NFL Power Rankings 2017: Predicting Post Week 2 Standings

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistSeptember 13, 2017

Antonio Brown is the best player on the best team in the NFL.
Antonio Brown is the best player on the best team in the NFL.Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers did just enough to win their Week 1 game against the Cleveland Browns 21-18, and we see them having a difficult time with the Minnesota Vikings before securing the game in the final quarter.

Nevertheless, the Steelers are almost certainly the best team in the NFL, largely because of a powerful offense that can score at any time. The combination of Ben Roethisberger, Le'Veon Bell and Antonio Brown give head coach Mike Tomlin a slew of options, and there's not a team in the NFL that has more to offer.

The Steelers will be undefeated after two weeks, as will a number of teams including the Oakland Raiders, Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta Falcons. The Steelers should be at the top of the power rankings after the second week of the season, followed by the Raiders and the Seattle Seahawks.

Seattle lost its opener at Green Bay, but the Seahawks play at home in Week 2 against the San Francisco 49ers, which will allow them to flex their muscles as the season starts to take shape.

Here's what the power rankings will look like after the second week of action, along with a more detailed look at three of the teams.


Power Rankings

1. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-0)
2. Oakland Raiders (2-0)
3. Seattle Seahawks (1-1)
4. Kansas City Chiefs (2-0)
5. Atlanta Falcons (2-0)
6. Green Bay Packers (1-1)
7. Denver Broncos (2-0)
8. New England Patriots (1-1)
9. Dallas Cowboys (1-1)
10. Carolina Panthers (2-0)
11. Baltimore Ravens (2-0)
12. New York Giants (1-1)
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0)
14. Detroit Lions (1-1)
15. Tennessee Titans (1-1)
16. Arizona Cardinals (1-1)
17. Philadelphia Eagles (1-1)
18. Los Angeles Chargers (1-1)
19. Minnesota Vikings (1-1)
20. Houston Texans (1-1)
21. Washington Redskins (1-1)
22. Miami Dolphins (0-1)
23. New Orleans Saints (0-2)
24. Los Angeles Rams (1-1)
25. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1)
26. Cincinnati Bengals (0-2)
27. Buffalo Bills (1-1)
28. Chicago Bears (0-2)
29. New York Jets (0-2)
30. San Francisco 49ers (0-2)
31. Cleveland Browns (0-2)
32. Indianapolis Colts (0-2)

Derek Carr and the Raiders have title aspirations.
Derek Carr and the Raiders have title aspirations.Tom Pennington/Getty Images


No. 2 Oakland Raiders

The Raiders announced their presence last year when they were 12-4 and would have won the AFC West if they had beaten the Denver Broncos in the season finale.

However, quarterback Derek Carr suffered a broken leg in Week 16, and their season ended in the wild-card round with a decisive loss to the Houston Texans.

The Raiders were a good team last year, and they are a better and more mature team this year. The Raiders overcame years of losing and disappointing football in 2016; now they are one of the better teams in the game.

Carr, Marshawn Lynch, Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree are exciting and game-changing players, and Lynch gives them an aura of accomplishment that has raised the team's confidence level.

The Oakland defense was quite vulnerable last year, but they have one of the game's best individual players in defensive end Khalil Mack. He is the kind of player who can take over any game with his pass-rush ability, and if he can help rally his teammates to a slight upgrade in their overall performance, this team may be good enough to challenge for a title.


No. 10 Carolina Panthers

Head coach Ron Rivera has a huge job in front of him in the 2017 season. He has to get his players to erase the 2016 season from their memory bank and look forward.

If they want to look back at all, they can use the 2015 season as their base of operations, but they can't give the 2016 season even a single thought.

The Panthers were the NFC champions two years ago, and they played dominant football until they lost to the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50. The 2016 season was a complete washout as they fell to last place in the NFC South with a 6-10 record.

While there are several exciting developments on offense, the defense is the key for the Panthers. Linebackers Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis have long been the most important parts of this unit, and they are still game-changing players who are smarter, tougher and more skilled than their opponents. 

Defensive tackle Kawann Short can overpower blockers and dominate the interior, while Charles Johnson is a dangerous defensive end. 

If the secondary can do its part, the Panthers should have a chance to win any game.

Cam Newton is trying to bounce back from a painful and injury-plagued 2016 season. He played with a partially torn throwing shoulder last year, and he must learn to take fewer risks with his body. 

Newton may not have to do quite as much as he did in the past because of the presence of rookie Christian McCaffrey and veteran Jonathan Stewart. These two are both capable of making big plays and giving the Panthers consistent production.

A win over the Bills in Week 2 will improve Carolina's record to 2-0 and could signal that the Panthers are on their way back to the top of the NFC.


32. Indianapolis Colts

The absence of Andrew Luck is a big part of why this team has fallen to the bottom of the NFL. However, it's not the only reason. This team appears to be in disarray, and head coach Chuck Pagano may not be able to turn it toward respectability.

A 46-9 defeat to the Los Angeles Rams speaks volumes, because the Rams were a poor team last year and there's little reason to think they will be much better this year. However, the Rams pushed the Colts around as if they were a bunch of weekend players who just showed up at the Los Angeles Coliseum

The Colts need Luck back in the lineup, because Scott Tolzien is not the answer and ex-Patriot Jacoby Brissett is not ready to take over the offense.

Running back Frank Gore is a true professional who can set a good example, but he is not as effective as he was, and the running game is not going to be productive. Wide receiver T.Y. Hilton can be a game-breaker, but he doesn't have a quarterback who can get him the ball.

The offensive line isn't good enough, and the defense does not look competitive at this point. A second consecutive loss is almost certain when the Colts host the Arizona Cardinals Sunday.

Teams like the Jets, 49ers and Browns have been ridiculed and looked at as the worst teams in the NFL, but the Colts are a rudderless ship that has fallen beneath them. This team is about to endure a disastrous season.


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