By Reece Mowlem
Week 2 cooked up a lot of shocks and consequently there has been a large amount of movement in my power rankings. Below are how the teams look entering Week 2 of the NFL season.
1. Minnesota Vikings (Up 1)
If Daniel Carlson had just hit a 35-yard field goal, then the Kirk Cousins could say that he went into Lambeau Field and took down Aaron Rodgers. Unfortunately for Kirk, it just wasn't meant to be. It was also unfortunate for Carlson, who is now a free agent despite being a 5th round pick a mere five months ago. His replacement in Minnesota will be veteran placekicker Dan Bailey, the second most accurate kicker in NFL history. Not bad. Despite the tie in Green Bay, the Vikings showed they could compete in the big games, even on the road, and that's why they have climbed to the top of the power rankings mountain. I've heard it's a nice view up there.
2. Los Angeles Rams (Up 1)
I can't take too much from the Rams performance against the Cardinals because their opponent was so lacking in ability to do, well, pretty much anything. LA prevented Arizona from crossing halfway until the 4th quarter and gave up only five first downs all day, let alone any points. Offensively, McVay's boys put up 34 points with ease, even without star kicker Greg Zuerlein, who left the game with a groin injury. I'm intrigued to see how the Rams will fare against their LA counterparts on Sunday as don't believe they've been truly tested yet.
3. New England Patriots (Down 2)
The Patriots of recent years seem to always drop a few bad performances in the opening weeks of the season, and this year it was in Jacksonville where they first faltered. The Jags dominated on both sides of the ball and Blake Bortles put up more Brady like stats than the man himself. The arrival of Josh Gordon could be a help to TB12, but with his history it's definitely not a guarantee that he'll even be on the field. New England will inevitably bounce back as they always do, but the Jags showed that Belichick can be beaten.
4. Green Bay Packers (Up 2)
For a man with only one functional knee, Aaron Rodgers was pretty impressive against the Vikings on Sunday, as was the majority of the Packers team. If it wasn't for a questionable 'roughing the passer' penalty on linebacker Clay Matthews, Green Bay would have almost definitely won the game and gone clear at the top of the division. Instead they have to share space with the Vikings at the summit of the NFC North.
5. Jacksonville Jaguars (Up 4)
Thankfully Hurricane Florence isn't doing much damage in Jacksonville at the moment, but the Jaguars were causing destruction all over the field against the Patriots this weekend. As I mentioned earlier, Bortles put up superb numbers through the air, boasting an impressive stat-line of 377 yards passing and 4 touchdowns. The Jags defence was also at its disruptive best, holding Brady to under 250 yards as well as stealing a victory securing fumble in the fourth quarter. Oh, and Keelan Cole produced a one-handed catch that may just be the best we've seen since OBJ's against Dallas. Jacksonville look like contenders in 2018.
6. Atlanta Falcons (Up 2)
That's more like it Matty! The Falcons looked much more like themselves against the Panthers with Atlanta holding on for the win after a final second Hail Mary attempt from Cam Newton. The offence was much improved and even managed to score in the red zone (can you believe it?) and the defence was solid despite missing two key players. If they keep trending upwards my Super Bowl prediction could still come true.
7. Kansas City Chiefs (Up 4)
After throwing six against the Steelers, Pat Mahomes broke the record for most touchdowns thrown in the first two games of a season with 10 TD's. That's a pretty impressive feat for a player who is basically a rookie. What helps is having a coach like Andy Reid and playmakers like Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce and Sammy Watkins, but Mahomes still has to get them the ball and he's doing a good job of that. The defence still looks like a huge problem, but this offence might be unstoppable.
8. Philadelphia Eagles (Down 2)
Giving up a 75-yard touchdown to a former star of your team on the opening play of the game was not quite the start the Eagles would have wanted to make in Tampa. The Philly defence, normally one the best in the business, was dissected by Fitzpatrick and Bucs, giving up 27 points, a total they only allowed three times last season. The sole reason the Eagles are still in the Top 10 on this list is that it seems the Carson Wentz return is imminent. Fans in Philadelphia must pray that Wentz can recapture his 2017 form because Nick Foles certainly hasn't.
9. New Orleans Saints (Down 2)
I think someone needs to tell the Saints defence that the season has actually started. If it wasn't for a kicking nightmare from the Browns, New Orleans would be 0-2 right now having lost to Tampa Bay and Cleveland, hardly two powerhouses. Brees looks good and both Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas have started the season strongly, but until the defence can step up, the Saints are going to struggle to make the playoffs.
