clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

NFL Week 1 Power Rankings

New, comments

This list is much better than the one by SB Nation, and not just because I created it.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
After critiquing SB Nation's Week 1 Power Rankings, I decided to put together my own:


1. New England Patriots - The Patriots faced one of the power houses of the NFC, the Arizona Cardinals in Week 1. The Patriots were playing on the road, without 3-time Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady, and without All-Pro TE Rob Gronkowski. They were not supposed to win this game, but they did anyway. The rest of the NFL should be afriad when the Patriots are at full strength.

2. Pittsburgh Steelers - Good teams handily beat the teams they are supposed to beat, and the Steelers did just that. On the road versus an inferior Washington Redskins squad, the Steelers won handily 38-16. Like the Patriots, they were also missing one of their star players in Le'Veon Bell, so if the Steelers will actually get better once he returns, look out.

3. Denver Broncos - The reigning, defending Super Bowl champs barely eked out a victory in their Super Bowl rematch against the Carolina Panthers. Super Bowl MVP Von Miller was held to "only" one sack in the game, but the defense still looks other-worldly. As long as Trevor Siemian (and eventually Paxton Lynch) don't throw the games away, the Broncos are favorites to win the AFC East.

4. Green Bay Packers - On the road against a young but talented Jacksonville Jaguars squad, Aaron Rodgers did what he does best - win. Jordy Nelson is finally back and seemingly healthy (scoring a receiving TD in the game), and the defense looks just good enough to help their high-powered offense.

5. Kansas City Chiefs - A preseason favorite to potentially snag the AFC East title from the Broncos, the Chiefs were taken to the limit with an overtime victory versus the rival San Diego Chargers. Good teams will find different ways to win, and the Chiefs were able to battle back from a 21-3 deficit at halftime. A team that wasn't thought to be able to put up points at will, the Chiefs offense stormed back to eventually steal the game.

6. Seattle Seahawks - With a final score of 12-10 over the Miami Dolphins, this might be the type of trademarked win for the Seattle Seahawks all season. A Russell Wilson injury scare stopped the hearts of Seahawks fans everywhere, but he looks to be just fine for Week 2. Marshawn Lynch is clearly missed, but with Seahawks defense, like the Chiefs and Broncos, much won't be required of the offense to win games.

7. Carolina Panthers - Kelvin Benjamin's return was evident and the Carolina Panthers are a scary team on offense. With last year's MVP Cam Newton leading the offensive unit that also contains the aforementioned Benjamin, plus Greg Olsen, Devin Funchess, and Jonathan Stewart, the Panthers should have no trouble putting up points all season. While the return of Benjamin was nice, the loss of Josh Norman hurts, and their defense will need to make improvements to stay in the category of "elite."

8. Oakland Raiders - Jack Del Rio's gamble to go for the win paid off, and the Raiders beat the high-octane New Orleans Saints in the Dome. The Raiders' young secondary is suspect, but the offense leaves no questions. To come into New Orleans and beat the Saints in a shootout is no easy task, especially for a young offense led by Derek Carr and Amari Cooper.

9. Philadelphia Eagles - The Carson Wentz era is upon us. Like the Steelers above, the Eagles beat an inferior team in the Cleveland Browns. But here the story is that Carson Wentz, making his NFL rookie debut, was able to throw for 275+ yards and two TDs, led his team to victory. This is another young squad like the Raiders that could make a run in their division.

10. Jacksonville Jaguars - The Jaguars lost a close game at home against the Green Bay Packers, but losing to the former Super Bowl MVP is nothing to be ashamed up. The Jaguars have a young and talented core on offense that will only continue to get better as the season progresses.

11. Detroit Lions - The Lions, like the Bengals two spots below them, were able to win on the road, but unlike the Bengals, were able to win by over a field goal. The Lions, even without future Hall of Fame WR Calvin Johnson, were able to win a shootout against another offense-first team in the Indianapolis Colts. Theo Riddick and Ameer Abdullah look to be a deadly combination at running back, and Marvin Jones, Golden Tate, and Eric Ebron are all very talented receiving options for Matthew Stafford.

12. Arizona Cardinals - Losing at home against the Patriots would also typically be nothing to be ashamed of, but to lose to the Jimmy Garoppolo-led Patriots with Martellus Bennett at TE is not nearly as forgiving a situation. Carson Palmer at QB, David Johnson at RB, and the ageless Larry Fitzgerald at WR make a dominant offense, but what was thought to be a dominant defense was far from it.

13. Cincinnati Bengals - The Bengals were on the road against the New York Jets, where both teams are expected to contend for a Wild Card in the AFC. The Bengals were able to squeak out a one-point victory on the road, and Pro-Bowl WR AJ Green dominated Revis Island with 180 receiving yards and a TD.

14. New York Giants - The Giants were able to beat the division-rival Dallas Cowboys in Jerry's World with a final score of 20-19. The Giants running game was virtually non-existent, and they were up against a 4th Round QB making his NFL debut in Dak Prescott. On paper, the fully healthy Giants squad should have won a little more convincingly.

15. Minnesota Vikings - The Vikings were able to beat the Titans, but Adrian Peterson went nowhere all game. Granted, the Titans defense was able to stack the box against All Day AP, but we were still used to seeing Peterson break out a few big runs anyway. The Vikings will be looking to improve at the QB position next week with Sam Bradford starting over Shaun Hill, so that should open things up for the running game as well.

