NFL Power Rankings: B/R's Expert Consensus Rank for Every Team Entering Week 2
If there's one constant in the NFL, it's change.
The Arizona Cardinals sent a message Sunday in the NFC West, downing the defending NFC champions in San Francisco. The two teams most had pegged as the worst in the league (the Jacksonville Jaguars and Washington Football Team) stunned division rivals some looked at as playoff contenders.
The events of Week 1 caused quite the shake-up in our Bleacher Report NFL power rankings, including multiple teams that moved up or down 10 or more spots from last week.
As is the case every week, B/R NFL analysts Brad Gagnon, Brent Sobleski and Gary Davenport have gathered to map out all that movement, ranking the league's teams from worst to first.
Here's how they see the NFL entering Week 2, including a brand-new cellar-dweller.
32. New York Jets (0-1)
Last Week: 28
Week 1 Result: Lost at Buffalo 27-17
The New York Jets are not good. This is not news.
But given how the Jets looked in a loss to the Bills that wasn't as close as the final score would indicate, we may have underestimated just how bad they really are.
The Jets finished the game with 52 rushing yards. Their leading rusher, Frank Gore, had 24. Jamison Crowder had 115 receiving yards, but 69 of those came on one play. The next-closest receiver had 37.
Meanwhile, Bills quarterback Josh Allen torched their injury-ravaged defense through the air and on the ground. Allen had more rushing yards by himself (57) than the Jets had as a team. He also threw for 312 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
With a home opener on tap against a San Francisco 49ers team that's likely seething after losing to the Arizona Cardinals, the sledding won't be any easier in Week 2.
And the result is likely to be depressingly similar.
31. Carolina Panthers (0-1)
Last Week: 31
Week 1 Result: Lost vs. Las Vegas 34-30
The NFL is a results-driven business. And in that respect, Matt Rhule's debut as head coach in Carolina was a letdown, in large part because of a terrible fourth-down play call late in the fourth quarter of Sunday's shootout with the Las Vegas Raiders.
But there were some bright spots in Sunday's loss.
Running back Christian McCaffrey picked up right where he left off a year ago, piling up 134 total yards and finding the end zone twice. Teddy Bridgewater played well in his Panthers debut, passing for 270 yards and posting a passer rating of nearly 100. Wide receiver Robby Anderson shined in his first game with the team as well, finishing with six catches for 115 yards and a touchdown.
But if Carolina's defense continues to be gashed like it was in Week 1, the offense will have to put up huge numbers every week. The Panthers allowed 372 yards of offense and 23 first downs and had no answer at all for Raiders tailback Josh Jacobs.
30. Cincinnati Bengals (0-1)
Last Week: 30
Week 1 Result: Lost vs. Los Angeles Chargers 16-13
The Joe Burrow era in Cincinnati didn't get off to the start the Bengals would have hoped.
As NFL debuts go, the 2020 No. 1 overall pick played pretty well, especially considering he didn't get any preseason action. Burrow looked like experienced beyond his years at times, and he used his legs to buy time and rack up yardage (and his first NFL score).
However, Burrow also looked like a rookie at times. His interception was a horrible decision on a shovel pass that cost the Bengals a shot at a game-tying field goal.
"Burrow's first NFL game was a reminder of a few things," Davenport said. "The first was that playing quarterback in the pros is hard. The second is that the Bengals are very much a work in progress. Brighter days are coming, but it isn't going to happen overnight."
29. Cleveland Browns (0-1)
Last Week: 17
Week 1 Result: Lost at Baltimore 38-6
When the Baltimore Ravens intercepted Baker Mayfield on the first series of the game, it set an all-too-familiar tone for the Cleveland Browns.
The Browns were awful in just about every way against the Ravens. Mayfield finished only 21-of-39 with a passer rating of 65. Odell Beckham Jr. had three grabs for 22 yards and a few costly drops. The defense had no answer whatsoever for Lamar Jackson and the Ravens offense, giving up six third-down conversions on 11 attempts.
