Welcome to the 3rd installment of your Canal Street Chronicles Power Rankings! With two weeks of action in the books, we are starting to find out the true identities of certain teams. Week two was a funky one with the Saints losing a home game to the Bucs, the Dolphins falling to Jacksonville, Oakland beating Baltimore, Washington beating St Louis, and Dallas going to 2-0 but losing Romo (one week after losing Bryant for a while). Flashes in the pan, or signs of times to come? That is the big money question.
32. Houston Texans (0-2, Previously #26) - Blown out by KC, then lost to Carolina. They can't score points, and the "great" defense couldn't even stop the Panthers offense. They'll have a couple of opportunities to prove they're not as bad as other bad teams, playing Tampa Bay next week and Jacksonville (twice), New Orleans, and Tennessee later in the season.
31. Chicago Bears (0-2, Previously #28) - Some Bears fans have been calling for the end of Jay Cutler... maybe that glimpse of Jimmy Clausen has them thinking twice. With Cutler this team is pretty bad, without Cutler they are probably the worst team in the league.
30. New Orleans Saints (0-2, Previously #14) - And we're freeeeee, free fallin'! The road loss to Arizona was defensible, the home loss to Tampa was not. I keep thinking this team looks good on paper, but eventually we have to judge them by what they put on the field... and what they've been putting on the field is hot garbage. This hot garbage turns into a dumpster fire, if the injury to Drew Brees lingers.
29. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-1, Previously #32) - They came in to New Orleans and made them look bad. Was the bad loss to Tennessee a fluke, or are the Saints just that bad? Until they win a game, you have to assume the latter. Still, a nice win vs a divisional foe, you have to give them some credit.
28. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1, Previously #31) - Got a nice and surprising win over the visiting Miami Dolphins, but don't buy into that too much. Through two games, Blake Bortles is still just a 54.8% passer, and that won't win many games in the NFL.
27. Tennessee Titans (1-1, Previously #24) - A week after blowing out Tampa Bay, they fell short against a Johnny Manziel led Cleveland team. Mariota didn't look bad, but he wasn't the perfect QB we saw week one. This team won't be competing anytime soon, but Mariota gives them hope for the future.
26. Cleveland Browns (1-1, Previously #30) - They were able to get their first win of the season, but I don't know how many will follow. They were able to get off to a 21-0 lead, thanks to Travis Benjamin pulling in a 60 yarder, and also returning a punt for a TD. Getting an early lead let them take some of the pressure off of Manziel and they didn't have to have him throw any more than he had to. It was a perfect storm for the Browns to get their first win of the season.
25. Carolina Panthers (2-0, Previously #23) - How can a 2-0 team be this low in the power rankings, when there are so many other teams with worse records? If your wins are against the Jacksonville Jaguars, and a squeaker at home against the Houston Texans, that's how. Off to a good looking start (record-wise) thanks to their soft schedule, this team should start coming back to Earth as the season progresses.
24. Oakland Raiders (1-1, Previously #29) - Picked up a win over Baltimore at home, this past week, after being destroyed by the Bengals the week before. 2nd year QB Derek Carr bounced back nicely following a bad week 1, in which he suffered an injury. The Raiders are a team with some nice pieces, but they are too young at key positions and too inconsistent to be anything more than a spoiler for other teams this season.
23. Detroit Lions (0-2, Previously #15) - The Lions brought in Lombardi at OC and have been adding a slew of former Saints' players the past few years, trying to replicate the New Orleans team... Well, they've finally done it!!! Unfortunately, the thing they duplicated is having a good looking team on paper, but ultimately failing to do anything on the field.
22. Philadelphia Eagles (0-2, Previously #16) - They are now 0-2, including a loss to the Bryant-less Dallas Cowboys. Chip Kelly went all in on the Sam Bradford pot, and he's losing that bet, badly. Has the bottom finally fallen out on Kelly's "revolutionizing" style of football?
21. Indianapolis Colts (0-2 Previously #19) - If I said this team would start 0-2 with losses to the Jets and the Bills, you'd be suspicious... if I said that they would only put up a combined total of 21 points in those two games, you'd call me a flat out liar. That's where we stand. This team put all their eggs in the offensive basket, but thanks to disappointing play from Frank Gore and Andrew Luck (stemming from o-line problems), this team has found themselves in an early hole.
20. Washington Potatoes (1-1, Previously #27) - They lost to a team that lost to Jacksonville, but also beat a team that beat the Seahawks. This team has me scratching my head. While they are far from a good team, the division is wide open, with the Eagles and the Giants off to horrible starts, and the Cowboys having lost their best two players.
19. Miami Dolphins (1-1, Previously #18) - How many times have we heard "this is the year the Dolphins finally take the next step," only to have them be the same underachieving team that shows glimpses of being good? Well, it looks like we'll be hearing that again next year, after more of the same in a disappointing loss to Jacksonville (following a not so confidence building squeaker against Washington).
18. Minnesota Vikings (1-1, Previously #25) - A week after being thoroughly defeated by the 49ers, they responded by taking control of 2nd place in the NFC North by picking up a home win over the Detroit Lions. Unfortunately, all this proves is just how big of a drop off there is from the Packers to the next best team in the North.
