt deep down that he'd be needed in this game. I don't blame him.

22. Buffalo Bills

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    Patrick Smith/Getty Images

    Current record: 0-1

    Last week: 21 (-1)

    I saw a few vintage, field-reversing runs out of LeSean McCoy in Week 1.

    Here's my question: Can the Bills depend on their dropback passing game when Shady doesn't look like his 2012 self? The Ravens defense revealed the answer might be no.

    This game was within Buffalo's grasp if its offense had done something. One deep ball to Sammy Watkins? A broken tackle by McCoy? The Bills gained 160 total yards. Anything would've worked.

    It'll keep Rex Ryan up at night knowing that his defense (patched together with Band-Aids and sticks and veterans off the free-agent market) mostly held firm, but his team still lost.

    Next opponent: New York Jets

    Looking ahead: Duck, Tyrod! Pass-rushers will close in on you from all sides.

21. Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Current record: 0-1

    Last week: 19 (-2)

    Don't be ashamed, Jacksonville.

    Your team just got burned by Aaron Rodgers. It happens to everyone eventually.

    When the Jaguars defense got in the red zone, it was over. Rodgers dropped back and diced it (something Blake Bortles still can't do with consistency). A few crushing throws put this game out of reach.

    We can all see the talent that's growing on this roster, though. The offense will only improve with a healthy Chris Ivory and a shifty T.J. Yeldon together. The defense will jell with time and reps. The Jaguars are no pushover.

    Next opponent: San Diego Chargers

    Looking ahead: This might be the week Jacksonville learns to topple an elite passer.

20. Philadelphia Eagles

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    Rich Schultz/Getty Images

    Current record: 1-0

    Last week: 27 (+7)

    Once upon a time, I was a young quarterback preparing for my first NFL start.

    I doubted Carson Wentz because I know how much work goes into that process. And I was totally wrong about the kid.

    The Eagles used him perfectly: a rollout here, a checkdown there, and then—without warning—Wentz dropped a dime or two behind the Browns secondary. He really accomplished something amazing.

    Even more amazing? The will of this Eagles team to win, despite roster turnover. A lot of players who suited up for last year's opener wore different colors this year—including their now-former starting QB.

    The most important parts, such as their dominant line and Fletcher Cox, stayed put. It's a new era, and Philly is off to a great start.

    Next opponent: Chicago Bears

    Looking ahead: Why can't Wentz keep it up? His defense should give him plenty of possessions and tee off on Jay Cutler.

19. Dallas Cowboys

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    Tom Pennington/Getty Images

    Current record: 0-1

    Last week: 14 (-5)

    The Dallas Cowboys looked like a team with a rookie at quarterback.

    Go figure.

    He made a few dicey decisions and, if we're being honest, avoided a few interceptions. But Dak Prescott kept his team within winning range, and that's all you can ask for from him.

    Terrance Williams? That's a different story. You might want to ask him to step out of bounds or something.

    Listen up, Dak. This game gets a lot faster when your offense is inside its 20. Decisions need to be made faster, or your team kicks field goals.

    Next opponent: Washington Redskins

    Looking ahead: The Dallas defense was pretty damn good. It can stay in front of the Washington wideouts after staying in front of Odell Beckham Jr.

18. Baltimore Ravens

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    Patrick Smith/Getty Images

    Current record: 1-0

    Last week: 17 (-1)

    Sometimes, the hardest team to beat is the one that plays just like you.

    That's why I'm impressed with the Ravens' first win. It was downright ugly at times, but that's the kind of game the Bills want to play. It just so happens that's the kind of game the Ravens generally win.

    If you're John Harbaugh, you're excited that your team still has a bunch of butt-kickers. That offensive line matched and exceeded Buffalo's physicality. You saw potential at tight end with Dennis Pitta, Mike Wallace 3.0 (I told you so) and a guy in the middle of your defense named Timmy Jernigan. His awesome preseason carried over for sure.

    Next opponent: Cleveland Browns

    Looking ahead: A divisional game isn't always a given. But the Ravens are just the better team.

17. Washington Redskins

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    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    Current record: 0-1

    Last week: 13 (-4)

    You can't read the stat sheet when it comes to Kirk Cousins' night. It'll tell you the Redskins' franchise player and quarterback of the future boasted a completion percentage around 70 percent. Hey, he threw for 329 yards too!