"At some point, we need to stop talking about all the talent the Browns have on paper and start talking about how poorly this team continually plays," Davenport grumbled. "In Week 1, the Browns looked like the same bumbling club that went 6-10 a year ago. There's also the elephant in the room: Baker Mayfield looks less like the long-term answer under center with every bad decision he makes."
"The Browns always find new and interesting ways to embarrass themselves," Sobleski added. "Sunday's blowout loss to the rival Ravens comes with an asterisk, though. Cleveland couldn't have faced a worse opponent to open its season under Kevin Stefanski, who is the franchise's fourth head coach since Mayfield became the starting quarterback in 2018. The Browns still have plenty of talent, and they shouldn't be counted among the league's worst. They just need some time to come together under new leadership."
28. Detroit Lions (0-1)
Last Week: 25
Week 1 Result: Lost vs. Chicago 27-23
For three quarters Sunday, the Detroit Lions manhandled the Chicago Bears. At the start of the fourth quarter, the Lions were up 23-6 and appeared to be cruising toward a W.
At the end of the fourth quarter, it was 27-23 Chicago, and it appeared that the Lions were...you know...the Lions.
The Lions outgained the Bears 426-363. They outplayed the Bears for most of the afternoon. But rather than sealing the deal, the Lions committed costly mistake after costly mistake when the stakes were highest.
It was a brutal start to the season for a team that won only three games in 2019, and perhaps a harbinger of another long season in Detroit.
"If the Lions can't hold a 17-point lead against a Bears team that did nothing offensively for three quarters Sunday, they aren't going to have much of a shot at knocking off the Packers next week—or of being any kind of factor in the NFC North in 2020," Davenport said.
"The Lions just know how to Lion," Gagnon said. "There's no excuse for that meltdown against the down-and-out Bears. They're a quality team on paper, but at this point, I just can't get behind Matt Patricia or that defense."
27. New York Giants (0-1)
Last Week: 23
Week 1 Result: Lost vs. Pittsburgh 26-16
Not many people expected the New York Giants to emerge from Week 1 with a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. Sure enough, they did not—and two things from that game demonstrate why it may be another long year in New York.
The first was the offensive line play, which was somewhere between atrocious and full-on matador. Daniel Jones was only sacked three times, but he was hit eight times and under duress most of the evening. There were less than zero running lanes for star running back Saquon Barkley—he carried the ball 15 times for six yards.
And fantasy managers wept.
The second was the second half interception thrown by Daniel Jones at the end of a 19-play drive—to a defensive tackle. It wasn't entirely Jones' fault—he was hit as he let the ball go. But after a rookie season marred by turnovers, it was a sobering reminder how little margin for error Jones and the Giants have in 2020.
26. Miami Dolphins (0-1)
Last Week: 24
Week 1 Result: Lost at New England 21-11
After an offseason featuring some big free-agent signings and three first-round picks, the Miami Dolphins appeared ready take a step forward in 2020.
But in Week 1, the Dolphins looked a lot like last year's 5-11 team.
Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and the offense had trouble putting anything together. The Dolphins had less than 270 yards of total offense, and the run game managed only 87 yards and 3.2 yards per carry.
The defense didn't fare much better. The Patriots didn't do much damage throwing the ball, but they didn't need to, as they gashed the Dolphins for 217 yards on the ground and 5.2 yards per carry.
The Dolphins don't have much time to feel sorry for themselves, either. Three of their next four games come against teams that made the playoffs last year.
If Miami is 1-4 or 0-5 at the end of that stretch, the calls for Tua Tagovailoa to start at quarterback are going to get loud.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-0)
Last Week: 32
Week 1 Result: Won vs. Indianapolis 27-20
Heading into the 2020 season, the Jacksonville Jaguars appeared to be the worst team in the league. After trading or releasing a slew of veteran players, they looked like the front-runners for the first overall pick in the 2021 draft.
Apparently, the Jaguars didn't get the memo. Thanks to some patented Minshew Magic, the Jaguars stunned the Colts in Week 1.
At first glance, Gardner Minshew II's stats aren't eye-popping, as he failed to clear 200 passing yards. However, only one of his 20 pass attempts fell incomplete, and he threw three touchdowns and zero picks.