17. San Francisco 49ers (1-1, Previously #20) - Now that's more like the San Fran team we were expecting (and hoping for) in the off season! They were absolutely dominated on both sides of the ball by a very good Pittsburgh Steelers team. Kaepernick didn't look too bad when he was able to get a pass off, unfortunately he was rushed all night and sacked 5 times.... add in the lack of a running game, and that spelled disaster.
16. New York Giants (0-2, Previously #10) - This team is a lot more talented than their record indicates, but they just can't get it done in crunch time. The teams they've lost to aren't horrible, but they don't seem to be world beaters, either. Tom Coughlin is coaching his way out of the NFL, at this rate. At least they should get Victor Cruz back in a week or two.
15. Dallas Cowboys (2-0, Previously #12) - They are undefeated and already have 2 wins against divisional foes.... but they also lost Tony Romo and Dez Bryant in the process, that's going to be near impossible to overcome. Fully healthy, this is a playoff level team, but for now, their hopes rest on the arm of Brandon Weedon.
14. Baltimore Ravens (0-2, Previously #7) - A close loss to the Broncos followed up by a close loss the Raiders, leaves this team in a hole and a whole lot of questions. They still have a good coach, a good QB, and several other solid players. While they aren't the top level team I thought they were going into the season, they aren't that bad, either. Out of the 0-2 teams, I think they have the best shot at turning their season around.
13. St Louis Rams (1-1, Previously #8) - How do you follow up a big win against the defending NFC champs? A big loss to the Washington Redskins. The Rams are the anti-Chiefs, they'll lose against the bad teams, and beat the good ones. Is that seat getting a little hot, Mr. Fisher?
12. Seattle Seahawks (0-2, Previously #4) - They didn't just lose to the Green Bay Packers, they got beat by the Green Bay Packers. The Seahawks are still a talented team, who lost a couple of road games that weren't expected to be "sure" wins, but they are also still 0-2, and looking up at a very strong looking 2-0 Cardinals team in the standings. This team will put things together and make a strong push for the wildcard, but don't go thinking this is the same Seahawks team as last year.
11. Kansas City Chiefs (1-1, Previously #22) - As long as this team can't complete passes down the field, they will be nothing more than the best of the average teams. They are 0-1 in the division, and their one win is a close one against a lackluster Houston Texans team. Like usual, they'll beat the bad teams, and lose to the good ones... luckily for them, there seems to be a lack of good teams this season.
10. New York Jets (2-0 Previously #21) - A great start for the Jets as they move to 2-0 behind a great defense. The offense is holding their end of the bargain thanks to good play from Marshall, Decker, and Ivory. Fitzpatrick has been as good (or as not bad) as he needs to be for this team to be successful.
9. San Diego Chargers (1-1, Previously #11) - Lost a close one to a good team. They need to work on getting off to a faster start, after needing a 30 point comeback in week one, and only putting up 6 points in the first half in week two. If they can get things going out of the gate, this team can beat the best of them.
8. Atlanta Falcons (2-0, Previously #17) - They're undefeated with two close wins over winless teams, but this team has still looked pretty good.... the rest of their opponents for the season are Dallas (without Romo and Bryant), Houston, Washington, New Orleans (x2), Tennessee, Tampa Bay (x2), San Francisco, Indianapolis, Minnesota, Carolina (x2), and Jacksonville... If they keep playing like they have, this team could sleep walk their way to the playoffs.
7. Cincinnati Bengals (2-0, Previously #13) - A week after destroying the Oakland Raiders, the Bengals toughed out a win against the San Diego Chargers. They have looked pretty good on both sides of the ball in back to back weeks, and have a chance to get a big divisional win when they travel to Baltimore in week 3.
6. Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1, Previously #9) - They followed up a tough loss to the Patriots with a thorough beating of the 49ers. The team has looked really solid offensively, and have done so without their #1 running back and #2 receiver. If DeAngelo Williams has been playing at a pro-bowl level, fans have to be excited to see what Bell is going to do.
5. Buffalo Bills (1-1, Previously #5) - After shutting down Andrew Luck and the Colts offense, the Bills got lit up by Tom Brady and the Patriots offense. Still, an 8 point divisional loss against the most consistently good team in the NFL is no reason to panic. This team is still really good, especially if Tyrod Taylor limits his turnovers.
4. Arizona Cardinals (2-0, Previously #6) - They beat the Saints at home, and followed it up by blowing out the Chicago Bears. This could just be a team feasting on weak opponents, but they've looked good doing it. As long as Carson Palmer stays healthy, this team has the best shot at taking down the Packers in the NFC.
3. Denver Broncos (2-0, Previously #3) - The first two games have looked pretty ugly for the Broncos, but they've come out of them with a perfect record. While I don't think KC is a great team, a road win against a divisional foe is big this early in the season. They may not look great, but as long as they keep winning, the Broncos remain a top level team.
2. New England Patriots (2-0, Previously #2) - They put up 40 points against one of the best defenses in the league. Went to Buffalo and picked up a big divisional win on the road. Once again, the Patriots are in the driver's seat in the AFC East.
1. Green Bay Packers (2-0, Previously #1) - They were the #1 team last week, and they beat the reigning NFC Champions, no reason for anything to change. Green Bay looks to be the class of the NFC.
Is it just me, or are there a lot more "bad" teams than usual this year?