    Those two stats are as dumpster-worthy as Cousins' pair of picks. The Steelers had a chance for at least another. Thank Jordan Reed for that high yardage total because Cousins was limited all night.

    You know what would help? A running game that took some pressure off. Or a defense that could get off the field against simple DeAngelo Williams draws. Cousins has neither; it's going to be a long season.

    Next opponent: Dallas Cowboys

    Looking ahead: Washington didn't do a thing to impress me defensively. The Great Wall of Dallas is going to pulverize this run defense.

16. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

    Current record: 1-0

    Last week: 24 (+8)

    Jameis Winston made it look easy as he quarterbacked his team to a 1-0 start.

    It wasn't. A road game is never easy, particularly between two teams in that division. Both of them are searching for a set identity and jockeying for space in the NFC hierarchy.

    Two pairs of players made the difference. First, Winston and Mike Evans teamed up to air out the Falcons' bad passing defense. They're on the same page now, and that fact should scare everyone.

    After that, the rushing and receiving tandem of Doug Martin and Charles Sims went to work. They'll both be valuable closers for a young Bucs team that can churn out first downs and wins.

    Next opponent: Arizona Cardinals

    Looking ahead: This, folks, is what we call a measuring-stick game. Arizona's the favorite, but let's see how our biggest riser stacks up.

15. Oakland Raiders

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    Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

    Current record: 1-0

    Last week: 18 (+3)

    Derek Carr is here to play in his third year, you guys.

    He's not a kid anymore. Carr is a B-A-L-L-E-R and leads one of the league's most explosive offenses. He sat pretty behind a wall of an offensive line and threw strike after strike. That's why Jack Del Rio trusted him to connect on a two-point play for the win.

    This team just went into the Superdome and beat Drew Brees. It grew up in a hurry. I don't need to say much more than that.

    Next opponent: Atlanta Falcons

    Looking ahead: Sean Payton game-planned Khalil Mack out of Week 1. Mack can make up for lost time versus Atlanta, though.

14. Detroit Lions

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Current record: 1-0

    Last week: 12 (-2)

    Not many teams survive when Andrew Luck heats up and erases a lead.

    The Lions somehow did. So I'm still driving their bandwagon straight into Week 2, knowing full well Luck exposed some of their big weaknesses.

    I'll stick with Ziggy Ansah and that pass-rushing rotation. I'll take an offensive line opening holes for multitalented players such as Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick. And I'll choose Matt Stafford, who led his team back with under a minute left and showed some fire doing it.

    The Lions might've lost this game in seasons past. Let's give them some credit for winning it.

    Next opponent: Tennessee Titans

    Looking ahead: Abdullah and Riddick are a defensive coordinator's worst nightmare. Your move, Dick LeBeau.

13. New York Giants

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    Tom Pennington/Getty Images

    Current record: 1-0

    Last week: 16 (+3)

    It turns out the Giants defense just needed some Snacks.

    It turned in an impressive first outing from its big-ticket, new-look line—all thanks to Damon "Snacks" Harrison's clogging the middle.

    Harrison's a run-stuffing beast who commands two blockers. That attention freed up other defenders such as Jason Pierre-Paul or Olivier Vernon as they tracked down ball-carriers. The end result? Dallas only ran for 101 yards behind its highly publicized offensive line.

    Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo will take that production any day and twice on Sundays.

    Next opponent: New Orleans Saints

    Looking ahead: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie played the slot against Dallas. He'll be needed there, outside and wherever else Willie Snead lines up.

12. Houston Texans

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    Thomas B. Shea/Getty Images

    Current record: 1-0

    Last week: 15 (+3)

    Nothing about Brock Osweiler's debut was particularly jaw-dropping.

    But after last year's quarterback carousel, the Texans will take a start that's just OK. Especially if it involves as many receivers as Sunday's win did.

    Osweiler completed passes to eight different receivers. That tells you the Texans' stable is more than just DeAndre Hopkins; it includes rookie Will Fuller, who's proving me wrong and blossoming into the perfect second pass-catching option.

    Lamar Miller lightened Osweiler's load with a 100-yard rushing day. It looked easy, and it was.

    Next opponent: Kansas City Chiefs

    Looking ahead: I like how this defense got it done without a fully healthy J.J. Watt. It will need help to stop K.C. this week.

