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Week 2 NFL Power Rankings

September 12, 2019 skylerwnfl 13 min read
NFL

Week 2 NFL Power Rankings

September 12, 2019 Skyler Wiercioch 13 min read
Image result for antonio brown patriots
Photo courtesy of The Boston Globe

1. New England Patriots (-)

It’s disappointing I can’t rank New England any higher given the circumstances. After the Antonio Brown fiasco in Oakland came to an end, the Patriots wasted no time adding the star receiver to their roster, thus giving Brady his best receiver since Randy Moss. Shortly thereafter, the Pats steamrolled AB’s former team, the Pittsburgh Steelers, on Sunday Night Football to the tune of a 33-3 rout. This team is damn good… and that’s an understatement.

2. New Orleans Saints (-)

Narrowly escaping with a victory over the Texans in Week 1, the Saints hold steady at the number two slot. I think Monday night’s game told more about how good Deshaun Watson is rather than how vulnerable New Orleans is. They remain as the best team in the NFC, for now. 

3. Kansas City Chiefs (+1)

The Chiefs are the first team to make a move up the Power Rankings, but it wouldn’t come by a landslide. The Chiefs defense showed against Jacksonville that they will not make things easy on Quarterback Patrick Mahomes by allowing Gardner Minshew to put on a show in relief of Nick Foles. Without a loss under their belt, they slide up a spot this week. 

4. Dallas Cowboys (+3)

The Cowboys highest ranking on last year’s list is right here at number four and it seems fitting they make the return. I could criticize the slow start they had to the game, but almost every team remaining on this list is guilty of the same crime. By the end, the Cowboys made easy work of the New York Giants and Dak Prescott put on a Quarterback clinic, helping to jump them up three spots this week.

5. Philadelphia Eagles (+4)

The Birds are right on the Cowboys heels as they also make a leap up the rankings. Much like their division rival, they had a very slow, troubling start to the game. In the end however, the Eagles outscored the Redskins 32-10 after falling behind by 17. A healthy Carson Wentz is still a top tier Quarterback in this league and with all of the additions to the roster (i.e. DeSean Jackson), he has the team around him needed to make a deep playoff run. 

6. Chicago Bears (-3)

Now for our first dip in the Power Rankings, we have none other than the Chicago Bears. It’s been a week since we watched them kickoff the 100th season for the NFL so some of you may have already forgotten, but this defense is still a force to be reckoned with. They harassed Aaron Rodgers for five total sacks and only allowed 10 points. To counter that they looked like one of the poorest offenses in the league. I trust Matt Nagy will turn that around as they head into Denver looking for a bounce back victory against former defensive coordinator Vic Fangio.

7. Houston Texans (+3)

Houston looked great for most of Monday night. The defensive play calling on the final drive however… not so much. Prior to that they kept one of the most high-powered offenses relatively in check, and it would be foolish of me to bash the players on the defense given the play calls. Still, the two go hand-in-hand, and improvement is going to be needed if they want to make a serious run this postseason.

8. Los Angeles Rams (-3)

The Rams allowed 27 points to Carolina and had no answer for Christian Mccaffrey as he racked up over 200 yards from scrimmage. Jared Goff was bailed out by his run game and until further notice, this is not the same Rams team that made a Super Bowl run in 2018. LA takes on New Orleans this week in a rematch of the NFC Championship game, and for their sake I hope they’ve shaken some of the rust off. 

9. Green Bay Packers (+5)

The Packers defense looks good on paper, and even better on television last Thursday night. Truly a classic Bears/Packers feel to the game, all about the defense. Aaron Rodgers remained on his feet by the end of the game without the scare of an injury, and as I mentioned last week, if this defense lives up to the hype, this team is going to be a problem for opponents.

10. Baltimore Ravens (+3)

I’m not going to crown Lamar Jackson as elite quite yet, although I believe he is well on his way. All week long I’ve heard analysts crowning this kid for his game last week. It was certainly a lot of fun to watch, and impressive, but it was expected. The Dolphins barely look good enough to even compete in the NFL, but I will admit I didn’t give the Ravens enough credit heading into week 1. That won’t be the case this week, as a matchup with rookie Quarterback Kyler Murray should be another landslide. 

Photo Courtesy of SB Nation

11. Los Angeles Chargers (-5)

The Chargers are by far the most banged up team in the league and it’s only week two. The good news? They seem just fine without Melvin Gordon. Unfortunately, the Chargers will be without TE Hunter Henry and likely WR Mike Williams. A matchup with the Detroit Lions on the road isn’t exactly a lay-up either, so it’ll be interesting to see how they gameplan moving forward – especially managing Ekeler’s workload.

12. Tennessee Titans (+11)

The Titans were the first team to give Cleveland their best shot and it appeared they held no mercy for the Dawg Pound. The defense looked elite and gave Baker Mayfield headaches all day. Delanie Walker looked strong as ever acting as Marcus Mariota’s safety net and Derrick Henry continues to be a homerun play threat. A matchup with Indianapolis this week looks like another opportunity to put the same show on display once again. 

