NFL Power Rankings: B/R's Consensus Rank for Every Team Entering Week 3
The NFL has been turned on its head.
Week 2 saw a pair of Super Bowl-hopeful teams go up in smoke thanks to serious injuries to their star quarterbacks.
In Los Angeles, Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints suffered a thumb injury that will sideline him at least six weeks. The news is even worse for the Pittsburgh Steelers, who broke the news that Ben Roethlisberger will also require surgery—surgery that will end his season.
To say these injuries sent shockwaves across the league is an understatement. The NFC South is now wide open. The Baltimore Ravens look to be the clear class of what's now a two-team race in the AFC North—provided the Cleveland Browns get their act together.
Those injuries—and the rest of the happenings in another wild week of NFL football—have also shaken up the power rankings here at Bleacher Report. The Saints are barely still inside the top 10. The Steelers are barely inside the top 20. And teams are ping-ponging up and down at dizzying speed.
Well, except for the top spot, that is.
As they do every week, Bleacher Report NFL analysts Brad Gagnon, Gary Davenport and Brent Sobleski have joined forces to sort through another week of NFL action and slot the teams from worst to first.
Those teams on the end are about all that didn't change.
Note: "High" and "Low" signifies the highest and lowest individual rankings in a given week.
32. Miami Dolphins (0-2)
Last Week: 32
Week 2 Result: Lost vs. New England 43-0
There is no bottom with the 2019 Dolphins. No nadir. It wasn't unreasonable to think last week's 59-10 loss to the Ravens at home was as bad as things could get. But it was also wrong.
The Dolphins somehow managed to look worse against the Patriots in Week 2 than they did in losing by seven touchdowns the week before. The Dolphins had just 184 yards of total offense and 11 first downs. After giving up a pair of defensive scores in the second half, the Dolphins have been outscored for the season by opposing defenses.
Miami has been outscored 102-10 in two games to start the season.
That is not a typo. And the team continues its roster purge, with safety Minkah Fitzpatrick the latest first-round pick sent packing.
"The 2008 Detroit Lions were a terrible football team," Davenport said. "So were the 2017 Cleveland Browns. Both of those woeful squads went 0-16. But the 2019 Miami Dolphins are revolutionizing repulsive. Setting a new gold standard in suck. It would be perversely amusing if it wasn't so painful to watch."
"The 2019 Dolphins might be one of the worst teams in NFL history," Gagnon added. "They're only the second team in modern league history to be outscored by more than 90 points in their first two games, and it's hard to see any light at the end of the tunnel. And they might be OK with that, which makes it even worse."
31. New York Giants (0-2)
Last Week: 31
Week 2 Result: Lost vs. Buffalo 28-14
As Steve Serby reported for the New York Post, despite a miserable outing in a 14-point loss to Buffalo, Giants quarterback Eli Manning insisted he's not hearing the footsteps of rookie first-rounder Daniel Jones.
"When you're 0-2, there's pressure with everybody, that's just the way it goes," Manning said. "But you can't have that affect you, you can't let that change the way you prepare, the way you play. I gotta make better throws and better decisions and find ways to convert on third downs. That's a quarterback's job."
We'd say Manning's kidding himself, but that seems to be going around with Big Blue—despite the fact the Giants are going nowhere fast, the team continues to insist that pulling Manning in favor of Jones isn't in the works.
"The sooner the Giants accept they are terrible and see what they have in the youngster," Davenport said, "the sooner they start the climb back to respectability in the NFC East."
30. Cincinnati Bengals (0-2)
Last Week: 27
Week 2 Result: Lost vs. San Francisco 41-17
The Cincinnati Bengals gave the Seattle Seahawks all they could handle in Week 1, limiting them to just 232 yards and raising at least the possibility that the NFL's worst defense a year ago had improved.
So much for that idea.
San Francisco absolutely shredded the Bengals in Cincy's home opener to the tune of 41 points and a jaw-dropping 572 total yards. That explosion included a staggering 259 yards on the ground and almost 8.5 yards per play.
That makes the 2018 Bengals defense look good—and that's next to impossible to do.
It doesn't even matter what the offense does in a game like that. A team cannot allow upward of 600 yards of offense and well over eight yards every time the opponent snaps the ball and still expect to win.