It was a gutsy comeback win for a Jags team that the Colts outgained 445-241. It also suggests teams who circle the Jaguars on the schedule as an easy "W" may be in for a rude awakening.
"Good for the Jaguars," Sobleski said. "Seriously. The team was easily the favorite to own the league's worst record this season and 'earn' next year's No. 1 overall draft pick. Maybe they still will. But for one week, the Jaguars looked like a young and hungry squad ready to compete against anyone they play. The performances from quarterback Gardner Minshew II, rookie running back James Robinson and this year's ninth overall draft pick, CJ Henderson, must be applauded."
24. Indianapolis Colts (0-1)
Last Week: 9
Week 1 Result: Lost at Jacksonville 27-20
On one hand, it's important not to read too much into Week 1's results, especially in a year where there were no preseason games.
With that said, ranking the Indianapolis Colts inside the top 10 to open the year doesn't look great after watching them fall to a Jaguars team that has the makings of an economy-sized tomato can in 2020.
The Colts dominated the Jags statistically, peeling off almost 450 yards of total offense. Quarterback Philip Rivers threw for 363 yards in his Colts debut.
But the penchant for interceptions that caused the Los Angeles Chargers to move on from Rivers reared its ugly head again. The Colts also couldn't get their run game going, and starting running back Marlon Mack suffered what turned out to be a season-ending Achilles injury.
It isn't time to panic. Only one of Indy's next six games is against a team that sported a winning record in 2019.
But it also isn't the start to the Rivers era in Indianapolis that the Colts were hoping for.
23. Atlanta Falcons (0-1)
Last Week: 14
Week 1 Result: Lost vs. Seattle 38-25
The first half of the 2019 season was a nightmare for head coach Dan Quinn and the Atlanta Falcons. They started the year off 1-7, and their defense was softer than a freshly baked Twinkie.
Quinn was likely having flashbacks to that in Sunday's season opener, because cream filling was splattered everywhere at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks flat-out embarrassed the Falcons in Week 1. Wilson had as many touchdown passes (four) as he did incompletions on 35 attempts. Seattle rolled up 383 total yards and led 31-12 early in the fourth quarter.
The Falcons piled up over 500 yards in Week 1, including 450 passing yards from Matt Ryan. But it's next to impossible to take them seriously as a contender until the defense can get stops.
"I keep accidentally falling for the Falcons, who keep breaking my heart every fall," Gagnon lamented. "It sure looks like they fooled me with that 6-2 second half in 2019. The defense is atrocious."
22. Chicago Bears (1-0)
Last Week: 27
Week 1 Result: Won at Detroit 27-23
There was good news and bad news for the Chicago Bears on Sunday.
The good news is easy enough to pinpoint: They got a win to open the season thanks to a 21-point surge in the fourth quarter. The Bears also got a decent stat line from quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, who threw for 242 yards and three scores with a passer rating of 104.2.
The bad news is that for three quarters, a bad Lions squad outplayed the Bears. The defense was average. The offense aspired to be average. Heading into the fourth quarter, Detroit had a 23-6 lead.
Against a Lions team that lives to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, the Bears dodged a bullet. And their schedule over the first half of the season isn't especially imposing.
But digging early holes like that is good way to get beat.
21. Los Angeles Chargers (1-0)
Last Week: 26
Week 1 Result: Won at Cincinnati 16-13
The Los Angeles Chargers secured the ugliest win of Week 1.
The Chargers racked up a respectable 362 total yards against the Bengals, but most of that was between the 20s. The Bolts managed only one touchdown, and quarterback Tyrod Taylor had a pedestrian day, finishing 16-of-30 for 208 yards.
In that ugly win, we saw the recipe for success for the Chargers in 2020. The defense played well, limiting Cincy to 295 yards, forcing a pair of turnovers and sacking Joe Burrow three times. They also had some success running the ball, notching 155 yards on the ground.
It's how the Chargers can compete: run the ball, keep the third-down distance manageable, limit mistakes and play defense.
But it also isn't always going to work. Playing Patrick Mahomes is a tad different than taking on a rookie quarterback making his first start.
And over the next month, the Chargers have to face Mahomes, Tom Brady and Drew Brees.
