Packer Peter’s Power Rankings After Week 1
Here’s the Power Rankings after everybody has played a real game...…
1. Philadelphia Eagles (1-0) (last week’s ranking: 1)
Offense struggled against the Falcons, but their defense was enough to get them by. As we said last week, they stay at no.1 until somebody knocks them off. The story remains: when will Carson Wentz return?
2. New England Patriots (1-0) (last week’s ranking: 2)
Overcame a tough Texans team. The Patriots remain the Patriots and the Brady to Gronkowski hook-up looks as potent as ever. Is there anybody in the AFC able to knock them off?
3. Minnesota Vikings (1-0) (last week’s ranking: 3)
Football’s best defense wins many games by itself. Offense is better than advertised. Kirk Cousins is a good QB, but good enough to lead the Vikings to the big game? We shall see.
4. Los Angeles Rams (1-0) (last week’s ranking: 5)
The Rams overcame a tough Raiders team in a game that was closer than the scoreline suggests. Three interceptions on defense and a solid offensive performance led by a 100 yard day for Todd Gurley were enough to get the Rams over the line
5. Atlanta Falcons (0-1) (last week’s ranking: 6)
Julio Jones looked dominant but the team’s inability to score touchdowns on Red Zone opportunities cost them against the Eagles. Defense played well but took a big blow in losing S Keanu Neal for the season (ACL).
6. New Orleans Saints (0-1) (last week’s ranking: 4)
Drew Brees and the Saints offense looked as good as ever, but what to make of a defense that gives up 48 points to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers? I guess that the Saints offense may have to score 49 points to win games! If the defense doesn’t hold up over the next few weeks the Saints will drop down these rankings.
7. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-0) (last week’s ranking: 7)
We asked: Are the Jaguars for real? Let’s just say that after one tough game against the Giants, they looked very much like the 2017 version of themselves (a team that went to the AFC Championship). Strong showing from MLB Myles Jack including a pick-6.
8. Green Bay Packers (1-0) (last week’s ranking: 9)
Wow. Trailing 20-0, an injured Aaron Rodgers somehow led the Packers to a 24-23 comeback victory in their 100th season opener. Both lines improved as the game went on and both need to play like they did in the second half for this team to compete with the Vikings. We’ll get a better idea as to how close to Minnesota this team can be as they meet this week.
9. Kansas City Chiefs (1-0) (last week’s ranking: 12)
High octane offensive game from both teams saw Tyreek Hill and Patrick Mahomes just about overcome the Phillip Rivers led Chargers. Hill was dynamic on offense and in the return game and Mahomes threw 4 touchdowns on his debut as the Chiefs no.1 QB. Undoubted playoff contenders again on this showing.
10. Pittsburgh Steelers (0-0-1) (last week’s ranking: 8)
The Steelers will be disappointed with the opening day tie with the Browns, but they could have lost as they gave away a second half lead and had to rely on blocked field goal to save the tie. Big Ben struggled in the season opener with 3 interceptions but will get better.
11. Carolina Panthers (1-0) (last week’s ranking: 11)
Strong defensive showing coupled with a no more than average offensive performance was enough to see the Panthers past the Cowboys. Newton and McCaffrey did just about enough this week but more will be needed to keep this team as a playoff contender.
12. Los Angeles Chargers (0-1) (last week’s ranking: 10)
Are the Philip Rivers led Chargers the same team as the Dan Fouts led Chargers? At times in their opener against the Chiefs, I felt transported back in time some 35 years – as Rivers passed all over the field but a strong pass defense on paper gave up 4 touchdowns. Still, the Chargers are a good team who will contend for a playoff spot.
13. Houston Texans (0-1) (last week’s ranking: 13)
The Texans played tough against the Patriots, particularly in the second half. S Tryann Mathieu led a stout defense which also featured J.J. Watt looking stronger as the game went on. They still look like a good team that many will overlook this year.
14. San Francisco 49ers (0-1) (last week’s ranking: 15)
Tough loss to one of the NFL’s best teams – Minnesota – shows that this San Francisco team is not too far away and I have them pinned as a Wild Card contender.
15. Baltimore Ravens (1-0) (last week’s ranking: 18)
Joe Flacco’s 3 touchdown passes were more than enough for Baltimore to easily stroll past the NFL’s poorest team – Buffalo. Not much more to say.
16. Denver Broncos (1-0) (last week’s ranking: 19)
Broncos overcame 3 Case Keenum interceptions to beat the Seahawks. Behind 470 yards of offense and 3 sacks from star linebacker Von Miller, Keenum was able to throw 3 touchdowns to win his first game with Denver. The question still remains: who are the real Denver Broncos?
