There have been dozens of NFL power rankings released throughout the preseason and after the first week of the season. That is all fine and dandy, but people ranking teams that haven’t played or with one game is kind of silly to me. College football comes out with rankings before the season and they end up completely different at the end.
To truly rank teams, they must have played some games. Last week the Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers didn’t play due to Hurricane Irma. Therefore, doing a power ranking after week 1 made no sense.
Now that all teams have seen action, it is time for Hagan’s Haus to bring you the first edition of this year’s NFL power rankings.
32. New York Jets (0-2)
(Photo Credit: Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)
After two games, the Jets look absolutely awful. The offense is only putting up 16 points per game and the defense is allowing 33. The Jets are going to have a top three pick in the draft this season. The only question is whether or not they win a game all year.
31. Indianapolis Colts (0-2)
The Colts almost won a game, which is why they aren’t as bad as the Jets. Indianapolis has played so poorly that Andrew Luck could be considered for MVP. Jacoby Brissett also looked like an improvement from Scott Tolzien, but it won’t result in wins.
On the other side, the Colts’ defense is horrible, giving up 31 points per game (29th) and 308 passing yards per game (29th). There is little to look forward to with this season for Indianapolis.
30. Chicago Bears (0-2)
In week 1, the Chicago Bears looked like a vastly improved team. They hung with the defending NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons. The Bears could have won that game if there wouldn’t have been three straight drops on the goal line before Mike Glennon was ultimately sacked.
Despite the loss, things were looking up. Then they ran into the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who completely dominated them. Glennon looked like a backup, and the Mitch Trubisky era may soon be upon us.
29. Cleveland Browns (0-2)
Cleveland was in a similar situation as the Bears. They almost upset the vaunted Pittsburgh Steelers in week 1, but DeShone Kizer took a step back in week 2, throwing three interceptions against Baltimore. There are signs of improvement with the Browns, but they are still a young team.
It will be a typical Browns season of losses, but it is because they are young and growing. Cleveland should be happy because there is some positive direction.
28. San Francisco 49ers (0-2)
Over the first two weeks of the season, the 49ers have shown improvement on defense. The 49ers rank 10th in the NFL in scoring defense, allowing just 17.5 points per game. That is 12.5 points less than last season.
The problem is the offense can’t get the job done, scoring an average of six points per game. This season will be a rough one for the 49ers, but they will be competitive.
27. Cincinnati Bengals (0-2)
All signs point to the Bengals stinking this year, but they will turn this season around if they hand over the keys to AJ McCarron. The question is are they willing to make the move?
This week they are heading to Green Bay to face off against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. This is a must-win for the Bengals, but they won’t do so. Cincinnati could continue to fall in these rankings if Andy Dalton remains a turnover machine.
26. New Orleans Saints (0-2)
(Photo Credit: http://www.sportingnews.com)
Will a defense ever arrive in New Orleans? What makes it so bad is that 400-yard passing games are rare, but a certain someone called it in his predictions here.
It will sound like a broken record all season as the defense will continue to let down Drew Brees. The offense will win a few games in a shootout, but not many. The Saints should start preparing for the draft relatively soon this season.
25. Arizona Cardinals (1-1)
Many predicted that the Cardinals would have a playoff-caliber season. Throw that out the window because that will not happen. Yes, the Cardinals are 1-1 and it is extremely early in the season.
The problem is David Johnson’s injury makes the rest of the offense look below average. Carson Palmer is too old and has shown a decline in his play. He can’t carry an offense. The defense is talented, but nothing elite enough to lead this franchise to wins.
24. Buffalo Bills (1-1)
Who could have seen a 12 carry, nine-yard performance from LeSean McCoy? Not many.
The Bills defense kept them in the game, but as a lot of teams low in these rankings, the offense got nothing done. Tyrod Taylor played safe, completing 17 of his 25 passes for just 125 yards. The Bills are an average team, and they will sit somewhere between 16 to 26 in these rankings for the remainder of the season.
23. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1)
It is clear that the Jaguars must run the ball as much as possible to get it out of Blake Bortles’ hands. Bortles threw two interceptions against the Titans. 34 attempts are way too many, but happened because they were playing catch up. Leonard Fournette is a workhorse, who should easily get more than 14 carries no matter how the game is going.
The Jaguars “sacksonville” defense seemed to disappear, only sacking Marcus Mariota once. It remains to be seen how good, or bad, the Jaguars really are.
22. New York Giants (0-2)
The Giants are in danger of having a historically bad season. This team was supposed to have a Super Bowl defense with a high-powered ariel offense. The defense hasn’t lived up to expectations and the offensive line is so bad that Eli Manning can’t air the ball out.
