NFL Power Rankings: Where Does Every Team Stand Heading into Week 3?

Chris Simms@@CSimmsQBNFL Lead AnalystSeptember 18, 2017

NFL Power Rankings: Where Does Every Team Stand Heading into Week 3?

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    Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

    Offensive line play is extremely important.

    I only started one playoff game in my NFL career, but I can tell you that a strong line was a big part of the reason I was able to. That group gave me the time to find guys like Joey Galloway deep downfield, and it opened big holes for Cadillac Williams all season long.

    The next year, though, we lost some of the guys on that line, and the team struggled. We went from an 11-5 team in 2005 to a 4-12 club the following season.

    This year, it feels like offensive line play around the league is at an all-time low. There are some suspect groups out there, but teams that do have strong lines seem to be finding success. Naturally, level of line play is a big factor in my Week 2 power rankings.

    With the Week 1 jitters out of the way for most of the league's 32 teams, we're beginning to get a more accurate idea of how good teams, and their respective offensive lines, actually are.

    How do I see things heading toward Week 3? Let's look.


    Click here for last week's power rankings.

32. New York Jets

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Last Week's Ranking: 31

    Things started off problematically for the New York Jets as the team gave up two quick scores to the Oakland Raiders. They got a few stops, though, and Josh McCown made a long touchdown throw to Jermaine Kearse. This gave the Jets some momentum and put them back in the game.

    They were able to hang around for a while against Oakland. Eventually, though, the Raiders became just too much to overcome. When the Jets muffed a punt, the Raiders scored quickly, and from that point, things got out of hand.

    The way the game unfolded showed the flaws with this team. McCown played well, and there was some semblance of a running game, but once New York got behind big, the team couldn't afford to lean on the ground game. McCown has the talent to win games, but the Jets don't have enough pass-catching weapons to match points with a team like Oakland.

    The Raiders offense, on the other hand, is special.

31. Indianapolis Colts

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    Michael Conroy/Associated Press

    Last Week's Ranking: 32

    The first thing that jumps out when you watch the film from Sunday's game is that the Indianapolis Colts are better with Jacoby Brissett under center than they were with Scott Tolzien. He's a bigger, stronger man in the pocket, and he's a better downfield thrower. He gives the Colts some flexibility on offense as a player who can make some off-schedule plays.

    Defensively, the Colts were a lot better than they were in Week 1 as well. For the better part of the day, the Indianapolis defensive front whooped the Arizona Cardinals offensive line. They did a good job in coverage except for the end of the game when they allowed too many big plays to close it out.

    This was a game that went into overtime, where Brissett threw a bad interception and set the Cardinals up for victory. That vital mistake displayed Brissett's inexperience as an NFL starter, which compounds Indianapolis' biggest problem.

    The problem with this Colts team is that it is not capable of winning with the run game. When Andrew Luck is under center, opposing teams are afraid of giving up big passing plays. That opens up room for the running game. With Luck on the sideline, there's no room to run.

30. Cleveland Browns

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    Rob Carr/Getty Images

    Last Week's Ranking: 28

    Oh, the poor Cleveland Browns. After showing some promise in Week 1, Cleveland turned around and looked very much like last year's 1-15 version against the Baltimore Ravens.

    Quarterback play was the team's biggest weakness. DeShone Kizer performed like the rookie he is, committing four turnovers. This wasn't a surprise, though. The Baltimore Ravens defense is one of the best in the NFL, if not the best. It didn't help that Kizer was forced to leave the game for a period with a migraine.

    Kizer needs to master a better variety of throws in order to progress as a passer. He can throw a beautiful long ball, but touch passes are a weakness.

    On a bright note, Cleveland's defense again played well. Given how poorly the offense performed, giving up 24 points wasn't terrible. The Browns did give up a few big plays, but two of Baltimore's touchdowns came on short drives following turnovers.