20. Houston Texans (0-1)
Last Week: 18
Week 1 Result: Lost at Kansas City 34-20
The Kansas City Chiefs smoked the Houston Texans, but there were some silver linings in the loss.
Running back David Johnson looked healthy and explosive, piling up 109 total yards, averaging seven yards per carry and finding the end zone. Wide receiver Will Fuller V also had a big game, hauling in eight passes for 112 yards.
But for the most part, it was more of the same for Houston. Just as in last year's playoff loss, the Texans got a lead but then gave up 31 unanswered points. The defense had no answer for the Chiefs on the ground or through the air. And the offensive line didn't play especially well, either.
The Texans won't have much time to lick their proverbial wounds. On Sunday, they host a Baltimore Ravens team that went 14-2 last year. Houston's only game over the first month of the season that isn't against a 2019 playoff team is a Week 3 trip to Pittsburgh to face the Steelers.
The Texans need to get it together quickly, or the 2020 campaign is going to get away from them.
19. Washington Football Team (1-0)
Last Week: 29
Week 1 Result: Won vs. Philadelphia 27-17
When the Washington Football Team fell behind the Philadelphia Eagles 17-0 on Sunday, it looked like much of the same from a team that finished 3-13 last year.
But Washington didn't roll over. Instead, the team rallied, peeling off 27 unanswered points to stun the Eagles.
Second-year quarterback Dwayne Haskins wasn't overly impressive, finishing 17-of-31 for 171 yards and a score. But he didn't turn the ball over and made plays when he needed to.
What was impressive was Washington's defense, especially the pass rush. Washington harassed Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz all game long, amassing eight sacks. In his professional debut, No. 2 overall pick Chase Young had 1.5 of them. Washington also forced three turnovers and allowed only 265 total yards.
It's only one week against an Eagles team that has been shredded by injuries. But if Washington's defense can play at that level consistently, this team will hang around in a lot of games.
"That defensive front is just so vicious that Washington will always be in games," Gagnon said. "And while the offense is a work in progress, it's a good sign they woke up in the second half against Philly. But there's also just something to this team. Nameless, seemingly focused and well-coached. Don't be surprised if they contend in the always-wide-open NFC East."
18. Denver Broncos (0-1)
Last Week: 20
Week 1 Result: Lost vs. Tennessee 16-14
In many ways, the Denver Broncos played well enough to win the Week 1 finale.
The Broncos have been besieged by injuries on both sides of the ball—edge-rusher Von Miller and wide receiver Courtland Sutton were inactive, and cornerback A.J. Bouye and running back Phillip Lindsay were sidelined during the game. In spite of that, Denver played the Titans right down to the wire.
And then head coach Vic Fangio blew it.
Sure, you can argue all Denver had to do on the game-deciding drive was get a stop. Make a play. But despite the fact that Fangio and the Broncos had all three timeouts, Fangio let Titans head coach Mike Vrabel bleed the clock to less than 20 seconds remaining.
Denver still had two of those timeouts when the game ended. That should never happen.
The Broncos showed Monday night they are capable of hanging with a quality opponent. But Denver also has limitations, especially when you consider all the injuries.
This isn't a team that can afford big mistakes—whether they are made by players or the coach.
17. Dallas Cowboys (0-1)
Last Week: 6
Week 1 Result: Lost at Los Angeles Rams 20-17
The 2020 season was supposed to be different for the Dallas Cowboys. Under new head coach Mike McCarthy, Dallas' days of underperforming were going to be in the past. The team was going to play up to its considerable potential and win the NFC East.
One week in, the Cowboys look distressingly familiar.
They were fine offensively against the Rams. Dak Prescott threw for 266 yards and a touchdown and Ezekiel Elliott piled up 127 total yards and two scores. But the new-look defense surrendered 422 total yards of offense to a Rams team that possessed the ball for more than 35 minutes.
It gets even worse for Dallas. Middle linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, who missed most of last season with a neck injury, suffered a broken collarbone in the game and was placed on injured reserve.
Linebacker is not a position group where the Cowboys could afford a significant injury.
