By Reece Mowlem
Week 1 contained a lot of shocks and consequently there has been a lot of movement in my power rankings. Below are how the teams look entering Week 2 of the NFL season.
1. New England Patriots (Up 1)
It may have looked close at the end, but the Patriots were comfortable in their victory against the Texans on Sunday. New England looked great on both sides of the ball and Tom Brady showed no signs of elderly decline whatsoever. Also, the offensive line looked sneaky good. A solid game was all the Pats needed to climb to the top of the list thanks to a lacklustre performance from the Falcons against the Eagles on Thursday night.
2. Minnesota Vikings (Up 6)
The only thing that prevented me having the Vikings in my top 3 last week was my concern over the new offensive scheme being brought in by OC John DeFillippo, but after their game against the 49ers I'm not so worried. It was only shown in flashes, but QB Kirk Cousins moved the ball well using both Thielen and Diggs in the passing game, as well as assisting running back Dalvin Cook to a decent day on the ground. The offensive line is still a weakness, but the defensive line looked like one of the best in the league and have helped Minnesota climb my rankings after Week 1.
3. Los Angeles Rams (No Change)
The Rams started slowly against the Raiders, but the final result was as expected; an LA victory. Running back Todd Gurley continued his elite form from 2017 with 147 total yards and a touchdown in Oakland, plus new star cornerback Marcus Peters added a pick six on his debut to seal the game. Considering that most of the starters saw no preseason action, McVay's team showed me enough to remain at the number 3 spot in my rankings.
4. Green Bay Packers (Up 2)
It wasn't looking good for the Packers as Aaron Rodgers was carted off early in the game, leaving backup QB DeShone Kizer to be humiliated by a rampant Khalil Mack. But despite being down 17-0, Rodgers limped out of the locker-room to perform an exquisite second-half come back and win the game in front of the jubilant Lambeau faithful. As I said last week, Rodgers can carry this team to a Super Bowl and he showed us how on Sunday.
5. Pittsburgh Steelers (Down 1)
A tie with the Browns was definitely not how the Steelers intended to start their year. Big Ben turned the ball over 5 times and kicker Chris Boswell missed a game winner, but there were still some positives to take away from the game. James Conner looked like a legitimate starter who can do much more than just simply fill in for the absent Le'Veon Bell and T.J. Watt proved himself as a potentially elite pass rusher. With Bell around or not, Pittsburgh are still one of the best teams in the AFC despite the Week 1 hiccup.
6. Philadelphia Eagles (Up 3)
The Nick Foles led offence may have been flat, but this Eagles defensive unit is one dominant group of players. Fletcher Cox and his colleagues on the defensive line were putting pressure on Matt Ryan repeatably throughout the game and helped prevent the Falcons from scoring a TD on any of their four trips to the red-zone. It might be a while till we see him back on the field, but when Carson Wentz returns he will most likely elevate the offence and make the Eagles a contender once again.
7. New Orleans Saints (Down 2)
Well nobody saw that coming. The Saints gave up 48 points at home to a ruthless Bucs team with Fitzmagic at the helm, putting Drew Brees and the offence in an almost impossible position. They managed to score 40 points of their own, but it wasn't enough. New Orleans' offence will still be a juggernaut this year, but the defence looks like a real problem right now. I did actually predict a defensive regression, but I didn't think it would be this dramatic. However, the Saints have lost seven of their last eight Week 1 games ,so I expect them to get back on track and still be one of the teams to beat in the NFC.
8. Atlanta Falcons (Down 7)
I had initially only dropped the Falcons down to fifth in the rankings, but after the news that linebacker Deion Jones has been placed on IR I had to slide them even further. Matt Ryan's arm looked like a noodle against the Eagles and the red-zone woes from last season still seem to be a problem for this offence. On the plus side, Julio Jones is a beast and the defence is still a solid group, even without safety Keanu Neal and Deion Jones. They should still make the playoffs, but I'm far less confident now than I was a week ago.
9. Jacksonville Jaguars (Up 1)
The Jags were as expected against the Giants on Sunday; dominant on defence and competent on offence. Hopefully Leonard Fournette's injury won't mean he misses any time, but T.J. Yeldon is a more then serviceable backup and the offensive line looks improved. They say defence wins championships and this unit certainly could do just that.
10. Los Angeles Chargers (Down 3)
If it wasn't for big time drops and a muffed punt, the Chargers would have probably beaten the Chiefs in their Sunday shootout. Rivers had a great day through the air throwing over 400 yards and Melvin Gordon ran well racking up 166 all-purpose yards, so the offence doesn't look like a problem. The Joey Bosa-less defence however, was unable to deal with Tyreek Hill and the dynamic KC offence and will have to improve if they want to win the AFC West.