17. Tennessee Titans (0-1) (last week’s ranking: 14)
The longest game in NFL history must have felt even longer for QB Marcus Mariota who threw 2 picks before leaving the game against the Dolphins with an arm injury. The Titans’ defense was solid – getting 2 picks of its own but this wasn’t a very good team performance against a team they would have expected to beat. For me, this was one of the week’s most disappointing performances.
18. Dallas Cowboys (0-1) (last week’s ranking: 16)
The Cowboys defense pretty much held the Panthers offense in check but Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott could never get the Cowboys offense moving and Dallas were themselves held to just 8 points. This still has the look of an 8-8 team to me.
19. Chicago Bears (0-1) (last week’s ranking: 20)
The Khalil Mack deal immediately upgrades this team. Mitch Trubisky is promising and has skills but isn’t a top notch QB yet. The Bears can have a winning record only if Trubisky continues to grow and improve with new head coach Matt Nagy. New wideout Allen Robinson will help.
20. Washington Redskins (1-0) (last week’s ranking: 21)
Alex Smith started his Washington career with a typical Alex Smith type performance. Adrian Peterson ran tough and the defense was strong against a poor looking Cardinals team.
21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0) (last week’s ranking: 31)
Burst out with a shocking 48 point offensive output against the Saints. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick’s 400 yards and 4 touchdowns has us thinking Jameis who? Can they repeat this offensive performance? Can the defense get better than it looked this week?
22. Cincinnati Bengals (1-0) (last week’s ranking: 22)
Fourth quarter points outburst led the Bengals past a weak looking Colts team. Overall, the Bengals looked exactly like we imagined them to be – decent on offense with struggles on defense.
23. Seattle Seahawks (0-1) (last week’s ranking: 23)
Earl Thomas’ return boosted the Seahawks but even Seattle’s 3 picks of Case Keenum weren’t enough to overcome 470 yards given up. Offensively, they looked good but 2 interceptions of their own thrown by Russell Wilson didn’t help. On the evidence of this showing, it could be an exciting season for the Seahawks – albeit they are likely to lose more than they win.
24. New York Jets (1-0) (last week’s ranking: 29)
Sam Darnold rebounded from the worst possible start (pick-6 on his first NFL pass) to lead his team past the Lions in Detroit. But most of the kudos here go to the Jets defense which intercepted the Lions’ quarterbacks 4 times in what turned out to be season-opening shocker.
25. Detroit Lions (0-1) (last week’s ranking: 17)
Shocker! No other word for the Lions performance against the Jets. Detroit was badly beaten in all 3 facets of the game and were clearly not helped by QB Matthew Stafford’s 4 interceptions. An ignominious first game for rookie head coach Matt Patricia. The bright side? The Lions can only get better from here.
26. Miami Dolphins (1-0) (last week’s ranking: 28)
Ryan Tannehill threw 2 touchdowns (and despite 2 picks) it was enough to beat a surprisingly poor Tennessee Titans. 3 interceptions by the Dolphins defense saw them survive the NFL’s longest day and come away with an expected victory.
27. Oakland Raiders (0-1) (last week’s ranking: 24)
Still not sure which Derek Carr is playing. Against the Rams, the first half version looked like the very good 2016 vintage, whilst the second half version looked like last year’s struggler. Carr’s 3 interceptions led to the Raiders collapse. Following the loss of Khalil Mack, the Raiders probably played above themselves.
28. New York Giants (0-1) (last week’s ranking: 25)
Despite Eli Manning starting the game 11 for 11 and 100 yard efforts from Saquon Barkley and Odell Beckham, the Giants could only muster 15 points. The defense played well albeit against a vanilla Jaguars offense. Still looks like a team that will be in lots of games but will lose more than it wins.
29. Cleveland Browns (0-0-1) (last week’s ranking: 30)
We said, “The Browns will better”, and no doubt they were – playing against one of the AFC’s best in the Steelers. But should Cleveland feel good or bad about a tie in a game they could have won but also could have lost? Some are questioning Tyrod Taylor after one week, but the Browns will live or die with him this season.
30. Indianapolis Colts (0-1) (last week’s ranking: 26)
Andrew Luck looked good in his first game back from serious injury but the Colts running game was almost non-existent. Defense played pretty well but the team broke down in the fourth quarter. Right now, it’s difficult to see this team winning more than 4 or 5 games.
31. Arizona Cardinals (0-1) (last week’s ranking: 27)
Offense looked tepid at best against the Redskins, despite Larry Fitzgerald’s best efforts. Need Sam Bradford and David Johnson to break out or this is going to be an extremely long season for Arizona.
32. Buffalo Bills (0-1) (last week’s ranking: 32)
Against the Ravens, I’m afraid that the Bills confirmed what we suspected going into the season – they are favourites to get the overall number 1 pick next year. QB Josh Allen’s time has come early but they would seem to have little choice but to play their rookie.
Find Peter on twitter here: @The_IT_Hedgehog