16. Las Vegas Raiders (1-0)
Last Week: 22
Week 1 Result: Won at Carolina 34-30
The Las Vegas Raiders kicked off their tenure in Sin City in thrilling fashion, coming back to down the Panthers after falling behind 30-27 midway through the fourth quarter.
The star of the game for the Raiders was clearly running back Josh Jacobs. After becoming the first back in Raiders history to top 1,000 yards as a rookie in 2019, Jacobs started off his second season with 139 total yards and three touchdowns, including the game-winner with four minutes left.
Las Vegas also got an efficient game from quarterback Derek Carr, who passed for 239 yards, hit nine different receivers and posted a passer rating of 107.5.
If the Raiders are going to carry that success over into their home opener against the New Orleans Saints, a defense that surrendered 388 total yards and 30 points to the Panthers needs to get better quickly.
15. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-1)
Last Week: 11
Week 1 Result: Lost at New Orleans 34-23
When Tom Brady signed with the Buccaneers, the hype meter in Tampa went into overdrive. But the New Orleans Saints poured some cold water on the hysteria Sunday—at least temporarily.
Tampa Bay's underrated defense held a potent Saints offense to only 271 yards. But while the Saints looked like a team that is mostly the same as last year's squad, the Buccaneers looked the part of a group that hasn't been together for long.
There were mistakes and miscues. Poor execution on some plays. Three turnovers, including two Brady interceptions. A blocked field-goal attempt. Nine penalties for 103 yards. And only five third-down conversions on 13 tries.
There will be better days ahead, as only one of Tampa's next six opponents made the postseason a year ago. But Sunday showed that the Buccaneers aren't quite ready to take on the NFC's elite.
"Be patient, grasshoppers," Sobleski said. "The Buccaneers weren't going to look like Super Bowl contenders straight out of the gate. Those who thought otherwise were clearly mistaken. Yes, the squad is loaded, but teams take time to build cohesiveness. Tom Brady may be the best of all time, but he's in a new system with new weapons behind a new offensive line. The unit will grow as the season progresses."
14. Philadelphia Eagles (0-1)
Last Week: 13
Week 1 Result: Lost at Washington 27-17
The Philadelphia Eagles headed to Washington on Sunday with a team that has already been ravaged by injuries. Heading into the game, they were down three starting offensive linemen, one of their starting wide receivers and their starting running back.
Despite all those injuries, the Eagles raced out to a 17-0 lead. It looked like they were going to weather the storm and get a win in Week 1.
That is, until Washington peeled off 27 unanswered points.
"Yes, it's just one game, but it was one game against a bad Washington team," Davenport said. "The Eagles are in trouble. The linebackers in Philly are bad. The secondary might be worse. The offensive line is a mess, allowing eight sacks in Week 1. And if Carson Wentz keeps taking a beating like that, it's only a matter of time until he goes down, too. I'm not saying the Eagles should panic. Actually... yes, I am."
13. Tennessee Titans (1-0)
Last Week: 16
Week 1 Result: Won at Denver 16-14
In this weirdest of years, it's rather fitting that the last game of the first weekend of the NFL season was arguably the weirdest.
The Tennessee Titans pulled out a two-point win on the road. But it was a victory that left them with precious little to feel good about.
Yes, Derrick Henry rushed for 116 yards and topped 130 total yards. But he did that on 34 touches—a pace that isn't sustainable over a full season.
Yes, veteran kicker Stephen Gostkowski hit a chip-shot field goal late to secure the win. But it was the first successful try he had in four opportunities. Gostkowski also missed an extra point.
Young wide receiver A.J. Brown was a non-factor, averaging less than eight yards per grab after topping 20 a year ago. Inside linebacker Rashaan Evans was ejected in the first half for throwing a punch.
A win is a win, and the Titans are 1-0.
But for a team with aspirations of another deep playoff run, Tennessee's performance was concerning.
12. Los Angeles Rams (1-0)
Last Week: 21
Week 1 Result: Won vs. Dallas 20-17
The Rams are all about the new in 2020. They have a new $5 billion stadium and new uniforms.
And after downing the Dallas Cowboys at home, there's a new sense that these Rams perhaps can get back into the playoffs after last year's disappointment.