It doesn’t help that the Giants have the worst rush offense in the NFL (48.5 yards per game). The Giants may turn it around, but if they fall to 0-3, they will fall much lower in the power rankings as well.
21. Houston Texans (1-1)
Deshaun Watson turned on the jets in Cincinnati to win his first career NFL start, on his birthday. With a defense as good as Houston’s, Watson needs to just protect the ball. If he can do that, his athleticism will force offenses to compensate for his running. This will open up the passing game.
Watson needs time to develop, but the Texans can still make the playoffs while he does so.
20. Los Angeles Chargers (0-2)
Could you imagine if the Chargers could just kick a field goal? Simply making two field goals could have this team at 2-0. The Chargers defense has played well enough to win games. The offense has been tailored around Melvin Gordon and is looking good.
There isn’t much to say other than make a field goal. If Los Angeles can improve in this area, then the Chargers might put up a fight for a Wild Card spot in the AFC.
19. Miami Dolphins (1-0)
The Miami Dolphins sit alone at the top of the AFC East, but don’t get used to it. Jay Cutler is going to get a bunch of love, but everyone needs to pump the breaks. Most have seen the play where DeVante Parker stole the ball away from Casey Hayward. Cutler made a horrible decision and throw, but was rewarded.
During this season, Cutler will give away a few games, and the Dolphin fans will begin to understand what it meant to be a Bears fan for the past few years.
18. Los Angeles Rams (1-1)
(Photo Credit: https://www.si.com)
It would have been fun to see Jared Goff pull of the two-minute offense to tie the game rather than seeing it be intercepted. It’s okay, he is young and will learn from that. Todd Gurley is showing signs of the greatness he displayed in his rookie season. The defense is elite under Wade Phillips and will perform much better the rest of this season.
This team will have a lot to say in the NFC West race. Don’t count them out of it.
17. Washington Redskins (1-1)
It is really hard to decipher what kind of team the Redskins are this year. Philly dominated them in week 1, but their win in week 2 changes every narrative on them. Their next two games are against the Raiders and Chiefs.
If they win either of these games, then the Redskins will earn a ton of respect. Over the course of the next two weeks, we will really find out if the Redskins are contenders or pretenders.
16. Seattle Seahawks (1-1)
There are two games of evidence that say the Seahawks are in some serious trouble. Seattle looked unprepared and overwhelmed against the Packers. Those same Packers got manhandled against the Falcons. That is not a good sign. To make it even worse, the 49ers fought hard and looked like a worthy opponent against Seattle.
The offensive line is a major concern. Seattle can’t run the ball, and Russell Wilson is forced to run for his life. Seattle will float somewhere between 8-11 wins, but a few more performances like their previous two would show that the Seahawks are no longer the cream of the crop.
15. Minnesota Vikings (1-1)
For the third time in the last four seasons, the Vikings have started a second quarterback in the month of September. It is the same sad story, the Vikings can’t get consistency under center. The defense is Super Bowl worthy and has played extremely well against some high-powered offenses.
If the Vikings have Sam Bradford, they are a top 10 team. If Bradford continues to miss time, then the Vikings are average at best and can only go as far as the defense can take them.
14. Green Bay Packers (1-1)
The hype train for Green Bay is always ridiculous, but this year it may be slowing down. Yes, Aaron Rodgers is godly at quarterback, but he can’t make up for the deficiencies the rest of the team has. The Packers won a tough game against the Seahawks, who haven’t looked all that impressive. Then they got run over by the Atlanta Falcons yet again.
With Aaron Rodgers, they will likely make the playoffs. After watching these first two weeks, it is hard to imagine them making a deep run.
13. Baltimore Ravens (2-0)
I see this year’s Raven’s team as last year’s Vikings. They will get off to a hot start, but by the end of the season miss the playoffs.
Baltimore’s defense is doing amazing things, averaging five takeaways per game. They can thank Andy Dalton, who has looked like an amateur this season and rookie DeShone Kizer for their gaudy takeaway numbers. This won’t hold up for the rest of the season.
12. Dallas Cowboys (1-1)
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This game against the Broncos was a huge wakeup call for the Cowboys. They need to get back to becoming a dominant run team and stop trying to prove that Dak Prescott can be a gunslinger.
Ezekiel Elliott will get back into form in week 3. Once that happens, everything else will fall into place. Dak can get back to managing the game and keeping the defense off the field.
11. Tennessee Titans (1-1)
The Titans were many analysts’ pick to win the AFC South. Oakland played so well in week 1 that some were ready to backtrack on them winning the division. Others were willing to stick with them.
Those who stuck with them are the smart ones. Tennessee completely dominated Jacksonville. That amazing defense that shut down Houston seemed to be a product of the offense they were facing. Tennessee put up 37 points behind 179 yards on the ground. This is the Tennessee everyone was expecting this season.