10. Los Angeles Chargers (No Change)
The Chargers did the job they needed to do against Bills in Buffalo and took home the W in a pretty comfortable manner. The offence once again showed its class, but the defence still had its susceptible moments. If Bosa can get back on the field that will of course help, but the defence needs to improve to give the Chargers a chance of overtaking the Chiefs in the AFC West.
11. Pittsburgh Steelers (Down 6)
I think the fact that Big Ben threw for over 450 yards and 3 touchdowns and still lost shows how inept the Pittsburgh defence is. The Chiefs offence is most certainly a tough beast to tame, but the Steelers had no answers for Mahomes and his ample weapons. I'm not too worried yet, but if they can't get a win against the Bucs then you have to question whether Mike Tomlin can win the division in an improved AFC North.
12. Cincinnati Bengals (No Change)
After their win over the Ravens on Thursday night, the Bengals are in pole position in the AFC North. Losing Mixon for 2-4 weeks following his knee surgery is certainly a blow, but I think the offence, that showed well against Baltimore, should be able to cope without him. The defence also continued to play well, especially upfront with Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap wreaking havoc and getting to Flacco on multiple occasions. Also, A.J. Green scored 3 touchdowns in the first half, which was rather impressive. The Bengals are showing why I picked them as a playoff team in the offseason.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Up 7)
Fitzmagic threw for 400 yards and 4 touchdowns for the second week in a row as he led his team to their second straight victory of the year. At this rate, the supposed franchise QB James Winston, won't even see the field in 2018. The defence has its flaws, but the offence is playing lights out through the air and that's how they're winning games. The only question is whether the Bucs can sustain this level of play for 16 games.
14. Carolina Panthers (Down 1)
In a huge NFC South matchup with the Falcons, the Panthers ended up second best. Cam played well for the majority and the offence was more than capable, but the defence couldn't do what the Eagles could and stop Atlanta in the red zone. I don't know why, but I can see this team looking playoff likely in early December, just to lose their final three games against divisional rivals and narrowly miss out. Sorry Carolina fans, that's just how I see it.
15. Chicago Bears (No Change)
The 24-17 scoreline definitely didn't do the Bears justice in a game in which they dominated the Seahawks throughout. The defensive line, led by Khalil Mack, feasted on Russell Wilson and stifled the whole Seattle offence. The Chicago offence was more successful than their opponent's, but still seemed to fizzle out as the game went on. The defence is most certainly legit, but whether Trubisky is good enough to take this team to the playoffs is still yet to be seen.
16. Baltimore Ravens (Down 2)
After putting up an astronomical amount of points against the Bills in Week 1, the Ravens came crashing down to earth against the Bengals on Thursday Night Football. The offensive line just couldn't contain the Cincinnati pass rush and that left Flacco in a real tough spot. The larger issue was that the usually dominant defence was torn apart by Andy Dalton and A.J. Green. The defence will have to get back to their best if they want to compete for a playoff spot in the AFC.
17. San Francisco 49ers (Down 1)
I still don't like how high the 49ers are in the rankings, but I think they're a team that might stronger and stronger each week. They nearly blew a big lead against the Lions on Sunday, but there was an abundance of promising signs. The biggest was that Matt Breida can be a lead running back and enters Week 3 as the league's leading rusher. The important thing is that the 49ers have proven that they can win even when Jimmy Garoppolo isn't at his best.
18. Denver Broncos (Up 1)
The Broncos may be 2-0, but they're also one of the only teams to have opened the season with back to home games and we know how much better Denver play up in Mile High. Case Keenum played badly for three quarters but turned up the heat in the fourth and led an impressive drive to set up the game winning field goal. The defence was also pretty damn good. My biggest takeaway was that rookie running back and Colorado native Phillip Lindsay looked like a real game changer for the second consecutive week. They may have found a home town superstar.
19. Dallas Cowboys (Up 4)
Before the season, I definitely would not have predicted that the Cowboys defence would be better than their offence, but after two weeks, it looks like that's the case. DeMarcus Lawrence led the charge up front, pressuring Manning on what seemed like every single play, as well as holding Saquon Barkley to only 28 rushing yards. I still think Dak and the offence need to improve further from their primetime performance, but they seem to be on the rise.
20. Cleveland Browns (Up 1)
It's crazy to think that if the Browns just had a league average kicker, they'd be 2-0 right now. That's right, the Browns were a single player away from beating both the Steelers and the Saints. By going into the dome and holding New Orleans to only 21 points, Cleveland proved that they were one of the league's elite units. The offence however, still struggled and is now without wideout Josh Gordon after his trade to the Patriots. For now Tyrod Taylor's doing enough, but if he continues to lose, we might see Baker Mayfield sooner rather than later.