The Rams were relatively sharp against the Cowboys offensively. Running back Malcolm Brown picked up the backfield slack nicely, piling up 110 total yards and two scores. Wide receiver Robert Woods caught six passes for 105 yards.
Defensively, the Rams amassed three sacks, including one from superstar Aaron Donald. Los Angeles also limited the Cowboys to 3-of-12 on third downs and won the time-of-possession battle by 11 minutes.
While the Arizona Cardinals got the offseason hype this year and the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers were playoff teams in 2019, the Rams are no pushovers.
The NFC West looks like it'll be a bloodbath in 2020.
11. Minnesota Vikings (0-1)
Last Week: 7
Week 1 Result: Lost vs. Green Bay 43-34
The Minnesota Vikings have an offense with a proven quarterback and a strong skill-position cast and a defense with talent at all three levels. They entered the 2020 season with legitimate Super Bowl aspirations.
But if their shootout loss at home to the rival Green Bay Packers in Week 1 is any indication, the Vikings also have a major problem that could derail their season.
The cornerbacks are not good.
Aaron Rodgers scorched the Vikings, finishing with 364 passing yards and four touchdowns. Star wideout Davnte Adams having a big game is one thing, but when Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling are getting open at will, that's a bad sign for a defense.
The Vikings need to shore that defense up in a hurry, as three of their next four opponents (and four of the next six) made the playoffs last season.
10. New England Patriots (1-0)
Last Week: 19
Week 1 Result: Won vs. Miami 21-11
If Sunday's season opener over the Miami Dolphins is any indication, reports of the New England Patriots' demise may have been exaggerated.
Cam Newton didn't rack up a ton of style points in his Patriots debut. He threw for only 155 yards and didn't toss a touchdown pass. But he didn't make mistakes through the air, and he rushed for 75 yards while scoring twice.
The game was likely a microcosm for how the Patriots hope to remain competitive in the AFC East in 2020. New England gashed the Miami defense for over 200 yards on the ground, while a New England defense that lost a handful of starters in the offseason limited Miami to 269 total yards and forced three turnovers.
"The Patriots are not special on paper, but we really can't let ourselves forget that Bill Belichick is a mad genius," Gagnon said. "He has a plan, and a double-digit-point win over an improving opponent that usually gives them grief shows the Pats aren't going anywhere."
"Given all the losses the Pats suffered in the offseason, most pundits anointed the Bills the clear front-runners in the AFC East in 2020," Davenport added. "But we should have known better than to count out Darth Hoodie. Still, we won't know how good these Patriots really are until next week, when New England travels to Seattle to face a Seahawks team that blasted the Falcons in Week 1."
9. San Francisco 49ers (0-1)
Last Week: 4
Week 1 Result: Lost vs. Arizona 24-20
In their march to the Super Bowl last year, the San Francisco 49ers didn't lose a game until November 11.
San Francisco got that first loss out of the way far earlier in 2020. And Sunday's loss to the Arizona Cardinals exposed some ugly realities about the team.
The Niners offense was inconsistent in the game, The rushing attack was OK, but not much more than that. Jimmy Garoppolo completed only 19 of his 33 pass attempts. Tight end George Kittle wasn't even targeted in the second half. The 49ers converted only two of their 11 third-down attempts.
Meanwhile, the Niners allowed more than 400 yards and had no answer for either Kyler Murray's scrambling ability or wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, who exploded for 151 yards on 14 catches.
The Niners will now hit the road for an East Coast swing that includes games against the Jets and Giants. San Francisco will be favored in both.
But the Niners have work to do if they're going to contend for a second straight trip to the Super Bowl.
8. Arizona Cardinals (1-0)
Last Week: 15
Week 1 Result: Won at San Francisco 24-20
Perhaps the offseason hype surrounding the Arizona Cardinals was justified.
In Week 1, the Cardinals went into Levi's Stadium and beat the defending NFC champions. They piled up 404 yards of total offense against the NFC's No. 1 defense from a year ago and beat the Niners in a stadium where they have two losses since Christmas of 2018.
Kyler Murray clearly outplayed Jimmy Garoppolo, throwing for 230 yards and adding 91 yards and a score on the ground. Star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins went berserk in his Cardinals debut, hauling in 14 passes for 151 yards.
