Before you sharpen your pitchforks, a short note on how we’ve come to rank the teams as we have: all NFLTR writers have compiled their own NFL power rankings, which we’ve compiled and averaged in the list below. We hope you enjoy the fruits of our labor, and feel free to agree, disagree, or roast us in the comments below.
#1) Denver Broncos ( 1)
It may not have been a seven touchdown performance, but Peyton Manning was still able to efficiently distribute the ball and finish 30-43 for 307 yards passing and two touchdowns. The downside of course is that they will likely be without LT Ryan Clady for an extended period of time, so we’ll have to see how they adjust in the coming weeks. DEN gets OAK, PHI and DAL in the next three weeks.
#2) Seattle Seahawks ( 1)
I must admit that I thought the 49ers would be able to keep this game much closer than it ultimately was. Seahawks absolutely man-handled the 49ers and surprisingly dominated the trenches. While SEA is strong upfront, it’s just shocking to SF’s defensive line getting pushed around. The Seahawks home field advantage is so significant that it would almost be surprise to see them lose even a single game at home. SEA gets JAX in Week 3 and is already favored by 19.5 points.
#3) San Francisco 49ers (2)
Colin Kaepernick looked like just a regular guy Sunday night, which is almost unfathomable to me. Last year, Kaepernick was able to torch teams who blitzed, but SEA managed to keep him and the 49ers offense off balance the whole game. It probably didn’t help that his WRs were not getting any separation whatsoever and they couldn’t run the ball for anything. The 49ers schedule will get easier in the coming weeks as they take on IND, STL and HOU in the next three weeks.
#4) Green Bay Packers
Speaking of dominate performances, the Packers rebounded from their Week 1 lose about as well as you could possibly expect. Aaron Rodgers was simply incredible and other than 3 sacks being allowed in the first half, the team as a whole put together a complete game. CIN will almost certainly be a better test than WAS defense was.
#5) New England Patriots
NE survived another ugly showing in Week 2, which is really what we’ve come to expect of Thursday night games. Still, Brady frustration was on full display as his young receiving corps was unable to catch a staggering percentage of the passes thrown their way. They were up against an underrated Jets defense, but the mistakes were mostly self induced. The Pats will be up against a Buccaneers team that is dealing with a number of distractions and could be on the brink of imploding.
#6) New Orleans Saints
For some reason the Saints seem to struggle in Tampa Bay. On paper, this match up looks to be largely in favor of Drew Brees and company, but the Buccaneers always end up taking these games down to the wire. The Saints couldn’t get the run game going, but thankfully for them they had Jimmy Graham to go to and Josh Freeman was under center for the Bucs. NO draws the ARI in Week 3, which is actually a sneaky good game.
#7) Atlanta Falcons ( 1)
Recent reports have indicated that RB Steven Jackson is “uncertain” for their Week 3 match up. The Falcons also lost their starting DE Kroy Biermann and FB Bradie Ewing for the season, so there are concerns for them moving forward. ATL will be up against a MIA team in Week 3 that has the ability to move the ball throw the air and rush the passer. Matt Ryan will need to be at his best to offset the possible loss of Jackson.
#8) Chicago Bears ( 1)
Another week, another last second win from the Bears. While it’s great that they’ve managed to pull out wins in back-to-back games over two playoffs team from a year ago, the fact that they were unable to build a cushion against Christian Ponder is a little concerning. CHI managed to hold Adrian Peterson in check for most of the game, which is actually saying something. It will be interesting to see how they do on the road in the coming week. CHI gets PIT, DET and NO in the next three weeks.
#9) Houston Texans (2)
Despite pulling out wins in the first two games of the season, we’re apparently not buying their early success that much. It’s rare to be undefeated and dropping in the rankings, but the Texans clearly have some areas that need to be cleaned up. The good news is that first-round pick DeAndre Hopkins looks like a great pick, who should be able to give them some much needed help opposite of Andre Johnson. Hopefully, Johnson is able to play in Week 3 after apparently suffering a concussion. HOU has a tough of a three-game stretch as anyone. They get BAL, SF and SEA in the next three weeks.
#10) Cincinnati Bengals ( 3)
Personally, I’m not buying this team. Andy Dalton was erratic throughout Monday night’s game and it’s almost as though they succeed in spite of his obvious deficiencies. Rookie RB Gio Bernard did have a great game last night, which is at least a positive sign for them moving forward. For as much as we hear about their vaunted defensive front, they too haven’t lived up to expectations. Carlos Dunlap did however make a couple great plays last night. Either way, I can’t see them matching up with GB.