    If Cleveland's defense continues to play like it has through two weeks, this team will be able to stay competitive. However, they're going to be fighting a battle all year long against good teams because of this offense.

29. San Francisco 49ers

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    Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

    Last Week's Ranking: 30

    If you believe there's such a thing as a moral victory, the San Francisco 49ers got one Sunday. They went to Seattle and played well enough to win. They just couldn't put the Seahawks away in the end. 

    The 49ers have to be pleased with their defense. The Seattle offense might not be anything to brag about right now, but San Francisco controlled the line of scrimmage and was all over Russell Wilson throughout the contest. Until late in the fourth quarter, San Francisco did a good job of stopping the run too. The defense played physically and should have had a few interceptions that were dropped.

    The disruptive nature of the defense showed why there is promise on that side of the ball.

    Offensively, the 49ers were solid but not great. Brian Hoyer struggled, as we might have expected he would against the Seattle defense, yet the run game was on fire. The 49ers racked up 159 yards rushing, and we haven't seen many teams have that kind of success running the ball against Seattle.

    After looking awful in Week 1, this was an encouraging performance.

28. Cincinnati Bengals

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    John Grieshop/Getty Images

    Last Week's Ranking: 25

    The Cincinnati Bengals should be embarrassed. They've played two games at home and have yet to score a touchdown. This resulted in the firing of offensive coordinator Ken Zampese following Thursday's loss to the Houston Texans.

    However, Cincinnati's struggles in Week 2 weren't just on the offensive side of the ball. With the way Cincinnati played against Houston, you could have justified firing the entire staff.

    Yes, Zampese and his offense were pathetic, but the defensive play-calling was also bad. Sometimes, the Texans had seven guys on the line and two running backs, yet Cincinnati for some reason wouldn't put safety help on wideout DeAndre Hopkins. He often seemed like the only guy Deshaun Watson would look at in the passing game, and the Bengals let Hopkins beat them.

    This team is too talented on the both sides of the ball to be playing this poorly. It's due to coaching. The Bengals shouldn't have allowed themselves to get into a slugfest with the Texans. They should have tried to go with an uptempo offense and tried to take Houston out of its comfort zone. By slowing things down and trying to outmuscle the Texans, Cincinnati played into Houston's strengths.

    The Bengals aren't going to win many games if they keep coaching themselves out of them.

27. New Orleans Saints

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    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    Last Week's Ranking: 20

    Wow. The New Orleans Saints defense is a travesty. During the preseason, I believed there was enough young talent on that side of the ball for the Saints to turn the corner defensively. I was wrong.

    The New England Patriots picked the Saints apart all game long, and Tom Brady usually did it by going to his first read. That's what is scary. For the second week in a row, we've seen people just running through the Saints secondary with no defender around them.

    This is a major issue because we haven't seen much from usually terrific quarterback Drew Brees. His stats may look good, but most of his production through two weeks has come in garbage time. For the first three quarters of each game, he's done little to help his offense.

    It's safe to say the Saints desperately need Willie Snead back in the lineup. They're also going to have to start being more aggressive on offense. I just don't know how frequently the Saints are going to be able to keep opposing teams under 30 points.

26. Jacksonville Jaguars

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    Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles (5) escapes a tackle by Tennessee Titans linebacker Wesley Woodward during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017, in Jacksonville, Fla. Tennessee won 37-16. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Mort
    Stephen B. Morton/Associated Press

    Last Week's Ranking: 27

    The Jacksonville Jaguars came out looking good against the Tennessee Titans, especially on defense. There's no doubt that Jacksonville's defense is legit. Unfortunately, the Titans eventually drew out the Jaguars' biggest flaw.

    When the Jacksonville defense can't force turnovers, and Leonard Fournette cannot lead the offense on the ground, things fall on the shoulders of quarterback Blake Bortles. When asked to carry the offense, Bortles is more often than not incapable of doing so.

    Bortles' two interceptions against the Titans were huge, and they helped ruin the day for Jacksonville.