"The joke was on all of us," Sobleski quipped. "The Bengals looked like an improved team in Week 1. Cincinnati traveled to Seattle, played in one of the toughest venues and held its own against the Seahawks only to reveal its true colors a week later against the 49ers. A 24-point home loss (and it wasn't even that close) against a West Coast team making back-to-back Eastern Time Zone road trips showed why many originally believed the Bengals are counted among the league's worst."
29. New York Jets (0-2)
Last Week: 23
Week 2 Result: Lost vs. Cleveland 23-3
The New York Jets need a hug.
No kisses. Just the hug.
Oh yeah. Not even five teams in and we're making mono jokes.
It's not bad enough that the Jets blew a 16-0 lead in their season opener. Or that starting quarterback Sam Darnold is out indefinitely with mononucleosis. In Monday's lopsided loss to the Cleveland Browns, the Jets also lost backup Trevor Siemian, who was forced from the game with an ugly-looking ankle injury.
That means second-year pro Luke Falk will all but certainly be under center Sunday when the Jets hit the road—to Gillette Stadium to play the New England Patriots.
Seriously. They need a hug.
It's not the Jets' fault their season is in a death spiral. There's not a lot you can do with a third-string quarterback who just got to town.
But any optimism there was surrounding the 2019 Jets has been replaced by an all-too familiar feeling for fans of Gang Green.
28. Denver Broncos (0-2)
Last Week: 26
Week 2 Result: Lost 16-14 vs. Denver
The Vic Fangio era in Denver looks a lot like the Vance Joseph era in Denver.
That is not a good thing.
Sunday's home loss to the Bears was a killer—Denver took the lead on a two-point conversion with less than a minute left in the game, only to allow the Bears to get close enough for a last-second field-goal attempt.
That kick sailed through, and Denver fell to 0-2.
An argument can be made that Denver shouldn't have been that close. The Broncos offense struggled again, averaging just 3.8 yards per carry on the ground. Denver's odds of winning games in which Joe Flacco attempts 50 passes (as he did against Chicago) aren't especially good.
Now, with the Broncos in sole possession of last place in the AFC West ahead of a trip to Lambeau Field to face the Green Bay Packers, Denver's odds of doing anything in 2019 are even worse.
27. Washington Redskins (0-2)
Last Week: 28
Week 2 Result: Lost vs. Dallas 31-21
On some level, the Redskins deserve a little credit. The team has at least been competitive with two NFC East foes that made the playoffs last year.
After all, we're talking about an offense that has already lost its starting tailback and has a journeyman quarterback with maybe the weakest cadre of receivers in the NFL. The team's best offensive lineman (tackle Trent Williams) is away from the team and has reportedly vowed he'll never play another down for Washington.
The defense isn't exactly brimming with talent, especially after losing defensive lineman Jonathan Allen. And it shows—the Redskins have now surrendered over 30 points in two weeks.
Long story short, the Redskins just aren't a good team. They'll squeak out a win here and there (New York in Week 4 and Miami in Week 6 are possibilities), but Washington's season was effectively over before it started.
Hard to believe after nine games last season they were in first place in the NFC East.
26. Oakland Raiders (1-1)
Last Week: 24
Week 2 Result: Lost vs. Kansas City 28-10
For one quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs, it looked like the Oakland Raiders were going to carry over the momentum from their season-opening win over the Denver Broncos.
Unfortunately, NFL games have four quarters.
However, despite the fact the Raiders were outscored 28-0 after building a 10-0 lead, there were still some positives for the fighting Grudens in Week 2.
Rookie tailback Josh Jacobs had another good game, coming up just shy of 100 rushing yards and averaging over eight yards a carry. So did wide receiver Tyrell Williams, who found the end zone for the second week in a row. Tight end Darren Waller continued to be a big part of the passing game. And edge-rusher Benson Mayowa amassed 1.5 sacks after notching a pair in the opener.
The Raiders still have a way to go.
But through two weeks, the team appears to be headed in the right direction.
