NFL Power Rankings: Breaking Down Sunday's Action Ahead of Week 3

Maurice Moton@@MoeMotonFeatured ColumnistSeptember 18, 2017

Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt (27) is congratulated by wide receiver Chris Conley (17) after scoring a touchdown against the Philadelphia Eagles during the second half of an NFL football game in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Sept. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)
Ed Zurga/Associated Press

Week 2 added both clarity and confusion on team perceptions. A few clubs took a huge step backward after regular-season-opening victories while other squads earned a second look as potential contenders. 

The Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers kicked off their 2017 campaigns against bottom-tier squads, but the initial optics for both Florida clubs look promising.

For the most part, expectations met reality with two head-turning exceptions. The Denver Broncos walloped the Dallas Cowboys. Based on the Seattle Seahawks' tight battle with the rebuilding San Francisco 49ers, should we look at Pete Carroll's group as a mediocre club in 2017?

For context on the newest power rankings, take a look at the previous standings released prior to Sunday's matchups. After the 32-team listing, we'll delve into Week 2 narratives that affected the pecking order.

1. Kansas City Chiefs (2-0)

2. Atlanta Falcons (2-0)

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3. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-0)

4. Green Bay Packers (1-1)

5. New England Patriots (1-1)

6. Oakland Raiders (2-0)

7. Denver Broncos (2-0)

8. Seattle Seahawks (1-1)

9. Dallas Cowboys (1-1)

10. Baltimore Ravens (2-0)

11. New York Giants (0-1)

12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0)

13. Miami Dolphins (1-0)

14. Carolina Panthers (2-0)

15. Detroit Lions (1-0)

16. Philadelphia Eagles (1-1)

17. Tennessee Titans (1-1)

18. Washington Redskins (1-1)

19. Minnesota Vikings (1-1)

20. Houston Texans (1-1)

21. New Orleans Saints (0-2)

22. Los Angeles Chargers (0-2)

23. Los Angeles Rams (1-1)

24. Arizona Cardinals (1-1)

25. Buffalo Bills (1-1)

26. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1)

27. Cincinnati Bengals (0-2)

28. Cleveland Browns (0-2)

29. San Francisco 49ers (0-2)

30. Chicago Bears (0-2)

31. Indianapolis Colts (0-2)

32. New York Jets (0-2)


Kansas City Chiefs Take Top Spot

KANSAS CITY, MO - SEPTEMBER 17: Tight end Travis Kelce #87 of the Kansas City Chiefs celebrates in the end zone after scoring a touchdown in the fourth quarter of the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Arrowhead Stadium on September 17, 2017 in Kansa
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

In a very short time, we've learned injuries won't stop the Kansas City Chiefs. The team released veteran wideout Jeremy Maclin, but Tyreek Hill exploded on the national stage for seven catches, 133 yards and a touchdown against the New England Patriots.

In Week 1, the Chiefs found a bigger star in running back Kareem Hunt, who replaced Spencer Ware as the lead ball-carrier in the backfield. The rookie third-rounder racked up 246 yards from scrimmage and three touchdowns in his NFL debut. Then, he followed up with 109 yards in total with two scores against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. The Toledo product also put the game away with a late rushing touchdown. 

The Chiefs' resiliency doesn't stop on the offensive side of the ball. Safety Eric Berry suffered a ruptured Achilles in Week 1. As a result, Daniel Sorensen took on an expanded role and delivered three quarterback hits. He also led the team in tackles along with Eric Murray. 

We often forget that coaching matters in the NFL, and Andy Reid ranks among the best head coaches without a Super Bowl ring. Through tireless preparation, the Chiefs will overcome obstacles and compete in January.


Denver Broncos Surge to No. 7

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 17:  Running back C.J. Anderson #22 of the Denver Broncos celebrates with quarterback Trevor Siemian #13 after a catch and run touchdown play in the second quarter of a game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 17, 20
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Initially, the Denver Broncos ranked in the bottom half of power rankings, but two weeks taught us a few things about this AFC West squad.

Head coach Vance Joseph isn't going to allow this club to fall by the wayside within the division, and the Broncos look every bit as impressive as the Oakland Raiders and Chiefs in their victories.

On Sunday, the Broncos dismantled the Dallas Cowboys at Sports Authority Field at Mile High with a distracting lightning delay that lasted approximately an hour. Furthermore, quarterback Trevor Siemian moved the ball up and down the field against a stingy secondary under defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli.

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 17:  Outside linebacker Von Miller #58 of the Denver Broncos and cornerback Aqib Talib #21 of the Denver Broncos celebrate as they walk off the field after the Denver Broncos 42-17 win over the  at Sports Authority Field at Mile Hig
Justin Edmonds/Getty Images

Denver's dominant Week 2 performance makes you question whether or not the Cowboys will finish as a playoff team. Broncos running back C.J. Anderson looks primed for a Pro Bowl season. He racked up 154 yards and two touchdowns in Week 2. 

Right now, the AFC West remains a three-team race for the division title.


Seattle Seahawks Fall to No. 8 Despite Win

GREEN BAY, WI - SEPTEMBER 10: Head coach Pete Carroll of the Seattle Seahawks looks on during a game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on September 10, 2017 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Packers won 17-9. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Seahawks fought down to the bitter end with the 49ers in Sunday's contest. Quarterback Russell Wilson couldn't settle in the pocket and needed his legs to bail him out of trouble on multiple occasions. 

In 2017, the Seahawks went seven quarters without scoring a touchdown until Wilson's late pocket scramble in which he found Paul Richardson in the end zone to put his team in the driver's seat. 

Stemming from the offensive line issues, the running backs have struggled out of the backfield aside from seventh-rounder Chris Carson. Tight end Jimmy Graham has been non-existent through two games.

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 17: Quarterback Russell Wilson #3 of the Seattle Seahawks hands off to running back Thomas Rawls #34 before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at CenturyLink Field on September 17, 2017 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph
Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

Carroll has ample time to tweak a few things, specifically in the backfield or offensive line. The Seahawks defense can't flourish if the offense fails to extend drives. 

The Seahawks will win a non-competitive division, but they must address their roster voids to make a deep playoff run.