10. Philadelphia Eagles (1-1)
Philadelphia continues to look rather impressive this season. Although they lost, they played a great game against one of the best teams in the NFL. The defense doesn’t get much love, but ranks 12th in total yards (304 yards per game). Philly is also averaging four sacks per game, which is fourth best in the league.
Offensively Carson Wentz has taken the next step. The Eagles will be a serious threat in the NFC East race.
9. Detroit Lions (2-0)
Matthew Stafford is doing everything in his power to prove he is worth the big contract he recently signed. This season he has led the Lions to a 2-0 start by defeating the Cardinals and Giants, who are a combined 1-3.
It remains to be seen if these are wins against good teams or wins against teams that actually stink. Before they move up higher on this list, they will have to beat a quality opponent.
8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0)
After everything the Tampa Bay Buccaneers went through in regards to Hurricane Irma, it is more impressive that they came out and dominated the Bears the way they did. Tampa won the game 29-7 and the Bears score came in the fourth quarter. The defense shut down the run game, allowing just 20 yards.
If they continue to play the run this well, they will be playing for the Lombardi Trophy. The offense looked balanced, and Jameis Winston will be in the MVP discussion by the end of the year. Watch out Atlanta, the Bucs are coming for you.
7. Carolina Panthers (2-0)
When speaking of elite defenses, the Carolina Panthers must be mentioned. It doesn’t matter who the opponents are because allowing just three points per game after two weeks in the NFL is unheard of. That obviously ranks first, but Carolina also ranks first in total yards allowed at 196.5 per game.
Cam Newton has looked rusty, and Greg Olson broke his leg. The offense may struggle, but Cam and the running game will still be enough while the defense leads them to wins.
6. Denver Broncos (2-0)
(Photo Credit: http://rotoprofessor.com/football/?p=10988)
Denver is playing like they did during their Super Bowl run. During my Super Bowl Series: AFC West I mentioned that the Broncos need to get back to running the ball in order to win another championship. They have done just that, averaging the most yards on the ground per game at 159.
Pairing this with that fast, physical and world-class defense is a recipe for success. It will be fun to see how the Broncos do in their fight with the Raiders and Chiefs.
5. Atlanta Falcons (2-0)
Atlanta is off to a hot start, but a hangover is still coming. They struggled against the woeful Bears, then beat up on the overrated Packers.
Atlanta’s defense still isn’t all it is hyped up to be under Dan Quinn. Right now they have earned a top-five ranking, but in the coming weeks, it will fall as they still have to face Detroit, New England, Carolina, Dallas, Seattle, Tampa Bay and Minnesota.
4. New England Patriots (1-1)
Every time the Patriots have started 0-1 under Bill Belichick, they have won the Super Bowl. Tom Brady threw for the most yards ever by a 40-year-old quarterback. Granted it was the Saints defense, but still impressive. They are easily a top-five team in the NFL and will most likely make it to the Super Bowl.
Until Brady leaves or begins to fall off the cliff as Max Kellerman says, the Patriots will always deserve a high power ranking.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-0)
The killer B’s have led the Steelers to a 2-0 start. It wasn’t an easy outing for Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell against the Vikings defense, but it was enough to get the job done.
The defense is also doing a great job getting to the quarterback, averaging 4.5 sacks per game. T.J. Watt has been a major factor for the Steelers already. If the Steelers play like this the rest of the season, they may end up first in these rankings.
2. Oakland Raiders (2-0)
Marshawn Lynch must be instant energy. He fits with Oakland more than any other player in the history of the NFL on any team. He should have been a Raider for his entire career. Lynch has 121 yards this year while averaging four yards per carry. He creates a balance on the offense that is scaring every defensive coordinator that will face them.
Derek Carr continues to look like a future MVP and has outstanding chemistry with his receivers. The defense is holding up their end of the bargain thus far, but if they begin to falter, then so will the Raiders. Until then, they look like a candidate for the best team in the NFL.
1. Kansas City Chiefs (2-0)
(Photo Credit: Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
Well, Alex Smith must have been absolutely sick of how people treat and talk about him. Through two games, Smith is completing 77.8 percent of his passing, thrown for 619 yards, five touchdowns and zero, I repeat, zero interceptions. He also leads the league in deep passing yards at 257. The next closest is Drew Brees with 216 yards.
Kareem Hunt looks to be the steal of the draft and frontrunner for offensive rookie of the year. The defense is doing what it always has in shutting down opposing offenses. The Chiefs are the clearcut best team in the NFL right now.
Featured image courtesy of http://www.chicagonow.com/chicago-sports-addict/2012/09/nfl-power-rankings-week-1/
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