25. Arizona Cardinals (0-1-1)
Last Week: 25
Week 2 Result: Lost at Baltimore 23-17
Through their first two games, the Arizona Cardinals have shown signs of life—and given fans of the team cause for at least some optimism about the future.
The problem is the Cardinals haven't been showing those signs of life until the fourth quarter, once they've fallen behind.
Rookie quarterback Kyler Murray came up just shy of 350 passing yards, but he failed to throw a touchdown pass. The Redbirds made it inside the 10-yard line four times Sunday in Baltimore, but they didn't find the end zone until the fourth quarter.
Murray's been fun to watch, and both Christian Kirk and Larry Fitzgerald topped 100 receiving yards against the Ravens.
But the Cardinals aren't a good enough team to rebound from so many squandered red-zone opportunities.
Until Arizona becomes more efficient in that regard, victories are going to be hard to come by.
24. Jacksonville Jaguars (0-2)
Last Week: 22
Week 2 Result: Lost 13-12 at Houston
There was good news and bad news for the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 2.
Sadly, most of said news fell into the latter category.
Making his first NFL start, rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew actually played pretty well. His 23 completions in 33 attempts for 213 yards with a touchdown was a better stat line than Houston's Deshaun Watson posted. So was Minshew's 56 rushing yards.
However, that stat line went for naught. After Minshew found youngster D.J. Chark with 30 seconds left to get the Jaguars within a point, head coach Doug Marrone decided to go for two and the win. A Leonard Fournette run came up short of the end zone, and just like that, the Jags were 0-2 to start the season.
Given how the season's progressing to date, the odds of a fourth year are dwindling.
23. Carolina Panthers (0-2)
Last Week: 15
Week 2 Result: Lost 20-14 vs. Tampa Bay
The Carolina Panthers are in real trouble.
Losing at home by three points to the defending NFC champions in Week 1 was one thing. Falling by six to a so-so (at best) Buccaneers squad four days later is another. That's two straight losses at Bank of America Stadium to open the year—and nine losses in Carolina's last 10 games dating back to last season.
It isn't hard to pinpoint the reason for the slow start, either.
Cam Newton looked awful Thursday. The former NFL MVP misfired on more than half of his passes against Tampa, missing open receivers badly downfield on more than one occasion. He was also a complete non-factor running the ball—again.
"The Panthers can say that Newton's healthy until they are Carolina blue in the face," Davenport said. "But actions speak louder than words. Not trusting your 245-pound quarterback to gain half a yard on fourth down with the game on the line was a deafening statement about the Panthers faith (or lack thereof) in their star signal-caller."
22. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-1)
Last Week: 29
Week 2 Result: Won 20-14 at Carolina
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been competitive in both their games in 2019. Were it not for a pair of Jameis Winston pick-sixes in Week 1, the Buccaneers might well be 2-0.
It's been happening in a very un-Buccaneers way—at least relative to last season.
In 2018, the Buccaneers led the NFL in passing offense and ranked third in total offense but fielded the league's sixth-worst defense. Through two games in 2019, the Bucs are averaging over 120 yards fewer offensively—but also giving up almost 80 fewer yards on defense.
It's almost as if Todd Bowles knows a little bit about being a defensive coordinator.
Tampa hasn't exactly played any powerhouses yet, and a trip to MetLife Stadium in Week 3 presents a chance for another winnable game.
Then we'll find out if the Buccaneers have really improved, as Tampa faces the Los Angeles Rams and New Orleans Saints on the road in successive weeks.
21. Detroit Lions (1-0-1)
Last Week: 30
Week 2 Result: Won vs. Los Angeles Chargers 13-10
The Detroit Lions should be 2-0.
Had the Lions not choked away a big lead late last week in the desert, Detroit would be 2-0. As it stands, the Lions remain undefeated after stunning the Los Angeles Chargers in Motown.
Admittedly, the Lions didn't pile up the style points in the win. Detroit was outgained by the Chargers by 85 yards. Detroit managed only 3.4 yards per carry and had trouble moving the ball much of the afternoon.
But the Lions made plays when they had to, played well defensively and got good efforts from young tailback Kerryon Johnson and wide receiver Kenny Golladay.
The Lions aren't a Super Bowl contender. Or a playoff contender. With games upcoming in Philly and at home against the Chiefs, that first loss is coming—soon.