#11) Kansas City Chiefs ( 4)
The Chiefs didn’t overpower the Cowboys by any means, but they managed to play clean football and that ultimately made the difference. Alex Smith has yet to turn the ball over, even though his passing numbers are modest by today’s standards. Either way, their defensive unit is strong enough to keep them in games and the fact that they have one of easiest schedules in the league should be enough for them to secure a wildcard. KC gets PHI, NYG and TEN in the next three weeks.
#12) Dallas Cowboys (1)
Dallas was really hurt by their inability to run the ball against KC. They averaged just 2.3 yards per carry on Sunday, which applied a lot of pressure to Tony Romo. For the most part, DAL was actually pretty effective through the air and Dez Bryant was just incredible in this game. The good news for DAL is that every other team in the NFC East walked away with a loss in Week 2. The winner of this division could end up being only 9-7. DAL gets STL next weekend.
#13) Philadelphia Eagles (3)
It was surprising to see the Eagles drop this game at home. The talking point following PHI Week 1 game was; “How were the Chargers going to match up against this Chip Kelly offense on a short week?” Well, that wasn’t the issue. The Eagles defense looks to have picked up right where they left off last year. It’s not going to make a difference how great their offense is if they get crushed in time of possession with that defensive unit. The Eagles get Andy Reid’s Chiefs at home on a short week.
#14) Detroit Lions (2)
Lions RB Reggie Bush appears to be okay after suffering a knee injury during Sunday’s loss to the Cardinals. ARI does have a good defense, but it’s not a great sign for DET that their offense wasn’t close to as productive without Bush. The Lions get RGIII in Week 3 followed by divisional games against the Bears and Packers, so we should have a solid idea who this team is after Week 5.
#15) Miami Dolphins ( 4)
The Dolphins have gotten off to a solid 2-0 start in 2013. MIA was able to get Mike Wallace into the mix in Week 2, which is clearly a great sign for them moving forward. The run game, however, continues to struggle. The Dolphins will have a great test this weekend when they take on the Falcons.
#16) Arizona Cardinals ( 6)
The Cardinals could be a little high with this ranking, but they’re clearly better than many expected them to be. They managed to hang around in their first two games and walked away with a solid home win over the Lions in Week 2. Larry Fitzgerald’s health is a bit of concern, as he’s been dealing with a hamstring injury. If Fitzgerald is forced to miss any amount of time, the Cardinals could easily be dropping in the rankings.
#17) Baltimore Ravens ( 1)
I know Baltimore has put together two lackluster performances to begin the year, but I still think #17 is a little low for them. After all, the Browns have a solid defensive unit and Ray Rice randomly injured his hip during the game. His status for Week 3 is up in the air. With that being said, Marlon Brown has managed to catch touchdowns in each of his first two NFL games, so there’s at least some hope for their passing attack moving forward. I wouldn’t be surprised to see BAL beat HOU this weekend.
#18) Indianapolis Colts
The Colts followed up a disappointing showing against the Raiders with a home loss to the Dolphins. Their passing attack doesn’t look the same now that Bruce Arians is gone, but they have managed to gain some decent yardage on the ground under Pep Hamilton. This is something they’ll need to continue to focus on in Week 3 when they travel to take on the 49ers.
#19) St. Louis Rams (2)
Sam Bradford has actually looked pretty good to begin the year. He tallied 352 yards passing and three touchdowns against the Falcons in Week 2. Still, their ground game has been as lackluster to say the least. Allowing Jackson to depart was the right move in the long-run, but they’re clearly fooling themselves if they think Daryl Richardson and Isaiah Pead are the answer. They get DAL in Week 3, which is a winnable game for the Rams.
#20) San Diego Chargers ( 4)
The Chargers have actually put together two strong performances in as many weeks. Last week’s loss to the Texans had to be tough to swallow, but they were clearly prepared to exploit the Eagles defense. I think the Chargers should probably be a little higher than #20, but they should be able to gain some ground in the coming weeks when they take on the Titans, Cowboys and Raiders.
#21) New York Giants (1)
Eli Manning currently leads the NFL in interceptions with 7 total. Just for the sake of perspective, Christian Ponder and Geno Smith are tied for second with four interceptions. Clearly, Manning is trying to compensate for their poor rushing attack that doesn’t appear to be getting any better. I know David Wilson has his issues, but they’re at a point where they need to get him involved and hope he takes the next step. NYG have a very favorable match up against the Panthers in Week 3, so hopefully they’ll be able to get things turned around in the coming weeks.