    With an ineffective offense, the Jaguars defense was on the field way too much. Eventually, the Titans were able to wear away at the defense. This is a team that needs to try winning low-scoring games because it doesn't have a quarterback capable of winning a shootout.

25. Houston Texans

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    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    Last Week's Ranking: 29

    What an incredible job by the Texans last Thursday. Not only are the Texans still dealing with the emotions of Hurricane Harvey, but they started a rookie quarterback on the road off a short week.

    The game wasn't perfect, but the Texans still found the will to win. They did so after playing like crap and being dominated in Week 1. They also had three tight ends injured. One thing about the Texans is that they're always going to bring the physicality to the game. That's what they did against the Bengals, and that's how they earned a victory.

    The defense dominated the Cincinnati offense almost the entire game. When it looked like Cincinnati was poised to gain some momentum with a strong drive, the Texans forced a John Ross fumble and changed the field position.

    The biggest play of the night, though, was the 49-yard touchdown run by Deshaun Watson. It came against a zone look that should have prevented such a long scramble. Not only was it a play Tom Savage isn't capable of making, but it was one more play than Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton made.

    Watson was shaky at times, but he did a good job of taking care of the football and was able to use his mobility to offset a suspect offensive line. Going to him at quarterback was the right call.

24. Chicago Bears

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    Brian Blanco/Getty Images

    Last Week's Ranking: 24

    If I were in charge of the Chicago Bears, I'd go ahead and make the switch to rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky.

    Chicago went with Mike Glennon at quarterback because he has some veteran savvy and should be expected to take care of the football. However, Glennon didn't take care of the ball in the preseason, and he didn't against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 2. 

    Trubisky was the second overall pick in the draft. He played well in the preseason, and he's the future of this team. Why is Chicago delaying the inevitable and delaying the future? The Bears know they aren't going to win the Super Bowl this year.

    Dowell Loggains is a coordinator who knows how to play to Trubisky's strengths. Let's not forget he made both Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley look like respectable starters last season. 

    Chicago's defense is a unit on the rise. It showed that last week against the Atlanta Falcons. However, the defense isn't going to be enough when Glennon is costing the Bears games. He was a big reason why they lost in Tampa. If the Bears can lose with Glennon, they can afford to lose with Trubisky.

23. Arizona Cardinals

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    Michael Reaves/Getty Images

    Last Week's Ranking: 23

    The Arizona Cardinals won ugly against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 2. Unfortunately, this may be how they are forced to win games all year long.

    The Arizona offensive line isn't good enough to dominate, and without David Johnson, the run game isn't capable enough to do anything special. The Cardinals are going to have to run just enough to keep defenses honest and hope Carson Palmer can take care of the football and make a few timely explosive plays.

    The Cardinals defense is strong enough to keep the team in games. If Arizona can limit mistakes on offense, it can play through its defense. Eventually, Bruce Arians and his offensive scheme will break through and produce a big play. The defense is also capable of making big plays.

    This is what we saw against the Colts. The offense did just enough to force overtime, where a turnover set up the game-winning score.

    This isn't a team I'm willing to give up on. The NFC West is looking like a weaker division this year, and the Cardinals have enough overall talent to make some noise there.

22. Los Angeles Chargers

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    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    Last Week's Ranking: 22

    For the second week in a row, the Los Angeles Chargers were let down by their kicker. That's unfortunate because L.A. has done enough to win both games. Perhaps more concerning, though, is the fact the Chargers were also let down by their run defense for the second week in a row.

    This is one of the rare times the preseason may have shown us the truth. The Chargers got the ball run on them in the preseason, and they've allowed the ball to be run on them through the first two weeks of the regular season.

    Younghoe Koo's two missed field goals were the difference in this game. Even with a leaky run defense, the Chargers did a nice job of limiting the Miami Dolphins' scoring. Quarterback Philip Rivers had a strong outing, and the Chargers were able to move the ball.