But the Chargers found out the hard way what happens if you underestimate them.
20. Pittsburgh Steelers (0-2)
Last Week: 14
Week 2 Result: Lost vs. Seattle 28-26
The Pittsburgh Steelers are officially in trouble.
One week after getting waxed on the road by the New England Patriots, the Steelers fell to 0-2 after losing a nail-biter to the Seahawks at home. Losing two in a row to open the year is hardly ideal, but two teams made the playoffs last year after starting 0-2.
The Steelers lost more than just the game, though. Ben Roethlisberger spent the second half as a spectator after injuring his elbow late in the first half. Tailback James Conner left in the second half with a knee injury.
Oh, and the Ravens won to move to 2-0.
And Antonio Brown scored a touchdown in his debut with the New England Patriots.
The Steelers are now in full-on desperation mode ahead of a trip to San Francisco to play a Niners team that just racked up 572 yards of offense in a blowout win over the Bengals. They'll be playing San Francisco without Roethlisberger, whose season is reportedly over.
Still, despite all that's gone wrong in the Steel City, Gagnon tried to find a silver lining to all the dark clouds.
"Might Mason Rudolph actually be the answer? It's too early to tell, but Pittsburgh's season is headed in a direction that could give Rudolph an opportunity to stake his claim to the heir apparent role. And considering how Ben Roethlisberger looked even before getting hurt, it's fair to wonder if he's beginning to think about how much easier his life would be as a retired man."
Forever the optimist, he is.
19. Cleveland Browns (1-1)
Last Week: 19
Week 2 Result: Won at New York Jets 23-3
Given the final score of Monday's game between the Browns and Jets, one might think Cleveland had righted the ship and shaken off last week's home beatdown at the hands of the Tennessee Titans. Maybe even believe they earned a bump in these rankings.
One would be wrong.
There were bright spots for the Browns, sure. Defensive end Myles Garrett was a force, and Baker Mayfield found Odell Beckham Jr.r for an 89-yard scoring strike that blew the game open.
But this result had more to do with the Jets being terrible than the Browns being good. Garrett also tallied a pair of personal foul penalties. Mayfield was inaccurate much of the night and threw a pick.
"The Browns won a game they had to win against an overmatched team," Davenport said. "But an offense that some built up as potentially being one of the best in the league is still moving in fits and starts. The next game won't be against Luke Falk and the Jets. It'll be Jared Goff and the Rams. And I haven't seen anything from this team to indicate it's up to that challenge."
18. Atlanta Falcons (1-1)
Last Week: 20
Week 2 Result: Won 24-20 vs Philadelphia
Through two games, the Atlanta Falcons are one of the harder teams in the NFL to figure out. In Week 1, the Falcons looked awful in a lopsided loss to the Minnesota Vikings in which Matt Ryan and Co. did next to nothing offensively.
Sunday night against the Eagles, Ryan threw three touchdown passes, both Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley topped 100 receiving yards, the Falcons piled up 367 yards of offense, and Atlanta earned a badly needed win.
The victory didn't fix all that ails the Falcons—Ryan also turned it over three times and the run game is still stuck in neutral. But Atlanta's defense played much better than in Minnesota—especially along the front four.
With the Saints reeling after Drew Brees' injury and the Panthers just flailing about, Sunday's victory may have done more than get the Falcons back on track.
It may have put Atlanta in the driver's seat in the NFC South.
17. Tennessee Titans (1-1)
Last Week: 16
Week 2 Result: Lost vs. Indianapolis 19-17
Week 2 was the Tennessee Titans in a nutshell—and not in a good way.
The Titans have a tendency to look like gangbusters one week and win running away, and then come out flat the following week and lose to a team that (on paper) they should be able to handle.
That was the case against the Colts. One week after blowing out the Browns in Cleveland, the Titans failed to generate even 250 yards of total offense against their AFC South rivals. The defense deserves part of the blame too, allowing Indy to drive the length of the field and snatch the game out from under them.
At the end of the day, the Titans are who we thought they were. They aren't going to lose 11 games—but they aren't winning 11 either.