11. Kansas City Chiefs (Up 10)
The Chiefs offence, as expected, was lights out but the defence was, as expected, a bit of a mess. My biggest takeaway from this game wasn't that Pat Mahomes is a top tier QB, but that Tyreek Hill is top five receiver in the NFL and is going to continue tearing up defences throughout 2018 with his electric speed and ridiculous elusiveness.
12. Cincinnati Bengals (No Change)
It took a comeback, but the Bengals got the win in Indy on Andrew Luck's return. There were moments of sloppiness from both the offence and defence, but overall, I thought it was a decent performance. The standout player for me was running back Joe Mixon, a second-year guy who looks like he could be a Pro Bowl calibre three-down back if he can maintain a level of performance similar to the high standard he set against the Colts.
13. Carolina Panthers (Down 2)
Despite the victory, I found the Panthers Week 1 performance slightly disappointing. The defence looked great, but for the offence to only put up 16 points against a susceptible Cowboys defence was certainly underwhelming (and losing Greg Olsen won't help). Carolina are still a playoff contender, but I need to see more from Cam Newton and the offence for the Panthers to break into my Top 10.
14. Baltimore Ravens (Up 6)
The Ravens convincingly beat the Bills in Week 1 but I'm not putting too much stock in the result after seeing how bad Buffalo were. But what we can take away from the game is that Joe Flacco can still get it done, the new receiving corps looks better than last year's unit, and the defence is still pretty damn good. I think the Thursday night matchup against the Bengals will be a good measuring stick for this team.
15. Chicago Bears (Up 2)
The Bear's first offensive drive was one of the best I saw this weekend and showed the innovation of new head coach Matt Nagy, but after that they seemed to struggle to get out of first gear. The defence also started strong and seemed to fade as the game progressed. However, this team has a lot of potential and if this game is anything to go by, Khalil Mack will be well worth the $141 million that Chicago are paying him.
16. San Francisco 49ers (No Change)
Jimmy G's play was up and down in Minnesota on Sunday, but that's understandable when you go up against one of the league's best defences. Despite the loss, there were lots of positives to take away from this game for the 49ers, none more so than the rookie performances. Linebacker Fred Warner played exceptionally on his debut and wide receiver Dante Pettis, a guy I liked a lot coming out of Washington, scored a nice touchdown after coming in for the injured Marquise Goodwin. I still don't believe they're a playoff team, but there were promising signs for the fans back in San Fran.
17. Houston Texans (Down 2)
For the majority of their game against the Patriots, the Texans struggled to both get the ball moving on offence and stop New England on defence. DeShaun Watson did seem to grow into the game behind a shoddy line, but it was ultimately too late to get anything out of the matchup. Defensively, Clowney and Watt were quiet but the unit as a whole put it in okay performance. Overall, Houston were average and that's what I was expecting in Week 1.
18. Washington Redskins (Up 10)
Wherever Alex Smith goes he wins games. He was a picture of consistency against the Cardinals on Sunday, feeding TE Jordan Reed who looked as good as he ever has coming off his toe injury. Washington also looked great in the run game with 33-year-old Adrian Peterson, who was brought in late in the preseason, rushing for 96 yards and a touchdown. The defensive line also looked great, headed by a dominant performance from Matt Ioannidis. The Redskins look like a team lacking any real weaknesses and might be the second-best bet for the playoffs in the NFC East this year.
19. Denver Broncos (Up 7)
He may have thrown three interceptions, but Case Keenum looked good on his Denver debut and ultimately did enough to get the W in a close game against the Seahawks. The dual back running game of rookie's Royce Freeman and Philip Lindsay was highly effective, as was the receiving duo of Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, creating an offence much more dynamic than the Broncos' 2017 group. On defence, Von Miller feasted against the Seahawks' right tackle and racked up three sacks and two force fumbled, further cementing his position as one of the best pass rushers in the NFL. The playoffs may be a step too far, but Denver look a lot better than most expected.
20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Up 5)
I don't really care that the Buccaneers defence looked shaky, because Ryan Fitzpatrick balled out this week in New Orleans. The veteran QB threw for over 400 yards and had 4 touchdowns in a game that shocked the NFL world. I doubt it will continue, but Fitzmagic is back and it's looking beautiful.
21. Cleveland Browns (Up 3)
All I could think about watching the Browns this weekend was that Myles Garrett might be in the conversation for defensive player of the year come the end of the season. He was the star in a disruptive performance by the whole Cleveland defence, including 4th overall pick Denzel Ward who had two interceptions. The offence did struggle, but the weather was far from easy to play in and there were some promising signs. The Browns may not have won, but at least they didn't lose.