    It didn't help that star cornerback Jason Verrett was out, as DeVante Parker was able to do damage in the passing game. However, without those missed field goals, the Chargers are sitting at 1-1. This is a good team with a couple of specific flaws.

21. Buffalo Bills

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Last Week's Ranking: 21

    Sunday's game between the Buffalo Bills and the Carolina Panthers didn't involve much of the unexpected. Bills head coach Sean McDermott faced his former team and did a fine job of getting all over the Panthers offense.

    As Carolina's former defensive coordinator, McDermott went against Cam Newton and that offense for years. The Panthers don't run a complicated system, and McDermott knew exactly how to exploit its weaknesses.

    Unfortunately, Buffalo couldn't get enough out of its offense. Carolina's defensive front dominated, and when the Bills cannot open holes for running back LeSean McCoy, their offense is limited. The Bills don't run a complex system either, often relying on LeSean McCoy and quarterback Tyrod Taylor to make plays in space.

    There's nobody better at tackling guys in space than Panthers linebackers Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis. Still, the Bills had a shot to win this one in the end. With a better throw from Taylor at the end of the game, they would have had an opportunity for a goal-to-go situation.

    This is going to be a theme for the Bills all season. When they play top-tier defenses, they're going to struggle because of a lack of weapons on offense.

20. Los Angeles Rams

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    Last Week's Ranking: 26

    The Los Angeles Rams saw some encouraging things from coordinator Wade Phillips and his defense against the Washington Redskins. They also saw some encouraging things from quarterback Jared Goff and the passing offense throughout the day.

    However, there were also letdowns in both areas.

    No one expected the Redskins to be able to run the ball the way they did, especially with Aaron Donald back in the fold for L.A. However, the Rams defensive line was pushed around and gave up some seams to Chris Thompson and Samaje Perine.

    Goff was solid for most of the afternoon. This was another game he can build upon, and he made some nice throws. He was able to take advantage of rookies Cooper Kupp and Gerald Everett. He also opened up the ground game and helped Todd Gurley look like the back he was two years ago.

    However, Goff also threw a bad interception late in the game that sealed his team's defeat. This showed that while Goff is improving, he's still learning how to be an NFL signal-caller. He appeared to determine where he was going before the play.

    This is a team that is heading in the right direction, but it's also one with a lot of inexperience.

19. Washington Redskins

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    Last Week's Ranking: 19

    This is the offensive line we've been expecting to see from the Redskins. There is talent there, and Bill Callahan is one of the better line coaches in football. Against the Rams, Washington's line looked like one of the better units in football too.

    Washington's run game was dominant, and it's become obvious that Chris Thompson is the guy to lead the attack. This running-back-by-committee thing that's going on in the NFL needs to stop to a degree, at least for teams that have a guy like Thompson to handle most of the carries.

    Thompson is the most explosive guy in Washington's backfield and one of the most explosive players on the offense in general. He opened up the running game and prevented the Redskins from having to try winning strictly with the pass.

    Defensively, the Redskins have been impressive through the first two weeks. They're playing a more physical brand of football up front than in years past, and guys like Josh Norman are helping to keep things tight on the back end as well.

    This is a team people need to watch out for because it could be dangerous.

18. Philadelphia Eagles

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    Peter Aiken/Getty Images

    Last Week's Ranking: 16

    The Philadelphia Eagles did a good job of walking into Arrowhead and keeping pace with the Kansas City Chiefs. They dominated a good offensive line throughout the contest, but in the end, the explosive weapons on Kansas City's roster proved too much to keep pace with.

    The problem for Philadelphia is that it doesn't have enough offensive weapons to hang with upper-echelon teams. The Eagles don't do themselves any favors by often ignoring the running game. They ran the ball relatively well against the Chiefs, but quarterback Carson Wentz still finished as the team's leading rusher.