And in some respects, there's nothing worse than being stuck in the middle—not good enough to make a deep playoff run, but not bad enough to earn a high draft pick.
16. San Francisco 49ers (2-0)
Last Week: 21
Week 2 Result: Won at Cincinnati 41-17
It might be time to start taking the San Francisco 49ers seriously.
Granted, the 49ers haven't exactly faced the league's two best teams so far this season, but after drilling the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 2, the Niners have peeled off two straight road wins to open the year.
Sunday's Queen City evisceration was particularly impressive. Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers offense was an absolute buzzsaw, churning out 572 total yards and 8.4 yards per play. San Francisco didn't miss a beat on the ground despite losing tailback Tevin Coleman last week, averaging over six yards a carry and piling up 259 rushing yards.
The 49ers will open their home slate next week against Pittsburgh before getting an early week off.
Given Pittsburgh's struggles this year and now the absence of Ben Roethlisberger, it's a real possibility the 49ers could hit their bye week at 3-0.
Just like absolutely no one predicted.
15. Buffalo Bills (2-0)
Last Week: 18
Week 2 Result: Won at New York Giants 28-14
All hail the kings of MetLife Stadium.
For the second straight week, the Buffalo Bills played on the road in New Jersey. And in beating the hapless New York Giants by two touchdowns, the Bills moved to 2-0 on the season and opened a few eyes across the NFL.
"In their last 76 minutes of football, the Bills have outscored the Jets/Giants 45-14," Gagnon said. "They might not be a Super Bowl team, but they've got the weapons on both sides of the ball to put up a fight in January. They'll be a tough out all year. It's just a shame their ceiling is a wild-card spot."
Week 3 will bring the home opener against the 0-2 Cincinnati Bengals and a real shot to open the 2019 season with three straight victories. Then we're going to find out just how good Josh Allen and these Bills are.
In Week 4, Tommy Terrific and the big bad New England Patriots come to town.
14. Minnesota Vikings (1-1)
Last Week: 12
Week 2 Result: Lost at Green Bay 21-16
In Week 1, the Vikings rode their run game to a decisive win over the Atlanta Falcons. Tailback Dalvin Cook was great again against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday, piling up over 150 yards on the ground.
But the Vikings came up short after falling into a 21-0 hole early—largely because the team's $28 million quarterback attempted 32 passes.
For lack of a better word, Kirk Cousins was awful against the Packers. Of those 32 pass attempts, just 14 were completed for 230 yards.
OK, 16 if you count the two interceptions—one of which was an absolute back-breaker late and a ball that should never, ever have been thrown.
Cousins' passer rating for the game was 52.9.
When the Vikings signed Cousins last year to a fully guaranteed three-year, $84 million pact, he was supposed to lead Minnesota to the Super Bowl.
He has yet to show he can even lead the Vikings to the playoffs.
13. Indianapolis Colts (1-1)
Last Week: 17
Week 2 Result: Won at Tennessee 19-17
If you like nail-biters, the Indianapolis Colts are the team for you in 2019.
One week after falling in overtime, the Colts again went down to the wire in Nashville. But this time it was the Colts who came out on top, with Jacoby Brissett finding T.Y. Hilton for a game-winning touchdown pass in the fourth quarter in Nashville.
Brissett's numbers were far from eye-popping—he threw for less than 150 yards in the win. But Brissett also tossed three touchdown passes, and just as he did against the Chargers, Brissett kept the Colts in position to win the game late.
When Andrew Luck called it a career, more than a few people wrote the 2019 Colts off as any sort of factor in the AFC South.
But no one's running away with the division yet, and if the Colts keep hanging in games, they may hang around in the race a lot longer than folks expected.
"Jacoby Brissett isn't a hindrance," Sobleski said. "He's not just a backup who was thrust into a starting role; he's a talented young signal-caller capable of leading a playoff-caliber roster past quality opponents, as seen Sunday during Indianapolis' 19-17 victory over the rival Tennessee Titans. A 69.1 completion percentage and 5-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio so far is fantastic considering the circumstances."
12. Los Angeles Chargers (1-1)
Last Week: 8
Week 2 Result: Lost at Detroit 13-10
Sunday's loss to the Lions in Detroit was a very Chargers game. This is a franchise in the Philip Rivers era that has excelled in an area no one wants to excel in—losing games the team is supposed to win.
