NFL Power Rankings 2018: Predicting Post-Week 2 Standings

Maurice Moton@@MoeMotonFeatured ColumnistSeptember 12, 2018

FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 21: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots throws in the second half during the AFC Championship Game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Gillette Stadium on January 21, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

After watching the Tampa Bay Buccaneers upset the New Orleans Saints, and the Pittsburgh Steelers tie with the Cleveland Browns, it's clear just how difficult it is to predict what happens week-to-week in the NFL.

Nonetheless, we have 60-70 minutes of film on each team, giving us more information on how Week 2 could pan out. Who's primed to pull off a surprise victory? Which clubs will remain undefeated?

Looking ahead at the Week 2 matchups, we'll go through record projections with power rankings based on the projected outcomes of all 16 contests. Three marquee games are highlighted with a deeper explanation of the expected results.

The power rankings aren't solely based on win-loss records. The strength of schedule, injuries and roster makeup all factor into the standings below.


Power Rankings/Predicting Post Week 2 Standings

1. Philadelphia Eagles (2-0)

2. Minnesota Vikings (2-0)

3. Los Angeles Rams (2-0)

4. Jacksonville Jaguars (2-0)

5. New England Patriots (1-1)

6. Green Bay Packers (1-1)

7. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0-1)

8. Atlanta Falcons (1-1)

9. Baltimore Ravens (2-0)

10. New Orleans Saints (1-1)

11. Carolina Panthers (1-1)

12. Kansas City Chiefs (1-1)

13. San Francisco 49ers (1-1)

14. Cincinnati Bengals (1-1)

15. Houston Texans (1-1)

16. New York Giants (1-1)

17. Los Angeles Chargers (1-1)

18. Denver Broncos (2-0)

19. Washington Redskins (2-0)

20. Miami Dolphins (2-0)

21. Chicago Bears (1-1)

22. Oakland Raiders (0-2)

23. Dallas Cowboys (0-2)

24. Seattle Seahawks (0-2)

25. New York Jets (1-1)

26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-1)

27. Tennessee Titans (0-2)

28. Indianapolis Colts (0-2)

29. Detroit Lions (0-2)

30. Cleveland Browns (0-1-1)

31. Arizona Cardinals (0-2)

32. Buffalo Bills (0-2)


No. 2 Minnesota Vikings Win at Lambeau Field

Jim Mone/Associated Press

There's some uncertainty surrounding quarterback Aaron Rodgers' status for Sunday's game against the Minnesota Vikings. When asked if he'll suit up, the two-time All-Pro gave a non-committal response on ESPN's The Dan Le Batard Show (h/t the Journal Times).

"I'm sure there are a lot of experts out there who are forecasting things, but we're taking it one day at a time."

Rodgers suffered a knee injury in the second quarter of last week's contest with the Chicago Bears. He returned to the field after halftime, likely playing off of adrenaline, and led an incredible comeback, throwing three touchdown passes in the final quarter and leading the Packers to a 24-23 victory. 

Obviously, Rodgers gives Green Bay a better chance to a win over Minnesota but even at 100 percent, he'd experience some difficulty with last year's No. 1-ranked defense. The Vikings upgraded at quarterback with Kirk Cousins, who should test the Packers secondary.

Whether Rodgers plays or not, the Vikings win this game at Lambeau Field.


Jacksonville Jaguars Knock Off New England Patriots, Claim No. 4 Spot

Bill Kostroun/Associated Press

In an AFC Championship Game rematch, the Jacksonville Jaguars host the New England Patriots Sunday. This time, quarterback Tom Brady won't have Brandin Cooks or Danny Amendola at his disposal; both wideouts played a major role in the Patriots' playoff victory.

On the other hand, the Jaguars may not have running back Leonard Fournette in uniform because of a hamstring ailment. According to head coach Doug Marrone, the second-year ball-carrier will be day-to-day, per ESPN.com's Michael DiRocco.

The Jaguars defense picked up where it left off last season, limiting the New York Giants to 15 points in Week 1. Trent Brown, Brady's new blindside tackle, will face a tough test against a unit that racked up 55 sacks in 2017.

Quarterback Blake Bortles put together a solid outing in the AFC Championship Game in January, completing 23-of-36 passes for 293 yards and a touchdown. The Patriots allowed Pro Bowl cornerback Malcolm Butler to walk during free agency, which may help the Jaguars aerial attack Sunday.

Regardless of Fournette's status, the Jaguars' stout defense should help deliver a victory for the home team.


No. 8 Atlanta Falcons Avoid 0-2 Start

PHILADELPHIA, PA - SEPTEMBER 06:  Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons signals during the second half against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on September 6, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images)
Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

The Atlanta Falcons started the 2018 campaign on a sour note, failing to score on the final drive for a win in Week 1 against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Quarterback Matt Ryan only completed 49 percent of his passes and didn't record a touchdown in his first outing, which drew widespread criticism. Offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian shared the blame for the Falcons' home-opening loss.

Sarkisian and Ryan will have an opportunity to target Carolina Panthers rookie starting cornerback Donte Jackson on the boundary. Secondly, the Panthers offense didn't have a productive Week 1 either. Play-caller Norv Turner's unit produced 293 total yards and 16 points against the Dallas Cowboys.

Despite losing safety Keanu Neal (ACL) for the season and linebacker Deion Jones for an extended period because of a foot injury, Atlanta wins the matchup with a better showing from its passing attack at home.