The Arizona defense did its part as well, limiting the 49ers to only two third-down conversions and stoning Raheem Mostert in a key goal-line stand.
Arizona's schedule lightens up considerably after this tough opener, as their next four opponents were a combined 18-45-1 last year. The Cardinals could be 5-0 when they meet the Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football in mid-October.
By then, the hype would be next-level.
7. Buffalo Bills (1-0)
Last Week: 12
Week 1 Result: Won vs. New York Jets 27-17
The Buffalo Bills have made the playoffs in two of the last three seasons. But with the New England Patriots undergoing a roster overhaul in 2020, the Bills entered this season as the favorites in the AFC East.
In Week 1, they looked the part.
The final score of Sunday's win over the Jets doesn't reflect how lopsided the game was. The Bills led the Jets 21-0 in the second quarter, and Buffalo's defense completely stifled Sam Darnold for much of the afternoon.
The most encouraging sign for the Bills in Week 1 was likely the play of quarterback Josh Allen. It came against a bad Jets defense, but Allen had a big day with both his arm and legs, finishing with 312 passing yards, 54 rushing yards and three total touchdowns.
On a day where the Patriots took care of business at Gillette Stadium, it was important for the Bills to send a message.
Allen and Co. did just that.
6. Green Bay Packers (1-0)
Last Week: 10
Week 1 Result: Won at Minnesota 43-34
From the moment the Green Bay Packers used a first-round pick on quarterback Jordan Love in April's draft, Aaron Rodgers' future in Titletown has been a hotly debated subject.
On Sunday, Rodgers sent a reminder why the Packers should keep No. 12 around as long as possible.
Against a Minnesota Vikings secondary that replaced its top three cornerbacks in the offseason, Rodgers feasted at U.S. Bank Stadium. He threw for 364 yards and four touchdowns against the Vikings, hitting Davante Adams (twice), Allen Lazard and Marquez Valdes-Scantling for touchdowns.
Add in 76 total yards and a score from running back Aaron Jones, and you have a dominant offensive effort on the road against a division rival that made the playoffs in 2019.
"Well, the Packers get a reprieve for one week from criticism about failing to address the wide receiver position in the offseason, since their weapons beyond Adams looked good," Sobleski wrote. "Lazard and Valdes-Scantling combined to haul in eight receptions for 159 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Rodgers, meanwhile, looked like his old self. The complete offensive effort shows last year's 13-3 Packers may not experience regression during Matt LaFleur's second season as head coach."
5. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-0)
Last Week: 8
Week 1 Result: Won at New York Giants 26-16
Monday night's win over the New York Giants was cause for celebration for the Pittsburgh Steelers—and for multiple reasons.
It took a little while to shake off the rust, but Ben Roethlisberger had a good game in his first action since Week 2 of the 2019 season. For the night, he threw for 229 yards and three touchdowns, including two to top wideout JuJu Smith-Schuster.
Defensively, the Steelers were as stout and punishing as ever. They constantly harassed Giants quarterback Daniel Jones, and star running back Saquon Barkley was mostly a non-factor for the G-Men.
Even an injury to starting running back James Conner couldn't spoil the fun—reserve Benny Snell Jr. was effective running the ball for Pittsburgh, piling up over 100 yards on the ground.
It was an impressive opener on the road for the Steelers, who will host the Broncos in Week 2, and a message to a certain rival in Baltimore that the AFC North isn't going to be as easy to win in 2020 as it was a year ago.
4. Seattle Seahawks (1-0)
Last Week: 5
Week 1 Result: Won at Atlanta 38-25
Among the teams that played in the 1 p.m. ET slate Sunday, the Baltimore Ravens were the most impressive, at least in terms of margin of victory.
But when it comes to just manhandling an opponent, the Seattle Seahawks weren't far behind.
Despite traveling to the East Coast to play in an early game, the Seahawks looked to be in midseason form in dispatching the Atlanta Falcons. Quarterback Russell Wilson was lethally efficient, missing on only four of 35 pass attempts and tossing four touchdown passes. Two of those scoring throws went to running back Chris Carson. Wide receivers Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf both topped 90 receiving yards.