This was a Lions team that blew a big lead late in a tie with the Cardinals in Week 1. It was a game where the Chargers averaged 5.5 yards a carry, wide receiver Keenan Allen had his way with Detroit cornerback Darius Slay much of the afternoon, and the Lions managed just six points through three quarters.
Yet despite outgaining the Lions by a substantial amount and controlling the action most of the afternoon, the Chargers still found a way to lose. The offense squandered multiple opportunities. Los Angeles committed nine penalties for 70 yards. The defense faltered late. And Rivers sealed the Bolts' fate with a late interception that killed a potential game-tying drive.
It gets worse. Safety Adrian Phillips, who was himself filling in for the injured Derwin James, is out indefinitely after breaking his forearm in the loss.
"The Chargers are a good team," Davenport said. "But it seems like every year they come out flat and lose a game like this just to remind us all that they aren't a great one."
11. Chicago Bears (1-1)
Last Week: 9
Week 2 Result: Won 16-14 at Denver
An ugly win beats a pretty defeat—especially when a team lost the week before. So when Eddy Piniero knocked through a game-winning 53-yard field goal as time expired, there was cause for a little celebration on the Chicago sideline in Denver.
The Bears may have gotten the W against the Broncos, but this team looks little like the 12-4 squad that won the NFC North in 2018. For the second week in a row, the Bears failed to tally even 275 yards of total offense. Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky threw for just 120 yards.
And were it not for a questionable roughing the passer call on Bradley Chubb late, the Bears wouldn't have been in position to make that game-winning kick.
Luckily, the Bears still have time to figure things out. Chicago's next three games are all against teams that missed the postseason in 2018, and the toughest contest of the three (vs. Minnesota in two weeks) is at Soldier Field.
10. New Orleans Saints (1-1)
Last Week: 3
Week 2 Result: Lost at Los Angeles Rams 27-9
Here at the Bleacher Report NFL power rankings, we do not believe in curses. It's superstitious hooey.
Except in the case of the New Orleans Saints, who are absolutely cursed.
In 2017, the season ended with the "Minnesota Miracle." The 2018 campaign ended in the heartbreak of the worst non-call in postseason history. And the 2019 season didn't even make it to October before fate thumbed the Saints right into the toilet.
The moment Drew Brees left the field, unable to even grip a football after hitting his throwing hand while following through on a first-quarter pass, any chance the Saints had of repping the NFC in the Super Bowl evaporated. Per Ian Rapoport of NFL.com, Brees will miss at least six weeks with a torn ligament in his thumb.
Teddy Bridgewater isn't taking the Saints to Miami unless he buys everyone a ticket. With Bridgewater under center, the Saints may miss the postseason altogether. He may be one of the highest-paid backups in the league, but he didn't play well against the Rams.
It's a devastating blow that leaves the Saints in tatters—and makes the Falcons the team to beat in the NFC South.
9. Houston Texans (1-1)
Last Week: 11
Week 2 Result: Won vs. Jacksonville 13-12
Of all the teams who won in Week 2, the Houston Texans have the least to be happy about.
Sure, Houston got a win it badly needed after losing a heartbreaker in New Orleans in Week 1. But outside the final score, there weren't a ton of positives to point to.
Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson barely cleared 150 passing yards and was outplayed by Jaguars rookie Gardner Minshew. Houston managed just 263 yards of total offense and 17 first downs. And Houston's allegedly re-tooled offensive line gave up four more sacks.
That line is actually on a pace to allow more sacks than a year ago—and in 2018, they gave up 62.
Had Jacksonville head coach Doug Marrone not taken leave of his senses at the end of the game, the Texans would have been headed to overtime for a second week in a row.
There was no shame in that in New Orleans. But at home against a bad Jaguars team, it's another story.
8. Philadelphia Eagles (1-1)
Last Week: 5
Week 2 Result: Lost 24-20 at Atlanta
The Philadelphia Eagles have problems on the back end of the defense. In Week 1, Philly allowed 380 passing yards and three touchdowns to Case Keenum in a win over the Washington Redskins. Sunday night, it was 320 yards and three more scores to Matt Ryan—and this time, the Eagles came up on the short end of the final score.