11. Seattle Seahawks

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    Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

    Current record: 1-0

    Last week: 8 (-3)

    People call me a Seahawks hater. I'm far from it.

    I'm actually amazed this team can win games in spite of its limitations. The Seahawks offensive line is so porous. Seattle's offensive coordinator calls plays like it's 1980. Sometimes, it's like it just wants Russell Wilson to run around and do something spectacular.

    And he does. In fact, this roster is stacked with difference-makers such as Wilson who show up for the Seahawks. Some of them, such as defensive end Michael Bennett, were constantly in Ryan Tannehill's face in Week 1.

    I couldn't drop the Seahawks too far in a close call. I like their roster, but their weaknesses are glaring.

    Next opponent: Los Angeles Rams

    Looking ahead: L.A.'s front four spells trouble for this offense. We'll see what magic Russell Wilson can do...if he's healthy.

10. Minnesota Vikings

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    Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

    Current record: 1-0

    Last week: 11 (+1)

    It doesn't really matter who plays QB.

    This Vikings team has a defense that's 2015 Denver Broncos/2013 Seattle Seahawks special. As we saw against the Titans, it can score touchdowns and win games by itself. Just play solid offense and get out of its way.

    I like how the Vikes showed up just a handful of days after losing Teddy Bridgewater. There was a lot of talk about how the Titans were going to attack them, but like their head coach, this team is prepared, mentally tough and defensive-minded.

    Next opponent: Green Bay Packers

    Looking ahead: Sam Bradford wasn't acquired for a first-round pick to ride the pine. Can he keep up with Aaron Rodgers?

9. Kansas City Chiefs

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    Peter Aiken/Getty Images

    Current record: 1-0

    Last week: 10 (+1)

    What a comeback from Charlie Checkdown…er, Alex Smith!

    Maybe it had something to do with the score. And the need to throw vertical and abandon a super-conservative offensive mindset. Just guessing, though.

    Smith pulled the trigger on some really great throws. A lot of them went to Spencer Ware, who's a true two-headed monster. The biggest comeback in franchise history only shows me what this offense could look like at its fullest potential. Let's hope we see more of it.

    Next opponent: Houston Texans

    Looking ahead: Houston's a much better team than the one the Chiefs saw in last year's playoffs. Even that might not be enough.

8. New York Jets

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Current record: 0-1

    Last week: 7 (-1)

    The good news? New York answered a lot of its preseason questions. The defensive line meshed in a big way. The secondary fell victim to A.J. Green but played well enough. Matt Forte played like a young Matt Forte. The right side of the offensive line even came together for a big run-blocking day.

    The bad news? Ryan Fitzpatrick is still behind center. As long as that's the case, the Jets' air game will leave plays on the field. Open receivers will be missed, and passes will be intercepted. That's just reality.

    Gang Green was the better team in Week 1. Its opponent just had the better quarterback.

    Next opponent: Buffalo Bills

    Looking ahead: Tough not to picture this Jets D-line running roughshod over Tyrod Taylor.

7. Cincinnati Bengals

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Current record: 1-0

    Last week: 9 (+2)

    Cincinnati was on the wrong end of a mismatch on its O-line this week.

    So the Bengals searched to exploit a different matchup in their favor. They found it by targeting Darrelle Revis.

    Credit offensive coordinator Ken Zampese for finding the unlikely chink in Gang Green's armor. Top receiver A.J. Green turned in a 12-catch, 180-yard day that helped the Bengals topple the Jets on their home turf.

    Revis was targeted for at least 10 of those passes. He just couldn't hit an extra gear and routinely fell behind one of the game's scariest weapons.

    His time as a top cornerback could be over. But the Bengals could be that good, too.

    Next opponent: Pittsburgh Steelers

    Looking ahead: No love lost between these two powers. The team that plays within itself will come out on top.

6. Green Bay Packers

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    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    Current record: 1-0

    Last week: 5 (-1)

    A lot of people were talking about Jacksonville this offseason.

    They're a little quieter now. Aaron Rodgers is back to work, and all seems right with the NFL's power structure again.

    This win, like so many other Packers wins, didn't come easy. EverBank Field sold out. The Jaguars were eager to show they've turned the page from past losing seasons. It was a trap game all the way.