    Too much of Philadelphia's offense right now is Wentz making off-schedule plays. The Eagles need to come up with a scheme that helps him more because this team cannot depend on him to do it all every week.

17. Carolina Panthers

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Last Week's Ranking: 17

    Even though the game came down to the wire, the Panthers did a good job of controlling the tempo against Buffalo. It never felt like the Bills were going to be able to drive down the field and score a touchdown on the Panthers defense. 

    Now, Carolina has to do more to protect Cam Newton. They almost need to challenge him to see how few hits he can take in a game. Even though he's one of the biggest and most physical quarterbacks in the NFL, taking all these shots is worrisome. Newton may be the most hulking quarterback ever, but the number of hits he subjects himself too will eventually take a toll.

    Losing tight end Greg Olsen to injury will hurt the offense moving forward, so we may end up seeing even more of a limited offense. On the bright side, Newton looked a lot more comfortable than he did in the season opener.

    Defensively, the Panthers look like they did two years ago. They have an impressive front seven with a lot of size up front and a lot of speed at the linebacker position. If Carolina can manage to keep Newton upright, this should be a playoff contender.

16. Tennessee Titans

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    Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

    Last Week's Ranking: 15

    In Week 1, the Titans lost the physical battle with the Raiders. On Sunday, they bounced back and dominated a Jaguars team that looked physical the week before.

    Tennessee's run defense was particularly impressive as it never let Leonard Fournette get off the ground. It also forced some turnovers and prevented the Jaguars passing from ever getting into a rhythm.

    On offense, the Titans were able to get their run game going, the team's formula for success. One thing they need to do is continue featuring Derrick Henry in a more prominent role. He's the best back on the roster for my money, and I've believed that since the second half of last season. There aren't many people who are built like Henry or who have his physical ability.

    Another encouraging aspect of Sunday's performance is the fact we saw a little bit more aggressiveness out of quarterback Marcus Mariota throwing the football down the field. The Titans need to continue to see that from him and the passing offense because there are going to be those games, like the one in Week 1, when Tennessee isn't able to dominate on the ground.

15. New York Giants

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    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Last Week's Ranking: 13

    The first order of business for the New York Giants after Monday night's loss is to address the offensive line. I have been a Ereck Flowers apologist, but it's time for me to cut that out. It's been the same issues with him over and over again. He has bad technique, he leans forward too much and he doesn't sink his hips and butt enough in order to handle the pass rush.

    The Detroit Lions handled Flowers, and the Giants line in general, with ease. This is likely to be a season-long trend when New York faces good defensive fronts.

    Eli Manning played well on an individual level, but he needs protection. His wide receivers could help him a bit more. There were some bad drops by New York pass-catchers in Week 2. At least it was good to see Odell Beckham Jr. back out there, though he isn't 100 percent.

    One bright spot was rookie tight end Evan Engram. He looked good and made some plays, including a touchdown reception out of the backfield.

    Overall, the Giants defense played well. It just fell victim to the greatness of Matthew Stafford on two early touchdown drives. One of them came on a short drive following an interception. The Giants defense is still legit, it just needs more help from the offense.

14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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    Brian Blanco/Getty Images

    Last Week's Ranking: 18

    There was a lot of talk about the Buccaneers offense and its new weapons coming into the season. Well, for their first game of the year, it was the defense that won the game.

    Tampa's defense produced a pick-six. It also produced another interception that set up a short field and led to more points on the board.

    Offensively, the Jameis Winston-Mike Evans connection continues to impress and amaze. Mike Evans has to be in the conversation as one of the five best receivers in football. As long as he and Winston are healthy, the offense is going to be hard to stop.

    Still, it was the defense that stood out. There were some questions on that side of the ball coming in, but the Buccaneers answered them. The defense forced turnovers, handled a good Bears offensive line and kept pressure on Glennon throughout the game.

    If the defense continues to play like that, the Buccaneers are going to be a threat in the NFC.