Add in injuries that hit the offense hard, and in Sobleski's opinion, there was little choice but to drop the Eagles several spots in this week's rankings.
"A near-miraculous comeback by the Eagles simply means the team still lost. The Falcons wide receivers exposed Philadelphia's secondary, and the Eagles' talented defensive front didn't dominate a rebuilt Falcons front five. On top of that, questions about Carson Wentz's durability once again came to the forefront. Philly has yet to put it all together, and its drop in the rankings reflect its current status."
7. Seattle Seahawks (2-0)
Last Week: 13
Week 2 Result: Won at Pittsburgh 28-26
The Seattle Seahawks won their season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals, but the team didn't look especially good doing it. It was going to take a better effort to secure a victory on the road against a Steelers team that was just blasted by the Patriots.
The Seahawks got it.
It didn't hurt that Ben Roethlisberger spent the second half on the sidelines with an elbow injury, but Seattle's defense played much better in Week 2, holding the Steelers to just 261 total yards and 81 yards on the ground. Seattle's run game, on the other hand, rumbled for 152 yards on 33 carries. The Seahawks also got a 300-yard, three-score effort through the air from quarterback Russell Wilson.
The schedule doesn't get any easier for Seattle; over the next five games Seattle will welcome in the New Orleans Saints, Los Angeles Rams and Baltimore Ravens.
But the Seahawks—like much of the NFC West—are off to a hot start.
"Gotta give this to the Seahawks: They always battle," Gagnon said. "They've lost by four-plus points just twice in their last 21 games, and they came up with a big road upset over a desperate opponent Sunday. Pittsburgh's quarterback situation isn't an excuse, either, because Mason Rudolph played well. Seattle will be in the hunt all season."
6. Baltimore Ravens (2-0)
Last Week: 10
Week 2 Result: Won vs. Arizona 23-17
As early-season schedules go, you can't ask for a better first two games than what the Baltimore Ravens kicked off 2019 with. After demolishing the worst team in the NFL this year, the Ravens hosted the worst team in the league in 2018.
The Arizona Cardinals are admittedly an improved team relative to last year's 3-13 mess, but the Ravens took care of business at home to move to 2-0 and potentially establish an early chokehold on first place in the AFC North.
The story of those two victories has been second-year quarterback Lamar Jackson, who has been nothing short of outstanding. Not only did Jackson pile up over 100 yards on the ground, but he was again effective throwing the ball, passing for 272 yards and two scores without an interception.
"A team can only beat those who are placed before it, and the Ravens did exactly what they're supposed to do by handling their business against the Miami Dolphins and Arizona Cardinals," Sobleski wrote. "Meanwhile, Lamar Jackson is developing into a superstar before our very eyes. The Ravens' next matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs will be appointment viewing."
5. Green Bay Packers (2-0)
Last Week: 7
Week 2 Result: Won vs. Minnesota 21-16
The Pack is back, baby!
After holding off the Minnesota Vikings at Lambeau Field on Sunday, the Packers are the last remaining unbeaten team in the NFC North. Propelled Sunday by a big day from young tailback Aaron Jones, the Packers have now opened the season with wins over their two biggest rivals.
After last year's disappointing campaign, it's a welcome start to the Matt LaFleur era in Titletown.
But there was at least one cause for concern for the Packers in Week 2. This was a game the Packers led 21-0 early in the second quarter, but Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay offense didn't manage a single point the rest of the way.
"After a hot start in Week 2," Davenport wrote, "the Green Bay offense was ice-cold the rest of the way against the Vikings. This was a game where Minnesota piled up substantially more offense, only to be done in by four turnovers. Green Bay's defense has been a pleasant surprise this year, but the offense hasn't been what we've come to expect from a Rodgers-led squad."
4. Dallas Cowboys (2-0)
Last Week: 7
Week 2 Result: Won at Washington 31-21
Maybe the Cowboys didn't need Ezekiel Elliott after all.
To be fair, Elliott played a part in the Cowboys 10-point win in Washington Sunday, posting his first 100-yard game of the season and finding the end zone.