21. Miami Dolphins (Up 5)
The Dolphins going 2-0 has gone largely under the radar, but right now they're atop the AFC East and leaking sneaky good. Tannehill has now won 9 of his last 10 games as a starter and the Miami defence is looking better than almost anyone expected. They possess a dangerous secondary trio with Xavien Howard, Minkah Fitzpatrick and Reshad Jones who are all playmakers. If the conference starts to crumble, with their favourable schedule, the Dolphins could end up being a playoff team this season.
22. Oakland Raiders (Up 6)
For the second week in a row the Raiders entered halftime with the lead, just to run out of steam in the second half and lose the contest. Derek Carr had a better game than he did in Week 1, throwing for 288 yards and a touchdown, as well as boasting a completion percentage of over 90%. The defence still misses Khalil Mack and will have to step up if they want Gruden to be happy in January.
23. Indianapolis Colts (Up 6)
Looking through the roster you wouldn't expect it, but the Colts defence is actually pretty good. Estonian defensive linemen Margus Hunt is in the form of his life, safety Malik Hooker is looking back to his best in his second year and rookie linebacker Darius Leonard looks like a steal in the second round. Also, as I said on the First Down Podcast, Andrew Luck looks more and more like his former self each week. Indy might just be the second best team in the AFC South.
24. Houston Texans (Down 7)
When I ruled out the Texans as a playoff team back in August, people thought I was insane. I know it's very early to say this, but I think I was right. The Texans managed to somehow lose to a Titans team that started Blaine Gabbert at quarterback and has a defensive back as their leading receiver. The Houston offensive line is still a huge issue and DeShaun Watson continues to make poor decisions. The one positive I would take is that J.J. Watt is slowly getting back to the guy who won defensive MVP only a few seasons ago.
25. Tennessee Titans (Up 2)
Who would have thought that putting Blaine Gabbert into the lineup would get the Titans their first win of the 2018 season. It took a touchdown on a fake punt, but Tennessee hung on to win a tough division game against the Texans on Sunday. But even though they won, the Titans still looked mediocre at best, especially offensively. As much as I want it to be otherwise, the Titans don't look like a playoff team this year, be it Mariota or Gabbert under centre.
26. Washington Redskins (Down 8)
Everyone got excited after the Redskins' victory in Week 1 against the Cardinals, but now it's clear that the Cardinals are really bad and the Redskins aren't quite as good as we first thought. Their offence was highly inefficient against the Colts and the defence was far less disruptive than it was 7 days earlier. I still don't know where exactly they lie, but Washington currently look like an average to below average NFL team.
27. Seattle Seahawks (Down 3)
Poor Russell Wilson. I'm getting bored of saying this, but once again the Seahawks' offensive line couldn't give their quarterback any protection and that was ultimately the problem with the offence. Seattle continue to struggle to forge a run game and now that Doug Baldwin is missing, there's not much of a passing game either. Also, as expected, the defence is weaker than it was last year, especially without Bobby Wagner. I think it's fair to say the Seahawks Super Bowl window has well and truly shut.
28. New York Jets (Down 3)
The Jets had a quite amazing takeoff in Week 1 as the beat the Lions, but they crash landed in Week 2 against their division rival Dolphins. Darnold look less like the Messiah and more like a 21-year-old rookie, plus the defence wasn't quite as dynamic as it was in Detroit. The combination of those factors led to an underwhelming performance in their home opener. The future is bright, but the present is hazy.
29. Detroit Lions (No Change)
The Lions should have pulled off the comeback against the 49er, but got burnt by stupid penalties on big plays. The biggest thing to take from this game was that Matthew Stafford looked better, much better. But Patricia's defence still looked incredibly lacklustre and is likely to struggle again against Tom Brady and the Pats in Week 3. It's going to be a long year for the fans in Motor City.
30. New York Giants (Down 8)
Saquon Barkley is a talented player, that's not in doubt, but due to the situation around him he can't help this team win games. The rookie running back had only 28 yards rushing and even though he had 14 receptions, the average depth of his targets was 1.9 yards behind the line of scrimmage. The Giants didn't actually solve their problems up front despite throwing money at Nate Solder and that has caused the G-Men to be a bad football team.
31. Arizona Cardinals (No Change)
Despite having a handful of stars, the Cardinals seem to be pretty bad a playing football at the moment. For me it's simple. It's Josh Rosen time.
32. Buffalo Bills (No Change)
One of their starting cornerbacks retired at half time. Need I say more?
Mowlem is a young sports writer from Reading, United Kingdom. All articles are written by Reece Mowlem (unless stated otherwise).