However, Wilson may have to do that every week for Seattle to keep winning. Some of the stats came in garbage time, but Seattle's defense allowed over 500 yards of total offense and notched only two sacks of Matt Ryan.
"The Seahawks are good enough to represent the NFC in Super Bowl LV," Davenport said. "And Russell Wilson looked the part of an MVP front-runner Sunday. But Seattle's defense remains an area of general concern. It might not matter against Atlanta, but New Orleans or San Francisco could be another story."
"Chris Carson looks healthy," Gagnon chimed in. "Russell Wilson looks like an MVP candidate. The Seahawks have one of the best 1-2 receiver duos in the NFL, and the defense looks improved as well. They made it look easy in Atlanta and are on an early-season Super Bowl path."
3. New Orleans Saints (1-0)
Last Week: 3
Week 1 Result: Won vs. Tampa Bay 34-23
Thursday's matchup between the Houston Texans and Kansas City Chiefs may have kicked off the 2020 season, but Sunday's Superdome showdown between the Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers was the showcase game of Week 1.
Brady vs. Brees.
Round 1 went to the home team, as the Saints handled the Bucs 34-23 behind an efficient effort on both sides of the ball. Brees threw for only 160 yards, but he tossed two touchdowns and made the plays he needed to. Alvin Kamara lived up to his freshly signed extension, finding the end zone twice.
The real story was the New Orleans defense. The Saints harassed Tom Brady all day, sacking him three times and adding seven QB hits. Cornerback Janoris Jenkins took the second of Brady's interceptions on the day back for a score.
"The offseason was all about the Buccaneers," Davenport said. "But once the game started, the Saints made it clear that they remain the team to beat in the NFC South. The Saints don't have an obvious weakness that opponents can exploit, which makes them tough to beat."
2. Baltimore Ravens (1-0)
Last Week: 2
Week 1 Result: Won vs. Cleveland 38-6
When last we saw the Baltimore Ravens, they were being stunned at home by the Tennessee Titans in the AFC divisional round.
The Ravens ensured that wouldn't happen again, dominating the hapless Cleveland Browns from start to finish in the biggest blowout of the week.
First-round linebacker Patrick Queen paced the Ravens with eight total tackles, adding a tackle for loss and a sack. Second-round running back J.K. Dobbins only carried the ball seven times, but two of those totes went for touchdowns.
The Ravens, just like the Kansas City Chiefs, looked to be in midseason form.
"There's a clear delineation between teams that have been together for some time and those still trying to jell after an unprecedented offseason," Sobleski said. "The Ravens throttled the Browns in the biggest blowout of the weekend. In doing so, Lamar Jackson didn't just look like the reigning MVP; he showed further signs of improvement as a passer who's comfortable in the pocket and driving the ball downfield. That makes the Ravens even more dangerous."
It's enough to almost make you feel sorry for the Houston Texans, who lost to the Chiefs in Week 1 and now draw the Ravens in Week 2.
1. Kansas City Chiefs (1-0)
Last Week: 1
Week 1 Result: Won vs. Houston 34-20
As if opponents of the Kansas City Chiefs didn't have enough problems.
The Kansas City passing game was already one of the best in the NFL. And quarterback Patrick Mahomes was on his game in the Thursday night opener against the Houston Texans, finishing 24-of-32 for 211 yards, three scores and a passer rating of 123.3.
But the Chiefs appear to have a much better run game now than they did a year ago. Rookie Clyde Edwards-Helaire gashed the Texans for 138 yards and a touchdown in his NFL debut, averaging a robust 5.5 yards per carry.
The Kansas City defense was also excellent in the opener. Led by 1.5 sacks from tackle Chris Jones, the Chiefs got to Deshaun Watson four times. Kansas City allowed the Texans to convert only four third downs and held Houston off the scoreboard for nearly three quarters after giving up the game's first score.
"Given how odd this offseason has been, the Chiefs coming out in midseason form in just about every facet of the game is a good sign for their chances of a repeat championship," Davenport said. "And it is assuredly a bad sign for the rest of the AFC."