13. Minnesota Vikings (+5)

Considering we are only one week into the season, it’s hard to really tell how good each team is from a victory or a loss to a certain team. In the case of the Vikings matchup with Atlanta last week, there are a number of questions I still need answers to. There wasn’t enough reason to pass the ball so I don’t know what to expect from Cousins against the Packers defense this week. Their run game looked great, albeit against a defense whose play against the run was around the bottom of the league last year. Also, quite frankly, I’m not a big Devonta Freeman fan so how do I bank on Minnesota’s defense to hold the Packers in check? Not trying to discredit as it was an impressive win nonetheless, only trying to evaluate and analyze. This matchup should give us more information.

14. Cleveland Browns (-6)

It hurts me to do this. This is my non-Patriot Super Bowl choice I’m talking about here after all. Yet the Browns (and their fantasy players) disappointed me last week. It should come as no surprise they struggled against the Titans defense last week, but to allow 43 points? Even if the Browns defense had their backs against the wall for the last three quarters of the game, there’s no excuse of a team with this much talent to play so poorly. Luckily Sam Darnold will not be suiting up this week, so they will bounce back. Even if it is another poor performance Cleveland will win on Monday night, there is no doubt in my mind. I just hope to see the team on paper look as good on the field. 

15. Carolina Panthers (-)

Were gonna stay put with Carolina here for one moment and I’ll explain why I’m dropping another team instead when it’s their turn. There isn’t enough I can say about Christian McCaffrey. If anyone in the league deserves to be paid like a top receiver and running back, it’s this guy. Anything short of 2,000 yards from scrimmage this season will be shocking to me, but as far as the rest of the Panthers roster goes, it’s troubling. With a number of bright spots on the offense, they’re irrelevant until Cam can put together a winning formula. He has now lost seven straight games as a starter and will be put to the test by the Buccs, who were the last team Newton actually beat as a starter last season.  *Editor’s Note: Cam looked lost in his eight straight loss on TNF against the Buccs*

16. Seattle Seahawks (-5)

Russell Wilson is elite. No question in my mind about that, but Seattle almost dropped the ball against an awful team last week in Cincinnati. The Bengals defense almost looked… good? There’s no excuse. Rusty or not, they’re lucky they don’t have to see what I’d be saying had they lost that game. Bouncing back in Pittsburgh won’t be an easy task, but it’s one I expect them to complete. 

17. Pittsburgh Steelers (-5)

Well, good news for me is that I only had to hear a few hours of Baker Mayfield slander from my Steeler nation friends. Pittsburgh looked so bad Sunday night that for a moment, people actually gave Antonio Brown credit for what he helped the Steelers offense accomplish in his time there. I’m not sure what answers Pittsburgh or Big Ben are going to come up with before their matchup against Seattle, but it better work. 0-2 is not going to do them any favors in this division. 

18. Indianapolis Colts (+1)

The Colts actually looked solid last week. Honestly, they probably win that game if trust vet Adam Vinateri doesn’t have one of the worst games of his career. Marlon Mack ran all over the Chargers, Brissett wasn’t as exciting as he was efficient, but the defense is missing the Andrew Luck offense. The ability to take momentum at any given time and keep a defense off the field is something Brissett hasn’t quite captured yet, but if last week’s performance is any indication, it’s that this team won’t be lost without Luck. A tough matchup with the Titans this week will be another test for the new Starting QB in Brissett. 

19. Detroit Lions (+2)

Still a long way from where they need to be to make some noise in the NFC North, the good news is they aren’t in last place after week 1. The first three quarters of football we saw what this team could really be. A stout defense, terrific Quarterback play, and even a Tight End who could be a game changer. Yet ironically enough, Matt Stafford and Detroit found themselves on the other side of the comeback ‘victory’ (tie?), blowing a 17 point 4th quarter lead to the Cardinals. I’m not sure what to make of it yet, but the Chargers are not the Cardinals. Whatever they did through three quarters against Arizona last week, they’re going to need that for the full 60 minutes if they hope to defeat LA. 

Photo Courtesy of the Oakland Press

20. San Francisco 49ers (-)

Remaining at 20 is the 49ers, and they’re lucky they aren’t dropping here considering the candidates remaining. I’m going to put my trust in Jimmy G that he turns it around. In the meantime, I’ll give credit where credit is due; Kyle Shanahan. With the offense looking lackluster to open the season, the defense stepped up in a big way. The hyped up Buccaneers offense under Bruce Arians looked all over the place while the Niners got to start the season off with a victory. A road game in Cincinnati during this time of year should be considered a favor from the NFL, and should leave them with no excuses as they try everything in their power to make this offense move the ball consistently. 

21. Jacksonville Jaguars (-5)

The Jaguars faced a fate we see all too often in the NFL, and that was losing their Franchise Quarterback for what could likely be the rest of the season. Foles suffered a broken collarbone and we’ll be out for a large portion of the season, and unless Jacksonville is in the playoff hunt when he is cleared to return, he’ll likely be held out as a precautionary. Gardner Minshew however, went 22/25 for 275 yards and two touchdowns through the air, so all hope is not lost. However the outlook for Week 2 is not promising as they face off against the Texans in Houston. 