22. New York Giants (Down 4)
How Ereck Flowers is still a starting tackle in the NFL is beyond me. He and his fellow linemen struggled to contain the Jags defensive front, causing the Giants offence to flounder for most of the game. Rookie running back Saquon Barkley did have an impressive touchdown run but was bottled up for the majority. I also saw nothing form Eli Manning to convince me that they shouldn't have drafted Sam Darnold at number two in the draft. At least we got to see Odell back out there doing his thing.
23. Dallas Cowboys (Down 9)
I expected the Cowboys offence to bounce back this year, but it looks like that prediction was majorly incorrect. In their game with Carolina, Dallas didn't convert a third down until the second half, Dak Prescott seemed to lose all his arm strength and Zeke Elliott struggled to find any real rhythm. The defence did show some signs of an improvement from last season, but unless they can sort out the offence, it might be a down year for "America's Team".
24. Seattle Seahawks (Down 2)
We don't yet know how long he'll be staying in Seattle, but Earl Thomas showed us this weekend why he is still the best safety in the NFL. The veteran stood out on a mediocre defence that couldn't seem to contain the Case Keenum led Broncos offence for large parts of their contest in Denver. However, the Seahawks' main problem was once again that the offensive line couldn't protect Russell Wilson at all, and as good he is, he can't work miracles if he has no time in the pocket. But to take something positive away from the game, rookie tight end Will Dissly made a real impact on his NFL debut and could be a real factor on this offence.
25. New York Jets (Up 6)
As impressive as Sam Darnold was in this game, it was second year safety Jamal Adams that stood out to me most in the Jets' convincing victory of the Lions on Monday night. Adams was all over the field making plays and looks like a real leader on the defence. It was also nice to see the Jets possess a solid run game with Bilal Powell and Isaiah Crowell both having good days in the ground. It's only one game and we might all be getting ahead of ourselves, but the future looks bright for the green half of New York.
26. Miami Dolphins (Up 4)
They had to battle through two lengthy lightening stoppages, but the Dolphins got the all-important win at home against a lacklustre Titans team. Tannehill moments both bad and good in his return from injury but did enough to get Miami across the line. He was helped by Jakeem Grant scoring a 100+ yard kick return touchdown.
27. Tennessee Titans (Down 14)
I can admit when I make mistakes and looks like I made a big one when I announced the Titans as a 2018 playoff team. Martiota and the Tennessee offensive looked uninventive and dry (even with the torrential rain) and the defence couldn't create anything to really shout about either. The one bright spark from the game was the performance of running back Dion Lewis, who was favoured heavily over fellow back Derrick Henry, even in goal-line situations. It could just have been an opening week blip, but it looks like the Titans might be a mediocre or worse football team in 2018.
28. Oakland Raiders (Down 1)
The Raiders played far beyond their expectations in the first half on Monday night, leading the Rams 13-10 as they ran into the locker-room. The second half was a different story as Derek Carr fell apart and the defence stopped bending and began to break. After the game Jon Gruden told the media that the defence failed to put Goff and the LA offence under pressure. Sounds like they need an elite pass rusher.
29. Indianapolis Colts (No Change)
Andrew Luck showed flashes of his former self against the Bengals but had some pretty rusty moments mixed in as well. It didn't help him that the Colts tackles were being beaten consistently, leaving Luck under pressure for the majority of the game. The defence played slightly above expectations but is still one of worst units in the NFL. It's great to see Luck back out there, but he doesn't have enough around him to make this team competitive in 2018.
30. Detroit Lions (Down 11)
The Lions got their arses handed to them by a Jets team that had a rookie QB starting his first ever game at just 21. That definitely wasn't the start Matt Patricia wanted as the new head coach in Detroit. Matt Stafford looked uncharacteristically lost for the majority of the contest, throwing four touchdowns to an opportunistic Jets defence. The Lions defence also decided to go missing for vast stretches of the game, allowing 48 points. Patricia will have to turn things around quickly to avoid being yet another coach from the Belichick school to fail outside of New England.
31. Arizona Cardinals (Down 8)
If Sam Bradford plays like he did against the Redskins over the next few weeks then I doubt we'll have to wait long to see rookie QB Josh Rosen take the field. But Bradford wasn't the only problem with the Arizona performance. The Cardinals were second-best all over pitch and showed nothing for the fans to cling into in terms of positives. It might be a tough debut season for new coach Steve Wilks.
32. Buffalo Bills (No Change)
The Buffalo Bills lost 47-3 to the Ravens. Need I say more?
Mowlem is a sports writer from Reading, United Kingdom. All articles are written by Reece Mowlem (unless stated otherwise).