    But Rodgers is a different animal. Watch the pass he slung as he fell backward to the turf Sunday. It hit Davante Adams right in his hands like it was a simple throw, and it just wasn't. He does two or three things every weekend like that.

    Next opponent: Minnesota Vikings

    Looking ahead: The Vikings have a complete defense. So why does it feel like Rodgers will still get it done?

5. Arizona Cardinals

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    Ethan Miller/Getty Images

    Current record: 0-1

    Last week: 6 (+1)

    I tried to warn you about the trouble that's brewing in Arizona.

    It kept popping up on preseason tape. David Johnson showed flashes of progress in his running ability, and the receivers and tight ends looked good, but something just held the team back. Actually, a few somethings.

    For starters, Patrick Peterson can't play on both sides of this defense. The Cardinals will need a better cover corner to round their defense out, or teams will keep exploiting that weakness. Same goes for the offensive line; it's susceptible to creative blitzes and stunts.

    The Cards were a missed field goal away from beating the Patriots and are a better team than the Packers or Bengals. They are still dangerous, but they're in danger now, too.

    Next opponent: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

    Looking ahead: The Patriots toyed with the Cards secondary. What do you think Winston will do?

4. Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Patrick Smith/Getty Images

    Current record: 1-0

    Last week: 2 (-2)

    Will you people believe me now about the Steelers offensive line?

    I get so much pushback when I say it's a top-five unit. But from the first quarter of Monday night's early game, the Steelers absolutely manhandled another professional football team. I could've gained five yards running through a few of the holes DeAngelo Williams did.

    Elsewhere, Big Ben and Antonio Brown are the best. The best.

    I like what this defense showed me too. The defensive line and linebackers were quick to the gap and snuffed out the run. I hope Ryan Shazier can stay healthy; he looks like the next big thing in that scheme.

    Next opponent: Cincinnati Bengals

    Looking ahead: It's baptism by fire for Artie Burns and Sean Davis. They're young and fast, and they need to stay in front of A.J. Green in a huge rivalry week.

3. Carolina Panthers

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    Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

    Current record: 0-1

    Last week: 1 (-2)

    Carolina was thrown into a nearly impossible situation to kick off the season.

    The Panthers came out of an emotional Super Bowl grudge match with another loss. There's still plenty to like about this team, though.

    Take Kelvin Benjamin, who re-emerged as the top red-zone threat for Cam Newton after one game. Or the Panthers' young cornerbacks, who weren't exposed on a national stage and held their own. I also liked Vernon Butler, the rookie defensive tackle who just makes that line deeper and scarier.

    An 0-1 record means nothing. Carolina's the team to beat in 2016 just like it was in 2015.

    Next opponent: San Francisco 49ers

    Looking ahead: Did you miss Cam's new end-zone dance move? Just watch this game, and you won't miss it.

2. Denver Broncos

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    Dustin Bradford/Getty Images

    Current record: 1-0

    Last week: 4 (+2)

    Welcome to the Trevor Siemian Experience.

    The Broncos' new QB1 proved he's a talented thrower of the football. I checked the tape; he throws accurately, from every arm angle, and from inside or outside the pocket.

    He'll only get better going downfield with time. Until then, C.J. Anderson can pick up the slack within this revamped running game. It'll free Siemian up for all kinds of bootleg passes that head coach Gary Kubiak draws up.

    Oh, and did I mention the defense is still really freaking good?

    Next opponent: Indianapolis Colts

    Looking ahead: The Broncos have too much horsepower.

1. New England Patriots

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    Norm Hall/Getty Images

    Current record: 1-0

    Last week: 3 (+2)

    The Arizona Cardinals are a great football team.

    They're just not the best. From top to bottom, the Patriots proved they're still the league's top dog in Week 1.

    No Tom Brady? No Rob Gronkowski? No problem for Bill Belichick, who drew up a masterful game plan on Sunday night to beat a very good Cardinals team in its building. So many reserves played a crucial role in the win that I can't possibly list them all.

    Now let's talk about that Jimmy Garoppolo start. He led the Pats on three scoring drives of five minutes or more in the second half. When he dropped back to pass on third down, he moved the chains at an 80 percent clip. So yeah, I'd say the Patriots found a keeper.

    Next opponent: Miami Dolphins

    Looking ahead: The Dolphins defense looks good. The Hoodie's defense is downright scary.

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