13. Miami Dolphins

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    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    Last Week's Ranking: 14

    Can we sit here and say the Dolphins deserved to win their season opener? Probably not. They did get a little fortunate. Regardless, there is a lot to like about what we saw from Miami.

    The Dolphins were able to get their run game going, which isn't always easy to do early in the season. We also saw quarterback Jay Cutler play well in his first game as a Dolphin. He was smart with the football, and he made some incredible throws down the field.

    Cutler had a tremendous touchdown pass to Kenny Stills while on the run, and his arm helped open things up for DeVante Parker. He brings some skills to the table for the Dolphins that they might not have had with Ryan Tannehill under center.

    The Miami defense wasn't stellar. There were way too many easy completions for Philip Rivers and the Los Angeles offense. But when the Chargers got close to the scoring zone, the defense was able to stiffen up.

    Given the conditions—not being able to play in Week 1 and then having to travel across the country—Miami looked good. This should be a solid football team.

12. Minnesota Vikings

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    Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

    Last Week's Ranking: 11

    It's a shame Sam Bradford couldn't go at quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings in Week 2. It would have been nice to see if the team was able to build on an impressive Week 1 offensive performance.

    The Vikings defense played well against an explosive Pittsburgh Steelers offense. Unfortunately, it spent too much time on the field and eventually tired out. With the offense unable to orchestrate any sustained drives, Pittsburgh was able to eventually pull away.

    This isn't to say Case Keenum played horribly at quarterback. He didn't. However, he isn't a quarterback capable of elevating the talent around him or even fully taking advantage of it the way Bradford did in Week 1. Rookie tailback Dalvin Cook was again a bright spot, but the Vikings couldn't rely on him alone.

    Hopefully, Minnesota will be able to get Bradford back sooner rather than later because this is a talented squad.

11. Seattle Seahawks

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    Elaine Thompson/Associated Press

    Last Week's Ranking: 7

    If you can ever have a loss when you win, the Seahawks did it Sunday. This was a gross game for Seattle.

    Look, the Seahawks offense stinks, plain and simple. Coordinator Darrell Bevell's offensive scheme is probably the worst in the NFL right now. It's basic, it's uninspired, and the Seahawks have only gotten away with it because of Russell Wilson's greatness over the years. Wilson, though, didn't have a great game against the 49ers. He missed some throws that we've come to expect him to hit.

    At least the Seahawks were able to open some holes for running back Chris Carson.

    On the flip side, however, the Seahawks gave up more rushing yardage than we're used to seeing. That's discouraging because the defense is the strength of the team.

    Yeah, the Seahawks got the win, but they're an unimpressive 1-1 team.

10. Green Bay Packers

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Last Week's Ranking: 6

    A lot of my fears about the Green Bay Packers came to light against the Atlanta Falcons. After watching the Seahawks struggle to beat the 49ers, Green Bay's Week 1 win doesn't seem as impressive, either.

    First of all, the Packers went into the game without both starting tackles. That's a recipe for a disaster against those defensive linemen on that fast playing surface. Then, Mike Daniels and Jordy Nelson both got hurt early.

    The biggest problem, though, is that Green Bay's defense was outmatched, just like in last year's playoffs. The run defense wasn't good, and for some reason, the Packers couldn't figure out that doubling Julio Jones would be a good idea.

    The Packers weren't much better on the offensive side of the ball. The line struggled to block, and the receivers struggled to gain separation. As was the case last year, there was no run game to speak of, and the Packers just prayed for Aaron Rodgers to bail them out. This time, he couldn't.

    This could be one roller-coaster year for the Packers.

9. Dallas Cowboys

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    Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

    Last Week's Ranking: 3

    There aren't many positives to pull out of the Dallas Cowboys' loss to the Denver Broncos. We've not seen their offensive line—which is the team's biggest strength—get pushed around like that in several years.

    The Cowboys were overmatched by the Broncos from jump street on both sides of the ball.