16. Houston Texans - The Texans lost LB Brian Cushing for 6 weeks with an MCL injury, but the Texans were still able to win at home against the Chicago Bears. Rookie WR Will Fuller looks to be an excellent compliment to Pro-Bowler DeAndre Hopkins, and JJ Watt is still a beast.

17. Tampa Bay Bucaneers - The Bucs won on the road against the Atlanta Falcons, and almost blew a big lead in the 4th Quarter. After a shaky start, QB Jameis Winston was able to rebound into an overall good day in the air, but more was expected out of re-signed RB Doug Martin (62 yards on the ground for the day).

18. Baltimore Ravens - This is the Mike Wallace fans remember from Pittsburgh. Between him and Kamar Aiken, Joe Flacco looks to have two qualify options at WR. The running back stable still has lots of question marks, but rookie Kenneth Dixon will look to gradually take over the role when he comes back healthy.

19. San Francisco 49ers - Navorro Bowman is a beast. Carlos Hyde looks to be a dual-threat, 3-down back, and Blaine Gabbert did just enough at QB to help his team win. But back to the defense, the 49ers D were able to shut out the Rams offense and shut down Todd Gurley. If the Rams hadn't looked so pedestrian on offense, their convincing win would put them higher.

20. New Orleans Saints - Drew Brees continues to show why he's one of the best ever at QB, and why the Saints front office felt confident in extending him another year. The loss of Delvin Breaux hurts, but this team has never been about the defense. The offense again looks to be one of the NFL's best, and by midseason, with a returning Sheldon Rankins and Delvin Breaux, the defense should be much improved over last year.

21. New York Jets - The Jets lost a heartbreaker to the Cincinnati Bengals, but they should still be right in the middle of the AFC Wild Card hunt. Matt Forte, in his first year with the Jets, was able to rush for close to 100 yards, and Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker are two very good receivers for Ryan Fitzpatrick. Darrelle Revis didn't just get beat, but he was flat-out exposed against AJ Green, so the Jets might not be quite the threat against the pass as many expected this year.

22. Dallas Cowboys - Dak Prescott was fine in his first career start. He wasn't great. He wasn't terrible. He was fine. Rookie RB Ezekiel Elliott was also fine. Not great. Not terrible. Just fine, but admittedly closer to great than terrible. If Dak can make strides at QB, then this offense might be really good. The only problem is, we just don't know how long we're going to see Dak starting at QB.

23. Indianapolis Colts - The Colts came out of the gate stumbling, but then were able to come back and might a close game out of it. The Colts defense struggled against both the run and the pass, though, and like the Saints, look to heavily rely on their offense to keep them into games.

24. Washington Redskins - After all the hype over Redskins QB Kirk Cousins before the start of the season, many fans and analysts were expecting to see a shootout. Instead, while he was able to put up over 300 yards in the air, he finished with 0 touchdowns to 2 interceptions. Not good. Chris Thompson looks to be a compotent back-up, but RB Matt Jones should be back soon to help this offense score in the redzone.

25. Chicago Bears - Another game, another interception for Jay Cutler. Looking at this team with Alshon Jeffery and Jeremy Langford, you can't help but feel that if the Bears could get consistent play out of their QB, they could be a very good team. That hasn't happened yet, hence the low ranking.

26. Miami Dolphins - The defense looked great against the Seahawks offense. The front 7 of the Phins dominated the run game and terrorized Russell Wilson all game. But an offense led by the slinging Ryan Tannehill underwhelmed. Former New Orleans Saints WR Kenny Stills dropped a would-be touchdown on a deep ball, but Tannehill otherwise couldn't connect with any of his receivers all game.

27. Tennessee Titans - The Titans have long-term questions at the RB position with DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry, but the Titans were not able to stop Shaun Hill and the Vikings. Titans QB Marcus Mariota also looks to miss WR Dorial Green-Beckham, but last year's breakout TE Delanie Walker also was held in check.

28. San Diego Chargers - The Chargers blew an 18-point lead to the divisional rival Kansas City Chiefs, but also lost star WR Keenan Allen for the year during the game. Things are not looking good for Philip Rivers and Co. on offense.

29. Atlanta Falcons - The Falcons got beat at home by a young and talented Tampa Bay team, but Matt Ryan had a chance to send the game to overtime on a last-minute drive that eventually stalled. RB Devonta Freeman, who burst onto the scene last year, looked like a shadow of the player he was in 2015, and Julio Jones might have reinjured his banged up ankle.

30. Buffalo Bills - The Bills offense just couldn't get the ball moving against the Ravens. With Tyrod Taylor, Sammy Watkins, and LeSean McCoy, great things are expected out of this offensive core, but those great things were missing Week 1.

31. Cleveland Browns - The Browns lost the game and their starting QB for 6 weeks all at the same time. The loss of RG3 might hurt more on paper than in the game, though, as he was held to less than 200 passing yards and 0 touchdowns during the game.

32. Los Angeles Rams - How much longer until the Rams pull the trigger and start Jared Goff? Todd Gurley was constantly stuffed at the line of scrimmage and with no threat in the passing game, the 49ers were able to seemingly put all 11 players in the box. The Rams were flat-out embarrassed Week 1, but changes might be coming (both on the team and on the coaching staff).


So there's my list. What do you think? Did I miss the boat completely? Could you have done a better job? Tell us in the comments. Send me presents.