Photo Courtesy of Fox News

22. Washington Redskins (+5)

Case Keenum continues to find a home in the NFL with another impressive performance in Philadelphia last week. The defense, which I indicated as being their bread and butter last week, did not show up much after the first quarter. Nonetheless, I was more impressed with how competitive this team could be against potentially a top-5 team in the NFL. If Haskins does end up being the guy for Washington at some point, the future is much brighter than we realize.

23. Atlanta Falcons (-6)

Hope is not quite lost in Atlanta, they can always use the bad matchup excuse for their debacle in Minnesota last week. However, if they can’t get past the Vikings then I’m not sure how they expect to be a contender for any type of a playoff berth this season. The talent is there, but if Dan Quinn wasn’t on the hot seat before, he has to be by now. 

24. Buffalo Bills (+1)

The Bills narrowly escaped with a victory last week over the overly hyped up New York Jets, but I won’t discredit them completely. Devin Singletary looked like a man among boys every time he touched the football, and the Bills defense lived up to the hype week one. Once you get to this part of the Power Rankings you start to appreciate the little things, and one small victory for Buffalo is that they can head forward knowing this young core of guys they have got the season started on the right foot. A matchup with the New York Giants this week could be exactly what this team, and Josh Allen, need if they want to solidify themselves as a playoff threat this year. 

25. Oakland Raiders (+6)

No AB? No problem. The Raiders offense looked very fluent in the week one finale game on Monday Night, and Coach Gruden is starting to get his vision for this team aligned with his players. Nothing flashy, no b.s. Just gritty, hard-hitting football. Josh Jacobs looked very worthy of his first round selection and made me regret benching Chicago defense in all of my fantasy leagues for Denver’s. Unfortunately for Raider Nation, this honeymoon will only last six days as they welcome Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs this week.  

26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-)

In Bruce Arians return to the sideline, Tampa Bay played a very up and down game. Jameis Winston looked as turnover prone as ever, which is not a shocker. Running back Ronald Jones looked like a legitimate NFL running back after a wasted rookie year and the defense did a good job holding the 49ers to just an ok game. They look to take advantage of the Panthers on TNF, which could be an upset win.

27. Arizona Cardinals (+2)

Kyler Murray’s NFL debut certainly had an odd story book ending to it. He successfully pulled off the comeback against Detroit, but it ended in a tie, (something he definitely never had to get used to in College). But that’s the NFL for you, weird. I’m sure Harbaugh will be putting some weird looking defensive packages against the rookie this weekend, and after the dismantling of the Dolphins last week, it should be another no holds-barred matchup for Lamar Jackson and this Arizona defense. 

28. Denver Broncos (-6)

I’m not ready to write off the Broncos just yet. This certainly isn’t a playoff team, nor did I ever try to imply they were. However this defense should be lethal, and when a team loses a guy like Antonio Brown just two days before a division matchup, they should be held in check. Instead Flacco and the Broncos looked outmatched on Monday and they now find themselves back to ever eternal question: who the HELL is going to be the quarterback?

29. New York Giants (-1)

If you didn’t see Eli Manning’s numbers last week, check them. Stop reading for one moment, and go check. Eli didn’t come close to a victory, but that’s in large part to the defense, rather than his performance. He managed to put up 300 yards against a Cowboys defense that is feared around the league, and earned himself another start against Buffalo this week, where he will be put to the test once again. 

30. New York Jets (-6)

The Jets let one slip away last week, and with Darnold out indefinitely with mono, and Bell already banged up, New York doesn’t appear to have many winnable games over the next 6 games. Honestly, 0-6 is a legitimate possibility with this team. Talking about banged up teams, multiple key players on both sides of the ball outside of Darnold and Bell are already on the injury report.

31. Cincinnati Bengals (-1)

The Bengals almost stole one from Seattle last week, and I was shocked. John Ross looked like a legitimate wide receiver for the first time after two awful years and the defense show up big. Zac Taylor may be a head coach we talk more and more about in the coming weeks. However, if I end up being wrong about them, then they’ll be able to prove it this weekend against San Francisco. However my gut tells me the more talented team will win, giving the edge to the Niners. 

32. Miami Dolphins (-)

One thing I definitely got right last week was ranking the Dolphins at the bottom of my Power Rankings. I’m not sure if there is anything they can do to change that at this point. A 59-10 lost isn’t easily forgotten even if a fluke victory is in the future, and this week they host Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. Newly acquired Antonio Brown is expected to suit up despite Sexual Assault allegations lingering, and this could be another lay-up for the Pats.

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Skyler Wiercioch

Hibitual Process truster. King of Debates. Knows every stat about every player to touch an NFL field. Professional fantasy expert. Contact @sky_wiercioch on twitter for must starts in your fantasy lineup. I don’t care if we went 0-16 I’ll be at the parade in Detroit when we win the super bowl.

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