    Dallas' run game was nonexistent as the line couldn't open up an inch. Quarterback Dak Prescott struggled to take over the game once it was clear the running attack wasn't going to work.

    The biggest takeaway, though, should be that this defense is concerning. The Broncos were able to impose their will on the Cowboys defense all game long. Aside from a strong performance from pass-rusher DeMarcus Lawrence, the defense was garbage.

    There isn't a big-time cover corner on Dallas' roster, and that's a big concern moving forward.

8. Detroit Lions

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    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Last Week's Ranking: 10

    Is everyone finally realizing how good Matthew Stafford is? The Giants defense is excellent, and Stafford made it look average at best on Monday night. While Stafford didn't rack up the yardage—he went 15-of-21 for 122 yards and two scores—he made four or five wowing throws that were the difference in the game. Only a few quarterbacks playing today could make those throws.

    For the second week in a row, the Lions run game showed promise. It's only going to get better as this offensive line gets more repetitions together.

    It's time people take the Detroit defense seriously, too. This is a good scheme with a physical front four. Behind the line, the Lions have a playmaker in Jarrad Davis who can clean up the trash. Hopefully, the concussion he suffered on Monday night isn't serious. The secondary is solid as well, with one shutdown corner in Darius Slay.

    Special teams eventually finished off the Giants when Jamal Agnew returned a fourth-quarter punt for 88 yards and a touchdown.

    The Lions are legit. This was a big win for them on the road against a desperate opponent.

7. Baltimore Ravens

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    Patrick Smith/Getty Images

    Last Week's Ranking: 9

    Everyone knows I love the Ravens. The first two weeks have shown why.

    To me, the Ravens have the best defense in football. How ridiculous is it that Baltimore has only allowed 10 points through two games and has also produced 10 turnovers. That's jaw-dropping.

    The Ravens offense wasn't anything special against the Browns, especially considering how much help it got from the defense. However, this isn't a unit that is hitting its stride yet because quarterback Joe Flacco was out the entire preseason. Flacco did look better than he did in Week 1.

    The ground game was consistent for most of the day, which is also encouraging. Unfortunately, the team lost guard Marshal Yanda to a season-ending injury. That's a massive blow because Baltimore is now without both of its starting guards.

    The Ravens are going to have to battle through that moving forward.

6. Denver Broncos

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    Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

    Last Week's Ranking: 12

    Because the game was so late on a Monday night in Week 1, a lot of people may not have seen how the Denver Broncos dominated the Chargers for most of it. A couple of late mistakes allowed the Chargers to draw closer on the scoreboard than they should have.

    Well, everyone got to see how dominant the Broncos can be when they whipped the crap out of the Cowboys. We have never seen this Cowboys offensive line get punished like it did in both the run game and the passing game. Star running back Ezekiel Elliott had just eight yards on nine carries.

    It's official for me: The Denver Broncos are again a Super Bowl contender. This defense is special, and the offense looks a lot better with Mike McCoy at coordinator. It stinks that rookie tackle Garett Bolles got hurt because that's a big blow, but the line and running back C.J. Anderson are playing better than they did last year.

    Let's not forget the Broncos won a Super Bowl with Peyton Manning throwing nine touchdowns and 17 interceptions in the regular season. Denver can win it with Trevor Siemian playing as well as he is under center.

5. Atlanta Falcons

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Last Week's Ranking: 8

    If you've heard me talk about the Falcons at all during the preseason or after Week 1, you know I believe in their defense. You could argue that it's the fastest defense in football right now, and it's sound as well. Atlanta defenders don't make many mistakes, and they don't miss assignments.

    The front seven made Rodgers uncomfortable all night long, and it made the run game nonexistent. This is the only defense over the past couple of years that has been able to make Rodgers look mortal. It forced a Rodgers fumble, returned it for a touchdown and also came away with an interception.