Not bad for a guy who hasn't been with the team two full weeks yet.
But for the second week in a row, the star for The Star was quarterback Dak Prescott. Prescott missed on just four of his 30 pass attempts, throwing for 269 yards and three scores. He's looked every bit an elite quarterback in Kellen Moore's offense.
The Dallas defense did its part as well, holding Washington to 255 total yards in a game where Dallas nearly doubled up their rivals in yardage.
Through two games, Prescott looks like a superstar, and the Cowboys look like the class of the division.
And Dak's contract is growing by the week.
3. Los Angeles Rams (2-0)
Last Week: 4
Week 2 Result: Won vs. New Orleans 27-9
It happened under rotten circumstances, but Sunday's decisive win by the Rams over the Saints in a rematch of last year's NFC title game was a tone-setter. A message-sender.
With Drew Brees on the shelf indefinitely, one of the Rams' biggest challengers in the NFC is done. The Rams have again established themselves (along with the Dallas Cowboys) as the class of the NFC.
Much as with last week's win in Carolina, the Rams didn't post gaudy numbers against the Saints. Jared Goff threw just one touchdown pass, and as a team, the Rams averaged fewer than four yards a carry on the ground. L.A.'s 380 total yards of offense was a good outing—but not a great one.
But it was a businesslike effort in which the Rams played efficiently in all phases. The team had just one turnover and held the Brees-less Saints out of the end zone and under 250 total yards.
"Concerns over Todd Gurley's lingering knee issues, a rebuilt offensive interior and the loss of Ndamukong Suh are quickly fading, because the Rams are clearly counted among the NFC's best after an impressive 2-0 start," Sobleski said. "The roster is loaded, especially on offense. Gurley and Malcolm Brown form one of the league's best backfield duos. More importantly, Brown effectively spells Gurley when head coach Sean McVay wants to give his lead back a break. With Cooper Kupp back and healthy, the Rams' trio of wide receivers is impossible to cover all at once."
2. Kansas City Chiefs (2-0)
Last Week: 2
Week 2 Result: Won at Oakland 28-10
At the beginning of the second quarter of Sunday's game in Oakland, the Raiders held a 10-point lead and had kept the high-flying Chiefs from scoring a single point.
Then Patrick Mahomes decided playtime was over and proceeded to single-handedly destroy the Raiders.
In the second quarter alone, Mahomes threw for 278 yards and four touchdowns. It was the most yardage any player has thrown for in a quarter since Drew Brees posted 294 in 2008.
And that might not even be the scariest thing that happened in the game.
"After allowing a 10-spot in the first quarter, the Chiefs defense absolutely clamped down on the Raiders," Davenport said. "We know that Mahomes and the offense are going to get theirs, but if the KC defense actually starts stopping people? That's how this team beats the Patriots and claims the top spot in the AFC."
1. New England Patriots (2-0)
Last Week: 1
Week 2 Result: Won at Miami 43-0
It's hard to glean a lot from what the Patriots did to the hapless Dolphins in Week 2. It's the NFL equivalent of Clemson playing Northeastern Montana Tech.
But the Patriots also didn't play a sloppy game in South Florida—a place where they have struggled in the past. There wasn't any taking of feet off gas pedals. The Pats came to town, annihilated the 'Fins and left.
In two games this season, the defending champions have outscored Pittsburgh and Miami 76-3. Tom Brady and the offense have been lethally efficient. The defense has two more touchdowns than it has allowed this year.
Oh, and in his Patriots debut, Antonio Brown led the team in receiving yards and found the end zone.
It's a foregone conclusion that the Patriots will win the AFC East for the 43rd year in a row in 2019.
The question now is with the Pats playing this well, can anyone beat them?
It's probably not happening anytime soon. New England doesn't play a team that made the 2018 postseason until November.
"These Pats are starting to feel like the 2007 team that went 16-0 and won 12 games by double-digit margins," Gagnon said. "They're just so far beyond the competition. They're one of only four teams in NFL history to outscore their opponents by a combined 70-plus points in the first two weeks of the season, and the other three all did so in the 1960s and 1970s, when a 20-point margin was considered a nail-biter."