#22) Washington Redskins (5)
Alfred Morris managed to gain over 100 yards on the ground. That’s the only positive I could think of regarding WAS offense. Opposing teams just aren’t afraid of RGIII making plays with his legs and until he’s able to take off and scramble for yardage, they’re not going to adjust their defensive schemes. WAS defense has been horrible as well. Their secondary has to be among the worst in the league. It’s hard to imagine things getting any better next week when they take on Calvin Johnson and the Lions tough defensive front.
#23) Buffalo Bills ( 2)
The Bills have put together back-to-back solid outings. First-round pick E.J. Manuel has looked pretty good in his first two games and I’d expect him to play at a serviceable level moving forward. It was good to see Mario Williams have a great game that included 4.5 sacks. The Bills get the Jets and Geno Smith this weekend.
#24) Minnesota Vikings ( 2)
It’s rare to see an 0-2 team moving up the rankings, but I guess we may have been a little low on the Vikings after their Week 1 loss. MIN still managed to drop another divisional game on Sunday, but the good news was that they were able to remain competitive despite only a modest game from Adrian Peterson. The team has said that they intend to get first-round pick WR Corderalle Patterson more involved moving forward, which is at least something to monitor. MIN needs to come out of Week 3 with a win over the lowly Browns.
#25) Tennessee Titans ( 2)
TEN was close to pulling the upset in HOU, but unfortunately couldn’t put it together. The good news is that the coaching staffs appears to be playing to the strengths of their roster, although QB Jake Locker is really more of a game-manager at this point. TEN is last in the league in passing yards, but Locker has yet to throw a single interception. We’ll have to see if they can continue to hang around against SD, NYJ and KC in the next three weeks.
#26) Carolina Panthers (5)
Ron Rivera has to be the favorite to be the first coach fired in 2013. The Panthers offense continues to be a below-average unit with almost no signs of improvement. Thankfully for them, they have a decent group of young player on defense, but that’s not going to be enough for them to remain relevant in the NFC South this year. The Giants travel to Carolina in Week 3 and need a win badly. Last year, the Panthers were absolutely embarrassed by the Giants at home.
#27) Pittsburgh Steelers (4)
Alex Smith currently has more rushing yards than the entire Steelers team through two games. On top of that, PIT doesn’t appear to have anyone who’s capable of making big plays on offense. I would argue that Markus Wheaton could be that guy, but apparently Todd Haley doesn’t agree. Their defense has looked at least respectable at times, but it’s just hard to get excited about the oldest roster in the league returning to their previous form. PIT gets a 2-0 Bears team at home in Week 3.
#28) New York Jets ( 1)
I like what I’ve seen out of the Jets defensive front-seven so far. My guy Sheldon Richardson has really shown up in his first two NFL games. I though Chris Ivory actually looked pretty good and was surprised that they got away from him in Thursday’s game. Clearly, Geno Smith needs to put together a complete game without mistakes if they’re going to win this season. Their Week 3 match up against the Bills should at least be interesting.
#29) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1)
The Buccaneers have plenty of talent to work with, but the results just haven’t been there to start the season. There’s a ton of drama being leaked to the media regarding this team, and drawing the Patriots at this point in the season isn’t going to help them right the ship. TB is currently the second worst team in terms of passing yards, which just illustrates how bad Josh Freeman has played.
#30) Oakland Raiders ( 1)
I’m actually surprised that the Raiders have managed to make it all the way to #30. They’ve actually looked like a respectable team and are just a few points against the Colts from starting the season 2-0. Although beating the Jaguars doesn’t exactly count for much. They get the Broncos in Week 3, which will obviously give us a better idea of just how good this team really is.
#31) Cleveland Browns (4)
The good news for the Browns is that their defense appears to be legit. The bad news is that Brandon Weeden is not good and older than Aaron Rodgers. Reports have indicated that the Browns are likely to go with Jason Campbell in Week 3 against the Vikings. Hopefully, he’ll be better at distributing the ball.
#32) Jacksonville Jaguars
There’s really nothing like losing to a team that was completely gutted during the offseason. The Jaguars continue to claim players off of waivers, which is a somewhat curious strategy of filling out their roster. All indications are that JAX is playing for another top-two draft pick next year. The travel to SEA in Week 3, so losing by less than 20 points would probably be a win for this team.