    Listen, I know I've been skeptical of the Steve Sarkisian offense. I didn't know if it would be able to get going the way Kyle Shanahan's offense did last season, and I didn't know if the run game could be the same. Well, it all got going in a big way against the Packers.

    Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu, Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman all looked like the players they were a year ago. Maybe there won't be a Super Bowl hangover at all.

4. Pittsburgh Steelers

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    Joe Sargent/Getty Images

    Last Week's Ranking: 5

    The biggest takeaway from the Pittsburgh Steelers right now is that their defense is stout.

    For the second week in a row, you have to be impressed with the team's defensive performance. Now, we should note the Steelers played two less-than-impressive quarterbacks to start the year, but the defense has been a big part of being 2-0.

    It's great that pass-rusher Bud Dupree was back on the field because he has the potential to be one of the team's most disruptive defenders. His return couldn't have come at a better time since T.J. Watt suffered a groin injury against Minnesota.

    The Steelers probably aren't even close to hitting on all cylinders offensively. Le'Veon Bell isn't back yet to being the player he was for most of 2016, and the passing game is still lacking consistency to some degree.

    As was the case with Dupree, it was great to see Martavis Bryant making an impact. He made some huge downfield catches, and he's going to add an extra dimension to the offense. I have zero concerns about the offense even though it hasn't been polished so far.

3. Oakland Raiders

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    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Last Week's Ranking: 4

    This is what we wanted to see from the Oakland Raiders. There might have been some concern about sleepwalking into this game knowing how much better they are than the Jets, but the Raiders kept up the intensity throughout.

    The Raiders are one of the best teams in football, and they played like it.

    Michael Crabtree might be the best 50-50 receiver in the game. If I were Derek Carr, I'd never have a problem with tossing up a jump ball for him to go up and get.

    The run game was effective for Oakland with some explosive plays from Jalen Richard and Cordarrelle Patterson. Those two can add a nifty wrinkle to the ground game to complement the hard running of Marshawn Lynch.

    Yes, the Raiders defense did give up one long play to Jermaine Kearse, but you're not seeing wide-open pass-catchers the way you did a season ago. We're seeing young guys like Mario Edwards Jr. and Karl Joseph making plays.

2. Kansas City Chiefs

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    Ed Zurga/Associated Press

    Last Week's Ranking: 2

    The Kansas City Chiefs handled the Eagles better than the 27-20 score might indicate. When the game was tied at 13 in the fourth quarter, Kansas City responded with a pair of touchdowns to put the game away.

    Through two weeks, the Chiefs have shown they don't need to rely on Tyreek Hill for explosive plays anymore. If opposing defenses want to focus on stopping Hill, the Chiefs can turn to Travis Kelce or Kareem Hunt for chunk yardage.

    Kelce wowed when he took a shovel pass from 16 yards out and then jumped from the 4-yard line over defenders to reach the end zone.

    The Chiefs' defensive line was phenomenal against what I consider one of the better offensive lines in football. Going forward, though, Kansas City needs to tighten things up on the back end. It's still a little too easy to pick up yardage through the air against the Chiefs, which is about the only negative to pull from Week 2.

1. New England Patriots

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    Chris Graythen/Getty Images

    The New England Patriots put on an offensive display against the Saints. Of course, they weren't facing a great defense in New Orleans, but Tom Brady was phenomenal, and offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels had an incredible game plan.

    Another positive is that Rob Gronkowski looked a lot more like himself than he did in Week 1. The Patriots also got Phillip Dorsett involved with the offense and found ways to use Chris Hogan and Dion Lewis to replace the underneath work of Julian Edelman.

    New England's defense played better than the box score would indicate. They ended up surrendering 429 yards of offense but only allowed 20 points. That's a big improvement after the team's Week 1 debacle.

    New England is beginning to come together. By the time the playoffs roll around, it should be the dangerous team we expected coming into the season. It's too early to say New England is already there because the Saints defense is that bad. However, I also wouldn't worry about this team.


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